Friday, December 26, 2008

Please Explain this to Me

Making up for lost time on posting here . . .

Someone PLEASE explain this to me.
Apparently there is a custom in this country that, despite almost 50 years spent in it, I don't quite understand.
So, here it is. WHY do people spit? In public? On sidewalks? Repeatedly?
I mean, if you get a bug in your mouth, I get it.
If you just threw up, I get it.
If you suddenly are overtaken by a horrible taste in your mouth, it's time to investigate your health and your diet, but I still get it.
But why, standing on the corner, waiting for a bus, or hanging around outside a store, or just strolling down the sidewalk do people spit? Do they think it's attractive? Cool? Sexy? Hip? They couldn't be more wrong. It's . . . well, disgusting. And this from a woman who is NOT easily offended by people.
So, please, if you do this or know someone who does, explain it to me. Perhaps there is a purpose in spitting I am completely unaware of. Perhaps it serves a function I have missed. Maybe I will find out the reasoning behind it and rush outside to spit and see how it works for me, who knows? Right now it just seems like something leftover from our neanderthal days of grunting and doing all bodily functions in public.
I now return you to your regularly scheduled surfing.

Can I Stop Smiling Now?

You know how it feels when someone is getting ready to take your picture and you smile . . . at first, it feels right and natural but as the photographer fiddles with the lens and the light and the angle, your face starts to feel strained and unnatural? Then, when he still hasn't taken the picture, your cheeks start to hurt and your muscles complain? You feel like you are grimacing instead of grinning?

I am at that point.

For a week now I have "grinned" and kept a sense of humor about our lack of money.
I have chuckled when Christmas morning came and went without a gift for me (I did get a LOVELY poem from my Nicole.) We managed to get what we needed for the kids, which was what mattered.
And I smiled as we used Christmas money to pay the utility bills. By now, though, the grin was feeling a tad forced.
And I kept a sense of humor when we drove 45 minutes to get two days of mail waiting at the Post Office, only to find NO CHECKS in it because everything was still 4-5 days behind. My cheeks began to ache.
But today, we STILL did not get mail. And I felt the smile falter. It trembled a little on one side and almost crashed but I yanked it back up.
This has been an outrageous situation and I am trying oh so hard to keep smiling about it, really I am. Somewhere out there is $9000 that has been on its way to me for weeks now. It is the mortgage payment. Bills. Christmas. Groceries. It's mine. I earned it. And I WANT IT, damnit.
So know that I still have a smile on my face. And just overlook those cracks on the side. Don't notice the trembling in the foundation.
I know, Dad. This too shall pass. You've told me and I am trying hard to keep smiling as I remember.

Monday, December 22, 2008

One Must Maintain a Sense of Humor

Karma is obviously not working for me.
I have, however, rediscovered the value of a sense of humor.
As I mentioned in previous entries, money has been tight. I had several checks coming that, through multiple complicated errors, didn't come.
And didn't come.
Christmas keeps getting closer and they didn't come.
So, finally, I got emails telling me the checks would be here TODAY.
All day, we watched for the mailmen's white truck.
We kept watching.
Guess what? So much for that "Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor gloom of night" stuff.
NO MAIL SERVICE TODAY. Apparently, the city is under a state of emergency and the postal system shut down.
See the irony?
So, we keep waiting.
I think my kids are getting IOUs for Christmas. Can you believe it? I am SO lucky that they are being understanding about it all.
. . . I have my list ready the moment I can go but between the lack of mail/money and not being able to get out of the driveway to shop even if I had gotten money and had been able to get to the bank and deposit it, I have nothing. Not one single present.
I am refusing to get down about it though.
Instead, we are all banding together to laugh about it and realize that we will remember this Christmas for years to come . We can pretend we are the Whos down in Whoville and hold hands and sing and hope that the Karma Grinch's heart grows and brings us what we need AFTER Christmas. Heck, that's when the sales are anyway, right?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Winter in Portland

Well, WOW. I had somewhat forgotten what winter was like and Portland has certainly reminded me in the last couple of days. We have had record amounts of snow IN THE CITY and zero wind chills. I left winter coats and boots back in Indiana. . . . . I've been digging through the closet trying to find closed-toed shoes . . . It is wintery here and will remain so for at least the duration of the week. I guess it does make it feel more like Christmas but man . . . it's no fun to step out of the front door.

Other news . . I've been working pretty long hours these days. EVENTUALLY I will see some income from it but for now, through the weirdest set of circumstances, I haven't seen a writing check in three weeks! It is bizarre how many different things at this many different companies all conspired to create this incredible dearth--and right at Christmas time too. Most days, I handle it ok but there are times where I just wanna sit down and throw a miniature tantrum for a bit. I don't need a single thing for Christmas myself, but man, I want to buy a few things for the kids . . . .They've been great because they know this is temporary. They are such incredible blessings to me.

Other news? Not really. I have SIX books, yes, SIX books scheduled for January, so I know what I will be doing all month. They are short, which is a good thing, but still, SIX is a bit much for one month, even for me!

Hopefully, I will return in a day or two with more exciting news and MONEY. And peace of mind. And some holiday spirit. In the meantime, wishing you all of that and more.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Down in the Doldrums

I am usually a very upbeat person. I see the best in people. I think I have a blessed life. I love where I live.

But right now, none of that matters because I am struggling like hell not to spend my days curled up in bed with the blankets over my head and all of the lights off. I am seriously depressed . . . and not sure what to do about it. I know there are a lot of factors behind it. We are dead broke at the worst possible time of the year. Multiple checks due in have simply not arrived and we've exhausted what we had put aside for times like this. I hate, hate, hate being broke. It brings back some really horrible memories that I would prefer not to ever face again.

On top of that, work has never proven to be so exasperating. It seems like for every project I do that an editor loves, there are two editors emailing or calling to castigate me for doing something wrong. I got up this morning and realized that my hands were shaking because I was afraid to check my email. How whacked is that? When this happens, it completely undermines my confidence in my abilities. I start into this horrid spiral about how I'm screwing things up and soon, I won't get hired and then we'll be homeless . . . yadda, yadda, yadda. I simply feel like the world is sitting on my shoulders and the weight is getting to be more than I can handle.

Add to that, it's the holidays. My parents are gone. The sun has disappeared. And did I mention we were broke? :)

So, yea, cheery, upbeat, optomistic Tami is not a happy camper. I don't want to inflict it on my family and would much rather hole up in a room and let them go on their merry way until I am fit for the public again. I'm lucky that they love me too much to let me do that . . . so I put on the fake face and do my best, but these are gray days, my friends. Gray days.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Too Little Sleep, Too Much Work

Sorry for the dearth of posts lately, guys. It hasn't been for lack of interest but lack of time. I have been rather overwhelmed with work and for almost a week, I was only sleeping 4 or 5 hours a night in order to catch up. I am HOPING that by the end of this coming weekend, I will be caught up enough to go back to a more normal routine. I hope so, cuz this woman is weary.

I have been struggling to accept the holiday season this year because I really, really miss my mom. This is my first Christmas without her and she loved this holiday. She was supposed to be with us last Christmas--I'd already bought her ticket, but she didn't think she could make it after all and so we cancelled. I will always wonder what would have happened if she had come anyway. She went into the hospital on New Year's Eve and died two weeks later. Would she have gotten sick if she had been out here instead? It's one of those what if's that you will never know the answer to. She called me the night that they took into Intensive Care. She had the nurse call. I was in bed with a terrible case of the stomach flu at the time. I was half asleep when she called and tried to rally fast to talk to her. She told me she loved me and was blessed to be my mom. I think she knew . . . and I felt wholly inadequate in how to respond. I told her I loved her and how lucky I had been to have her as my mom and then the nurse told her she had to stop talking. They had but an oxygen mask on her and I told the nurse to tell my mom how relieved we all were that they found one to fit over her nose. You see, that was a nose joke--we told nose jokes about my mom all of her life. It was a family favorite. I heard her laugh and the nurse said she grinned and slapped her. I like knowing that I made her smile then. It just makes me cry now. Ironic, eh?

Anyway, just wanted to let you know that I am still around, just limited on time. Let's hope that changes by next week. Think good thoughts for me.