Monday, June 25, 2007

Giving nature a bear hug

I am discovering I am one of those people who likes their nature condensed. Confused? Mountain ranges surrounding me, a natural fortress, with a ribbon of water cutting a path through a valley floor. I want trees that hug me close and loom over me like an older brother might. My rivers are narrow and glide over rocks, the playful whitewater waiting to make the unsuspecting their bitch. My river whispers say my name. The nature I'm most comfortable in offers shade and that perfect hiding place.

I appreciate my West Texas roots, but others can have the dry, desert climate. Where trees aren't trees but merely overgrown shrubs. The wind across the plains is a drug, but I would rather scale a mountain to catch the horizon and look west across my front yard and see for miles.

Wednesday morning I settled into a canoe named 'Scud' and set my sights across Thompson Creek. More estuary than riverine, the creek was merely a precursor to the Bay and, for many, simply a launching point for their mini yachts. Wide and flat, the only excitement came in the form of white caps that formed when the wind set in. Beautiful? Yes, but my arms burned as I fought the wind, propelled only by a well-crafted boat and the power of my paddle slicing through the Chesapeake. Give me my condensed, whitewater nature any day ; )

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

On faith and getting through life

Earlier this week I put on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip when I got home from work and was reminded of how much I love the characters on this show. Maybe it's just me, but the show just has so much heart. I don't even mind if some of the story lines are a bit contrived (Tom's brother being captured as a prisoner of war). Witnessing Harriet kneel and begin praying brought my cheesy, weeps-at-commercials tears to my eyes.

This visual demonstration of faith reminded me of how faith serves as this cornerstone that helps me get through life and keeps me sane. My grandmother has been having a really rough go of it, constantly in so much pain that she could barely move and was only sleeping a couple of hours every night. My mother was the one to be there for her, listening to her cries and her questioning why God didn't love her any more. Her doctors weren't really providing many answers*, and a couple of weeks ago it finally got so bad that my mom took her to the hospital. She was admitted, and that is where she has been the past two weeks as the doctors and physical therapists poked and prodded her in an effort to figure out how best to treat her. Tomorrow, she is finally getting to go home and (from what I hear) is in much better shape and actually sleeping through the night and walking and everything.

Without faith in something greater than myself, I probably would have lost it. It is hard to function knowing that someone you love and that has helped raise you is in so much pain that she can't help but cry and question God. This is a tough woman** we're talking about here. Faith allows me stop myself when I go on a real bender about all of the "wrongs" in my life. It gives me the sense to realize how good I truly have it and how much worse things could be. I give faith the credit for the fact that I have yet to actually punch anyone and for helping me realize that sometimes my own problems are simply ones I've generated in that meager brain of mine.

*I need an entirely separate post to rail against HMOs, medicare and medicine in general these days. How does someone not figure out that my grandmother had broken a disc in her back during a fall?!
**I was raised to be a strong woman by tough women.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Evil people need to be crushed

Every now and then the universe tosses a truly horrific person into my life to remind me of just how terrible people can be. I seriously hope the universe doesn't expect me to respond in some kind of peaceful manner because some people deserve retribution for their actions.

Case in point. Early on in my Sunday shift at the book store, I was helping a customer in the children's department locate several books when a woman walks up to us and asks if I could help her locate books by a specific author. I explained to the woman that I was with another customer but would be happy to help her as soon as I was finished.

This woman suddenly turns into the evil bitch from hell as she actually has the nerve to get attitutude and say that my current customer has been monopolizing my time for 10 minutes and that I'm the only one back in that department. I explain to the bitch that she is more than welcome to go to customer service and someone would help her sooner. She then asks for my name so she can tell management how unhelpful I have been.

My customer is truly appalled that this woman had the nerve to insinuate her time was more important and apologizes to me. I explain that I am more than happy to continue helping her becuase what the woman with the ugly personality did was rude and bad manners. On hearing this, evil customer starts going off, and I basically tune her out. She manages to pull a real doozie out of that meager brain of hers in the hopes of doing me lasting harm. She ends by wishing me luck in my position there and telling me what a lowly position it is.

I turned back to my current customer not bothering to justify her comment or inform her that I actually had a pretty damn good job and only worked at the bookstore to support my expensive hobbies. She didn't need to know that. I only hope she comes to interview where I work, so I can assure she is never hired.

That said, I am a person who refuses to let people talk to me like that. Once done with my customer, I searched the aisles of the book store, so I could let her know she was never to speak to me like that again and how inappropriate she was as a person. Lucky for her*, she had already left.

Of course, on explaining what a horrific experience I had had to management, I start crying from all of the anger I had been holding in. I really hate that I cry when I get mad.

*And probably for me because I would have seriously had to restrain myself from punching her.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Dream a little fucked up dream

One thing being sick has given me is more sleep time. You know I rarely sleep more than 4 hours, so generally I don't have dreams that I remember. Since Sunday, I have had at least 3 nights where I slept at least 8 hours. In addition to being increasingly well rested, this also means I have had increasingly convoluted dreams. So I don't completely scare you off, let's just look at highlights from the dream I had yesterday during one of my bouts of unconsciousness.

The dream starts out at some house party in Los Angeles. The only two people I recognize in this dream are Allie and Scarlet. In the beginning there is a lot of discussion about what alcohol to bring to said party and where to get food. I distinctly remember a minivan and us carting said goods into the house. As the party heats up, Allie gets upset about something and promptly disappears from the dream. My emotion is something akin to nervousness as Scarlet and these two cute rocker boys talk about going out for food before we begin the next leg of our trip. Knowing I only have $5 to get me (us) to Seattle, I say I need to stay and finish up some things and will meet them on the plane tomorrow.

Flash forward to the next day and being on board this massive airplane. As is common in (I think) a lot of dreams, certain things are just assumed. For example, I don't actually meet up with Scarlet and the rocker boys but just assume they are on the plane. At one point, I decide to go look for Scarlet and enter into another section of the plane. This section is full of sleeping people and laid out like no plane I have ever seen. All of the seats are arranged in a huge square along the perimeter of the plane with huge open space in the center. At the same time I spot Scarlet, who is fast asleep, I also spot one of those airplane cards that give you information about airline safety, etc.

The card talks about how this is an experimental plane and that everyone should always remain seated and make as little movement as possible so the plane doesn't crash. Upon reading this, I immediately drop to the floor and begin to slide on my stomach back to my seat. I am now thoroughly freaked out.

Minutes later the pilot gets on the speaker and tells everyone there are issues with the plane and that our flying over Portland will get interesting. The plane dips down and begins flying at a very low altitude, directly above the water and clear roads. I, personally, heave a sign of relief as I tell my seatmates that at least we don't have far to fall if we crash.

In this dream, the area in and around Portland is very hilly and plane is swooping up and down over the mountains as if a hover car out for a Sunday drive. After making a particularly steep climb, the plane again begins to malfunction, and everyone is told to brace themselves for a crash on the way down.

After the plane has crashed, I am one of quite a few people wandering around the site trying to figure out what to do next. I remember telling people that we surely can't be that far from civilization and that we should walk. I guess I remember Scarlet because I walk around to another part of the site to look for her and suddenly see this warehouse where they are already loading people into coffins. I spot Scarlet through the warehouse doors, definitely alive and now with Ali. Hugging ensues at being alive.

The whole thing gets very Lost as all the remaining people are told to get off the plane because it could explode. There is scavenging, etc for clothes to keep warm. At some point in this part of the dream, my sidekick comes back to life and I have a weak signal.

There is no resolution to this dream, only this odd sequence of events. Aren't you glad you don't have to be in my head when I sleep?