disclaimer or something

A mummy-hand holding, (former) biker gang affiliating, hippie influenced semi crunchy granola mom's ramblings and reminisings on an off-kilter life

Friday, January 15, 2016

The cartographer's dragon

I seem to gravitate towards sci-fi or fantasy geeks, and always have. My friends growing up were the boys playing Magic cards and going to Renaissance Faires, the girls also at the Ren Faire; fantasy and sci-fi novels reigned supreme and still do among some of my friends.

But I have a secret.

I'm not that much into fantasy, Ren Faire, Sci-fi books.... 

But then again, maybe I am. Just in my own unique way.

As a child, I loved maps. National Geographic has always been a favorite, and the occasional fold-out map of some far away country was like an origami-folded Christmas gift of sorts. Just like with the Rand McNally Road map my parents carried in the back of the Jeep, or the Thomas Brothers LA County map my grandpa kept in the toolbox (for scoping out rental properties to fix), my fingers and eyes would excitedly trace every hill, river, toll road, and culdesac for hours at end. I would proudly try and twist my tongue to pronounce foreign outposts, memorize street maps of nearby towns, and study facts about the geography of wherever. 

I had a large cardboard child's atlas with cartoon icons n the maps (a four foot wide map of the USA with cacti in the west, oil fields near Texas, some very un-pc "Indian" person near Oklahoma.... I would imagine visiting the oil fields, the Indians, the cacti....I used the atlas as a slide, a building block, a place to nap, a table to draw on. I tried to match the bright icons to places on an outdated, rickety globe I found at a yard sale, and I'd dream of visiting places I knew little about: 12,000 tallest peak, 3 million people in the capital, icons for adobe huts..... I'd spin the globe for hours, closing my eyes, tracing my finger and seeing where I'd end up.

I even drew my own maps, twisty loops of residential streets complete with imaginary street names, home plots, driveways, and trees.

I created thousands upon thousands of little worlds in my minds, some based on reality, some completely fantasy, with made up residents, lives, life stories, adventures, scenic views.

This hobby even spilled over into my lifelong hobby of genealogy and postcard collecting, as well as my newer found hobby of: Google Map Street View. I will do as I did with the globe as a child, scrolling waaaay out, closing my eyes, clicking, zooming in. A rugged arctic outcrop in northern Russia, a busy street scene in Bangkok, rusty tractor parts in rural Romania, a caballero and his cows crossing a dusty Argentinian road. Every square inch tells a story I do not know but can only imagine.  Layers upon layers of history, of love and conquest, pain, beauty, silence. People come, people go, events of history imperceptibly change the environment. Millions of that-snapshot-that-moment scenes, experienced differently by each observer, never to be experienced again.

As an armchair traveler and pretend cartographer, I envelop myself in a fantasy world of wonderment based solely upon an image, a street name, a blank spot on the map.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The best gift you can give is a gift you want for yourself?

My husband bought me exercise equipment, something I wanted until I was like ouch it hurts. I bought him a smoker, something he wanted until I ended up with free time to play with it. So the best gift is the one you want for yourself, right?

Anyways, while I haven't any ancient Pacific Northwest Homesteader relatives, I still feel I'm channeling some hereditary thing because I am loving smoking things. Just like I love (but often fail) to garden.

I am not at all a hopeless romantic, but I find some poetic, simplistic, romantic notion in making your own food the old fashioned way- canning, smoking, gardening. I could never live "unplugged" as I enjoy, fear too much, ambient temperatures and would hate to live without heaters and air conditioners, refrigeration, and the like. But nevertheless, slowing down and putting your own effort and love into a food, for example, is rewarding.

Heck I'd love to smoke some elk, but, I'm too chicken to actually kill an elk and too squeamish to prepare it for smoking. I guess I should be vegetarian but I much prefer the alienated approach to meat, with styrofoam packages from the butcher counter. However, I do promote hunting over slaughterhouses. I mean, I've been past "cowchwitz" aka Harris Ranch in California where beef cattle sit unshaded in the hot sun atop their own feces, crowded together like sardines, stinking the air for miles and making a very obvious methane cloud. How awful for those poor cows. Bounce, bounce, bounce through the brush, bang you're dead for, say, a deer, is far more humane.

My mom disagrees and is refusing to tell us when hunting season is in Oregon cause how could we hunt an animal? Meanwhile she munches down on a shredded beef burrito. Hypocrite.

But anyway, just like my 6 hour fennel pork roast and roht kohl cabbage meal, smoking meats is an all day experience with lots of need for patience, lots of room for both oops and omg there's no turning back I screwed up, and some sort of food zen. When you can get a cheeseburger in ten seconds from a drive through, there is a certain joy in, say, brining a salmon for 24 hours, drying it for 4, then smoking it in cold smoke for 8 hours before you get to enjoy it.

Part of me wants to live on some ranch or country acreage where I have to hunt and garden for a living, except yeah I enjoy the convenience of the grocery store....sprinkled with my own small (like 100 square foot at most) organic garden of goodies.

The simple life.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Misses Clumsy's mad ninja skills

Shh....I'm a ninja.

Sure, I've sprained my ankle 6 times, and was so clumsy and non-sporty in elementary school that the teachers asked my mom if I should join adaptive P.E. (P.E. for the handicapped childen). But I have mad ninja skills when needed, apparently.

I was watching a movie called He Never Died (a graphic dark comic type movie) with an actor, Booboo Stewart in it whose Native American looking appearance reminded me of a dark memory of my past.  So.....sigh....here goes.

I certainly had my dark days of being a party girl, which most who know me will find quite surprising, but it is true. My group of guy friends and I went to a  popular Spring Break  destination along a river adjoining a Native American Reservation. Geez this blog post is so dull right now but trust me there's a whammy coming up.

So we partied. Too much beer legging makes you have to pee, but the only restrooms they had were the glorified porta-potties where they're holes in the ground with a toilet seat, and I have a not so irrational fear of them because, well, eww. So I did my best to avoid using them but really really had to go. A rather attractive Native American guy had joined our festivities and said he lived nearby, so I naively asked where to go pee in hopes maybe there was a 7-11 in the middle of nowhere, because, beer doesn't equal logic. He motioned to the mesquite bushes by a hill and I was like, screw it, if you gotta go you gotta go, but I still wanted some modesty so I walked rolled down the hill a bit before finding landing upon a perfectly pokey mesquite bush to pee on, and all that with only minimal lacerations!

I limped back to the campsite and probably drank some more. And then, yep, I had to pee some more, but I wasn't in the mood to go tumbling into bushes again so I mustered enough courage to go to the glorified porta-potties.

As I excited, a pickup truck of guys began to speed past and slammed on their brakes upon seeing me. I was too drunk to properly pee in the bushes or probably form a coherent sentence, but my spidey sense yelled "DANGER!", but I had nowhere to run between the potties and the truck. I don't recall every specific which is probably for the best, but suddenly there were arms all around me and I was in the back of the truck while some cretin began to undress me. OH HELL NO I thought. I knew where this was headed, but I was stuck, half-naked in the back of a speeding pickup truck.

And that's when my ninja skills kicked in. Just like when in high school, my cousin and best friend conspired against me to try and grab me and throw me in the lake at midnight, and little 90 pound weakling me began to kick and thrash mid-air (My best friend to this day will tell you, "she freaking levitated and did kung fu!"), my ninja skills came to power.

I somehow got pissed off or frantic enough for my ninja survival skills to kick in enough for me to wrestle myself away from a bunch of frat guys hell-bent on rape, and I did a tuck-and-roll jump out of a moving truck into a dirt road and ran like hell back to camp, screaming "help help".

My boyfriend's best friend saw me first, and while I was a dramatic drunk (and he often became my babysitter), he knew somehow this wasn't just me being dramatic and he ran over to me. I explained what had happened through tears, and he vowed to find the %^&* that tried to rape me. We went on a little walk and walked over a ridge to find the guys by a fire pit. I know it was them.

Whether for better or worse, my friend put a hot fire poker on the main assailant's arm and told him something to the effect of him keeping his "parts" in his pants and not messing with women, and that hopefully his new scar would forever remind him of his mistake.

Phew. After holding in that story for 15 years, it feels good to let it out.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Parasites, or how not to make friends

"Well you can't have chicken pox twice", said my doctor, suspiciously eying my welted freak of a body.

Let me back up.

I was never the "cool kid", instead being the girl with coke-bottle glasses, pink moon boots, and an oversized army surplus camp jacket, trying to somehow fit in with the other fifth graders.

But when we all went to summer camp a week before fifth grade began, I hadn't a clue I would sign and seal my fate as an "untouchable", nor did I know I would have the worst vacation ever (well, until 8th grade, then college, and, well, let's just say most vacations are epically awful).

It started when my best friend at the time demanded she get the coveted top bunk, and I was too painfully unassertive to speak up, and then, get this- she hid her Haribo gummy bears. I would eagerly await Christmas for her German Granny to send her a package and share two or three sweet jewels of Haribo with me, and she HID THEM FROM ME. This began the end of our friendship. 

Then, each camp cabin had to design its own flag with endangered animals and I was like (insert nerd snort) I'm all over this, I totally know all about endangered animals; heck I read the entire Audobon Encyclopedia last year. So I chose the three-spines unarmored stickleback, a cute little minnow fish native but endangered to our local streams. But all the girls thought fish were "eeew" and chose a panda bear. Much to my chagrin, not only did they veto my fish, but since I was artistic, they voted me in to be the artist of their dumb panda. In retrospect, I should have dressed up the panda in a stickleback outfit, but I thought of that 25 years too late.

Then, we had to do square dancing, God's cruel joke on any awkward child, child who cannot dance, shy child, etcetera. Being the last to be chosen for P.E. (always with a groan, do we have to pick her?) I was the last picked for the dance, and told to dance with some other social outcast, a chubby boy who "had a boner, eeew" giggled some popular girl next to me. I wasn't sure what a boner was, but I was cautious and figured it had to do with his clammy hands. It was the longest 3 minute dance ever and right after, I ran to the only telephone to beg through choking tears for my mom to come get me NOW. She declined.

And if that wasn't enough...

We had a communal shower, and I went in for my prescribed shower time and a gaggle of girls turned at me in horror, screaming "you cannot come in here, oh my gosh eeeeew just look at you!" I looked down near my lady bits to which they were pointing in horror and saw scratched-up bumps and redness which seemed to be spreading. I was banned from the shower for the entire week and told I could only use the toilet at specific times. 

So now I was the nerdy girl with some weird rash who smelled awful. Great.

I called my mom again, choking back tears, and this time she came and got me right away when I said "bumpy rash", since my mom and I both have severe allergies that can go from rash to anaphylaxis in minutes.

"You can't get chicken pox twice, so it can't be that"  mused my doctor, suspiciously eying my welted freak of a body. "Must be scabies. Tell her to stay away form road kill next time" he said, and ushered us out, after handing my mom some kind of stinky salve. Great, now I would smell like antibiotic cream, just what I needed.

"Mom, why did he tell me to stay away from road kill? I don't touch road kill", I asked as we walked to the car. "Well, because your dad had scabies once from touching road kill, remember all those scabs he was always scratching" she said; "maybe its from the hide on your sled, or the raven in the freezer" she exclaimed, as if mentioning the weather or some other small-talk idea and not rotting animals around the house.

See, my dad collects roadkill. There was indeed a frozen raven snuggling up to the Haagen Dahz, and a rotting buffalo hide stretched across my snow sled by the front door. Totally normal. And I had to beg my dad to shake off the rattle (from a rattlesnake) off the frozen peas so I could make dinner.

It's odd how twenty-some years later, you look back in reflection and think, did I really have scabies? So you "ask Dr. Google" (Never go down that path, you will diagnose yourself with too many rare, incurable diseases. Why yes I do feel a little sleepy, OMG I have typhoid fever!) and find out...

a)    It was totally chicken pox because now research says in rare cases you can get chicken pox twice, take that Doctor Cibelli.

b) It wasn't scabies. I am not denying that scabies is little creatures that burrow into your skin and freaking lay eggs. Bug. Eggs. In. Your. Skin. I mean I totally admit I've had dysentery and tapeworm s http://disorderlywanderlustblog.blogspot.com/2015/07/the-tale-of-tijuana-tapeworm.html but it wasn't scabies because the only symptom I had was creepy bumps, whereas I had all the chickenpox symptoms. 

c)   Don't google chicken pox or scabies if you have  trypophobia (fear of holes).

d)    Don't google how to spell trypophobia unless you want to have to drink away the creepy images that burned into your mind all night after having seen it on the computer

e) I know why I have trypophobia.

I have trypophobia because yes my dad did pick at his scabs but no it wasn't scabies. See, people who snort methamphetamine get side effects (really? Snorting bleach and sudafed has side effects, who knew? And who came up with meth, I mean I'm not going around mixing pills and cleaners and thinking whoa I could totally get high off this, OMG my are my nostrils bleeding). One side effects is you hallucinate that your skin is crawling and the itching is so real in a sense that you scratch holes ingot your body, which then scab over but you think the bugs are still in there and so you scratch the scabs, a never-ending cycle of trypophobia-induced horror.

I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.



Saturday, December 26, 2015

Social Anxiety and Awkwardness

So I decided to get a makeover today.

And then un-decided

And decided again

And un-decided

And had a few out loud arguments conversations with myself to convince myself to go.

Hell. It's my birthday I deserve it.


Nope. My husband didn't spoil himself on his birthday, I don't deserve it.

Yes you do.

Make-up is dumb.

Why not look pretty for your birthday?

I will look weird. People will stare, like, why is she all dolled up like a weirdo? And they'll give me a bad makeover like when I got married and had a black fuzzy caterpillar unibrow. A waste of $50. Yes. I can spend or save $50. Total waste.

------  I forced myself to drive the the salon-----

I walked in and it was like a megaplex of makeup. I am a makeup novice so it was like entering a foreign world. I just recently began to put on tinted moisturizer and mascara, folks. In my 30s.

I walked towards the salon part, eyeing all the weird things and....

Walked promptly into the cash register area for workers only. OMG people are looking at me, I already don't belong here and look like I don't belong here, all makeup off, doe-eyed, afraid, and now I'm where only the employees go. Crap.

So i turn around and end up...staring....crazily....at the employees doing people's hair.

I think, Hello, I have an appointment...but I don't say that because I don't want to. I'm too scared to. I don't want to disturb them. And besides I should know the whole process for a makeover appointment, so I act like I know what I'm doing. I check my phone, the introvert or socially awkward person's escape hatch, but its a dead zone. No!!! A dead zone! But I pretend like it isn't, you know, to not look weird. Then I decide standing here, staring, looks funny so I walk over to a counter of makeup and pretend like I know what I'm looking at. Some Romanian beauty product for like $50 a bottle. Wow. I don't drink wine this expensive. It says "tester" so I'm like hey I'm just casually browsing and know what I'm doing, here let's sample it. It is for acne cause who isn't socially awkward without acne?!?! Except its like neck acne so I dribble some onto my neck and it smells like vicks vapor-rub. So now I'm thinking OMG I totally don't belong here and I'm too scared to announce my appointment because I don't know how this all works and now I smell like I have the flu.

A hairstylist leaves her customer mid-hairstyling to come help me and i'm like sweet Jesus I'm that bad of a case? I haven't any makeup on, my hair is a mess, I smell like the flu, I'm staring at people, I'm going to get kicked out of here or arrested! She asks if I need help (where's the little chaise lounge to sit on and reflect about my problems with depression?) and I explain I have an appointment.  "Oh, Heather is busy but will attend to you soon" she says, waving her hand generally at the salon full of employees while I awkwardly state again....who is Heather? Does she look like a Heather? Does she? I mumble out "oh umm...ok I'll just....look at hair product till she is done" and quickly dart to 5 aisles of product. Five aisles! I browse around, catching a glimpse of my haggardly appearance in the mirror and realize my hair looks like I'm Kurt Cobain. I didn't wash it since it was 24 degrees with 50mph winds, and well, it looks as such. So I think, hey I've seen ads for dry shampoo they have to have that here. Except it takes me ten minutes of staring at every item, reading ingredients, going back and forth through the aisles multiple times, to find a dry shampoo and it is a spray version, so I flop my head down. shake out my hair like a wet dog and pssssshhhh spray my hair. Then again. Now I smell like the flu if the flu were flammable. I then realize I need to look inconspicuous so I go over to a different part of the salon and it is a skin care section. I hear two women casually say "yeah this is the best wrinkle cream. Who knew those nasty snails had a virtue? It's all the rage, snail excretions for skin care!"

Seriously.


Snail excretions....snail trails...on your face. And it probably costs $100 for a teaspoonful. Hell I'd just rather lay in the dirt and let the snails slime over my face for free. Or maybe not. I hurriedly text my husband "celebrities are paying top dollar for snail trails as a beauty treatment" and the stylist calls my name.

I've had makeovers before and the stylists often say, "so what do you want", not as a question per se but as a directive. I'm like isn't it obvious I totally have no freaking clue what I need and could probably only identify the item and purpose for 1/1000th of the products here? Just make me look pretty!! Except of course I don't say that.

It took 20 minutes to apply eyeliner to my eyes because I couldn't look up and left but down and stretchy, correctly.

I felt very out of place. As usual.

I did not like my makeup mid-way through but just like my wedding unibrow caterpillar event, I said nothing and faked a smile.

Until....

Oddly, a real smile came about once the makeover was done. I actually liked the work done. I felt pretty. And not too awkward or clown-like. I felt like maybe I looked, kinda, sorta ok. And I smiled.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

I am from the planet Zorbloq

I am from the planet Zorbloq. Or maybe just my parents were yet they brainwashed me into living a Zorbloquian childhood. Either way, it took me three decades and a book by Jenny Lawson (the bloggess, check it out she does;t know it but we're soul sisters  http://thebloggess.com) to realize perhaps I am from another planet.

I should have known in college when I went to my boyfriend's parents' home for dinner and they had a baked chicken, rolls, salad, and rice and afterwards I felt all embarassed and told him in privacy, "You can tell your parents to lay off,; I am not some foreign dignitary, they don't have to prepare a holiday feast for me". That is when he informed me, rather confused, that the night's meal was normal. People normally eat like that and "fend for yourself" night -or merely eating cereal or microwaved peas -not both, that would be a feast- wasn't exactly, well, normal. Crap I'm an English teacher but feel that sentence is incorrectly formatted but I'm clueless on how to fix it. Gaaah!

I should have known when I knew more on how to buy drugs than how to hold a conversation with an adult, thanks to my upbringing. Instead of "Wear This, Not That" I needed "say this, not that".

I should have known when I told my husband how I used to impress my friends (who then never came over again, mysteriously) after telling my dad to go use gunpowder and blow stuff up tom, as stated, impress my friends. I mean my dad's one-legged schizophrenic homeless meth-head friend thought it was cool, why didn't pigtailed Ashley with all the latest Barbies, whose mommy owned a brand-new Thunderbird, find the use of IEDs as impressive? Geez.


For better or worse, I was raised by a bunch of stoned hippies. err...people who used drugs as medicinal drugs. Cause hello waiting to get high until your friends came over is medicinal, I mean, doesn't your friend totally wait till the clubs open Friday night to take her diabetes meds? And your mom certainly waits till she is off work, in the mood, and in need of feeling good before taking statins right?

Whoa, a bit of a tangent there, but my parents did claim hot boxing on road trips made me poetic and that when I complained of nausea from the stench, that pot cured nausea and I had it all wrong.

But you know, they loved me and did everything for me so its all good. Sorry. I have some bitter edges there. I'm just a little pissed that it took me, an intelligent adult, thirty-some years to realize my childhood was rather unusual and probably damaging and that I was ill-prepared to function in this human, adult world. When my husband says I need to stop acting so naive, like some sixteen year old, I remind him I left my parents at 18 (but summered and weekended with them until I was 22) and so really I did not join society until my twenties, so really, I am about sixteen. Give me a break. (As I storm off and slam the door to my room and blast some music.)

But related to that..I went through a major depressive episode about a year ago (fun times!). I am clinically diagnosed with dysthymia (which I constantly mispronounce) which is basically the DSM IV term for "feeling meh and stubby all the time" with occasional maor depressive episodes. See, as I said fun times! Anyways my "episode" was triggered by the epiphany, the coming out of absolute naiveté, that I may have have food, shelter, love, but that put that aside and my childhood had some messed-up, damaging parts. I started to wallow in self pity and memories and it overcame me. I started to struggle to do much of anything, just moping around the house in self-loathing. My poor family had to pick up the pieces.

Then I found God. Or He found me. It didn't cure it all. But it helped a bit, like, when my mom taught me to put clear nail polish over a tear in your pantyhose. I mean you can still see the tear, and it might cause you ti rip some hair off your leg when you remove said pantyhose, and more holes may appear, but hey its kinda sorta fixed.

There's one song that is my mantra, my jive, whatever you want to call it. It means that all my f***ed up parts and happy parts, the girl who wants to look like a 1950s bombshell girl and yet learn to target shoot, the good little Christian who likes wine and curse words a bit too much, the snuggly kiss mommy of two who wants to take over and change the world career wise, the girl who loves sappy Dido music and heavy metal, the poet and the pick-up truck driving angry chick, is me. I have a sordid past and no one would ever hope to try and label me or explain me and I am quite complex..... wait where am I going here? (See my anxiety has got me overthinking and over explaining things!) I am...me. Everything happens for a reason and makes me, me. So this song makes me go, heck yeah I'm a social reject weirdo awesome super cool crazy sane nice mean punk rock country frumpy nerd girl. And it is ok.

I would embed the video to automatically play if I were tech savvy enough but I'm not so hey here's a link! click it...or something! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLZkf6HvO2Q

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Asthma antics

Asthma sucks.
My poor son has been home from school for an entire week, mecascramblint to create lesson plans from wscaratch while my books lay unused in my classroom.

Some kinda joke of asthma, think of chunk or whatever his name was from Goonies.... But...it's real, folks, and it can be scary and life threatening.

Wednesday, my son okept coughing the asthmatic type of cough so he stayed home with daddy. It got worse as the day progressed and he vomiteed, which can happen when our asthma is bad. In fact, years go when inhalers and their medication (albuterol or similar) did no exist, doctors would use epinephrine and then ipecac to make you barf, often helping clear the airways just a bit.

So he, and I, stayed home from work Thursday and we went to the doctors where he got a refill on his inhaler. While waiting for the prescription to fill, my husband went to Sears and my son was going to stay on the car but he had to potty. He went in al excited, yay shopping! And ended up walking slowly like an elderly man before he even got to the restroom. Needless to say we stayed home Friday. We didn't even attend church Sunday.

Monday. Was like dangit I am going to work,and he has asthma still but seemed better. Hack. Hack.he started to decline. Ten minutes from wek,he was wheezing and whining and hacking non stop. He had a life-lomg chain smoker voice. We called the doctor, made an appointment for 1.5 hura from then, and he got worse...we thought about the ER but knew the doctor appt would actually happen sooner. He then said his tummy hurt. We pulled over and he barfed again. This meant he felt a bit better but was in no shape for school.

The doctor gave him a nebulizer with inhaled albuterol AND steroids. I told him it was a cool dragon smoke machine. He is to have it once nightly for the steroid and as needed for albuterol. He needed the albuterol this morning and yep...I ddi nt make it to work.

My work was both understanding and understandably pissed at me.

Our truck has a 120 volt so his nebulizer  can be plugged into the truck so he will get a treatment tomorrow on the way to school and then at lunch.

I want to finish the semester or school year. I have not moved a job so much in a while if ever. I come home al excited about my day and ready for the next.

But my son comes first.

I don't know what the future holds...if iget fired or must quit or if my son impoves and this is all forgotten.