Friday, November 15, 2013

Southern Gothic Zombies

I just got caught up on the latest episode of The Walking Dead. After watching each episode, I have to come down from the wave of excitement over what happened.  Who died?  Who is sick?  Who has changed the most? How many times did I wish that Carol and Daryl would get it on already?  My husband and I have to discuss it like we are gossiping about the popular girls in high school.... it is that sad.  And five years ago, I wouldn't have been interested in a sci-fi show let alone a zombie show.  Now, well, I LOVE ZOMBIES.  I'm pretty much addicted to everything zombie at the moment. 
Tonight I started to think about why I like the show so much. It hit me.... The Walking Dead is a Southern Gothic tale.  The situations that these people are put in, forced to make less than humane decisions just to survive is grotesque.  The true nature of human beings when stuck in miserable situations -- people still hook up, people still laugh, people still grow.... life goes on, somehow.  The gritty cinematography certainly helps, I can nearly count the sweat beads on Rick's brow, smell the illness of sick rotting in the cells, and feel the pain in each tired step they take trying to survive.  The music is also outstanding.  I heard Ben Howard's Oats In The Water on the episode tonight and it was perfect for the scene as people are dying of the sickness that has hit the prison. Ben Howard reminds me of Damien Rice with a stronger voice. The mood that was set was of despair and sadness but also of strength and I loved that.  I don't know of many movies that can capture a moment as well as The Walking Dead did.  Lastly, I'll admit it... Daryl is my favorite.  I like Carol too (obviously) but this picture of Daryl just sums it up -- redneck, grit, vintage, survival... it is the essence of the southern gothic.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

I recently downloaded the book "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living" by Dale Carnegie to my Kindle.  I'm over half way through and have found that the way in which Carnegie writes is so easy to read and relevant to my life and thinking.  It's nothing new but a fresh way of looking at worry and a no nonsense kind of directive.  What I didn't realize was that he wrote the book in 1948.  Yes, 1948.  Have we really changed so little since 1948 that people are still so overcome with worry that it is disabling at times? Apparently so. 

Worry has always been a big problem for me.  I worry about everything.  And when I worry... I am unable to do anything else.  I am almost paralyzed until the thing that I am worrying about has come to pass.  And typically it does.  And typically it doesn't actually cause anything bad to happen.  I get so caught up in limbo (worry) that it's the very thing that I hate the most.  I have developed several conditions because of worry over time... high blood pressure, hair pulling, ADHD, etc.  As I am getting older I am realizing that I've wasted a lot of time thinking about things that never happen.  And even if they did happen, there was nothing I could have done anyway.

I am currently considering a big professional move that is very scary for me.  It shakes my career and my finances but it's something that I am starting to realize I need to do.  If I don't, I am going to be stuck in the my current situation till I die.  And I'm pretty sure I'll pass prematurely if I stay in the same spot I am.  My work is exhausting and politically a nightmare.  I constantly am worrying about who is trying to undermine me or backstab me and I just don't want to be in that environment anymore.

I have put a lot off for my job and I'm just not willing to do it anymore.  I haven't been able to even consider expanding my family due to the stress that my body would have to endure and risk of losing a child.  I don't think that's reasonable and it's only through some recent feedback from other consultants that I am realizing that I am really worth more than all of this.  So I've got to get over the worry because if I'm going to take the plunge, there is going to be a lot of uncertainty and I need to be able to navigate through limbo. 

If you've been looking for a good self-help about worry, check out Carnegie's "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living"

Sunday, September 22, 2013


What's better than a lazy basset hound laying at your feet? 
2 lazy bassets laying at your feet.

And that's what I now have.  Saturday we adopted Molly from the Humane Society.  She's a special needs basset as she has Addison's disease and needs a monthly shot to live.  Outside of the shot, she should leave a pretty normal life.

Mable and Molly met at the Humane Society before we adopted her and were instant friends.  Molly is four years older than Mable but still has quite a bit of energy.  She's quite a bit shorter than Mable but very similar in behavior.  Mable is a little jealous but seems to be adjusting.  She's especially loving all the wrestling and playing that Molly loves to do. 

Grimm (the cat) doesn't seem too worried about Molly either.  It's almost like we've had her for years and it's only day 2.  I have to admit I was on the fence a bit just because of what another dog means... additional expense, more dog smell, more dog hair... but I am pleased with the decision and so glad that we could help Molly out.

Here's Molly - freshly bathed and a new bandana.

Friday, August 23, 2013

All this Time

3 weeks.... that's how many weeks I have until I am officially done with my Master's degree.

At 3 weeks, you would think I would be over the moon excited to be done.  You would think that I would feel some great sense of accomplishment.  Mostly I just feel like a load will be lifted.  Sometime this summer I think I came to the conclusion that while I'm proud of myself for sticking it out and getting it done... I don't really need it.  I don't need this degree to validate anything to myself or anyone else.  I am enough.  That's a lot for me to come out and say because most of the time, I don't actually believe it. But lately, I actually do.

I am enough.  Just how I am right now.  I don't need a piece of paper to tell me that.

So I'm trying not to lose sight of my accomplishment but I'm also trying to be realistic when I set off on making any more goals.  Typically as I come to the top of a goal that I set for myself, I'm already plotting my next move... what goal do I need to achieve next.  Don't get me wrong, it's not like I haven't thought of it.  I could do a MiniMBA, certs like CISA or CISSP, or even just make the goal getting through the awesomely large and long project I'm on at work. 

But I don't really want to do any of those things.

I really want to just pause.  I want to be selfish for me.  Not the me that's trying to please everyone and make them proud but the part of me that demands ice cream at 10 PM at night. The part of me that sleeps in late on the weekends and shops online too much.  That's the part of me that knows what I really want.

I am going to spend the next bit of time just getting back to me and who I am so I can figure out what it is that I want.

To think, all this time I spent working on something that in the end, doesn't really matter.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Simple Things

I recently discovered a new UK magazine called The Simple Things.  I have gotten an e-subscription for my tablet and I absolutely love it.

The magazine really focuses on living a full life with what you already have or what is freely available to you.  There aren't a lot of ads for designer brands, cosmetics or fancy cars either.  Thrift shops, farmers markets and up-cycling are common themes which I could incorporate into my life more and more.  I love the look of the photos and I really enjoy the articles even if some are more geared towards my British friends.  I hope you check it out.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Inner Voice

Is it possible to lose your inner voice?

I have struggled with writing for the last few years and I always come back to the same excuses or issues -- what comes out on paper isn't "good", the words feel rushed, I don't have clarity in my thoughts, ideas are lacking full development....

This evening I was watching a new show, The Carrie Diaries.  It is the story of Carrie Bradshaw before Sex and the City.... an 80's teenage Carrie, which is quite funny, and reminds me of my childhood in the 80's so much.  I was never a big fan of Sex and the City but I did enjoy the inner voice the audience is exposed to when Carrie wrote her columns for the NY paper. That same inner voice is there in The Carrie Diaries. It isn't as polished as the adult Carrie but you can clearly see where the "voice" comes from.  For some reason this made me think back to my own writing and the concern that maybe my issue isn't that I'm incapable of slowing down or lacking creativity but rather my inner voice is lost. 

I have a Bachelor's degree in English and had to write quite a few papers at one time.  I remember when I went back to school to finish that degree, the first few papers were the hardest for me.  It was almost as if I was writing for the first time...  after a couple of semesters I was back in the routine and whipping out an A paper was no big deal.  I found my inner voice again then.

In 2005 I divorced my ex-husband of 10 years and used a blog as a therapeutic way to deal with all my grief.  I wrote a lot that year, maybe more than I ever had in previous years.  The blog was taken down a long time ago but I did develop quite the following over time.  I can't imagine that my little insignificant divorce mattered that much to people but the one thing that I did hear was how raw and revealing I was in my posts.  Because it was a form of therapy for me, I couldn't not be revealing; I was trying to heal.  I do think that my inner voice was very strong at that time.  A close friend told me that I needed to read a certain author she had recently read because we both wrote in a similar style.  I never did read anything by that author and I couldn't tell you who it was now but to think that someone thought my writing style was good enough to match that of a published author was a nice compliment.

Another thing I've realized is I used to write because I couldn't speak how & when I wanted.  In fact I hated public speaking and felt awkward at it.  In the last several years, I've had to speak a lot and I've refined my presentation style, my comfort is built up when expressing myself and I have far more confidence.  Sometimes I'd rather talk than email.  Perhaps this has contributed to my inability to feel that my writing accurately captures my voice because my voice is out there.  Today I presented to a large group in the IT Department that I work for.  Several managers presented on topics as well and I was told after we were done that mine was the easiest to follow, most polished, and overall made the most impact to the audience.  I doubt I could have pulled that off a few years ago. 

So where does this leave me with writing?  I think I have to find my new inner voice for my new language style.  I have to figure out how I turn my every day language into my inner voice and hope that it is likeable enough that people might want to read what I have to say. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Eat Pray Love

I just finished watching Eat Pray Love for the second time.  I've been feeling out of touch with myself again-- with what brings me happiness or pleasure. I remembered that this movie is all about indulging in pleasure and figuring out who you are when lost.  I think the fact that this is a true story of Elizabeth Gilbert's life for a year makes it all the more interesting and inspiring. 

Early on in the movie, Gilbert is trying to describe how she feels to a friend, talking about how she wishes she had a hunger for something in life, like food.  Where she craved something, enjoyed it.  At that moment she felt nothing and needed to get back to feeling again.

I identify with this so much. 

When in Italy, Gilbert is talking with her new Italian friends and they are telling her that American's don't know how to have pleasure in their lives.  We have "Miller-time" and are brought up to believe we have to earn pleasure.  We work hard all week to earn sitting around in our pjs on the weekend watching tv.  I loved this explanation because it is so accurate and I believe we do have it so wrong.

So after my second viewing here are my thoughts --
  • I need to be making and eating more pasta (and not the canned stuff either)
  • Travel is really important to me, more important than having expensive things
  • Meditation helps - I need to make sure I do it more often
  • Gilbert went to a Hindu temple but I think a Buddhist temple would be better for me
  • You can never have enough linen in your wardrobe
  • Love doesn't have to be perfect to the outside world, just perfect to me
  • Doing things to help others helps me to feel better
  • Forgive myself - even if others can't. I have to live to with myself.
  • Do what makes me happy.  Don't do it because I should or it will make others be impressed with me or wait for validation from others to feel good about it.
  • A less conventional life is ok, cookie cutter living isn't for everyone
  • I need to write more