Can I just tell you

January 3, 2011

…a bunch of random things without any editing?  Grand.  That’s my plan then.

I am a loser at getting things done without a supervisor.  I mean, I’ll send emails and answer the phone and handle things and look and act like things are happening, but good god I can’t  manage to do anything with my usual quickness.  It’s frustrating because when there’s somebody around I am a CHAMPION, a HERO at accomplishment, but then give me a week by myself in the office and my productivity drops way off.  It’s a completely awful feature I have.  And I can’t even enjoy it because I can’t motivate myself and I can’t feel good about being such a slacker.  This is different slacking than school slacking – this is WORK slacking, and I hate myself for it.

Oh, I’ll catch up.  And I know in my heart of hearts that it will be fine, especially since I also know in my brain of brains that my general level of productivity is (forgive this self-aware assholish confidence in me) is much higher than that of normal folks.  But ergh. Flergh. Blergh.

Radiolab, I love it.  If you don’t know it, learn it.

I had a bit of a thing the other day where I ended up in a strangely intimate email conversation with someone about spirituality, and I realized that I haven’t had to articulate my personal beliefs in a long time… if ever.  I then wondered if all of my people just feel the same way and don’t need to ask (or don’t want to ask to avoid potentially awkward whatever) or don’t care.  I had a moment where I was like, OH GOD NOBODY CARES ABOUT HOW I FEEL, and then I realized oh no, wait, I was just asked pretty directly how I feel.  At least this suddenly intimate email-conversation partner gives enough of a rat’s ass about my response to that question that they asked it.

But how can you ever know, with email?  Though, she could’ve just dropped the little kernel of conversation that led into the deep soul thing, as it would’ve been really simple to swing into humor or something else or nothing at all.

I don’t know.  The weirdest part of it all was where she subsequently purported to have guessed it, had some intuitive feeling about my answer, before I gave it.  The strangest part of that is that I believe her.

Goddamn flight of spiritual fancy, throwing me off my game and making me think about deep shit.  Somehow that makes me a little mad.  It’s a lot easier to be pleasant and cheerful.

Nice things people have said to me recently:

“I love your cheerfulness.  It even comes through in email.”
“I just wanted to let you know that your positive attitude has influenced me and our entire organization for the better.”
“Thank you so much for your cool, collected response to my crisis!  You were oh-so-helpful!”

Okay I feel better.  Thanks.

AUUUUGH

November 19, 2010

I would just like to say, damn this anonymous guy straight to hell.

This guy, he accidentally (I presume, because what a weird stupid prank otherwise) listed my phone number as his alert number for Windows Live text updates. SO I get a text every time he gets an email. About marathons, or REI sales, or what the hell ever, but seriously it doesn’t matter because I am not him so fuck this.

I can’t block the number because it changes every time, by one.

I can’t get Windows Live to change it because I don’t have a Windows goddamn Live account.

All I can do is just hope that one of these days, ONE OF THESE UNENDING TEXTS, I get his name, or handle, or something, in the subject line of an email. That way I can track him down and be like HEY! YOU! CHANGE YOUR SETTINGS, DICKBASKET.

Eff. Other letters too.

November 11, 2010

Well, hey, look how badly I failed at blogging this time!  BUNGLE.  But I’m about to start blogging for my new job, so that’ll be fun and unusual.  And required, so therefore, easier to maintain.  More like mini-work-essays than blogging, really.  (I’ll probably fail at that, too. Sigh.)

Oh but hey, I have a new job!

I have a new place to live!

I have a new set of responsibilities!  And a new title, and a sexy new business card in Myriad Pro (which font, incidentally, was co-created by a lady named Twombly,  a truly excellent name)!

I have a new boss!  I have a whole cadre of new people to impress, alienate, or enrage!

I have a lot of things to think about. They are mostly of the ‘oh fuck what am I doing’ variety, but I find if I remind myself that I don’t have to look beyond the next year, then I can calm down.  Also drink some gin.

Somebody will let me live in their house and/or apartment building.  I will get my student loans paid.  I will figure out how to fix this fucking database and I will get the board the things they need, and maybe they’ll give me a positive review in the springtime.

I’m tired and hungry, so now it’s time for a Smartypants-style smattering of short sentences.

SYCOPHANT

New boss-lady is fucking cool, you guys.  She is not only an extremely accomplished conductor and composer with skills like whoa, she’s FUNNY and PLEASANT and SUCCESSFUL and also happens to be a LESBIAN.  I only know two other grown-up lesbians, so suddenly working for this kickass woman has expanded my adult lady-loving role models by 33.4%, y’all.  It’s pretty great.  It gives me hope.

LONELY

Because sometimes I’m like FUCK, why haven’t I gone on a single date in years, when my sister can’t walk four steps without somebody giving her their phone number?  HEY LADIES: I have a phone.  It rings (sometimes, damn you AT&T) and I answer (if I’m not working).  Am I destined to be the creaky old one in my group of friends?  Is that what’s up?  ‘Cause, that bites, and I don’t accept it.  I’m aboutsta try Match, again.  Sigh.

BEVERAGE

I’ve been trying to lose weight, again, and it’s worked a little in the office ’cause I forget to eat.  Or I remember and can be like, oh, let’s have 280 calories instead of FIVE BILLION.  But then I get home and I have, oh, half a bottle of wine. Or a v8 with gin in it, for my daily faily vegetables.

(I know. It was actually pretty good though.)

I’ll be back, with exciting non-revelations about… probably those same topics, yet again!  Yep.  Nothing if not original.

Sometimes my friends tell me what they are doing with their lives and I get jealous and then envious and then depressed and then I feel old and filled with despair and like I will never accomplish anything.

But I like to practice optimism.

And therefore, inspired by the genius of Maggie Mason, I present to you an ever evolving Life List.

TO STAVE OFF THE DESPAIR

(or, Yvanka’s List of Awesome Shit to Accomplish)

  1. Host a dinner party
  2. Go camping (in a tent)
  3. Publish an academically viable article
  4. Feel comfortable – nay, HOT – in a two-piece bathing suit
  5. Go to a movie alone
  6. Wake up early and sit on my porch with a cup of coffee and read a chapter before I shower
  7. Yoga
  8. Get my Ph.D.
  9. Fall in love
  10. Make sorbet
  11. Attend an outdoor concert
  12. Learn to play more than three chords on the guitar
  13. Learn to play more than three chords on the mandolin
  14. Take a personal day and spend it doing exactly what I want to do, when I want to do it
  15. Make simple syrup
  16. Create something with letterpress
  17. Design my own t-shirt
  18. Learn to read tarot
  19. Perform something from every major Sondheim musical
  20. Take a weekend scooter trip with my dad
  21. Get cast as a lead again
  22. Learn when to stop
  23. Have mind-blowing sex
  24. Buy myself a set of a fabulous pots and pans
  25. Buy myself a diamond
  26. Start a rainy day fund

and one to grow on…

27.  Say yes to something unexpected and exciting.

Vocation.

May 11, 2010

I wrote this post a little over a month ago. Just so you know.

*

So my University has an enormous focus on the identification of vocation. The project is called ‘Wild Hope’, a reference to a ’92 Mary Oliver poem.

—–

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

—–

It’s a lovely poem, and it’s a noble sentiment, and it’s a great exercise for focusing the energies.  And it looks awesome for the University, of course, which can use the project to market itself as “being a more intellectually rigorous, developmentally astute, theologically rich, and world-informed environment for students, and so a place that better helps them to become the mature, thoughtful, contextually aware, committed, creative leaders the world needs.”

And it actually is.  I’m not doubting that.  My University is generally a wonderful place, with good people, and it has all of those things mentioned in the statement above (which I jacked from the website).  But damn, that’s a lot of pressure for an undergrad, especially if it’s misdirected.

I have a student employee who is feeling it from all sides – the University itself, her major advisor, her roommates, herself.  She feels like she has to take the principles of this project and identify her goals and path RIGHT NOW.  WHAT WILL YOU BE?  TELL ME.  NOW WORK ON IT.  She’s probably, oh, five years younger than I am.

I still don’t know what I want to be. But I still know the kind of person I want to be.

—–

I’ve had a couple of experiences over the past six months or so that have inspired frustration, core-shaking anger, and intense sadness.  And these were experiences for me, a first for a while – something happening to/around/at me, and not to/around/at someone I love.  (Lots of my emotions are by proxy.  That’s how I roll.)

Anyhow.  Sometimes people don’t think or are unkind or selfish, and sometimes they mean it and sometimes they don’t.  Sometimes we act out of our immediate desire without considering the long-term effect, or the role we might have played in creating the situation in the first place.  I’m guilty of this, certainly.   We are all only human.  And sometimes we hurt one another, or disappoint one another, intentionally or unintentionally.  And I’m not trying to downplay the things I’ve felt – they’re emotions, they’re valid – but I am trying to clarify that the only thing I get to control is how I respond.

That’s what I get to choose.  I want to be the kind of person who responds to adversity with dignity and grace.  I would like to meet unkindness with kindness, and maintain integrity even when those around me are governed by capriciousness.  It’s hard.  It’s, like FUCKING hard.  But I’m working on it, ’cause that’s the kind of person I want to be.

Next Time

May 11, 2010

Next time what I’d do is look at
the earth before saying anything. I’d stop
just before going into a house
and be an emperor for a minute
and listen better to the wind
or to the air being still.

When anyone talked to me, whether
blame or praise or just passing time,
I’d watch the face, how the mouth
has to work, and see any strain, any
sign of what lifted the voice.

And for all, I’d know more — the earth
bracing itself and soaring, the air
finding every leaf and feather over
forest and water, and for every person
the body glowing inside the clothes
like a light.

Mary Oliver

Oh hey.

March 29, 2010

Hi again, four of you.  I’ve been blogging, but I’ve been doing it in secret — writing posts and then saving them as drafts, because nobody needs to see that self-indulgent whiny drivel.  Exercise in purging, getting it out of my system, all that.

So since we last ‘spoke’ I went to Indiana and spent not-enough vacation time hanging out with Meg, and I was cast in another show, and we’ve opened, and I’m back in classes, and fuck me.

Fancy boots.

March 8, 2010

My little sister and I were having a beverage the other night, and somehow she brought up the politically incorrect song “We are Siamese” from Lady and the Tramp. Little Seester correctly recalled that we had that particular clip on a Disney Sing-Along Songs video, which we then googled, and subsequently wikipedia’d, and exclaimed with glee over the memories!

Particularly interesting:

And that’s the actual clip we watched over and over. But whoa whoa whoa! The first thing we watched was THIS glorious mess of inappropriate stereotyping:

Oh, Disney. How am I not a hopelessly racist serial killer?

Chilly!

December 8, 2009

This morning, my pipes froze.  And since these things come in threes, my car got a flat, AND wouldn’t shift into first gear.

I was giving my boss-lady a ride to work, so when these complications arose, the two of us had to walk about a half mile to the local high school to borrow her car back from her daughter.  My car is still on the side of the road, about ten blocks from my house.  And I’m wearing a pink-and-green scarf on my head, AT WORK, with my only clean clothes – which happen to be brown cords and a black cardigan.

Tonight, after work, I have to find a way to get my car home, change the tire, and get myself to a dress rehearsal, an hour away, where I have to sing one of the alto solos in Handel’s Messiah.  Which I do not fucking want to do, thank you very much.

But hey: I’m here, I’m alive, and it’s warm in the office.  So that’s nice.

(ps. Every time it’s cold I can’t help but singing this commercial.  Thanks, Top Chef, for introducing me to Erica.  Economical!)

Gleesbians.

December 7, 2009

I got so excited when I read this.  And watched the clip.  And you probably should check that out if you’re gonna read the rest of this blog and have it make any sense.  Okay.  I’ll wait.

Cool.  So!  Right?  Yes!  Hee!  And then I felt like I was reading my own thoughts when I read Ms. Snarker’s.

“Oh, kittens. You know it’s strange, given how much more lesbian and bisexual content there is out in the media these days then just a few years ago, but it still gives me a little (OK, big) thrill when out of the blue we’re included.”

I agree entirely, Ms. Dorothy, and I think it’s the same reason Glee is so successful in the first place, maybe.  We watch television for the escapism, surely – why else would I love Deadliest Catch so? – but we also watch it for the true-to-life moments.   At least, I do.  And that’s why I love Glee.

Y’all, I know Rachel Berry.  I was the know-it-all overbearing choir president, the girl who got a big hunk of the solos in the high school show choir.  My good friend Kate and I actually terrorized a girl so badly with our strict adherence to the rules that she transferred schools.  And good riddance: she was bringing down the overall morale of the group with her bitch-ass attitude.  (I remain unrepentant, by the by.  And I know I’m still sort of this way, but hopefully slightly more reigned in.  Tell me if my horrible personality is making you want to shove a sock down my throat, okay?)

I know Will Schuester.  I’ve been directing for years now (holy crap, it actually has been years) and I know just how it feels to try and motivate your singers to step up, to work harder, to give a shit.  How and why you need to advocate for your program, and how difficult it can be to leave your personal life at the door.  God, I hope I’m better at leaving my issues outside than he is.

I even know Sue Sylvester.  And by that I mean I THINK HORRIBLE MEAN THOUGHTS ALL THE TIME.  My inner Sue is just under the surface, track suit zipped, collar popped and megaphone at the ready, hoping someone will provoke me enough I’ll let her leap out and triumphantly flame our mutual opponents into smoldering residue.  With enthusiasm!

Shove off, William.

God, I love how much she loves antagonizing him!  Hee.

Anyhow, that’s all beside the point.  The point is: hurrah for being on television.  Hurrah for being able to recognize myself in these weird-ass characters.  Hurrah for nostalgia, for formative experiences.  For singing and dancing and drama, and for Jane Lynch.  (A really, really big hurrah for Jane Lynch.)  Hurrah for Glee!

And: hurrah for visibility.  The more gays/lesbians you know, the less likely you are to vote against equal rights.  Girls can have sex too!  With each other!  For fun!  Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Fox viewers. And maybe some people think that Brit’s just too dumb to comprehend what she said, but you know?  Not me.  I think she was too dumb not to keep it to herself.  And if you watch the link again – here, let me help -

- well. no matter how you slice it, it sounds like Brit-Brit and Santana are… close.  And that might be the joke, or a bombshell.  I don’t care.  The plot will roll on forth, and maybe it’ll come up again, and maybe it won’t.  (Probably it won’t.)  But these characters, they hardly react!  A moment for the awkwardness of the revelation, and a widening of a few eyes, yes.  But nobody says, “What the fuck?”  Instead, it’s such a fun little throwaway moment.  It’s not treated as a huge deal.  It’s a side note.  It’s not something that defines anyone, or separates, or changes relationships (though maybe we can revisit some context).  Santana’s mean and Brittany’s dumb and they have sex, great!  Maybe they are gay, maybe they’re bi, maybe Brittany’s gay and Santana’s a slutbasket, maybe they’re both straight with a healthy lady-style curiosity.  Kinsey.  Check it.  (5.1 or so, right now, by the way. If you were wondering.)

But we’re all just people, and we can live our lives.  All of these characters are the same way.  Their connective thread is the Glee Club.  There’s stuff that happens offscreen.  Ken Tanaka and Emma have gone on dates, and Sue Sylvester has given interviews, and Will has put a metric ton of crap in his hair.  And Brittany and Santana have had sex. I mean, that’s way more interesting than Ken and Emma’s dates, but still.

I just happen to like the fact that it felt like both a fun, amusing moment with more than a hint of potential truth.  I believe it, and I think it’s viable, and I like how the writers treated that possibility.  “Hey, y’all: let us remind you about the prominence of lesbianism in society.  Via hot cheerleaders.  Yep, plenty of awesome and unexpected people are lesbians.  Got it?  Cool!  Moving on.”  

Get it on, Brittana.  You can do whatever you like.  And hurrah for that!

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