Sunday, November 27, 2005

Dealing with one of the most annoying people I've ever met.

I've been away for the last few days because I've been trying to transform my life--one little annoying situation at a time. Here's the dope:

There is the woman from work (henceforth affectionately referred to as WFW) who I find most annoying. Every time WFW sees me, she rushes over to me, her hands clasping together in an exaggerated saintly way, and she exclaims, “Oh dear! How aaaaAAARRREEEeee you?! How is your fooOOOOoooot? What diiiIIIIIiiiiddd the doctor say?”

That's no southern accent I'm portraying but simply a sampling of the most cloying behavior I have ever come across.

Now, you are most welcome to get up right now and try that out. Pretend you are the most holier-than-thou person you have EVER met, clasp your hands together (that is a very important part of the recreation), put a deep, meaningful, saintly expression on your face, and ask the make-believe, handicap blogger standing there before you, “How aaaaAAARRREEEeee you!” Put everything you've got into the performance!

I promise you most sincerely, if you were to do what you consider a gross exaggeration, complete parody, of how someone would act that way, you're just beginning to approach her actual behavior. I find her treatment of me surreal, like something from the Twilight Zone.

Every single time it happens, I am mortified. What keeps tripping me up is that I'm completely helpless in this situation. Here I am, hardly able to walk at times, making a beeline for any room where WFW is not in while she trails behind asking one question after another.

The part that really manages to boil my blood is that she's done everything she can possibly do to let me know she doesn't want me to work here. And there is not a shred of emotional intimacy between us other than that which arises from unmitigated conflict. But now that I depend on a crutch to walk, she just has to be nice to me (see previous post).

Last night, it suddenly struck me, the reason that I feel so helpless is that I've never made a decision to deal with this. I have needed to be careful because of our relationship within the context of work. But bugger all that now. I am definitely going to deal with her. I cannot wait for her to ask me, just one more time, how aaaaAAAAMMMMMmmm I doing.

This post traces my thoughts about what I've decided to do. It's like a trail of bread crumbs, so I can find my way back when I get lost in this situation with her.

First, I decided to actually communicate with her. One thing that drives me nuts about all of this is that everything is unreal with her. The fake concern, the fake facial expressions, the tone of voice.

I become helpless. Like I'm being tasered. Or even more like I'm lost in a foreign country. I become emotionally disoriented because nothing in this relationship is real.

Deciding that I have to say something was a huge breakthrough. I will do this radical thing call “communication.”

I've been thinking through what to say. Here was my very first draft:


How is your foooOOOoooot?!!!


Pretty good. How's your manic depression coming along?


As you can see, my plan needed some serious work and I've been devoting all my effort into thinking through this.

In the end, I just have to figure out a way to deal her. She's not going to change and she will be in my life for years to come. And if she isn't, some other WFW will be.

Ok, so what do I tell myself to help me in this situation.

Well, I have noticed I totally hate this situation and I would really like it to go away. Put another way, I really want to be in a good situation, with people being loving yet light. I wouldn't mind being genuinely cared about. I just can't stand fake.

My response to WFW, my utter disdain of her, is a form of hatred. Hatred is hatred. It's one of the reasons my country is in Iraq right now. It's why murder happens and why abused children become abusers.

Hatred is hatred. And hatred of this WFW is highly addictive. Much more addictive than the narcotics I'm currently taking for pain. I roll the hatred around in my mouth, swallow it in gasps and feel it burn all the way down my throat until it hits my guts. It's wonderful stuff.

And all of that hatred has its root in my hope that I would be treated better than that.

I have thought about this a great deal in the last few days. I am trying to be in a good situation with loving people who genuinely care about me by indulging in hatred. If I hated her enough, maybe she would go away. Problem solved.

When I look carefully at that, at my attempt to use hatred as a means to attaining a loving and happy life, it is laughable, is it not?

And besides, I've been trying a steady dose of hatred for four years, full time, and it hasn't worked. I'm using a drowning man as a buoy.

I have thought and thought and thought. It's getting late, so I'll blog more on all the bits and pieces later. But for now, here is my current plan:


How is your foooOOOoooot?!!!


WFW [insert her name], whenever I see you, you ask me about my foot. In an effort to have compassion for me, and for you, I need to let you know that I don't feel comfortable discussing my health. What I need to happen from now on is for us to discuss something else. We could discuss, for example, our boss. He is a terrific boss and very caring. We could talk about that or something related to our work. Whatever we discuss, it will need to be something other than me. Does that seem reasonable to you?

It's a work in progress. Feel free to come back and see how it's going...

Friday, November 25, 2005

From my morning meditation:

Thursday, November 24, 2005

I don't know...

The Stupid Quiz said I am "Totally Smart!" How stupid are you? Click here to find out!
If I'm so smart, then why am I always making such incredibly stupid mistakes. There must be a difference between being intelligent and not being a fool. Gawd, I look back and anyone would say, "your stuipd score is pretty darn high!"

In the end, I must just love myself. Each step along the way, I thought I was doing the right thing. I've always been idealistic and I've never approached anything half-heartedly. Whatever thing I tried, I gave it my all. And perhaps because I engaged in such huge efforts, I made huge mistakes. By making the incredibly large mistakes, I've often come to the heart of the matter and been able to free myself much more quickly from the stupid/bad/radioactive nature of the situation than someone taking a half-hearted stab at it. I've lived my life so far in such a way that I have hurt myself badly and consequently learned quickly. The bigger and hotter the burner on the stove, the deeper the lesson becomes ingrained about not sticking one's hand back on it.

Jump the dog...

Is it just me, or did CSI just jump the dog, I mean shark, with the whole hot-dog eating thing.


My first blog about a vegetable

Someone gave us the most beautiful head of cauliflower I have ever seen. I have been happy about this thing all day. It was such a beautiful, wonderfully fresh example of organic produce that I had to take a picture of it. And the color! So wonderful. Not a blemish on it. Oh, and it was delicious.

I was so pleased, I had to take a picture of the salad as well.

The beautiful cauliflower aside, I had the nicest Thanksgiving I have ever had. I was with people I love and who love me. I've got great friends and a wonderful life.

I hope everyone had a the best of Thanksgivings. May all of you be well and happy...

My Top Ten Thanksgiving memories include...

  1. As a child, seeing parts of the house get cleaned up for the first time that year (ok, maybe the first time ever).
  2. Watching my mother make a gravy from all-purpose flour infested with ants.
  3. A couple of hours later, watching my relatives smother their turkey with gravy that happens to have a lot of little cooked ants floating around in it (cooked ants look a little bit like black pepper).
  4. About 30 seconds later, "Ahhh, no thanks, I think I'll pass on the gravy."
  5. A number of years later, watching my mother die.
  6. Here it is, the day my mother died, and my Aunt Ruth is insisting that we put the plates in the oven to warm them up before dinner.
  7. A couple of years after my mother died, standing in the kitchen of my Aunt Louise's house, watching her make homemade sourdough bread effortlessly while her husband psychologically abuses her from the living room.
  8. A decade later, spendng Thanksgiving in a Buddhist monatery.
  9. Just a year later, enjoying Thanksgiving with my West Coast "family." Insisting that my friend hold up the Tofurkey with a proud look so that I can get a picture of him. Breaking the tofu wishbone with my other family member.
  10. Today...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Top ten cool things that happen when you're 41 and dependent on a cane to walk:

  1. All sorts of people, even the ones who have been pissy to you for years, are suddenly very "nice."
  2. You get free stuff. You go to Starbucks and order a Latte and a rasberry bar. But the bar is too small so they feel they just have to give you a second one.
  3. Most cars stop for you when you approach the crosswalk. (Some cars speed up.)
  4. Lots of people take time out of their day to stop and watch you walk by.
  5. You get to use the blue parking places.
  6. Cheaper bus/train fare.
  7. The other people with canes smile at you.
  8. You see more details in the environment around you because you're going a lot slower.
  9. People go out of their way to open the door for you.
  10. I'm still working on number 10...

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Depression Assessment

Here is a link about depression that explores both the emotional and physical aspects of of depression. It is a website created by the pharmaceutical company Lilly in order to promote a drug called Cymbalta.

The reason I'm blogging it was their advertisement, which emphasises that depression has a definite physical aspect, resonated for me. I feel pretty good emotionally, only my body has so much discomfort when I stop taking anti-depressants.

Friday, November 18, 2005


I keep feeling your presence in my life. I think about how you really missed me. How I moved to the West Coast, found my very alternative lifestyle and left you in the living hell you created for yourself.

I was listening to some music today and it reminded me of you. One of the lines went something like, "I don't understand why I can't tell 'Free World' from a living hell."

O, Dad, you had everything. You were so good looking. I mean, you looked like a movie star. You came from a prominent family and you went to the best schools. And inside, you really had such a gentle heart. You were very senstive inside.

But something was terribly crippled inside, wasn't it? Was it the time your own father slapped you--hard--across the face? Was it that?

And then, as a young man, you sold yourself out.

Your parents pressured you to marry the right girl, the rich girl. You were in love with Mary. But now I've seen the letter, the two families congratulating themselves for arranging this marriage.

I feel so badly for you.

So in the end, you acted out. You had secret accounts. You found your own amusements and lived a life of secret pain. You loved--but never completely. You were generous but never from the sweat of your own toil. You drove the right car and went to the right country club.

And when you died there was $140,000 in credit card debt.

And you were surrounded by people who didn't feel anything for you.

And now you come and haunt me. I know you are here.

I have moments when I feel as if I abandoned you.

When I was home for the funeral, I lay on your bed, resting before the limos came. And then it struck me. The entire wall was covered with pictures of me. Not of my brother. Not of my mother or your second wife. The entire wall was like a shrine to me.

I ache inside to think of it.

And the way you saved every single letter (not that there were many), every single email from me. And you made notes on our phone conversations (not that there were too many of those either). I have the file now. It's in the attic.

I found it so painful to talk to you. It hurt so badly to be in touch with you so I stayed away.

But why? Why were you so painful to be around?

Well, I guess it was because nothing seemed real. You were forever giving me advice. Stuff that wasn't very useful. Like, "Why don't you become the chief administrator of a hospital?" What was I going to do? Go down to the local private hospital and ask nicely, "Can I be your chief administrator? ... Nooo, I don't have a medical background. No, I've never even worked in a hospital.... No, I'm afraid I can't even tell you what a hospital administrator does. Do I get the job?"

Or the time you pressured me about becoming a airline stewardess. Never mind that I hate flying, but do I look like airline attendent material. Get real.

I didn't want to go to the country club. I didn't want to ballroom dance. I didn't want to go on a cruise or do anything you wanted me to do. And then you seemed to get pissed. And that was it.

So in the end, I had to make a decision to go on with my life. And my life is here, on the West Coast. I know you admired me for it.

O, God, but the pain. I know you really needed me.

It's just in the end, I needed to let you live your life. I couldn't live, just waiting for you to die so I could move on. It would be an insult to you.

Sorry, Dad. I'm sorry that you were so unhappy. I offer you a heart full of best wishes, wherever you may be. May you be at peace. May you know love and truth and generosity. My you learn to trust and may you be treated well.

I love you,

your daughter

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

What's in your cupboard?

You have perhaps seen the tv commercials that end by asking you, "What's in your wallet?" Well, I think we've all had experience of going through our kitchen cupboards and finding stuff that makes us ask, "What the ***bleep***???" I remember being with a friend who had been vegetarian for years, in her own kitchen, as she was experiencing that sense of wonderment that comes from looking past the first line of defense offered by the row of canned gluten and bags of sun-dried tomato, groping, looking from some obscure ingredient or another.

First of all, no one really likes to do this because it is usually sticky back there, in the distant corners of cupboardom.

But bravely, she continued groping, and, after some time, she pulled out a tin of sardines.

A silence pregnant with disgust, denial and disbelief descended like a thick, down comforter over the kitchen.

She finally looked up at me in horror.

As members of the human species finds themselves confronted with the reality of what actually lurks within their cabinets, drawers, and pantries, they generally divide themselves into two psychologically distinct groups, the "tossers" and the "shelvers".

The shelvers take whatever they find, no matter how old it is, and put it back in the cupboard. The tossers, not knowing the age of the item and writhing inside with a semi-conscious fear of an untimely death, toss it. It can be in perfectly good condition but, nope, out it goes.

This division between the tossers and shelvers becomes more animated when we come to the area of refrigerators. She wants to toss the sour cream, but he is dead set against it.

But what if there were some way to tackle the experience, you know, scientifically? What if you could find a guide, a rational approach to follow in these moments of looking into the deep recesses of your kitchen cabinets and refrigerators? Well, happily for all, there is. A leading research think tank known as F.N.O.R.D. has provided us with an invaluable tool designed to help in the moments when the toss-or-shelve response is triggered.


What this author simply cannot comprehend is that the question of chocolate syrup hanging around in a refrigeration for as long as six months could even come up.

Tolerance Vs. Celebration

I once attended a workshop about race, gender and stereotyping. At one point, a chart was put up on the projector that went something a little like this (I'm recreating this completely from a memory that is more than a decade old).

Negative <-----------> Positive
Hatred Stereotyping Tolerance

The workshop leader pointed out that many people believe this continuum to be a true reflection of the range of feelings people have about race. She then talked about examples of hate crimes and acts of tolerance, etc.

Then she changed slides, saying, "How about this chart instead?":

Negative <-------------------------> Positive
Hatred Stereotyping Tolerance Celebration


At Harvard, scientists have developed a computer-based test that objectively measures the unconscious dimensions of feelings about ethnicity and gender. You can take the test online and, in fact, become part of their research results. A free registration is required.

Jesus of Legoland

Without a doubt I have come across one of the most unusual websites I have ever seen. It is an illustrated online version of sections of the Old and New Testaments. In this version, the illustrations are not photographs of frescos. No, all of the illustrations are pictures of Legos. It is such an odd juxtaposition that it makes the skin on the back of my neck crawl.

By way of example, here is the nativity scene:

Now, perhaps that appears to be cute. I found the section entitled Gang Rape and Dismemberment to be down right disturbing. To see the graphic depiction of the abuse, rape and mutilation of a woman using legos as an art medium has to be one of the most arresting pages I have ever seen online.

The FAQ states:

What is the purpose of The Brick Testament?

Rev. Smith has stated that the goal of The Brick Testament is to give people an increased knowledge of the contents of The Bible in a way that is fun and compelling while staying very true to the original versions. To this end, all stories are retold using direct quotes from The Bible.

It also states:

Is he really a reverend?

Most ministers, priests, or other religious clerics would not actually use "The Reverend" before their own names, for to do so would be presumptuous and rather vain. The Rev. Brendan Powell Smith is not an ordained member of any earthly church, and is widely regarded as being both highly presumptuous and extremely vain.

To find out more about Rev. Smith, you can also visit his home page.

A great companion piece to this website can be found at TAL (see Act Tw0).

I leave you with The Reverend's depiction of the crucifixion:

I actually became nauseous

when I saw this cartoon.

For more information, look here.

From this website

you can pick a satellite and see the Earth in real time. Amazingly beautiful.

Here we are on this rock rolling around in space and we're stupid enough to kill and hurt each other.

Got a quarter?

Here's a list of some of the things you can buy in Japan from a vending machine:

  • soft drinks
  • pack of cigarettes
  • carton of cigarettes
  • eggs
  • rice (in bulk)
  • photo printing
  • mobile phone recharging
  • fishing tackle
  • toys
  • toilet paper
  • flight insurance
  • frequent flier miles
  • food
  • fried food
  • beer
  • beer in 2 liter jugs
  • liquor
  • film
  • cameras
  • money (you deposit cans)
  • pornography
  • condoms
  • ice cream
  • water salad (?)
  • batteries
  • popcorn
  • flowers
  • refrigerated locker (deposit money and store your lunch)
  • pet beetles for the kids
  • kerosene
  • dry ice
  • previously worn underwear

The seven sages said

to Know Thyself . . . but this may be taking it a bit too far.

Dear Fellow Earthlings:

Please take part in this important event to improve our the Earth's climate. ; ^)


If you want to figure out how to tell if someone is lying, this site will help you.  Before you visit the site, however, you may want to consider that it is sometimes best to not know that your loved ones are lying to you. 

How to fold a T-shirt very neatly

I've tried it and it works!


This is pretty depressing. It's an image created by NASA that shows the polar cap melting...

Stuff I dreamed about, worried over, and hoped for when I was very young

  1. my closet. it had a trap door. i wondered where it led. i used to think about what to hide there, but could never come up with anything dangerous/illegal enough to worthy of such a space...
  2. my grandparents. my mother told me they lived over my bed and could see everything i did. Were they really watching me?
  3. the grandfather clock... my mother told me that it stopped working the day her father died. I realize now that was a lie.
  4. the house on Oakridge Ave. I used to dream over and over again about the house in which I was growing up... Always, a winding stairway that lead up and up and up. I'm being chased. And then I reach the attic and the stairway opens at the back of the house. and it is rotten, fallen apart, dark and covered with mold. And I fall and fall and fall into the pit of the earth. some places have a personality, a sense of self of their very own. the house of my childhood is, without a doubt, one of these
  5. Is it True??? I spent a great deal of my childhood figuring out whether or not what my mother had just told me was true. For example, consider the following stories from the eyes of a five year old:
    1. Did a change in temperature break out the windows of the Cadillac last night and some very nice people came and fixed it during the night?
    2. Did a black man attack my mother at a stop light? Did she throw her shoes at him?
    3. Did the star of the 3:00 soap opera really ask my mother for her necklace that morning so that she could wear it on today's show?
  6. and so on and on and on....

from Neil Gaiman on To the Best of our Knowledge...

Quoting the Kabalah...

"I heard once an old myth that the Angel of Death is so beautiful, when you see the Angel of Death, you fall in love--so hard--that your soul is sucked out through your eyes and goes off with the Angel...."


Thinking about that some more, I am now wondering if that is why we spend so much time falling in and out of love. We're practicing for our True Love, for the moment of Death.


I've been in love once -- so hard -- that I could feel my soul being sucked out through my eyes. In my case, my love was 100% unrequited.

What if that happened at death, that the Angel of Death came and I loved, once again, that much and even Death would not have me?

The other side of splat

I remember a college professor talking about intelligence and learning styles. He had a chart he scribbled with chalk up on the board. Some people, the more intelligent among us, sit down and consider the possibilities, weighing out their options and thinking about the consequences of their actions. They make decisions based upon what would be good for themselves and helpful to others.

The others, the less intelligent of the species, learn from trial and error. We try this, or that, and, ouch, gawd, that hurts. Sometimes we're not even smart enough to stop (. . . drinking, dating that abusive jerk, maxing out our credit cards, whatever).

I notice I'm using "we." Not to include you, my dearest reader. I'm just identifying with these boobs who go through life, groping, crashing into the sharp edges and coming out with pieces of us missing (sometimes literally).

He used the example of the auto mechanic. Some go to school, read the manual, get trained and learn through asking questions. Others, at least in theory, just take off a part from the engine, put on a new part, and then waits to see what happens.

I test too high on standardized tests to be the dope I am. Yet here I am--making the same mistakes I've made before. Not knowing where I'm heading.

It's painful. It's how I feel...

Here's something from a cartoon I once saw (I can't remember which one). A young hippie asks her guru, "Tell me where to go."

He points off in a directions and she goes that way. Then you see the word "SPLAT."

Again the hippie asks the guru, "Tell me where to go."

Again he points in the same directions. The young woman heads off in that directions, faithful to his instructions, and again "SPLAT" feels the frame.

Again, the woman, now soaking wet, covered in mud and tired, stands before her guru asking, "Tell me where to go."

Again, the guru points to the same direction.

The woman cries, "Everytime I go in that direction, I go SPLAT."

The guru replies, "Where I want you to go is on the OTHER side of splat."

Monday, November 14, 2005

About the name