The weekend plan that wasn’t

Well, Seattle was a bit of a bust this weekend. Aside from nearly being driven off the interstate a few times by stupid people (they are all around me, I swear!), the rain made driving this side of hellacious and the weekend ended with me fighting yet another cold. The one bright spot was socializing with my friend and her neighbours on Saturday afternoon.

Apparently, the guy who lives across the street from her makes beer as a hobby (they also drink a lot of it – no surprise there). He introduced me to one of the bitterest beers I have ever encountered. Well, that’s not really saying much because I don’t drink a lot of beer. All I know is Red Stripe and every beer out there must live up to that standard or I ain’t drinking it. Mostly, American beers make me want to just drink water instead – far more tasty. This beer was flavour-a-mighty. Even with the bitterness that makes you think you’d just sprayed your mouth with something nasty. The bitterness kind of grew on me and I realised that after the initial bitterness, the flavour kind of just settled in.

I had always thought that beer is supposed to be a melding of flavours, but apparently, bitterness is a key feature of beer. This explains why people think Heineken is better than Red Stripe because Heineken has a far more bitter taste. Despite what the truth of the matter is, I still think Red Stripe is a beautiful blend of all the flavours – at least when you get the one that isn’t watered down for exportation. In any case, Heineken and Red Stripe are lager beers. That sets them apart from the beer family automatically, apparently. I don’t know much about the subject, and I don’t much care to – I just found these little bits of information fascinating.

The biggest thing about this beer, though, wasn’t so much the taste as how it crept up on me and smacked me upside the head. Traditionally, I nurse my drinks especially if I think I might be drinking for a while. I know my limits and I try to stick within them. This means, an evening that looks like it’s going to last a few hours requires me to spread 2 to 3 drinks over the duration. In the long run, it didn’t matter because just at the point when the bartender usually asks if I want a refill, the beer slammed into me with a vengeance. One minute I was fine, the next minute I was tipsy. That has never happened to me before, at least not without some guzzling on my part.

I took my hint and stopped drinking immediately. If just one glass of beer spread out over the course of an hour or two could do that, then there was no telling what else would happen had I continued. The impromptu party was beginning to wind down anyway. Which reminds me – these people gather for impromptu parties all the time, my friend tells me. It’s like the neighbours look out their windows and see one family out and they all come out to chat. Something Americans probably find fascinating, but something that we Jamaicans are perfectly well aware of – aren’t we my fellow yaadies?

Well, it’s Monday and I’ve got a ton of work to get through today – so I’m off. Have a productive Monday all.

The gender debate

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” — Mahatma Gandhi 

A friend of mine said to me today that people are weird. Without getting into details with her, it became clear that the “people” she was referring to was a woman. At least I think it was. The conversation turned towards the fact that it seems to often be the women in our lives who befriend us, establish a rapport, and then turn around and stomp all over that rapport… and us.

I’ve been through it so many times that I often ask myself why I continue to make the effort and make friends among women. This is especially hard for me being a woman because I don’t relate to this kind of behaviour… I can’t. I don’t understand the concept of maintaining two faces. I do understand the concept of having to suppress my real face around most people. Most people won’t understand me. But I don’t understand the concept of becoming someone entirely new. Suppressing my real face just means I come across subdued and reclusive. That’s fine with me. I am somewhat of an introvert anyway.

My mother used to tell me over and over that I needed to learn to be diplomatic; that people won’t appreciate my candour and that I need to perfect the art of being tactful. I guess that when I’m talking to the people who see my suppressed face, diplomacy is not a bad thing because then at least they aren’t likely to be shocked silly when I speak my mind. But I’ll tell you this – if the suppressed me is unlikely to find you to be someone with whom I can relate to, then the unsuppressed me is just as unlikely to find you otherwise. I will be civil and polite, but I won’t be friendly – at the end of the day, there is no doubt that we cannot be bosom buddies. The reverse is also true – if we have things in common then you will know it immediately.

The more I learn about life, people, and myself is the more I have realised that nothing is gained by beating around the bush. Life is so much simpler when you say what you think and mean. ‘Honesty is the best policy.’ I forget who said that or where I’ve heard it, though I’ve heard my mother recite often enough. That ‘the truth hurts’ is one I’ve heard lots too. When you are brutally honest about your opinions, feelings, and observations someone is likely to feel hurt – that is a given. The trick is to deal with the fact of the matter before dealing with the emotions of it.

Ever been accused of “leading him on”? This is what is meant: you give off “let’s be friends” vibes and then when it gets down to brass tacks, you leave. It’s deceptive; untruthful; dishonest; two-faced; hypocritical. It’s not worth it. Find out who you are. Be that person. Be honest with yourself and those around you. Life is way too short to do otherwise. Diplomacy is all well and good until it gives the wrong impression of your true intentions, because in the end you’re the only one who loses.

This is how I know I am a huge nerd!

This conversation transpired between myself and a very good friend just now.

It’s weird enough that I had to sanitize and share it because … well … see for yourself:

(WARNING: extremely geek-oriented material ahead; typos are original to the IM conversation)

He: Your head is like a maze  :D
       its not the easiest place to navigate
Me: indeed
He: i tried that in 04-05
Me: i am still trying to chart the maps
        it not easy
        lot of compressed information up there – cluttering up otherwise roomy spaces
He: u sure there is space?
Me: like i said, everythign compressed – i ran out of space years ago – started compressing shit
        now that’s done, it still cluttered
He: mv *shit /dev/null
Me: don’t know where my “null” is. not in dev. been trying that for years … all that happen is my /dev folder full up of shit now too
He: …
Like I said … weird.

There was once a time…

The road aheadThere was once a time when I truly loved to blog. I filled paragraph after paragraph with drivel or opinion or rants. It was all truly personal and extremely subjective … and sometimes downright hateful.

Apparently, I have either lost that ability – or motivation – or I don’t remember how to.

In those days, I was not known – I was invisible, simply another voice in a sometimes discontent sea of voices. It didn’t matter what I had to say because no one could take personal offense to what I was saying. I could rant and rave in relative anonymity and not think for a second that I was going to be causing harm to others.

Things have changed and just by virtue of who I have become – per se – I am no longer anonymous and what I say DOES matter and WILL offend.

I still have my opinions, most of which are now so inflammatory that I am sometimes afraid to even THINK them much less write about them in a public forum like this blog is. Lately, I have realized that the inflammatory nature of these thoughts and opinions is not only not improving, it is getting worse. And I am moving further away from a time when I could speak freely and anonymously.

I sit and watch people express themselves on Twitter, on Facebook … even on Google+ and I realize that were I to open my mouth about any of the subjects that are now on constant debate I am either so far out of the loop as to cause the wrath of the ages to be called down on me for my ineptitude to research … or I am so far beyond the “norm” that I get the wrath of ages called down on me for my opinion and insight.

Hell, I find even when I state my mind in simple, non-judgmental terms without even attempting to incite debate and drama, I get it anyway.

Therefore, there should be no doubt as to why I have become silent in the last few months.

Unfortunately, it has hampered my ability and my propensity for fluency and it is beginning to affect my work… at this point in time, I can no longer write as I used to because I can no longer find the words to express myself. I am out of practice. Badly out of practice.

As a result, this blog has become a sparse collection of random topics ranging from a recitation of events as they have occurred in my life or a random miscellaneous commentary or review on some new geek toy or service that I have “discovered” for myself.

Not exactly how I want to be.

And so … I have decided that I need to write again – as anonymously as I once used to. For that, I have chosen to move my rants, opinions and scorching commentary somewhere else – somewhere anonymous – where whether or not one wants to be offended or not is separate and apart from my so-called public persona. A place where only a few select actually know me and care about what I think – no matter what it is – and respect for me even having an opinion.

The rest of you will have to deal with my random miscellaneous posts if and until you can prove to be as discerning and objective of what I choose to speak about as I expect you to be.

My apologies. It may seem harsh to you – and maybe even unnecessarily drastic, but I must attempt to save the one thing I have always loved to do … and that is, to write.

It’s a brand new year!

This post is long overdue (and somewhat overly long as well). There’s just been so much going on with me that I scarcely know where to begin.

The Christmas holidays had loomed large and foreboding for me all year being the first Christmas that hubby and I were separated in this manner. Any Christmas’ we had spent apart was because either we had seen each other within weeks beforehand or were about to see each other in weeks to come. This Christmas, half a world and a war zone separated us.

The previous seven months have been some of the most difficult months I have ever had to endure. Somehow I managed to get through them, though. And I am not certain that it was due to any one thing.

In January of 2010, I landed a job. A job that seemed to be somewhat of a dream opportunity and seemed to have literally fallen into my lap with little or no effort expended on my part. A woman I had met back when I was still part of the web ring community, commented on a post I made on Facebook (or was it Twitter?) that if I registered on SitePoint.com and searched the job postings I might just get lucky. Well, she was right. 1000 times right! The posting was for a developer (whom he had already found), but the poster was also looking for a web administrator. And his requirements were simply a level head and a reliable personality. I guess I fit the bill. :)

In February, I had a minor operation to remove endometrial scar tissue from my abdomen. Without realizing it, I had been in severe pain for months but had ignored it mainly because I had dealt with pain of that kind all my life and I had come to accept it as “normal” for me. After the surgery, we found out there was nothing normal about what they excised out of my abdomen.

In March, someone I thought was a good friend and who would be a main source of support throughout the deployment did their usual ‘disappearing’ routine which made me realize finally that what I needed for the upcoming year was dependability and positivity; of which this person was neither.

Coincidentally, March was also the month when hubby got his 2 weeks of block leave. And we headed to Michigan for a few days – it kind of reiterated to me the need for positivity and dependability – the kind I knew I could find with family, whether they be adopted, inherited or married into.

April was THE month. I remember feeling like a part of my very soul had been ripped out when hubby left. I sat bereft on my couch for hours each day trying to function. I was marginally successful.

I kind of bounced back pretty quickly after that. I knew it was a little weird but I didn’t dwell on it because I needed to concentrate on surviving the next 12 months.

I was shattered to learn he would be home early – within a mere 3 months after leaving. And whilst I was ecstatic to see him again so soon, I knew it meant a LOT longer time before he would be home for good.

The next couple of months were a living hell. I was constantly weepy – even during a weeklong visit from my parents. After they left, I realized I needed some help because crying over stupid shit was just …. unacceptable.

My good friend in Seattle sent for me to stay a couple days with her and that made me realize once and for all that I wasn’t going to be able to handle being strong on my own. By the time November rolled around, I was getting myself under control and it was time for the adventure of a lifetime.

Costa Rica, the prospect of meeting the people I had been working with all year, and a brand new globe-trotting experience … I was doing fairly well by then. The trip helped a great deal in cementing that. By the time I came back to the States, it was time to delve into work with a vengeance, into the new WoW expansion with a vengeance and start packing for my trip back home to Jamaica.

That trip topped the year off in fine style. Talk about going out with a bang. It was good to be home and to familiarize myself with long lost loves and friendships. It was bittersweet. I loved being there, among family and friends. Yet I missed home and wanted to be here. And yet when it was time to come home, I didn’t want to leave.

At the end of it all, it put me in good stead to soldier on through (no pun intended) the next 3 – 4 months until hubby gets home.

The new year dawned whilst I sat and talked here at home with Mom and Dad in Jamaica on Skype and me with the firm determination that this year was going to be the best yet. I was going to make it so, even if it killed me. And to celebrate that determination, I started going to the gym.

I have lots to accomplish these next few months. And if I thought I had been busy before now, I’ll be be dizzy by the time April rolls around.

I want to update more regularly and I promise to try, but don’t hold it against me if I don’t show up as often as I once used to. I’ll do my best to keep you in the loop, maybe tell a few stories along the way to spice it up. :) Last year was a long adventure in many areas and I am sure somewhere, someone can learn from what I have gone through. And as the self-lighted firefly, if I can happily light the way for even one other person, I feel I will have accomplished much.

So until then, I wish a very happy 2011 to you all.

Namaste.

Geek humour from my friends. :D

This is classic! Just classic!!!

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Roses are #FF0000
violets are #0000FF
chown -R you ~/base
#geekhumour #unixhumour
/via @traceyctt cc @fyrfliless than a minute ago via Echofon

Walking and my history with exercise

I was talking to a friend of mine today. She called to check up on me because I kind of disappeared yesterday. I was taking it very easy because of the headache and the tiredness and after talking to Mom I just finished up a couple episodes of Smallville (remind me to wax poetic about that series, will ya?) and went straight to bed – did not pass go, did not collect $200.

I’d had a good morning … I was up a few minutes before my alarm and feeling pretty good considering. I got into my walking clothes, donned my weights, slipped on my ipod and headed out. Humidity was relatively low, and so I was able to manage a brisk walk. At first, my chest felt like I might not be able to make the whole 2 blocks, but I pushed myself knowing I could do it and WOULD do it.  To cut a long story short, I did damned well considering I’ve been either passed out or headachy for about 4 days straight.

And so my friend and I are talking about hypertension, and the causes .. medications, history of hypertension and the negroid race … and then we branch off into exercise and heart rates.

Continue reading

I feel like I’ve been hit by a bus…

It’s been a whirlwind 2 weeks.

Hubby came home on R&R on the 11th …

The Friday before, I spent most of the day with his aunt in Austin – apartment hunting for her and my very first visit to an IKEA store. On Saturday, I spent the day scouring the places in the house that hadn’t seen scouring for a while … places like window screens, etc. I was exhausted Saturday night, but managed to sleep well enough to be in good shape on Sunday when he landed.

He’s been WoW starved, so he spent a great deal of time these last 2 weeks in-game. We managed to get out a little – camping one night, eats here and there, a drive to BLORA (where the campsite was), a visit to Michigan to see his family (surprised the beejesus outta all of them too) … it was a jam-packed week. The house looks like a tornado passed through.

Continue reading

In the mood to appreciate my blessings

This week is quite easily one of the worst weeks yet, in this deployment – for dozens of reasons.

Today, though, I was brought face-to-face with a very obvious fact. My friends love and appreciate me. It even seems as if 2 in particular are tag-teaming because one takes up the slack that the other leaves when their own lives call on them and I am finding myself without too many moments of utter despair and loneliness.

Thanks guys – you know who you are.

As for why this week has been the worst, I can’t really explain. It started with the flowers arriving and kind of climaxed with the disposal of said flowers when they finally died over a week later. It’s like a dam broke and ….

I just miss him.

Really badly.

And it hurts more this week than it has in the last 7 weeks. Maybe I just wasn’t dealing with it before, or maybe this is something new … and it doesn’t matter – at least I am attempting to face it.

/sigh

Tough as hell … house feels empty and barren; I feel lost and purposeless and without focus; and the brain is in hibernation – because simple things have become complicated and complicated things just plain impossible. Simple things like making a grocery list. Complicated things like …. work things. I made a monster mistake yesterday – one I wouldn’t have made normally. One that has me mortified.

Right now, I just want to go to sleep and wake up when it’s all better… considering it all, that would work out to be sometime in April of next year.

/sigh

All in all … it would be a hundred times worse if it weren’t for you guys who are there for me – even when I don’t think I need it.

So, thank you … all of you.

I appreciate you.

“It gets better” they said … still waiting, I say

They keep telling me that the first month is the worst. They have told me to expect up and down days. They told me to keep busy. They’re still telling me these things. It’s just about at the end of week 2, and I have to tell you that had they not mentioned that fact, I probably would not have known. Feels like he left yesterday – in terms of the pain anyway.

It was a pretty bad weekend. Weekends are usually ours, he and I. We spend them together exclusively. Even if all we’re doing is playing WoW or watching movies, it’s still just us. This weekend, I was in so much pain, all I could do was lay on the couch – which is by far THE worst thing I could have done.

By Sunday evening I was such a basket case it wasn’t even funny. And when I say basket case, I do mean basket case. I turned my phones off, put in 2 movies, logged off IM and drank 4 beers. Ya. Basket case. It was my good friend MzUnderstood who saved me that night. I don’t know what I would have done had I not been able to just burst out with all the things that were bothering me.

The FRG leader and the other wives tell me to call them and talk – but how do I say: “I feel like we have nothing in common beyond our deployed husbands – what is there to talk about?” That is just RUDE.

I mean lookit: they all going shopping this weekend. And that just seems to me to be SO typical military wife – minute hubby’s first deployment check comes in, it’s off to the stores. And I turn around and feel so bad for being so judgmental… who am I to judge them? Who to tell, they all going to spend their OWN money. Where I get off assuming?

So, I just not going with them; aside from the fact that I just don’t do the whole shopping thing (unless I have a list of things I need), it just seems way too far to drive to watch others do shopping. I don’t need anything.

Everybody doing the countdown thing too – so many weeks until such-and-such. I like being surprised that it’s 2 weeks in. I think I want to keep being surprised. See me in a year’s time going “Oh wait – he comes home in 2 weeks. wewt!” Yea. I think I said that last blog post, but it’s so much more clear now. I loved hearing the FRG leader say “so we’re 2 weeks in and I think it’s time we got together and talked about the rest of the year”. I was like “Wait – 2 weeks? Already? Nice.”

Don’t get me wrong, it’s probably been the worst 2 weeks of my entire life – and if they are all to believed, it’s going to be only slightly better in the coming 2 weeks. But if the next year can slip by as unnoticed as these last 2 weeks have, then I will be golden. And when I say unnoticed, I mean I was so caught up, I forgot to count the days since he’s left.

On the other hand, I am heading to Jamaica in July. Yaaaad here I come!!! I don’t think I realized until now just how much I missed home. And I know that it is simply because for all this time, wherever hubby was, was home. Now that home is gone from me, I am needing home and the only other home I’ve known is Jamaica. That aside though, I need to see my peeps. And eat some oxtail, drink some coconut water out de shell, nyam some ackee and saltfish an’ bwile banana – some callaloo … patty and coco bread … tek een some beach and some breeze … Only one thing would make it perfect – and that is if it were Christmas.

All in all, I am still here, and I’ve managed to get through 2 weeks. While not a real milestone, it’s significant to me because I now realize what this is going to be like. There are going to be days when I am perfectly fine, there are days when I am fair-to-fine when the tears are near but still not here, and there are days when I going to be bawling like a newborn baby. I am beginning to realize what the triggers are, and I am learning to bolster myself to deal with them when they come.

Finally, I came to the conclusion that I have to MAKE a schedule and stick to it. Sleeping in is a bad idea. So is doing nothing. So no matter what time I go to bed, I am getting up early and doing the day. Even if I have to pause halfway through the day for a nap, I am working on getting a schedule ingrained. Consistency – that is what I need – on top of projects.

And this weekend, my project is two-fold (a) get out of the house and (b) fix squad-leader-wife’s computer.

I figure if I get even half of that done (say, sit outside for an hour or at least learn whether the PSU I need is available here in town), then I’ve accomplished SOMEthing – and that is to not sit and wallow.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to get up and get out to the lake with the camera too .. then maybe I’ll even have pictures. :D