House-hunting Sucks the High Hard One

Yeah.  That about covers it.


Favorable Features Friday

This week's post will be mostly food related...

1.  168 Asian Market

2.  Orchids Garden (dim sum all day that's yummy!)

3.  Fleur de Lis

4.  The pool at the Golden Nugget (with a slide through a shark tank)

5.  Sky Zone


Exercise to Exorcise

A friend of mine sent me an email recently in which she talked about "exercising" her demons.  I know it was just a typo, but it made me giggle because I got this picture of devils doing jumping jacks and situps while she yelled at them.

But, it made me realize that that's what we do.  We exercise our demons in the yoga room so we can exorcise them from our lives.  We sweat them out.  Sometimes we cry them out.  Occasionally we have to lie down to recover from the sudden weight re-distribution of our newly lifted spirits.  We leave feeling different, though.  Maybe not always better, but different, lighter.

Sometimes I lie awake at night, listening to Matt breathing, and I miss him.  I get the urge to wake him up just so he can talk to me, hold my hand.  I don't do it, though, because he's grumpy when you wake him up.  It happens less and less as the reality of him sinks in further -- the reality that he's going to be there in the morning and tomorrow and next week and forever until one of us dies.  This forever is also helpful in exorcisms because I can always snuggle into something comforting after a day of demon-slaying.

I've been thinking a lot about letting go of some of the dreams I've dragged around from pillar to post.  It's hard to let go, even though they're cumbersome and pull me under.  Even though some of them are too small or broken or missing pieces.  I've taken them out of the boxes and looked at them for years, held them up to see how they look on me.  I pin the pieces to what I'm wearing and imagine what it would have looked like.  It's an excavation of my life in a way, but I know what they looked like and I chose to let them fall into disused disrepair.  So not everything is built to last.  I can bag them up and toss them.  They aren't doing anything for me anymore.  And the yoga has really helped with understanding that.  And helped me realize that there are new dreams to take the place of the ones that I've outgrown or lost parts of or dropped repeatedly.

Learning that what you wanted once isn't what you want anymore is strange, though.  It feels a little like a bad translation.  Somewhere a word got missed or changed and over time the whole meaning became something else.  Moses with horns instead of rays of light.

I'm glad to be able to leave old loves, old hurts, tired dreams behind.  I've been able to get past the bad decisions, the cruelties casually inflicted in the stupidity of youth.  I've left them in puddles of salty runoff that have dried into whitish stains on the concrete.

I've had a heavy bunch of crap jammed into the edges of my heart for a long time.  The hurts and aches jostling alongside the smiles and love, muddying everything.  The yoga has let me press more of the dirt out and rinse clean the the brights.  Not everything is gone and it never will be.  New things will filter in and out, but they don't have to be trapped.

I often feel like there are several versions of me that exist simultaneously (not in a dissociative identity disorder kind of way).  I've compartmentalized pieces of my life because I've never wanted anyone to have enough information to do damage.  So there's work me, which is a very reserved version of myself.  There's yoga me, which is a very specific part of myself.  There's friend me, which is pretty close to the total me.  There's wife me, which is still getting worked out.  There's family me, which has seen several incarnations but is a pretty even mix of public and private me.  I'd like to integrate some of these pieces a little more.

Since I've gotten married, I've been trying to be more emotionally open.  But it's not easy.  Matt and I argue sometimes about how I don't 'share.'  I appreciate that he wants me to share and it's nice to have the option, but I don't process openly.  And no matter how long any one person knows me, they will never know everything about me.  I'm okay with that.  What I'd like to work out next is what drove me to this secretiveness in the first place.  This is the big devil.  This is the one whose tail and horns I can see, but never get my fingers around.  It brushes past me in the dark sometimes, wakes me from sleep by casting quick, black shadows across my dreams.

I'm working on pinning it to the wall and throwing it down a flight of stairs so it'll tell me what I want to know.  It will take the help of some camels and eagles and low-flying dragons.  I'll need a warrior and a hero and when the legion is assembled and I am prepared it will happen.  Until then we'll practice together.


And You Thought Crocs Were Ugly...

Well, Ladles and Jellyspoons, I present to you the Vibram Fivefingers shoe:

They are UGLY.  But they are COMFY.  And utilitarian.  To see other styles click here.

I first heard about them a few months ago, but it wasn't until this week that I actually saw someone running in them.  All of a sudden they're everywhere.  And they make my feet happy.  Matt calls my feet flippers because they're paddle-like - which is to say wide and square.  I can't stuff the flipper into most shoes with any level of comfort.  But the Fivefingers Classic is my new best friend.  They don't fall off when I run, either.  They're rad.  You should get some, too (okay, this is half self-centered because I don't want to be the only wingnut walking around in glove/sock/shoes), but they really are awesome.


Favorable Features Friday

Another installment about the good things in Vegas.

1) Free parking everywhere

2) I just spent an hour in the pool (because it's a gorgeous day)

3) Instead of a certificate for free ice cream when donating blood, I get tickets for Penn @ Teller and hot air balloon rides

4) The Erotic Heritage Museum

5) Bradley Ogden


Favorable Features Friday (or Saturday)

I was so thrown off by the ridiculous day I had on Thursday that I forgot yesterday was Friday and thus didn't do my scheduled post of good things about Vegas.

1.  People don't mind visiting.

2.  I can ride a roller-coaster at the top of a tall building in the dark.

3.  My yoga studio (I realize there are yoga studios lots of places, but I think mine is the perfect combination of disciplines that I haven't seen anywhere else.  And there are more classes than almost anywhere else, too).

4.  Red Rock Canyon 

5.  Lotus of Siam


Cloudy Everywhere

Yesterday was one of those days.  The days when, though cloudy everywhere, it was only raining on me and my parade.

The first thing that happened was that I woke up at 3AM on the nose and lay awake for hour after agonizing hour with not a chance of sleep.  Matt and I usually go to be between 12:30 and 1AM because he works evenings.  I should be deep into a second REM cycle at 3AM.  But not yesterday.

I don't know what woke me.  But I was mad.  This hasn't happened to me for a long time, but I got so mad about being awake, I actually kept myself awake.  The adrenaline of rage coursed through my body and my eyes refused to even close.  I tried to breathe it out, but I would find that I was holding tension in my neck.  Then when I'd eradicated that, I'd realize my hand was clenched.  Okay.  Relax, relax...  Then my jaw, my stomach, then I was actually pressing my head into the pillow.  Rage, rage, rage.  No.  Relax, relax, relax.  Finally, just about the time I should be getting up, I started to feel sleepy again.

Since I don't have to go to work, I figured I'd just sleep for a few hours more and then get up feeling not quite fresh as a daisy, but not exactly like shit, either.  This plan worked.  At least sort of.  I got out of bed at 9:30 feeling dazed, but okay.

It seems like the days when you want/need coffee the most is when you're most likely to be deprived of it's company.  I don't usually even drink coffee.  I don't particularly like it and I don't often require its assistance.  However, Matt usually drinks about 5 gallons, so there's usually some to be found.  Yesterday, though, he decided to have tea.  Fine.  I can make coffee.  It only takes a couple of minutes.  So I turned on the machine and went to take a shower.

When I returned to the coffee machine, roughly 10 minutes later, nothing was happening.  The light was on, but the pot still, annoyingly coffee-free.  Which meant I would be coffee free for an indefinite period while I tried to figure out what was wrong.

I may have mentioned before how the coffee machine hates my guts.  It likes to barf on the counter a lot and spit out the filter drawer before the coffee is all the way brewed.  It's a little fuck.  But when it works, the coffee is quite good.  Anyway, I wasn't completely shocked that this bastard wasn't producing for me, but I couldn't figure out what the problem was.  I opened and shut all the doors and drawers.  I made sure I'd put water in, coffee in, I unplugged and then replugged.  I felt the rage building again.  So I just gave up, made some extra strong Lady Grey and moved on with my day.

So that was the second thing that happened.

The third thing that happened was that I had trouble gaining access to the legal dictionary at law.com.  This may seem minor, but well, it wasn't.  Not yesterday.  I know what you're thinking:  What the hell do you need the legal dictionary at law.com for - you're not a lawyer.  True.  I am not a lawyer.  And I never will be, but I have undertaken a project that makes access to the legal dictionary (at law.com) kind of nice.  Yes, there are other legal dictionaries online, but this particular one is really easy to use and has explanations of things that make it easy for a non-lawyer (me) to understand.  Anyway, I could get to it, then it would pop up an error, then there was too much traffic, then I needed to contact the administrator, then I could get to the search form, only to be left waiting forever for the definition to appear.

I went to the 'backup' legal dictionary, but it wasn't the same.  It took a lot longer to get done what I needed to get done and by the end, I wasn't happy.

So I went to yoga.  The class wasn't awful.  That's about as much as I can say for it.  My body was heavy and tired and unwilling to be pushed.  The teacher (not one of my favorites) kept telling me, "You can do this!  I've seen you do this a thousand times!"  Yeah, yeah.  So even there,  I left feeling less than relaxed and definitely with much less energy than I started with.

When I got home, Matt was out and I decided to have lunch without him.  So I took out a chicken breast to throw on my Lean, Mean, Fat-Reducing, Grilling Machine and opened the arugula to make a salad.  But it was slimy and yellow.  I hate Whole Foods sometimes.  This fucking arugula was only a couple of days old and already dead.  So, fine.  I had tomatoes and avocados.  Just slice those up and I'm good.  Slice those and part of my finger off, not as good.

It isn't really all that serious, but it wouldn't stop bleeding.  Initially I bled all over the tomatoes and avocados.  Then I bled through a bandaid without realizing it and had blood all over the dish towel and my shirt.  I finally got it stopped after a lot of pressure and holding my hand over my head until my arm ached.

Then I dropped a jar of mustard.  Somehow on days like these, I always manage to break glass in the messiest possible way.  Then I walked full-force into a cement bollard in the parking lot of Bed Bath & Beyond.

Then, to end the day, the grand fanale.  If I believed in God, I would have been sure he was pointing and laughing.

I packed Matt off to work and went to another yoga.  This was a much better class and I thought I had finished my day in the dunking booth.  I realize now that these are the thoughts you should never think. Because they are inevitably and staggeringly incorrect.

I got home a little after 7.  I had a pork roast ready to throw in the oven and was looking forward to eating it.  So, I put the roast into the baking dish I always use to make it, I rub it up with all the rubby-yumminess (rosemary, cayenne, paprika, sugar) and put it in the oven.  It wasn't a big piece of meat.  I would be enjoying it by 8.  Not the optimal time for eating a meal, but okay.

I sorted some laundry and went to turn the meat.  That's when the grand finale began.  I opened the oven door and started to pull the rack out to turn the meat and the baking dish shattered into a squillion pieces.  Seriously.  Meat, juice, grease, glass.  Everywhere.  It was like a small explosion.  So, of course, I started to cry.  The smoke from the liquid and grease was thick and instant.  The smoke alarms started going off (because we have one of those integrated systems where one of them goes, they all go) and I just stood in a sea of wet glass in my socks, crying.

I tried to close the oven door, but there was so much glass in the hinges, I couldn't.  So I turned off the oven and stepped carefully out of the mess.  I opened all the windows and turned on the fans.  I waited for the oven to cool and the smoke to clear and then began the cleaning process.  It took about an hour to clean up.  Finally, all I had to do was wipe the counters.  I wiped around and as I moved the coffee maker, it started to brew coffee.


Sweet on the Outside; Evil on the Inside

I'm sure everyone has known at least one of these women.  The ones who seem sweet and cute, but have a bubbling cesspool of a soul right below the surface?  I find that Southern women, in particular, have nailed this personality to a T.  Not that they have the monopoly by any means, but they do have it down to perfection.

My grandfather's fourth (and final) wife (although not his last girlfriend...) was just such a person.  She said things and even acted (in front of company) like the sweetest, most caring, compassionate Christian lady to come along since Mother Teresa.  But get the 'outsiders' out the door and she was a viper.  Never had a nice word to say about anyone except her grandsons.

Yeah.  So I've encountered another such person.  This isn't so shocking by itself, but I was shocked to find it was someone I was friends with as a kid.  I never really thought of her as even being a grownup (let alone secretly evil) since the last time I saw her was when I was 13.  She stayed forever a kid.  Until recently when she found me on Facebook.  Oh, how I have come to love to hate Facebook for just this reason.

Anyway, we reminisced.  That was fun.  And then we moved into more current stuff:  what have you been doing since 7th grade?  how did you meet your husband?  All the standard stuff.  And then she told me she'd had a really bad car accident and how it had prompted her "awakening to Christ."

This, too, is not unusual, or even surprising.  Many people come to faith after a life-altering event.  Whatever floats your boat.

So she asked me to start reading her blog.  I did.  It's wretched in both content and writing, but sort of like a bus accident.  I can't help myself.  I look at it about once a week.  Anyway, the content of this blog is largely about how great Christ is and how great she is for being such a great Christian.

She talks a lot about her 'service' in the name of Christ and how she loves everyone.  Now, again, I don't have a problem with people loving Jesus.  I don't even care that she brags a little too much about how good a Christian she is.  Or I wouldn't care, but well, it's not true.

I found this out the hard way.  She was in town with her husband over the weekend.  They don't drink and they don't gamble.  Uh, what?  Did you think you were headed someplace else?  Because really, if you don't drink and you don't gamble and you don't have friends here, there's not a whole lot you're going to find to do.  Sure, you can see some or all of the 89 Cirque du Soleil shows or Lion King, but those are a couple of hours in the evening.  You've got a lot of time to kill and not much to do.

Anyway, she sent me a message on Facebook last Thursday to tell me that she and her husband would be in town and she wanted to try to get together.  I would have suggested drinks, but well...  Anyway, I said maybe lunch one day.  From the blog I realized that we have little in common anymore and wanted to limit the time we spent together.

Somehow, though, we settled on dinner on Saturday night.  Matt works on Saturday nights (lucky) so he didn't come with me.  Which is probably a really good thing.  We ended up at Cheesecake Factory (which has a location in Caesar's that I never noticed before) because when I suggested Spago she wasn't really pleased with the price-point and when I suggested a Thai place off the strip she replied, "haha.  Like I'd eat that!"  I'm going do digress again for a moment to say that 1)  I hate the Cheesecake Factory and 2) I will never understand why people travel to new places only to do exactly what they do at home. If you don't want to experience new things, save your money.  Stay home.  Do what you always do.  And for god's sake do not come to Vegas and ask me to meet you at the Cheesecake Factory.  And also, I am aware that there are several people who want to argue that they do have good cheesecake, but I don't like cheesecake so there's nothing to redeem it as far as I'm concerned.

Well, anyway, there I am at the Cheesecake Factory with these two exemplary Christians.  Things started fine.  A little weird, but okay.  Tina asked where we live and I told her.  Her husband, Al, said he knew the area and it was nice.  So I asked how he knew Summerlin.

Al:  Oh, my brother used to live here and that's where he lived after he figured things out.

Tina:  Yeah.  When he first moved here, he lived in the wrong part of town, if you know what I mean.

Me:  Oh.  Where did he live at first?  (Because to be fair, there are parts of Vegas, like any city, that have higher crime rates and less property value, but I had a feeling I knew where it was going.)

Al:  I don't really know.  He only lived there for, like, 3 weeks, I think, but he said there were Mexicans everywhere.  Like cockroaches.

Me:  Huh.  (because this left me otherwise speechless.)

So now I'm uncomfortable.  And it got worse.  Somehow, these two kind-hearted, Christian do-gooders, were the most picked-on, unlucky sons-of-bitches ever, at least to hear them tell it.  The Jews (yes that's what they said) were trying to buy a bunch of houses in their gated community and "change everything."  I don't even know what that means and I certainly don't know how to respond.  A woman allegedly rear-ended them in a parking lot and, in spite of the fact that neither of the cars was damaged, they called the police to report that she'd fled the scene of an accident - after she had stopped and they had both agreed that no damage was done because she didn't offer her insurance information.  Two 'mixed' girls selling magazine subscriptions for a fundraiser asked "lots of rude questions and wanted to know things that were none of their business."  This led Tina to believe that they weren't really selling subscriptions, but casing the house so their boyfriends could come back later and rob them.

They are highly suspicious of almost everyone. They are also convinced that their postal carrier (a black man, apparently, although they described him in other terms) is stealing their mail in order to steal their identities.  They treated the waitress like shit and talked about how they couldn't believe how many Asians were here.

I realize that all of this hatefulness and suspiciousness is due to fear.  I still don't really understand, though.  I've never understood why people are convinced that someone else is going to try to hurt them.  Sure, there are some horrible people in the world who do horrible things for no reason, but the odds of my ever encountering one of them is slim.  If you don't feel like you need to murder someone in their bed, why do you think the guy in line behind you at the checkout is stalking you to do just that?

In spite of their proclamations that they get their strength from Christ and through him find ways to deal with the trials god puts before them, they sound like they aren't getting much pleasure or happiness from life.  I don't know if meanness of spirit makes you unhappy or if unhappiness makes you mean of spirit, or maybe it goes both ways.  All I know is that I'm pretty sure Christ didn't want you calling anyone a porch monkey or a nigger or washing your hands after and Asian woman grabs your hand accidentally mistaking you for her kid.  And if this is the kind of person you are, don't hide behind a diamond cross around your throat.  If you know enough to hide it from the general public, you should know better than to act like that.