Friday, August 30, 2013

Wish I was cool like this...

Dean, Sammy, Frank

Well, except for the cigarettes, of course. We must be politically correct.

I LOST MY COOL YESTERDAY. I was justified! But it was still very strange...I have the reputation for being laid back to the point of being dead. That's partly me, and partly very strong pharmaceuticals. 

But Thursday morning, my mom informed me my internet bill had gone from its usual $50 a month to $200 last month. Apparently SOMEONE in my house caused us to go over our limit by streaming stuff, and it wasn't me.

HINT: The culprit is daughter's best friend, sleeps on the living room floor and is on the internet 23 hours a day.

So I got to work, texted Chelsea, told her we would have to cancel the internet for a while, and wow, did things get going then. 

Texts from Chelsea. 
Texts from my mom. 
Texts to my mom. 
Texts to Chelsea. 
Approximately 800 phone calls from Chelsea. While I'm at work. On Thursday, our busiest day. 

At one point, and this is where I lost my cool, I raised my voice on the phone to a customer. I'm very ashamed. Even if she was a mean heartless bad word. 

So I'm telling my coworkers how I need my mom to call and cancel my internet and finally Mark says what apparently everyone's been thinking. 

"Michelle. It's your house. Your internet. You are paying for it. YOU can call and cancel it."



So I did. Right then. And it worked.

I actually accomplished something like a normal grown-up, like I used to be. 

I was really quite proud of myself, until I got home and realized I HAD NO INTERNET. 

So yay, I cut off the hemorrhage of money flowing directly into AT&T's coffers; but boooo, I'm typing this on little tiny keys on my iPhone. 

I have a different company coming out to install that doesn't have an internet cap, so we should be good now...except they won't be here until Monday. Labor Day. Really? Apparently that's a popular day to actually work, because of the overtime. 

That's all! I have no idea how this post looks because I'm on my phooooooone. No internet. No money, related to the no internet thing! NO COOL, because I lost it this week. 

I still have my kitty. She's cute. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Michelle's Tales, Part Two, and I swear I am not making this bizarre thing up... I wish...

So, I'm at work the other day, and I get one of these emails about 'real people' who are dumb as rocks, and here's the story of one:

"Several years ago, we had an intern who was none too swift.

One day she was typing and turned to a secretary and said, 'I'm almost out of typing paper. What do I do?'

'Just use paper from the photocopier,' the secretary told her.

With that, the intern took her last remaining blank piece of paper, put it on the photocopier and proceeded to make five 'blank' copies.

Brunette, by the way!!"


Right through the heart.

How did my own personal story travel twenty years and who knows how many computers until it made its way back to my desk?

The lady who copied blank paper because she needed more paper…

That was me. First office job. Okay, being my regular self.

Someone must have heard me tell that story. I do not think I've ever written it down, have I?

Unless there’s ANOTHER person out there who did that besides me.

Surely not!!!????

In my defense, I was very young.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Michelle's Tales, Part One

This is a pretty close approximation to what my hair looks like.


I was blow drying my hair before work in the fourth floor restroom in my building.  I do this every day.  (It saves time, it doesn't tangle my long curls, I have more room.)

To be fair, I am the only person I've ever seen do this, but on the other hand, I HAVE been doing it every day for years. 

On this particular day, someone took offense. 

I'd just finished drying and flipped my hair back, and realized someone was in there with me.

Here's what happened next:

Mean Lady
: You can't be serious. 

: Huh?
(I've always been quick on the uptake.)

Mean Lady
: You're not seriously DRYING YOUR HAIR in here. 

(looking around to see if she was talking to someone else): Um. 

Mean Lady
: This is outrageous. That can't be sanitary. 

(finally catching up): Um, we're in the bathroom. 

Mean Lady
: I'm going to report this!!!

And with that, Mean Lady stormed out of the bathroom. 

I took a moment to compose myself... I had genuine visions of ending up like TV's Dr. Green, being beat half to death in the bathroom in E/R. Then I strolled out to the elevator where, yay, Mean Lady was also waiting. 

We waited in silence, got on the elevator in silence, rode to my floor in silence, where I stepped off and never saw her again. 

I think of her though, still, over two years later, every morning when I blow dry my hair in that same fourth floor restroom.

(sigh) I'm still waiting for building management to come have me arrested. It takes just one person to ruin all your fun. :)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Put up a fight...

Now that I'm in the process of getting better, I'm realizing I have no idea how to jump back into my former life.

I have no idea about my checking account...I'm not even clear on what I bring home every week, because Mom handles all my finances. How do I get that back?

I could call Britney Spears up, but I think her father is STILL handling her money.

OMG did I just compare myself to Britney Spears? Surely I'm not that crazy?

And now there's whispering in the back of my head...'no, you're WAY more crazy than she ever was!'

I just want to buy stuff on the internet, and be able to order pizza.

Okay, maybe she should keep handling my money a little while longer.

Driving? No. Music? No.

How can I want to get better and hold myself back at the same time?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

In the name of love...

It was Chelsea's first trip to DC, my third.

But even though it was her first trip, she was a way-cool eighth-grader. Way too cool to be excited over the stuff we saw. YAWNED at the Air&Space Museum, Reservoir, White House Tour (and this was after 9/ were hard to come by). She showed mild excitement when Marine One lifted off with the President inside.

But that was it. I figured I was doomed to be the only one excited on this trip. Then we visited the Lincoln Memorial. Taking pictures, acting like tourists, and suddenly, Chelsea is FREAKING OUT.

'MOMMY, Look at this, is this it, is this where he stood?!'

Then, I start freaking out.

How is it that in the times I'd visited before, I missed that stone?

I got it then. Chelsea had been saving her excitement for the big things. This qualified.

I don't know how long we stood there, looking out over the Reflecting Pool, thinking about MLK, having a dream, and the man, and movement, who changed all our lives for the better.

You can find Martin Luther King, Jr's 'I Have A Dream' speech here...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

'Tis a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury...

Signifying nothing, right?

How many of these do you have rattling around in your head? At work, when I'm stuck in a meeting and the pretty tree outside the conference room just won't do, I run down the list:

Books of the Bible
States & Capitals
Countries of the world via their country code
All the Bible verses I can remember
Hamlet speeches
Macbeth speeches

Julius Caesar speeches
Canterbury Tales Prologue in Middle English
Declaration of Independence
Prologue to the Constitution
Gettysburg Address
Favorite poems (Updike, Dickinson, Thomas, Brooks...)
Lyrics to Metallica and Dolly Parton songs

and etc., etc., the list goes on.

I have so much useless information in my head, and I think all the time, what will I do when I lose it? When the Alzheimer's comes, or the drugs inevitably fry my will I cope with losing all that makes me, me?

I think we all have that fear, or, even worse, we fear we will lose ourselves and not even know we are gone.

What useless knowledge do you (hopefully) have embedded in your brain?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Choices color all I've all done...


I am a blue square.

I've never fit in with the red squares that surround me. I'm used to it.

I've actually learned to be proud of it.

It hasn't always been easy. Even today, after years of learning to assimilate and, alternatively, develop a thick skin, I cringe when I open my mouth and say the wrong thing to people.

I get blank looks A LOT. ALL THE TIME.

The people closest to me pat me on the head and say I'm special.

I swear, I'm smart. I'm fairly lucid.

I'm just BLUE, not RED.

That is all.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Michelle's Annual Day Out, It's the State Fair!

Chelsea, me and Mom at the Kentucky State Fair yesterday

There's actually one time every year when I willingly leave my cave and subject myself to the sun (sort of) and the crowds (unfortunately)...the Kentucky State Fair!

Weird, right? But I've never NOT gone to the fair as long as I've lived here, my 'issues' have come up, I cope. Meaning, I stick to the inside exhibits as much as I can, I rest a lot, and I try not to freak out by the thousands of people that are surrounding me. I NEVER MAKE EYE CONTACT.

We always make the fair a family event. Who doesn't? Today it was me, Mom and Chelsea. My brother and his family, and my aunt were supposed to meet us there. The reason they're not in the picture above? Because my mom, who picked up me and Chelsea, decreed that we were leaving at 10 a.m.

Really? Chels and I don't usually even THINK about getting up on Saturdays before 2 or 3 p.m. - like all the other normal people in the world. Needless to say, we got to the fair at the crack of dawn today and took the above picture, while my aunt finally rolled in about 4 p.m., and my brother's crew got there a couple hours after that.

So, sort of a family event LOL. We had a mother-daughter-daughter day. Which is perfect because we're so much alike, our favorite is the photography/artwork section, where we spent most of the day.  We're finally at an age - 21, 40, 61 - where spending the whole day together isn't's a pleasure.

We visited the 'Mules& Jacks'. We looked at the photography and art. We lunched. We looked at Raptor Rehabilitation, and saw the eagles and the owls. Walked and walked and walked, then Mom ditched us for Aunt Sondra, then Chelsea ditched me for shiny things, and I rested. Then Chelsea retrieved me, we visited the Fairness booth, the Al-Anon booth, the KyNect booth, skipped about a thousand other booths, and went back to the art and looked at every single thing and STILL had to wait an eon before Aunt Sondra would let Mom come back to us.
Not that we object to Aunt Sondra, we just didn't want to go looking for them. I was tired.

Watched a live cooking show about Kentucky beef that convinced me to go back OFF the beef. I went back on it last year after my surgery to help get my iron back up, but I can't do it anymore. I'll just take more pills. What's one more pill?

I forgot to add the migraine that got worse and worse as the day went on. Don't worry, it happens every year at the fair. I expect it and prepare for it, I bring my pills and everything. I think it's a combination of the sunlight, the noise, the anxiety... Whatever it took four Vicodin to make it through the day. Not all at once! Spaced out...we were there a loooooong time.

Before we leave I always get a funnel cake and a corn dog. I know, I'm a risk-taker. I figured the corn-dog was my last hurrah before leaving beef behind for good. I was perfectly happy with these stellar dietary choices when Chelsea comes up behind me with DEEP FRIED OREOS.

Oh. my. gosh. I never thought I would try something like that but I did and now I have a new religion. And I only had one! I don't know how you could possibly eat more than might put you into a diabetic coma. Soooo worth it, IMHO.

We left and sat in traffic for about an hour...Mom went the wrong way out of the parking lot, as is her wont, and we somehow hit incoming fair traffic going to a different parking lot. These people were all going to the Toby Keith concert at Freedom Hall. I could tell by the cowboy hats, boots, and red solo cups they were all sporting.

So close to getting home, and I was just waiting...wait for it...there it is! Mom: "So, since we're out, do you want to go somewhere and eat?"

The three of us are so predictable to each other.

Finally, after a nice dinner at O'Charley's, filled with laughter and teasing (mostly at me, as usual, though I did get one in at Mom); and then a quick stop at Kroger (I sat in the car, did you really think anything else?), we made it home.


And that's my day out for the year. Okay, there may be others, under duress, but today is always my choice.

It'll only take me a week or so to recover.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tears for Flight 1354

I would say that today is one of the hardest days I've ever had to work.

It's hard to lose a coworker.

This morning, two of our pilots got on one of our planes for a 45 minute flight to Birmingham, and then they were gone.

Our management team wouldn't tell us anything beyond what they were telling the news, except they added to us: 'DON'T TALK TO THE MEDIA'.  So we had to watch the news all day, waiting for the names of the pilots.

It's just been a really bad day.

I'm sad.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Cutthroat World of Michelle's Office

This is where I work. Honestly.

So, a few years ago, a 'friend' of mine at work went out on short-term disability. Don't be alarmed...she did this every year. Only this time, it dragged on, and on...

After eight months or so, her cubicle by the window started looking very inviting. This was a valuable commodity, just going to waste!

So, I claimed it.

This is how you get a desk by the window in my building - you have to be a little sneaky.

So when Kim very surprisingly came back after eleven months out, her stuff had been moved to a different desk. I was very, very apologetic.

She got in little digs, though, about my underhanded method of seat-acquisition, until she got fired a few years later.

I was sad she got fired, but kind of glad, too...I was one of her marks. You know, one of those people that other people who borrow money a lot go up to every week and say, do you have $20, $50, $100, I can borrow? She ended up owing me $1000's of dollars I'll never get back.

I kind of have lots of people out there who owe me money I'll never get back. I have a problem saying no. If I have it, I will give it.

But anyway, back to THE WINDOW.

Since I have moved to the cubicle by THE WINDOW, it has caused me so much grief, it's almost enough to make me want to move...almost, but not quite.

I like the shades DOWN. I have headaches. I don't want sunlight. It HURTS.

But then Mark comes in. He loves sunlight. He pulls the shades one-third of the way up.

I wait one minute, stand up, and pull the shades back down. I go downstairs, get my breakfast, come back up, and the shade's back up.

Mark is laughing.

'Michelle, can't we just have it up a little?'

'Well, I guess, but the glare will kill us, and the heat...what about waiting until the sun gets to the other side.'

'(sigh) Okay...' (This is said very sadly).

I don't know how any work gets done because of the window drama.

When it rains, the shades open because no one has seen rain before, ever.

When it snows, you might as well shut the computers off for the day.

When the window washers are out there, it's all over.  Same goes for when the roofers are working across the street.

And there's always catty remarks from people who want to sit there...They say, 'Well if I sat there I'd have the shades up...she doesn't deserve that seat!'

And I'm thinking very uncharitably, it is so hot over here by the window and you already have hot flashes, no way could you last over here... I try to nip that unkind thinking in the bud but it sneaks out before I can stop it.

Apparently I'm really not that nice.

So that's where we are now.

I work in cubicle-land, where I send very nicely-worded emails all day to people in the US and Canada and the UK and India and the Philippines for the international brokerage side of my large shipping corporation. I avoid making calls as much as possible, EMAILS ARE SO MUCH BETTER!!!

And I LOVE where I sit, in the corner, with a window on one side, where no one can really see me, and I'm hidden away.  Except for when people come to look out the window when it rains, or it's windy, or it snows...sigh...

Friday, August 9, 2013

I love ALMOST all seven billion of you...

Does it matter if I'm cis or noncis?

What about black or white?

Female or male?

Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jew, Muslim?

Chinese? Indian? American? Nigerian? Brazilian? German? Russian? Iranian?

I can reduce myself to a hundred parts and each one is sure to offend someone on this planet. 

I'm offended by things, too. When the Iranian president denies the Holocaust, it hurts. When the Supreme Court says some parts of the Voting Rights Act are no longer needed, it hurts. And when the Russian president says gays in his country will be arrested, it really hurts. 

It's been less than eighty years since the Holocaust. It's clear some world leaders have forgotten. 

The mantra of Holocaust survivors was, "Testify. Never forget."

I don't think the climate of hate we're seeing today is helpful in securing a positive, permanent change in the world. 
And isn't that what we want? To move towards a safe place for everyone to live?

Instead of me being offended by my neighbor because he is a cis white male Christian American, I can celebrate his difference. HE CAN'T HELP WHO HE IS. 

Snarking continually on how white men are the bane of society, on how the US is behind the rest of the world in virtually everything, on how awful Democrats are, on how awful Republicans are, and how my opinion doesn't matter because I'm a straight girl from Kentucky - it is all self-defeating. 

The name-calling and hate-spewing is causing us to overlook the issue at hand. I don't hate you, and I don't think you really hate me. Why are we wasting our time pretending to hate each other?

I want to be safe. I want you to be safe. I want my family, and your family, and all of our families to be safe.

Millions of people standing together for the safety of our families is a far more powerful testament than the dissonance of a billion voices shouting in hate.

I am human. Nothing else matters. I have the right to be safe.

So does everyone else.

It's our duty to protect the safety of our fellow humans when someone or something is trying to take it away.

See Pastor Niemoller's poem here...

Edit: Have you heard about this? Shouldn't the international community intervene in the case of Russia, BEFORE another genocide occurs?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

So show me family...

We're going through tough times here in the Ville, and I guess they could be linked directly back to me and my migraine.

My migraine and I missed a day of work this week (unpaid), and my migraine and I missed a day and a half of work last week (unpaid). We've really been spending a lot of time together, my migraine and I.

A 20%+ reduction in my paycheck every week is enough to freak my accountant out, and she doesn't have the benefit of nice calming anti-anxiety pills like I do.

And so every day when she picks me up and takes me to work - my accountant is also my morning chauffeur, who also happens to be my mother - I have to hear in full detail about my money problems and how I don't make it easy on her and if I keep it up I'll just have to move back in with her, and she doesn't take cats.

We can't ever ever let that happen, of course. Because 1) I love my mother, but living with her was really awful!, and 2) I love my kitty, and I could never give her up!

Things were much better before Dwayne got laid off, and then his RA got so advanced. He's still waiting for his disability hearing. He has to use canes, walkers,'s shocking how much it has progressed in two years, and he's only 45. My grandpa, who is 83 and had brain surgery seven months ago, can still make it across the room faster than Dwayne can. I don't understand how he still hasn't been's a mystery.

The other thing is that I'm kind of supporting me, Chelsea and her best friend until they get jobs. Chelsea had a job but quit to go to school but then sat out a semester so now she has no job and no school but she is looking for a job now until school starts back. Her best friend was kind of kicked out by his family and had nowhere to go so I said he could stay here until he got a job and found somewhere to go.

I won't mention how long he's been here. Let's just say maybe our Christmas decorations were still up.

I'm kind of his mother figure now. He came out to me yesterday as transgender. So now I have to call her, her. And she.

I had noticed that she had pretty nail polish on her toes for a few weeks now, but you know me...I see something, I think, oh, and then it's gone. IT'S MICHELLE'S WORLD.

I don't know how easy it may be for her job hunting as obviously trans, because she has a deep voice still. I know that Louisville has the Fairness Act, but can employers find ways around that? I'm just worried about her, this is a great town but it isn't New York or San Fran where she might have more help available.

But she has me! Even though we're very low on funds, we have lots of love! And we have, you know, the internet.

p.s. My migraine and I will be going to work together from now on. We will no longer be staying at home. Even if I go and just sit there at my desk in silent death, I will get up and go. So I can bring home that $150/day.

Unless I won the lottery tonight, I'll be sure to let you all know.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Keep your head up...

Lollapalooza is streaming live this's almost as good as being there.

Going to concerts, something I used to love to do, is a thing of my past. My life is work, home, sleep.

I feel like I live a false existence. I've always had a lot of things - I spread my interests around. Books. Art. Writing. Music.

But in the past few years, while my world crumbled, all of my things went away.

Who was I?

I'm not saying that we're defined by what we do or what we like...but it's been a struggle to stay awake when I bore myself to sleep.

I used to be able to sit in silence for hours...but that was my choice. When the choice was taken from me because my mind couldn't come up with anything, it was agony.

I've been building myself back up.

I thought books would come back to me first, because they were my first and greatest love. But books have been holding out on me. I can reread my favorites...and short stories are easy. But anything new that requires any deep thinking is still beyond me.

Art is a distant memory. My new self has shaky hands and blurry vision. I can appreciate art, but I can no longer create it.

The writing is coming back to me. It's unexpected...I thought I would be blocked forever. I don't know how long it will last, and I'm taking advantage of it while I can.

I miss my music. I miss it so much. My keyboard and my violin and my guitar all sit in the corner of my room, collecting dust. I haven't touched them in over two years. I CAN'T.

I would sit and play for hours. It seems like it's one of my biggest hurdles. How hard can it be to just grab an instrument and start playing?

I'm working on it.

Now I'm going back to pretending I'm at Lollapalooza... live feeds are wonderful things.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

He's my brother...

Me, Carol, John, Moma - 1991
Try to ignore the hair and clothing...we thought we were in style. :)

That's me, my sister-in-law, my big brother and my grandmother up there, at my brother's graduation from drill sergeant school at Ft.Something or Other in 1991.

I may have said something about my brother before in the past nine years on this blog... He IS my big brother, after all, and I think big brothers come with a secret manual or something, called 'How To Torture Your Little Sister Her Whole Life.'

They may think the same thing about us.

So we're at a family party earlier this month, and John, Chelsea, Dwayne and I are hiding down in the basement away from the annoying cousins (even though my brother and I bicker endlessly, we are also very very similar. That may be why we bicker endlessly.)

Deciding this is as good a time as any, I hand my brother the list of '20 Things About My Brother' that I had just posted on Twitter. ALL TRUE.

Here they are:
  1. Loud
  2. Good dad
  3. Obnoxious
  4. Obsessive
  5. Protective
  6. Former drill sergeant
  7. Refuses to lose
  8. Loud
  9. Obnoxious
  10. Able to make sisters, nieces, aunts, mothers, cousins and grandmothers cry
  11. Charming to everyone but his family
  12. My rock when we were growing up
  13. Loud
  14. Obnoxious
  15. One of the best men I know
  16. Can be a big jerk
  17. A great big brother
  18. An annoying big brother
  19. Loud and obnoxious
  20. Loves me
He reads it over, hands it back, and says, "I can't believe you said all those mean things about me!"

"What mean things? I said a lot of good things! And it's all true!"

"Not all of it."

"What isn't true?"

"I'm not obnoxious."

With that declaration, Dwayne, Chelsea and I all shouted in laughter. We couldn't help it. Look obnoxious up in the dictionary, you'll see my brother.

We went upstairs and he told on me to my mom. My mom said, "Wait, when you used to run around with Rich, didn't you use to call yourselves 'Loud and Obnoxious'? In fact, wasn't Rich 'Loud', and you were 'Obnoxious'?"

I love it when my mom takes my side.  Even now when we're 40 and 45 and we regress 35 years in her presence.

I also really do love my big brother, I don't know what I'd do without him.

Perchance to dream...

Ma (great-grandmother) and Michelle, 1979

I am STILL here.

If I sound amazed, it is because I am, truly, AMAZED.

When I was a teenager, I was sure I'd be dead by 18. I expected it.

Then 18 passed and I thought 21 was the new number, and I was ready.

But, no.

Every car accident I was in, I had a moment thinking, is this it? Every night before bed and I took all my pills plus a WHOLE bunch more for sleeping and headache, I would think, is this it?

But, no.

I take my vacation days always at the beginning of the year. Why? Because what if I die in June?  Then all of those unused days will have gone to waste!

I've never saved any money, because I never thought I had a future. I had plans set in place for my mom and Moma to take care of Chelsea if something happened to me. But nothing ever did.

Whenever I was asked the question, "Where do you see yourself in ten years?," my most truthful answer would have been, NOWHERE. But I've learned how not to freak people out (for the most part) my real answer was always a vague, "I just want to be happy...," as if happiness was something I had heard about and thought would be really cool to experience one day.

I still don't know how I got here, and I can't see where I'm going. Pragmatically, my mother and my daughter keep me mother tells me that when she gets old I have to take care of her, so I tell my daughter that when I get old she has to take care of me.

So, all of a sudden, the future is no longer formless and blank...I have a place. Maybe I will be there.

In the meantime, I am truly grateful that every day, when I open my eyes, I am still alive. Not too long ago, I didn't feel this way. Now, even though I may not be sure why I am still here, I am very very glad to be here.

Every day I wake up not dead is a really good day.