Friday, May 21, 2010

9 things I like

Here's some awesome things I like not necessarily in order of importance:

Thing 1: My friend s. She's the best brainstorming idea person I've encountered. We're like Gilbert and Sullivan or Rogers and Hammerstein or Connie and Carla. She's like the lightning bolt to my thunderstorm. The Tic to my Tac. The... um, this is starting to take a weird turn I wasn't shooting for. All that to say. We've got something fun cooking. And I don't mean pot roast.

Thing 2: A while back my brother found one of those plastic wrist bands like the one Lance Armstrong wore that said Live Strong and he wears it all the time. It says, "Noah White 2032" My brother's name is Noah White. He found a bracelet with his own name on it. Found it. Isn't that one of the most awesome things you've ever heard?

Thing 3: Sitting in the sun.

Thing 4: This girl's daily affirmation:

Thing 5: Talking with my mom.

Thing 6: Planning trips.
Thing 6 addendum: Taking trips.

Thing 7: Being so involved in a book that I can't put it down even when my eyes are shutting on their own and I can barely turn the pages because I've stayed up hours past my bedtime. HOW WILL THIS END?!

Thing 8: Laughing so hard that my abs hurt the next day. This has happened at least twice in the past couple of months during conversations with my younger sister. Talking with her is like doing a 20 minute core workout. Thanks, girl. I don't need a gym membership because of you.

Thing 9: The fact that my dad sent me a jetpack. I dare you to top that.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Book Memory

My parents used to read out loud to us kids a lot. What a treasure of memories. Speaking of treasures. My mom read us this one book called Treasures of the Snow. Near the end, of course, the tension builds, one of the children breaks a leg and nearly dies on a mountain top. There was skiing and cold and fear. Maybe snowshoes. My older sister and I couldn't stand the wait. The chapter ending left us hanging from a literary cliff. So she and I sneaked the book, hid away, and she read the ending to me. The children were saved. No one died. At least I don't remember anyone dying. World order was restored. Our curiosity was assuaged. We no longer had to agonize over the story events and bite our nails while waiting for our mom to collect us all together again for another reading session. It was a book whose ending needed to be devoured. After all we were hungry. Whew. I don't know which of us leaked out that we'd read the ending to my mom but we got in trouble. Big trouble. Now I realize it was because we ruined the fun for my mom. At that time, when my sister and I were finishing off the book our actions seemed totally justified. Having read aloud to my younger brothers and knowing the joy of suspense and relating a story I can truly say, "Sorry, Mom."  Since that time having also discovered many more books with hooks and tension I can say, "Oh man, what a book." I'm sure somehow that book helped shape my childhood. I know for a fact that because my parents read to us so often that I have to this day a love for literature, words, stories, language and above all Books.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Crazy? Who me?

I've been pyschotic lately. Actually not. Not according to the definition for psychosis on Wikipedia. But I've felt like I'd like to be pyschotic. The definition says psychosis is, "a mental state often described as involving a 'loss of contact with reality.'" For the past couple of weeks I'd have really benefited if I'd lost some contact with reality.
Most people know I have noise issues. They've seemed magnified lately. And I've had extreme thoughts such as selling my house, quitting my job, and moving to some place called Quietville. If it existed - I'd so be there.
So then one day after I made a moderate rant on Twitter about my neighbor breaking the sound barrier with his Television (or something) my mom retweets saying, "I just googled Noise Sensitivity Disorders.... yikes!"
Thanks, Mom, that's encouraging.
So I google it too.
And believe it or not! There are people out there who have way bigger issues with noise than I do. Like they nearly go insane if they hear people eating. That makes me feel better. A little bit. I mean, it doesn't solve my noise problems; dualing sound system booming from both my neighbors or the three or more neighborhood dogs who are like the energizer bunnies of barking. They keep going and going and going (and going). But I don't have small noise sensitivity, just big noise. So far. Also I don't have anxiety attacks. This also is good. Very good. I'm feeling more normal all the time. Knowledge is power. And other cliches.
One of the sites I scanned about NS (noise sensitivity) said that some NS issues can be traced back to autoimmune disorders. Ah ha. This makes sense. I have one, it's called Rheumatoid Arthritis. RA and I are in the process of terminating our relationship. Currently we're working out the details on who gets the house after the divorce. If I sell it quick and move to Quietville RA is gonna be SOL. But no, really, I do notice that when the arthritis flares up loud, persistent, invasive (tell me how you really feel?) noise bothers me more and I feel more irrational to it.
So maybe the trick is to acknowledge these subtle flare-ups and learn some techniques to create quiet even when it's noisy. My dad suggested EFT and I think that's a good idea. Thanks, Dad.

While I'm totally self-analyzing here let me also say I think that I let myself sink into a slump. Today my mom said, "Even baseball players have slumps. Maybe you're just having a slump too." I can understand that. Great conversation, and I was all about the baseball analogies until we got onto chewing tobacco and ball scratching.
So yeah. Moving on. Math has never been my strongest subject but here's a basic equation:
Noise issues + slump = bad news.
Normally I'm all over my goals. Listing them and taking names. But for about two months I've been a little meh. Most of the time when I encounter a lack of motivation I can fix it by giving myself a good figurative kick in the pants. Lately I haven't felt like it. My kicker musta gotten broke. Or more to the point I've been a slacker. True. Sad, but true.
This doesn't exactly mean I haven't been doing anything but sitting on the couch watching TV and eating potato chips. It doesn't mean that at all because number one I don't get television service, not even the Spanish stations since the networks switched to digital, and number two I don't eat potato chips.
But what it does mean is that I haven't been sticking with my goal of writing at least one hour every day.
Finally last night I ignored the tempting pile of books I have out on loan from the library and went upstairs to work on my own novel. Which I hope will be loaned out to other book lovers (aka readers) one day.
The thing is, I love writing, but like exercise, often times getting started back up is the hardest part. Sometimes turning the computer on can be the hardest part. Sometimes I just need a slump buster or a good old kick in the pants. Last night was my Slump Buster SWAT team's first strike. Tonight Slump should be retreating in fear. Adios, Slump, I'm getting back to work!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Conversations with Siblings

There are six of us siblings. A nine year span from oldest to youngest. Though between the six of us there is more than nine degrees of thought separation. Yet we all get along. More or less. It's a slight danger to society to let us out together in public. You never know if someone will end up scaling a brick wall (we played The Spiderman Game as children -led by our father, naturally enough. He also made up the game), threaten to start a fight if people don't quit staring at the kilt-wearing males (who unfairly look better in a skirt than I do), hang spoons off noses at a restaurant (most often our own) or burst out into song and/or dance. Because after all, life should be a musical like The Pirates of Penzance or Everyone Says I Love You. When we're together, anything could happen. Add my parents into the mix and then I truly do mean anything

Now that's action. I live 700+ miles away from 4 out of 5 of my siblings (and from my parents). So the actual potentially dangerous times we're all together are limited to holidays. Praise be (I'm sure someone is saying). I owe a great debt of gratitude to modern technology. Mostly to the cell phone. Reach out and touch someone. Stay Connected. Can You Hear Me Now? The cellular phone allows me to bond with my family in a way that's much safer than actual face to face interaction, ie., Conversation.

Here's a small sampling of what my life of conversations with my siblings is like.

My younger sister calls me all the time. Our conversations should be taped and aired. She's hilarious. Plus she's a talker. Often times the conversation is pretty one-sided. I mean it's spoken by her and only interupted by my choking laughter.
Recent comment regarding our family:
Younger Sister: "We're good people. We have morals. We don't always follow them but we have them."
Yes, true. It feels a little like a Alfred P. Doolittle kind of morality. Too bad we can't get paid for it. Where are rich American moralists when you need them to die and leave you an inheritance?
Another time the phone rings and I answer, "Hello?"
Younger Sister: "Are"
Me: "Hippopotami."
Younger Sister: "Are hippopotamuses mammals or amphibious?"
Me: "Mammals means they have live young. Amphibious means they can live both in and out of water. I think you're confusing amphibious with reptilian."
There upon follows a heated argument where she tries to convince me I'm wrong even though I've just looked up amphibious in the dictionary to be sure and read the definition to her.
Younger Sister: "Okay, so maybe I got amphibious confused with reptile. Well, do any other animals besides humans have sex for fun?"
Hold up. There's a gear shift. But I suddenly feel like the all-knowing. First because she'd ask me something like that at all. And second because I know. I'm not sure if I should be alarmed or glad that I know this.
Me: "Dolphins do."
Younger Sister: "Really?"
Me: "Pretty sure."
Younger Sister: "Well, (ever the skeptic) google it tomorrow and let me know for sure."

The next day the phone rings and I answer, "Hello?"
Younger Sister: "I googled it after we talked and dolphins do have recreational sex. Also they have homosexual tendencies."
Me: "That's interesting. I think I'd heard that."
Younger Sister: "We should start a church against the dolphins of Sodom and Gomorrah. Empty the oceans until they mend their wicked ways." I imagine her pounding her fist into the air. The conversation only got crazier from that point on. Somewhere in the midst I nearly died by guffawing. Before hanging up we both agreed that maybe we shouldn't be allowed to talk with each other anymore.
That resolve lasted less than 24 hours.
She and I both have this fear that our conversations are monitored by the government. Mostly due to something regarding a passport and a microwave. But I plead the Fifth on that. Neither wild horses nor homosexual dolphins could drag the story out of me.

My youngest brother also calls me frequently. Most often when he's bored. I'm like the boredom buster for the White kids. Or maybe I'm just a last resort. "I've reached the end of myself. What else can I do but call my sister?" Some gene was activated in the younger sibs which makes them highly entertaining. My brother should have a stand-up show or something. I'd watch it. I'd pay to watch it even. Often times I write down the things he says and put them in a short story later on. He loves that. He also says that helps him talk with me at his top game. At his funniest because he knows there's the potential reoccurance of his words.
A recent conversation:
Me: "I wrote some lyrics and I was thinking that maybe you could do some rap on it once I've got it worked out."
My Youngest Brother: "You already do the beat?"
Me: "No. I figured I'd write the music or if you wanted to you could, but it has to be sung by a woman. That's the point of the lyrics."
My Youngest Brother: "I can't do beats. Everytime I try to do a beat it sounds like something the devil is gonna pop out of."
I nearly fall of the couch as I envision the devil popping out of a beat. Of course, he's wearing red and carrying a pitchfork. This is not an Angel of Light devil. Beat popping devils are horned and mustachioed. Obviously. I wipe the laughter spit from my chin as I write my brother's words in my handy notebook. After my spasms have died down I tell him, "Okay. I'll write the music then."

My older sister and I have a great enduring relationship. Mostly united by movie, book, and inside joke quotes. We don't need a lot of sentimentality or constant connection.
She and I talk mostly by text or when I'm in town. Occasionally by email. Word to word conversations only happen when we've really got something to say.
Our conversations go something like this [by text]:
Older Sister: "The Intercostal Clavicle!"
Me: "Ha! I can't give you anything but love, baby."
It makes a lot of sense if you know the movie Bringing Up Baby. Which I promptly went online to buy so that she and I could watch it together when I came into town. "Look, David, I was born on the side of a hill."
Older Sister: "I just had a george mcdonald goblin princess moment. Now i need 2 read it again. Remember mom readin it 2 us as we drove thru the virginias?"
Me: "Absolutely. I haven't read that in forever. What kind of goblin princess moment?"
Older Sister: "Just a feelin. Sittin on da bus listenin 2 music. I thought thats da goblin princess and had a sudden stronge desire 2 be a goblin."
I remember making some weird allusion about her and I being two old ladies living in a haunted house and having lizards for pets instead of cats. I'm not really sure how I got to that but what can I say? We have a connection. She understood.
Older Sister: "Why i wanted 2 be a goblin i don't kno. I think they were the bad guys. Yes?   But i like ur idea."
Which means I'd better find a cool, creepy house to buy so we can live out our lives in peace with our lizards.

My Second Youngest Brother goes through long batches of silence. He's a quiet one. But not quiet enough. He lived with me for a year and a half and was always thoughtful enough to keep me in my place.
A roughly reinacted conversation from an era gone by:
Me: "I'm going to bed."
Second Youngest Brother: "Your mom is going to bed."
Me: "Dang it. No, your mom is going to bed."
His silence is enough to prove that my arguing skills really suck.
The next day while we're driving some place he snaps his fingers and the traffic light changes to green.
Me: "You don't have magical powers."
But I really feel like he does. Every time my car approaches a light it turns red. And he has this ability to override that. I should pay him to ride with me every where. I know I'd save on time. After all time is money. So there you have it.

Then there's my other brother. Even though he's 16 months my junior I always have to stop myself from calling him my older brother. He's really not even that bossy. To me. He and I recently had a really great conversation. All about politics and ideals and the current world order. About the current world order--we're four-square against it. So we're gonna the change the world. Through conversations and blogs and emails and sheer goodwill.
Says my Not-Really-Older Brother: "It reminds me of Enders Game with the two siblings blogging about politics and changing the world. It's the least we could hope for."

I think you can expect good things, if not from the both of us, at least from him.
As for the rest of us and our conversations--Oy vey, is possibly the best expression to use.

Friday, April 16, 2010

An Irrational Love

I have an irrational love for Baseball. Yes, baseball. There's something about baseball that is just so right. It transports me back to my childhood. My mom says she played softball while I was baking in the womb. I realize I'm deviating a little from baseball to softball but the idea is the same. Bats, gloves, socks pulled up to the knees, caps pulled down over the eyes, diamonds, bases, the smell of hotdogs, 9 players on the field. My older sister and I attended many games when we were tow-headed little tykes. Catching sun, getting windburned, cheering with pride and gathering a love for the sport in our hearts. At least mine. My sister might not care at all.

Now my mom was a badass player. Her team was that team all the other league teams dreaded playing. They were that good. Mom played rover and had a killer sidearm throw you wouldn't want to be on the wrong side of. Believe that. One time a fly ball soared out of reach of the base[wo]man and mom, running fast to get under it, dove for it. She caught the ball in the edge of her glove as she turned a front somersault to return to her feet. Then she rocketed that ball to the catcher who tagged out the player sliding in to home plate. The best double-play of all time. I'm sure I saw it. I wish I remembered it. Yeah, that was my mom.
My mom also drank Mountain Dew while she was pregnant with me which resulted in my not being able to sit still for the first decade of my life. But that's a while other story all together.

Baseball evokes summertime. Can't you just smell the fresh mown grass? Feel the subtle grit of the sand collect on your upper lip as the umpire wipes home plate clean with the special brush he keeps in his back pocket? That's baseball. It has everything. Fencing, fighting, torture, true love, revenge. Oh heck, no, wait, that's The Princess Bride. But baseball has an essential element: Suspense. I hold my breath as the batter steps up to confront a 3/2, grinds his cleat into the dust, sticks his elbows out, wipe-grips the bat between ready hands, turns his head to eye the pitcher, and, if he's Moonlight Graham from Field of Dreams, he winks. Then the pitcher gets pissed and tries to put the ball into his ear. God, I love baseball.

Baseball embodies the essence of Americanism. Because after all wasn't America founded on Baseball? I'm sure the Founding Fathers played baseball to unwind after long days of debating which words to insert into The Declaration of Independence. Just hometown boys playing hometown games. Children playing using sticks for bats in the city streets, playing barefoot in parks, going for just one last inning past dark. Baseball kindles a sense of community, it unites where other things divide. There you are on the bleachers sharing a homemade sandwich with your neighbor as you talk ERAs and RBIs. You nearly explode with pride when one of your players hits a homer, pound your neighbor on the arm and laugh together when you realize he's nearly exploding with pride too. Somehow the baseball diamond reminds me of a time when America was made up of people, of mom and pop stores, of soda-fountains, of star filled nights where a ball gets lost in the gleam of the field lights--not of corporations or the rat race, something other than taxes and governmental interference. It's the land itself, it's a place, it's a home.  

Then there's the tactile thrill of the sport. The smell of a leather glove held up to your face. The sharp thwap of a bat connecting with a ball. The heat of the sun against your back while you stand at the ready in the outfield. The heat of the sun hitting the bill of your cap while you sit in the stands chanting, "Hey batta, batta, swing, batta, batta." The sound of cheers drowning out the dirt gouging shuffle of a succesful slide into third. The weight of the ball against your fingertips as you nod to the catcher's signals and wind-up for the pitch.
Are you there yet?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Dreamchild Moneyhands McGee, I never loved any zygote the way I loved you. You turned out to be more like a dream than anything else. But what'll always be true is that you'll hold a place in my heart, a special locked away place, like a hidden cache covered over by a secret panel. Always precious, always loved.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Miscellaneous Mutterings and Math

Each week day morning a little before 6:00 my neighbor leaves his house. And by leaves his house I mean he slams his door causing a tremor which probably registers a 7.2 on the Richter magnitude scale. A quake of that magnitude is a major one and can cause serious damage over large areas. Which means it wakes me up and causes me serious dream damage over the large area of my sanity. I figure I'm losing approximately 5 to 13 minutes of sleep each morning. If I take the average of these two numbers I estimate that I'm being jolted out of about 45 minutes of sleep each week. This adds up to 180 minutes per month. 2340 minutes per year. Which, if my calculator is handling these numbers correctly, means I'm losing 39 hours, hours!, of sleep a year. Sheesh.

My solutions: (a) Write a ranting blog about it. (b) Talk with my neighbor about the value of gently closing the door instead of slamming. (c) Participate in a sleep-deprivation study. (d) Wake up even earlier and bang vigorously on his front door to tell him, "You can't control my sleep habits if I control yours, yo." (f) Move out of my townhome into a secluded, reclusive, quiet home. (e) Get therapy for my noise pollution issues.

Speaking of Noise Pollution Issues I've got them big time. When my brother lived with me he used to say, "It's just noise," as if that would somehow make the pounding walls and indoor thunderstorms less bone rattling. Somehow less offensive to me. It worked occasionally. But you know, every now and then I'd like a nice blanket of silence. In my own home. At one point I looked into soundproofing but it's a little out of my budget for the time being. And soundproofing usually works better if it's done on the noise side. I researched it. A lot.
This brings me to the idea of Utilitarianism vs. Deontology; the struggle of good for the most people at one time or good for self (If you know these terms and I'm using them incorrectly please just give me credit for using big words, pretend I know what I'm saying, shake your head at my ignorance and keep reading).
Because you see, when my neighbor is enjoying his music at mach number levels and breaking the sound barrier with sub-woofing objects of sound, it infringes on my ability to enjoy the solace of silence or even my own music at sub-mach levels. This seems drastically unfair. Now, my neighbor is a nice guy, and several times--driven to the Extremity of taking action--I've asked him to turn his music down and he's complied. Maybe he thinks it's unfair to not be able to enjoy his music at a decible level capable of mulching tree branches or vibrating small mammals to death. I don't know. Maybe here we're just dealing with the eternal struggle for a balance between two individuals. Dominance of my rights or his? Community living is all about give and take. Live and learn. Live and let die. I'm all for peaceful living but at times I feel like challenging the neighborhood noise makers to mortal combat. If I win, more silence for me. If I lose, I guess I get a pretty permanent silence. So it seems like a win/win situation.