Category Archives: thoughts

a window to your life.

I know of someone who is hurting today. I don’t know her personally, but she’s a Twitter acquaintance. I’d never spoken with her before, but I sent her a private message asking if she was OK after seeing what appeared to be a rather dire tweet in her feed. She responded later in the day explaining what has to be the most heartbreaking situation.

On one hand, my heart broke for her as well, getting those few details of the situation that could fit into 140-character blurbs. On the other, I was astonished at her openness. I realize that being strangers almost makes it easier, because I’ll never show up at her door or tell anyone what I know or really have much to say besides, “I hope things get better.” But she could’ve chosen never to respond, or at least to lie and say, “Nope, I’m OK. Just a rough day.”

She didn’t. And that’s one of the things I love about Twitter. It connects people in real ways. Sure, not all my “friends” are really my friends. Heck, I could count up the friends I have and still have a few toes left over, while Twitter and Facebook both claim I’m going on about 350. But there’s something different about Twitter. While not all of these people are my real-life friends, I care about them in similar ways. I look forward to the information and thoughts they share. To those brief periods of interaction and camaraderie. Not to mention the constant flow of funny videos, nerd goodies and other stuff I wouldn’t find without them.

Social media really is an amazing thing at the base level. Jazz it up a little (but not too much) and you have something that is so multipurpose that many people rely on it on a day-to-day basis. It is community. It is fun, interactive, friendly and informative. It can be someone’s solace and support, even someone’s lifeline when a really tough day rears its head. Twitter has been that for me some days, when my heart’s been too heavy to pick up the phone and call a friend, when my thoughts won’t stay in one place long enough to write an e-mail or a blog entry. Getting those 140-character snippets has been a lifesaver (or at least a smile inducer) more than once.

I told this woman on Twitter that my thoughts are with her, that I’ll be here should she need anything. Even though we’ve never met. Even though I couldn’t tell you more than a handful of things about her. Even though we’ll probably never see each other’s faces outside a slanted avatar beside our tweets. I’m still there. We all are. I think the community Twitter and other social networking sites let us build is one that’s stronger than we realize. We may not drop everything to help a fellow user, but we’re sure to go out of our way to find a URL, share a contact or even put in a good word should the request come. And because we see random thoughts and ideas flying about all day, we can answer unasked questions and come through well before we’re expected to, just because social media gives us that window into each other’s daily lives.

That’s why I love Twitter. As silly as it sounds, even if another DDoS or other attack wipes out Twitter completely, I will look back on my time there fondly. But I don’t think it’s going anywhere. Even with as much growth and change as we’ve seen in the past year, there’s a million miles yet to go in the world of social media, and I hope I’ll get to be one of those people who laces up her shoes and runs alongside.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under thoughts, twitter, web

I whiffled. Now I can’t move.

Yesterday afternoon marked the first real physical activity I’ve had in a while. Not the routinized jaunt on the elliptical trainer, mind you, but straining of muscles, unfamiliar motions. I’m so incredibly stiff and sore today, I can barely move, especially after sitting at my desk in a single position for just a bit too long, which has happened more than once already today. And how did I hurt myself to this degree, you ask? Playing whiffle ball.

I went with Bryan to a cookout at his parents’ house yesterday afternoon. I’d met his dad the previous weekend (and played a few rounds of billiards with them both) but this event resulted in meeting the mom, the brother, the brother’s girlfriend, the “uncle” and his wife. It also meant that the men in the family broke out the whiffle bat and balls for a rousing game of hit-the-roof-or-you-lose in the backyard.

I wandered outside to watch them from afar for a few minutes. It was humid out after one of many short rainstorms that had punctuated the day after a full-blown thunderstorm in the early-morning hours. With the heat, the thickness of the air, the skirt I was wearing and the predominate testosterone of the players, I thought about staying in the shade, out of the game. But as soon as my bare feet sunk into the warm wet of the backyard grass, my girlish tendencies sort of switched off. I was transported back to those days in my own backyard, when my brother-in-law taught me how to hold the bat, swing harder but smarter, watch the ball until it hit the bat. I couldn’t stop myself from elbowing my way into the game. And while it may not have appeared that way to the others involved, that is precisely what I did. Because, as I said to Bryan, I’d much rather play than watch. As the other ladies looked on from the shade of the patio umbrella, I wandered around in the muck fetching balls.

Now, you see, I am not one of those annoying girls who loves to talk about sports and leaves the TV on ESPN so the next man who turns it on marvels at what must be her sexy habit of watching sports all day. Hah. No, my best friends can tell you that I am not like that at all. But I DID play softball. And I DID like it, when my parents weren’t forcing it on me and I wasn’t pissing my pants with anxiety while on deck on a hot July afternoon, sweating through my light-gray #44 T-shirt. And I DO like other active things, like kayaking, gym exercise, taking walks, hiking, occasionally climbing a rock or two. It was that piece of my personality that came alive when I watched them swing the little yellow whiffle bat. So I elbowed. And they relented, patiently.

I didn’t hit the roof, but Bryan did give me the opportunity to come close on two occasions. It was enough to make me want to try again someday, if I’m still in the picture come their next backyard pick-up game. And maybe then I won’t swing at terrible pitches. And maybe I’ll have learned to trash talk well enough to fit in.

The remainder of the evening included some delicious hamburgers and hotdogs, photos from Bryan’s mom’s trip to Yellowstone (beautiful!), some billiards playing and a couple corner brownies with ice cream and raspberry sauce. Even being the oddest man out, I reveled in the familial vibe in that house, in the constant, comfortable conversation that reverberated through every room. It made me miss Michigan even more strongly than I had already.

We vacated when Bryan’s weekend head cold refused to back down and he was overdue for another dose of meds. We returned to his house, I went out to get him some groceries for his recovery at home today and then it was another early bedtime, which made me happy. I had whiffled myself into a state of exhaustion. Now to keep that up as the summer progresses. I had forgotten how awesome it hurts when you do something active. It’s one of my favorite feelings in the world.

4 Comments

Filed under exercise, fun, happiness, health, recap, thoughts

because y’all know I can’t stick to ONE goal

I’m going with four goals instead of one. Surprised? I’m not. ;)

  1. Get the résumé online ASAP
  2. Read more, like I used to. I’ve borrowed two great books now, and have several more at my disposal, so it’s time to whip my brain back into shape.
  3. In the same vein, get back to visiting the gym at least 3x per week. I can read there AND I will feel better on a daily basis if I do.
  4. Also in that vein (healthy veins are good after all) continue getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night. I’d been at 6 for the past several months, then ended up with much more than that for a few nights. It felt good. I need to stick with that pattern as much as possible.

Now, 2-4 are goals I’ve had before, but they’re also easy ones to fulfill, so I’m going at ’em again. Wish me luck!!

[P.S. I have several other goals that are playing at the periphery of my brain, but I won’t list them here, lest I ruin my chances of fulfilling any of them because I’m trying to juggle too many balls at once. Since I am unable to juggle, this seems like a bad idea on the whole.]

2 Comments

Filed under books, exercise, goals, health, plans, thoughts

dimly on a Friday evening

I can almost guarantee this entry will be neither thought provoking nor particularly eloquent. I’m sitting in a dim living room at the moment, looking out over two snoozing felines, listening to deep, even breaths coming from the nearby bedroom… erk! Hoping my ringing cell phone didn’t just wake said deep, even breather!

My regular phone calls home prove to me that my life is not very interesting at the moment, at least not in the conventional sense of the word. I am not fighting crime or building empires in my spare time. I am hanging out with a boy and his cats, watching a bit more TV on DVD than usual, playing (and wanting to play) Lego Star Wars on the Xbox just a little too much. Not working out enough, sleeping enough or being motivated enough at the office. It is a familiar phase for me, and it will pass eventually—this much I know for sure. But, just now, I’m enjoying it while it’s here, while I have an excuse to be starry eyed and silly 95% of the time. I’m giving myself a free pass just this once, no deep-seated, self-induced guilt trips or sudden, random dips into depression. I’m coasting. It feels good.

Now, that’s not to say everything’s perfect; it never is, in fact. But it’s damn near for me. Even as I stare at empty frozen-custard cups that beg me to pitch them, even as I grumble through a month’s overdue laundry, even as I yawn my way through a day at the office, I realize that the happiness I get to have now is worth the imperfections. When I am unhappy, life is one big imperfection, one giant blemish in the grand scheme of things. And when life IS the grand scheme of things… well, that’s a tough one, isn’t it? So I will take this near-perfect situation and hold it dear to my heart. And laugh at its occasional pitfalls and fairly noticeable quirks and tics.

In the professional world, things are the same as always, though I grow irritable more quickly with my tasks than I once did. I suppose that’s a sign of the times, both for me and for the company as a whole. Everyone is quicker to anger now, quicker to threaten walking out, even with no place else to go. We’re all on edge and we’re all a bit fed up with what we cannot change, what happens higher in the ranks than we dare to tread a single step. And that height is the very thing that causes the strife for everyone. For those who wish to attain greatness, the strife comes in the form of glass ceilings, hiring freezes, cut positions and a sort of moratorium on progress. Those who wish to remain in the lower bowl (me, for example) turn a spiteful eye to those out for personal gain, become tense when issues of clout are discussed, wish the whole system would dissolve into the disorganized heap it really is so we could start fresh and make something good out of our company again. That said, I know they’re doing the best they can with what they have… most, anyway. Those that aren’t, that are looking out for #1 and #1 alone… well, they can head out any day now, and I don’t doubt for a second they’ll never be missed, at least not by me.

This is when I quit my cushy desk job and become a waitress at a diner. Doesn’t that sound fun, kids? Take a risk, start a new life AND force myself to speak at a normal volume all in one fell swoop!

In things-that-don’t-frustrate-me news, Bryan lent me a book called Storm Front, by Jim Butcher. I’m about three chapters in and loving it so far, in spite of the fact that Butcher is still just setting the scene. I’m OK with that—I appreciate the opportunity to visualize the scene and the characters in greater detail before delving into the story. While it’s nice to be reminded as you go along what the characters are like, and add to their depth and breadth with anecdotes and revealing moments along the way, I desire a solid foundation to go on most of the time. Unless I’m reading one of those pointedly confusing books written to make one’s head spin in circles.

I am attempting to create an online resume (on Bryan’s Mac laptop, so I have no idea how to make accented “e”s or how to find a character map, if there is one at all). I really need to do it myself using HTML and CSS, but I haven’t had the energy of late. I did start piecing something together using moonfruit, which is free and sleek and lovely. But that won’t fly when I’m looking for HTML AND CSS JOBS. Ha. However, it is giving me inspiration for how to make my real site look. And if I can just figure out some fancy-looking-but-not-actually-difficult-to-implement JavaScript, we’ll be good to go.

I’ve also noticed a few things I’ve been missing in my life lately. But then I look at what my life DOES contain and wonder how on earth I’m supposed to wedge it all in. Maybe I’m too shallow and one-dimensional. Maybe I need to hone my multitasking skills until they can slice hairs without even being in the same room. There are NPR shows I want to listen to, movies I want to see, books I want to read, places I want to visit, languages I want to learn, games I want to play, experiences I want to have just once to say I did, foods I want to eat, laughs I want to share… There’s just so MUCH to be done and seen and FELT in this world. I feel like I’m still fresh and warm from the womb with about a million miles to go before I reach the first summit of what I expect will be an endless mountain range of life experiences. And that’s great, I love that—I just don’t know where to begin. That indecision breeds laziness and stress, which then makes me drop out of the race completely and return to base camp without even donning all my gear.

I need to start with one thing. One. Just one. Not one thing to get to another. It CAN be one thing that eventually leads to another, but I need to keep my eye on the thing, not the other. If I want to learn to knit, I need to focus on learning, not on producing the World’s Best Scarf Just in Time for Christmas, Which is Three Weeks Away. No, no! See how that breeds failure? If I want to volunteer my time more, I need to focus on finding good places to volunteer, choosing one and trying it out. Not choosing seven, trying to volunteer at all of them and stretching my resources so thin I have nothing left to give anyone at the end of the week.

What one thing would you suggest? Or what’s one thing you’ve been wanting to learn or do lately? Or that you are learning or doing as we speak? If nothing else, it would be nice to read about others’ plans, others’ triumphs. Or failures—either way. I’m usually a happy-endings kind of gal, but I can revel in tragedy with the best of ’em!

That is enough drivel for one dim Friday evening. I’m going to see if the heavy breather is still breathing and maybe flip on a light or two.

2 Comments

Filed under books, dating, fun, happiness, jobs, recap, thoughts

makin’ a way in the world today

otherlands

It’s taking everything I’ve got and then some. BUT I am taking a break tonight and hanging out in Midtown. (Although I realized about a minute ago that my time is limited at this particular locale, Otherlands Coffee Bar, which closes in 35 minutes. Oops.)

I haven’t written lately because my brain’s been far too scattered to focus on a single topic for more than 5 minutes. And considering my tendency to write short novels in my blog, this distracted state and blogging do not mesh.

I often have thoughts I don’t write down. Thoughts that go slightly longer than the 140 characters allowed in twitter, but not really all that interesting. I really should record them, if for no other reason than I can avoid kicking myself later for forgetting about them. But I haven’t.

I’m currently reading a book called Art & Fear, by David Bayles and Ted Orland. It’s about how fear impedes artmaking and how to keep it from doing so. I’ve not considered myself an artist since before middle-school art class, when I was told not to try to duplicate a certain piece because I didn’t have the skill. I know writing is an art form, too, but I don’t consider myself an artist there either. In reading this book, though, I realize artmaking is many things, but the lessons can be applied to life in general as well. Not being afraid to stand up for yourself and what you believe. Not backing down when challenged or fearful. Not giving up. I’m thinking this might become a guide to life rather than just a guide to art. I’ll let you know how it pans out.

I’ve been extremely busy at work and feeling exhausted by 9:30 p.m. every night, so you can see the kind of track my train is on right now. I work a lot longer than a should, go to bed later than is necessary and feel like a ball of agony much of the time. However, arm pain has kept me from working out this week. Arm pain and e-newsletters. They have it out for me, for sure.

I still don’t feel like writing, so this ends here. I hope you’re all well. I should just get a video camera and vlog my life — maybe then I’d have things to say.

1 Comment

Filed under blogging, books, memphis, thoughts

reflections on a thumbnail apartment

aptThumbs
As nice as the house is that I currently live in, it’s not a home. Even if I felt comfortable with the circumstances, the whole feel of the place is cold and uninviting. The furniture isn’t comfortable, every surface is scrubbed to a gleam and it’s just a little too perfect in all the little ways that most lived-in houses are not. I think back to the days of laughing about how my grandparents’ house never felt like anyone lived there. They occupied so little space themselves and kept everything so tidy, it was like half the house or more never got used. Just the recliner downstairs so Grandpa could watch baseball games late into the night, the kitchen table where they’d share crossword puzzles and Bible study over breakfast and their bedroom and bathroom. Everything else was pristine. But I didn’t have to live there myself, so what did it really matter to me in the long run?

But being here feels bad all around. Even my tiny thumbnail of an apartment already feels cozier than this place, with half-unpacked boxes, wads of newspaper packing and unsorted socks all over the place. I already feel more at home there than here. Luxurious beds, hardwood floors and granite counters, be damned! I’d rather have all my Craigslist furniture, a kitchen that’s too small and a little balcony facing the woods. That equation is better any day of the week. And, yes, I’m having a little trouble fitting everything I own into this minuscule space without jamming full every nook and cranny in the place, but I’m making marked progress. Photos are forthcoming, I assure you.

Seriously, though—who has only one piece of comfortable furniture in the entire house? Especially when it’s a recliner. Only one person can occupy a La-Z-Boy at a time. It ain’t no papasan chair, after all. ;)

5 Comments

Filed under home, moving, thoughts

a tribute to team trivia

We are all linked in certain ways to certain people. The smaller the group, the closer the knit, the more bonded we feel. On the broadest scale, we are human beings, relating to each other because we share a phase in evolutionary progress. We are Americans. We are Tennesseans. We are Memphians. As the sizes of these groups lessen, our loyalty builds. If we hear about a fellow Memphian in the grander scheme of national news, we experience a sense of camaraderie. If a coworker or neighbor is put on public trial, we will stand in support of his cause.

It is loyalty and community like this that sometimes surprises me, especially under circumstances of competition. So when I heard applause break through the hanging smoke of the crowded barroom tonight, I was brought nearly to tears. The 12th-place name announced was ours, and the clapping came from a team across the room, one with whom we’d been competing the past few months at a similarly smoky barroom across town. To hear anyone applaud for us besides ourselves was surprising, but it reminded me how closely knit we feel coming from the same Wednesday-night Fox & Hound subset of the Memphis Trivia League.

Here is a quick rundown of how the league works for those unfamiliar… Teams convene at 43 bars across Memphis and the surrounding area and vie for points, gift certificates and standing at their respective bars. This regular competition goes on for a number of weeks, during which teams can be comprised of any number of players and show up whenever they want. At our location, first, second and third place teams each week received $50, $25 and $10 gift certificates (respectively) to the Fox & Hound for food, games and non-alcoholic drinks. Other bars have their own system for compensation. Each win gives that team a certain number of points that are tallied on the online leaderboard. Once the regular season ends, the top five teams from each location qualify for the first round of semifinals. Seven bars’ worth of teams compete in these initial semi-finals. With no-shows, 28 teams were in the game tonight at Brookhaven Pub & Grill off Poplar. From here, the top 12 teams will advance to the next round of semi-finals and on into infamy.

In all those weeks at the Fox & Hound, we began forming bonds, not only with our own teammates, but also with those who faced similar challenges. With a cheating team constantly coming out on top, we became closer with the often second-place winners, Spinal Tappin’ That Ass (hereafter STTA). They are a kind-mannered bunch of nerds (like us) who win totally on their own smarts and merit, no iPhones necessary. We always felt better when STTA beat Boats and Hoes (the cheaters, hereafter B&H) and when STTA showed up so low in the standings at halftime tonight, we were sad for them. B&H didn’t show their faces, but we still wanted STTA to make it through. They deserved it after such a valiant effort in the regular season. Little did I know, but STTA was cheering us on too.

When the final 12 teams were called that qualified for round two, we clapped when STTA was tied for 9th place. And when they called us as team 12, STTA cheered for us. Not just clapped, but CHEERED. They then walked over to our table, congratulated us with big smiles. Even as competitors, we were so happy to see that both teams had made it through. I rarely see such genuine sentiment these days. We were bonded by our shared location, our honest/fair playing practices, our desire to beat B&H into the ground and a general nerdiness that comes with being trivia players. And we were both underdogs, rising from the ashes of 25th+ place and 20th place to reach 9th and 12th. That’s a lot to go on.

Humanity astounds me sometimes. Even when I feel like the most selfish person alive, I still know that I’d be happy to see STTA win it all. It wouldn’t make me feel like I’d won it all by association. And I wouldn’t feel envious that we didn’t make it that far. I’d just feel happy that these great people won. That they showed us support, and we showed it back, and they took the win. I hope that happens. They’d deserve it.

Go BBB, go STTA. Team Trivia FTW.

Leave a comment

Filed under friends, fun, generosity, recap, thoughts