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Sometimes – Sheenagh Pugh

Sometimes things don’t go, after all,
from bad to worse.  Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don’t fail,
sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.

A people sometimes will step back from war;
elect an honest man, decide they care
enough, that they can’t leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.

Sometimes our best efforts do not go
amiss, sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen:  may it happen for you.

Stomping Through The Sod Fields.

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As a kid, I spent a pretty decent amount of time alone – we lived in the countryside, I was an only child, and my parents weren’t big believers in entertaining me.  There were 7 kids living within biking/walking-distance from my home, and only 3 of them were the same age as me (the rest were younger siblings) – and I really only liked one of them.

When I wasn’t in school, I spent most of my time reading books, playing with various toys (barbie, hot wheels, lego), or aimlessly wandering around the fields, orchards, and small forests around my home.  I built forts. I dug holes in the potato fields. I climbed trees. I skulked around the sugar shack.

I enjoyed being alone. I still genuinely like it.

There comes a point in most days where I absolutely need some time to myself. I can feel myself getting more and more irritable and short-tempered. I need to not hear anyone else breathing or talking. Ideally, it’s a time when I can let my focus shift and my brain can relax – not driving or working from home, but just slacking. Listening to my own thoughts.  God help anyone who interrupts me once my brain has shut down for a spell. My nerves need to regenerate, or something.

I have often wondered how well I would do living alone, without in-person social contact. I don’t mean solitary confinement-style – that sounds awful – but the sort of life where I didn’t see anyone for days, or weeks, or even months on end. A cabin in the woods, say.

I suspect I’d get weirder than I already am; I maintain a pretty loose grasp on social skills at the best of times.  But I wonder where my thoughts would go. I wonder how I would fill my days if I wasn’t forced to socialize and then have my ‘alone time’ limited simply by nature of living around other people.  Assuming I could get past the weirdness of being fully self-reliant, assuming I didn’t spend my days and nights curled up in a panic-ball waiting for a murderer to come crashing through the forest.. what would happen?

There are plenty of times when I enjoy being around people. I love my husband and I really like seeing his face and snugging up to him. I like my friends.  I enjoy my clients’ presence. I like chatting with the grocery store cashier and the random person in line with me for shawarma.  I am not averse to human beings, generally.

But would I go back to aimlessly wandering around in the woods? Would I start playing with barbies again and have long, drawn-out conversations at their staged tea parties? Would I devour thousands of books in a year?  Or would I just be lonely and weird and eventually become some sort of Unabomber-esque shadow person?  How long would it take before I reached my limit of weirdness?


Deep Breathing Makes Me Cough.

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I thought I was being pretty smart – I booked two extra days off on top of an already 3-day weekend. One of those extra days was to celebrate our ‘dating-iversary’ and the rest of the 4 days I had intended for a nice combination of relaxing and sorting out my life.  The last bit of February and the beginning of March are full of big, busy things. Events. Presentations.

And so, of course, the universe heard that I was planning a bit of downtime – and knocked me fully on my ass with a nasty cold. I spent all 5 days either asleep, in a stupor, or wishing I could sleep. There was codeine cough syrup involved and a lot of cold meds. I went through a lot of kleenex. I whined at my beloved husband a lot – whenever I had a voice with which to do so.

Today I returned to work – unenthusiastic and still under the weather (but much better). My energy levels are so low. I’m exhausted.   I kicked the day off with a meeting and, in spite of it being really important, part way through I just wanted to put my head down on the table.

I’m also anxious and overwhelmed.

This isn’t a good combination.

A few nights ago, I kept waking up in mild panic attacks. All night. The reasons for the panic were either unidentifiable or completely ridiculous. I’d go back to sleep and bolt awake again. Over and over again.  I would have been happier to have one full-on panic attack instead of 20 little ones. Jeezus.

I am trying to take (metaphorical) deep breaths. Focus. Baby steps. Make a list. Make another list. But I feel like I am scrambling. I looked at my calendar for tomorrow and realized that I had 3 meetings booked – with no space between them – in two different cities.  I felt like a jerk having to cancel one, but even as I was sending that email another request came in for me to speak at a FOURTH meeting on the same day.  I declined.

I have scoured my calendar for some days that I can take off, even if they’re not consecutive, in the hopes of giving myself some breathing space. I am trying to figure out what I can drop, what I can set down for a bit, what I can hand to someone else (and I’m having a hard time with it.) I am hyper-aware of all the little strings I am clutching at the moment and sort of praying that none of them fray until I’m on solid ground.

When I’m sleeping well again and when I’m not exhausted and when I can take literal deep breaths, none of this will feel as dire and awful as it does at the moment – I know this. I am not normally this worried about letting someone down, fucking something up, or forgetting something really big. I just need to find my way back to solid ground.

In the meantime, I’m going to be sneaking off to nap in my car any chance I get.


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Six or seven months ago, or so it feels, my coworker and I were discussing underpants – specifically where to find the softest, and the most comfortable, for the cheapest price. She made a recommendation for a particular brand, at a particular store, and noted that they were ridiculously inexpensive for a 4-pack.

I believe that a person can never own too many pairs of underpants (or socks) so I made my way over to the store. They came in two fabric types – my coworker hadn’t specified which version she thought was best – so I figured I would grab a package of each one.

The problem came when I tried to figure out what size to buy. Instead of having an actual size listed, it had a chart with measurements for hips and waist – in both centimetres and inches. Neither of which was helpful because I have absolutely no clue as to how many centimetres my butt takes up. 8? 52? 127?  10?  I don’t remember what the options were, but none of them seemed unreasonable or reasonable. Just random numbers.

Luckily, I am shaped like a marshmallow – a cylinder-ish shape – so I tried to remember my bra size and added a couple of inches and figured that might work. I grabbed two packages and went home, threw them into the washing machine and dryer, and then tried them on.

They sort of fit? I mean, they didn’t fall off of me – but they pulled up over my belly button. The waistband wasn’t noticeable in the slightest against my skin because it wasn’t even a tiny bit stretched. I started laughing when I looked in the mirror. Gramma panties!  Well, I had 8 pairs of them washed, so I put on my jeans and went about my day.

As it turns out, I fucking love these underpants. Both fabrics. Holy crap. As it turns out, the two fabrics are also slightly different designs, but.. I love them.

I have “stomach issues” at the best of times – I bloat after eating, I bloat more after eating certain foods (most of which I love to eat). I bloat when I have PMS. When my stomach is upset, any pressure on it makes me feel worse. My digestive system is a bitch.  These underpants stretch to the point that I could probably gain 20 pounds and they’d still fit – – but, still, amazingly don’t slide down. WTF. How do they work? MAGIC.

And that’s the story of how I ended up with a drawer full of incredibly ugly underpants.

Principles of Adult Behavio(u)r.

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John Perry Barlow created this list when he was 30 (in 1977) – I first read about them here. Some decent food for thought. Also, it would appear that I have some work to do…

  1. Be patient. No matter what.
  2. Don’t badmouth: Assign responsibility, not blame. Say nothing of another you wouldn’t say to him.
  3. Never assume the motives of others are, to them, less noble than yours are to you.
  4. Expand your sense of the possible.
  5. Don’t trouble yourself with matters you truly cannot change.
  6. Expect no more of anyone than you can deliver yourself.
  7. Tolerate ambiguity.
  8. Laugh at yourself frequently.
  9. Concern yourself with what is right rather than who is right.
  10. Never forget that, no matter how certain, you might be wrong.
  11. Give up blood sports.
  12. Remember that your life belongs to others as well. Don’t risk it frivolously.
  13. Never lie to anyone for any reason. (Lies of omission are sometimes exempt.)
  14. Learn the needs of those around you and respect them.
  15. Avoid the pursuit of happiness. Seek to define your mission and pursue that.
  16. Reduce your use of the first personal pronoun.
  17. Praise at least as often as you disparage.
  18. Admit your errors freely and soon.
  19. Become less suspicious of joy.
  20. Understand humility.
  21. Remember that love forgives everything.
  22. Foster dignity.
  23. Live memorably.
  24. Love yourself.
  25. Endure.