Monday, January 13, 2020

When I Grow Up

Do you ever look in the mirror and think,
Oh, there she is...I guess ?

I mean, I spent easily my first twenty years
wondering what kind of grownup I’d be someday,
and it was always hazy,
without any solid intentions.

So I slipped through the next couple of decades.
Just tonight, at forty years old,
I looked in the mirror and thought,

Because I guess I’m at the spot I was wondering about.

It’s pretty anticlimactic.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

The WORST Thing

I love my summertime travels, I really do. I love my anytime travels, to be honest. Hitting the road, the rails, or the airport--getting out of town is one of my very favorite things--but I'm not here to wax poetic about how fab it is to see the USA in your Chevrolet or whatever. I'm here to complain, and not about all of the things that suck about traveling--no, I want to complain about one thing in particular:

You know that moment, when you're away from home and all the things you find familiar and comfortable, and you've accumulated a little ripeness or je ne sais quoi and you just want to wash it all away? It's at that moment that you find yourself confronted by

Scenario One: Let's see. This one knob appears to turn on the water and set the temperature. Perfect. I see it easily toggles between wrath-of-Satan temperature and glacial snowmelt. Something in the middle would be ideal,, this device doesn't do that trick.
Scenario Two: Ooh, fancy. Three shower heads? A'ight, I'll just turn this knob. And this other one. Yeah, that's the perfect temperature. Okay, if I pull up on this lever thingy that should send it through the shower head. Yeah. That's it. Wait, that's it? I didn't even open the valves to the other two, and that's all the pressure you've got? It's okay, I can rinse my conditioner out under the sink faucet, I guess. The tile is pretty.
Scenario Three: This looks normal. Thank God. It'll just take a minute or two (or thirty) to dial in the ideal temperature. Turn this one up. No, too much. Down. Maybe if I open this one up more. No, that's frigid. Turn this one up again. And then...oh, the water heater is empty. Damn.
Scenario Four: No. I'm not taking a shower if the display is digital. I feel like I'm being watched. No.

I get that these are first-world problems. I didn't have to walk eight hours to get the water. It's purified, so I'm likely shaving my legs with filtered drinking water. I can travel because I'm an American, and that means I'm comparatively rich and whatever.

I'm not even trying to be helpful, either. I'm not proposing a solution like standardized shower controls or something like it--that would be stupid. 

Nah. I'm just complaining.

I hate that moment when I have to drive a shower I'm not used to.
It sucks, and I don't like doing it.
That is all.

Edit: OMG I'm not the only one with this problem! This from the Notorious LJH:

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Ode to My Chicago Manual of Style

How do I love The Chicago Manual of Style? Let me count the ways.
I admit to being a religious fanatic, and CMoS is my scripture. It's nice to run a situation through the search on CMoS online concordance and have it spit out chapter and verse--er, locations. With regard to the serial comma, quoth the Chicago Manual in chapter six, verse twelve, "Use thine the serial comma, which English hath given unto you, excepting in situations involving the ampersand" (Kristin Paraphrase Version). Armed with this information, I can defend the changes I make to a manuscript.
To further illustrate my love for the CMoS (while simultaneously illustrating my misplaced priorities), today when both my laptop and my Chicago Manual of Style were jostled from their spots on the porch swing, I reached first to save the book. This was not the best reflex. Neither the book nor the laptop were harmed, but it could have been much worse.
Sure there are things I don't like about the CMoS--In the M6 Open Discussion I mentioned that "starting a sentence with a number" situation. I admit starting a sentence that way is maybe not the best practice, but writing a rule to proscribe it seems excessive. But then, I don't make the rules--I only enforce them.
Do I know all the things in the CMoS? Nope. Not yet. And reading it straight through makes my eyeballs bleed--okay, not really, but reading the manual is a dangerous cure for insomnia, what with the thing weighing in at 3.2 pounds but feeling more like twelve. I wish there were a better way to download the necessary info to my brain.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Anne Frank and the Immigration Ban

"I am forced to look out for emigration and as far as I can see U.S.A. is the only country we could go to." –Otto Frank 

In 1941, Otto Frank applied for entry to the U.S. He was rejected. Well, that’s partly true, he was granted a single visa, but it was cancelled when Germany and Italy declared war on the U.S. You’ve probably seen lots of posts over Holocaust Remembrance Day—posts about refugees, women and children turned away at Ellis Island and their death dates and locations: Bergen-Belsen, AuschwitzMajdanek. 

We who learned about the Holocaust in school looked to our grandparents as though to say, “What kind of world did you live in, that you would send children away to their deaths?” 

And if we dared to voice our judgment, they may have replied, “We were afraid. America was just recovering from the Depression, and we didn’t think we had the resources. There were some who blamed Jews for the Depression. How could we be sure? It was best to protect our own interests.” Or they might have said, “It wasn’t me at all. It was the government. I lived in a farm in North Dakota. What could I have done?” 

When our children and our grandchildren read the history of our time, of current-President Donald Trump’s Muslim exclusion, will they shake their heads, unsure how we could have stood by and allowed the worst to happen to desperate people? 

“I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are still truly good at heart...” –Anne Frank 

Oh, Anne. I wish I had your optimism. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Poetry for the Lost

Once again, social media (Goodreads) reminded me to miss my friend who liked all the same books I did. My friend who wrote the most scathing, obscenity-packed eviscerations of the ones that fell short of her standards. My friend who killed herself last year.

For Lauren
I still have your book.

It was good. I read the whole thing
even though it was nonfiction,
and I don’t usually get into that.

I still have your book.

I don’t know why I’ve kept it so long.
I’ve had it for, like, five years now
And I’ve had plenty of opportunities to return it.

Except we were probably meeting out someplace
In ridiculous shoes. Carrying tiny, useless purses
Only big enough to hold lipstick
And a pack of Parliaments
That neither of us smoked.
Except when we did.
Like when we were together.

I still have your book.

I go to those places sometimes,
And I look for you.
Swear sometimes I can hear you.

You’d be so mad if you knew
The bullshit that’s going on right now.

I keep thinking I should call you.
Or text.
Because it’s been too long,
And I have no excuse.

Except that you’re gone.

But I miss you.

I’m so mad at you.

And I still have your book.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Weight weight, don't tell me

Hey. I'm Kristin. And I weigh what I weigh.

At the moment, that's 110 pounds.
OMG 110 pounds! That's amazing.
No. It's not. That's underweight.The only time I've been not-underweight, I've been pregnant. That's when I put on another 50% of myself so I can drop a 9-pound person.

But this year, one of those little people started preschool, and he brought home oodles and oodles of little nasties. *ICK, GERMS!* I was sick from August until April, with nary a well week during that entire span. FIVE rounds of antibiotics, my friends.

While prescribing that last (28-day) round, my primary care physician said that thing all of my primary care physicians have said to post-adolescent me: If you just put on ten more pounds, you'd be a lot healthier.

Yeah, okay. I'll try.

Only I've been trying to do that since ALWAYS. Once I went from 95 to 108 pounds in the span of about 3 months. I saw a personal trainer, lifted weights four times a week, and took protein shakes three times a day. It felt like a full-time job--worrying about pouring in the calories. When I quit the shakes I dropped back down to 103. Still, an eight-pound success, yeah?

This time I focused on eating balanced meals and lifting weights. I did great with the food, but my get-to-the-gym willpower is not that great. Four months later, I still weigh 110. Not a single pound gained.

So I'm like, "Whatever, this is the size my body wants me to be. I eat when I'm hungry, and I'm active. I'm just supposed to be 110 pounds right now."

Really, Kristin? And if you were 300 pounds, would that excuse fly? If your doctor said, "You HAVE to do something about your weight," would you just be like, "Whatevs, this is the size I'm SUPPOSED to be"? Just because a weight is more socially acceptable does not make it healthy.

So quit bitching about how hard it is to control your weight. It's hard for everybody.
Go to the gym tomorrow, you lazy cow.**

**I'm talking to myself here. I don't know if you are a lazy cow or not. If you are, come to the gym with me--or just stop by and try to make me go. My willpower = not so great.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Ghostbusters -- I Ain't Scared of No Ghost

Somehow I neglected to make Ghostbusters a more integral part of my life. I wasn’t avoiding it, I just thought I’d seen what there was to see.

It turns out, most of my Ghostbuster memories come from the animated series The Real Ghostbusters.
And the Nintendo game.
Those were the foundation of my Ghostbusting experience. I must’ve been at least nine years old by the time I saw the actual movie, and here’s the thing—it probably wasn’t the actual movie even then. It was an edited-for-TV version. So those sexual innuendos? Those weren’t in the prime-time version.

I can’t say I went into this viewing with a lot of awareness of the plot. I remembered there being a marshmallow man, and also that Slimer was a bad guy—not the Ghostbusters’ funny little boogery sidekick. Oh, and Egon isn’t, like, the leader—he’s just their resident ├╝ber nerd. That’s about the extent of it. Oh and, “There is no Dana, only Zuul.”

1) The opening scene in the library totally stressed me out. Not because the ghosts were scary, but because Bill Murray wiped ectoplasm on books, and that card catalog mess was going to take FOREVER to clean up. That’s actually why the librarian was screaming. She wasn’t scared either, she was just like, “Oh, hell no. I’m not cleaning that up. I quit.” She just forgot her lines and screamed instead. That’s my opinion, anyway.

2) The scene in which Sigourney Weaver opens her fridge to another dimension and there’s some monster that says Zuul? Those were some amazing special effects, man. I mean, I could almost understand the idea they were trying to communicate, but not quite. And when the monsters rip through her armchair and drag her to the kitchen? That was hilarious. But I wonder if it was scary in 1984. I don't remember.

3) I’m going to need to know more about that defunct firehouse and the super-sweet Ghostbustermobile. Ecto-1 must’ve toured the country for a while, because I saw it in person at the South Florida Fair back in the day, and it totally made my year. According to this site, one of the cars is just rotting away in a prop yard in Culver City. That makes me sad, because wouldn’t I be the coolest mom in the world if I pulled into the elementary school lot in that? And station wagons are really hard to come by these days, so converting an old ambulance/hearse wouldn’t be a terrible way to get one. That firehouse? Yeah, it’s still a functioning firehouse—Hook and Ladder 8, NYC. You can go see it, if you want. Or you can stalk them via their photos on Yelp.

So what about the actual movie, Kristin? What did you think about the ACTUAL movie?
I still liked it. I still thought the suits and gadgets were awesome, and the idea of a crew of undervalued paranormal scientists battling ghosts in New York City is kind of fun. Interesting, particularly, that an EPA agent was villainized by Hollywood. I wonder what that says about the ‘80s. I want to know how Egon comes up with the necessary tools straight out of the gate, when they had no plan of approach at the library. And what does happen to the spirits they contain in their ghost dumpster anyway? And so the ghosts just want to make a mess and end the world—is that the deal? I didn’t feel like my questions were all answered, but maybe the all-chick team of ghostbusters will take care of that for me this summer. Because, yeah, I’m definitely going to see it. If only because the theme song is the best one in the history of movies—ever. “I ain’t scared of no ghost.”

Ghostbusters. Prod./Dir. Ivan Reitman. Perf. Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver. Columbia Pictures, 1984. DVD.