27 February 2012

Escape From Bitch Mountain

I actually forgot the password to this blog.  So, I last posted in August of 2010 ... which has more to do with my surrender to Facebook than it does with me quitting my job, cashing in my meager contribution toward the retirement I would have enjoyed at age 87 or so, moving to Central America with my dog and 9 suitcases, and marrying a Costa Rican socialist.

coffee fields around the corner from my apt. with requisite volcano in the background
Oh please, don't act so shocked, most of your asses are on Facebook too.  You've seen the status updates.

I'm thinking of starting up a new blog ... even the colors on this one seem to reflect those years in Seattle.  The grey years.  Maybe my long cyber-absence and the idea of a new blog are just part of my ongoing efforts to separate myself mentally from that time, I don't know. 

So I've lived here now for 7 months, and the mental transition ... well, let's just say it's a process.  There's a part of me that is still surprised to see the sun every day, that doesn't truly believe it will really come back in the morning.  A part of me that even on muggy days, when my deodorant has raised the white flag of surrender, still mentally pays desperate homage to the weather gods so they won't take it away.  I still avoid the shade, and am practically horrified when I see Costa Ricans using umbrellas ... against the sun.  I'm sure they, in turn, think I'm not quite right in the head, trotting down the sunny side of street like some some clueless tourist.  ¡Qué gringa!  Never mind, even the tourists have the sense to walk in the shade, with their visors and backpacks and Hawaiian shirts.  And maps.  They all have maps.  Which doesn't help much, because there are no street names or house numbers here.  But that's another story. 

In Seattle, people literally call in sick to work on sunny days.  I'm serious.   Because you never know when it will happen again, and there's a kind of giddiness that hits you.  Hey, I'm talking about a place where you literally may not see sunshine for a month.  And then only that fleeting phenomenon locally known as a "sun break" before you're back in the grey. 

It's really not possible to explain the effect of living like that.  There's something in me now where I can't walk on the shady side of the street.  There's this irrational fear:  don't waste the sun, if you don't appreciate it those weather gods will take it away again.  And once that gets inside you, it apparently can't just be switched off by escaping to a tropical climate.

In Costa Rica, summer runs from December to May, roughly.  What they call "winter" is really just the rainy season.  The idea of a rainy season struck fear into my Seattle-scarred heart, but it really just means it rains every afternoon.  You still get sun almost every day.  Of course, "rain" here can easily mean torrents that will wash your house into the river, as opposed to non-stop drizzle, but I repeat: sun basically every day.

Of course, going through said rainy season with no car, no dryer, and no furnace sheds a whole new light on rain, but that's another story.

So in December these trade winds, the vientos alisios, arrive and the Costa Ricans, or Ticos, as they call themselves, get all nostalgic and happy, because it signals the beginning of summer and the arrival of Christmas. (I know, right?  Still trying to wrap my head around that combo.) They start putting Christmas lights on palm trees, and these nativity scenes pop up everywhere.  Even in the bars.  The manger itself stays empty until the night of the 24th when the holy ceramic child makes his blessed appearance. Even in the bars.  Anyway, these winds are insane.  Laundry dries in half an hour, but holy hell can it be chilly at night!  "Ah, ¡qué fresquito!", how refreshing, says mi esposo, aka the hubby, while I scowl, pulling my emergency hoodie out of my bag (because I still can't leave the house without that, are you kidding me?).  Fresquito my ass, honey, this is just plain cold.  

Maybe if you've lived your whole life where heat and sunshine are a given, every single day, those winds might seem refreshing, a relief, but after Seattle, those winds just seem cold, like the heat was just a cruel trick, and welcome back to reality now, chica, courtesy of the weather gods.  We know where you live. 

It's hard to imagine ever feeling relief instead of dread, at the arrival of the winds or rain.  Even happy Christmas trade winds. I supposed someday I'll get there.  Until then, the sunny side of the street feels just fine.

13 August 2010

She Lives!

Not to be confused with the religious hymn, similarly titled.

I've been missing out on all of your lives ... unless you're on Facebook, or dabble in Gmail video. You know who you are. And you've been missing out on me bitching about the requisite lack of sunshine, the infamous This Old Motherfucking House, and other adventures in the land of rain.

I ask you simply this: is it so wrong to consider up and leaving TOMH and moving to Costa Rica? For reals, people. Also, it appears that your favorite bitching blogger may be, finally, working on her love life. But it's complicated.

Also, I've lost 37 pounds, can run almost 3 miles, and will be happy as hell in about 20 more pounds. Although the aforementioned love interest says, stop now. Seriously, cariño ... stop now. Gotta love THAT, eh ladies? Yes, it seems that military training has kicked in, overpowered that Seattle slump that was clinging to my ass like a Puget Sound barnacle, and I'm currently kicking my own ass all the way to finish line.

Hoooah, bitches.

I leave you with these thoughts, for now I must make the rounds and catch up on your lives. I have missed you, contrary to my apparent slackassedness and lack of interest, and will return shortly.

21 March 2010

Where's My Fatted Calf?

And lo, the Prodigal Blogger hath returneth. Actually, you can scratch that fatted calf deal, given my vegetarian status. After a record hiatus, I figured I at least owed you a catchy title.

And by record hiatus, I mean I haven't hollered at you all since Santa swept down my chimney. In my defense, it's been hard for me to tell the difference, given that my Christmas decorations are still up. Don't judge me. It's been that kind of a year. After a while, I quit seeing it, to tell the truth. Every once in a while, I'd be sitting here doing homework, and suddenly realize that a troop of nutcrackers was staring down at me from over the stockings. Like a festive line of Chuckies illuminated by Christmas lights, which, by the way, are still going strong, and do give a nice ambiance, if I'm honest about it.

Yes, by record hiatus, I mean it's been about 3 months. Exactly the length of, oh ... say, winter quarter at one's local community college. This non-traditional student gig sucks ass, people. Especially when you're doing it at your place of employment. Yeah, the instructors also being your colleagues ... just a little added fun.

I don't know why I thought taking a full load this quarter, on top of working full time, This Old Motherfucking House, the Offspring, and the four-legged beasts was a good idea, but I did. Even then, it would've been okay had one class not turned out to have a two-legged beast of a brutal-grading instructor. Do NOT let anyone tell you that Graphic Design is a fluff class, or "just an art class", people. This was the most time consuming, stressful class I have ever taken. And that includes organic chemistry, as well as advanced anatomy and physiology. Yes, worse than cadavers staring up at you while you examine their muscle fiber. Graphic Design was no joke, people. I wanted to pop my instructor over the head with my final portfolio by the time it was done. If I even think about taking GD II, somebody slap the shit out of me. Hard.

Anyway, I knocked that out, along with Networking (computers, not people), and Spanish III. This quarter, there isn't much available for me to take, so I'll work on finally getting all my other credits pulled in from overseas and other places, which will move me closer to the 4yr, which, happily, is a branch located right on our fair campus. Thankgawd. I don't need a commute on top of this shit.

It sure would be great if experience and accomplishments counted for as much that goddamned piece of paper officially certifying you as educated, but whatever.

Side note: Dear Mom and Daddy, you were right. I should've finished school when I had no other responsibilities. You were also right about that: I had no responsibilities then. Also, you were right when you said that if I got married young, chances are I would not finish school. You were also right about that whole getting married young thing, just as a bad fucking idea in general. As well, you were right when you said I should have my own money and make an emergency fund for myself, if I was going to insist on getting married young. You were also right about my pride being my downfall with that whole, "I don't need your goddamned alimony! Just take care of your children!" thing. It is true that going to school later in life is fucking hard, and worse when sitting in a classroom of bored 19-yr olds who think their lives are hard, while staring at an instructor who is also your colleague, and who is secretly wondering what the fuck you're doing there. It makes me feel even older than I am, which is quickly becoming "pretty fucking old". So basically, you were right. Even though you're now crazyass teabagger right-wingers, you were right about school. If I could go back in time and kick my own ass, I would. I'm surprised you didn't.

OK so, in other news, I will also be spending this next quarter researching the ins and outs of foreclosure. Yes, you heard me right. That whole, "You can never go wrong buying property" thing? Bullshit. Worst decision of my life. I haven't decided for sure yet, but the more I research it and run the numbers, the more I'm having to face the fact that there doesn't look to be another solution. My credit score was almost 800 when I bought this bitch. That's about to change. Anyway. That's all I have to say about that.

Male Offspring switched to the Running Start program, which is where high school students can take college classes for joint high school/college credit. This means he is also attending classes at my place of employment. Of course, I don't see him in any of my classes, him being in the engineering track. He's about to take the 3rd level of chemistry, and has moved past pre-calc to straight up college calculus. I'm still contemplating that "Math Anxiety" course. On the bright side, he's a reasonably good shot at financing my beach house when I'm old and infirm. He's also discovered swing dancing. Pretty cool. He actually dons suit and tie, and goes with his friends down to a ballroom in Seattle for swing and salsa. He helped start a swing dance student club, and even started taking classes at a local ballet company and is taking a swing class on campus. They love having a wrestler-slash-football-player who can actually lift the girls and do the steps! So if the engineering gig doesn't make the boy rich, there's always Dancing With the Stars.

Oh, also, all that community work I've been doing the last few years? The son is about to take on the school board with his own cause. Next Tuesday he will speak at the board meeting with other students from the gay-straight alliance, asking the board to allow high schoolers to talk to the middle schoolers about the National Day of Silence, and for staff/administration to support student participation. They made a video they want to show to the middle schoolers, but the m.s. principals are not all down with that. Feels pretty damn good to just attend the meeting, and not have to do a thing but watch certain principals and administrators squirm.

Teen Demon (who is now 2yrs past teenhood) is back in school, has transferred out to a university in central WA, and is doing well. For those who didn't know, she was in a horrible accident at the end of summer, in which she made it out, but lost her best friend. I don't have any words to describe that tragedy, and the effect that it has had on TD and her friend's family. I don't even want to try, here. I just want to let you all know she's back in school and seems to be healing, as well as can be expected. She likes her classes, she's been getting outside in the sunshine, and got a job working with young children in an after-school program. That ties in with her major (education) and she's making a difference with the kids -- they are mostly Latino kids, and she was warned that the kids were "hard to handle" and that she'd need to "take a firm hand" to get them to "behave". TD is having none of that, says the kids are great and just want someone to actually give a shit and be a mentor. Plus, Spanish is her minor, so she does well with the communication. Super proud of her. I don't know how I'd do, going through what she went through. She is something. Tomorrow is her friend's birthday. Today is mine. I'm really sad about that.

The Bohemian is about to graduate college. I know. She's trying to decide whether she'll go straight for her masters, or ... y'all best sit down. Sitting? OK, she's trying to decide whether to go straight to grad school or join the military to pay for it. I know. I told you to sit down, didn't I? She's been on a full academic scholarship the past 4 years, with a stipend, and has gotten used to that. She says if she doesn't get grants/scholarships to cover grad school as well, it's ahoy matey she goes. I suspect it's less about paying for grad school and more about her dream of running away to sea that she cooked up when she was 10 or 12. She was one of those kids who, in addition to inventing her own language for the fantasy stories she wrote, and keeping a sketchbook, also kept a journal of life goals that she swore she'd never forget like people tend to do when they grow up. Like Peter Pan without that racist bullshit of the Lost Boys or chasing after Wendy's lame ass. I suggested that she become the musician for a cruise ship for the summer, put that fancy piano degree to use, but that suggestion was met with disdain. Cruise ships are about as far away from the pirate's life as you can get and still be on water, I guess. Cruise ships are not badass. Also, they tend to be overrun with rich white people. Yesterday, she called me, and I was having trouble hearing her.

Me: Where are you?

Bohemian: What?!

Me: Where are you? What's going on?

Bohemian: Oh, I'm at a protest.

Me: A protest for what?

Bohemian: An anti-war protest.

Me: ... you do see the irony here, don't you?

Bohemian: Yes, yes, I see it, OK?!

I worry about how an anti-war protesting, outspoken, progressive extremist, kick-ass, openly pan-sexual young women will deal with shifting herself enough to deal in the military. I have no doubt she will succeed, I just worry about what it will cost her. Not to mention what our government -- yes, the current government, not just the old one -- is doing with the troops. I can't even think about that. Going to college was supposed to keep her from that life. She spent years in a military environment, it's not like she's clueless about military life, and she's grown now. She's done well with everything in her life, and regardless, I'll support her ... I just don't want it to cost her too much. Plus, you all know I will have to mock her for being a Navy puke. I mean really, the Navy? They can't even march in cadence. And those dungarees. Please.

In other news, it looks like there's trouble in paradise for the Ex and his bride of not-quite-three years, but I'll have to update you all on that another day if you know what I mean, and I think that you do. Hang tight.

So that's my update. I should be around more often now. There's been a lot of bitching building up, and you all know I can only go but so long before it spills out. Happy Spring Equinox, by the way.

26 December 2009

On a Cold Winter's Night ...

Another Christmas come and gone. Sitting here with the Bohemian, bathed in the glow of Christmas lights and our computer monitors, Nora Jones adding to the late night ambiance after a long and good Christmas day. The Ex is back at his hotel, Male Offspring and Not-So-Teen Demon are dreaming of sugarplums snug in their beds, dishes are done, dogs are tuckered out, wine is poured ... it was a good day.

Tonight, during a break in the dinner preparations, I went outside for a few minutes, and thought about passing time. It was one of those rare Seattle nights - crisp, clear, glowing moon, twinkling stars, the whole bit. Maybe the rarity is a good thing; when you add Christmas lights, slightly chilled Shiraz, and the distant sounds of a busy kitchen to the aforementioned twinklyass stars, it all adds up to one tall glass of melancholy. Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, I'll leave it at that, and just say I'm exceedingly glad for the time with my family today, glad that we're healthy and together. I'm thankful for my children. I'm thankful that their dad could come spend Christmas with them. I thought about people I miss today, and people whom I know only via the wonders of The Internets. I'm a slackass blogger; you all know this. I entertain myself with thoughts of you accepting this as an endearing foible. Hey, my blog, my fantasy. Whatever. Seriously though, merry merry to all my cyber friends. Connections are important, whether in the flesh, or in the heart. So here's to making it through another year, and to connections that help maintain our tenuous hold on sanity. Merry thoughts, all.

10 December 2009

Verify This

Goddamned spammers have found me. They started with the This Old Motherfucking House series. Bastards. Then it was like the hounds of hell had been unleashed. So I've jumped on the word verification bandwagon, even though I hate it. Bastards. Carry on.

27 November 2009

In My Blood Like Holy Wine

Damn you, Joni Mitchell.

08 November 2009

Just ... why?

Why would a foreign language instructor assign her class to write a paragraph about "a place you'd like to go", when we haven't yet learned future tense, and we're supposed to be practicing two different past tenses that we HAVE learned? I mean -- and I'm just coming up with this off the top of my head here -- wouldn't it have been better to write about a place we've been?

Just wondering.

31 October 2009

Saturday Morning

Remember Saturday morning cartoons? I'm one of those tiring old-schoolers who misses the cartoons from back in the day. Today's robots, wide-eyed manga chicks and evil aliens with their hulking metal chests, weapons of mass destruction, and gleaming helmets do nothing for me. However:

1. The Penguins of Madascar rock. Hard. I Love the penguins. Best cartoon ever. I actually set reminders on my TV so as not to miss them.

2. Nothing is more humbling than watching Go, Diego Go, or Inspector Gadget in Spanish. Spanish-speaking toddlers would hand my ass to me on a platter in a conversation olympics.

3. I have no idea why Sponge Bob SquarePants continues to reign as Male Offspring's favorite cartoon.

That is all.

23 October 2009

All Hail the Power

You know, I'm really fucking sick and tired of "God" getting all the credit for anything good that happens, but none of the blame for any of the bad shit that goes down. Am I the only one who notices the disparity here? What kind of sense does that make? Seriously. It's bullshit, people. You can't have it both ways.

So anyone who wants to tell me that bad times are the perfect times to turn to some spiritual guidance, you know what? Fuck you. And the cloud you rode in on. If your deity isn't man enough to step up and take responsibility for the bad shit, then he's apparently not allfuckingpowerful enough to have had anything to do with the good. And if he was responsible for the good, that means he could've damn well prevented the bad, but didn't. Seriously, could it be any more clear? So no, thank you -- been there, done that, woke the fuck up.

And that's all I've got to say about that.

18 October 2009

Just Call Me the Snug Meister.

I bought a Snuggie, people. Yes, as seen on TV. This accursed PNW weather has finally pushed me into the the desperate realm of the oft maligned Blanket With Sleeves.

I know. I hear you mocking me. It's OK, I understand. Until a few days ago, I was a merciless mocker of Snuggies myself. Besides, the offspring beat you to it. They were first, second, and third in the mockery line. And you know those kids were raised on the milk of sarcasm, so it's been more like running the damn mockery gauntlet around here.

It's all good though. Mock away, bitches, this thing is warm. I mean warm. Like swine flu fever warm. Like I-have-to-crack-a-window warm. Bite my snug ass, Seattle weather -- go on, bring your best. Rain, sleet, snow, never-ending dampness, go ahead. Because this winter I'm armed with the chocolate brown folds of the sleeved shield of glory. That's right. Just call me the Sleeved Avenger. Yeah, you heard me. Let's go, Seattle weather. Consider yourself served. By a Snuggie. We'll see who comes out ahead this spring.