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Adrenalin

Published January 10, 2014 by Kim

She squinted in the sunlight, looking up–up, up, up–the cliff face, watching for a flash of yellow to mark his turn to jump.

Cliff-diving. Of all the things… She shook her head. There was no convincing her. He’d tried, but she wasn’t one to give in easily.

Besides, she didn’t need the rush. It had never been a need.

*

The clack-clack-clack of the chains, pulling the cars up the incline, the coaster at a steep angle to the earth below–

Her heart thumping, palms sweating, a smile on her face that faltered as the first car crested the hill–

Screams of laughter turning to a pained silence, and a burning need to be on the ground as soon as possible–

Pulling back into the station and a sense of calm coming over her, feeling convinced she’d enjoyed herself…

*

Stars.

Planets.

Fuzzy spots that vanished when she looked directly at them–clusters. Nebulae. Galaxies.

Millions of years shining down on her–photons traveling at unimaginable speed through the void, past clouds and worlds, to end their travels in her eyes. What had they passed? Who else might have seen what she was seeing? Who might see it a thousand years from now?

The earth, uninhabited by humans. Perhaps, in time, uninhabited by any creature–just a rock in the dark, turning endlessly around its star, other stars moving across its sky, unobserved. Time marching on endlessly…

*

She shivered.

Nothing much

Published March 31, 2013 by Kim

So, we’re trying to clean out the house–get rid of toys, outgrown clothes, etc.–but it’s a losing battle with our kids. I put stuff in bags/boxes, they unpack it. I feel like I’m never going to make headway against them! Our house is a mess, and I never have enough time to do what needs doing. *sigh*

Meanwhile, I’m ready for vacation. I want to relax, have fun, and celebrate my birthday…but that’s weeks and weeks away. I’d say I wish it would hurry up and get here, but then it’ll be over just as quick. 😉

I don’t really have anything to say–I’m tired and haven’t felt an ounce of creatively or inspiration in a while. Maybe later?

Match #4

Published December 20, 2012 by Kim

“It’s a commonplace book.”

He looked up at her, the little brown journal in one hand, a tube of mascara in the other. Her things lay scattered on the floor between them. “Beg pardon?”

She dropped her eyes, snatching up her wallet and keys and tossing them haphazardly into her purse. “Commonplace book. It’s just a thing I do.”

He sat back on his haunches, handing over the mascara but keeping the book on his knee. “What sort of thing?”

She blew at the hair falling in her face, finally giving up and scraping the rest of her belongings up in two handfuls and dropping it all in her bag. She met his eyes. “I collect quotes. Passages from books–speeches–lines from plays–whatever tickles my fancy. I copy it down in the book.” She held out her hand. “If you please.”

He smiled, eyes crinkling at the corners in that way that she always loved on a man, his dark hair falling over his forehead just so, and he cracked open the book. Looking down, he read the first thing his eyes landed upon. “‘Half of the harm that is done in the world is due to people who want to feel important.'” He lifted his eyebrows in mild surprise, then turned a few pages ahead. “‘Wearing underwear is as formal as I ever hope to get’?” His smile curled a little more tightly, his eyes darting up in a glance. He flipped back near the beginning. “‘And though she be but little, she is fierce.'”

“I’ve never been considered little, but I love that one.”

He eyed her, from her grown-out bob to her knee-high boots. “I’ll wager you’re fierce.”

She blushed, barking out a laugh. Shaking her bag to settle its contents, she rose to her feet. He followed suit, graceful even when coming up from being on his knees, and she stopped, just…waiting.

He towered over many, but she wasn’t petite–and in her boots, she wasn’t terribly far from matching him. As it was, he was looking down at her journal, eyes cutting to the side as he scanned further passages, and giving her ample opportunity to admire him: from the straight, clean lines of his features, past broad shoulders and onward, ending in long legs–and leaving her with the recollection of “Nature might stand up / And say to all the world, ‘This was a man!'”

“There’s much Shakespeare in this little book.” He tapped a two-page spread–Hamlet’s most famous soliloquy.

She nodded. “I’m fond of Will.”

“And of the Bible, too, I see.”

“It is the Good Book for a reason.”

He smiled, snapping the book shut. He looked down at it, the leather battered, the embossed sun all but faded. He stroked the cover with his thumb, peering at her through his lashes. “This be madness.”

One corner of her lip twitched; she fought back the smile. “There is method in it.”

He held out the book. When she reached for it, he pulled back. “Come to dinner with me.”

Her eyes widened. “I can’t. You’re–you–”

“I’m no one. Just a man you happened to bump into coming around a corner.”

She laughed, but it was edged with something frantic. “Hardly.”

He pursed his lips, then suddenly reached into his coat, retrieving a pen. She waited, puzzled, as he opened her journal to a page near the end, writing quickly. He paused, looked up at her once, then closed it gently before handing it over.

She watched him walk away, around the corner, before hurriedly leafing through the book. His neat, angled script covered an entire page:

The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.

She hesitated only a moment, then spun on her heels and ran around the corner, colliding soundly with the same lean figure she’d crashed into only minutes before. He caught her by the arms and held her tight. “You changed your mind.”

She smiled until she dimpled, her cheeks high with color, and disentangled herself. “I have to know who said it.”

He laughed–a rich, deep sound. She curled her toes in her boots.

“Perhaps I’ll remember when I’ve a full belly.”

She tucked away her book. “I know a fabulous little trattoria about three blocks from here. Will that do?”

“I count myself in nothing else so happy.”

She narrowed her eyes at him, a smile teasing her lips, and she walked away.

A quick run-step had him beside her, hands thrust in his pockets, shoulder brushing hers.

Snow White…and Snow White Redux

Published June 5, 2012 by Kim

My daughter loves fairy tales, as little girls do.

(Oh, who am I kidding. I love fairy tales.)

That said, we’ve seen both Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman. Both, clearly, are versions of Snow White’s story. Each presents the tale in a different fashion, however. Mirror Mirror is much more lighthearted, with humor and no onscreen deaths. Huntsman, on the other hand, is significantly darker. I had to cover D.’s eyes in some places (as when the queen is eating bird hearts).

Let’s compare:

MM: Lily Collins (of the channeling-Audrey-Hepburn looks) is the delicate and gentle daughter of the King. After he weds his new bride (Julia Roberts) and promptly vanishes, she’s confined to the castle–still living in splendor–until angering the Queen by drawing the attention of a handsome Prince. Snow is banished, and the Queen’s assistant/boot-licker sent to dispatch her to the Beyond. He chickens out, sparing her life, and she stumbles upon the dwarves. For this telling, they are highwaymen, robbing travelers while wearing telescoping stilts (it’s actually cooler than that sounds). They permit her to stay with them, teaching her the ways of thievery and battle, and stand by her while she breaks the Queen’s spell over the Prince. With a kiss. (No poisoned apple-sleeping for her!)

In the end, Snow defeats the Queen (we do not see her death) after having wed her Prince and freed her father from an enchantment. Yes, she sings. (Once.)

SWATH: Kristen Stewart emotes as well as a two-by-four in her role as Snow White, leaving the weight of the film to be carried by Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth. (He could carry me anytime.) They do an excellent job, I think–Theron goes all-out Type A in need of anger management classes, and it’s a beautiful thing. Hemsworth is running with a Scottish-ish accent (it’s not absurdly thick, just noticeable in places), and does a fine job of playing tall, gorgeous, and dangerous. This version has the girl’s father killed by the evil queen on their wedding night, and Snow spends the next decade locked in a tower, with only a small window to show her the outside world. She escapes, hides in the forest, and the huntsman is sent to retrieve her…he ends up coming to her aid, and they’re both on the lam. Along the way, they meet up with the Prince and Snow gets poisoned.

This time, the Prince kisses her…and nothing happens. It requires the Huntsman’s kiss to wake her.

Alas, that’s all we get of that. The film ends with Snow White leading a small army against the queen, overthrowing and killing her, and instilling Snow in her rightful place as ruler. She looks out over the adoring crowd, where the Prince is smiling, and sees the Huntsman in the rear of the room. Roll credits.

I loved Mirror because it so light–sometimes, a little Bollywood-style closing scene is just what you need. It was very much a cotton candy kind of movie (though, I confess, the costuming was out of this world), but it was an enjoyable one. I didn’t really have a dislike for it–it’s too light and fluffy to really dislike. There’s not enough meat on it to have issues.

I loved Huntsman because of the supporting cast (Theron and Hemsworth). They take something that’s been done nearly to death and make it good. My problem with Huntsman? Snow White wasn’t exactly the “strong” female character we believed we would see. When she escapes the castle, she knows how to 1) build a fire and 2) ride a horse. Both useful things, but not exactly the warrior-princess I expected. (The posters and trailers suggested a lot more.) There wasn’t even a “training the princess for war” scene! We’re left with a couple of moments where she learns from the Huntsman, and the rest is her staring prettily at something. (Mostly. There’s a lot of her looking…well, constipated.) This is not a strong female lead. Everything she achieves is through the efforts of someone else–usually someone male. She needs the Huntsman, the dwarves, the Prince (and his father) along every step of the way.

I suppose the only consolation is that no one did all of it for her, instead. That counts, right?

There was one final thing that bugged me: not getting a resolution on whether it’s the Prince or the Huntsman who has her heart. I understand the message is that she doesn’t need to have a king, that she can (and needs) to do this on her own (for a while, at least). Even so–why relegate her to the myth that a woman must be single and childless in order to succeed? There are times when marriage and children can be hindrance, but it’s not an absolute. Marriage does not alway equal “at a standstill” in life. I can only presume the film ends this way for two reasons: 1) to let girls imagine which one she chooses, while 2) subtly reinforcing the idea that marriage comes when you’re older. Currently, the IMDb states a sequel is in development. If it happens, I’ll see it–if only to see how they show What Comes Next.

Ugh. I’m still not happy. Not showing her choice seems like such a cop-out. And I was also really hoping to see Snow kick some butt.

Family drama-llamas

Published April 25, 2012 by Kim

Ugh. Sometimes, I love my family to death. Emphasis on the TO DEATH part. Case in point: my brother and his wife, and some kind of stupid rift between him and my parents over her parents. For this post, I shall refer to my sibling as “Broron.”

Permit me a bit of background? SiL is the only daughter of four (five?) siblings. Her mother doesn’t work, but effectively brought SiL up as a housemaid (no educational encouragement, no driver’s license, nada–though her brothers were ferried on their sixteenth birthdays for that all-important card, and never made to do housework). Fast forward to the day Broron and SiL were married…and her parents arranged for a musician that they wanted, but suddenly would not pay for–and Broron used their honeymoon money to pay what was owed. (Some of my family caught wind and gave him extra money on the spot so they could go on their honeymoon, as planned.) Time passed…SiL’s family would ignore him at meals, making him drive separately to events while SiL rode in their car, bought gifts for her birthday but not his, gave her Christmas presents and him none (or something like a box of clothes detergent or used Walmart gift card). Meanwhile, they expected name-brand clothing and other pricey gifts at practically every celebration. When my niece was born, SiL’s mom wanted SiL and the baby to come live with her–even started preparing a room for her!–and insisted on buying dresses for all holidays, so that Niece would wear what SiL’s mom preferred. Even as Niece’s first birthday approached, we learned SiL’s mother planned to host a party only for their kin, so we wouldn’t be around. (That idea got shot down, thankfully.) During all of this, years of this, my parents were asked to not mention it, not buck the system or cause problems–down to not posting pictures on Facebook of trips Broron, SiL, and Niece came on with all of us–so as to not upset SiL’s mother.

So, the proverbial poo hit the fan at the end of March, when my dad–as is his style, God love him–found out SiL’s family was going to the same restaurant we had already planned going to after finishing our Easter pictures together. He laughed and told SiL to have her brother hold a table for all of us. I heard, I laughed–it’s true! SiL’s mother would’ve gone thermonuclear had we shown up and sat with/near/in the same building as them.

That’s all that was said, and it was promptly forgotten…until not so very later, when Broron called our parents and blessed them out for their callousness and “childishness.” Dad is completely pissed, as is mom, and I’m standing by going “WTF?” (as Broron admitted that he “doesn’t know” what was said, but it was out of line, whatever it was, and our parents need to apologize; my parents responded with their version of “like hell we will” and hung up on him.) He hasn’t called them since, and it looks like I’m also in the exclusion zone.

To which I reply, “like I give a shit.”

Sorry about That Word, as I usually avoid That Kind of Language, but there are times I feel (and I think my parents would agree, despite my upbringing) that everyday words don’t effectively communicate just how pissed you are over something. I’m mad on Mom and Dad’s behalf–it’s ridiculous to expect them to walk on eggshells and forever tolerate the manipulations and abuse doled out by one crackpot mother-in-law on their son. I love Broron, he’s my brother, but I cannot fathom why he’s gone nutters about this when he doesn’t know what was said. Isn’t that the first thing you fact-check? Get the story, evaluate the damage, decide the outcome? I can’t believe his grasp of logic is so…lost.

Jesus on a bicycle–what happened to my brother? Has he gone Stockholm Syndrome on us? Is he so…*ahem*…whipped that he’s going along with anything SiL asks? And I try not to let it get to me that he works a full-time job while she stays home, babysits another child while Niece is home, too, and then gallivants off for a weekend with her “moms’ group” and he’s left with Niece on his own. Sure, he loves being with his daughter, but I can’t help bristling at the idea of him not getting a weekend break. SiL can’t drive! He can’t leave his wife and daughter home alone with no way around while he takes off for some downtime–how is it appropriate that he must always be “on” and she gets weekend getaways with the girls?

(For the record, Hubby has offered to let me go away for a weekend, to write or decompress or what-have-you…and I always say no. It seems unfair to him.)

Whatever happens, though, just happens. I’m not going to make my parents’ lives harder by complicating things. I think I’ll just try to give them as much time with their grandchildren I as can arrange, even just to stop in a few minutes for a hug and kiss, and remind them that they are loved. Aside from that, I’m going to thank God that my in-laws aren’t as freaking insane as Broron’s.

Black holes and lost dreams

Published April 19, 2012 by Kim

My life–so far as my work-life, that is–sucks. Like a black hole. It’s eating my brain, destroying my soul, making me hate myself and all the people I talk to. What I do…it’s like my job is a dementor: happiness, life, hope? Sucked away, leaving you cold and despairing.

I’m a yo-yo, of this I am aware. When things go well here, I’m great. When things go wrong (and they’re going pretty damn wrong, ATM)–well, I end up like I am right now. I’m so lost, so hopeless, so freaking desperate…I can’t begin to explain.

Good God, I hate this place. I hate the calls, the hold music, the constant emails reminding everyone to SMILE AND BE HAPPY because customers HEAR IT IN YOUR VOICE! and all that other BS that gets stuffed down our throats every effing day. I hate stupid people. I hate trying to explain basic concepts that my SIX YEAR OLD gets, but grown adults whine and bitch about because it’s so complicated. I spend eight, ten, fifteen minutes explaining “yes, you pay your deductible” and watching that timer go up and up and up, knowing I’m not meeting goal and I’m going to get yanked back to working in Greensboro because I can’t meet my goals.

My dream conversation:

Do you drive a car? Yes? Do you have auto insurance? Oh, you do. Good! Now, remember that nasty little thing called a “deductible”? You know, that thing you have to pay if you hit a mailbox or your wife busts out your windshield when you forget the trash AGAIN or your kid joyrides it into a culvert? Ah, you do. And you remember that YOU have to pay that before the insurance company pays to fix your precious tank–I mean SUV? FABULOUS. So glad you remembered. Well, here’s a little hint–your medical deductible works the same way! It’s the SAME THING. Not a homonym, like “hair” and “hare”, which sound alike, but are vastly different things. Here, it’s spelled the same, sounds the same, and works the same way. ISN’T THAT EFFING AMAZING? See, I told you that you could understand simple things! Have a cookie.

I want out. I want to do something–anything–that doesn’t suck the life out of me. …Except, I’m thirty-three. My “career” is this. Only this. It’s all I know, sadly enough. No one wants to hire someone so green at my age, start her out and still pay her enough where she can make her bills.

And writing? Let’s not joke any longer. I’m no writer. I’m unreliable and unimaginative. My best work is taking other people’s characters and manipulating them in a believable way through a new storyline. That’s not creating.

I’m a hack. A talentless, motivation-less hack.

I wonder, sometimes, if I ever wanted this. Did I dream of writing because I wanted to get those worlds and lives and experiences out of myself? or did I absorb–again, as I always do (just a copy, a representation of something greater)–the dreams of the girls I loved from books? Jo and Anne, for instance. Did Jo March set me on this path, with her sordid tales sold to newspapers, and her darling Fritz reminding her she’s so much greater than that? Did Anne come along, with her “My Graves” and other stories to rival the greatest angsty fanfic available, to inspire me to laugh at early attempts and know–again–that she (I?) was capable of so much more?

Does it even matter? I can’t do it. I can’t put a thought together, nor hold on to one long enough to see it through to the end. I’m…lost. Adrift. Frozen. And I can only talk about it here, I can’t do like my SiL and take off for a “weekend with the girls” and leave my family behind while I go play. I’m here. Surrounded by a mess, and responsibilities, and notes and pages and charts and research for things that I know won’t ever see the light of day, because I CAN’T DO IT.

So. Do I hate my job or myself more? My job. –I hate myself because I know I’m not good enough to get out and into something I love.

 

 

ETA: Sweet Jesus, I’m a downer. Sorry about that.

Health and Getting Older

Published February 23, 2012 by Kim

Had my check-up last Wednesday–everything looked good, but I had some questions for my doctor…namely, to inquire again about these odd sensations from my heart. It’s a fluttering (sometimes, pounding) that makes me feel a little breathless, and only lasts a few moments. (Quite literally–it’s mere seconds.) I’ve asked before, but it’s never been answered.

The other day I was working, came upstairs, and sat down…I wasn’t stressed, or overwrought, or anything that I would consider a trigger (including standing up too quickly, which I’ve found causes this feeling, too), but my heart felt as if it was going to come out of my chest. What ran through my head was, “Oh, Lord, if I fall out, no one’s gonna find me for HOURS”…which, I admit, is probably one of the dumber things I could’ve had on my mind, but I figure most folks aren’t bastions of logic in moments of crisis/fear.

In any case, this was very much on my mind when I went for my appointment–Dr. B was wonderfully nice and conversational, as usual, and took great care in listening to my heart to see if he could hear anything wrong. He found nothing, of course, and said we’d probably need to rule out any connection to my (practically non-functional) thyroid first. I had my blood drawn, and the results came yesterday–my thyroid medication is working fine, so that rules out that issue. (My cholesterol was high–one point over maximum “good” range, and increased LDLs–so I’m going to see if dietary changes help.)

I’m left, now, with visiting a cardiologist. I’ll go–not yet, since I have to find out who’s any good that also takes our insurance. I might cross-check the highest rated doctors at my employer against the network list for hubby’s coverage. 🙂

I’m taking this in stride…well, trying to…because I know that cardiac problems are in my family medical history. Actually, a lot a problems show up, including diabetes, so I’m probably a ticking time bomb. *sigh* I’m working on losing weight (despite the sabotage of birthday cake and Valentine’s Day candy), eating more fruits and veggies, and not going crazy with sugar, but I’m not exercising. I know, I know–I need to. But I’m so lazy. It’s hard.

Maybe I’ll get more motivated come spring. Going on walks with the kids sounds appealing. 🙂