Sunday, December 31, 2006

Fourth Annual Blog Year in Review



I have so few traditions, obviously this is one I cant dismiss.

In this year, 2006, I accepted one proposal for marriage, broke one bone, resulting in one surgery, three pins, and an array of colorful casts.

I ran a mere 660.45 miles in three pairs of shoes while sacrificing almost five months of running to injury and interning. Set a personal record in the Portland Marathon, and set a personal record during training when, in the week of Sept 3rd-9th I ran 55.4 miles. The only other race I ran this year was Hood To Coast.

I ran many fewer races and rode many fewer miles then the previous years, sacrificing recreational activity to complete my interpreter training. I camped a mere three nights, snowboarded only one and a half times, fought a pitbull with my bare hands, nursed a dog with 11 stitches, a cat with 4 stitches, a cranky fiance with a broken thumb, later with a broken sternum, and a step daughter with a broken ankle.

All that nosetothegrindstoning paid off. My spring term academic requirements were delayed until the fall term, and then completed in a flurry of activity. Two days after all the loose ends were tied up I got a job in my field starting in the new year.*

There were some areas of no improvement:
-I blew up one computer, on par with my yearly average.
-was issued three parking tickets, above average
-flew off the handle now and again, on average with previous year
-killed one frog, first time
-posted a mere 98 times for the year, at an all time low

Promising trends included:
-two bicycle flats, down from last year
-zero car flats
-zero speeding tickets
-killed zero fish
-burrito consumption high
-coffee consumption low

I spent this last year in faithless agony. It would not be an understatement to say it was one of the hardest years of my life. Few transitions have been more rewarding then this one here today, to be delivered into this new year. This year, for me, the new year is more then a symbolic day for new beginnings.

Hope your 2007 is amazing, exciting and infinitely rewarding!!




*Technically I wont graduate until June of next year because I received an incomplete in one half of one class, Interpreting Process. The class is divided into two parts: interpreting voice-to-sign, and sign-to-voice. I could not interpret voice-to-sign because of my broken wrist. The class is only offered in the spring and even though I will have been working as a professional interpreter as a technicality I am required to complete the class.

**guest artist: asha from language barrier

Now I have to go to work.
Up for 2007: back to smirky

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Guest Post

I have been thinking about posting. In my head I am posting about Christmas, that the entire Rogue Valley was sold out of dog sweaters, and how great that vegetarian meatloaf was and how many times I gave the finger on the road home. But too I am daydreaming about what kind of daily affirmations I might affix to my mirror for the new year and I haven't actually posted anything.

So I did what all my years of bigsister-hood prepared me for, I found someone else to post for me. The internet has been a lonely place since Brandon formerly of One Child Left Behind, quit the blogosphere. Fortunately for me, and for you, he still lurks about, mostly at The Blog Formerly Known as One Child Left Behind, the blog he uses to help him quit, so I tapped him to be my first ever guest blogger. Yay!

-asia
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Freud said daydreaming was infantile and neurotic, probably because he's a big poo-head and spends too much of his obviously free time spying on me from outside my bathroom window. Educational psychologists would later warn parents not to let their kids daydream because the children would surely be sucked into psychosis, and of course this makes me so crazy with rage that I've cut long lines of protest into my wrists and middle of my back. Don't ask me HOWWW.

I should expound. I'm not offended by psychoanalysts ruining a concept so lovely as daydreaming, I'm ruined by this newfound knowledge that there are people who do not practice afternoon escapism on a daily basis. I live in fear that I might somehow be reincarnated into the thoughts of another person and will find myself surrounded not by whimsical fantasy but by utility bill reminders and internal debates about whether to have chicken or fish.

Which brings the following thought to mind during a critical time at my office where I should be putting food on the plate and reading about stocks and bonds: 'What I miss most about the blogosphoere is comparing my dysfunctions to those of other people and feeling like I've come out on top, though, admittedly, my fact-checking skills have waned somewhat in the years since I took second place in the Cape Girardeau County Lincoln-Douglas District Debate (JV) competition of 1989. I have no reason, however, to believe that bloggers are prone to exaggeration, and fear is useless on the Internet because no one can hear you scream (THIS GUEST POST WRITTEN PRIOR TO THE ACQUISITION BY GOOGLE OF THE SITE KNOWN AS 'YOUTUBE'). If anything, the only thing to be cautious of online is cliche, and even that can be charming in its ubiquity, like growing to love your arranged bride.' I also miss the dedication it instilled in me, the emphasis I placed on completing my daily writing task, whereas lately, it's rare that I even finish a thought or complete a


In my retirement, I mostly listen to snippets of inspirational business tapes and look forward to lunch. I'm a long way from becoming famous enough so that I don't actually need inspiration, but I'm guessing much closer than the people who in fact exchange their credit card numbers for these tapes.

At the moment, I am waving at the motion sensor that controls my ability to not work in the dark. Saying 'hi' isn't good enough, anymore, the sensor has to know three things:

1.. Do you love it?
2.. Do you really want it?
3.. Do you love what you do?
This, apparently, is an all or nothing proposition.

I don't blame the technology, however, nor do I blame the THINKING behind the technology. That's because while I generally consider myself a good judge of character, occasionally I'm wrong. (Although because I am a man, and I am taught to SAY that I am wrong but BELIEVE that I am right. Or maybe I've got it backwards?) And just the other day while taking self-portraits in the bathroom mirror, as I am wont to do, I thought in the reflection was indeed one of the greatest human beings ever invented by God in the last 35 years. But then later I thought, man you are so full of crap. I was wrong about you. I really was.

My strategy now is to work in the dark. And perhaps take up Instant Messaging, which frightens me because I'm much more naturally talented at longhand communication, where the words in my head are generally floral and correctly spelled. Chat seems to devalue the communication between two people who really only want to talk with themselves, but the advantage, I suppose, is actually seeing the words come out of your head, as though you were a very well drawn boy blessed with bubble clouds willowing from your nub ears.

Rumor has it that I was already working in the dark long before I quit the internet. But rumors, I've come to discover, are nothing but lies that just happen to be true.


-Brandon

Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy Solstice!

I am driving home to Ashland in a few hours, but only after all 548 items are crossed off my holiday task list. Since I decided only yesterday to become Christmas-spirity (Mithra-ism notwithstanding as it was (is?) exclusive to men) there is suddenly upon me the gazillion tasks of the season and yet a mere four days of this joy left. Damn.

Among the most interesting things I have confronted this week is a series of text messages from my niece. I am trying to broker a visit between estranged family members and while I should know better I am going ahead with plans because I so rarely feel powerful.

No. Actually I am uneasy about the whole situation, which I have written about briefly before, how my older brother locked his doors against everyone. Not being ostracized, I am still allowed to talk to my niece and nephew who by extension are not allowed to speak to anyone else. Boy, I sure hope this doesn't blow up in my face. Can you see it coming?

Anyway my laundry is done and I have to go pack now. And mail the bills. And feed the animals. I hope the mountain passes aren't icy. Oh! I am so excited to go home!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

I'm falling up

I am listening to Christmas music if only to force myself back down to earth where time passes and seasons come, and then go. Music is something I can hold onto and keep the tips of my toes touching the soil.

We've been going to Christmas parties, all kinds of Christmas parties: formal dinner parties, white elephant parties, secret Santa parties, taco and tequila parties... My favorite party moment was when someone gave a curious squeeze to a brittle ornament which burst open showering the table with a fistful of gold glitter. I nearly fell down.

At the secret Santa party we played our hand strategically as a couple and secured a fiber optic rainbow lamp with leaping dolphins. I cant post any pictures of our new lamp because we walked home that night and haven't gone back to pick it up yet, both the lamp and the other white elephant, a farting bear. The farting bear has a remote control and little red cheeks that light up with bear-like embarrassment.

(There are so many horrible, tacky holiday songs! I had no idea.)

In the meantime I have scrubbed my house down from the floor up. In one sweeping motion through shelves of lotion and shower gel and toner and body spray and conditioner I sent thousands upon thousands upon millions of dollars of fancy goopy smells into the garbage. (Don't anyone ever gift me lotion again. Ever.) I dusted and sorted and wiped and scrubbed and then couldn't sleep at night because I just wanted to do more cleaning.

There is just enough time left for me to get all Christmasy about it. I should go to the mall wearing uncomfortable shoes and jostle around the store displays. That will surely ignite my spirit!

Friday, December 15, 2006

The remaining days of this year

Monday I turned in my final paper, and my last internship log.
Tuesday I rested.
Wednesday I got a job... interpreting, college level, starting early January.
Today, Thursday, the bank transfers the last of my savings account into my checking account, from which, nevertheless, the same debit is bounced, twice.

I made it through this year with only the shirt left on my back. Quite literally. Though don't be surprised if this year gets me yet. You don't know the most of it and I won't relive to tell it.



I came home at midnight after my shift at the bar, to find there a dozen pink roses. For me. This man, he is my secret weapon, and my only refuge.

I could not, now till the first day of my new job, give full and proper thanks to all the people without whom I would have been just another soul vacating the earth. I think it would be quite nice to rejoin the ethers. Soooo... thanks a lot. Thanks, a lot.

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This year I am celebrating the winter season (Mithra-mas) the Zoroastrian way. Don't bug me about it, I am on the learning curve. I still figure myself for a Buddhist, at least on my way, but the Buddha in me doesn't feel threatened by Mithra and quite fancies any deity who lays claim to Protectorate of the Cosmic Order.



Evergreens, meanwhile, are a symbol of immortality. Good spirits and the magic power of the evergreen resist the life-threatening powers of darkness and cold. To believe in the special powers of these trees means wherever they are, evil spirits can not go, and so their greenery is brought into our homes.

My world view is a mish-mash of whatever has nurtured me, and quite a bit of what hasn't.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Stress Management Skills

I only have one more paper, due Monday at noon, and otherwise the internship is complete. I interpreted for my last class on Thursday and by Saturday it became clear that a complete meltdown had been held at bay by will and white knuckles.

I thought at this point I would feel elated but I feel weak and stupid and aged.

All my pretenses are gone. I am mortal and filthy dirty. I eat food that has dropped on the floor, have calloused feet, do not like the taste of waking up in the morning. I am a voodoo doll made out of ear wax and fingernails and oily hair stuck full of pins. I am so fucking sensitive I feel schizophrenic.



Naturally I turned to the internet to get a better idea of what the hell is wrong with me. After taking a number of online Life Events Stress Tests and consistently scoring off the charts (bonus points for Christmas) I decided maybe I should just sleep through the next few weeks.

300 and over - High susceptibility to stress-related illness.
Your score = 642
You may need help.

Your score indicates that you have experienced very high to extremely high levels of stress in the past twelve months.

If this score is an accurate representation of your life experiences, we strongly urge you to seek professional advice about your ability to cope with any future stress challenges.

Please take care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally until you seek professional advice about your current stress levels and your ability to cope with future stress.

I am a total nutjob. How much more official can you get?

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