I went permanent at my job. I am now a regular employee again, after seven years of being a contractor - which in the USA is basically indentured servitude with few or no medical benefits, and no sick or vacation time, with dismissal at a moments' notice a cold, hard fact once the company one is indentured to is no longer meeting the bottom line.
I worked for two companies between 2010-2017, both of which worked me until I broke (I had depressive breaks/anxiety) and then threw me out like worn out light bulb. After having had the promise of permanent tenure dangled in front of me by both companies for seven years, and then yanked away, my newest position just gave it to me after three months of employment there.
I'm grateful and ecstatic, but I also weep for what this means for our current capitalist system. And I'm still dealing with the psychological fallout from the last two positions, over the last seven years.
Last summer, I felt so dehumanized - mainly over the fact that I had bronchitis for a month and was not allowed to take any sick time, and was then berated for how my performance suffered and then let go.
The American dream was dead for me, as it is for so many people...people who "punch down" instead of punching up, who blame those who are even less fortunate that they are instead of "the masters" (because they still envision themselves as being "a master" one day - as the quote attributed to John Steinbeck goes, America is full of "temporarily embarrassed millionaires.")
However, I have discovered that I need major surgery to correct the issue with my uterine fibroids, and when the surgery finally happens I will be out for six weeks. This was non negotiable. After I got caught up financially from my last period of unemployment, I went to the gyno finally to talk about my options. The pain has been getting worse over the past year.
I have told my boss. I am trying to save up enough money to cover expenses, as I have not been there long enough to apply for a leave of absence, and hoping that the pain is manageable until then.
1) Do you want to get married?
no. i am already married. i would not like to change that.
did i want to get married? not for the sake of "being married", no. but certainly at the time i thought it was the natural thing to do to express our commitment and it continues to have financial and legal advantages that i consider very important. (it was also useful to get our families to treat us like full adults.) i know people who have been shut out of making medical decisions for their partner and that set of rights is very important to me.
2) Where would you like to get married?
if i could do it again, i'm kind of obsessed with this place, which remains mysterious but seems like it should be a private club. since i probably don't have the connections for that dreamy view, The Ruins would be nice. (it's hard to tell from the website, but that swanky eccentric inside is nested inside what looks like a rotting warehouse with trees growing through the broken roof.) or maybe i would make everyone go out to Kalaloch or Doe Bay. My one regret about my actual wedding and reception was that we didn’t have a pig roast.*
3) If you were getting married in a week, who would be in your wedding party?
is that a logistical question? there were no attendants when we got married, because to be honest neither of us had wedding-party-worthy friends living nearby. mimerki and scarlettina, I guess?
...I've never been in a wedding party. There's only one person I wish had asked me and we're no longer friends.
4) What would your wedding colours be?
at the actual event i had red roses, green ivy, and heather in my bouquet; my dress and my hair were trimmed with ribbon roses in a variety of colors. nothing matched. i suppose if i had to make things match they would be green.
5) Does marriage mean to you 'til death do us part?'
well, it's working out that way so far and i hope that it continues so, but i'd be lying if i said that i never had times of doubt. i feel lucky that we've been able to work that out.
so no, i don't think it can be "til death", at least not legally or religiously. i think everyone who gets married for love thinks that it's going to last. but i think that people grow and change over their lifetimes and maybe you were really perfect together in the moment, but you don't grow in complementary ways. when that happens, you should be able to go. unhappy marriage is the worst.
*in PA there was this dude who would bring the equipment to your house. He had a rotisserie smoker he towed behind his truck and he would cook, carve, and serve a whole hog.
anyhoo, one of them is Designs for Knitting Kilt Hose and Knickerbocker Stockings. It is so charmingly half-assed. Originally it was self-published in Scotland in 1978, and the author was about 78 at the time. It assumes that the reader is intimately familiar with kilt hose, and the concept of cuffs hiding a garter, and calf decreases.
she doesn't bother with a legend for her stitch abbreviations** until there's a section she lifted from antique pattern books. THEN there's a legend and the untranslated patterns for a couple pages.
the best part? The section on argyle where she admits that she was never able to finish an argyle sock!
I will be able to make good use of it, but a few years ago it would have been impossible for me to decipher.
*they made some poor choices when they relocated a few years ago, and they exhausted all their resources. the storefront closes this month.
**w.o. stands for wool over, which folks in the US call a yarnover.
I'm finally spinning the rest of the fiber that became a felted dog toy. It's...challenging. I couldn't find the right settings for my wheel, so I pulled out a drop spindle for the first time in months.
Now when the fiber is clumpy or suddenly breaks it's no big deal. (Although I hate having this not-cheap spindle hit the floor.)
This stuff has little blobs of short fiber in it (neps). You can either obsessively pick them out, or make lumpy yarn.
It's neps all the way down. Let's just call it rustic texture and admire the colors.
the movie has the feel of a Marvel comic, where the characters are clearly a part of a larger world that includes both superheroes and locations that are familiar, like New York City. Peter is a 15 year old boy who lives in this world. Homecoming is well-executed, and dare i say it, better than the Raimi films. if you like Spidey, you should see it. it is definitely Spider-Man, and all the ways that it breaks away from existing tropes are good and leave me hopeful for the future of the franchise.
i won't be seeing it again for a while, though.
i love my Marvel Unlimited subscription, and whenever a character comes up, i go off and read up on their history.* the one character that i like but can't seem to read much of is Spider-Man. i could never quite put my finger on why i would read an issue or two and then walk away. Peter Parker is a great character, and well supported with a-list writers and artists.
after seeing the movie the other night, something clicked. i can't deal with the Peter sad = story good** dynamic. he's perpetually unable to enjoy his personal life or be truly happy because Spider-Man gets in the way. and so often that "Peter sad" comes from him trying to maintain his secret identity and keep his patrolling secret from people who deserve to know. or, as mimerki noted, he doesn't leverage his connections with his wealthy superhero friends to help with his cashflow problems nor use normal legal means to achieve his needs when it would be completely reasonable to do so. so first, there's a hell of a lot of "Peter sad" and i can only take so much of that, then there's Peter's wit only being applied to the heroing side of his life.
it's like he's perpetually punished for doing good. that's not something i actually want out of my entertainment.
it's too bad. i can't help but like the guy.
*this has mostly been delightful. a detour like Night Nurse is surprisingly good. then again, The Great Lakes Avengers i tried reading is painfully unfunny.
**i'm paraphrasing one of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer writers here. and "Buffy sad" was also a problem.
after chatting with philotera (who has been kayaking for a few years now), i signed up for a kayak class to not-so-metaphorically get my feet wet. i was looking to get some paddling technique training, and see how it all felt vs canoeing. would being so low in the water be scary? would my legs go to sleep? would the paddling exhaust me?
oh, i liked it. pretty much all of it.
( about the class )
at the end of it all, i came home and realized that i had lived for years near a lazy river (and while growing up near fast-flowing but not-rough creeks) and could have been paddling nearly year-round. where i grew up, the word kayak meant whitewater and helmets and eskimo rolls.* oh well.
my legs did not go to sleep. nor was i crippled with pain the next day, although i definitely felt the work in my abs and i had a little sunburn on the backs of my shoulders.
i'm dreaming of boat-in camping now. but that means getting C on board. (and probably going without Leela, which makes me sad...okay, i was trying to figure out if she could sit between my legs as long as i skipped a spray skirt.)
*and perhaps if i had grown up here i would have thought of kayaking as waves and drysuits and hypothermia, rather than puttering about in a lake.
1. What is your idea of perfect happiness? Being rootless with no home and traveling out west with my husband and pets. Basically, I want a gypsy caravan with my loved ones that never stops. I'm a nomad at heart. I never ever want to come home. Home is within.
2. What is your greatest fear? It's a cheery toss up between death and going to Hell. Runner ups include: being electrocuted, driving, making change, and bears.
3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Being hot headed and proud. I go there all the time, but I hate it about myself.
4. What is the trait you most deplore in others? Prudery
5. Which living person do you most admire? My husband, Kelly. He has endless patience, and he is so kind. He makes it look like a cakewalk.
6. What is your greatest extravagance? Hah! Everything about me is extravagant. 5+ dollar coffee every single day or all my time going to me? I’m a bit of hedonist and everything is a bit over the top. I have a lot of extravagances which is why I don't have kids.
7. What is your current state of mind? I live in a constant state of Ouiser Boudreaux. I'm Ouiser after huffing essential oils today, though. That state of mind is like a buoy bobbing on the ocean if you're wondering.
8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Frugality or tact
9. On what occasion do you lie? If you invite me anywhere, I'm most likely going to lie to get out of it at some point because of anxiety and depression. I'm the friend that flakes.
10. What do you most dislike about your appearance? Not that much, actually. I guess my thighs or super long ski like feet? Overall, I'm great with how I look. I love my teeny baby sometimes lazy eye. I've become attached to my crowded big horse teeth. I recently have embraced my plump arms that remind me of how much I loved squishing and kneading at my Grandma's when I was little. Yeah, I think I have babe status besides like 10 silver gray hairs that annoy me. It's liberating to love yourself.
11. Which living person do you most despise? I'm not a fan of the current "President", but more so I despise the people like Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Paul Ryan who have the nerve to try to justify this as normal, and in my opinion, are putting party over country.
12. What is the quality you most like in a man? When I was young, I always said creativity, but I didn't know what I needed. When I fell in love with Kelly, I came to realize it was kindness.
13. What is the quality you most like in a woman? Brashness
14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? "Awwwwwww, Hell." My husband will tell you I say it just like Nick Nolte.
15. What or who is the greatest love of your life? My husband, Kelly. People say that stuff, but I'm truly mad about him. He's everything. I hover around him all the time with anxiety that something will happen to him. I wish I could lock him in the house or be in his pocket all the time. I know that sounds creepy, but I'm creepy.
16. When and where were you happiest? Anytime with sunshine and warmth and a brief respite from my anxiety. When my mind is quiet, I am happiest.
17. Which talent would you most like to have? I wish I could paint or be a fat ballet dancer. After I watch ballet, I try to do moves in the house which I feel are beautiful, but I'm sure look hysterical. If I ever get to Heaven, I would love to be a fat ballet dancer up there. You all better come watch me.
18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I wish I could get over my driving phobia.
19. What do you consider your greatest achievement? This is the most difficult question so far. Getting a piece published that was deeply personal in a book? Maybe just the fact that I continue to get up every day when I live in a brain that frequently hums with suffocating, unending fear. I live with a body and brain constantly elevated to red level terror alert. It sounds dramatic, but when you think about death and fear most of every day, continuing to exist is a victory.
20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? I hope a monk or someone to be left in peace to study and focus on something more than myself. I want never ending quiet and a higher calling.
21. Where would you most like to live? New Mexico
22. What is your most treasured possession? Letters and cards that Kelly has given me over the years/my book collection. It's a tie.
23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Networking and/or icebreakers
24. What is your favorite occupation? I wish I could do data entry all day long. Just tuck me in a closet with my own music or podcasts to listen to and no one around and endless amounts of data to enter. To most that would sound like boring hell, but for me, I would love nothing more. Unfortunately, I was born in the wrong period, and now, mostly people enter everything directly into the computer anyway so it's not needed.
25. What is your most marked characteristic? Being tell all. I have no secrets. I'm an open book about everything. I'm pretty passionate, too.
26. What do you most value in your friends? Those who stick with me because it's not easy to be my friend.
27. Who are your favorite writers? I could go on for paragraphs about this: Colette, Anais Nin, Elizabeth Bowen, Donna Tartt...I'm recently really getting into Faulkner.
28. Who is your hero of fiction? Léa from Chéri and Vinca from The Ripening Seed
29. Which historical figure do you most identify with? Marie Antoinette for her hedonism, love of leisure, and pugs
30. Who are your heroes in real life? People like my friend Natalie who seem to have this endless fountain of positivity and joy and patience. No matter how stressful things are, she always seems to have time to give to people and without resentment! Women and men who choose to love themselves when society and/or the media tells them they're unworthy. Hillary Clinton, who keeps getting knocked down and kicked in the teeth but always gets back up. My parents, of course.
31. What are your favorite names? Cecilia and other names that sound old fashioned
32. What is it that you most dislike? the entire Hell that is Sam's with all of disgusting humanity clotted in front of the sample stands stuffing their faces, huge neck holes and thin shirts (the quality of today's clothing), and people singing happy birthday
33. What is your greatest regret? I don't know. There are many. Not applying myself in college. Being an asshole to my brother when we were young. Being unkind when I knew better.
34. How would you like to die? Very, very old in my sleep
35. What is your motto? I don't do inspirational posters, corny Hallmark cards, or mottoes.