Monday, January 31, 2011

Merging to WHAT?

Some of you know that January has been a challenging month for me at work, and in life – not terrible, no major life or work changes actually resulted (a supportive or annoying friend would say, not yet), but there were lots of emotional/mental challenges and thoughts and feelings. And what’s maybe worse – the net result seems to be, no change in direction.

Funny metaphor on my drive home tonight (working late again, not that that gets me any more money or anything else professionally…who's bitter, right?, LOL). Funny place for a traffic jam, not far from my house in Garland, a few blocks from Garland Road (used car lots, generic-brand car repair shops and gas stations, a thrift store…).

An arrow was telling the left lane to merge into the right, but the people in the right lane had their blinkers on to go left, because the Garland Road light was taking so long and we were on an (on a short strip, not the most vibrant section of Garland) industrial strip with no cross streets that went through to anywhere.

The merge arrow light (yellow, not orange, made of obvious dots, like a fresh Vegas sign) was so bright on the suburban four-lane road at 7 pm – kind of perky and fresh, working hard but doing nothing much. Meaningless-looking road repairs causing the lane closure…but that’s typical, right? I saw one guy in reflective road gear poking a stick into a pile of road dust – not sure if there was a hole under the dust, it really didn’t matter.

I have had just enough wine that I know I don’t need to speculate on metaphors to do with sticks and holes, and dust.

My lane was closing, and it was taking me 15 more minutes to get home. That was my experienced reality – that was what made a difference in my life expectancy, from whatever little difference it made in my daily stress load.

My lane feels constricted (my work/life lane is not really closed, it’s more of a feeling, an interpretation, a new awareness) and I feel (there’s that word again) forced to merge into what’s next to me. A lane I haven’t evaluated, which is probably temporary anyway.

See how stressful this sounds? That’s why even those of us not 100% thrilled with our jobs every day stay in them.

It’s so hard to evaluate potential changes. And impossible to see the future. (We never get used to that.)

Corner Seating







I wrote the beginning of this one last Thursday at Trinity Hall, a Dallas Irish pub (I guess in Dallas, we should say "Irish-STYLE pub") where a friend was having a surprise birthday party.

I had 10 minutes to kill and made myself write without knowing where I was going with the writing. (How could anyone do that without a drink in hand…)

A corner’s not a bad place if you yourself choose to sit in it. Not put there. Not herded, trapped, shunted, not having lost out on a better seat through an office – life – game of musical chairs.

Even though I can’t see out very well I like how the high back supports me. I can see in front of me.

Not like the caves, tunnels where I get stuck in my nightmares.

I don’t remember a dream where I get out – I’m in the dark place, then I wake up or the dream shifts. Sometimes walls shrinking toward me, never much room, air... Also tipped or lying horizontally in the narrow space – disorientation added to the claustrophobia.

***
I am an observer type person, I hate to be invisible but sometimes I want to be watching what’s going on, hear what’s going on, before I got involved. Even after years of therapy and 4 years of medication, I sometimes get self-conscious in public. Who might be watching me, what are they thinking about me? I don’t necessarily care, but I wonder anyway.

A high bench seat is nice because my back is not a blind side, instead it is bulwarked! I am supported there, no one is staring.

The corner seat does block some visibility to one or more sides, but the blocking feels optional – you could scoot sideways, you could stand up. Again, OPTIONS. And there’s my issue with a blind side – my right eye has less vision, and if someone was going to stare at me, they would probably stare at my discolored right side.

I may need more medication.

Or I may need to sit in corners of bar benches more often.

Might need to get a bar bench for my home – it felt pretty good last Thursday.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

MUSE PROTECT ME

Who could look at this print title and not want it – "Muse, Protect Me." Anyone who has any interest or makes any effort, even accidental, at creating anything (words, pictures, other dimension) should receive this print FOR FREE!

Yes, I know she looks unfriendly. Isn’t that how we regard our personal muses? Critical, judgmental, only intermittently available like our parent of origin…blah blah blah, years of therapy, we know.

But, MUSE. That word alone should inspire, excite, INCITE, make us want to do fun stuff with crayons, paints, pens, a keyboard…whatever tool we grab to express ourselves.

DEAR MUSE:

(I’m concentrating hard on this message…)
Please help me stay focused this year to complete a book. I think it will be one I started a couple of years ago, you know the yin & yang on that (topic and motivation), which doesn’t matter, what matters is FINISHING. Maybe a Muse doesn’t help with selling, publishing, marketing, but I am hoping you can – counting on you to – help me finish the damn thing. With reduced anxiety and perfectionism. THINK YOU CAN DO THAT?!

I know how to write, I know how to work, how to create, get up and apply myself, but MUSE…I might need your help with the magic dust. THINK YOU CAN DELIVER?!

Can you be like a pharmaceutical product that makes me forget my day job and focus on the evening’s creative writing? Can you be a forgiving deity that helps me start every day, maybe even hour, as a new creative person – not hung up on past nowhere-going thoughts, authorship mistakes, but moving forward?

How much money (or other stuff???) would I need to sacrifice at your electronic/virtual altar for me to feel appreciated, loved, read, understood, all the things a writer wants…?

OK, let’s get real – would I need to cut my finger and bleed onto a cotton ball for you to help me write THE GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL in 2011? Or at least the Great American Autobiography? In my mind they are the same thing – I don’t care if they are in yours, Muse.
I know the book I want to write. But so many things – people, alarm clocks, weather changes, elevator stops, crop yields, seemingly ridiculous things derail me.

CAN YOU HELP ME WRITE A BOOK IN 2011?
FINISH A BOOK?

I’m not asking you to help me sell it – I think that requires a different god (OOPS, I first typed “dog,” LOL) from the galaxy.

You are not a god of selling, but of creating. We have to look elsewhere in the pantheon for help with selling.

Please help me finish a book and not beat myself down near-death in the process.

That is my request for you, dear Muse.

To recalibrate – this post was inspired by an Etsy print by an Italian artist (Vincenzo Rizzo), I clicked Purchase on Monday but none of it is really real yet. He has not shipped, and I have not paid.

IT’S VIRTUAL. Like the Roman and Greek gods and goddesses we studied in pre-junior high grades in the 1970s. Theoretical, words on paper.

Really…are our daily lives more solid than that? Let’s discuss…HMM…

Monday, January 24, 2011

Crazy Socks

(Images from LittleMissMatched.com – really, I don't make this stuff up.)

My cousin is a part-time nanny, which obviously exposes her to a different reality than mine, and she recently told me about something that blew, no kind of cracked open, my brain – MISMATCHED SOCKS.

The girl she takes care of got a new dresser set and of course Nanny (slash cook, housekeeper, sometimes maid – well, light dusting and some procastinatory silver polishing) was told to move over the princess’ clothes to the new furniture. (I’m the only real princess on the planet, but I acknowledge that some other people pretend to the title, for themselves or their kids.)

She was temporarily confused when she did the sock drawer – even after dumping out the old drawer and storage bin on the bed, she couldn’t get everything matched up. Then she realized that was the point!

Little Princess had Crazy Socks – they were made that way – they came that way. Cousin said, “They are so cute – she has different colored stripes, leopard socks, some with monkeys…”

I could hardly concentrate on what she was saying because my brain train derailed when she told me the socks don’t match.

Looking for patterns has always been my brain thing. Sometimes I exhaust myself looking for patterns that don’t work out – or I think I see patterns that are really just paranoia, through misperception – but I always have the pattern orientation. Which contributes to my craving for collecting numerous colors and varieties of things (shoes, jewelry, recently PAINTINGS) and maybe also for whatever insight I possess into human behavior – everybody is like some piece of somebody else, even if in another place and time, in my view, and I find that view interesting. In my 20s a nice psychologist (not all psychologists are nice but I have typically fired the ones who weren’t) told me it was a good thing, the ability to see patterns. After 20-plus more years of corporate America, seeing and trying to alert coworkers to patterns that nobody else acknowledges (really – sometimes the Emperor IS naked), I’m not sure I would choose the Matching trait at a swap meet.

So, but, thinking of Crazy Socks is my new mental ___...well, something shocking…not shock treatment…maybe colonoscopy? (LOL) It kind of pulls me apart a little bit and makes me refocus.

Who said that needed to feel good.

Sunday night journaling before a work Monday

(I was too tired to post this last night - thought of doing it this morning but first wanted to make sure I survived the work day, so as not to negate what I had written.)

What will be required of me this week? Or really, the concern is, can I deliver what will be required… But what if I’m not optimum? Already some healing sighs just from writing these first sentences Even the worst week – with me dropping some balls--

Pause here to comment that I had started this new purse journal on the first blank page – always a little scary, but I remembered to warm up my pen on a different piece of paper. I hate a dry pen start to a writing page…

Anyway, when I got to page 2 I realized it is a lined journal and I had started my stream of consciousness on the blank header page. Which is kind of like my concern for the work week – I am so close? quick? to launching into fear and venting (articulation of concerns), but sometimes there is more structure ahead than I expect, something I should check out (explore) or try to remember.

On page 3, I am not loving the printed lines – they don’t fit my handwritten line spacing. Double is too much, single not enough. It’s been a long time since I used a lined journal and I don’t like it. Me not fitting…like at work? But really, don’t I fit well enough?

(Interlude over, for now)
Back to what I was saying, if I drop balls… Or to address what is probably my biggest fear, if I don’t act perfectly calm (with no personal agenda – haha) every work day, won’t I still be providing very acceptable service? Even if I took a sick day, feeling headachy or sinus-dragged or too tired after Tuesday’s OB/Gyn appointment (the thought of which is a significant undertow) – there would be no repercussions.

Sunday night before a work Monday – Claim that! Feel comfort in it.

The job that has not rewarded me as I believe, consider, appropriate is still a relatively safe place. Takeover attempt postponed (“they” say, till later in the year) financial performance OK this quarter…big sigh of feeling calmer.

Keep up the calm, Sarah self!

Put down the pen and watch the movie that’s about to start. Take a Xanax later at home if you even think you need it.

Just get yourself to work in whatever degree of mental, emotional readiness tomorrow morning. (8 am meeting – yuck – possibly Xanax-assisted early sleep is needed.)

Even if tomorrow (can I dare to think?) the work is not OK (correction – not Sarah ideal) it will be OK.

(Ball, balls and all.)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Purple Chucks Photo and Purple Boots Painting

I saw a painting called "Purple Boots" on Daily Painters, during a recent bad weekend…and I tried to talk myself out of it – and I did! For at least a day.

It’s not like I even own a pair of boots right now, any kind of boots. (I am too short-legged, too short, too dumpy, too much of a Chuck-lover, whatever.)

I searched for purple boots on Zappos.com, just to try to get a better synchronicity with the painting I had been staring at, and nothing there even tempted me – too mud-puddle in style, too high-heeled...otherwise annoying.

I even printed out an image of the painting (with my home color cartridge, which skewed all the colors) and convinced myself it would NOT work in the Sarah room. But that same night I had an insomnia epiphany (I have a LOT of those) that the painting would work great in the guest room, never mind the Sarah Room.

I had posted a link to the painting on Facebook, saying I decided not to purchase it, but it would be a find for somebody. Quite a few people said how much they liked it, even people who don’t typically comment on my art postings. Which reinforced that it was special. (I don’t know how that last sentence helps to justify my purchase…but I hope it does.)

Did I mention it was on sale? Whatever that means – I don’t know when it was originally posted or what the original price was, but the phrase “January Sale” did catch my eye. My January is not so bueno, and I am El Broke-O, and this painting is cute… I LIKE SALES!

The artist, Vicki Shuck (http://vickishuckartwork.blogspot.com/), wrote this on her blog about the painting: “I love the swinging of her skirt and her purple boots in the middle of the summer.”

OK, that sounds like a Sarah mission statement.

In my case it would be CHUCKS.

But they would be purple, and I would wear them regardless of season – regardless of what other people were wearing in that particular weather – and I would be SWINGING.

This has been a rough week at work already (it’s only Wednesday night, and Monday was supposed to be a holiday, which it wasn't for Sarah), and I knew I wouldn’t have the energy to write a lot on this topic, but I thought, I could start the post with a photo of my purple Chucks. Lord knows I have some purple Chucks!

Maybe it would have made more sense to not buy the Purple Boots painting and to have asked the artist to do a painting of somebody in purple Chucks. Maybe.

But this painting is so cute. And I think it’s true to the Converse-Chucks mood. SO I BOUGHT IT. Yes.

Come on, guilt storm. (Or don't.)

Here is it: "Purple Boots" by Vicki Shuck (see blog link above).

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sequin mask dream and red tattoo idea

Several nights ago I had a rare good dream (non nightmare), or fragment of a dream. I don’t remember a whole story line but the dream was like mini scenes of an entertainer who wore a very interesting mask in public (out to dinner, meeting with the public and the press), a Mardi Gras type thing that had one side decorated with sequins and the other bare. (Yes, there was a definite Mardi Gras element, I think he was wearing a yellow silk suit in one scene.)

As a spectator in the dream I realized that the man had a facial birthmark like mine, on one side of his face, and rather than cover it with makeup as you would expect for someone in show business, he either showed his bare face, with the birthmark, or he wore a mask that had a birthmark shape made with pink sequins. Whether or not he wore the mask didn't have to do with how many people were around him, it seemed to correlate only with his mood.

I remember experiencing happy feelings in the dream – not only was the man not hiding how he looked (how we look) but he was actually emphasizing it. I had never had the idea of doing that, but wow, how empowering it was to see someone else do it.

I have a draft version of a blog post about living with my birthmark that I can’t seem to work on when I’m not drinking (drinking a lot) and so have put on the back burner. It was a nice nudge to have the mask dream, which prompted me to do at least a baby steps version of blogging about my birthmark today.

Think of living with a facial birthmark as being between two extremes. One extreme would be the Houston cosmetics sales lady who told me in 1977 (the year after my mother died, real nice timing), “Oh honey, you should always wear this makeup.” It was nasty thick odd-colored makeup and I felt she was condemning me to a life of nastiness - nastiness if I wore it, shame if I didn't. The other extreme would be friends telling me that they never notice my birthmark anymore. I live between these two extremes, and it’s not the easiest country of residence.

Another subject – tattoos… I toyed with getting a tattoo for my 40th birthday but couldn’t mute the in-my-head voice of my former gastroenterologist, who had a big sign in his office saying that tattoos give you hepatitis. (He warned against pedicures too.) The most memorable article I found through Googling said that researchers saw a link between drinking, tattoos and hepatitis, which they theorized might indicate that it is unsafe for people who drink a lot to get a tattoo. Or, the article was fair enough to say, the only connection might be that people who drink a lot get tattoos at parlors that might not use clean needles. I took from the article the idea that drinking and getting a tattoo would be like taking birth control pills and smoking, a heavy combo of risk factors. I didn’t want a tattoo enough to push through my fears.

But…maybe I do want a tattoo for 50. My 3 sets of ear piercings have not quieted my rebel urge. I would go to a clean and well recommended place – I already have several referrals.


Craig never believes that I could handle the pain. Yes, I have a low threshold of pain, but I can manage through it when the result is very important to me. Best example – the two arduous rounds of laser treatments I had for my birthmark, one in the 1980s and one in the 1990s. (The 1990s doctor corrected what the 1980s doctor had done - typical modern medicine.) Pre-laser anesthesia shots in your eyebrow hurt. Laser beams on your cheek and nose hurt. HURT.

Both laser doctors praised my endurance. I guess to me it was a form of how women routinely withstand discomfort for something like a bikini wax. Now, this sentence will sound extreme, but here goes (I don’t feel this way every minute of my life, but the thought/feeling has crossed my mind): If you think you are physically repulsive, you will withstand a lot of pain and hassle to change your looks.

OK, let’s please pull this writing back to tattoos, I didn’t mean to trick myself into doing the birthmark blog, my glass of wine doesn’t have enough in it.

I wouldn’t get a tattoo until October (which marks the date of 50 Years of Sarah!), so I have lots of time to turn over the idea in my mind. I am currently thinking…I'll get it on my forearm. That’s the only reliably skinny place on my body, where the tattoo will keep its shape and where I won’t be embarrassed to show it. I’m trying to avoid mental associations with the Nazis tattooing ID numbers on Jews in camps…that is a horrible image and I would like to get past it. I could get the tattoo on my upper arm so it would be easier to hide, I wear long sleeves most of the time. Or I could get it on the inside of my forearm…the spot the Nazis used…(Stop it!)

I can’t decide on just one image so I might get two, one on each arm. Debating between an Eye of Horus, a yin & yang symbol, a princess crown (Sarah means princess! in indelible ink!), a sun, a star, a moon.

I didn’t think I wanted a colored tattoo, I thought black would be simpler, show up more clearly and age better. But today I had the thought, what if I got a pinkish red tattoo, or at least red & black?

I have red on my face from the birthmark…that tattoo would give me red on my arms. Would that make me feel better matched, more integrated somehow? Maybe I have always felt off balance. It could be that a red tattoo would give me the satisfaction I feel when I buy a painting that looks great near a painting I already had. Patterns – I always see patterns. Even when I don’t see them, I think sometimes I feel them unconsciously.

I would not have had this tattoo color idea if not for the sequin mask dream.

I would like to know that man in the dream. Hey…maybe the dream is about knowing myself. Correction: wanting to know myself.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Time for another deal with the devil?

I think the devil concept solidified in my mind (to the extent anything in my mind is solid, LOL) from a 1996 Suzanne Somers TV movie, "Devil’s Food."

Here is IMDB.com’s synopsis: “When a TV anchor woman finds her career to be hampered by her uncontrollable weight problems, she closes a deal with the devil. He lends her her ideal weight, she promises him her soul. By contract. Soon enough she realizes she's made a terrible mistake and tries to negotiate her way out of it. Alas, the devil knows but one motto: "a deal is a deal", and now he's ready to collect..."

In 2004 I surprised no one more than myself by reenrolling in college after a couple of decades. One big concern was stretching my energy, pretty much non-stretchable even on a very good day, for the requisite hours of homework. I can get up early, but I can’t stay up late, and I needed to work fulltime.

The energy equation worked out better than I first thought it would, in a scenario that sometimes seemed like a deal with devil. It was as if I had said to Satan, “Give me a job where I am not so challenged that I will have mental energy left for homework, and where I am low enough on the totem pole that I can take full lunch hours during which I can do homework.” Or maybe it was more like a bad wish from a genie in a bottle – where I remembered to ask for energy and time for homework, but didn’t think to ask for anything else that I would need for survival or even sanity. But, this post title is about the devil, and even just the word “devil” may have made someone click to the blog, so let’s go on in that vein…

Post-Satan (I am speaking metaphorically), some office lunches streeeeeeetched a bit past the hour slot. But the homework all got in on time and I stayed on my “I’ll only do this if I can finish in less than 2 ½ years!” schedule. Some months of my job were almost intolerable (bored, disrespected, I’ll stop at those 2 words) – I remember a long phase where I was marking big X’s on my calendar at the end of each day where I DIDN’T KILL NOBODY. Remind me to put a few more footnotes into my next contract with The Dark One.

Several years later, I am wondering what that burning smell is in my office. A coffee maker malfunction? Today someone said it smelled like curry powder. Well…it smells like something that has gotten hot. (Sulfur? Brimstone?)

I don’t think (most days) that I would summon dark forces to enhance my office career, but maybe at least on some level I have considered such an evil thing for my writing. How far into the darkness would I go to have success as a writer…even to finish a book? Uh, even to get to the middle of a writing a book… Starting I can do, but beyond that I seem to need supernatural intervention.

In the movie "Devil’s Food," Suzanne’s character found a creative way to get her soul back. The Satanic Deal had been that she would not gain a pound. Well, with the help of the man who entered her life when she became slimly lovely, she got pregnant, and the baby’s weight meant Suzanne stepping on the scale got a higher number. It wasn’t Suzanne, but it was Suzanne’s weight. So the deal was invalidated!

Suzanne found a loophole – and neither Suzanne or the characters she plays are the brightest bulbs in the firmament.

Surely I can find a way to achieve professional success – even if I have to redefine what that means – without downgrading my afterlife.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Disliking Winter – Then and Now

Actually I think when I was much younger I did like winter. I lived in a warmer town then and I had a warmer coat. The polyester fluff thing pictured here kept me warm enough to walk from where Mother dropped me off for school and from the parking lot at church, and that was about the only walking I did in elementary school (for 4th grade through 6th I did have to walk to school, it was a short walk but in drive-your-car Texas it freaked out other parents, almost every day one would slow down their sedan or pickup truck to ask if I wanted a ride).

Cooler weather meant different clothes and less pressure to “Go do something outside” – during one developmental (or not so developmental, LOL) phase Mother literally gave me money to go out into the fresh air and sun, and I still took my book with me. Once I learned to read, making mud pies and climbing trees (I could go up maybe 2-3 feet in the tree closest to our carport) lost the little appeal they had ever had.

Cooler weather meant more baking – three October birthdays, each person getting their own cake or in my dad’s case, pie (we usually had a dessert choice of my leftover 10/19 cake or his 10/25 pie), and then Thanksgiving and Christmas. We saw relatives during these holidays, sometimes the absolute favorites – Uncle Harvey from New York and the wonderful Dallas cousins.

And while my mother was alive, Christmas gifts were awesome. It wasn’t that she spent a lot, she got most things on sale, but she really researched what each child wanted and we even got holiday gifts AFTER Christmas – some that she saved for day 1 or day 2 after so we wouldn’t get so whiny, and some that she had temporarily lost in the clutter that was her closet (piles and piles of blue-gray Foley’s shopping bags, a year or more worth of sale items saved for the right occasion). Winter weather (Tomball style) meant GIFTS!

OK, to get back to what I didn’t like: DRY SKIN. My mother’s skin was even more sensitive and dry than mine, and it helped to feel that solidarity with her – since her passing, I feel more freakish. She used to make us mother & daughter appointments with a Houston dermatologist who every fall would give us prescriptions for a wonderful creamy-but-not-greasy lotion that had a hefty dose of steroids in it. That stuff would heal red, cracked skin before your very eyes! In the 1980s I used to beg Dallas doctors for this magic goop but they said it was no longer prescribed…topical steroids weaken the skin layers, blah blah blah…like anybody whose fingers and wrists and other sections of skin itch and hurt cares about long term.

I also disliked scratchy winter clothes – I didn’t love tights. I like the look of them (this was the Twiggy/mod era, a whiff of which actually penetrated to Tomball TX) but not how they felt on my legs. My mother was mostly sympathetic – I remember her sewing a soft lining strip behind the scratchy lace collar of a Christmas recital costume – but on occasion she did remind me that as a girl SHE had to wear WOOL stockings…and had to put them on early in the fall, and wear them till late in the spring. Then and now I shudder with horror at that.

In my 20s I bought wool sweaters but finally had to acknowledge I rarely wore them – wool just does not feel good on me – and have not bought wool anything since, not even cashmere. My skin is highly sensitive, I guess. In a different climate I would have had to bite the wool bullet, but in Texas I can get by with layers of cotton and dramatic shivering.

Yes, shivering… As a young child I don’t think I minded the cold so much – I hated the static electricity from my brushed-nylon nightgowns and pajamas but our house was warm, if in a spotty way. We had wall heaters in the bedrooms and bathrooms – of course those scared me but they were warm as hell. Yep, almost a noisy-fiery-hot-hell motif with those, a bit creepy for a sensitive child. (Shoot, I am scared in 2011 of my current home’s furnace…I dislike cold but heat scares me, that is a pretty good summary of my psychological problems).

My first major weight loss came in my preteen years and although I had fluctuations after that, I always thought the low body fat around my neck and shoulders was what made me miserable in cold wind and cold air conditioning (Texas is notorious for the latter, if not the former). But in the last two years my neck and chins have filled in substantially and I still shiver.

Maybe it’s a family thing – my oldest brother, probably the least over-sensitive of the three genetic Scholls (I’m not saying he was not sensitive, just that he was not OVER-sensitive) – used to carry a jacket around in many kinds of weather, especially in restaurants (the air conditioning thing again) and take it on and off his shoulders repeatedly.

Our ancestors came from cold Germany – I doubt I would survive even an early fall in that country, but I am not genetically predisposed to handle hot summer either. I can’t achieve self acceptance until I remember, as a start, that I come from pale white, potato & cheese loving German stock and my parents were (third) cousins. Several things, many things, going on genetically.

Although I am sure the Nazis would discard me as a substandard physical type within 5 seconds. Thank goodness my great-grandparents came to Texas in the 19th century. (My husband likes to call me a Nazi, but that is not timeline-accurate AT ALL.)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Whack-A-Mole for the new year

It seems like when I pull back one of my addictions (ok, maybe we can say compulsions, just to sound nicer and maybe fool somebody), another one ramps up. Less drinking, more eating…buying less jewelry, buying more art. My mental image for this is the carnival game Whack-A-Mole. The bad stuff is gonna bubble up out of some hole! And I am not the most effective whacker…I don’t fear my own whacking and I avoid others who might whack at my behaviors, so the moles keep coming up.

I was shocked to read that some people who have gone through surgical stomach reductions and can no longer overeat turn to drinking, drugs…even (I don’t know why I said “even,” I’m not assigning degrees to this list!) gambling and sexual acting out. But on reflection that is not really so shocking…I guess other people have a Whack-A-Mole board in their head too.

I just Googled to check myself on the previous paragraph, and I must be correct because a blog came up quoting “gastric-bypass poster child Carnie Wilson” and terming the process “Addiction Transfer," which certainly sounds official and clinical.

My anxieties are like Whack-A-Mole too. Put one to rest (replace an ancient furnace) and another one (what if the water heater developed a leak while we’re at work?) is anxious!!! to take its place. My blood work comes back normal, then I start feeling a strong pulse in my fingertips. Now, what did the doctor tell me about that…he said some people feel their fingers pulse and others don’t. But what does that doctor know, really? Maybe my pulse is dangerously high…maybe my blood pressure has zoomed since it was last checked…

For the medical anxieties I pretty much need pharmaceuticals to whack down the worry moles.

While searching for images of the Whack game (and learning how to spell it – I think I started out with “waccamole,” which just got me guacamole recipes) I found an article by Bonnie Boots, Has Putting Your Head Up On the Internet Made You Feel Like Whack-A-Mole? http://www.theinternetwizards.com/A-whackamole.htm

It was the leading image that drew me in – a freaky version of the photo at the top of this post – but when I looked further at the article I realized it was Sarah blog fuel too. Bonnie relates the negative emails some bloggers receive to the insults that get hurled at those whose have a public profile in any kind of media - the newspapers, TV, etc. I am not a big enough anything to have gotten hate mail, but even my degree of “fame” (had to put that word in quotes) sometimes feels like too much attention.

Relative strangers start out conversations with me by saying, “You have a REAL problem with buying art, don’t you…” (in scene settings ranging from a dirty-floor Mexican restaurant to Christmas dinner). My drinking and my job comments draw a lot of attention too. But just as I start to MAYBE question my let-it-all-hang-out web philosophy, I remember the baking comments from the 1990s…

In my 30s I loved to try out new cookie, bread and cake recipes and took my experiments into the office at least once a week. Coworkers complained about their diets but of course they inhaled the stuff. Every group-signed birthday card from those years had almost 100% comments about my baking. “Keep up the baking! Keep making me fat! Love your cooking!” etc. At first it was cute but by year 3 there was so much sameness to it that it felt impersonal. But…when I got busier with other things and stopped baking, the card comments got even more boring. What does anyone say when they sign an office card, after all? “HBD!” is about the best innovation even my creative self has come up with in decades of office work.

Yes, my head sticks up on the internet. But I have a big head, always have, was born with a large skull. And parts of my personality like attention. And nothing is really private these days, anyway…and writers want to be heard. Hell, women want to be heard! Although we get smacked down far too much!
When I came up with the idea for this post it was going to be doom & gloom, “I sure hope 2011 is not another whack-a-mole year like 2010 was”…going from one fear, one anxiety, one overspending category to the other…

But now that I have typed two pages of stuff, found 3 cool images online, and am having a little Chardonnay (not too much – a small mole, barely sticking its fuzzy head up) and listening to Buddy Guy wailing and banging in a live blues album from 1979…

At this brief point in time, I am feeling kind of good about moles coming up through holes.

If I think more about it, I will fear 2011's moles...so I will stop writing and click on Publish Post.