Root Canal

Every morning, I spend a little time thinking through my day. If I don’t take a few minutes to make a list of what I’m to do that day, things just end up in that zone where all of my missing, unpaired socks must have gone.

I didn’t visualize getting a root canal this morning, but I got one nonetheless.

When I was a kid, I fell off my bike and landed on my face. I chipped one of my front teeth. Thirty years later, the nerve in it has finally died, shriveled up, and started to decay, causing an infection in my jaw. Over the weekend, I was getting this deep pain when I drank hot liquids. So, I called the dentist this morning (thinking maybe I had just brushed too hard and exposed a nerve or something simple like that) and–voila–I’ve now got a fat lip and I’m drooling. Fortunately, that tooth was already capped, so at least that part was made simple. Thank the gods for novacaine, nitrous oxide, modern dentistry, and health insurance.

Anyway, I’m going to suck on my chocolate chip cookie now.

Weekend Redux

Spring is coming along nicely here. It rained all day Saturday. The kind of cold rain that makes me excited for the coming green. And while it’s way too early for us to be having this much warm weather and the early snow melt doesn’t bode well for our summer water supply, the doom isn’t hampering the springtime happening in my soul right now.

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This just in: John Edwards’ wife’s cancer is back and he is making his presidential bid, at least temporarily, a second priority. I’ve got compassion for them and disappointment for us.

Hard to imagine the public being comfortable with his attention being divided. I’m not. Not that he can’t be a president with an ailing wife, but what does that say about his wife then? But they say that all publicity is good publicity. If our Luke Skywalker goes so early in the game, I’ll miss more than his pretty face. He could push us further on domestic issues than we’ve gone in a long time. And, dammit, we need a clean environment, accountable corporations, universal health care, and a livable wages for all.

Anybody who thinks a country grows best by getting rich first and then getting healthy later should watch this video.

Going back to my old school

Well, my old friend kerblam is gonna tie the knot this year on Turkey Weekend. And that means I get to go back to my hometown for the first time in *years* and reconnect with folks.

I can’t wait to see kerblam and the rest of the gang. I’m not so in touch with the regular high school set. But, in the last few years, the church youth group folks from that era have been tracking each other down. And kerblam and I picked right up with each other like we’d never been apart. On the whole, I’d say, high school sucked and I couldn’t wait for it to be over but for times with these folks. We had simple fun and simple friendships that helped me stay grounded during a difficult time but, sadly, I probably wouldn’t recognize most of their faces if these friends walked by me on the street now, 20 years and 1000 miles out of context.

I’m looking forward to it!

Just another day in Existentialia

I seem to be melancholy today for no particular reason. Doo Dog is more alert and less confused, owing to the change in his thyroid meds. My cat loves playing with his new kitty housemate and I have such fun watching them. The sun has been out for days, letting me ride my bike to work again. Friends have been calling, reconnecting, giving me flowers. Friday was a banner day: a friend phoned needing someone to talk to and I felt like I was able to really be of service by letting something happen through me (rather than from me). (I live for those moments.) And, Sunday, after years of not having a meditation group, I found one that I think will really suit me. Yet, today, I feel dumpy and permeated with a complex sense of loss.

Some days you are Maude. Some days you are Harold.

Go Blue

I got an unexpected invitation to a Barack Obama fundraiser on Sunday. It was a couple thousand people, sweating like crazy and straining to hear through the suffering sound system, packed SRO in a classic, old theater in downtown Denver. It was a refreshingly diverse crowd and the whole thing had a very grassroots feel. Unfortunately, after the local color guard band got us all whooped up with anticipation, the star was tardy, and it was so hot with all of us crammed in there that one woman fainted in front of me. But enough with the non-essentials.

I’ll spare you the highlights of the speech because you and I both know that what politicians say before they are elected means very little in the long run. Here’s what I like about his history: he is from a multiracial family, he has been a civil rights activist, he has a record in his state of effectively reaching out to folks outside his demographic and getting both sides of the aisle to play together, he is open about the role drugs have played in his life, and his process around his religious choices show that he can think independently and has found a way for religion to coexist with critical thinking. He is campaigning on hope and empowerment of people rather than scaring people into empowering a fascist, elite cabal. This country is in dire need of what he offers and he has the charisma to pull us along with him into revivification of the kind of values and behavior that makes us proud to be American. The short of it is that I like the guy and feel like I could trust him.

I haven’t made up my mind yet who I will vote for in February. But that’s because we’ve just got some damned good choices this time and don’t have to limit ourselves to who we think the right-leaning independents would put up with. (As an aside, my main hesitation about Clinton is that, if elected, we’d have 20+ years of dynasties and that’s not what I want our country to become. That said, she deserves a look because she isn’t a puppet on a string. What would be equally exciting is if we actually could elect someone, like Edwards, who doesn’t stay so quiet on controversial issues and openly admits he would tax the rich.) If there’s any silver lining to the last 6 years, it’s that the country is ready to elect someone who can restore American values (not just rich guy, lobbyist values) and it’s so damned urgent to do so that the person’s age, race, or sex is pretty irrelevant.

The next two years should be pretty exciting.

Sink ‘Em Low

So, I passed on the job offer at that small company. I left a message with the VP who would have been my boss. (It’s rare to get him on the phone without a preliminary game of tag.) Considering his past delays in promised phone calls, I expect to hear back from him next week (if he counteroffers at all). What it came down to was the vacation thing. When I found out that my vacation there would be less than it is now and it would be docked with any sick days I took (on top of the fact that I would be traveling for them and therefore more exposed to the germs and viruses floating about), I was back to where I started from when that recruiter found me: I need a phat vacation before I can even think about taking on an unknown future.

I’ve just been too long in a work situation that has gone from challenging to unhealthy to subtly but relentlessly abusive. I don’t think I realized how much this was really the issue until I started talking to a manager at work who has known me for a long time (and is an empathetic guy) and he spoke to me in a way that recognized my abilities and contributions and made me feel trusted and valuable. All of the sudden I felt energized about work in general again. Facts are facts: I’m a sensitive person and I’ve managed to keep my head above water in a macho environment for 15 years and I’m tired from all of the swimming. I need to be in a situation that actually will help me feel buoyant again. If that means I need to leave this male-dominated industry, so be it. I don’t like trying to be one of the boys or pretending that that particularly masculine flavor of passive insensitivity doesn’t get to me.

I’m still at my job for the moment. I’ve promised myself to stay until I finish the latest task I’m working on. We’ll see what happens after that.

Edit for clarification: It’s not that I think that my company is especially discriminatory (although they have their troubles). In fact, I can see that the experience of work here is somewhat different for women in groups that include other women. You can tell just by walking by their areas: the grey walls are decorated, there are candies in jars, games on the walls–things that invite you to interact and give you a reason to just stop by. But the women there also have the advantage of not needing a reason to bump into each other: their day-to-day tasks bring them together. I could reach out to other women, and I do. But it feels awkward with no natural conversation starters and, even though I’m an outgoing introvert, I am usually too tired at work to make a practice of seeking out other women that I might have stuff in common with or to join in the things that the women tend to do (like planning underfunded, underappreciated office parties). Thank God for Diana. She comes by and gathers me into the fold every week with a nice gesture or visit. I would miss her ray of sunshine if I were to go.

Best quote heard on LJ today

I guess I’m one of those statisticians who can stand with my head in the oven and my feet in a bucket of ice and say, “On average, I feel fine.”

I’m not giving the attribution for the quote since it was made on a friends-only filter. So, I’ll let the LJ user acknowledge themselves here if they so chose.