the blurb
The year is 2014. Our heroine tries to learn how to work and have a life. Sometimes she lands on her nose. Other times she lands on her keister. To find out what happens next - read.

the address
kmsqrd [at] gmail [dot] com

the feeds
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the fundamentals
the disclaimer
the troupe
the plan
the comments

the search

the wandering

A collection of entries created between January 2006 and April of 2009. The blog continues with the section called the living. Enjoy reading these entries, and do come again. -kmsqrd



Unrealistic Expectations

About a year ago, I traded MPC in for Vodka and thought that I was doing my part and spending some money in a slowing economy. As things have spooled out since Vodka became my new ride, I’ve come to understand several things about the American economy:

  1. Way too many people and families were living on the edge of fiscal disaster a year ago. Robbing Peter to pay Paul became common practice beyond those living that way to pay for catastrophic life experiences or the seriously poor.
  2. Way to many small/mid-sized companies were trying to survive on the edge. With unrealistic expectations of future sales and questionable capitalization choices, many companies had boxed themselves in a debt corner.
  3. Big banks stop being banks and started being gamblers. And they weren’t playing with house odds.
  4. Collectively, the US economy spent more money than it made in any given year.

So, in short, prior to the implosion of 2008 the economic model as it existed was unsustainable from the bottom up or the top down.

In the time since the implosion, I’ve experienced the following:

  1. My wages have been effectively cut 17%.
  2. Seven people were layed off from the small engineering firm I work for.
  3. I’ve started taking lunch to work (or dining on comparatively inexpensive pretzels).
  4. I’ve paid more than $4.56/gallon of fuel.
  5. Watched as the government pours untold and unimaginable amounts of money into big corporate America.
  6. Asked how financial experts could be so stupid more times than anyone (including me) really wants to know.

In looking at this recovery method, I’m left with one very big question: What good does it do in the long term to return to a model and a production level that has already proven to be unsustainable?

A slightly smaller question: Is a modest recovery to something where collectively as a nation spent less and didn’t extend ourselves quite so far something that the US can actually do?


Don't Do the Room

I’ve never waited out the latest news of a loved one in the hospital waiting room. There have been plenty of opportunities in my thirty-three years; but, I’ve always spent those nerve racking times at ‘home’ or in the office. Granted, the first couple of life and death health waits occurred before I was six, so I understand why I found myself grabbing the best Halloween loot of my life and hanging out with Grandma B.

For the other wait times of my youth, I was left behind or with someone else to entertain me as people were opened and closed at hospitals nearby. And while, I’m fairly certain I wasn’t included in the waiting for reasons of protection, I’m also fairly certain that it was to keep me from being “under foot” or “one more person to corral”. That’s the separation that bites. The I can’t deal with you and this at the same time so stay away vibe I get from members of the fam-damly.

That’s what bugs, and haunts, and influences without my knowing. That’s were mindfulness matters. That’s why I work and worry at the same time. That’s where the fight for the value of my voice begins.

So, to the “they can’t deal with you and this at the same time so stay away vibe” in my head:

Shut Up and Die!


Strictly Serial

Many years ago, I thought of myself as a mentally flexible person, capable of doing several divergent things in combination. Wednesday night’s long-form improv class forced me to accept that I’m not a multi-stream thinker. I already knew that I get in to absorption mode and don’t process thoughts/emotions until I get to the car or am staring at the ceiling.

Wednesday’s class cemented just how inflexable I am. I couldn’t go from the observational period to the question/answer period. I sat there for fifteen minutes listening to those around me as questions and all I could do was sit there and say to myself that I hadn’t processed anything yet. I observe then I process. I can’t observe and process concurrently.

In thinking about thoughout the week, I had to finally say, that from a making-my-brain work standpoint, I can do one type of thing for a period of time and then switch off to another. I am not however one of those people that makes the transition quickly. So, world I am a strictly serial thinker. Ask me to evaluate, analize, process, observe, choose or design all you want I am capable of doing all those things. But, please, ignore me when I get cranky about disturbance as I focus on the task at hand and give me more than a moment to switch gears.


Behind the Nine Ball

People often feel as discombobulated as I do. I love the net because I know this. I read my fair share of ‘personal’ blogs and this comforting factoid is my take away. People tell you that they feel that way; but, without the words behind it I rarely believe it. I’ve seen several discussions recently about the web separating us from one another.

I find, however, the web does more to reassure me that I am not alone. That I’m not the only person having crazy arguments with myself routinely. That I’m not alone in finding the office stupid. That I’m not the only one aiming for the nine ball instead of the eight.

As a life long alien these small, seemingly insignificant connections, help me to feel connected people in a way that surpasses my connectivity to the world at large.


A Calmer Me

Aahh, we’re nearly four days removed from Friday night’s melt down and I’m doing much better. Of course, news, sleep and a call from Mom on Saturday morning have all helped. So did the half an hour I spent meditating about the fact that her not calling me “wasn’t about me”. It turns out the road trip from Indiana to Boston exhausted her and she didn’t call anyone.

Squid’s doing as well as can be expected. There was some excitement yesterday but that’s resolved itself (with much help from medical professionals). Sooner or later he’ll breath on his own while sleeping and not need the respirator. Which means he’ll be able to talk. If I was one of his caretakers, I’d consider it a blessing and a curse. But then, I’ve been arguing with the boy for twenty some years now.

The emotional roller coaster of the last several days wore me down yesterday and I went to bed around nine o’clock. I slept like the dead and so avoided getting out of bed this morning until way too late. Hopefully, tomorrow will be better on that score.


1,100 Miles and Twenty-Seven Hours

1,100 miles. That’s how far it is by road from here to Mass Gen where Squid received his portion of a new liver Friday.

I’m now 1,100 miles and more than 27 hours from the phone call telling me the nine month wait looked to be over soon.

And, I’m pissed. Royally ready to throw a rod. My mother hasn’t bothered to call and tell me what she knows. Twenty-seven hours later and she hasn’t called.

The last time someone in my immediate family was in for surgery the ‘party’ was 558 miles away and they DIED.

Twenty-seven hours.

I know at this point that Squid’s still alive. In true family fashion he threw a curve ball in the mix by getting blood clots so they have him in super serious ICU tonight instead of serious ICU. I had to call Grams. Grams had my Aunt call me back when she got home from watching and waiting.

Part of me knows that watching your son be this sick has to hurt and be scary. Part of me knows that watching your son brush death fifteen years almost to the day your first husband died sucks big green rocks. But, dammit, your daughter’s 1,100 miles away and she’d like to know what’s going on. I’m alone. I’m afraid my little brother’s going to die. And I’ve blown a blood vessel in my nose.

Could you at least give me a call? Even if it’s just to tell me that we’re waiting and watching. If nothing else it’ll remind me that you remember you have a daughter too. Yeah, Squid’s fighting for his life and I’m feeling like the stuff beyond the ellipsis. Not quite the same thing, I know.

Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Maybe, I can you’ll call me at six o’clock in the morning just for fun.

Maybe I can be mean and ask you if he’s dead when you call.

Or, maybe, I suck it up and just be a grownup when you call tomorrow (though chances are slim if you wake me). It’s not like any of us need high drama at the moment.


Annoyed at Dinner

Somewhere along the line, I began paying more attention to my food. Maybe it’s too much time spent watching Alton Brown geek out over it, or maybe it’s living with a foodie, or maybe I’m starting to let myself have an opinion about something. Tonight’s dinner was less than inspiring. It wasn’t gourmet by any standards, a simple burger with fries, croissant, and apple pie ala mode. The burger itself was fine, the pickles could have used some more time in the vat; but, that problem was easily remedied. I asked for honey mustard for my fries (Squid completely ruined ketchup for me long ago) and received honey dijon mustard. Blech. I don’t like the end zip of dijon. The croissants were over done. I prefer flakey to crispy. The worst though was the apple pie ala mode. The restaurant paired an entirely too sweet pie with an overly grainy ice cream. To say the least, dinner disappointed. On the bright side, I’m stuck in El Paso for the night and someone else gets to pay for it.

The dumbest thing about dinner wasn’t even the food; it was the phone I left behind so Squid couldn’t reach me to tell me that he’s pretty sure he’s going to get a new liver within the next twenty-four hours. I’m excited and scared for him.

To those of you out there who haven’t signed your donor cards or told your families, please do. Some families sadness may give part of mine a new chance at a full life.


Do You Know the Time?

I haven’t worn a watch since late 1997. It used to be that I couldn’t leave the house without one on my wrist. I favored silver round men’s Timex watches with the “elastic” band. The face took up almost the full width of my wrist and I always had to have links taken out just to make it stay in place. Invariably, I’d bang up the face within a week of purchasing with a flailing of a hand against a doorway or refrigerator handle.

The watches were a security blanket. Somehow just having it on my wrist and knowing the time gave me control. I couldn’t control the time, or when classes started or stopped; but, knowing the time centered me in survival mode with just a quick turn of the wrist.

I vividly remember three things about Dad’s funeral related stuff, it’s the only time I’ve ever had a reasonable conversation with my Uncle Doctor J, it’s the only time Mom never gave me a dirty look for leaving a church service (we’d forgotten tissues), and I fumed the whole thirty minutes it took to get to the service because someone couldn’t wait half-a-minute for me to get my watch.

There are days when I miss wearing a watch. Yes, there are cell phones everywhere; but, I miss just flipping my wrist over and finding out the time. If it wasn’t for the hand washing, security screening, in the way feeling of it all I’d stop by the RCB watch section this weekend and get a new watch that takes a lickin’.


Not Seeing the Funny

There’s not much I find truly funny. Amusing, shocking, or silly - sure. Rolling on the floor huffing dust bunnies funny, not so much. There aren’t even many comedies I find watchable, much less funny. The two big cultural touchstones of my teens and twenties, Seinfield and Friends, I didn’t watch. I’ve seen an episode of each here and there and still have no grand urge to watch them. Even outside the mainstream sensibility of funny, I can’t find my amusement with the geeks either. I didn’t see Monty Python until I was much too old and tired to be enamored and the Evil Dead trilogy just gave me nightmares.

Maybe that gene in me is broken or alot more warped than I originally though. Or, just maybe, I spend way too much of my energy holding on to old emotional baggage, I have nothing left to recognize the funny.

All of this is not to say that I don’t laugh, I just don’t laugh as much as others, or even always in the same places. Twice in my life I’ve inhaled dust bunnies because of laughter; and while both times came at the peak of exhaustion loopiness, I can only remember one joke. That joke, to this day makes me smile and is seriously not funny. Unless of course it was told by a four year old.


Odd Man Out

The world overflows with rah-rah group people. This weekend they’re filling up basketball arenas and going to sales meetings and attending concerts. I am not one of the overflow. I enjoy a little round ball; but, face paint and heckling the other guy isn’t a good idea of fun. Believe it or not, I’ve been to one sales meeting; but, it left me feeling sick about selling practices. I love music; but, crowds of people make me panicky and tense. Not being a group kinda person, makes becoming part of a group without a way in difficult.

For me finding my way into a group requires a person I know and like. Someone who will let me be a barnacle, and experience the group without having to float in without an anchor. Without the crutch, my anxiety shoots from a new group base of six to something approaching twelve. That much trepidation running though my veins makes me more awkward than normal, even more likely to say very stupid things, and kisses any chance of a good first impression goodbye.

Earlier this month, I closed my eyes and jumped into the deep end of an unknown pool. I’m voluntarily taking long form improv classes. Three classes in, and I’ve not found the idea of going to class any less terrorizing. While it doesn’t help that I’m not very good, what bothers me most is that I feel out of place. As if, I shouldn’t be there. As if I’m offering the room nothing but difficulty. As if they’d be having more fun if I left.

I tell myself that I’m just one person, that the likely hood of the whole room thinking about me, much less thinking that about me, is exceedingly small. It doesn’t help. The world doesn’t revolve around me except in my own head. So, I take a deep breath, close my eyes and prepare to go to class next week. Maybe it’ll be better.


Yelling at Store Shelves

As if it wasn’t readily apparent, I’m not all that fond of Valentine’s Day. While the commercialization of the holiday bothers me as much as the over commercialization of any holiday1, it’s not the real reason for my dismay. The real reason2 is that I feel like a looser every time I end up walking down a VD display isle. As if the shelves themselves are taunting me, “you only get to look, you’ll never actually receive anything shown here.” I want to scream back that the shelves should shut themselves up. Unfortunately, I don’t want to end up in the loony bin; so, I lower my head3, grumble silently and find the register so that I can escape.

  1. It’s a holiday that has jewelers telling men that they have to buy diamonds. Never mind I find that stone to be overly cold, diamonds are supposed to be for important days. Two days after the anniversary of President Lincoln’s birth isn’t necessarily important.
  2. As told to my MHP earlier this week.
  3. Given that you can’t even get fuel for my car without seeing something, I’ve been running into things alot.

My Dearest John,

I cannot begin to tell you how much our love has meant to me over these last interminable moons. Yes, darling I’m aware that your name is Fredrick, or was it Rudolpho, or maybe it was Ian. Sigh, I was never much good with names. All that aside, our time spent eating cruddy food, enjoying terribly stilted conversation, and sharing our cold toes made our time together so heartwarming. Your unwillingness to call before eleven o’clock led to many a sleepless night and our loud conversations certainly helped introduce me to the neighbors. I offer you much gratitude and many blessings.

Sadly, and with much gleeful  mourning, I must release you from me at this time. I know you don’t understand why. I know it seems abrupt. Julio informed me only this morn that I was the chosen one. Tomorrow, I present myself at Lord Hallmark’s teddy bear and chocolate alter to the saint which blesses the world with love connections. May you find the romantic partner of your dream.

So, my beloved Aaron, I bid you adieu and good night. Think of me always. -freda


Karma and Ball Games

I’ll occasionally watch a game of football, basketball, tennis, or volleyball. I enjoy figuring out the mechanics and watching people with way more physical skill than I possess. I didn’t watch today’s game. I had too much invested. It sounds odd, I know. I’ve never been to the city the team I rooted for hailed. I’ve never met a football player I didn’t think was an idiot. And, I haven’t really followed their season.

Yet somehow, there was attachment. And I couldn’t watch. Fearing some how my physical gracefulness and ability to do stupid things with my body would some how pass through televisions ether and infest those I root for, I tried to avoid the game.

What kind of fan can’t bring herself to watch?

PS. Basketball is much worse. Mainly because I have issues with the post-Jordan game.