Anonymouse

Here is a comment that I received on Wednesday’s  post.

God your life is envious. Traveling, take out, days at home. Get a job lady.

Its probably the 20th time I’ve gotten a version of this. Some of them have sported better grammar. Some more loathing. All are anonymous.

Here, in no particular order are the thoughts that flash through my brain when I get that comment:

  • A job isn’t what I am seeking. The word job sounds grind-y, neither inspired nor meaningful for the world. If you need to work to survive you should get a job. I do not. So I will do other things with my time and money that hopefully make life better for me and for my community than if I worked 9-5 at a cash register somewhere.
  • Why read this blog if it makes you pissed? This is not required reading for anyone.
  • Trying to reconcile the variety of good fortune that makes it possible for me to not need a job with the emptiness that I feel, perhaps in part because I don’t have a job is complicated. And I shouldn’t have to review it every damn post.
  • Its not like you have to be very fortunate to have a packed suitcase. The majority of us have packed a suitcase for one reason or another.
  • Why, again, do I write this blog? It is such a mixed bag of clarifying my thoughts, making connections with people and feeling like an asshole. The fundamental navel gazing nature of a blog without any thematic or educational purpose outside of myself can be boring even to me. Ultimately though I think I can be the best mother, investor, marketer, developer, decorator, connector, friend and wife if I keep on thinking through this shit.
  • Everything takes practice. I cant just think/write something once, have an aha moment and just straighten out.
  • I don’t generally use this space to celebrate my achievements. I could switch that around. Sort of like smiling in an attempt to change your own mood. Would that make you think I was less of a spoiled whiner?
  • Why do I care?

That’s the bitch of it. Sometimes I really do care. Here is another example of some constructive criticism I have received:

I follow your blog and it’s hilarious. You have to be the most bored, complaining person I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Ya don’t work, you have tons of free time, you complain about vermont, you complain about the weather, you complain about your kids. What do you enjoy? Anything? Your blog is a broken record of misery

This was even before I wrote the post complaining about my boobs!

I’ll keep writing. You decide if you want to keep reading. And if you are going to write a comment that doesn’t pertain to a particular post go a ahead and leave your name…that way I can get right back to you.

Nothink

Tabula Rasa.

Its days like this that make me believe in the blank slate.

Not so much the open mind ready to be educated and enriched by the world, but a version of tinnitus of the brain.

There is just not a think in here.

When I was seven my mother required 5 sentences for each journal entry. Half of my entries has four sentences and then the fifth: This is the fifth sentence.

This entire post is the fifth sentence.

 

 

One Bell, Whistle.

This is post 10/100.

So suck it anonymous.

It was not Silas who guessed 9. He guessed 11 and so did someone else. So he can wait a few days to suck it. I agree with Aussa who says the lowball guesses are pretty good motivation.

Super local news of the week features me skipping my book group and never RSVPing. On the upside I delivered an IN PERSON RSVP to my friend who is hosting the party tonight. Those penalties offset, right?

They featured a “person of Shelburne” who I DON”T KNOW in our local paper. I will have to put that on my to do list for next week or early February. I can’t write this blog with my head held high if I don’t know the people of Shelburbia myself.

Work wise four of us are slapping together a true minimal viable product. Here is a screen shot from the temp site that we have already scrapped. It was scrapped because it had too many features. Our MVP is trying to have one bell and one whistle. I think that may be my next LLC name.

Off to lunch.

See you all on AFC championship Sunday. Which will hopefully be the second best day of the year.

Anyone have any hyperlocal news to share. This needs to be “I missed the recycling” level of update. No real milestones. That is for other sites.

 

 

 

Open Road to somewhere

So 7/100 might not seem like much of a milestone, but I will take it. A week. A something measured in a universal way. I am not above make your own milestones. I often do in Notabli with the kids. “First time he used a napkin” “Baby’s first print ad.”

I am looking forward to post 10 which might just contain the words SUCK IT SILAS. Because he (or someone else and I am too busy lazy to check) told me I could only write 9. Since this is only post 8 I have to wait a bit before that creative masterpiece is public. I look forward to the day.

I realize I am confused about the motivation behind this 100 day challenge. I woke up with a pretty strong headache and wanted to skip writing. I figured I could just throw up three links to great new tools ( trello, fontsquirrel and best best best best of all unsplash) I am working with this week and call it a day. That seems against the spirit of the enterprise though. Am I trying to create a habit of logging in and hitting publish? Or am I trying to actually write every day? I think that was a rhetorical question.

So through this headache I will try.

I’ve been thinking a lot about travel this week. Mostly the crappy little details of booking rather than an entire trip, the act of being somewhere else. I like the second part but not the first part.

I am turning 40 soon and Steve and I are talking about using that as an excuse to go to Europe for a week. My mother offered to take the boys for 5 or 6 days which I have rounded up to a week, and even still the trip feels like more of a hassle than it is worth. We want to visit Alex and Darren in Manchester for a bit, but then (no offense guys) see another city. Adding together all of the transit it seems like we won’t BE anywhere at all.

Our last big trip was to Istanbul, a year ago now, and that was the way to do an 8 day trip. Get an apartment. Get a guide for the first two days. Learn the historical crap for 2 days. Pretend you live there for 5 days. With family.

It’s the pretend you live there part that appeals to me. I am probably not alone when I say I don’t really love being a tourist. Shuffled from site to site, craning my neck to see whatever small detail is factoring into the story, filing back into whatever transport has been arranged. Next. I prefer to wander, eat, take pictures of gutters. Have you noticed how much a gutter tells you about a city?

That would be a tour I would like, a downspout and gutter tour.

At a beer tasting last night a group of us were talking about airbnb. Not just using it to find a home base, but browsing it to take an imaginary trip. Do you think virtual trips are so far off? You watch video on your laptop, eat the pastry that the organizer has fed-exed to you, and walk around with headphones playing the chatter of another language as your background noise for the day.

I’m pretty sure no one would ship a gutter.

Its the kids though that make the months plus long travel more difficult. Assuming you care about their school attendance which I seem to be so/so on (I’m distinctly less concerned than my 8 year old who doesn’t even like to leave the classroom for the approved walk to the library to return books) you are limited to summer travel. For those of us that live in Vermont skipping even a day of summer is anathema. We worked damn hard to earn this summer. Grey, ice, freezing rain, the wrong kind of snow. Snow on cars and other places where instead of looking pretty it is just cold and very soon wet. The long, light filled days of summer are the payoff for our 7 months of suffering.

We stay here.

So we travel quickly, where the proportional of hassle to new-culture-submersion is high.

What do you do? Have you unlocked the best trip length for you? Do you float through new places or drill down into them? Do you leave with an understanding of their government? Or a suitcase full of fabric? Or both.

My dinner conversation turned from calories to more when my friend told me had had been listening to Plato’s republic and decided to “get ripped.” I cant decide if this is the funniest thing I have ever heard, or the most profound. But it wakes something up in me. The idea that any iconic philosophy can be relevant to small or shallow parts of ourselves. It opens up the idea that historical and high minded thought can impact each one of us in small and immediate ways.

That is what I want from travel. To learn about something big and broad and outside of myself, and make it relevant in some particular way. Maybe this is what I want beyond travel.

Maybe I need some aristotle instead of a plane ticket to manchester. Or both.

8/100

Freedom v Security

Oliver asked me which I valued more, freedom or safety.

I asked him what made him think of that question, assuming I would have to revise my opinion about the level of discourse amongst third graders. Nope. It was from a Pokemon movie. Perhaps I need to revise my opinion about Pokemon movies. The plot was about cloned Pokemons who were being targeted for not being natural Pokemons. From his rambling description he told me that they were then being corraled to be protected. He wouldn’t tell me the end because I “have to watch it.” But I imagine they slanted towards freedom. Because that was his answer when I put the question to him. “Definitely freedom.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about this question lately, which made it particularly odd to have Oliver pose it to me.

I’ve read these two articles.

This one. Where a female journalist with a strong online presence receives death threats and reveals how incredibly common that is amongst female writers.

And this one. Where a male journalist takes on the task of fixing online misogyny.

If it were simply a question of freedom versus security I would choose freedom every time. However, as the internet becomes the main marketplace, workplace, and match meeting place we need to revisit our ability to provide any security at all.

The question of internet freedom has been front and center with Snowden, but whistleblowing on the government feels so separate from our day to day lives that I’m not sure many of us consider how that legislature can and will effect us.

Amanda Hess’ story of serial stalking and threatened beheading is not singular but is certainly frightening. Mostly for her, but also for those of us who put ourselves out there, and for all of us as we continue to contemplate what people are thinking about in their private moments.

I wrote yesterday about my own outburst that borders on abuse. I think there is a dark side to all of us and the internet allows people a seemingly anonymous way to express it. The fact that these expressions rarely lead to actions might calm us in general, but not in particular. Amanda carries her cyber stalker’s restraining order with her, and some of her colleagues have stopped promoting their online events.

It will only take one brutal real world case to turn theory into fact and create a response beyond the “report abuse” button. That button erases tweets and chat threads from view and (hopefully) files them in a place where they can be accessed by investigators and police. I imagine there is a time that those flagged entries will be viewed without a subpoena.

It comes back to the question of freedom versus security. For there to be real cyber cops, and increased safety, there will be less privacy, and ultimately less freedom.

I want Amanda to feel safe. I’m not sure I believe in the efficacy of policing the entire internet.

I don’t have an answer, but when in doubt I lean towards freedom rather than security. Just like Oliver. And Pokemon.

What about you?

6/100

Prompt (s)

I am writing every day for 100 days. Thats lots of days. I’m not totally sure I’ve done anything optional for 100 days in a row ever.

So today is day 1. This should be easy.

Its not.

Topics I considered:

  • Sunshine, snow and ice…but I am getting bored of the polar vortex, and that’s me being nice.
  • Different roles we play. How to stay ourselves as we shift in our relationships with others.
  • A follow up to the minecraft post that involves graphic and upsetting images. Which I would depict, but would describe, and then I decided I didn’t even want to describe them because it turns out Nicole’s parents read this blog (hi) and at least one person in the administration at our school (hi) and Steve’s aunt (hi). So that couldn’t work.
  • How well my medication is working. (Quite well. Just today I have had tea with a friend, done 3 loads of laundry worked on two real world projects, prepped to volunteer at Oliver’s school, fed the cat, cleaned myself, cleaned cat pee, gone to the doctor, had lunch with a friend, visited another friend at work, and planned my winter TV schedule. Someone should give me a goddam cape because I am a super hero. Sure that might be a regular day for the rest of you super heroes…but in my world that deserves a cape. Oh! AND I went to the mailbox, emptied it, recycled the bits we don’t need and left the bill on top of the pile instead of burying it under a catalogue. That is the cherry on my day in the life of a functional person sundae.)
  • Then I decided I needed a prompt so I started looking though Cards Against Humanity for a prompt. That wasn’t the best idea. For the same reasons I can’t describe the most horrible link that Leo clicked on because of his minecraft skype connection. It was called Happy Puppies. There were no puppies. There was no happiness. It put the whole box of cards against humanity to shame. Don’t search for it. Really.

After rejecting all of those ideas I turn to the internet for writing prompts. The internet thinks that only high schoolers need writing prompts. This makes me think of my college application which was in part about this guy.

Which reminds me that I found all of my elementary school journals and I was going to take a look at them. Its possible that I wrote for 100 days in a row because my mother forced me to keep a journal. However that was not intrinsically motivated. So I’m not sure it will count.

I’m just going to leave this flapping out here. Tell me…have you ever done something for 100 days in a row?

Please guess in the comments how many days I can stick with this. Do not worry about hurting my feelings. It might just motivate me to keep going. All of you…the thousand people who read this post. Just leave yourself anonymous and put a number there. Between 0 and 100. But don’t put 0. Unless you want to lose.

See you tommorow?

Lugky

Even when I don't feel lucky, I am still lugky.
Even when I don’t feel lucky, I am still lugky.

I got the very best comment ever on my blog sometime late last night. It was in response to my depression/lazy flow chart farce. It went like this: “Are you fucking joking? Do you really think this tone deaf shit is funny? Ps you are 100% white and have never wanted for anything, aren’t you?”

To which I wrote: “This particular post is sort of a joke. Although I do spend a fair amount of time in the borders between my good weeks and bad weeks wondering if I am more lazy than depressed. The bacon test really is a good one. You are 100% correct I am white and well off. In fact I write about the amount of money that I have and my relationship with money a lot. I have the total typical response to a life of good luck. I both appreciate it and want to apologize for it. For a while I wanted a huge disclaimer on here that I understand that there are real problems and real concerns in the world, and my father’s death and clinical depression don’t count. Except I have realized that they do count, and my responses to things are sometimes insightful, sometimes entertaining, sometimes narrow minded and sometimes tone deaf. Like anyone else. Thanks so much for reading and particularly thanks for commenting. I’m sure lots of people before you have had this same response and didn’t take the time to tell me. I want to hear what you think, even if you don’t want to hear what I think.”

Someone called me on what they thought was a pretty narrow world view. It reminded me again how lucky I am. Amongst many many other things I have the freedom to express myself and the time and platform to do it.  I can take the risk to write what I think because I don’t depend on proper behavior for a job that supports my family, or live in a country where my gender, religion, or opinions can get me covered or killed. Even when I am mired in my own  shit I am still lucky, or at least lugky.

I feel particularly lucky today because someone answered me, and spun me out of my world view for a minute. I want that. I want to be challenged to see and hear and feel more than just my story. We see and think and write and respond from our own hermeneutic. Strife can bring out our inner hero, or not. Wealth can turn us into gated hoarders, or not. Religion can uplift us, or not. Skin color can connect us, or not.

We each get this one life, (or not)?

I feel lugky. Its the less pollyanna, more Anna version of lucky. I’ll take it.

 

 

Strike Out

I can see the good in almost everything, I just often have a wicked big caveat***.

I’m inspired by the bloggess to try to strike that asterisk.(Go ahead and click that link so she will know how much I love her…and fast forward to the bear post. Its worth it.)

Its gorgeous and sunny today, probably for the last time this year.

I left the bed at 11:42, made myself a healthy breakfast, and returned to bed, at 11:47.

I feel engaged, productive, and flexible, like 1 out of 31 days.

Shelburne Community School teachers are friendly, tuned into my kids, skilled communicators and don’t seem to give a fuck about science.

Instead of walking five days I’ve walked twice this week.

Our new house has everything that we could want and need, except a soul.

The laundry is running, dishwasher clean, floors vacuumed, and kids sent off screaming like mother fuckers to school, by Steve, while I stayed in bed.

The flooding in Colorado didn’t touch our friends who moved to Denver, and I owe them a phone call, and my kids owes them a letter, and I miss them, but they wouldn’t know it.

The bus will drop off my happy children right at our doorstep, so I don’t have to get out of bed.

The rocks look great in our yard moved over from the old house, here’s hoping they are approved by the homeowners association after the fact.

Tonight is the first night of our fourth round of Parenting on track, it is conveniently located, populated by parents I like, and Leo can just suck it when he says parenting class makes us worser parents.

My headache is dimming, I’m sure it will be back this evening so I can’t enjoy parenting class.

I love writing this blog, even if it is substantially an act of narcissism that loses me as many friends as it gains me.

There are more fruit flies than food in my gorgeous new kitchen, totally stuck that part in to have a bright spot, but most people would think my kitchen is gorgeous, but I am not most people.

If I read the non redacted text my day sounds pretty good!

See how easy it is to look on the bright side?

 

 

Mania

I rolled into my shrink appt this morning 1 minute late. I am never late.  Almost never.  I got stuck at home looking at houses on zillow and I had to finish my zip code.

Driving in I planned my plea.  I’m manic. I need your help. Driving, listening to pats radio, fidgeting with the window and the ac I chewed on my knuckle and twirled my hair. I don’t know how many hands I had, but they felt infinite.  I knew I wasn’t concentrating enough on the road, but really people should be pleased that I wasn’t texting.  Or checking zillow.  Because I wanted to.

I’ve been on an anti depressant for a few years, and last month I thought we had finally dialed in the dose.  I was thrilled and supportive about my mom’s new adventures, creatively working with my kids on their lego structures, connecting with my mother in law, partying like a 20 year old with our soccer coach, shipping things for refresh, advising several new businesses, enjoying each of my friends and even their kids.   I should have known it was too much pleasure.  All while on the fucking diet.

I blame the mania on the diet in fact.

1. I lost 20 lbs so my biochemistry has changed
2. I have to consume something, so if it is not going to be food it might as well be real estate. I’ve always done well in real estate.

I mean, I only bought one house in a city I have never been to. That’s not so bad, right?

Wait.

Let me give you my well thought out rationalization.  The market is down, so I can buy it in cash. It’s carrying cost is less than 5k/year including pool maintenance (I know,labor in Florida is frighteningly low, right?) and my mother in law may one day want to live there. It has an outbuilding so when she lives there we can still visit. Totally rational. Or rational enough.

Is rational enough, enough?

I haven’t yet gotten our family into a financial crisis. Sure I bought a ticket to fly to sarasota to shop for furniture on a work day, leaving my husband alone with the kids on days that he is running a conference…but he didn’t have that conference in the calendar.

I wrote yet.  I haven’t yet gotten my family in a financial crisis. I’m not sure that is a testimony to executive control rather than my good fortune. I don’t mean to sound flip.  I know that I shouldn’t be flip.  This is serious stuff.

As I learned when I started describing my zillowing and other behavior to my shrink. I totally expected him to want to back me off of my anti depressant. Instead he suggested a mood stabilizer.

And started using the term bi-polar.

It has taken me 15 years to feel comfortable with depression, and being medicated for depression. Being in therapy I wear like a badge of honor. Any intelligent person belongs in therapy. If we aren’t trying to understand and improve ourselves we are not living our best life.

But bi polar. That is different. If I’m going to be honest with myself. (Which is the goal) I have probably spent more time being manic then being depressed. Which makes bi-polar a pretty good description of what I am struggling with. For some reason that term is so much more loaded than depression.

Being impulsive is me. Bold, unfiltered (does it sound like I am a beer(maybe thats why steve loves me)) decisive.  Those things are wonderful.  The idea that everything that I have built is a series of impulse control failures , and symptoms of a mental illness is not a welcome one, and of course hyperbole. But is enough of it true to give me a diagnosis and a medication?

Sitting in his office I felt the mania melt away. I had two arms again, and neither of them were twisting my hair, they were folded in my lap as I leaned against the couch. So calm. So me. So able to make clear choices. The difference in the 20 minutes between the car and the couch was either evidence of mania or evidence of my ability to turn it off.

I asked us. Is consumerism a symptom? Can consumerism be cured? Do I want it to be?

Booking the flight without checking with my husband was impulsive. The feeling that I get on fab.com as I buy screen printed hipster tv posters (yes they are as cool as they sound) “hurry up before you catch yourself” is an impulse.

The feeling that I have right now. Put this up online quickly quickly before you decide not to post because you are worried about seeming unfit for select board. What is that? Is that impulse control?  Or is it being brave?

But not now. Now it is an hour later, and I am reading this over, seeing questions without answers. I am not feeling a rush to post. Like dropping the love letter in the mailbox in those olden days of courtship. Sometimes my blog posts feel like that. Close my eyes and hit publish. Is that a leap of faith, or a symptom of mania?

I wouldn’t take the prescription.

I’ll think about it. I wouldn’t want to make a big decision like that rashly.

OK that was the last line the first time around…but I keep coming back to the confusion between outcome/behavior and the impulse itself and who is driving the bus. I wonder if other people have impulse control issues. I mean I know they do. My mother clears the glass of water practically out of your hand so she can run the half full dishwasher. Compulsion. If the effects are neutral or positive do we need to tame our compulsions? The vast majority of the time I feel a rush of impulse and do tame the rush. How do you determine what is a style and what is an illness? I certainly prefer being unfiltered and decisive to bi-polar.

Speaking of bi-polar: Here are the kids going to school to day.