Chocolate Covered Goodness

on 28 August 2007

I work at a school. A big one. Theoretically, for grown-ups. Theoretically. School started back last week and needless to say, it stinketh.

Keep in mind, I am a spoiled state-employee. My cushy government job enabled me over the summer to read and surf the net. Not a lot, but enough to keep me moderately sane. There were days when only staff was teachers nor students nor any other work-demanding-form. It was quiet. It was bliss.

Now. There have not been enough hours in the day to get everything done. And I am not permitted to work over 40 hours. So the work piles up and there is nary a minute to troll the net nor read blogs nor email nor read the lovely books. I have to actually work. At work.

Not that I'm complaining. No, no. The Job provides health insurance. Vacation days. A slight tuition discount for the lovely Husband. It is a blessing. But I hate, hate beyond the fire of a thousand suns, that I am the copy girl. Some days are great, I get to edit, proofread, create graphics for various professorial projects. But, oh woe to me, the days that I am the copy girl. They are a misery.

And I feel fairly secure in stating that I am the most ridiculously over-educated copy girl. I graduated with honors from one of the best schools in the nation. Not ivy-league, but still! I have a masters degree. I wrote a thesis. In three languages. And now, I am the copy girl.

Why? You ask. Lovely. I will tell you.

Love. Sappy as that may sound. I fell in love. And, as is appropriate when entering the love state, I lost all reason. The Husband worked crappy jobs (I am the copy girl, he was the corpse guy) to support me while I wrote my mundane and yet hoity-toity thesis in three languages. So it seems only reasonable that I should work to support him in his quest for higher education.

What I find depressing about all of this, is how awed people are that we do it. They're beyond surprised that I would sacrifice my own ambitions to further the Husband's. And the Husband is brilliant. And wonderful. And many many other good adjectives. I guess my question is this: is it really sacrifice if what I get out of it is so much better than I could have possibly imagined?

I know. I'm straying dangerously to the edge of sentimentalism, but this is a piece of a larger question. Why is it so hard as adults to compromise? To sacrifice? Any ideas?

Name Game Burns-style

on 23 August 2007

So. I am surrounded by pregnant women. Okay. That could be pushing it a bit. My bestgoodfriend Whimsy is knocked up, SH with whom I work is in the family way, and two of my favorite bloggers are with child as well (Sundry and So the Fish Said). The Husband and I are NOT in the family way. I should like to assert this before getting to the point of this post, as I know how people's imaginations work--move on people. I. am. not. pregnant. I have a lot of friends who are parents though, so the name issue continuously comes up with The Husband and I, because we are neurotic and terrified of parenthood and so we stave off the family planning with discussion of names.

Those who know me generally also know that I am the token hippy in my family and I play the role with more than a touch of glee. I also periodically use the token hippy status to torture my family and The Husband with various name suggestions.

I love the name Tallulah (there's this amazing state park in Georgia that surrounds Tallulah Falls and it's so pretty it will make your eyes water).

I love the name Agnes (I know. My family would have scalped me for naming a child that, so I settled for naming one of the Cats).

I am a vegetarian and as such I laugh perversely at the idea of naming our children after beef. I give you Angus, Kobe and Chuck. HAHAHAHA! Oh, c'mon! That's funny! Oh, fine.

These games of imaginary torture have led the Husband to compile Burnstopia's Rules for Naming Future Offspring. I give you the list of rules that by virtue of Burnstopia I am compelled to obey (the Husband is seriously funny--I hope one day to likewise compel him to post and then you will all know what I have known for some time).

1. No single syllable first names. (as we have a single syllable last name, this rule makes a fair amount of sense.)

2. No first names ending with an 's' sound. (again, with the last name ending in 's' this is fairly logical)

3. No numbers in any language. (farewell, Una)

4. No colors.

5. No nicknames that leave the family. ever.

6. NO HIPPY NAMES. (see my aforementioned love of the name Tallulah, which The Husband deems hippy worthy because there is a natural landmark that carries the same name...go figure.)

7. No rhyming names. enough said.

8. No cities or states. (so much for Savannah, Sidney, Dakota et al)

9. No animals (au revoir Leon)

10. Nothing obviously foreign. (so much for Nadezhda, Estella and Amelie)

11. No attributes (there goes Grace, Hope etc.).

12. No foods. (The Husband swears he's heard of people named Wholewheat, Lemonjello and of course this forbids a wee Angus...)

13. No punctuation, hyphens, apostrophes etc. bummer. The Husband is a real joy-killer sometimes.

14. No gender bending. I know...we're those kind of people!

15. No fancy spellings...people! Y is at the END of the alphabet for a reason!

16. No pop-icons, people, please!

17. No obvious vocations (Tanner, Hunter, Thatcher...Fishmonger. Alas...)

18. No adjectives. We were at Sams the other day and saw this employee named Elegant. Good grief.

***Edited September 22, 2012, yes, we have two children and Chris is STILL adding rules!***

19.  No Brand Names (sorry, Mercedes, Kendall, or Cruz)

20.  No months (April, June, even May is out!)

21.  No Seasons (bye-bye Autumn, it was nice knowing you...)

22.  No backward spellings (Chris insists that he's met a Nevaeh)

And the list grows. When we first got married it was only 1, 2 and 8. Now it's all the way up to 22! At the rate we're going, even if we have children we'll never be able to name them!

Big Whinging

on 22 August 2007

So. I feel a bit bad. Well, in more ways than one. It seems since falling ill I have become unable to do anything other than whine and whinge. So. As a break from that regularly scheduled programming, I thought that I would channel my love of lists into an exercise for today:

Things I loved about Today:

-The lovely Husband popping in to say hi and smooch me, in spite of co-workers and cooties.

-Italian chocolate with hazelnuts that MD brought me from her trip to Italy.

-No high maintenance people for whom I work...

-Three words: Sierra Mist Free. mmmm, refreshing.

-Wonderful emails from my bestest girlfriend Whimsy.

-Discovery of expat blogs. oh so so funny.

Alright, that's all for now. I must go home. Cuddle with The Increasingly Pitiful Cats. Help The Husband. And begin again tomorrow.

The Gig of Gig

on 21 August 2007

So. We were on our way home last night from work etc. and we were discussing approximately how much information will 1 Terabyte of electronic storage space hold. And Then lovely Husband piped up with "A gig of gig!" and the phrase just made me laugh! And so I give you the gig of gig that's going on with us:

a gig of gig worth of yuck currently evacuating from our faces. yep. We have the simultaneous-married cold.

a gig of gig worth of money it's going to cost to buy textbooks for The lovely Husband.

a gig of gig worth of homework for The lovely Husband starting his first week of graduate school.

a gig of gig worth of work done for the lovely DB for whom I work and who is leading a study abroad in South Africa for the fall.

a gig of gig worth of Dostoevsky to catch up with my own reading schedule (count them, I'm 30 pages behind! I blame the aforementioned gig of gig worth of work!)

a gig of gig worth of small projects that have piled up while I've been getting DB ready to go to South Africa.

a gig of gig of neglected and pitiful cats currently living in our apartment. Don't feel too sorry for them, they have a great apartment all to themselves during the day and they get to maul us at night!

a gig of gig of sleep which will be essential to me feeling like a human being again.

On a totally unrelated topic. One of the women I work with came by my desk today as I was trying to assist in the aforementioned evacuation (I was blowing my nose) and asked if I was sick, I said yes, and that I was blaming my nieces who have been visiting from Utah (they're adorable but I'm convinced that children are a breeding ground for germs and that it is nothing short of a modern miracle that mothers are not permanently ill). She said, "Oh your sisters have kids?" I responded with yes and specified ages etc. And she replied with, "Well, you're behind! You'd better talk to your husband before it's too late for you to have kids!"

The Mama-in-Law would be proud. I am now being lectured about fertility by my coworkers. The beauty of the moment was that The Husband was standing right there. Which I gleefully pointed out. At which point she blushed. Apologized. And went back to work. HAH! A gig of gig of embarrassment for the coworker!

Your turn: what are you having a gig of gig of right now?

One True Sentence

on 14 August 2007

So. I'm ill (I think it's a sinus infection) and skeptical. So what to do when coming home from work? Eat nachos and read Hemingway, of course.

I strongly object to Hemingway on personal grounds. The man was a raging alcoholic and a misogynist, so naturally I dislike him. I am, however, objective enough to recognize that whatever his fatal character flaws, he managed to make some sort of contribution to the world of literature so, when I am ill and skeptical I take down his books and read them for a bit.

I was reading in A Movable Feast where he speaks about his own writing. He was saying that when he felt stuck, when he didn't know what else to write that he would start with one true sentence. Just one. And he would be able to write from there. So, feeling a bit confounded by The Blog myself, I thought that I should start with one true sentence. Here it is:

Surely one of our great sorrows is that we should speak so much insincerity and dishonesty in the name of kindness, in sparing others feelings, so that we can barely recognize truth in ourselves.

I've been percolating on this topic of late. And my own intense frustration with wanting to say things. True things. Honest things. But being constrained by the fear of hurting people. And then one day I should regret it if I knew that something that I had said, regardless of how true it was at the time, had hurt someone I cared about. And yet. I can't help but feel that, at these times I am willing living a lie. I allow this person. These people. To continue to believe what they want to believe. To continue to see the world (or at the very least me) in a way that is not true or real. And it annoys me. A lot.

So why do we do it? Why continue to let people believe things that simply are not true? How can this be a kindness? How is this deception somehow more merciful than the truth would be?

I have no answers. After all, I continue every day to say things that I don't quite believe, or just as bad though slightly different, I don't say things that I do believe in order to spare another human beings feelings. I don't like it. But I continue to do it because it seems the greater cruelty to selfishly smash those feelings rather than deceptively muffle them.

I feel a bit like Medea. I know the evil that I continue to perpetrate and yet I am powerless to stop myself. But I'm tired. Tired of the forced deception. Just once I would like to have one whole day to be honest. To tell people how I really feel, what I really think; to say whatever happens to be on my mind regardless of how mean or petulant. Just one day.

But who's to say? It may be that that one day is enough to irreparably ruin every relationship I currently have. And then who is the cruelty directed towards? Them or me, and yes it sounds a bit trite, but I know that my life would be empty without them in it.


on 10 August 2007

Above my 'desk' there hangs this quote:

"Early May came, and lilac time began. The plump white ones appeared first, then violet, and last, the deep purple double blossomed narrow ones, shaped like pine cones. Every Spring there came a warm, windy day when the colonization was complete and the whole town reeked sweetly. Everyone walking out into the morning inhaled, closed their eyes, stood still. For the two or three weeks they lasted, the lilacs were so plentiful and their rubbery scent so pervasive that it was as if some new currency had swamped the local aesthetic economy. They bobbed and rustled around us like heavenly emissaries, whispering rumors of a land where there was no such thing as scarcity. Children tore off branches--you couldn't wrest them free of the bush without peeling the bark in long strips--and carried great careless armloads home to their mothers, who never thought to scold them."

I was thinking of this earlier today, perhaps because the dog days of summer are upon us, those long hot days where you laze about indoors and watch the thermostat climb. I was thinking how, if I had known that I would end up living in a place where lilacs are scarce, that I would have enjoyed them more when I had them. Which then got me to thinking of all the things I wish I had enjoyed more...

Riding a bike. I haven't ridden one in years. Why would I? I can drive. But I remember being a child and that bike meant freedom. I would ride out on my bike and see the world. Well, my neighborhood as I wasn't allowed to cross busy thoroughfares...but it was my world, small and familiar, but mine all the same. Everyday would lead me further afield. And every evening would bring me back again.

Lightning Bugs. I remember sitting out on the front porch on those dog days of summer and waiting for them to come...and sure as the sun would set and the air would cool, here they would some kind of unavoidable march. My brother and I would race them and chase them and catch them and let them go again. They're one of a privileged class of bugs--those beautiful enough to be tolerated crawling on my skin. (butterflies and ladybugs round out the club.) I loved that at a distance they appeared as a golden light, but once you got closer...held them in your hand you could clearly see that they were a sort of greenish Gatsby's...bringing us back to what we imagine to be possible in the face of what is.

Snow days. It's inevitable. It's a hundred degrees outside...of course I long for snow. I pine for winter. And oh the days of cancelled school and sleeping in and long walks in the unintended silence that only snow can bring. Those puffy white flakes that never felt cold until they ceased to be and became instead a puddle of water...the white frosted cupcake nature of the world changing the too familiar landscape just enough to make it interesting again.

I have to wonder if all of this nostalgia, this almost-regret-but-not-quite isn't meant to be. That we never fully appreciate the wonder of the world until we've lost it in all our oh so fashionable cynicism...maybe that's what we're meant to learn from our time here. That some of the most important things are freely given...if we only remember to enjoy them.

No Life Without Wife

So. Yep. I'm admitting it. I am one of "those" women who love Jane Austen. In an academic sense. I also quite enjoy her books. She says all of those zinger comments that most of us are thinking but which we rarely have the courage and carelessness to utter. I am also one of those women who love the films based on the books.

On that note. I recently picked up a copy of Bride and Prejudice. I had netflixed it because it was one of those sensitive "could very easily and very badly go wrong" kinds of know...Bollywood and Jane Austen, doesn't seem very complimentary. Oh how wrong I was. The film is not only adorably is also bright, colorful, and it has a good beat and you can dance to it. There is one song in particular (for which this entry is named) that has been running on a continuous loop in my head for a week!

The song is this bizarre mix of the "Lizzie" character describing her ideal man (smart, romantic, strong, knows how to cook and clean up after himself etc. etc.) and putting down the "Collins" figure who is the extremely funny Mr. Koli. It's a riot of cheesy good fun and dorky dance moves--and yes, I do some of them in my living room with the blinds closed while watching the film (I know! I have a problem! I have put it on the shelf! I haven't watched it for a whole week!)

It gets worse. The Husband bought a laptop for school purposes. Which means that I have hijacked it for myyyyy purposes. On the drive to Savannah I kept threatening the Husband with the entire movie. And the singing along. In the car! YAY for confined spaces! Needless to say, the threat was in vain, for Lo. He did SING all of the songs. Well, the words that he could remember and then some gibberish for the Punjabi that neither of us speak. Off key. Loudly. It was very very funny. Naturally we kept the windows up and spared the other motor vehicle populace.

Maybe the next time people ask us how we have such a happy marriage, I'll just tell them: Bollywood. We sing and dance together. Really really cheesy love songs. It keeps the magic alive.