For National Poetry Month

I thought I’d post a frivolous something for National Poetry Month.

04/22/2010

Merging on Highway 183

I cursed as a saloon-like sedan pulled into my blind spot

just after I turned on the yellow clicking signal

to indicate my intent.

The dirty nickel sky hung low as I was propelled,

in my aging metal box, careening toward my office.

I slowed to try and find the window

I needed to turn

I needed to reach my destination

and our eyes met.

His hands, too, were white

both tense on the steering wheel

his car also faded from many rains

years of service in a world ever changing.

The familiar look of resigned terror

of smaller creatures surrounded by larger, more dangerous animals

passed between us before he smiled

and slowed enough

so I could gain the left lane. My relief

spread over my belly like warm triumph

like a favorite blanket spread over a sunny lawn.


The Elephant on Your Head Part 2

“Making Peace With Your Elephant: Part Two of How I Fight My Mood Disorder Every Day”

When I was 21, I had been in treatment for depression on and off for about six years. At one appointment with my psychiatrist, I told her, “Well, I feel miserable. I feel like something is terribly, horribly wrong, and I’m Elephant and Girl Head to Headso angry and sad I can hardly move. But I know there’s nothing really wrong!”

She looked me straight in the eye and said, “Christine, something is wrong, and it has been for a long time.” I was devastated. I went home and cried for a long time. Even twelve years later, I have trouble with the idea that a mood disorder doesn’t simply mean that your emotions are all “messed up” and your feelings aren’t “all in your head.” What? Of course they’re “all in your head,” because emotions are run by chemicals in your brain! Sure, but that perception is inaccurate: just because your brain chemicals are “messed up” doesn’t mean that your feelings are any less real than anyone else’s feelings! Continue reading The Elephant on Your Head Part 2

The Elephant on Your Head

Or, “How I Fight My Mood Disorder Every Day: An Article in Three Parts”

I was originally going to complete my site makeover before I made this post,Child and Elephant hugging but I keep having great ideas about points to make in it. Because of a few conversations I’ve had with more than one friend lately, I think it’s time to get these words out into the world!

I’ve been diagnosed with a mood disorder of one kind or another since 1992 or so, when I was first diagnosed with situational depression due to trauma. In all honesty, I believe that my mood disorder is partially genetic and partially due to repeated life trauma (i.e. both nature and nurture).  Since that time, I’ve been diagnosed with chronic depression, ADHD, and finally bi-polar disorder. Before I was properly diagnosed, and even for a couple of years afterward, I could have been named the poster child for “How Not to Properly Manage Your Mood Disorder.” Continue reading The Elephant on Your Head

What The Hell Do I Know, Anyway?

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that the government doesn’t have your best interests at heart. Oh, wait, who am I talking to, here? Liberals? Conservatives? Some guy living in a bunker with some kind of magical satellite internet service? It doesn’t actually matter. The government is not working to your best interests. The United States got its snake oil chickpriorities all mixed up a long time ago.

Heck, maybe the entire world has its priorities mixed up. I know American society does. How in the hell did everyone think he or she was entitled to so much for so little effort? Is there some specific reason why we give kids the impression that once they get out of college they will immediately pull in enough money to buy a house, a really great car, and support a family? Is there some reason that a twelve year old needs an iPhone? And speaking of such, we’re all ready to judge each other at the drop of a hat, but do any of us take steps to become responsible consumers? Are we too busy wanting instant gratification and justifying our excesses to ourselves? Hell, I know I’m guilty, and I don’t really consume a great deal of material goods. We’ve been trained from childhood to somehow think that our excesses are somehow necessary instead of special luxuries to be experienced once in a very great while, if we are fortunate.

Now the economy’s in the toilet because the majority of us want more than we can afford, and we want it now. How were we surprised when the economy tanked? And we’re all screaming to members of government “Do something! Do something!” Sure, it’s easy to flap your arms and cry, “Au secours! Au secours!” while driving your SUV to work every day (if you still have a job and can put gas in that thing), but as soon as “somebody” does “something,” we jump right in and say “You’re doing it wrong.” Well, we need to get up off our asses and form a union or something. So then we can tell ’em how to do it. Right? Right? Because the loudest complainers are the guys who know how to fix all of it, aren’t they?

Hell, I’m perfectly aware that Obama wiped his ass with some campaign promises, as his predecessors did before him. And just as all the Liberals sent out mass emails regaling readers with tales of Dubby’s incompetence, so too does my inbox receive tirades against Obama and his plans to sink the small business owner, take everything away from the people who earned it and give it all to the “undeserving poor” and kill your children and eat them. Most of these emails, no matter which “side” they are on, go into file 13.  Because no matter how you vote, whether it be by political affiliation or by individual platform or proposition, the same tired old dynasties are going to be in charge, period.

Know what that means? It almost certainly means that the major decisions about how your country is run are going to be made by people who have no idea of what it is like to be you. Period. Everyone, and I mean everyone, who is charged with proposing and implementing so-called “solutions” to America’s so-called “problems” (because, face it, have we really been able to define them?) belongs to an entirely different class of people than you or I, or the person who serves your drinks, or even your ophthalmologist.  And these members of the ruling class (because that’s what they are) don’t care. They’re all selling the same brand of snake oil with a different label on it. America, INC Snake Oil: When you want to oil a snake, use America, INC!

The latest tonic we’ve been offered is the health care bill. Many people said it wouldn’t pass, but it did. Personally, this gives me a little hope: at least our government is capable of trying to implement an infrastructure change to this country on a deep and complex level. Face it, what we’ve been doing hasn’t really been working. Will this new bill succeed in reversing the inevitable bankruptcy of our current system while offering affordable care and service to more people? Hell if I know. Is that even possible?

I’ve asked people I know who I consider politically intelligent some questions regarding our government and our economy, but most of them just told me I was asking very good questions and suggested I read certain books. Shit, all of the political scientists I ever met or heard of are either expats or are part of the government now, so I can’t ask them.

Finally, at the end of this tirade, comes my caveat: commenting on this stuff isn’t really any of my business. I’m just a verbose underemployed bitch with an MA in Literature. I’d really prefer not to be at work right now, because (obviously) I get bored and have time to think about stupid crap like how sad it is that this country — and it is a large, beautiful country with many resources — isn’t providing for its citizens or even trying really hard to provide for its citizens. We don’t even get what employees of many other large corporations get, like a healthcare plan, childcare, a cafeteria, or a health club membership. So how are we supposed to work (or be laid off and unemployed) without complaint? But what the hell do I know, anyway?

This Blog Needs a Makeover!

In the past, I’ve posted about focus, and then promptly and thoroughly failed to get some.

This is ok. Well, at least, I’m in a good place with that right now. Actually, I just wanted to let you guys know a few little things about my life, and sort of rev everyone (including myself) up for a few changes.

As some of you know, my life as taken a turn for the geek again recently. Now, while this turn really just involves an entry-level job at an engineering firm, it has forced me to re-examine a lot of my goals and my life overall. Continue reading This Blog Needs a Makeover!

King Cake Bonanza is ON!

UPDATE: If it isn’t obvious, Carnival Season is over. It’s now Lent, so you should be depriving yourself. Try again next year!

Okay, I am now able to offer Homemade Authentic King Cakes to those of you living out of the Austin Area! If you are in Austin, of course, I can deliver one to your door! If you are living outside of Austin and still crave a cinnamon and sugary, butter-briochety, Mardi Gras fabulous King Cake lovingly fashioned by the two hands of YOURS TRULY, then listen up!

I can ship them priority mail for $10.00! Each one gets its own cute USPS box and everything! If you live out of town, and want to pay by PayPal, hit the buttons underneath what size you would like:

Small King Cake  $25

Large King Cake $40

You should be able to add multiple cakes on your order form, but if you have trouble, don’t worry, we can work it out by email.  Also, if you would prefer to send me a check, email me for my address or contact me on my website contact form (http://www.midnightferret.com if you are reading this on Facebook) and we’ll get it all worked out. Happy Carnival!

Mass Communication Cover Letter

This post should function as sort of a catchall cover letter. I am hoping that someone I know will read it and think “Oh wow, we were just talking about how we needed someone to do this job and Christine would be perfect for it!” Yes, today, I am an optimist.

As many of you know, I do have a Masters’ Degree in British Literature. I wrote a fifty page thesis, which is a testament to my organizational skills, editing skills, and ability to produce work to the specifications set by a committee. I also have an extensive IT background, including a period of time spent as a one-woman small business, where I provided IT solutions for individuals and companies.

The upshot is that I am flexible and capable of performing a variety of functions. I can work well with a group of people, but I can also take initiative and make decisions within the scope of said initiative. Research? No problem. I spent years doing research and I enjoy it. My experience as both a student and a teacher means that I can find information, process that information, and present it in almost any format you wish. I can learn, and I can learn quickly.

I am also perfect for any position in which it is essential to see the larger picture. Often, operations are interrupted when one department doesn’t realize that the company functions as a whole, not just as a loose grouping of departments. I like to see how the different parts of a company function together, even if some departments don’t directly affect me, so I am always aware of my part in the greater scheme of things.

As for concrete qualifications, I have advanced computer and IT skills, including Windows, Linux, and Mac experience. I am familiar with small business networking and internet applications, workstations, and peripherals. I am also experienced with a variety of software applications, including the Microsoft Office Suite and Star Office. I have produced websites and technical manuals, and I have created and implemented ten week and full-semester syllabuses. I can evaluate groups of people using exams and assignments, both in person or using online educational software. I can organize information for legal trial preparation, and I have helped with billing and also with implementing an office filing system. I am comfortable with speaking in front of groups of people, and as an educator I had to assume a position of authority.

Please contact me if you feel that I could benefit your company or business with any of these skills. I am available full-time, part-time or on a contract basis. If you need an office coordinator, corporate trainer or someone to brush your employees up on business writing, I’m your woman. If you need a network administrator, legal assistant, or Master’s level editor, look no further. If you have a position that defies description but calls for professionalism, organization, and communications skills, definitely give me a call. I would love to talk to you about how we could help your business together!

Quarantine

Day 3:

Having karmatically been struck down with the cootie-virus of death, I remain confined to this dwelling indefinitely. Note to self: whining, while it may be satisfying at the time, is annoying and will surely have consequences. Fracture of right metatarsal is improved, but remains an inconvenience. Feline companion seems sympathetic and condescends to give me her time in between stalking and killing plastic lizards. Male companion, who seems to have been the point of origin for the disease, is somewhat improved. He is also solicitous and has provided me with clear fluids and treats as necessary.

I leave this account in hopes that in the case of our demise we may be remembered. We leave no progeny, and perhaps it is a blessing that they do not suffer the same terrible fate. Should we survive, these pages will serve as an account of our trials and a reminder to take nothing for granted. Good night, and God save us all.

….
….
….

*laughs and laughs and laughs*
I couldn’t even type the entire piece with a straight face! And I’m full of cough medicine and nearly immobile! I think there’s something wrong with me, and it ain’t this cootie.

Chapter the Second: In Which Life Ain’t So Bad

Sometimes all you need is to throw a good tantrum and get a few hours sleep. Well, I threw a verbal tantrum, which is sort of like a tantrum. But maybe those screaming little kids in department stores know something we don’t. And maybe those proverbial monkeys will fly out of my posterior.

In any case, life ain’t so bad. The hubby is feeling a bit better, and if I don’t end up getting to the store, I have bratwurst, pumpernickel, and beer. We could have German food night!

My husband and my kitty both love me and are sitting on the couch with me as I write this. I have more than four-and-a-half friends, who all rock hardcore and who take time to comfort me AND make fun of me. I know how to make delicious beer, even by experienced beermaker’s standards. I figured out that if I toss the laundry down the stairs, it allows me to hang on to the banister while descending and then pick up the clothes again! I have somewhat of an excuse to sit on the couch, which was one of my favorite spots until I was confined to it. I’m gonna brew beer and make spent grain bread tomorrow or the next day! I might actually get my house totally deep cleaned if I keep doing bits of it at a time, and face it, cleaning house wasn’t on the top of my priority list before I had to sit in it all the time. So yeah, I got reasons to be cheerful.

My pity party was awesome, though. Everyone who was anyone was there.

The Long and Whiny Road

Oh yeah, we’re kind of on a roll here.

So what’s the big idea, Christine? Why the self-pity party?

Well, Non-specific Writing-Persona Addressee, we haven’t really had a pity party like this since Katrina.

Does that mean you’re gonna wig out completely in a year like you did after Katrina?

Um, no, Non-specific Writing-Persona Addressee, that was post-traumatic stress. This is just a normal pity party. Have some perspective. Sheesh. You’re such an alarmist.

Yes, I am whiny. Yes, I am pissed off for no reason. Yes, I am overreacting, and I don’t give a good goddamn. I have been mostly stranded in the house since we got back from X-mas. My husband, aside from telling me what I am going to do and what I am not going to do (I am proving him right by not going to bed, by the way) also has the cootie-virus of death and could die any minute now. Ok, he said finally that he was feeling better, and I am a worse patient than he is, so I can’t really say anything, can I?

But yeah, he’s out of commission, so basically, it’s me, in a giant weird Frankenstein contraption trying to figure out how to bring soup and drinks up the stairs at the same time without busting my ass or tripping over the cat or something. Last time I had a major broken bone (high school) I had people to take me to the movies and call me and stuff. Now, judging by responses, I have about, oh, probably four friends. Maybe.  Ok, Joe, four and a half. Heh heh heh. Hey, you do spend time poking the bear. That’s worth some points. Oh, can I say that on the internet? It sounds questionable.

But yeah, mostly people make fun of me. I mean, I have a sense of humor, sort of. And honestly, I would make fun of me, too. Except that I would also call or stop by or something. Ok, I would call, because most of my friends don’t live within driving distance. And maybe I wouldn’t stop by somewhere if the injured person’s husband had the cootie-virus of death. So maybe people are giving me perfectly rational responses?

I will say one thing, though. My friend Amy always calls or contacts me when I’m bummed out.  I’m not even talking about ready-to-play-in-traffic bummed out, I’m talking about normal every day bummed out. It’s awesome. AND SHE DOESN’T LIVE IN THIS COUNTRY. It costs her like three million billion dollars to call me on the phone, but she does it when I freaking burn the dinner or simply wish I was somewhere else. Because she is awesome.

That is not to say everyone else is not awesome. You are all beautiful and unique snowflakes and I am privileged to know each and every one of you. Even you, creepy stranger on the internet who somehow came upon my site and is internet stalking me now. Even you. (HAH, I should be so famous.) I am just feeling sorry for myself (AND I ADMIT IT)  because I’m pissy and I can’t do stuff and my leg muscle is getting smaller after only the first week and my ass is surely getting bigger, and I like to be the center of attention or something. OK, scratch the last part — I like attention but maybe not being the center of it. But I admit it, this is Christine’s pity party. Welcome. I have h’ors d’oeuvres and champagne. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow, I will certainly have to diet.

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