Relish the balance.

You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. — Dale Carnegie.

Penny has written. I am “wow”ing. Read it in its entirety; it’ll do you good.

I almost wish she would stop writing so I can stop making these “wow” posts about her writing, but then I’d be bereft of her writing and the thinking it incites, and that would be no good.

So I am wowing. And thinking. And comparing, because I have been on both sides of that fence separating “RM” and Penny; I think it’s age and a lack of experience, but my idealism and my realism are still battling to the death in my life. Part of me wants to pass the link on to some specific people, but I know better than to do so, because ambiguity is a dirty son-of-a-bitch and things are finally starting to get clearer all around. Sometimes the clarity hurts, but it’s so much better than delusion.

You can, if you want, remember that I am a friend, before I am a woman, to you. If you don’t trust me or have faith in my knowing certain things about myself or having learned from my own past or being comfortable with my own inner-workings, if you don’t understand that I will grow at my own pace and I may or may not ask your advice and I may or may not follow it and that I will do disappointing things in our friendship and in my own seperate personal life, if you cannot believe in me first before you believe in what others have to say about me, or if you cannot seperate the two and understand that to each his own perspective and if you don’t trust that I am just me, […] just a girl, without a hidden agenda, then we have no basis for friendship.

Those who think me secretive or incomprehensibly complex simply don’t have the curiosity to ask enough questions. I’m learning to not be frustrated by that, to not set my bar so high that I demand my friends be as actively curious/inquisitve about me as I am about them. Some of that is resignation, yes, but it’s also realism and a growing understanding that an acceptable balance may be one in which the information flows primarily in my direction (see the above Carnegie quote). If anything, that acceptance of this “skewed” balance allows me to be more open when I’m asked to be.

Why? Because there are as close to no conditions as possible [original emphasis]. Of course it’s the strongest connection. It’s what I seek out in friendships and I won’t settle for less.

A lesson for myself and others: love and foster the openness and the closeness and the intimacy and the trust; cherish it like nothing else, because friends will be there when your family and/or the other components of your life fail you. But…

I am not your reason for being or your reason to smile. I can help you be a happier or better person, like all friends do, but I am just a girl.

Heh.

Yeah. Just the “but” should have been sufficient. Don’t get it twisted.

There isn’t something inherently wrong with me. I am motivated and strong and fun and sometimes I have moments of addiction or discouragement or sorrow, but none of these things can be ‘fixed’ by a man in my life. They can be helped by my friends, male or female.

One last thing: Penny removed one paragraph in her revision that I’m going to take the liberty of quoting anyway (it can be removed upon request) because I thought it was particularly awesome.

And, when I find [a relationship/love], as per chance may have it, it will not be so that I can cuddle with a warm body, on my sofa, watching flicks. I can get a dog for that [ed note: or a cat!]. It will be because I have met my match. My challenging, inspiring, equal. And, it better be more provacative than my friendships, which are already the most treasured parts of my being.

Lyrics of my song of the day are in the extension of the entry. I’ve changed the radio.blog to consist of my favorite Sting/Police songs. Enjoy.

Continue reading Relish the balance.

Website work; touching on web design canon

I’m still working on the site. In getting things validated, I discovered a highly annoying problem derived from using w.blogger in conjunction with BlogWorks XML—all my posts had double the open and close paragraph tags. Looking at the source code of any archive (or letting the validator do so), any opening paragraph was coded as a <p><p>, and closing tags were done similarly. Also, any lists (<ol> or <ul>) were surrounded by paragraph tags, which does not make for valid XHTML.

I had some trouble using Brinkster’s database querying tool to get the double-opening paragraph marks replaced. I could do the closing tags easily enough with UPDATE wp_posts SET post_content = REPLACE (post_content, '</p></p>', '</p>rn');, but couldn’t do the opening tags.

So I wrote another ASP script, downloadable here. Directions are in the ASP file, but you basically just need to update the connection variables—your username, MySQL server, password, etc. The usual. (Should I start making a page of these little things?) It replaces all doubled opening and closing paragraph marks, blockquotes with paragraph marks right before them (which causes funny formatting), and the cases of lists being surrounded with paragraph tags. Have fun, report errors.

Mathias recently posted a beautiful web design canon suggestion that has served as a bit of a whip cracking for me. I used to be very meticulous about directory structure and expanding abbreviations, but I’ve slipped lately. No longer! The webmistress is back—at least while she has time to be.

Continue reading Website work; touching on web design canon

Merr’ Chrimmus, indeed.

I wrapped most of my Christmas gifts this morning around 03:00 before I went to bed, and set those for the immediate family outside my door so they wouldn’t have to wait for me to wake up to open them. There was no way in hell I was getting up before 09:00.

I got my mother Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits, Michael Crichton’s Prey, and The Very Best of Sting & the Police (of which I am mos def going to have to make a copy; I love me some Sting).

My father is as difficult to shop for as Dr. 7, but I got him a gift certificate to iTunes that should keep him satiated for quite some time.

And I ain’t shoveling that damn driveway anymore until I need to go somewhere—like back to Rose. Which may be happening entirely too early (like Wednesday) on account of the weather.

My mother is currently pissed because her Amazon shipment for me hasn’t come in yet; to top it off, it looks like it won’t be coming until around January 3—long after I’ll be settled in at Rose again.

She did, however, get me some clothing: two knitted turtleneck ponchos (one tan, one black; can’t find a picture of the brand she got) with accompanying appropriate shirts. Interesting; I hope I can pull the style off.

Now I just need to be able to leave the house (without chipping at the ice in the driveway) so I can have an excuse to wear them…

Oh! And I got the awesomest book from Dulin: Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life. When he asked me what I wanted for Chrimmus, my response was:

Hmm… Find me a fascinating biography or autobiography—no shadow-written political books, although political figures are fine (particularly those in Latin American countries or Soviet bloc[-esque] countries).

😀 Have fun…

I’d say he did wonderfully…

My auntie Peaches didn’t make it over for dinner (we are getting damned frustrated dealing with this woman…), but we made good food anyway. I whipped up homemade garlic mashed potatoes and made auntie Peaches’ cornbread stuffing (recipe below, in the extension of the entry). Mother-dear made auntie Lisa’s sweet potato casserole (recipe also below), broccoli, and macaroni and cheese from scratch. The Old Man was typically annoying by eating all the yummy topping off the sweet potato casserole and leaving just the potatoes, the dirty bum.

Because my family is one of television-watchers, dinner was accompanied with the mandatory viewing of—of all movies—Kingdom Come. For all of the childhood jokes my friends made about my mother reminding them of Whoopi Goldberg (?!?), that movie is the one where the similarities in personality are apparent even to me. Weird.

Ah, well. Christmas is good. Particularly after a call from Mae, a chat yesterday with Dr. 7 (in which he pointed out a game that would be perfect for the likes of me), e-mails abound from friends, and my first-ever comment from Dr. 7. Now, whether this occurred because Luke isn’t around to pass along his commentary or because of some change in opinion about my blog, I don’t know.

Continue reading Merr’ Chrimmus, indeed.