Tag Archives: Reflections

So what’s in Paris, Kentucky?

Not much other than some of my extended family, although the view along the way is spectacular—beautiful ice sculptures along I-75, and horses gallore on the (too short) stretch from Lexington to Paris.

I went to visit my auntie Lisa today.

Theoretically, I went to fix her two computers—which are now home with me, as they were both infected with the LSASS Sasser Worm. (Ah, the good M. D. goes to work…) She must have been infected in the spring, because she hasn’t used her computers in several months, according to GoBack logs, and the threat of that worm tapered off in May, it seems. Both computers, though. We’re looking to blame cousin Jordy, because we know what boys do when given Internet connections, yes?

During my little five-hour stay—which was entirely too short—I attempted to coax my auntie into selling (or at least renting) me her second car, a cute little manual transmission Suzuki truck/car thing that they don’t seem to make anymore; I conversed with (read: giggled at) Nana, who just learned that she’s 30 to 40% deaf in both ears (something everyone but her knew), but refuses to get hearing aids out of stubborn pride; and, best of all, spent quality time with the auntie: we chatted about running and school and work and life and drinking (?!?) and computers and family and Deliverance and so many of our common interests but in so not enough depth.

I realized today that if I had a car, I’d be more likely to spend my stressed-out-must-get-away-from-school weekends at her place than with my parents. (In fact, if I had a car, I would begin to have these “stressed-out-must-get-away-from-school weekends”, which I currently do not have and do not plan to let myself have with my current options.) We have this rapport that is very comfortable and comforting, despite our differences in views on social and political matters. That’s not a slam on my parents, because my time home has been enjoyable, but Aunt Lisa and I can talk adult-to-adult—the way I talk with my friends and equals.

I also realized today just how damn country my father’s family is. They were drawing those vowels out like nothing else. I wanted a digital voice-recorder so that I could commit my auntie and my grandmother’s voices and intonations and accents and words to digital medium and be able to point and say, “Look, look! Listen to all the elements of the story she’s telling.”

But the women in my family are notoriously camera and recorder-shy, so all there is is my memory.

I learned that cousin Jordy is doing passably well. He still limps, and may yet lose his leg. Apparently, serious damage was done to the hip socket, and his leg was left out of the socket for some length of time (transit to the hospital plus check-in, maybe?), so there continues to be some fear that additional problems may develop. Unfortunately, auntie Lisa didn’t seem to remember all the good medical words in her overall mother’s concern for her son’s health, but I can hardly blame her. “Son.getCar() == wrappedAroundTree() && Son == hurt()” and later, “Son > dead()” (if that makes any kind of semantic sense) is probably all she cared about.

I didn’t see him, but I did see one of his older brothers, who was looking well-dressed, albeit platinum-mouthed. My response: a hug and a face that clearly expressed, “?!?!”. I don’t quite get the appeal of metal-in-mouth as anything other than a status symbol; when I had a mouth full of metal and couldn’t eat popcorn or lemons, I wanted that shit out, tout de suite.

Aunt Lisa had taken steps to ensure my complete and inevitable downfall, however. She made peanut butter rolls.

These things are basically powdered sugar, butter, and crunchy peanut butter in a roll—a heart-attack and love-handles in log form. But holy hell…

She made one for the immediate family. She made two for me to take back to Rose. They are currently freezing and waiting for their turn to be defrosted and eaten by however many college folks I can foist them on. Good stuff, but holy crap they’re sweet and rich and just too much.

So I shall share the peanut butter lovin’.

I’ve also taken steps to ensure her complete and utter downfall—I still have her computers, and if I am allowed to converse with her for five minutes, we shall converse for hours. Bru-ha-ha!

What I’m reading tonight.

I dipped into the pool of linguistics a bit this past summer, so when I ran across links to Oliver Willis displaying his willful linguistics ignorance (with regards to the acceptance of Ebonics [and American Southern, “hillbilly” etc.] as a genuine language), I had to click and read the entire discussion.

And then I found out he did it again. This time there’s three pages of good back-and-forth, with “Ed from Ohio” and Willis tightly holding onto their original opinions, and three or four other characters tag-teaming in attempts to be helpful.

It’s an interesting discussion (although repetitious in theme), and there are good linguistics-related links interspersed throughout.

The interesting debate (and to me, the only one worth reading for, since the rest is basic sociolinguistics chatter) is the idea that accepting AAVE (see above for the etcs) as a language is “enabling”—that it will induce laziness in learning “standard” American English. That those who speak it must be ignorant to the fact that it takes “standard” American English skills to succeed. That by giving their speech more weight than mere slang (several commenters called AAVE “crap English” or ignorant speech, for instance), we are making it impossible for AAVE-speakers to be successful. That there is one and only one way to speak English in America, and all else is ignorance. That treating the instruction of “standard” English as the instruction of a second language is giving too much weight to “ignorant speech”. That it shouldn’t be necessary to teach Americans (in particular blacks) a second language in a structured ESL setting, because, hell, they’re American and from the same country as the rest of us, right? That—

You know what? Fuck it. I’m not getting my blood pressure up over this tonight.

Starter links below. Follow chains to learn more.

Now take all of that and applyit to American Southern English, New England speech, etc.

And finally: the man who started it all (for me). Cheers.

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.

Math, writing, and letting things out.

Mathheads (particularly DISCO whores): I’m curious as hell as to whether Scott has an answer (or even a start) for a theoretically unanswerable problem.

I’m also expanding my opnion of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof from “nice entry” to “damned awesome blog”. Her post on her friend AB had my head spinning.

I know what it’s like to never let a single soul push you around or bring you down, to challenge everyone and everthing and stand your ground and then one day wonder how you got to where you are, sitting on the floor feeling like nothing but death. Death of yourself, wishing death on the road as he is driving home. Horrible, wasted, lifeless thoughts. Not because the world is a cold place, not for any loss that you’ve suffered, but for what you’ve become to yourself.

No one can make you, but they can break you, if you let them.

How is that not simply awesome writing? Spinning, I tell you. My head feels like a hard drive…

Sunray recently posted “Venting”. The concept is simple–address 11 people in your life and tell them something that you might not otherwise say to their face, without naming names.

I’m feeling dangerous tonight. I like this concept, but for time’s and sleep’s sake, I’m only doing about 8 of them.

  1. In your mental comparisons of me to others in order to classify me, I don’t think you realized that I am me and exactly what that entails. Your mixture of tough love followed by praise has helped create a woman who praises too late; who scares others with the criticisms that people always think she is blunting; who is frequently deaf herself to praise; who takes to heart too many failures; who struggles not to redefine “failure” in a mixture of a desire to remain true to her standards and of a desire to find and quantify in very real, very practical terms her breaking point; who is ashamed of her desire for a little relief from the things that bother her that “shouldn’t”. I am not created of only your contribution, and it has taken me twenty years to be able to understand what that means to me and how it manifests itself. I’m done with blame, and I’m done with hate, but until my softer and less responsible and less practical sides can be acknowledged and accepted before they are disapproved of, I’m also done with effort.
  2. ave such beautiful lines. I see you every day, and every day I never fail to watch you. The way you walk, the way your clothes drape your body, the way you greet me–a perfect stranger in the night–the way your eyes connect with mine and the way you will never fail to notice me across a room and the angular build of your body that I suspect belies a sinewy strength. The straight lines of your face and body humorously contrast those of your hair, which is curly and long, not unlike that of a friend of mine from home. When we pass each other in the wee hours of the morning, I wonder if you can read the exhaustion that has sent me from the sanctuary of my home-away-from-home to the dark nook that is my bed. I wonder what you’re doing up at those hours just as much as I wonder if you wonder what I’m doing up. When I see you, I feel a little more at peace, a little more okay at being out in the cold at lonely hours.
  3. I can’t imagine the thing that will break our relationship, unless we allow time and distance to do it for us. Our friendship is the most rock-solid thing in my life I have helped create and perpetuate, and when I think of acceptance, our better moments are often the ones I think about. You were the first to help me redefine my interpersonal boundaries and ideas of what’s appropriate and acceptable, and that set me up for some interesting experiences then and in later years. I marvel at your ability to focus and put energy into more than one person or interest at a time so that no one feels neglected while I still find myself gut-wrenchingly needing to disassociate when I am away from those I love for more than a week. I’ll always count myself as extremely mature for the mere fact that I’ve never been bitter or jealous of your other relationships.
  4. You scare me. Very rarely have I ever wished for someone to turn their attention away from me completely, but not only you see into too many of my depths without having to ask a single goddamn question, but you paint my sicknesses in a light that attempts to make them beautiful. I don’t ever want to become complacent like that; I want to be pushed to grow and change and improve. I will not let you push your lack of impetus on me; it would be worse than death.
  5. Ours is more of a love-hate relationship than I think you realize. I love that you have the power to make me question particular boundaries; I hate when I find the need to redefine those in a protective manner to spare myself hurt. I love my vulnerability; I hate my vulnerability and the lack of yours. I love our fun; I hate our lack of responsibility, because it does not bode well for our success. I’ve recently come to realize that ours is a freight train of a relationship that may jump its tracks tomorrow or any number of months from now, and my defenses are rising faster than anyone around me has realized or can calculate. A defensive Lissa is a vicious Lissa, however, and that alone may break us if I am not careful.
  6. You taught me more fully about my other half. I listened to you talk about women and jobs and what you will do and avoiding talking about what you are doing and I found myself quantifying how large that sphere of influence is in my life. The amount of time I have spent among you and yours has been disproportionately small compared to that spent with the other side, but I can now look at some aspects of myself and see them not as anomalies, but as perfectly normal and expected.
  7. You are a puzzle to me. Intellectual enough to be able to (and willing to) cater to my curiosity, obscure enough that I have trouble finding and wording questions to ask. I don’t know where our boundaries are, and ours is one of the few relationships I’m in where my people-skills outweigh the other’s. I want to poke into the depths of your self-esteem and deeper thoughts and the layers of your love-life, but I very much don’t want to bruise. I feel like there’s a lot more vulnerability in you than you let on, and I find myself being protective of that.
  8. It would be awesome if we could not talk every time you see me. I do not always want to be greeted, or asked how my day went, or asked what I’m doing and where I’m going. Yes, it is bitchy of me to say and think such things when you’re just being polite, but our worlds really don’t overlap that much, and I like it that way. When I feel like talking and have exhausted my other, more preferred, options for idle chit-chat, you’ll be the first one I look up, since you always seem ready for a conversation. Until then, please shut the fuck up. Thanks.
[Listening to: Quality Control – Jurassic 5 – Quality Control (4:48)]

World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day

So… it’s World AIDS Day. And I have yet to post about it. I’ve been thinking about what I think about AIDS, about sex education, about prejudices surrounding AIDS, and what it all means to me. I haven’t come to any new conclusions, but thinking’s always good, right?

I don’t know anyone that has died of AIDS. I don’t know anyone that is (openly) HIV+ or has AIDS. I’ve never been at risk, having never had a blood transfusion or sex. AIDS itself is not something I think about frequently. I do think about sex education issues, given my own experiences and what I hear about various stances concerning the issue. I remember sitting in middle school and listening to some burly coach hem and haw for a few minutes on Sex-Ed Day with nothing intelligable coming out of his mouth, then finally saying, “Just don’t do it.” Sex education was left to my parents, who assumed I had learned it in school or elsewhere (which, by then I mostly had) and didn’t really tell me anything unless some odd occasion left me with a question none of my peers could answer. Sex education came from television and getting the guts to ask my peers really, really weird questions, all while trying not to seem too ignorant. Surely I’m not the only one with this dilemma.

I am concerned with the message by some religious parties that abstinence is the only choice, and that people shouldn’t be educated about sex because they shouldn’t be doing it. Putting questions of breeding ignorance aside (no pun intended), is factually educating people about sex and preventative methods the same as tell them to go out and have mad, passionate, monkey-sex with as many people as possible? Or is it factually educating people about sex and preventative methods and leaving the moral questions of “should” (not to mention the lifestyle questions of “will”) to them? It probably seems different from the other perspective…

I also think about prejudices concerning AIDS, as those are ideas I find myself hearing entirely too often: “AIDS is God’s punishment for the sin of homosexuality [or promiscuity]” or that, in general, it’s a “gay disease”. I can’t even address the first one, as it’s a moral stance I can’t even argue successfully with; I halt at the word god and question the Christian definition of such a being. But the idea that it’s a gay disease is something that so many seem to still believe, no matter the number of straight people that have AIDS. These are the same people that will sit and tell you that, “Uh-huh, I know I could get the disease if I’m not careful,” but that you later hear make snide remarks that there’s no way they could get that “fag’s disease”. How do you combat that type of ignorance? They have most likely spent their entire lives indoctrinated with that type of prejudice, despite the truthful information they have come across. Of course, it never hurts to try to combat it anyway, but I wonder (in, I suppose, my typical cynical way) whether anyone who has taken advantage of the wealth of information available about AIDS (particularly today) has changed their opinion from one of bigotry to… well, to anything else.

(Not terribly insightful, I know. Perhaps I should have just kept my mouth shut hands still. But if you want good reading, visit Karsh and follow his series and his links. I also found Aaron’s post about the responses to a poster titled “Kissing Doesn’t Kill. Greed and Indifference Do” interesting. Of course, thebrotherlove made me want to cry. I, for one, am glad he’s alive [and sorry his friends aren’t], and I don’t even know him. Not that that’s a condition for giving a damn about someone’s well-being or anything, it’s just… well, nevermind.)