January 29, 2010

Gossip Girl

Posted in 8-ball - pool not narcotics, The Gnomes, The Small and Petty, The Who, The Why, The WTF at 9:30 am by Dagny Taggart

So I was at the pool hall last night, losing one, then winning one, largely minding my own business (which requires a fair amount of minding, these days), and then it happened, again.

There’s another female player who started playing in the same leagues as me a couple seasons ago.  She and I have something (someone) in common, someone that I don’t talk to anymore, but to whom I am civil when the occasion requires.  And though we’ve been playing in the same leagues (twice a week) for at least 6-7 months, now, we have yet to exchange a word.  Which is too bad, because she’s got some killer outfits, and I’d love to know where she shops.

Yet each time I’ve seen her looking at me, it’s involved a stony glare.  Like I … did something to her, kicked her puppy, or maybe made an inappropriate, public accusation about her mom. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not necessarily upset about an Alexis Carrington reputation… I’d just like to know what it is I’m supposed to have done.  It seems like it must be terribly exciting.

Then again, perhaps I’m better off in ignorant bliss.  We wouldn’t want me getting any ideas…

xoxo?

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January 28, 2010

Nerves

Posted in 8-ball - pool not narcotics, I need a helmet, Nerdiness, The Process, The Why at 9:06 am by Dagny Taggart

At this point last season, I think I was at… 20%?  25%?  I was on my teams for a variety of reasons, none of which included the expectation of regular victories while I was at the table.  I was having fun, and I never really felt like I wasn’t a valued member of my teams.  My captains made an effort to be even-handed in assigning matches, so I didn’t feel excluded.

And then, I started winning.  Just on Thursday nights, just for the team that I drank with.  But I was winning… a lot.  By the end of postseason, I had somewhere near an 87% record.

Of course, I did my best for my other teams, and managed to pull out a victory for them here and there.  But it was that team – the team for which I won the match that put us on top for the season, where I’d been performing consistently well.

This weekend, that team has a bigger tournament.  I’ll be driving into the hinterlands at a positively ungodly hour, pulling my cue out of its case and wondering exactly how early is too early to get one’s first adult beverage of the day.

I think they might be counting on me, and I’m nervous.

How do you deal with that kind of pressure?

January 27, 2010

Between the lines

Posted in *cringe*, Darth Vaguer, The Who, The Why, The WTF at 9:37 am by Dagny Taggart

Some people really are “straightforward”.  Frequently, this circle overlaps significantly with “socially inept”, but not always.

I can’t tell if I’ve become overly cynical, or if I’m as good at reading people as I like to think I am.  I can say that only one person I knew reasonably well managed to surprise me – and that involved some pretty egregious lying by omission. 

But I wonder, sometimes, if I’m wrong in assuming that everyone puts a certain spin on a situation – that one has to see through a layer or two in order to get a glimpse of something closer to the cold, hard facts.

Does everyone do this, or just me?

January 26, 2010

Catch-22

Posted in *cringe*, But I am... le sick, Darth Vaguer, Guilt, Project: Fail, The Round at 11:02 am by Dagny Taggart

I get it.  If you’re frustrated with me, you have two choices.  One, you can tell me that you’re frustrated with me, and you can be honest about it, and you can hurt my feelings.

Or, you can deal with the frustrating things over and over again, and not say anything, and resent me.

And if we’re the kind of people who are supposed to be able to talk to each other about things, I definitely want you to choose the first option, I really do.

But if, towards the end of that conversation, you have reason to believe that I’m feeling pretty awful about things?

It wouldn’t kill you to give me a hug, or a word or two of encouragement.

I’m just sayin’.

January 25, 2010

Group Outings

Posted in Advice I have no business giving, I need a helmet, Project: Fail, The Aaaarrrghhhhh!, The Gnomes, The Round, The Small and Petty at 10:53 am by Dagny Taggart

I am whole, and replete with a sense of accomplishment.

I did not master the art of the parallel stop, but I did make it down several blue trails, (mostly) unscathed.  Well, a little scathed.

My posterior may or may not be an excellent candidate for a true-color map of the Marianas Trench.

I was one of a group of 7, consisting of two couples and three single gents.  It was a motley crew, as some of the guys worked together, some were high school buddies, and the two contingents hadn’t met before.

Having so many different personalities in a smallish space made me wonder how each person was perceiving the others in the group – not just trying to figure out how I felt about my fellow travelers, but how each of them felt about each other person.

And then I decided that I should probably focus on staying upright and not stabbing anyone with my ski poles (Seriously, parents.  I don’t care how precocious you think your kids are – a two year old does NOT need to be on a relatively difficult blue slope when he/she cannot control their side-to-side movement with any regularity, nor maintain an awareness of persons coming towards them from above).

But it would be pretty cool to be able to listen in on people’s thoughts from time to time, just to figure out how we all work.

January 20, 2010

Shoosh!

Posted in *cringe*, I need a helmet, Project: Fail, The Round at 9:23 am by Dagny Taggart

I head for places snowy and pointy today, with a bundle of clothes I wouldn’t normally wear and a tiny bit of trepidation.

It’s my fifth time, EVER.

And don’t even TRY to talk me into that snowboarding crap.  While it should, theoretically, be easier to get my legs to do what I want them to do when they are ATTACHED to the SAME BOARD, *I* would undoubtedly be the person who attaches wrong.  People have been skiing for a long time, and I’m a lot more comfortable with the prospect of impalement than I am with the prospect of being trapped in a pretzel-like shape for hours because I couldn’t unhook my feet.  So.

I’ll be doing something that might, by the end of the trip, resemble skiing.  Up until that point, I’ll be pizza wedging and practicing my parallel stops on the bunny slope, and panicking mightily when I’m on an actual slope and there are people in front of me and OH GOD I need to SLOW DOWN or else I will impale THEM.

And it will be glorious.

Also, did you know that the lodges have hot chocolate?  And that you can get them to put alcohol in it?

Yep.  Glorious.

I might post, if, say, I totally chicken out and wind up sitting in the aforementioned lodge drinking adult hot chocolate and playing with my iPhone.  If not, I’ve either determined that I will become a winter goddess and am humiliating myself on the slopes, or I’ve impaled myself on my own ski*.

Glorious.

*Yes, I realize that those two things are not necessarily exclusive of one another.

January 19, 2010

Stamina

Posted in Grief, Past, Present, The Happy, The Just a Little Sad, The Who, The Why at 10:22 am by Dagny Taggart

I have a mere handful of memories of Dr. Taggart’s father that do not involve him working.  I remember flashes of an Easter morning, his hands holding my basket of eggs, the sleeve of a blue cardigan at eye-level as he bent down to encourage me.  I remember his arms as they created a shelf for me, as he carried me facedown into the house so that the blood streaming from my cut forehead wouldn’t get in my eyes.  I remember a birthday party, where someone had made a paper hat for him using wrapping paper.  And I remember, towards the end, as he lay on the medical cot in what had been their dining room, as my mom and I showed him the prom dress he’d given her money to buy, before he started to forget the years I’d been alive.

I remember wondering, at various times, how he did it.  How he could have worked in factories and stockrooms and grocery stores, hours and hours of work.  How even into his seventies and eighties he never stopped – tending the roses at the house in Hawthorne, or painstakingly pulling up weeds and trimming hedges at my parents’ house.  Mowing the lawn.  Peeling and grating horseradish for our Easter feast outside, because he was the only one who managed to do it for any length of time before the fumes mandated a break.

I also remember him telling me to call my grandma “Babka”, and her being semi-furious with him in that way that long-married, long-suffering, long-loving wives are.  He found ways to have his fun, found the time to play, occasionally, with his granddaughters.  He found time to pick me up at school, sporting a black and white houndstooth cap, driving the dark green Buick with the tan seats, that smelled just like their house and that had a loud, clicky turn signal.  He found time to sneak himself platefuls of fried spaghetti, and found room for Grandma’s golubki and pieroshki a scant hour later.  He walked Grandma to church and back, walked me to the park.  And I never heard him complain, never witnessed discomfort.

He must have been tired sometimes – but he chose to do something besides think about it, to focus on what he wanted to accomplish rather than how hard it might be.  I must have inherited some of that, I think.  I just need to find it.

January 15, 2010

There are only two things I hate in this world.

Posted in *cringe*, The Aaaarrrghhhhh!, The Small and Petty, The Who, The Why at 7:31 am by Dagny Taggart

… People who are intolerant of other people’s cultures, and the Dutch!”

Except that whooooo boy howdy, have I become an intolerant sumb*tch.   Which I discovered last night.

First match of the night went really well.  I beat a higher-ranked player, while being coached by a new teammate whose style is, perhaps, a bit more aggressive than a lot of people would like.  By that I mean, he’s wont to jump in and call a time-out rather than wait for the player to ask for one (there is a limit to these that depends on the rank of the player in question).  He’s got a definite idea of how he wants the game to be played.

BUT, and this is something I’ve learned to try more recently with anyone who’s coaching me, he’s also willing to listen.  And to go with my plan, if I can clearly explain why my way is better.

So the first half of the night was great.  I was coached, but not overruled, and I won my match without it taking FOREVER.  Oh, and did I mention I had zero time to warm up?

For my other team, I was matched up against a lower-ranked player (yes, that does exist), which meant I now had a one-game disadvantage – I had to win three to her two.  I’ve played her before, and know that she’s well-coached and thoughtful enough that a one-game head start makes things challenging.  It was getting late, and I just wanted to play the game and get out of there.

So when a friend of my teammate’s started getting obnoxious, I tried to ignore it and shrug it off.  But I don’t really like socializing during a match anyway, unless it’s friendly banter with my opponent.  Between shots, I want to survey the table and figure out (1) how I screwed up, if I screwed up, and (2) what’s my best strategy – where my problems are, what my opponent is likely to do.  I have a team counting on me, and sometimes I get a little intense.

When that obnoxiousness started spilling over into comments about my playing, banal “jokes” about my opponent’s height (that I wondered if she could hear), and attempts to draw me into similarly-oriented conversation between shots, I started to get really annoyed.  Because the last thing I want to deal with on league night is THAT guy.  The salesman personality stooping to the least common denominator who you just KNOW is going to act like you’re the one with the problem when you point out that he’s a hell of a lot more annoying than he is funny.  Whose welcome is worn after roughly eleven minutes.

There’s a chance this guy will wind up on the team, and I’m just not interested.  A far cry from the girl who would give anyone approximately 347 chances, I just don’t see the merits of tolerating THAT guy.

Is this what growing up means?

January 14, 2010

One of these things is kind of like the other

Posted in *cringe*, Project: Fail, The OCD, The Round at 9:08 am by Dagny Taggart

Thanks to DC Blogs for yesterday’s link!

So, my ski pants fit, albeit snugly.  Which is a good thing, since spending more money that I don’t have on new ski gear that I use maybe once a year wasn’t going to happen.

But… they’re more snug than they were at this time last year, which means I weigh more  than I did at this time last year, exactly the same number of days since Christmas, etc.  Which means that I am larger, overall.

And I know why.  During the day, at work, my diet is actually pretty awesome.  Raw nuts, hard-boiled eggs, chicken wraps, cottage cheese, all at regular intervals so my blood sugar doesn’t plummet.  But if there is anything in my house at night?  All bets are off.  Sugar is consumed rapidly and with impunity, and I undo all of the hard work of the day.

The only other thing I’ve had this much trouble with was smoking.  I quit at least 20 times before I quit.  And I quit smoking in part by finding something else to take its place – going to the gym.  Since I don’t really have time to go to the gym MORE, I need to find something else to take the place of nighttime snacking – something that will keep my brain from straying to thoughts of the glucose that gives me something to focus on, much in the way my expendable friends, those tiny flaming sticks of death, kept me company between classes and during white nights.

Knitting won’t work.  Pool only works twice a week – more than that, and I’d probably burn out.  I’d write more, but I’ve been running out of things to say, of late.  Other thoughts?

January 12, 2010

I’m not the only one, it seems

Posted in *cringe*, Advice I have no business giving, The Aaaarrrghhhhh!, The Small and Petty, The Who, The WTF at 9:59 am by Dagny Taggart

Frankly, I think this practice needs to stop.   I’m talking about this whole flirting-while-you-have-a-significant-other-that-only-YOU-know-about thing. 

I’ve written about something like it once before – where a teammate who doesn’t wear a ring flirted with me for months, despite knowing about W.  Fortunately for me, it’s pretty easy for me to work in a mention of W in pool-related conversations without being That Girl, and I understand the awkwardness of figuring out when to bring it up. 

But when I asked if he and another teammate were roommates?  THAT would have been a great time to tell me that he lives with his wife.  In fact, despite having played together for close to a year, I have yet to hear him talk about his wife.  At all.  Ever.  Our teammates mention his wife more often than he does (not difficult, as it’s pretty easy to get to more often than never).

To me, this is weird.  And it bothers me.  Of course, it probably wouldn’t bother me as much if I hadn’t…

…had an ex-boyfriend with whom I’d kept in touch over a period of many years, post-breakup.  One who would instant message me from time to time, who’d come to visit me while on a work trip, and had definitely been pursuing.  And with whom I’d had lunch on my way back from the land of milk and honey, where he’d been Comeon McFlirterson the whole time, as usual, to the point of indicating a motel across the street (I laughingly declined, choosing to take it as a joke).  Until a few days later, when in an IM conversation, he mentioned that he was swamped, because he was trying to ready his desk for two weeks of vacation in Fiji.  And when I asked if he was going with someone (because even if some people might go to Fiji solo, he is not that kind of person), he said he was going with someone.  And I asked if he was going with a girlfriend.  And he said he’d be going with his wife, to whom he’d be getting married just prior to the plane’s departure.

I was *thrilled* when the link to their wedding website was automatically appended to an email he send from a different account a day or two later, a wedding website that revealed they’d been together for years.  Well over two of them, to be more precise.  Including the time that he’d been on that business trip.

Or, OR, there’s that time when I was a temporary employee in a shop where I worked with about 25 guys between the ages of 19 and 35, and really hit it off with one of them.  And didn’t find out until weeks later, until a minor tributary of the Rubicon had already been crossed, that he had a live-in girlfriend.  Whose voice I heard on the answering machine while I was at their house and she was not.  And I didn’t find out because not only did HE not tell me, but he persuaded everyone we worked with to keep quiet, as well.

This makes me ponder on a few levels.  First – if you require that much attention from members of the opposite sex that you’re not dating, one might wonder why you (1) don’t talk to your significant other about getting the attention that you need, or (2) choose not to be in a relationship.  Second, is your ego boost really worth being the sort of person who uses other people for blatantly selfish and superficial ends?

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