May 17, 2010

Keep Out

Posted in Darth Vaguer, Present, Project: Fail, The Angry, The Just a Little Sad, The Why, The WTF at 8:56 am by Dagny Taggart

It’s already terrible, awful, no-good and very bad.  And I can’t get into it, but I can assure you that no physical harm has occurred, and that big-picture things are mostly okay.

But it’s already terrible, awful, no-good and very bad.  Not even the memory of miniature mufalettas can counter the stress-induced knot that’s taken up residence somewhere in my abdomen, so I leave you with the following, which made me smile this weekend:

“Harry:  You take someone to the airport, it’s clearly the beginning of a relationship.  That’s why I have never taken someone to the airport at the beginning of a relationship.

Sally:  Why?

Harry:  Because eventually things move on and you don’t take someone to the airport, and I never wanted anyone to say to me, how come you never take me to the airport anymore?

Sally:  It’s amazing.  You look like a normal person, but actually you are the angel of death.”

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April 30, 2010

Meh

Posted in Guilt, Present, Project: Fail, The Just a Little Sad, The Process, The Why at 10:53 am by Dagny Taggart

I’ve had a couple of really vivid dreams lately.  Seems to happen more on the nights that I’m able to squeeze in more than 6 hours of sleep.  And the dreams… I remembered them, and wrote them down, and am examining them further to see what I might do with them.  If anything.

I’ve been bouncing around this office for a few years now.  It is a job, and it does the things that a job is supposed to do – pays the bills, etc.  It’s not a career, but it could be, and I’m trying to figure out what I need to do to make it a career, and whether I want to do those things.

And there are my hobbies, and wanting to get and stay in shape, and trying to address my food issues in some meaningful way that won’t have me back in the same headspace in 2 years, wondering why exactly it’s so hard to leave that jar of peanut butter ALONE.

There’s my family and friends, and trying to keep in touch with and spend time with people who have been there for me, people I’d like to keep in my life, and it’s just not as easy to do that as it was before.  Email and texting isn’t always enough. 

All of which to say, I just don’t have as much time anymore.  I can’t steal minutes from my workday, not if I actually want to go that extra mile and see what’s at the other end of it.  I can’t steal minutes from sleep or gym or pool or friends – I don’t have enough minutes for those things as it is. 

It’s just been really hard to be *here*.

April 22, 2010

Aged and Decrepit

Posted in Present, The Happy, The Who, The Why at 8:37 am by Dagny Taggart

…but having a great day so far.

Just as an example?

Dr. Taggart called this morning, and sang “Happy Birthday” into my voicemail (I was in the shower).

Makes for a pretty good, and most unusual, start to the day.

Oh – and?  My hair looks fantastic today.  😀

Hope everyone else is enjoying our brief return to gorgeous spring weather!

April 5, 2010

A jug of wine, a loaf of bread*..

Posted in Present, The Happy, the pretty, The Round, The Where, The Why at 11:42 am by Dagny Taggart

Get yourself one of these, if you don’t have something similar already.

It’s the perfect size for a picnic for two, though you may (as I did ) opt to carry your bread separately, so the carby goodness does not get unnecessarily chilled in the tote’s main, insulated compartment.

You might also want to purchase a small, thin cutting board and a sharp knife that comes with a plastic guard or sheath.

Once you’ve done that?  Treat yourself to some of your favorite things at your local deli.  Place them in the tote with some ice packs, a few bottles of iced tea or lemon-flavored italian soda, perhaps some water.  Then…

Go here.  Search by area, by your favorite grape, or by which winery looks like it offers the best picnicking grounds.  Stay for a tasting – most are in the $10 range, depending on how many you choose to sample.  And when you’ve tried them all, pick up a bottle of your favorite, take it and your basket to the most picturesque part of the grounds, and revel in the gorgeous weather we’ve been having while you relax and partake.

I did this here, this weekend, and highly recommend the experience.  I’ll likely go back in June, when the Vin de Sol is ready – but I was quite content with both the Viognier we had with our meal, as well as with a few others we tasted.  While they do have a small selection of cheeses and charcuterie, you can definitely bring your own picnic and enjoy it at tables adjacent to the tasting room and the Chardonnay vines.

Give it a try!  But leave some of the Vin de Sol for me…

*Edward Fitzgerald

March 4, 2010

Embracing it

Posted in Nerdiness, Past, Present, Project: Fail, The Happy, The How at 9:08 am by Dagny Taggart

You know, I remember thinking, after my sister had been a litigator for a while, that she was a lot less nice than she used to be.

I didn’t think it was a bad thing, though.  Just… that she was a lot more assertive, willing to say she didn’t like something.  Willing to not go along, even if it meant incidentally hurting someone’s feelings.

Though, that didn’t prevent me from dropping my jaw, just a little, when she mentioned she’d been listening to Korn while working out, lately.  I wasn’t aware she knew that anything harder than Regina Spektor existed.  This is a most entertaining development.

Anyway, so I noticed it.  And I attributed it to her job, mostly, since she was a litigator.  And she did na lot of defense work, which means you’re often dealing with the kind of person who pisses other people off,  and brownfields litigation and oh, yeah, basically took over the stateside operations of a multinational corporation for a while.  So I figured the job had toughened her up.

But lately, I’ve been noticing a bit of it in myself.  And I have to say, caring more about what I actually think and want than I do about what anyone else thinks and wants – having the courage to own those preferences and voice them?  Is SO MUCH FUN.

Maybe this is what they meant by that confidence you get in your thirties, I don’t know.  Maybe it’s just that it’s getting close to spring, and I can see hints of the sun when I leave for work in the morning. And I was about to type that I wish I’d figured this out sooner.

But I think that I’m a lot closer to having a balance that I’m comfortable with now, than I would have if that had been the case.  I know what I want, and I’m willing to fight for it if I have to… but I think I’m a lot less likely to incur extraneous casualties than I would have if I’d found this assertiveness five, even two years ago.

Seriously, though.

SO MUCH FUN.

March 2, 2010

The trouble with life experience

Posted in Advice I have no business giving, Darth Vaguer, Present, The Just a Little Sad, The Small and Petty, The Who, The Why, The WTF at 9:05 am by Dagny Taggart

is that it makes me so MAD at myself.

Let’s say that I had two friends, both of whom I’d gone shopping with at various points in time.  One friend, who knew that I was generous with lending wardrobe items, would tell me things were worth buying when they were maybe not the best choice I could have made.  Granted, I would leave the store feeling good about having found cute things to wear, but the friend would leave knowing that the clothes I’d purchased were much more flattering on her, and that even though I owned them, she’d have the benefit of borrowing from time to time.

And let’s say that the other friend would never let me walk out of a store with something that wasn’t right for me.  Ever.  But that friend would be really open about why things weren’t right.  She’d point out that I didn’t fill it out, or that I filled it out too much.  She might even point out that I’d put on a few extra pounds in some places, or that when I wore orange I looked consumptive, or that my lack of sleep was clearly aging me.  And when I left the store, I didn’t feel great about myself.

Now clearly, neither of these friends are people I need to be shopping with.  But if I had to choose one to tell off, one to be furious with, one with whom I’d no longer be friends, who would it be?

Years ago, I might have said that the second person was the one to go.  That it was obvious that those comments would hurt someone’s feelings, that things could be said more gently, that it was really hard to believe that someone wouldn’t say things like that unless they intended to hurt my feelings.

All of which might be true, to a degree – at least to the extent that the person may have understood that hurt feelings would be a necessary consequence of her words, but either didn’t know how to say things differently, or thought that the knowledge outweighed the hurt.

But now, I feel like it’s the first person who’s got to go.  I just don’t have time or patience for people who are willing to lay their integrity on the altar of “things people want to hear” – especially if they’re doing it with personal gain in mind.  And yes, they may actually choose their words more carefully, and they may be genuinely concerned about not hurting someone’s feelings, but … true friends aren’t afraid to risk hurt feelings, if it means helping you be a better version of you – whether it’s finding an outfit that accentuates your best features, or a career that showcases your strengths, or just keeping you from achieving your dreams as quickly as possible, in general.

February 24, 2010

Do you hear what I hear?

Posted in Present, The Happy, The Where, The Why at 9:49 am by Dagny Taggart

No, no.  It’s not the backup alarm of the supermarket delivery truck, making its usual 5:30 am stop.  Well, it WAS, but we’re learning to ignore that, slowly, with deep cleansing breaths.

At least whenever I hear that noise, I’m reminded of the scene in My Cousin Vinny :

“Yesterday you told me that freight train hardly ever comes through here at 5:00 in the morning.”

“I know.  She’s supposed to come through here at ten after 4:00.”

But anyway, I can hear something RIGHT NOW, something that makes me so unspeakably happy, it’s a good thing I’m not actually working in my office today (though, one might point out that when one’s office is as far from a window as it is possible to be, in one’s behemoth of an office building, the odds of one hearing something happening outside are slim to none, so unspeakable happiness wouldn’t be happening).

I can hear birds.  Not just cranky, overcompensating-with-forced-cheeriness morning birds that I strongly suspect are telling each other to f*ck off and find their own g@#d^&*ed worms/leftover coffee grounds.  No, these birds are STILL CHIRPING.  Because they are out and about, and enjoying the sunshiney day.  Perhaps they, too, have noticed the teensy red buds on the tree outside my window, have noticed that they can get to the ground to find breakfast without diving through frozen white stuff.

Maybe they’re just glad that it’s not snowing or freezing, at the moment.  Maybe they’re rehashing that moment they had with Tippi Hedren, and plotting a sequel.  Maybe they’re discussing how humans are idiots and ruining the planet for everyone else, maybe they’re about to take care of some business right on top of my car.

I don’t care.  Right now, I could listen to them for hours, because it sounds like spring.

And not a moment too soon.

February 14, 2010

I know…

Posted in Past, Present, The Happy, The Who, The Why at 12:19 pm by Dagny Taggart

…I’ve mentioned the fraught conversations between S.E. and I, concerning her wedding.    To a certain extent, I think such things are to be expected.  She’s my sister, she’s (nearly) five years older than me, and we’re going to have different approaches to things, different approaches that occasionally result in conflict.

But here’s another story about that event that I hold much closer to my heart.

S.E.’s in-laws hosted a beautiful rehearsal dinner, one that likely rivaled many people’s actual receptions.  Once everyone had visited the buffet at LEAST once, it was time for the distribution of the bridal party gifts.  Here, as with every other aspect of her wedding, S.E.’s desire for meaning and personalization really showed.  Each gift she’d selected was individual, and personal, and came with a few heartfelt lines about why each of us meant so much to her.

I received a plush rabbit, and a pillow.  And the pillow had embroidery on it, embroidery that reads:

“Once you are REAL, you can’t be ugly, except to those who don’t understand.”

S.E. gave me my gift, and said, simply, “You made me real.”

I hope that everyone gets to feel that kind of love at some point in their lives.  It’s a pretty amazing thing.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

February 2, 2010

Majorette, Part 2.

Posted in Past, Present, The Happy, The Who, The Why at 8:57 am by Dagny Taggart

I was trying to explain the friendship to W, who occasionally finds my relationships with my friends somewhat confusing and/or unrelatable.  Which is understandable, as I have eclectic tastes.

And given that she lives far, far away, W has not yet met the woman for whom I am majorette-ing.  And she’s not exactly someone you can explain – she must be experienced, to be understood.  So what I tried to do, is explain who she is to me.

There is the woman who has known me since toddlerhood, who can tell you much you might want to know about who I was.  And there is Sibling Extraordinaire, who can tell you about the dark and twisty ways I traveled to get to where I am, even if she doesn’t quite always understand or approve of where that is.  There are newer friends (relatively speaking), with whom a certain kindred-ness resonates, and whose objectivity and honesty have been invaluable.  But this friend?

She is the person with whom I am most fearlessly, unadulteratedly myself.  Because I trust that she won’t take things the wrong way, and because I know that she looks at everything I say and do through a lens made up of my fundamentally good qualities – the way I see the things that she says and does*.

This is not to say that she hasn’t ever criticized me.  But when she has, I’ve never once doubted her esteem or affection for me.

People like that are pretty hard to come by.  So when you think you might have found one, you’ll likely be happy to don a poly-wool blend in garish school colors, if the occasion requires.

*I see things through a lens of HER good qualities, not mine.  Just in case that wasn’t clear.  *sigh*  Another metaphor ruined!

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.

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