Sunday, 15 June 2014

Consolation Prizes

I'm calling BS.

The idea of a "consolation prize"? That's bullshit.

I'm working my way through the interviewing process these days, and it can be kind of exhausting. I have yet to hear anything back from the interview I went on last week, but I have decided something: I'm celebrating either way. Either I will celebrate because I've gotten the job (paneer tikka masala! a nicer bottle of wine than usual! PINK HAIR!) or I will celebrate because I tried my hardest and had some valuable interview practice (paneer tikka masala! a nicer bottle of wine than usual!). I will not issue a consolation prize. I will not need a consolation prize. I will not need consolation, dammit.

Because I will be proud of what I have done, whether that has resulted in a job or not.

So there.

Thursday, 12 June 2014


I'd looked through the house, under chairs, on the bed, Preposition Noun, you name it. No cat.

This was a problem. The cat is a strictly indoor cat, despite his clearly expressed wishes. I had been gone for five hours, so if he had gotten out, he could be pretty far away.

"Finnegan? Gins?"

I was wandering around the yard, call for the cat. Some people would consider this a complete waste of time-- and it would have been, with some cats. But not this cat. This cat comes when he is called, 99% of time.




"Mew. Mew! Mew."

"Finnegan. Cat. Where are you?"

"Mew mew mew mew mew..."

I looked around. Under the deck? No. Behind a bush? No. Behind me? No. The mews were coming from...


My eyes followed the sound. There was a cat on the roof. (No, not a hot tin roof. Just a shingle roof.)


"Hold on, Gins. I'm going to get a ladder."

I ran to the garage, purple bathrobe flapping, grabbed the smaller of the ladders, and rushed back to the house. I snapped the ladder into place, and clambered to the top. Finnegan crouched on the edge of the roof, peering anxiously over the edge. Reaching out to him, I pulled him gently toward me.


Cat safely cradled in my arms, I reversed down the ladder, brought him inside, and served him a bowl of his favorite food.

Then I put on my dress and shoes, and headed out the door for my interview.

Just your average day.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

101 Goals in 1001 Days

I'll be starting this officially on Saturday, April 5. 1001 days later will be December 31, 2016, which will be a satisfying day to have as a deadline. This is an ambitious, but exciting, list. I'll write about my accomplishments as I complete them and update this master list here. If you care to join me and follow along, please do! I strongly recommend you write your own list and complete it. It promises to be a lot of fun and pretty rewarding.

101 Goals in 1001 Days (April 5, 2014 – December 31, 2016)

11. Get hired to teach
22. Catalogue classroom library
33.  Find and rent an apartment
44. Unpack and decorate apartment
55. Organize inside of refrigerator*
66. Organize closet*
77. Organize under-the-bed*
88. Organize bathroom cabinet(s)*
99.Acquire 2 sets of sheets/pillowcases for bed
110. Acquire sheets/blankets for guests
111. Acquire at least 2 sets of bathroom towels
112. Re-cover chair from Ks
113. Acquire kitchen table and chairs or repaint (un-stickify) ice cream table and chairs
114. Visit San Francisco (Aloha, Twirl, Sphinx, Chip, Willa, etc)
115. Visit Costa Rica
116. Go on a safari in Africa
117. Yurt trip with kids
118. Yurt trip with kids
119. Yurt trip with Joanna
220. Go on an overnight backpacking trip (at least one night, but may be multiple)
221. Go on a spontaneous weekend trip
222. Go bungee jumping
223. Ride in a hot air balloon
224. Skydive
225. Visit an interesting local(ish) place I’ve never been before
226. See Ginny
227. See Polka Dot
228. See Nancy
229. See Granola
330. See Anna
331. See Eesa
332. Stop biting fingernails
333. Floss every day for a month
334. Blog twice a week for 1 month
335. Publish writing somewhere other than my own blog
336. Write a letter to a friend
337. Write a letter to a friend
338. Write a letter to a friend
339. Write a letter to a friend
440. Write a letter to a friend
441. Get in touch with someone I haven’t seen/spoken to in a while
442. Engage in some theatrical endeavor (preferably acting)
443. See live theatre
444. See live theatre
445. See live theatre
446. See live theatre
447. See live theatre
448. Read To Kill a Mockingbird
449. Read The Feminine Mystique
550. Read Pinker book about language
551. Read The Round House by Erdich
552. Read 4 books in one month
553. Read 4 books in one month
554. Read 4 books in one month
555. Read 4 books in one month
556. Graduate from City U
557. Take a sign language class
558. Take a Chinese class (or tutoring)
559. Bake a delicious loaf of bread
660. Go 3 months without buying any clothes
661. Volunteer somewhere
662. Collect advice and write it down (Mom, Dad, family, friends, etc)
663. No Facebook for two weeks
664. Try using an electronic calendar for at least 2 months
665. Perform a random act of kindness
666. Perform a random act of kindness
667. Perform a random act of kindness
668. Perform a random act of kindness
669. Run 3 miles
770. Run 5 miles
771. Run 10 miles
772. Have a glass of red wine every night for a week
773. Stay vegan-ish for 6 months (the version where only I am inconvenienced)
774. Write at least a paragraph in a journal every day for 2 weeks
775. Track period for 12 months
776. Go for 6 weeks without caffeine
777. No soda for 6 weeks
778. Attend a UU meeting
779. Take a photography class
880. Get a ring for myself
881. Get tattoo
882. BuMa family photos (Summer 2014)
883. Gift for someone
884. Gift for someone
885. Scrapbook: School Year 2013-2014
886. Scrapbook: Summer 2014
887. Mini Scrapbook: September-December 2014
888. Photobook: Friends 2013
889. Photobook: Friends 2014
990. Scrapbook: 2015
991. Grandpa Shutterfly book
992. Activity with Glitter
993. Activity with Glitter
994. Activity with Glitter
995. Activity with Eco
996. Activity with Eco
997. Hike with Dad
998. Hike with Mom
999. Host a dinner (Priorities: cook for it)
1100.                Host a dinner (Priorities: invite friends from different groups)
1101.                Host a tea party

* Meaning “develop a system” not just “put things away in an orderly fashion”

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Source of Irritation

Ok, look. I realize I may be a party of one here, but let's discuss something.

That "you're beautiful" graffiti? You know how it's written on buildings and inside bathroom stalls? You know how people leave it, probably thinking they're leaving an uplifting message? You know how other people take pictures, re-blog it, pin it, and generally swoon over it?

Yeah, ok. Kudos for the thought and all.

But seriously? Seriously.

A) The way we use the world, "beauty" is almost always an external factor. We give lip service to internal beauty, but have you ever actually used that concept to describe someone? Really? We say people are kind, or smart, or brave, or adventurous, or any number of other positive things, but if we say they are beautiful, we mean that physically. If not, we have to clarify. "She's a really beautiful person. Inside and out." If you just leave it at "She's a really beautiful person," everyone will assume you mean physically. Which is fine. That's accurate for some people.

B) Beauty is not something to be proud of. You can be happy with it, for sure, but you did nothing to achieve your beauty. (Unless, I suppose, you did a ton of plastic surgery or have completely re-designed your face with make up, or whatever.) This is especially true in my case. I have some naturally lovely features, and some that are less so. There are parts of my body and face that I love the look of, and others that I don't. I'm not proud of my eyes. They are what they are. They're pretty, but I didn't do anything to make that happen. I'm not ashamed of my nose. It's not my favorite feature, but it isn't my fault.  If you're going to give me a compliment, tell me something positive about myself that I actually have some control over. I can take pride in that.

C) A person's beauty (or lack thereof) is no where near the single most important thing about her. (And I say "her" because these standards are disproportionately applied to women and girls, though I recognize that men, boys, and people across the gender spectrum are also affected.)There is so. much. more. to a person than how he or she looks. Stop endowing this concept with more weight than it deserves.

And stop writing on stuff that you're not supposed to be writing on. Unless you're Banksy, keep your Sharpie in your pocket.

Monday, 24 March 2014


           “So no love in your life?”
            That’s not what she meant, actually. She didn’t mean to imply that I lived a loveless existence. She wasn’t trying to say that I was lonely or disconnected. It wasn’t, I think, what she was trying to communicate.
            In this age bracket, solidly mid-twenties, there is a question that is as ubiquitous as the red wine. “So, what’s going in your love life?” It’s a friendly inquiry into the other person’s life, an opportunity to hear about the escapades, joys, and sorrows.
Ordinarily I, a happily single woman, just brush off the question. “Nah,” I laugh. “I’m too buried in work! What about you?” and we’re off and running, bantering or deeply discussing my compatriot’s relationship status.
The other day, though, the script wasn’t followed. I gave my standard response to the question, and the other person lightly responded, “Ah, so no love in your life?”
I was a bit taken aback, and somewhat affronted. “No,” I responded a bit stiffly, “My life is full of love. Just not romantic love.”
            What is this world that we are living in, where the ability to tie yourself to another person is the pinnacle of your worth? Why was this person’s conclusion that there was no love in my life? I’m sure she would never have suggested that if she had stopped and thought about it; I’m positive that she knows that there is more than one kind of love, and that happiness can come down many avenues.
            But that was her knee-jerk reaction. “There’s no love in your life.”
            I don’t have to defend my life, and I’m not going to. It is full, and it is good, and I am happy. That’s what things can be like, you know, when your life is as full of love as mine is.


Saturday, 22 March 2014

Make the Ordinary Come Alive

Make the Ordinary Come Alive
Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is a way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples, and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.

William Martin

I love this poem, because it is how I was raised. There was delight in textures and colors and noises and experiences. We made soup out of the crabapples and whirligigs and flower petals and water from the hose. We put too much bubble bath in the tub and turned on the jets until our faces were hidden by foam. We made smiling snacks out of apple slices with ruby skins, peanut butter holding marshmallow "teeth" in place. We played in the rain until our clothes clung wetly to our bodies. We erected a large wooden cross for a dead goldfish and mourned its untimely passing. There were storybooks read with expression, memorized, quoted.

The ordinary became alive.
And it became extraordinary. 

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Are you there, God? It's me, Blythe.

I had what some people would call “A Religious Experience.”

I personally don’t subscribe to any religion or spirituality beyond the “Wow, isn’t life amazing?” philosophy. (Ok, there’s a bit more to it than that, but not much.) I’m happy for people who are theists, and I’m happy for people who aren’t and, really, as long as you’re not trying to change what I believe, or use your own personal beliefs to influence politics, well… Rock on. Happy religioning.

But I kind of wish this had happened to one of those people, because this would have made him or her So Happy. If you are religious, this is my gift to you. Take this story. Enjoy it. Marvel in my inability to see proof of god in this.

This all brings me to:

On Thursday, I had a LOT going on. It was going to be a stressful (although ultimately good) day. I was a bit anxious about it, but nothing overwhelming. I drove to work the same way I always do, and passed a sign that read, “God loves you. Do you believe it?”

Well, no. I thought. Mostly because I don’t believe an omnipotent god exists. After all, if you were God, wouldn’t you want people to know? If you were omnipotent, why wouldn’t you prove yourself to doubters like me?

And how do you show people that you love them anyway? I know some religious people think that proof of God’s love can be found in the existence of our family and friends and what have you. But since I don’t believe that, why would God not work to convince people like me?

What do I do when I love people? Well, I tell them. I hug them, or spend time with them, or inquire into their lives. Or I send cards or letters, or text messages, or presents. If God wanted to prove his love to me, why wouldn’t he do that?

And at that very moment, I turned a corner, and a bright, beautiful rainbow stretched across the sky in front of me.

Touché, God.