Sunday, October 29, 2006

Girl Power

My music tastes have swung towards female artists lately, and for some reason, female groups. Here are three groups of ladies I'm currently listening to.

Antigone Rising -- Yes, if you were in a St*rbucks last year around this time you've heard them. I didn't pay attention back then and have just recently started listening to them. I'm not sure why the band is named after the daughter of Oedipus, there's a story there but I just haven't tracked it down. Here's a track from Killer Queen, a Queen tribute album, which is true to the original with some nice harmonies.

Fat Bottomed Girls mp3
(right click, Save Target As)

The Ditty Bops -- These two crack me up! Their songs are hilarious, irreverant and usually include either a harmonica or an accordian. Check them out.

Sister Kate mp3

The Be Good Tanyas -- They're from Vancouver, BC (my home town), so that automatically warrants a listen in my book. Turns out they have an interesting sound.

For The Turnstiles mp3

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Heckler

My business meeting went OK. This is a tricky thing to figure out, it’s really a two-pronged business: one setup for private companies and another for public companies (I work with stock options and other related financial stuff). We have the private side pretty much covered as they are all small and manageable, but the public companies have much different needs, requiring someone with a lot of expertise. If I could clone myself my problem would be solved. The real issue is, I have no idea how much work we will get or when. I guess the best I can hope for is to find several people who are willing to be on call and hope that one of them will be available when we need them. If we don’t have anyone to do the work, we will have to turn it down, which happens more often than we’d like. It’s also become clear that if we want qualified people we are going to have to increase the rate we charge the clients, so we can increase the hourly rate for the consultants. They are billing me out at least $20/hr too low to match what the independent consultants are charging their clients, so why would they want to come and work with us? I've never been in charge like this before, it's a whole other level of stress.

Next week’s TV Guide horoscope (the trusted source for all things concerning my future) says that I’ve probably taken on too much at work and now I’m worried about my health. Also that I should cut back on my responsibilities or hire someone to help me. I’m trying, really I am!

I am probably boring the hell out of all three of you out there reading this, with all this professional crap. It’s good for me to write it out, sorry.

Oh, and I've been nominated by a colleague to run for a seat on the board of the local chapter of the national organization for people who do what I do. I am running against three lawyers -- I'm not sure if that increases my chances of winning or not. Does this make me a grown-up?

Going back to my last post about feeling like a fraud...this is something I’ve been battling my entire life. Once I get into a professional situation I do a good job, I even do things I didn’t think I could do, but the voices are not something I can just turn off. I’ve been giving a presentation, speaking intelligently and even being a little witty with my audience, and I can literally hear another voice in my head telling me I should sit down, I don’t know what I’m talking about, why did I think anyone would want to listen to me, etc. Like I am watching myself in a movie giving the presentation, heckling myself. This has happened at every interview I’ve ever had as well. This is called disassociation. My friend Helen over at Everyday Stranger was talking about this in a recent post. I don’t think I have a full-blown disorder, but I do think it’s something beyond what the normal person would encounter.

Many, many times in my life the voices have scared me out of trying something new. I’ve turned down chances to water ski, drive a fancy car and ride any amusement park ride that goes faster than Its A Small World. I was even too scared to follow the first love of my life back to England when I was 18. It's an inside joke between me and my husband that he will know that I am having a good time if I throw up.

For some odd reason, I was not afraid to start riding horses, an activity where this is actually some danger involved. My psyche is a strange place.

Speaking of horses, after my lesson this week I was leading Smoke back to his stall. We passed a gorgeous bay stallion named Oxbow and his owner at his stall. She was smiling at me in a way that called out for conversation, so I started rambling on about how I was letting Smoke eat grass in the sun so his coat would dry a little before I put him away but his coat was so thick now it wasn’t really working, blah blah. When I stopped talking she said quietly, “You should have your husband buy you a horse.” I instantly forgave her for insinuating that I couldn’t buy my own horse and said, “Oh, why is that?” “Because I can see that you love it,” she replied. I laughed and said, “Is it that obvious?” She smiled gently again and said that yes, it was pretty obvious. I told her I’d just started riding in the summer and felt like I was way behind the curve, starting at 42. She nodded and told me she was 49, had been riding for about a year and that Oxbow was her first horse. I’ve found a kindred spirit for sure.

This is Angel, one of my favorite horses at the farm.

Monday, October 23, 2006

I'm Still Here

I’ve been a bad blogger lately. Almost every day I think of things I could blog about, but somehow I never get around to putting words down. Which is not only bad for retaining readers, it’s bad for me – I do better when I have an outlet for all the stuff I carry around in my head.

So…where were we?

Oh yes, Manuela. Sigh. Her tragedy coming so close on the heels of our good friends’ in the UK had me reeling. I kept going back to her blog to read the updates and every time I did I would feel worse, but I couldn’t stay away, because I felt like I needed to let her know I was still there for her. When you’ve met someone in person I think there’s a deeper connection.

Physically I’ve been struggling lately. In case you didn’t memorize the list of Menopause Symptoms I posted a while back, #20 was gastrointestinal distress, indigestion, flatulence, gas pain and nausea. I started taking Bean_o right before meals and that helped a bit, but now that I’ve been paying more attention to cause and effect I think I have somehow become lac_tose intolerant in the past three months. This royally sucks. Ice cream is a food group to me. Last night I had a Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia cone and I’ve been paying for it.

This has also been seriously affecting our sex life. Because nothing says, “Come and get me, tiger” like the aforementioned gastrointestinal distress, indigestion, flatulence and gas pain. Ugh. Sorry honey. So I’m going to add Lac_taid to my daily regimen and see if that helps any.

In better news, I just got my new passport. Canadian passports are only good for 5 years and they aren’t renewable. This means you have to do the application and prove you are who you say you are every.single.time the damn thing expires. What’s really stupid is they allow you to use your expired passport as a form of identification. You have to send two forms of Canadian identification that have both your picture and your signature, in the name you are using on the passport. Since the only documents I have that have my current name on them are my old passport and my permanent resident card, I have to send them both. So for the 6 weeks or so it takes them to process, I can’t leave the US, as I would be unable to get back in. Now I have free rein to jump on a plane at a moment’s notice. Yeah, like that’s going to happen.

I’m sure part of my stomach issues are stress-related. In April I starting working for a financial consulting company co-owned by an old friend, and they’ve been throwing steady work my way. However, they really hired me to set up and run a new business line for the company, and I have a meeting tomorrow with the whole management team to discuss how we make this happen. This is a dream come true, really, but my self-esteem issues are flaring up and I’m feeling like a fraud. There are a dozen people I know off the top of my head who are more qualified and experienced than I am who should have this opportunity, not me. So far I’ve been proud of myself for the work I’ve been doing for them (some of it in new areas to me) and all the clients have been pleased, but there’s still that voice to deal with.

One other thing not lost on me is how my life is perfect for a new Mom. I set out when we first started trying to be working at least 75% of the time from home, remotely connected to clients. I’ve achieved this goal, but unfortunately never achieved the reason why that goal was set up in the first place. So again, I’m thinking, why do I have this easy life and no kids to take care of, when I know so many women with kids in daycare who are struggling? Sigh. The world is not fair, that’s why.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Animal Farm Redux

I'm completely at a loss for words today after reading Manuela's terrible news.

While I gather myself together for a real post I'll leave you with a few more pictures from the farm. You can see that Piggy Sue is, indeed, a pot-bellied pig; at two months her tummy is already almost dusting the ground. Lastly a couple of shots of Blue. He's seldom out of his stall when I am there, but the other day his owner was walking him back and forth in the sunlight, letting him dry after a soap bath. He's an 8 year-old saddlebred full-blood pinto, for you horsey types. For everybody else, he's one gorgeous creature: blue eyes, black forelock and tail, white mane and crisp white markings.

Monday, October 9, 2006

More TV & A New Addition

If you haven't heard yet, Google is buying YouTube, even though they already have their own video sharing site. According to the TV Squad, "the YouTube brand will remain intact, as will the company's entire staff of 67, including founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen. You know what that means... high corporate positions and heftly salaries on top of the Google stock. Not a bad haul for a company that has yet to turn a profit." Dammit, why can't I ever be at the right start-up at the right time??

In other news, Smith is now on "hiatus", which is kind-speak for "we are strongly considering dumping this show and don't want to spend any more money on production". It was up against some pretty stiff competition with Law & Order: SVU and Boston Legal, but I don't watch either of those shows. Another show I like, Kidnapped, has been ordered to wrap up its serialised storyline by the end of the network's 13-episode commitment to air the show. Its also being moved to Saturday night, otherwise known as TV Purgatory. I chose it over Vanished because I felt it was a better show, but what the hell do I know about good shows? Apparently, not a thing. Hmph.

In better news, I got to meet the newest member of the farm family today. Say hello to Piggy Sue. She's about a foot long, I know it's hard to get a sense of size in this picture, but she's just as cute and friendly as could be.

Finally, here's a picture of everyone's favorite from my video, CatDog, lounging on the leaf-strewn lawn. Such a hard life.

Sunday, October 8, 2006

Tricks of Memory

I've listened with a sad heart, nodding my head at the hypocrisy, to the unfolding case against Congressman Mark Foley. Angela Shelton sent a statement to the press and held a press conference in Washington, DC last week speaking about this issue. Here's an excerpt:

"While America sits shocked at the news that Congressman Foley abused his power and acted in a predatory manner towards the very pages he was supposed to protect, I know all too well that this type of behavior is common. I, too was abused by someone I knew, someone I trusted and someone who was skilled at manipulation.

While America is shocked, I am not. The overwhelming majority of child sexual predators are people we know, people we like, people who look like the very people who would never rape a child. They are our fathers, coaches, family members, teachers, doctors, clergy, and yes even our elected officials.

Today, I stand here as a survivor and I demand that every member of congress bring the commitment of fighting this war against people who prey on our children back to their home districts in each of their states."

Here is a link to the entire press release. Thankfully there is someone out there like Angela who has the grassroots support to make noise while the spotlight is hot. How have we been raising our sons, I wonder, so that there is an epidemic of middle-aged men who prey on young children? As it gets easier to trace web traffic and email, more predators will be caught, but I fear there will always be more to take their place.

I find it extremely disingenuous for Foley to stand on the crutches of being gay and having been abused himself. Neither of those things excuses his behavior, and in fact, either or both of those truths should have made him more sensitive to the issue of the effects such abuse has on its victims. There is no Get Out of Jail Free card when it comes to your actions, you take responsibility for them. Period.

A stunning revelation came to me recently as I thought about my own abuse and how I dealt with it, my behavior and thought processes warped. After decades of thinking, talking and writing about it, it occurred to me for the very first time that not only do I have memory gaps of the abuse itself, I also can't remember most of my first "real" sexual experiences.

Specifically, I can't remember the act of intercourse itself. As if watching a movie, I see the events leading up to it (the date, dinner, even foreplay), and then afterwards, but that period of time while the act was going on is missing. I've edited it out and the snippets of movie are on a virtual cutting room floor somewhere. This is classic PTSD.

What is so disconcerting is that while I needed to do this during my abuse years, somehow I felt it was necessary even during consensual sex. I was extremely lucky with all of my adult partners, none of them were abusive, although many of them were confused, I suspect. I would come on so strong, doing the things I had been taught to do, but when they got me into bed I turned into a different person: pensive, silent, disconnected. I suppose it's a good thing that I continue to have revelations like this, but it just proves that I will always be dealing with my past.

Saturday, October 7, 2006

TV Gets it Wrong Again

Last week's episode of Nip/Tuck really irked me. I realize it isn't a documentary, it isn't even really a medical show, but it completely drives me crazy when TV shows conveniently forget to check facts because that would interfere with a plot point.

The trouble that Julia is going through with her disabled son is not being handled well. She decides on the spur of the moment that she is suffering from PPD, having displayed nary a symptom of any significance as far as I could see. Their night nurse (and I still don't know exactly what that means) indicates they should try to keep her off antidepressants so she can nurse. WTF? These two things are not mutually exclusive.

The fact that both Shaun and Christian can't seem to keep it in their pants for an entire episode is wearing thin as well. And excuse me, but you don't take three bites of a hash brownie and start hallucinating like you did a speedball. Hmph.

I'm not a doctor, but that kidney removal scar didn't seem like it was in quite the right place on poor Liz.

Finally, slightly OT to this topic, but that was the worst fake dead dog ever in the history of TV. I realize they couldn't put a dog under and dump a real dog out of the duffle bag, but COME ON.

Maybe I'm just in a bad mood lately. Damn these night sweats! Did anybody hear about rhubarb extract helping with menopause symptoms? Who'd a thunk it?

Sunday, October 1, 2006

The Hunter/Gatherer Theory

I’ve been putting off posting this, I guess I don’t want others to have a negative opinion, but I’m going to risk it because I value your input.

By almost all accounts, my husband is a wonderful man (my ex isn’t overly fond of him). He’s thoughtful, compassionate, not afraid to cry; he writes poetry for Pete’s sake. He’s also a hunter. A big game hunter. He returned from his yearly hunting trip a few days ago, having killed a large buck. This is the first deer he’s gotten in several years of trying, which at least made me feel a little better for all the money it costs for the license and tags and the trip itself. But I just can’t get past the feelings of disgust and bewilderment at how and why this man I love would even want to do this, let alone actually do it.

This is the one issue we can’t and won’t agree on, we don’t discuss guns or hunting because there is no room for compromise in either of our positions. There are many men in my life who hunt, including my Dad (who is a lot like D in many respects), my BIL and nephew and a few close friends. I remember having the same feelings as a child, not understanding why Daddy would shoot a pretty deer and why is it hanging upside down in my garage?

D thinks I am afraid of guns and has gently inferred that if I went with him to the range and shot a gun it would lose some of its power. I am not interested in holding or shooting a gun, ever. He says this is my past talking – I’ve been held at gunpoint twice, once during my rape and once during a home invasion robbery. He might be partially right, but I also don’t believe I need to do anything about this, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a healthy fear.

But that isn’t what bothers me…I just can’t wrap my head around the dichotomy of my animal-loving husband purposefully killing an innocent animal.

He has a theory. He says that all men have primal instincts and they need outlets for them. Some men are ruthless businessmen, some beat their wives, some drive too fast – he spends a week in the bush once a year with a gun.

I am trying not to be a hypocrite here. I eat beef and pork and veal and I understand that these were once animals and they had to be slaughtered and skinned and cut up so I could have a BLT. The buck is being prepared by a commercial butcher and the meat will be eaten (not by me, mind you, I don’t like venison). D and his buddy had to dress out the buck in the bush, which involves a lot of butchery. I can’t allow myself to visualize this, particularly the cutting off of the antlers. Just typing that gives me the chills.

Anyone have any words of wisdom for me?

Totally OT – I was at the gym the other day and one of the TVs was showing an installment of E’s “101 Sexiest Celebrity Bodies”, which is strong incentive for another 5 minutes on the elliptical. The segment I watched was numbers 80 to 61. I came in at #67, which was Enrique Iglesias (I was glad to see this was both sexes). It was the next one that really threw me though: #66 was Jennifer Aniston. WTF? #60 was Demi Moore. I thought, Jesus, who the hell is #1 – Barbie? So I looked it up when I got home: Brad and Angelina were #2 and #1. Ouch. Sorry Jen.

Speaking of hot bodies, last week’s episode of Nip/Tuck featured Mario Lopez as a young stud of a plastic surgeon who Christian meets at the gym. I’m not a fan, I don’t watch Dancing with the Stars and he’s a bit too cutesy for my tastes, but holy moly, he has a rockin’ body. Go here for some pictures of their gym shower scene (NOT work safe). I think I need a cold shower myself.