Monday, January 24, 2011

pathetic, sloth-like slumber... loathing winter...

Today's post is inspired by the following lines from 30 Rock.  Yesterday I got home from my Sunday evening ritual with Sara at Camp Tall Turf around 10:00pm and realized I hadn't watched an episode yet.  30 Rock might just be the only thing keeping me sane this winter.   

Liz: Work is awful. Everyone’s snippy and tense.
Jack: Well the lack of sun makes people depressed. It’s called “seasonal affective disorder.”
Liz: Oh, is that where the word “sad” comes from?
Jack: What? You think “sad” is an acronym invented by psychologists?

I'm currently blaming my cynicism on the below zero temperatures, lack of sunlight and the salt that's ruining my new boots.  This weather leaves me buried beneath my covers for several of my waking hours each day.  I don't think I have ever spent this much time sitting in my bed watching sitcoms and videos on youtube and thinking about the misery that comes with winter.  I sit there fantasizing about riding my bicycle and sweating or going for a run in shorts and a tank top.  I nostalgically look at photos on facebook from warm days gone by either from last summer or my previous life in Latin America, where 'cold' never dropped below fifty.  FIFTY!!!!  That's like 54 degrees warmer than it was yesterday when I got out of bed.  That's ridiculous.

While complaining to my mother about how terribly awful my life has become she gave me two options.  "Shelb, you either need to start exercising more or get some anti-depressants to get you through the winter."  The last time I took those pills I walked around like a zombie and cared about nothing.  I stopped taking them and swore I'd never take them again.  It was like they took all of my powers to think and feel and turned my insides to mush.  I don't know what's worse... being apathetic about everything or believing that I have nothing to live for except 30 Rock and wine.

So I opted for exercise.  I'm crazy enough without the pills.  Today I got up at 4:55am and went to the gym.  I hate spinning on a stationary bicycle in a room with a bunch of sweaty smelly people I don't know and there's nothing worse than running around in circles on the track.  But, it will release some serotonin in my brain and I keep telling myself that it will lift my spirits, just wait for it.  I will leave this pathetic sloth-like slumber before spring hits, I promise.  I'm going to listen to Tom Petty now and think of flowers and sunshine and palm trees.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

stories that shouldn't be funny but almost always are... [cuentos diarios]

So I work with refugees.  I do things like call AT&T to set up phone service for people without an identity, fill out DHS and Social Security Applications and help volunteers understand that it's nearly impossible to meet all the needs of a foreigner and succeed in helping them become self-sufficient within the six months the government gives us to do so.  I make doctor's appointments and call Medicaid and sometimes pretend I have an accent and say my name is Ahmed.

The refugees come from many different countries, speak many different languages and come from a variety of social and economic backgrounds and have anywhere from no education to masters and doctorate degrees.  So to say the least, every person that comes seeking refuge is very unique.

Now, working with people that do not speak English and who come from cultures much different than ours, makes for some interesting encounters.  At this point, so much unbelievable stuff happens on a daily basis, that the un-ordinary or unusual, has become to me, ordinary and unsurprising and often times, terribly amusing.  

Here are a couple of stories my co-workers and I find highly amusing but at the same time slightly disheartening...

- A guy who works an hour south of here got so lost on his way home that he ended up in Chicago and slept in his car parked in a gas station.

- A lady didn't understand what the "do not disturb" sign on the door meant at her new hotel cleaning job and subsequently walked in on an "intimate" situation.  She was mortified and I think quit the job. 

- A while back we received a call from a landlord stating a concern that people were cooking up roadkill and that a resident had reported their dog missing.
yes, we do have these posted in the restrooms at our office
more to come...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

falling and alleged copulation and drunkenness... [some lady]

I was out with some co-worker friends the other night, partaking in happy hour, when I received a text from some lady who claims to be my mother.  I no longer have the text, as I accidentally erased it and my mother claims to have lost it on her phone but here is what I can remember:

"Shelb, I hope you are not out having sex or getting drunk because I just fell down the stairs backwards while trying to move some furniture.  Your sister isn't answering the phone either and if I have to call an ambulance they won't even be able to get in here because there's stuff in front of the door.  So you need to call me pronto before I'm dead."

I discovered the text several minutes after she sent it.  Please don't think less of me but it made me laugh uncontrollably for a few minutes before I was able to text her back, all the while picturing her lying with her head towards the bottom of the stairs and trapped between the wall and some piece of furniture.  I was neither intoxicated nor... well, we all know I wasn't doing the latter.  

This is what I imagined:
So I called her, still laughing and asked if she was ok.  She of course thought I was drunk because I was laughing and we all know that I only laugh when intoxicated.  She also did not understand what was so funny.  Anyways, this text was affirmation that I need to document as many of the conversations that I have with my mother as possible.  A friend asked if we communicate outside of facebook because she finds our conversations so entertaining that she doesn't want to miss out on any of them.  Sorry, but yes, we do interact outside of facebook.  I'll try to document some of it, not only for your entertainment but also for my own.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

steam room chatter... [oh hell no]

After tonight, I honestly don't know what's worse... walking into the steam room at the gym and finding a bunch of old, very overweight naked ladies who talk about things I don't mind overhearing or finding a couple of shallow 20 year old girls in bikinis.  Actually, I do think I know what's worse.

First, let me introduce the characters:

Bikini girl A is wearing a little string polka dot bikini, or maybe it was striped.  I don't remember.  She is thin.

Bikini girl B is wearing a towel, probably over her bikini.  She is a little less thin than her friend, bikini girl A.

Now, here is the conversation I overheard:

Bikini Girl A: "I just don't know how you get yourself into these kind of situations."

Bikini Girl B: "It's like I don't even know.  Like I don't even get myself into them, they just like find me."

Bikini Girl A: "Yeah I guess, I like understand that. You like need to figure out what to do now."

Bikini Girl B: "I am going to lose 30lbs. and then go up to Brian and be like, look what you had and now you can't have it.  That will like really get him back because then I'll be hot and he'll want me."

Bikini Girl A: "Yeah like you just have to do it."

Bikini Girl B: "I'm going to you just give me a couple of months.  And like the only way I'm going to get over Brian is if I find another guy.  So I'm going to like lose 30lbs., get hot and find a hot guy to date me and that will solve all of my problems and I won't think about Brian anymore.  But I can't stop thinking about Brian until I like find some other guy."

By this point I had rolled my eyes so much my head was hurting and couldn't even hear what they were saying anymore.  I found myself in a daze imagining the old ladies with their saggy boobs, cellulite and long toe nails, when I overheard them discussing every detail of their workout and how they felt they had been at the gym long enough for them to call it good.  So yeah, I'll definitely take the naked old ladies over these chicks any day. 

Now, for the visual learners I have included this sketch:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

to' se puede...

I like this right now.  It makes me think positively about things to come, even though there is a fly in my room right now.

Do not fear when the sky gets dark
Calamity follows a storm
After bad times come the good times
The sun always comes out after a rain shower
Those who do not surrender their souls will be rewarded

Waiting for my rewards...

thanks ruben, i heart you.

Tras La Tormenta
by Ruben Blades

Si el cielo se pone oscuro, no tengas miedo.
No le tengas temor a los nubarrones. Nunca olvides,
cariño, cuánto te quiero, porque un amor de verdad
vence a los dolores. Cuando sientas el frío que trae
la pena, yo estaré junto a ti, para darte abrigo.
Sin que importe cuán fuerte sea la tormenta, yo no
me muevo si tú no vienes conmigo!

Siempre aparece el sol, tras los aguaceros.
Siempre, tras la tormenta llega la calma.
Después de los tiempos malos, llegan los buenos
y premian a los que no rindieron sus almas.

Sé lo difícil que es vencer al silencio, y el enfrentar
al pasado con sus errores. Lo fácil que es olvidar al
ejemplo bueno. Lo duro que es admitir equivocaciones.
Pero los golpes son los que nos enseñan que nunca
aprende el que a la emergencia le sale huyendo;
por eso hay que dar la cara ante la tormenta, con nuestro
amor y fe por bandera y de frente al viento!
Siempre aparece el sol...

Yara con luz de Yara! Brillando entre la tiniebla,
haciendo a mi alma más fuerte, en medio de la tormenta,
yo no le temo a la muerte; aunque el sol desaparezca,
Yara, no se me olvida quererte!

Mi corazón no te abandonará! Alerta y siempre sereno,
aunque el cielo se oscurezca, sigo contigo en medio
de un aguacero, hasta que el sol aparezca!

Agua con sol, vieja con amor curando al dolor
refresca mi vida sobre mi tierra querida surrealismo
tropical limpiando cielo y estrellas libranos de todo mal;
haz a mi patria más bella!

Ya escampó! Y brilla el cielo, las flores despiertan,
el sol aparece y bendice mi tierra!
Compay, te lo dije, lo bueno ya viene!
Después no lo olvides, con fe, to' se puede!

Monday, January 17, 2011

wine weekends & marrying myself...

i've discovered this artsy girl on youtube... i don't know her but i kind of feel she's put a bug in my mind and is articulating many of my thoughts in her creative little videos... this video will lead into what i'm about to write about so be sure to watch it...

This past weekend I went on a trip up north to wine country with some co-worker/friends of mine.  We sipped, we laughed and we talked about things I cannot even think of publishing on this blog.  And yes, I managed to watch an entire season of 30 Rock. Yes.  My heart still belongs to Kenneth but after this weekend, I heart Tracey.  I haven't been this addicted to sitcoms since Cosby Show reruns in college.  Don't judge me.

Anyways, one of the topics that seemed to keep popping up this weekend was one I would like to refer to as "the unisexual" conversation.  Don't look it up on urban dictionary because their definition is less than satisfying.  I just did it.  Anyways, as you can imagine the on-going discussion on being unisexual was mostly non-sense as we asked ourselves questions like: "Do you think it would one day be legal to marry yourself?"  Really the conversations we had about unisexism have nothing to do with what I'd like to say tonight.  The video just reminded me of the ridiculous things we talked about as she talked about marrying herself.  It got me to thinking... 

And now... I think it's time to marry myself...

I'm not saying I don't like men or that I think I've been disappointed and heart broken too many times so I am giving up on the idea of sharing my life with someone at some point.  What I want is to appreciate what I have today and not get too cynical about what I don't have.  I want to figure out how to be alone and realize that it's better than waiting for a call from some tall dark handsome man with a Spanish accent.  I don't want to waste my time being tricked by the idea of happiness, while missing out on the greatness of what's in front of me.  I am learning how great it is to try new things and do the things I like without worrying if I'm making a mistake or if someone might not approve.  It's been freeing and I like it.  I think the video girl articulated it better than I have.

Dear andyradorfman,
Thanks for reminding me how important it is to go on bike rides and love myself and that life is about making mistakes and learning from them.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


this is making me want to get out my watercolors, clean up my sewing room, make pots and write more... 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

letter writing & pen pals

hi every body
if you're reading this, i probably have your address or can find it easily enough. but i've been thinking about how i used to write letters all the time and want to get back into the ritual.  it's a lost art.  something is lost in all of this internet chatter.  so little depth and heartfelt conversation.  email me your address and i'll send you a letter.
p.s. i do know how to push the caps button but for some reason i just like writing in lower case.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I have a sister, who despite her flaws (we all have them), is pretty amazing.  She may not know how amazing I really think she is and how proud I am of her, so today I am dedicating this blog post to her... 

Let's start out with a few pictures from back in the day... along with some appropriate adjectives...

undoubtedly one of the single most creative people i know
I mean let's be honest... what three year old decides they want a picture of an Annie-esk character on their Birthday cake with the words "Happy Birthday Sandy Pumpkin" on it?  Who the hell is Sandy Pumpkin?

stylish... enough said...

fun... party hats...

now, for some more recent photos and more adjectives...

ummm... did someone say fairy-like hippy?? dreamer

Three years ago she opened her own business.  I was proud and envious.  Now, her business has grown so much that she has to move to a bigger place.  Again, I am proud and envious.  She has no idea.  She knows what she wants and she's not afraid to take risks.  I love her for that and am proud of her.  Please click this article, which was recently written about her and her business.

ashley marie noxon... i love you... and am proud of you...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

i believe in fortune cookies... [soul searching]

So i was eating some beef ball soup the other day with one of my favorite co-workers, at my favorite Vietnamese restaurant and when I cracked the fortune cookie, I found this little message.
I would like to believe this is true, just as much as I would like to believe that the last fortune cookie promise I received was true.  I have bedhead.  I'm one click away from dropping all of my classes and taking a creative writing class instead this semester.  It just sounds more fun and desirable than continuing to take classes and pay for a degree I'm not sure I want.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

a better way... [thoughts from a dissilusioned social worker]

Feliz Dia de Los Reyes Everyone!

So anyways, I was having coffee with a friend last night.  We talked about a lot of things like confusion, sex, buying new jeans, immigration reform, dumb people, refugees and vandalism on Wealthy Street before brushing the snow off our cars and heading home three hours later. At one point he asks me what I think about the recent things happening on Wealthy Street.  I respond by asking him how we're supposed to do community development in a way that it actually brings positive change.  We talk about it for a while and come up with few concrete ideas about how to actually do it in a way that doesn't create more segregation and division.  We only agree that bringing in fancy hip businesses is not necessarily the best way to combat poverty.  Then I get home and remember something I forgot to tell him, so I send him a g-chat message and in that conversation I find the answer to all of our questions.  Music.  Discipline.  Empowerment.  El Sistema.  Check it out.  I've decided to write a letter to the the United States.  It goes like this:

Querido Estados Unidos, 

Venezuela should be an example of how to combat poverty.  Welfare and establishing fancy businesses in the ghetto are obviously not working too well for us... just saying.

sincerely yours,
a disillusioned social worker

I love this Gustavo Dudamel Fellow
"si amas algo, tienes tiempo, tienes mucho tiempo..."

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

being ridiculous & saying nothing... [coffee & rodents]

     when i want
  what's in my 
head to come out 
    of my mouth

         all i end up saying

absolutely    nothing

other people
are better 
at it than me

out loud articulation

all i can do is write ridiculous
    blog posts
that sometimes make
  people                     laugh 
      mientrastanto sounds better
than coffee

Monday, January 3, 2011

staying home and forgetting things... and falling in love...[blissfulness]

So a couple of months ago when I realized I had accumulated a sufficient number of vacation hours, I promised myself to take one whole week off from work during the infamous holiday season.  At first I dreamed of getting away and escaping the madness of my everyday life.  Those dreams went sour and I quickly discovered the beauty in staying home.  And this is what I did...

i slept angelically, buried deep in a cozy mess of fluffy blankets and pillows
i cleaned the pantry
  my dear beloved pantry,
i am sorry i let that nasty mouse
     poop on your shelves
and die on your floor
         and rot in the trap
   and smell up your chamber
forgive me
     hold me
                love me
  let the weight of my groceries,
pots and pans...
            be like a warm embrace
on a cold winter night
                        i love u

then i went back to sleep or at least pretended to
i painted a shelf
    this took several days.  i mean between napping and sitting around and falling in love with geeky sothern men (next photo) i had to do each project in stages.

liz introduced me to the new love of my life
 and the rest of my vacation was spent dreaming of him & loving my pantry & my shelf & my fluffy blankets...
who wouldn't?  i mean really...
i also called a plumber who fixed a leaky pipe, 
which cost all of 23 dollars and 61 cents
 & i watched some more 30 rock
& i hung out with sara
& laughed with sara while peter laughed at us.
& i slept.
& ran. & cut my hair.
i made soup & bread that failed to rise.

all the while, i forgot i even had a job...
then sunday came & i did the following...
i covered my windows in plastic
and realized
that having a week 
where the world
was     exactly      the     most    perfect     week

and then on monday in the car i spilled 
coffee and had a temper tantrum... 

i actually pouted.  
out loud. 
i am 30.  
how ridiculous.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

retrospectivation... [positivity]

So today I had yet. another. awesome. SUNDAY.  They tend to be that way when I spend time with a few particular individuals, namely Lindsey M., Sarah S. and Libby S.  And if you're wondering, yes, I only drink tea on Sundays with women whose names start with either L or S and all have the same debit card as me.  Because of the 'holidays' we haven't been able to unofficially have our cup of tea on Sundays for a few weeks, but today I was lucky enough to hang with la lins.  Anyways, our friend Dave the photo man posted on fb a picture of an enormous ham he was putting into his oven, so we decided to invite ourselves to partake in its piggilishishness.
little piggy
We also ate goat cheese mac and drank wine and had a scintillating conversation about 2010, which Lindsay decided was a necessary topic to discuss and got me to thinking retrospectively about 2010's greatness.  I also promised the dog I'd take her for a walk one of these days.  Ghani is charming and a lovely little thing I must say.

she isn't even annoying when she begs
So here are a few of the things that made 2010 noteworthy, exceptional and great... in no particular order...

11. I bought a house.  Today I decided it should be called "the lucky house" because I'm obsessed with Tom Petty's song Something Good Coming and I'm convinced good things will continue to happen in this big barn shaped house of love.

2. I've found beauty and profound significance in building intimate friendships with people who don't believe the same things I do.

9. I discovered a new sense of freedom to be me... whoever that is or is not... and started learning that I should be ok with who I am no matter what sex, race or nationality... 

1. I realized more how great it is to be friends with my mother.

6. I turned 30 with some of the most cherished women in my life.

3. I saw a porcupine.

10. I began to understand how important it is to not think everything is so black and white.  It's ok that things are grey.

4. I spent 3 blissful weeks in the Dominican Republic with old friends and got to ride on motorcycles again... not to mention I got one taken away by the AMET for not wearing a helmet.  That. was. a pain. in. the. butt.

8. I began loving my job.

5. I ran a 25k and a half marathon.

7. I've made some really great new friends.

12. I played on a teeter totter, and ate ice cream and made dinner with my sister.

smells & good lies... some tips for the fellows... [Panamerican Dating Tour]

Let me just clarify that I wasn't trying to date anyone last night while visiting the salsa bar but I'm sure there were some men who would have liked to leave with a phone number or two.  Let me also say that a good night to go out and see only about 9 human beings is January 1.  Apparently even though it was Saturday night, everyone thought the seven flakes that fell from the sky were reason enough to stay in.  Or maybe they all just had really bad hang-overs.

Anyways, to my point.  I was sorely disappointed last night, not only with the fact that only 9 people were at the salsa bar but mostly because it seems men have no idea how strong a sense of smell women have.  I was also slightly annoyed by the presence of a certain individual mentioned in previous posts, who farts and might have expressed an interest in fathering my first child and doesn't seem to know how to delete my number from his cell phone.  Ok back to the smells.  I would like to give the gentlemen some inside information on how to NOT impress the ladies.  First, let me explain something I learned in one of my master's level college courses.  Women have a much stronger sense of smell than men.

So here are 3 easy ways to NOT get a second dance, phone number or date with a girl...

1. Wear perfume so strong she nearly gags.
2. Fail to apply deodorant and also cause her to nearly gag by the smell of your body odor.  P.S. Covering this up with strong perfume is definitely a no no.
3. Have bad raunchy breath.

Now let me at least give some of you credit by saying that if you have a great and genuinely charming personality or some highly attractive feature (ie. good sense of humor, nice smile, etc.), one of the above mentioned flaws could be overlooked. 

A Good Lesson Learned... Lying about your Relationship Status
In some circumstances lying is more than acceptable.  I'm not one for lying but last night I discovered the beauty in it.  After years and years of responding honestly about inquiries of my relationship status, I tried lying about it.  It came so easy I don't know why I hadn't tried it before...  

bad breath boy: so are you married? 
me: no
bad breath boy: do you have a boyfriend?
me: yes
bad breath boy: so why isn't he out with you tonight?
me: he's sick
bad breath boy: oh, ok

This response made the whole relationship status conversation so much shorter and less awkward.  Usually they go like this...

some guy: so are you married?
me: no
some guy: do you have a boyfriend?
me: no
some guy: oh why not?
me: umm, i dunno because i don't know any i am interested in dating
some guy: i could be that guy
me: umm, ya i don't think so
some guy: go home with me
me: ya right
some guy: have my babies
me: whaaatttt??  did you just say?!?!?!?!
some guy: you are beautiful
me: um ya thanks
some guy: you have beautiful eyes
me: um ya thank you

ok you get the point...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

just over the hill... happy new year...

let's all just try to believe...

that there's something good coming...
that there's something lucky about this place...