Haiku Friday: Life Moves On

Clutching a flashlight

Hiding in my blanket fort

Missing simpler times

Nothing lasts forever except the things that do. The creators may go, but their art lives on.

This week, we lost Stan Lee, Roy Clark, and William Goldman. Each dream weavers in their own right. My inner child wants to hide away with their creations, but I’m comforted in knowing that the joy they brought me can live on for many generations to come. Great power, and all that.

 

Thank you, Stan Lee

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It's over 20 years late, but thank you, Stan Lee. Bet you never thought that snotty chick from the comic shop in a little town in Oklahoma would be wearing Captain America leggings. Actually, you probably wouldn't be surprised. I shook your hand and told you I didn't read any of those mainstream comics. I liked indie titles. (Yeah, I thought I was edgy.) You told me you just liked heros and seeing the good guys win. Then you smiled and told me you didn't mind that I wasn't a fan. You were just glad I was having fun. I had some sanctimonious junk in my head about the crass commercialism. Blah blah blah. This was around the time Image Comics came about. Angela was my gateway drug. A character who due to a very strange custody battle is part of the Marvel family now. I suppose I'm still following her around. You were gracious and kind. I was a brat. You were right, the world needed heros. Still does. Thank you for bringing us so many and always having so much fun with it. I never got to tell you that I'm sorry for being a brat so many years ago. I don't know when it happened, but you became a hero to me.

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Thank you for making the world more magical and not calling me out for being so full of myself.

9/11

It’s been 17 years now, and like many of you, the memories are still sharp enough to hurt. So many words have already been said and written, shouted and sung, whispered and wept. Some by me and many more by others. What more can be said?

Most of the children born that day are now finishing high school, the anger, confusion, and betrayal of the day does haunt them. It’s something they’ve learned from others but didn’t experience themselves. My own child was 2 years old at the time. As far as he remembers, he’s always lived in a country with a Patriot Act and is waging a war on terror. He doesn’t remember how desperate his mom was to run away from the office and wrap him on her arms. He probably doesn’t even remember that there were tears.

I was all of 22, almost 23 years old. It brought reminders of a chilly day in Oklahoma 6 years prior. In the coming days, my heart would again swell with pride for my fellow citizens that rose up and took care of each other because that’s just what communities do. Yet the empty skies above served as a grim reminder of what had transpired.

And here we stand, 17 years later. Bruised but not beaten by those that wish even to this day to destroy us. Lord willing, we’ll stand against them for many more years to come.

New Year, New… Nah, Still the Same Me

Maybe? Sort of. I mean, I am always me but I am an always evolving and changing me. Or, at least I hope to be anyway.

Here we are, it’s 2018. I’d like to promise you all more regular content in the new year, but I can’t. This whole going back to school while working a more than full time job thing saps a fair amount of the blogging mojo. I miss it though, so hopefully I’ll find some moments to squeeze in more blog time.

So, what has Jennifer been up to lately? I’ve taken up weight lifting. Just a little, but I’m really enjoying it. I’ve got friends that are far more hardcore about it. Competitive lifting types. I’m not trying to get there, but I’m enjoying the added strength and muscular definition. Generally speaking, even with the scoliosis and extruded disc, my back doesn’t hurt anymore. Yeah, I still need regular adjustments, but I’m not likely to throw something out in my day-to-day activities or even a heavy yard work day. If you follow me on Instagram, you’re likely to get tired of flex pics and food. Don’t expect a lot of activity there either.

Still making progress towards the accounting degree. I’ll happily talk assets, liabilities, and equity and the various ways to figure depreciation with you. I’m apparently a glutton for punishment and am taking some programming courses to satisfy the elective requirements. Current course is Secure Coding in C/C++. Got to be honest, it still sounds like a lot of gibberish, but everything I’ve written so far works, so there’s that.

I moved from a supervisory role to an analyst role professionally. It’s a lateral move that should allow me to explore some projects that interest me personally. It’s different and kind of scary, but I really do think it’s going to be a positive move for me. It’s been a long time since no one reported to me, but the new flexibility should be exciting.

Doing some more photography. Something that really warms my heart is that I’ve been able to use it to give back to my community. That picture in this slide show here with the boy that’s so happy with a blanket is mine. This one
Just a blanket
This organization serves disadvantaged youth in the community and they asked us to come and take pictures for the Christmas party. All these kids make Christmas lists. This boy only asked for a blanket because he’d never had one of his own. I’m so humbled that I was there with my high-dollar camera and fancy lens to capture this moment. I wanted to run out and buy a pile of blankets and build him a blanket fort. This is one of my favorite photos that I’ve taken, and it simultaneously makes me want to smile and cry. It’s easy to get hung up on the fact that I don’t live in a nicer house or drive a nicer car, but I’ve always had a blanket that I can call my own. His joy is real here. At his feet was a duffel bag full of beautifully wrapped packages that he didn’t touch. The blanket was the only thing he wished for.

For 2018, I want to take a lesson from blanket boy and celebrate the small blessings. I have a roof over my head and food to eat. I have a job I enjoy and work with an amazing team of people. I have the most amazing friends and family and the lines separating such are fuzzy to non-existent. I am blessed and rich in the things that are actually important. I want to actively celebrate that.

 

Musing on Monkeys

So that little Dance, Monkey rant I wrote way back in 2010 has recently gained new life. You’ve probably stumbled across it since it has legs of its own now and walks free of its original creator (That’s called plagiarism, folks. If you see it, let me know). Sometimes it even picks up some extra words along the way.

Clearly, it resonates with people even still. I like that. I like when my words reach people. I like to think of all of you imaginary friends out there as real live people with thoughts, passions, experiences, opinions of your own. Something this response to my rant points out that I didn’t express well.

“You exist for my entertainment.”

Can you imagine saying that to another human being? I would hope that none of us could imagine it. Especially those of us who are Christians. The words go against the very foundation of our faith—the belief that God made us, loves us, and died to redeem us, and that His love gives us each worth.

She’s got a point, and I would never say that to another human being. Yes, my rant is worded personally, but it is directed self-important character these various celebrities play when they have an audience. Don’t get me wrong, I stand behind what I said in that rant seven years ago. The point is that despite what those in the public eye seem to believe, their opinions don’t matter any more than any other human being. Yes, they are human beings deserving of love and compassion with every right to their own opinions, but they do not have any authority to direct what you or I chose to believe.

My words were harsh and intentionally so. I make no apologies for them. I encourage you to read Gina Dalfonzo’s Rebuttal to me.  She takes a much kinder and gentler approach to reminding us all that no matter how many cameras are pointed at you or how much a platform you’re given, we’re all humans suffering the same human condition.

Life is Crazy and Beautiful

So as you may have seen elsewhere around the interwebs, we spent our weekend with our tribe. Our chosen family. Phlegmfest.

Saturday night sitting in OldNFO‘s living room, I was reminiscing with Christina.  I remarked that here in this room sit some of my very favorite people on the planet and it all started with a little shindig she threw some years back. We’d never met, but since Jim suggested she invite us, she did. I think he may have left out the part where he hadn’t met the Evylrobot and me.

But we figured, what the hell. Let’s take a road trip. What could possibly go wrong? I went to my boss to request the time off. He granted it and conversationally asked, “So what do you have planned?”

“Oh, erm. We’re going out of state to meet people from the internet. With guns.”

He gave me the look. You know the one.

Best crazy idea ever.

Never in a million years would I have thought that party would lead all the wild places that it has. Because of that weekend, I have since found myself dressed in a vinyl catsuit standing in a room cheering on the waxing of a friend. We’ve presented a pink gorilla to none other than Lawdog, himself, and we’ve traded puns with Peter and Dot. We’ve killed and eaten some of FarmDad‘s chickens. We’ve spent our lives south of the Mason Dixon, but it took GayCynic to make grits we actually enjoy. I’ve had my intoxication levels evaluated by Matt G, and gone antiquing with the divine miss Phlegmmy.

It was a pleasure, as always, to spend the weekend with this ragtag group of mischief makers. My soul is replenished by the laughter of my friends. Those of the tribe that didn’t make it, know that you were missed, and we look forward to being in your company soon. Hopefully no one will wind up in the emergency room next time.

Ice Storm

You know what, ice storms suck. Ice storms that come before the trees have dropped all of their leaves come with extra special suckiness.

This is what we woke up to Sunday morning.

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Sigh. Thankfully, we notified the neighbors that they might just want to move the car before it became one with the tree.

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We owe her an antenna

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Yet still, we are blessed. We’d been hearing the news of the storm since Wednesday so parked our own vehicle on the opposite side of the driveway.

We spent Thursday with family sharing good food, good stories, and lots of laughter. With the freezing drizzle on Friday, we decided we felt like a swim so headed to the local YMCA and their indoor pool. After a nice swim, we tossed Die Hard in the DVD player which turned into staying up and watching the first three movies while the storm rolled in.

Woke up Saturday to more freezing rain and the first of the branches in the yard. We decided the most appropriate course of action was to stay indoors and watch the next two movies in the franchise, interrupted periodically by the sounds of snapping branches and them crashing to the ground.

Thankfully, all fell to the ground. Nothing of any consequence hit the house or the cars. We don’t have any power lines near the house and aside from a few flashes, the lights stayed on for the duration of the storm. Some of my neighbors weren’t so lucky. Just across the street, they lost power for around 6 hours. We offered to run an extension cord.

Sure, this is going to be a lot of work, but we’ve got a chainsaw and we’re all able-bodied. Several neighbors have offered their assistance as well. We’ll all help each other, and together, we’ll weather this storm and the next.

See? We’re starting to get it cleaned up already. No shortage of firewood in my neighborhood!

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37 Trips Around the Sun

Complete with an obligatory birthday selfie.

37

I’m not going to lie about my age. I have taken every single one of those trips around the sun. Not everyone gets as many, and I hope to have many more. Besides, I’d much rather look damn good for 37 than to tell anyone I’m 29 and have them think those must have been some rough trips.