Walking disaster

So for the second time in as many days, I found myself in the immediate care center, waiting to be tended to. I was walking at lunch, enjoying the lovely weather, not caring that I was meandering perhaps a bit too long. I was on a pretty side street, looking at the old architecture and searching in the bushes for cats (I see them there sometimes), when ~blam~ I suddenly found myself splayed on the bricks. My thoughts were:

1. Thank goodness no one was around to see that

2. Oh shit, did I break my phone? (no)

3. How bloody is it (not bad)

4. Glad I was not wearing my new pants, because they would’ve been fucked

5. This is all really hilarious (it was just a skinned knee, nothing serious)

I was a fair piece away from work, though, and so nothing was to be done but turn around & head back to my desk, where I knew I had band aids. They proved to be woefully ineffectual, though, so I had to trot down to work’s clinic where the nice lady cleaned & patched me up. 

I am stubbornly anti-fuss, but sometimes it is nice to let someone take care of you.

Walking disaster

So for the second time in as many days, I found myself in the immediate care center, waiting to be tended to. I was walking at lunch, enjoying the lovely weather, not caring that I was meandering perhaps a bit too long. I was on a pretty side street, looking at the old architecture and searching in the bushes for cats (I see them there sometimes), when ~blam~ I suddenly found myself splayed on the bricks. My thoughts were:

1. Thank goodness no one was around to see that

2. Oh shit, did I break my phone? (no)

3. How bloody is it (not bad)

4. Glad I was not wearing my new pants, because they would’ve been fucked

5. This is all really hilarious (it was just a skinned knee, nothing serious)

I was a fair piece away from work, though, and so nothing was to be done but turn around & head back to my desk, where I knew I had band aids. They proved to be woefully ineffectual, though, so I had to trot down to work’s clinic where the nice lady cleaned & patched me up.

I am stubbornly anti-fuss, but sometimes it is nice to let someone take care of you.

Blueberry tea. #mugshot Monday

Blueberry tea. #mugshot Monday

kateoplis:

"The first thing I do is I dress for airports. I dress for security. I dress for the worst-case scenario. Comfortable shoes are important — I like Clarks desert boots because they go off and on very quickly, they’re super comfortable, you can beat the hell out of them, and they’re cheap.
In my carry-on, I’ll have a notebook, yellow legal pads, good headphones. Imodium is important. The necessity for Imodium will probably present itself, and you don’t want to be caught without it. I always carry a scrunchy lightweight down jacket; it can be a pillow if I need to sleep on a floor. And the iPad is essential. I load it up with books to be read, videos, films, games, apps, because I’m assuming there will be downtime. You can’t count on good films on an airplane. 
I check my luggage. I hate the people struggling to cram their luggage in an overhead bin, so I don’t want to be one of those people.
On the plane, I like to read fiction set in the location I’m going to. Fiction is in many ways more useful than a guidebook, because it gives you those little details, a sense of the way a place smells, an emotional sense of the place. So, I’ll bring Graham Greene’s The Quiet American if I’m going to Vietnam. It’s good to feel romantic about a destination before you arrive.” 
"I never, ever try to weasel upgrades. I’m one of those people who feel really embarrassed about wheedling. I never haggle over price. I sort of wander away out of shame when someone does that. I’m socially nonfunctional in those situations. 
I don’t get jet lag as long as I get my sleep. As tempting as it is to get really drunk on the plane, I avoid that. If you take a long flight and get off hungover and dehydrated, it’s a bad way to be. I’ll usually get on the plane, take a sleeping pill, and sleep through the whole flight. Then I’ll land and whatever’s necessary for me to sleep at bedtime in the new time zone, I’ll do that. 
There’s almost never a good reason to eat on a plane. You’ll never feel better after airplane food than before it. I don’t understand people who will accept every single meal on a long flight. I’m convinced it’s about breaking up the boredom. You’re much better off avoiding it. Much better to show up in a new place and be hungry and eat at even a little street stall than arrive gassy and bloated, full, flatulent, hungover. So I just avoid airplane food. It’s in no way helpful. 
For me, one of the great joys of traveling is good plumbing. A really good high-pressure shower, with an unlimited supply of hot water. It’s a major topic of discussion for me and my crew. Best-case scenario: a Japanese toilet. Those high-end Japanese toilets that sprinkle hot water in your ass. We take an almost unholy pleasure in that.”
"I’ve stopped buying souvenirs. The first few years I’d buy trinkets or T-shirts or handcrafts. I rarely do that anymore. My apartment is starting to look like Colonel Mustard’s club. So much of it comes out of the same factory in Taiwan.”
"The other great way to figure out where to eat in a new city is to provoke nerd fury online. Go to a number of foodie websites with discussion boards. Let’s say you’re going to Kuala Lumpur — just post on the Malaysia board that you recently returned and had the best rendang in the universe, and give the name of a place, and all these annoying foodies will bombard you with angry replies about how the place is bullshit, and give you a better place to go.”
Bourdain: How to Travel

Good advice. Amen about the carryons.

kateoplis:

"The first thing I do is I dress for airports. I dress for security. I dress for the worst-case scenario. Comfortable shoes are important — I like Clarks desert boots because they go off and on very quickly, they’re super comfortable, you can beat the hell out of them, and they’re cheap.

In my carry-on, I’ll have a notebook, yellow legal pads, good headphones. Imodium is important. The necessity for Imodium will probably present itself, and you don’t want to be caught without it. I always carry a scrunchy lightweight down jacket; it can be a pillow if I need to sleep on a floor. And the iPad is essential. I load it up with books to be read, videos, films, games, apps, because I’m assuming there will be downtime. You can’t count on good films on an airplane. 

I check my luggage. I hate the people struggling to cram their luggage in an overhead bin, so I don’t want to be one of those people.

On the plane, I like to read fiction set in the location I’m going to. Fiction is in many ways more useful than a guidebook, because it gives you those little details, a sense of the way a place smells, an emotional sense of the place. So, I’ll bring Graham Greene’s The Quiet American if I’m going to Vietnam. It’s good to feel romantic about a destination before you arrive.” 

"I never, ever try to weasel upgrades. I’m one of those people who feel really embarrassed about wheedling. I never haggle over price. I sort of wander away out of shame when someone does that. I’m socially nonfunctional in those situations. 

I don’t get jet lag as long as I get my sleep. As tempting as it is to get really drunk on the plane, I avoid that. If you take a long flight and get off hungover and dehydrated, it’s a bad way to be. I’ll usually get on the plane, take a sleeping pill, and sleep through the whole flight. Then I’ll land and whatever’s necessary for me to sleep at bedtime in the new time zone, I’ll do that. 

There’s almost never a good reason to eat on a plane. You’ll never feel better after airplane food than before it. I don’t understand people who will accept every single meal on a long flight. I’m convinced it’s about breaking up the boredom. You’re much better off avoiding it. Much better to show up in a new place and be hungry and eat at even a little street stall than arrive gassy and bloated, full, flatulent, hungover. So I just avoid airplane food. It’s in no way helpful. 

For me, one of the great joys of traveling is good plumbing. A really good high-pressure shower, with an unlimited supply of hot water. It’s a major topic of discussion for me and my crew. Best-case scenario: a Japanese toilet. Those high-end Japanese toilets that sprinkle hot water in your ass. We take an almost unholy pleasure in that.”

"I’ve stopped buying souvenirs. The first few years I’d buy trinkets or T-shirts or handcrafts. I rarely do that anymore. My apartment is starting to look like Colonel Mustard’s club. So much of it comes out of the same factory in Taiwan.”

"The other great way to figure out where to eat in a new city is to provoke nerd fury online. Go to a number of foodie websites with discussion boards. Let’s say you’re going to Kuala Lumpur — just post on the Malaysia board that you recently returned and had the best rendang in the universe, and give the name of a place, and all these annoying foodies will bombard you with angry replies about how the place is bullshit, and give you a better place to go.”

Bourdain: How to Travel

Good advice. Amen about the carryons.

Day three of the itchening. If this shit continues, I might go slowly mad. It’s hives, brought on by some unknown factor. Ugh.

Day three of the itchening. If this shit continues, I might go slowly mad. It’s hives, brought on by some unknown factor. Ugh.

Saturday scratching


1. I spent pretty much all last night tossing and turning because my whole body itched terribly. It still itches. I’m not sure if it was my body wash (Aveeno, ironically), so I threw it out & bought anti itch lotion and hydrocortisone cream, which I pretty much have rolled in. This happened to me once before, after I had the allergy scratch test. I’m not sure what’s causing it this time, as I get regular allergy shots. Last time I had to go to the doc-in-a-box & get a cortisone shot in my haunches. Might be headed there again.

2. I consulted Dr. Internet about my itch, and it said it could be caused by stress. I get stressed out about my job quite a bit, and I’m in the middle of two projects, one of which causes me nothing but stress & the other is frustrating, which in turn makes me worry, which in turn causes me stress. Argh. My itch is probably allergy, but the stress probably isn’t helping.

3. It also occurs to me that I should probably wash my sheets, since my cats spend a lot of time on my bed with or without me in it, and I’m essentially sleeping in a bed of cat hair and I am allergic to cats.

4. This time next week, I’ll be sleeping restlessly to get up at oh dark thirty to go to a conference in LA. This sounds glamorous, and it is, and I know I’m super fortunate to be able to go on the company dime, it also means two long days of travel book ending two days of early rising and all day long sessions cramming a shitload of knowledge into my overloaded head and getting home at midnight when it’s done and having to go to work the next day and be all jet lagged. I’m exhausted thinking about it. It will be a fun adventure, but I’ll pay for it in lost sleep.

5. Now it’s after midnight, Sunday scratching. Hoping I can get some sleep tonight. Wishing I could make like a snake & shed my skin & leave it somewhere.

kateoplis:

“At every moment of our lives, we all have one foot in a fairytale and the other in the abyss.”

— Paulo Coelho
Art: David Ryle

So true.

kateoplis:

“At every moment of our lives, we all have one foot in a fairytale and the other in the abyss.”

— Paulo Coelho

Art: David Ryle

So true.

Faking it


Today, I dressed carefully, something I don’t always have the energy or care to do. Black tights, my favorite gray corduroy skirt, black sweater, black Mary Janes that I recently polished for the season, and a necklace, the new watch I bought. This evening was the board meeting for the local non profit that I support by being a board member, and the education chair. I’m still kind of amazed that I can say that about myself, and I still say it modestly. I don’t feel like I do enough work to be the education chair, but as I’m learning with this and my work with my day job, as you rise in rank, it’s not always about the work you do, it is about your voice. And so that is my main duty as education chair- represent the education department at the board meetings, give the education report. This is just the type of thing that makes me bone rattlingly nervous. This is why I take care in my clothes- to distract me from that which must be done, and I hope my appearance distracts notice from my hurried presentation. Mine was the last of a long series of presentations, and I was too conscious of that; that people were ready to go, and to hurry up, get on with it, don’t ramble. But what I didn’t think of was the person taking the minutes. My lightening quickness made it impossible for her to keep up. And so in trying to please, trying not to be a bother, I rushed it too much.

My professional life is a series of me trying to move past my innate self consciousness and shyness and modesty. All that runs counter to my intense desire to succeed and to make a difference in the world. And while you can make quite a difference working behind the scenes, and by doing the work- well, I’ve done that. I do that, that IS my day job- I am the workhorse and I get things done. What is happening now, is I’m trying to branch out, and I am, but hoo, boy- it is not easy. There are somethings I’m getting better at: one on one small talk. Even talking in small groups, but sometimes that becomes too difficult. Some days I have the energy to stretch, and some days, no. I have learned I only have so much energy to do this, to fake it until you make it, and so I need to save that energy for when it can have the most impact. Meetings about things that aren’t really going to incite change, or where everyone is more concerned with tooting their own horns than knuckling down and doing the work- it’s not worth it. But when I am the mouthpiece for something that I truly believe in, that serves the greater good, it IS worth it, and I need to learn my part better. Everything we do in life, professionally, especially- it’s a little bit like being on stage. My performance is uneven, but I am slowly learning my lines. I have the passion, it’s just the confidence and the authority that comes with it that I lack. I need to get this down cold.

Every day can be a lesson. Earlier today, I photographed a talk at my company given by leaders of a process/service sector of my company. The last question in the Q&A was advice for people aspiring to grow their careers. The one bit that I remember they said was to “be bold.” I’m much bolder than I used to be, but I could be bolder still. Bold enough to speak, to say my piece, slowly, confidently. One day, one day.

Wednesday 

It’s that feeling that it’s 9:15 on a Wednesday night and you want to keep on drinking, but it’s a School Night and you have to work tomorrow and there’s nothing else to face today, so might as well stop for the night.

This evening you went out, and you had a couple of beers and some food at a local watering hole. You ran into a friend, part of the outer circle of your regular acquaintances, not because you like them any less that the inner circle, but schedules get in the way, yes, and there are times when members of the circle would rather stay home wearing comfy pants than go out, and you understand that, and maybe you envy it a little bit. But I always think there will be a time for aloneness and staying home with my comfy pants and now isn’t it. Our friend’s partner opted for the comfy pants, partially to resist the extra calories of food out and beer- I hear you- if I could resist such things, I’d be much lighter, but oh well. But also our friend didn’t want to ask questions about Those Who Are Lost, and if you wonder if this is vagueblogging, yes it is. There are things that happen to other people, things that happen not to me, but around me, and I feel very deeply about them, but at the end of the day, it’s not my business, it’s not my friend’s business, and so that’s why we do not talk about it. I don’t know, though- where is the line between none of your business and seeming to not care?

Recently, I learned that someone I went to high school with took his life. I found out that he died before I found out why, but instinctually, I knew why, and then it was confirmed. We were not close back in the day, because then I was too shy to be close to anyone. He went off to college, and he soared. We didn’t reconnect until the era of Facebook, oh Facebook. He moved back to our hometown recently and messaged me about job possibilities at my company. There aren’t any, really, but I tried to be encouraging. Now I wish I would have done more. We weren’t close, but what if I’d invited him for coffee, to meet my husband, who shares his love of movies and popular culture. But I didn’t. I mean, I know, if someone is determined to end it all- what can one, singular person do? 

Anyway, what keeps me awake at night sometimes, are the lost ones, the making of connections. When do you force the issue and bang down the door and when do you leave off? I know myself, and I know I may sometimes come across as judgmental, and fuck, yes, I’ll admit it, sometimes I am, so it is best to be quiet.

It’s weird sometimes, I feel like I am sitting on a cloud, drifting through life easily, and I see others suffer, and I’m unsure what to do. Lend a hand, but how to do so without butting in, or leave it be? My instinct is to leave people be, but god, I don’t want to see anyone slip away before their time like my high school friend. I know he sat in a room thinking no one, or not many people were concerned with him, cared about him, but when he died, many, many people paid tribute. We none of us understand the impact we make on this life, on each other.

Wednesday

It’s that feeling that it’s 9:15 on a Wednesday night and you want to keep on drinking, but it’s a School Night and you have to work tomorrow and there’s nothing else to face today, so might as well stop for the night.

This evening you went out, and you had a couple of beers and some food at a local watering hole. You ran into a friend, part of the outer circle of your regular acquaintances, not because you like them any less that the inner circle, but schedules get in the way, yes, and there are times when members of the circle would rather stay home wearing comfy pants than go out, and you understand that, and maybe you envy it a little bit. But I always think there will be a time for aloneness and staying home with my comfy pants and now isn’t it. Our friend’s partner opted for the comfy pants, partially to resist the extra calories of food out and beer- I hear you- if I could resist such things, I’d be much lighter, but oh well. But also our friend didn’t want to ask questions about Those Who Are Lost, and if you wonder if this is vagueblogging, yes it is. There are things that happen to other people, things that happen not to me, but around me, and I feel very deeply about them, but at the end of the day, it’s not my business, it’s not my friend’s business, and so that’s why we do not talk about it. I don’t know, though- where is the line between none of your business and seeming to not care?

Recently, I learned that someone I went to high school with took his life. I found out that he died before I found out why, but instinctually, I knew why, and then it was confirmed. We were not close back in the day, because then I was too shy to be close to anyone. He went off to college, and he soared. We didn’t reconnect until the era of Facebook, oh Facebook. He moved back to our hometown recently and messaged me about job possibilities at my company. There aren’t any, really, but I tried to be encouraging. Now I wish I would have done more. We weren’t close, but what if I’d invited him for coffee, to meet my husband, who shares his love of movies and popular culture. But I didn’t. I mean, I know, if someone is determined to end it all- what can one, singular person do?

Anyway, what keeps me awake at night sometimes, are the lost ones, the making of connections. When do you force the issue and bang down the door and when do you leave off? I know myself, and I know I may sometimes come across as judgmental, and fuck, yes, I’ll admit it, sometimes I am, so it is best to be quiet.

It’s weird sometimes, I feel like I am sitting on a cloud, drifting through life easily, and I see others suffer, and I’m unsure what to do. Lend a hand, but how to do so without butting in, or leave it be? My instinct is to leave people be, but god, I don’t want to see anyone slip away before their time like my high school friend. I know he sat in a room thinking no one, or not many people were concerned with him, cared about him, but when he died, many, many people paid tribute. We none of us understand the impact we make on this life, on each other.

getting from there to here

An old friend asked me what I do at work yesterday. I guess most people don’t really know. Yesterday, I updated my CV, my longer, teaching resume, for the first time since 2009. I found an adjunct position, and I wanted to apply. Next year, I want to apply for an artist residency, and I need a record of my teaching, so I have been meaning to update my CV anyway. I’ve done a bunch of workshops since 2009, so the update was needed. 

It’s weird seeing yourself, your accomplishments like that. I don’t sell myself as well as I should. It’s a constant battle between modesty, being too humble, and the need to climb at least out of the pit, if not to the top of the heap, because mine is a very competitive field. If you don’t toot your horn, you will be passed over. And in my case, if I know nothing else, I know I am a stellar teacher. If I don’t make myself known, my potential students will never know me.

I’ve been SO embroiled in the hardscrabble, the paying of dues, the rolling up sleeves, the learning to wade the heavy, political, competitive seas, that I don’t take notice of where I am, of what I’ve done. 

My CV, with my almost fifteen years of teaching, my small, but yet existent, exhibit record. My board service. My work experience, which finally has several sure, solid creative jobs on it. And the job I have now, which I just fell into- but it was a calculated fall- I’m so busy doing it that I don’t always appreciate how good it is. I turned a contract web content management job into a full time creative job, and managed to become the in house photographer too. 

So much my nature, oh, it’s nothing. But it is. It is. I’ll never be able to give myself the accolades I might deserve. I don’t like being that way. I don’t like bragging. I didn’t get to where I am without help, and I feel like I repay the universe somewhat by teaching. I know what I know because other people taught me, and because I taught myself. 

So, I send my CV forth in search of a new class to teach. And tomorrow, I will teach a new friend at work a little bit about graphic design, and last weekend I let colleague who contacted me looking for opportunities to assist on photo shoots come help me cover an event. It is my calling, spreading my knowledge, paying back what was given to me.

getting from there to here

An old friend asked me what I do at work yesterday. I guess most people don’t really know. Yesterday, I updated my CV, my longer, teaching resume, for the first time since 2009. I found an adjunct position, and I wanted to apply. Next year, I want to apply for an artist residency, and I need a record of my teaching, so I have been meaning to update my CV anyway. I’ve done a bunch of workshops since 2009, so the update was needed.

It’s weird seeing yourself, your accomplishments like that. I don’t sell myself as well as I should. It’s a constant battle between modesty, being too humble, and the need to climb at least out of the pit, if not to the top of the heap, because mine is a very competitive field. If you don’t toot your horn, you will be passed over. And in my case, if I know nothing else, I know I am a stellar teacher. If I don’t make myself known, my potential students will never know me.

I’ve been SO embroiled in the hardscrabble, the paying of dues, the rolling up sleeves, the learning to wade the heavy, political, competitive seas, that I don’t take notice of where I am, of what I’ve done.

My CV, with my almost fifteen years of teaching, my small, but yet existent, exhibit record. My board service. My work experience, which finally has several sure, solid creative jobs on it. And the job I have now, which I just fell into- but it was a calculated fall- I’m so busy doing it that I don’t always appreciate how good it is. I turned a contract web content management job into a full time creative job, and managed to become the in house photographer too.

So much my nature, oh, it’s nothing. But it is. It is. I’ll never be able to give myself the accolades I might deserve. I don’t like being that way. I don’t like bragging. I didn’t get to where I am without help, and I feel like I repay the universe somewhat by teaching. I know what I know because other people taught me, and because I taught myself.

So, I send my CV forth in search of a new class to teach. And tomorrow, I will teach a new friend at work a little bit about graphic design, and last weekend I let colleague who contacted me looking for opportunities to assist on photo shoots come help me cover an event. It is my calling, spreading my knowledge, paying back what was given to me.

Sunday, 21 September, 11:58 p.m.


It will be early Monday before I finish typing this.

This past week was about working, as my day job and my monthly freelance job and my biennial freelance job converged. My calendar was colored in solid and I produced and produced and produced.

I know I give too much emotional energy to work, and sometimes I give too much time to it as well. I don’t always have a choice in the latter case, but I do in the former.

I know I need to give more energy to my connections with people. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day, in the to do list, and to lose sight of what matters- it’s the people, always.

I have a good number of friends, but many of them are distantly scattered. I find, unfortunately, that in this age of digital distraction and 24-7 plugged in-ness, that I am less connected than I was when all of this digital-ness didn’t exist. Social media makes me lazy. I also admit to having a difficult time communicating sometimes. My role is often gathering the people, and then I sit back and observe. I don’t know, maybe I spend too much time watching and not enough time engaging.

This weekend was about connecting. Friday was spent with family, and Saturday with friends. Today, which is now yesterday, I reconnected with one of my far away friends. Not so far as some of my friends, but too far to be within a stone’s throw. It was so nice, knowing that those connections are still there, that we can sometimes triumph over time and distance.