Sunday, February 28, 2010


I just finished reading a book by Diane Johnson - I love her books because she creates such a detailed picture of her characters and their day-to-day lives, it's easy to tune out the rest of your goings-on and just enjoy.

A sentence in the book, L'Affaire, caught my attention. It's actually a thought from one of her characters, who has just royally fucked up by trying to do good, and also slept with a married man:

"Yet there was nothing to regret - and no regrets was a rule for living if there ever was one."

Do you agree? Why or why not?

I don't dwell on regrets, but I realized in college that my biggest ones were chances and risks I hadn't taken, adventures I hadn't attempted. Somewhere, I saw a quote: "Do one thing every day that scares you."

Sounds like good advice to me.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The best $5 you'll ever spend

First of all, thanks so much to Claire, Lynn and Green Tea for donating to the cause I am about to shamelessly plug. And thanks to Darth, who is going to hopefully be there in person.

As some of you know, I work for a mental health advocacy organization and I am in charge of fundraising events.

You might not know, however, that people with mental illness live 25 years less, on average, than the rest of the population.

You might not know that 1 in 10 children has a mental illness, and 1 in 4 adults.

Most of you definitely don't know my story.

I believe that if we are to eliminate discrimination, we must take after another civil rights movement and "out" ourselves.

Since the age of six, I have had anxiety. Beginning when I was a teenager, I had severe depression. It moved on to cutting myself, binge drinking, an eating disorder, you name it. Anything to mask the pain. Anything to distract myself.

But in my life, I have been extremely lucky. I have been blessed with supportive friends and family. I've also been lucky to have resources. Even luckier: I found a good therapist and a medication that staves off most of the dark days.

For those reasons, I'm a productive person. I graduated from college, work a full-time job, and have a wonderful, loving partner who holds my hand through the occasional difficult days.

I'm not telling you this to make you feel sorry for me - I'm trying to help shatter a stereotype. Many people think of individuals who are hospitalized or on the streets as the "ones" who have mental illness, but statistically, it affects someone you know. Your coworker, your family member, your friend.

As I'm sure you're well aware, many people are not so lucky as I have been. They might have relatives who tell them to "just snap out of it." They might not be able to afford medication. They might not find a medication that works without horrible side effects.

They might die 25 years earlier than the rest of the population, on average, because of inadequate access to basic health care.

This happened to my dear friend Ward in 2003. I still have moments where I think, "Hey, I should call Ward and tell him..." Maybe I always will.

Why do I work where I work? Because this is outrageous - and because it can be changed.

Please take a moment to learn a little more about our organization and if you can afford a $5 or $10 donation, we would be very grateful. If you can't afford to donate, just wish me luck!

Thanks for reading.

- RK

Sunday, February 21, 2010

One more reason I'm glad I'm no longer in PR

I'll never have to send out a release with this title:

Psychostick Announces Tour with Green Jelly and Nashville Pussy

*I kid you not. A site I write and edit for received it from a music promoter.*

Well, I thought I had won the laugh o'the day contest among a few friends I sent that to, when Mike D wrote back, "Psychostick has a great song called "Beer" and Green Jelly had a great song about 10 years back about the Three Little Pigs."

More proof that truth is stranger than fiction...and Mike has heard of it all!

PS - Don't ever search google images for "strange." Yuck. I'll leave you with this pic of green jelly instead.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Go ahead and laugh

First, the good news: I have completed four out of five cleanings (which should be called "scrapings") with the periodontal hygienist. No one in that office can figure out why I am having gum trouble, but have never had a cavity, and it took them awhile to believe that I have always been an avid brusher and flosser. Next month is a visit to the actual periodontist, who will hopefully tell me I get to keep my teeth for awhile.

Next, the funny-but-true news: according to the dentist, I have a small mouth. And a small jaw.

My husband's reaction: "Overcompensate, do we?"
My boss's reaction: "And you make up for it, don't you?"

Never having had a cavity, I had never had any kind of numbing agent until last week. (Stupidly, thinking I was getting a regular cleaning the first time, I said, "No, I don't need anesthesia.") Boy was that weird. Because she was only working on one quarter of the teeth, only half of my mouth/tongue/face were numb.

Outside, I could only feel rain falling on half of my face. Trying to drink through a straw was...interesting. Even singing along with the radio felt bizarre.

And both times I have been numb I have been paranoid for hours afterwards that I am drooling.

I have been promised by everyone that they would tell me.

And you would, wouldn't you?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I am a selfish twit

I realized this after reading a story in our local paper.

Imagine having a terrible disease that claimed a part of each of your limbs...but going on and taking dancing lessons! And performing in front of people, and going to Julliard to teach students about dance.

Take a moment and read it...this young woman is a real inspiration. I'm going to try and remember it the next time I want to whine about anything.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

This just about sums up my day

Take my word for it.

And by that I mean I'm feeling like the house, not the girl scout!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Thanks Darrin!

Thanks, Darrin, for this award!
Here are the rules:

1. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
2. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
3. Name seven things about you that people think are interesting.
4. Nominate seven other Kreativ Bloggers.

*Ninja edit: I am also tagging Ily and Joey. I thought you both had been tagged. My mistake!*

I'm going to pick seven random things (maybe they're boring, you tell me?)

1. I *hate* purposeful misspellings - like "kreativ" instead of "creative!" It drives me nuts. I want to go through with a big magic marker and cross out "drive-thru" and make it "drive through," change "Krispy Kreme" to "Crispy Cream" (those are doughnuts, for those of you who don't have that chain in your area), etc. The one exception to this is anything on the icanhascheezburger site.

2. I have a black cuff with silver studs that says "Bad Kitty." I have worn this in public - even to work.

3. Believe it or not, according to the dentist, I have a small jaw. And a small mouth. Mr. RK and my boss both find this very humorous for some reason. Well, we all have to compensate somehow.

4. I found out today that I have spent more hours in strip clubs than Mr. RK. That's because briefly, I worked in one. (As a clothed waitress, you perverts.)

5. I can swear in several languages. No surprise there.

6. I did not know that pickles came from cucumbers until I was in college. Really, I am not making this up. I am a suburban kid and I have never enjoyed condiments, so how was I supposed to figure this out?

7. The Peanuts character I remind Mr. RK of the most? Snoopy.

I have no idea who has or has not gotten this award, but I'll try to pick people who I don't think have gotten it, and who don't mind being tagged. But if you're on this list and have already received this award, go ahead and post seven more interesting things about yourself. You do have more than seven things, don't you?

Bob Tres

Mike D
Green Tea

Thursday, February 11, 2010

You've got to be kidding me

Newsflash: Olivia Newton-John's "Physical" has been voted the "sexiest" song ever, just in time for Valentine's Day. I forgot how much flesh and body hair (and not the good kind) was shown in that video, and I just can't bring myself to post it here, particularly for those of you who may be eating lunch while you're reading this.

Also in the top 10 - as if anyone could want his body or think he was sexy these days - Rod Stewart's "Do You Think I'm Sexy?" Um, these days, no.

I grew up in the 80s and thought that these songs were finally out of my head...until now.

So you all have to suffer along with me. Except'll probably enjoy it!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Living outside the city limits of stupid

I live about six miles from the city limits of Portland, Oregon, mainly because within those city limits are a bunch of people who make Berkeley, California residents look sane.

This is not a political comment - I mean the City of Portland and the people in it do some weird shit.

I'm still adjusting to living in a state with a beaver on the flag, right outside a town with the word beaver in its name. It just seems a bit ... well, odd.

But anyway, if you needed further proof that Portlanders were a bit nuts, read this story.

The headline made me wonder:
Giant rocks, heading to the beach, scare Portland commuters

Hello! We are an hour and a half from the coast, and just 20 minutes or so from rural areas. Yet people in Portland are scared of big rocks on trucks? So scared, in fact, that they call the Oregon Department of Transportation?

I can imagine what the calls would sound like:

ODOT operator: "Yes?"
Portland driver: "Um. I just saw someone driving a truck with a big rock in the back!"
Operator: "Yes?"
Driver: "Well, what if someone is smuggling them in illegally, to, um, build a castle or something? Oh wait - can ya hang on - I'm spilling the hemp milk for my $5 coffee in my lap..."
Operator: "Sir?"
Driver: "No, don't worry, I have a bluetooth and good brakes, I mean I know about the cell phone law, but the rocks...they're a bit...scary."

Postscript: I really did have some idiot call today, from his car, requesting a phone number. "Don't worry," he said, "I have a bluetooth and good brakes!"

Not a good brain to go with it, unfortunately.

PPS Thank you, Fireblossom, for providing this excellent picture and caption!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Accidental humor

The writing group I facilitate met yesterday, and we were discussing humor writing. The "assignment" for next time (also to be completed by me) is a choice of: 1) writing something humorous, 2) writing about something funny that happened to you, or 3) writing about something funny that you did.

The last one was suggested by one of the members of the group. I thought that was rather clever of her.

I brought in a story by Garrison Keillor for the group and they all loved it. He is probably one of the funniest writers I've ever encountered, and I probably also favor him because we were both born in Minnesota, and had some pretty conservative religious relatives. He does a great job of skewering them in his stories (probably without their knowing), and literally everyone laughed out loud while reading "silently."

We got into discussing what makes a good piece of humor writing, and we all agreed that it was generally very difficult stuff to write. I realized yesterday that all of my funny writing is unintentionally funny - it's written in a straightforward way, but I suppose I'm just weird enough, or the people around me are weird enough, for the stories to make other people laugh. I think I do work and hang out with funny people, though. Sometimes I feel like I'm in a John Cleese movie. For instance, my boss and I recently had a meeting with someone whose name rhymed with penis holder. I'm not making this up.

So another example - I wrote a review of a vegetarian cookbook that came with great recipes, but little instruction. I literally chronicled my experience with the recipes. I did not try to be funny (and I didn't think it was funny), but when I sent the review to my dad, he wrote back, "Great! This is hilarious! By the way, the author probably died of meat withdrawal..."

For years my dad was freaked out by my vegetarian diet, and now he has accepted the fact that I won't actually starve to death, but he is still puzzled about why I don't want to eat a bacon cheeseburger.

How about you? Are you funny on purpose, or by accident?

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Congratulations, Mikey!

My friend Mike D has just finished all of his work completing a master's degree in library science!!! That's Mr. Shush, M.S., to you all now.

Mike and I have been friends since (he remembers) Super Bowl weekend 1998, which is another reason to post around now. In the days before mass use of e-mail, we exchanged lots of cards and he once wrote, "I wonder when we'll stop having the 'one of us is unemployed' conversation!" Despite his degree and massive computer skills, the 2000 recession wiped out a lot of those jobs, including a couple of his.

Not one to give up, he decided to combine his love of technology and books and get his library science master's degree. He did this with a full-time job, ridiculous prerequisite requirements, and a lot of determination. Feel free to drop by his blog and give him your congratulations!

I plan on doing so in person, with cheesecake, this summer, even if I have to take the train up to Connecticut.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Will sensible language please stand up?

Being a writer, I can't stand it when people butcher language. Corporate-speak is especially irritating. And people who use language that's overly complicated when it really doesn't need to be, well, they grind my gears too.*

But just when you thought corporate-speak couldn't get any worse, I saw something new.

Now correct me if I'm wrong - "decision" is a noun, no?

This is what I read when filling out an application online: "Unfortunately, we could not decision your application online, and will be sending you a letter in the mail when we figure out what the fuck we want to do."

OK, I made that last part up. But not the part in bold.

What the fuck? Shall we take this offline? Think outside of the box? Fastrack that perhaps? Or gift it to another corporate-speak dictionary?

Granted, it was a corporate web site. So is it reasonable to expect proper language, say, on the side of a box of something we bought at the grocery store.

Oat milk = milk made from oats. Right?

"This blah blah blah product, made from oat groats..."

What the fuck are "oat groats"? Don't they sound like something you'd spit out after swallowing one by accident?

Mr. RK, who is trying out the oat milk, went online to find the answer.

An "oat groat" is an oat before it has been processed, shucked, etc. So it's just an...oat.

I suppose this bugs me because it takes something simple and tries to dress it up, but the end result is just ridiculous.

How about you? Read anything like that lately?

*Brownie points if you catch that cartoon reference.