Saturday, January 30, 2010

Why do you write?

This has been a week of tension and drama (not mine), and I've had difficulty coming up with ideas to post about.

Which made me think about the subject of writing. J.D. Salinger reportedly quit publishing his novels because he couldn't stand the critics. He reportedly said, "I write for my own pleasure."

Which got me thinking about writers and their motivations.

I write because it's a compulsion. I have to. It's like working out - I have energy that builds up that needs to be released. Strange, but true. I have no love of the writing process itself - it's just something I need to do. When I am happy with the outcome, that's a plus.

There are various kinds of writing I do - writing for me, writing this blog, writing for publication, writing for work.

When I was a reporter, a police lieutenant told me, "I think it's very brave what you do. I couldn't have thousands of people reading my writing on the front page of a newspaper."

I never thought of it that way - having a job which doesn't pay you millions of dollars but requires you to carry a gun, in my opinion, is much, much more brave.

So I thought I'd ask - how about all of you? Why do you write?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The conference call from hell

I thought it was difficult working with some of our volunteers...until I was on a conference call at work today with several of my counterparts from other states. We are worse. Trust me.

The call was *supposed to* be a training for some new software. What it turned out to be = a two-hour clusterfuck.

Ten minutes spent doing "roll call" to see if everyone who had signed up was on the call. I am not kidding. Never mind that everyone who was on the call had to log in, so they should have been able to tell who was there anyhow. (And anyway, what did it matter? If you flake on the call, do you get denied access to the software, or a spanking?)

So during the hour and 55 minutes after that, maybe 10 or 15 minutes tops (and I'm being generous) were spent doing actual training.

The rest of the time was full of comments like this, from people older than dirt:

"Why do we have to have a new system?"
"Can't we use part of the old system?"
"I don't know if we have a 501c3 status."

And literally, after the trainer (whose patience was really admirable, I must say) would tell us how to do something with the software, invariably some shithead who wasn't listening would ask how to do - guess what? - exactly what she had explained to do.

If I were her, I would have wanted to say, "Hey, motherfuckers! This is your new database that you've been waiting for all last year - take it or leave it! I'm not repeating myself! Learn your nonprofit status and FUCK. OFF!"

How was your day?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Apparently, I'm not a very good hunter

You've heard of cats that drag in mice and other rodents, offering them as gifts for their humans? Mr. RK did some research, and apparently they do this because they think we aren't very good hunters and want to help out. (Seriously, I am not making this up.)

Our kitties are indoor kitties, and (thank God) thus far we have not seen any rodents nearby. Lucky has, however, decided that we aren't very good hunters (I'm a vegetarian, and Mr. RK doesn't eat a lot of meat), and lately he has been bringing us his fake mouse toy!

Last night, he was whining, and when I looked up from my book he had left these in our bedroom doorway:

So even though I can swear with the best of them, my cat is not impressed with my hunting and gathering skills.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Tooth fairy Ultimatum

My little sister (age 9) wrote this for the Tooth Fairy. Is this fantastic or what? I was never this smart as a kid. Not only did I surrender my teeth as they fell out, I was happy with a Canadian dime.

Silly me!

I thought the Tooth Fairy was pretty understanding :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wouldn't it be simpler...

if we all just communicated like other mammals?

Seriously. Think about it. To be human and be adult requires a certain amount of bullshit. No matter where we are in life or work, there is always *someone* we want to smack around, literally or figuratively, but we can't do that without consequences.

But my cats, on the other hand, frequently go to the mattresses out of the blue.

Then they get it out of their system and all is well again.

And if they have an opinion, they share it.

And if they just need a cuddle, they say so.

So much simpler. Don't you think?

Monday, January 18, 2010


I have lived in the Pacific Northwest for over nine years now, but until today, I had never seen an elk. I'm a suburban kid, you know. I've only lived in cities and suburbs.

We drove through two counties to an area out near the coast to an elk reserve. Or preserve. Note to self: is there a difference between reserves and preserves? As in, the wildlife preserves (not jams or jellies?)

I didn't know, for one thing, that they had naked butts.

I wouldn't want to live out there in the middle of BFE, but it was pretty in places.

Nice place if you are an elk, I'm sure.

While out in the middle of not so much, my cell phone, which has signal just about everywhere, had none and I missed a call from a friend in England. Which was unfortunate, but on the whole, it was nice to be somewhere where other people mostly were not, where we were somewhat unreachable.

By the way, for those of you reading this who aren't in the states, today was a federal holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King. I didn't play hooky, although I did pretend I had antlers.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Your first...

No, it's not a naughty post.

Two Saturdays a month, I facilitate a free writing group (as a volunteer)for people living with mental illness (like me.) The people who have come to this group have ranged from the highly functioning (as I like to think of myself) to those who have been seriously ill and unable to work.

At last week's class, I only had one person show up, but if I have one person, I consider it worthwhile. It's a new group, anyhow, so we aren't expecting it to "stick" and become known for a few months.

Anyhow, at the end of the previous class I gave "homework" which I also did myself. It was to write about your first memorable experience with writing.

I thought this might be an interesting question to pose to all of you in blogland, seeing as how we connect through our writing.

This is what I came up with:

The first time I remember writing anything was in our new Houston apartment when I was six years old, which would have been late 1982.

Questions occur to me now - such as, how did we find a babysitter so fast after moving to a new state where we knew almost no one? And where were my mother and my brother? And who was this babysitter, and what did she look like? All I remember was that the carpet was an unattractive brown color - is there ever attractive brown carpet, actually? - and we had dared to scatter markers all over the floor because my mother, who later said she wanted the place to "look live no one lives here," was out. The markers had the caps on, of course - even at six, though I had balls, I limited my risk-taking.

I had made a book, out of paper. There were some illustrations to go with the text.

I asked - or probably told - the babysitter to make a book, too. Then I told her to sign it.

"Put your name on the byline," I told her.

"On the what?" she asked.

"The BYLINE," I said, impatiently. "Where it says 'By', you make a line and you put your name there."

You can't imagine my thrill a few years later when, an aspiring reporter, I found out that byline was a real word. I had invented something that already existed. Success!

How about you?

Friday, January 15, 2010


Are you ever too old to get toys for presents? I don't think so. I had a roommate in college who was a psychology major and theorized that I was trying to reinvent my childhood. No, I said, I just like toys!

I have so many stuffed animals (particularly cats, bunnies and bears) that it is probably socially irresponsible. I mean, there's probably an ordinance about it somewhere.

Tonight I met my friend K for what she calls a "senior dinner" - we met right after I left the office, before 5 pm, so it was really like second lunch - and we exchanged belated holiday gifts. I am now the proud owner of this awesome mug, which I plan to take to work to intimidate my boss.

One of my Christmas presents from Mr. RK (that I picked out for myself) was this "Ladies of the 80s" Blondie doll:

...and her evil twin, Joan Jett Barbie, is on her way to my Twin Fireblossom's house.

AND there is also a Cyndi Lauper Barbie. I think Ily should get her, and then we could all meet in Miami and play house.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Five years ago, there was an ice storm...

...and a few hours before that, I got married.

Which was funny, because I never wanted to get married. I wasn't even sure I wanted to live with someone, but if I did, I always thought I'd want to be in a position to be able to boot them out. Just in case.

Mr. RK also never wanted to get married.

But don't ask me how, the stars aligned and it happened.

Neither one of us had ever met anyone that 1) did not want to bear their own fruit, or 2) gave us enough space, or 3) love cats. There is a serious dearth of straight men in this world who love cats, don't want children and don't resent their partners having alone time, and I managed to find one. Or he found me.

Both of us are introverts. Both of us need lots - and I mean lots - of alone time.

The actual day was kind of hilarious in retrospect. I could not find a "normal" formal dress, and I didn't want to look like a cupcake in a dress I'd never wear again, so I got married in a red dress. No flowers. No cake. No frills. We didn't actually care about the legality of it or the ceremony; we only invited immediate family in order for them not to disown us.

We got married by a lesbian judge in clogs whose office was in the juvenile detention center. After running around a few blocks in heels trying to figure out where to go, Mr. RK's mom got the right address, so I could go in through a metal detector and pay our license fee.

Then we all waited in the detention center, with a bunch of nervous-looking parents who were waiting for their kids' hearings.

My brother's camera started rewinding (this was before we had digital cameras) during the vows, but I was so focused on getting everything right that it didn't register.

Afterwards, we went out to Thai food.

It has been interesting, to say the least. I am still getting used to the idea that relationships can have a sense of permanence - or as permanent as it can be, knowing we're all going to move on to another universe some day. I had never met someone else who loved me unconditionally - happy or depressed, dressed up or with morning bed hair, sick or well - that I loved back. (There were lots of nice people who had about as much backbone as cooked asparagus, and I got bored.)

I have also never met anyone who wants things as neat and tidy as I do, or someone who was equally inept at cooking as I was (I am now learning.) Or someone who is actually more stubborn than I am (yes, it's possible.)

So onward with the adventure!

Happy five years, Mr. RK. I love you.

- RK

Monday, January 11, 2010

Oh, the awesomeness of it...

My friend B sent me the link to the coolest blog I have ever seen!

Not that I don't love all of you...but keep in mind where this is coming from. Or, as B wrote, "I thought you would find this interesting. It's children's books that are a bit twisted. You like children's books and you are a bit twisted (I mean that in only the nicest way) so it seems to be a good match."

This can't possibly be real! But if it is....wooooooooooot!

And if come I've never seen these before? How the hell did they get PUBLISHED? And why hasn't anyone gotten any of them for me? I obviously need to go on ebay.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Bumper stickers

I've never been one to put bumper stickers on my car - with the exception of a couple of elections that were really important to me - but sometimes I think I may be missing my best job ever: redesigning bumper stickers!

So many opportunities, so little time - so many are cliche, and yet they could be interesting!

Portland is well-known for being a bike-friendly city (despite all the terrible drivers), so many a car features the sticker, "I Share the Road."

How about, "I Run Over Bikers Every Chance I Get."

Instead of, "Start Seeing Motorcycles," "Start Seeing Dead People."

Instead of those irritating-as-hell stick figures of a family with their dozen kids - usually on the back of a Yukon with a soccer mom on her cell phone, weaving in and out of her lane - how about a family of vampires?

Instead of Bush/Cheney '04, how about Cheney/Satan '12?

Instead of "In Case of Rapture, this car will be unmanned," "In Case of Rapture, Can I have your Cheetos?"

As for those "My Child Is An Honor Student At..." stickers, why not replace them with, "My Kid is Probably In Detention With Your Kid."

I saw one today that made me crack up - this was a real one:

"Bondage is Knot for Everyone."

What would YOU change?

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Happy birthday, Mr. RK!

I am planning to make a cake (OK, it won't look like this, and he's not 25, but you get the picture), so wish me luck. Lately I have been cooking things that have not been exploding, so I hope that trend continues.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Do us all a favor...

...and get some, from someone other than yourself.

You heard me.

Stop stalking women's blogs and posting nasty, chauvinistic comments on posts that have absolutely nothing to do with the lack of sex in your life.

Being a troll is one thing, but online sexual harassment is something else.

In the meantime...since you're doing it anyway...and no one else will probably want to...GO FUCK YOURSELF!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Happy almost birthday

Mr. RK's birthday is in a few days, and I plan to spoil him, so between that and going back to work after a few days of relaxing, cooking, and watching movies, I may neglect blogland a bit this week. I'll think of you while I'm pigging out on birthday cake.

Each member of my immediate family sent Mr. RK a card - we are quite the Hallmark family, and my dad says that your birthday should be "the one day of the year you get to be as selfish as most people are every day of the year!"

We make a big deal, celebrating more than one day. My dad, who turned 60 in October, is stretching it out this entire year. I have been sending him little presents each month.

My little brother, who turns 14 in a couple of weeks, scratched out the inside of the card that said, "Spend your birthday doing what you like to do," changing it to, "Spend your birthday doing what I like to do."

Everyone had a funny message (my stepmom even wrote him happy birthday in Spanish, which she doesn't speak), except my little sister (who is 9), who is a bit serious. She had one that was so sweet I just had to share.

A budding artist, she spends three or four hours drawing every day. She drew two little dancing figures, and the glare from the flash was too much to perfectly capture the caption, but this is what it says:

"I hope all your dreams come true."

Sometimes, the most profound things come from our littlest people.