Time Traveling

During every round of household excavations, i find something that stops me in my tracks.  This time?  No exception.

Viciously tearing through bookshelves heaving with excess, i was in good form.  Thirty year old textbook on “Plastics Engineering”?  POOF!  That “Principles of Modern Physics” that tortured me for an entire year of undergraduate studies?  Get outta my life, Drs. Halliday and Resnick!  Paperback novels bought in airports over the past few decades of travel?  Banished to the thrift store box!  Find a new home!

On the same shelf?  A small book of poetry.  A gift, long forgotten.  Opening the cover i discovered the handwritten inscription from 1978.

To Daisyfae –
Finding an old book is like reliving the past.  As the dust is swept away by the hand, the mind recalls memories of different times and old friends.
Merry Christmas!
With love,
Jenny

As if my excavations weren’t slowed enough?  A book of photographs – with the following written inside the cover:

Daisyfae,

Well, the day we’ve looked forward to for so long is finally here… May 18th, 1980, better known as the day we graduate.  I don’t know where we’ll be ten years from now.  I do know you were one of my dearest friends in high school (that’s four long years), and that we went through our “formative” years together.  Also that if I can’t remember your name when I’m old and grey it doesn’t matter, because our paths have crossed, and each will be forever different because they did.  We’ll never forget each other because we’ve grown and changed together.

Keep reaching for that higher plane, and always remember the simplistic beauty of the laughter we’ve shared.

Love Always,

Jenny

My evening of excavations was delightfully derailed as i tripped back to a time when i was angst-ridden and alive… So much of the goofy-assed, drunken, bon vivant that i happen to be these days can be traced back to those four incredibly formative years – with Jenny and Jeff as my best friends.

When we went to different universities in 1980, we lost touch.  The next time i spoke with Jenny?  i tracked her down in 1986 to tell her Jeff had died.  She knew why i was calling as soon as she heard my voice.

After that?  Another brief reconnection ten years ago, as i was in southern California on a business trip.  We had found each other by e-mail a few months prior, and planned to meet for dinner.  Our lives had taken decidedly different paths, but we were able to pick up the conversation as if we’d been in constant contact through the years.

Her route?  From teaching English literature in the Los Angeles public schools, she followed a path that led to law school, and eventually to private family law practice.  She was delighted to find that i’d survived the dark years and managed to follow my girlish dream of being a scientist.  Not quite astronaut, but we both considered it a success in that i hadn’t been found dead in a gutter.

After finding the inscribed books, i grabbed a beer, and set about a “missing person” search.  Found her.  Sent an e-mail to let her know that as an 18 year-old, she’d successfully managed to reach forward in time.  i also thanked her for being such an erudite little shit that she could reach in and play with my heart from so far away – in time and distance.

time traveling

Here’s to old friends.  Here’s to time travel.

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Give ’em the old razzle-dazzle

About three and a half years ago i fled left* my home organization for a new job.  There was angst involved, but i tried hard not to burn any bridges.

As i left the new shop to return to a cool new job at the original mothership last week, it seemed the bridges were still intact.  In fact, in an act of apparent organizational desperation, i was asked to serve as Master of Ceremonies for the annual corporate awards banquet.

i’m sure you know the standard “Awards Luncheon” scenario.  Rubber Chicken and Peas served lukewarm to tables of “conscripts”.  Boring lunch presentation – either by an retiree/historian, or some other droning dinosaur.  A dozen award categories, making sure that no possible job function is left out.

Figuring that the MC gig would be a nice chance to announce the return of the prodigal technologist – i agreed.  Moments later?  Stricken with the horrible realization that i had NOTHING appropriate to wear.

i’ve gained 20 pounds in the past year, and none of my dark business suits fit**.  Having begun the ritual weight-loss effort, there was no way i was going to go buy a new “fat suit” for the occasion.

While going over details with Studley, he jokingly said “Hey, you could borrow my tux!”  He immediately saw the little puffs of steam coming out of my ears as i munched it over.

Studley:  “We can stop by my place on the way back to work and you can try it on!”

daisyfae:  Oh, hell yes!  i can open with “Wilkommen” from Cabaret!  Nothing like some camp to liven things up!

The tux fit.  The plan was hatched.

Practiced it all, including many hours spent farting around with a magician’s cane.  Scaring friends in bars.  It had to be perfect – literally only one shot at getting it right!  Got the Audio/Visual squad involved – and they helped me lay in backing tracks for the song.

i was prepared – but no one else knew what i was planning.  Not even remotely nervous – until i saw our CEO walk in… The guy known for tearing off heads, ripping new assholes, and generally being a humorless curmudgeon.  Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea?

Too late.  All in.  Go big or go home.  Yada yada yada….

Showtime!

Slight case of nerves in front of about 250 people – but the cane worked perfectly, and got a chorus of “Oooohs and Ahhhhs”.  As i got to the word “Welcome” i was looking right at Mr. CEO – and he had thrown his head back…. with laughter!  He was clapping!

Whew!

The rest went well, our guest speaker was actually funny – and i managed to keep my job.

every girl's crazy 'bout a sharp dressed...

Got a short-notice ping from friends as i left work, inviting me to a Friday night VIP “Ribbon Cutting” event at a restored mansion, now being used to host weddings and special events.

Since i was already dressed for it…. Went headed off to VIP Wedding-land for some free beer and appetizers!

closest i'll ever get to a wedding dress

And THIS is the closest i’ll ever get to a wedding dress!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

* Wrote “AMF” on the sign out board.  Stands for “Adios, Motherfuckers!”

** Why can’t they make them with “power stretch” panels – like maternity clothes?!?!?

The Weight

It’s easy to trace elements of my constitution to parental influences.  From my Father?  Intellectual curiosity, empathy for the less fortunate,  love of music and the arts, and complete comfort among people from diverse backgrounds.

From my Mother?  Cold, dispassionate strength*.  The kind of strength that would allow me to bury a body…  Umm… if ever needed.   She is fierce, in her way.  Good Appalachian-American breeding stock.

Unfortunately, i also inherited one of her more crippling afflictions.  She is a hoarder.  Excavating her house prior to renovations took three months.  i have to fight it, or fear that i will become buried in my ‘stuff’.

It’s not bad.  Yet.  But i catch myself saying “Hey, i might need this someday…” as i find a stash of wood scraps in the garage.  That old coffee pot?  “It might come in handy if…” Rubber bands that i’ll never need.  Twist ties.  Plastic storage bags.

i fight it.  i recycle aggressively, and throw things out regularly.  It’s there, though.  Percolating beneath the surface.  It isn’t obvious to others, since i’m fortunate to have a LOT of space.  Plenty of storage space lets me squirrel it away.

January is when i have traditionally launched my “winter project”.  Last year?  Organizing the office, and building the Murphy Bed.  This year?  i want to finish my theater room/exercise room/bar downstairs.  To do this?  Excavations are required…

But…

It is hard for me to let go of a cardboard box.  You never know when you’re going to need a box, right?  i like a wide selection on hand.  As i started to dig, i was surprised at the number of empty boxes i had stashed in the storage room.  Round one?  Break ’em down and send ’em to the recycler!  Boom!

Reluctant at first, now i’m in a “GIVE IT ALL AWAY” state of mind!  The local thrift shops will be delighted to get the Jeep load of appliances, clothing and odd housewares!  Bed, book case, shelving unit?  See ya!

The “stuff” now feels like it weighs me down.  Makes me less mobile.  Pins me to the floor.  i am making progress…

Not only at home, but at work.  Last week, i started a new assignment.  New building.  New office.  This required a move.  After 31 years working for the same employer, i’ve got “stuff”.  i thought i was pretty brutal when i packed it all up – filling two large boxes with papers and documents for the industrial shredderator.  Many trips to the dumpster, too.

This week?  Unpacking and setting up the new digs.  Is there anything more promising than a clean, empty desk?  Vows to “get organized” sproinging around in my head.  Such promise!

And the purging continued…

Not too hasty, mind you.  This little pic?  A gag crafted by my colleagues.  Appeared on my office door.  While getting hammered at a conference team building during a business trip, i’d mentioned that i find intelligent men attractive.  i was challenged – “What about the smartest man on earth – Stephen Hawking?”  to which i replied “i’d have his love child”.

He wants me...

And this.  i have an obsession with post-it notes.  As the boxes were unpacked this morning, i threw post-its in a heap.  All shapes, sizes and colors.  These?  i’m keeping…

i can quit anytime i want to

Memories.  i discovered a map of Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris, along with photos taken from my hotel room balcony.  My first trip to Europe in ’92.  i can keep these a few more years…

We'll always have Paris

At the end of the day?  Boxes.  So very tempting to break them down, and stick them behind the desk.  Prepare for the next move.  Always be prepared to move.

boxing day

Perhaps the best aid for rapid deployment?  Travel light.  The boxes went to the recycle bin.  Weight reduction.  Lean up for the new year!  i’m getting better at this…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

* It occurs to me that i haven’t told her full story here.  Future blog homework.

Plus or Minus Five

Five years ago, i first hit the “publish” button on the shiny new blank slate of a WordPress blog.  My stated purpose:

“In a classic sense, i’ve done remarkably well – especially considering i was voted “most likely to be found dead in a gutter” in the ol’ high school popularity poll.

There is, however, a tiny, perhaps moving, boundary i crossed somewhere along the way – averting a likely path into the world of “one bad damn decision after another”.  Part of what i am doing with this forum is to try to understand how that happened…

Parenting two rather extraordinary young adults who share some of my genetics (The Girl, 21, and The Boy, 19), i want to understand how i got out of The Park.  So that i can help keep them out of The Park.”

Those young adults are now 26 and 24, and it is five damn years later.  And still rather extraordinary young adults who probably still share some of my genetics.  And are not in The Park.

Strangely enough, i found myself spending New Year’s Eve doing exactly the same thing i did five years prior.  House dance party, hosted by a friend that i have now known for over 30 years.  Wrote it up in my third damn blog post.

The words i wrote five years ago:  “And my body feels it today… there are certain muscles one only uses for dancing.  Or maybe for…well…horseback riding?  In any case, i was a bit out of shape to survive 4 hours on the floor unwounded.”  Could have been written this morning.  Or afternoon, seeing as i didn’t wake up until after the sun was riding high in the winter sky.

Once again, i danced for fourfuckinghours.  In a smallish costume (due to thermal management interests more than showing of my rack).  And once again, i am feeling it today – in a very good way.

This year, i rang it in with Studley.  Reflecting by the fire pit, it occurred to me that i could pin myself to the exact same place five years prior.  Seven years prior?  i’d met him at a New Year’s Eve party – and it was a casual “drive by” hug that he delivered at midnight that brought us together as friends, and later, as lovers.

Studley:  You know, in five years from now?  You will be retired!  You are planning your last day of work for December 31st, 2017.

daisyfae:  Holy shit!  You’re right!  And i know EXACTLY where i’m gonna be!

Studley:  I’ll plan to be your designated driver.  Pretty sure you’re gonna need a babysitter that night…

And it was off to dance for another couple of hours… Seeing faces i’ve seen for 30 years, and faces i first saw at the November dance party.

i seem to collect good humans in my life – from those amazing childhood friends, to the good people who continue to wander in on a remarkably regular basis, i don’t like to let such people get away from me.  Looking back through the comments?  Some of my regular blog readers have been with me for almost all of that five years – and i am astonished by that fact!

Here’s to old friends – in real life and in the ether of the internet…  And to adventures ahead!  Happy New Year!  Thank you for stopping by – i’m not nearly as sure of what i’m doing out here as i was the day i started, but it feels right.  And so…

and away we go...