Friday, May 25, 2012

Falling Asleep

Amy asked "What were you thinking about right before you fell asleep?" 

I can tell you, but someone out there is bound to take offense. 
And some of you might just discover how prude I really am, deep down in my heart of hearts.
And some of you might feel like I am being self-righteous.
Please know that I am keenly aware of a huge number of flaws and more keenly aware that I have more flaws than I am aware of.  We are all working towards goals, and even these little blogposts are just snapshots of moments along the road. 

What I'm saying is, I have a long way to go.  So does everyone else. This does not represent a destination or a judgement of someone elses journey.  Just my thoughts about where our journeys are taking us as I talk myself to sleep each night.

That being said, feel free to take offense.  And then make an honest evaluation of what that offense means for you rather than for the person you feel has handed it out. 

After all, interactions are more about people than people want to cop to. 

Once again, I'm getting ahead of myself. 

I've been intending to write a post of this nature for some time. Perhaps that's why its on my mind as I fall asleep.  Something needs to be said.

On Saturday, I got bullied a bit.  It was completely uncalled for and it impacted a group of people, not just myself.  Some of the women who were around me when it happened actually cried a bit.  I did not.  I got mad. There was no reason for any of us to be treated in such a manner.  But the individual doing the bullying is a frequent perpetrator of general meanness and nastiness, and while she has caused me tears in the past, this time I was done.  Infuriated. 

I stewed for a while.  I recognized that this individual probably treats those around her like this because this is how she is treated in her own life.  I don't think that's an excuse, especially for a grown up who is responsibile and intelligent.  We choose our actions. I do think part of the problem is that this person is so power hungry they no longer recognize the injuries they cause to those around them. They block out feeling in an act of self-protection, but doing so means they feel nothing for those around them, or that they assume those around them have done the same and will also feel nothing. 

But its deceptive.  Because you can pretend all you want that you or others aren't feeling, but all you are doing is pretending, and the reality is that your hurts and the hurts of others are all there, getting jumbled up in a game of pointing fingers of blame and responsibility.

And its inappropriate that anyone should act this way.  Children do it as a learned behavior, grown ups need to move beyond it.

So I was angry.  And hurt.  And I knew that I was the undeserving victim of a chain of bullying, and while I have no idea who started it, I'm certain every perpetrator would point their finger of blame at the person who hurt them and eventually it could simply be traced back to Cain and Abel.  But they aren't responsbile for the actions of last saturday.  Regardless of blame, regardless of "who started it" we each have to take responsibility for our own actions.

Which leads me to Sunday.  When I was already feeling hurt, angry, and vulnerable.  And this guy started pushing my buttons.  He always pushes my buttons.  But this time I was through.  I was already on the edge and maybe all he did was all he does everytime we hang out, but instead of forcing a good-natured smile, I spoke my mind.  And regardless of the number of times I've thought it, He didn't deserve to have my mind spoken to him.  And that's how I became the bully.

I told you, I am keenly aware of imperfections in my character. 

And I agonized over it for a day or two.  I argued over it in my mind.  He deserved it.  He has deserved it for a long time.  No, he didn't, you've never given him indication of your irritation or any correction.  Yes I have, I'm constantly telling him to back off.  No, he did nothing different than the usual ribbing.  But I've had enough. 

And that's where I saw that it was my problem.  I had enough.  I was over the edge.  I spoke my mind.  I am responsible for my own actions.  And to run around declaring that he deserved it or he asked for it was to be no better than the woman who had bullied me.  The chain had to stop with someone taking responsibility, and it may as well be with me.

So I swallowed my pride.  I called him, he didn't answer, (I don't blame him, I was pretty mean) and so I texted my apology.  And he accepted, and I think things are fine.  Pretty anti-climactic for how much pride I had to swallow. 

But at least I have some self-righteous assurance that I am not the same person as the woman who tore into me. 

Bullies use shame.  They make their victim feel as though its their own fault they have been picked on.  The weak members of the herd are singled out, and left feeling as though its their own fault for being weak.  And they are told that their choice is to remain weak and continue as victims or to become strong by being the bully themselves.  And so bullies beget bullies. 

And I'm not sure that there is a way to stop someone else from bullying.  But you can stop yourself.  You don't have to create yet another link in the chain, you don't have to build another bully. There is no guarantee that the person you attack will be willing or able to stop the cycle, so you have to stop it yourself.  And you stop it with words.  You label what is happening, you label the actions of yourself and of those around you.  You label responsibilities.  And you don't do it in an accusatory or self defensive way.  You state the facts. 

My facts were, I was overwhelmed with emotion and I took it out on someone.  I chose a target and I behaved inappropriately.  I apologized. 

See how those were all of the "I".  The ideas that someone caused my emotional distress, that someone may have 'deserved' retribution, or anything indicating blame are removed.  This is not a court of law designed for witnesses and punishment and retribution.  It is a relationship with real people who are only and completely responsible for their own actions. 

I can also choose to stop my interactions with those who casue emotional distress in my life.  I can choose to walk away from those offenses.  No matter what, I am responsible.  No one, not the mean lady, the button-pusher, Cain and Abel, or the devil himself makes me do or feel anything. 

So stop saying it.  Stop saying the devil is making you grumpy today.  Its simply not true and it is damaging to give him that kind of power.

Now you know as well as I do that stresses add up.  Its never just one person or one incident that causes the disaster.  The proverbial straw that broke the camel's back comes in a whole pile of straws, any one of which can be added or removed to change the camel's burden. 

It works the other way too. The positive way.  Think for a moment of the number of times you have needed rescuing in your life.  The accumulated good deeds help make you the person that has survived countless attacks.  You don't get resuced once and call it a life. You get pulled from the mud countless times.  And those times will continue throughout your life. 

Its easy to dish out bullying another as often as we have felt bullied.  But have you rescued others as often as you have felt rescued?

There is a deficit in this world.  I have no idea if the deficit is because of an overabundance of negative deeds and emotions being slung around, or by the lack of good deeds.  You break even if you meet bully for bully and smile for smile.  But you can double your returns if you replace the negative with a positive. 

I'm still working on it.  I certainly haven't returned a smile to the bully lady.  I've been focused on undoing my own bullying.  The only thing more difficult than apologizing for my own behavior will be swallowing my pride to be kind in the face of someone who has mistreated me.

So my last thought as I went to sleep was "I can't be nice to her. I won't.  She doesn't deserve it."
But I know that eventually I will be. Eventually.  I'll need a little more time. I'll wallow in my deficit for a bit longer.  Maybe I'll make a list of nice things I can do for others before I finally come to terms with being nice to her.

A commercial

From Jenny:
If you could be in a commercial for anything you wanted, what would it be and what would you do and say?

The fun answer is:
Golden Grahams. I love golden Grahams. I love them so much, I only eat them about once a year, because I don't want them to lose their appeal from eating them all the time. That happened to me with cinnamon life. Sometimes I think I could love it again the way I used to, but I buy it and have less than a bowl and am tired of it. So golden grahams stay sacred. One box for my birthday. One box at some other point in the year. Rationed joy. I would do a commercial for them.

But commercials for kids cereals are generally obnoxious.

I think there should be a campaign for adults to eat Golden Grahams. Not spouting anything healthy (that would ruin it for sure) But maybe some sort of confession. Hi. My name is Nancy. I'm a grown up. And I eat Golden Grahams for my Birthday. In fact, there could be any number of people confessing. Hi. I'm Joe. I'm a grown up. And I eat Lucky Charms for dinner every Friday night. Hi. I'm Angela. I'm a grown up. And I eat Fruit Loops to get through boring business meetings. Hi. I'm Ethan. I'm a grown up and a lawyer. And I eat Frosted Flakes during legal depositions. They are part of my $500/hour fee.

But that's all silliness. Reality about me and commercials is easy.
The easy answer is: Been there, done that!

Wanna see?

There I am, from :19-:22 
3 seconds of me singing one of my favorite pieces of music ever. 
Oh I know if you read this then you are already aware of my obsession with the choir.  And maybe you are bored of hearing about it. Don't care.  If there is anything I want to be associated with, this is it.  And if there is anything I want the world to know about regardless of who I am, this is it.  And so honestly, If I could really do a commercial for anything, this is it.

When I saw it on TV, I just about fell off my couch.  I looked it up on youtube and saved a copy for myself.  I am that much of a dork. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

"Things that Ryhme with Butter"

How do I love Kim?  Let me count the ways. 

I love her like a Nutter Butter loves being dipped in chocolate milk. 
And the way Laman loved to mutter.
And the way birds flutter.
And while we are on the subject:

Words cannot utter
The perfectness of combining chocolate and nutter
For privacy I close the shutter,
To indulge in a snack of divinity utter,
The chocoalte milk nutter butter
Where even the sludge of a broken nutter
Does not cause me to cringe or mutter,
But to seek a spoon to retrieve said soggy nutter clutter
From it's milky gutter
At such a state I do not stutter,
Nor sputter at the soggy nutter
Instead I feel my stomach with joy flutter
As I contemplate the texture and flavor what're
Found in eating soggy nutter clutter
from a sludgy chocolate milk gutter.

The End.


This was Cheryl's second question.  Her first was about the choir, but I'm afraid I'm not allowed to blog about the choir.  I have lots of funny stories to tell, we get a lot of laughing in between the singing part.  Especially in the alto section.  Especially especially in the back rows of the alto section.  But we can do lunch sometime and I will tell stories of pranks and giggles and long-running jokes and new words to the songs and things the conductors say. 

Anyways, her second question was " If you could travel any where, where would it be and why and with whom"

I have a list.
Angkor Watt
Macchu Picchu
Rio De Janero
South Africa

In that order.

And please don't think I am kidding.  Everytime I think about going anywere, there is a littel nagging voice in the back of my head that says "wouldn't that money be better spent in Paris?".  And I realize that the only way I can justify travel will be to make sure Paris is revisited as often as possible.  It is, after all, one of the few places on earth that feels like "Home" to me. 

Do you know that feeling?  Not everyone does.  When I first told my Minnesota class that I was moving to Utah, one of the parents stopped me and told me that while she had only driven through Utah once, she loved it more than anything, because for some reason, the moment she crossed the border into the state, she felt like she was "Home" for the first time in her life.  I asked her if she had been on I-80, just outside of Evanston, where you are driving through those canyons.  She got very excited.  Yes!  I know that spot exactly.  And then you take 84 instead of 80, and turn north-ish into Ogden and its one of the prettiest most peaceful places in the world to me.  Although if you take I-80 into Salt Lake and drive up Parley's just in time to see the sun setting over the Salt Lake Valley, you might have to pull off the freeway to contain yourself. 

Home is different for everyone.  I'm not saying you have to love the Wasatch mountains the way I do.  I'm saying they feel like Home to me.  I'm saying there are places on this earth you can go to that feel like Home from the moment you set foot (or wheel) there, it doesn't take time to adjust and it doesn't change if you leave for a while and come back.  Just like the Madsen Recital Hall in the HFAC at BYU feels like Home to me.  And the choir loft in the tabernacle feels like Home.  And Paris.  Paris felt so much like Home, and I could never explain why.  Not even to the companion who refused to go into the city.  But it's Home.

So it does seem a waste if I have time and money to travel and I don't use it to go Home. 
But it's also kind of selfish to declare that Paris is home without giving anywhere else a chance.  So I would love to see the world, and to see if there is anywhere else that feels like Home. 

The other places on my list are actually interchangable.  Maybe not in that order, but I want to see them all the same.  I want to find out if they feel like Home and I want to figure out why.  Angkor Watt and Macchu Picchu and Jerusalem are ancient temple sites.  I want to go before they become so tourist ravaged they are closed to the public (so Jerusalem is already a mess... I may be too late there).  They are considered wonders of the world.  Designations like that are given for a reason, and I want to know why. 

Everyone seems to go to Hawaii.  I want to know the appeal.  Vienna, Italy, and Prague are centers for music and art and pastries.  I could do them all in one trip that begins and ends with Paris.  Rio de Janero is an intrigue thing.  Its the one place on the South American continent that I am curious about.  The Congo and South Africa are both results of my experience with people from there.  We could throw in Madagascar too.  The people I have met from these parts of the workd are fascinating to me.  I want to see their culture and how such amazing individuals come out of certain societies.  Oregon seems random, doesn't it?  Especially since it is so close.  But it is rumored to be one of the most quietly stunning places in the US.  Green.  Mountains.  Beaches.  Waterfalls. It sounds like my kind of a place. 

And who would I go with?  That part is easy.  A friend.  Not a group of people with different agendas.  No agendas.  One friend.  Someone who is willing to hike a mountain one day and lay on a beach the next.  Someone who doesn't mind taking the metro to a random stop and discovering the nearest restaurant or bakery.  Someone who will sample local cuisine, go to a grocery store instead of the latest rendy restaurant, and walk through local markets without a schedule.  Someone who does or does not know the language, but is willing to do or put up with sign language for haggling and someone who is willing to watch people and learn about the real cuture, not just the tourist culture. 

I went to Paris with a group of friends. There were 5 of us. They had agendas and things each of them wanted to do.  I spent a lot of time being a tour guide and translator, and I spent a lot of time frustrated with the group dynamic. The best time we had as a group was when we went outside of the big city, to Troyes, and I made them eat cheese and chocolate on the train and we went to a movie and then to a creperie at 2 in the morning and really lived the culture.  The best time I had was when I went to the Opera alone (who would turn down student seats at the Garnier for $6?) and ate a grec from a street vendor.  I think they spent that evening going to the top of the Eiffel Tower.  I still have never done that.  And I think I'm OK with that.

So no more groups for me.  Going with one friend means we can do the things each of us wants to do, and share the expereince if we want or split up if we want without offending the other.  No one is forced to run around on someone elses schedule. 

As for who specifically, well that's up to all of you.  Where would you like to join me?

new and strange occurances

I'm diverging fron the all-request thing for a minute.  Don't worry, I've got more of that coming too.  I just figured I should explain myself for a minute or two.  Mostly for myself.  Maybe for others as well. 

I did a weird/risky/completely insane thing yesterday.  I turned down a job offer.  I have never done that before.  Well, not never.  I did it once before.  I turned down an offer to work at the window factory for a third summer in a row.  I got the letter inviting me back and I quite literally said "I''ll starve first." and since that was the summer that my insane roommates stole my food all summer long, I actually did starve.  And it was a small price to pay for not being in the window factory.  Starving for a summer probably saved my life. 

But yesterday's situation was different. And I shouldn't get ahead of myself, so I'll start towards the beginning. 

At the end of last semester, I was starting to worry about the summer.  I hadn't been getting hours at work, and I needed to work.  I had just enough savings to get me through June, leaving July and August as this giant black hole.  I cannot handle not having a plan. We all really struggle with that, I'm sure, but I really really struggle with that.  And going to school requires a lot more living on faith than I am really comfortable with. 

In addition, I have been concerned about my work experience.  Most of my cohort members have some really phenomenal experience in the mental health field.  I have phennomenal experience working with children.  Most of my cohort has current experience working with non-profits and counseling centers, I work with rich babies. 

I spoke with my [favorite] professor about these concerns and she gave me some reassurance and recommendations.  She told me she was pretty sure she already knew where my practicum placements would be and that they never had a problem placing people in this program, regardless of experience (have I mentioned that this program has an AMAZING record for getting their graduates jobs?  Their reputation is so good, its basically 100% placement upon graduation, one of the reasons I chose it).  Then she (in her very reassuring way) gave me some contacts for work experience and volunteer opportunities.  I told her what my dream job would be, and she informed me that what I wanted was perhaps the most difficult thing in the world, and if I wanted to work there, I needed to start jumping through their hoops now.  Its the only time I've ever seen her be more discouraging than encouraging.  So of course my stubborn brain took it as a challenge.

School ended.  I spent a week half-working and half recovering. 2 things happened on monday.  My roommate announced she was moving out.  (she still hasn't given 30 days notice or even a real move-out date, but she is working in ogden now, so I haven't actually seen her since she told me this.)  My boss called to offer me summer hours that were far more reasonable than what I had been predicting.  15-20 a week, with the potential for full time when people werre on vacations.  I realized I could survive on the job I had and would still have flexible time to do as I pleased, so I set about applying for volunteer positions.  With a degree in music I have learned that even if you are applying to volunteer someplace, you have to practically spam the world with applications in order to be heard.  I applied for 4-5 volunteer things, thinking that was a nice start, and I'd do more tomorrow.  Some of the positions were at my dream job, some were at places my favorite professor recommended. 

I heard back within hours.  I couldn't believe my eyes at the emails and my ears at the voicemails.  3 contacts all came at the same time as my boss called and asked me to work full time hours for the next week. People wanted me.  This was a brand new feeling.  And once again, my music degree habits kicked in and I wanted to say yes to everything. Because with a degree in music, any offer is probably the only offer you will get. 

I scheduled interviews for in-between work hours during the next week.  That week was two steps beyond insane.  I clocked 48 hours of work.  I babysat 3 times, had 2 choir rehearsals, and did the interviews.  I was offered a volunteer position in my dream job location and a real job in the other place.  I had applied to volunteer there, and they were calling offering me 20 hours a week at a pay increase from my current position. 

But the two conflicted with each other.  I couldn't take the real job offer and still volunteer at my dream job.  But I could volunteer at my dream job and work my current job.  Which had finally started giving me hours. Now comes this week.  My car had been having some overheating problems so I brought it in. 715 dollars later I had a new water pump and timing belt.  It runs beautifully now, but remember how all I had was rent for June? Not anymore. 

Also, remember how my roommate said she would be moving out but i haven't seen or heard from her since? 

So am I paying double rent for june?  I don't know.  I put a post up about finding a new roommate, but I can't say when I need one.  I'm assuming as soon as possible, but the other thing is, remember how current roommate is kind of a pig?  When she left 2 weeks ago now, she left her comforter in the washer. I took it out a week ago because it was starting to smell and I needed the washer, and I hung it to dry and then went to put it in her room.  Her room.  I hadn't looked before.  I assumed it would be a mess. There were clothes on the floor (I can handle that) and there was underwear everywhere (can't handle that) the bed is not made (fine, whatever) there aren't even sheets on it (is that how she sleeps?) There are fast food bags everywhere and a TV is set up but the TV box and styrofoam pieces are still cluttered around it. The closet is nearly empty, but I'm not sure if thats because everything is on the floor or because she has started moving stuff out.  Only one thing is certain: I can't show that room to potential roommates.

Here's another layer of complication.  My friend is buying a house and we were going to be roommates.  We were planning on sometime this summer, when the house thing happens.  It was looking like August.  So do I find a new roommate and ditch her in august?  Do I find a new place, move, and then ditch and move again in two months? Do I pay double rent until something works out?  I honestly don't know. 

And here I am with a job offer.  Guaranteed hours and money.  It wouldn't be enough to pay the double rent.  But it would be guaranteed, as opposed to the other job, that potentially could be enough hours to pay double rent, but it is not guaranteed.  And I could do my volunteer stuff at the dream job if I just stick with the current non-guaranteed position.  But the non-guaranteed position is at a place I tend to resent and is not doing anything in my field.  And the guaranteed position is in my field.  But I'm certain to not get enough hours there to pay double rent, only single rent, so I would HAVE to get a new roommate and nix the plan to move in with my friend.

Basically I had a choice between playing it safe, working at a place where I could survive, get experience, give up on moving in with my friend, get yet another roommate that i don't know and have no guarantees about whether they are the butter-on-the-dryer kind of people or the food-stealing people or psycho in some other way.  (They could be nice too, I suppose. It does happen).


I could stay at the job I dislike, pray for enough hours to cover the rent, hope for things to work out with my potential future roommate, and take the opportunity to volunteer at my dream job in hopes that it pans out to someday be a real job doing things that I truly love. 

This is why I had my little melt-down on tuesday night.  At choir. Over a friend's bridal shower we are trying to plan.  It had nothing to do with the bridal shower, but the bridal shower was what broke me. I threw a tantrum.  It should also be noted that I am dealing with allergy issues like I have never had before.  Sure, Minnesota in general has my nose at a contant drip and I whine about how my head gets fuzzy while I am there, but for the first time ever I have allergies in Utah and am coughing and wheezing and my head is beyond fuzzy, its downright congested and I'm so sorry for all the people out there who have allergies like this.  So with my head in a pained and congested state and my mind roaming from decision to decision and my spirit trying to focus on choir music, my heart rebelled at the bridal shower.  Only the shower wasnt the real problem. 

I had decsions to make, and cake or cupcakes was the absolute least of my concerns. 

I'm not generally the risk-taking girl.  But you know what?  Playing it safe is what landed me working a dead end job, hating my life, and taking depression meds. 

The things I really love in my life have come from the only risks I've ever taken.  Move out at 16 for the U of MN Project SEE? Scary.  But more educational than anything else I could have done.  Move halfway across the country alone at 17?  I only ever wanted to go to BYU.  Burning that letter from the window factory and starving for a summer?  I wonder sometimes if I had gone back a third summer, if I ever would have actually made it out of that town.  Live in a foreign country of someone else's choosing for a year and a half? I would have done it even if it wasn't Paris.  But it was, and it wouldn't have been Paris if I hadn't done it at all.  Audition for the MoTab?  I very nearly gave up on that, you know.  Despite the fact that it was my dream, the opposition was so fierce, I nearly walked away more than once. 

And this Master's program was probably the biggest risk of all.  Quitting my job, begging for sub hours at work and babysitting work, and spending my days reading and writing about something I had never really studied before.  But I am not even to the middle of it and I love it so much.  And it gives me the potential to get my dream job. 

So I'm not going to stop taking risks now.  Its not time to give up yet.  And it may be crazy or stupid, and I may fall flat on my face, and I don't know what failure will look like, but I think even failure is more honorable than not even trying in the first place. 

I called the job offer yesterday morning and told them no.  I also told them I loved their organization and would like to volunteer for them on my time.  We are working that out.  I called my dream-job-volunteer-opportunity and scheduled the battery of drug tests, interviews, and references to get started.  I told my boss I just spent $715 on car repairs and was in dire need of her help. 

I am Nancy the risk-taker.
Please send cash or ramen. Or both.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Summer Reads

You guys are awesome.  I knew I could count on my friends to be better than a google search for blog topics.  Feel free to keep the questions coming, I'll answer as many as I get to.

First question: What are you reading for fun right now. 

Ah yes, the summer read.  I so anticipated reading for fun, more and more as finals rolled on.  Here are a few things I've been going through, summer goals, as it is:

Man's Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl.
Yeah, just a little light readting, right?  Actually, compared to the textbooks of the past semester, it was. And it has been sitting on my list since starting the Master's program. My professors keep quoting it and citing it and assigning chapters from it, but its been a shamefully long time since I've read it in its entirety, so it was the first thing I picked up.  It only took me a morning, and it was a good way to ease back out of academic stuff. Though provoking and easier to ge through that "Adult Psychopathology and Diagnosis".

Beethoven As I Knew Him, Anton Schindler
I found it on a library sale bookshelf during finals week, and couldn't resist.  This was one I frequently referenced and heard about in my undergrad, but never read in its entirety due to time constraints.  I figured since my academic reading brain was in shape and my music brain was being starved, this could round things out a bit.  And it did.  It felt good to be back in familiar territory.

No Toil Nor Labor Fear, James B. Allen
Its the biography of William Clayton (the guy who wrote Come Come Ye Saints) that I borrowed from a friend months ago and got really into but then school took over.  Fascinating read.  The writing isn't my favorite style, but its not bad, just not mine.  The information, though, is pretty awesome.

A Century of Singing, J. Spencer Cornwall
Yet another library booksale find.  History of the MoTab.  I figured it would be good info.  Also fascinating, although I recognize its really geared for an audience as specifically obsessed with the choir as me.  So, you know, not a very broad spectrum of people.  But I'm enjoying it.

But Nancy, you may say, These are all so dry and history-ish and academic-y still, even if they reflect your interests and obsessions, they aren't "fun".

No, I'll admit.  Not "fun" at all.  Which is why my summer reading goals are different than my summer fun reading. 

My summer fun reading can be summed up with one author: Terry Pratchett. 

Actually, that's not entirely true, since my first read is called "good omens" and it was co-written by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.  Which reminds me how much I love Neil Gaiman, so I'll probably read a bit of his stuff too. 

Now if you know me and you know Terry Pratchett, you may be surprised to learn that I haven't read all of his stuff yet.  Believe you me, its been on the list, its just that I haven't gotten there yet.  And if you don't know Terry Pratchett, think of a sort of Douglas Adams wit with fantasy instead of sci-fi.  If you don't know Douglas Adams, I'm afraid I can't help you.  Also, how are we friends?

And that, my friends, is my summer reading list. 

Stay tuned!

Monday, May 7, 2012

An All-Request Summer

Classes ended.  I passed everything.  Even the reallllly hard class I was worried about.  And I had about a week to kind of recover.  Then this week I have some how ended up working nearly full time. 

Interesting things are happening.  And I have no idea what to say about that.  I tried looking up "blog challenges" for writing ideas so I could just stick to a formula and answer questions instead, but while I was looking at other people's ideas, I had a new thought.  How about if I'm going to answer questions, I answer your questions?  You, the 4 people who read this, you must have random questions for me.  They could be thoughtful, strange, funny, whatever.  And I reserve the rights of selecting and interpreting questions.  Is this dangerous? I don't know, that's why I'm reserving my rights.  I would like to do at least a post a week, but that means I need questions from people.  So put them in the comments and we'll see what we come up with.  We'll work out the kinks as it goes along.  Yes? Yes.  I'll do my first request-post this weekend. Ready, set, go.

PS. Ummm. Please have fun.  And please respond.  I will be oh so sad if I don't get to post at all this summer.