In the Years 2000: A Retrospective

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

“I’ll be 26 when it turns the year 2000.” 

That’s how we said it as kids, remember?  ”The year 2000″ — like it was a feature film and not a real year.  When I was 10 and 13 and even 17 that still seemed really far away… and really old, kind of. I assumed, at 26, I’d be married and maybe have some kids.  I’d hoped we’d have flying cars and get food out of thin air, like the Jetsons, but even then I realized that technology was pretty far off.  (Ice cream “on demand” is probably not a good idea, anyway.)

When it actually turned 2000, I was single, living in Texas and spent New Year’s Eve high above the Las Vegas Strip, dancing my face off to progressive trance and deep house music with purple hair wearing a black ballgown and Converse All Stars.  Twelve years later,  at 38, I was back in Vegas for New Year’s Eve — this time in my bathrobe on the couch, watching home improvement shows and wishing it would just be midnight already so I can do responsible things like wash my face and get some sleep.

I’m not entirely sure where those 12 years went.

Not to get all existential, but it’s occurred to me lately that life moves really fast.  I know Ferris Bueller prepared me for this in 1986, but I was busy dreaming about my alleged future husband and fictitious kids.  I wish I’d paid a little more attention this past decade.  I wish I’d appreciated more the things I’ve had, the things I’ve done.  I spend way too much energy bitching about how I lack and not truly appreciating how I rock.  I’ve accomplished a lot and I often take it for granted. I’m hard on myself for not doing more, being more… though I’m not sure who I’m hard on myself for.

In the year 2000, while that was an awesome New Year’s Eve, I was also beyond broke, my credit was in the crapper, I’d sold almost everything I owned including some things I really wish I hadn’t to make stupid mistakes that only 20-somethings are allowed to make.  I’m glad for all that because it gives me this opportunity to pat myself on the back… finally.

In the past 12 years, I’ve:

Become a web designer — something I tinkered with in the 90′s, but never thought would be my real job.

Created a successful business — which is sometimes scary and often stressful, but I love making clients happy. Plus, you get to work in your pajamas and knock off early to drink beer sometimes.

Co-written a book and had it published — a real book! Not an e-book, not a downloadable PDF, a real bound book by a major publisher found on shelves of actual bookstores. Sure, it’s a tech book and, despite the good reviews, it didn’t become a bestseller, but it’s a published book and I’m proud that. And I’m not even annoyed that they often put the price sticker over my face. (This is the part where I eschew negative self talk like “Everyone’s got a book now, it’s not that big of a deal.” It counts.)

Reclaimed my finances, paid off 99% of my debt and have put my credit rating back in the “good” zone. There was a time when I was floating checks at the local loan shark (read: check cashing places) and pawning my microwave for $10, so this was no small feat.

(Aside: I’m inclined to write “lost 100 lbs” here, but I’ve gained half of it back and frankly, I am trying to focus on accomplishments and successes that don’t have to do with my weight because I am so over my own ass.)

I feel like there should be more things here — which again, is my Inner Overachiever saying, “You’ve only done 4 things in 12 years?”, but objectively, those are pretty amazing things.  So shut up, Inner Overachiever!

In 2012, I want to be more appreciative of things, of myself.  I know that sounds all “touchy feely soft focus sisters of the woodlands” which really isn’t my style, but we can all use a little more gratitude.

I also want to blog more in 2012. It’s what I do, it’s what I do for a living — I hawk blogs to people, shouldn’t I actually use mine?  I’ve been mistakenly measuring my blog’s “success” by the past, by what it used to be, by how many people used to read it — back when it was a medium to large sized fish in a tiny puddle.  What I’ve come to realize is that it’s not about who reads it. It’s about who writes it.  The rest of it is gravy.  My appreciation of this space cannot hinge on other people’s opinions.

But if you’ve stuck with me through my blog drought and have been reading all along, thank you. You’re the cat’s ass and that’s my highest compliment.

I give myself permission to write about whatever I want here. It may be (and often will be) funny, it may be sappy, it may be emotional. It may be sad. It may be political, educational, nutritional, work-related, pet-related or boring as hell.  But I give myself permission to write it and I give myself permission to not care.

In 2012, we should all appreciate ourselves more and care less about what the masses think. You may think you don’t, but if you worry about your blog traffic, your twitter followers, how many retweets you get, how many “likes” you get, if someone tagged your double-chin photo on Facebook… then you care.  You’re human — so caring isn’t bad, the trick is not to care as much.

So bring it, Mayans. If 2012 is allegedly going to be our doom, we might as well use the next 11 months and 21 days to appreciate everything. We can go back to our usual self-loathing on December 22.

Categories: Life

We’re Here, We’re Somewhat Queer. Like, a Skosh. Get Used to It!

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Image courtesy of Wikipedia. Art by Keith Haring.

It’s National Coming Out Day! This is such an important day in so many people’s lives. I wonder sometimes how many actually wait until this specific day to come out or if it’s more of a symbolic day for them. Probably a bit of both.

I’ve never had to come out to anyone — not in an official capacity anyway. I think the closest I ever got was telling my estranged aunt that I had a girlfriend back in 2000. But since we were estranged, I felt no nervousness, it was, for me, a non-issue and nothing she said was going to affect my relationship (a relationship which ended in a ball of fire and girldrama, naturally).

I consider myself  lucky in this aspect.  Not having much family sort of eliminates the need to please or worry of judgement.  I skipped the wailing sobs of a mother who thinks she’ll never have grandchildren (which is ludicrous, by the way). It negated the potential disapproving glances from old school aunts or uncles at family gatherings. I just sidestepped that whole thing.  I’d rather have a family to tell, by all means — I know they would have been relatively cool (after a few whispered concerns about how I’m known by the company I keep) — but I guess the point I’m making is that it’s never been a source of angst for me. I love who I love and that’s my business. Period.

Once, when I lived in Texas and first started dating women, I got scolded at a party that was being broken up by mentioning to the police officer that we were “just a bunch of girls having lesbian fun”. (That’s how I was identifying at the time — I was new and hadn’t read the bisexual handbook yet. And yes, I’d clearly been drinking. Lesbians love wine. It’s in the handbook next to Jeeps and golden retrievers.)

“Don’t tell him that! They can arrest us for that here!”

I found that totally absurd, being the occasionally naive and always open-minded person that I am, but it was Texas and I was used to California police officers.  And legally, no, we couldn’t be arrested for being gay (anymore), but we certainly could be given a hard time.  I was also dating a black woman, which was like a double whammy in Texas according to my friends, so I was told to basically keep my mouth shut.

You may have guessed I don’t like to keep my mouth shut.  But I did and after several lewd comments, a few threats of tickets for public intox (even though we were inside an apartment) and one V-fingered facial gesture I won’t demonstrate, they left and I got an earful about the laws in Texas.

The next day, I volunteered the Gay and Lesbian Community Center to learn more about my rights, as a woman, as a member of the LGBT community, as a human being on planet Earth.

Last year, I talked about being a bisexual and how I’m not a fan of that label.  You can read more about that here, if you’re so inclined.

My heart and thoughts go out to those who are brave enough to come out to someone they care about today — and every day.  Be proud, be honest, be vocal and most of all, be who you really are.

Categories: Life, thoughts

Just Deserts

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

I’ve been in Las Vegas for about 10 months now and there have been many adjustments to living in the desert. My skin is now used to the dry air (as long as I remember my moisturizer), but my allergies are worse than ever. The desert landscape, while quite tonal (mostly beige), does have surprising elements, like incredible sunsets and sunrises, and the striations and layers in the surrounding mountains are really beautiful. People drive like 90-year-old palsied crackheads and I’m nervous a lot on the roads here. The summer weather sucks, but it wasn’t as horrifically hot as I expected it to be.  The winters are much colder than I expected, but not unpleasant. I like sweaters and once it even snowed, so not a big deal, really.

I don’t love it here, but I hate it less than I did last November. I’d go as far as to say I don’t even hate it. It’s… acceptable. For now.  I would like it more if there weren’t things like huge centipedes and fist-sized black widows, insane electric bills and a lack of friends. I feel very isolated, despite having a view of America’s Playground from my bedroom window.

The year has flown by very quickly, so I know the next will. We committed to 2 years, but now that the first is almost up, we might actually stay in Las Vegas longer than planned. There’s nothing I want more than to go home — to go back to moisture in the air, buildings with character, better Mexican food and my social life. However, we’d also be going back to higher rent for less space (which we’re alright with), but Mike needs to be able to transfer with his job or find another job that’s willing to wait for him to relocate. So the move kind of hinges on those options being available.  Staying allows us to save more money, allows Mike to advance further in his job and gives us the opportunity to take some trips we’ve wanted to take, but might not otherwise be able to afford.

I have explored the city more and discovered areas of town much, much, much better than the one we’re currently in. Our house is nice — big (maybe too big) and new-ish — but the general area is kinda of… meh (says the spoiled Southern California girl). Lots of heavy BOOM BOOM bass on the car stereos, myriad dogs barking and sirens — so many sirens. The retail/commercial areas leave something to be desired, as well.  Like functioning ghost towns, there’s lots of empty and spotty retail spaces and we have to drive 5 or more miles to find a decent grocery.

We’re thinking, if we stay, we’ll move to Summerlin/The Lakes area — the southwest side of the city. It reminds me of SoCal Lite — lusher landscaping, more greenery, more palm trees, better retail offerings and it’s close to Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s — the only places in town I can find lively produce. It’s also a bit closer to The Strip for those times I do want to go over there. It’s considered one of the more affluent areas of town, I think, but we can likely get a comparable place for around the same price we’re currently paying. Now that we’ve been here for a while, we know what we want and what we don’t:

MUSTS

  • Covered patio. We don’t have one now and our back “garden” is basically useless space with a concrete slab.
  • Backyard that contains more than just gravel. It’s so not gratifying to weed rocks. At least in a proper yard, when you weed, you’re able to enjoy the scenery afterward.
  • Big tub (I can’t part with my big tub)

WISHLIST

  • Wood burning fireplace
  • Pool (maybe — it depends on the costs to maintain such a thing, but I wouldn’t hate having one)

NO, THANK YOU

  • Water closets (our master bath has a toilet in a tiny stall with a door — I feel like veal in there)

We’ve got another year to go before our lease is up here — but I know with work and travel next year, time will zip by.  We’ll likely hire an agent to find something for us so we can pretend we’re on House Hunters — except I won’t quibble over the wall color.  (Seriously, why do they always bitch about the hideous colors? There’s this stuff called paint, Mensa.)

Anyway, we’ll see what 2012 brings. The point is, despite me missing California so much it hurts, I’m not ready to throw myself off the roof just yet.  Vegas isn’t so terrible.

Me Living Room. You Man Cave.

Monday, July 25th, 2011

I’ve been watching a lot of House Hunters lately — mostly International — and I’m noticing a growing trend among American men.  Lately, it seems that men are increasingly requesting — if not insisting on — “man caves“.

I hate that term — how Neaderthal-ish.  Do you intend to go out and club dinner and drag your wife around by her hair?  Man cave. Give me a break.

I appreciate that everyone has a right to privacy.  Everyone needs some personal time without their significant other — or even a roommate — around. You need space, I get that. I cherish my time alone because ultimately, I was always really content living alone and while I’m happy, it is an adjustment living with another person 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The standard argument I’ve heard is, “The wife/woman/girlfriend/significant other gets the rest of the house to decorate and do with what they want, I just want my own space that’s mine to put up my action figures/sports crap/ugly leather recliners so I can watch the game/play Magic the Gathering/jerk off in peace.”

While I can appreciate the desire for said space — what makes men think “the woman” gets the rest of the house, especially if they have kids?  Does the woman get her own “lady hut”, too?  Why do the men get to escape to a “man cave” that’s just for them when the woman is stuck with the messy living room or the kitchen and potentially screaming children? Where does “the woman” go to read her magazines/watch her programs/use her vibrator without interruption?  Why do only the men get to ‘escape’?

Now, I actually DO have my own space — my office is my domain.  But it is for work — I don’t hang out in here.  But, I decorate it how I want —  it’s pink and girlie and I have all my crap up that I probably, for aesthetic reasons, wouldn’t display in the rest of the  home.  Just as I wouldn’t love it if mikey hung a Fathead of DarthVader on the living room wall, I refrain from hanging hot pink velvet curtains in the living room.

I know most men aren’t into home decor, so they figure “the woman” gets that honor and therefore “controls” the rest of the house, but that is simply untrue.  My opinion is that couples should decorate mutually.  And while mikey trusts me with my design choices, I do usually ask for his opinion if I’m choosing a statement piece for the living room  – like a rug or a piece of furniture.  And fortunately, we both have somewhat quirky tastes, so it works out. Not always – I’m not saying I love having 20 Domos in the living room, but I don’t hate it (I love Domo, too) and it makes him happy, so we have 20 Domos in the living room.  It’s mikey’s space, too.

So, I don’t totally understand this sudden surge for the “man cave”? Is it because they feel like their wife takes over? Do they feel emasculated in their own home?  Why do a growing number of men feel they need to escape from their spouse and family into their own domain when they get home from work or on the weekends? Isn’t that when they’re supposed to spend time with their family?  And when do women get their own space, away from their husband who doesn’t listen to them talk anyway, away from their kids?  You’d need a house with 2 extra bedrooms just to accommodate everyone’s “personal space”, but doesn’t that defeat the whole point of living together?

The only way I can abide a true man cave is if the woman has one, too, or the guy’s wife decorates with country ducks and dried flowers and has her scrapbooking crap spread out across the living room. Then he has my permission to set up a compound in the backyard for all I care.

Rockin’ the Cosmo

Monday, July 18th, 2011

If you follow my Twitter stream, you probably saw that I went to see Ben Folds live on Friday night at The Cosmopolitan on the Strip.  I got a little overzealous with my fangirl tweeting, but I couldn’t help it. I love me some Ben Folds.  A snippet for your viewing pleasure (there’s more here on my YouTube channel).  I apologize for the rough start… and my background singing.

The Boulevard Pool is amazing by day, but at night it becomes this incredible concert venue.  I can’t wait to attend a show there again. It was intimate and yet incredibly open. It wasn’t totally packed and we sat with our feet in the pool overlooking the lights of the Bellagio, Paris, Planet Hollywood and more on the Strip below. We weren’t more than 60 feet from the stage, if that, and could have easily walked right up to it, but we’re old folks who were perfectly happy with our feet in the pool.  It also helped that the massive LED screen that overlooks the Strip was also visible to us. So the action on stage was projected up there, too.  The overall experience was fabulous. read more >

Categories: Life, sociable