a page from the flow

The past few days haven’t been easy.

For starters, I’ve still not secured a room to rent after one week of looking. (This trip, in fact, is dedicated to that sole purpose.)

I’m using craigslist, which for better and worse is the primary, in most cases only, way to find rental spaces/roommates anymore. In the big picture, I’ve encountered people who’ve responded (in mails), then seemingly dropped off the face of the earth … people who haven’t responded at all … people who’ve promised they’ll respond then don’t … people who say they want to meet you and are a step away from inviting you over, then disappearing … people  who change their minds (like the guy who emailed me when I was en route saying “don’t bother coming over, I’ve decided to move”). People who make promises and don’t deliver. People who fail to carry through on their words. People who just don’t bother to show up.

In case ya wondered why I’m a misanthrope!

But the worst of them all, the very worst, I cannot write about. I will not write about it. No. I cannot. The encounter and experience (both by email, not in person, THANK GOODNESS!) have deeply disturbed me. Truly. It’s not only because it’s the first time I’ve encountered and dealt with a person … of this nature, shall we shall. I’m an old, old, old soul who’s lived through a LOT in this single lifetime alone. I’ve dealt with ***all kinds of people.***

This one, however, is different. (Not in a good way whatsoever.) S/he is a deeply disturbed, twisted and sick individual. And I had the misfortune of encountering it, albeit at a distance. Though the encounter is passed and never to be again, it leaves me on me this profound need to take a shower.

Not only a water shower. A light shower.

By writing this, I see now that that is exactly what I need to do, should do and will do. The seductive sickness of this individual, the disease of his/her mind and the not-close encounter (fortunately) are startling. And, again, deeply disturbing.

How I did not see it from Moment 1 bothers me; I’m not lacking in astute observation and perception by a long shot! I did, however, come to see it quickly — quickly enough, certainly — by Moment 3. So my radar remains alert and fully functioning.

There are individuals who are so twisted and that adept, slick and immersed in their sick twisted games that one, they’ve no idea of what honest relating is or how to do it. Moreover, they inflict their damage and ruin on others — sometimes to such an extreme extent and depth that the victim does not or cannot recover.

I was nowhere near that degree of risk. What bothers me is that I got pulled in even an inkling and only for a few moments. “I should’ve known better.” Yet how?! I did nothing wrong. The red flags sprang forth into conscious awareness rapidly. So why am I getting down on myself rather than cleansing myself of the natural revulsion that this individual rightfully and justifiably elicits?

I’m reminded of a recent experience, also via writing/email, with a BlogTalkRadio host that required intervention by BlogTalkRadio. While the experiences themselves are quite different, what they share is this sense of violation of goodwill. My goodwill. My “trust” {NOT the right word} that these two individuals, though I knew them only through cyberspace exchanges, were not out to do harm.

But each was. Each had intent, in some form or another, to do harm. To violate if not the sanctity of another’s personhood directly, then to satisfy his/her own sick (might I say also sadistic) needs.

That kind of person repels me. And frightens me to the extent that I don’t understand it. I do not understand the diseased sick twisted mind of a game-player. A Sick and Twisted Siren, assuming the individual is in fact female. I can’t wrap my mind around the motivation of an individual whose purpose and intent are to damage and do harm for personal gratification. I do not get it.

Clearly I need to process out this experience with this individual and cleanse myself of its residue with a shower of water and shower of light. I am grateful not to be of a sick and twisted mind. I am grateful not to be so deranged (or at least not in that way, haha, moment of levity) as to want or need to pull others into that self-created pit. I am grateful for my clarity of thought, my sound reasoning of mind and my intelligence.

I am grateful to be me, washed over, cleansed and protected by the Light, and safe from the seductive and skillful lure of that sick twisted personality. I am grateful to be me, in touch with reality, kind and good and giving of compassion to others and to my self.

There it is … a page of reflection, of processing, a page from the flow …


The Powers of New York City Are Mightier Than God.

You’d have to be living in a cave to not know that the East Coast is getting slammed by a brutal winter.

Some folks may wish they were living in caves compared to the frigid depressing apartments of New York City!

New York City. Picture this: A storm dumping a foot of snow in a day or less. Blisteringly bitter cold winds. Pedestrians braving the conditions slipping, sliding and falling hard. What cars that are out on those roads that do get plowed stalling, spinning, fishtailing and advancing like injured soldiers on crutches. Air thick with gray and snowflakes, obscuring vision.

And STILL you have to pay the parking meters!

I kid you not.

I very nearly fell to the floor the other day when while reading news articles about the storm in New York, I read with my very own eyes “parking meters remain in effect.” Drivers who can’t see 1,000 feet in front of ’em … who are slip-sliding across NYC’s roads … struggling to drive straight and between guesstimated lane markers (ohhh, been there!) … barely able to keep the car from fishtailing in a turn …

And they’re expected to position their cars properly in front of parking meters — more power to ya if it’s parallel parking!! — dig into pockets beneath layers of down or wool, pocketbooks or wallets with gloved hands — to extract coins or a credit card (presumably like Denver, NYC now has card meters) … unfold themselves out of the safety of their vehicles back into crusty biting conditions and deposit money into a fucking parking meter?!?

Heeeeey, no problem!!!! drawls New York City in its best mafia don voice.

There are 1,001 reasons I wouldn’t live in New York, their socialist politics topping the list. {Repeat to self: Will not go there. Will not go there. Will not go there.}

For New Yorkers in winter, this is the LEAST of your problems. (photo courtesy of nydailynews.com)

And after reading that NYC meters remain active even those miserable subhuman conditions and people and drivers struggling so, I had to wonder how those small meter vehicles manage to navigate the snow and ice when a 2,000-lb. car can’t.

I pictured some meter maid cruising rows of meters by foot, sweeping off 6 inches of snow with their NYC-issued thermal gloves, peering through the plexiglass and BINGO! Time expired. And ecstatically entering the plates and time with a touch pen into her handheld electronic device.

Because nothing but NOTHING keeps down a hardened New Yorker. Not the destruction of the World Trade Center. Not the crowds. Not the dirtiness. Not the astronomical prices. Not the socialism or government dictates. Not the rules that require diners to ask for salt. Not the drugs or corruption or dangers.

And certainly not a blazing blizzard! Park ‘n’ pay up, suckas! For the powers of New York City are mightier than God.

About Rooms and Space

The big push to get into Prescott and complete an overdue departure from Kingman by month’s end is on.

The first and foremost requirement is lodgings, a short-term and temporary landing pad — hence to craigslist for a rental room. Preferably one furnished since I have no furniture, not even a bed. I’ve not had a bed since 2011. There’s an intriguing teaser and wealth of stories waiting!

A Strange Nomad: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Get A Bed.

Anyways, craigslist is a loaded topic. So overloaded and fraught with painful history and people’s failures, primarily in the employment section but not limited to, that I dare not — and I do mean dare not — poke that gargantuan nest of raging wasps with even a toothpick. Not today.

This day (Th/1-23) I’m in Prescott, day 5 of a trip made specifically for this lodging purpose, “guesting it” in a buddy’s home, caring for his talkative and bossy part-Siamese cat named Simon while he’s out of town, salivating like Pavlov’s dog in anticipation of the fruits of my labors.

Finally, today, I get to view the first available room. A second was on the day’s agenda; something came up at work, she emailed me, so that’s canceled, requiring a rescheduling — and hopefully promptly since I need to get back to Kingman pretty quickly.

Tomorrow’s another viewing! My hunch is that these two or three rooms won’t be equal, that they may fall into their own 1-2-3 list of preferences organically. Where I’ll end up is the surprise in store!

I think most people would be extremely unnerved knowing they’re moving in a week but not knowing where! Those feathers of mine aren’t ruffled — for better or worse, I’m just so damn practiced at living in uncertainty and with shelter ever and constantly in flux.

My problem is that I mentally set these deadlines about when X should happen (i.e., finding a room). Sometimes it happens in my time and sometimes it doesn’t. And when it doesn’t, I panic. I lose trust or faith (admittedly the little I have). I get fearful that I truly am abandoned, that there’s no higher power or force or benevolent presence seeing me, never mind seeing my most basic needs (a safe shelter, food, water).

Talk about poking the wasp nest! These issues are soooo loaded with history, trauma, baggage and childhood experience, simply put, they’re not for public domain.

So it’s funny how I don’t really fret and turn emotional circles about where I’ll be living in a week — while being fully aware that I’m vacating my current premises at that time. Living by the seat of my pants is old habit and overpracticed skill. Not securing lodgings by a certain date — a self-created deadline — THAT bothers me. Is freak-out material.

Trust. Faith. Learning to believe — because it’s *very much* a learning process … this current journey for shelter reminds me of these ongoing (life) lessons. Reminds me that I need to let go … surrender … trust a process and a space, as in universe, that I cannot see, touch, smell or hear (very tough for this Show-Me Missouri-type gal!) … and most of all, and hardest of all, come to believe that I am seen by those above. That I won’t be forgotten. I won’t be abandoned. I won’t be forever invisible.




Taking the Bullhorn to Businesses

Bad press is better than no press, they say.

While I can see the truth in some situations, i.e., Hollywood, the movers and shakers, in general I wouldn’t agree with the adage.

Take fabfitfun.com. I’m not singling them out on. They’re the first to spring to mind after yesterday’s post, giving them their deserved dings.

We are a society of information overload. The amount of CRAP on the Internet, in social media, and available at our fingertips at a moment’s notice — 10 moments if you’re working on a dinosaur laptop that creaks and creeps along like I am — is monumental, no doubt.

On the flip plus side, information that’s credible, valuable, helpful and worth reading is easily and widely disseminated.

And this is my approach with my writings/blog. “I’m not Ralph Nader’s daughter but I coulda been,” I often quip. My passion for consumer advocacy and holding companies to standards is palpable.

I could make a semi-career out of spreading the word on companies that measure up and those that don’t. My instincts are strong and my head smart and my words powerful, loud and on point. I don’t skirt around company failures OR successes.

Neither am I bound by political correctness in ANY way, shape or form! In fact, political correctness is such mountainous manure long shoveled by the libs and swallowed up by the public that I could write voluminous posts on that alone.

I won’t. Not today. Today’s about companies that suck and companies that succeed. And as a passionate consumer advocate type, I love spreading the word on them to those who are interested, who care and who actually hold companies to a standard and measure of quality anymore.

Most people don’t. It frustrates the hell outta me. By holding no company accountable, sloppy players are left off the hook. They’re allowed to slide by with substandard service or product and rotten customer care. Which, btw, is precisely my experience and foundation of public  complaint with fabfitfun.com.

On another day, I’ll write about the importance of consumers getting involved and stepping up to the plate when there is an issue — be it a positive or negative — with a company. Because it’s a two-way street, a relationship between consumer and company. Each has a role. Each has a responsibility. Companies that drop the ball are as guilty of business malpractices as consumers who drop the ball in not holding companies accountable or to any standard.

That’s my “spiel” today. In short, blogging is my bullhorn to let the world know who rocks and who sucks among businesses, whatever be their service or product.  Those who deserve kudos will receive them; those that have earned a thumb’s down will get those. I’m a fair person, objective and entirely unattached to outcome. I report the news and I move on.

In closing, were I fabfitfun.com, I’d be embarrassed and ashamed to be so damn unresponsive to ANYONE who’s attempted to communicate, repeatedly, to no effect; moreover, I’d be ponying up effusive (and overdue) apologies to all those who took the time to complete a lengthy editing test who received not even a token acknowledgment.

That’s rude, discourteous, unprofessional. It’s just bad business.

For any who read this far, thanks and see y’all around the corner …

Signed, she who coulda been Ralph Nader’s daughter but isn’t

FabFitFun.com. — Edit to Flabby-UnFit-NoFun.com

Nothing ignites my ire like unresponsiveness.

Be it posters of job ads or housing (do NOT get me started on the hell that has become craigslist!), I think responding is essential as a courtesy and a respecting acknowledgment of the applicant.

America’s page overflow with lack of response. People think that simple manners aren’t necessary in their cars and behind their computer screens. They think the world begins and ends with them. They think that because they can’t see the faces of those sending emails, they don’t have to care. They get to be cold, inhuman, discourteous and get away with it.

It’s rude when anyone does it and in particular workplaces. I’m a rare breed, granted, because I still hold companies to standards. The bar’s set higher than with, say, posters of ads for housing. That is, responding to a job applicant is not only a human courtesy but a necessary display of professionalism. Take away both and that speaks volumes about that company. And for me, because I do hold companies to a basic standard of professionalism and responsiveness, my interest in working for them falls away.

That company today is FabFitFun.com

Under a theme of Life Lived Well, FabFitFun presents itself as a fun, loose, hip magazine focused on fitness, fashion, health and style. With articles like “4 Ways to Boost Your Brain Power,” “Best Outfits for your 2014 Workout” and “4 Delish Way to Dress Up Your Kale” — that’s “ways” by the way — FabFitFun is Cosmo meets Self magazines.

It’s  ironic I spotted the mistake in that hed on kale. Ironic because a month or two ago, I came across their online ad for copy editors. I’m a damn good editor. As a writer, I have not only such passion for the written word but a solid knowledge of and meticulous eye for the details, the nuts and bolts  of language. I’m a grammar nazi. From writing to editing, I hold myself to a very high standard in the craft of writing.

In that spirit, I took the FabFitFun editing test, which essentially was “find the 10 errors in this block of text.” There were more than 10, which I indicated in the test. Moreover, I went as far as to spot and correct the errors in their company introduction that accompanied the test! I’m just that committed to good writing.

Submitted the test AND the requested well-written cover letter. Waited. Waited. Waited and waited for an acknowledgment. Just a simple: “Thank you. We are in receipt of your test. We will get back to you in a week.”

Never arrived.

So I followed up.  Very important, to my standards, and woefully unappreciated by today’s employers. “Did you receive the editing test and cover letter? I’d appreciate a response” sorta message.

Again: Zip. Zero. Nada.

So after some time, I wrote AGAIN. By now, I wasn’t only frustrated, I was ticked off. I recounted the history of communications (or lack thereof). By this time, I was probing less for a response to the editing test and more for a HUMAN response.

What came back was an auto-reply “We’ve received your request (#XXXX) and will get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks for reaching out!”

That was two weeks ago.

So I wrote them one last time, informing them in carefully-crafted words what I thought of their responsiveness (not much) and their professionalism (even less).

I’m done with FabFitFun.com. They’ve revealed themselves to be unacceptably unprofessional and uncommunicative — oh, the twisted irony for a medium in the communications industry!

Moreover, I’d advise anyone looking to work for them to look elsewhere, unless your low standards allow you to work for a publication that evidently doesn’t give a shit about responding to emails. More precisely: responding.

Moral of the story: Run fast, run far from FabFitFun.com! Hey, it harkens to the very fitness they promote!

Bud Light: Nothing “bud” a bad memory.

I’m flat on my back on the bed. Ten o’clock at night. Still early for this night owl and mostly unheard of to be in bed at this hour.

The bright light overhead scalds like a torture device in a Soviet interrogation room. It sears my brain.

The dimmer’s 3-4 feet away. I’d rise to turn it off except that I cannot move. I’m immobilized. I have Bud Light to thank.

I throw a right arm over my eyes, or a left, or both, to shield from the brightness. I cover my head with the flannel blanket. White cotton is not conducive to eliminating glare.

My stomach cramps violently and flips somersaults in nausea. You know when you want to throw up and you don’t want to? I want my stomach to settle. Lying motionless on my back, head flat and straight on the pillow, affords miniscule relief.  To turn my head just to look at the clock is to invite in an upsurge of nausea and cramping and lightning bolts to the head.

This isn’t food poisoning. Neither could it be for the simple fact that all I’ve eaten today are snack crackers to take the storming edge off the Bud Lights. They didn’t.

The violent stomach distress, in truth, is the lesser of two problems.

My pounding headache is off the Richter scale. A horrendous crunching splitting pain enveloping the entire skull. Not even my migraines are this violently severe.

So intense is the pain that I cannot construct a thought or an image. Am I dying? Is this the onset of some old-age mental disease? I’m drenched in pain with no way out. I truly wonder whether I should go to the ER for morphine, like migraineurs do.

If only I could move even a fraction of an inch to switch off that bright light.

And I have Bud Light to thank.

I know this for certain. I had two tall glasses while watching the Niners lose to the Seahawks in the playoffs. I drank them slowly. I couldn’t get halfway through the second glass. The headache and short-circuiting were coming on strong.

When I got back, it was bad. Stomach cramps and head in a vise. I took crackers to soothe the symptoms. I could hardly see straight. I finished off some computer work that HAD to get done — by force of will and sense of responsibility — and fell into bed.

Where for hours I lie motionless, yearning for sleep that couldn’t come and relief still miles away. Thanks to Bud Light.

See, I’m a beer drinker, in moderation. I enjoy good beers, craft beers. It’s very rare that I drink cheap beers anymore for two simple reasons: They’re crappy and they tend to give me headaches. (When I do drink cheap, it’s for solely budget reasons.)

But NONE has EVER produced the splitting blinding headache and stomach distress that Bud Light did.

Additives. Chemicals. Mysterious ingredients to amplify the buzz. It’s not even a good buzz, not a real buzz. It’s a manufactured buzz created  from additives and chemicals and who knows what else. How do I know? My body. My response. My experience.

(Plus, for the record, there’s plenty of discussion and speculation about their additives and others’ reports online of bad experiences with Bud, as I’ve since discovered.)

The hours pass. No idea how many because like I wrote I’m immobilized by a violent blistering headache and grinding stomach cramps and nausea. I couldn’t turn to look at the clock, much less rise to turn off that light.

Eventually the stomach reaches its pinnacle of distress and hurriedly leads me in my stupor by the hand to the toilet, where I throw up and throw up and throw up more.

All of it Bud Light (and token remains of digested crackers).

Only then do I return to bed, still steeped in queasiness but feeling better for an emptied stomach. Only then, while I’m on my feet, can I switch off the light.

I’m not here to probe Bud or Bud Light as a company or evaluate its products (though both are worthy topics).

I’m writing this because Bud Light has no precedent. It produces in me a bone-crunching headache and bout of churning nausea like no beer I’ve had (and as a gal who enjoys drink, that’s a vast spectrum indeed). Your mileage may differ. As for me, Bud Light will never be a choice again. It is and will remain little “bud” a bad memory.

When fine white powder flies. And you don’t.

Fine white powder everywhere like someone sloppy with cocaine sneezed.

Noxious fumes.

Power equipment the size of a kid’s bicycle, tools, trash cans and brooms.

Ah, the joys of home renovation!

Hey, it’s not my home! I rent.

It’s not my project to remove the ancient furnace from its wall cave and install one that’s powered, modern and doesn’t emit a bleeding-ears high pitch when it first cycles on! It’s his, the guy with the house, my roommate.

Mmmm-mmm, nuthin’ like the overpowering scent of fresh primer to cleanse the sinuses and compete with the morning coffee!

Like every home renovation project through history, it’s turning out to be (a) bigger than he’d expected and (b) harder than anticipated, pockmarked with surprise developments along the way. None of which is embraced with enthusiasm. One of the universal laws of home projects.

Like there were only two wires connecting the old heater and thermostat. And the new model has four.

That’s a problem. So my roommate’s been having to (a) get into the attic, which requires naturally going into the garage and crawling up through a not-very-big hole accessible only with a stepladder set on the washing machine.

Then (b) crawl clear across the attic — because these are low flat-roof houses  in the desert so there’s no room to walk tall like the humans evolved from our hunching apes that we are. Home renovations uniquely remind us of our primate ancestry.

To arrive at (c), still squeezed in the attic, above the heater, where he deconstructs and reconstructs this that and the other “simply” for the ultimate need to feed a four-wire wire* across the attic and down behind a wall to a  little box with dials and buttons.

*not the technical name

What a project! He’s up to the task. Extremely skilled at these things, in fact. You can see the engineering and math and problem-solving gears in his mind turning, calculating, reasoning, reorienting, reconstructing. It’s quite beautiful to observe, really.

The house, not so beautiful right now.

For the clean-up staff — that would be me — my work’s still to come. As a super-clean and tidy and detail-oriented person AND someone who’s done a lot of high-end professional cleaning (NOT proud to say that) and post-construction cleanup, I know — oh do I know! — the horrors thrills of ridding residences of fine white dust of sheetrock.

It’s airborne cocaine without the high.

It gets everywhere and into everything. It’s on the floors so you leave tracks.

It’s on the walls, a fine misty powder naked to the eye if they’re white but revealed with a swipe of a finger.

It’s in the crevices of your bookshelves, the corners of your chairs, the curves of your couches.

It’s on the knobs of your stereo equipment, the vents of the TV and the wires that connect them.

It’s on your clothes. It’s in your hair. It’s in the crevices of your ears. You just don’t know it. {bwwwwwaaaaahahahahaha}

Well, I do. My body & sensory systems are freakishly high. I’m not normal. I coulda been ET in the movie. Point being that the shower’s my best friend.

Anyhow, this reconstruction looks to be over no time soon — certainly not soon enough! Because meanwhile, it’s still winter. And though our unusually mild season here  in western Arizona, with highs  in the 60s and lows in the 30s,  pales with a good rest of the country’s (nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah …  kidding!),  that desert night chill is real. Creeps into the house and absconds with the day’s collection of the sun’s warmth like a weather thief. Leaving a house without a heating source a tad* chilly.

*I understate it.

I’m heading outta town anon (for separate matters, not to flee the noise, disruptions and odors of home improvement) so that’ll bring respite. Strangely, however, I leave with this hankering to find a theater playing “Blow.”