Hugs

I’ll admit, I’m a hugger.  I love hugging others and being hugged.  It’s warm and comforting until you come across a non-hugger.  Then it’s stiff and awkward.  I guess not everyone has to like hugging but shouldn’t hugging be in the same category as hand-shakes?  So much is read into a hand-shake.  It determines your sincerity, your stance, your professionalism, your integrity.  When you shake someone’s hand and it’s like grasping a dead fish, doesn’t it turn you off?  It does me.  I almost want to wipe my hand off on my shirt.  It’s the same with a hug.  When you get that lean in that doesn’t actually touch you and then a tap on the back, I feel almost embarrassed.  On the flip side, it seems invasive when those that aren’t ok with hugging grab you with some force and practically slam your body into theirs with a pound on the back and then a push away.  It’s almost violent and notably uncomfortable for both.
There’s nothing quite like seeing a loved one and embracing, however.  It’s familiar, sometimes intimate, and overall welcoming.  It allows me to share myself with those I love, those I connect with and those I feel for.
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In line

At every event I go to, I can’t help but think back to the days of elementary school when we were all taught to form a single line, standing perfectly straight behind the person in front us. Sometimes we got to stand against the wall but we weren’t allowed to put our backs on it, we just used it as a guide to line up our shoulders, using it as the example of how it should be when we didn’t have the luxury of the wall to help us.  This procedure was taught early and we used it throughout our lives.  That is, until we became adults.  Now, when the airline folks continually repeat for the customers not line up until their row is called, it’s as if they’ve requested each person stand and move to the boarding area to wait for their row to be called.  I understand being anxious about flying but the plane is not going to leave without you.  And if you think about it, giving the pilots and airline staff a few extra minutes to go through their safety checks and make sure that your bags actually get onto the plane might not be such a bad thing.  Then the next set of rows are called and each person pushes their way to the door having everything that we’ve learned over the years fall out of our heads.  There is no line, no wall to use as a guide to line up against.  So each person presses up against one another in a giant, filled in, V shape, scootching, scootching, uncomfortable, couples getting separated, scootching.  I HATE IT!  Why can’t we just get in line?  Why is it so hard?  I blame it on the men.  Why?  Because there’s always a line to the women’s restroom and THERE’S A LINE!  We obviously know how to do it!  Get in line!

Awoken

I woke up last night in the middle of the night because I had an uneasiness about me.  As soon as I came to enough to realize what was going on, I felt the migraine pain squeezing my head.  I tried to figure out why it decided to wake me up out of perfectly good sleep.  I laid there for a few minutes and felt the familiar nauseousness.  Luckily, I nodded back off to sleep.  That never happens.  I’ve been pretty wiped out the past few days because it seems like every other night, I can’t sleep.  It was my turn to sleep last night but for whatever reason, I had to be awoken.

Next thing I knew, it was time to get up.  I really didn’t want to but I did and while having coffee, I reflected back on the dream I was having, that pulled me back to sleep.  I had returned to my techie job.  I’d been asked to return as a consultant.  I was sitting at some unfamiliar table with the team that I last left.  I was talking the talk with them, their faces, mannerisms, voices, all just as they should be.  My boss was there along with the other leads.  For a moment, I couldn’t quite realize why I was there.  I felt confused.  When I tried to insert my thoughts, the knowledge was already there.  I said to them “You’ve got this”.  In the dream, at that point, I felt the pang of discomfort in my head.  I laid my head down on the table for a minute and when I picked it up, a guy, from not my previous job but the one before that, was standing there with a sandwich in his hand.  I thought back and could see myself just moments earlier giving him my lunch order.  He always went to the sub shop up the street and was willing to grab mine too.  I asked for my usual steak and cheese with lettuce and tomato.  When I opened the paper on my lunch, it was a breakfast sandwich with eggs and hash browns on texas toast.  I wondered how he got that out of my steak and cheese order.  But I took a bite.  It was horrible.

He returned just then and said that he’d given me the wrong sandwich, holding a different one in his hand.  I looked at the sandwich that was clearly not mine, but now with a bite taken out of it.  I pushed it in his direction and said “Sorry” through my mouth, full of his food.  He smiled and said that it was ok.  We exchanged sandwiches and I once again unwrapped a new meal.  It was a shrimp salad salad with lettuce and tomato.  I was stymied.  Did I not speak clearly?  Did “Steak and Cheese” sound like “Shrimp Salad”?  I took a bite.  It was odd.  I’d never had a shrimp salad sandwich before.

My friend and teammate asked me what I was having.  I told her.  She curled her lip.  I just said “Yeah” and realized I was at my desk.  I took my sandwich and walked down the hallway.  I had to use the bathroom.  When I got close enough to see the entrance, I looked for a trash can to throw away my sandwich but then realized that I no longer had it.  There was a line to the bathroom but there were men and women both waiting.  I asked what was going on.  They all spoke at once, complaining, there was only one bathroom and that we had to share it.  A woman would go into the stall and the man would enter as well but use the urinal.  I wanted nothing of it but had to go.  When it was finally my turn, I could hardly hold it any longer.  I entered and saw the uni-sign and thought there never were two restrooms.  There was standing water on the floor that my feet sloshed in.  I opened the door and saw the man that came in behind me standing at the urinal out of the corner of my eye.

I was awoken.  It was time to get up.  Headache explained.

Fault

Not my fault and not your fault but a land fault.  We went wandering around this weekend along the Hollister, Stanford and San Andreas Faults.  The faults made me think of eating too much pasta and having the seams of my shorts stretched to capacity.  Or zipping a zipper up when it’s not matched correctly when it’s started or when it has a catch and bump in it.  It’s like the earth is busting at the seams in these areas.  Some of the homes and streets show the evidence of the plates sliding.  The sidewalks having a jig in them.  The playgrounds are higher in one spot than in the other.  Porches and steps no longer attached and meeting up.

When we looked up the faults online, we found a lot of information but the most disturbing is that the evidence is usually covered over, filled in and hidden.  I assume that helps those with property in the area to not have gawkers and to ease their property value a bit.  But that seems scary as hell that it can just be covered up.

We saw where whole sides of cliffs have given way, homes crumbled and no longer thought of.  Highways have been moved to be further away while homes lose a little of their yard over time.  Water towers perched up high where no one wants to build so it only makes sense that we’d put some infrastructure there.  Crazy.  But interesting.

Doubt

The past few days have been horrific.  I announced the release of my book to friends and family which got me jazzed, sharing in the excitement and wonderment of all that I’ve been working on since our move and my departure from my tech job.  Then they started to buy it and worse, read it.  There’s intimate details of my life in my book.  That’s what memoirs are for, right?  I suddenly felt exposed and frightened.  I considered pulling it from the shelf, giving up, starting back on looking for a regular job – whatever that means.  And while all of this was pounding me down, making my world a dark place, I kept putting it out there.  I updated LinkedIn to say that I’ve been a writer for the past year and am now a self published author.  The doubt patronizing me, telling me that I’m not really a writer.  I’m nothing.  I’m just a person that wrote a book that a handful of people will read.  I tried to shut it up by entering more contests.  That’s what I’ve been doing in order to get some exposure.  If I can get published in a magazine or some other lit, it would open my book up to other audiences besides my friends and family.  All I could think of to write about was the darkness, the hurt, the hopelessness that I carry around like a suitcase strapped to my back.  I’m no writer.  Maybe I’m a thinker.  I don’t know what I am.  And so I got the book pushed to iBooks.  Then I worked on my business cards.  I hope they turn out well.  I researched bookstores to drop some off at when they come in.  They shipped today.  I hope people will use them as a bookmark.  I made them glossy just for that purpose.  Maybe I’ll ride my bike to some coffee shops to leave them.

A bike ride sounded good.  I changed, putting on my new bike shirt that I got when we went to Napa.  It was hotter than I expected.  I had some chicken for lunch which I thought would give me some fuel to burn.  5 miles into my ride, I thought I was going to throw up.  I wanted to keep going.  I needed to clear my head although there’s been no clearing it.  I just wanted to be out and about for a minute.  I was hot.  Too hot.  I kept swigging on my water but could only think of that chicken and that I was about to see it in a whole new light.  I returned home and put away my bike without losing my lunch.  I thought I was going to pass out before I made it into the house though.  I opened the door, closed it behind me and laid down on the floor just inside.  Bette Midler sang to me in my headphones as I laid there.  I started to feel human again so I got up and showered.  I didn’t feel like cooking dinner.  I grabbed the computer and looked through my files.  I saw Part II – Master.  I opened it and started reading.  I laughed and started typing when I got to the end.  I got to page 7 of the next book in the series of my life.  I stopped so I could start on dinner.

A body in motion tends to stay in motion while a body at rest tends to stay at rest.  I never really understood that saying until I didn’t have a job.  I get it now.  I feel better today.  More active.  I want to go ride but it’s wicked hot again today.  I snipped at my tomato plant for a bit and watered my herbs.  It’s supposed to cool off some soon.  I’ll go then.

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“A Series of Events” is available on Amazon in trade paperback and Kindle – http://amzn.to/YnToPS and in the iBooks store – http://bit.ly/1wttPYE

You can follow me on Twitter – @MichelleRStoner

I DID IT!

Sort of…  I (self) published my book.  It’s really surreal to see it on Amazon when I point people to it.  I was thinking the other day that it’s been a year since I left my corporate, tech job.  I thought it was funny that I didn’t get a “Congratulate Michelle on her Anniversary” message from LinkedIn.  I get those all the time for other people that have been slogging away at their career and it made me think that one thing missing from social media is feeling or maybe intent.  No one really knows when you leave a job if it’s a good thing or a bad thing.  I quit.  I walked away.  I was quite successful but had just had enough.  I did the same thing for the last year that I’d done so many years before in my career – I sat behind a computer.  But I poured my thoughts and feelings into page after page of typed words that I got bound and am now terrified to have everyone see.  It’s still a good thing – I think.  It’s good because I wanted to do it and I did it.  A huge accomplishment.  So, only if my close friends and family read it, that’s ok.  I’m going to keep writing.  At least for the time being.  I might find something else to do or I might not.  Who knows.  I’d still like to get really published.

If you’d like to check out my book, it’s on Amazon – http://amzn.to/YnToPS  I’m still working on getting it pushed to iBooks.  The process there is pretty slow.  I’m also working on glossy business cards with a QR Code on them but want to be able to put the iBooks link on there too so it’s holding that up as well.  It’s fun stuff but a bit stressful trying to get it all working.

And what’s really odd is, the job that I posted about just recently, the one that I wasn’t taking too seriously until I saw how much it meant to others – I just got a call back yesterday.  They want me to start on Monday.  I turned it down.  I want to write.  I want to give it a shot.  I want to jump up and down with excitement over it all and crawl under a rock at the same time.  It’s very bizarre.  But I’m looking forward to my promised trip to Disneyland for completing it.  🙂

The Kid In Me

I was watching the Frozen special on TV last night and at one point, I hear my partner let out a small laugh, which breaks my concentration and brings me back to reality. I wasn’t sure if she was laughing at me or what so I removed focus from the show and placed it on myself. I realized that my mouth was hanging open in awe of what I was watching. I turned in her direction to find her watching me with a loving smile on her face. I returned her smile and went back to watching the TV.

 I don’t know what it is about animation but I love it. I’ve heard the slogan “the kid in me” before but it doesn’t really feel like something in me as much as it’s just me. It sometimes makes me wonder if there’s something wrong with me. I get super excited when new movies come out. We usually go the day they open and sit amongst the hoards of screaming, sticky children that talk throughout the movie but also laugh and cry just as I do. Beyond the incredible stories that they portray, the animation itself is just as interesting to me. It’s shiny and clean and I love it.

 I enjoyed cartoons when I was younger but it wasn’t until Roger Rabbit that I became a true fan of animation. That movie made so many strides in making cartoons for adults. I still love it. How can you not love Roger Rabbit? I repeat the lyrics to this day.

 Then I went to Walt Disney World as an adult and realized I really am just a kid. I don’t know what happened but I don’t think I’ve grown up. Mr. Disney was a genius. He just got it right. I had a hard time when Disney acquired Pixar however. I wasn’t sure that they should be one company but it seems to have worked out. I’m sure they keep the lines drawn between the two companies but from the outside, they’ve done well together.

 It’s been a goal of mine to work at Pixar for a very long time. Probably ever since I saw the first movie from them. I actually did get an interview with them once. I guess that’s my claim to fame. I didn’t even live in California at the time. I wouldn’t mind working for Disney or Pixar. That’s like saying “I wouldn’t mind winning the lottery” though. I just want to be somewhere, do something that I’m passionate about. I’ve seemed to ask “why” my whole life without any answers. It makes perfect sense that we should all do something that makes us happy or it’s all not going to be worth it.

 Animated movies take me away from all the questions and worry and well, reality of it all. I lose myself in them, in the story, the realness and imagination. Whether it’s the kid in me or I’m a kid at heart or maybe I’m just a forever kid, it doesn’t really matter. As Sheryl Crow says “If it makes you happy…”