life, the universe, and everything

Who wants free money? 17 June 2008

Filed under: society — creativecat @ 6:47 pm
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I do! I do! Unlike the British apparently. According to an experiment done by a British price comparison site, only 28 people took advantage of the free money. A guy wearing a sandwich board that says “If you ask me for a 5 pound note, you can have one” encountered more than 1800 people on the street. There was no catch. All passerby had to do is ask him for the money, he would give it to you, and you could be on your way.

If this had happened in the US, the guy would have had a mob of people around him or been robbed. Probably both. I’m sure if I saw this guy on the street I would have thought there was a catch or would have thought the guy was crazy. I still would have asked him for money though. At the very least, I would have asked him what’s up with the sign. Even if there was a catch–like he wanted to talk about Jesus–I would have just taken the money and ran.


She’s crafty! 15 June 2008

Filed under: art,crafts — creativecat @ 10:25 am
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I’ve been doing a lot of work on crafty things this week.

I finished making felted beads for a bracelet. Unfortunately, I’m all out of felt now and can’t find it for sale anywhere near me. I need to order some online or pick some up from Wild Fibre the next time I’m in Savannah. Despite poking my fingers with the needles many many times, I really enjoy felting.

I was also inspired to work on a mixed media piece that’s really more of a joke than real art. I call it “What the Bottle Blonde Bitch Stole” after a piece i saw in Lump Gallery First Friday.

It’s nowhere near finished. I’m just enjoying working with the materials. I forgot how much I like the smell of oil pastels. A lot of art supplies have really noxious smells like spray fix or mineral spirits, but not oil pastels.

Another bonus of working on “What the Bottle Blonde Bitch Stole” is it’s giving me ideas for more serious pieces. I think I’ll probably start on a portrait of Mike next. Maybe I’ll call it “What Memorial Health Killed” just to keep with the naming convention.


Falling into place 12 June 2008

Filed under: personal — creativecat @ 8:30 pm
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It’s strange that as an agnostic with atheist tendencies, I believe that life happens the way it should. I guess a believer might call it fate. I’m not a fan of that word because it brings up too many religious connotations. I don’t even think there’s necessarily anything supernatural about it. Just that as much as I could (and have) tried to plan my life, what I think I’ll want and what I end up wanting don’t equal the same thing.

For example, if you asked me 10 years where I would be today, I doubt I would tell you that I would be an almost-widow living in North Carolina working part-time as a graphic designer in a long-distance relationship and would be happy with my life. Two years ago, I would have thought Mike’s death would destroy me–especially if you added having my hours at work cut back. Even three months ago, I wouldn’t tell you that I would be dating a friend of my ex-husband. I would have laughed in your face and told you I wouldn’t be dating ANYONE for a while. And I really believed that.

Now I realize that my new relationship, while completely unplanned and extremely unexpected, started exactly when it should have. If it had started even a few days earlier, I think it would be over already. I don’t feel any guilt over it like I was afraid of. Everyone I’ve spoken with has actually commented how THEY weren’t surprised about our relationship. The two of us in the relationship probably had enough surprise for everyone. Even Mike’s mother told me I had no reason to feel guilty. Her exact response was “Oh I LOVE him!” Of course, it’s still too early for ME to say that.

But I don’t believe Mike would be offended if I did. Numerous times he told me that he wanted me to move on and be happy with someone else. Again, it sounds crazy coming from a virtual atheist, but he came to me in a dream recently. I don’t know if it was actually him or if it was just my subconscious. Either way, I can’t remember much about the dream except that when I woke up, I just felt at peace. Mike was still dead in my dream. I remember talking to him in my dream and feeling like I was going crazy talking to someone who no longer existed. But everyone else in my dream could see him and talk to him as if he were still alive too. He didn’t look like he did when he died; he looked like he did before he got sick.

Even with all of the stress in my personal life, for some reason, when my boss told me work was slow and she didn’t have much for me to do, I wasn’t upset. I looked at it as a new opportunity. Time to think about what I really want. Time to look for a better job without feeling any guilt. Time to get back into working on my own work. And freelance work has just found its way to me. Out of the blue, I heard from a client I haven’t worked for in at least a year. I even heard about a full-time position at graphic design firm. I have an interview lined up for a position that sounds exactly like what I want to be doing: managing design projects. I wasn’t meant to stay at my current job. There’s something better just waiting around the corner.


Laughing instead of crying 18 May 2008

Filed under: personal — creativecat @ 10:44 am
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So much has happened since the last time I posted, it feels like a lifetime ago. At the beginning of March, Mike, my ex-husband and best friend was told his cancer was back and this time it was terminal. His doctors told him he’d likely have a good year with chemo. He only had one round of chemo before they discontinued treatment because he didn’t weigh enough to handle it. That Tuesday, only two weeks after he found out about the cancer, he went back to his mom’s house. I followed him there a few days later.

Those few weeks were some of the most difficult I’ve ever gone through. Watching someone you love waste away is so painful when you know there’s nothing you or anyone else can do. Mike wouldn’t let me or anyone else help him get dressed because he didn’t want anyone to see how horrible his body looked. At 6 feet tall, his doctors stopped chemo because he dropped below 100 pounds–and kept losing weight. At the end, my arms were bigger than his legs. You could barely recognize him until he opened his mouth. Then you realized he was still Mike.

For someone who loved food as much as him, not being able to eat much more than a cookie or two a day seemed so cruel. I almost broke down when I found a list called “Things to eat when I’m better” when going through his things. I brought him one of his favorite treats (and one of the few things his stomach could handle): Cadbury creme eggs. I asked him what was wrong because his face contorted in disgust. He told me he was so sick of them but he could probably eat them again next year. And we both laughed because we had forgotten there wouldn’t be a next year for him.

The night before he died, he told his mom that he was really happy. He explained he had everything he wanted: coffee, cigarettes, tv remote, Playstation all within reach and someone to call if he needed anything else. And he really was happy. We weren’t there to comfort him; he was there to comfort us. Mike let us know he was at peace–and we would be too.

No one was allowed to cry or sob at Mike’s bedside. If you needed to cry, you needed to do it away from him. He didn’t want people to mourn his death; he wanted them to celebrate his life. He planned his memorial service to be just that. We ended the service with Monty Python’s “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.” Even in death, Mike wanted people to laugh. After all, he did die on April Fool’s Day. I can’t think any other day that could have been as appropriate.

I have shed a few tears. I still can’t listen to Pantera’s “Cemetery Gates” without crying. But I know Mike didn’t want me (or anyone else) to sink into depression. A few years ago, while we were still married, Mike was about to go into surgery and didn’t think he would make it through. He told me then that he wanted me to be happy and move on with my life. That sounded impossible to me then. I didn’t want to believe he wouldn’t be there to grow old with me. But as time went on, I realized that was never going to happen: I was going to outlive him by decades. I’m not sure if our marriage ended because divorce seemed easier than being a widow, but I think things worked out the way they were meant to happen. I wouldn’t trade anything I went through with Mike.

My experiences with him were not easy. Most college students only have the stress of finals. I was worried about the love of my life dying and not being able to pay the rent while working on finals. Numerous people have told me how impressed they are with my strength in dealing with everything (even though I don’t feel particularly strong). Sheer necessity forced me to deal with the situation. If I didn’t, I would have fallen apart. Now, when something happens that most people would worry about, I’m not really bothered. It can’t get worse than what I’ve already been through. I’ve also realized worrying doesn’t help; it just stresses me out. Things are going to go wrong regardless of my attitude, so I might as well laugh about it.


Get slant eyed 22 February 2008

Filed under: society — creativecat @ 8:45 pm
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I may live in North Carolina, but it’s still part of the South and its racist attitudes. According to an article in the Independent Weekly, a Raleigh-area bar claims that they didn’t know that “slant-eyed” is a racist term. They must put “no offense” next to the headline on all of their flyers.

The bar owner says “getting slant eyed” is a common term for getting wasted. I’ve never heard it. No one I’ve talked to has heard that. I did google the phrase to discover that “getting slant-eyed” is a euphemism for masturbating in the navy. The article doesn’t mention that the bar wants their patrons jerking off there, but I still don’t think I’d eat anything with mayonnaise there.

None of their regular customers were offended by the flyer according to the article. Of course, according to my coworkers, this bar is mostly a redneck bar. So why would they be offended?


No support for the troops 10 February 2008

Filed under: personal,society — creativecat @ 10:36 pm
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The other night, I went to a metal show to rock out–not to get some soldiers’ rocks off. I didn’t think there would be so many army guys there since the closest base is 1 1/2 hours from here. I was wrong. For some reason, anytime I go anywhere with a lot of military guys (army especially), I get accosted.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not offended by random guys talking to me. I just don’t appreciate strangers thinking that talking to me for a half a second means I’m going to sleep with them. And usually guys who think this are in the military. Soldiers just don’t understand the word “no” unless it comes from their drill sergeant apparently.

I learned to avoid this one bar in Savannah after I told some guy no, but he didn’t listen to me. So my ex told him no. The soldier didn’t listen to him either. No, this guy in Savannah wouldn’t listen until the 6’6 300 lb dishwasher physically explained that I was not interested. Ever since then, I’ve had no understanding of the appeal of the “man in uniform.” The thought just repulses me.

At the show the other night, I’m taking a break in between sets, hanging out in the bar area, when one of the soldiers comes up to talk to me. Within 2 minutes, I find out he’s a soldier, then he tells me I can stay with him if I go to the band’s next show. Since I hoped he was joking, I laughed and let him buy me a drink before seeing the next band. I find out as soon as we get by the stage, he was definitely not joking. Apparently, saying that I would rock out with him meant that I wanted him to grind himself against me and try to force his hands down my pants. I ended up almost onstage trying to move away from him. Then suddenly, I’m free from the close to choke-hold and go over to the side to get a drink of water.

That’s when I realized he didn’t decide to let me go on his own. His friends had to physically pull him away! One of the guys who dragged the soldier off me came up to apologize and let me know he would help me again if I needed him to. Which, unfortunately, I did.

During the next break, I found out from the guy who helped me that all of them had just come back from deployment and they need to “release some steam.” Not that pent-up frustration is an excuse for his friend’s actions, but just that he wanted me to know that his friend doesn’t usually act like that. I explained that I’m not surprised because this isn’t the first time this has happened to me. I also told him that he doesn’t need to be sorry because he didn’t do anything wrong.

I really do want to go to the next show (which has national acts too!) but it’s in military-central. Although the guy who tried to protect me said he would be at the next show . . . well, I have some time to decide what I want to do that night.


What’s cooking, good looking? 23 January 2008

Filed under: culinary arts — creativecat @ 9:30 pm
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Lately, I’ve really been into cooking. I just can’t seem to eat processed food anymore. If I eat something pre-made, it has to be from a really good restaurant. Otherwise, it just doesn’t taste good and is filled with all kinds of chemicals. Plus, I’m kind of picky so I like to be able to pick and choose what I want in a dish. Even if I go to a restaurant, most of the time I end up thinking how I could have made the dish better myself.

I found a bread machine–new with the book!–at the thrift store earlier this month and have been enjoying making my own homemade bread. Of course, I’m not really a recipe-follower so I’ve been doing some experimenting. A few days ago I made a sweet potato bread which was really good, but it didn’t seem to rise quite right. It wasn’t dense, but the center was kind of sunken-in. It still tasted good though–not quite as much sweet potato flavor as I would have expected though.

I’ve bought so many different kinds of flour it’s not funny. I have rice flour, semolina, whole wheat, and chick pea. I would have bought hazelnut but it was $10 a pound! I’m currently experimenting with an Indian-flavored chick pea bread. The dough looks good and it smells wonderful, but we’ll see when it finishes baking. I’m thinking if it works out, I’ll try my hand at a birdseed bread next.