Social Me-dia

I like social media. I like Facebook. I like Twitter. I even am sort of on Instagram now. But lately I find myself randomly scrolling through my FB newsfeed. Really quickly. Really, really quickly. I am finding that there is less and less information about people that I am friends with and more and more, well, newsfeed spam.

For example, just this week, I have scrolled past photos of disfigured & maimed children without liking or saying amen. I have ignored the Jesus shaped clouds. I have sped by the memes about strong & beautiful women. I have not watched the video of Patti LaBelle pie love or random large man playing some video dance game. I have not read the vitriol against refugees. Unfortunately, my newsfeed is seemingly cluttered with this stuff. Things that are randomly liked and shared. Things that say the same thing over and over. Every day. With new pictures and slightly different words. It has become like static. Kind of like how people at work feel about the ridiculously long and complex emails that I end up sending out. It gets so that it is just meaningless.

On the other side of the coin, the things that I love seeing, the things that I go there for, seem to be appearing less and less. The photos of my baby cousin’s son who is now a proud Marine really made my week. And seeing the New Yorks at a Doctor Who gathering, all decked out as characters, was fabulous. And my laugh out loud moment today over my friend’s comment about his colon not working (on his keyboard). Pictures of my boot camp buddy’s newborn whose cheeks are so ready for pinching. And these are the things, the things that make it worthwhile. The things that are human and touch you and make you feel like, even if you are really far away, you can be there a little in your heart.

So I am torn these days. Torn about FB. Maybe the shine is wearing off for me. Because now it is too easy to post but say nothing. To be there but not there. And to me, that is not the point. I want to know. I want to know how you are doing. I want to see your kitty pictures and your son’s drawings. I want to see a picture of you flying a helicopter and see what great food you are eating and with who and where. I want to be a part. Maybe I am expecting too much. We all have busy lives so the simple share or like or amen, that is easy and quick. But then I see you but I don’t really get to see you. And really, I want to see you. That is why we are friends on FB.

Despite all of this, I am still in. I haven’t decided to check out yet. Because the good things are good. And they make me happy. I suppose when that is gone, I may check out. For now, the happy is worth wading through the rest. But I remain hopeful for more happy and less wading.


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Ain’t Nobody Fresher than my MotherF*ing Click

There was unrest at the University of Missouri this week. There were protests about the administration’s failure to address race issues. It had apparently been going on for years. And then there was this weird incident where a woman employed by the Journalism department at the school, threatened to use “muscle” against a student photographer documenting the goings on. It was kind of an unfortunate incident which detracted from the real message of the students and the outcome of their protest. The thing that got me, the thing that keeps me looking at the news stories of this and the photos is the name of the woman who caused the hubbub. Her name is Melissa Click. Click. Click, just like me. It is an unusual last name for sure.

I have never met another. Unless they were related to me. And that was a very small circle of my dad and grandparents. Apparently when the Polish side of the family came over, there was that crazy misspelling that took place where people’s names were spelled out phonetically. I think that the family name was supposed to be Klik or something of the like but instead we got Click. Just like it sounds. Made sense.

When I saw this Melissa Click, I wondered if she was related to me. Then I was thinking, is that me? Is this random woman, part of me too? I keep looking at the pictures. Too much timey-wimey stuff? Perhaps. The talk of madness. Maybe.

Long lost relative?

Long lost relative?

That name, the father’s name, always so important to some. Less to me. At one point I considered changing it. After my grandparents passed, there has always been less contact. A relationship more fraught. It is hard to say how it will turn out. Tomorrow is my dad’s birthday. Always easy to remember since it is Veteran’s Day. Like the name. Click. Distinctive.

I wonder if these other Clicks have lives that are similar to mine in any way. Is there a thread? Is there a connection? Just through the name. Thinking about my own family, I suppose that can’t be the case. The name solely creating a connection. If that were the case. It would all be different. So Melissa Click’s connection to me, even if related, is likely tenuous and easily breakable. Amorphous and transparent, if there at all. Because there has to be more than just the name. There has to be substance. But sometimes there is only the name. And the name is not enough.

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Writing Gaol

Well, every week, on Monday, at our work out group, our coach asks us to set a goal for the week. I don’t like this and I believe I may have written about it before. I feel like I can say anything and there is no one really checking up. I may do it or not. This week, my weekly goal was to write every day. It sounds so easy. Write every day. And not necessarily a blog post. Just write. I started out strong but pretty much petered out by Thursday. My excuse is that this is a night full of beer and Taco Bell with no room for writing. That sounds so lame. But it is true. 

Anyway, I think that I can count today as part of the workout week goal since, you know, we meet on Monday. I had a question-your-sanity moment today. One of those moments that leaves you laughing out loud. By yourself. I had been cooking and the trash really had to go out. I grabbed it and the extra house key because sometimes, you get locked out. Only sometimes. I was home alone so I did not want to take any chances. I took the key attached to the cute knit squid keychain and headed out the door.  

The dumpster is outside in this big doored in area. The people not on the ground floor use a trash chute from their floor. We have to go outside and toss our trash right in the dumpster. So there I was tossing. And, of course, cute knit squid keychain caught on the bag. And in it went. There was some definite cursing. I climbed to the top of the dumpster to see what I was dealing with and it was actually not too bad. The dumpster was pretty empty. I could see that poor squid in the bottom of the dumpster sticking out from under the bag. At that moment, I almost just jumped in. I could just grab it. It was right there. In retrospect, I’m really glad that I did not do that. I am relatively certain that if I had, I may not have been able to get out or if I had been able to get out, I would have been covered in the grimy badness coating the walls of the dumpster. I had mad visions later of being trapped in the dumpster, for who knows how long since my family was out at my son’s first scrimmage football game. I envisioned more garbage coming down the chute and me stuck in the dumpster. It could have been a total horror.

But shockingly enough, better heads prevailed and instead of jumping in. I went back inside (luckily not locked out) and got some tools (like a chimp using a stick to eat ants). I went for an

mmmm, ants.
mmmm, ants.

umbrella and the broom. At first I thought that I could get the end of the umbrella into the loop of the keychain (a good carnival game perhaps, if the theme was Halloween). That was not happening. I ended up using the broom as a kind of scoop and managed to get the key out. The entire thing was so ridiculous that after I got inside and washed my hands, I just stood in the kitchen and laughed out loud. By myself.

 Maybe it was all a sign. Telling me to stop just doing. To think it through a bit. To not just join the Peace Corps. Or not just move to Hawaii. Or not just quit your job. Or maybe the universe was just trying to make sure that I remember to be more like the chimps. Use more tools. Or maybe it is what it is, just a ridiculous story.

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My son is now in middle school. We discovered tonight that he actually might have BO. He actually may need me to pick him up some deodorant. He has expressed an interest in Old Spice. How did this happen? But I digress. Middle school. It involves a lot more effort for my child to stay on top of things. And well, he started out seemingly OK but dropped the ball about a quarter of the way through this trimester and we are still having issues picking that ball up. He forgets to do assignments. Or at least he tells me that he forgot. Or, he actually does them and then forgets to hand them in. That seems worse to me in some way, except for the lying. I really don’t like the lying. To me, that is just unacceptable. I threaten that when he is a teenager and wants to do stuff, I won’t be able to let him because I won’t be able to trust him.

Anyway, middle school, today was not good. The school online grading system told me, and sent me an alert via email, that my son had failed his spelling and vocabulary test. He had told me that he had it. He had told me that he thought he had done well. I was out of my head. I started writing him an email. Taking away all screen time. Telling him that we were going to study vocabulary all week for this week’s test. And then, just like that, it was the F that never happened. It seems that the teacher may have inputted the grade for the review for the test and it somehow turned it into an F for the test. But then he did not get an F on the test. He got a B on the test. So, so, so much better than an F.

Of course shortly after that I received an email saying that he had received a D on some online work that was due. And maybe after the short lived F shock, the D seemed tame by comparison. I had checked the system and that work was not listed anywhere as being due. It was like secret work. I had no idea. I’m sure that it was written down somewhere. Someplace. And he had just forgotten. I can’t hold it against him that much if I also did not even know that it was due. Because of the not knowing, my great idea for the day was to pick him up a planner. A good old fashioned paper calendar type planner. We would go through all of his due work and write it all out. Those standing assignments that are forgotten? They will be in the planner. So we will always know. I was going to get a largeish one so that we could write big. We write big.

I ran to Office Depot after my boot camp class tonight. I have to admit that I can’t remember the last time that I was in there. I like Fisher Hawaii way better but I thought that it might be too late for them. I got to Office Depot and went inside and the first thing that struck me was that it was huge and empty. It was so bizarre. I know that eventually, soon maybe, they will be clearing out to make way for a new Whole Foods (woo hoo!) so maybe that is why the place seemed cavernous. Like they could have used about a quarter of the floor space for the amount of things that they were selling. So odd. I walked around till I found the planner section. And they had a bunch and it was great. Unfortunately, they were all for 2016. I know, it’s October. I know, it’s almost next year. But, know what? It’s not 2016 yet. And I don’t want to wait till next year to be organized. I want to be organized now. Apparently, that is not an option. Apparently, per Office Depot, at this time of the year, looking ahead to the new year, is the only option. I actually could not even believe it. I went and asked a guy in a red shirt who was opening packages of water. He confirmed. They had cleared out 2015. It’s sort of like stores putting out the Christmas stuff now but in reverse. Although the concept is the same. It is the rushing through. It is the failure to live in the moment. It is the need to get to the next thing. I am tired of that. It seems very rat race-ish. I want to take a breath and have it be today not 2016. But today is not possible at Office Depot. Only next year is possible.

Since 2015 is a no buy zone when it comes to planners, we have decided that we are going to make our own planner for the next three months. We don’t need to buy one. Maybe we will get a fancy 2016 one after that. Or maybe not. Maybe we will just do it ourselves, in that moment, an arts and crafts-like project to just be this year. And not next. We are going to stay in October till after Halloween. And then we are going to do Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, in November. And then, we can think about the other stuff. It is all going by too quickly. I’m not ready to buy Old Spice. I know that I have no choice about that. So we are going to slow it down. Be in the moment. Because soon, I fear, I will be forking over my car keys. Taking a breath. It’s only deodorant today. And it’s still today.

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I haven’t written about my hormonal condition in some time and it may be time to do so again. I am officially pre-menopausal and have been for a few years now (yikes, a few years?! And a bit of sidebar here, I just checked and this could go on for as many as four years. Good lord!) The thing about moving from pre-menopausal to graduating to menopause for real, you have to not have your period for one whole year. And well, what has been happening is that the countdown starts. No period. No nothing. One month. Two months. I think, it’s time, it’s finally time. And then, all of a sudden, it’s back. Like Jason. Like Freddy Kreuger. I am left scrambling for the correct tools for the job. And then the worst part is the lingering. Like a bad cold. It won’t go away. It is more than irritating. And I know that I could have the opposite. I could have heavy bleeding requiring iron infusions because I know more than one person who had that scenario. So, technically I should be happy that it’s not that bad. It’s just so easy to slip into the woe is me mindset. 

And it seems that with the coming of this again, it is making my brain fuzzy. It is difficult to describe. The best explanation I have is the scene in the David Tennant Doctor Who days when the master is becoming everyone in the world. Everyone, right before they turn into the Master, their heads move so quickly that you can’t see their faces any more. That is what it is like. Blurry. But frenetic.  

You can watch this too long clip if you’d like for demonstration purposes:

And then last night, watching PBS there was a show about this wildlife park in Africa. They were with a woman who studies elephants. She was saying how these particular herds have a much higher prevalence of animals without tusks. Apparently this is a genetic anomaly but now that so many of the tusked animals have been poached, this is what is occurring. It is dreadful sad. It is the kind of thing where you think that the entirety of the human race kind of sucks. And as I was watching this show, it made me feel as if I had never really seen an elephant before. Is that possible? I felt like I had this heightened awareness. Like how people describe hallucinogenic drug experiences. It was all too much. The elephants were too real. Too threatened. I felt like it was my fault. Like I should be doing something about it.  

And today, it was a difficult day to concentrate come the afternoon. My brain felt slow and stuck. But like it was still going a million miles a minute. I think that this has to do with a serious hormonal imbalance what with taking low dose hormone pills and having my period. It seems to be a cumulative effect that is frying my brain. It is good that it is Thursday. I am ready for some pumpkin porter and some Taco Bell. I’m pretty sure that will help dull the static and slow down the movement. I hope so since I can tell that I’m on that hormonal edge where crying could occur at just about any moment. For just about any reason. I’m hoping for no Folger’s re-united in the kitchen or other Hallmark moment commercials. Check in again with me in a couple of months, maybe the count will have started yet again. Till then, I say cheers with my hormonal cocktail and a pumpkin porter.

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Living in Hawaii for any length of time teaches you one lesson for sure, people leave. They leave for many reasons, including being told to by the military, for better jobs and opportunities, for a larger dating pool or because they realize that these islands are really, really far from their family and loved ones. It takes some people longer than others. Some make it here. Lots don’t. And when your people start leaving, it is difficult. Sure you find new ones. But then, sometimes, they leave too.

I have been in Hawaii a long time. Apparently more than 14 years since I was here on 9/11 and that was yesterday. I have lost a lot of people to the mainland. And at this point in life, my circle is kind of smallish so to lose anyone now is tough to take. I find myself not wanting to see the leaving person. As if that will prevent it from actually happening. I know that this is ridiculous. But I can’t help it. I must seem like such a dick but really, it is just to prevent me from crying and crying.

Someone left. Today as a matter of fact. And, the thing is that I did not see her a whole lot. I fed her sometimes, bringing food to work when I had overcooked for my family. We took her along on family outings sometimes. She came for dinner at our place. Helped me hang stuff on the walls. And helped me assemble a desk once. She designed my son’s cool Ikea

son's messy but cool bed

son’s messy but cool bed

based loft bed which is totally awesome. She was the person who I thought would never leave because she loved it here. She is an avid surfer, and let’s just admit it, is cute as a button. She is talented, smart and fun to be around. If anyone was going to stay forever, it would have been her. But she is on a plane right now to Portland. To start a new life. A cheaper life. Maybe a more professionally rewarding life. A life a little closer to her family.

karaoke screen

Journey! Bad videos of 80s girls!

So as much as I wanted to hide away and pretend that today was not going to happen. I booked a room for us to go and sing karaoke. I know, you mainland types scoff at karaoke. And perhaps I did too at one point. But the beauty of the private karaoke room is that you can sing your head off and sound like a cat being put through a paper shredder and no one cares. And the way that we do karaoke, everyone sings. You don’t need a microphone. You just sing. This is really fun. Especially when a song hits that sweet spot where everyone knows, likes and can sing it and for a moment everyone’s voices join in song.

Someone described this on FB as “joy”. And I started thinking about that and completely agree. I am not a church goer but there is something joyful and meaningful in this. It reminds me of when I was a kid and forced to attend Catholic service with my parents. Sometimes, in the basement of the church, there was a service with young people playing guitars. I loved it. Then there was the time that A Prairie Home Companion came to Hawaii and the entire audience was asked to sing this old hymn. It was for Memorial Day and all of those voices, singing together, was quite moving.

Singing karaoke may not reach the level of a Catholic mass but there is something to be said for letting out your inner Madonna or Steve Perry (how I date myself). There is something about singing with your friends in a room. At the top of your lungs. With no judgement. When all the voices come together as one. It is joyful. That is how we bid adieu to my fair friend Anna. We wish her the best in her new state and hope that sooner rather than later we will have the opportunity to come together with one voice. Even if it is Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Happy trails friend, we love you.

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A Day

Sometimes, I wonder if the days that I have are like the days that everyone else has. Then I wonder, is it just me? Or maybe, everyone has days like me but it just doesn’t affect them like me. Or maybe everyone has days like me but they don’t notice. Back in the day, when the subway always seemed kind of scary, we would always be approached by the strange folk on the train. Not so much asking for money but sort of scary in a potentially mentally ill kind of way or an I-may-rob-you kind of way. The kind of situation when you would just sit there begging and praying that this person would not come up to you but then they always did. My days are sometimes like that. The freak magnet on the subway. The legend seemingly lives on regardless of locale.

Today was one of those days. It might be because I am off of my hormones this week. Anyway, I decided to go to Starbucks this morning before heading to the office for a meeting. I decided to not go to the one at the Safeway that is really close to my place. I just couldn’t take it. The line. Always a line. And so, so, so slow. I grow old on that line. And I somehow feel like it is not the workers’ fault. I realize that this is really irrational but I think it stems from when they only had one person working. Like every morning. One person. She took a bunch of orders then made a bunch of the drinks and then went back to taking orders again. I could really never get mad at her. But today, I went to the Ward Starbucks, which is apparently the busiest one on the island (but that could be totally made up). I got to see a guy (let’s call him D.) we know who works there who I hadn’t seen since I was in NY. The place was packed. It was so full of people that it was practically alive. The entire place. Like some weird coffee infused hive. Anyway, I chatted with D. and then, had my coffee, had coffee for my boss (because you do that sometimes) and I was headed out. And then there was this person and I had this totally weird moment where I felt like I knew him. Like you do when you see someone that you know and you haven’t seen them in a really long time. And I almost said hi, to this complete stranger before I realized that I did not know him. It was disconcerting in an alternate universe/past life kind of way. Because it just wasn’t that I thought I knew him it was that I felt like it was good to see him. It was very bewildering (synonym to disconcerting, but I like disconcerting better).

I dutifully attended my meeting at the office after that. On the way back home, I was in traffic and heard screeching tires from the opposite lane. A car in the right hand lane had stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross in a crosswalk and the car behind that car, being an impatient jerk, decided to get into the left lane and pass the stopped car. Needless to say, he almost hit the woman in the crosswalk. So close that it took my breath away. Thing is, I am sometimes that impatient jerk that goes around the stopped car. I seriously think that if I had been that almost-hit-woman that I would have lost control of my bladder. It was that close.

Then, I go to Safeway and it is packed. Like, there is no parking packed. Apparently everyone took today off in advance of the three day weekend. There were people by their vehicles in the parking lot filling coolers with ice. I was feeling a bit jealous. I get in the elevator with these two haole women and they are talking about driving. The doors close and it is just us white gals and the one says to the other how everyone is a bad driver here (in Hawaii). And I wonder if I was not me, but someone maybe more local looking if that conversation would have happened in that elevator. And then I think that yes it probably still would have. This is why locals are sometimes not so fond of mainland folk. And not to say that I have never potentially maybe thought or maybe even voiced a similar sentiment. But I would never say it in an elevator. With a stranger. Maybe that makes me a worse person. Or not.

Anyway, I go in and buy salsa, cream cheese and sour cream. The young guy at the register is a large-ish fellow. He is very friendly and I have seen him there before. He asks what I am going to do with the cream cheese. I tell him that I am going to make chili cheese dip which, for the record, is the most delicious white trash dip ever. He asks how to make it. It is literally three ingredients that you pour on top of each other and bake. I tell him. He says, wait, let me write that down. And I tell him again, cream cheese on the bottom, chili on top of that, shredded cheddar on the top and bake till melty. He writes it down. Asks about the sour cream. That is just for eating I tell him. Am I in some weird reality show and no one has told me? He tells me his favorite nacho recipe and it involves kalua pig.

Finally, heading to my car, there are these two local, local guys walking in front of me. They are in shorts, tank tops and baseball caps (are those even still called that?) I am watching them and then they reach the corner ahead of me and stop. I catch up and one turns to me, says excuse me and asks where the Bank of Hawaii branch is. The sign is on the outside of the building but the “branch” is teeny and does not stand out when you are in Safeway. It’s inside I say. Then they laugh and kind of hit each other, like they are sharing a joke. One has those dreadful metallic fillings in his mouth, a bunch of them. It is a funny moment. Clearly they went inside but did not see the branch and were laughing at themselves. They thank me and head off back inside of Safeway.

One hour or so of my day. So rich. So strange. So varied. Lack of hormones? Freak magnet? The why doesn’t matter because I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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