Archive for May, 2011

LTR (not)

So, all my recent research into relationships and identity combined with my own life situation has led me to think about Long Term Relationships (LTRs) and the way they work – or don’t work in today’s world. I’m not at all opposed to LTRs, or to happy stories of couples who met in high school and live together happily ever after. Those are great stories and I don’t begrudge any of those people their experiences. But for many people, that isn’t the prevailing story. Most of us enter into a number of relationships in our lives, of varying duration. Most of the endings of these relationships are at best, sad ones, and many others are down right heart-wrenching.

Even though this is what we see and experience, most people continue to expect to “fall in love” with the “right” person and for that relationship to last “forever.” That is the ideal in our culture, it’s what the stories, movies and TV shows say are great. Again, I’m not saying I’m against the fairy tale ending. What I am against, though, is the drive to make every relationship out to be “THE” relationship or risk…risk what? Ridicule? Bad karma? A nasty label (slut, player)?

This is played out in the working world as well. People apply for and get hired at jobs that they KNOW they will not want to keep “forever” but it isn’t ok to say that out loud in many companies. The person doing the hiring may also know in the back of their mind that this person won’t be kept on “forever,” but they certainly wouldn’t say so. People who are actively seeking a new job continue to fill out their annual performance paperwork complete with “Goals for the coming year” without batting an eye. Managers hire people that they know will be more or less temporary while selling the benefits of long time employment with their company. Leaving these jobs is also often sad or traumatic – even though both parties had it in their mind at some point that it wasn’t going to be long term.

In the business world, however, there are some alternatives. Seasonal jobs at large stores, for instance. People who are looking for extra income, say, find jobs with companies who only need extra staff for a month or two and everyone goes away happy. Yes, it is true that sometimes people take these jobs hoping to get a foot in the door, so to speak, but because they know the situation up front, if it doesn’t become a regular job, they can go away without major trauma. Internships, practicums and externships are similar (although not exactly the same as there is the training component) in that they are time limited up front and everyone can part ways at the end unscathed.

I am proposing something similar – a kind of Medium Term Relationship (MTR). Why is it that we can’t enter into a relationship with another person with the understanding up front that we are not necessarily expecting it to last forever? I admit that I started thinking about this because of my own situation. I was in a (supposedly) LTR which ended a few years ago. That in and of itself was not a problem (apart from the normal break-up stuff), but it started to look like a problem when I found myself ready to date again.

Once I was ready to start dating again, I found myself in the rather unattractive position of being a short-timer. I knew with some certainty that I would be leaving this fine state in either June or August of this year. If your premise is that everyone you go out with is auditioning for the role of “forever person,” people who are leaving the state in 10 – 14 months are generally considered immediate rejects. I mean, it’s a no-win setup (especially if you live in a place where people historically stick around…forever). You wouldn’t even consider a person who is planning to leave, because that would ruin the forever bit (I actually had a friend who only got close to me after I bought my house because she said that she knew then that I was going to be in MN forever. I swear, I am not even kidding, that is what she said. Despite me telling her from the time that I met her that I planned to move after getting my degree).

Meanwhile I was lonely. I wanted to talk to someone, to cuddle with someone, to do things with someone. I love to discuss ideas and to get a chance to see things from someone else’s perspective – and I was mostly just hanging around alone. A lot.

I tried to enhance my social life by calling it “dating,” a term I dragged up thinking, hey, why is this all about the LTR? Don’t people date anymore? Except that when I looked that up, dating, apparently, is also about finding the ONE. And I didn’t even try the old casual sex/hook up route. I’m just not interested in that.

Which brings me back to the MTR. I want to be with someone, to build relationship, to have fun and to argue, to be with – without the premise that this is going to last forever. Or anyway the necessity of that premise. I want to be with someone in a monogamous, committed, caring relationship – the only difference is that instead of saying I promise to feel this way about you forever we are saying, I am committed to you and this relationship for now and yet I know we will separate eventually. I can just see some of you shaking your heads, saying, “Yes, but by the end of that 10 months, you will feel differently.” And I’m not even going to argue, maybe we would – but then we’d manage that at that time.

My argument is that in the long run, that is what we do already, just that we encase it in this idea that we are attempting to do forever.
I was discussing my idea with my ex-neighbor at his BBQ the other night. I believe he was slightly inebriated at the time and I may have been myself – so here I am, trying to explain my very complicated idea about relationships and he is looking at me, ever so seriously, and he says, “You mean, just, tell the truth?”

Um, yeah. That’s what I’m saying. I am a proponent of MTRs, also known as Telling the Truth. Thanks, Joe.

Garage Sale and Bonfire 2

So, the first day went pretty well. I sold some things and now I’m heading in for a nap. I’m canning the bonfire idea for tonight, I’m kind of wasted and seems like lots of my peeps are out of town (I always forget people go places on holiday weekends!).

Also – anyone who wants to come and keep me company can do so tomorrow!

I pulled in all the stuff because it started to rain, but now it looks sunny again…whatever. My plan is to just keep putting things out every two weeks and then freecycle and Goodwill whatever is left. I love that my neighbors came and bought stuff. When one added a partially used bottle of Murphy’s oil to her stack I said, “You can just have that” and she looked at me, scandalized and shoo’d me with her hand. “I’ll give you 50 cents!” she said.

Let’s talk bonfire again soon, though. 🙂

The Garden ‘n Garage Yard Sale (plus bonfire)

For those of you paying attention, The Big Move is coming. As part of the Grand Plan for The Big Move, Bodhi and I are hosting a series of yard sales. This weekend, May 28th and 29th will be the first yard sale. The theme for this weekend’s yard sale is: Garden ‘n Garage Stuff. Ok, it’s really a pretty loose theme, as themes go, but my idea was that people are still doing gardening things and I have lots of garden tools and such that I won’t be needing. I nearly emptied out the shed!

Gardeny stuff –

Tomato cages (round, square and triangular!), rose covers, hose caddy, a very very long hose, rain barrel (sold), snow shovel…seed pods (you know, the little peat pots you put seeds in), random seeds, bulb planter, watering can, several sprinklers (seemed like I got a new one every year), pump sprayer, some kind of spinning seed sprayer…

Garagey stuff –

Random tools, nails, screws, do-it-yourself window screens, a giant sheet of black plastic, garbage can, kitty litter box with a cover (hey, I said it’s a loosely-themed garage sale), make your own stepping stone kit, Murphy’s oil…

Random stuff

You get the picture. Lots of stuff. Still to come according to the Grand Plan – I eventually will be selling the fantastic garage shelving (after I get rid of some more stuff) so you can come and check those out if you like. Also a kitcheny sale and then furniture. And although I hate to even think of it, I will probably be selling my chest freezer, too. So even if none of the current sale stuff interests you, feel free to come by and tag other items with a post it and I will hold it for you!

After the sale, I plan to do a bonfire – either Saturday or Sunday, depending on which day we are going to have ridiculous rainy weather. I’ll post details about that on Facebook once I get a look at the weather. I’ll have hot dogs, marshmallows and some random beverages.

If you don’t know where I live, send me a message and I will give you the address!

Apptastic

I don’t have lots of apps on my phone. And NO, it’s not just because it’s a BlackBerry and there are a lot less apps for BBS, but because I really don’t use my phone for much beyond email, Facebook, UberSocial (twitter) and taking pictures. I know it’s considered a corporate phone, with lots of great safety features, but I’ve never really used it (or them, since this is my 2nd BB) that way. Mostly I appreciate it for it’s ability to deliver mail from all EIGHT of my emails to one place, so I don’t have to log in over and over again to respond.

I don’t really play games on it, either, although I do have a few, Soduku, WordRival, Lexulous and SimCity (that one I blame directly on my Rumi – she and her addiction to that zombie game last year, I became convinced that I had to have a game to play too, but let’s face it, my tiny screen just isn’t game-friendly).

I have some other apps, too, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk, Chronograph, Kindle, LinkedIn, the Library app, MySpace and even WordPress. The truth is I hardly ever use them, mostly because I am rarely without my computer where I can do any of those things faster and easier. But every once in a while I get a wild hair and become convinced that I need apps.

The most recent bout was brought on by my last run, where I discovered that at some point I deleted my Jeff Galloway 1-1 Walk-Run program (from MotionTraxx) from my phone – yes, a fate worse than death. I started my search looking for some kind of music program and then moved on to looking for a GPS tracking program. Of course, I already have a GPS watch that I use on most outside runs, but since I started running with the phone, I sometimes think it would be cool to have everything in one gadget. So I started hunting around and found Runtastic, two versions, free and one that costs $5.99 (it has a voice and the ability to track heartrate). But while I was reading the reviews I came across MiCoach, which I remember downloading before. I didn’t think I had ever used it, but I couldn’t remember why not. I downloaded it again. Hours later when I picked up my phone it was STILL downloading. When it finally finished, I tried to do the set up, but that got hung up several times and finally it started to download. When I got up this morning, it said it had some kind of error. I think this is the SAME thing that happened last time and why I never got to use it. Stupid thing. I deleted it. Then I started downloading Runtastic.

Meanwhile, I started looking through the “Featured Apps” section. And there I found ProOnGo. It’s an expense tracking app that reads photographed receipts and can export to Excel or Quickbooks (or other specialized spreadsheets). It also does milage tracking, time tracking and phone call tracking. It has a monthly fee after the free first month – there are individual and business options as well as options based on how many receipts you need a month and the like. For a small business owner like me, $2.99 a month (or $28.70 a year) would have been plenty. WHY have I never heard of this?!? I mean, a couple of years ago I was very careful with my receipts – here’s what they look like now:

I put them in here for “safekeeping"

Here are this year’s receipts:

If you look closely, inside, on the left side of the box is the divided folder I used last year to keep the receipts organized, at least by month. With ProOnGo I can even scan this box of receipts and have them entered into my expense sheet. Dude. Of all the useless, silly things on my phone…ridiculous! Unfortunately, I haven’t downloaded it yet. Why not? Because Runtastic is apparently also hung up in the download process.

Getting Hestered

I love books. Maybe I should say I love well written books, which is not exactly the same thing. I guess it’s really true that I love a great story even when the book isn’t that well written. Mostly I think it is the ideas that are in books that makes me love them. Today’s idea, from Diane Setterfield’s The Thirteenth Tale is one I plan popularize until it ends up in a dictionary.

In the story, there is a family which has gone a bit wonky. Twin girls are cared for but not supervised much and the house suffers for 13 years with little cleaning (the Missus has gotten older and sees through a fog of grey) and lots of mischief. A new governess arrives finally (after an escapade with a perambulator) and she glows with something we come to understand is, in fact, cleanliness.

As she goes about the house she gathered the light that managed to get though the grubbiness of the house and reflected it back into the gloom. She was “a spring cleaning miracle.” She then began to set about creating order. She carefully checked the house for areas that need work from top to bottom, noting doors that squeaked and windows that rattled, finding which keys go to what and labeled them. She made her way through the house – and at the same time, she made tiny changes in every room she went into. She straightened curtains, folded blankets and picked up books to be returned to the library.

It seemed she had only to cast her eye about a room for the darkness in it to recede, for the chaos to begin shamefacedly to put itself in order, for the ghosts to beat a retreat. In this manner, every room was Hestered.”

You’ll excuse me while I go Hester the house.

Getting serious about stuff

I am not a hoarder, I swear, but I do save things. Things that might become useful at some point. So what if that point is some far off, distant point in the science-fiction-like future. I might need it some day.

Back in the day, I moved a lot, and this helped me to stay light. There was a time when I could move all my belongings in my 1963 Blazer in two trips, one with only my mattress in it. But now that I have been a home owner since 2002, things have changed. I have managed to keep my book count down with ruthless culling every few years and I really don’t have that many clothes, but the the rest of the house…

Let’s start with the kitchen. The kitchen is out of control. I save bags and jars, plastics I mean to recycle. I have frozen food more than a year old. I have not one but two junk drawers, filled with pens and small tools, pictures and rechargeable batteries. There are power converters and my father’s slip on sunglasses. There are pieces of toys long ago broken and probably gone to the Goodwill. Tiny screws and rubber bands…you get the picture. No wait, let me give you one.

I have big things in the kitchen, too. I have a very nice mixer, a steamer, a food processor, an ice cream maker – and those are just the one’s inside the house.

Out in the garage are a number of other kitchen “tools” that only make it in to the house for special occasions, like the pasta maker. Oh, and the garage – shall we move out to the garage?

In the garage are all the gardening gadgetry I’ve collected over the years (just the smaller stuff, bigger stuff is in the shed). Little yard tools, and seeds, fertilizer (which I long since stopped using), weed killer (which I also stopped using) and those little pods for seedlings. I would dispose of the toxic stuff, but I haven’t figured out how yet…

Also in the garage are things I think I ought to recycle, but haven’t found a way or just haven’t gotten around to it. I have a chest freezer (more frozen food, most of it not too ancient). I have boxes and bags and jars…you get the picture. Then there is the stuff in the shed, luggage and more garden things, also some bi-fold doors and some stuff that was in there when I bought the house.

And we haven’t even gone into other rooms in the house! The good news is, for the most part, I think I can part with most of this stuff. My plan is to have a series of yard sales. I want to have the first one in a couple of weeks featuring garden things – rakes, lawn furniture, shovels, tomato cages… Maybe next will be clothing, sheets, household items, kitcheny stuff, computer stuff, electronic gadgets. Finally, furniture, books, games, plants, artsy stuff. It’s gonna be some summer!


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