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sweet lynn.

sweet lynn

Originally uploaded by in retrospect.

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every once in a while an exchange occurs that shifts your perspective a little. or opens up a perspective that you already hold. either way, it is enlightening.

as many of you know, i broke my back a couple of years ago with some poor judgement involving a boy, a polo pony and biting off just a wee bit more than i could chew. that combined with an incident with a head-on collision and shattered ankle that left me a wee gimpy but proud of my progress.

since that time, i’ve had a lot of trouble with irksome numbness in my extremities, weakness, soreness etc. but nothing incredibly incapacitating. mostly just bothersome, and frankly has opened up a startlingly easy access to painkillers and muscle relaxants. but that’s a completely different rant for later.

so this morning, i happen down the hall at work and encounter a gentleman who is two offices down who is a legend at amgen. he works in government affairs, but has been at amgen so long and is so engaged at work and at home and cultivates relationships with people that are long-lasting and fantastic that i have made it a goal to emulate his approach.

he’s a licensed massage therapist, actively involved in rheumatoid arthritis work, participating in the annual Amgen California Coast Classic Bike ride raising money for research for RA, he maintains one of the largest server farms for SETI and is a devout mac user.

when he spied my little 12″ powerbook he marched right in and we had a long discussion about apple cultism. when he realized that i had no   at work, he mentioned that he has about 12 macs at home and thinks he has one to spare that might help me out. and i’ll be gosh-darned if he didn’t immediately drive home and grab a power cord for me to use in my office. amazing guy.

well this morning i ran into him hobbling down the hall with a tall walking stick–and i asked him if he was okay. he said his back had gone out AGAIN. happens from time to time.

i started to comiserate with my pathetic story about my wee compression fracture from my misadventure in palm springs…which was quickly reframed when he related that he was blown up in vietnam and obliterated his L4 and L5 and was told he likely never walk again. boy did he prove them wrong! he announced. and for the record, he has proved most of us wrong just by setting the bar a wee bit higher than your average joe.

then he quietly relayed that the 12 men in his unit were killed in that blast and really if you think about it, things turned out pretty well. in retrospect.

now for the record, i’m not one to be quick to judge the level of pain or struggle in life. we all struggle in our own way with the shit that life deals out from time to time.

if you begin down the path of, “well, you know that’s hard i understand, but if you heard about my friend that **insert really incredibly difficult life-changing trauma in which your insignificant struggle pales in comparison here**, you would feel much better.”

only to find your back against the brick wall of how bad things could be but goddamn it, i’m still pathetically struggling with my little issue here. and for the underdeveloped and unchallenged these kinds of things seem pretty rough.

then i hear about the one-legged soccer player who gets out on the field and hop kicks a ton of ass out there on the field and LOVES IT. or the Iraq War vetran who has lost a leg and is out placing in the iron man. or my friend down the hall who is hobbling today, but most days is kicking my ass every day with unmatched class and generosity against a backdrop of a rich, tough layered history of challenges.

and quietly reminds me. there are many depths to face head on with grace and fierce determination.

and reminds me that i certainly have a lot to learn. about challenge. about grace. and fierce determination.

thanks jeff.

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handcuffed to hugh

yet another use for handcuffs i hadn’t thought of:

hugh grant gets handcuffed

clever girl.

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standing on wobbly legs

i’ve dated as rarely as humanly possible — too pleased with my impervious shield of post-heartbreak self-sufficiency to risk weakening it.
rebecca traister, salon.com

over lunch the other day with a friend, the subject of my love life came up again. i quietly tiptoed into the dating scene recently, partially under duress and partially out of a growing suspicion that my overanalyzations and uncompromising perspective might be evolving from a useful filter to weed out the faint of heart…into a brick wall.

i’m a little awkward after years of brandishing a cavalier attitude toward dating, only engaging at a superficial level while shaking my head at the eye-batting simpering sweetly smiling women who set my teeth on edge.

in contrast, i’ve deliberately been a tough approach in social settings, if anyone managed to get through the first armory of the raised eyebrow or cutting remark they often found themselves dancing across a minefield of aggressive verbal banter, practical jokes, sudden bursts of (un)emotional bravado quickly followed by an unexpected disappearing act.

or as my dear friend D describes it: “i’ve watching heidi behead men in bars for years now.”

those close enough to me to actually witness what’s going on behind the scenes are constantly advising, interjecting and intervening with admonishments along the lines of “just be nice, heidi and let them get to know the heidi we all know and love.”

of course if anyone suspects that i’ve metamorphasized into a simpering flower peeking out from under fluttering lashes, rest assured that i’m still going too fast, my bravado flares periodically, the eyebrow raises and the stink eye flashes across my face–but i’m quick to recognize these outbreaks and reach out to smooth my skirt quickly with a grin and an apology.

i’m starting to let other people see the side of me that lights up a little when i talk about what i did last night or blushes when caught daydreaming, but it’s more than just a little uncomfortable.

as i dance along the fine blade of adjustment without compromise, i wonder at what point the lid i’ve placed on my natural inclination might burst off and my emotional self-destructiveness will present itself in all of its proud and unflinching glory.

will it be that moment when i confess a quirk, and get “oh my god, you are totally like a guy! what have i gotten myself into?”

and while i’m inclined to the irrational response, “yeah, i’ve heard that before…erm…” and then promptly bolting for the door with my defiance trailing behind me. instead i just smile sweetly and nod agreeably and quietly hope for the best.

for now, anyway.

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it’s not that bad

so today in a meeting, the subject of vday came up, and i made a snide comment about valentine’s day and my inclination to vacillate between apathy and disdain for the greeting card holiday.

this sparked a dialogue between a colleague (and also a close friend) and another colleague who expressed surprise at my snarky cynicism. this was the exchange that followed on the typical pattern of my rare and often ill-advised dalliances:

colleague: wow, i never would have expected that…
me: (hemming and hawing) yeah i don’t even really get involved that often and when i do…well…
colleague: what happens?
friend/colleague: um…have you ever seen heidi eat bacon? (he then pantomimed some kind of messy devouring of said foodstuff, followed by the onset of mild indigestion)
me: yes, well…erm…can we move on?

after which my dear friend sent out this as visual aid.

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meaningless hack.

so on friday, someone hacked into my web server and replaced the index page with an triumphant message against a black background accompanied by ominous background music. which would have been totally amusing if it wasn’t so annoying. now there are all kinds of little glitches with my publishing features and other annoying little things while i fix things here and there.

the thing i can’t figure, is why anyone would bother to hack a site that receives double digit daily traffic, mostly from extended friends and family, and is updated with such infrequency it can hardly be worth anyone’s effort.

at any rate it’s all (mostly) fixed now, and my 22 friends that stop by to see what might be new can go back to holding your breath for the next update. :)

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i resolve.

my resolution this year was pretty simple–lower my expectations to zero and see what happens.

upon relaying this to a friend the response was a resounding, “that’s a good one for you! i give it a week.”

which was a well placed observation. it’s more than a little difficult to change your nature in one fail swoop. it was working fairly well there for a while, but with no small amount of effort.

and frankly, the new year so far has treated me fairly well. not without just a little bit of rough treatment. i have a bruise on my wrist from a game of air hockey that went just a little awry. i managed to allow my hairdresser to have fun with copper–to mixed results and at la’vie l’orange i selected a shade of red for my toes that borders right on the edge of trashy. which given recent history ranks right there on the bottom of the list of things to worry my little head about.

so, tonight i took a small moment to stand barefooted in the middle of my kitchen in a rare moment of contentedness in gratitude of the moment.

and then managed to break it down with a little sleuthiness combined with curiosity that has always been my downfall.

maybe i should add a little less introspection, heed the advice against idle hands, oh and while i’m at it neuter my natural inclination and instincts altogether.

then gloat to my dear friend, i made it a whole month.

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off the road

i’ve been on the road again only this time it was for two weeks with a change of hotels every three days. it was a nice way to break up the time, but somewhat exhausting.

the first 4 days were spent in philly at a tradeshow, which always pushes me to my limits of tolerance for human interaction and exhaustion. the following 10 days were spent in new york–which i somehow manage to love and loathe simultaneously. there is no other city that i find so stimulating and isolating at the same time. the contrast is horribly seductive.

i managed to take a day off and spend a long weekend with sweet lynn, the easiest traveling partner and fabulous running buddy who is up for just about everything including late night, long-distance air rouchambeau when faced with a logistical quandry. (for the record, she won)

we started the weekend with a late dinner at spice market, followed by an unexpected encounter with the foreign minister of affairs for pakistan, and his lothario of a companion who initially introduced themselves as mack and jack from malta. to which i introduced us as trixie and pixie with no small amount of sarcasm.

we of course managed to get to the bottom of their clever ruse when “jack” let slip that “mack” just given a speech at the UN, where pakistan had just been elected chairman of the G-77. we subsequently found ourselves in a heated discussion about politics, lifestyle, family, followed by an awkward dance club excursion late (early) in the am.

my favorite quote of the evening came after giving “mack and jack” no small amount of grief when he announced, “i feel so out of balance around you!” he was apparently unaccustomed to a couple of women demonstrating complete disregard for his position.

the rest of the weekend was spent trudging downtown shopping, braving the crowds at the feast of san generro to gorge ourselves on beer and sweet saugage, onion, pepper sandwiches while sitting on the steps of a brownstone next to ferrera’s listening to a crooner belt out frank sinatra tunes on the roof.

one of my first and best experiences in nyc was going to the feast of st. antony when i was 19 years old–but back then it was more of a neighborhood affair, compared the to tourist attraction it has become. the only neighborhood families seemed to be working the vendor booths.

best sweet sausage sandwiches
Originally uploaded by in retrospect.

i also finally visited the wtc site, which i’ve completely avoided over the last five years. i walked around the site, a little disturbed that it’s become such a tourist attraction, with guides and tourbuses, and only could bring myself to take one photograph. however, i was even more disturbed that five years later it’s still just a hole in the ground with a lot of heavy equipment, trailers, trucks and workers very busy doing something.

the rest of the time was filled sharing a stella with a plumber from rhode island who really wanted to do something with his life, attending an eve ensler play, the treatment which was powerful and amazing, lounging in sheep’s meadow with the nytimes and a basket of fries, indulging in brunch and bloody marys in the east village, and of course spending entirely too much money.

now that i’m back to my 15-minute commute and 10-hours behind a desk or in a conference room existence i have to admit to feeling a little bored and more than a little itchy.

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consistent pattern of my existence

an ambitious project collapsing

[via david shrigley…fantastically hilarious work]

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