How do you get that lonely?

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I've been thinking a good deal about suicide lately. No, not my own--a coworker's wife killed herself a couple of weeks ago, there are small children involved, it's a terrible situation, and it's been buzzing around in my head. Then, today, I was home sick, and I was filling time, as I am both wont and apt to do, by watching the Top 20 on CMT. The video for this song came up:

"How Do you Get That Lonely", Blaine Larsen

It was just another story written on the second page
Underneath the Tiger's football score
It said he was only eighteen, a boy about my age
They found him face down on the bedroom floor
There'll be services on Friday at the Lawrence Funeral Home
Then out on Mooresville highway, they'll lay him 'neath a stone...

(Chorus)
How do you get that lonely, how do you hurt that bad
To make you make the call, that havin' no life at all
Is better than the life that you had
How do you feel so empty, you want to let it all go
How do you get that lonely... and nobody know

Did his girlfriend break up with him, did he buy or steal that gun?
Did he lose a fight with drugs or alcohol?
Did his Mom and Daddy forget to say I love you son?
Did no one see the writing on the wall?

I'm not blamin' anybody, we all do the best we can
I know hindsight's 20/20, but I still don't understand

(Chorus)
How do you get that lonely, how do you hurt that bad
To make you make the call, that havin' no life at all
Is better than the life that you had
How do you feel so empty, you want to let it all go
How do you get that lonely... and nobody know

It was just another story printed on the second page
Underneath the Tiger's football score...

There are a lot of songs about suicide. I could list 20 without skipping a beat, and frankly, a lot of them are better than this one. That being said, 30 seconds into watching this video today, I was in tears, and it took me 30 minutes to stop them. The kid who sings this song looks about 15. He's cute, blonde, with sticky-out ears. I looked up his bio and I guess he's actually 18 or 19, but either way, he's a kid. And everything about this video screamed home to me. The video is basically a bunch of different carloads (and truckloads) of people driving to the funeral of the boy in the song. There is a girl in a letterman's jacket who I could have played volleyball with. And Larsen himself reminds me uncomfortably of someone I thought I was in love with before I even know what that meant. Watching this video hurt worse than anything I've seen in years, and I'm going to be thinking about why for months.

So yeah. I don't know what I'm saying, I'm just sayin'.

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Who is the greatest American?

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Have you heard about this? Things I find disturbing include: the nomination of 20th century presidents that include both Bushes, Reagan, NIXON, Kennedy, Johnson, Eisenhower, Truman, and both Roosevelts, but don't include Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter; the disturbing inclusion of Rush Limbaugh, Billy Graham, and Dr. Phil; and the just plain ludicruous inclusion of Hugh Hefner. I mean, c'mon, HUGH FUCKING HEFNER?? I'm amused at the inclusion of Nikola Tesla. Is this really the best we can do, in all of American history? Arnold? Martha? Jesus.

If I bother to vote, it will be for Susan B. Anthony or Harriet Ross Tubman.

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Grace's complete political philosophy, Rule 1

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So I got involved in a discussion the other day about my political philosophy and whether it is internally coherent. In an effort to discern for myself how internally coherent it is (or is not), I've decided to try to write it down. And who better than you to test it out on? Don't worry, I'll do it one rule at a time.

Rule 1: There is a difference between what morally correct and what is legally correct.

Which is to say, just because I think something should be legal does not necessarily mean I think it is morally OK, and just because I think something is morally justifiable does not mean I think it should necessarily be legal. Legal and moral are different categories and they exist for different reasons. Morality should not, as far as I'm concerned, be based on law; law should be based partially, if at all, on morality (if anything, it should be based on "shared morality," and that's a pretty tricky concept).

Morality is internally based, and does not necessitate pragmastism. Legality, however, is communal and does. No matter how morally justfied you can argue something is, there no reason to enter it into law unless and until it can be enforced. There are a million and one examples of this--things people SHOULD do, morally, that you can't force them to do legally because there is no practical way to do it. It goes beyond that, however. There is also the fact that even if you could force them to do it legally, forcing them to do it legally would impose your morals on them, and that is something that I, for one, find morally objectionable. That's the individual/community split, and it's a rough one.

Going the other way around, there are some things that I agree need to be illegal, but I don't necessarily have a moral issue with. This came up recently in a discussion about the death penalty, where someone pulled out the old, "if someone in my family were murdered, I would want to kill the murderer myself" line. I said what I always say, "I'd have a lot less problem with you doing it than I do with the state doing it." And that's true. While I don't argue that murder should be legal, there are cases where I don't find myself having much of a moral issue with it at all.

So there you have it, Grace's first rule. Do you feel enlightened?



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Bothersome

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So this has been bothering me. In fact, it's been bothering me so much that I've been trying to ignore it, in the hopes that if I pretended I didn't see it, it would just go away. But it hasn't, and I can ignore it no longer.

A tremendous number of folks have been led to my blog lately by searching for "anorexic celebrities" or "how to be anorexic" or similar. Y'all, this is so not the place where you should be if you are in the kind of headspace that leads to those searches. Seriously. I'm a terrible fucking example and reading my going on and on about my issues with my body cannot possibly be helping. So, if that's the search that led you here, please oh please do not hesitate to skip my blog altogether and mosey over to the blogs of some of my friends, especially those with healthy, inspirational body image. I'd suggest Frog and Scand for starters. If that doesn't appeal, maybe try Hugs International, who I hear good things about.

And remember you are beautiful. I know, 'cuz I am, too. :)

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More consumerist tripe

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As regular WINOW readers know, I'm a huge sucker for a purse or bag of any type, especially one handmade by a self-employed woman, or one that can be customized. Lately, I have found a few new websites where these gems can be purchased, so I thought a new list was in order:

Oney Designs: It is taking a lot of my willpower not to splurge on a messenger style bag from these folks. I don't have a messenger bag! I must need one, right?

Mandy B. Bags: The sheer variety of cool fabrics available here is blows the mind. I have tried several times to order a bag, but haven't been able to make up my mind!

Crystalyn Kae Accessories: Oh God, the vintage fabric shoulder bags...I want one!

Loblollies: I'm a big fan of the psychedelic print "Jane" weekend bags. The diaper bags are also excellent.

HER Vintage: More extremely excellent fabric choices, and prices a bit lower than some of the other custom-made sites. Plus, fun additions like stiched on starbursts and other fun embroidery.

Brown Bags Couture: I think the bags in the apple blossom and cherry blossom fabric are especially sweet.


Two Crazy Daisies: These are on the expensive side, but so cute!

Kath Hamilton Designs: I really like that this woman calls her bags what they really are--wearable art.

Deborah Jo Handbags: The shoulder bag in the monkey fabric needs to come live at my house. Really, it does.

Holly Go-Lightly: More fantastic fabrics. I especially like the Asian-inspired stuff.

Jimmy K. Designs: Nice roomy totes, fantastic fabrics, really good prices. This is one I'll be revisiting with my credit card.

Baby Peach: Cool bags, and a picture of a cute kid on the website!

Sylvia Designs: I actually have one of these bags, and it was worth the money. It's gorgeous and very well made.

Laura Bee Designs: This is another site on which I have been playing with designing my own bag for months but haven't made up my mind yet. The fabric selection is amazing. A lot of the already made stuff is really cute, too--I like the two-tone bags with the atomic fabric.

Kris Look Designs: Another design-your-own with more funky-cool fabric than I could possibly choose from.

So there you have it. Maybe nobody but me even cares, but at least now I have a list of some of the ones I've been checking out!

Another thing--what's up with toile? I'm so not into it.

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Questions!

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Some questions from Portia.

1) What's your dream job, and are you doing it, and if not, why not?

I honestly don't have a dream job, I don't think. I've been through a million dream job possibilities, both in reality and in my head, and nothing quite works out. Right now, the closest thing to a dream job I can come up with is freelance writing from home. I think I'd like the variety of that, setting my own hours, working from home...but I can't stand financial insecurity, so I don't know that I'd actually take the plunge and do it.

What I'm doing right now (technical writing) isn't my dream job, but it's not my nightmare, either, and I'm happy enough with it for now. Jobs are really "for now" enterprises for me, I think.

2) What's next (after painting) on the list of stuff you want to do to your house?

There are actually two lists--one of big, long-term projects we'd need to save for/need professional help with, one of smaller, cheaper things we can do ourselves. On the first list, the big thing for me putting down a hardwood or laminate floor (we currently have sisal carpet). After that, it's converting two big windows (one in the dining room part of the kitchen and one in the office) into bay windows. On the smaller, more likely to get done, list, the first thing is to replace the ass-ugly ceiling fan in our living room.

3) (Corollary to 2) How long does that giddy, omigodthisismyhouse! feeling last?

I'll let you know when it goes away. Hasn't faded much so far. :)

4) What's your predominant emotion when you think about The Phoenix?

Depends what day it is. There's love, of course, but there's a lot of resentment, anger, and especially disappointment as well. Sadly, I'd say it's more often disappointment than anything else.

5) Hot weather or cold weather?

Hot weather. I don't get comfortable until it's over 75, an I'm pretty good up until the mid-90s. Hotter than that and I want a cool drink and some AC, but it still beats snow.

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Update

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I talked to my friend The Princess last night, and she kindly pointed out to me that though I have left cryptic clues in my blog, I haven't actually said whether I have moved yet or not, how things are going with the new house, etc. And since there are some folks who use this thing to keep up with me, perhaps it would be good for me to give an update.

Well, we're moved in. We've actually been moved in for almost two weeks. And things are going and have gone rather swimmingly, with a few exceptions.

Packing was pretty much a nightmare, as Mark had a million work/school related things that had to be done (end of the semester) and I basically had to pack by myself. The move itself, though, was great (well, after some morning hassles from U-Haul). Mark managed to wrangle 4 of his lab folks to help us out, plus the amazing Tony, and we got everything moved in just a few hours.

Unpacking has been less successful, but we're getting there. At this point, everything except for the office and the garage is pretty put together. I hope to make a final push this weekend (Mark is going to be out of town) and get everything ship-shape for our housewarming party next weekend. Every time something else gets unpacked or put away, I love the house a little bit more. It really is almost perfect.

Except...

We had our first homeowner problem last weekend, when I looked in the kitchen sink Saturday morning and saw that the draining washing machine was backing up into it. We spent much of the weekend snaking and plunging (and arguing about snaking and plunging) to no avail, and ended up $100 poorer after having a plumber come out on Monday. But everything works now, and hopefully the grease build up won't cause this to happen again anytime soon.

In other news, I have been thinking a lot about my life and changes I need to make, and I've come up with three main goals, in order from easiest to hardest:
1. Stop biting my fingernails, it's disgusting and it is part of the reason I am sick all the time.
2. Live on a budget. For real. Without cheating.
3. Go on a diet, wherein diet means both learning to eat healthier foods in general and restricting calories as much as is needed to take off the extra weight I've put on in the past year. This also needs to include regular exercise.

So far my progress isn't stellar, but it's not bad, either. I have some stuff I am putting on my fingernails to help them get stronger, and I'm not biting them (though I'm still picking at the cuticles some, and still have gross, bleeding cuticles). I am one week into my new budget and am on track there, with spending money taken out in cash every two weeks on the "when it's gone, it's gone" principle. As always, the third goal is the most elusive, but my amazing friend M. is helping me, and I am developing a plan to get what I need to do done without feeling horribly deprived. I am so bad at moderation.

So yeah. That's where I'm at. Thanks for caring.

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An interview for Portia

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1. What of yourself do you see in LP?
2. How do you evision LP as a grown up?
3. If you could make a career change, without worrying at all about money, stability, etc, what career (if any) would you change to?
4. What do you miss the most about living in New York? The least?
5. If you could only eat three foods for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

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More interview questions

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From Scand:

If you could run into anyone from your past (who's still alive today), whom (who?) would it be?

Hrm...I had a dream about the guy I dated briefly during my freshman year in HS a couple of weeks ago and then Googled him, and I'd be curious to see what he's like now. He's in the profession he wanted to be in when I knew him, which I think is really interesting. I'm curious as to what has become of other people I was madly in love with (heh) in my younger and stupider days as well, but mostly I think knowing would probably depress me.

Mainly, if I want to still be in touch with someone, I am.

How 'bout 3 things that you love about your new house?

Only three? I could give you three hundred!

Top three of the moment:
1. The constant soothing sound of running water from the three fountains.
2. Indoor laundry with machines that were built in my lifetime.
3. Build-in living room bookcase.

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The Interview/5 Questions Meme

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I, too, have been bitten by the interview meme bug. Below are my answers to questions from the amazing Krupskya, over at The Edit Barn. If you would like questions from me, let me know in the comments! If you'd like to ask me questions, that's cool too. I love to be interviewed!!

1. What do you miss most about where you used to live? (Statewise, not housewise.)

Oh, if only you knew the can of worms this opens...what don't I miss about Oregon (well, besides the weather)? I miss real trees, real coffee, real salmon. I miss knowing where everything is. I miss liberal politics (well, compared to here, anyway). I miss being close to my mom.

2. Time and money aren't an issue. What do you go back to school to study?
I'd start with a history Ph.D. I might go to law school. I'd take some communications courses. I might go to midwifery school.

3. What skill do you wish you had?
This varies depending on what I am trying to do, but as we've been putting together furniture lately, I really wish my spacial imagination were better. I just can't see how things are supposed to fit together the way some people can, and it makes me crazy.

4. When did you know that the house you're in now was The One?
Pretty much the minute we drove up. There is a hand-bent wrought iron gate in the front that leads into a small courtyard/front porch area with a brick water fountain. I barely had to be out of the car to know that if the inside was anything like the outside, this was The One.

5. If you could change one thing about Mark, what would it be?
It should be a small thing, but I'd have to say that I'd make him move faster. He dawdles, and it makes me absolutely insane. I am always ready to leave or ready to start a project or watch a movie or whatever 15 minutes before he finally gets to it, and he never really seems to be doing anything in the meantime. It drives me up a wall. Also, when we're working on something, he takes too many breaks, rather than just keeping nose to grindstone to get it finished. That drives me nuts as well.

And now, my questions for Krup:

1. When you imagine your kids as adults, what do you imagine them to be like?
2. What will you miss most about your present house when you move?
3. Where in the world would you most like to visit?
4. What's the most angry you ever remember being?
5. What is your greatest virtue? Vice?

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