Thursday, April 21, 2005

We'll Always Have the Irish Festival...

Last night I was hanging out with a group of people I know, with one of them talking about the death of her grandfather this past weekend. She spoke about it step-by-step, and it really opened up some old feelings I have about my own grandfather.

We'll call my grandfather JP (that's what he was known by...John Parker...I usually called him Grandpa "insert my last name here"...sorry, I'm not comfortable with all y'all knowing my last name).

JP was not a kind man, not a gentle man, and certainly not someone I would wish upon my future kids for a grandfather. He was a business man, a narcisist, a father, a grandfather, and an alcoholic (that was always up for me, this dude was an many people go to treatment for 6 months and aren't).

He treated everyone in his life as though they were his personal servants or kicking bags. He belittled my father regularly (in front of us, his children), he made disparaging comments about our shortcomings (one of his favorite topics was my weight), he harrassed/degraded servers in restaurants, and pitted his kids against each other...he created some very real rifts between his family members.

When I started thinking about my friend who lost her grandfather, I became really sad. When I think of JP, with all of his flaws, character defects, and mistakes, I also think of a very sad, lonely, little man. He was very powerful and intimidating when he was young, but became withered, frail, sickly, and vulnerable in later years.

Shortly before his death, at a Christmas party (his annual party that was mandatory), while eating a deviled egg (half of which was on his navy blazer), he mumbled about nobody loving him. He explained to my sister and I that nobody cared whether he were present or not. We tried to laugh it off, "oh, come on grandpa, you know that's not true". It was true.

When the idea of JP comes up, I have to focus pretty hard to remember all the bad stuff. I'm not sure why, but I always go back to a particular experience I had with him. Though he wasn't my favorite person, it always broke my heart when I heard about him driving to Florida by himself, or going to watch fireworks on his own. When I was home from college one summer, my parents told me he was going to the Irish Festival in my town. "Who's he going with?" I asked. "He's going alone, like he does to most things". My heart broke into pieces, and still does when I think of that.

I called JP, and I asked him if he wanted some company. I expected him to say no. He said yes. He came and picked me up in his big blue Caddy, wearing plaid golf pants, Kangol hat, wing tips, and a pink polo shirt with his country club logo on it. His leather interior was stained with coffee spills and littered with old newspapers. We arrived at the festival and walked around together. We listened to music, watched dancers, and ate huge sausages (he left with mustard on his pink shirt...he had spots on all his shirts). He had a few beers, but I was shy about both my grandfather seeing me drink (I had just turned 21), as well as him spending more money on me. He laughed, talked about his childhood, told me about my father's childhood, and asked about me. This may be the only time we ever spent together alone, and I had a fabulous time. I felt like he liked me, that I was someone he wanted to spend time with.

I could continue with stories about how he went right back to his normal crusty self...because he did. He was unbearable as he spent his last few months in and out of the hospital. I'm choosing not to go back to those times. Ultimately, he died suddenly while putting on his socks in the morning on the day I was supposed to take him for a spin in my new car. I had planned this as a way to corner him and confront all his bad behavior. I wanted him to know that I had a drinking problem too, but that I was choosing to deal with it and end all the abuse I had already inflicted on those around me. That talk never happened, and I realize now that it wasn't supposed to.

For a day, at the Irish Festival, my grandfather was kind and thoughtful. He's been gone several years now. By carrying those resentments with me, it doesn't change the reality of the situation, it doesn't even make me feel better. By thinking of the Irish Festival, I'm carrying with me a precious memory of a flawed man that searched his whole life for love and acceptance. That day, I loved and accepted him...and I felt he loved and accepted me. That's enough.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Aim for Sparkly

I feel jittery from drinking too much coffee. Why do I do this to myself? I don't really like coffee, I need so much sugar that I get all jacked up, and this level of sugar is sure to push me into early onset diabetes.

I feel a little sad. When I feel less than bubbly and sparkly, I have few options to bring me can be that vice. In years past, I used to use the occasional cigarette, but that makes me feel sick and very guilty (I have a weak respiratory feels irresponsible to knowingly put smoke and chemicals in my body...and it makes me smell bad).

A friendly voice on the other end of the telephone can be a healthy way of making my day brighter. Most people can be that friendly voice, so why do I call those who are consistently incapable of it? I guess I want to believe that things can change (definition of insanity: Repeating the same thing and expecting different results).

When I'm excited and happy, an uncaring or snappy response can be the thing to knock me down a little. I get excited very easily, I love to share that excitement with others, some people do not catch the excitement, it makes them go to a place of resentment and insecurity. If I feel on fire with delight, it makes sense that if that seems to make someone unhappy, it takes something from that delight.

I want to share my happiness with those I care about. I want them to be happy, even if they're happier than me.

What I'm grateful for today:
1. My Blue Bondage Bunny
2. Music that makes my heart hurt, especially Massive Attack and Nina Simone
3. Spring
4. Our peat pellets with plants springing to life
5. My day went very quickly
6. I have many people in my life that care about me
7. My dishes are done
8. Being able to turn off the ringer on my cell phone
9. Smiling easily
10. A good nights sleep

Enjoy your day, make the most of everything you do, don't worry about how it will impact other peoples days (unless by making the most of everything you do, you're perpetrating that case, try to focus on being less steps). Learn new things, care for that sparkly voice on the other end of the phone.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Blog With Caution

So I 've been thinking a lot about my blog lately...well, more about who could be reading it I suppose. I evaluated why someone would read it, as well as what they could gain from it. Basically, they learn about what's going on with me, and get to know me better. It would be difficult to use the information I post for evil.

I finally realized I could convert my thoughts into a post when I read an article on today. It was about the danger of being fired because of blogging. I've been reading a blog for several years of a woman that got fired for writing HILARIOUS stories about her co-workers ( Here are the precautions mentioned on CNN, as well as my thoughts on them.

1. Know where your company stands. Ask about the company blogging policy before you start, as well as boundaries and what topics are off-limits.
I'm not an idiot, I don't write about work. I'm in social service and we're crushed by so many privacy laws, it's better you're all left in the dark...besides, it's not that interesting. An additional note is that my organization is pretty much in the dark as far as technology goes. Our network is rigged so that it works, we're not monitored, and none of us in management have any clue (or care to) investigate the cyber activities of our peeps.

2. Blog on your own time.
In general I blog during lunch. I often don't take time for lunch, so I'll take a little break to write. Social service is pretty "friendly" and fluid in these types of issues. If we need a couple minutes to get outside of our heads...we go for it (we also work extra hours purely because we're passionate about our jobs and clients...that's not overlooked when it comes to the occasional lapse in job performance).

3. Practice safe blogs: Don't say negative things about your place of business.
I don't have much to say that's negative. My work is stressful, I take a lot of it home with me emotionally, but it's mostly due to the nature of the job. I do my job and don't get in trouble. I like most of my co-workers, and those I don't like aren't worth me spending time writing about. Company policy is agreeable, benefits fantastic, nothing to complain about.

4. Don't hide it from your boss.
My boss is also my friend. If I thought he'd care one way or another I'd shout it from the rooftops. I think he'd feel it's rediculous that I felt I needed to disclose it to him. ("Um, hello, sir, I just wanted to update you. Um, er, I've decided to keep an online journal. Is that agreeable with our organization policy?")

5. Use good judgement: If your blog is an extension of your voice, don't say anything on your blog that you wouldn't say in public.
I totally agree with that. I've not been overly vocal about even having a blog. I kept it kind of secret for a while, and then finally put it on my Friendster profile. The main reason I did this is because I realized I have nothing to hide. Anything I'm writing about is public knowledge anyway. I don't have anyone in my life that I don't want to know about me (flash to being in college and trying to hide different, let's call them boyfriends, from each other...none of that personal life is uncomplicated and sickeningly honest).

6. Others will disagree with you, sometimes you will offend people, there's no way to please everyone.
I'm pretty bland in my posts. I don't use it as a place to vent about people or situations in my life. I don't talk about issues in my relationship with my boyfriend (although there are few issues, a public online journal isn't the place to process them). I don't sugarcoat my relationship...but I don't have's seriously that fantastic. I honestly don't think my man even reads my blog, he gets to hear all my thoughts everyday...and he loves it...or at least acts like it's the shiny moment of that day. Anyone that doesn't agree with me on my blog is welcome to let me know, it'll have a very slim chance of affecting how I feel about my opinion or me as a person.