Thursday, August 31, 2006

I wonder what would happen if the word love were banned from our vocabulary. I sometimes feel that our culture cheapens love by applying it to every and any sort of "like" or "affetion" or even "that is pleasant".Love is everywhere. When you hear the word, your ears don't perk up, you don't turn to look, it isn't even romantic. Hearing it from a person very often means that they're either about to try to talk you into something you'd rather not do or they want to obligate you into something.

If we couldn't say it at all, would we put more effort into *showing* the depth of our feeling for the people who mattered most to us? When we did say it, wouldn't it be because it had sat festering in our breast until finally, against the law, the words had to be uttered because you felt them so strongly?

And wouldn't we expand our vocabulary, not only of speech but of actions, to embrace all the variations and nuances of being pleased with a thing or person?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Well, now that I have an oven, I'm back into the baking mood again. Sadly enough, my knack for baking seemed to have drifted away in the meantime... Actually, the potato onion knishes I made last night were awfully good. Perfect, in fact. It's the apple filled challah I'm making (er, burning) right now that's got me humiliated. I guess it really DOES need to raise 2-3 times in order to turn out well, and substituting cherries for apples is a bad, bad idea. I mean, they're tasty and all, but they leak all over and ooze cherry juice all over the pan and burn and the smell is awful. And it's not as sweet as it should be, either. I have no idea why not...except that the dough wa sa lot stickier than usual (sweet doughs often are) and so I had to use more flour than the recipe called for. (Uh, that might be why it's not sweet enough and feels too dense...duh...) Dang it, I wanted to make something *nice*! Well, maybe next time I'll follow the directions more closely instead of doing it "my way".

I'm feeling a little better about my job. A couple of the people who've been irritating me the most are either gone or leaving soon. Also I realized why I was so stressed out, and even though that element is unlikely to change, being able to recognize it has been helpful. I still find the knowledge that I'm contributing to sending people to their demise (via obesity, heart disease, high cholesterol, and god only knows what else) somewhat disturbing, but it's also true that I can make healthier foods available for people to choose from. The only thing is, if Staci leaves, I honestly don't know if I'll want to stay. It'd be too much like drudgery with her gone, she's such a kick.

Oh, wait- I had a little less than the amount of yeast called for. That might be part of why it's so dense. Yeah. (Note to self: buy more yeast, a lot of it, like half a pound)

I'm so tired. I have to be out the door tomorrow at about 6:00-6:30, to get my car into the shop to be worked on before work, and hope that they get it done in time. Ugh, tomorrow is freight day, and the freezer's going to be packed FULL of boxes of bread dough weighing 40# each, that all have to be sorted and stacked. Groan...thinking about it makes me hips hurt already. I'll bread chicken instead. I did freight tha last two Fridays.

Realized something else disturbing: I tend to find men who project a tragic or melancholic aura attractive. WTF???? WHY haven't I ever examined this screwed up facet of myself before? And then, after I've been with them for a while and tried to nurse them back to happiness, one of two things happens: They're happy, and I'm bored and see someone else sad that I'd like to cheer up (whih isn't saying that I cheat- I don't- it's just that I feel sorry for sad men), or: They remain depressed because that's their normal mode, and I begin to get offended by it (What's the matter with you? Aren't I good enough? I'm TRYING to make you happy!!!). And see, the basic premise here, that I can be responsible for anyone else's happiness, is all wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.....

I guess part of it is that wounded guys look so much like sad little boys. You just sort of want to hold them and kiss the owies and make them all better, because guys are supposed to have that stiff upper lip and it's really hard to take to see them all forlorn. :-/

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The funniest thing that's happened to me in a long time:

I was at the airport picking up my son, and I saw an older gentleman reaching to pick off a half-grown praying mantis off the back of another man (who was grateful, for some reason I couldn't figure out!). I immediately said "Oh, I've wanted one of those since I was a kid!", but the men acted like they hadn't heard me, and he stuck it outside. Well, right then my son arrived, and we hurried outdoors to go and get that mantis. I let it climb up me, and then we had to wait inside again for the baggage. Well, pretty soon it started to climb up my neck, and the crawly sensation on my neck was more than I could take, so I encouraged it to sit on my head instead. People kept arriving at the baggage claim area, and I began to notice that I was receiving a lot of stares and glances, but then they'd politely look away! I wasn't too surprised when a sweet older lady came up and said "Excuse me, but did you know that you have a GREAT BIG BUG on your head???" LOL!!! I told her that yeah, I knew, I'd always wanted one and I was going to take it home. :-) She said OK, smiled, and retreated just as nicely. I was beginning to fear that somebody might come up and try to smash it "for me"...but all they did was to stare.

LOL....I am so glad it wasn't a snake or something horrid....

Sunday, August 20, 2006

There is a sadness festering in my heart, and I don't know how to explain or justify it.

I guess I could bring up the concept of "beshert" and explain that since my conception was unintended and there were people who wanted me aborted, I've always sort of wondered whether there's a place for me in this world or not, or am I doomed to trying to fill the place of other people who haven't doen what they're supposed to. Sort of like a substitute teacher.

I don't like it. I want to be me, but at the same time, I want there to be that special place, too. It's so nice to feel like that, and for me, rare.

I need to paint when I get home from work.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Well, this is what I was going to write: That my heart is broken, that it's breaking, that my life is falling apart around me and I don't know why, that I'm tearing it apart with my own hands because it doesn't seem right, like a painting that's wrong, I just want to wreck it somehow so I can fix it and make it right this time.

Whiny bullshit.

I never drink, really, but I just downed a bottle of St. Pauli's girl (to give you an idea of how little I drink, I was feeling tipsy 1/3 of the way through the bottle) and now I feel fine, actually. Maybe not 100% coherent....

Did you know that beer has estrogen in it? Yeah, it does. It's why men who drink a lot of it get breasts and beer bellies- it's feminizing them- and why their manly parts also start to have trouble functioning well. Anyway, it's also really good for milk production...the estrogen comes from the hops.....and my production was falling.

Man, my bones, joints, and muscles don't hurt at all anymore, hardly. Still holding out for those boots, though....

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

You know, I take my work way too seriously. I should either lighten up or get a job where attention to detail means something. I've been trying to purge the house of the excess material items I don't need, but for crying out loud, it seems to me that for every item I get rid of, another gets in somehow. I am definitely getting rid of all the shoes that've been killing my feet and joints. I rediscovered a pair of Skechers that, while far from perfect, is less pain-inducing. Why did I ever quit wearing them? Because (silly me) I wore the laces out, tied them together, wore them out some more, and got disgusted and threw them into a corner of the room. I got new laces today and am feeling, uh....well, ridiculous. Happy, though. :-)

Yeah, I don't know. The idea of spending my life assisting people on their way towards heart failure, strokes, and obesity by cooking mass quantities of deep fried food is just sort of depressing. It's not what I wanted to do with my life, but right now, it's what I can get paid for. I guess there are all sorts of prostitution....

I don't really believe in such things as karma and reincarnation, but every so often, the notion is tempting. I mean, haven't you ever had things happen that seemed too strangely coincidental to be happenstance? A Buddhist friend of mine once told me that she didn't believe in the concept of a hell in an afterlife, she thinks that hell is right now, in this world. At the time, I laughed, because it seemed so funny and yet so true. and soemtimes I just sit and shake my head and wonder what *if* there have been other lives, what in the heck I did, how many hearts did I break, for things to go so badly in this one?

Monday, August 14, 2006

I have a problem at the deli, and I'm pretty sure that it's my problem, because it continues to occur in spite of our astronimical turnover rate. It's usually worst when I open the deli (i.e, I am the first one in the deli to start everything up and fill the cold cases with sliced meats, cheeses, sandwiches, salads, and other various deli food items, and also the first to leave). Here is the general sequence:

I'm scheduled to start at 5:30, but usally I show up at 5:15 or earlier. This is because if I do so, I can get an extra break at 6:45, right before the store opens at 7:00. Otherwise my first break will be at 8:15, and my energy is flagging by then if I haven't eaten sicne the night before.

However, it typically happens that I don't get a break at 6:45 anyway. The bakery opener asks me to babysit her breads in the oven, or I'm running behind, or something. I have no idea why I continue trying to get there by 5:15 or earlier when I could just have 15 more minutes of sleep instead.

The business day begins at 7:00. Customers come in, a few at first. The bakery person is usually baking her breads and off in her corner of the bakery, so unless it's Mel (the gentle and wonderful exception) I usually end up waiting on all the customers, because the counter is right in front of the deli, where I am. That's OK, there are only a few. If the day is going well and I've had my caffeine, I'm making a lot of sandwiches by now or at least preparing to do so by slicing fresh meats and cheese, lettuce and tomato.

8:00, we get another person (the, suprise-surprise, 8:00 person!). This person is vital to me, because if they don't show, I'm screwed. If they're lazy, it's almost as bad as not being there at all, but worse because they're right there aggravating me, too. If the 8:00 is someone helpful, like the two girls on either side of me in terms of seniority, it's probably going to be good. The 8:00 person's job is to prepare entrees and hot sandwiches, change salads and package up small containers of salads, make whole baked chickens, cook food for the hot case, help me wait on customers, and during the school year, cook for the school lunch crowd, which I'm supposed to help with.

If the 8:00 is lousy, what happens is that it takes them an hour to get the chickens into the oven and the entree packaged up, they forget about the hot sandwiches altogether, don't wait on customers, don't cook for the hot case, and are still trying to change the salad bowls when the school crowd is due to arrive in half an hour, having only just thought about cooking enough deep fried food to feed a hungry crowd of teenagers. This produces a panicked frenzy of food flying around through the freezer, into the fryers, out of the fryers, into bags, and hopefully into the hot case.

Either way, a lot depends on whether or not they help wait on the customers. If I have to wait on ALL the people who come to the deli, there's no way at all that I can make enough sandwiches and other stuff for the case. The way I look at it is that of there are 4-5 workers there, I don't mind waiting on half the customers. But if I have to wait on 75% or more of them, pretty soon I'll be ticked.

Sometimes we get two 8:00s, but the second one works in the bakery, bagging breads. The bakery 8:00 is generally worthless about waiting on customers, they just bag bread and that's it.

So here I am, making sandwiches hopefully, and preferably at a pace so as to fill the case full enough to stave off it's being emptied in one fell swoop of mill workers coming through. People come by and want sliced deli meats, and hopefully the slicers working well enough to slice all the meats (today it wasn't). They also want big sub sandwiches made on french bread, and this is OK, good, even, because I just make a whole sandwich, and if they only want half of it, it's that much more food out there in the sandwich case.

See, the cold case (where the sandwiches I make are displayed for sale) has to be FULL. It should be crammed so full that there isn't any room for anything else, and putting just one or two items out is unsatisfactory: people get bored with that. They want variety. When an empty spot develops, I should be filling it up again. If the case gets empty, the boss will get mad at me, whether or not it's my fault. That's the way it goes. He doesn't want to hear whose fault it is, he wants customers buying food, period.

But if the 8:00 doesn't show up or is worthless or we have a lot of special orders (for 100 sandwiches, or a deli tray, or 200 pieces of chicken), then I get behind on the sandwiches, because there's less time.

My first break and lunch come and go. I endeavor to have the case full before I go to lunch, and I check it when I come back and try to refill it.

The 11:30s arrive, usually 2 or 3 of them. One of them always heads to the back to do the dishes and start breading hundreds of pieces of chicken. If it's a delivery day, another one typically starts putting the freight away, which has to be done. The remaining 11:30 should empty cardboard (we amass piles of it from boxes) and the garbage, assess the food in the hot case and assist in cooking what we're short on, help with cutomers, and then start on the breakouts (arranging frozen doughnuts and bread doughs on baking racks to be proofed in the morning).

That's what should happen with the 11:30s.

What happens a lot when I work is that the second and third 11:30s start bagging breads, or they stand around talking, or they do the breakouts right away. At any rate, they don't wait on the customers unless you ask them to, and it's awkward to ask someone else to wait on a customer who is looking directly at you smiling expectantly. They're not supposed to ignore customers, but they do.

Moreover, this is the time of day when the boss walks by the sandwich cases and checks to see that it's full. It's the lunch hour, when we get a lot of people, and when people buy the most sandwiches. That case has got to stay full.

The time for my last break, 12:45, comes. I'm making sandwiches or there's a crowd of customers, and I can't get away. Breaktime comes and goes, because I need to have the case full before I leave at 2:00. If it's empty next morning, my manager will figure I didn't make any sandwiches at all. I have to make enough sandwiches so that there will still be an impressive number left over the next day. Unfortunately, sandwich making isn't going to well, because I'm running around trying to wait on customers. If I ask for help, the other person phlegmatically lumbers over to wait on one or two customers, and then goes back to ignoring them until I holler for help again. My feet and hip joints are *killing* me, and I want to tear my hair out in frustration.....

It continues this way. 2:00, my time to leave, comes, and the table is full of half made sandwiches. I can't abandon my work area and leave it in a mess like this, and without putting the sandwiches out or wrapping up the meats, cleaning the slicer, etc. So I stay and try to finish up and get out of there ASAP.

But we aren't supposed to rack up overtime. If I do, my manager punishes me by cutting my hours the following week or giving me undesirable shifts. She gives me only four days instead of five, to make sure that I absolutely can't get overtime. I'm not trying to get overtime, I know we're not supposed to, but sometimes it happens anyway.

So I work an extra half an hour or so, and I don't change my time to count that extra half hour. Customers keep coming, and they keep getting ignored unless I wait on them, even thoguh I'm supposed to be gone already. I start to get mad. Teh other deli workers who are ignoring customers look at me like I'm a bitch. I finally get out of there and storm off, resenting the fact that my baby and 3 year old sons have waited an extra half hour or more for me at the daycare, and I'm not even getting paid for it, all because the other workers wouldn't make a team effort....

OK, so that's what happens. Tell me what I'm doing wrong, PLEASE. This is driving me crazy, and it happens almost every time I open.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

It hurts me when I *want* to remember what someone looks like, and I can almost, but not quite... Or, it comes in fleetingly, and then flits away just as quickly.

And I wonder, if I took a person like that, and painted their face, if afterwards, I'd have their face mapped clearly in my mind, from the physical+mental connections involved in the drawing process? Would I be able to recognize them right away without any hesitation and to remember their name?

See, there are things that I don't like about being aspie, but I don't think they're the sorts of things that normals would expect. Partying, socializing, I don't even miss these things, not a bit. They mean nothing. Straining in vain, for hours on end, to conjure up the visual memory of a face that means something to you, and coming up with only a head with hair and a blank blurry spot where the face would be??? Man, that bugs me, drives me insane....

I've been sizing up our little yard and trying to plan the landscaping/garden for it.

Problems include: limited money, limited space, desire for a lot of bulbs and color well into the late summer and fall, with, ideally, some winter color as well, even if it's just a shrub with red twigs.

Ojectives: Food, beauty, workable living/working/playing space, NO LAWN, and something to paint at every time of the year, including winter.

Desired trees: Red Bartlett pear, some kind of a hardy magnolia such as 'Butterflies', filberts/hazelnuts, Methley plums (have seeds and patience), and possibly another apple tree.

Also, Concord grapes, maybe a lilac, and of course, LOTS of roses.

Already existing trees that can stay: some big Ponderosa pines, a black locust (mostly because I think felling it would be a pain in the neck and expensive), a whole bunch of plums trees (some summer plums and some the better Italian prune-plums) a mountain ash, Gravenstein apple and another appple (Red Delicious? If it is, I might replace it with something better, the tree is weak and sickly and I hate Red Delicious, or I could graft onto it), a pear tree, a cherry (I haven't planted it yet), and a maple (looks like your average plain old maple tree).

Our yard is narrow, small, slopes toward the street, and in all honesty, our neighbors across the street aren't the kind I want to look at every day. They have a mobile home and they sit on their porch drinking and cussing and being your average Idaho redneck types. Their flat expanse of lawn is also uninspiring, as is the view of their vehicles. So I think my first priority, since it'll take a while to grow, is to plant a privacy screen/hedge across the front of the yard just off the street. My original plan was just roses (Rosa Rubrifolia, a hardy, unique, and tough rose with tiny, delicate single blooms and red foliage). Now I'm considering incorporating some of the Methley plum seeds into the plan, with the roses providing shelter until the plums get some size to them. I have enough plum trees though, more plums than I can easily process or use. One more tree would be plenty. What about the cherry tree? The roses are tall and shrublike, growing to 7-9 feet tall with gracefully spreading branches and not too many thorns. They're going to need a little bit of support and something to protect them from people walking all over them when they're small, so I'll probably put a rustic fence/trellis along the streetside border there.

We have to wheel the garbage can down to the street, so perhaps a path made of square paving stones. I want stone type ones though, not those ghastly dyed concrete things, yuck. I mean, concrete would be OK as long as it doesn't shout "CHEAP WALMART CONCRETE FOR WHITE TRASH WHO WANNA LOOK MIDDLE-CLASS!!!" I have seen tasteful concrete. The path needs to be wide enough to accomodate the full width of the garbage can plus ample maneuvering room within reason, or a wheelbarrow.

The bulbs- I know that I want species tulips, which need to dry out and stay relatively dry during the summer and fall. Wherever I plant these shouldn't be co-planted with water needy perennials or garden crops.

I also want a few vegetable beds.

Where to put the grapes?? Or the hazelnuts?

The front of the house has a big, big bed of irises, and they're all the same color, a pale lavender. They're OK, but I don't want that many of them I don't know what to do with them. Plant them between the rubrifloia roses and the roadside?

Oh, and I do want other roses besides the rubrifloas. I have a big Chrysler (red, very fragrant, a hybrid- I don't typically like red roses but I'm in love with this particular bush, so I want it where I can smell it several times a day) and will probably get a few more. There are also two yellow/golden climbers started on the front of the house that grow to 10-15' tall. That's probably enough for that area.....

Oriental Lilies, peonies, hellebores, probably asiatic lilies as well, lots of daylilies.....eremurus......digitalis....

And here's the thing, I really, really want a Japanese Maple, too...but have no idea where I could possibly put it....

Oh dear, how greedy I am for plants.... ;-D

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I need to start making a conscious effort to be nice, or I'm going to turn into one of those negative disagreeable sorts who go around with frown lines all over their face...the sort you try to avoid if at all possible. When I was younger I was soooo gentle....I remember being unable to give my horse an injection that he really needed because I just couldn't bring myself to jab my friend with that needle. When I was a little older and married, my best friend (an ardent feminist who had no problem at all with incorporating 'bitch' into her self-image) told me rather disgustedly that I needed to grow a spine. She was right, of husband was yelling at me constantly, making nasty humiliating scenes in public, forcing "marital duties" on me.....and I felt like divorcing the jerk would be "mean". It's almost like the instinct for self preservation was entirely lacking (shaking head).

I've learned how to be mean when I need to be. The problem now is that I can't seem to find the gentle girl that I used to be, anymore.

Yet I still adore gentleness in other people, perhaps more than any other trait.
It's one of the cardinal traits I breed for in dairy goats, one of those things that I simply will not compromise on. If a doe is mean, she goes, period.
I don't think there's any faster way for a man to make me fall for him than to save the day and make things right when I'm all upset and I don't know what to do. The more gracefully he does it, the better. :-)
Just like the fastest way for a man to earn my hatred is to kick me when I'm down or to be cruel when I'm weak. I despise and disrespect lowlifes who make the worst of an already bad or awkward situation.
A quiet, shy voice, eyes that don't bore into mine.....yeah, that's what I like.
And see, I've got a double standard going here, because even as I value this SO highly in other people, I'm a hypocrite. I haven't been keeping up on it myself, I've been letting myself slide into the abyss of bitchdom. That has to change.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Sometimes I think that the older we get, the more we become landmines of old sorrows, pains, hot spots, and and just more sensitive all around. I thought things would bother me less, they don't. Old stuff haunts me, old memories twang on my heart and bring tears to my eyes, old injustices make me angrier than I was when they first occurred.

A silly young girl at work (not stupid, just very young and inexperienced with life) was going on about some 13 year old girl being abused and how the little girl was sleeping with a 20 year old man. She was criticizing the girl all over the place...said that the 13 yo claimed her mom was abusive and beating on her, but the kid must've been making it up because she hadn't mentioned it to anyone else, and what a liar the kid must be.

I wanted to throttle her on the spot. Stupid, privileged little snit from a happy well adjusted family!!! What the heck does she know about abuse? Why is she berating this kid when there's a 20 year old guy involved?? How many happy 13 year olds from good healthy families screw around with 20 year old guys? She had the chance to make a difference for this kid, and she's blowing it.

When I finally got free of my family, I tried to tell the cops what was going on, that my step-dad was molesting 3 other kids. They went and asked them. Every single one of my siblings had been molested, and every single one of them categorically denied it- because they were afraid. I was the one who broke the silence, and it took years before I did so. My evil step-dad got off scott-free, because we couldn't prove anything if the others wouldn't admit it was going on. Now he's with some other woman who also has kids (groan). I wonder how many youngsters he's going to ruin before he dies- he'll probbaly never get caught.....

That's just an example. I'm brimming with shit like that. It's making me old. I want happy memories to drown out or at least balance the others.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Man, I'm tired. Sore, too.....can't wait until I get those boots. If they don't help at all, I don't know what I'll do......

But I'm thinking...people tend to whine and gripe if they're not perfectly, absolutely comfortable and 100% pain free. The more I think about it, the more unreasonable this seems. How likely is that to happen to an adult? And since it's so unlikely, at least for extended periods of time, if a person honestly expects that and makes it a factor of personal happiness, I think they're going to go about life slightly dissatisfied most of the time, when in reality, we ought to be glad we're not infested with tapeworms or living on the edge of starvation or in some third world country with no serious medical facilities.

I think about my friend Daniel Haugen (he was my first love and fiance) dying of cancer, of the pain he was in, and the morphine. He was such a religuously health foody, natural sort that I think he must have been in tremendous, unspeakable pain to have submitted to that. That's pain. These aching joints and sore muscles? Eh....normal wear and tear of daily life.

Still.....I'm holding out for those boots. I need to be able to walk around quickly to do my job well.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

It used to be, even when I was a kid, that people didn't have as much stuff as they do now. And before my time, it used to be that ordinary, everyday items such as shoes and shirts and dresses and blankets were pretty danged expensive, so people only owned 2-3 changes of clothing or one pair of shoes. Kids had to run around barefoot in the summer so they could save their shoes for school (if they had any at all) and for the winter. They might have only one or two toys in their whole childhood. Socks that developed holes were carefully darned, not thrown away. Blankets as we know them weren't that common; quilts were. And quilts had to made made slowly, lovingly, by hand, most often from little scraps of feed sacks or bits of cloth leftover from making dresses and shirts. Have you ever seen a quilt where even the pieces themselves are made up of little strips joined together until they're big enough to make say, a diamond for the point of a star? People didn't do that because they had more spare time than they knew what to do with (like we do now), they did it because cloth was expensive enough to make it worth their while to save those little, bitty scraps. They didn't have refrigeration or plumbing or central heating or AC or automobiles. I'm certain that if they had had any idea of what sort of a life we have now, it would have seemed soemthing like paradise to them. They probably bemoaned the high prices of things and wished that the commmon, necessary items were more affordable.

Now look what happened: stuff is cheap. I can go to the dollar a bag sale at the thrift store and get a whole shopping bag full of clothes for a buck, less than 15 minutes or work-time even if i'm only making minimum wage. By comparison, Abe Lincoln worked for days splitting fence rails just to get a pair or two of breeches made for him. We throw socks away the moment they wear a little thin- if my coworkers caught me darning socks, I think they'd probably either take up a collection to buy me new ones or start plying me with handfuls of the things. Blankets are so cheap that people take those old quilts granny made by hand and use them for dog beds. Patches aren't often seen on clothing, even for poor children, and the status quo seems to be that you should buy your kid and entire new set of clothes just for school, every year. We are deluged with stuff. We buy all sorts of stuff we don't need, not only for ourselves but for other people. We throw things away that are still perfectly good simply because we're tired of them or because all that stuff is going to accumulate and drown us out of our own homes if we don't!

In a way I can see how this is good. But, look what's happened to the quality of the goods. If a person's only going to wear their jeans for a year, and they have 6-10 pairs of pants total, just how durable do those jeans need to be? How much are they willing to pay? The lowest price is what the consumer seems to want (hello, Wallyworld), and so the workmanship and standards of quality have gone down. Stuff doesn't last anymore the way it used to, and a lot of people don't expect it to. After all, when it gets old or too familiar, they'll just throw it away.

This results in a constant flow of goods through the household. We're assaulted day and night with ads insisting that because it's available and affordable, we should get it, right NOW. We *deserve* it. If we can't afford it, buy it anyway, and work out the details of that messy business later on. This trend is surprisingly pervasive and difficult to resist. The "gatherer" part of the hunter-gatherer is hard wired into us. And if, like me, you loathe throwing things away, it can become a problem, because that's like erecting a dam so that stuff comes in at a steady pace but only trickles out very slowly. Irritatingly enough, much of the stuff is cheap or tiresome or faddish, manufactured with the understanding that it'll be thrown away, soon. In other words, I have a lot of low quality stuff, and I think most of us do.

The solution: to pay more and really invest in long-wearing, high quality item that is truly needed and won't be going out of style or falling apart right off the bat. To buy things that we truly and deeply like and can live with for a long, long time. To purchase consciously, deliberately, and with thought, not spontaneously. And then, of course, to take really good care of those things. They cost more because they're worth more, so unless you're rich, you probably won't have a houseful overflowing from the attic and basement and stairs and under the beds and out of the closets.

Long story short, this is why I'm buying a pair of White's boots. My feet are killing me from wearing cheap shoes at work. Cheap shoes are all I've ever had. I ruin them in an amazingly short span of time. I cleaned house today, and I must have at least 5-6 pairs of cheap shoes, none of which I want to wear to work and all of which are going to cause my feet varying degrees of pain. It seems sort of scandalous for me to buy these expensive, handmade boots, but they should last me for years. If they wear out, the store can rebuild them. And also, I won't need to keep 4-5 backup pairs (held in reserve for when the others wear out) of shoes around the house. I can have just one pair and maybe a pair of sandals or dress shoes (like I'd ever need those anyway, heh!).

I'd like to follow this general principle in buying for most of what we get, ideally.

It's slowly dawning on me that I'm not ugly at all. We all get teased about our looks in grade school. The problem was, I really believed it. I honestly thought that if a guy really loved me, perhaps he'd be able to love me in spite of my appearance, or maybe because he was too low on the totem pole to get something prettier and more desirable. It had never once crossed my mind that someone might actually like me exactly the way I am.

It's an epiphany.

How much of my life have I wasted tolerating abuse and men who didn't especially cherish me, all because I seriously believed that I was sooooo sub-standard compared to all the other women out there?