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Merry eccentric Christmas

I live in a house with a chain link fence. This has  influenced the way I live my life. There are no pretenses behind chain link. My neighborhood is home to many duplex apartments which are identical in design. None of us are rich, all of us put some effort but very little money into decorating our yards.

I focused on my fence this year because it is so unpretentious,  so un-white picket, like me.  I don’t know why I’ve made the choices I’ve made. I don’t own a house, have kids or a spouse. I don’t even own a cat which is really surprising for a woman who spent many years working in libraries. The fence is a homely scaffolding for my approximation of holiday cheer.  The decorating process was quick but fun. It doesn’t require computer synchronization or air blowers although some food coloring and balloons to create the ice globes. Also bleach wipes to clean up the mess from trying to tie up spurting crazy colored water balloons.

Away in a manger, a planter for his bed

Away in a manger, a planter for his bed

There are planters on each side with …. Angels!

A big old fluffy angel from the second hand store looking over my house

A big old fluffy angel from the second hand store looking over my house

christmas on w 19th - 7

Not really an angel  but shiny!

My Christmas wishes hanging on the fence

My Christmas wishes hanging on the fence

Snow globes!

Snow globes!

When balloons backfire

When balloons backfire

Merry eccentric Christmas to you!

How not to let Winter in Alaska DESTROY you!

I’ve lived in Anchorage for 14 winters but I lived in New England for 25 winters so this is not news  I have depression and anxiety which becomes worse in the cold and dark.  I was up last night with insomnia and counted off the times I almost got beaten by the beast. I’m writing this to remind myself that I can make it through and so can you. Please assist me by adding your ideas in the comments.

1. Stop trying to WORK so hard!  Tis the season for good cheer. No one wants to have their attendance record and productivity listed on their gravestone. Hell, they don’t even give out gold watches for that stuff anymore. People tend to like relaxed people. Even bosses don’t want more worries.One good deed or interaction a day is worth more than 20 desperate panicked ones. But I can use the panicked ones as fodder for my blog. Go slowly and in peace, although a good holler is healthy when slipping on the ice. In the spirit of Christmas, I just bought a shirt with this logo online.

Calmness - good! Humor - more likely!

Calmness – good!
Humor – more likely!

2. It is not all in my control!  Did you know that cold weather makes our muscles clench? This in turn makes us warmer but if we are already kind of a tight ass this can make us even less flexible physically and emotionally.  I trip and fall in all seasons because I’m rushing around. I bounce more in the warm weather.  I’m more brittle, like rubber and plastic are, in the cold.  I could wear more padding. Accepting the sense of it makes me feel that no matter how many yoga classes I am advised to take, it’s in the nature of things.  Please don’t tell me to relax! Help me to relax by telling me a funny story or giving me the gift of kindness.

Increased hours of darkness make leaves fall from trees and animals hibernate. Before the electric light, many of us  would not been able to live the lives we live, let alone do the work we do. We would have depended upon daylight.  The few things I do accomplish each day are part of an electric miracle. Any work done under the influence of electricity counts as overtime!

Are you sure they don't interfere with sleep?

Are you sure they don’t interfere with sleep?

3.  Eat! Get out! DO NOT SKIP LUNCH OR EAT AT DESK IN ORDER TO LEAVE EARLY!  It’s still going to be dark when I leave no matter what I do.  I have to get out at lunch in order to get my vitamin D. I do this in the summer as well.  I may have a walk or a jog but I’m not going to eat at my desk.  Everyday I get vacation time before work, at lunch and after work.  I’m the queen of delayed gratification (work through lunch for early departure)  but in doing so I spend the last couple of hours at work in a state of resentment, too tired and hungry to get anything done.  I can go for a short jog and eat snacks all day if I want but somehow I feel that should work the way everyone else does, or looks like they do. I’m sure they spend more time on their cell phones than I do because I don’t know how to work mine. Live a life of abundance. There will always be work left for tomorrow!

If this is what abundance looks like I'm not sure I can handle it.

If this is what abundance looks like I’m not sure I can handle it.

Some less philosophical advice. Go to every party  to which you are invited. (except ones which cost money). Bring food, eat food, dance, sing.  Get out at least once a week with friends, preferably twice. Read and write. Only watch television on Sunday nights when The Good Wife and Madame Secretary are on and maybe Thursdays when Mom and Elementary have new episodes.  Most of the problems of the world are not going to be solved by me but I can work on the ones that are made by me. Have a good holiday season and  remind me to post at least once a week this winter, for my own health!

Living on The Dark Side

A few photos to illustrate my mood:

I've got a growth!

It’s not a bush, it’s a growth Buddy.

Welcome to your doom

Welcome to our final restroom

Yes, Halloween is gone but I have two new jobs starting in the next couple of weeks and an impending sense of doom. I had a scary actor dream last night where I didn’t know my lines and the play was cancelled because of me.  I’m feeling most inadequate at getting all the prep work done for employment.  Every time I think I’m done with the paperwork there’s another bale of it.  I should be excited. Instead I’ve started reading Holocaust literature again.

It would help if there was snow. Alaskan winter nights without snow are desolate. Nobody comes to rob your house or is screaming in the street.   I went running tonight with my little headlamp and my reflective winter hat.  It’s warmer running outdoors than sitting in my house.  We keep the heat at around 60 degrees Fahrenheit.  My sister told me we should bubble wrap our windows to keep the heat in. It sounds like there would be much postal tape involved and I would make a mess of it.  It’s pretty convenient just to sit under the covers and mope or swear at some form I’m trying to fill out.

I attempted to make business cards today.  You make them 10 to a page then print them out on this cute little paper with 10 cutouts. Unfortunately, I backspaced and one of the cards disappeared, then three more lost their photos. Perhaps God is telling me to replace the cute little photo with a skull and crossbones.

I got a new smart phone because I thought it would help me feel professional. I keep stabbing it with my finger to make it do something. Today I dialed my landlord by mistake. He thought it was funny because I usually only call to tell him something is wrong. i pretended everything was okay.

So don’t go and worry about me. If my paperwork is incomplete so I can’t work tomorrow I will make fudge instead.  Even if I do work I can make fudge later.  I can also wear my annoying orange costume from the Halloween store to keep me warm.

Closing up The Halloween Store and other spooky adventures

I have been blessed and spooked by my temp job at The Halloween store.

My first observation – My God! What kind of world do I live in? There is absolutely nothing anyone needs to buy in this store and yet people are. I bought my fair share today on 50% off day.

Want to know what people got? Rick Grimes. I have never seen Walking Dead and probably never will but I know what he wears.

rick

I wish I had come up with that caption but I am too uninformed.

Most asked question:  Do you have the mask from  (fill in  comic  book/horror film/cosplay which I ( the writer) have never heard of). Describe it as a kind of a white mask.  My answer to this is, ” I heard they have him at Hot Topic downstairs.”

Oh another most asked question, “Does my butt hang out of the back of this, ( fill in your choice of nurse, soldier, convict, policewoman, first mate outfit)?”  My answer: “You can wear leggings.”

Scariest question: ” Do you have a Slender Man costume?”

Looks like me and my father

Looks like me and my father

What did I buy? I bought only things I could wear on a regular basis such as some lovely red dalek knee socks and a waist cincher that turns any skirt into a pirate/peasant/hippie dress.  I also got a Pirate over the shoulder bag which will be my new go to bag for when I just want to carry my id and a key while riding my bike or on board a leaky boat, (it’s 100% plastic, thus waterproof.)  I dressed in my own private pirate wear for Halloween. One of the basic pieces is a pair of bright red balloon pants I got in Paris.  Some times people are confused because it is not the sexiest of pirate looks. I tell them that middle aged pirates are meaner.

 

1031142049a

The hair scares young people to death!

I got some funny items to use for dramatherapy which is another one of my work identities. These  costumes are silly so that individuals and families can have fun with their issues. They are easy to characterize and don’t take much fit. Best of all they were free discontinued items such as The Annoying Orange, and Framed art work into which you can put your own head such as a self portrait of Van Gogh and American Gothic.

I made my own costume for a party I went to.  I tried to think of the thing most everyone  fears the most. Gluten. I wore all tan, drew on an eye mask, taped the  title “Gluten girl” on my tee shirt, used an old sheet for a cape, wore brown stockings and carried a loaf of bread.   Two people immediately announced that they were Celiac  ( about 1 in one hundred are) and the majority of the rest admitted they were gluten intolerant.  It wound up that the minority of people at this event could actually eat gluten. I persisted in hitting all the gluten haters with my loaf of bread until they laughed.  I could have come as halitosis or herpes and started fewer health related discussions. Gluten freeness is the new Stay Free Mini pad.

I love how I look bloated with carbs here

I love how I look bloated with carbs here

Did I mention I have half a pizza box on my head as a helmet?

Now let’s show you a really scary picture. I was hiking up a mountain with some friends the other day.  It was very misty and we couldn’t see much. We thought the climb would be worth the view on the top but the view was like this.

This was actually the furthest we could see on the whole trip.

This was actually the furthest we could see on the whole trip.

But look what I got a  nice clear shot of.

Clearly droppings from a bear who likes berries

Clearly droppings from a bear who likes berries

On a happier note, The Halloween store provides a bit of joy and laughter to the world. There is an ice rink in the mall where I saw a fine adult skater wearing one of our “Ollie the Ostrich” costumes which makes you look like you are riding on the bird’s back. It made me proud.

Three cheers for goofy people!

Three cheers for goofy people!

Anxiety woman toils at The Halloween Store

Anxiety Woman is having many adventures this year on her journey to a new career.  Listening to “Highway to Hell” punctuated by feline screams and pronouncements from various demons regarding,  “Eating my brains,” is a new treat.

I get nervous when I’m unemployed.  I get nervous when I work.  I prefer to be paid for being nervous.  This allows me to eat when I’m nervous which is comforting.

The shop which graciously took me in, (the only one out of 4 to which I applied), is very large and busy. I am grateful for this as working in a Halloween Store was on my unconscious bucket list.  I did not realize I wanted to until this week when traveling the world on as a cook on a freighter appeared to require more planning.    I like zombies, sci fi,  glitter, and  bright day of the dead colors, ( there is an entire day of the dead section.)    Being old means I had to learn who Bain is, Harley Quinn and all of Monster High.

Nothing to do with Commedia Delle Arte and everything to do with Batman

Nothing to do with Commedia Delle Arte and everything to do with Batman

There’s a Duck Dynasty aisle, a Walking Dead aisle, Game of Thrones,  a small Hogwarts section and a non-existent Frozen section due to it being sold out within a week of opening.  Freddy and Jason co-exist as do vampires and hippies, Hunger Gamers and Cavemen.

new Alaska occupational code: Reefer Nurse

new Alaska occupational code: Reefer Nurse

Most of the store, however is dedicated to sexy ladies.   Almost all the people trying on costumes are normal sexy ladies trying to look like the impossible  blonde, buxom, airbrushed babes on the costume packages. The ladies are good natured enough about trying hard to pretend. We only have one mirror in the dressing room, that helps.  But it may take trying on up to 6 costumes such as Heartbreaker Nurse, Say Ah nurse, Nurse Knockout, Cardiac Arrest Nurse, Hot Flash Nurse and Army Nurse  to figure out that beauty doesn’t come in a 3 foot colored swatch of spandex.   It’s then  difficult for me to repackage said nurse uniforms and find which section to which they return. Some go on the sexy wall, some with the branch of military service, some on the discount rack.  Just so you don’t think women are being stereotyped into one sexy occupation, there are just as many variations on the themes of women cops and convicts.

sexy cop

Alaska State Troopers – Look out!

There are so many rules about the dressing rooms and so much traffic that I make lots of mistakes. I let people go in together, (a big no-no), sometimes I let them take in more than two items especially when they seem to be just sequined superhero underoos.  No one seems inclined to steal the costumes as many don’t fit. No one so far has had sexual relations behind the curtains but this is a worry for management.   I have been “reminded” of the rules. I continue to forget because I think I am at a party, not at a job.  If I had my way I would just send everyone out with a Minion costume.

There is also a VERY adult aisle where most of the humor hinges on penises and testicles such as the  giant squirrel holding his nuts. I have not sold any of these. I did sell a number of items to people running a costume road race this weekend. One man will be wearing a fabric milk carton with his face stuck  inside  the  “Missing Child” frame.  Another runner grabbed the last Tardis tank top which I had my eyes on. This is for the best as I spent $200. at the psychiatrist’s this morning and can not be using my $9/hr to purchase fancy dress items, even with my $25 % discount.

After about three hours of work I get  irritated at The Guantanamo Bay Dummy who shrieks unexpectedly while banging his hooded head against the wall.  I can’t imagine a combat vet would do well in this store.   This being Alaska, there are many fake guns available which, in the dark,  may be mistaken by cops who are carrying real guns.  There are also fancy fake knives, swords, axes and giant hammers like the one used by The Mighty Thor. Do real toy stores stock such items? Perhaps, but not in such profusion.  The loudness, the abundance of violence and the  amount of money spent on this holiday is shocking, but on the other hand, very American and  indicative of a healthy economy.

It goes well with grey hair!

It goes well with grey hair!

Next week we get to wear costumes and  hand out candy on the holiday of Halloween which ends my festive month long season of employment. That is if I don’t get fired for shaking too much, something that was brought to my attention by an iphone obsessed co-worker who shall remain unnamed.   She wondered why I never stop moving. I wondered silently why she even cared.  I am a bit overstimulated by the environment but I think this is better than being totally tuned out.   I would not mind wearing the sexy mummy costume next week but I will probably settle for The Salem Witch which is not as popular and therefore available in my size.  With my height it might even be strangely short and sexy.   That’s a bit creepy, but perfect for the season.

Just like home!

Just like home!

Some more or less anxious thoughts on my birthday

1.  Hey I should do all the things I like today to make myself happy and if I’m not happy doing those things maybe I shouldn’t be having a birthday!

2.  Am I a late bloomer? I think I am. What if I already bloomed and I didn’t notice? Why didn’t you guys tell me?

3. I just decorated the yard, not for my birthday, but because it’s my birthday, and I get to do what I want. Here it is.

It's a little busy but there are lots of dead people in the world

It’s a little busy but there are lots of dead people in the world

There is a fish theme going on. There’s a shark and two baby ghosts in the cauldron.  The big ghost is holding a salmon.   Good thing my birthday isn’t in March or I would have Brutus and Marc Antony out there.

4. I should have exercised. I’m not getting any younger and it’s not like I was working today. I just don’t feel like it. I feel like solving all my life problems at once. That’s about as healthy as the discount cake that I bought myself at the supermarket. Not day old cake, but it had kind of a crunched corner as if another cake did a hit and run. I just took a break and rode my bike. It was cold and people kept telling me there was a big bull moose on the right. After  a half mile of hypervigilence I quit looking. Turns out his butt was towards the trail so he was hard to see even though he was close. That’s good for me since he was eating and not looking to hoof me to death. Bad for you because you don’t get a photo. I don’t feel any less tense.

5. I should be grateful. I watched Captain Phillips last night. At least there are no pirates at my house. There are however fishermen and fishing gear.  In the film, there was some debate as to whether the men from Somalia were pure pirates or half fishermen.  I don’t think I have to worry because my current roommate is half greenhouse man and half fisherman.  Not much of a pirate although he does pay the rent in cash. None the less, there is  not 30,000 dollars in a safe anywhere close by.  Really not much exciting to hijack here, but it’s home.

We are fishers of men

We are fishers of men

 

6.  I never tell facebook my birthday but somewhere about half way through the day I announce it myself  because I can’t stand knowing that I am just one of a billion fleshy balloons  rolling  around on broken glass. I want to be special enough that my buddies stop looking for the 10 million dollar ransom and  fix my hurt foot.

 

7.  If I just started telling people I was a Taurus would I become more “lean in” and “take charge”? Can I make up a zodiac sign like a “Virbra” or “Libro” because I want to be on the cusp of something?  The symbol could be a woman sitting on a fish scale or metal scale with breast armor. It would be confusing and fit me perfectly. I don’t really believe in this stuff but there is something about the sun and the moon that does something to my psyche. I like to go for a ride at sunset. Sometimes I can relax afterwards, as if the lease on the day is up and I can give up trying to achieve anything.  I don’t know what I’m trying to prove.

sun going down on my birthday

sun going down on my birthday

 

8.   Is it too late for me to be more like Ponyo? I hope not.  I will approach my next interview like the little fish girl who could. Maybe I will even ask if they have ham!

keep running after what you want!

keep running after what you want!

Anxiety woman peruses The NY Times for possible birthday gifts

I could have scanned the ad inserts from Fred Meyers and J C Penney in the local rag, The Alaska Dispatch, but this was much more depressing, right up my alley. My birthday comes but once a year and this is a marvelous way to prepare. Find all the expensive rubbish you don’t need and vow not to buy it, nor receive it.  It’s like vowing never to marry, you may actually be fighting off the offers.  So without ado, here’s my non-wish list.

Upscale serenity

Upscale serenity

 

 Just say NO to Meditation Bells

These things are crazy! Are all Buddhists nuts or just The rich American ones?  These look like the bells that the Altar boys rang in Catholic Church when we said “Body of Christ.” Did Jesus/Buddha really like tinkly bells and bling? Perhaps just the priests?  Isn’t a diamond studded meditation bell a little like a diamond studded social security card? I never understood the diamond studded crosses either. What would Jesus wear?

 

Instead get me chocolate

 

 

Respect lost? Priceless!

Respect lost? Priceless!

 

No, I do not want  “One more day in Vegas

= one more STD, one more night searching for my room in a vast sea of what looks like corridors of a state penitentiary,  one more false expectation that I will meet the love of my life and he won’t have a drink and a cigarette in his hand.

Instead see above

 

And it is the path more travelled by

And it is the path more traveled by

 

NO! NOT Another Inspirational handbook for changing my life/the world. If I was able to help myself, don’t you think I would have done so by now? Do I still believe that helping others is going to make me happy? That maneuver gets old quickly. Why are we put on this world? Only God know, so don’t over think it. That’s my new Golden Rule.

I can’t handle any more advice on how to get a man, get a job or get happy. I have chocolate for the last one and I think it may work for the other two if just I got more creative. I’m aware that escaping into chocolate won’t save the world since there are people who are actually allergic to it just like  they are to gluten and exercise . I am also aware that most people change the world without ever knowing it,  getting paid for, or publishing about it.

This particular book, “A Path Appears,” is universally liked by both movie stars and mystics.  Should there be a shortage, I will be doing my part by doing without it.  I am more likely to change the world by making a complete fool of myself and creating a bit of  unintentional laughter in my wake.  One more piece of information on how to be more effective in my life might fire up the overdoing, people pleasing urges which have already almost brought me to ruin. Please stop the presses, and the facebook game apps (available tie in with  sister book, “Half The Sky.”)

 

NO.   NO.   NO! to gigantic metallic accessories!

Hope you got your matching dental grilles

Hope you got your matching dental grilles

I love glitter  because it is not gold. These cameras are not as funny as the Flavor Flav clocks. No they are more like golden tennis rackets or golf clubs presented to winners at the country club tournament.  How would I know? I don’t know. I’m making this all up because I have issues and need to complain about something.

 

These are classy, if you have the record to pull them off.

These are classy, if you have the record to pull them off.

I haven’t been to jail so I don’t think I would look right walking around with an electronic ankle bracelet or gigantic lock and chain just for fun. They look tiny here but the effect is something like observing a smiling extra in Twelve Years a Slave.

 

Here is an entire outfit I don’t want or need. Do you?

Never sit on the grass wearing white!

Never sit on the grass wearing white!

The coat is made of white plastic so perhaps that is why the model looks so uncomfortable. She can wipe that clean but the $4000 skirt can not touch the ground.   I have an idea for a TV series. Sr. Bertrille, The Flying Nun, crash lands during a hurricane. She winds up an unwilling contestant on Survivor. Would you vote her off the island and bring on the wrath of God?

 

I still have lots to read of this Sunday’s NY Times  so there are plenty more things to not want. I have my paper, and that will be recycled, eventually.

Happy birthday to me!

 

 

 

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