Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Wanted: One Sense of Humor

My mother will sometimes go on the attack and she's been doing so lately. When I call her on it, when I don't appreciate her insults, I'm told "Your ex was right; you DON'T have a sense of humor".

Now, I don't think I'm the funniest person in the world but I do enjoy a laugh and enjoy being a clown and making my friends laugh. (One of my greatest joys in life was how easily and often I could make Michael laugh, and others since him.) I can usually find something funny in any situation and where I am in my life (this blog - at least lately - notwithstanding ;-). But for many years I bought into my ex's view of me in this regard.

It took me a long time to realize I actually DID have a sense of humor; I just don't appreciate jokes that put others down nor do I like insults against ME said under the guise of a 'joke'. The only two people who have accused me of not having a sense of humor are my ex and my mother. It's a pretty consistent accusation on their part. (My father and brother probably have the same view but don't say it.) I don't buy it anymore.

At least not completely. I do wonder though and, as is usual for me, something like this will cause some introspection. Because we're often the last ones to know and admit to ourselves the failings everyone else sees. And I may just be in denial.

I DO think I'm oversensitive some of the time to simple lighthearted teasing. I'm not talking about my mother or ex who do/did it meanly with the purpose of hurting me. I'm talking about those I know to love me and are just doing some light joshing. Sometimes I can take it, laugh, give it back and all is fine. Other times - often when I'm tired or in pain or otherwise down for too long - it's a bit harder even while I understand no ill intent is meant.

And I've wondered why that is. Why is it so easy for my best friend and not for me? She and her family joke a lot with each other. It's a nice thing and fun to watch. And I realized what the difference was/is. She grew up with parents who adored and supported her and who do to this day. It was safe for her.

For me, 'jokes' and laughter were so often used to attack and put me down, and that continued in my marriage until I finally smartened up. And yet *I* wasn't allowed to be a goof or clown because that was embarassing to them. Took me a while to free myself from that one.

I hate realizing now that there is still a legacy like this but hey, with awareness comes growth and healing. :-)

Oh, and re my mother.... I'm currently screening my calls. ;-)

Sunday, April 08, 2007


Skeet and Denise shared their obsessions and that got me to thinking about mine.

I am not sure what the definition of an 'obsession' is and whether I truly have any. I don't rabidly collect anything, I don't spend a lot of time THINKING about one thing over another, so I had to bring it down to about what things have held my interest for a good, long time.

Past obsessions included flying, computer games, technology and the online world. But they no longer really fit anymore even though I still enjoy them now and then and, of course, I work in the online world. And I'm focusing on things in my regular personal life, rather than more serious ongoing passionate interests like abuse, female genital mutilation, prejudice, child soldiers, etc.

So here's my current list:

WHALES: This one is at least four decades old, from the first introduction to beluga and killer whales at Stanley Park in Vancouver to seeing them in the wild as an adult. First sighting was off Waikiki, a mother hump back and her baby. Since then many encounters with grey whales off the west coast of Vancouver Island, sometimes close enough to touch, and a pod of playful killer whales unexpectedly meeting up with the ferry to Vancouver Island in 2005. These encounters never lose their magic.

OCEAN: Simply put, it feeds my soul, always has, always will. The wilder the better. When I'm rich I'll be sure to buy property overlooking the open ocean.

SEX/TOUCH: Everything about it -the feel, smells, sounds, tastes - and all that goes with it, the relationships, the impact of everyday life and our pasts on how we relate to each other, how it can deepen the quality of a relationship, how beautiful and fun and silly and hot it can be. The older I get, the more I appreciate sex, from my own experience but also the experiences of others as part of my job is working on message boards focused on sex and relationships.

TV SERIES ON DVD: This medium was made for people like me.... love watching at my own pace, love the behind-the-scenes stuff, the commentaries, all of it. I'm a movie buff too but with the quality of t.v. shows improving, the richness of character development in t.v. is superior for me.

WORD GAMES/PUZZLES: Online with a friend or soloing with the magazines. Great for waiting rooms and airports.

BOOKS & MUSIC: I'm combining these because while they don't feel like obsessions anymore, they are so a part of my everyday world and have been for 40 years; I just can't imagine my life without them despite music currently being an iffy thing for me.

AFRICA: It was probably all those National Geographic shows I grew up on that began this one, but it built as I grew older and read so much - fiction and nonfiction - about Africa. And it deepened as I became and remain aware of all the issues affecting the people who live there. It's nice to contemplate actually going there (well, at least South Africa anyway) within the next couple of years.

HOT CHOCOLATE: Yes, I know this list is already longer than it should be but I just couldn't leave this one out. I've never drunk coffee, not much of a tea drinker anymore and have yet to find an herbal tea I like, so it's hot chocolate every morning. It's just LIGHT hot chocolate nowadays.

I'm sure I'll think of more the second I publish this but there you have 'em.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Murder Mystery

A little over a week ago I was able to participate in one of those murder mystery dinner parties, in costume and in character. It wasn't one of those scripted ones so it could go in all sorts of directions depending on who you talked to, how you discovered and imparted info, what secrets you divulged, etc. In our case there were 19 people (I think) and boy! it turned out to be FUN!

Freeform Games was used, in particular their Curse of the Pharoah game. If you've ever been interested in these kinds of games, I highly recommend this company. My best friend and her husband put this on and it was an ENORMOUS amount of work, especially as it was a surprise party for her son who turned 19, and had to be kept hush-hush and she could only work on it when he wasn't at home. It included his friends and family and family friends, so the ages went from the teens to his grandparents' ages and was fun for all. Just about everyone, teens and adults alike, showed up in great costume and kept to their characters. My friend did a lot of decorating, they had food out, she and her husband, also in Egyptian costume, ran the show and did brilliantly.

In between trying to stay in character and pursue my character's personal goals, I couldn't stop giggling as I heard some of the things that came out of my mouth or the mouths of others. As a middle-aged rather severe looking Victorian-era Englishwoman archaeologist (whose fiance had been killed decades before and who had given a love child up for adoption after another torrid affair), I had four/five goals to pursue and about halfway through realized my character, once she'd achieved one personal goal and learned some new info about another issue, wouldn't bother with THOSE goals and I went off on my own tangent of pursuit. That's what made it fun; it could go in so many different directions. And it was nice to know that I could still think outside the box.

Everyone had secrets (quite a few spies from various countries too) and hidden agendas, including my son and daughter-in-law's characters. At one point my character discovered something nasty about my DIL's and so I spent some of the evening glaring at her until finally confronting her. *giggle* (Difficult to do because, back then, such confrontations were considered impolite, so it had to be done carefully.)

Another site my friend looked at which could be interesting is Merri Mysteries. Between the two companies, there are games for a variety of sized groups, ages, genders taking place in different areas and eras.

I know these have been around for a while and have become almost cliche but they're worth another look (at least these non-scripted ones) if you want something different.

It was a blast!

Technorati tags: Murder mystery game, Freeform Games, Merri Mysteries, Curse of the Pharoah

Friday, April 06, 2007


I am a huge fan of Joss Whedon and all things in the Buffy universe. I watched the show when it originally aired with my then teenage sons and now own the dvds for all seven seasons. Like a favorite book one returns to like comfort food, I've watched each episode at least four times (one time was for the commentaries) and still get a lot of enjoyment out of them all and STILL can identify with some of the storylines even though I'm 46-yrs-old. (Hmmm.... maybe THAT's my problem.....) It's a smart, witty, often poignant show. And, unfortunately, little on network t.v. comes even close. I miss Joss' presence on the small screen because little on network t.v. comes even close, especially when it comes to dramas. You have to go to cable - Deadwood, Rome, Battlestar Galactica, Carnivale (with only Deadwood having the brilliant mix of humor, poignancy and great writing I long for) - to get the innovative quality I want, Lost, Heroes, Medium, and seasons past of Gilmore Girls notwithstanding. It was nice to see Joss directing an episode of The Office this season though.

Without even tryin' I can link just about every show back to Joss and Buffy, through writers or actors, directors or producers. And no, that's not something I share with just anyone. No need to scare any new friends off early. ;-) (Still haven't figured out a link to Rome, though. *grumble*)

(I also watched Angel - despite not being a big fan of the character - but only on the dvds; less good, more uneven but had some fine and funny moments. Aside from the Buffy world, it's Joss' Firefly and Serenity that really captured me. If you've never seen those, they're worth the rental fee or purchase; don't let the sci-fi crossed with a western label scare you away. It's just unfortunate Fox never allowed it to develop properly and it was canceled before its first season was finished. Having seen what Joss could do with a bunch of teenagers in Buffy, I can only weep at the lost potential of the characters on Firefly.)

Over the years, I rarely came across any other adults my age who liked the show. I came across a lot of sneers though. Or if not downright sneers, a roll of the eyes, a look askance doubting my IQ and sanity. It is, after all, a premise that is downright ridiculous - a cheerleader vampire slayer in Sunnydale, California. I mean, come on! And try and get them to watch it.... not a chance.

My best friend and her husband were among this crowd. She loves me but, since our tastes don't always jive, had ZERO interest in giving Buffy a try.


I loaned them Firefly and Serenity. They loved it.

I quietly reminded her that the same director did Buffy.

(I am so evil. *snicker*)

So now that their daughter is 16 and they're more comfortable with her watching the show, they've borrowed the series.

And they're all hooked. Muahahaha!!!

And I am content, having brought more over to the dark..... er.... Buffy side.

Technorati Tags: Buffy, Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Serenity, Angel, Deadwood, Carnivale, Joss Whedon

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Touching the Void

If you've never seen this brilliant documentary, it's worth pursuing. On the surface it's about two young British men who climbed a peak in South America in the 80's and how it all goes horribly wrong, about friendship and brutal choices and survival against all odds.

But the real story, the deeper story, is how clear it is that touch and the need for another human being's companionship is absolutely essential to us as human beings. That survival is less important even than the need not to be alone when one dies.

This documentary has always struck a chord with me, as has that horrible old study from the 60s about young chimps dieing not because they didn't have food and water but because they weren't touched. I remember its powerful impact on me when I saw it as a kid and the impact remains.

I get this on a very basic level. I always did and now that my own loneliness overwhelms me, I get in a way I wouldn't wish on anyone.

Loneliness has often lead me to less than healthy choices, allowing people in my life or hanging on to relationships that are hurtful, and I don't just mean romantically or sexually.

Generally, I don't mind being alone. I like my own company and the freedom to do what I want, when I want. I know I can survive and that knowledge is a good thing. I am busy and lead a full life in many ways.

I also have friends (thank goodness for my best friend especially!) and sons and a daughter-in-law whom I love and who love me. I say 'yes' to invitations. I pursue things that interest me. Join in social activities. Get myself out there. Do all sorts of things to connect with others. This isn't always easy, working from home and having some physical issues to deal with, but I never stop.

But it's not enough. And it's gone beyond the skin hunger I've always known. That is more easily satisfied (and I don't mean just sexually) than this profound loneliness.

I miss.....

Going away for a few days and returning and someone caring that I left or that I'm home again.

The lack of regular touch/hugs. (If you know anyone who lives alone, please make a point of touching them whenever the opportunity arises.)

A personal message on my voice mail.

A personal email from that someone special checking in on me.

Someone to wake up with, by phone or in person.

Someone to talk about my day with.

Someone who greets me with a smile, whose eyes light up when I'm there.

I've realized and am coming to accept that I may always miss these things and more and so have to figure out another way to live. Hence the need for the travel and other dreams/goals. And now a new grandbaby to look forward to.

Shaping a new life and a new way of being in the world.

Technorati Tags: Touching the Void, baby chimps, loneliness, skin hunger