Monday, September 29, 2008

Jalapeno Hands

...I'm feelin' hot, hot, hot.....

A quick shout out to Buster Poindexter. While I, in my entirety, am not necessarily feelin' hot, hot, hot, my hand is....and so the story begins. We had an Indie family celebration yesterday. As with most of our food-centric celebrations (mom's birthday), the presence of stuffed jalapenos was required.

These fiery little gems are a great treat among the family. Jalapenos, sliced in half, seeded, stuffed with cream cheese and a pepper size piece of turkey bacon across the cream cheese. They are baked and topped off with the broiler. Sweet, a little heat, tangy and crispy. Pepper goodness. They don't last long.

Anyway, it was my responsibility to bring the peppers for the party. Never a big deal. I got everything together and proceeded to prepare them. I generally wear gloves while slicing and scooping out seeds. However, I was at my sister's, forgot my gloves, and I was in a hurry.

I bare-handed the peppers, holding them in the left hand, while cutting out the seeds with a knife in my right hand. No big deal. Got them cleaned, stuffed and in the oven. Family gathers, peppers are done. We have lunch. My 7 year old nephew polishes off 3 of the slices. All is good.

I go home. Around 9:00 p.m. I have the distinct sensation of my left hand burning. Nothing painful, just an annoying feeling. By 10:00, my hand is on fire. The jalapeno oils have coated my hand, even though it was washed multiple times. I resort to soaking my hand in milk. I know you're supposed to drink milk if you eat a hot pepper. It helps with the burn. Nope, didn't work.

I finally ignore the sensation, go to sleep. This morning, it's still on fire. Come to find out, I'm not the first person to experience "jalapeno hand." The latest remedy I've heard is to use stainless steel. Yes, that's something I keep on hand for situations like this.

If only I had remembered my gloves, I would not be relegated to the break room with my hand in the sink.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Certain Death Is Possible

...really? You really meant to say that?....

For those of you who know me, I am not a journalist of any sort, but I am a lover of words. Few things are as powerful as well crafted wordery (my newly made-up word of the day). Words evoke all manners of emotion. Those who write, or attempt to write (like me) , know the value and impact of words.

So I was surprised, driving home from work as Hurricane Ike was making its way to Texas, that I heard a reporter utter, "...certain death is possible..." Thank goodness I wasn't drinking anything. I would have shot the beverage through my nose onto my dashboard.

Think about it for a moment. Certain death is possible. Let that marinate in your noggin. Certain death is possible. Who writes their copy? If death is certain, how could it be possible?
Everyone knows death is certain. We are all going to die at some point. Maybe you'll certainly die, maybe you won't. Maybe it will be partial death. Maybe you'll be revived after dying. Would that be quasi-death?

To be sure I wasn't the only one who found this amusing, I called a couple of friends. Same reaction as mine. Of course, we were not laughing at the tragic situation brought to bear by Ike; however, it was nice to find some humor at the expense of the poor reporter. I know he was trying to convey the gravity of the situation. He was very serious while reporting on the rising water and possible tide surge.

Certain death is possible. Pigs flying is possible, too.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Guitar Lesson #10 - Melancolia

...yeah, that piece again...

I have a week to practice it...not doing too badly if I can stop looking at my hands as I play....which is pretty difficult. Mostly because I bought a classical guitar. Sounds much better than the acoustic I had...of course it was a couple hundred dollars more expensive.

Great, now I have two guitars. Makes me sound like I'm serious about this lessons thing.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Guitar Lesson #9 - Why Guitarist Smash Their Guitars


It didn't take long to become a frustrated, fledgling, quasi-musician. Armed with a new piece of music and a guitar that will never sound great, I discovered that Jeff has never shown me the notes on G-A-D. I don't know a sharp from a flat, and I certainly don't know how to make middle E and F on the guitar. I do now, but I didn't last week.

Lack of knowledge led to a huge meltdown. Literally crying on the phone while speaking to Mike about all things musical. Poor guy. I think it must be annoying for a guy to have a female friend. Most guys don't handle crying girls very well. However, I will say that he dealt with it just fine and finally got me calmed down. You go Mike!!

The piece of music is called Melancolia. Very appropriate given my mood of late. It has got to be one of the most depressing pieces of music I've ever played. Go ahead, slit my wrists and let me bleed out. Ok, I exaggerate. Seriously though, it's haunting, nearly mournful. And sounds even worse on my steel strings.

With this rising frustration, I've decided I have to practice even harder. So what if my hands get cramps and my fingers contort into unnatural positions. I keep telling myself it will be worth it in the end.

At least, I think it will be....

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Depression - Who Does It Hurt?

I have found myself in the throes of depression lately. No singular event triggered the plunge. Generally, I can feel an onset of "the blues", but this time I didn't feel the approach. I'm simply in the midst of it. This has probably been the most profound bout I've suffered. I would be happy to isolate myself, and have at times, but that is not always an option. So, I put on my happy face and go through my day with no one the wiser.

It's a conglomeration of things I guess.

Even though I am surrounded by family and friends, I find myself lonely...which really doesn't make sense because isolation is one of the first things I try to do. It's something I can't explain. I know that I am not alone. In all things, Christ is at my side.

While I love hanging out with my family and friends, lately, I feel like I don't belong. Like I don't have anything in common with them. And I do....but I start looking at what I don't have and it starts the ball rolling. Mom and Dad have each other. My sister and her husband have each other and the kids. I don't have anyone.

With the exception of one person, my close friends are single. We have each other. And we rely on each other for companionship and it's great!!! I love all my friends...but, it's not like they are here waiting for me to get home. I share my burdens with God, but it's not as though He is going to swoop down, clean the kitchen, do the laundry, mow the backyard, walk the dogs, organize my house...all the things I have to do for and by myself.

I'm serving at church in the nursery during the first service. And I love, love, love loving on the babies. But being in there makes me once again remember how much I wanted children of my own. Its connected to having someone to rely on as I age. I am at the point where I am in touch with my own mortality. My parents are aging and I will be there to take care of them. My sister and brother in law have their two boys. But when I get old, who is going to be there for me? Who is going to make sure that I'm taken care of when I can no longer remember who or where I am? I have no one to pass on my legacy, not that I leave much behind.

I stuffed the desire for kids aside a few years ago though much prayer. God answered me, because I haven't had that ache for a very long time. But now that I'm around babies again, it has resurfaced. I know my time for a family of my own is passing rapidly with each month. It doesn't make it any easier when my mom says "I wish you had a family of your own." I have to smile and say, "Yeah, I wish I had one too. I don't know why it wasn't part of God's plan for me." It crushes me knowing that it is very likely that I will never remarry and that I will never have kids (or adopt or marry someone with kids).

On top for that emotional realization, I found out a couple of weeks ago that my ex-husband has retired from the military, achieved his bachelors degree and is teaching at a local high school. All the things I wanted for him when we were together...things that drove a wedge between us...he is now doing. It is upsetting to think that after all this time, he finally did what I dreamt of him doing. Silly man, I was right all along.

I have a friend who won't take responsibility for her own actions. Instead of reimbursing me money which she owes me, she spent wantonly and now it's coming back to haunt her. She is expecting me to handle some business dealings we have together; trying to dump it into my lap. Perhaps, she should have thought about taking care of her obligations instead of purchasing $6,000 in wood flooring and $2,000+ in furniture. All of which were not needed. Now I have the stress of that hanging over me.

I am down two people at work. Last year, I went through an ordeal which I came through on top. I proved to upper management that I could run a group. I rehired all the positions, implemented recommended changes and created a well oiled machine. Now the cogs have slipped again. I cannot control with people do, but to lose two great employees within a month of each other, makes me want to curl up in the fetal position and cry.

My health, which is really in my hands to control, is out of control. I need to take better care of myself while I still can. I know what I need to do, but I don't. Why is that? I know I need to start exercising and eating right, but why don't I? It's not that difficult. I am...not doing what I need to do.

As I said, I know that God loves me. I love Him. My relationship is continually growing. But sometimes, its hard to believe He loves me with all the struggles I have. I know that I am no different than anyone else. We all have struggles, turmoils, and hard times. Sometimes, I simply want to say "Why me?" I don't have the answer to my questions. Am I not listening hard enough to hear what He is saying to me?

I really struggle to know what it is that I am missing. God tells us to share our trials with Him. To seek His strength and guidance. I do. I can't go through this life without His presence in it. So why do I feel so hopeless at times? Yes, I am cognizant that I am having a pity party. I know that things could be much worse. I know that I am very blessed. Logically, I know all these things. Emotionally, I'm wrecked.

Writing and music has always given me a sense of peace. I'm on my blog pounding out this post, weeping. Shortly I am going to take the dogs for a walk, get my endorphins going. I'm going to practice my guitar. I need to watch a sad movie and have a good cry. There is something about a good know the kind where your eye swell and you snot up your face?....that's a release.

Tomorrow morning, I'll get up, paste a smile on my face and make it through another day. God willing.

P.S. To my friends read, this is not a desperate cry for help...I have no desire to swallow a bottle of pills and drift off, at least not today. Stop it, I'm kidding. I have much to live for (when I figure out exactly what it is, I'll let you know...again my macabre humor). I know y'all are there and love me, warts and all. I'll be back to myself eventually.

Guitar Lessons - Week 7 and 8

I elected to combine the last two lessons into one blog. Mainly since I've been struggling with the same two pieces. I've have been continually practicing "Spanish Melody" and "Prelude in C Major". However, while I am able to hit the correct notes, my cheap steel string acoustic, does not offer the same resonance as an expensive nylon string classical.

Yes I would love my guitar to sing like Jeff's; however, since playing guitar is for my personal pleasure, I'm not doing to drop mega bucks on a guitar. Anyway, no one warned me that playing classical would require my hands to contort into a variety of positions. Not the just the fretting hand, but the strumming hand as well.

I've really wanted to scream the last couple of lessons. But Jeff is a saint and has the utmost patience. Even when I've horribly embarassed myself with nervously shaking hands.

I can play quite nicely at home. Get me in the room with my teacher and I sound like....well we'll just leave it at "unpretty."