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Thoughts, Rants, and Musings


Jibralta
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I have this old sketch book that I kept when I was in my early 20s. It's always around but I hardly look at it because just looking at the cover fills me with angst. I felt so much angst during that time that this sketchbook still embodies it, more than 20 years later. That period of my life was a lot longer than I sometimes realize. I always think of the moments of deepest despair occurring when I was in my late 20s. But actually, they were present for many years, almost 10 years. 

This past weekend, I opened the book and read through it a bit. It's a sketchbook, but I mainly used it as a notebook for my classes. Sketches and journal entries are interspersed throughout. I focused on the journal entries, which are the most painful. I felt pain while I was reading them, but interestingly the subject matter no longer affected me. These days, I consider the subject matter to be somewhat mundane. I think the pain is all residual. Maybe it's time to put that to bed.

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On 1/29/2022 at 6:19 PM, Jibralta said:

I think I'm somebody who has to be strong. Like, if my muscles get weak, I start feeling aches and pains.

I'm definitely like this... it's awful, but at least it keeps one motivated to stay in shape and strong (LOL optimistic spin 😂).

On 1/29/2022 at 6:19 PM, Jibralta said:

I said, to my boyfriend, "I wonder how strong I can get. I don't want to become enormous, though."

He basically laughed in my face and said, "You're not going to become enormous. You don't suddenly become enormous without noticing. It takes a lot of work. Nobody ever says, 'I got enormous so fast that I had to stop."

😂

That was funny!!!

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On 1/22/2022 at 6:47 AM, Jibralta said:

When Marshal was 13 or 14, he gave his parents a bit of a scare when he told them that he'd met someone named "Meatloaf" on an online videogame, and now this Meatloaf was inviting him to his concert, somewhere in another state, all expenses paid. Marshal had no idea who Meatloaf was, but his parents did, and they were understandably suspicious. So they vetted this online 'Meatloaf' thoroughly, and it turned out to be the real Meatloaf! Marshal and his parents were invited to Meatloaf's concert as a token of appreciation for Marshal taking the time to kindly and patiently help Meatloaf learn the online videogame that they were both playing. Most of the other players had been dismissive or rude to Meatloaf. 

 

Do you think something happened in that encounter (or afterward)?  Teens that are molested and never reveal it sometimes commit suicide a few years before or around 18, when they really start to, "get," what happened to them.  Oftentimes no one else knew, which is why suicide is more probable when they're so isolated.

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3 hours ago, maritalbliss86 said:

Do you think something happened in that encounter (or afterward)?  Teens that are molested and never reveal it sometimes commit suicide a few years before or around 18, when they really start to, "get," what happened to them.  Oftentimes no one else knew, which is why suicide is more probable when they're so isolated.

I doubt it. His parents were there the for the concert and afterwards, when they met Meatloaf. Marshal's parents spent a lot of time talking to Meatloaf and learned a lot about him. He made a good impression on them.

They are not the type of people who shy away from uncomfortable issues--hence his sisters being able to remain composed while addressing an enormous church filled with sobbing people. If someone behaved inappropriately towards Marshal, he would have been fully supported and counselled through. There are no shortcuts with that family. They face things head-on.

Marshal was always a very quiet, reticent sort of kid. He didn't enjoy interacting with people much outside of his close friends and family. He was always a little bit unreachable. In retrospect, you could say the signs were always there. We all knew how he was and gave him space. It never occurred to us that he could be mentally ill. But he probably was.

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My boyfriend and I like our hardboiled eggs 'medium rare,' where the yolk is still a bit gooey. My boyfriend has gotten the cooking process down to a science. Although, depending on external factors (like the size of the egg), the runniness of the yolk can vary. 

Every day, I go into work with two hardboiled eggs as part of my lunch. Well, "lunch" isn't quite the right term. It's really several meals that I eat throughout the day. You get the point. I usually have one egg right after I arrive at the office in the morning. Then I have the second egg sometime before I leave for lunch. 

What I usually do is bring the egg into the kitchen area, crack and de-shell it onto a paper towel, eat the egg while standing by the sink (in case there's a runny yolk), wash my hands, crush up the shell into the paper towel (so satisfying), and throw it in the garbage on the way out of the kitchen.

Eating the egg can be a slightly messy process when the yolk is runny. So, I try to do it when no one else is around. Usually I am the only one in the office when I eat the first egg. But when I eat the second egg the office is in full swing and occasionally someone walks in after I have bitten into the egg and--when it is a runny yolk--they may catch me with some yolk on my fingers. 

Yesterday, I had the second egg later in the day. I had the top half of the egg in my mouth and was just starting to bite down on it when two things happened at the exact same time: The yolk shot out the side of the egg, all over my hand, and all over the counter, right as the boss/owner walked into the kitchen. She saw the whole thing and let out a guffaw.

I froze, still holding the egg half in my mouth, eyes wide and straining to see the extent of the yolk's blast radius. I don't know how long I stood there holding the egg half in my mouth. It was for at least a few moments because I wasn't sure what to do. My boss was chattering away, "Sorry to scare you! It's perfectly fine! Don't be nervous!" and I was thinking, It wasn't nerves. The side of the damned egg blew out.

But I guess I was nervous now. I had a moment of deep uncertainty about the next step. I wanted to say something back to my boss, but I had an egg half in my mouth. Was it gross to pull the egg out of my mouth? I didn't know. But I finally just pulled the damned thing out so that I could talk. It was still whole, with the exception of the rupture at the side, and that actually looked healed. My teeth hadn't even punctured the egg. 

As I stared down at the egg, I muttered something to my boss, like, "It's really almost a soft-boiled egg. We have this down to a science in terms of cooking time. They're not supposed to be explosive, though." She said something polite, like "Oh really?" as she exited the kitchen. And then I was alone with my egg, which I ate. Then I washed my hands, crushed up the shell into the paper towel (ahhhh), and threw it in the garbage on the way out of the kitchen.

Edited by Jibralta
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Your boss is a good egg - maybe "over easy?"  I love eggs and find it a little entertaining and a little confusing about the flip flopping as far as cholesterol and whether it's ok to eat the yolks etc (mine is genetically on the high side but I have a really good ratio which these days is the focus).  Anyway that story -wow I can relate.  You told it so well!

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On 1/8/2022 at 2:28 PM, Jibralta said:

I got a raise yesterday. It was just a cost of living raise, but unexpected and (obviously) nice. For the last 4 years, I've been the one getting myself raises by switching jobs. 

It's been a crazy 11 years. I've been though a lot during the course of this career change. Arnold has been here for most of it. He was there when I was laid off for my first architecture job. He was there when I moved house after accepting my second job. He was there when I sat for my exams (and he supported me thoroughly). He was there when I made the decision to leave my second job, which had derailed my career path slightly. It was a big risk, and he was worried about it. He was there when I got the job offer from the owner of my third job. I had the guy on speakerphone and both Arnold's and my eyes flew open when we heard the salary--way more than I expected, way more than what I'd been making. His concerns vanished immediately after that, lol.

Arnold was there through the chaos and misery of my fourth job, and (since I was working from home during much of it) he experienced the blow-by-blow of each miserable day first hand, 24-7. He was there for my marathon of job interviews (except for the two in-person interviews where I showed up in my Covid-mask, like a ninja lol) and the multiple job offers I received in that final week of my job hunt. He talked through my concerns with me and voiced his own. He was there when I received the job offer from my current job on the evening of my final job interview.

Just before Christmas, I had dinner with my aunt, who I haven't seen in years. She was so proud of me. She said, "Look what you've done! You set out to get what you want and you got it! You've done so well and I'm so proud of you!" I sat there smiling, absorbing the love, but wondering in the back of my mind if she was right. I still have this residual anxiety from fighting so many battles. I find that I have a hard time trusting my employers. 

I think that I am working for a very good company, among very good people. Everything I see there makes sense. I don't find myself trying to justify other people's bad decisions because the decision-making is very logical and makes sense to me. There are no cliques, no favoritism. The owners are fully engaged. Everybody takes responsibility; there's no finger pointing. The level of talent is higher than any other place that I've worked. People don't avoid difficult problems or try to pass them off onto others.

During my end of year review, the owner of the company told me I was doing a great job and to keep up the good work. The studio director agreed. He added that he'd spoken with the other people in my my studio and everybody liked my energy. And yet I still find myself jumping at shadows a little bit. I hope that ends soon, and that I relax and enjoy a good thing. 

In time, I expect that your guardedness will wear off. After all, your previous seemingly great jobs unfolded their dysfunctional practices in time. In a sense, you have PTSD from those experiences.

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8 hours ago, luminousone said:

In a sense, you have PTSD from those experiences.

Yes, I think I really do. Things have really blown up in my face over these past ten years. Yes, I do land on my feet, but then the ground always seems to be shifting. It's been a very rattling experience. Thankfully, I am stubborn and tenacious by nature. It's still difficult, though.

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18 minutes ago, Jibralta said:

Yes, I think I really do. Things have really blown up in my face over these past ten years. Yes, I do land on my feet, but then the ground always seems to be shifting. It's been a very rattling experience. Thankfully, I am stubborn and tenacious by nature. It's still difficult, though.

Here's to you getting more of what you deserve for your hard work and tenaciousness!

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On 11/27/2021 at 8:12 PM, Jibralta said:

A solid four months after I started the book, I finally reached another human being in The Plains of Passage. He appeared on page 274. Can you believe, 274 pages of plants, landscapes, and animals until that point???? This is definitely not Jean's best work. I could barely accomplish one page per day after the first few chapters. But now that other people have shown up, things promise to move along at a faster rate. Only 591 more pages to go....

I finally finished that infernal fcking book two nights ago. Seven months. Ugh! Now I'm on to book 5, which I've never read before. And there's a book 6. I'm scared. But I'm on a mission and there's no going back.

I've started a couple of other books to help through the process. I know that some people don't like reading more than one book at a time. I don't mind so much. I don't always do it, but sometimes I do. In this case, I find it very helpful for some reason. 

I'm glad I started reading recreationally again. I stopped for a really long time. 

I'm also starting a couple art classes soon. First one starts next week. 

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27 minutes ago, hidden_kitten said:

Oh what will you be doing? Painting? Life drawing?

The one I'm starting this week is just a basic drawing class. It's via zoom, which is less than optimal but whatevs. Then I'm starting one next month is pen and ink drawing. That one is in person. It will be good to get into practice again.

One of my coworkers is really keen to take a painting or drawing class together, but we haven't been able to find the right one yet. Maybe over the summer.

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At the end of my spin class this morning, the instructor started giving us a pep talk, and talking about how grateful she is to be here with us every morning blah blah blah. I put my head down and thought, Oh brother. Please, please stop. But then she said, "I want you to take the next minute and a half to focus on one thing that you are grateful for." And even though I find her a wee bit annoying, I didn't let that stop me from following her instructions. 

I couldn't help but think of the many, many things that I am grateful for: a wonderful partner, a happy home, living in a great neighborhood within in walking distance to my job, within walking distance to my personal trainer and my spin class. My health, being able to afford some perks and luxuries, having zero debt, having a wonderful (if maddening) family, having solid, uncomplicated friendships that don't require a lot of maintenance, having good relationships in general. Being resilient, being able to change, having insight, knowing how to forgive, avoiding bitterness, being tough and strong, having abilities, being optimistic, getting smarter and wiser with age. Having a great sense of humor and laughing at everything.

That was a great exercise that I should do more often.

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I do this basically twice a day.  Once with my son at bedtime -the three good things we call it -and it can be thankful for avocado or thankful for that we love each other -big or small, whatever.  Then I do it before bed almost every night -to myself.  For years now.  I'm glad you went with it and got something out of it! Sometimes I don't as much, it depends. But I like the practice and helps me fall asleep.

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On 3/27/2018 at 8:02 PM, Jibralta said:

Boss 2 actually never explains anything and I really like it. Actually, he tries to explain some things, but he's so nonlinear that he gets distracted and forgets. Then I'm usually left to my own devices to figure whatever it is out. Boss 1 is more controlling, but I don't mind that either because he's very specific and doesn't mince words.

Boss 2 can be pretty direct, too. But he really relies on you using your own brain to figure out what he wants. When I first started working for him, he wanted me to draw a wave. We needed to do a series of diagrams to help illustrate coastal wave impacts to buildings. He drew a wave and I copied it EXACTLY, because I didn't know him or what he was all about and I wanted to do a good job. Well, the wave he drew looked a lot like a giant thumb. I know that waves don't look like thumbs, but I thought, "This guy is an expert on coastal storms. Maybe waves do look like thumbs and I've been wrong all of my life."

So, I drew all of these diagrams with buildings and different sized thumbs. I brought them to him and he looked at them. For a couple seconds, he seemed to be having a difficult time saying something. Then he finally said, "I hate this." I was like, "Oh, ok. I'll fix that." He saw that I was grinning stupidly and said, "It looks like Sharknado." I was like "Ok..." He continued, "It looks like The Shark that Ate Manhattan." I was like, "Ok. No problem. I just copied what you showed me. I can do better. I just need a better reference." So, he referred me to someone else who basically showed me that I knew what a wave really looked like. And everything ended happily, and I learned that my boss didn't like to explain things.

I was just scrolling back through this journal looking for a specific memory that makes me laugh. But instead, I found this one, which also makes me laugh 😄

I miss that boss. I hope all is well with him.

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Yesterday, I had my first drawing class. It was really good. She had us draw a bunch of straight lines, which was a little boring. But it turned out to be an exercise that led to an important discussion. The first three classes are going to be exercises like this. Then we will get into realism.

Right before that class, and slightly overlapping it, I had another class about technology related to genealogy. That class wasn't as well organized, which seems kind of ironic now that I think about it. Still, it was fun to spend some time with other genealogy nerds and I did take away some good information.

Both classes were on zoom, which is what made going from one to the other so simple. But by the end of the night I was exhausted. 

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On 2/11/2022 at 6:14 AM, Jibralta said:

I finally finished that infernal fcking book two nights ago. Seven months. Ugh! Now I'm on to book 5, which I've never read before.

I'm actually reading four books right now. I started them at various points in the last 2 months or so. My primary bedtime book is The Shelters of Stone, which is Jean M Auel's 5th book. It's ok so far. I didn't have to wait 274 pages for another person to appear, thankfully. Also, since I've never read it before, I have the driving force of curiosity on my side. I only read a couple of pages per night. But that is more than I can say for the other three books, which I pick up maybe once per week.

The other three books are: 

My Unspeakable Loss, which is a birth mother's account of putting her child up for adoption. The author is an adoption activist in Texas, where I was born. I figured it would give me some insight into the mentality there, and what my own mother might have gone through. I was born about 10 years after the adoption in this book took place, but I think there there are probably similarities. I'm about eight chapters in.

White Supremacy and Me, which is supposed to teach me "to understand [my] white privilege and [my] participation in white supremacy so that [I] can stop inflicting damage on People of Color and, in turn, help other white people do better, too." I'm on chapter five. They are very small, easily digestible chapters, thankfully... at least so far. My boss read this book and offered to buy a copy for anyone who was interested in reading it. I found the title too amusing to pass up.

Wolf Hall, which I am actually really excited about. It's a highly acclaimed historical fiction novel about Henry the VII and Thomas Cromwell. I would rather this be my bedtime reading, but I am committed to finishing out the Earth's Children series first. 

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I'm finishing Jodi Piccoult's book then going to probably read Grand Union, a book of short stories my friend recommended and actually I'm considering Grapes of Wrath which I started decades ago. I've read a few other Steinbeck novels and since I finished a historical fiction book recently in that era it reminded me of it.  I have been an avid reader for 50 years but during the pandemic have read a lot more as a way of avoiding too much screen time (I only read "real" books).

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They made us read John Steinbeck in school. I think the first book was The Red Pony, which was not very uplifting. I may not have read the whole thing because I was pissed off about the pony. I think I did read The Pearl (extremely depressing) and Of Mice and Men to completion. But I was really too young to appreciate what I was reading--about 12. They kind of shoved these books down our throats. I mean, they had us read Lord of the Flies when we were 13 or 14. Ugh!

Nonetheless, I'm interested in rereading most of them. Probably not The Pearl and Lord of the Flies, though lol. Lord of the Flies really pissed me off haha. All the wrong people won. 

I'd also like to read some Mark Twain. I think we did read them in school, but it was so long ago and I was so young that a lot of it was over my head.

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This song caught my ear on Spotify the other day, and I 'liked' it so that I could listen to it again. This morning, I did listen to it again, and I found I really liked it.

I wish I could find a link to the song without the video. The video is awesome, but it changes the experience a little. It's probably not a big deal. But I suggest that if you listen to this, try listening without watching the video first. Just to get a sense of the song.

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I had a weight training session this morning, as I do every Saturday morning. My trainer placed a knee pad on the mat and said, "We're gonna do some pushups. But let's start out with a full pushup and see how many you can do before we modify them."

I'd actually tried out a full pushup this past week, and knew that I could do at least one. Arnold said I did two, but I discounted the first one because I felt like I may not have gone as far down as I should have. 

I said to the trainer, "I'm pretty sure I can do at least one," figuring that I might do two or even three. But before I knew it, I was on pushup five, still saying, "I think I can do one more...." and then for six, seven, eight, nine, ten, and eleven, she was saying "I think you can do one more..." and I was still doing them.

I did that three times. So, I did 30 full pushups today, perfectly straight back and everything. The trainer was so excited. It was so funny how excited she was. It was like a personal accomplishment for her lol. And honestly, it really is. She's the one who has helped me get to this point. And I'm still not as strong as I can be. It's only been six months. How strong will I be in a year at this rate?

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