Ginger Meets Keyboard


, ,

Coding school is hard.

I didn’t think it was going to be easy, really. I just didn’t really consider how hard it would really be. I’m a sharp girl. Maybe not razor sharp all the time, but I can do this. I can do this! Right?

A minute passes and then two, and I’m right back to where I always am: How the hell am I going to do this?

I don’t have an answer. Some days I feel like I do temporarily but then it fades. I’m just waiting for it to fade with less frequency.

I’ll share a victory I had today. I have a GingerMeetsKeyboard logo!:


I got a little inspiration from my classmate Catie and a little help from Christina, another student who is our resident graphic designer, to help implement it. I’m so happy, I’ve never had a logo before. I feel the need to celebrate!

Unfortunately there is no time to do so. I have to get back to work for a little bit. One thing I have learned is that I’m not going to get this damn thing unless I practice. A LOT. Similar to learning to play an instrument I would guess. Except that instrument is a language, and it doesn’t make your mother miserable when you practice in the basement.



Nerd Alert


, , ,

It’s probably a good thing that I don’t want children. If I had teenagers, I would embarrass the hell out of them.

All of my life, my mom liked to sing in the grocery store. Specifically the checkout line. If I was extra lucky, someone I went to high school with would be the cashier. That was fun.

I remember one specific incident in a crowded department store line on a Saturday, my mom dug through her purse for her checkbook while crooning, “Come seeeee the softer side of Sears!” I quietly leaned in to her and, mortified, I whispered, “Mom, we’re in Mervyns.” She turned to me and announced, “WELL, I DON’T KNOW THE MERVYNS SONG!”
I went on a walk this afternoon once I got home from work. I couldn’t do the gym two days in a row and quite frankly I’m depressed that I can’t even get through the first day of Couch-to-5K, so I chose to walk briskly through my neighborhood. I chose the day of the week my local beach community has a Farmers Market, which made it difficult to power walk in solitude. I got about 4 blocks from home when I finally realized this and became suddenly self-conscious.

Every girl I noticed that was running was at least three inches taller than me, 80 pounds lighter, and clad in bright shoes and running shorts that showed off their toned and tan legs. I stopped at the nearest corner and looked at myself. My shirt and pants were the sort of grey you wear when you want to be invisible, the kind that covers your thick ankles and the fact that you’re pasty white. I suddenly became very aware that I was wearing a fanny pack. Coupled with that, I wore a shirt that feels great during a workout but further accentuates my VBO (visible belly outline).

I think about my nieces and nephews and wonder if I seem like THAT aunt. The kooky one that has no fashion sense, no filter and has an awkward way about her. She speaks a little too long in conversation sometimes, often to a confusing end. She likes electronics, technology and computers obsessively, is over 40 and not married, no kids, and has a weird lizard for a pet. She’ll tell inappropriate jokes in mixed company and laugh at the wrong times. She’s always taking photos of everyone and everything and prefers to edit them on her phone at social events instead of socializing.

Am I that aunt?

I stood there for a moment and then decided to take a short route home and then I decided that I didn’t care if I was the crazy one in the family.

I can only be what I can be, and if that’s a girl who can only run one block at a time that jiggles when she moves then that’s good enough. It’s exhausting pretending you’re someone you’e not. I’ve always loved me on the inside, it’s probably time I love myself on the outside too. Baby steps, people.

In lieu of a proper walk, I’m trying to psych myself up for yoga on the beach. I’m listening to Eminem’s Lose Yourself and it’s helping a little. In fact, I should go or I’ll be late. I still have my VBO but I decided to leave the fanny pack at home.

The Worth of a Woman


, , ,

I wanted to share a video excerpt from a Dustin Hoffman interview. He was talking about Tootsie, a movie with him dressing as a woman to get a part in a daytime soap opera. The movie itself is very entertaining, as most of the characters don’t know that his character is actually a man dressing in drag.

The thing I like about this short clip is Hoffman’s personal experience during the filming of Tootsie. He was displeased at how he looked once dressed up as a woman and had a realization about women being largely judged on how they look instead of what they know, what they’ve done, or how wonderful and interesting they are on the inside. As I get older, I tend to get angry that we have been taught that as a woman, being pretty is the best thing we can be. Accomplishments and intelligence are only secondary to being young and attractive. A man’s trophy wife is exceptionally pretty and youthful and nothing more.

Hoffman’s genuine recount of his thoughts about being overlooked for being less than lovely is heartbreaking and somehow encouraging. We are more than how we look and how young we are. Strong, intelligent, interesting women at any age should be celebrated, and not for just their looks.


For What is Truly Important


, , ,

It feels vaguely hypocritcal to sit alone and watch Intervention while drinking wine, especially so when you talk directly to the TV with your advice, criticisms and insight, no matter how humorous they may seem to you.

There are worse things I could be doing on the Tuesday night before Thanksgiving.

Karissa is a heroin addict who also takes benzos (aka Klonopin) and is about to face an intervention with her family and friends. I feel sorry for her because I know she isn’t going to take this well. They never do.

She is clearly depressed, a condition I am more than familiar with. I have a few friends who have experienced depression, whether currently or at some point in their lives-whether they realize it or not. More importantly it’s a battle I fight on a daily basis. It’s a fierce beast some days, a nagging splinter under my skin other days. It’s overwhelming and incapacitating, sometimes ruling my day and spoiling the joy I imagine for myself.

The hardest part is the lack of understanding people who have never experienced this type of abysmal sadness have. If you’ve never fought depression, there’s no way to know exactly how it feels to pray you’ll get hit by a runaway bus. I dread interaction with others. Even the most simple transaction, like buying gas or running into a talkative neighbor can be panic inducing. I have lost friendships and alienated people I love because they failed to understand that this isn’t about them. This isn’t personal. It’s something I can’t control despite my best attempts to try.

The tricky part is how you choose to deal with it. Sometimes you simply can’t. You’re a helpless marionette that just struggles to do the daily movements it takes to survive. Other days, the control comes back to you and you’re able to make healthy choices. Maybe even find nuggets of happiness in your day.

A good friend that I confided in a few years ago told me to try and do one good thing, one positive thing for myself every single day. Sometimes it could be taking a solitary walk, sometimes it’s doing something nice for someone else. The beauty of that one positive thing is that it can become addicting. It feels good to do good and eventually and with practice, doing positive things becomes easier and one thing a day turns into two, and three, and then four.

Karissa clearly hasn’t found a way to do that yet, at least this far into the episode. It’s heartbreaking to watch someone in pain who doesn’t have the tools or the support system to change their behaviors, and drug and alcohol addiction eventually robs them of even being able to make choices. Maybe this is why I talk to the TV, because I understand what Karissa is going through in some small way. I’ve just been fortunate enough to not have gone down as rough a path and I hope that I never will.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I love being able to take a few days to eat until I’m fat and sassy and think about all the things in life that I’m appreciative of. Many friends have drifted away, some casualties of my depression, others whose lives just went another direction. I can’t explain to them how much they meant to me or what I was going through, I can’t apologize to people I inadvertently hurt or drifted away from. But I can thank the friends I have now that take me at face value and love me for who I really am. They take me for the good days and the bad days and the really awful days and are there for me anyway. I have a family that loves me and people I can go to when I need someone to talk to or want to hear someone else’s voice. I am thankful for who I have, far more than the things I own (which I forget sometimes) and I try to use this time of year to keep it all in perspective.

None of us are perfect, and we can’t be everything for everyone all the time. But we can’t give up either. We have to want a better lives for ourselves and have to try to do that one positive thing daily, whatever that might be. Doing something good for ourselves is not selfish. Improving ourselves helps us to grow and be stronger for the times when we can show our friends and family the support that they’ve shown us when they need us.

Thanks to all of you for reading this. I hope this week you are able to see the joy in your life and the richness that our family and friends provide and that, wherever you are or whatever you’re doing, you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Let us appreciate what is truly important.

In the interest of positivity, I’m going to turn off Karissa, who went to rehab in case you were curious, and am going to soak in the bath with a book. Because I totally deserve it.


The Weight of the World


, , , , , , , , , ,

I’m 42 years old and I’m heavier than I’ve ever been.

There. I said it.

Over the course of the last decade, I’ve gained 40 pounds. I’ve had a lot of beer, my share of chicken wings, fried cheese, late-night carne aside burritos and chocolate. I’ve spent hours on the couch instead of working out, chosen naps over yoga sessions and generally did my best to live the life of a lazy bastard. I probably couldn’t run more than a minute or two at a time if my life depended on it. My belly touches my upper thighs when I’m sitting and I haven’t looked at my torso in the mirror in as long as I can remember. In fact, I could have a giant tattoo of Santa riding a unicorn above my belly button and I wouldn’t know because I have, both consciously and unconsciously, refused to acknowledge my thighs, ass, stomach and hips exist.

Two nights ago I stepped on the scale and found that after two weeks without soda or energy drinks, I lost 6 pounds. In an incredible act of sheer will, and at possible detriment to my mental and emotional integrity, I ended up naked in front of the giant, mirrored closet door in my bedroom. Finally the veil of denial was lifted and I took stock of what I was working with.

Fear turned quickly to shame, followed by sadness and finally guilt. How could I have done this to myself? When did I stop caring about the body that carries me around every day? More importantly, how did I get to the point where I am so wrapped up in body issues that I’ve neglected to even take the most basic care of myself but beat up on myself daily?

I wondered this as I surveyed the curves of skin teetering on folds on my lower tummy. The excess flesh continued around the sides of my waist and flirted down past my thighs. A visible double chin winked back at me in the reflection and my matronly upper arms loomed nearby. I barely recognized myself.

But a large step was made. It wasn’t a secret anymore. I revealed the monster and I didn’t cry. In fact, aside from some negative self talk, nothing happened. The world kept spinning on its axis. Screams of horror were not heard by passersby. A giant fist of shame did not thrust itself down from the sky at me. Not a sound was made, except perhaps the quieted hush sound of my thighs rubbing together.

It was then I decided I had been wrong this whole time. My body was the thing I should be caring for, not hiding from. It needed love now more than ever-how could I not see that I was neglecting the thing that needed me most?

Later that night, we watched TV in bed and I, again, removed my clothes. I laid down in the dark with nothing but the flicker of the screen illuminating my skin and in an almost clinical fashion, began applying lotion to my body. God knows the last time anything but my arms and lower legs had seen lotion! Before I couldn’t look at my body, much less touch it lovingly. I tried to quell the snarky comments firing off in my head and concentrated less on what my hands were feeling and more on what my body felt like being felt. I noticed after a few minutes that not only did my boyfriend not wrinkle up his face in dissatisfaction at my naked mass but didn’t notice this ritual at all. Truthfully it felt pretty good. Freeing almost. Why had I not thought of this act of self-love years ago? Could kind words and moisturizer be the big step in self-acceptance, abolishing dry skin while calming an all-too-often ignored part of myself?

I felt remarkably better the next morning, and improved as the day went on and so on into the next day. Everything was improving too fast though, because a photograph of me was posted on Facebook today and remorse and self-doubt wedged its foot into the door once again. But for once, I didn’t let it stay. For long.

I have quite a road ahead of me. Getting back to being comfortable with myself is going to take a while. There is a lot of work to be done, emotionally and mentally as much as anything else. I need a combination of a self-improvement regimen and loving myself for what I am and what I’m going to be instead of what I was. But for now, I got past the denial stage. I should get some sort of chip or medal or at least a ‘fat sponsor’ for looking at myself without clothes on. As my friend Ellen says, there are two things you don’t want to see me: mad and naked.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to have a beer.

A light beer.

The Real Monster Under My Bed



Mental illness is a bitch.

I never used to admit that I suffer from it, because I was afraid I would be judged. But I’m over caring about the stigma. It is what it is. It’s frustrating, overwhelming and exhausting. It affects my relationship with family, with friends, and sometimes hinders my ability to function fully at work. It basically is a huge, looming pain in the ass that follows me around, and has for a few decades.

Why put it out on the web for all to see, inviting judgement and alienation? Why mention it at all?

Because it’s been in the dark too long, for me and many other people who silently suffer. It shouldn’t be something to be embarrassed about. The more awareness about mental illness there is, the more people who don’t get treatment or are too scared to admit they can’t go it alone will come out of the woodwork and brave getting help.

The other reason I bring it up it because I want to apologize. To my friends, to my family, to my coworkers, to the people I am surrounded by. I try to put on a brave face when I can and muster the strength to smile and be pleasant when the only thing I want to do is sleep.

People assume that since I look healthy, I am. I should just ‘snap out of it’, shrug it off, go out and get some sun or go to the gym and the feelings of despair will immediately disappear.

If only it were that simple.

When you’re deeply depressed, simple things turn into nightmares. It’s hard to understand for those who have never experienced it, but all the little tasks of life are so overwhelming. Rather than facing life head on, I cry uncontrollably and am often a prisoner in my own apartment. My fear of getting fired is the only thing that helps me summon the courage to go to work every day. Even answering the door for the pizza guy is difficult. Any interaction with another person is so tiring and stressful that often, I hide away from it all.

This causes problems with relationships, as you might guess. I cancel plans, I avoid phone calls, and I’m solitary most of the time. I embrace technology by texting people and paying bills and shopping online so I don’t have to deal directly with people.

As a result, I alienate a lot of people. I’ve lost friends – more than I can count.

I get it. It’s frustrating having a friend that breaks plans and falls off the grid periodically. If I were friends with me, I’d probably give up eventually, too. Friendship is work and when someone isn’t putting in effort, regardless of the reason, it gets tiring. It feels incredibly one-sided, and after a while, people just end up fading away out of frustration, hurt feelings, and a feeling of wasted effort. The strange part, at least for me, is that I know I’m doing it and I can’t stop it. I feel powerless to do anything, which makes me even sadder.

I want my friends and family to know that I cherish every call, every text, and every email. I applaud the people that have hung in there this long, continuing to contact me even though I don’t always call back.

For the last few years, I’ve gotten better through medication (another stigma, sadly). I’ve tried to go off of them several times and I always end up feeling like I want to walk in front of a bus. The feeling persists for hours, and sometimes days. It’s nearly unbearable to live like that, and I’m grateful that I’ve found something that helps, albeit partially.

I don’t know that I’ll ever feel like myself again. I could be taking pills and struggling to get out of bed every day for the rest of my life. But then, there are always people worse off than me, so I try to stay positive.

I hope that this finds someone who needs it, to show them that they’re not alone in their struggle. I hope that if someone reading this is related to or knows of someone who suffers that it might shed some light on what depression feels like. Mental illness is real and often debilitating, and it doesn’t always go away on its own. Like any other illness it needs attending to, whether through therapy, medication, or some other means of treatment – and there are many options out there waiting for people who seek them. It just takes that one big and scary step that involves asking for help, which as one might guess is far more daunting than dealing with pizza delivery. Treatment does help. For some of us it has been a godsend. Life should be full of hopes, joys, and things to look forward to, and something to be truly celebrated. We all deserve that. People with mental illness yearn to feel that way again, as do I on the bad days. It takes strength, courage and a support system to heal depression, but in the end it’s worth the effort ten times over.

Today is a good day, so if you’ll excuse me, I have some calls to return.

Speed Dating

I went Speed Dating last night..

Correction, I was told that I was going to Speed Dating. By Allie. Or Alicia, as long as you pronounce it Uh-Leetz-Ee-Uh. She is a doer, which is great for me. And which is also not great for me. She’s a Groupon maniac and is constantly buying things to do – horseback riding, beer making, etc etc. She buys them, and then tells me I have to go. Diabolical of her to purchase them before I have a chance to say ‘no’.

We showed up at an Irish bar called McFadden’s. There were probably 5 people there. Two women who looked around nervously and three employees. Not a good sign.

We ordered a drink before we could even sit down and tried to slyly scan the small stream of people coming in to see our competition as well as our options. Thankfully, 17 men were sequestered in the back room where our Speed Dating event was to take place. At first glance, it was an eclectic mix. A few Indian men (dot, not feather), some run-of-the mill guys, some strikingly attractive. Not that I was struck, really. It’s just that some looked really good out of the corner of my eye.

The women were varied as well. I arrived with two blonde nurses, so I stuck out already. Or we did, I would guess. We all were assigned a numbered table in the vast, open air room with dim lighting, low-volumed rock, and giant red armchairs with black wicker coffee tables.

I got seated away from the girls, so my moral support wasn’t in my sightline. The instructions were read, and the bell was rung.

Each man would choose a random first table (AWKWARD) and have 4 minutes with each woman. The bell would ring again and they would move the the next numbered table. A cocktail waitress was supposed to come around to take drink orders – which for her was a nightmare. Your guests are constantly moving. It was easy to see why we didn’t see much of her. Also, most of the men were not equipped with drinks at first, which may have made it all the more awkward for them. One of the girls actually thought enough to order two drinks for herself so she wouldn’t get stuck without. That woman is a genius.

There were 20 women and only 17 men, so each girl would have three 4 minute breaks when there wasn’t a man with her. Thankfully, I didn’t have to sit through the first round on a break. At that point, prolonging the start of this event was near maddening.

I made eye contact with the first man headed to my table. A few men lingering near my table looked at me and decided to go elsewhere. I tried to be okay with that knowing they’d come to me eventually and find out how amazingly rad I am, and they would kick themselves for not getting first shot.

I believe my first date was named Josh. We all had horrible sticker nametags a la high school reunions and a piece of paper with all the guys’ names on it in alphabetical order. The idea was to keep the paper turned over, and in the few seconds that you were changing dates, you would mark the box next to your date’s name, either “yes” or “no”. The complicated thing was not letting your date, either coming or going, see what you were writing. Even more awkward for the men since they either had to write it at your table, or the next table as they were constantly in motion. One guy remarked, “What am I supposed to do when the date ends, ask if I can use her back to write on?” Women seem to have the better setup at these things. We just sit, drink, mark our sheets, and wait for all 17 to come strolling over to us.

My first date was my favorite. He looked like he should work at a bike shop, but ended up being a trademark lawyer. We tried to steer away from trite topics and just as we were smiling and laughing and he was halfway through a story, the bell rang. As I quickly learned, 4 minutes can be a flash or an eternity.

The nurses and I shared a few common breaks, where we compared notes. Allie marked several of the men I marked, and Shawnna, our other blonde nurse, had the no column nearly blacked out with Xs. It became clear that as we get older, we tend to be more open-minded about potential dates. Me, being the oldest, had the most Xs under yes at the end of the night. I think I topped out at 6, with a few in there I may have regretted, and the young nurses had slightly less, Shawnna with only one or two potentials.

We turned in our sheets and we were told that anyone we chose who also chose us would be emailed to us later tonight. I really have no idea what to expect, but I’m sure I’ll have half the email read before my inbox marks the email as “seen”. Allie is under the impression that the men are going to be much more apt to choose us then we are them, and not us specifically, but the women in general. She reasoned that their criteria, unlike ours, would be as simple as “I sit down and look at her. Would I sleep with her? Yes. Check.” I had to admit, it sounded like solid reasoning.

The whole process took about an hour and a half, and most people looked exhausted afterward. I was nearly freezing my ass off, as I didn’t know the dates would be half outside and didn’t bring adequate clothing. Moreover, I wore a plunging neckline which makes my breasts seem much better than they are in reality. I have a great ass, but it’s hard to show it off when you’re sitting on it all night.

So we wait. And we wonder if our mutual matches will overlap. And then we have “the discussion”, which will really only be Allie and me since Shawnna wasn’t even happy with the scant group she selected. Luckily, Allie and I are good friends and rational individuals. But if she wants the trademark lawyer, by God, I will cut her.

American Beauty

Things happen exactly as they are supposed to.

I often forget that.

I tried to watch American Beauty years ago, getting to the almost-end, just as Mena Suvari tells Kevin Spacey that this would be her first time, and he wraps her in a blanket.

I can’t remember why, but at the time, the movie was turned off and I never got to see the end. And I knew Kevin Spacey would die, I just didn’t know why. Or how.

Several years back, I dated a guy that listed this among his favorite movies. But, despite my asking, we never watched it together, and we broke up a short time later.

It would never have occurred to me that I wasn’t supposed to see the end. Not either of those times, anyway.

I tried to watch it twice today, once this morning, the second this afternoon. However, the DVD on my computer wasn’t playing along with me. So I went about my day, and finally cozied up with a martini and a leather chair this evening in front of the flat screen in my house and watched it in its entirety.

And now, I’m sitting here with tear-stained cheeks and vodka and olive juice on my tongue, and I understand why the universe didn’t let me see the end until now. I don’t think I was ready.

Its impact was significant, and I think that has a lot to do with where I am in my life right now.

I’ve never been married, I don’t have kids. I don’t have a house of my own, or a well-paying job. Most of the relationships I’ve had in the last 5 years have been an absolute disaster, because I can’t seem to find myself attracted to the ones that matter. I’m almost 35, and I have no real social life to speak of – partly due to the fact that I prefer to be solitary, but also because I forgot how to be how other people think I should be.

I should be lonely, I should be lost. And for a long time, I was. But I don’t feel any of those things now. I love that I’m here, and I love what I’ve become. It certainly isn’t where I expected to be at this age, but I admit that I don’t envy the things I don’t have. I’m working on myself now, and I can’t say that I’ve loved myself as much as I have these last weeks. I’ve found that surrounding yourself with people and things often distract you from feeling things and discovering yourself. And, though I didn’t ask for it, that’s where I’ve been for the last years. And it feels really, really nice.

I don’t know if martinis replenish tears, but I’m having another anyway.

Thank you for reading, and I hope there is happiness for you to uncover as well…

My Plot to Marry Seth MacFarlane

I pretty much knew it was love, oh so many years ago while I was watching Adult Swim. It was late at night, I may or may not have been drinking, and this beautiful gem of a man was channeling Masterpiece Theatre. He was seated in a home library, surrounded by shelves of old books on mahogany shelves, fireplace cracking behind him. His rumbly voice a sweet, soft growl as he sat in a high backed leather chair, tucked in a silk smoking jacket and a pipe resting between his soft lips.

The connection I felt was instant. Pure and primal, and went way beyond the previous one-sided, childish sexual feelings I felt for Zach Braff and Chuck D. This time, the feelings tore through my body and fractured my foundation. I vowed to have him.

Up until recently, I didn’t have much of a plan. Honestly, I still don’t have a plan, but I’m more hoping that I’ll get lucky and fall into spending eternity with him without having to do much work to get there.

The other idea is to find out if he’s already married, in which case I can just abandon the whole thing.

I actually had my chance to ensnare him across a crowded ComiCon. He was sitting at the Adult Swim table signing an autograph for a woman twice his age. I stood idly watching from about 30 feet away, silently breathing in his magnificence. I considered my plan of attack. Would I continually walk past his table until he asked me if I was lost? Perhaps. But that would run the risk of him finding me retarded. Would I ask to borrow a pen. Or maybe his cell phone? That way I could dial my own number on it, having his number show up on mine, and cementing my number into his call history? Better still, I could accidentally pour a bottle of water on my shirt and ask if he had a clothes dryer. Or maybe he would let me borrow the shirt he was wearing, and I could absorb his smell in its fabric, admiring his soft, pale skin as we stood alone, right in the middle of the convention center.

As I pondered my options and gazed longingly at him, he looked over at me. And I froze, paralyzed that I had been caught drinking him in with every ounce of my being.

Unable to look away, I waited for a glimmer of secret understanding between us. And moments later, he gently raised his palms and shrugged his shoulders as if to say, “Okay, dumbass, don’t stand there like a mongoloid. I’m sitting right here, so just come over and say hi. You’re obviously smitten with me.”

I did what any reasonable woman in my position would do: I ran away.

I look back now and realize I should have pulled the wet shirt stunt. But I can’t turn back time, and I can’t deny that my chance may never come again. But this post is a vow to myself, and all of you reading, that I can overcome fate. If my destiny won’t put him in my path again, I will put myself in his. I will seek out that which was meant for me and only me. And I will not let any obstacle get in my way. And I will also bring a smoking jacket with me in case he doesn’t own one, because having him wear nothing but that would be super hot.

I don’t know how, or when, but he will be mine. And if I should fail, I can always try and marry Todd McFarlane – he would be a decent runner up due to his similar last name and that he also has ties to the animation community.

If anyone can help me with my charge, please reach out to me. I accept paypal for those who wish to donate to the cause, and I would welcome any contacts that may be childhood friends or babysitters or anyone who might have spare keys to his apartment. And my law enforcement connections (*coughjenniferaaronandbeccacough*), if you guys could run a clear and list, a criminal history, and check counties in Los Angeles for locals on him, I would appreciate it.

Until then, I am going to brush up on stalker How-Tos and dream of that honey-voiced demigod, his silk covered arm reaching out to me from across a geek-filled ocean of comic book collectors.