Wining Wife®

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Month: January 2012

What’s Hiding in the Left Side of My Closet


bee eating

bee eating (Photo credit: acidpix)


Theme Song: “La Vie En Rose” Madeleine Peyroux


Projects: Lots of writing and editing; purging belongings that are not needed


So, I was going through my stuff (in a fit of insomnia, which happens from time to time) and I found a box of journals. I forgot I had these journals all boxed up neatly, and I began to look through them (this was after going through a box labeled “Sentimental Crap”). I figured it would be amusing to share some of my findings.


“January 1, 2000

Okay, so nothing catastrophic happened like the end of the world or anything – geeze, I can’t believe how many people wasted money on Y2K. Oh well, the new millennium  is here, and I haven’t made any resolutions yet.”


Heh! I was working at Barnes and Noble then, and found it kind of amusing that people would buy a ton of survival books.


“December 2, 1996

The Picture Frame

You Enclose me,

Shoving my heart

into a small strip

of film

Telling me who I am

and Who I am not”


To put it this way, this should be an example of why we should never change who we are for who someone else thinks we should be.


Here’s a funny one…I wrote it the day after my 21st birthday. Finding the right person has always been something on my mind. I had a writing professor suggest I make a list of everything I want in a partner then become those things. Here was my list:


“Nov. 4, 1998

…He has to love books and reading.

He has to enjoy children.

He has to be calm in stressful situations.

He has to be romantic.

He has to be in school or have a degree.

He has to be faithful.

He has to know what he wants in life.

He has to have a career in mind.

He has to be supportive of me/my decisions.

He has to be supportive of my son.

He has to deal with anger/stress in non-destructive, non-violent ways.

He has to like to joke around.

He has to not mind helping with housework.

He has to be a good cook.

He has to be honest.

He has to be charming.

He has to respect my friends.

He has to respect my freedom.

He has to like to hang out and just be together talking or not for hours.

He has to be creative.

He has to be supportive of women’s rights/feminist.

He has to be pro-active in issues important to him.

He has to be an optimist.

He has to be active, not passive.

He has to be a go-getter.

He has to love the rain and the way it smells after it rains.”


Here’s a great one. It’s from when I was…goodness…15. (Prepare to laugh)



Bees From Hell

A steady buzzing noise was heard. All of a sudden, a whole bunch of bees appeared and attacked the man with the dark hat.

“Argggh! Help me!” The man yelled.

“Meet your death, Charlie.” The bees replied. [insert witty editorial remark years later. Really, 15 year old me? The bees replied???]

“No! I haven’t done anything to deserve this!”

“But your people have. They try to make us an extinct species!” [another interjection – seriously??? I’ll spare you the rest.]


And a last, philosophical thought for the moment. This was kind of fun, I’ll have to do it again another time.



It is in the hidden nature of our language that we as philosophers get caught up in – the very tools we work with. We don’t chip away at all the meanings or nature, but rather eradicate and make useless and ambiguous the tool we use in our investigation. It’s like saying “see a tree” while only pointing at the veins in the leaves. One cannot see the whole picture while only looking at the pieces making it up.” [I was on a Parmenides kick at that point in time]



Can one live another’s memories? Could it be that God is the source and we are just living out the memories of the source? This happens in all possible worlds in every possible possibility so that it only seems as though we have free will, but in ‘reality’ we are just living out a series of possibilities all of which cannot be fully realized by the current consciousness we possess, but instead for God, every possibility has already been “lived” out.”


Those were both two random, very short musings in a journal with a picture of a man with his head in his hands. I’d cut out a phrase “Does the Universe Exist if We’re Not Looking?” from a headline in a magazine and taped it around him.


What sorts of things do you have in the left side of your closet?


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Why Did I Spend Fourteen Years in Academia?

My Philosophy Bookshelf(bottom)

My Philosophy Bookshelf(bottom) (Photo credit: jddunn)

Theme Song: Silence

Projects: So many that I’m not listing them here right now…

So, this is a question I woke up with on my mind this morning as I thought about the academic world’s grim prospects. I have an MA degree in philosophy, which pretty much qualifies me to hang out in a box behind Walmart. (As a side note, you should realize that’s a bit of self-deprecating humor I’m using there.) It used to be that an MA allowed you to teach junior college while a Ph.D. allowed you to teach at four-year schools. In our saturated market, many individuals with Ph.D.s are now teaching at junior college while many MA degree holders, such as myself, are, well trying to figure out what they should do. Not that I want to teach, necessarily, but just that it’s an interesting observation.

I spent my time studying everything I could put my hands on. In my own junior college experience (where I spent four or five years), I couldn’t decide what I wanted to major in. I knew I loved learning. Foreign languages were great. Political science was great. Philosophy was a mental challenge. Creative writing was a lot of fun. Psychology was fun, but came easily to me. When I transferred to CSU Chico, I still wasn’t quite sure whether I’d major in philosophy, English, or something else. I wound up majoring in philosophy, with the thought that I would minor in creative writing and classics. I wound up not taking on a minor. Instead, I came one class short of a minor in French – but even then…

Once I graduated, with honors, in philosophy, I went on to grad school for…philosophy…I wound up taking enough classes to have practically minored in German as well. (Languages, right?) While in grad school, I kept asking myself the question: So why am I here?

The entire time, I thought it was so that I could become a tenure track professor at a research institution. That was the answer I kept giving myself, anyway. I wanted to be the kind of philosopher that Martha Nussbaum is – prolific, involved, inspiring. But, I also was being realistic.

When I left my Ph.D. program, for a multitude of reasons (most of which still are sound enough to keep me from finishing), I began to write. I’ve always enjoyed it, but more importantly, I learned very quickly that I was overqualified for most jobs outside of academia. My response was to create my own business and to make my own job.

So I did. And here I am, four years later, running my own show. I’m not complaining at all, I’ve had some wonderful clients and experiences, and I’ve learned many, many things I’d not have otherwise learned about. However, I also wonder, if this was what I was going to wind up doing, wouldn’t an MBA degree and an English degree have served me better?

I could give a thousand reasons why they probably wouldn’t have. One is the most important: You learn so many things on the job, out in the workforce, that you would never otherwise learn. There are things that cannot be taught in a classroom.  I spent fourteen years in academia learning about all sorts of things – whether the world ends if we all close our eyes at the same time, what makes a butterfly tick, how to play politics with others. I read a lot of books. I learned how to socialize with a certain category of people. I developed my taste.

Mostly what 14 years of academia did for me was to teach me that I can set goals and meet them if I break those goals down into small chunks that are time-bound. It taught me how to manage projects – even if I didn’t know that what I was doing at the time was project management. When I think about it, there were a lot of transferable skills that I take into the world from my academic experience.

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L’amore Est Facille


Canon Love

Canon Love (Photo credit: Phalaenopsis Aphrodite)


Theme Song: “You or Your Memory” The Mountain Goats


Projects: Finishing up a chapter, sorting out email, the usual


So, today, I was sitting there, revising a chapter and proofreading it for errors, and I started to think about a phrase my friend used to tell me whenever I’d talk about how I thought love was a struggle – and this was back in 2003. “Love is easy,” she would say. I’d scoff at the thought. I mean, love is never easy, right? She gave me an assignment. She asked me to write a story where love WAS easy. So I did. Here are the opening paragraphs:


Max sat down at the first table he found empty at Moxies.  He took his journal out of his knapsack and sat it in front of him, jut next to his Soy Latte.  His well-ringed hand opened the notebook to the first empty page on which he wrote “L’amore est jamais facille.”  Then, he placed his left hand on the back of his neck and began to scribble as many French phrases as he could put together in the few minutes he waited for Nicole to show up.  “Je voudrais faire l’amour avec elle dans un lit, sur le table…” He wrote frantically, his hand pushing his black hair out of his face, grasping the fine tendrils, scratching at a zit on the side of his face.

            “Hey stranger,” a green-haired girl plopped down in front of him, and she sat her beer down while at the same time her butt hit the chair.

            “Hey,” Max said looking up, “Did you get it done?”

            “Yeah,” She paused then pulled up the sleeve on her shirt to reveal gauze and tape. “It’s done.”

            “Cool,” Max nodded.  “Shawna dumped me again today.”

            “Really, Why’d she do it this time?”

            “I don’t know,” Max brought his coffee to his lips, “I’m getting sick of her shit.”

            Nicole smiled and laughed, “Well you know, there are other girls out there.”

            “I guess so,” Max snickered then scribbled a phrase in his notebook, “C’est les autres filles pour moi.


The story goes on, of course, and Max realizes he’s in love with Nicole, his best friend. I’m not posting the whole thing because, frankly, it needs revision (it’s still in rough draft form), and that’s not the point. I think it’s kind of funny that when I was asked by my friend to write a story about love being easy, I wrote a story about a guy who was in a complicated relationship that was anything but easy and realizing that he was in love with his best friend.


It’s funny, because I’m in love with one of my best friends, and it’s super-easy. For years, I believed love was work, love was about sacrifice, love was about giving up who you were for who someone wanted you to be. Those believes are lame Hollywood-ized versions of love. Love is easy. You’re always you. I didn’t know my boyfriend at the time I wrote the story, but the story is kind of simple. Two people have a great time together, two people wind up falling in love.


Love is like a puzzle piece when it fits – it fits. The two pieces complement each other, go together well. There isn’t thought about “work” or “sacrifice” or “giving up.” You are who you are, there is no sacrifice, and it’s certainly not ‘work.’


When it doesn’t fit, it’s like trying to take a hammer to two puzzle pieces that aren’t shaped anything like each other and force them together. It’s a struggle. It’s a tug-of-war. It can be hell.  Parts of the pieces get hammered off and lost.


I wound up looking at pictures of a puzzle that was forced together and could see, instantly, that the pieces did not fit at all. It’s funny, because even without all the other problems that went into that relationship, it would never have worked. Partly because the pieces weren’t even from the same puzzle. There were so many differences, it’s amazing we could talk at all. Partly because we were both giving up so much of who we were to try to “work” at the relationship, that it was only a matter of time before things would fall apart.


For those who are looking for love, remember that when it works, it really works. When it doesn’t life can be a strange struggle. You should never have to change so much for someone else that you don’t know who the person in the mirror is anymore. You shouldn’t have a tally of who did what. Love isn’t a credit card. You shouldn’t feel like you’re racking up debt or that the other person owes you.


Nope, love is easy. It’s easy to give, it’s easy to receive. And if we’re lucky, we hold onto it.



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Letting Go of the Reins


A set of western-style split reins, attached t...

A set of western-style split reins, attached to a snaffle bit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Theme Song: Creed “My Sacrifice”


Projects: Grant Writing Preparation, A couple of quotes, a chapter revision


I’ve long thought that the hardest thing for me to do is to allow someone else to step in and take care of me. That might seem like it should be a really easy thing to do, but it’s not! In order to allow someone to take care of me, that means that I have to first admit that it’s okay to be taken care of.


In fact, I’ve pretty much always been responsible. I became a mom at 20, and that makes you grow up pretty darned fast. The very few times I’ve ever asked someone for help have been because there was no other choice but to ask for help! And in my mind, that has always meant that to not ask for help would lead to utter chaos!


In 2010, a good friend of mine gave me the following advice “It’s more selfish not to ask friends and loved ones for help or accept their offered help when you need it.” I’d never really looked at it that way before. I’ve always been the kind of person, mind you, who feels like going it alone and being independent was the right thing to do. I’ve also always been the person to be up until 3am with a friend in crisis, donate time to a worthy cause, or help a friend out if I had the means. Even still, leaning on others is hard for me! Though I’ve been a single parent almost all of my son’s life, I’ve never had state or federal aid other than college grants. I’ve had one job or another since I was 16, and even when I was a graduate student, I got in trouble for “working too much” because I’d rather work hard than ask the state for help – my thoughts have always been that there are so many people in greater need than I.


Recently, I’ve been battling a nasty cold. Yuck! Instead of going it alone, and hunkering down under five feet of blankets, I let my boyfriend take care of me. I handed over the reins to him, and you know what? It felt nice to have someone take care of me and watch over me! It sounds like such a small thing, but it’s a big thing. Handing over the reins and letting someone help out when you need it isn’t a sign of dependence – it’s a sign of trust.


Where in your life could you hand over the reins a little bit?


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So…it’s the New Year…What Are You Going to Do About It?


2012 NYRR New Years Eve Fireworks Display, Cen...

2012 NYRR New Years Eve Fireworks Display, Central Park, New York CLS_5575.JPG (Photo credit: smith_cl9)


Theme Song: “Keep On Moving” – Bob Marley


Current Projects: Looking for new clients, Making contact with all current and prospective clients


So, it’s the new year. Happy New Year. I had a couple of tough years there. It’s my opinion that 2010 should never have happened and a good amount of 2011 was fallout leftover from 2010. I’m glad that it’s 2012. I feel like it’s a clean slate. I’m not sure how I feel about “resolutions,” but I do take time every few months to review my goals and see where I am in conjunction with achieving them. It’s good to develop a life plan.


I’m old enough to know that people don’t change.I’m sure, right now, there’s someone out there saying “But I’ve changed!” But how much? We are who we are at the core. Sure I’ve taken up running – but that’s not really a change in who I am. Instead it’s a change in my habits. I’ve lost weight – but that also hasn’t changed who I am. (Insert witty dialog on personal identity here…) I’ve had various life experiences that have shaped me, and that have influenced the way I think…but you get the idea.


So it’s the New Year. We’re three days in, now. I keep writing “2011” on stuff… I’m hopeful that it will be a good year. The first few days of the year have been eventful, but for the most part good.


As far as goals go, I’ll be working on having more energy this month (inspired by Gretchen Rubin‘s Happiness Project).


What have you been doing to welcome in the New Year?


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