Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Day one...oh my god

My doctor's office decided I should do a metabolic cleanse because they agree I'm still too fat, but whereas I'm excited about the 10+ pounds that have left my body, they seem less than impressed. Way to keep me motivated, bastards.

Anyway, I had to delay it it a bit for personal reasons, so yesterday was day number one. My god what have I done?

Let me explain. On this particular cleanse, there is no coffee, no soda, no caffeine or sugar of any kind actually, which also rules out chocolate. And I'm PMSing. Quite possibly I've been set up for failure.

Yesterday I was starving to death. That was in addition to the headache from the depths of Tartarus that threatened to make my head explode and implode at the same moment surely causing some sort of rip in the space time continuum thereby bringing the downfall of the human race. And hey, great news, the headache is even worse this morning!

According to the diet plan, you shouldn't be hungry at all. Why not? Because you can eat all the nuts, fruits, seeds, and rice cakes you want! Wow! Really? Oh no wait, I'm not a squirrel. I ate myself sick on fruits, nuts, seeds, and rice cakes yesterday. You know what happened? I was starving, my stomach was upset, and I had to run to the toilet so many times I lost count. The inherent problem with being able to eat as much fruit, seeds, nuts, and rice cakes as you want is that what if you don't want that?

Honestly, all I really want right now is a coffee. I want a coffee so bad right now I may actually cry.

I didn't really plan this one out very well. Most of the time my brain is foggy and sluggish, and if I have to remember anything for any length of time, I have to write it down. This cleanse is making that so much worse. I'm exhausted. Physically and mentally. Pulling my body out of bed this morning took an act of congress, and we know how efficient they are! This afternoon I get to go to the DMV to take my motorcycle permit test. If I pass, I will be amazed. And then, this weekend, I do my motorcycle class. It's an hour away. It starts at 7:30 in the freakin' morning Saturday and Sunday! I CAN'T HAVE COFFEE AND I FEEL LIKE OBLIVION!

That's just craptastic.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Land of milk and honey?

What happened to America?

When I left in 2007, sure America wasn't a shiny penny. She had her problems, things were never perfect, but you could still be proud. You could still hold your head high and declare with absolute confidence, "I am an American!"

Being out of the country really opened my eyes to how the rest of the world views us. Namely that we are loud, abrasive, overly emotional people who do everything big with utter abandon. And that's not always a bad thing, but it has to have it's place. I'm still proud that when you walk around during any of our holidays, there is no doubt in your mind that there is something special. Christmas? Lights, singing, fake snow blanketing southern California. Thanksgiving? Turkeys, pilgrims, Indians, cornucopia. Halloween? Every other house is haunted. Flag Day? Oh yes! Talking loudly and obnoxiously on the bus day? Well, there isn't a specific day for that, it's year round.

My point is, Americans are loud and boisterous, and yes, sometimes obnoxious, but I like to think of it in terms of us being puppies. We're lovable.

Our Country, however is not.

What the hell happened in the 5 years I was gone? Yeah, things weren't perfect when I left, but things have seriously turned into a shit storm now! Since being back I have been completely screwed over by several "big businesses." It's like the lawyers and politicians lost all accountability to the general populace and have turned the Country into their personal trash pile.

Kaplan University lied, charged exorbitant amounts for a joke of an education, and now, when I'm desperately trying to find out the steps I need to take to fight this conglomerate, they are harassing me on a daily basis. They've put the onus on me to come up with proof of what I've claimed. Ok, give me the recordings of the phone conversations where I was fed the lies. No? Can't do that, huh? Then I refuse to speak on the phone, all future contact needs to be in writing. But they don't like that because it gives me the power to produce the proof they're desperate for me not to have. In fact, when I do answer the phone when they call, there is no answer on their end, AND THEN THEY DISCONNECT!

Go back and read that last sentence again. Yeah, you read that right- they call me, then hang up on me.

But now it's happening again. Time Warner Cable is in my bad books. We cancelled and switched to Verizon. Why? Because Verizon put us on their fiber optic line. TV is clearer and internet is faster. But the biggest reason that we switched was that Time Warner kept lying to us. And they're still lying!

We woke up one morning with no tv, no internet, and no phone. Using a cell phone, we called TWC to find out what was going on and were told there was a line fault in the area and technicians were currently working on it. We took the dogs for a walk and returned an hour later with still nothing. Called again to see how long until they expected the line fault to be fixed and were told, "What line fault?" The first person we spoke to had made it up. There was no reported line fault and we were the only ones who had called with no service. They did something on their end to get service up, but tv never came back. We had to drive down to the shop and pick up a new box.

The new box had a lot of problems, too. The reception, never brilliant to begin with, was worse and it started dropping channels and changing channels randomly. We'd be watching a show and suddenly, the channel would change. But it was on the same number, just the wrong broadcast, so it would take several tries to get the correct broadcast back.

When we called to cancel service and were asked why, I tried to be nice and said it was because Verizon was putting us on their fiber optic line. "Do you know we also offer fiber optic?" came the response. Then why are we on copper? When we initially signed up we asked about the fiber optic line since Steve works from home, but were put on the copper line anyway. It's not until I cancel that they decide to try to offer us more.

But the real complaint here is what happened after we cancelled. We went into our old bank to close out the checking account we no longer use since it was getting those $10 service fees, but there was no money in it. That's when we found out that TWC had switched the payments. When we opened an account at the credit union, we switched all our monthly payments to that one. Including Time Warner. And the payment came out of the correct account for 2 months, before mysteriously going back to our old account. The one with no money in it. So, of course it was over drawn because the bank let the payments go through anyway. We paid the amount, and closed the account.

When we took the TWC box into the store, we were told we would receive a refund of $37 plus our original deposit amount of $50. So when I was expecting a check for $87, I was rather surprised to receive a bill for $53. Steve called and talked to a rep who apologized for their mistake and assured him it would be fixed. Then I got another bill for $53. Steve's away on a conference, so I called. Apparently, there was an outstanding charge of $115, don't know what for since the monthly statement is $53 and those have all been paid, or at least they were 2 weeks ago when we cancelled service. It truly sounds like dirty business dealings.

And this is my whole point. What happened? Why are businesses so dirty now? What happened to the regulations that used to be in place to protect consumers? Has America really fallen so far that there are no decent people in powerful positions left?

I'm disheartened and disillusioned. Proud to be an American, ashamed of my Country.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Amazing catalyst

On Facebook this morning (yes, I've fallen off the wagon), there was a post about getting a free belly dance hip scarf if you wrote a 600+ word article on what belly dance has meant for you in your life. Well, I'm a total whore for free stuff, especially free belly dance stuff- even what is sure to be the cheapest hip scarf in existence. And, for me, 600 words is short. So I wrote my article.

And wound up sobbing.

This is such great therapy, and I can't wait to dance more because writing this stuff down, actually identifying it and admitting to it has solidified in my head just how important the dance is to me. All those people who think its just a way to get attention, or it's little more, or less, than stripping can go on thinking whatever they want. I will feel bad for them that they cannot appreciate the beauty of all life has to offer.

If you're interested, here's the article:

I began belly dancing about 5 years ago when I was a stay at home mum in a new city, a new country! I’d always worked and gone out with friends, but my life suddenly changed and I felt I was losing myself. A community class offer for Egyptian style belly dance classes was advertised in the paper and I jumped at the chance. I’d always loved seeing the gypsy dancers at Renaissance Fairs and watching belly dancers at festivals. I knew that I would probably never be on stage as I was uncoordinated and graceful was never a word that anyone thought of when they met me. In fact, I was asked to leave a ballet class in college because I just couldn’t “get it.” 

I showed up to that first class dressed for yoga with a scarf I’d found in the back of my closet. I was nervous about what would happen; would I make a total fool of myself yet again? Class started and the instructor took the first several minutes to explain some of the philosophy behind belly dance. We are sisters, we are connected to the Earth, we are strong, beautiful women and anyone who tells us differently does not deserve to be in our lives. Then she began to make us move. It was elemental. The moves came naturally to me. This was what I was meant for. The instructor asked me how many years I’d been dancing! Me! Suddenly my brain and body clicked and for the first time in my life I felt whole. 

We practiced a full year before putting on a hafla. Back stage, doing all those final preparations- eyeliner and lipstick touch ups, frantically trying to rehearse one more time- I realized I was buzzing from excitement. There were no nerves, I knew the dance, I knew I could do it, and dang I looked good! Looking around at these strangers who became my sisters, even the guest dancers whom I’d never met were my sisters now, I was shocked to see the nerves playing out. One had a bottle of wine that she was trying to find courage in the bottom of, another was smearing her make-up with tears dripping down her face, one had her head between her knees taking deep breaths, and several were shaking so badly they were having a hard time walking. So I began to sing. I don’t know why, but it just felt right, and the tension simmering in the room lessened for a few moments. Until we lined up at the door to go onstage, at least. For me, that first step in front of a real audience was magical. I was at the front of the line, and I felt beautiful, strong, sure of myself for the first time. All of the nags and worries of life were not allowed on stage with me. On stage it was everything that was good about me, and none of the bad. My only complaint was that the performance didn’t last longer. I never wanted to leave that stage. 

Since that first step on stage, I’ve developed m dance persona into a person that I truly love. I’ve experimented with cabaret, Turkish, and tribal styles, but my passion, my love above all others is modern fusion. I still enjoy dancing with my sisters, but when I take the stage by myself, I know what it is to be truly alive. 

It may be said that I have been seduced by the audience, and very well that may be true. More importantly, though, I have been saved by dance. In the past 5 years I have gone through many changes in my life. We have moved countries, my son was diagnosed with several mental disorders, I have been hospitalized, and suicidal. There were days when I refused to eat because I felt I was hideous and didn’t deserve anything, even food and water. Those were the days, those incredibly bad days, when my husband would put the music on loud and tell me to move. Because as soon as I do I remember how strong I am inside, how beautiful I am on the outside, how much I love and am loved, and I feel connected, truly connected, to everyone in the world and the Earth herself. Belly dance pulls me back from the darkness in the times I most need a light. It awakens in me the power of healing, of love, and kindness- kindness to others and kindness to myself. I feel that I am a better person because I dance, because I am free.