All I Want Is A Normal Life

Musings from a girl named Normal.

What is “normal”?

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On this eve of the first of the new year, I get to opportunistically reflect on the things I have, the things I want, and my purpose in life. I’ve always wanted to be “normal” and have a “normal life” (though most people I know would laugh if they heard me saying that, since my life bears little resemblance to the boring slog that most people think of when they hear “normal” — something I think of more as “quiet desperation”).

Ever since I was a little kid, I didn’t fit in. I looked like a boy until I was 9 and had to get into the habit of asking for the “ladies’ room” because service staff always directed me to the men’s room. I was too tall. I had no friends. Kids made fun of me. I wouldn’t wear a “training” bra and ended up needing a real bra earlier than anyone else I knew. Boys would dare each other to ask me out and then run away laughing. I got picked last in any athletic event I was forced to participate in. “Normal” seemed like this unattainable golden state that everyone else existed in… so when I got to pick my name, I decided that, by hook or by crook, I was going to be normal.

And that’s how I got to be “Normal.” And it really fits me, I think, since I have a regular job that I go to every day at roughly the same time. I have fairly un-exceptional thoughts on a day-to-day basis. I’m not very fashionable, but I’m also not notably unfashionable. I have hobbies like normal people: hiking, camping, hanging out with friends, blogging, photography. Yes, some of my hobbies are un-normal: collecting taxidermy, listening to Cracker all the time, modeling for unconventional photos (right), camping in the desert and applying spark to combustibles.

One thing I think I want to look into for the new year is what really *is* “normal life.” I want it… but do I? And what is it to other people? So I’ve set up a Google alert and will set out to figure out what a normal life is. Wish me luck.

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Cute Things Falling Asleep

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Written by normalslife

December 30, 2008 at 10:03 pm

A sweaty day in the yard

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Our yard is a mess. It’s really a total disaster. There’s a bunch of stuff around (mine and Hutch’s, so blame is evenly distributed), and there’s about 4 cars worth of real estate given up to a pile of wood that someone dumped in our yard and will probably be there forever (or until I chop it up, whichever comes first). But I’m done having it be a wilderness out there. I want to add more wilderness in the form of native plants like blueberries and, um, whatever else is native (there’s a native nursery a few blocks away, so I’m just going to go with their recommendations). I’m looking to create a bit of a sanctuary in our yard… we’ve got this gigantic yard that is often used by wildlife, but I know they feel anxious about it a lot of the time. I want to give them some bushes to hide around. Right now, we’ve just got a lot of out-of-control ground cover… in fact, I found a perfectly preserved squirrel that had burrowed into some of the ground cover after it had been apparently hit by a car. It didn’t smell at all. Lord only knows when it met its end, but it seems like it must have been quite some time ago, considering that it didn’t smell. And we’ve got some really tall trees that drop a billion needles all over the place. And I don’t mind the needles and leaves, but they’re just a solid blanket over everything, and the only things that can survive are ivy and this insane parasitic vine that I spent most of the day grappling with.

Anyways, I hope that I continue with this yard work stuff. I filled both of the yard waste bins, so I had to call it a day until the bins are picked up tomorrow.

For my notes, here are some shrubs that I might consider:
Arctostaphylos “Lester Rowntree”
Arctostaphylos densiflora x hybrid ‘Austin Griffiths’
Arctostaphylos patula
Berberis nevinii
Brickhellia californica
Ceanothus “Blue Window”

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December 29, 2008 at 1:44 am

My New Royal

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My New Royal

David got me the most awesome present for Christmas: A 1930 Royal typewriter. I looked up the serial number on the Typewriter Serial Number Database (possibly the coolest thing in the whole world).

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December 28, 2008 at 3:56 pm

The Weekend with Mom : Yucca Valley, Salton Sea, and others

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OK! The time has come for the massive weekend explanation. I find it easiest to illustrate with photos, so I’m linking off to my Flickr set.

Yucca Valley
I have no photos from our visit to Deeze and Annette’s. Their house feels so much like home to me that I don’t even really think to take photos there. My mom and I stayed up late talking to them and it was so nice to see my mom genuinely appreciating my friends.

Pioneertown
Similarly, the photos from Pioneertown really were pretty lame. My mom took some pretty good ones, but she doesn’t use Flickr, so it’s a little hard to get the photos in here without some amount of effort. Plus, she doesn’t read this blog (as far as I know), so I don’t want to give her indication of how to find it.

The Walk Near PioneertownSeusscape
Mom and I went for a walk through the burned out brush near Pioneertown, CA, outside of Yucca Valley. I took some photos of plants and found two cans from when there were pull tabs that pulled off the can! One is a reaaaaly old Coke can and the other is a Coors with a bullet hole in it. I didn’t take photos of those, but they’re sitting in my car in arrested decay.
Bright Orange Flower The Lesson of the Empty Space

The Windmills

A Windmill is Very Tall

A Windmill is Very Tall


On our way down to Salton Sea and Slab City, we stopped off at some of the huge windmills that are in the mouth of the Coachella Valley. I’d never seen the windmills up close, so it was quite a thrill. As you may or may not know, Jetfuel, Connie-Lynne, and I all undertook to build windmills for the Burn this past year, but they actually completed theirs (I did not).

WindmillsWindmillWindmills

Salton Sea
This warrants a large photo:
Dead Fish
Mom and I drove off the main road and down to the Salton Sea shore (no, she didn’t sell sea shells by the shore of the Salton Sea). I was amazed (disgusted?) to find that the whole place smelled AWFUL (truly stomach turning) and it was pretty clear why after about 40 seconds of standing there: the entire shore was covered in mounds of dead fish, fish bones, and bird poo. Really, every gross thing you can imagine was all over the place there. I don’t know how to describe how gross it smelled, but it sure was picturesque:
Salton Sea
Why are all the fish dead? It’s seasonal and based on agriculture in the area. Nitrates and other fertilizer runoff causes a huge algae bloom in the Salton Sea, resulting in a reduction of oxygen in the water. As the algae consumes all the oxygen, the fish literally suffocate in the water, dying by the thousands. They wash ashore and rot.
Acres of dead fishmore dead fish
There were also a lot of birds hanging out:
Another Bird in Flight

Salvation Mountain
One of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen is Salvation Mountain

Crap. I have to go to work, since my mom needs to use the internet and I need to send a big file.

Also, there was this sunset:
desert sunset

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November 26, 2008 at 5:23 pm

thoughts from Osho

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Someone commented on the previous post, saying I might find inspiration on his or her blog. What I did find is this:

“When you are different the whole world is different. It is not a question of creating a different world. It is only a question of creating a different you. ~ Osho

Thanks for the insight, my friend!

Incidentally, I spent the last half hour cleaning my room and feel much better. Now, to go take the dog out!! I’m sure this funk will not last my rampant productivity!

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September 17, 2008 at 2:47 pm

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feeling uninspired

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My room is a total fucking mess. My bills are sitting around unpaid. I haven’t gone to the gym since last Friday. I’m not even sure quite why I’m writing this, but I have some extra time while the coffee is brewing and it seemed like I’m reaching for something… but I’m not sure what it is. I’m not breaking out a whole bunch, so I don’t think I have PMS. I think it has to just be doldrums.

What’s to be done when I feel like this? Is there some magic trick that will make me feel creative and interested and not just troubled and put upon?

Usually when I feel like this, I can battle it with some discovery or new experience… particularly shopping-related. But I’m saving money for Hawaii and Gosh Darn It All, I’m going to Hawaii. So I can’t go shopping (except for grocery shopping, which I guess I still have to do… *sigh*). Or, alternatively, I go do some social stuff, but that mostly involves money, too, so I don’t want to do that either.

Maybe I can discover cooking something new. I made the most awesome pasta with leftover halibut, a ton of garlic, broccoli, and tomatoes. I guess that felt good and interesting… but no one was there to share it with me, so I’m just appreciating my own cooking.

And just like that… AH HA! That’s exactly it… I want to do something nice for someone. Something that they’ll appreciate! I need appreciation.

Work has been pretty unappreciating these days. With one of my co-workers on a crazed power trip and my boss so busy (I love her, but she’s really busy), I don’t get much appreciation from anyone. Maybe I’ll make a presentation that knocks their socks off… or just bring Amy some flowers.

Anyways, at the very least, I have to clean my room, walk my dog, and go to the gym before work, so I have to haul my uninspired ass out the door right now. *sigh*

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September 17, 2008 at 1:45 pm

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