Little Ms. Polymath

aka the know-it-all

dirt bag. August 10, 2010

Filed under: drama mama,life — mspolymath @ 10:17 am

Um, so yesterday’s trip to the farm wasn’t as scenic as my first foray. Upon arrival we were sent out to the muddy, MUDDY leek fields to weed. This was good in some respects, because the weeds certainly left the wet ground a lot easier than they would if it were dry. So, yeah, bonus. But the mosquitos were in full bloom, the clumps of mud were flying, and it was just under 100 degrees outside. So every time I’d use my dirty hand/forearm to wipe my soaking-wet-with-sweat hair off my face, I’d get mud all over myself. The return of Pig Pen.

Okay, so after 90 minutes in the leeks, I was still keeping pace with everyone else, and I felt good. It’s hard, hard work out there. That’s why no one stops by and does it for free. Except for me, that is. Anyway, from there we moved on to the cucumber/zucchini field to weed. That’s where the trouble started. Every time I knelt down and stood back up, I felt woozy. Queasy. About to pass out. Not good. I was starting to get embarrassed, but I knew I couldn’t stay out there and keep pushing – otherwise I was going to be flat on my ass in no time.

Mike, one of the farm’s owners, found me a job in the barn airing out the onions. Great! Shady, nice and cool. Only every time I bent down to grab a pile of onions, then stood up, I felt faint. Woozy. Um, you know the drill.  After apologizing profusely to Mike, and assuring him I wouldn’t be leaving early (I had locked myself into carpooling this week – oh yes, I know myself – I need every trick in the book to keep myself in manual labor),  he went off to, I don’t know, do some farm work.

And I sat in the onion barn and cried. Cried about how my body let me down, and how I let my body down. Cried about how as a 35-year-old woman there was no reason I shouldn’t be able to handle this work. Cried because my eyes were full of sweat, mud, dirt, dust and onion mold. Then, in a scene straight from one of those inspirational farm-hand movies (you know ’em!) I took a swig of water, got back up, and turned every single one of those onions.

I waited for the choirs to sing and the ladies in the gold dresses to come rushing out with my award, but nothing happened. I tracked down my other two volunteers, who’d just finished weeding the cuke beds alone (at that moment I think their sympathy for me wasn’t at an all time high) and we waited for Mike’s next instructions. When we found him, I pretty much leapt in the air to tell him “I finished turning the onions!” He thanked me in a way that let me know he appreciated I was capable of doing the very easy job he’d given me to do while everyone else did backbreaking labor in the field. And by that I mean he said “Thank you. Anyway, next you’re all going to be trimming shallots.”

So off to the hoop house we went for an hour of cutting the ends off of shallots. While there I managed to ram into a piece of machinery and knock the farm radio onto my arm. But I nearly kept pace with everyone else and I didn’t pass out, nor did I vomit. And I didn’t cry again.

I’ve signed myself up for carpool duties again next week – while I was so ready to quit yesterday I know I owe it to myself (and the farm) to keep working at my commitment. Plus, man, the veggies. Fresh sweet corn, fennel, potatos (which I may or may not have picked!), pints of sungolds, heirloom tomatoes, squash, melon, onions, basil, beets…and more. I think it’s worth it.


quote of the day. July 22, 2010

Filed under: drama mama,this week I really love.... — mspolymath @ 1:30 pm
Tags: ,

It’s funny how one person’s actions, lack of action or a bizarre combo of the two can mess with you. No matter how far you think you distance yourself from a poisonous person, he can still get to you. The world was a far less dramatic place before the invention of text messaging!

Anyway, as much as people can hurt you, it’s also amazing what has the power to heal. A hug from your sweetheart, a beautiful rainy day, and the prospect of an amazing breakfast are good places to start.

I had plans for today – I was going to dig in and work and make some money, but the sky opened and the money came in through another source. And since my heart hurts just a little bit, I’m going to enjoy this day with a book and some tea and be thankful for all that’s good in my life.

Another great healer? The wisdom of other people. Sometimes someone else’s perspective is enough to get you over the hump and through your day.

Love this quote from Marilyn Monroe: "I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they're right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together."


stubble. January 21, 2010

Filed under: drama mama,life,opportunity to be punny — mspolymath @ 9:05 am

There’s been a lot of hubbub about Mo’Nique lately. People are blown away by her gritty performance as the abusive, pretty-much-evil mother in Precious. Then people were aghast because she wasn’t interested in trolling the press junkets and awards show circuit, pandering for praise. Sunday night Mo’Nique won the Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe for her work in Precious, and she started a new controversy. Are you ready for this? Mo’Nique doesn’t shave her legs.

The legs in question.

In an interview with Barbara Walters in 2006, Mo’Nique said, “I must show America what a real leg looks like . . . because it’s too much in the morning, every morning, to shave, to cut, you got Band-aids baby,” she said. “I really think hair on a woman’s legs is a black woman’s thing.”

Still, after she showed off her gams on the red carpet, people were aghast. Why is it that hairy legs are some sort of symbol of women’s hygiene? Why are we so attached to the smooth skin we had before puberty?

My personal experience with shaving my legs is bumpy. (Sorry.) I don’t have a lot of leg hair, it grows slowly, and it’s patchy. There are huge stretches on my legs where no hair grows at all. Some of the hair is white blonde, some of it is light brown, and inexplicably, some is inky black. My leg hair is as diverse as any UN committee, and probably accomplishes just as much. Still, I feel pretty gross when I go too long without shaving. Maybe if it were consistent in color or texture it wouldn’t feel so odd. Or maybe if I hadn’t grown up with the refrain of “who wears short shorts?” (ahem, certainly not moi) ringing in my ears, I wouldn’t feel it necessary to keep my legs shorn even though very few people ever see them.

So what is it about shaving our legs? Why do we do it? And to the women reading this, do you wince when you see a woman with hairy legs? Do you think she’s dirty or unkept or a radical feminist? Is it a political statement or a sign of laziness? Men, do you just prefer a smooth leg because it’s different from your own? Are we keeping a multi-million dollar industry in business due to some misplaced belief that we’re not attractive unless our legs are bare? Just curious.


on hold. December 15, 2009

Filed under: drama mama,life — mspolymath @ 9:30 am

Right now I’m in limbo with so many things. There are changes concerning my employment status on the horizon, but I don’t have a timeline. Some people want to meet with me to talk about a potential new employment status, but I’m waiting for them to get back to me with the whens and wheres. I’m working on a new venture with a new business partner, but we’re waiting until January to kick off the new business. Hell, I’m even waiting to hear back from the mechanic so I know when I can take my car in for an oil change.

Three of the four items (everything but the new venture) are out of my control. This drives me insane. I need action. I need to make a list, I need to get things done. It makes me nervous to leave my fate in someone else’s hands, even if that sliver of fate is as minor as an oil change.

On a completely unrelated note, let’s start celebrating the season with skeevy Santas:

No way am I sitting on this Santa's lap.


soapbox. December 8, 2009

Filed under: drama mama,life — mspolymath @ 8:47 am

I have found people usually give you what you expect of them. If you consistently raise the bar and ask for the best, then that’s what you’ll get. If you indulge tardiness, or rude behavior, or any habit or trait that could easily be corrected, people will take your slack and run with it.

Some might say there’s a chicken and egg quandary here – do we lower our expectations because we consistently get the worst from certain people and it’s just easier to let them slide? This frustrates me to no end – I am held accountable, and I think others should be, too. Especially when you’re in the same cohort. If there’s nothing keeping another person from reaching the bar aside from a lack of respect for other people and their time and needs – well, I think the behavior is abhorrent. And when that behavior is not only excused, but coddled and almost encouraged? I lose my shit.

How do you cope with a person (or people) who are expected, allowed, and set up to underperform in life and have no intention of trying any harder than necessary to get by? This is especially difficult when the bar is set so high for others around them. I wish I were more comfortable calling people out on their hypocrisy and hurtful behavior. I wonder how much of my life I’ve lost because I thought I was being polite or minding my own business or whatever. How much inexcusable behavior I’ve just dealt with, then stressed over/complained about later.

There are people with real, serious problems in this world. They live through poverty and illness and destruction we cannot fathom. Why would anyone want to use a hardship (that by real world standards is nothing) as an excuse to stop living life as an accountable adult? And if people really love that person, would they let it happen or just let it slide?


it's different from shinola. November 12, 2009

Filed under: drama mama,life — mspolymath @ 8:28 am

Here’s a sentence I never anticipated writing:  I’ve had two too many encounters with feces at work in the past two weeks. Let’s start this conversation with a disclaimer – yes, I understand millions of people worldwide touch poop on a daily, even hourly basis. Parents change diapers, farmers deal with manure, and the blessed sanitation workers of the world never know what they’re going to get. I understand that. But those people are also prepared, and hopefully protected.

I, on the other hand, work in marketing in a middle-class midsize city in the middle of the United States. Handling someone’s bodily waste is not in my job description. Shoveling shit, yes. Creating and/or wading through b.s.? Check. But nearly touching dried up hunks of poop on a bathroom stall handle because some adult woman doesn’t know when her hands are covered in her own waste and therefore leaves a trail for me to stumble in? Not so much.

I am not afraid to talk about poop. But I am afraid to have someone else’s shit smeared on my hands. It’s flu season, for crying out loud! How does someone reach an age and state in life in which they can be gainfully employed but they are not capable of noticing their hands are covered in their own filth before exiting a bathroom stall? Color me curious.


No offense, Mr. Hankey, but I don't want to hold hands.

The only good to come out of yesterday’s near-miss toilet adventure was a good transition into my next topic.  First Twitter sensation Shit My Dad Says got a book deal. And now he’s getting his own sitcom. 27-year-old Justin Halpern launched his page in August of this year and currently has over 700,000 followers.

I admit, I was swept into the frenzy early on. Justin’s dad is exactly the type of elderly I hope to become. In case you’re not familiar with Twitter, it’s a social networking website where people provide updates/announcements in 140 character (or fewer) bursts. Justin pretty much just posts what his dad says, hence the name of his page. I could probably post the entire page here and laugh for hours, but here are a few of my favorites:

“The baby will talk when he talks, relax. It ain’t like he knows the cure for cancer and he just ain’t spitting it out.”

“You worry too much. Eat some bacon… What? No, I got no idea if it’ll make you feel better, I just made too much bacon.”

“Just pay the parking ticket. Don’t be so outraged. You’re not a freedom fighter in the civil rights movement. You double parked.”

“You’re being fucking dramatic. You own a TV and an air mattress. That’s not exactly what I’d call “a lot to lose.”


The Dad.

Personally, I can’t wait for the book. I’m hoping it provides some back story on Justin’s dad along with page after page of his hilarious quotes. I love his no-holds-barred style. Why do you have to be elderly to be able to speak so freely without people thinking you’re a jerk? That’s one of life’s mysteries that I’d like to crack.

“You know, sometimes it’s nice having you around. But now ain’t one of those times. Now gimmie the remote we’re not watching this bullshit.”


engulfed. September 16, 2009

Filed under: drama mama,life — mspolymath @ 8:26 am

Monday night our neighbor knocked at the door, and asked me if I knew anything about the alarm going off down the hall. It sounded like a cell phone alarm, and I immediately dismissed it. My neighbor wasn’t convinced.

“I think we should call the police,” he said. “I think it’s something more than an alarm clock.” I suggested he find the resident manager before calling the cops, and that maybe he could go into the apartment and locate the source of the noise.

It turns out it was the smoke alarm. The neighbor down the hall had left a stove burner on with something on top of it. And that something was burning.  I don’t know how close it was to being aflame, and I don’t want to know. Fire scares me like little else.

I’ve known my whole life, the way I know the sky is blue, that I won’t die in a plane crash or a train crash or a car crash. I just know. What I don’t have any certainty about is fire, and I cannot imagine a worse way to perish. I also start to worry about the other, superficial things surrounding a home fire – like being in ratty pjs in the middle of the night when I have to flee (though if I truly worried about that I guess I could take steps to not wear ratty pjs to bed), having enough time to grab my firebox (it contains a few precious family photos and my passport, social security card, and birth certificate, among other completely random objects), and making sure I have a change of clothes. Yes, these are the things I worry about. I also worry about not being able to wake Jason up (unlikely), me not waking up (possible – I slept through a tornado during my freshman year of college), and the aftermath, assuming I survive. No, I don’t worry about being burned to death. I worry about having to clean up after a fire. I dread the idea of dealing with administrative paperwork and speaking to customer service people over the phone or (gasp) in person.

I suppose I can’t even process what it would be like to suffer the way burn victims do. We once saw a news report of a woman who had saved herself and her children from a house fire – it was the THIRD house fire she’d been in. Half of her face and her arms were scarred, and you could see the way she was wincing that the heat of the still-burning townhouse affected her in ways an average person could never understand. I was also amazed by her attitude – just grateful to be alive. Let me tell you – after one, let alone three housefires, I would be spitting nails and shaking my fist at anything and everything. I can’t see myself being calm and full of gratitude.

So maybe that’s the lesson. I work hard everyday to cede my dominating nature and not worry about things I can’t control, to be thankful for my many blessings.  And obviously I’m not truly worried, or I’d have an emergency bag packed and waiting by the door. Still, my heart beats a little faster thinking about what could have happened. I don’t like close calls.