Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New Haircut: A Photo Collection


I'm talking to Scott on my new phone.


Still talking to Scott--this time with crazy eyes.


Imagining warding off the paparazzi while on the phone.


Front of hair.


Side of hair.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Talk to Me Tuesday: Lealou Edition!

So, I knew it would come to this. I have to goddamn type out Lealou's answers because she wrote them by hand while we were hanging out a few weeks ago.

This was the evening we tried finding a date for her from the selection of men at the grocery store. At 11pm. On a Sunday. The options were, well, slim.

Not that the options are much larger here, but I want to state anyway: Lealou is fabulous and single.

She is funny and artistic. Some of her poetry can be found on her blog, Throw the Mattress on the Bathtub. Some of her paintings can be found on friends' walls.

She is devoted to her family, which contains some of the most vibrant, caring, funny, and just plain ol' fucked-up people! Which is to say Lealou has faced a lot of joy and sorrow and to still be full of hope and humor really says something about her beautiful nature.

And it's not just her nature that is beautiful; she's also physically attractive, too!

Part of my point here is that if there are any single boys reading this in the Tulsa area and you would like to date my dear friend, then maybe I will let you. It depends. Are you funny? Artistic? Do you like cats? Tea? Are you interesting; that is, do you have things to say? And can you listen? And can you listen to what's not being said? And would you participate in game nights? And would you like to have a family? And are you sexually adventurous? And can you give part of yourself and your attention without feeling threatened all the time? Do you like karaoke? Cheap beer? And can you cook?

Well, that's what I want in a man for Lealou.

No matter her dating status, Lealou is a caring soul and gives a lot of herself to her friends and family. She is utterly fabulous.

1. Why are you a feminist? What does being a feminist mean to you? And if you don't consider yourself to be a feminist, then why not?
I have always considered myself as a person who stands up for "what's right." I suppose that is vague. In my gut I know that oppressive behavior towards other human beings is wrong. I know that putting people down in any way with the intention of raising your own agenda is wrong. So, if speaking out for women's issues, homosexual rights, children's advocacy, or any other host of issue is being a feminist, then yes, I am a feminist.

2. What place(s) make you feel truly alive?
A violent thunderstorm, painting, sitting in a dark room with loud music, having intimate conversations, listening to my brothers laugh, driving with the windows down, writing, playing backgammon.

3. What books, music, blogs, movies, etc. would you/have you been recommending to friends?
I love so many of each of these. I spent so much of my life reading, listening to music, and watching movies. My favorites, in no particular order:

Books: Ender's Game, A Prayer for Owen Meany, Tao Te Ching, Naked, Invisible Monsters, The Boxcar Children Series, Eisenhorn, Where the Wild Things Are, The Giving Tree, The Little Prince, Cat's Cradle, Anthem

Movies: Shawshank Redemption, Sleep with Me, Cloak & Dagger, Amelie, City of Lost Children, Duck Soup, Home for the Holidays, Red Dawn, Magnolia, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Heat, Serenity, Man on Wire, American Beauty, The Last Unicorn, The Secret of Nimh

Music: Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, Julie Doiron, Soul Coughing, Journey, Jefferson Airplane, The Beatles, Daft Punk, Eagles, Wilco, Kate Nash, Chopin, Ben Folds, Imogen Heap, Willie Nelson, Apex Twins, Dave Brubek, Pearl Jam, David Bowie

TV: Green Wing, Q.I., Firefly, Myth Busters, The IT Crowd, Battlestar Galactica, Dr. Who, Weeds, Faulty Towers, Family Guy, Iron Chef, Buffy, Six Feet Under, Cheers

4. When was the last time you laughed really hard?
I am currently laughing really hard. Seriously. There is an understanding between those I know about my laugh. I laugh really hard, really hard and really often. Once working at Second City I was warned about laughing too hard.

5. How are you different from who you were as a child? How are you the same?
I still dream. I still enjoy talking to myself. I still pretend to interview with Johnny Carson. I still with I was a mermaid.

I am no longer in love with Rick Astley or Barry Manilow. I appreciate my family more. I can stand up for myself. I can ask for what I want/need.

6. What issue(s) are you passionate about?
My own? I become very passionate about anything involving human rights. Recently, I have taken a step back to reassess what is important. Do I know why I fight for things? I guess I decided to become more informed on the issues before I jump in the ring.

7. What have you learned about yourself within the past year?
In the last year I have learned:
-To enjoy the little things
-That I can be happy without making apologies for said happiness
-That I can have true and valuable relationships with other women
-That Tulsa is a very cool place
-I feel as though I am finding myself again

8. What are three things you want to do in your lifetime?
-Make people laugh
-Be published
-Backpack around Europe

9. And: what are the top five things you most enjoy doing right now?
-Wearing sundresses in the Oklahoma heat
-Being with my new Tulsa friends
-Painting
-Sitting on Kay and Matt's front porch
-Watching my siblings and my nephew grow, laugh, learn, act out, and find their own identities



It's a Lealou sandwich. Lealous, Beamish, and I are acting silly.

Credo Mobile

So I switched cell phone companies and decided to try Credo Mobile. My number is being transferred right now and in this interim, I've been playing with the settings on my new phone. I'm experiencing frustration because I was told I could transfer stuff via bluetooth and I can't figure out how to do that exactly. So now I'm bored and I just want to give up!

(Oh my dear, familiar pattern--how I love thee!)

Anyway, if you go to www.credomobile.com/call, then they offer some deals. Service is provided by Sprint, 1% of your monthly bill is donated to progressive non-profit groups, and they buy-out your existing contract up to $200.

I kind of think everyone should check this out!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I'm Just Blabbing Here, In List Form

1. I got a haircut on Friday; it's probably the cutest cut I've ever had. If you need a stylist, I really adore Amy at Cherry Street Salon; she is just utterly fabulous--she's talented and can practically intuit what I want.

2. Scott and I have hung out together all weekend--mostly at my place.
A. We saw a beautiful purple sunset on Friday.
B. We got a little cranky waiting for dinner when we were out Friday. I learned (again) that it's difficult for me not to
complain when I'm starving.
i. Scott, however, seems to have a true knack for looking on the positive side in these types of situations: "This food is
going to taste really good when it gets here."
a. (That's true, but a little annoying, dear.)
C. We did homework Saturday morning.
i. I started my conference paper.
D. We played tennis in the afternoon.
i. It was awesome!
E. We missed a friend's blues performance due to said tennis. :(
i. He won second place! I'm happy for him, but still bummed I missed it.
F. We went to the Samantha Crain and The Midnight Shivers and The Avett Brothers show at Cain's. It was the most fun I've
had in quite a while. (Which says a lot because I've been having a lot of fun lately just playing around.)
i. We got to go with two of our friends, Lealou and one of Scott's friends.
a. Lealou looked stunning, just for the record.

Ok, I'm so tired of formatting this list. This post got really boring all of a sudden (this post just "took a turn for the douche"!)

After such a wonderful day yesterday, I knew it would be difficult to let it go and experience today on its own terms. Scott and I made homemade pizza today, Argo and I went jogging, and now we're at Scott's place so I could do some laundry. In the midst of all these activities, we've been talking about our relationship--throwing around the moving in together question.

We have an answer to that question (yes, we want to live together), and no answer on timeframes and such. Right now, I feel urgency in wanting to know when. And I can't untangle if I want to move out of my apartment or not. We discussed just living closer to each other as a way to make things easier.

The point is, I noticed that while we were playing tennis, I believed I could just let go and play tennis. I had such a good time. And now that I'm faced with considering some decisions, it's a lot harder to let go. It's easier for me to dwell on the things that make me tense and nervous!

I assume that characteristic is so common and human! I just don't like to be tripped up on things that I don't think I should worry about; I tell myself that I should just get over it. And that strategy doesn't help!

The other day I was meditating and I noticed that my breathing was shallow. (As a practicing jogger, I found this rather unusual. ;) I'm being snooty here on purpose!) I tried to change my breathing, but then I said that I need to meet myself where I actually am.

That's so hard! To meet myself where I actually am instead of where I want to be.

I was reminded of this again today while Argo and I were jogging. I want to be jogging repeatedly for 25 minutes straight. I think I've only done this once or so. Today I didn't do it, and I needed to walk through some of the level below the 25 minutes, too.

At one point I was walking and then Argo started squatting down on the sidewalk, like he was going to poop. I stopped and then he sat and laid down on the cool concrete! The poor puppy just didn't want to go any farther!

So I realized I needed to meet Argo where he was. And it was only later that I realized how where animals are is often where we find ourselves, too. Like when the cat needs extra attention, it's amazing that we could use extra attention then, too. It's amazing how animals take us out of ourselves, sometimes, if we let them.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pregnant Lady Update, IV

THERE IS NO MORE PREGNANT LADY!!!

My sister gave birth last night to a real, live human baby! Mary Jean Aurelia was born at 11:22 pm weighing 7 lb., 9 oz. and measuring 20.5". I got some cute pictures of her through email and text messaging. When I talked to the new parents, Miss Mary was crying like a mad woman!

How wonderful!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pregnant Lady Update, III

Little Sister is at seven centimeters! (I guess the max is ten centimeters. Weird and gross!) Go, Lady, go!

In Case You Missed It

Here's a quote from one of my favorite blogs, The Compassionate Eye:
Being happy with what “is” doesn’t go down well in this era when so many are setting their intentions on changing their material fortunes. That’s because plain old-fashioned greed now flies under the banner of spirituality, as people seek to attract to themselves those things they imagine will make them “happy.”

I wonder, though, how many who live in the tension of their materialistic intentions are actually enjoying a quiet mind, inner peace, and a joy that spontaneously floods them.

Or will this be a state they enjoy only when they get what it is they are intent on getting?

In contrast, in Matthiessen’s account of his journey, a lama “casts his arms wide to the sky and the snow mountains, the high sun and dancing sheep, and cries, ‘Of course I am happy here! It’s wonderful! Especially when I have no choice!’”

Why I Like Meditation and Yoga

Because sometimes you're sitting there (or standing there or lunging there or lying there) and you're holding on to something and then you realize you don't need to hold on to it anymore. And it's not so much an intellectual realization, so much as a bodily one. You think one thing and then your body gently tells you that that's not the full truth. You repeat motions and mantras and breathing, but it's never the same each time you do it.

And you say, "Ok, body, thanks. Until next time. Peace."

Amazing Quote, by Beamish

Last night dear Beamish said, in regards to romantic relationships (although almost anything will do), "That's just an immature person's fantasy. And immature people like to have their beliefs reinforced all the time."

It's true!

The Power of Creativity

During last night's meditation class, a few things came together for me. Sister Ellie asked us to reflect on accepting change in our lives. I realized that if I were truly able to accept change, than I would stop fretting over things that take up so much space in my brain (primarily school and relationships). I would stop believing that I would find the answers to my perceived problems; I would stop looking for signs.

And in that stopping, there would be room for creation and beauty. Julia Cameron, in The Artist's Way, writes "creativity is a spiritual, not an ego, issue."

I do think creation is a matter of spirituality. It's a way for us to tell the world that we see it for what it is and this is how we're going to respond to it. We have our acts of creation. I used to believe in white-knuckling it through and to force things to change. I used to believe I could do that through chants and protests and angry articles and on and on.

I still love those things and the feisty energy that often goes with them.

Yet, I also believe in the power of being present. Of listening to another person's story and offering an ear. Of cutting out quotes and putting them on the bathroom wall. Of pettin' up a storm on a cat or dog. These things, these gentle parts of ourselves--I believe in the transformative power of these things.

Self Sacrifice; Or, Put Your Heart Back in Your Chest

Last night's meditation class with Sister Ellie was simply amazing. She built off some of Pema Chodron's work in When Things Fall Apart and discussed suffering and the acceptance of change.

Once we normalize suffering and change, she said, we can begin to see how we torture ourselves by believing that we could have done things differently. We so often believe that we cause our own suffering and that if we had just changed some part of ourself, then our outcome would be different.

Sister Ellie beautifully and poignantly compared this type of relentless self-scrutiny to Aztec and Mayan human sacrifices. She says that the Aztecs and Mayans firmly believed that in order for civilization to continue, that they needed to pull out a person's heart and make that person watch it as they died.

Sister Ellie says we do this to ourselves every day.

It's so true, isn't it?! We rip out our hearts and pour over them and analyze them and wonder where things went wrong and where things went right. We increase our suffering this way.

This is not to say that suffering isn't real or that we can mitigate it somehow. Instead, this is to say that suffering is so normal, and that a person who suffers is not doing anything wrong.

Isn't that amazing? Doesn't that take the pressure off? I don't think the pressure we put on ourselves is valid anymore. I used to believe in scrutiny and answers. I used to believe that, yes, sometimes bad stuff happened to good people, but that things could always be turned around into something positive.

I do and I don't believe that anymore. I don't believe in root causes. I don't believe we have really any power over our lives. It's impossible to know the whole of our motivations and to plan out how we can do better in the future. It's an illusion to think we can get better because we weren't flawed in the first place. We were being human. And we still are human, in all of our suffering and happiness.

So not to sound glib, but really, our hearts would do so much better inside our chests, than they do bleeding in front of our very eyes.

Pregnant Lady Update, II

Little Sister is in the hospital, and is dilated four centimeters. She's had some pitocin and an epidural, reports Mom.

It's a beautiful time to come, Miss Niece, you can do it!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Talk to Me Tuesday: Sassafras Edition!

This week's post comes from my dear, dear friend Sassy. Sassy is the one that inspired me to start this column because I just wanted to pick her brain (as a way to get out of my own for a bit). She is a poet and an artist and a true friend, a listener of problems and an unending source of gentle encouragement. She's smart. And fun and funny and inspirational, really. If you aren't already, you can read her blog, reality for pausing, which is always insightful and usually very beautiful. (Her cat recently passed away, so it's a sad time right now.)

1. Why are you a feminist? What does being a feminist mean to you?

when snark and i were in Berkeley this summer we bought some bumper stickers. i'm not sure where we'll put them, but i guess it's nice knowing that we have a snappy phrase or witty quote within grasp whenever we should need to call on this potential power . . . such as now! one sticker that we got said, "feminism is the radical notion that women are people." now how could you possibly argue with a concept like that?! well, i know people can, but i don't even want to hear it! and saying this kind of goes against one of those feminist practices that i believe in, which is to actively and empathetically listen to others even when their ideas may openly clash with mine. however, i'm also into the whole idea of embracing contradictions
(another feminist practice), so there you have it.

i guess this is all just to say: yes, i'm definitely a feminist. and feminisms are difficult to untangle into one brief statement or
conclusion of values and goals. and they are not (necessarily) traditionally coherent. feminism, for me, is a multiple, ongoing,
messy, complicated integration of theories into practice, which usually don't fall into an encompassing neat and pretty picture; it's about transmutating, indulging in flexible thoughts and actions, negotiating contradictions that arise, embracing mystery, taking things seriously while making fun of it too . . . yada, yada, yada.

i'm a feminist because how could i not be? feminisms are absolutely necessary.

feminism is also about pointing out inequitable actions and experiences and trying to make it so such things don't keep
reoccurring. feminism promotes respect and consideration for all humans, for animals, for the environment we exist in, etc. we are interconnected: people and animals and the land and water and bacteria and everything. what one person or animal or plant does affects the whole rest of us in small and big ways. (obviously, this is all too simplified here to really be saying anything at all.)

(and unlike the current system of mainstream beliefs that bombard our American lives constantly) with feminism, men are not the default authority; women do not exist merely to be sexual objects. oh, there's so much to say! children are people with valid ideas, feelings, hopes, fears, and intelligences worth listening to. (another feminist bumper sticker might say, "feminism is the radical notion that children are people.") men can be taught and encouraged to express a spectrum of emotions; they don't just have to go with those currently-programmed default feelings of frustration and anger.

feminism can offer a shifting of values from current emphases on oppressive power, money, youth-complexes, fame, war, exploiting others, greed (more, more more; bigger, bigger, bigger) to other values such as compassion, sustainability, sharing/offering, listening, engaging in jobs and tasks that feel meaningful to us . . .

okay, i'm going to stop now. it's really impossible to get a grasp on all the feminisms that exist in my head and to put it here in such a small space. i already said that, but apparently thought i'd try anyway. and it's just not working.

2. What place(s) make you feel truly alive?

*the kitchen: especially mine when i'm preparing or making something
*the garden: sitting in the dirt, repotting a plant or picking some lettuce or zucchini that i helped grow
*my bed: when i listen to my body and actually go to bed when i feel tired rather than doing something else (such as watch a movie, read a book, or check email) because it's "too early to go to bed" or whatever reasons i have; if i go to bed when i'm tired, despite the time or other possible activities that could be done, my whole body gets tingly and sighs and feels exquisitely alive as i merge into sleep.
*a hiking trail; damn, it's true!
*in the warmth of sunshine

3. What books, music, blogs, movies, etc. would you/have you been recommending to friends?

books:
*animal, vegetable, miracle (barbara kingsolver)
*Feminist Rhetorical Theories (Foss, Foss, Griffin)

music:
*po' girl (if you like folk)
*ani difranco

(lots more, but they're listed on my blog, so here i'll just leave it
with these)

4. When was the last time you laughed really hard?

i laugh a lot when snark and i are playing games, which we do often. one night this summer, snark and i played 16 rounds of mexican train dominoes. i got so giddy; at one point i was bouncing around on my yoga ball, falling off, laughing hysterically, and felt like i was 7 years old. it was great! another night this summer, snark and i were playing apples to apples (junior version) with my 8 year old friend and her mama at their kitchen table. i was cracking myself up with the possible word associations i could make with my cards while they waited patiently for me to take my turn. when i was in colorado my
friends and i changed an old country song from corn liquor to butt licker and i have laughed on and off every time it comes to mind. but the last time? hmmm...probably a day or so ago when i was being
tickled relentlessly by super snark.

5. How are you different from who you were as a little girl? How are you the same?

*i was pretty shy and still can be in new social situations. when i was a teenager i refused to speak in front of a group of people or in a class. i would even start to cry and my whole body would shake, but now i don't mind so much and usually have to keep my mouth shut in a class discussion because i'll end up talking too much. i still love to read and (i admit it) i still sleep with my baby blanket (though now it's not as necessary as it was when i was a little one). i've always loved babies and children younger than me and animals and baking/cooking, so i guess, overall, i'm not too different than i was. maybe i'm just a little braver because i've had more experiences to encourage me that trying something new or scary isn't going to break me.

6. What issue(s) are you passionate about?

women's rights; children's rights; supporting a sustainable environment; treating animals respectfully

7. What have you learned about yourself within the past year?

eek! i've learned something about my participation in a life partnership with snark and all that comes with that, which includes
needing to practice flexibility and compassion for myself and him as we try to balance our needs and wants, our expectations, and our different ways that we interact in the world. i'm also still trying to learn how to balance what i need in life with helping others with what they need and the fear of disappointing them if i say no. which is to say, i turned down a job recently because it didn't really turn out to be what i wanted in a job; in the past, i would have said yes because i didn't want to disappoint the person offering it to me. i'm learning that this is a struggle for me still.

8. What are three things you want to do in your lifetime?

*i would love to really support myself with my own grown food . . . and with other local options (to supplement what i can't grow or make). i don't know if this will ever be totally feasible, but working toward it, i guess, is the overall goal.

*i don't know if i really want to do this, but in theory, i'd like to hike one of the continental divides. wouldn't that be so awesome?! i'm afraid of bears, though, and other things that want to eat me, so it may not ever end up really happening. but i like the idea of doing it, if the getting-eaten-up or struck-by-lightening kinds-of factors mostly disappeared.

*i don't know what else . . . i'm at one of those lost stages (lasting a long time) and i'm sort of confused about what i actually want to do in life.

9. And your question to others: what are the top five things you most enjoy doing right now?

(in no particular order)
*preparing/baking/making food and feeding others and eating it too and going to farmers markets to buy food!
*going on walks and hikes
*i love taking baths (but try not to take them too often because of how much water it uses--waah!)
*talking with and spending time with people i love, family and friends
*being engrossed in a book or engaging in a fun game

Monday, September 21, 2009

Induction

Well, Little Sister is having contractions about an hour and a half apart; she's been going at that for about two days now. I didn't want to have to tell her directly, but damn--it seems like it might get worse before it gets better! ;)

She is scheduled to be admitted to the hospital Tuesday evening to start inducing, if the babe hasn't arrived by then.

This is all so exciting! My guess is the babe will be 10 pounds, 8 ounces.

All Things Fabulous!

We're in the midst of a grand downpour here; I think it is even hailing!

I feel completely amazing because I had just taken myself out on a artist's date. I finally figured out (or, perhaps they are finally fixed) how to rent the bikes along the river. So I checked one out and found myself cruising along Riverside on a cute, pink bike. I haven't been on a bike in probably two years, actually!

I didn't go too far (I was only out about half an hour) because the path was blocked in one direction. By the time I got back to the bike rack, I thought, "You know, it might really pour; perhaps you'd do well to stop." So I listened to myself and I was right; complete victory on my part!

Additionally, I cleaned my campus office and ate with Sara at Bella's. All this and I've only been up five hours! "This is the life, baby!"

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Uh?

Well, I'm playing with the layout of this blog. I was finding those old greens a little consuming and not much fun in that consumption.

I don't know if I like this any better, but it might have to stay because I've already devoted an hour to this project; and a girl simply has other things to do today! Like: grade, jog, paint her nails, see about going for a bike ride (maybe those bikes for rent on the river have been fixed so that you can actually get them out of the rack?), and a ton of other stuff.

I picked up a knitting project this weekend; I'm trying to make something for a friend. The instructions, though, are not very clear, so I emailed the company. I also tried to switch my phone to Credo Mobile; it wouldn't let me check-out, though; so, I'll try again tomorrow.

Scott and I hung out all yesterday, primarily going to stores. The thing about shopping is that it can be so easy for me to want to buy everything (things I don't need, let alone can afford), yet when I can calm down, it becomes a lot of fun to touch everything and also to see if there are strangers I can strike up conversations with! I chatted with a woman yesterday who broke her foot in three places from falling on it when it was asleep. Having sprained an ankle because of an asleep foot, I felt connected to this poor woman (who had also screwed up her other foot)!

Another little thing to note: it's completely beautiful out today. It's sunny and nice without being humid. It makes it seem like anything can be accomplished today (but that nothing needs to be accomplished).

I'm sending some love, then, on this gorgeous day!

Friday, September 18, 2009

From the I Need Constant Attention File

1. I got my passport today!!!!!!

2. I went jogging today. (I didn't go my straight 25 minutes, but I did most of it. And it's an off-day.)

I think that's all . . . for now!

Notes on Teaching

You know, as of right now, I really believe that professional writing courses should be a crime. Any required writing course should be banned, actually.

This is me protesting what is without acceptance. So, I'm venting.

Writing is some people's art, you know. And daily, constantly, it gets shit on. That's fine; I get it. Part of learning something is to shit on it.

Maybe I believe that I don't have any teaching resources to pull from or a support network. It feels exciting to try to teach writing, but also very draining because genre is such an issue. Every day is memo memo memo report proposal presentation memo. I like these things; I love them, in fact. But to teach a goddamn memo as if it were any less creative than a poem . . . well, those days have got to stop.

I'm frustrated in my teaching because I probably am trying to shortcut my students' frustration and explain things to them; but part of the learning is the frustration. I don't know! I don't know how to teach! I wish I did; it's one of my deepest desires. But, damn, I can't do it. And yet, I know I am doing it, too. I mean, I know I show up to the designated classroom at the appropriate time. And I grade and I plan and I speak some stuff. And I write emails. Reminders. Notices. Planting things to think about. Constantly stating boundaries; yes to an extension, no to late work, an I-don't-need-to-know this, a why-are-you-telling-me this, a reframing, a considering.

It's really hard for me to listen to what is actually being said. I can listen to words and ask the right kinds of prompting questions, but then I fill in my own answers and it often seems like people don't want to go there with me. This is a form of self-isolation. I'm not sure where this sense of isolation and uniqueness is coming from!

I'm reminded of a dumb quiz I took on Facebook; it was something like "what is your alter-ego?" Mine was "cult leader"; this result seems so accurate--it's almost scary! I seem to say "I'm going to take us to a place" or "can you go there with me" fairly frequently. I would probably be a great cult leader! But the problem with that, I think, is that I'm not facing what is actually around me. Not that I necessarily need to buy into what other people's views are, but I could stand some practice in playing their game for a while.

I think I would do well to remember that who I am as a teacher is still unfolding, even in this class this semester, and my students this semester are still unfolding. Ours is an ongoing conversation and I do not have the power, nor am I that important, to revamp pedagogical approaches to technical writing in one week (let alone a semester, let alone a lifetime).

Thanks for listening to this venting/worrying!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"Here Comes the Sun"

Is it even possible to have a mood independent of the weather?! I'm starting to think that's impossible! So, enough talk of depression and suffering for a bit; the sun is back today!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dad, This One's for You

So, Dad, remember how I told you that Sister Ellie says, "Anything worth doing is worth doing badly"? [Remember how you freaked out when I told you this? ;)]

Well, it's true. Case in point: I was cleaning the litter box just now and I got tired of messing with it. So I thought "anything worth doing is worth doing badly" and that let me do a bad job at cleaning the litter box. I made sure I got the big chunks, and worried less about getting all the small (peed-on) pine pieces.

I didn't have to choose between doing it perfectly and not doing it all. See what I mean, Vern?

A Note on Depression

I feel fairly confident that I am not sure how much I trust Psychology Today; yet, I got a boost reading about depression in the article " Secondhand Blues," by Michael Yapko.

The article states that the role of genetics in causing depression may be less significant than scientists thought. The article focuses on the social transmission of depression. The way children are raised, for example, has an impact on a their susceptibility to depression/non-depression.

Additionally, Yapko writes that depression is on the rise in each new generation, due in a large part to the social nature of depression. While I certainly do not take depression lightly, and I do see it all around us, I do find it fascinating that so many of us are connected by something that makes us feel so isolated and alone.

The article also reminded me of and reconfirmed my belief in focusing on smaller, more manageable chunks of stuff. Depression tends to lead to global thinking and ignores the little, daily things that can make such a difference:
Depressed people often globally assume things are out of their control, which fuels their sense of helplessness and hopelessness. Consider the kind of talk that takes place at the dinner table, an important node in the social transmission of depression. When asked how your day was, if you say 'good' and leave it at that, you're delivering a global response. This overgeneral style of thinking supports depression because it leads people to say things like, 'All I want is to be happy' or 'All I want is to have a good relationship'; they don't know how to develop a specific, realistic strategy to be happy or to have a good relationship. (91)

I don't think this is the most supportive comment, but it certainly rings true to me!

Pregnant Lady Update

Well, my sister is still pregnant. She writes, though, that she has found her "fountain of patience. All's cool inside this mama!"

OK, well, we're going on week one trillion, so how about coming out now, dear niece?

I'm starting to lose my own cool regarding my sister's pregnancy--it seems way too long and I am so worried about her! I'm just worried, even while I know what's happening is what's supposed to be happening. If you get a spare moment, could you please send my sister some positive vibes?! Thanks! (And love!)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Talk to Me Tuesday: Nobody Edition!

My dears, I am sorry to say that I simply cannot cut and paste a Talk to Me Tuesday entry for today; it will simply be too much work! I'm feeling a little overwhelmed, and so Talk to Me Tuesday will pause this week and resume next.

Instead, here's a quote that I like:
"To know whether something is right or just easy, I turn to my three gatekeeper questions. Is it kind? Is it necessary? Is it true? ANd I make sure I can answer yes to all three. Is it kind--to me? Is it necessary--for me? Is it true--for me?" --Suze Orman (in regards to more than just money management)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Something About Anxiety

Tonight I set free this question: Is situation x anxiety-producing or is situation x a result of anxiety? (I can't win at this question; it uses false logic, I tell you! It's beguiling in it's simplicity, but in actuality, it doesn't make sense.)

I set this question free on the wings of a beautiful bird. One that will carry this question away, simply because I want it to and I asked it to and because I just don't need that question anymore. What that bird decides to do with it is it's own business. Thank you question, and thank you dear bird. (Without you, I couldn't be here.)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Change and Acceptance

Please please please please ANYBODY, comment on the following:

How do both things exist: change AND acceptance?! Oh yeah, never mind, please don't answer: it's that they are one and the same.

It's just, perhaps, the timeframes involved in each are a little different. Acceptance can happen right now. If you accept something right now, something that was previously unacceptable to you, then you change your relationship to it. Change happens through acceptance.

But sometimes things are so so so unacceptable to us, that we seek out to change them. In that seeking, we do change; we change our relationship to things, and we change systems, and we change each other. Until we get to a point in which we can no longer expend that energy outwards. That's when we realize we need to accept things; primarily, we need to accept ourselves as we are, in all of our (perceived) limitations.

Acceptance is a lot easier, involves less work (after you get the hang of it, I think), and keeps you closer to the present moment. This is a happy please to be; it's peaceful. And things still change (so suck it, people I've been arguing against in my head; I win!).

(I believe this is the heart of many of my issues, and why I am very invested in peace activism. I am very interested in the fact that if 9/11 hadn't occurred, then I don't think I would be such an advocate of peace. All of this I am interested in articulating in my dissertation: change and acceptance in wartime dissent.)

Quote on Suffering

This post on The Compassionate Eye is simply beautiful:
If we could but see it, our suffering is wholly unnecessary. It’s necessary only as long as we cannot conceive of life being any different from the way we presently experience it—can’t conceive of a world in which suffering is unnecessary.

The point of all the suffering we go through is precisely to chase us out of our belief that we need to suffer, and thus chase out of us our need to take our pain out on one another by causing each other to suffer.

Our suffering and sorrow stem from nothing more than self-evasion, which is the essential meaning of that archaic word “sin.” It means that we miss altogether our true nature, and thereby avoid being the glory of God that we inherently are.

In other words, our “sin” is that we have all fallen into the trap of not being ourselves—not being authentic.

There is a wholeness at our center of which we seem oblivious, until somehow life forces us to break through our encrusted sadness and misery. When we do so, we discover this wholeness that we have been in flight from. It’s an experience that’s so rapturous, it’s like being born all over again, this time as the person we were meant to be all along.

Until we individually and collectively wake up to our real nature as a wholeness—not the fragmentation and brokenness so many of us experience—we engage helplessly in willful self-destruction, as a result of which we then turn around and inflict destruction on each other… and now increasingly on our fellow creatures and even the planet itself.

(from "The Human Drama")

How My Cat, Jogging, and Metaphors Save Me (Again!)

Being the God of Small Things has been pretty great today, actually! Some events have felt so huge, but I cycled through them on the small scale. They feel so familiar now, and I can recognize these patterns easier now.

LZ, my oldest (oh yes, the time is right to start referring to my cats like real kids), is one needy boy. He's been all up in my face all evening. Part of his appeal is his neediness and affection, but damn if that kitty wasn't on my nerves a little bit.

We were lounging on the bed earlier tonight and I wasn't petting him. I was scratching my side, so he jumped over to this hand and nudged his way in so that I was no longer scratching my side, but his. I didn't even notice this right at first, but I realized that LZ is going after what LZ wants. He can't help it, really. And it says nothing about him that he wanted to be loved on; and, I had to realize, it says nothing about me that I didn't want to love on him right then. He's doing his natural thing. And it's not like he wants lovin's all the time; he's not insatiable.

The only way I knew how to deal with his constant in-my-face-ed-ness was to shut him out of the room. I didn't know how to communicate with this kitty. I can't even say whether he got the hint, but he was forced to find other ways to entertain himself.

Same with me and my needs. I think I'm going to adopt LZ's loving, needy, good-natured, natural, gentle-yet-intentional head-butt. I'm going to keep butting my head on things I want attention from. And I'll trust that these things can communicate with me whether they want to give me attention. Neither of us may know what/that we are communicating, but we are.

I think the tricky thing about words are that they are so slippery and yet so believable. Thank goodness for metaphors.

The other thing is that I went jogging tonight. I almost forgot to go, just because I was pretty absorbed in making soup and running errands and talking with Sara.

Tonight I was supposed to jog 25 minutes straight; I stopped at 19 minutes and then walked for a few and jogged the last minute. I new going into my jog that I was scared that I wouldn't be able to go the full time. But I also know that my body is capable of jogging for quite a while, but that it's my mind that gets in my way.

It's a weird thing for me to try to explain. I start to panic because I start to think that there's no way I can keep going for as long as I aim to go. Even though, at the same time, I'm still jogging and, usually, I could even be going faster and doing better. I start to say that I hate jogging, even though I actually really love it. I start to say that I'm bad at it, even though I've seen a lot of improvement with myself.

Tonight, at just a little way in my jog, I was trying to pay attention to my lung capacity and to try to notice how my lungs were feeling in comparison to my heart. It was then that I realized that jogging was allowing me to notice how my lungs felt; and my lungs felt like they were in pain. It wasn't the jogging that was causing them to be in pain. I mean, it was, but it is also the case that my lungs are in pain for a variety of reasons. The things that come up during jogging don't necessarily go away just because I'm not jogging.

Same with school and same with my romantic relationships, of course. I'm just realizing that I don't need to rush into the most uncomfortable situations just because I think it will be good for me to work through them. And I don't need a large, all-encompassing plan on how to approach every situation I find myself in.

Like during my jog; I hit the 19-minute mark and just stopped jogging. I didn't know I was going to stop and I don't know why I did it. I just know that that was the best I could do at that moment. I have some theories on why I stopped (they mostly suggest that I was afraid, but I also know that I had a side cramp, so that might have been related, of course). There's not a whole lot more I can do with that other than keep going and see how my next jog goes.

Just keep headbuttin' this jogging thing, one small way at a time--that's my plan.

I pretty much love Jay Leno

Here's a quote from this article, "Jay Leno Takes it on the Chin," about teasing surrounding his new talk show:
As far as the not-so-good-natured ribbing, "I enjoy it," Leno told reporters during a conference call about his new show. "I know these guys. I mean, Les Moonves was the bartender at The Improv when I worked there. It's trash talking. If you like playing the game it's great fun and I enjoy playing the game."

I can get on board with this one; it's all a game, we're playing it, and we can enjoy it.

Aimee Mann, "Invisible Ink"

This is the song that has been running through my head for the past two years. I think it is sheer genius!



There comes a time when you swim or sink
So I jumped in the drink
Cuz I couldn't make myself clear

Maybe I wrote in invisible ink
Oh I've tried to think
How I could have made it appear

But another illustration is wasted
Cuz the results are the same
I feel like a ghost who's trying to move your hands
over some ouija board in the hopes I can spell out my name

What some take for magic at first glance
Is just sleight of hand depending on what you believe
Something gets lost when you translate
It's hard to keep straight
Perspective is everything

And I know now which is which and what angle I oughta look at it from
I suppose I should be happy to be misread-
Better be that than some of the other things I have become

Political Projection

So, either it is waaaaay past my bedtime, or I am a genius; I believe I have solved the reason why some forms of liberal beliefs can mesh-up with some forms of libertarian belief.

I am painting with REALLY BROAD BRUSHES here (and right after my mini-treatise on being The God of Small Things!), so maybe I should stop . . . but maybe I'll keep going.

Here's my new theory (I put it out because maybe I think it's true and/or maybe I'm feeling obstinate): I like the libertarian idea that there could be a free market and that competition is healthy for society. But we do not have a free market right now. Because there is such a thing as greed and people fuck others over for profit. So liberal legislation is created to protect ourselves against these types of greedy people.

And then liberals are accused of being too trusting, when we really don't trust individuals. We can't trust that someone won't fuck over the whole system. And then libertarians/conservatives say that there needs to be less government and that we need to trust in capitalism. Well, that's an institution itself.

I kind of think it's all projection. I don't think I've explained this at all, but I feel pretty confident that I'm right about this. ;)

I do feel certain that greed is pervasive in this country and that it's really killing us. Maybe capitalism isn't to blame, but we are certainly associating too many moral qualities with class standing. Enough already.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Dear Diary

Dear Diary,

I am writing to you from my futon. It's pretty awesome here. The sky is dark and cloudy; it feels like I'm on a secret adventure in the middle of the night. But it's actually early in the evening. 7:19 pm, to be exact.

And who doesn't like being exact?

I feel like I have a lot of stuff to say to people. Old stuff finding it's way out. Stuff I carry that I didn't know I carried. Mostly anger.

I'm not angry now that I said I was angry. It's hard to tell how much I am angry and how much I like to keep myself miserable. I guess it's because "seek and ye shall find."

I always thought that meant that we should seek. But now I think it's a warning against seeking. If we can't trust ourselves to not make ourselves miserable, then how can we trust ourselves to make ourselves happy? I don't think we should believe that our desires or wants mean anything larger about ourselves.

I think the illusion is the seeking.

I believe in following the body, but I also don't trust it. I can't explain this. It's just it's hard to accept that we can only react to things. All we are ever doing is reacting.

This whole world just happened to us, and we think we are so in control over it.

The thing is my pulse has measured around 48 bpm for the past month or so. This down from the 50s and from the 60s. Does this mean that I am actually kind of fit, in which case, why am I holding on to this body fat? Or might I have a hypothyroid condition?

Any answer I get to this I will only say says something about you and your motivations.

So why do I ask? I ask that to myself: why do I ask for advice?

When the doctor says my knees are fine, but might have a little arthritis in them, who do I believe? Do I believe the doctor? Do I believe my body? Do I believe Scott?

And why?

Not to extrapolate and say that nothing means anything, but sheesh, sometimes nothing means anything.

It's really difficult to have discernment; it's difficult to know what to believe sometimes when there are so many sides to an issue. I think this is what I'm struggling with because I hear people tell me, basically, that I'm naive. But I don't feel naive; I feel wise beyond all wisdom.

Sometimes. And then I listen and I see naivety.

I guess what it is is that I'm playing a game of trying to do things the right way and there is no right way. But I believe that a lot of people think they know the right way and are willing to tell (and sometimes push onto others) their own view. Why do we do this?

See--I want to know everything! This seeking is driving me crazy. Because if I seek to know everything, then will I find it? I have no idea! I have no idea.

So it's now later. Way later. And this night turned out not at all to be what I expected! The activities were unexpected, but, now that I think about it, I think my behavior was to be expected.

I wasn't going to post this entry, but then I read something on Sister Ellie's blog talking about niceness and aggressiveness:
I hate to say it but the President is just too nice. It really is possible to be tough and appropriately aggressive and still have integrity. I'm wondering if the Democrats think that since the Republicans are bullies and sadly lacking in integrity that if they (the Democrats I mean) come out swinging it means they're bad people. Not so.


I was freaking out about this because I was disagreeing with her (and I hate disagreeing with mentors; it feels so uncomfortable! And I usually later see how I was wrong.)! And then I realized: a) I'm not the President, so it doesn't matter as much how I act. The stakes are pretty low for me in my life! and b) I'm playing with Arundhati Roy's idea of The God of Small Things.

Not that I know her idea; I'm more just playing with her clever title.

I'm just sensing that I've spent time taking on the problems of the entire world and of my entire life and of the entire lives of everyone around me. I think I can just focus on being the God of Small Things. I think it will work like this: how do I feel in this very tiny instant; yeah?; ok, cool. What can I do about that? Oh, I can do that big thing? Ok, cool; but can I also do this other smaller thing? And can I do something smaller yet? And can I do something smaller yet? And what is this actually about? Is it about something big and devastating, or is it a smaller reason? And what about a smaller reason?

This is going to be my process.

I realized earlier that my life is so tiny, so minute in the grand scheme of things. I used to think it meant everything--because it meant everything to me! And then I used to think it meant nothing new, so I wondered the point of it all. And then I made things grand on a small scale; I will drink coffee and that will be the highlight of my day! I am worth coffee! And now I want to make things small on a small scale. And try to get better at not thinking in absolutes or being sucked wholeheartedly into other people's opinions. I want to try all of these opinions on not to see what will fit me or just for the process of trying them on. It's just, I don't know what else to do!

I think it's also a case that my motivation for asking any question at all is falling suspect. Why do I want to know the things I want to know? What will I believe and why?

It's all a big*, funny**, fascinating*** puzzle to me!

*See? I can't even think of this problem as a small problem!

**Humor is where it's at--a boundary of wisdom and insanity.

***This is my favorite word.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering 9/11

I really got a lot out of this post today from Monkey Mind.

Remembering Love

Last night love came back to me on the floor of the campus recreation room floor: YOGA WITH LOUISE IS BACK!

Man, I missed yoga and Louise.

But I do not miss being a young undergraduate girl; those creatures are body-obsessed. And weird. They are just kind of weird. They are always talking and looking at each other and themselves.

Anyway, I learned a new posture last night: the fish. (The cats go crazy when I do this one!)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

LZ in Space!

NO BABY YET. DAMN.

So here's a picture of LZ in space; Scott made it!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Ohgodthisissofunny!

I found these FABULOUS, FUNNY women by clicking through the Crucial Minutiae blog: Garfunkel & Oates. Here are two of their videos:

"This Party Took a Turn for the Douche"


"Pregnant Women are Smug" (OK, I don't think this is exactly true, but still really funny)

Pregnant to the Nines

Eeeee gads--my sister is still pregnant! And I need to head back to ol' Tulsa tomorrow. So I believe that I won't be around for the birth after all; I'm bummed. Sad! Frustrated! Complainy!

It does, like Sassy said, make for a good story though. I already admire this girl's ability to take her own sweet time. And I really admire my sister's patience and her investment in wanting to see what will happen if labor isn't induced. I'm pro anything a woman decides to do about pregnancy and labor; I just think my sister is brave to keep on keepin' on.

Because CAN A GIRL BE ANYMORE PREGNANT?! My sister happens to be the most beautiful creature right now. See!



Hope for a "Calm Birth"

Well, this little niece has not shown us her prettylittlecutiepiepoopieface, so here's hoping for a calm birth (or a "clam" birth, if you can't type). I found this post through Feministing.com; it's on A Crucial Minutiae:
No tears. No screams. And all I had was half a glass of Prosecco eight hours before my daughter, Francesca, showed off her pipes and I had her little naked body in my arms. My doctor told our doula (childbirth coach), “This is rare, isn’t it? You don’t see births like this.” Cindy, who calls her practice Gentle Birth Doula Services, attempted to convince the doctor that she had seen births like this. The RN added, “Still, I bet you wish you had filmed it.” Cindy, just shook her head, smiling. “If I had,” she said. “No one would believe me that she wasn’t on drugs!”

Evidently I smiled before each push.

The RN suggested that I not tell other women about my experience. “They’ll hate you,” she told me, only half joking. So here I am, two weeks later, telling every woman who happens to read Crucial Minutiae that by the time I got to the hospital, after laboring at the mall, my friend’s party, our bathtub and bedroom, I was fully dilated and all I had to do was to push.

Do you hate me for believing that our bodies were designed to have children? Thisis just to share how birth can be– a contrast to its usual portrayal as a nightmare on film and in the mouths of women who weren’t as fortunate as me. I do believe that luck was involved. Two days before I went into labor, my baby was facing the wrong direction, the result of which would have been excruciating back labor. To my own amazement, I was able to turn her around.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Talk to Me Tuesday: Vicki Edition!

This is such a good edition! Vicki and I went to TU together and, luckily, she stayed in Tulsa; Tulsa needs her fiesty, political attitude.

As one strong example of how great Vicki is, she recently wrote a grant that brought in nearly half a million dollars from the government. You can read about it right here in the Tulsa World.

Certainly a person is more than just their accomplishments. (They are also more than what I say about them, but I want to write this out anyway!) Vicki is artistic, fashionable, funny, and smart. She teaches. She cooks. She drinks wine. I happen to look up to the way she stands up for what she believes in. Conversations with Vicki are ones in which she'll share what she believes in and then really listen to what others have to say; they make for a great time.

1. Why are you a feminist? What does being a feminist mean to you? And if you don't consider yourself to be a feminist, then why not?

I do consider myself a feminist, and although I’ve lived that lifestyle (a go-girl, go-get-em, no limits) since I was in grade school, I was not raised to identify myself as feminist. It was not till I got to graduate school and started reading body theory (Susan Bordo, namely) for my master’s thesis on body imagery in Christian women’s magazines and learning about what a crap deal women have gotten throughout history via close historical readings for my Victorian studies classes, that I began to identify, personally, with feminist thought. Then I went to a women’s studies conference in Chicago, met Jessica Valenti, read her book (Full Frontal Feminism), and burst into tears, because I. WAS. OPPRESSED. We are all oppressed! Patriarchy is all around! OMG. OMG. And my life took on a new dimension.

Some background: I was raised in conservative Christian family, and was homeschooled, and graduated top of that class and also my even more conservative (no drinking! No dancing! No homosexuals!) Christian university. I think that background actually gave me a pretty strong attitude of not caring what other people thought, because I was, always and already, going to be different from the kids around me. For example, my family, with ONLY 2 kids and a mother who had a Masters degree, was kinda ‘liberal’ for the local homeschooling community, whereas with the long skirts and no-dating-till- you- are-37 rules, my family was a little too conservative for my Sunday School classmates at First Baptist Church, Claremore. But, even though my parents totally sheltered me against the manifold evils of the world, they always told me that I could do anything I set my mind to and that I didn’t need to please anyone, except for God, of course. So, really, it all made a lot of sense. I had already noticed how unfair it was that men and women got TOTALLY different messages about stuff, particularly sex and success, and it didn’t sit right with me.

So, now, I feel as though I have a mantle and mission: to declare myself a feminist and educate those around me. Which I attempted to do in my short-lived college English adjunct career and now live out, as a staff grant writer for Tulsa’s only domestic violence and sexual assault agency.

2. What place(s) make you feel truly alive?

In and around the water: any water- lake, pool, river, etc. I grew up with a pool in my backyard and remember the summer as some of the happiest times of my life, simply because of the joy I got from being in the water almost constantly. To me, there is almost nothing more soothing than going to sit by a body of water and stare at it, and get in touch with what I’m really thinking or feelings.

3. What books, music, blogs, movies, etc. would you/have you been recommending to friends?

I am voracious consumer of media: largely, I talk to my friends about blogs. Some stand-out ones: Shapelyprose.com (fat acceptance blog, by Kate Harding and associates); Jezebel.com (gawker media’s ‘ladies’ site; full of wit, insight, opinions and general internet inappropriateness); Harpyness.com (former jezebel power commentors who had more to say); also, dooce.com, which although it is a ‘mommy-blog’ is hilarious and well-written.

Movies: I have most recently loved Away We Go with Maya Rudolf & John Krasinski; sweet story, that refuses to bow to romantic tropes, great soundtrack, great supporting cast.

Books: ugh reading about 4 right now, although I just cleaned off my bedside table formerly home to about 15 books; just finished Fraction of a Whole and am starting on Atmospheric Disturbances, both BookSmart Tulsa selections (www.booksmarttulsa.com). Also, I love SARK books (http://www.planetsark.com); she’s super creative and inspiring, props to Erin Gore-Wilson for introducing me to her.

Music: pretty much a constant exploration: most recent 5 artist downloads: Kings of Leon; Michael Jackson; Brittney Spears, The Script, Kate Nash, The Gossip.

4. When was the last time you laughed really hard?

Today, reading my stable of blogs.

5. How are you different from who you were as a child? How are you the same?

Considering I was an awkward, shy, and somewhat anti-social, homeschooled book nerd, I feel that I am much much different from that child by virtue of life experience (college degrees) and social exposure (outside sales for 5 summers). I can be very outgoing and enjoy a varied social life. Deep down, however, I am still that child. Shy and uncertain in a room full of new people and would on a given Friday night rather be at home nursing a glass of wine and making a new bracelet (see: anti-social).

6. What issue(s) are you passionate about?

I am passionate about sexual assault advocacy, mentoring young girls in their worth, creating a vibrant and changing community of friends, re-claiming Christian faith from the trash heap of conservatism, and living an adventurous life.

7. What have you learned about yourself within the past year?

That I hate (H.A.T.E) being in debt, that I am open to (and yet slightly terrified by) the prospect of becoming a mother; that I have the capacity to recieve deep love (dogs will pry your heart open and then take a snoozle there).

8. What are three things you want to do in your lifetime?

Only 3?! I am full of goals and lists of things to do, so much so that sometimes my everyday life overwhelms me in its mundane-ness. I know that I want to 1) continue to do work that is meaningful, 2) to own an attractive house that is roomy for entertaining and cozy enough for family and 3) finally, I want to put a bunch more stamps in my passport, particularly in Europe.

9. And: what are the top five things you most enjoy doing right now?

Making beaded jewelry; doing agility training with my Boston Terrier, Lola; learning about organic eating, enjoying the mild summer weather with walks along Riverside; and practicing long-distance napping.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Love and The Beatles

I was listening to some music with my Dad, and The Beatles' "Revolution" came on; this line stuck out to me in a way it hadn't before: "You tell me it's the institution, well you know, you better free your mind instead."

So true; I'm getting it now!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Some Patterns Noticed (and Noticing)!

There is nothing like going home to make you notice some patterns! And this time I don't feel crippled with depression and horror by these patterns--time is such a sweet blessing, in that regard!

As far as patterns go, I noticed two little things that made me laugh. Since there is no baby yet (oh, have I mentioned there is no baby yet?), I asked Mom and Dad if there was anything I could do to help them out, especially considering the fact that they are graciously housing and feeding me (see previous post). So I compiled a list of chores and started in on the list last night. I was cleaning the bathroom, which was my chore when I was a kid, and I remembered how much I hated cleaning the mirror (because it always streaked) and how delicious it felt to sweep the broom under the sink counter. I even remembered what it felt like getting dust off some of the little edges of the laundry shoot. Isn't it so silly that these things came up the same way as they did twenty years ago?! I wondered about the future, and wondered how many more times I would get to clean that bathroom and what I would think of then.

The other little thing I noticed was on my jog this morning. I traveled the same route I did when I walked/jog when I was in high school. I noticed how when I approached the busy intersection, I wanted to see how many cars were coming, in the hopes that there would be very few people who might see me out exercising. Later, I noticed cracks in the sidewalk that I used to avoid stepping on. All of these things made me feel so neurotic! It's amazing and scary what the body and mind can remember.

I mention these little patterns as a preface to the larger pattern I've been noticing, and that has to do with boys (likeohmygodboys!).

I really enjoy trying to keep in contact with people, even though, very frequently, this means years and years pass between communicating with people. I think one of things about being more introverted means that when I do form friendships, they tend to be really deep, meaningful, and heartfelt. Even when I shallowly communicate with someone, it means a lot to me (like how sometimes waving thank you to a strange driver can make my entire day).

It's like this: sometimes I feel guilty (that one again, Sar!) for breaking up with my best girlfriend back in high school. I wonder what all my first grade friends are up to (and in a couple cases, I know what they are up to!). I also feel guilty about some middle school friendships I had and how they ended and how I behaved.

I believe this guilt and wondering and attachment is even stronger when romantic, intimate relationships don't work out.

I really just want to be friends with everyone (even Dick Cheney, I was thinking, this morning. There has to be a whole slew of reasons that could explain Dick Cheney.)! But a) that's logistically impossible even while b) it's, on a non-physical level, already happening, c) perhaps not the clearest way to uphold boundaries, and d) often discouraged by people I hold dear.

I've spent time wondering why I communicate with exes, and I've spent more time thinking about how these relationships get started in the first place. Often what happens with me is that I spend time with quieter people who are often quite secretive. These people tend to open up to me because I really love talking to people and hearing people's deepest confessions.

I used to think that these boys wanted someone to fix them and their problems (this might be true; I don't know), but now I know how much I crave hearing secrets. I love being able to feel out the edges of someone's security/insecurity and find out why they do the things they do.

I noticed how frequently I have equated being genuine with telling everyone everything about your life. This fact, combined with my high tolerance for personal embarrassment, has meant that quite a few people know quite a few things about me. I'm not really good at keeping my secrets, but I am actually pretty phenomenal at keeping other people's secrets. They are things that I cherish, even while I think they should not be kept secret.

These ideas culminated in my brain today until this morning, in the shower, my mind shouted out, "Sharing secrets, and having someone listen to you, does not mean it's love, boys!"

Oh my indignation! Until I remembered my great talent of projection.

So I told myself, "Sharing everything and having someone listen to you does not mean it's love, Courtney!"

This one stung a little, and it stings a little now; I really think this is a truth that I hadn't fully investigated!

I'm not too sure what I'm going to do with this information, or how I'll use this new insight in my interactions. Actually, that's not true. I do know the next step I want to take, and I'm not going to share it with anyone. (This might be my first-ever secret!)

In Action: The Mind Poison of Greed

Well, I am going to just keep writing, considering the fact that my sister has not yet had her baby! Geez! She says every time she sneezes, she squats--just to try to coax the baby down. Hee hee!

I have had the shopping bug over the past couple of days. I haven't bought anything (other than food), but I have wanted to buy a lot of things. I think I like to spend time looking and fantasizing about all the things I could buy or do; different lifestyles go along with different products I want to own.

Last night, for example, I was looking at lingerie online because I wanted to buy something sexy. So then I developed a whole new lifestyle for myself wherein I would have a sexy, romantic bedroom and intimate wear (I love the stiff, but alluring aspect of the phrase "intimate wear"). And then I was thinking about how more plus-sized models are needed, especially for modeling lingerie. So I then I thought I could become a plus-sized model; my very allure would be how ordinary and un-model-like I am.

Then I was thinking that I could make my own lingerie, so I was looking at patterns online. And that developed into a very elaborate and awesome fantasy wherein I buy my own sewing machine and make an attempt to sew all the clothes I wear. This fed into the fantasy of how I want to make (very, very, very simple) Christmas gifts for people. It also stemmed into a small fantasy where I actually go to the store and try to make something while I'm at home, surrounded by women with tools and talent (Mom and Vic are especially crafty).

Dad and I had an afternoon-long date today. We went for brunch at Leenie's Southern Cafe; it was soooo tasty! I highly recommend the place. Dad and I are so similar in the fact that we love to eat everything and that we can't make up our minds on anything. So we got coffee and beignets to start, and we ended up sharing two entrees, the shrimp and spinach omelet and the shrimp po' boy. We almost got more food, though, because we had a hard time narrowing down our selections! Mind poison of greed, I tell you!

Everything was so good, and the people there were very friendly. And speaking of good food and friendly people, we all went out to Efrain's III yesterday. I had the chicken chimichanga and it was delicious. The chile verde and guacamole was especially fabulous.

After Leenie's, we went to a hobby store. And damn if I didn't pick up twenty new things I would like to do! I didn't buy anything, but I want to try a sample of everything they had: model rockets, geeky card games, and even (of all things) Civil War and Revolutionary War soldiers. I wanted to build things and paint things and, of course, touch everything. In my mind, I envisioned S and I going to a hobby store when I got back to Tulsa and taking up some kind of hobby.

God! All these things that I want and that I want to do! It's really funny to me how I like to imagine myself as so many different people living so many different lives. It's exciting to realize how fun it is to indulge in fantasy; to realize that I could not indulge in fantasy if I was not being who I actually am. (Otherwise I'd be a girl constantly wanting the fantasy, and therefore keeping herself miserable. It wouldn't be an indulgence, but rather an escape from myself.)

College and Economics

There is so much to say about this article, "Why College Costs Rise, Even in a Recession" (by Ron Lieber, from the NYT). Personally, I have been thinking a lot about how I bought into the idea of college as a type of utopia; I'm not even sure how I originally got that idea into my head. Perhaps it was a form of rebellion against my parents, who certainly believe in education, but were always more invested in having their kids figure out their own path in life. Maybe they felt pressured to go to school by their own parents, and so never wanted to put that pressure onto their own kids? Who knows--I'm speculating here!

Anyway, as much as I adore higher education, I also believe it is a big crock of shit. I think most every institution is a big crock of shit, but higher education is practically worse because it believes itself to be in the shit-eradicating business.

That rant, though, is finding less and less power in my brain; "embrace the absurdity," is advice I've been given. (Hooray for the new strategy!)

What I find interesting in this article is the following quote:
An English student, however, is generally a profit center. “They’re paying for the chemistry major and the music major and faculty research,” she said. “They don’t want to talk about it in institutions, because the English department gets mad. The little ugly facts about cross-subsidies are inflammatory, so they get papered over.”


It's just so funny to me because English departments are known to be among the most liberal departments--ooh, those radical, socialist, feminist people! In the midst of such outcry against health insurance reform ("*GASP* SOCIALISM!"), we are already seeing this at play right in our institutions of higher education.

I'm waxing romantic regarding the positive social impact I believe English departments have at a university and in their surrounding community, but isn't ironic that the same people that are for more socialized programs are the ones already doing it and seemingly getting the short end of the stick (so to speak) while those that are seemingly against socialized programs are already benefitting?

I realize that this is a simplification of what's happening, yet it still seems kind of true to me. I certainly do not believe complacency is the opposite of justified anger (this is a debate that I've been waging in my head for the past 24 hours), but believing that socialism is already working and that we are all a part of it, helps give me some rest. Just like, I suppose, that there are some positive aspects of capitalism, and that I have benefitted from those aspects.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Banal Bodily Concern

So, still no baby. Instead, I'm practically forced to ask this question; I could use some advice.

The little sunburn I have on my knees and lower thighs starting itching, and so I scratched them. And now I have big bruises where I scratched my legs.

Why do I bruise so easily?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Bed Rest

Well, I am in my hometown; my sister does not even seem close to having the baby yet! I'm being dramatic and impatient! She's on modified bed rest, and so she's at home taking it easy right now. Vic, Billy, and I were just hanging out. We went walking at a couple different nature areas (in Hygiene and Lyons) and got some great pizza (pepperoni, jalepenos, and feta) at a place in Lyons.

The weather here is absolutely gorgeous, which is a strong complement to my sister's radiance! I took a few pictures of her and some with her and Billy. (I'd post some, but they are on her camera.) Vic is absolutely glowing!

In my head, I've been playing with notions of people-pleasing and identity. I had a minor freak-out last night before I went to bed; my brain/ego was seeking out a bunch of ways to make me feel guilty and inadequate. And then I thought, "That's not the truth of me. Why did that show up?" And then I spent a little time with my thoughts, and I was able to let them go and get in some breathing room.

In comparison to the past, this feels new to me; for that reason, I'm excited and proud of this newfound ability. Not that I need to share that on my blog; I don't even know the point of writing anymore! Anyway, it's just that in going anywhere I get so excited and stressed out. This time all this stuff is coming up and I still feel pretty strong and peaceful.

I'm going to go see about investigating why my Grandpa, who I find to be the most loveable cranky man, is in such an awful mood. Is it because he is close to death? Is it because death seems like it will never come for him? Is it because, as he says, "This town sucks"? I'll give up the wanting to know why, I suppose. Why doesn't matter anyway.

Since it is not babytime, it is Grandpatime in Courtneytown.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I think I am soooo smart

Here's my latest thought:

I think the longer you are in a relationship, the harder it is to realize that it's still all about you. And it becomes easier to act out of selfish sense of self.

This comes up because S and I are talking about moving in together. In one of our conversations I started to feel very guarded and protective, as if I could try to predict everything that would happen in our relationship. Before I knew it I was telling myself things like, "he's acting like [whatever]." And, "he's probably thinking [whatever]."

As if I know what that guy's thinking! As if I know anything! Yet I do know that I have a great capacity to project myself onto others; so I turned this projection inward and spent a few seconds with these thoughts. It turns out that I don't really feel the need to freak out about how I might feel. Which is partly to say, I don't feel responsible for other people's feelings anymore; I feel responsible for my own. And grateful for others for sharing their feelings with me.

"Clive Thompson on the New Literacy"

I just got a link to this article on literacy (from Wired magazine) from a textbook representative. It kind of fuels my blossoming interest in technology (like, maybe technology isn't the death of writing):

Clive Thompson on the New Literacy

Adventures in Monkey Mind

Well, my thoughts are all over the place; although, as I calm down, I can see a way in which I have been wanting them to be all over the place.

My sister is about to have her baby, and so I'm going to head home for the event. This has caused an uproar of enthusiasm and chaos in my little world. There are quite a few little things that need to be done! But, I have been preparing, too, so there are fewer little things than there might have been earlier.

I'm just so excited for my family, and I can't wait to meet this kid! Families are eternally fascinating!

I don't even know how my sisters give/gave birth! How do women do it?! It's crazy.

In the midst of all this, I've been doing some good work on myself. I've actually been studying and working--this is a miracle. I had a freak-out last week about not wanting to take exams (that familiar freak-out; it's like my best friend). I believe that I'm ready to declare getting this degree a non-negotiable. Like this: I committed to doing this, so I'm going to do it. And I'm going to try to stop making myself a victim of the process.

Lately I've been noticing what a bad attitude I've had towards things in the past. It feels kind of humiliating! What feels freeing, though, is seeing how this bad attitude isn't around in the same ways anymore.

I've been so focused on the issue of trust lately--trusting myself, in particular. It's interesting to me, though, the ways in which opening myself up to the world and to the way things are, kind of mitigates the need for self-trust. It is true that I will live and die; it is true that institutions exist and that I have been negotiating them; it is true that I am here now; and it is true that things will happen. Given this, I think I can relax a little, already!

Giving up my sense of control--I think that's what's happening here, slowly and joyfully!

Ok; please be thinking about my sister and her forthcoming baby!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Talk to Me Tuesday: David Edition!

Today's responses comes from my Facebook friend, David. I know David primarily because of his outstanding taste in roommates (his is Beamish's boyfriend). He owns a farm in rural Oklahoma, and he grows blackberries and raises chickens and goats. He is into sustainable living and installs solar panels. Fabulous, right? He's also really generous with his time; I'm so happy to be able to post his responses to these questions!

1.Why are you a feminist? What does being a feminist mean to you? And if you don't consider yourself to be a feminist, then why not?

My ideas on feminism have changed over the years. Back when I was in college I admired women who dared to defy stereotypes. I had a professor (and later employer) in my department that I secretly considered more of a feminist than many of the activist women's studies friends I knew at the time. But since then I've developed mixed feelings about defining feminism only as the willingness to challenge stereotypes. I've noticed this way of thinking sometimes results in women pursuing things they don't really enjoy in order to prove a point. I've seen several cases also where I think this attitude has also resulted in friends not doing the things they really love because they were afraid of falling into stereotype.

Because of this observation, my personal definition of feminism has shifted to be one of equanimity. To me a feminist is someone who embodies the view that women are equal to men regardless of whether the things they enjoy conform to traditional female stereotypes or not. I also think that a feminist is someone who celebrates the different perspectives and aptitudes that often follow along the lines of gender (but who also realizes that sometimes they don't).

2. What place(s) make you feel truly alive?

I like to go on road trips where I wait to decide each day's destination until just moments before I start up the car. I also like backpacking and climbing in the mountains, especially in New Mexico and Colorado.

3. What books, music, blogs, movies, etc. would you/have you been recommending to friends?

I think The Omnivore's Dilemma, Collapse, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and The Power of Now are all must reads. I've recently discovered the two page "book" called The Book of Nothing which was written by some guy named Sosan somewhere around 900 AD. In the ten brief verses, there is really nothing left unsaid.

My favorite movie is a Japanese film called Charisma. I also like Perfume: Story of a Murderer, Dead Man, Man on Wire, and recently I'm into Alejandro Jodorowsky's stuff.

4. When was the last time you laughed really hard?

Probably when I watched Idiocracy a few weeks ago. The new goats on my farm, as well as the dogs and chickens, do a lot of silly stuff that gets me going too. I think it is true what they say: before mass media, it was animals that kept people entertained.

5. How are you different from who you were as a child? How are you the same?

When I was a young, I was extremely grown up for my age and I placed a greater value on responsibility. I used to blindly assume that part of growing up was taking on so-called responsibilities. It's taken me years to finally shed this nonsense. I have a hard time seeing how the capacity to do things one doesn't want to do can be considered beneficial. After years of fighting my nature of irresponsibility, it now baffles me to see how forcing oneself to do things one doesn't love is useful. It saddens me when I see people having kids and then taking on this ridiculous idea of responsibility and it always breaks my heart. Who says that you have to start doing things you don't love doing as soon as you become a parent? Personally, I'd rather be the child of poor, happy parents than rich, unhappy ones.

Of the ways I'm the same as when I was a child, one is that that I still don't have the courage to do the only thing that's ever excited me and I've never completely stopped wondering what I should do instead. I also still get bored of things as rapidly as back then, and I still don't understand why nobody else really seems to. I'm still continually frustrated at not having proficiency in any medium of artistic expression, just as I always have been.

6. What issue(s) are you passionate about?

I'm passionate about the idea that no laws should exist which dictate that people can't do things which don't hurt other people. Probably you could call this libertarianism. I think repression is a significant source of developmental stagnation (right next to willfully living in constant distraction) and I think that anything that prevents people from getting or doing what they want (so long as it doesn't hurt others) is an impediment to our evolution both as a species and as individuals.

7. What have you learned about yourself within the past year?

I guess one thing I've recently started paying attention to is where my energy and motivation is derived from. This is because at some point recently goals have stopped providing a source of motivation for me to work with. I then realized that the only source of energy I currently have left comes from convincing myself that there are just certain things I have to get done. But even this source of energy is in decline.

So I've begun taking notice of the techniques that the different people around me employ to get energy and this has begun to capture my interest.

8. What are three things you want to do in your lifetime?

I want to see beyond the separate sense of self, accept fear, and realize how to attain health without the use of beliefs or material means.

9. And: what are the top five things you most enjoy doing right now?

Right now the only thing that matters to me is that I don't have to face my fears. For the most part, if I'm not in fear or feeling sick, I'm at peace with whatever I'm experiencing. There is nothing I'm currently doing that I don't enjoy. This is both a result of the choices I've made and the frame of mind I'm in. I don't believe in making a habit of doing things that aren't enjoyed. To me, if something is not enjoyed there is a reason for it, and it means there is some potential that is not being fulfilled. In my opinion if you can't find meaning in what you're currently doing, then you should either look harder, do something that you can see meaning in, or learn to see the meaning in the very act of doing meaningless things.

[Insert picture of David working on solar panels. Crap, I can't get this photo off Facebook. :( ]