Monday, November 20, 2006

After over two years, Braidwood picks up and moves

Hi all,

I'm not sure I've settled on the perfect solution, but I've decided to move my little online home over to wordpress. Thanks blogger for being an easy to use little starter home.

Update your bookmarks everyone!

I'm now at http://authenticthreads.wordpress.com/

I hope to see you there!

B.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Brandi Carlile

I discovered Brandi Carlile through Pandora and fortunately shared my discovery with A.M. who then bought tickets for us to see her in a live show. She and her band were awesome. The performance was powerful and was so moving I got chills, and tears were drawn from my eyes. The post below is from their website. I'm impressed that her soulfullness comes out in her prose as well as her music.

You can check out her music on Pandora. I've bought 4 of the same CDs so far. Three for other people, one for me. If you get a chance to see her in person, she is even better, and stuns with a couple covers, one by Leanord Cohen and one by Johnny Cash.
In The Studio
Posted by on 09.13.06

As I sit in a dark control room and listen to the music we've been recording, I look at T Bone Burnett sitting at an old Neve console holding an 80 year old guitar and wearing sunglasses and it strikes me that if the twins and I weren't wearing Chuck Taylors we could be anywhere in the world and at any point in time over the last 100 years...

We've been in the studio for over a week and things are going amazing -- the twins and I have been on the road for so long that we have become a live band so it's been intimidating and exciting to be put under a microscope... it's a scary thing to know how you really sound.

It's such a thrill to get these songs off my chest after a couple of years of playing them on the road...we recorded "The Story" and my voice cracked before the big loud scream and we kept it because it sounded raw and real. Sometimes it's hard for me to accept imperfection but I'm learning everyday. T Bone has taken us to church.

Love,
Brandi

Friday, October 20, 2006

"Are there any Indian people in the audience? Good, lets talk about them"



This guy is hilarious. The turnstyle bit is my favorite. If you can't understand him at first, give it a minute.

Laughing Jesus

I was looking up "laughing" on google images so I could send my co-worker an image of someone laughing as hard as his email made me laugh. Naturally, I got completely distracted and found:
I think it highly reccomends a religion when the icon is often pictured laughing. It made me think of the contrast with the Christian religion which often glorifies suffering. I pictured the sad and serious face of Jesus that I've always seen.

"You never see Jesus laughing," I thought. Then, at the top of the next page, who should I find but Laughing Jesus!



It almost seems sacreligious....
Or maybe it's a sign... :)

Found at Christian Centered Mall.

Friday, September 22, 2006

A Good movie to watch when you are feeling like a loser

I think movies reviews should be based on mood rather than plot. I don't want to know what is going to happen- that's why I go see the movie! What I want to know is: "Is this the movie I am in the mood to see right now?"

If you are feeling like a loser, I reccomend: Sideways. People taste wine in this movie, which sounds about as exciting as playing golf to me. That, and lukewarm reviews from friends is why I never watched it. But, I was feeling sick, asked for a comedy, and took what the library guy gave me. It was good. I cried at one point when the main character described wine. You'll see. I only laughed once, but it was a good laugh. Mostly, I cried.

For other Movies To Watch When You Feel Like A Loser, you only need to watch the movie ads at the begining of Sideways! They include:
Garden State: For when you are feeling like a young loser.
Napolean Dynamite: For when you want to feel jovial about being a loser and look back on your younger days of being a loser and decide that being a loser might actually have been cool.
(The ultimate feel good loser movie, of course, is Little Miss Sunshine.)

However, if you are not feeling jovial about being a loser and are feeling like an old, rather than young loser, I still reccomend Sideways. It's middle aged loser with a hint of redwood, maybe some asparagus, with a slight taste of sunshine, a note of desperation, ...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Good Boss, Bad Boss: The List

Good Boss
  • Is focused on being effective.
  • Knows what I do, what I like to do, what my goals are.
  • Lets me own my job.
  • Praises me when I take initiative.
  • Encourages me to take on projects that advance our goals at work and that also advance my career goals and are in my areas of interest.
  • Knows what's going on overall at work and has a vision.
  • Is very smart. I learn a lot from him.
  • Is willing and eager to learn from me.
  • Keeps our group informed about what is going in our wider organization and gives us the big picture about how we fit in.
  • Treats us like we are strategic partners and listens to our ideas, and lets us run with the ones that we have made a good case for.
  • Believes that people are capable, and interested in achieving their own goals.
  • Knows how to help people achieve their goals while achieving organizational goals.
  • The way he treats us is motivating.
  • If I had my own company, I would hire him.
Bad Boss
  • Is focused on feeling important.
  • Doesn't know what I do, or care what I want.
  • Tries to own the people beneath him and their job.
  • Micro-manges to the point of absurdity.
  • Gets angry if people do something without asking him first.
  • Yet is not helpful and does not know what is going on.
  • Is not willing to learn from employees, sometimes not allowing them to talk.
  • If I had my own company, I would fire him.
  • Believes that people are bad and that if you don't keep a tight reign on them, they will try to get away with stuff.
  • When he talks to me, I want to quit.
  • If owned the company, I would fire him.
This post references this post about bosses.
(Note: I went with all male pronouns for convenience.)

Good Boss, Bad Boss (Or: I know that pointy haired guy!)

Let's hear if for good bosses! My boss knows what I do and what I like to do. He lets me own my job and praises me when I take initiative. He encourages me to take on projects that advance our goals at work and that also advance my career and are in my areas of interest. He knows what's going on overall, is very smart, and never micro-manages my work. At our meetings, he keeps our group informed about the what is going in our wider organization and gives us the big picture about how we fit in. He talks to us like we are strategic partners and listens to our ideas and lets us run with the ones that we have made a good case for. He is a motivating. I feel like I can actually contribute and grow in this job.

There is another person who works here who is not my boss but is about at my boss's level. She was the boss of the person, who quit abruptly, who used to be in my position. I learned this slowly over time and it made sense of the previously puzzling decision to place me in the department I am in. She micro-manages the people under her to the hilt. In fact, they are required to cc her on every work email they send out. Interestingly though, she seems to have no idea about what is actually going on or about what her people do.

I'm mostly in a different area than her, thank goodness, but I've been given a talking to twice by her. Today I was prepared, but last time she literally didn't let me speak and I had to close the door after she left and cry (just a little) in frustration. It made me want to quit. Today I was given a talking to for handling a confusing situation well. She told me that in the future, I should ask her or someone else in authority what to do. This highlighted the contrast between her and my boss so well. If I took the whole story to him right now, he would be impressed at my initiative and problem solving skills and tell me to keep up the good work. She is just mad that she wasn't kept in the loop, I suppose.

I could make this whole post a bullet point list about good and bad bosses. In this case I think it comes down to:

Good boss
  • Wants to give his team power.
Bad boss
  • Wants to take power away.
pss: If anyone from my work ever sees this, I'm talking about a different job.
pss: I think I will make a list.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Red Headed Step Children Unite! (And go see Little Miss Sunshine)

I haven't been able to write for awhile because my computer at home won't pick up the neighbor's wireless that we are "sharing." And I can't write from work because I don't want anyone from work ever reading this. or this. or even this. But I borrowed a lap top from work, so here is my shout out and my one minute, or so, review.

So, I work with a cool girl who is a temp and thus gets all the crappy jobs. We started calling her the red-headed step child, but of course, we are all red-headed step children in one way or another, so now we are all the red-headed step children. Red Headed Step Children Unite! Is our lunch club motto, and "Where's my stapler." is one of our many inside jokes.

Today I didn't have lunch, and get my once a day belly laugh, with my girls; my stupid friend who I can never count on so I don't know why I thought he would come through today didn't come through which reminded me that I am really all alone in this cold, cold world; and everyone flaked out on 80's night tonight. My new roommate and I went to see Little Miss Sunshine instead, and all I can say about it, because I don't like to tell people anything about movies because I am almost fanaticle about not hearing anything about movies before I go, is:
If you are or were ever actually or metaphorically a red headed step child, I think you will like this movie.

Oh my gosh I want to tell you all about it! Hurry and go see it so we can talk about it!!!

Ps: I actually was a red-headed step child.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Alaska trip, day two: BC in the house!

British Columbia rocks. On the first day of our trip, we landed in adless Vancouver, as previously noted and then, following some crazy plan of my mother's, we spent the next 6 plus hours in transit. We took three bus rides and a ferry to our hotel on Vancouver Island where we immediately fell asleep. The ferry ride was beautiful though, and I tried to keep a pleasant attitude towards her as this was the beginning of our TWO WEEKS together. ("Family vacation," "two weeks" I wonder that the two phrases together did not give me a single moments pause before the trip started.)

Vancouver Island reminded me of Denmark because of all the people riding the bus, riding their bikes, and wearing rain gear. I miss bike paths.

Here are some of the pictures I took on our ferry ride back to Vancouver to board the cruise:


Finally a vista: what I had been longing for in my little urban life.



I was sick as a dog on the second day of our trip, but hey, look at the view!


Pulling into the dock.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Alaska report begins: An American in Vancouver

Why are Americans so frazzled? I'm taking a reductionist view in this post and blaming it all on advertisements. I noticed something different about Canada the moment I stepped into the airport. By the time I reached the bus stop I realized what it was: There were no ads anywhere! I was so stunned with the breathtakingly simple lines the lack of ads exposed that I took pictures of the road and the bus stop.




Sunday, July 16, 2006

"Hey, how's Braidwood's trip going?"

"I don't know, Alaska!"

Hey, don't blame me, I've been with my Granddad for days now. :) He has Alzheimers, but he is still jovial and likes to joke around. We've been having a lot of fun. The other day we were going out to site see. We were going down to deck 7 on the elevator and and he asked where we were going. "We're going out to the front of the ship, GrandDad."
"Any ship in particular?" He asked.
"The ship we're on."
"We're not on a ship, we're on an elevator!"
Then he led everyone on the elevator in singing, "By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea..." :)

It's been a lot of fun. When I get a chance, I'll post some photos of the trip.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

From Bitter to Sweet in 5 hours flat (Part 3)

You can read part 1 here, and part 2 here.

I told my co-chair that it was time to get things going. We still had an official vote to cast, an exit survey to fill out, and a flower activity to do. When people turned their exit survey back in to us, we gave them a flower. Then asked them to exchange flowers with people who they wanted to express appreciation to. They could keep exchanging flowers and were to always only have one flower. (This worked really well by the way- it was the brainchild of my awesome co-chair.)

Oh yeah, give a person a flower and a compliment and they will start to soften. I had no expectations, and was surprised to hear people say that I bring a loving energy into the room, and am kind, friendly, (and praise worthy and of good report. ;) (It's like they saw through my gruff beer swilling exterior to the big teddy bear inside.) Then we announced that our unapposed candidate for co-chair was unanimously voted in and she gave a speech. My co-chair and I promptly sat down. "We're done!" she whispered to me. I felt a little like we had perpetrated a scam on the incoming leaders. "We get to sit down now!"

Then the new co-chair gave my co-chair and I big bouquets of flowers, count on her to do something thoughtful like that. She also handed us cards that everyone signed! That surprised me. "We should thank our steering committee" I said starting to feel slightly generous. My co-chair thanked our committee, thanked everyone for coming, and invited everyone to return to socializing.

"Wait," an older woman said, "I have something to say." "Oh hear it comes." I thought. This woman had complained by email before and was to me the most irksome type of complainer: the non participating complainer. I held the air in my chest. "I just want to say," she said "as someone who isn't involved in the nitty gritty of the group and just occasionally comes for the showy stuff, that you people make it really easy to come here. No matter how long I have been away, you always make me feel loved and welcomed. Thank you." A space opened up. Some unknown tightness melted and my beer swilling, gruff doppleganger faded away. I took a deep breath.

A couple more people thanked us publicly and then people went back to talking. I was relaxed and talking to people with out the tension of defense.

The last person I gave a flower to while we were doing the flower activity was my co-chair. I looked in her eyes and we both started to cry. "You taught me about serving rather than taking." I told her. "I'm so glad you asked me to be your co-chair. I wouldn't have said yes to anyone but you. I've learned so much from you." "I've learned so much from you!" she said. She told me that I was so kind and was really a good person in a deep way. I was surprised she could see my kindness. I'd been feeling so gruff. "You are so kind and yet you are so opinionated!" She said. I laughed, "I am so opinionated!" I think we both had open suprise in our eyes, amazed that maybe the other person admired us as much as we had been admiring the other.

I drove home from the party with deep breaths of air circulating through my lungs, feeling like a weight had been lifted off of me, feeling deeply relieved, lightly bewildered, and happy.

Monday, July 10, 2006

A UU Sales Pitch, a response to an Atlanta Unitarian

An Atlanta Unitarian wrote about the UU sales pitch:
I was recently talking with another new Unitarian on how we "sell" our religion to others. My original sales pitch was: “You don’t have to believe in anything in particular to join our group.” Her sales pitch was: “We take the best of every religion, with out taking the bad stuff.”

Well I don’t think it takes a genius to see which sales pitch is better. Hers is both better and more accurate than mine. In fact, my sales pitch is so weak I’m shocked I would even say it aloud – that the best we have to offer is a lack of constraints, total personal freedom? Is this what we offer? Why join a group whose main offering is to leave you just the way you were before you joined?

...I think there is a core stance to Unitarianism, or if there isn’t one I think there is something I would like to place at its center, to give it a core stance in my mind...
I think it is a profound difference that we can believe what we want to believe, and think what we want to think, and still be in community with others. That is huge and that is why I go to a UU church. I don't understand why I read so many UU bloggers who seem to have a longing to have some kind of belief besides good moral code in common.

Also, I don't think that UU's are just changed by the communities they join, they also change the community. That is what part of my sales pitch could be:

~*~The UU church is a dynamic community. ~*~
~*~Imagine a spiritual home where you can actually add your voice, energy and vibrancy to the mix rather than supressing it!!~*~
~*~Pretty radical, huh. ~*~
~*~It's exciting and alive and you can be a part of it. ~*~

From Bitter to Sweet in 5 hours flat (Part 2)

Yesterday, with the harried feeling of someone trudging through unwanted duties, I got ready for our service. I was using the strategy my very helpful women friends advised and was ignoring the man who had been harassing me. I was glad he was leaving me alone, but also struggled with feelings of not being inclusive. (!) (I shake my head at myself, sometimes I can take my desire to include people too far.)

After both services, hot, sticky and ready to be done, I dutifully arrived at our after-service, pass-the-torch-to-new-leadership party. Activity swirled around me. I found myself reflexively greeting a new comer while thinking, "You are doing it again. Let someone else make him feel welcome. .. But I don't want him to feel sad... Wait until someone else greets him and walk away."

I didn't help get the food ready, I was the first one to fill my plate, and I took the best spot in the kitchen. I let other people greet the new people and carry on interesting conversation and when I was done eating, I took the best spot in the livingroom. There I sprawled with the breeze from outside blowing on me and made minimal efforts at conversation. I had officially turned into Red from the 70's show! (Picture a dad coming home, always taking the best spot and drinking a beer while watching TV.) (Wow, now that I think about it, I went from traditional mom to traditional dad.) One of our needier members came over and asked if the seat next to me was taken. (Damn kids.)I said it was. She sat on my lap. I said she was light enough but too warm. She said she could take a hint. "Good" I thought as she walked over to the other side of the room.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

From Bitter to Sweet in 5 hours flat (Part 1)

This year as co-chair of our "young adult" group was challenging. Members of our steering committee who committed to serve flaked out leaving us with a larger than expected work load. We made several dramatic decisions (with due process) that people who founded the group were upset about. I felt a lot of pressure about keeping up the technical side of our group, some of which I wrote about earlier. My co-chair and I were the people everyone complained to and who people in our group and in the larger church wanted things from.

Even though I was dealing with adults, I could relate to the harassed look mothers of young children sometimes have. Like a young mother, sometimes the only thing to do to get relief from being pulled at and demanded from is to institute some discipline. We set rules and boundaries, and I went from feeling harassed and unappreciated to feeling gruff and curmudgeonly.

It wasn't all bad, I enjoyed leading the meetings, especially as the new format for our steering committee meetings cut them down from a couple meandering hours to one very productive hour a month. Our goal was to empower people in our group, and soon people realized that if they complained they better also be ready to step up and do something about it. This brought out leadership in some unexpected people, and they started to take ownership of the group, which is what we wanted. I loved working with my co-chair who has natural leadership ability and who I continually learned so much from.

Still, with my new job, the downsides of being a leader, and the suprisingly upsetting behavior of a guy at our church who I have been feeling harassed by, I was ready not only to be done with leadership in our group, but maybe with our group altogether.

Hey ya'll

Just a little post to say I'm still alive. Work is busy and is going well. I don't want to get fired for my blog so I don't post from work and I don't feel like looking at a computer when I get home- thus the scant posts.

In less than a week I am going to Alaska! I'll post some pictures when I get back.

I continue to be facinated with social software, especially social software which has applications for education. I recently found Elgg which I think may have the potential to rock my world. Check it out ya'll. ;)

Tomorrow we officially hand off the baton of co-chair to a new group at church. Yeha! I feel kind of bad as I do like the woman who is taking our place. Ah well. Good learning opportunity, or er um character building experience and all that.

Did I mention that I am in an art group. Yeha! I love doing art.

And there you go, my 5 minute update.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

One of my new favorite sites

It might be better if you just happen across it yourself, but I just had to share the site I just found by randomly typing these letters as a search:

Friday, June 09, 2006

"Al Gore is a good man"

Is the first thing I remember thinking when I saw An Inconvenient Truth. It was really good; more informative than I thought it would be, and more inspiring. I URGE you to go see it! This weekend! Then go celebrate life with me and see A Prairie Home Companion. I think I'll watch that on Sunday.

A place to vent

I'm going to tell you all about the movie I saw tonight in another post, but first I have to vent. It is about the small pond I swim in at church and I guess it is a micro-chasm of what a political leader might experience.

First, let me plead my case: I am a leader of a church group with a fair amount of responsibilities. Our web person quit last year because so many people in our group complained about how she treated them, and the minister (gently) called her on it.

By default, the website fell to me, the only technical person left in leadership. I had grand plans, but eventually had to tell the group that I just didn't have time to do anything with the website. We use yahoo lists to communicate anyway, and never use the site. The information on it is very out of date, and embarrassingly, an empty calendar sits on it, which is way worse than no calendar at all.

Now the lynching: A few months ago, it was time to renew the website. I said that I had no plans to renew it. This, of course, doesn't stop anyone else from renewing it. However, the previous web person sent out an email to our list and said basically that I and our co-leader were killing the website. As if we had decreed that it could no longer go on, rather than simply refusing to take it on ourselves. She asked, in a very passive aggressive note, that they direct any complaints to us. Now people are writing in, mainly people who never help with anything, and are saying that we should really update our site, and keep the calendar updated. Yes, we should. I open the floor to all you complainers and non action takers, and say, be my guest.

This is the anger I have decided not to take out on the group.

grrr...

Thank you for listening.

Illustration Friday: Jungle

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Today is the (not national) Publish All Your Languishing Drafts Day!

(not neccesarily an annual event)

My freinds said I hadn't written much since I got my job. 'Tis true! So, I thought I'd release a bunch of posts saved as drafts that I wouldn't otherwise get around to publishing.

Be free! (Throws her arms out to the sky.)

Be Bold

Written for me, by me, on this day

Go out and meet people. Be yourself. Be radiant! Radiate who you really are! Accept yourself! Wear clothes you like! Be ye not afraid. Don't go if you don't want to go! Forget should! Go forth boldly pursuing your goals. You do not have to give someone a chance! Make friends with who you please. Don't apologize for yourself- whatever it is. Do what you want. Look out after your own best interest. Be wildly, exuberantly responsive when you can, with clear boundaries. You deserve to have boundaries. Just be clear and NO pressure to make promises that you don't want to keep... go forth boldly to fulfill your dreams.

I read that a good way to solve your problems is to write a question at the top of the page and then write and write and write until you get something brilliant and usable. I must be a genius, because this is what I got in the first paragraph ;) Well, at least it is bold like William Blake says to be.

The Social Music Revolution

Written January 19th while I was looking for a new place to live.

Ummm... I need to move out in about 10 days and no one I'm writing to is writing back to me? Is it time to really kick this search into high gear, or is it time to aimlessly surf the internet? Ummm.. yeah. Check out Last.fm
You get your own online music profile that you can fill up with the music you like. This information is used to create a personal radio station and to find users who are similar to you. Last.fm can even play you new artists and songs you might like. It's addictive, it's growing, it's free, it's music.

Face transformer image upload

Random link from January 19th

Face transformer image upload

more stuff about the womens

Written October 30th, 2005 after a great women's retreat with my church. Censored, I'm sure, because I used the word "naked."

I also sat naked in a hottub for the first and second time. :) Woohoo! If you ever get the chance to sit naked in crisp Autumn weather, in a non-threatening situation, in a bubbling hot tub, under very bright stars, in a very DARK night, I highly recommend you do it. :)

Blog Wish List: Create "Related Posts"

Does anyone know how to automatically create "related posts" on blogger? That would be so cool. I wonder if I could do it with delicious? I was looking up ways to implement GTD using gmail and came across a blog that has related posts beneath the article.

Is your bucket half full or half empty? or How I used a bookstore and some onion rings to feel better

Written December 22, 2005

There is an interesting study in the book How Full Is Your Bucket? Positive Strategies for Work and Life by Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton. It talks about POW's becoming hopeless just because they lose a sense of camaraderie. So, to prevent curling up in a corner and dying (POW fate) this book is exhorting people to fill each other's buckets, to uplift, and encourage each other.

I read the entire book in Borders last night. I left my house when everyone in it was having dinner together but me. I walked out, said a cheery "Ciao!" and pretended I had somewhere to go. It was late, I started driving, and wondered where I should go. I was crying so it had to be somewhere dark. I stopped by the movies but it would be over an hour until the next one started. I had gotten a slightly manic email from my mom earlier in the day saying we had 6 Christmas parties to go to and that you never know when you will meet a man! Umm.. am I in the middle of Bridgit Jones's Diary? Suddenly the vacation I was looking forward to didn't sound so cheery. Then my best friend went off and went skating without me, and, to top it off, there was the cheery Christmas scene at my house that I was left out of. So, I went to Borders.

I bought one book and read another. I felt immensely better after hiding in the craft section and reading How Full Is Your Bucket? Positive Strategies for Work and Life. I highly recommend this very simple book and might get a copy for everyone I know. I also made an interesting sociological discovery: Business books are just self-help books that use the word "business" in them and are in the business section!! They are self-help books for men! I just discovered a whole new place to browse. Then I went and got me some onion rings.

My roommate's parents are here. They look at me and speak to me. They are sweet and it feels really good. Like my roommates, they eat my food. Unlike my roommates, they also share. I finished school today. I am now a "master." I gave my 30 days notice to my roommate/landlord. I'm going to the movies tonight with friends. Yesterday my bucket was drained. Today it is filling up again. Goodnight! I hope someone is loving you and filling your bucket. If not, I hope you can do something extra sweet for yourself. Sometimes onion rings help.

Fowl

Written Feb 17th, unfinished, but I think you get my drift. :)

AHh! I just went to a comedy club that was soo foul that I've got to watch Sex in the City to clear it out of my mind. Seriously. My friends who were with me have this sweet but of course incomplete idea of me as a delicate and sweet. They said, "Oh, B. you don't like this, do you. It's too explicit for you." Listen, people, I know how to translate. I grew up as a little humanist in a Mormon town and I liked church. I can understand someone even if they speak in a very different language than me. I liked Hustle and Flow. What I don't like is meaness. In the sense of small mindedness and especially in the sen

A Page of Apologies

Written on May 7th

Today I listened to part of a show on NPR about a radio show that people use to tell things to people they know in prison. It was strangely moving listening to the mostly mundane things that people want to say to another human being; voice after voice coming on the air and adding their bit of humanness with their personal particluars.

This theme of general humanity through particular personal communicatipons must be one of my themes today, because I also found a page of public apologies online. It was sort of awful reading through all the things that people had to say. I did read all the way through them though. Wow, people getting really angry and then regretting their actions was the main theme of the letters. Even though many of the letters were extreme, I could relate, and I ended up feeling a lot of compassion for us humans.

That is how postsecret, another place to get a sense of humanity from very particular particulars feels to me.

The fun thing about digital art

Written April 30th

You can revisit it again and again and again.



Here's my jazz at night girl revisited in Art Rage.

Mother Earth?

Written earlier in May

Interesting article about "primitive spirituality" from this reading list.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Every human life

A little snippet of what might have become a whole post, written April 9th

Every human life speaks to every other human life if expressed well enough.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mother's Day Sermon

"I just called to say hi," I told my mom this morning.
"And to wish me a Happy Mother's Day?" She prompted.
"Oh yeah, and to wish you a Happy Mother's Day!"
We talked for a few minutes, but being in a time zone three hours later than mine, she had to get to church. First she wanted to tell me about her dream last night, and then, of course, she wanted to hear my dream.

I dreamt that I had plans with someone, but right before he came over, I fell to the floor with exhaustion. This is only a slightly dramatized version of my real life. Last night my friend never came over, I called her, and fell to my bed with exhaustion at 7:30. I knew this would mean I would wake up way too early, but I just couldn't hold out until 9. That's why I called my mom at 5:30 this morning, an hour and a half after I woke up. And how I had time to read poetry before I called, which came in handy as my mom missed the first hour of church while talking to me. In acknowledgment of her lost hour of church, I decided to give her a mother's day sermon. I got it from The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart which I was reading this morning.

I was worried because when I read it earlier in the morning, I started crying at the first sentence, having read it before and knowing what was coming. I tend to cry when I read things to my mom, even if it didn't make me cry on my own. "Don't worry," I told my mom before I started reading it, "I cried earlier, but I'm fine now."

What Happened During the Ice Storm

One winter there was a freezing rain. How beautiful! people said when things outside started to shine with ice. But the freezing rain kept coming. Tree branches glistened like glass. Then broke like glass. Ice thickened on the windows until everything outside blurred. Farmers moved their livestock into the barns, and most animals were safe. But not the pheasants. Their eyes froze shut.

Some farmers went ice-skating down the gravel roads with clubs to harvest the pheasants that sat helplessly in the roadside ditches. The boys went out into the freezing rain to find pheasants too. They saw dark spots along a fence. Pheasants, all right. Five or six of them. The boys slid their feet along slowly, trying not to break the ice that covered the snow. They slid up close to the pheasants. The pheasants pulled their heads down between their wings. They couldn't tell how easy it was to see them huddled there.

The boys stood still in the icy rain. Their breath came out in slow puffs of steam. The pheasants' breath came out in quick little white puffs. Some of them lifted their heads and turned them from side to side, but they were blind folded with ice and didn't flush. The boys had not brought clubs, or sacks, or anything but themselves. They stood over the pheasants, turning their own heads, looking at each other, each expecting the other to do something. To pounce on a pheasant, or to yell Bang! Things around them were shining and dripping with icy rain. The barbed-wire fence. The fence posts. The broken stems of grass. Even the grass seeds. The grass seeds looked like little yolks inside gelatin whites. And the pheasants looked like unborn birds glazed in egg white. Ice was hardening on the boys' caps and coats. Soon they would be covered with ice too.

Then one of the boys said, Shh. He was taking off his coat, the thin layer of ice splintering in flakes as he pulled his arms from the sleeves. But the inside of the coat was dry and warm. He covered two of the crouching pheasants with his coat, rounding the back of it over them like a shell. The other boys did the same. They covered all the helpless pheasants. The small gray hens and the larger brown cocks. Now the boys felt the rain soaking through their shirts and freezing. They ran across the slippery fields, unsure of their footing, the ice clinging to their skin as they made their way toward the blurry lights of the house.

This mother's day sermon was brought you you by Braidwood's mom's daughter Braidwood.

Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Need an inspiring story?

Just head on over to Starling Travel and check out the couple who are bicyling around the world. Just seeing their smiling faces is worth the click.

Lately, I have been thinking about getting out into the world and living life more richly. My mom, who started sailing and running marathons in her late 40's, is one of my role-models, as is Natalie over at Blaugustine who has just taken up juggling.

I began my latest foray into new adventures by taking an improv class. I started this Thursday and after getting a root canal in the morning, and working late, I was wayyyy too tired to go to a 2 and a half hour improv class. Sometimes, however, it's never too soon to do more of what you want to do, even if you're tired while you're doing it. Speaking of doing more of what I want to do, I also went dancing on Friday night. I am a great dancer. (You heard it here first. ;)

Friday, April 28, 2006

A Tribute to my Tooth Pulp



This is for all the little tooth pulp,
trying to keep the teeth alive...
Don't give up until someone,
Scrapes you out with a,
Giant silver thing from on high...

Yes, I got my perfectly healthy tooth pulp scraped out yesterday, a sacrificial killing known as a root canal. They were fast, efficient, and as pleasant as they could be under the circumstances, but still, now my perfectly healthy tooth pulp is dead. I feel a lot of pride or shame about my body depending on it's health. It's like owning a house plant and watching it flourish, "Yes," you can think to yourself, "I am a good caretaker of the living thing. uga uga." (If cave dwellers owned plants.)

So, I cried at the dentist's office when she told me I needed a root canal and that they would have to drill off part of the bone when they gave me a crown. She thought it was because I was nervous, but the crying was more like angry crying; the anger of helplessness and frustration. They said the only option was a root canal. I felt somewhat vindicated when they got inside the tooth and found that all the pulp was healthy and alive. (The aliveness of the nerves is why I was in pain.) So I want to thank my tooth pulp for not getting inflamed under the worst of circumstances, and for keeping my nerves healthy and alive. This is a sad farewell to the tooth pulp I could not save.

I think in the future, instead of killing a tooth to save it, (ie a root canal) they will figure out ways to save the tooth by regenerating it, especially if all the tooth pulp is healthy. I have had three root canals, and was feeling like a failure as I drove home from the endodontist. (That's a lot of dead house plants.) But then I thought, "I could think of it as three dead teeth, or 29 live teeth!" So, I have made a committment to having the best dental health possible from now on. I'm doing it for the tooth pulp.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Bohemian Business Girl

I've worn the same pants for 3 days in a row now. I keep meaning to buy more pants or get my pants back from the dry cleaners, but I fall asleep so soon after I come home! I've mangaged to do this without shame by telling myself that since they are black pants, no one will notice. They'll just think I have several pairs of black pants and that I am wearing them all in a row, and that I really like to wear black pants. Four days seems like it is pushing it though.

I came home early today, (after going to work early,) so I would have time to do errands, but I fell asleep until 8:30. (People tell me the tiredness gets less after six months, or did they just say that I would get used to it?) Now, I am facing another day of wearing the same pants to work! Does this constitute a personal emergency? Should I call and ask to work from home because... I have a clothing emergency? My pants got stuck in traffic? I guess I could wear a black skirt.

Is this bad? You people who shower every day and never forget to brush your teeth think this is bad, don't you.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

My weirdest day of search terms yet

nipples through shirts
18th birthday present
weird diets
sexier women
colonic downfall
My favorite is "colonic downfall." ;)

Friday, April 14, 2006

Too much fun: Desert landscape in swirls



I have a hard time making detailed art with art rage, but swirling the colors all together is too much fun. This was going to be a portrait, but turned into: Desert Landscape in Swirls.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Illustration Friday: Speed



Hey, now that I figured out that fabulous (I jest) work around, I can finally post pictures to Illustration Friday again! Yay! I created this using art rage which is fun because it gives a very realistic action of real paint. Now I really want to paint again! This illo fits with the theme of speed because... Well, it sort of looks like wind blowing, or rushing water, and I did it fast, I mean, speedily. :)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Happy Birthday, Bella!

Laura is a writer, artist, entrepreneur, internet sex goddess, and friend, among many other things. :)

Happy Birthday to you ,
You are a ram too,
I wish you love and happiness!!
And moons that are blue!


I created this drawing in dreezle, then took a screenshot, then downloaded Painter 25 and copied the screenshot into it, then saved it to my desktop, then downloaded Art Rage and imported the saved screenshot into it, painted over the screen part of the screen shot, and finally uploaded it to blogger. MY COMPUTER SUCKS.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I have a hanger on my face

You know how when you are alone you can get into an activity and start acting unselfconciously, doing things that might surprise and embarrass you if someone else walked in and you suddenly became conscious of yourself again? Well, I am sitting on the floor of my room, my legs spread to either side of the box that I am using as my desk (my computer monitor is sitting on a milk crate,) when suddenly I become conscious of the hanger around my face. It is a plastic hanger. My face is sticking through the triangle in the middle. I'm not exactly sure how it got in this position. The last thing I knew I was reading blogs and typing comments to my e-friends. Now I have a hanger on my face. I just thought I would share that with you. I'm taking it off now.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Bye bye Catherine

What do people in Ad Dawhah, Doha Qatar; Singapor, Japan; Ankara, Turkey; Tel Aviv, Israel; and North Babylon, United States have in common? They are all coming to my blog to look at pictures of Catherine Zeta Jones. Well, that's enough. I've had it. I'm pulling the picture. (And just when my stats were approaching my goal. I wanted to get an average of 50 visitors a day, and I'm up to 41, but they are all looking at one post! That's enough!)

Sometimes you just need your mother

Forget finding a mother duck, sometimes you just need your mother. I have several friends whose moms have died. I'm so glad I have my mom. I still have enough baggage with her to gauge which things I want to share with her when I'm feeling vulnerable, but more and more I'm rewarded for taking a chance and sharing.

Tonight she was just the person I needed to help me feel more spacious, seeing the bigger picture, feeling less alone. At first our conversation was just about the details of her next visit. I suggested she stay longer, subtext: "I'm lonely. I need you. Please come stay with me." Of course, she responded to what I said with the practicalities of the visit, and as she said the reasons she had to leave when she did, and continued talking about the details, I felt myself going into the self-imposed state of aloneness I can sometimes go into. I decided not to do that to myself. "I'm lonely." I told her.

Sometimes all you need is to reach out. Then we had one of those conversations that probably promted the phrase, "friendship is the sweetest balm," when someone says just what you need to hear and brings you to another place. She told me with warmth in her voice how much bounteousness I'd added to her life, and then sympathized with the longing I feel for a special person, saying she remembered being my age and feeling that. Thanks, mom.

My mom has found love, and now whenever I picture her, it is like she is in a little cottage in a village in the woods, with animals freinds hanging out in the house, and soup cooking in the background, and a loving husband just getting home, or reading the paper, or playing with the dog and petting the cat. "Our house is a very very very fine house..."

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Is your biggest project yourself?

When I was looking for Fat is a Feminist Issue in a bookstore the other day, I saw a book called The Body Project. It was all about the history of teenage girls and their relationship with their bodies. I don't know if you know any teenage girls well. I know girls at my church who seem to have escaped this detour from living, but I also know many girls including my cousin, including me as a teenager, who make the biggest project in their lives the reshaping and improvement of their bodies.

Grown women often do this, but some of them move on to improving other aspects of themselves, like their emotions or their social skills. This seems less shallow. But it is still approaching yourself as if you need to be fixed. So, instead of putting your energy into doing things that you enjoy, you put energy into making yourself better. It is a difference in orientation to yourself and to life. Are you in yourself, a subject that is living life, or are you viewing yourself, an object that needs to be better.

I think one of the basic questions is: Can I trust my own desires? If I do what I like, am I going to be ok? Don't I need to monitor myself closely and then fix myself? Thinking anecdotally, I can group this difference somewhat by gender. Most self-help books seem to be directed at women. I can picture men playing sports and climbing mountains and women counting calories and measuring their thighs. This is a sad state of affairs. I don't know how accurate that stereotype is. Picturing some men who don't work at self-improvement, I realize that the urge to fix yourself is not all bad. ;) Maybe the best way to live is with balance, introspecting and focusing on the outer world.

I thought of this post because my vision is wavering, as if I'm looking at one of those ambivalent pictures where you can see two different things depending on where you focus; like a square popping in or out. I feel an urge to get into life more! Blame it on Spring, if you want. As many women know, dieting can actually be energizing, especially in the planning stages. Anything that makes you feel in control of your destiny can feel good. In the end though, that feeling of getting into life fades when you make your body your project, because it ends up feeling more like getting ready for life than living it. I'm taking my urge to do something and shifting it to where I need more balance: doing something fun. I'm going to take up a couple activities I've been wanting to do for awhile, including improv! I hope this post helps someone who needs it to see the other picture. I welcome your thoughts.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Birth Days

Not your first day on earth, but your first day out of your mother's body on earth. That is your birthday.

Because memories are state dependent, I have been remembering some of my most depressing birthdays today. The one I remember the most today is my 18th birthday. My mom and I had moved into another family's basement, who were friends of ours. Our carpet was plaid. There was sparkly sprayed-on stuff on the ceiling. We had dark wood paneling on all the walls, except for the wall that had the giant picture of a beach on it. No, this wasn't in the 70's, but it might have looked a little like a ghetto version of an Austin Powers movie.

I felt embarrassed by my lack of money often while I was growing up. But on that birthday I felt most embarrassed that my mom was throwing my birthday party. It was sort of like a little kid's party, but it might have been fine if not for her serious miscalculation resting on the faulty premise that surprise = fun. I knew about the party. That wasn't a surprise. I was helping to prepare for it. (Surprise might have something to do with fun if it gets you out of the preparation.) The big surprise was: I had invited all these people and none of them were coming! Surprise!

After about the 5th phone call that night saying someone couldn't come, (I lie I can't remember how many phone calls there were,) I talked to my friend K. She had been my friend since we were in 4th grade. Apparently we were in nursery school together. It was my 18th birthday. She said she couldn't come to my 18th birthday party because her mom wanted her to stay home and get some things done. I was incredulous, I knew her nice mom, "Are you serious? But it's my birthday! Ask her if you can just come for a little while!" I pleaded. Later she told me that she felt really bad doing that. Of course she did! That is not a fun birthday surprise! What was my mother thinking!

After everyone actually showed up, (much to my mixed emotions,) we played stupid games. At least that's what the people-who-weren't-really-my-friends-but-we-were-in-the -same-circle-of-friends-so-I-sort-of-considered-them-friends-and-invited-them-like -you-do-with-distant-relatives-when-you-invite-them-to-a -wedding-even-though-you- have-no-emotional-ties-whatsoever said. Then the cou de ta of humiliation: My big 18th birthday present from my family (ie: my mother.) If the party in it's entirety wasn't embarrassing enough, if it didn't just emphasize that no matter how much I tried to pretend, I did not have a happy, well-to-do, or socially ept family, I then had to open my present in front of my friends. I wasn't surprised, (and I don't think at that point that they were either,) to find that my present was 18 pairs of socks, each one a different color. For years after that I wore those mustard yellow, purple, bright pink, or lime green socks when it was laundry day, or when I was walking around inside. I always put them on grudgingly. I'm very happy to say that none of those socks are with us now.

The whole party was worthy of being a scene in that one movie where the kid had a big fro, and lives in a small town. (Ever since I turned 25 I often can't remember the precise words for things. That fits in with this post because that's depressing too, and has to do with age.) I now find my mom's presents charming, and she usually adds a check to the mix (that was weird) which helps. On this current birthday, my mom's present was the only thing that was not depressing. Quirky seems cooler to me now that I am older. On my cat in the hat birthday card, she gave me a message in binary, hex and decimals. I told her I was tickled by her card. "Well, she said, "I just kept trying to think: what is special about 32?" It's 2 to the power of 5, that's what!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Emma's Revolution- a few little ways to save the world

Hi all,

Remember my dark night of the soul I had (well, sorta) from a few nights ago? I felt the lack of meaning in my job, great job as it is, and full of gratitude for it as I am. My solution was to give myself a break, give myself permission to rest for awhile, and just enjoy having a job, living where I want to live, and having dental insurance.

Listening to music by Emma's Revolution last night has sparked an addendum to that solution. I realized that I can add conciousness raising to many parts of my life. I can imbue my life with meaning! When I got a job my mom suggested that I tithe part of my income. I grew up paying tithing and there is part of me that wants every little penny of my money, on the other hand one of the reasons I am most excited to have a regular income is so that I can contribute to my church and other organizations that are doing good work.

Some other ways I want to add meaning to the everyday parts of my life:
  1. Gifts! I love giving a gift that I know someone will love, but so often I am just dashing to get someone something. I hate that. Instead, I can give conciousness raising gifts that people will like. (So, not a certificate saying that I gave a donation in someone's name, except for the rare altruistic person who might like that.)
  2. Purchasing everyday items that are made with fair practices.
  3. Choosing uplifting media to surround myself with.
Look for more posts with specific ideas in the future!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Happy April Fool's Day!

I've redesigned my blog for Spring. I think it has the colors of spring and jeans in it. Happy Spring! Eventually I'd like to have a tree woman standing on the left side of the screen holding a lantern over the page. I want to rename my blog. Any ideas?

Monday, March 27, 2006

Like butta', mmmm... maybe a little more like jello

So, lately I've been inordinately proud of my breasts. This is not like me. I was not one of those little girls who was waiting to blossom. I liked my streamlined, pragmatic, asexual body. Even recently, as boasts about my burgeoning bosom have surfaced unplanned like Freudian slips, I've clung to the idea that I'm a 36 C. You see, I am a person who likes elegance in design, where form follows function. And even though people might not guess it to look at my outerwear, I have very specific tastes. My bras don't look fancy, but they fit perfectly, and I pride myself on this kind of elegance. All my bras are the exact same bra- Olga, with a flower in the middle, 36 C, minimizer bras. They fit perfectly. And then suddenly, they didn't. Something looked wrong. My nipples were showing through my shirts. It was time for a change, and I finally had to admit that I had hot-pocketed my way right into a D cup. My bras look enormous now. When I brought home a new one, my roommate exclaimed, "That could fit on my head!" It reminded me of a Designing Women episode when the red head was the keeper of the busty brunette's bra and she put it on her head. I haven't reached Delta Burke status yet, but I do have an abundance of flesh. It seems almost overindulgant.

As I stood in the dressing room with my bouncy breast tissue held aloft like it was on a tray, and my toddler-like belly protruding defiantly, I thought, "Have I gone too far?" Is this reveling in all this butter contributed fat and flesh too much? Should I kick into streamline phase, build up my muscles and melt all this delicious fat off my body? Then what would I do with all the new clothes I'm buying?!" I turned and looked at myself from the side. If I jut my stomach out and make it taught in instead of jiggly, I could look pregnant. I will make a darn cute pregnant woman. Then I wondered if the old tautology was true: To get pregnant, one must not already look pregnant... Nah... Who wouldn't want to revel in all this extra bouncy flesh with me. My rolling thighs and protruding belly look just as cute on me as they do on a toddler, right? And even though I don't understand the sexual allure of breasts, I know that some people do.

I think my current pride in my girth is the closest I've come to understanding some men's pride in their package. It's like a female version of machismo. Well, we'll see where all this intuitive eating and moving leads me. I'm never going back to forcing myself to eat crappola again. I'm not eating on an eating plan. I'm not running 36 thousand miles, or even 36 if I don't want to. I am going to keep buying clothes that I like for my body as it is now. I can always put them in a box when my body changes. I don't know why I thought I had to get my body to one specific place and try and keep it there. A woman's body changes so much in her life, and if I have my way, it's going to change a lot more in the coming years, and I won't have to pretend I'm pregnant. I can have a box of clothes for different future sizes. I have room in my life for my changing body, and these DKNY jeans I'm wearing are going to make excellent early maternity jeans. So, I guess I don't have to worry about losing my breasts to exercise. They'll come back eventually, taught with expectation, like my toddler belly.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Curvy and Naughty (another annoying quiz result)

Curvy and Naughty
Raw score: 48% Big Breasts, 45% Big Ass, and 48% Cute!

Thanks for taking the T and A and C test! Based on your selections, the results are clear: you show an attraction to larger breasts, larger asses, and sexier composures than others who've taken the test.
[Wha'?]
Note that you like women overall curvier than average.
[Talk about self serving opinions.]
My third variable, "cuteness" is a mostly objective measure of how innocent a given model looked. It's determined by a combination of a lot of factors: lack of dark eye makeup, facial expression, posture, etc. If you scored high on that variable, you are either really nice OR you're into deflowering teens.
[Or you're genetically programmed to be a mother. What can I do?]
If you scored low, you are attracted to raunchier, sexier, women. In your case, your lower than average score suggests you appreciate a sexier, naughtier look. Kudos!
[What?!]
Recommended Celebrities: Supermodel Laetitia Casta and Actress Angelina Jolie.
Link: The Tits, Ass, and Cuteness Test written by chicken_pot_pie.

Ok, weird test, I know. But, I couldn't help myself. I'm only sorry that I got a picture with Angalina on it (cut it accidentally,) because I am on Team Aniston, naturally. I would think that I would have scored higher on the cuteness factor, but I think they were basing "cuteness" on other features than I would. The test sure called it when it picked Laetitia Casta though. Sheesh.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Chicken and kitty cuteness

Don't you just love interspecies friendships?



This is what happens when you have to turn to the internet for TV.

For all of you who have been wondering what I look like



Alright... it's not me. I wish I could dance like that! That kid is ammmmaaaazzzzinnnggg!

It's been a hard days night...

My fifth day of work completed. I was going to go out to dinner and go dancing, but was too tired for either. Will I be able to make it through and to my many planned activities tomorrow? We'll see. Last night I choked back sobs: my monthly existential angst strikes again. It is really weird to be basically afflicted with what seems like the symptoms as a mental illness for one day a month. I felt glum in the afternoon, but by the evening, I felt like my life was meaningless and I ached with grief and despair. And then (to be just as gross as I can, sorry everyone,) I start bleeding and I'm fine. It's very strange.

Last night a friend came over and distracted me with his smelly farts and his gross cleanex. I had been crying and talking when I realized I had better just stop and go the distraction route. Everything is better with a friend, even if they are smelly.

Finally I find people who hate knowing anything about a movie before they see it as much as me.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Day three: Work finally sparks some interest

Would I have to rely on the money to motivate me? Would I have to think thoughts of "deliciousness" and "fun" ad nauseum? These were the questions that haunted me. (Can you be haunted by questions after only two days?) Not to worry! Today I spoke with real enthusiasm to a co-worker. And you know what brought on this great enthusiasm? Blogs! And their many uses. Yay! I just got myself invited to some meetings.

And they want me to go to a conference in June. This tickles me to no end.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Bursts of Determination

What makes you feel determined? I've had several long haul determination spurts this year, and a couple short spurts during the last two days. Last year I graduated, with all A's in my last semester (I add extraneously, just for fun. :) This year I searched my booty off looking for a new job and then I looked at SO MANY different places while I was searching for a place to live. I must have emailed at least 50 people. One day I looked at 6 different places. In one day!

Last night I came home vaguely unsatisfied, and then I said, no! I'm not going to sit and watch Sex and the City endlessly in defeat, and I bought a bedroom set and did some other things I needed to get done. Tonight I came home lonely and whined to you in the last post. But then, I said, forget that. It's just time to kick my social life into high gear. And I invited people over for an impromptu dinner party tomorrow night.

This is not bragging. I once spent two years in my twenties living at home restlessly unable to get myself motivated. Believe me, I know of what Augastine speaks. (Maybe determination has it's own anti-inertia?) I wonder what has gotten into me? Vision? Desperation? What motivates you?

I'm a fast learner, I already found at that on my death bed I won't wish I had spent more time at the office

Don't get me wrong. I'm very glad I got a job and I think this is a great first job for me. The people are nice, really glad to have me, and there is a lot of growth potential in my job. Also, it's awesome to be able to contribute in a valuable way to an organization and they are giving me enough leeway to do that. (I think. It's only my second day, ok!) Also, I'm not going to go all Hammie Homemaker on you and tell you that I just want to stay home with the kids. (Just an expression, I don't have kids.) Because it feels really good to create and be part of something bigger than yourself, and I always want to have that in my life

BUT

... I do want to stay home with the kids at least part of the time! And cuddle with them! It is the people that make life enjoyable for me, and meaningful! I want the people. Of course, I want the husband, and I really want the childrens, and I also want the friends and the extended family. I think I just want someone to come home to. I have so many great people in my life, but getting together with them takes coordinating. I'm missing personal connection right now. I'm the new kid on the block at work. Everyone is nice, but I'm feeling too shy to be fun. Ahhhh... I met a nice woman on the bus today. It's weird. I'm in the same town, but I feel like I have a whole new life in some ways. I've met so many people in the last couple days. I was right about myself, I'm glad I didn't move to a new time. Ok, time to stop rambling and set up my social schedule.

Goodnight, and Good luck!

Monday, March 20, 2006

What I've learned: Advice for the working woman

Hey all ya'll! Just got back from my first day of work. Here is my advice to me and you. If you have additional advice, I'd love to hear it!
  1. Make everything as convenient as possible: convenient haircut, under 10 minute meals, convenient transportation. Make it as easy on yourself as possible.
  2. You work for you. Do your best job you can for your company, and remember to keep your list of accomplishments updated and to keep your eyes open for opportunity. Don't misplace your loyalties. Don't bond to an entity that can't bond back, and while doing your best job now, remember your long term goals.
  3. Choose your tasks with awareness. As set in stone as job descriptions sounds, there is usually some leeway to follow different paths. Sometimes women are used to being in support positions and helping someone else achieve their dreams, even at work. Make sure you take what leeway you have in your job to create. Be the architect of your own dreams.
  4. Decide not only what you will do, but how you will do it. I like to ask myself, how can I make this fun? I realized today that for me it is fun to have friendly relationships at work. Asking myself, "How can I make this fun?" reminded me to seek out human contact even though I was feeling shy.
  5. Add pleasure to your daily routine. Do you just love a certain author? Get the book on tape to listen to while you drive to work. Put a postcard size replica of your favorite painting up in your cubicle.
I don't know how parents can take care of their kids and work full time jobs. Working parents of the world, I salute you. Future husband, please start doing something that you can earn enough money working part time at and still help support our future family. I'll work on that too.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Neo-Cortex vs Limbic

Hey all ya'll! It's been awhile. I'm still looking for a place to live so that I can get to my new job easily. When I've had spare time I've been looking up rooms and apartments, calling places, and visiting them. It feels like a microcosm of looking for a husband. I see a lot of places that don't quite fit and hold out for something better and then miss places that would have been better than having nothing, and I have to find somewhere to live. I comfort myself with the thought that when it comes to husbands I don't have to settle because I don't have to have a husband. I have high hopes for a place I'm looking at tonight.

I've been staying with my friend Red since the 7th. It's actually been kind of fun. It's not much different than our usual friendship because we do our own thing and we talk at the same times during the day when we used to talk on the telephone. We have fought less than usual. We usually only fight about ideas- we get along well in the course of living. Of course, when we talk about ideas, I find myself appealingly sagacious and him irritatingly obtuse.

He read a book called A General Theory of Love and was telling me about the ideas. I disagree with part of it and he was furious because I hadn't even read it. So, I read it. I still disagreed with the same part of it, but really enjoyed most of it. (The part I disagreed with might be fodder for FMH because one of the author's ideas is that it is harmful for babies to get their emotional needs met from a variety of caretakers and that the mother should be the primary emotional rock. I think that is an incredibly modern idea and that the truth is that people are fairly tribal and that a child with many caring adults in their life is going to be happier and the mom is going to be a lot happier too.)

So, today we were listening to NPR which doesn't bode well for our happy household. They were talking about torture. I think that people can torture other people because they think of them as less than human, or as "other" and they are very loyally tied to their own "tribe" and part of that is doing the "tribe's" will. That is how people can do horrible things and still think of themselves as a good person. We can all witness this in action in our selves. To take it to an extreme, most of us can brush our teeth or take antibiotics and destroy little life forms without guilt. Then comes the more familiar life forms like chicken and fish and cows, that many of us eat and still consider ourselves to be good people. It's the same process. We are emotionally tied to beings we consider in our group. I think following orders that are cruel, and prejudice are some of the dark sides of a limbic brain that allows us the beautiful ability to bond to our babies and love other people, and creatures. Red, full of feeling, I think erroneously bows before this limbic system seeing it as all good and our neo-cortex as the cause of all our evils. He thinks that people can torture other people because they are not connected enough to their hearts/limbic brains.

What do you all think?

Monday, March 06, 2006

Public Thanks: Dress for Success

I will send them a thank you letter, and I also wanted to publicly say:

Thank you, Dress for Success, for my free interview suit!

If you don't know about this organization, they provide women with free interview outfits so that they can get jobs. Usually the women are recommended by some other charity organization or government org. that is serving them, but I just called them myself and they told me to come on in. I felt idiotic asking for a free suit, but I didn't know what else to do. They quickly put me at ease and I just wanted to cry because they were so kind to me. They set up each appointment as if you are visiting a boutique. You get a whole hour of looking through the donated clothes with your own personal shopper. Everything they have is new or like new. They have shoes, jewelry, purses, nylons, tops, and suits. I got a pant suit and a new purse.

If you have new or like-new business clothes and accessories that you don't need anymore, Dress for Success is a very worthy place to donate to. They treat people with dignity and respect, and help them to take a step forward in their lives.

Thank you, Dress for Success!

I got a job!

Well, kids, it's official. I just (officially) got my first full time, benefits and everything, post master's degree job in my field. YES! It is about as perfect for me as it could be, and that includes positive and intelligent people. I'm really excited, and I'm excited they picked me. I imagined getting this job so much that it almost feels like I am still imagining it. I'm sure when I get my cavities filled and can finally chew with my whole mouth again that it will seem very real! Yay!

Now all those articles that tell me to budget, and save, and give to charity will have relevance to me, as I will now be earning a regular income for the first time in years. I am going to buy new bras, and underwear, and go to the dentist, and get new contacts (one of mine has a chip in it, but I haven't been able to buy a new one!) I am going to buy clothes that I actually like. I am going to SAVE MONEY in a, wait for it, it's kind of an exotic idea, in a SAVINGS ACCOUNT! Yay!! I am going to have money to spend on.... You know, stuff I need and WANT?! This is very exciting and new. And to top it all off, I will get to work at a COOL place.

My years of being ultra thrifty will come in handy, because even with my planned amount of savings I will be getting a raise in my standard of living. Oh yeah, and then there are those student loans... But I don't have to start paying those off until July, and I will still have extra spending money. So, I am going to be living it up, and getting my teeth whitened! And... and... :)

And I can finally tell all the people who so generously gave me reccomendations that I got the job. I have asked for help from more people in this time in my life than I ever have before. One of the benefits of asking for help is that after sharing my struggles it feels much more meaningful to share my joys and triumphs. Thanks everyone!

Love,
me :)

Friday, March 03, 2006

It's like a freaky relationship

Seriously, this was my day. I knew I had to wake up early, but there was no alarm clock to be found in the dirty but lovingly offered apartment of a friend I am cat sitting for. So, even though I was surviving on very little sleep from the night before, this morning I woke up at 6, and then 7, and then 7:15... You get the idea. All to be sure that I woke up on time to drive a friend to the hospital.

In dating, they say you should keep your options open until you know the person you are committing to is just as committed to you. So it also goes, in the job hunt. Well, I have been seriously counting my chickens when all I've got is eggs, during the last few days. And today was the day the hiring manager was going to call me and let me know if I was off the market or not. My friend who I drove to the hospital was giving me advice in her time of need, about salary negotiation. I have moved out and haven't moved in anywhere. (Thus, the cat-sitting.) So I gave the HR person two numbers and crossed my fingers that she would find me, but she didn't call!

I felt like one of those girls who has read too much into a guy's casual interest and then had the misfortune to brag about it to everyone! I have been slacking off on my job hunt and kind of waiting to decide where to live based on this call. I'm tired and stressed and I watched 3 hours of Sex and the City today. (That was one of the good parts of the day.) I had to compulsively check my email one more time before I went to bed, and there was a message from the HR person. Her child was home sick. She did not just blow me off. I didn't wait by the phone in vain. Phew.... Adventure is great, but uncertainty on so many fronts is stressing me out.

Good night!

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Primary Relationship: I've got some questions.

I am looking for a primary relationship. Even more than a romantic relationship, I want a primary relationship. I mean the kind of relationship where I know a certain person is my main person, and I am their main person. I don't think that on an unconscious level I've cared if that is a best friend, a lover, or a mother.

I think the main appealing thing about a marriage to me is that it is the one socially sanctioned and publicly celebrated primary relationship. I don't think that I have ever had a relationship where I was the primary person in someone's life who was also the primary person in my life. Even though it is customary for that relationship to be marriage, I don't think I really care how that relationship looks as long as I have it. Although rolling lover, father of my children, life partner, and primary relationship all in one person does seem to be convenient.

Do you have a primary relationship in your life?
Is that kind of relationship even important to you?
Who is it? Is it your best friend? Spouse?
Is it God?
Are you the primary person for them as well?
How do you deal with not having a primary relationship, or, if you have one, is it all it's cracked up to be?

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Synchronicity

[First paragraph of post just deleted. Grumble grumble. Have to write it again. Grumble grumble.]

Well, as I was saying, 'twas late at night/early in the morning, and I was watching Roseanne on Nick at night. It was the one where they win a bunch of money, so I switched the channel pretty quickly, plus they had the new Becky (hey, is the new Becky that actress on Scrubs?) but not before I heard Leon toast the couple thusly: "If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to."

I have never heard that quote before and then I go to the Quotations Page (a story for another day) and it is one of the quotations of the day! What do you think about that? Just coincidence, or is someone trying to tell me that I am destined to be rich no matter how far I take this eat-whatever-I-want-to and watch-lots-of-TV thing?

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Definition of Contentment

Last night I saw Sarah Jessica Parker say, "I am the definition of contentment." Yay Sarah! I'm so glad for her.

Here is another definition of contentment.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

"Yes please"

Yay! I have another number one search term, it is "yes please" on yahoo search. That used to be the name of my blog. The person who clicked through must have been so confused. I wonder what they were searching for?

Ok, I just had to check "Braidwood" is number one on yahoo search too! Yay Yahoo! :)

(Jo, I know that I was number one for that search term from clicking through to the search page. It showed up in my statistics on statcounter. You can use it for free. It's fun, but can be addictive.)

Reading Ebert reviews

Do you ever just feel so much compassion for people and our plight as humans? Me too. It's a good thing we have movies to distract us! And TV, lots of TV! I'm writing tongue in cheek, but also being serious. So many people, (including me!) do things that I don't approve of, like spend hours watching TV, but sometimes I just look at all of us and think, "whatever gets you through the night." All I ask is that you take the Buddhist and medical oath approach and first do no harm. At their best, movies can serve as modern day sit-around-the-campfire stories that make life less raw and a little less scary by giving us all a pattern to observe and a connection to each other.

Some movies I might want to see
  1. Isn't this a Time?
  2. Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story (R)
  3. Bubble (R)
  4. Cape of Good Hope (PG-13)
  5. Christmas in the Clouds (PG)
  6. Eight Below (PG)
  7. The Family Stone (PG-13)
  8. Last Holiday (PG-13)
  9. Munich (R)
  10. The New World (PG-13)
  11. The Producers
Movies I certainly want to see
  1. The Real Dirt on Farmer John (Not rated)
  2. Syriana (R)
  3. Transamerica (R)
  4. Something New (PG 13)
Movies I have seen
This year I most highly recommend Brokeback Mountain. Please see it and be amazed at the universality of love.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

There's a rumor of rain in the air

There's a rumor of rain in the air
The trees are whispering loudly to each other about the coming news high above the street lamps
The wind is reminding this tame land
That it has wild cousins
And long ago came from the same wild stock

While the people are sleeping, or go about their business inside
Unaware, like middle aged folk,
The houses want to lean forward, like old people with a silent, expectant twinkle in their eyes.
It's a quiet night, but the windchimes hint at magic

Once there was a girl with no mother, who was born out of her father's head.
She was intimate with the play of air across her cheeks
And though she was kept
And had the trappings of civility
Storms called her outside.
She raised her face to the sky
She flung her arms out feeling the wind
She held her body still, mouth open, eyes wide, breathing
Called, she would slip from her house in the night without a thought
She knows what it feels like to run in the dark, arms out wide flying through the air
barefeet slapping on the sidewalk.

A woman steps out of her car surprised
Something in the air reminds her of something long ago
She pauses, one half of her face tilted toward the sky, straining to hear.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Monday, February 13, 2006

Adam

Wouldn't it be awful to have a "dead friend" meme? But I have been inspired again by Laura, and I can't help it. Now I want to write about all my deaths. Maybe it will quiet some of the winds of sorrow and grief that sometimes blow across my chest.

Adam, what first memories do I have that aren't the pictures? The first picture, does it count? Is the picture of our moms face down at the beach. Only their beautiful young bodies were showing, while their large pregnant bellies were hidden in turtle holes in the sand. The story goes that my mom came to visit Sharon after having me, and Adam, who should have been born first, decided that he wanted to come out into the world too. Our moms met in a pre-natal class and he was born exactly two weeks after me. We both came into the world in beautiful mountain country, and then my mom moved, and a few cute baby pictures could have been the end of the story, but they aren't.

Adam, carried along as babies are by fate (ie their parents), moved several states away from where he was born to the state I was being raised in. There we were, two toddlers separated at birth, together again. Again, the pictures. His wide smiling face and my thin concerned face. We sit at the beach together, two fat lumps of bundled babies. Our moms take turns sitting with us on Sharon's front porch. We eat popsicles. We clumsily lean our faces together in a baby kiss in front of one of our birthday cakes. We take baths together. (This is what our mothers gleefully tell us when we are older.)

The first real memory? I remember being in the kitchen with him in their house when we are about 6. I remember assuming that we would one day marry when he became taller than me. He was so cute and all the girls had crushes on him, as his mother proudly told me and he smilingly and with a shrug admitted. I was amazed by his Star Wars collection of toys. He was an only child and was given heaps of toys. Although some of my memories are hazy, I vividly remember his star wars action figures and most of all his Star Wars ships. Those were so cool. The rule was, he could have as many toys as he wanted as long as he didn't break them and took very good care of them. He told me this seriously and I was awed by the concept and by his parent's seriousness about his toys.

My favorite pictures of Adam and I are of us dancing at my mom's second wedding. We are two years old. His face has his usual baby expression, a happy-go-lucky dimple faced, wide cheeked good natured smile. He is wearing a green checkered jacket. I am wearing a long red velvet dress with a white lace pinafore over it. We are holding hands and the bottom of my dress is swirling out around me. My face is turned up and the expression on my face is one of pure joyful delight. Grown-up's legs mix with darkness and lights in the blur behind us.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

My Willing Feet

Community with the real ability to be me
Come together on a Sunday morning.

I avoid God
But find human love
And find it is vast and warm
Like the sun on a lazy sailing on the ocean day
We shall overcome
Sing it sister.
And I sigh and roll my eyes at all the meetings I chair and co-chair.
I am realizing the grown up blessing of contribution and giving to something larger than myself
The Dhali Lama was right after all
And I'm proud that here I am
I made this choice
Another sign of age
When my life is more about what I've decided than the hand of cards I was dealt
I saw what I made and it was good.

Feeling my feet on the ground. I made this. I choose this.
And the earth is finally round and small enough for me to see my way clear
To take my next step
The crest of the horizon just visible ahead.
My feet are strong and sure even when the wind of disappointment and sadness blow across my heart.
I come home energized and tired
A day full of letting myself feel and be real,

We gave money to the people of New Orleans today
I honor our open minds, loving hearts, welcoming hands
And my willing
feet.