Friday, February 25, 2011

Daydreaming, and also the relatively near cosmos.

Kelly just posted this on my facebook wall, which prompted yet another (visibly escalating) brainstorming/daydreaming session about the greatest, most awesome, most utterly childish and wonderful house ever, which was recorded thus in my comments on her post:

-Dibs. I wish they'd shown more of the house though than the slide and the bookshelves. I mean those are awesome things. I'm just saying. Five (out of nine) slide pictures seems a little excessive.

-My slide would have more colors.

And maybe a water feature.

-Facebook just reloaded in the middle of the best house description ever. I will kill it.

Now I have to retype the whole thing! Please stand by.

-...Also, the floor of the "courtyard" would be a trampoline. And there would be a rooftop garden. And a fireman's pole. And a room made entirely of mattresses. And the hallway of bookcases (ZOMG) would include a reading nook. And windows all along one wall. Also, there would be a double (treble?) wrap-around porch. And there would be a shower-bathroom like the one at my cousin's house, where the whole bathroom is also a shower. And there would be a hot tub someplace. Probably in a corner of the rooftop garden. Also, hammocks aplenty. Hammocks for all! All the times! Different types of hammocks, even, with different colors and some with tassels. Possibly the floor(s?) would be painted with the yellow brick road. That is undecided. Also there should be a bathroom with enough plants in it that when you shower it is like showering outdoors in a jungle. Possibly this could be accomplished by the installation of a shower amidst the greenery of the rooftop garden, but clearly that would be seasonal. Additionally, there could be a swinging rope bridge going from one of the porches across the yard into the most epic fabulous tree house of all time ever. I would consider the installation of a moat, only probably not crocodile-infested. Duck-infested, maybe.

[end quotes.]

It's fun to get carried away with absurd dream-home dreams. Don't judge me.

On another note, it seems that they have found (or believe that they may have found) another planet in our solar system. Once you get that far out, of course, you're using the term "solar system" fairly loosely. It is in our solar system because it orbits our sun. From a long, long, long way away. Anyway, apparently rumors of this planet have been circulating for some time. There was evidence that was debunked (irregularities in Neptune's orbit), and now there is more possible evidence that is being analyzed. So we'll see. What gets me though is that this "ninth" planet is going to be called Tyche if, indeed, it exists. I know I'm being unreasonable, but I want them to call it Pluto.

There are, at the very least, three reasons that that is a stupid idea. I know this. You do not have to argue the point.

Here is the article on the name "Tyche," and (ish) on the planet. The comments are especially good. I particularly liked "is it safe for astronauts to go there?" The state of our educational system... it's just not very good. In case anyone is unclear about the distances of things in our solar system, here is some information for you. Light travels at approximately 186,282 miles per second. It takes the light from the sun eight minutes to reach the surface of the earth. By contrast, it takes the light of the sun between four and seven hours to reach Pluto, depending on its location in its orbit. Tyche, if such a planet exists, would be significantly further still from the sun even than Pluto. Considering that our astronauts have never even been to Mars, the question of whether they would be safe on Tyche is a moot point. And anyway, the answer is no. Tyche is/would be a gas giant with roughly 4x the mass of Jupiter. Any astronauts would be crushed rather quickly.

For reference, here is the NASA article on Tyche.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


1. I SAW A FROG. I really had thought it too early for frogs. I hope I didn't inadvertently run over it. And if I didn't run over it, I hope it doesn't freeze. Low temp tomorrow night is 32 degrees.

2. On the way home tonight, the sky lit up for nearly half a second. Not like lightning, because
                 - lightning doesn't generally last that long
                 - there was no thunder; I checked
                 - lightning isn't usually a sickly green color.

3. Birds. There are lots of them. The other day they were flying back and forth all around our street all afternoon, and I loved it. Little back bird shapes covering the lawn, then flying up into the trees, then in the backyard, then our neighbor's yard, then our front yard again. And they were calling the whole time. And it was awesome. Birds. Awesome.

The Kinds of Things Bill Bryson Writes

For example: Stairs.  (Sara, it occurs to me that you might not want to read this, since you plan to read At Home after I finish it.)

John A. Templer of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, author of the definitive (and, it must be said, almost only) scholarly text on the subject, The Staircase: Studies of Hazards, Falls, and Safer Design, suggests that all fall-injury figures are probably severely underestimated anyway. Even the on the most conservative calculations, however, stairs rank as the second most common cause of accidental death, well behind car accidents, but far ahead of drownings, burns, and other similarly grim misfortunes. When you consider how much alls cost society in lost working hours and the strains placed on health systems, it is curious that they are not studied more attentively. Huge amounts of money and bureaucratic time are invested in fire prevention, fire research, fire codes, and fire insurance, but almost non is spent on the understanding or prevention of falls.
Eighty-four percent of people who die in stair falls at home are sixty-five or older. This is not so much because the elderly are more careless on stairs, but just because they don't get up so well afterward. Children, happily, only very rarely die in falls on stairs, though households with young children in them have  by far the highest rates of injuries, partly because of high levels of stair usage and partly because of the startling things children leave on steps. Unmarried people are more likely to fall than married people, and previously married people fall more than both of those. People in good shape fall more often than people in bad shape, largely because they do a lot more bounding and don't descend as carefully and with as many rest stops as the tubby or infirm.

The best indicator of personal risk is whether you have fallen much before. Accident proneness is a slightly controversial area among stair injury epidemiologists, but it does seem to be a reality. About four persons in ten injured in a stair fall have been injured in a stair fall before.

Jumble sale reprise

I just saw someone's blog entry entitled "Falling In Love?" and when I saw it I had the feeling of reading a piece of a fairy tale. I wondered, "do people do that in real life?" Then realized what I was thinking. Interesting..

Forgive the following change in font. I copy/pasted from another post-in-progress. Here were my notes, and I'll be explaining each as a bullet point in lieu of actual paragraphs, because it's late and I'm tired and lazy and need to be taking a shower instead of mucking about online.

tuneless whistling/humming/singing/marching

I never understood how a person could do this until I found myself whistling tunelessly while walking the other day. And the whistling and the walking fell into time with one another, and I ended up marching to my endless unrepeating made-up song. It was like marching to pi...

cairn o'mohr

The wine made by these people is so good. I mean, it is unbelievably good. I don't even like wine very much. I will admit to my sweet tooth, so you'll have to take what I say with a grain of salt (yes, ha-ha), but seriously. So good. Unfortunately they only ship on the UK mainland. CRUELTY TO HUMANS.

3d printing > food synthesizer

There's a link about this, but apparently I didn't copy it. There's a link about 3d printing. You can probably google that yourself, though. They get an inkjet-type machine to print successive layers of something, only with plastic or metal or whatever instead of ink. Someone made a working clock this way. Someone made a serviceable violin. Anyway the food synthesizer bit is a reference to Larry Niven, but I couldn't find a L.N. food synth link that I like. My point here is that they want to make the 3D printers into food synthesizers. I heard this on NPR, so it must be true. (Yes, ha-ha.) This is obviously a PopSci-type idea, and we're obviously nowhere near that level of sophistication, but still--intriguing. 

wind = dance with trees

I was thinking about this the other day during the wind storm that blew through. I was driving to work and saw the leaves whirling across the road, and suddenly I felt like the wind and the trees were dance partners. Or best friends. Or lovers. Or all. The trees are so still so much of the time, and when the wind passes through them it's like a smile. (Yes. I know. Don't judge me. I do what I want.) But it feels that way. And when the wind whips them up into a frenzy they sway and snap and bend and rustle, and all the old dead parts drop off and blow away. There's so much energy in a wind storm. I love to watch it.

River? <3

 I've known her forever. Almost since she was born. She lives behind me (or vice versa). We hung out the other day. She is awesome. The end.

Bookshelf porn. Editor favorites. If you love books, and you are not looking at this website, you are missing out.

In the genre of "stories told by the losers." There's probably another name for this. The Wide Sargasso Sea and Wicked are others I've read. Apparently this one is downloadable for free! FREE BOOKS FTW.

Lastly, there was a note on the first "jumble sale" entry the other day, and I addressed it in a return note, and I'll copy the text of that here in case anyone else had the same "you need help" thoughts:

No, I'm not in therapy, though I have been before. I've never really found a therapist with whom I have/had good chemistry, though I've found some friends who are sometimes as effective as therapists.

Upon reflection I guess I did sound really sad, and I guess I was a little sad, but it was more a writing of reflection (there I go again with the late-night redundancy, but I choose to ignore this) than of raw emotion. I have often felt, this past year, that I am emotionally healthier than I have ever been, or than I have been since I was very small. It can be hard to tell, though, as (as I said) my depression has a history of hiding itself from me. Sometimes other people notice before I do. Even so, I have made enormous progress--and without therapists. I guess that's a point of maybe-slightly-masochistic pride, but also I'm cheap/relatively poor, and don't want to spend what money I have on arguably-ineffective therapy. (That isn't to say that there aren't effective therapists--only that those are few and far between, and hard to find, and often expensive.)

Lastly, about the loneliness: generally, I think I'm not. I'm just alone a lot of the time, and sometimes I think that maybe this is a symptom of an issue I haven't noticed or fully worked out, or sometimes I just feel guilty for not seeing or speaking to people often or whatever. But dammit, I am an introvert. I came this way, and I am this way, and I like it. SO THERE, WORLD.


1. Anna posted a facebook status: "I want you to tell me how we met. And I want you to lie." I posted it too, with some modifications. Just thought I'd post it here in case anyone felt like telling stories about strangers.

2. I got the Blue Screen Of Death midway through this post, and I have two things to say about this.
      a) Thank God for blogger's autosave feature.
      b) EFF.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

On giving.

I have discovered the world of Livrivox, of free audio books, and somewhere deep inside I am overwhelmed.

I've been listening to samples. Chapter one of The Little Princess, of The Jungle Book, of Peter Pan, and so on. There are so many, and each time I click "play," I hear the voice of a stranger reading. The voice of a person just like me, who loves books, who loves to read, who values so much "the public domain" that he or she, for free, sat down and read a book into a computer, and donated it to the world with love and affection. I like to imagine them sitting in their living rooms or at their dining room tables, book lying open in front of them, and the world happening outside as they read aloud to anyone who might one day want to listen. I like to imagine that if we knew each other, we might be friends.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Jumble sale:

I love this cat, but her claws-in-the-leg habit is beginning to try my nerves--particularly when combined with the paws-draped-across-the-keyboard habit. Once I attempted to remove her from said keyboard, and she snagged one of the keys (F7, if you must know) and tore it loose. Awesome. Luckily, the keys can be reattached to my keyboard. I did not expect this, and I was pretty excited. Thank you, Compaq.

I still want to write poems, but don't have any poems queuing up to be written. This is pretty much the story of my life. Creative energy - creative ideas = irritated boredom.

I was just perusing some stranger's facebook photo album, and decided that I (/we? Me and Sara? Me and Kelly? Me and [ ]?) need to have a party with a photo booth. For this to happen though, I need to live somewhere with less furniture. Or I guess the booth could center around some furniture. Whatever. Draped sheet plus camera plus whatever: photo booth. It would be good times.

I am tired, but I still need to walk Miley. Gosh, that sounds familiar. I've already taken her twice today actually, but the first two were both quite short. More like tide-her-over pee breaks than actual walks. And the weather's really nice, so I guess it's okay.

I went to a movie (The King's Speech--quite good!) today with a friend and former counselor of mine. I've seen her a total of four times since I was ten or eleven, and those all within the past six months. She's great--smiley and friendly and fun. After a few minutes of awkwardly positioned post-movie talking out in front of the theater, we went to a nearby barbecue (is it wrong to want to spell that "barbeque"? Spell check says so.) place for margaritas and hush puppies. We talked about Camp, among other things, and it turns out that as a camper she received a super patch* every single year. I, though I tried my best, received a super patch not even once.** I was a nice kid, liked everything we did, didn't fight, and (to the best of my memory) followed directions. I didn't even fight back if other kids gave me a hard time. My friend, on the other hand, was a part of such adventures as "smoking under the bridge" and "naked sunbathing at the lake." Super patch. Apparently I was the subject of such patch-voting discussions as "well she seems really nice, but how do we know she's nice when we're not looking?" No super patch.

At this juncture, I feel that a "WTF" is fairly well justified. Not that I'm bitter, or anything.

I suddenly want a pretty red party dress. Also: the ability to wear heels without pain/messing up my feet for days. And I don't want to hear any of that crap about "it hurts everybody's feet." I feel that the underlying message there is "suck it up." And I'm not saying that "it hurts everybody" isn't true. I'm just saying that if you wear painful shoes because they look hot (ESPECIALLY if you do this on a regular basis), then, well. I don't like calling people names. But that is a completely moronic thing to do.

I came across this picture earlier while perusing a few mom blogs. (Sorry it's so small, but if you're using Chrome or Firefox then ctrl [plus] + should help with that.) Some people are just so crafty. I think this shot is so cool. Can you see how they put it together? I had to look carefully before I figured it out.

A somewhat more coherent group of thoughts:

What is lonely? Am I?

The other day, at Northstar, Theresa made a good point, I think, if it can be called that. Maybe it was a claim. Maybe it was a statement of scientifically researched fact. "By the time we are five, we have already formed opinions of ourselves"--and we spend the rest of out lives trying to prove (or, imo, disprove) them. She asked us what our words were. A few people threw some out: pushover. Abandoned.


I nearly cried, hearing all the words spoken, but for almost an hour I couldn't think of what mine might be. For a while I thought maybe I didn't have one. Then, suddenly, near the end, it came to me:


And suddenly I remembered all the times I was made fun of in elementary and middle school, all the times I felt like I was watching life through a glass, all the times people tried to speak to me and I, confused and afraid, treated them with disdain.

In my life, I've had trouble with depression. A lot of trouble. There were times when the only thing that kept me alive was the fact that I was afraid my baby sister would find me if I ended it. I could not bear to do that to her. But every time I slipped or was thrown or threw myself into another wave of depression, the symptoms were different. One episode I would lose weight. The next I would gain it. One time I was totally unable to focus on even the simplest of tasks. Another time I felt that I was losing my short-term memory. One week I felt pretty okay, but was completely unable to sleep at night, and unable to stay awake during the day. Every time I would isolate a symptom, it would stop occurring. Not immediately, unfortunately, but in the next episode, it would be gone, or different. It was like my body or brain were trying to hide the depression from me, or trying to convince me that it wasn't there.

I feel that those last two paragraphs are linked. I don't know exactly how, but it seems like, even if I am an introverted person, there is something that I'm not seeing. Something that I'm hiding from, or hiding from myself.

Of course, I do tend to go through episodes of extreme frustration and feelings of being trapped and completely unsatisfactory and hopelessly lost and apathetic and incapable of making a life for myself that I will find pleasing and fulfilling and useful. The feeling arises that I will never learn to make room in my life for artistic endeavors, and that all of my dreams of photography and papier mache sculptures and wire lampshades and mixed media paintings and interior design will come to naught. That is one of the most reliable self-doubts. Another is that I'll never again have my own space to do with what I will. Or that I'll have it, and do nothing with it. Because I'd rather sit and stare into space than actually create anything. Or that I'll never find love. Or that I will. Or that I'll settle for someone with whom I am poorly matched, the way I might have done with David, had he allowed it. Sometimes I want things to be true so badly that I make myself believe them. Like me and David--even though, from the beginning, I promised myself that I wouldn't do that again. Mental snares die hard.

And following the above train of thought, the one about depression and introversion and deeply hidden secrets, I can feel one of those episodes coming. Perhaps it really is, or perhaps I only feel it because I was following one of the paths that can lead there. Maybe it can be averted. Maybe it's all best left alone, and maybe my mind will untangle itself in its own time. Maybe one day on a walk or in a dream or on the phone, I will suddenly stand still and look up to the sky, or bend down to the ground, and find myself holding the key. Right there in my hand.

*At the time, kids who behaved, were kind, had a good attitude, etc most of (as in, more than 50% of) the time were given a patch. Kids who behaved and so on almost all the time were given a special, much-coveted super patch.

**Kelly says that I got one once, but I really think I'd remember. She got one every year, so I also think she might just be trying to make me feel better and/or make me shut up about never having gotten one.

A balmy February evening. And my lonesome.

It's gorgeous tonight. It really is. Not in a dramatic way--it's a little boring if you're looking for fantastic skies, but the moon is full and bright, and the sky is clear. There's a warm breeze blowing from the West, and the smell of damp leaves and dirt is in the air. It's a wonderful fresh smell. I am trying to bear in mind that March is going to come along soon and crush my hopes, but I love this, still. I wish I could sleep out tonight. (I guess technically I could, but I'm too much of a wimp to sleep flat on the hard ground with no mat, and too lazy to set up my hammock. Also, considering how much my body temperature drops when I go to sleep, I'd probably freeze.) After I brought Miley in from our walk, I went out into the back yard and squatted down beneath the moon, and brushed away the top layers of leaves, and pressed my palms into the thawing earth.

I get the feeling that I should write about people--in poetry, that is: I have the urge to write poetry--but I don't like them. Don't like people. Or don't like them close up. I am largely content to brush shoulders with humanity in my day-to-day life, working or going to the grocery store, and then to spend much of the remaining time alone. Lately. Mostly. I don't feel that I have the necessary focus to watch closely enough to write anything of value about a real human interaction. Not these days, anyway. I just like to be alone a lot.

I don't know why this is. I am torn between wanting to embrace it and wanting to fight it. I sometimes worry, in a small corner of my mind, that I will become an eccentric, crusty old woman, self-absorbed and with a misanthropic bent.

But there are people I love. Close up, even, though I often still do better with distance. With occasional real contact.

But is this something wrong with me, or is this just who I am? Is it okay for me to be so solitary and distant? Is it okay for me to feel so cold toward people? It isn't that I don't love; it's just that I would usually rather (or feel that I would rather) love from further back. Maybe. Goodnight.

(Desperado, why don't you come to your senses? Come down from your fences. Open the gate.)

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Too many things I do, I do thoughtlessly. I would like to be a more thoughtful person, but this is difficult for me to pull off.

The difficulty factor is increased by the fact that I also want to live less thoughtfully--that is, I want to learn to live instinctively, in the moment, without analyzing the life out of every action I take. So yes. It's a difficult balance.

I saw a rainbow ringing the moon tonight. I saw one last night too, not as strongly. But then this evening I saw rainbows around porch lights as well, and that made it far less special. Maybe it's something about my contacts.

Today was Jack's birthday--his 22nd. He went to a UVA game with my dad, and my mother and I made him a blueberry pie. Delicious.

There is a sleepy cat in my lap, deliberately, though I tried to discourage her. I'm warmer than the couch, I suppose. Every so often she lazily drapes her paw across my touchpad, effectively preventing me from moving my cursor. But I love her anyway. Faith.

Monday, February 14, 2011

There it is.

The laundry is in the dryer, the week-old clean laundry is piled in a basket and overflowing at the top of the stairs, and I am trying to squeeze another single-friends engagement into tomorrow. I sincerely hope that I can.

I was just watching the Mumford and Sons "Little Lion Man" video, and thinking how great it was that they were evidently a part of the Grammy's, though they're a bluegrassy sort of band, and bluegrass doesn't tend to hit the mainstream. And then I thought back to the episode of 60 Minutes I watched with my dad earlier, where they were discussing the revolution in Egypt and the rescuing of the 33 Chilean miners this past fall, both of which I followed in the news. And I thought to myself, you know? These are exciting times to live in. Things are really happening these days. I remembered a conversation I had with a few of my uncles a summer or two back, when they gave me a shot of vodka from a pewter shot glass that had a silver dollar as the bottom, and gave me a lesson on all the best music of the sixties--Ry Cooder and Little Feat, in particular--and I remarked that "all the good stuff happened before I was born." My uncle laughed, was flattered, and said it wasn't true. And maybe he was right. Maybe there's been excitement going on this whole time, and I've been utterly blind to it. I feel like I've been searching for a pulse in the world, and my fingers are finally finding it. Finding this generation's pulse. Finding my pulse, too.

Little Lion Man:

Sunday, February 13, 2011

V day eve.

I keep thinking of things I want to say and then forgetting them long before I have a chance to write them down. Story of my life, I guess, or part of it anyway. Frustrating. Here's something though, forgotten and remembered.

It was beautiful outside today. Gorgeous. And tomorrow promises to be even better, and Tuesday better than that. Today the temperature got up to 59 degrees, and I spent the afternoon moving small trees with my boss, marveling at the early crocuses sprung up from the winter earth, mucking about in the dirt and cold mud. It was glorious. After the sun set, the air smelled so fresh. It was such a wonderful smell. I wish I could bottle that. There isn't anything like it.

Another thing from today: this evening I washed the same load of laundry for the third time this weekend. I have forgotten it twice now, and it has begun to mildew before I remember it both times. I need to go put it in the dryer now, actually, before I forget for the third time. And do the dishes. And take a shower. And go to sleep.

Come to think of it, what happened to my plans for the evening? I come home, and I open this computer, and they just slip away. I was going to go to the store, get some box valentines, maybe make some chocolate deliciousness to hand out to friends tomorrow. Maybe I will still hit the store before bed. I mean, hell, I'm still awake. Obv I'm not making truffles but I could still pick up a box of Ninja Turtles cards if I'm lucky. We'll see. Laundry first.

These things happen, I guess.

This week I've dreamed about ghosts and dead bodies. Last night I became so infuriated (set off by Miley, but it couldn't have all been about her) that I had a complete meltdown. My mother woke up because I had been driven from my bed and was huddled in the middle of the living room floor, weeping with rage and frustration. Having woken her up made me feel like such an infant, but I was glad to have someone awake nearby who wasn't insane with anger.

I just don't deal with anger and frustration. I try to, but what I often end up doing is convincing myself that they don't exist and then stuffing them away. I don't know how to do it differently. And bedtime is a crappy time for me anyway, because so often I can't fall asleep, and then I sleep too long. I love actually sleeping, but the beginning and the end of it are the worst.

So I get stressed out at bedtime, especially when I've had a run of rough nights, which I have. And I get frustrated about walking this dog that isn't even mine, especially when my brother keeps switching the times around, which he has. And God knows what else it was about. But I was on the edge when I got into bed, and then.

And then I realized that there was pee in my bed.

Here's something to know about me: if I am asleep or trying to sleep or just waking up, I will try to sleep through anything. In Zimbabwe I tried to stay asleep when there were ants swarming all over my face and upper body, until I woke up enough to convince myself that that was a completely insane idea. So. Pee.

I tried to sleep on the other side of the bed. But I couldn't sleep. I've been a bit of an insomniac lately anyway, and I was too angry to fall asleep. Probably within minutes I was shaking with rage and trying to tear apart the sweatshirt that I was wearing.

Obviously the answer here would be to kick the dog out of my bed (she was in my bed! What was I thinking? I have a completely irrational and inexplicable guilt complex when it comes to dogs.) and change the sheets, but once I've committed myself to going to bed, for some reason I have this stubborn attachment to not getting up again. Maybe this is because I'm already so restless at night that I'm afraid I'd truly never sleep if I let myself get up and do things after I had gone to bed. Anyway, after a while (an hour? Hour and a half? Half hour?) I threw myself out of bed and stormed into the living room, struggling not to tear the house apart or grab the dog by her hind legs and swing her into a wall.

This is why it is a really good idea to learn to actually manage your anger. I am aware that I am painting myself here like a completely insane person--but I'm not. I get this angry, oh, maybe once a year. I hate being angry, so, generally, I don't get angry. People actually comment sometimes on how ridiculously patient I am. And that's how I want to be, and that's how I am the vast majority of the time. But every once in a while circumstances all collude and catch me when I'm exhausted and stressed and hormonal and all the sudden I'm sitting on my hands on the edge of the tub, grinding my teeth, shaking with rage, trying not to speak or rip the toilet seat cover from its hinges and smash the bathroom with it.

I've never broken anything or hurt anyone in anger, by the way. I think the worst I've ever done is kicked my closet door or thrown a shoe at it. I just apparently have not learned to notice the steam rising and vent it before I pass the point of no return.  And like many people, my family is my weakness here. There are wonderful things about family, but no one can find and push all of your buttons the way they can. Last night it was like I was an elevator, and they walked in and just wiped their hands straight down the button panel and watched every single one light up.

I've mentioned before that I sometimes dream of having a soundproof room just for me, with blank walls and filled with breakable objects for me to throw at them or rip apart. This goes back to my being an INTP/INFP, and how we INT/FPs, though we feel deeply, tend to be extremely reticent when it comes to showing emotion. Or registering emotion, in my case. Anyway, the anger vent room fantasy:

I went to bed early tonight (9pm!) and set an alarm to get up at 11 and walk the dog. While I was dozing I had a dream that someone kept bringing things into the walkway outside my door and smashing them or ripping them apart and leaving them strewn all over the ground--pyrex dishes, furniture, and so on. Maybe my subconscious is telling me something.

Writing all this down makes me want to apologize. Anger of that magnitude is such a terrible thing, and it twists everything in its path and leaves me so shaken. I got out of bed today a little after one (I couldn't fall asleep until about six am) and I felt like an invalid recovering from a horrible illness. I felt pale and fragile and quiet. We went to the park today with Miley, and that helped some. The air helped, and the calm water and the quiet park, and the sun gilding the bare branches and vines as it slipped down into the cold grey river.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Yeah. About that.

For months now I have been working to convince myself that although Festival International was awesome last year, I will not be attending this year. I can't afford it. It's impractical. Et cetera.

This lasted right up until the moment that I scrolled down my Facebook news feed a few minutes ago and saw this video

posted by the Festival International fan page, which I foolishly joined last spring. (More F.I. 2011 videos can be found here.)

You know, these things happen, and I just lose control of myself. All of the really excellent reasons I had to not go seem pretty insignificant at the moment. I'm sitting here quietly searching every airline ticket website I can think of and occasionally making weird noises that are some kind of combination of slightly hysterical laughing and crying. I really like the festival, okay?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

An advertisment*.

I put this up on facebook, but since they've removed the feature that keeps one's status message at the top of one's profile page, I think I'll put it here too. Just in case it makes a difference. Thing:

I am in the market for a temporary significant other for Monday. There will be no discrimination with regard to race, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc. Days past Monday will be considered, especially considering the fact that chocolate and flowers will be much cheaper beginning on the 15th.

In case anyone was worrying or scoffing, this is not a high pressure crappy holiday celebration ad. This is more of a "who wants to hang out and possibly trade candy** and/or flowers" kind of thing.

There have already been a couple of takers, so actually, later dates might work better. I just, you know, tend to make myself into a hermit when left to my own devices. So the more the merrier.

*Misspelling intentional and executed in the hopes of bringing to mind the British pronunciation of the word.

**NOT TUMS HEARTS. If you give me tums hearts, I am not giving you any of my chocolate.

Thoughts on what I do.

I have always been one for pulling things together--science and religion or groups of friends, mostly. I try to make everything fit together. I try to get all of my friends to be friends with one another. I try to get along with everyone. I try to find ways to make the craziest theories and cultural mythologies line up, and I don't see science and Christianity as being as irreconcilable as people tend to claim. I am not good at straight lines, but I am a master of blending. And I want to believe in everything. Maybe because I don't usually make things up, I want to find the origins of everything--every word, every song, every turn of phrase, every belief and story. Maybe some came from nowhere. But why are there so many fairy tales, so many religions? Why not one or the other? And why is North America so full of ghost stories, when in other countries no one believes in ghosts at all? In Zimbabwe they aren't even discussed--but almost nobody swims, because the fear of mermaids is very real, even in fresh water. (Zim is landlocked, by the way.) And how do we align science, not with religion, but with the things that just happen, that don't line up with much of anything? And it's not just hearsay. I've heard plenty that can only be backed up by the words of my friends--miraculous healings, ghost stories, and so on--but I've experienced some myself, too. I've mentioned them before: I dreamed the future, once. That is, I think I've dreamed it many times, and remembered in deja-vu type moments, but I dreamed and remembered before the event. I dreamed of a stone and woke up with it in my hand. I heard someone calling my name when no one was around. What are those things, and things like that? Magic? Some natural force that science doesn't yet understand? Communiques from some higher being?

I have no idea. I couldn't and can't control or reproduce any of them. But there's no way that the "that's impossible" argument will ever convince me of much of anything.

Side notes:

There is just nothing like standing in a forest and looking up at a perfectly clear night sky. The trees stand tall and true, their gnarled limbs pushing and pressing upward forever, with the stars glittering through their strong fingers. I can't get enough of it.

And there is just something about holding a piece of fruit. It feels alive, magic. Bananas don't count--no seeds, no magic. But apples? For a while in college I used to take an apple from the cafeteria every day and bring it with me to psychology. I'd just sit in my seat before class and hold it in my two hands and look at it and smell it and adore it. And then eat it.

I know, I sound completely insane. Still, that doesn't change the truth of the matter. Fruit is magical. Seeds are magical. How could something so small become a tree*?

Anyway, oranges work too. We have oranges, and I held and adored one the other day before eating it. Magical, and far tastier than cheap cafeteria apples. (Actually, I only took an apple when they broke from their usual granny smith/red [un]delicious pattern. So the ones I ate were decent.)

Lastly, it has been brought to my attention that I gleefully referenced "The Book To Come Before The Book That Will End All Books," and frustratingly neglected to mention its actual title. (No, it isn't actually called TBTCBTBTWEAB. Sorry if that was confusing.) The Book is called Towers of Midnight, and was written by Brandon Sanderson using notes left for him by the late Robert Jordan. I finished it Monday night. It was excellent. I am toying with the idea of reading it again, since I clearly rushed through it the first time (840-some pages in two days is rather a lot, even for me) before returning it to the library. If you like fantasy, and if you like book series that go on forever (as I REALLY do), I highly recommend the series.

*In another age, I probably would have been a druid. Hopefully the kind that didn't ritualistically violently murder people and leave them in random swamps like the Bog Man.

Edit: okay, I think this is awesome:

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Sunday, February 6, 2011

All I'll say on the subject, I promise: the night is so gorgeous tonight. So clear! So much sky! So many stars! And the trees are magnificent.

Has it been since Thursday already? Oh. Oops. Well dinner (ish--I had half a pitiful sandwich and a smoothie at Tropical Smoothie) with David was okay. I think possibly I realized that It (capital I, referring to the two of us) isn't a good idea. Obviously I have come to this realization before, but what I mean is that possibly it's beginning to take. Isn't that something?

I think I also mentioned that the Book To* End All Books was sitting at the library with my name on it. It wasn't on the hold shelf--it was behind the front desk. The reference librarian who found it for me thinks that "it just got put there," but personally I believe that they were afraid someone would just walk off with this most precious of books.

No, I'm serious. Do you know how many holds are on that book? When I requested it, on November 27th, there were already sixteen holds. It came out on November second. I didn't expect to get it until March. 2012. And the thing is eight hundred and forty three pages long. In hardback. The fact that I have it in my hands right now is very little short of a miracle.

An aside: vanilla iced cream with cocoa powder right before bed is a horrible, horrible, completely delicious habit.

*Come Right Before The Book That Will

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Gravity? Meet trampoline.

Well, D and I may hang out soon. I was again considering the idea of giving him a call, and then I got a text from him. There are moments where I feel like hanging out would be fine, even good--but there are definitely also moments where I think that I would be crazy to do so. I'm sort of counting on my mind's tendency to make itself pretty for company.

On another note, I had a realization on my way home from work tonight. I've spent so much time--years--talking about thought patterns and the way negative thoughts perpetuate themselves in our minds. We get used to thinking of ourselves a certain way. We get used to viewing the world in a negative light. One bad turn deserves another.

I swear, if this cat does not get her stubborn little head off my (typing!) hands soon, she is going to bite me and then I am going to throw her across the room.

I don't mean that. I would never throw Faith. But I will definitely drop her not-very-gently onto the floor.

Anyway, tonight it occurred to me for the first time that the same thing can happen with good thoughts. Isn't that amazing? That instead of being constantly dragged down by my habitual thought patterns, I can be lifted up by them. Instead of having to forcefully interject a positive (aka reasonable) idea into my dark little valley of a mind, any negative thought I have about myself can fall into my brain and then bounce back up, as if from a trampoline.

This is pretty much the best thing ever. New goal, anyone?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

On a clear day.

The weather outside was lovely today.

In the early afternoon, WNRN kept playing songs that reminded me of David's younger brother, which of course eventually led me to thinking about David. And melancholy began to seep. I began by thinking about how we haven't talked in so long, and wondering whose idea that was (mine) and wondering whether it was still necessary (probably). Thinking maybe we should have lunch. Then thinking that this was another day we should have spent up on Skyline. Then I started to notice that I was hitting the point where these things all begin to pile up, and I dropped it, and I went to read outside instead.

I took my book out and sat on the front porch in a camping chair (and snuggie--it wasn't that warm), and breathed in the evening.

Actually, though I regret this now, I didn't think to think much* about breathing. Instead I watched the wind forcefully push through the tall trees on our street, and watched them bend and sway against the sky. I love the way the setting sun slides through the scenery, highlighting every branch and leaf and bent stem. I love the way it sinks down so quickly, but never seems to be moving. A squirrel ran up and then down a tree trunk, right between me and the sunset, silhouetted against the sky.

I love watching the day deepen into night. I want to say I can't get enough of it, but judging from the fact that I came in before full dark, I guess I can. Sunsets are indescribably beautiful to me, but just as the dawn begins long before sunrise, the dusk falls long after sunset. They are so, so beautiful to see, but not necessarily so interesting to sit and stare at for an hour and a half.

I am reminded of something I saw one afternoon as I left the apartment where I've been painting. I marveled at it at the time, as I do with many things, but I think I forgot to write about it. I guess it was nothing, really, but a flock of birds bathing in a roadside puddle. Still, I was entranced. They went in shifts: a group of them, a third of the flock, splashed and fluttered for a few moments in a puddle where an alley met the roadside, then all at once they flew up at an angle across the street. As they did so, another third of the flock flew down from the trees above and into the puddle. At the same time, another third flew from across the street into the newly vacated trees. They kept on like this in continuous rotation, beginning before I came outside, continuing through the minutes that I watched them, and ending sometime after I left. I am not usually very enthusiastic about birds as pets**, but I love to watch them and listen to them call to one another. I don't know how to describe the way I feel about them. I think I've mentioned it before though, particularly with reference to starlings. Though I've never had the chance, I feel like I could watch a flock of starlings fly for hours.

*This is not a typo.

**Individually, they are far too reptilian for me. Obviously they don't look particularly reptilian, and I hasten to say that I have nothing against reptiles as a species--I used to be somewhat obsessive in my regard for them--but I realized somewhere along the line that they are not mammals. That is, reptiles, and birds, possess the reptilian brain and (generally speaking) not much else. Mammals have more highly developed brains, and more highly developed emotions. A reptile is not going to bond with you or be emotionally interesting, or interested, the way a mammal will. Birds have higher faculties in this area than reptiles, but still not on the order of even a rat, in my experience.

Here, now, open.

So I had that weepy-and-intense religious experience the other night, and then not much. I've thought about it some. I still have a hard time getting the whole relationship thing. I can barely have relationships with people--and now you're asking me to have one with some invisible, uncontainable, indefinable higher being? Yeah. I'll get right on that.

Tonight I was walking Miley, and talking to her about how I was sorry but I couldn't walk in the grass in the rain because I was wearing decidedly not-waterproof boots, and then I realized that if I consider myself a Christian and I can talk to a dog, it's stupid for me to go around telling myself I have nothing to say to God. So. "I don't really feel like I have anything to say to you, but I guess if I can talk to Miley, I don't really have any good excuse not to talk to you." And on from there.

Then, as I approached our driveway, I suddenly remembered that almost every single night for months I have walked Miley and missed having someone to talk to. That's sort of new. I've almost always enjoyed the peace and quiet of walks, and definitely not wished for conversational company. In fact, I have often discouraged other people from walking with me.

It used to be that my prayer time, when I had prayer time, was in the shower. Not particularly for any reason I could discern except that people tend to be more emotional when they're relaxed, and hot water is relaxing, and I knew no one was going to bother me or see or hear me and so I didn't have to feel so guarded. It's not like I ever planned it.

Before that, during my first, horrible encounter with major depression, when I had no experience and no one I trusted and no coping mechanisms to deal with it, late-night walks with Little Bit were my refuge. I never wanted to take them. I fought it tooth and nail. But it was my turn and my parents made me. And most times I ended up stumbling forward, streaming tears, talking to God and begging for a friend or a way out. And eventually, and little by little, I got one. So.

Have you been calling me?

And I'm sorry I haven't picked up. I guess, in my dream, I didn't realize what I was hearing--just like an alarm clock that makes itself a part of the dream until you recognize what you're hearing, and put it together, and rise to consciousness. But I think I'm awake now, and I'm trying really hard to stay awake. Not go sleepwalking through my life. Not wishing I were somewhere else. Not holding my breath. Not barring the door and leaning against it with all my might. I want to be here. Now. Open.