Friday, August 31, 2007

Tic-Toc, Tic-Toc

I started thinking and planning my blog entry in my head tonight while driving home and several ideas presented themselves at once. Somehow the chain of illogical reasoning took me from several words I wanted to look up in my friend Websters to the literary and verbal tics that I employ/suffer. I have a fondness for writing the word 'particularly.' It is never particularly improperly used, is often particularly relevant, but is also decidedly unnecessary. One of my college professors pointed out how often it appeared in an essay I wrote and I think removing them all not only didn't change the flow or understanding of the paper in any negative way, it made the paper more understandable and even brought the paper down a page.

My verbal tics are many, but the one I'm really struggling with now is : do you know what I mean? E pointed it out to me and I can not only not stop saying, but I'm conscious of it now and have now begun a whole chain of toc's to follow that tic. Do you know what I mean? Damn, I said it again. Did you hear me say it again? I can't believe I said it again. I'm really going to try not to say that anymore, because it's really annoying....Do you know what I mean?

I don't know (what I mean) if it was worth getting pointed out or not, because now I'm just as aware, but seemingly unable to stop myself.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Personal Issues

I worry about...something...related to who I am. I'm not sure exactly what it is, because it's not exactly about acceptance, but more like lack of compatibility and my own lack of flexibility. In reading about myself as a Dragon, I found confirmation that I really am pretty rigid and think pretty highly of myself. I joke with E that I'm never wrong and that it's always my way or the highway, but to some extent, it's true. I don't roll with the punches as easily as others - I'm not as adaptable. I was trying to say something about this to A the other day and all I could say is that if we argued about that thing, that I would always be right...

[Never finished this thought or line of thinking, but I think this issue is improving. It's all a part of boundaries and the ability to make them without becoming rigid.]

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Burning the Candle at Both Ends

I never thought, in a million years, that someone (besides my mother) would tell me I'm not eating enough. And I also never thought I would believe it, but now I do.

I just got over being sick. I ended up taking two days off work, staying in bed for three. On the fourth day, I felt a little bit better, so I started packing and moving and returned to work. This is day five and I packed and moved two truck loads and worked another shift today. My boss told me yesterday that I wasn't eating enough and that my body needs more fuel to deal with the illness, the stress of moving and working. He asked me to list what I had eaten yesterday and I could barely remember, but it wasn't that much. I scoffed at that, because who can trust a man telling me that I shouldn't be drinking plain water, but that even sugar water would be better for me right now. I'm still not buying that one - sugar water is not good for anyone anytime - but I do believe he may be onto something about not eating enough.

When I went to work today, I got shaky when my lunch break was 15 minutes overdue, so I bought more food than I really needed and ate it with more haste than was wise. Maybe I'm not eating enough to sustain this work load...but maybe more important than eating more is working less. Maybe I'm doing too much. I feel much better today than yesterday and 10x better today than the day before, but I can feel that I need more sleep and restful time. In the middle of the moving work today, I stopped and swam with friends. My moving partner seemed a little frustrated that I suggested a break in the afternoon until I reminded her that I was working the evening shift after a full day of moving that started with her 7am wake up call. That swim helped me feel refreshed, but the swimming and pool side chat only lasted 30 minutes.

There is no help for working hard tomorrow since the movers are coming on Friday, but after the movers on Friday, I need to shift my focus and start getting some rest. No more of this hectic, frenetic moving around. I promise myself that this Friday thru Sunday, I will sleep 8 hours each night, walk the dog around the ponds at my new place, take a swim in the pool and lay around my condo for at least an hour with a good book. If I'm not completely unpacked and moved in within a weekend, who cares? And, frankly, who's going to notice?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

On Being Sick

I'm sick. Sore throat, enlarged tonsils, low back pain, exploding headache and general malaise. Whenever I get sick, I turn into this miserable sniveling mess and generally think I'm going to die. I suppose I could die, but I doubt that even if it is strep throat or meningitis that I'll die from it. Eventually I would lose consciousness, be taken to the hospital, get a proper diagnosis and be treated with way too strong medicine.

Whenever I get sick, I always think about going to the hospital. Or a medical doctor, but usually I think of Urgent Care. Since I know what I would do as a naturopath and have access to acupuncture at home, it feels weird to go to these doctors when I'm feeling ill. I should go to acupuncture tomorrow and get herbs, though.

Lucky for me, I have A and E to help out today. I have never felt so cared for and this is reflected in my feeling significantly better this evening. My throat is still swollen and sore, my ears still have a lot of pressure and my back still hurts, but the headache is subsiding, my fever broke and I had enough energy to ask for the dinner I'm craving (spicy green curry soup) and pick up my room while A took the dog out.

I hate being sick. It makes me half hysterical and half needy...and all too human.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Ask Me No Questions and I'll Tell You No Lies

I'm thinking about lying to my mother. I imagine most people have lied to their parents at some point or another and I'm no exception, but this is different. This isn't an innocent "I'm going to the mall with my girlfriends" when I'm actually meeting a boy kind of lie. The lie I'm considering has meaning, connection, guilt and ulterior motives. It might even be an ugly lie.

I told a friend of mine that I was considering telling my mom this lie and she helped me come up with a great justification. Since the lie starts with the phrase "I dreamed..." and most dreams are unconscious, I may actually have dreamt it. Maybe what I dreamed only revisited my consciousness later and is actually a memory rather than an idea. That resonates with me because I find the boundary so unclear between memories, ideas, daydreams, dreams and everyday reality.

My mom doesn't take very good care of herself. She lives 3,000 miles away from me and caretakes for the remainder of the family there, including 3 (relatively) able bodied young men, their 5-6 miscellaneous children, a random woman friend who lived with us in my youth and lives with us again, my grandmother and to a lesser extent her brother, sister and extended family. She takes pretty good care of them, even though she has a chronic cough, intense physical pain, emotional grief and needs to rest.

I have spoken to her often about her need to rest, to recovery, to take some time for herself. I appreciate that she's helpful to the people around her, but I feel that it has become a parasitic relationship and in her less guarded moments, she agrees with me. So I've considered telling her that her dead husband (my father) came to me in a dream telling me to move her to my locality and take care of her. I don't know if she'll listen to this any more than she listens to me in any other way, but this is the most powerful phrasing in my family culture since 1/6/06: dad would have wanted.

It's unfair, probably hurtful and possibly unlikely to achieve results since she has built herself into a hole with grandma, my brother and her house guest living in the house she was supposed to sell this summer, but just maybe... I probably won't do it. Lying is wrong, after all. But I want better for my mom. I want her to have a better life. I want her to last long enough so that I can take care of her. I'm afraid she's going to burn her candle out taking care of other people. I'm afraid she'll never be able to live long enough or near enough to babysit my fat brown babies or teach them to sneak buckeyes out of the fridge when mom's not looking or rock my daughter the first time some boy breaks her heart.

It seems like this is what dictatorship is - determining what is best for someone else without their consent, but if it will help me keep my mom around in a healthy and happy state, I'll use whatever tools are at my disposal, including lies, but who knows? Maybe it was really a memory or a dream and not just an idea.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Meaning of Secrets

I couldn't think of the term double standard, so I almost couldn't write about secrets until I remembered that term. Word-memory problem, but I've got it now - double standard. That's what I have about secrets. For me, I love secrets as the guardians of my privacy. It's not even that they or I am guarding anything particularly worthy of a secret, but the very act of having information that no one else has. It's strange to me sometimes when people who are close to me don't want to know my secrets, don't want to get closer, but at the same time I'm not a very good defender of my own secrets, so I don't really want to be asked anyways.

The double standard is this: I HATE other people's secrets. I can't stand it. I get suspicious and paranoid. I assume that every mis-statement, omission or hesitation is reflective of a grander scheme to somehow make me look of feel like as ass. It's probably because of how I was raised - I'm sure that JR would say so, at any rate, always finding fresh fodder in family-of-origin. Certain things were just kept as secrets among the family - other things were certainly meant to be secret from the children, the girl children or specifically just me, but were covertly shared or overheard.

I wonder how much of that was intentional secrecy, protection or ignorance instead of the spite I considered it. I do consider it spiteful for people to have secrets against me. Getting to know people deeply has become difficult, because I don't dare ask people personal questions they might not answer - if they don't answer, they have a secret and what does that say about me?

I'm rambling about secrets. Basically, I need to remember the four agreements again and that it isn't all about me. Another way to phrase that, in the words of Jerry Seinfeld, "What are men thinking about? Nothing." What is anybody thinking about? Usually not me and that's probably a good thing.

Personal Growth: Thoughts on Maturity

Long talk on maturity last night in the wee hours. As a certifiable age-snob with a preference for those older than me, maturity as a concept, is something I think I've got a pretty good hold on, but let's see how close I could come to Websters - I'm guess it uses the term "age-appropriate" in the definition. Websters says:

1 : the quality or state of being mature; especially : full development
2 : termination of the period that an obligation has to run

1 : based on slow careful consideration
2 a (1) : having completed natural growth and development : RIPE
(2) : having undergone maturation
b : having attained a final or desired state
c : having achieved a low but stable growth rate
d : of, relating to, or being an older adult : ELDERLY
3 a : of or relating to a condition of full development
b : characteristic of or suitable to a mature individual

Wow, this was not what I expected. Maturity as a concept seems to be more about having reached "full development" but I wonder how this relates to full potential. The definition "having attained a final or desired state" might suggest that meeting one's full potential would be the end of maturing, but I wonder, "desired by whom?" There are people who do not desire any further growth, probably think they are mature and in whom I see a lot more potential. In last nights conversation about maturity, my friend queried, "Is there a point in one's years when a person reaches a level of maturity and stays there?" Well, per Webster, we may be erroneous in thinking of levels of maturity - fruit and wine are either mature/ripe/ready or not. I don't even ask if people are that way, because as a feminist/relativist thinker, of course I consider there to be a scale and I think the issue is just one of semantics.

Personal learning and growth is one of my core values, so I'm constantly seeking the way to growth. I almost wrote "better myself" but I realize that doesn't really express it and self-betterment also carries with it a tinge of the idea that I might possibly know what is better for myself. There is also an idea with self-betterment that things may also be better, cleaner, prettier or somehow more positive, whereas with growth, I think sometimes things get messier, at least at first. For example, when I started learning to communicate my feelings of anger, I often overshot my goal, said it wrong or whatnot, so my life actually got messier for a time. In the end, I do think we are "better" for having grown, but I guess part of the learning I've accomplished in my growth has been that I'm perfect right now and doing the best I can with what I have available. Given that, I can't possibly be better.

Okay, enough psychobabble. Is maturing a process that ends? My opinion: for some people, yes - for some, no. Alcoholics (and likely other addicts), for example, get stunted in their emotional growth and often retain the maturity of a teenager. Psychologists say that they can resume their growth when they attain sobriety, but I have not always seen that they do - I think the possibility is there, but it requires a personal dedication. I don't think that is exclusive to addicts, either - I think beyond our growing years, there may be a tendency to stagnate if we aren't feeding ourselves the right mental/emotional/spiritual food for growth. That food is what keeps us growing/changing/maturing. What is it? Probably varies for everyone - for me, it includes an exploration of the dao, personal journey into spiritual realms, working with a therapist and lots of exposure to and exploration of the meaning of words.

To continue along that track, I also think that kids and teenagers need a lot of exposure while they are in their growing years to these foods, whatever they may be for them - since we can't possibly know, it would behoove us to expose them to LOTS of different models. This is the same way I feel about their physical health - if kids don't eat dirt and get exposed to germs, they never develop a proper immune system; if they (and we) don't eat lots of different foods, we never develop a wide palate and/or get the nutrition we need! It's really one and the same desire to have a wide array of experience - even if we then choose to walk a more narrow road, at least it was choice and not something that was foisted upon us due to the limits of our exposure.

For my part, as someone who has used and accepted the label "mature" since I was about 11, I now rescind that label based on Websters definition. I hope the day I wake up mature is my last on this planet - I'd love to look on this earth with mature eyes for just a day before ascending to nirvana.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I Hope I Still <3 Living Alone

Found a new place to move into. Excited about it and a little scared too. It's a go, so pro's and con's aren't relevant to the decision, but here are some of the ones I think about:

Pro: Coming home to the home in the same state I left it, keeping the house in any state or cleanliness or mess that feels good to me
Con: Having permission to keep the house in disarray, not having someone to help me clean

Pro: Not having to go up and down two flights of stairs every time I forget my keys, phone, wallet, shoes, hat, umbrella, drink, dog, etc.
Con: Gaining weight from the quick drop in my daily activity level

Pro: Getting new stuff for the house, decorating it in my style with things I like
Con: Not having things that my housemate had and I need, having to spend the money to get things I need (like curtains!)

Pro: Having parties again! Game night, cocktails, dinner parties, here I come!
Con: No Essential Rumi to cohost with me...and help me clean up!

Pro: Having people visit - my first houseguest is likely to be the month I move in when my friend J comes to visit from Atlanta.
Con: NONE! There is nothing wrong with that - I love having friends stay with me and my new couch is super comfy for overnights, so that should be a blast.

Pro: Lots of things in walking distance. Per, the walkscore at my new place is 6 points higher than my current place.
Con: NONE! Maybe walking to the store will help make up for the lack of stairs.

Pro: Taking the dog out will be easier and there is a great walking trail beside two ponds.
Con: NONE! Anything that makes walking the dog easier is great!

Pro: Personal space for personal things.
Con: NONE! :)

Con: Feeling less than safe living alone on the first floor with a sliding glass door.
Con: Feeling lonely (potentially).
Pro: I can call my good friend and new neighbor NPR to come kill spiders, check the closets and visit with me anytime!

I do so hope that I still enjoy living alone!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What would you do if __ won the lottery?

I don't know a single person who hasn't played the "what would I do if I won the Lottery" game. I play it all the time and have loads of ideas of what I would do - depends on the amount of the windfall, but here's some indication:
  • Pay off all my and my mom's debts
  • Retire my mom to the location of her choice and set her up for a comfortable life
  • Put funds in trust for my brothers and their children
  • Put funds in trust for my future children
  • Consult a financial advisor
  • Take a long vacation to determine next steps

Yes, I'd like to contribute to charity. Yes, I'd like to invest. Yes, I'd like to be set up for life. But I'm not sure I'd stop working - I didn't spend the last 7 years living in poverty and training not to use those skills - maybe I'd volunteer several days a week or take a teaching position that didn't pay as well as I'd like. After this past six weeks without a consistent schedule, I do know that I would need something to get me out of bed and into my shoes everyday. (The shoe thing is about some advice E read about working from home - best way to be productive at home is to get up and get dressed down to your shoes everyday. I'm showered and dressed and shod and already very productive today, so I believe that book may be onto something.)

So anyways, I'm rambling again, because this really isn't about what I would do if I won the lottery, but about what I would do if my friend won the lottery. Different perspective, altogether and one that really gives me a picture of some issues I'd like to work on. Often when one is playing "What I Would Do," with a friend, they include their friend in the generosity that comes from playing with imaginary millions - "Of course, I would set you up in a new home and state of the art clinic! I love you!" That helps, because if you win the lottery, I'm going to be JEALOUS! Gasp!

A friend of mine recently came into a situation where she's going to be helped out financially a great deal - she didn't win the lottery, she's not set up for life, she still needs to work her hiney off, but there is no question that she's been given a reprieve. And I'm jealous. I'm happy for her. And I'm jealous. There is no way for her to share this deal - it's not like imaginary millions. So how do I deal with the jealousy and feel better about the situation? Well, I just keep plodding along getting my ducks in a row. And I use phrases like "bailing you out" and feel slightly superior about getting them in a row without a windfall of help. Not okay, but I'm working on evolving beyond that place.

So, if you win the lottery, please be patient with me and my jealousy! I still love you and it'll be easier to love you if you share.

Monday, August 20, 2007

On Being the Peanut Gallery

So I started wanting to write something about the third blog that I regularly check into some days ago. I even mentioned it in an earlier post, but never got around to explaining what happened. My whole perspective is now skewed due to recent events, so I'm not sure what justice I can give this topic, but I'm going to ramble on about it anyway, because it's relevant, it's important and I'm too lazy to leave for the store just yet - if I wait long enough, maybe E will get home from lunch and walk with me.

So the topic is this Third Blog that I used to read and now don't. Well, that's a lie, because I'm reading it again. No, I'm not that capricious - Third Blog is private and viewed only by permission from The Writer. Yes, The Writer granted me permission to view his personal blog and then rescinded it and then gave it back. Why and how do we choose who reads our blogs? The Writer keeps his private because he is in fact writing very personal things, in some instances, pouring his heart out and revealing his deepest feelings. I, on the other hand, write more generally and anonymously, or so I hope, and don't mind it being a public blog, but I don't direct more than a couple friends here - and most of those are people I know won't read regularly anyway. Maybe I'd write differently if I knew it couldn't be read by strangers...maybe I'd write a lot differently if I knew my boyfriend was reading?

So The Writer had told me about his blog and even showed me a few entries for months before giving me access. I like to think that I was "cool" about it and not begging to read, but the latter may be more the case. I was intrigued - what was he writing that was so private? And why shouldn't I, close friend, confidante and generally understanding person, read it and participate? Finally, after months of patient waiting, I was added to the readership and voraciously consumed everything available since The Writer and I met and then went back and started from the beginning. I had to schedule an emergency summit of my Staying Sane on Blogs Committee because I was feeling proud, hurt, annoyed, happy, sad, angry and confused all at the same time based on what I was reading. In respect for The Writer's privacy, I didn't mention or discuss much of what I was reading or my resultant feelings with him.

Until this week. What happens when someone who's blog you read vents about you?

Okay, that didn't really happen either, but it makes for good dramatic effect. The Writer has been known to post a few things about me...okay a lot of things, including photographs. I'm not talking about risking-my-Ms.USA-crown photos, just photos of us doing things and photos he thinks are extra cute. Well, that's flattering, right? Except that I'm super sensitive about having photos of myself on the Internet and even more sensitive about possible divergent meanings in text about me. So I often would get annoyed by things written about me, even when I knew they were well-intended. The latest entry particularly frustrated me because it hinted at a not-so-stable financial state, which is something I'm even more sensitive about than my bad-hair photos. In my immediate reaction state, I commented on his blog for the very first time and it was a pretty snarky comment. Made him look bad and would have made me look bad too if he hadn't immediately removed it.

After that bitchy comment, he booted me from the blog. No discussion, no second chances.

Until today. When he added me back. No discussion. Well, of course, I immediately caught myself back up, but lesson learned, no comments from this peanut gallery. Though I don't know what to think or do about getting access again, I do know my new mantra: Call the Committee before Commenting.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Goal Update: Lessons in Vegan Cooking

Accomplished goal #64 tonight - cook a recipe from the vegan cookbook.

The book is Vegan World Fusion and comes from the Blossoming Lotus, my new favorite place to eat. The food is outstanding and vegan softserve is a new flavor everyday and costs $1.

Tried the Polenta and Forbidden Rice Casserole with Black Bean Sauce (sorry, if you want recipes, buy the book, I guarantee it's worth it). Added the optional fennel and shitake mushrooms and used soy milk. Next time, eliminate fennel (too strong), more shitake (delicious), chop all more finely, use coconut milk (more delicious), use less rice (just enough for the bottom of the dish) and more polenta. The Black Bean Sauce was fantastically delicious as is, although I would have liked a slightly thicker consistency, perhaps to be achieved through hand mashing some of the beans instead of blending the lot together in the blender.

It was okay - my guests were generous with their praise, though and the wine - from Cooper Mountain - was great. Cooper Mountain definitely going on the grocery list and into the budget.

Later note (if you can believe me when it comes to time): The leftovers were even better and I think the dish would be improved by the addition of corn bread batter baked on top. Maybe that's how polenta should turn out or blasphemy to the polenta, but I might try it next time. In addition to my "No Fault" cooking rules, I'm going to have a "No Rules" rule - anything goes, as long as it tastes good.

Friday, August 17, 2007

All Dressed Up and No Where To Go

I look great. My hair is freshly cut and colored, my face made up dramatically. Sexy clothes, all in black. No, I'm not going to the nightclub, but planned on going to my catering job. In fact, went to my catering job. And was sent home because the expected party of 300 tanked with less than 20 people arriving in the first hour. Since I rode in with E and A was at a movie, I had to take public transit home and now I find myself looking good and feeling bad.

These kinds of things throw me into a funk and I get pissy at the world. And then I decide that I'm not going to be pissy and instead I'm going to productive. On the train, I planned all the things I would do - get into some comfy clothes, walk the dog then work on my side project until I'm tired then either watch a movie or read before having an early sleep. Then I got home, sat in front of the computer and can't seem to get myself going. I could have toted drinks and spoken to the class of 1997 all night, but now that I'm home, I can't get off my increasingly fat ass even to take off this incredibly uncomfortable but very sexy bra.

I hope anyone reading this is laughing, because I am - I'm being more than a little melodramatic. Hyperbole just comes easily to me, especially in this state of mind. I am pretty pissy and very annoyed at the place of business though. For about 2 minutes, I fantasized about posting a Craigslist rant about the bar I was working at and their bad business practices, such as how they encourage the servers to "push alcohol," but then I realized that if found, they would easily figure out that the server who got sent home was probably the one who wrote it. If they didn't sue me for slander, they would at least fire me. And even though I don't want to work there anymore due to the shoddy management, poor execution and unenjoyable coworkers, I don't want that to be their decision.

Maybe I better take a bunch of deep breaths and listen to the chanting CDs before E gets off (yes, she's working there, too and yes, it's that bar) and A calls after his movie since I am really good at channeling my frustration and irritation onto other people when it's really nothing more than a bad situation that I'm struggling to deal with. I think run-on sentences, when said aloud, just fuel one's annoyance and bitchy attitude too. Maybe it's the lack of oxygen from speaking continually. I find myself holding my breath even when typing long sentences. Maybe that's how non-violent communication works. Short sentences such as such as 'I see,' 'I feel,' 'I need' and 'I would like' allow much more breathing. Maybe it'll help to take the bra off too.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


A friend recently wrote about how complicated our lives have gotten and wondered about how we can strip out some of the chaos of our lives and live more simply. I don't know the answer, but I know the question and the discussion have a lot of value. I went camping last weekend - just one night out under the stars watching a meteor shower. It was my first and I was awed like a little girl watching the streaks across the sky. I felt so small and yet so connected in that the cosmos, to the earth I was lying on and to the people around me, some of whom I knew, some I'd just met and one I was particularly prepared not to like. Well, the meteors didn't make me like said person any better, but maybe they helped me gain a little perspective.

For the overnight camping trip, A and I packed my truck full of many useful and useless things, including air mattresses, a battery operated air pump, games, wine, cups, extra blankets, clean clothes, camp chairs, a camp stove and pans for camp cooking and hot cocoa... I always hate being made fun of for over-packing, but I enjoyed sleeping comfortably and being able to drink a bottle of my favorite wine while seated comfortably at camp. In this instance, it seems that simplicity is having what we need. As I'm looking forward to moving in the next 30 days, simplicity seems the exact opposite as I go through my class notes, files, clothes, dog supplies and other misc to clear out as much clutter as possible before moving.

Another area in which I consider clearing clutter is the Internet. I irregularly read a couple of blogs and nowadays irregularly post here. It suits me and I use this to my own ends. I also have a smattering of email accounts, a craigslist account, an activity site account and, reluctantly, a MySpace account. I do much of my financial work online, I have many expired dating site profiles, and belong to many list servers that send me information that I usually just delete without even opening. I hear about people having accounts on LiveJournal, FaceBook, Friendster, MySpace and many others and how they have to keep up with what everyone is posting. What is that about? I can barely keep up with a few friends in real life let alone a bunch of people posting all day long to various sites.

Of the 2 blogs (down from 3, but more on that later) that I regularly tune into, 1 is a friend a speak to with some regularity. When we speak, she may ask "have you read my blog today?" but this is just her way of knowing if I'm already filled in. When the answer is invariably "no," she just tells me what's going on. I often then go read the blog to fill in any spots she left out and see how her perspective has changed in the intervening time. I like reading her blog, but I prefer speaking to her in person or on the phone. It's more fun to spend time together and hang out. Less opportunity for misunderstanding, too - which is the main reason I'm only a reader of 2 blogs these days instead of 3.

At any rate, I don't know how to simplify any better than the next person, but I'm going to paste the word serenity on the wall above my computer as a reminder of my core values so that I don't get sucked any deeper into the quagmire of Internet activities. To paraphrase many a bumper sticker, "I'd rather be paddling."

Saturday, August 11, 2007

For Someone Else

Been thinking about journaling lately and remembered another journal I kept: a travel journal of my time in Australia. I found a great little bound journal and I wrote about the boys I met, the places I traveled, the animals I held/touched/pet/fed and the parties we had. It was neither profound nor really that interesting. When I later put together a scrap book based on my trip, I included some quotes from the journal with the intention of scrapping the journal altogether.

When I told my good friend D about this plan, she said there was no way this was a good idea and that I had to keep the journal, if not for myself, then for her. I offerred her the journal which she declined while still insisting that I keep it. It's this request, really, that got my wheels turning more than thoughts of the journal itself. She wanted me to keep the journal of not very interesting things for her. Not so that she could read it, which would have been better facilitated by her keeping the journal since she lived on one coast and I moved to the other, but so that she knew it was there.

By extension I started thinking about other requests people make of one to something for them. E owns two couches - the overstuffed and very comfortable loveseat was given by her mother and the hide-a-bed full length, but surprisingly good-in-a-small-space sofa was given to her by her father and step-mother. When she thought of selling one or both couches when we moved into our tiny condo, her mother threw a fit at the notion of E selling the sofa she had gotton her -had she gotton rid of it, it would mean that E didn't love her mother and furthermore, if she kept the hide-a-bed, it would mean a preference for the dad and step-mother. It's like that with gifts, too and not just for E - this happens to almost everyone. People pull some things out of storage and put them on prominent display when relatives come to call to show how highly they prize the gifts people have gotton them.

The idea that I have about this is that doing something for another person can be okay, but it can also lead to being something for another person. For example, E is a packrat and lots of the things she keeps are things that came from her mother. She started off doing something: saving things and then started being something: a packrat. I know that's my label, but even if you take the word away, there is this tendancy that has become a real and unhealthy habit not of her own choosing. And I only use E as an example because this is a really easy one to relate to and talk about. I can talk about her and not myself.

It's a lot more scary to talk about the things that I do and what they might possibly allow me to become if I am not mindful. For the time being, though, I guess I can be glad of the 3,000 miles between my family and I: the gifts are small and infrequent, they rarely visit and they don't notice or care if I don't have them anymore.

Friday, August 10, 2007


I do this really weird thing with my blog. I pre- and post-date items all the time. Sometimes I've started writing something and then finished it up much later and sometimes I just willfully change the date. I like to bury some of the more personal items so that they don't appear at the top of the front page. It's not that I mind people reading them, otherwise this would not be a public blog, but I just don't want those items to draw that much focus right away.

It's a somewhat strange habit and today I wondered if I would ever look back at this blog and try to reconstruct my life from it. And if I would believe that I got a haircut before I took boards, because that, in fact, happened a week later.

I also like changing the date because I can enter things in for my own searchable history, such as quotes, words of the day and poetry that I'm not really trying to share. Maybe I'll just randomly start entering things from the year 2000 - if there is anything under that year, it was definately entered late because as of this writing, there is nothing in 2000 and I only started writing in Blogspot in 2007. Yes, even those posts in 2006 were entered later, although they were, in fact, written or posted on the days indicated, just on another blog site.

Was thinking of my first journals today. I remember reading them again later and being disgusted with 13-year-old-me's writings and deciding to clean the slate by getting rid of them. I sometimes regret that decision, but mostly because of the strong visual image (and visceral responce) I have to the first page of any journal I ever wrote. It was a VISITOR sticker put onto a sheet of lined paper. It was from the time I visited my father at an Indiana state treatment center for alcoholics. I didn't even know what it meant, but I remember that my dad was different there than other times I'd seen him - maybe less funny, but more stable. That was how I first started journaling.

Note: after posting this, I changed the date on it and I realize that part of my neurosis about this date-changing business is that I like each post to appear on a different day. Often writing one post leads me to another topic or tangent that becomes its own post, and I like them to appear in order, but not as though they were written at the same time. I wonder why that matters to me?

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Bragging Rights

So the clouds are is the moratorium on blogging and other "non-essential" computer works. Naturopathic board exams are 2/3 completed and I'm feeling pretty good. Immediately after the exams, I sometimes feel a little small, but it's also a bit unfair for me to assess every question that I know (and that I know I know - i.e., I know I'm right) as being too easy for the exam. Today I also took a state test which allows one reference book and I feel like I aced that one. Only 3 questions still stumped me at the end and they were the ones everyone was asking about. As this is more reflective of how things will likely be in practice, I feel stronger already.

I don't feel that it's appropriate to brag (or hope?) out loud amongst friends, but here, let me say that there is a chance that I may pass these board exams. Passing means I do not have to retake them in February at a cost of $750 and that I can be licensed in 2007 or 2008 at my pleasure.

Acupuncture boards and thesis still looming, but this will be dealt with after wrapping these boards and moving.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

A Good Haircut is SO Worth It!

I did end up spending a pretty penny to get prettier and it was worth it. I know that my boyfriend, who checks his hair in the mirror more than I do, understands the value of a fresh haircut, but I hope other men can understand. If your woman gets in a funk, sponsor a fresh cut, a facial or some other spa treatment.

A cut, color and some hair product and I'm feeling sexy, beautiful and like I want to be nice to the world again. Yes, this is who I am.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Cachumba Salad

Serves 4-6

2 tomatoes
1 6-inch piece cucumber
l small onion
1 green chili *Use Thai or Serrano chilies
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1. Seed and chop the tomatoes and cucumber, mince the onion, andcombine in a medium-mixing bowl.
2. Seed and chop the chili, and add it to the mixture.
3. Tear the cilantro into pieces and stir into the cachumba.
4. Add the cumin, salt, and pepper; mix well.
5. Pour the lime juice over and toss.
6. Let sit for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Do notrefrigerate before serving.

Money Matters

I'm reading Cold Mountain right now. There is a section in which it describes Ruby's distrust of scripted money and how worthless it became during the war. I feel like that sometimes, like I don't really understand the value of money. I know that money pays for things and I know approximately what I can get for a dollar. I'm not cheap - I know that to buy a new couch, I'm going to pay approximately x amount of dollars and I know about how much worth it retains after you remove it from the showroom. But I don't know the value of large amounts of money. I just added up the amount of student loans that I owe. I also just consolidated my credit cards. And I am now very concerned for my immediate future. I'm not destitute, a fact that I had to explain in so many words with many numbers included to make my partner understand, but I also don't have a dollar to give. The Fire Department, Special Olympics, For the Children and the Consumers for Organic Products should all take me off their lists.

I'm changing jobs soon and will have a pretty flexible schedule to accommodate another job after I buckle down and complete my thesis and final board exams. I'm catering and taking side jobs (research and computer work) and don't expect not to be able to meet my basic needs. But what about entertainment? What about socializing? What about dating?

I hate the influence that money has on our social lives. Having grown amongst a middle-middle class family and been surrounded by similar people until I went to college (when my classmates never really had their own money either, despite the wealth of their families), classism was always an amorphous concept for me. The issue of class has slowly been getting more and more important to me. In the social network with whom I often socialize, there are a lot of people with a lot of discretionary income. Many of the events are costly and some even list minimum dinner tabs of 25 or 50 dollars. The names of events such as "Classy Night on the Town" suggest in my mind a decided lack of class, but maybe I'm just being defensive. I know I've gone out cocktailing with friends where we specified a more formal dress code - is it the same thing?

I have a couple of friends who are doing quite well, including a long time friend who unexpectedly did very well in his field and another newer friend who invested well early on and is simply put, wealthy. They are very generous with me in terms of our socializing. They seem to recognize the discrepancies in our budgets and compensate by taking me out for drinks or dinner and allowing me to make them dinner or have them over for drinks. We don't discuss this and money has never been an issue in our relationship. With other friends, we just decide on activities that fit our mutual budgets, whatever they may be - sometimes the limits may be mine and sometimes theirs.

The White Trash Series of events started by some friends of mine, one of whom is white and could be described as trashy and the other who is neither white nor particularly publicly trashy brought the issue of class (and racism) to the surface too. I was an am offended by the use of the term White Trash - it is both inherently classist and racist. I explained this to my friend and apparently ruined the concept for him as he only hosted one more event in the series. The events that I attended were a really good time and I enjoyed them - the other events he had described sounded equally fun in a fantastic sort of way: Monster Trucks, Lawn Mower Races, Wiener dog races and roller derby may be low-brow, but I don't think enjoyment of them necessarily makes one trashy.

So, I'm jumping all over the place with this - money and class and back and forth, but it's just such a confusing jumble in my mind. It's a major button for me and it's been pressed lately so I'm just seeking some clarity by writing it out. My dating history includes men of greater and lesser means, most of whom have treated me quite generously. There was only one major instance in which a man not having money interfered with our dating - that was the schmo who invited me out for a movie and then indicated that he didn't have enough to go to dinner beforehand and come to think of it, for the movie at all - and that was just for his half of the Dutch treat! I was more annoyed by his lack of forethought than his lack of funds.

My generosity in return has always been composed of time, fun, enthusiasm, ideas and commitment. As E says, I brought magic to the table. Since I've been always been a student and was open with my dates about my financial status, I felt they understood what they were getting into when they started dating me and could chose to spend or not spend what their own budgets allowed. It's none of my business how they chose to spend their money. Again, it had never been an issue.

You can see the lead up in that it has become an issue of late. I don't know how and I'm not sure the solution, but lately my partner and I are fighting about money. I sometimes offer to pay and am turned down, but he'll unexpectedly ask me to pay for random and strange things, like groceries for his house. He is generally quite generous and I think there is something else at work behind this because it can't really be about the money since his income is on the order of 5x what I bring home. Since I am moving house and starting a new job in the next month, I'm being a little more fiscally conservative lately which only complicates things as I'm so protective of cash so that I can cover move-in costs. It doesn't help that he also advises me to get a really nice place and/or a place big enough for him to move into - things that I really shouldn't afford at this time of transition when I should be saving and looking at the bigger picture.

Oh well, time to go spend a couple hundred getting my hair done.