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The one in which I dream

girl
I had the wackiest dream Friday night

it was unusual for me on more than one level.

Firstly, I so rarely remember my dreams, that was odd. But it's because I could sleep as late as I wanted Saturday morning, so that's always nice. Boy do I love sleeping, I should do it more.

I'm sad it's taken me a few days to write it down, most of the details have now escaped me.

But in it, I was trying to help rescue a princess, who happened to be transgender and probably of the male sex, but she was definitely female as far as personal indentification. She was being held against her will by a branch of her family in a very baroque old world type city. We (and now I forget who else was with me in this we) were trying to rescue her but she was leaving us clues that were really mathematical formulas. I had to figure them out in order to know the route and address. At one point the clues led us to a strange dead end and I realized I had remembered the equation incorrectly. We somehow did find her and were escaping, she was changing gender as needed like a costume but you could tell how unhappy it made her each time she had to portray a male visage. We were cornered when I woke up.

See? Strange? I think the only reason I did wake up is I was thinking to hard about the math, she'd started speaking to us in more mathematical riddles and I wanted to write them down but couldn't so was urgently attempting to emblazon them upon my memory.

What does it mean? Hard to say. Probably that I have been reading to much. I think I know where the math came from. And yes I'm never the one that needs rescuing in my dreams, and if I am I'm rescuing myself. But, what I don't get is... transgender princess? I think I almost know where that was coming from, as I was thinking last week about an old roommate and whatever happened to him/her. (Him then, I suspect her now but we haven't kept in touch. I'm pretty big on letting people choose the gender they want, it's not biology after all. I 100% believe gender is socially constructed and understood and a two faceted world is absurd.) But princess? That's a little different. I might want to write that story.

Dear subconscious - send more dreams like that my way, kk?
Dear conscious - let me get enough sleep to remember what the subsconscious gives me. Thanks! (That means NO READING UNTIL THREE AM - hmph)

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On Famous People

girl
Sort of

It’s hard to remember that Famous People* are really just people, except at the same time it’s not. In a way that’s why we like them. The Famous People* on the JoCo cruise are almost entirely people that give enough of themselves that they are regular companions. I eat dinner with them at my computer, I visit with them while drinking my morning coffee. I sing their songs and they are a part of my life.

But that makes it more difficult to remember that I’m not a part of their life. I’m no one. And they are equally a part of hundreds, or thousands or millions of other lives.

Not only am I no one special, but they want to enjoy their day with their own friends.

It’s difficult to approach someone new. Ostensibly on the cruise we are filled and surrounded by hundreds of like minded individuals that are there to make a connection with others. Many of us have difficulties making connections in our day to day lives whether it be our personalities, interests or a combination of the two. The Famous People* though, we already know that we have things in common! We know how they think/feel/react and there’s one less barrier and it’s very exciting!

But it’s not.

I had a couple of interactions with Famous People* on the boat, and I want to go back and do it over again. One in particular made me cry and I plan on burying it deeply until it withers away and is but dust in the attic of my memory. The other was okay.

It’s funny, I don’t need to make friends, I don’t have that lack in my life. I truly enjoy being alone and if anything I got nowhere near enough alone time on the cruise. But, there’s always that … “what if?”

I fall in love with characters in the books I read. (Often platonic!) I write myself into their lives. I want to comfort them when they are sad and I want to share in the adventures they have. I suspect that’s what I’m doing with the Famous People*. Which means even though they are more real to me, I’m not treating them at all like I would treat a real person. It’s difficult to remember boundaries.

A few times I found myself unattached on the boat, and I left the room with every intention of going out there and being friendly and meeting new people, and I froze. I watched. I missed my camera. I realized on the last night as I stood watching people talk that I love hiding behind my camera. It gives me the opportunity to really be up and involved without having to be myself at all. Without having to pretend like I can hear what someone is saying and understand the words. Without needing to come up with something in response. Without making new friends.

I’m making myself sadder than I wanted to be.

Instead – I think I want touch on talking to strangers in general and how we relate to people. But not right now. This is enough for now.

seriously, cooking

cartoon me
I missed you. I missed you terribly. Two nights back and three meals cooked, two by me and yes YES garlic I missed you. I missed you far far more than the cat but don't tell him that, he's briefly forgotten that I have a lap which means he's probably sitting on Jake. I think he thinks that if he sits on us we can't get away again. Luckily for him we got a snow day today but I have to make it to work tomorrow.

Let's talk about the cooking. If it weren't for the lattes, juice, and alcohol that I was constantly imbibing I am positive I would have lost numerous pounds in the last week. I broke even, probably, I still have the travel edema so it's hard to tell. I might let you know tomorrow.

The food on the cruise was somehow even more lacking than I remembered. To be fair, it's a different cruise line. More than one person upon finding out that I have done cruises have indicated that the food is a highlight. My face fails to disguise my opinion no matter how I strive. Seriously? The food? Maybe if I were given free reign to cook for myself and had access to the larder and someone else to clean, now that sounds far more fun. Like so often when I go out to eat I have to bite my tongue because inevitably someone is going to think what we're eating is the bees knees. It's probably the most consistent practice I ever have at tact.

Tonight's food was a spaghetti squash, quick garlicky marinara, crisped kale, and feta.

I got the salt balance perfectly for this Mendocino red blend I'm drinking.

I knew that I love cooking. I knew that I'm a foodie. I also knew that I'm getting better and even though I don't make something new and stretch myself as often as I would like, nor write about it, but I'm doing more than I thought. Also, I'm older than I think I am so I've had more practice than I think I have.

Back to the cruise: We would have skipped dinners entirely except that I insisted for the opportunity to socialize and meet others in a setting that I was at my most comfortable. I in fact enjoyed adding breakfast the last two mornings for the exact same reason, even if I'm not at my most coherent for the first hour or three after waking.

I don't regret anything related to all this, except for maybe finishing as much food as I did. One night when I didn't eat my food the waiter insisted I order something else, and then he proceeded to cut it for me. It was weird and uncomfortable. But memorable, and interestingly possibly the best entree I ate the entire week, even though I'd never eat it again.

This is not as cohesive of a journal entry as I wanted it to be. So yeah, garlic was missed and my real butter and my Amish bacon and food cooked with a reasonable amount of salt.

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if a tree falls

if I don't write things down, and if I forget the details, did I even have fun?

That's rhetorical.

mostly.

But it is a question about living in the moment. I guess if one is always in the moment then it's okay because the rest doesn't really matter.

I went to the JoCo Cruise again this year, and much fun was had, but I didn't take pictures, do still have some regrets, and barely wrote a tad. Meanwhile just before the cruise an incident happened causing me to realize that my memory is much more atrocious than I had thought. So I already recognize that I will be forgetting things that have happened over the last week, the good with the imperfect.

But for now, I'm dizzy and I know I'm not articulating properly. But I'm writing this down here in the hopes that one day I will return to ruminate. Or something anyway.

good morning

I had a bad night, but I'm not here to talk about that.

First article I read this morning is this.

Do what you love love what you do an omnipresent mantra that's bad for work


The title makes it pretty obvious what the article is about. And it turns out I have quite a bit of thoughts about it.

First, I do believe in finding that job that makes you happy. And not just because it's rammed down our throats with every aptitude test we started taking at a young age, trying to match each person with the right career field. At least, I assume we still do that and it wasn't an 80s thing. (I suspect some of our school administrators were unknowingly jealous of communist russia deciding what each person is best suited for) But, happiness is more than just love for your work. Each job is a balance of what's important to you. There's a scale and when it tips in favor of work that's what gets you out the door in the morning. Each person has to decide for themselves what they lump on the scale. For some money is the key factor, which is closely linked to another favorite, responsibility. Convenience. We're much more likely to show up to something that's next door. Co-workers and the work culture itself. Personal ambition. Ownership of projects. And yes, then there's the work itself. I had a job a few years ago that I did not like. The feeling it gave me I likened to slowly carving my heart out through my chest with a jagged spoon. But there were a lot of other factors being put on the other side of those scales, and it was a close balance, but it was okay.

Going even further back, my first office job. I hated it. Which made me question everything since I had been trying to get an office job for months and months. I wanted out of the food industry. I wanted to feel like a grown up. The work was easy but it bored me senseless, and I couldn't relate to any of my co-workers. Money has never been a driving factor and even though it was almost three whole dollars above minimum wage it was still just seven dollars an hour. I went on a weekend trip and came back realizing I was never going back to that job again.

The few year prior to that, as I was languishing trying to figure out what to do I would be depressed that I couldn't figure out a job that would make me happy. My significant other told me in a condescending matter of fact sort of tone that I needed to grow up, no one likes their job. I looked at him in shock. If that were true, why does anyone do what they do? Forget money we can all just go live in the woods. I don't know, I've always needed something more and I really don't think it's because of the methodical societal indoctrination that we should find what we love.

The problem is, I didn't know what I loved. I'm interested in everything but I had difficulty conceptualizing a job that I would truly enjoy. I'm terrible at homework and a total slacker (don't judge how dirty my house is!) and it seems like I'd be bad at anything because deep down I just don't care. So I knew that I needed to figure this out. I couldn't commit to school because I wasn't interested in the classes and couldn't understand what I'd get out of it. This is ironic because I love going to school. It's expensive though and I want to take all the classes. For years I would just take those I was interested in, dropping out or failing those that couldn't get me to leave my house and show up.

Let me just fast forward some since the rest is on the blog in the far past. Now I love my job, truly truly love it and it is as wonderful as I always thought it would be. I used to be afraid that if I had a communications job that I would be tapped out of any creativity, but the opposite is true. IT's kind of like, extroverts get energized by being around other people, I get energized and inspired to do more by doing stuff I'm enjoying. My last three jobs wiped me out at the and of the day and I had to put all my energy into doing it leaving me nothing for myself. This I want to do more and more and more, and when I'm done I still have plenty left over for me.

That being said, I know there are other things that drive people, but their job has to reflect it in some way. Yes those who achieve the mantra are bragging. But I personally think everyone is working for something they love, even if it's not the work themselves.

Let me touch upon the home health care industry spoken of in the article. This is something I know more than a little about. First - health care is going to be the largest growing job sector for the rest of our lives. Reason being, no matter how great technology is, we're not going to replace people in the next couple of decades as our population ages. More and more jobs from other sectors are being done by computers or just become defunct so that skews the numbers. The health care industry doesn't even have to grow and it's going to keep taking a bigger and bigger piece of pie. I spent over a year and a half recruiting people from and for this field. Let me tell you, the people who do this do love their job. Yes they should get paid more money. Caregiving is an incredibly demanding job. But I've talked to so many people that did that job, then pursued what they thought was their career, and then decided to get back into the caregiving. Lots of factors were at play but ultimately, it balanced their scales. (It helps that my workplace pays more than the industry average, but that's a different conversation.) Caregiving isn't for me but I sure am glad it is for others.

All of this brings me to each of us should spend our days alive. We should spend our time working towards our lives and each day at the end be glad it happened. That can come from work, but for a lot of people it doesn't and that's okay. Ultimately we all have to decide what makes it worth filling our time and we need to respect the choices of others even if they wouldn't be for us. We are all trying to figure it out one day at a time.

Procrastination

I'm super distracted today - I started to write this five hours ago and kept forgetting. I can't even remember to procrastinate that's how distracted I am!

Let's mention the cold. Apparently it's nowhere near the record lows, but it's still pretty cold. It was two degrees at nine in the morning yesterday. I am definitely harboring some regrets at not getting the heat fixed in the car. I wore two pairs of gloves and my fingers were still painfully cold. I had my scarf wrapped around my face, and that was just for driving! But ... I'm always so weird about adversity, I refuse to let those excuses stop me. I was severely tempted to go for a walk last night, for no reason other than it was cold and that would be ridiculous. Once, a thousand years ago (Winter early 1994) I walked with three friends three miles to the grocery store when the temperature was nineteen degrees, and that's not counting wind chill. I remember how cold I used to be as a kid to play in the snow and running my fingers under water for minutes until they had feeling again. I would never consider doing that now, but mostly that's because I'm lazy. Not because of the weather. I just don't play in the snow anymore. Really I don't play anymore.

I want to play. I miss playing.

But! I am writing! Huzzah! I'm seven for seven so far this year! I don't even know the last time I wrote creatively seven days consecutively. And it's not all terrible. I received a nice journal for Christmas that didn't want to sit around unloved like my other journals. The secret I think is in not caring. Which is kind of fun. I'm calling them poems, but they're not poems. It's more like I'm going to fill the book up with plot bunnies. The easy fun stuff. Except of course it's not that easy. I suppose my hope is to come up with 365 different ideas. That's a lot of ideas. But they can't all be bad right? I've found several that have potential so far. Can I do more? How many ideas do I have in me? So far each time when I start I feel like I have nothing. I'm empty. Turns out I'm not empty. Which is nice. One is so hauntingly familiar I'm worried I've read it before but I don't know where so I suppose there's a chance it was always there lurking. I can always also write on the same store multiple days in a row. That'll be okay. As long as it's in the notebook. Go go notebook! Also, in the seven days, they're getting longer which makes me happy.

Hungry and I should go home now.

no resolutions

I'm not going to go back and analyze just how many ways I failed last year. But really, I'm pleased with 2013. I don't have a Master's degree, and I'm not a published author, heck, I don't even have any good new writings to feel good about. I have gained five pounds, or rather, regained and maintained. I have my dream job and my last workday of 2013 sent the annual report to the printer. That is something I'm super proud and giddy over.

Oh yeah, and I legally bound myself with another person and had the best party in the universe. That's something I suppose.

But I'll still resolve to be better. A better me. A better everything. I still don't know who that me is, but I want to excel at doing it. I don't mean that I'm going to be nicer, that just makes me uptight and angsty and unhappy. But I will try to not think about it since that leads to failure and then fighting. I will try to not dwell on things, but no promises. I suppose I resolve to try.

I am sure I've ranted before at how much I don't like resolutions, or rather, I don't like the typical approach to them. Any all or nothing attitude is irritating. However, any chance to bolster my personal resolve is a chance I will take. You know how some people don't like Mondays? I love Mondays. Sure, I don't know going into work and how I inevitably have messed up my sleep schedule because I' a night person, but I love the potential in a new week. The chance to do everything right. EAch morning brings that. Each new beginning. Every minute of every day.

I love the mental highs, I wish they lasted me all year round. Right this moment I'm feeling good because I did a miniscule amount of work on one of my cleaning projects AND I wrote creatively. And it might not be terrible.

Oh wait! I do have a resolution! I'm going to quit getting sick. Whatever it takes. Which means I first need to get well since I feel like someone is sitting on my chest. I've been climbing out of this virus for almost two weeks now and I'm over it. Well, I will be any day now. And then world, you better watch out! Who knows, once I can breath without dissolving into hacking spasmsodically, (okay I can't spell that word) then I might even exercise. But no promises.

A Sincere Letter

Dear LiveJournal,

I feel as if we're growing apart. And I know a lot of it is me, but a relationship does take two. I don't think I'm the only one that has noticed this distance growing. More of our friends are wandering away every day, never to be seen here again. Some have accepted facebook as their new home. Some just have gone their merry way. It's hard to say who's really to blame. Has society changed and left you behind? Was Society ever really ready for you? I suspect not. You weren't ahead of your time, you are a disparate pocket outside of time that made sense when the world was not yet connected to the web. But it has. And you are .... well. Let's be frank, you keep making it difficult for some to love you. You throw up thorns when someone gets too close and at the same time you let anyone in. Some of these new "friends" of yours are riddled with disease and mutter nothing but jibberish and obscene platitudes!

I know, I already told you, I know I'm somewhat to blame. I've quit visiting you as often. I haven't left my calling card at your door. It wouldn't help if I told you that in this regard it isn't you. I've become distant from all my friends. Not returning emails for no reason other than "eh, I'll do it later." Yet this illusive later rarely arrives. You are not the only one I've left feeling bereft in the cold.

But I worry. I worry about our relationship. I worry about the wider world. I worry where we'll be in another year. But we've seen it through 2013 surely we can do one more. I'm not ready to give up.

I thought it was just a phase when you told me you'd started seeing that Russian. I thought it was cute when you started learning the language. But then you moved to that country so far overseas and we can't deny it, there have been changes. Luckily! I believe change is good! For without growth, without change, what is the point of living? You are allowed to change. Just don't let Russia change you. Change for yourself.

With this burgeoning year upon us, let us both make a resolution. Let us resolve to do better! Not just for ourselves, but for all. Let us resolve to care about those around us and let us resolve to be all that we truly can be. Let us resolve to not give up and I will be here if you want me. I worry about us but I won't let those fears control me.

With love and all my hopes and dreams for another year,
Axsister


Also, if you leave me, where else will I go?

Sep. 22nd, 2013

cats
obviously I should follow that post up with talking about this new cat.

his name is socks.


(I have some better pictures, this is just the best one already uploaded)

We got him in the very beginning of the new year. Our neighbor Kay (Cay?) approached Jake before Christmas and asked if we'd be willing to take another cat. When he asked me I said, uh, not right now. We were about to leave for five or six days for Christmas and there was no way in Hades that I was about to introduce a new feline to the household and then disappear. That way lies insanity. And then we got back from our trip and he said to me, "how about now?" and I said uh, no not until we get two more litter boxes and clean up everything. I got the litter boxes, cleaned up my clothes, and said screw it to the rest of the stuff on the floor and let him go get the cat. January sixth maybe is when I gave in.

I don't love him.

And he's not the smartest cat.

But the poor guy. In a way, it's not his fault that Penelope was the best cat. She wasn't the friendliest, but she was a person and pretty smart. He showed up at the neighbors after probably being hit by a car. And she did advertise for a few weeks trying to find his people.  He obviously used to live in a townhouse, he knows that when people park in front of the house they belong to this house, and there are a few other small clues like that. But he's dumb, really. Even though he's made a lot of progress in in the last nine and a half months. I wonder if no one's just ever spoken to  him before and treated him like a cognizant entity. Int hat case even though we have no idea how old he is there might be a chance. But really, I think he's just smart enough to be trained and not much smarter. Food is a powerful motivator.

He doesn't have a tail, and that doesn't feel natural. He showed up totally banged up in his posterior region.  Our neighbor thinks he was hit by a car. That's all healed now, and his coat his thick and most of the anxiety he showed up with has eased. He's almost accepted us as his people.

And he sure does love me.

But I don't love him.

I say this as he's sitting in my lap and is obviously totally attached to me.  He follows me around the house. He's excited when I get home. He follows me to bed. Sure in part I suspect I'm the most exciting person in the house. I get home and there's a chance we're going to go outside or who knows what. I move around and things happen.

Also though, I think it's mostly that he was never treated as a person. We've only semi recently gotten him comfortable with sitting with us on the couch. And he obviously misses having people. Everything I suspect about his past is sad.

But that doesn't make me love him.

Tomatoes tomatoes and sweet potatoes

this is me
we bought ALL the tomatoes at the farmer's market.

Okay, not all, but enough.

I made some tomato bacon jam, tomato soup, and tomato sauce this weekend. Also I made some sweet potato cupcakes this weekend. That's in addition to other foodstuffs. Like a roasted chicken, and then the requisite follow up of chicken broth. The weather gets a little bit cooler and it triggers that instinct (probably honed by a few thousand years of genetic selective determination regarding stocking up for the winter) to cool ALL THE THINGS.

So I want to cook all the things. And so it has begun. Let autumn ring!

And it sure will smell good doing it.