Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I was taught as a child, that because I was a girl, some things were not OK. It wasn't OK for me to want to be president. Or a pastor. Or Superman. I think the only reason it was OK for me to aspire to be a physician was that my aunt was already in medical school. It was not OK for me to prefer pants to dresses, or to be so rowdy, or to prefer blue to any other color. It wasn't OK for me to ask for a model car for my birthday.

Also, it wasn't OK for me to decide who I liked and to show any kind of interest in them. That was for boys. Girls were supposed to sit by on the periphery and pretend they hadn't even noticed the boy or man until he asked her out. Girls like me, who wanted a choice in the matter, who looked over the selection critically and found a favorite, were not only wildly inappropriate, they were certain to find the shame, disaster and ridicule they'd courted so brazenly. I didn't listen, and they were usually right. I said nothing at all when there was a girl who had caught my eye. Nothing. I'd never heard of gay women, only the faintest hints about gay men, and absolutely nothing about bisexuals. Such people did not exist at all in our world, so that on the occasions when I was attracted to girls or women, I was confused and had no idea what was going on except that it should probably be kept secret. Boys were appealing too, so it was easy enough to chase them instead. Yes, chase. I was the fastest girl, and often the fastest runner, period. Even in my co-ed freshman gym class (all of one month of high school), I was third when the coach ran us through our paces, close behind the two boys ahead. Smallest, but fastest....so when I played tag, of course I chased the boys and tagged them. I was such a shameless little hussy.....

They're still right, aren't they? If I could only conceal the way I feel, hide it away, pretend it's not there, until the other person said something first, then I'd be safe. It isn't ladylike for a girl or woman to show interest first. I haven't learned how to follow these rules. What I have learned, very well, is to be afraid when I realize that there's someone I have feelings for. I was absolutely terrified when I realized what was happening. I tried as hard as I could to hide it. I tried to be careful. And finally I just couldn't take it anymore; the fear was eating me alive. I could feel it, that horrible feeling you get just before someone turns to walk away, just before the door closes, that dread, that apprehension. And even as I ran, faster, to slam the door first, just to get it over with, to not be afraid of it any longer, before you could pull it closed quietly, unobtrusively, as the terror and the pain screamed within me, I knew that it was my fault, only my fault, because I had not waited for permission before I fell for you.

Why are there things that never lose their ability to cause pain? If there is a poison that inflicts itself upon anyone unendingly, I've never heard of it. Venom- it either kills you outright or wears off. But not this.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Working on another ink drawing, a tulip. I somehow managed to give the thing seven petals instead of six. I know that tulips, like all members of liliaceae, have three petals and three sepals. It was an honest mistake in being able to count. Still, I am ashamed. :-( Not ashamed enough to toss it, however.
Day is starting to go badly. Not sure why.

Anyway, I was going to address the dissociation thing again, because I haven't kissed anyone for nearly two years. These things are related, because I realized that I am unable to dissociate while kissing whereas dissociation has been pretty much the norm during sex. Thought about this for awhile. Maybe I can't dissociate while kissing because the mouth is part of one's face and head area. Which could explain why I have a tendency to avoid it. Not being able to escape while being kissed badly and feeling utterly violated and slobbered on is a real problem. And if it's not sloppy but still not something I'm into, it's still disagreeable. For me, kissing is a whole lot more intimate than sex.

I wish that I could have a positive experience in this area. I had a dream once; there was only kissing, no sex at all. Somehow it was a lot more erotic than any other dream I'd had. But like the song goes, that was just a dream. Like everything else. All of it, everything nice. Only the nightmares have been real.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

So, it's been a week since I came back from NPYM Annual Session. I came back feeling great, right up until I went to my therapist the next afternoon. She's been sharp with me before and I didn't dump her, so I don't know if going to Yearly gave me the perspective to do this or if it was simply the last straw. I cannot undergo trauma therapy with someone I don't trust and feel safe with, and she's been doing less trauma therapy and more of other stuff anyway. I am no longer angry, but am done. I don't need to be broken up and upset for two or three days when I was in a perfectly good frame of mind going in.

And the trauma therapy? I don't know. Writing, whether in type or on paper, helps, as does art. Here is the thing though: there is a very good chance I won't be in another relationship, not because of the trauma issues but because I am no longer willing to settle. Also frankly, the way things are right now, I don't trust myself anymore, don't trust my own perceptions. The mere idea of opening myself up like that, of being vulnerable to yet another person fills my chest with panic, makes my breath feel scarce, makes me feel like hiding and running away. How relevant is trauma and dissociation in certain situations or settings in this case? Perhaps the time and energy would be better spent in other directions. In any case, the topic of sexual trauma was hardly approached with this therapist after the initial intake.

Not a very happy topic; sorry for that. I am doing well enough despite the tone of this post.

My inner snob.....

I was raised a snob. I've struggled with it since childhood, but it still comes out in ways that don't even occur to me until later.

Dairy goats: was it enough to get any old crossbreeds with decent milk production and a nice personalities? Oh hell, no. No, they had to be classy, elegant looking creatures with sculpted heads, long bone structure, from historic bloodlines, registered with pedigrees studded with stars and "GCH" (grand champion)in every direction. Little faults like front feet that turned outwards a bit drove me crazy every time I looked at them, even if the udders were perfect. Coarse heads, same thing- those goats were sold even if they produced well.

Chickens: Has it ever occurred to me to get simple production birds? Nope. They have to be rare breeds with an interesting past, even if they are less productive, such as Dorkings. Dorkings are a good dual purpose bird, make no mistake, but they cost more, are much harder to find, and quit laying eggs in early summer so as to hatch and raise their eggs instead (I actually like that idea). Chanteclers have a less illustrious history and pedigree, but they also are a rare breed. It has not even occurred to me to get just any old kind of chicken, except possibly to learn on as a prelude to getting the rare breeds....

Vegetables: same sort of thing as above, except that flavor accompanies the rareness and aesthetics. I do not grow hybrids. Hybrids, in my mind, are for those other gardeners, the ones who don't know any better. :-/

Shoes: Not any old work boots, the $500 Whites. OK, so Whites boots last a lot longer and can be rebuilt, resoled and are more comfortable...they're an investment. Even if I buy shoes at a thrift store, there are only certain brands. Sneakers have to be Asics or New Balance. Hiking shoes, usually Merrels. Other shoes must be leather, not that awful vinyl stuff that pretends to be leather. Slogs garden shoes are acceptable (generally not in public though), those horrible Crocs (the name alone! Ugh!!) are not. It is OK by me if my Asics are a bit grubby, if the Whites have manure dried between the treads, that my favorite leather shoes have a hole in the sole (patched), etc. The important thing is that they are not the Walmart brand and that they are not made of plastic. All things considered, it's a bit silly, but since I generally get them at the same price as the others.....

Clothes: my clothing algorithm is more complicated and involves both brand, natural fibers (except for a narrow range such as certain sorts of sportwear), color (as a rule, no bright colors except for tie dyed clothing and even then, not TOO bright), texture, etc.

Home furnishings: nothing cutesy and again, natural materials and items are preferred. Never something like this (why do people feel the need to breed animals which look like they ran into a brick wall and nearly expelled their eyeballs as a result?), a piece of driftwood or a nice seashell would be better.

It doesn't end. You don't even want to know about the food pickiness. Generally, things which are artificial or which are made to mimic something else (things such as hand carved duck decoys would be an exception) are taboo. I don't know why I'm like this. The awful thing is, I also don't want to change it even though it seems pretty silly when written down like this. You see, no matter how far we travel from our roots, a part of them always remains.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

I love this. It brings back memories of the time I lived in a traditional Navajo hogan and herded sheep like these and Angora (Navajo Angoras, actually, which are different from regular Angoras). The lady who owned them was matriarch of her family and did not speak English, but we communicated via her granddaughter. She showed me the basics of spinning wool the Navajo way and lent me a spindle, so as to have something to do while the animals grazed on the mesa.
A disgusting thought: practical use of urine. According to the Solviva book, when diluted 1:10 with water, it is an excellent fertilizer. Yeah, I know....yuck. However, it is a waste of nitrogen to flush it (as well as becoming a pollutant) and I am sick of my boys peeing next to every tree and building in sight- that's gross. If I can set aside a bucket, then dilute it and use it on fruit trees, this would be preferable to the alternatives. I am not fond of the idea of using it on vegetables....at least, not any vegetable that would come into direct contact with it, such as leaf or root crops. Flowers (watered at ground level, not on foliage or blooms!) or fruiting crops such as squash, pumpkins or corn would be OK.

As for humanure? No, absolutely not. Urine is sterile, shit isn't.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Tomorrow...I want to make ghee

Made a lot of progress on my Sepp Holzer style raised bed this evening. I did not dig down a full meter as he suggests, but I did get down at least 2 feet, possibly farther. Filled the resulting deep trench with logs, brush, rotten wood, wood scraps, etc, threw a little of the subsoil (I tried to keep the types of soil separate as I dug) in, and some bracken ferns that I cut down from the "island" in the center of our driveway (it is the kind that loops back onto itself so you never have to back out) because I cannot tell if a stranger is at our place until I am pulled right in, and I don't like that, so I cut them down for full visibility. The scythe I have now is a slightly different shape and type than the one I used to use, but surprisingly, it's about the same technique and feel. Anyway. Piled all this stuff in the hole. Had to go look for more. Saw that some animal, presumably a predator type, had been getting into my bags of wool skirting which are literally full of crap, so put most of the bag they'd tried to haul away onto the pile as well (good nitrogen source), added more soil, rotted straw, dead plant material, more ferns....then a blanket of sod, turned grass side down, and put most of the rest of the soil that is not topsoil onto it so that all the wood and brush is covered up. I wasn't ready to plant it tonight, so did not finish the bed, as it should be planted right away after being finished so the good topsoil doesn't erode. I would like to put manure on it, too if I can locate some.

I am uneasy about the number of people who seem to have been dropping by our place while I am gone. I don't have much to steal. Mostly, I am afraid of a male attacker, a human, as opposed to any animal. The idea that such a person might come by and notice that a single woman with kids lives there makes me uneasy. What if he sensed prey and came back? I am not particularly large or physically able to defend myself. And then it occurred to me: are there external, visual cues that this is the case? The furnishings, etc are not noticeably feminine. My rubber barn boots could be men's, my Carharrtt jacket and work boots, as well. They would belong to a smallish man.... My bedspread is just a wool utility quilt, not anything girly. The books in the windowsill are also gender neutral. As long as my feminine shoes are tucked under the bed and there are no thongs left laying on the floor or that sort of thing, the tools and projects outside could just as easily be interpreted as "single dad with kids" or even better, "couple with kids". I say better, because even if people see me driving in or out of there once or twice, they cannot be certain that I am single and alone. The truck, also, parked visibly at the end of the drive, looks like a guy's rig more than a girl's. And of course, there are the dogs. Having a very large dog who looks like he is part German Shepherd (which he is) is also helpful. He is sweet and gentle, but I would not risk taking on a dog that size if he belonged to someone else.

Beater truck is gone! Goodbye, hardware cloth..... I can only surmise that the owners had car trouble and needed to come back for it. Or, perhaps someone needed to walk for gas or something. Relieved it's gone and hope not to see it again.

Just went to the art show at Ponderay Gardens. There's some nice work there, but speaking frankly, none of it spoke to me. I did make a contact with a woman who is wanting to start a figure drawing/painting class. Probably I would only get two or three sessions, but still, it's worthwhile.

Picked berries today, made money on that and inroads towards internship possibilities, if that is still a direction I would like to go. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Someone left an old beater truck parked near the entrance to my driveway. It wasn't there last night, so it must have been deposited during the night or early this morning. I have no idea what to do with it. Sell it for scrap? Look the owner up? Call the police? At any rate, I suppose it is no longer a good idea to go outside early in the morning in a state of undress.....one of the luxuries of living surrounded by thick undergrowth and forest.

Re: the rocks in the area I've been digging, they are more than one kind of rock and only a thin layer deep, under a humus layer. Between this and the buckets of sand nearby, clearly this was the place where aggregate was piled for mixing concrete. There is a piece of hardware cloth in the back of the beater truck (to give you an idea, it's in much worse shape than my own truck) so I could screen the topsoil/rock mix to isolate the rocks for use in the driveway. I'd been really wanting a piece of hardware cloth..... On the other hand, do I need to pour any concrete? Maybe for the chicken coop or a  greenhouse?

Anyway...I need to find a way to pay for my classes, line up car pooling, and move a big wooden table to closer to the house so I can start working with clay again and have work ready to fire when class starts.

The garlic should be done soon. I have found out that at these Quaker events (Quarterly, Yearly, etc), I can sell my work in the bookstore section. They apparently take no commission (which doesn't seem quite fair to me). Many of the Quaker women enjoy knitting whereas it doesn't seem like most of them are handspinners, thus there is a good market there for handspun yarn, as nearly all of them seem to like wool and nicer yarns...

And...the anxiety begins.....

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I seem to have lost my mechanical pencil. Maybe my daughter has it.....no. I want to write, to purge myself of the thoughts, feelings, negative input, etc that is causing me to feel physically ill. I have been trying really hard not to write those things here...and somehow, the act of physically writing seems more helpful and lasting than typing. I can't find it.....

So called normal people talk about their feelings all the time. They use feelings as the basis for their position in arguments or debates that should be taken on objectively. They use feelings as the reason for their religious beliefs. Everything seems to be about feelings, without much emphasis on thought or reason. But I don't understand this, because.....

They want me to change my feelings. How something so tangible, so clear, can be defined and written off as a feeling is another issue altogether. I am supposed to find my way to the fuse box of my heart and switch these feelings off. Then I am supposed to go to a similar place in my mind, lie to myself, say that their reality is the truth and that I am exactly as deluded as they say, and I am supposed to simply turn off the power to the tangled mess of questions, to the math problem from hell that never adds up, never can be solved. Oh, so easy! Just turn it all off!

Well, it's not that easy. I can't do it. And furthermore, I want to know how they can assign any sort of value at all to a feeling that is apparently that changeable and fickle in them. They can just turn it off??? Why on earth would anyone waste five bucks on a box of chocolates for a love like that, let alone the elaborate, theatrical weddings and all that crap? Why would they use a feeling so worthless as their reason to spend their life with another person? Yes, worthless. If love is something they can turn off and on that easily, their love has no value whatsoever.

Maybe they can't turn it off and on, but they think that I'm less human, that my feelings are less, that my love is dirty paper while theirs is porcelain. I think is probably the case, because they never allow me to use the same words for my feelings, as they can use for theirs. They smear the picture of how I feel with all sorts of colors and things that don't belong, they draw things in that aren't there. They look at my picture and cannot tell the difference between a rock and a turd, a flower and a piece of litter. And then they say that I paint ugly things.... Their sensibility is broken and dysfunctional. I cannot be helped by such people.

Started on my first Sepp Holzer style raised bed yesterday. Peeled sod up, got maybe half of the topsoil out and set aside before it was time to do the dishes and make dinner....lots of crushed looking rock- placed there a while ago? Natural? In any case, might be good to use it to fill in holes in the driveway rather than leaving it in the garden.

We need to get some chickens. I need them to utilize our leftovers and there is certainly enough pasture for them. Questions: who would feed them if we went to Quarterly or other week long events? Would they be OK for a week if the feeder and waterers were filled?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Aren't things fucked up badly enough already? Isn't my pain deep enough, pervasive and lasting enough, to suit them? Why? Why???
I am so tired of people using you to hurt me.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Cleaning up the property of the place where I'm at is going to take a long time. I keep finding stuff in places that just looked like grass, ferns or weeds. Deep cycle batteries, boxes of toys or what used to be nice winter boots...neatly stacked building materials....

There is a lot of firewood and logs cut for building projects, etc, which have gone rotten or started to. I am salvaging what I can for firewood. The rotting wood is going to be used for two Sepp Holzer style raised beds, in which I will plant the rubrifolia roses, the apple seedling, and fall planting veggies, including snap peas, spinach, etc. I am hoping to be able to f ind some rocks, to make another spiral herb garden. The herbs are unhappy about having been in pots and various containers for so long.

What is a Sepp Holzer style raised bed? Here are some links:
another link
I am beginning to think that I need a new therapist. I don't go there to come out of it hurt when I felt fine going in. I continue to be upset that things were discussed with her which I did not want to bring up, against my will and despite confidentiality rules, and worse, in a way which was probably not objective or fair to me. Had I been able to trust that the info would have been transmitted fairly, I would probably have allowed it. Being portrayed as......never mind....this hurts too much to go into thinking about again. The bottom line is that the therapeutic relationship was compromised and violated right off the bat and doesn't seem to be repairable.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

They are also including a section on harassment in the new Faith and Practice. I am glad for this. The interest group relating to the Marriage and Committed Relationships chapter was today and while it resolved a lot of the issues and frustrations I had (mostly because I was able to voice them!), I also realized how old fashioned I am, which was kind of a shock since I am non-theist and thought I was pretty liberal.

For example: One of the questions the Clearness Committee is encouraged to ask the aspiring couple is whether they are able to discuss their sexual expectations in a way which will ensure satisfaction for both parties.

> Because the Faith and Practice also recommends that people treat sex with respect and not just screw around aimlessly, I am wondering how in the heck a young couple is supposed to know the answer to this question. If they've already been intimate, then I would hope that they've either worked it out or are able to talk about it! Yeah, I know...a lot of couples who've been together for years have never discussed this. That's sad.

>Talking about sexual expectations with an outside party??? Eeeeeek!!!!! No thank you!!

> I don't care how much discussion goes on, how good their love life is or how much the couple loves one another...satisfaction is never guaranteed 100% of the time and to suggest that it should be does the couple a disservice. It would be more realistic to discuss how they will deal with it when expectations are not entirely met. Women who've just had babies often aren't in the mood for months afterwards and IMHO a good man will allow her at least a month to heal after giving birth before even asking... Men often have various issues that will only get worse if their partner is critical or insensitive. Sex is about a lot more than orgasms and there is much more to intimacy than sex. Or...one could turn it around and say that sex is about a lot more than intercourse. Either way....it would be better if a more realistic view were being promoted here. :-/

Some meetings dislike the use of the word "covenant"  in reference to marriage or solidifying a committed relationship. The objection seems to be that it sounds antiquated and has strongly religious overtones. There have been suggestions to replace the word "covenant" with commitment.

>"Commitment" instead of "covenant"? I can make a commitment to meet a friend for coffee! Commitments get broken all the time and vary considerably in strength of intent. If the idea is to aspire towards a lifelong togetherness, "covenant" conveys a degree of gravity that seems appropriate to the occasion. It might have religious overtones, but guess what: this is the Religious Society of Friends. In my mind, the word "covenant" is accompanied by visuals of stone set into the ground with moss growing on it. The idea is that a covenant is something that is supposed to stay. If the relationship isn't worthy of permanency then they should not get married.

What visuals accompany the word "commitment" in my mind? They vary from a handshake, to a paper chain, to a person putting their hand down firmly on a flat surface (maybe it's a desk?) to someone bravely taking a step forward, a step that has weight and significance.

There was not enough time in this interest group, considering the topic, but I was very grateful to have the opportunity to offer my thoughts on a number of issues (not all of which have been articulated here).

Friday, July 20, 2012

Apparently the reason that domestic violence isn't being addressed in the "Marriage and Committed Relationships" chapter is because there is going to be a new chapter on conflict which addresses domestic violence and abusive relationships in more depth. That makes me feel so much better!
There needs to be something more substantial in the North Pacific Yearly Meeting's (Quaker/Friends group I am a member of) Faith and Practice, regarding domestic violence and abusive relationships. I am not referring only to the standard husband abusing the wife scenario, but also children being abused by parents, any kind of domestic violence. I would even go so far as to apply this to pets and animals. Quakers are known for their stance on non-violence, particularly as it applies to war, slavery, civil rights, etc...it's time to bring it home.

We are currently revising the "Marriage and Committed Relationships" section of Faith and Practice.  There is only a single, solitary, weakly phrased sentence relating to abuse. In my opinion, this is inadequate. Discussion and input on this topic takes place tomorrow. I don't want any woman anywhere to feel unsupported or guilt tripped by her meeting when she leaves an abusive man. I don't want any children who are showing bruises and the flinch reaction to raised hands, to go ignored because "it is not our business and we don't want to interfere".

Because I am a Quaker, because of the way we do things, my voice actually matters on this subject and I can try to do something about it. Women are not expected to be weak, submissive little things who agree with whatever the men do. No. Quaker women have power and social standing in our community. They get things done and are movers and shakers. They get listened to. This is one of the things that I love about being a Friend....and so....towards that end....tomorrow. But the groundwork begins today.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The theme of this Annual Session is "Listening in Tongues". Just like the grace theme of the Women's conference, I was a bit turned off by the title, however the theme, as it turns out, is about communication across borders, differences, etc.

In other words, it couldn't have been more relevant. And as I was sitting in silence today, quieting my thoughts, reaching for that place of calm, it came to me: the things that truly matter transcend words. I chafe against that concrete wall. Does a broken bone resent the cast that closes it in? It might. I pound and curse that thick, cloudy glass to the point of exhaustion. Does that do me any good, or would my energies be better applied elsewhere?

Because........even though the wall exists, there are times when I lean against and feel a spot of warmth from the cold cement. The glass is dense, but you are there, on the other side. And now....I return to the silence.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Yearly! (properly known as Annual Session).

I am once more going through the initial social awkwardness piece of attending one of these meetings...but having seen many of the women at the Women's Conference only a month or so ago helps considerably. It has come to my attention, through no outside influence or input, that I have been swearing habitually. This is an ugly, unattractive habit and prevents me from articulating displeasure in ways which use a larger vocabulary. Anyway...I brought my chess set hoping to play (no particular opponent in mind). This is also a good opportunity to play my kids, as we will get some free time in fairly quiet settings without wild distractions.

Food is abundant, tempting and varied. For dinner: wild caught salmon (poor salmon!!), green beans (not cooked to death, yay!) and a handful of fresh cherries. My jeans have been getting loose...I have a feeling that this will no longer be a problem by the time I get back home. Found the missing pair of jeans by the way. Size 4, have grown loose since being packed. The thing about eating at these meetings and conferences is that not only are healthy options available and tempting, there is a lot of diversity. There are salad bars and all sorts of nice things that would be inconvenient to make at home. I would like to see carrot juice or some drink option that doesn't involve corn syrup or sugar....(hot tea? unsweetened iced tea?) however generally speaking though the options are quite good here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Looked at the ceramic fish some more. Some of them are clearly made from a mold of a real, live fish. While I admire the accuracy and lifelike effect achieved by this means, there's little to no artistic input on these. They are simply a painted or glazed mold of a real fish. I would not feel comfortable about using this method. The other fish vary, but none of them look quite like mine...so I guess there's no point in being bummed out about this.

On to the more stressful topics:

I feel like I'm being treated like a piece of merchandise with a short shelf life, as if I have to belong to someone, as if I have no inherent value except as a thing to be owned and...I don't know how to put it. I'm not a dog in an animal shelter that hasn't been picked up by its owner and now needs to be adopted by someone else! Just because I'm alone doesn't mean that there's a pressing need for me to hook up with other people. It's not like I'm going to be gassed or put to sleep due to being unattached.

I've been celibate for about a year now and I can't say that I regret this. I don't want casual, meaningless sex or to screw around with someone due to a sense of obligation or just because. Making love should be about bonding, expressing love, sharing so much more than one's body, there should be some kind of commitment to it. If it's not going to be like that, then I can take care of myself and forgo the performance anxiety, the risk, the drama, the comparisons and complications...and of course, the rejection and abandonment stuff. I am not this way due to a lack of options or interest from other people, but rather because I absolutely refuse to settle for anything other than a union which I can sink my entire soul into.

And no, telling me that my stubbornness is going to result in a life of solitude and perpetual unwantedness isn't going to alter my position. At all.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Someone else is making ceramic fish and his work is a LOT better than mine.Here is an example.

Looked again....actually there are a lot of ceramic fish on Etsy. My work is not original. :-/

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Working on another drawing. Ink. Fish. Pain.
This is absolutely gorgeous. Making good progress with the crocheted roses, going to try to find a more satisfactory leaf pattern.

As for the rest of it, I still hurt. When I was modeling, the teacher asked me to give them some poses with emotion. He suggested maybe a curled up/'fetal type. I don't really remember what I did then...but could definitely come up with some good ones now. :-/

I mean, everyone's a fool now and then, sure. But with me, it's beginning to seem like a way of life. I never stop feeling this way about you, never stop hurting (not for very long anyway), never stop missing you, or hoping, or wishing things weren't this way.
I hurt. I hurt so much that my stomach feels like I've been crocheting guts instead of yarn. No, I don't want to talk about it. I'm so tired of pain. I'm so tired of struggling to find a path through this that makes sense. It's dark, cold and thorny here and I hope that someday the sun will come up again, if I'm very, very patient....but there's no real reason to believe that it will.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bookbag contents (an exhaustive list):
  • New prescription for ADD. Hopefully this doesn't turn me into a screaming bitch, like Strattera did.
  • Dazzle Gradually. I am still reading this very interesting book.
  • Love in the Time of Cholera, because I liked the movie so well that I figured the book must be even better.
  • Sepp Holzer's Permaculture . I love this book. I don't agree with everything the guy does (using excavators and heavy machinery to build terraces and raised beds), but overall this is probably the most worthwhile book on farming I've come across yet. Here is an article by a guy who went to meet the author!
  • Amazing Crochet Lace. Must be the fifth or sixth time I've taken this book out from the library.
  • Encyclopedia of Crochet
  • My sketchbook
  • Crochet 200 Q&A. This is the book that has the rose pattern I am currently learning.
  • Mohair/wool blend yarn + crochet hook + a partially finished rose
  • Some dark gray merino wool yarn, fine and soft. I was thinking of making a shawl from the Crochet Lace book with this, but am concerned about dark gray + wool + crochet + shawl making me look old. It is the right weight to make socks from. I have a new goal of learning how to knit socks. Not anytime soon...the yarn should stay at home until then!
  • Eleven more bamboo crochet hooks other than the one being used for the rose...just in case I need them.
  • Six Liquid Stylist fine point pens in an array of colors. These are my favorite pens, whether for art or writing. They are very smooth with no drag, rich, full color, sensuous line.
  • nail clipper
  • deodorant? This should be in the bag for the health club....
  • Two Pigma pens. These are also very good art pens, waterproof when dry, can be used on fabric and will not ever run. They don't flow as nicely as the Liquid Stylist pens, though.
  • a cable to connect an MP3 player to the computer
  • mechanical pencil lead, 0.5 mm and the Technica-X mechanical pencil that uses them. Probably my favorite mechanical pencil, even though the eraser is so dinky as to cause a person to feel very insecure about making any mistakes at all.
  • Set of 4 Faber Castell Artist pens, in black. India ink, waterproof, smudgeproof, lightfast....they still don't feel as nice as the Liquid Stylist pens, even though there are 4 different tips ranging from very fine to brush.
Trying to figure out a new source of income...just a minute and I'll post what's in my book bag....

Friday, July 13, 2012

The BBC says that my BMI of 21 puts me in the average range of women my age in Bangladesh. Maybe this link will work? Not sure whether this is a good thing or not. I've definitely lost some muscle mass and should be eating more meat but with the move, etc, washing dishes has just been an extra chore so have been cooking only minimally. They have bison on sale at Super 1 though.....
Back at the health club...sitting poolside (back to limited hours now for me) while my son plays and makes friends. Starting on the Irish Crochet lace scarf shawl or whatever the heck it's going to be. Usually the technique is worked in fine cotton thread, but many contemporary fiber artists are using the technique with standard yarns. For my project, the roses, etc will be worked in a laceweight mohair-wool blend in a light brown the color of cinnamon toast while the background netting will be of baby mohair in a natural pale rosy beige. I don't have enough of either yarn to make anything much with, but the colors match, and they are both mohair....
Planted nearly all of the nightshade transplants (tomato, eggplant, a solitary pepper). They weren't doing so well in tiny little pots that dry out easily. I still have a lot of herbs to plant...everything from basil and marjoram to comfrey and mint.

Slowly getting unpacked and consolidating/categorizing stuff. The only things I can't find now are: a favorite pair of Calvin Klein jeans, darker than the others, size 3 or 4....a box of art and paintings (think I know where that is), official documents (eek!) and recipe box and own recipes (not replaceable, oh well).

Since my former coffee spot lost the employee who made forgoing wifi worthwhile, I've been even shorter than usual on funds and haven't found a suitable replacement. The place I'm at today used to be a frequent hangout, but the furnishings are all hard surfaced (feels inhospitable and sterile), cops come here a lot (haven't done anything wrong but they frighten me anyway), the wifi isn't always reliable (turns off without warning at times and the password changes constantly) and the employees haven't been entirely polite to me. The owners usually are, but they aren't here. Probably won't be back again. Common Knowledge has excellent coffee, but lots of loud, gossipy, excessively emotive female customers and very tempting, very healthy food that I wish I could afford.... Monarch Mountain is generally good, primarily because Brent, one of their employees, makes customers feel welcome and at home, as if you've been missed... also the coffee is reasonably good and enough friends, acquaintances and artsy connections hang out there to make it a nice place to be and run into people. Anyway...the health club awaits my little boy and I....

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Reading Dazzle Gradually: Reflections on the Nature of Nature. There are about 20 words that I either don't know or am not secure enough about that they've been written down on a card to look up in the dictionary. Boggle used to be enjoyable for the same reason- vocabulary expansion.

Various thoughts war quietly within me, in the background....

I don't know if I will see another summer. In reality, we never do. We think we do, but we don't. None of us can say with any certainty that we'll see another day. So I thought about: every day, choosing a star of the day's show, a thing that was precious and highlighted that day. Something that I might not see again, or not in the same way. For example, on the way back from Corbett, Oregon a few weeks ago (Women's Conference), we stopped to see a waterfall. Probably I should remember the falls, but instead the striking detail in my mind is of two deep, burnt orange centipedes which were mating, their curvy, multi-legged little bodies....they were beautiful. If I had drawn something from that day, it would be of those centipedes. From a day or two prior, it might have been Heracleum, or the espaliered apple trees, or the lacecap hydrangeas.... I am dreading the winter already...but see, if I try to look at each individual day and capture something worthwhile from it, maybe....oh, I don't know. :-/

I visited the community garden plot today. My, it was overgrown with weeds... Harvested a first picking of dill to dry, chamomile flowers to dry for tea, and removed scapes from the garlic (not sure how to utilize those yet) so that it will head up. Inadvertently pulled up one of the Killarney Red bulbs while weeding and it was close to the size found in stores. There are so many plants at home, and now that I've stored a lot of the stuff, there should be room to plant some of it. I wish I could say that these things have given me a sense of accomplishment.

What, what can I do that will get me through the winter....school? Ah- the ceramics class will get me through at least half of it- good. I would never have gotten through that spring without that class. And then what? What.... work? hobby? internship?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Visiting Quakers from out of state came to our meeting today; they are traveling around to small, isolated meetings. Visited, potluck, talked....very nice.

Sorry I whine so much... The truth is that there's an element of choice in the way I feel. I don't know how much is choice and how much is pulled from my gut, my being, my heart, against all reason. The flip side is that fighting it would only hurt anyway...still, the element of conscious decision is there. And since this is the case, whining and complaining is silly.

It's too easy to read. I could add more ink or color, but frankly, am afraid of messing it up. Next time the writing either needs to be covered up more, written in code, or otherwise obscured enough to provide interest without actually being legible. :-/

The first one that I did like this had entirely different subject matter both in writing (a rant against the narrowmindedness of hard core conservatives and how nature herself disproves them) and image Mariposa lilies. I know....Calchortus is more accurate, but I'm too lazy right now to look up the full name....The opacity of the colored pencil in that drawing effectively masked out enough of the content to make the writing into a background component with additional interest rather than the star of the show. My code has upwards of 50 characters, so is fairly secure...enough so that I sometimes have difficulty deciphering it. Or I could simply turn the paper and write in intersecting lines across the existing script and the draw over all that. This would also make for a more uniform background.

Anyone who knows me past surface deep knows that I'm absolutely stupid over you. Probably I should be ashamed. Sometimes I am. No one else has had this much power, never have I been humbled to this degree. I am only thankful that you aren't the sort to exploit or enjoy it. But perhaps someday, my heart will grow cold and distant again. Without pain, or light or color, no fear, because when you're untouchable, there's no danger. Maybe I could choose today, to become that person. But when you have a heart like a desert and you find an oasis in there, you don't burn it down or walk away from it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I still love this song....

I made finished a cool drawing today. Experimenting with layering. Typically the first, bottom layer is referred to as an under-drawing. It is sometimes considered to add charm or a sort of history or added depth, when it is retained in watercolor, oil, etc. In ceramics, we don't usually leave any kind of an "under-drawing". The texture of the canvas that the clay was rolled out on is carefully sponged off. No finger marks are retained. The goal seems to be to approximate a piece that looks like it could be industrially made! I don't like that. I try to leave many signs of humanity, of the presence of a maker, on my work. If people want something "perfect", they can go to Walmart or the dollar store.

Why can't I apply that same allowance for imperfection to myself? Why? I guess, because I am haunted and heartbroken by the repeated, relentless blow of not being good enough. Counselors have told me that I am good enough, but I don't believe them anymore, however I might try to smile and nod along with them (how sincere can she be if she's stifling a yawn as she says these things to me???). They're paid to make me feel better regardless of whether or not what they say is valid or true. It doesn't have to be true, I just have to be convinced of it and feel better....But when life continues to deliver an entirely different message, what can you do?

My favorite barista has quit working at my favorite coffee shop. When I was having a bad day, when I felt like I couldn't go on, when I wanted to die, when I wanted not to go to work with everything that was in me because I just didn't feel like I could take it...I would get a mocha from her. She would laugh and bubble over with mirth and good humor as she made my coffee and I'd leave smiling and starting to feel better already, even if the tears were still in my eyes. She always called it "happiness in a cup", and it really was. I swear nobody else in Sandpoint makes coffee that tastes better than hers did. I went there this morning and she doesn't work there anymore.

I have just been exposed to this Monkey Sphere Theory. I have a theory to add to theirs: that the "monkey sphere" of people on the autism spectrum might be smaller and deeper than that of a neurotypical person. I become inordinately attached to people, seemingly regardless of reciprocation or the degree to which I mean anything to them. In other words, I don't have to be in their monkey-sphere in order for them to be in my smaller one, where each and every person is absolutely precious and irreplaceable. That hurts. I try to protect myself against this sort of thing, but it's never any good.

This doesn't make sense though, because in addition to the immediate of circle of family, friends, etc that I'm attached to, I have a bad habit of developing emotional attachments (I don't mean in a romantic sense, although as we have seen, that's possible as well) to random people. I'm not good at communicating to people that they mean anything to me. I don't know. Maybe it's never going to make any sense.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Have no idea why I didn't look for books by Margulis instead of contenting myself with ones that occasionally mentioned her, but that error has now been rectified. How can I know if I have what it takes to get the biology degree, and what kind of job would I get with it even if I did? Could try taking the Anatomy and Physiology class. A&P is known to be a real ball breaker at NIC....a weed out class. Nevertheless, I've always wanted to take it. They have real human cadavers being dissected in there! Probably the class is filled already with prospective nursing students.
Woke up feeling well rested and happy! :-) Going to explore a few work options this week, even if it's just picking blueberries. I didn't want to make inquiries while feeling blue. First of all, I wouldn't make a good impression and secondly, I wasn't in condition to withstand rejection, which is part and parcel of job searching.

Also feeling ready to resume creative endeavors, so will consider whether it would be prudent to renew the Arts Alliance membership (Pros: connections to other artists, covered, safe environment for fragile work in progress, area dedicated to creativity away from any other distractions. Cons: $35 a year, limited access compared to working at home, toting clay and tools back and forth constantly). The pottery on display there for Artwalk hasn't sold yet as far as I know, but any visibility or publicity is good nonetheless.

Because it is late in the season, I'm not going to invest time in a huge garden this year, but will plant spinach, kale, greens and possibly beets, peas and maybe broccoli, as well as the transplants that I already have. The garlic which is in the community garden should be ready to harvest and braid soon. Most of it is crappy commercial softneck garlic, with the remainder being Killarney Red, a hardneck type which doesn't braid well but tastes so much better.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Regarding chicken, "free range" organic chicken that costs a fortune, in particular. I had to clean and prep these chickens for roasting when I worked at the health food store. I've had to clean, prep and roast standard whole chickens when I worked in the deli of the mainstream grocery store. I'm here to tell you that the two types of chickens are mostly the same thing. Not entirely, but mostly. Here's why:

They're both, in all likelihood, some variation of the same breed, White Cornish Rock. This breed has been overbred for fast growth and laying on massive amounts of meat. They grow so quickly that their bones can't hold up. The leg bones break and crumble beneath the weight of the chicken. It is very common when dressing or preparing these birds, to encounter broken drumsticks. They are extremely inactive- they just sit in front of the feeder and eat. In order to qualify as "free range", a bird doesn't actually have to log any sort of mileage. Nobody checks to make sure that they take a walk onto green grass. All "free range" means is that they have a little door open to an outside pen, even if that pen is tiny and has no grass at all. These birds are bred to be morbidly obese and very inactive, so they don't go walking around in grass, even if it were there, which it isn't. They eat organic, vegetarian feed and receive no antibiotics, and that's pretty much all it takes for them to qualify as organic, however far removed their life might be from what the consumer imagines when they're paying 2-3 times as much for it. You don't even want to know about "organic, free range" turkeys....

Here's what I think: the White Cornish Rock chicken is not a breed that should be allowed to be branded organic. This is a breed that is so overbred that it rarely lives over a year old. That's not humane and it certainly isn't sustainable. There are numerous other heritage breeds that are quite meaty that have been risking breed extinction thanks to the White Cornish Rock. There are breeds that can walk around and make a meaty carcass without collapsing under the weight of their own flesh. Part of being certified organic should be that the breed of chicken, vegetable or whatever is sustainable and healthy enough to make it without artificial growing conditions.

God it's hot. Feeling physically ill from the heat and bright sunshine. Hauling off garbage, taking care of various chores, slowly starting to make the new place more homey. Still, we have too much stuff, so getting rid of more and more of it.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Feeling kind of brain dead from the heat...

Things Jen doesn't like, in regard to living quarters:

  • Carpet. Carpet holds dirt, smells, stains, and no matter what you do it's still teeming with nastiness even when it looks clean. It is difficult to keep it looking good when children are around. Rugs which can be removed and shaken, washed, etc are preferable.
  • Drywall. Whose bright idea was it to cover walls with something fragile like drywall and then to paint it white, besides? Wood (real wood, not fake wood paneling) wainscoting looks so much better, holds up better, feels solid and dependable.
  • Lawns. A little bit of lawn is OK. By "a little", I mean enough to spread a picnic blanket on it and have a foot or so of grass leftover all around the blanket. More than that is ostentatious, wasteful of resources, boring, labor intensive, etc. Edible gardens, perennials, herb gardens, trees, native plants, rock gardens...there are so many other choices which look better and need less upkeep or give you much more in exchange for their upkeep.
  • Plastic anything. You know those plastic faucet handles that are supposed to look like cut glass? That's so tacky! Plain metal or porcelain knobs look better and are easier to clean.
  • Low ceilings, particularly if the room is small or has dark colored walls. Depressing.
Doing laundry. It's so hot.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Sorting through stuff, through fragments and detritus of my life. I held on to so much stuff that means so little to me now. If I'd kept only the things I really liked, maybe I'd still have more of those and less of what is essentially junk. Even the stuff I like means less and less to me. Nothing I own means more to me than the sight of your smile.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Trying to feel better... The thing about silence is that it's like a blank sheet of paper...or maybe like a blackboard. You fill it with what seems like it belongs there. One day it might be one thing, something else the next, who knows?

Found a bed frame for the mattress so it won't get rained on again now that it dried out. Just going to have to make room for it and maybe store stuff underneath. More sorting, tossing, donating, categorizing for the next few days......

After that I want to rig up some kind of canvas covered table like they had at the ceramics studio, plant the herbs and veggie plants and start rebuilding my life.


It just isn't a very good day. Got a lot done at the house, and then the muffler tried to fall off. Wait. This didn't start today, this started yesterday. Yes. It did...trying to remember or try to put a finger on why. Huh. Not able to articulate why that depressed me, it just did. I hate large public gatherings that highlight the broken places, the rooms within held empty and sacred and locked against anyone else. The awareness that I am a nameless thing: not a lover, not a friend, not an acquaintance, just a nothing with a presence overly large, overly present and obnoxious without ever meaning to be. The bitterness of being this thing hollows me out, renders me silent and desolate. There is no complaint I can make....and silence is the only gift I can give.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Huh...that sounded depressing. Good things:
  • The sun is shining! My virgin mattress (lol) got wet in the rain and will get a chance to dry out. Need to find a find a way to keep it dry and protected.
  • The kids are outside picking pie cherries on public land near the Farmer's Market.
  • Did I mention it isn't raining? That's so nice!
  • My son is going to visit my dad at the end of this month and will get to attend the annual Hill Family Canoe Trip. This is something that I could recreate here. I have a canoe. It needs major fiberglass work before it will float, but nevertheless, it is a canoe.
  • My son's dog is doing much better and all the kids are well and happy.
  • Now that I'm out of a job, there is time to catch up on all the appointments for my kids (example, dentist), so that when I get employment again, these will already be handled.
  • Yearly is coming up and my son and daughter will be coming with. I have found a housesitter to watch my place and the dogs.
  • And for no reason in particular, the thought of you makes me smile. :-)
It is the fourth of July. I have mixed feelings about Independence Day, partly because loud, crowded public festivities are a real turn off for me but also because it's so militantly nationalistic in tone. I love to watch the fireworks. I do not like to hear them, particularly the mortar shells. If I had my way, I'd hike up either trail that overlooks Lake Pend O'Reille with a sleeping bag and minimal food, water, etc, watch the show from a distance such that the sound was muted, sleep there, and come down in the morning. This would avoid being startled repeatedly by loud BOOMS and coping with seething masses of humans, traffic, commercialism and constant pleas to buy fireworks. Yeah, I know- I am such a stick in the mud.

When I was a kid, it wasn't like this. The Fourth meant that there would be a huge family get together, with aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, fresh corn on the cob, hamburgers, bratwurst, crudites, salads, watermelon, beer. There was always a lot of beer at these events, yet I don't remember anyone acting like an obnoxious drunk. They played frisbee and drinking games, card games, Scrabble, ping pong, just goofed around....it was fun. I miss my family at times like this.

I know, people will say that the ball's in my court, it's up to me to recreate and start such traditions here. But it isn't the same without extended family and without intending to offend anyone here, having a holiday with exes is probably beneficial for the children but is acutely awkward for me and makes me feel defensive.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

In pursuit of simplicity.....

We still have at least twice as much stuff as we need. Having just moved, it's even more difficult to locate the stuff we want to find. I have an idea: categorize everything first, and then go through each category and weed out the excess.

Priorities for the rest of this year:

  • Long term living quarters, which could entail making the place I am at more suitable for the long term.
  • Various appointments and loose ends, many involving the children.
  • College- coming up with a way to pay for the fall tuition as well as transportation for the ceramics class, which must be taken at the college, whereas many of the others can be done online.
  • Work, source of predictable income.
  • Art: one of my goals is to use up all the free clay that I got in...holy cow, that must have been the spring of 2010. That doesn't seem possible, but apparently it is. After the semester ended, I took home a lot of the clay that other students left behind. If I make a bunch of stuff and am able to transport it back to college in the fall, it can then be fired at no cost other than the tuition for the class. If I fire it at the Arts Alliance, it will cost a small fortune. I also want to continue working it the other mediums.
  • There are some financial obligations I'd like to take care of ASAP.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Sometimes I look at my life and it's so complicated, so messy, so interconnected and hard to coordinate and impossible seeming. I need to sit down and try to figure out ways to simplify things, make it easier to deal with, if it can be done at all.

I'm so tired just now...the very bright, glaring sun gives me headaches...but what I was trying to say and am not centered enough to say concisely, is that when it seems impossible, when I feel like it's too much, I think of you and feel stronger, more determined to keep trying to forge ahead through life.

It's like being lost at night in a forest with frightening sounds, stumbling over logs and stumps, getting bruised and scratched up from running into things, trying not to panic. It feels as though there are animal eyes in the darkness, but the flashlight battery has long gone too dim to see. So what you do is to feel for the path with your feet, and you sing to keep the fear away, to keep the animals away, to keep going. And for me, you are that song. You are the song that my heart sings so that hope does not flee entirely, so that I have the courage to continue.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Stuff is all moved out, place is almost clean. Kids are mopping it right now. After that, I want to start sorting the stuff we kept into categories and hopefully pare it down some more. My wonderful, new, virgin mattress is queen size and is too big to fit into the house and leave much room to do other stuff. So instead, I was given a twin mattress and put this onto the little twin frame that was in the house. This new mattress is the texture of a very firm loaf of bread....or perhaps a mostly dry kitchen sponge. I don't know if I've slept this poorly since being in the hospital, whose beds and policies seemed designed with a goal of sleep deprivation in mind.

A sidenote: they need to really rethink the way they're running places like that hospital, if their goal is to help people heal and get back into the daily routines of life. I know that enormous advances have been made, but....if a long term success rate is desired, there are improvements which could be made. If, however, having a very low recidivism rate is considered success, they may have attained that for other reasons. I can say that avoiding ever going to that place again has been a powerful motivator for me to do whatever I have to do. One's priorities change after experiencing something like that. Sometimes the cost of trying to do it all is too high, and cuts have to be made, goals have to be reassessed. I almost returned once....got there, talked to various people, and realized that I could take much better care of myself than they could, so I went back home and just rested, ate good food, slept, was nice to myself, for about a week. That worked, and I learned a lot from that.

So really...looking at the job I lost: the stress was present even when I was only going in to shop! I'd been experiencing anxiety for months....not the kind that I had as a cashier, when between the caffeine and the anxiety, there were all the signs of needing to go to the ER, only to feel stupid about it later on when I found that my heart was fine and I needed to cut the caffeine out already....I've had a number of similarly bad incidents since then, but not at work, thank goodness. Nevertheless, the chronic, mid-level anxiety was awful in its own right. Now it's gone. I need to find a way to live in which I can be functional and productive and really utilize the strengths instead of highlighting the weaknesses. There has to be a place somewhere, a niche somewhere.