Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Blinking into December

I can't believe that today is the last day of November!  Time does really fly by more and more as I get older.  It is disconcerting sometimes how quickly and easily I lose track of the days and the time.

Looking back on the year so far, I feel pretty good about it in many ways. I think I have done some things and developed some habits that really have helped me relax and enjoy life a little more. There are other things I haven't done (like getting a regular reading practice again) that I hope to accomplish in 2012, or at least start.

I'm already thinking about the new year - no resolutions, just thoughts for the year and goals I want to accomplish.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

NaBloPoMo Prompt #25: Gift Giving

NaBloPoMo Prompt:  Do you like to buy presents ahead of time or right when you need to give them?

One year, I decided that I wanted to be done with Christmas shopping early and I started shopping in September - I would just buy things as I saw them for people.  I wanted to buy things people would really, really like.  As the time went on, I kept finding other things. Then I started to question if the first or second or third things were the right things. Ultimately, I ended up spending about 3 times more money than I wanted to because I kept on buying stuff right up until Christmas Eve.  Instead of being smart and spacing the gifts out, I gave them all and it was actually a little embarrassing.  The gigantic pile of gifts really seemed crazy. I loved giving people the gifts but it sort of reset the expectations to quantity when really my goal was quality.

After that experience, I decided that I could start in early December but that was about as good as it gets. If I see something really special, I can buy that, but for the most part, I wait.

As for birthdays and whatnot, I usually wait until close to the event - these days, if you buy something ahead of time that you know someone wants, they usually have purchased it by the time the gift-giving holiday rolls around.  I usually email myself ideas when I see them and then try to check before the holiday to see if they already have the item or not.

Monday, November 28, 2011

NaBloPoMo Prompt #24: Alone time

From NaBloPoMo November Prompts:  Do you enjoy being alone? Would you rather be around other people?

I know that many people would describe me as an extrovert - I like people, I like talking to people, social time is a good thing - necessary.  At the same time, it takes a lot of energy for me to do that - emotionally. It always has.

For me, I like a balance - alone time is time to recharge my batteries, to let the masks down. It would be disingenuous to say that I don't have my social masks up most of the time - I think most people DO.  For me, I have to have some amount of time that I'm not trying top please others or to figure out what I need to do if I want to please others.  I'm getting better about that, but it is still something I have to work against.

I love listening to music and playing solitaire on the computer when I need to relax. I usually end up in cathartic tears - no reason - the music just moves me.  I also love to read although I don't do as much as I used to.  Being on the computer so much takes its toll and I sometimes just don't have the brain cells or eyes to sit and read for too long.  I know that I just have to start reading more and it will grow itself. I guess that's on my list of things to do again for 2012.  I will keep at it until I succeed.

Right now, for me, I think the answer to this question is that I like to be alone.  I know that later that may change, but for now, that seems like the right answer.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Back Into the Fray

Well, back to work I go tomorrow. I feel pretty rested at this point, but I would love another day off to ENJOY and maybe go and do something. Today, I had some rating to do for a job and that took up a big chunk of the afternoon. I should have gone to the movies or something, but I didn't.

Just changing the routine from the day-to-day is a pleasure on the weekends. Not having to wake to an alarm, even when I wake up almost as early, sometimes earlier.  Not having to hurry to get ready and leave the house for the better part of the day is good, too.

Tomorrow, I have to go to Michael's to pick up Gesso.  I know I haven't been posting much art journaling here, but I have been prepping a new journal.  I found a journal project I really liked using a composition notebook and I have been working on getting that ready.  I had to make the pages thicker - two pages glued together and then something glued on to thicken it up.  I used National Geographic pages. Now, gesso (my first venture with gesso) so that I can move forward. I'm very excited about this journal - really different than anything I have done before. I will post pictures.

I'm also going to try this little trick...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Happy Birthday, Roby Starns!

Today, Roby would have been 45! years old. I'm not sure he ever imagined himself at this age.  These photos are some of the ways I remember him.
Happy Birthday, Roby.  I love and miss you.

Aloha High School, 1984-85

June 1989 at the Civic Auditorium (now Keller) for my college graduation

Roby at Seaside, 1990

Friday, November 25, 2011

No "Black Friday" Shopping This Year

I'm happy to say that I didn't participate in "Black Friday" shopping this year.  I have only done so about twice in my life - the past two years - and the gifts I purchased were for a children's party for Deaf children in the local area.

I'm not morally opposed to shopping, per se.  More than anything, for me personally, I don't need/get a rush from a good deal or from standing in line waiting to buy things or from the crush of people (or their guns or pepper spray this year). I'm hoping to buy more from local folks, artists/writers I know, etc. In addition, I prefer gifts that fit the person.  I don't need someone to give me some big, extravagant thing to show their regard for me. I would rather have something that is meaningful.

So, I spent a quiet day at home. A little shopping on the internet for items I would have purchased anyway.  Nice to have the option to stay home and nice to be able to take it.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

WWRT? (What Would Roby Think?)

I came home from Thanksgiving tonight and turned on the television only to realize that I had not taped the "Very Gaga Thanksgiving" special.  I'm a little disappointed, but I watched the very end of it.  As I was watching, I wondered what Roby would think (WWRT) of her?  I think he would have LOVED HER!!

I often get choked up watching Kurt and his father on Glee for the Same reason - I wish the show had been on when Roby was still alive.  He was so tortured by his relationship with his father. I would love to see him watch a good relationship between a gay young man and his father. Not only for the relationship, but for the knowledge that something like that can be on television now. I'm not sure we would have believed it in the 1980s.

Just something I was thinking about on this Thanksgiving night.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Doubt and Self-Care

So I have been struggling with the blog - I've lost direction. I started out with a really personal journey and then some of that changed. Then I veered into some group participation, I took a telecourse and a writing course, I've been art journaling, learning photography.  All of this has been present here, along with some opinions, so silly posts, some videos, and some "life reporting" that gets boring - even for me.

There is so much in my head and so much that I want to do and say and then when I sit down to say it, I'm not always there at that moment.  It is frustrating.

So I have signed up for a class that I'm pretty excited about - it starts in January.  I feel like I lost my voice somewhere for this blog and I really want to find it. I am so proud of having been here for such a long time, for committing to regular posting - even when it isn't very inspired.  That commitment really means something to me and now I want to take it to the next level.  I don't plan on being a famous blogger or anything - I just want to be clear about what I'm doing here and what stories I want to tell - what I want to focus on.  I haven't been very focused and I need some help in that area.

So, look for some changes in the future - who knows where this will lead me.

This is the class I will be taking:

I'm stoked to take this class!  For more info, click here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Headache Free Day 1

Well, I woke up this morning headache free, so that was really a relief. 5 days of headache is too much.  I have had times today when it threatened to come back, but I think the fact that I don't have the detergent smell on me anywhere is making the difference.

The NaBloPoMo prompt from yesterday asks about our passion projects and whether we are working on ours.  I am not.  I did not carve out enough time and energy for my passions this year, for the most part. I haven't been working in my art journal and I think that I have been pushing it aside for time, but the real issue is perfectionism. I hate that. I have to conquer it and I'm working on it.  I really love just the process and I refuse to let my worries and perfectionism stop me from doing it.  Just have to dive back in.

Monday, November 21, 2011

"Mountain Fresh" - Not

So, my headache is still is from my laundry detergent. It doesn't SMELL bad, just chemical-y and persistent. I can smell it all day long.  My head is throbbing and I can't really concentrate on anything.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Headaches and Peeves

Headaches:  I have had a raging headache for several days - tension, I think. It is from the top of my head down through my neck  and shoulders and to the middle of my back.  I am feeling better now than I have since...maybe Thursday. Ibuprofen helps some, relaxing helps some, eating some protein at regular intervals seems to take it down a notch. I'm a bigger baby about headaches now that I don't really have them that often. It is hard to get things done when your head is pounding so hard.

Peeves: Superior attitudes about things that don't have a superior/inferior relationship.

Case in point:  Morning people versus night people.  Isn't it a good thing that everyone is different?  If everyone was the same, there would be at least 50% of the population who would be even more unhappy than they already are- having to function at times of day when they don't function well. I don't understand why the time of day you prefer to get up or to work or to read the paper matters in the least. Frankly, I don't care what time people choose to get up. Does it make you happy? Does it work in your world? If yes, GREAT!  If no, can you change it? There isn't more or less value - it is just different.

This issue has always bothered me, so I know it is a pet peeve of mine.  Honestly, I don't consider sleeping until 8 a.m. a crime or a triumph.  And I don't consider getting up at 4:30a.m. saintly or evil.  I remember my father getting up to go to work super early when I was about 5 or 6 years old. He had to be at work at 4:30a.m. when he was teaching in the Air Force. He hated it. Hated coming home and eating dinner and having to go to bed so early. I remember when he didn't have to do that anymore EVERYBODY was happier, if you know what I mean.  :)

I have always been a night owl - since I was really young.  I can get up early, can get up early for long stretches of time. Left to my natural rhythms, I would go to sleep late and get up around 9 a.m. or so. Most important to me now is getting enough sleep, but it doesn't really matter when it happens.  I find that I often wake up early on the weekends - I think it is something mental related to getting all I can out of the weekend.  Getting up early those days helps keep the schedule during the week, though. When I used to sleep later on the weekends, I often had trouble getting to sleep during the week.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

NaBloPoMo Prompt 18: Happiest Moment

What has been the happiest moment of your life thus far?

I don't know if it is just me - I find all these kinds of questions really difficult to answer. Is it because I feel the pressure of trying to come up with something or is it that I just don't remember?  I have had many happy days and many happy things have happened to me. The happiest moment?  I have no idea. I guess they all blend together after a while.

Some of the top choices would be:
  • Seeing "Les Miserables" the first time
  • Interpreting "Les Miserables" the first time
  • Interpreting on Broadway (I did one scene in "Miss Saigon" with my "Interpreting for the Theatre" workshop group)
  • Visiting NYC the first time (and every time after that)
  • some of the parties with Amy and Todd and the gang
  • time at the beach with Roby
  • BookFests with Kevin
I'm sure there are things I'm forgetting, but honestly, I just don't know what I would call "the happiest moment of my life so far".  I guess that means I have had lots of happy moments...

Friday, November 18, 2011

NaBloPoMo Prompt 16: Leaving Childhood

What is the moment that you leave childhood and enter adulthood? (Guest Post by Catherine Gildiner, author of After the Falls)

This is an interesting question.  I think that when we are lucky, we may enter adulthood in a positive way and continue to maintain a part of childhood that sustains us and keeps us young-at-heart.  I guess that is a little bit too whoo whoo. The truth is that many of us enter adulthood when a something jolts us out of our innocence.  For others, it is a slow, gradual process.

For me, I think the thing that defined my entrance into adulthood was when Roby found out he had HIV.  That was sort of a defining moment in my life in so many ways - it was the first time we had to really face our mortality, the first time I didn't believe my life would work out the way I'd always thought it would. It was the first time I gave up on dreams I had had since my early childhood.

At the same time, the jolt into adulthood allowed me to understand and value the moments I could still access my childhood, my child-mind, my enjoyment of simple joys. Knowing that it can all be taken away at any moment helps accentuate the appreciation of those things.

I don't know if this makes any sense at all. It has been a long week and I'm tired, so maybe that's just where my brain is today.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Crazy Target Lady, Part II

Some of you may have read my post about the Crazy Target Lady from last year...

She's back. I saw her last night and again tonight.  I think it is interesting that they are only showing ads featuring her in late night ads, like those party line phones where you can "chat" with "singles in your area". I guess they realized that the crazed shopper was scaring little kids and they only trot her out after everyone has gone to bed.  So far, she has been on the same channel, as well. Maybe the other networks are boycotting her.

Anyway, viewer beware!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wednesday Gratitude

I have been feeling like I'm not showing my gratitude for my life lately. I think I have been tired and so that shows in my writing, in my attitude, in everything I do (or don't do).

I am grateful for lots of things and I wanted to list some of them here to remind myself to see those blessings for what they are instead of wanting things to be different or better.

I'm grateful for (in no particular order and not limited to):

  • love of family
  • love of friends
  • a good job
  • rewarding work to do
  • musical theatre
  • Glee
  • my happy yellow car
  • BTVS
  • books and Bookfest
  • so many other things...I have a good life.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Dawn's In Trouble, It Must Be Tuesday

That line, the heading of this post, is from one of my favorite episodes of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer".  Have I said lately how much I love that show?  I've probably seen every episode at least 10 times, but I still see and hear new things every time I go through the series.  I would love to take one of those classes where they analyze the episodes for archetypes and mythical themes.  If people watched the show, they would each find aspects of their own personality in all the characters.  Love it!

The only bad thing is that I have seen all the episodes. I finished Season 7 a couple of weeks ago, so I will probably wait a while to watch it again.  I just thought of that quote and since today is Tuesday, I just decided to go with it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Chaos Everywhere

I watched the Occupy Portland situation yesterday until I couldn't stand to listen to the media anymore.  I find most of this stuff just makes me crazy - I want to know what's going on, but I don't want to have to listen to the people who are telling the story.

I keep telling people that my feet are fossilizing as the smart phone/tablet/4G/App world continues its march across our lives and our souls. I'm not opposed to technology, but I know it has limitations.  Once the shine is off the new toys, people will start to come back to what is real and lasting - human connections.

I never would have expected to see the world in such a crazy state of chaos. I guess it is cyclical and this is our time to see things through to the next world.  Hopefully, we have all learned a lot about where we don't want to go and maybe we can make some good things happen.  I certainly hope so.

**Sorry for the vagueness of this post - my brain didn't really land on anything specific today, so you just get to see my brain right before it is time to go to bed. :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

NaBloPoMo Prompt #10: My Passion

From NaBloPoMo Prompts:  What is your secret (or not-so-secret) passion? (Guest Post by Jean Kwok, author of Girl in Translation)

I have a couple of passions - I don't always indulge in them, but they are there, certainly.

Passion #1:  Musical theatre - in whatever form. I love musical theatre - live, on film, on DVD, documentary, the whole show, the CDs, everything about it. It makes my heart beat faster and it makes me sit on the edge of my seat.  I remember seeing "Les Miserables" in the Broadway theatre in NYC and I literally thought I would just die right there, a happy woman.

Passion #2:  reading.  I miss losing myself in a book. I'm not sure what happened or why I'm not in a space where I'm reading much. I think it definitely impacts me - reading has always been a place for me to escape and to use my imagination. I guess I have just been tired and I haven't made the time to read. I need to do that. Reading Renaissance again. Maybe third time's a charm?

I think both of these are my long-term passions - they have been with me for years and years.  I have other passions, but some of them are quite new - mostly, art journaling.  I could probably name a bunch, but I think these things are the ones that are most impactful and keep me sane.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Art Journal Catch Up

Here are some photos of art journal pages that I have done in the last couple of weeks:

Friday, November 11, 2011

NaBloPoMo Post #9: Different House?

When was the first time that you realized that your home was not like other people’s homes? (Guest Post by Catherine Gildiner, author of After the Falls)

When I was 12 years old, my family moved from Panama City, Florida to Portland. We moved into an older, but big, nice house.  In Florida, everything was cheaper - we lived in a military area and the economy there was depressed.  The house my parents bought was double the price they had sold our 3 year old house for in Florida.  Once I started making some friends, I had them come over and I would go over to their house.

One friend lived quite a distance from us, so she would ride the bus home with me and then my mom would drive her home. One time, her mother said she would pick her up on her way home.  When she arrived, she rang the bell and I let her in.  The kitchen was right by the front entry way and I introduced her to my mother while her daughter was getting her coat.

My friend's mother looked around in the entry and the kitchen area and said to my mother, "Well, it's not bad, but I would never live in a USED home."  Even at the age of 12, I knew that this woman had just ripped on my mother, my father and everything about us.  My mother smiled and was very friendly and welcoming. Luckily, they left pretty quickly.  I never invited the daughter to my house again.

My mother still remembers that comment and the woman who made it.  Even though she never said it, I think it cut her to the bone.  I always regretted having that woman come to our house.

I don't know if this is what the prompt was looking for, but when I read the question, this was the story that came to mind.

**I have skipped some prompts that don't resonate for me right now - I may go back to them, I may not.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Treating the Soul - "West Side Story"

As I wrote yesterday, I went to see "West Side Story" for the 50th anniversary of the film.  I have a DVD copy of the movie and I could have just watched it at home, but there is something about the way a movie on the big screen engulfs you and how sitting in a darkened room with other people who share your love of a movie can enrich the experience.

As I watched the film, I was immediately jetted back to the first time I saw the movie. I was 14 and I watched it in the library after school with a couple of friends as a supplemental experience to go with reading "Romeo and Juliet" in my English class.  We watched the movie over the course of about 3-4 days.  I remember bawling at the end - one of my friends sat in amazement.  "It's just a movie..." he said.

For me, there is just something magic and timeless about "West Side Story".  The beautiful music, clever lyrics, the dancing, the actors, the voices.  The issues are all still there, if a bit more rough around the edges now.

The other reason I went, aside from this being one of my favorite movies, EVER, is that I want to support FathomEvents in putting out these kind of events.  They have been responsible for putting "Rent", "Les Miserables", "Phantom of the Opera" and now "West Side Story" in the theatre.  It is such a great opportunity for folks to access theatre with their families and not break the bank.  I know if my family had brought me to this kind of event (if they had been available), it would have meant the world to me.  I have seen kids at these performances and it makes me so happy to see families accessing these wonderful events.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"West Side Story" Almost Cures What Ails Me

I went to the 50th Anniversary of the release of "West Side Story" on film.  It was worth a late night and hurrying out of work when I felt like I needed to to stay to finish some stuff up.

I had a crap-a-licious day and then I got to watch one of my ALL-TIME favorite movies. It almost makes it all better except that it is still going to be there tomorrow. But I will feel better, so that's a good thing.

I would like to institute mandatory "Musical Theatre Breaks" at work. I don't think anyone else would enjoy it as much as I would, but since it will never happen, I like to think about it. It makes me smile.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Link Love Long Overdue

I haven’t done a Link Love post in a long time (if ever). I think I link to people when I write a post about them, but I thought I would just do a list of some of my current favorite blogs.  I still visit my friends on other blogs, but these are the ones I visit regularly: - 3 Friends, 3 States, Sharing one photo every day of 2011 - mixed media artist and teacher – lots of art journaling ideas and classes - I’m in LOVE with her style – lots of color and words mixed with tons of great ideas - art journal and other ideas - just hysterical. Sick, but hysterical! - her art started me down the art journaling path - doodler extraordinaire

Monday, November 7, 2011

NaBloPoMo Prompt #4: Pen or Computer?

When you are writing, do you prefer to use a pen or a computer?

I prefer to use a pen when I’m writing, but my wrists don’t really like it much. My hands will start to hurt after a while.  I think there is just something much more kinesthetic about writing by hand and with a pen. Pens have a certain feel to them that I love – a smooth gel pen traveling down the page is the best thing.  Again, since I haven’t really sat down to write anything creative or of substance, I haven’t really done any work with a pen unless it was in my art journal.

I’m still thinking about writing a play and that would definitely be easier to write on a computer with a playwriting program instead of writing it out and then trying to format it back into something.  I don’t know why a play has been on my mind…it just feels like that is where my mind wants to go. I don’t know if it will ever come to fruition, but I want to try.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

NaBloPoMo Prompt #3: Music and Writing

Can you listen to music and write? What song did you hear today?

Sometimes I will put the Glee Jukebox in while I am working on the blog or when I am working on some other writing project. I think once I am concentrating, I kind of block it out.  Some days I can listen to music and write or anything else and some days I just need some silence.

Honestly, I haven’t sat down to a serious writing session in so long, I don’t know if I could really write something of substance with music playing. Maybe with something instrumental or something, but I think lyrics probably distract me. 

The song I heard today that is still running through my head is “Turning Tables” sung on Glee by Gwenyth Paltrow.  I haven’t heard the Adele version in a while – I think I will have to look it up.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

NaBloPoMo Prompt #2: Last Meal

If you knew that whatever you ate next would be your last meal, what would you want it to be?

I think this is such a weird question. Every time I read it/hear it, it just strikes me as being weird.  What is the last thing I want to eat in my life?  I don’t know.  I haven’t really thought about it that much. I think I would have to say either macaroni and tomato sauce (family recipe) or my mother’s stew.  Maybe some massaman curry or Indian food from Matali East in NYC. When I closed my eyes and thought about what flavor I would like to be my last, those two things flashed in my mind.

Honestly, I don’t think my mind would be on eating if I were going to die in the next few hours.  I would want to go to the beach with my family and friends and spend the day there, near the water, listening to the waves.  I’m sure we would eat, but everything tastes better when you’ve spent the day at the beach.

Friday, November 4, 2011

NaBloPoMo Prompt #1: On Writing

What is your favourite part about writing?

I miss writing the way I did when I was young. I was fearless. What happens that makes us feel so self-conscious as we get older?  I used to write every day – notes, poems, journal stuff, newspaper articles, letters to people – something every day. That is what makes a writer – writing. 

These days, I can’t really call what I am doing here as “writing” in the craft sense.  I think the blog has days when there is something worth reading from a craft sense, but those days are few and far between.  I need to get back to the writing all the time part – my words are a little rusty and dusty and I need to oil them and clean them up and take them out of the attic in order to get better and to enjoy it more.

I guess, from that perspective, my “favorite part” is doing it – that I am committed to documenting something regularly.  I aspire to more craft and I need to commit to that part of it – crafting words rather than spitting them out.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

There's no place like H...

ZzzzZzzZzzZzz.  I slept on both planes most of the way home today. Totally exhausted. Trip was productive. Needed more time, but glad to be home regardless.

Working from home tomorrow to shake off lingering stomach issues from travel and foreign water.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NaNoJouMo Day 2: Just Breathe

Just Breathe seems to be the story of my life this week. I think it is good - I haven't been paying enough attention to that kind of thing and I really do need to be more attentive.  I know that when I get all whacked out like this, part of the reason is that I haven't really been doing anything outside of work to help me keep my perspective.

I'm working on my journal in the hotel even though I should be going to bed. Pictures when I'm back home.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaNoJouMo - "Prepping for the Holidays"

I did work on my journal here in Tampa, but I didn't work on anything holiday related.  I only have my blackberry camera and no way to upload the photos (I don't think). I will have to add them in later.

P.S. Today is 11/1/11...weird.

Tuesday Time Zones

Well, I had a hard time getting up today - time zones and all. I basically got up at 3:30am PST...I didn't sleep well as the neighbors were having a little too good of a time. Eventually, I just turned on the television to drown the noise out. I'm tired tonight, but I'm sure tomorrow it will hit me.  Today, I just lost language a few times - I couldn't understand when one of the participants was signing to me - it was just like I had never seen ASL before but I know it was just lack of sleep.

I am doing a separate post for NaNoJouMo (National Non-stop Journaling Month) with one of the blogs I read.  Click here for the first day's prompt.


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