Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My First Vlog (Show N Tell)


(Click to see embedded video)

I sure make some weird faces...

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Childhood Memories of Trees and Cats

When I was a kid, I didn't relate well with people. The entities that made the most sense to me were trees and cats.

Seriously.

Even though my oldest brother had allergies, my parents let me keep a string of stray cats, one inevitably replacing the one before it that had either 1) run away or 2) died tragically, propelling me into a sobbing fit that could last for hours and hours...

Technically the cats weren't supposed to spend time inside, but I could usually sneak them in for a nap on my bed in the afternoon when my mom was similarly napping. They would purr and sleep and I would soak them up with my eyes, hands and ears. The sound of a cat purring was so powerful to me. I found it soothing in a way nothing else was - except maybe really awesome music played by a symphony (cuz, remember, I was raised on classical and religious music ONLY [except for the music in whatever "approved" movies were available]). Anyway, I'd just stand there (because I had top bunk), watching this cat purr and dream and it made my life seem totally bearable.

I also spent a lot of time following my cats outside, watching them hunt (though I never liked watching them kill), play and walk around the world as if it was made just for them. I developed a lot of cat-like qualities of observation (with eyes and ears), which is one reason people have found me 'introverted': I'd rather listen & observe than talk. It's more interesting and you learn more that way, and I have always been in love with learning.

It's also from cats that I learned it's often best just turn and walk away from a situation that isn't serving you rather than be on the attack. You keep your dignity (or try to) and save your strength for something that really demands it.

And then trees!

Oh, trees :)

I love them so much. My parents house has two gigantic oaks in the backyard, behind which stood a lovely little woods, and in the front yard there was a crab apple tree and a gumball tree. Trees impressed me so much because the turning leaves were always an awesome show, and the crab apple tree had gorgeous blooms in the spring.

Plus, you could climb all over most of them (and I did), hanging onto them and just letting the wind rock you around, listening to the forest sounds below. I also like the shape of trees and the way their bare branches look like some weird wooden weaving. I liked watching them shake around in the awesome thunderstorms, and how a gentle wind could make the leaves whisper to me.

Beyond that, trees astounded me with the sheer amount of energy they used, moving the sap and nutrients around in their bark. I used to hold them, close my eyes and imagine the inside of the tree like a pillar of light, the center flowing up and down in a regular, controlled cycle, and I'd want so badly to be a tree, because my energy was all over the place. I was so constantly frightened and twisted up inside that to be a tree would, I thought, bring me absolute balance within myself, though I didn't really have words for what I wanted at the time.

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On Running Away from Femininity
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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cat House at the Friends of Parkville Animal Shelter


I went with my lovely friend Rose to her regular volunteer shift Monday at the Friends of Parkville Animal Shelter. She volunteers in the Cat House where it was mostly older cats who will probably live there life at the no-kill shelter, since people normally want to adopt kittens. And, randomly enough, there were three kittens there that day as a mama and her babies had just been found starving in the woods.

They were all so cute and cuddly but sooo skinny! Especially the poor mama cat.

We went up to the second story to the rooms Rose is in charge of cleaning. The smaller rooms had grilles on the doors so that cats could look out into the hallway.

The cats were overjoyed to see Rose and they were extremely friendly with me too. It boggled my mind that such loving, sweet cats would probably never get adopted. How could anyone resist their charms? After we petted and cleaned, it was feeding time.


Then we moved to the room with the FIV kitties. We let them all out to play for a while, but before we did, the ones in their cages were being ridiculously adorable about wanting to get petted. One of them, Raven especially amused me:


(Click to see embedded video)

They were equally ridiculous about being let out, especially Duchess who decided to try and catch the ceiling fan:


(Click to see embedded video)

Rose with the FIV kitties

We did the same in this room: loved, cleaned and fed the kittehs and then we popped into some of the other rooms to see (and pet) all the other sweeties that live in the Cat House.

With a few rare exceptions they were all incredibly loving, and some even tried to grab your hand back to keep you petting them.
So precious!

Learn more about Friends of Parkville Animal Shelter on their website.

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Cat Wrastlin'
Wordless Wednesday: Laser Eye Cats

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Monday, March 22, 2010

All You Need Is Love


If I had any doubt in my mind that Matt and I are perfect for one another (and I didn't), then this time of "trials and tribulations" we're going through now would have definitely erased them.

I am amazed and grateful for how gracefully we're going through this together. We help calm each other's fears, we're talking and being affectionate even more than ever before - even dancing around all silly for one another to make us laugh - and we're so wrapped up in love that even with all this annoying, stressful-as-hell shit going down that we seem unassailable.

Never before have I been in a relationship that going through tough times made me and my partner closer. It's always led to crankiness, lashing out, and drawing away from one another.

So it's crazy-awesome that he and I spend so much time making out like teenagers, being affectionate and generally full of squishy-gooey love stuff.

It's such a blessing and a relief to be with someone I feel totally suited for, instead of trying to "make things work" with someone who has no interest in my inner self or who is too self-involved to see anything beyond their own nose. What a dope I was putting so much energy and effort into relationships that clearly weren't what I wanted or needed.

Like I always believed it to would, real love makes everything easier, better, brighter.

Even being broke and jobless.

Related posts:
Missing Matt
The Perks of Being a Domme
On the Death of Polaroids (And My Love Life)

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Friday, March 19, 2010

A Lady Made That (Rap)

Saw this on Bitch Magazine, and it cracked me up. Basic plot: a women's studies prof turns to rapping in a bid to get her (three) students interested in women's history.


(Click to see embedded video)

My favorite parts are:

  • The one students essay about Sandra Day O'Connor, but especially: "That's not my DNA, pussays!"
  • "Can you teach me everything you know in a super quick montage?"
  • That windshield wiper dance. Awesome.
  • "Damn, a lady made YOU."

Meanwhile, I find this to be totally unrepresentative of the women's history classes I took. They were chock full of ladies. That's one reason I enjoyed them so much... nothing but ladies everywhere I looked. It was pretty hawt.


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Jackie Ormes: The First African-American Woman Cartoonist
First Female Designed Mosque in Instanbul

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day


Top O' the Morning, folks.

To all my fellow Irish-Americans, Happy St. Patrick's Day!

And to all you non Irish-Americans, Happy St. Patrick's Day!

... even to you douches that think that drinking on a day in March somehow makes you partially Irish.

My people were treated like slaves when they immigrated here. They toiled and suffered so that we could all have an excuse for public drunkenness. So the least you can do is not pretend to be invested in my culture, mkay?


I'll be watching the parade from around 38th and Broadway and probably tweeting it if you're interested (or even if you're not!).

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Sleep Troubles


One of the reasons I've been so brain dead lately is I haven't been sleeping well. I'm worried my insomnia is coming back as it tends to in times of stress.

I had insomnia for two years (19-21 y/o) during which time if I was able to sleep at all during the night, it was for three hours and no longer.

Now, I'm only able to sleep well for three hours. The rest of the night is spent tossing and turning and falling into bits of weird dreams and then waking up from them and being totally uncomfortable, until about 5 or so I generally wake completely up, but I'm so incoherent from not sleeping well that I can only lie about in bed, trying to force myself back to sleep.

It's rough.

I don't know about you, but without many hours of good sleep every night, I am a pretty low-functioning person.

Every day now around 4:30 PM I am completely ready for bed. I can force myself to stay awake until 8:30 or 9 and sometimes later, but normally at that point I'm so exhausted that I drop into the three hours of restful sleep I'll actually get... then wake up at 11:30 or midnight to begin the long hours of restless weird dream sequence sleep. By 5:30 AM, I've lost the ability to even partially sleep and my mind is 100% awake though my body feels even more tired and achey than it did when I went to bed, which sometimes makes me cry with frustration.

The last time this problem raised its head was when I was in graduate school with no friends in the area, a husband who'd made it clear he wasn't in love with me or even very interested in me, working on my final project and freaking out about employment post-grad school. Since I knew myself well enough to know I wasn't going to be able to function without sleep, I went ahead and started taking sleeping pills. OTC ones and half a pill was enough to let me sleep a full night, so that worked out pretty well.

But now, sleeping pills don't seem like an option, because I'm avoiding all non-necessary purchases since I have much bigger things to put my $ towards, since the rent's still not paid [tho our landlords were nice enough to waive our late fee this month, so that's an extra $70 or so I don't have to worry about] and I have 3 student loans [and a credit card bill] to pay unless *fingers crossed* my deferment paperwork goes through before the due dates, which are zooming up really quickly. Oh, and you know, I also like to eat as well. Groceries don't buy themselves!

Really hoping that unemployment money comes through sooner rather than later already.

I have to say, I hate thinking about numbers and budgets. It is very unpleasant physically. It's like poking my brain with a sharp stick. I'm not kidding. It literally hurts. I miss being employed largely for how little I had to worry about paying my bills and therefore how little I had to deal with freaking numbers.

Because otherwise, not having to do anything except what I choose to do, would be an absolute treat.

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Monday, March 8, 2010

I wrote a blog...

post for today and then I decided it was crap. So, srsly, I've got nothing for you.

Sad, isn't it?

I'm busy spending all my mental energy on trying to figure out how to get a job I will actually enjoy doing.

Sorry!

I'll try to be more interesting on Wednesday.

Friday, March 5, 2010

What's The Matter with Kansas? Movie Premier

Since January I've been on the board of the Greater KC Women's Political Caucus, which encourages and supports women to take part in politics as voters and as candidates. I think this is very important work and I'm glad to be a part of it.

So I wanted to let you know about an upcoming event we're having:

If you can't read the bottom part there, it says to purchase tickets in advance at www.gkcwpc.org or by calling 816-531-9595.

Follow this link for more about What's the Matter with Kansas? and we hope to see you next Friday!

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Reading for the Winter Doldrums

For me, there's nothing like a good book to help me get through the winter doldrums. Here are the books I've been reading lately to transport me out of my freaking apartment and help alleviate cabin fever.

The Monsters of Templeton
by Lauren Groff


I can barely believe this is Groff's first novel. It is impeccable and so much fun! Home from college because of an affair with her professor, Willie now on the hunt to find out who is her father after her mother finally admits to it being one of the men in their small New England town. The narrative switches from past to present and comes through the voices of many characters, most of whom are part of the town founding family that Willie to. Woven throughout the story of the people who live or lived in Templeton is the story of the monster in their lake that, at the beginning of the novel, is found floating dead in the water. All about family secrets, town secrets and the way they all eventually come out, Monsters of Templeton was a book that I was barely able to put down.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon


This book is one of those books about books that can either be awesome or irritatingly self-referential. This one was the former. It reminded me of Italo Calivino's If On a Winter's Night a Traveler if that had a more modernist story telling style instead of being fragmented and postmodern. The Shadow of the Wind is about a boy who is given a book to guard by his father. His book is by an author whose books have been systematically burnt by an unknown person. His guardianship of the book leads our hero to falling in love, investigating his author's life, and becoming helplessly entangled in the affairs that led to the book burnings and that now threaten his own book. Part mystery, part love story and part love letter to literature, this was more fun to read than I think I can convey by just telling about the story.

The Concubine's Daughter by Pai Kit Fai

I love books about how generations affect one another over the years like Concubine's Daughter did. It is the story of three women, a grandmother, mother and her daughter and how each one's life went towards making her daughter's life better. The story is of two women coming of age at different times and with different, if similar, challenges as poor, self-educated girls who are struggling to be themselves in a culture that wants to use them and discard them. It is also two love stories, with the mother and the daughter both falling in love with European "barbarians" who also refuse to accept the Chinese cultural institutions as law. Through their journals, the grandmother and mother look after their daughters, sharing their wisdom and strength of character. And it's just a damn well told story.


The Crow Road
by Ian Banks


Set in Scotland, this story is about a whiny college guy named Prentice who learns that his life's not so bad and to just grow up and deal with it already. Death has a central theme throughout; the novel begins with his grandmother's funeral and other deaths occur throughout. I felt like this book was really a mystery disguised as a coming-of-age novel, as Prentice as family secret that proves both his aunt and his uncle were murdered by another member of his large and wealthy family. While most of the story is told from the POV of Prentice, it also flashes back to the past to show his father's and uncles' interactions that later become significant in unraveling the mysterious murders. There's also lots about partying, unrequited love and the problems of getting along with one's family. This book was pretty much just endlessly surprising and a lot of fun as well.

You read anything good lately?

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Monday, March 1, 2010

FML

Well, folks, I'm finally back. Turns out my cold was bronchitis, which I've never had before and I hope I never have again. That shit sucked ass. I couldn't walk the length of the apartment without getting exhausted and I coughed so hard I felt like my lungs were just going to pop. Luckily for me I had some friends who were able to give me meds, because I have zero money for a doctor... or, you know, anything.

PLUS it put me out of comission for two weeks that I really needed to be able to go out and get online somewhere (no internet at home, you see) because I need to 1) apply for unemployment (which was [and maybe is, idk I need to check my email] being held up by my ex-HR director not sending me the info I need in order to file], 2) I was waiting to hear back from a place where I interviewed (which Matt eventually checked on for me and found out I didn't get the job), and, you know, 3) I need to find a damn job.

So here we are the first of the month, not able to pay our rent, hoping my Uncle will front us the cash, plus I can't add minutes to my cell phone so how'm I going to get calls from prospective employers? I'm still somewhat ill and Matt can't work because he hurt his foot last week and then had to walk home on it from the PLaza (to Westport). He's got to get his mom to take him to the doctor so he can have a doctor's excuse not to work his two jobs or else he'll be fired from them both.

Awesome, right?

Anyway, I'm back, but distracted, so forgive me if the blog suffers because of it.