raybear: (tattoo)
I was feeling a bit lazy, but just convinced myself to cook a real breakfast this morning by telling myself it wasn't really cooking, I was just heating things in a pan, namely leftover brown rice and salsa (with two eggs in the middle). Then layer them together in a bowl. Bless that past self, because this is the most delicious breakfast ever.

So, a couple months ago my (great-)Aunt Margaret passed away, my father had e-mailed me about it. I didn't respond at the time, it was around the holidays and I'd made that decision. He e-mailed me a week and a half ago, a few line 'checking-in' e-mail. I wrote him back on Wednesday and told him about my layoff. It was partly to feel out whether I want to contact them about my impending visit. He wrote me yesterday to say Uncle Dub (Aunt Margaret's husband) has died that morning. That is last of my childhood elders. I've been grieving in small bits their loss for 8 years because of their absence from my life, and now its almost a relief, I feel reflective of their presence and the memories imprinted at a young age. Thinking about Uncle Dub specifically, and Aunt Margaret, I'm even realizing how their marital dynamic has similarities to my own. Also, I found it remarkable as a young child that they were the first male-female couple I knew where the woman drove the car all the time. I was never explicitly told that men have to drive or that women can't, but who needs to be told that is a rule when every example around you verifies this observation? I know it is generally the standard way that all children's brains work, studying closely the behavior of people around for clues on how everything works, but I always felt very aware of myself doing it, and doing it for longer and more intensely than others around me.

Last night was an unexpected friend sleepover involving tuna melts, peanut m&m's and the original Friday the 13th movie. J-Hud has never seen it, and I saw part of it at a slumber party when I was 10 or so and didn't recall much of anything about it. We screamed several times. I feel totally compelled to rent the sequel. This was "research" for going to see the remake next weekend -- I'm looking at a midnight showing on Thursday.
raybear: (red)
My unofficial birthday weekend was quite lovely. On Friday, [livejournal.com profile] cocolola invited me to see a bad movie with her, which I jumped on. She treated me to candy, soda, and The Happening, which god help me, was really bad, but in that non-painful way where I totally enjoy myself the entire time. Its like Shyamalan has these good story ideas, and he has some technical prowess, but he lacks a good vision on the best way to implement it, they are so heavy-handed and obvious. I swear I'm probably going to end up seeing everything he makes though, they are entertaining failures to me.

After work, I met up with [livejournal.com profile] blondestallion and we headed up to Sidekicks for some karaoke-ing. It was a packed house already, with some birthday and work events, even before the singing started. I opened with Phil Collins "Don't Lose My Number" which I'd never done before and was feeling pretty good about it. So much so that when two songs later, someone from the birthday party was singing "On My Own" but they had not Michael Mcdonald on stage, so I went up to the front and when I started singing along, she waved me on stage. I can't even count the number of times (or people) I've sung "On My Own", but I'm not sure I'll ever get tired of it. We were instantly bff's. But then that bond was broken when my next song choice came on -- "Thong Song". I had a feeling that the crowd wouldn't be into it, they seemed way to sort of button-down and slightly conservative. Like, they went crazy for "I Will Survive", but they weren't so sure about my lascivious choice. Well, a couple people seemed excited, but they totally got shushed by their friends, so I kinda felt a bit like an ass up on stage singing a song that made people cranky. But I got over it and sang "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" with Chip's friend E, who has this aMAZing voice which was totally intimidating. Especially since she sang the Barbra part, which is normally what I do better anyway. But it was still fun. The wait between songs was long, I hung out with the darts players for awhile, I chatted with [livejournal.com profile] loosethread and [livejournal.com profile] femmepony, [livejournal.com profile] fuzzilla, other non-lj people, then finally I ended the night with Kenny Loggins "This Is It". [livejournal.com profile] blondestallion went out on "All Night Long" which was very well received by the crowd. We left, and it was way past our usual bedtime, but we ended up going to catch the end of Smoothtastic dance party, one of the parties to emerge from the yacht rock movement. I got home at 2:30 am and ate a slice of razzleberry pie (which I bought for myself on my birthday), along with chocolate ice cream before bed.

i suppose i should cut for neatness )
raybear: (scream)
I've been thinking lately about my own rhythms and patterns and circadian cycles, and introversion, and how its sometimes hard for me to know, wait, where am I? Much like I had to learn to identify sadness and grief and anger, to differentiate from 'depression', I'm in a similar process with longer cycles. I began thinking about things in terms of tides, because I am woowoo, I am a Cancer and we are moonchild ruled by water, etc. etc. Also, I just like imagery. I'm drawing the lines of what is "low tide" and what is "taken out to sea" with the latter being a more pronounced period of depression and the former just being a mood for a week or two. Rather than try to change my high and low tides (which is probably impossible), I'm trying to look at what works best for each one, and working with those strengths, while also looking to stay anchored so I'm not completely drawn out into the sea (or beached, which I suppose if I'm staying with the metaphor, that is supposed to be a more manic period, which doesn't really fit, though sometimes AFTER a manic period I feel kinda beached. anyway....). Periods of low tide seem to be marked with higher consumption of movies and reading and music.

This current low tide is also marked with achey recovering body, first with my swollen knee of a couple weeks ago, now with strained back. They are active injuries, i'm still functioning, partly since the position that actually causes the most discomfort is sitting, but the injuries have also disrupted my habits, and another thing I keep re-learning is that ongoing minor pain wears down my defenses much more than I give it credit for doing, often until its too late. Today I went for a massage, which both helped and inflamed another region of my back. She also asked me questions that made me fear I actually had a much more serious injury than I initially thought last fall, perhaps it is a herniated disc of some sort. It is a frustrating process of healing, most everything I've read about backs says a large percentage of injuries self-heal within 2 weeks, but then again, the percentages are equally as large that once an injury has happened, it will be re-injured again and again. Ah, getting older. There are mental pleasures and physical drawbacks, but must the latter start so soon?

So here are some highlights so far from this recent (current) low tide.

Before the Devil Knows Your Dead: an intensely emotional character-driven family drama combined with a heist gone wrong? Yes, please! I can't believe this movie flew under the radar for me last year, I never heard anyone I know talk about it. Its on DVD now. In addition to the movie as a whole, I also keep thinking about the irish toast that the title is based on: may you be in heaven a full half hour, before the devil knows your dead.

Fun House (memoir by Alison Bechdel). This book has been well-reviewed by most every periodical as well as every person I know who's read it. That's a lot of hype. Guess what? It lived up to it.

New Amerykah, Part One (by Erykah Badu). When I went to Miami a couple months ago, I picked up Giant Magazine and there was an article with Erykah Badu. I loved her first album (and second live album) then she kinda lost me. I don't hate her, but I do roll my eyes at her a lot. This article made me intrigued again, so when her new album came out I downloaded it. I listened to it nearly a dozen times, usually while washing dishes or puttering around. I liked it, but nothing stood out. But sometime last week, late at night I was home and lying on the ground with my feet in a chair (see above, re: back pain) and I listened to it all the way through. Again. And again. Something clicked and now I think it might be kinda brilliant. Then at the same time I read Rich at FourFour's entries: http://fourfour.typepad.com/fourfour/2008/05/yes-siree.html

Note: there seems to be some controversy in the blogs about her line "so I salute you Farrakhan, yes, because you are me" in one song, and this annoyed me because 1) how come when a white guy says "I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die" we don't denounce him and his album for being murderous, but also, 2) if you listen to that line in context, it doesn't really seem like to me she's holding him up as an example of perfection, but actually more of an example of imperfection, as we all are. But maybe I'm giving her too big of a pass, I will admit that's a possibility.

Last year I tried to get into Samuel Delaney, after reading a profile on him and having several people in my life who are big fans sing his praises. I found several of his books online, I tried to read Dhalgren, and I just couldn't get through it, I barely got into it at all. But yesterday I had this idea for a short story and the topic and structure seemed sort of...Delaneyesque, from the little I've been gleaning. So I decided to pick up Aye, and Gomorrah off my bookshelf and read a few short stories and maybe I could make it a sort of intentional writing exercise. I was wary at first, but I didn't need to be. I started the story "Star Pit" and I'm so engaged and compelled, I've been looking forward to my commutes this week.

__________

I went camping last weekend and completed a 15 mile bike ride through big hills (I did not know south central Wisconsin has such ravines!) -- 7+ miles each way from the campsite to House on the Rock. That deserves its own entry, really. I also had a spiritual experience while sitting shirtless in the sun on a swingset, listening to Jeff Buckley's "Corpus Christi" and St. Vincent's "Landmines".
raybear: (red)
There's a book meme that circulates about grabbing the book closest to you and turning to page 123 and typing the 5th sentence on the page. I don't normally do it because in the office with the computer, we don't really keep any books, except blank ones, or the thesaurus/dictionary/manual of style reference type. But today, I saw it on [livejournal.com profile] swampgirl's page, and I noticed I have Fernando Pessoa's The Book of Disquiet right next to me so I did it.

On page 123 it reads: "Any sunset is the sunset; one doesn't have to go to Constantinople to see it."

Hmmm. Maybe. I read the 6th sentence.

"The sensation of freedom that travel brings? I can have it by going from Lisbon to Benfica [a suburb], and have it more intensely than one who goes from Lisbon to China, because if the freedom isn't in me, then I won't have it no matter where I go."

Ok, I can get behind it, since he's not saying there's no point in travelling, he's saying there's no geographical cure for your inner lack of freedom. Also, there is something to be said for approaching your daily life with the same open eyes and wonder we apply when travelling to new places. I'm lacking some inner freedom right now, which is probably why I'm so fixated on this Miami trip this moment. Don't get me wrong, there are other pleasures and benefits and it will be great, but right now it has nothing to do with the trip itself, it has to do with my state of mind. One of the things I've been sort of parsing out since paying closer attention to my feelings and body and states of mind is separating out "sad" from depression, and for me, depression is extremely physical. There is the stage that sits in my chest, then there's the version that I have had for much of this week, which permeates my bones, which tingles all over my skin, and if I think about moving or doing something, it clenches up all over and I want nothing to do with leaving the house or anything really that doesn't involve lying on the couch in my office. Or possibly staring at the computer while compulsively playing scrabble or downloading music. If I had DVDs to watch, I'd probably be doing that. I don't even feel particularly sad the past few days. In fact, I've been downright clever, amused, hopeful. It is not my mood that is clouded with depression, it is my body. Last night at work I had it at 8:45 pm and for a moment panicked that I wouldn't be able to get myself home, that for a moment it seemed more appealing to just curl up under my desk and not leave, rather than be outside and sit on a train. I took a breath. I sort of intentionally forgot that I froze up and moved anyway and obviously made it home.

It is strange. So I do things like force myself to the gym (yesterday) or force myself to write (today) and sometimes I stare out the window and watch the snow and eat a pear. I also listen to the Yeasayer album All Hour Cymbals, and revel in its serendipity, with songs called "Sunrise", "Wait for the Summer", "Wintertime", and the final track "Red Cave". I'm in my red cave right now.
raybear: (sunglasses)
Guess who, in the excitement of a bright sunny day and the opportunity to wear my prescription sunglasses while running errands before work, left his regular glasses sitting on the kitchen table? I think all night I will be employing the strategy of Act Like Nothing is Wrong while sitting at my cubicle wearing blue aviators. Then keep a tally of who actually says something.

It has been a heavy day, a double-dose SAMe day, and strangely, this accidental dumbassery, rather than making me feel worse, makes me feel a bit better. Its hard to take things in life too seriously in the midst of such ridiculous mistakes, I can't maintain a littly black stormcloud over my head when I look like the kid in my userpic. Also, there is the part of me that likes wearing my sunglasses indoors, even at night, but I tend to do that at places like karaoke bars, not my job.

This is also the first day in awhile for me where I've had significant alone time. The holidays bring lots of people to town that I'm excited to see, like having Elevensies with [livejournal.com profile] limenal yesterday, which is all great, until after several days in a row of contact with people and I'm like, why am I so cranky? Oh yeah.

After a phone conversation with [livejournal.com profile] drinkasyoupour last night, this morning I looked into a specific writer's residency for later in the year, one near Chicago, and the application is due in less than 2 weeks. And my instinct was to hurry up and e-mail my references to write me a letter, which I did, but this is also good, because at another time my instinct would have been to say, oh never mind, I'll do it next time. Writing feels thick to me these days, I'm out of the habit, and today I opened up my manuscript for the first time since before xmas and squeezed out a page, but mostly I feel sort of unsure and sticky about where its going, about gathering up the forces to make it happen if I don't know where to direct them. I've also had two stories rejected by publications in the past two weeks. And while I don't feel particularly emotionally rejected, I just feel sort of bothered by now needing to resubmit them elsewhere. Waiting for responses from editors doesn't bother me nearly as much as researching new places to send them, I've learned of myself. One day at a time, one page at a time and all that.

Today I won free tickets to a show at Schuba's tomorrow -- Pixies tribute night with Bobby Bare Jr. -- and I get to hang out with [livejournal.com profile] vfc who's my plus-one. Maybe I'll wear my sunglasses all night tomorrow too.
raybear: (Default)
I opened up this Thing - the amorphous 'thing' that is frequently reference in nonspecific talks about brains and hearts and psychological histories - last week and have been taking things out one by one and it hasn't killed me yet, but I'm pretty tired of it now. It's probably no accident I went and got addicted to a video game (Bully, for those who are curious, and yes, I've been making him kiss the boys all day) because its an excellent way to pass the time while somewhat checking out, somewhat enjoying myself. That has been my schedule for the past two days -- get up in the morning, write about The Thing, feel like isht, play video games for several hours in a row, go to work. Today, I forgot to eat lunch. I didn't realize until I was about to leave the house in the mid-afternoon and it was too late. Previously this would have made me panic a little, as I'm hyper-maintenancey about the blood sugar thing, but it hasn't been a problem lately, I've been feeling like I'm eating too much, too often. I don't mean like, in a judgemental way of caloric intake, I mean just authentically physically feeling do not feel need to eat but I did it anyway and afterwards I felt overfull. And this is at mealtimes, after not haven eaten for several hours. I'm not sure what is up with my body right now, but I suppose I'll go with it. Because really, what else can you do? Perhaps it is another symptom SAMe? I am currently on day 8.

But dinner is being served here at work at 15 minutes and its just in time, I'm starting to actually have growly noises in my stomach. I haven't eaten since 8 am! But no headache, no sluggish. Maybe not even crankinees, but its hard to gauge that one today, as other emotions have been vying for my attention. I did manage to have a 20 minute nap/liedown before work and in the middle of it, I had this lovely wave of relaxation and near-delirium, mixed with immense compassion and love and forgiveness and acceptance and clarity that just washed over me. And everything was perfectly okay with the world. And me. I was perfect. It felt like I took some sort of drug. But I didn't. It was purely dream-induced. Which is nice because it's free and perhaps doesn't do as much wear and tear on the body, but bad because I can't just call someone up and get more of it.

May 2010

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