Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Randomness

I guess I haven't had much to write about here in the last week.

Which is different from what I was going to say at first, which is that I haven't been in a writing mood...but then I realized that I wrote a bit over at my book blog, and that I have a few other ideas for posts there. It's just this blog that where I'm not sure what to write.

Or rather, I have had a few ideas, but got stuck on writing them.

So...writers block?

But I want to write something, anything, for this blog, so I figure I may as well write something even if it's nonsense.

So...what to write?

I have discovered the joys of the Terminator movies. Which is what my last two posts have been about at my book blog. (Yeah, movies on a book blog.) I think I may have a new obsession. I watched the final movie today, and now I want to read the books.

I also finished reading The Dresden Files: Dead Beat by Jim Butcher today. I don't have any more of the series on hand...so I'll either have to either the next several books from my library, or wait until I see my boyfriend again. I'll probably wait until I see my boyfriend. He's been my supplier of them. Or maybe my dealer.

And just to complete the randomness here, a random photo.

Growing Sunflower by Anna Langova

Friday, February 22, 2013

How to come out as bi?

Let's pick up where yesterday's post left off, on how easy it is to be out of the closet as bisexual. In particular, I'll focus on how I myself am (or am not) out of the closet.

I consider myself out of the closet. Anyone who pays attention to my online activity knows my sexual orientation. I discuss it on this blog, and I'm definitely out on Facebook. (Though whether all my FB friends pay attention to me I don't know.) So that's pretty easy. But what about "in real life"?

Bi triangles

from commons.wikimedia.org
In real life is a bit trickier. Or maybe just awkward. I've told my family and boyfriend. And that's it. Well, and I confessed to The Belly Dancer that I once had a huge crush on her, which I guess qualifies as coming out to her as well. But it feels weird to bring it up with people I'm not close to.

I don't exactly want to randomly tell people I'm not super close to that "Hey, this is totally irrelevant to what we're doing, but I'm bisexual!" There was a guy who did that to another man (incidentally also LGB) I knew, and it came across as creepy. But maybe there's an un-creepy way to just randomly volunteer that info? If so, I'd love to hear.

Usually people guess a person's sexual orientation based on whether they're dating a man or a woman. But that doesn't work with bisexuals. When people hear I have a boyfriend they assume I'm straight. If I were with a woman they'd assume I'm a lesbian. And it would feel just plain awkward and weird to address this unspoken assumption.

Alternately, someone might judge a person's sexual orientation based on their dating history. But even this isn't a reliable indicator for a variety of reasons.

I guess we could wear the bi-pride colors to declare our sexual orientation...but that isn't as helpful to us as wearing rainbow colors is to gays. Even though I have those colors on my phone case, I seriously doubt that anyone has recognized what it means.

So, how to come out "in real life" to people I'm not close to?

I don't know. And it doesn't really bother me.

It doesn't bother me, but when I was discussing the topic of bi-invisibility hurting us it seemed like my confusion on this matter should be addressed. Because there might be a good reason for why we're invisible, and why we tend to be taken for straight or gay: it's easier to just let people jump to assumptions about our sexual orientation than to be constantly explaining "I have a boyfriend, but am actually bisexual."

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Closeted minorities

Bi pride flag
A couple months ago I read a couple of articles on the topic of bisexual invisibility. One I liked, and the other I didn't. (They're here and here. Guess which I liked better. Hint: the one that doesn't tell off all closeted bisexuals.) They both discuss whether closeted bisexuals are to blame for our invisibility, and whether more bisexuals need to be out.

I found this an interesting topic, and want to respond as both a bisexual and as a Pagan. Yep, that's right, I'm responding as a member of two different minorities. And I'm clumping them together at the moment because this is an issue that is often discussed by both. I'll separate them again in a minute.

Pentacle, from clker.com
To start off, yes I think we would all benefit if we had more people out of the closet. The more visibility we have, the easier it is to show people that we aren't baby eating demons. It will also help people realize that yes we do exist.

That being said, I have to agree with Lauren Kinsey that it isn't always possible.
"I believe that some people are in the closet because they don't have the necessary resources to be out and proud in the face of discrimination. Those resources could be economic, emotional or intellectual."
This being the case, I believe that those of us who can come out have a responsibility to seriously consider doing so. But in the end I won't argue with anyone who chooses to stay closeted, no matter their reason(s). It's a very personal decision and the only person whose choice I feel I can judge is my own.

Now I'm going to split up Pagans and bisexuals again so that I can talk about how to be out. In my experience, it's different for both.

For Pagans it can be pretty easy. I wear a pentacle, and as a result am pretty much screaming loud and clear that I'm Pagan. Well, ok, so it gets mistaken for a Star of David at times... *sigh*

As a bisexual it can be harder. Unless I'm somehow making this more complicated than necessary. You can tell me whether you think I'm making a big deal of it unnecessarily (possibly I am) tomorrow when you read the post that I am dedicating to the subject.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Girl Scout cookies

My parents have bought Girl Scout (GS) cookies every year ever since I was young. First it was from me, because I was a GS. Now it's from girls selling at the exits of grocery stores, and/or my mom buys them from a coworker's daughter.

I have some fond memories of selling cookies. Perhaps the best was selling at a grocery store with a friend and her mom. The three of us were in a homeschool family choir together, and we sang when we were packing up at the end of the evening. I think that was the same evening that I bought myself a box Do-si-dos since I'd missed dinner (hey, they have peanut butter in them! peanut butter is healthy!) and my toes practically froze despite my wearing multiple pairs of socks and sturdy snow boots. It was a very cold evening, but fun.

Dream Big GS cookie patch

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The jar

Last December there was a meme that caught my attention. It suggested writing good things that happen throughout the year on scraps of paper, and putting them in a jar. Then at the end of the year you can look at them and see all the good things that happened in the last year.

I liked this idea. I liked it enough to grab a jar of my own to do this with. But I decided to do it my own way.

Instead of reading the good things on January 1st next year, I will empty the jar out on winter solstice. I have a vague idea of using the good things in the jar for a sort of "good luck" or "happiness" spell for the following year, but I'll have to give that more thought.

I also put some bath salts I made on winter solstice 2011, scented with eucalyptus and fir needles (my favorite combo), in the bottom of the jar. I may put a few other odd things that make me happy in there.

The jar, and Niki is hiding behind it

Have you ever done anything like this, or thought about doing it?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Fun with hair

So...this may be a slightly girly topic.

You may remember that I got really sick last in November. While I was sick a couple things changed about my body, and the one thing I complained about was weight loss.

Another change, and one that I'm not exactly going to complain about, is that my hair is now much less oily. This is mostly a good thing but it also has a downside.

On one hand it's is awesome. Now I can generally wash my hair about twice a week without it getting annoyingly oily. And with hair as long as mine, there's no way I'm washing it daily, or even every other day, all the time. So this is nice.

On the other hand, though, I need to find new hair product to use. I had been using the Herbal Essence purple Hydralicious stuff, but now it's leaving my hair frizzier than I like. I'm not sure what to use in its place now, though I've tried a few different things.

Who knows, maybe I'll be lucky enough to find something of theirs that pleases me as much as the woman in this commercial is pleased.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Change your orientation?

There is a question that I have seen pop up a couple times, and it is as follows: If you could take a pill to change your sexuality, would you?

The graphic in question. Their website is www.WipeOutHomophobia.com.

When I first saw this question asked I was very surprised by some of the answers. It was asked again on a LGBT Facebook group (Wipe Out Homophobia) and I saw more of the same answers, some of which still sort of surprise me.

Most people say no. In fact, many say "hell no."

But...some people say yes. They say that being LGBT is more trouble than it's worth, and that it would be easier to be straight.

A few say that they would rather be bisexual, because it would open up more options for them.

A surprising number say that they would be happy to try this magic pill if the change were only temporary.

Some said that a change in their sexual orientation would not change who they really are, and seemed ok with the idea of changing it. Many others said that their sexy orientation has shaped who they have become, and that they would no longer be themselves if it changed.

More than one person said that for the sake of their significant other, they wouldn't want to change. Huh. I guess they overlooked that they could go bi/pansexual and still stay with whoever they're already with. Maybe I'm being cynical or depressed, but is this just another case of bisexuals being invisible? If you think I shouldn't be so grumpy over this, say so. I could maybe do with a reality check. And yes I'm doing this in tiny font because really it's beside the point of what this post is about, but I can't resist commenting on it.

There were a few answers that I found particularly interesting, for varying reasons.

"yes. then i'd totally be a pansexual drag queen! <3" (I found this one just plain amusing.)

"no bloody way, actually yes I'd take one to make me 100% gay instead of Bi"

"Yes I want kids"

"Yes. I'm tired of being asexual"

Then there were the people who complained that this was a really stupid question to ask. To those people, I would like to recommend reading the various answers. Considering the many different responses that I read, I think that this was actually a very good question to ask. If nothing else, discussing this topic gives us a better understanding of our community.

My own personal response to the question is no. I would not change the fact that I am bisexual. I spent too much time coming to terms with my sexual orientation to make those years meaningless.

...that being said, I am well aware that I may eventually realize that I am in fact pansexual. It's not impossible. But that wouldn't be me changing what I am with a magic pill. It would be me coming to a better understanding of myself, just like when I accepted/took the "bisexual" label.

What about you? Would you change your sexual orientation if someone made a magic pill? Why or why not?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

True Love

I wasn't going to write a post about Valentine's at this time since I'll be seeing my boyfriend tomorrow instead of today. But then I found this song...and decided that I had to share.



Do you have any special plans for the day? My own date plans are a little vague at the moment, though I requested he take me to my favorite chocolate shop.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Warning: exreme cuteness

Introductions with the rats going sort of slowly.

The three mostly get along well, but I usually to have to separate them if I give them too much time together. I suspect that Sabine is an overenthusiastic groomer, and she probably needs to to tone it down. Then again, Kora and Aniki may also be guilty of causing one or two of the (minor) disagreements they've had.

And now, without further ado, photos!


I'm not entirely certain which of the younger girls this is. My guess is Kora, since she's more likely than Niki to poke her head out to say hi.


This is their cage set up at the moment. The young girls' cage is on the left, and Sabine's is on the right.

As you can see, Kokopelle is able to drool over Sabine. Just look at the smug look on his face. Luckily Sabine knows he can't touch her, and is fine with this arrangement. :)


I'm pretty sure that this is Niki.


Kora wanted to help me clean her cage. Strange girl.


Kora approved of her newly mended hammock (which they doubtless will chew down again) and of her fresh bedding.


Kora and Aniki, munching on a bit of pop tart. While sitting in a pop tart box. I think it's Niki on top.

They're still getting used to this "treats" idea, by the way.


And now, a photo of the initial introductions. Unfortunately it's a bit dark since I only took photos when they were all hiding in a paper grocery bag together. Still, you can sort of see them.


The three of them, hanging out behind my monitor. Obviously the big one is Sabine, and I think the one in the middle is Niki.

Seeing them back there is pretty adorable, but I always have to clean up pee afterwards. I'm not sure if it's Sabine scaring the younger girls, if it's Sabine marking territory, if it's a side effect of Sabine peeing on the girls (which she does), or if it's for some other reason.


Kora and Niki in their cage. Based on the one in back looking a tad scruffier, and based on the shape of her face, I'm gonna guess that's Kora.


Here they are at the vet's office. I brought them in two separate carriers, but after we got there I let them mingle. Sabine's in the back, and that's Kora in the front. Kora's the adventurous one.

And yep, you read that right. I took them all to the vet today. The younger girls just for a check up, and Sabine for something that I was a bit concerned about.

Sabine is fine, she had just been having some vaginal discharge. Which female rats shouldn't have. She's now on meds, and will be spayed next week. The spaying will take care of her current problems, and will have the bonus of making mammary tumors (which are common in rats) unlikely as she ages. I plan to also spay the other two when they're fully grown.

Kora and Aniki checked out just fine, by the way. No worries there. :)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Body image and weight loss

Scale by Megan Shannon
As I lose weight I'm becoming more and more self conscious about my body. Now that I'm a size 4, I'm embarrassed about the number on the tag in my clothing in a way that I never was when that number was an 8.

I have to wonder, why is this? After a couple months trying to figure out my own mind, I've come to suspect that it has something to do with how I once viewed a classmate:

"Look at how skinny she is. I can see her bones! She must be anorexic. Why doesn't she eat something? I feel so sorry for her."

I hate to admit it, but those were my thoughts. Or close enough. And although I'm not nearly as skinny as that classmate of mine was, I wonder if I will eventually lose that much weight. I also wonder if people will look at me the same way I looked at her. That's not a pleasant thought.

Recently I've even started to worry about what my boyfriend thinks of my body. I told him this last evening, and for the record, he still says I'm the hottest woman he's been with. Not that he's unconcerned by my weight loss -- he once actually tried to give me a hamburger he'd bought for himself when he saw I wasn't eating much. (There's a reason I love him.) But somehow it's still comforting to hear him say how beautiful I am.

As this goes on, I wonder if there's any point to seeing the doctor about unexplained weight loss. But they couldn't find anything wrong with me last year, and according to the stupid BMI I am still a healthy and "normal" weight at 105.2 lb. And the BMI is what the doctors go by, right? Maybe I'll call the doc if/when I reach 100 lb.

Perhaps the worst bit is that I feel like I can't talk to people about this the way I would about the flu. I think people are more likely to be sympathetic if I say "I'm in bed with a fever and I HURT!" than when I tell them "Um, I'm losing weight and I'm not sure why."

Friday, February 8, 2013

Fireworks display over?

Elephant, from clker.com
In December there was a local controversy concerning the ownership of a newly born elephant who has since been named Lily.

Long story short: shortly after her birth a newspaper (not even a local one) reminded the public of a breeding contract stating that our zoo would not be the owners of Lily, and they suggested that she might be taken from her mother at a young age. Despite the Oregon Zoo's assurances that this would never happen, some idiots raised hell.

It was quite a fireworks display to watch, and it was so spectacular that I had to write about it. Fortunately people calmed down after a couple days, but there was still some grumbling.

Then today the Oregon Zoo made an announcement that perhaps should not have surprised me. The Oregon Zoo Foundation has paid a bunch of money to void the breeding contract. This means that our zoo owns Lily, her father Tusko, and will own all of Tusko's future babies.

I guess it makes sense that they would do this. What happened over Lily's birth was pretty much a public relations disaster, and judging from comments on the zoo's Facebook page, some people still hadn't been convinced until now that Lily would be staying. (May I just say over that last bit...WOW.) The zoo probably doesn't want this to happen all over again when more babies are born in their elephant breeding program, as is the plan.

So, what have we learned today? 1) People can be amazingly clueless. As evidenced by the fact that some still thought Lily might be in danger of being ripped from her mother's side. 2) A public relations disaster can make non-profits spend tons of money to keep people happy. Ok, I'm just assuming that's why they did this, but I think it's a good guess.

On a side note, something funny. Even though I was never in any doubt that Lily would stay here in Portland, some part of me is immensely happy to know that she officially belongs to our zoo now. I can't even say why. I just am.

:)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Imbolc

Goddess of fire, Goddess of healing,
Goddess of Spring, welcome again. 

I thought that I wasn't going to write about Imbolc this year. First I was writing about something else on the 1st, then I was sort of busy on the 2nd, and then I was sick on the 3rd...was recovering on the 4th...and after that I sort of gave up.

But the latest Pagan Blog Prompt has convinced me that it's not too late to write about celebrations, and what Imbolc means to me. :)




This year, my celebrating took the form of me just cleaning my room. I guess that's sort of trivial, and it's not like I had a huge job to do.

But as cleaned things up and wiped down surfaces, I thought about how just the act of cleaning can itself be a cleansing of sorts, even if you don't actually do any specific ritual or smudge. Even if the fanciest part of cleaning is wiping things down with a disinfecting wipe. Besides...ever heard of spring cleaning?

Which brings me to the next bit of what Imbolc is. It's a time to notice the earliest signs of spring. Things like the red-tailed hawks returning to my neighborhood, as they do each year to nest.

And of course, it is also an excellent day to honor Brighid. She's the goddess I'm most likely to turn to, so her day is pretty special to me. I wound up putting the following song on repeat, and the verse I started this post with are from it.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The girls' history?

I've been speculating about Kora's and Aniki's history. They've obviously been well fed, and are used to being around people. But little clues suggest that they may have been...a tad neglected.

For one thing, the concept of getting treats seems completely alien to them. Now I'm not saying you're a horrible person if you don't give your pet treats, but I'm amazed by the person who can resist giving these adorable girls the odd tidbit.

And just like they don't know what to do with treats, the idea of playtime outside the cage seems to baffle them. They hide in my clothing, and it doesn't seem to occur to them to go out exploring. I don't think it's just shyness on their part, either. If that were the case, I would think that they would be happy to run around under my blankets.

Last, the official "surrender reason" that the Oregon Humane Society provided for them: "Too many animals already." I don't know how many is too many, but "too many" presumably means more than the person can really take care of properly.

Info I got with the two girls

I hope that Kora and Niki either start getting more outgoing by themselves, or that Sabine will be a good influence on them. As I think I've already said, it's not that I mind them hiding out in my clothes, but I'd like to actually see them occasionally.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Introducing Kora and Niki

Remember I said that I'm not in a position to get more rats? Um, yeah, about that. I slightly changed my mind. Or rather, Sabine changed my mind, because I couldn't stand the thought of her being so lonely.

And so, about two weeks ago, the search began to find Sabine a friend. I considered getting a male rat (who would be neutered) but then decided to get a female rat. One female rat.

Kora and Niki

Not sure which is which since I can't see their tummies
This morning I adopted two young female rats.

They have got to be from the same litter, are almost identical, and I'm told they're two months old. I figure that's about right. They also, incidentally, look an awful lot like Sabine. (What is it with me and getting pets that look like each other?) I adopted them from the Oregon Humane Society.

Ok, so I'll also admit it: I named the girls before I actually laid eyes on them. Yesterday I woke up from a dream where I decided "Hey, it would be awesome to name my new rat after Kora or Aniki!" Then these two girls popped up on the OHS website last evening, I knew I just had to get both, and I decided that their names may as well be Kora and Aniki.

So, what are these two girls like?

Kora is laid back. I mean, really laid back. She is currently on my shoulder, and seems perfectly happy to sit there until I decide to move her again. I didn't know rats could be this laid back. Really. Just, wow.

Niki is rather different. She seems rather high strung, and wants to hide in my clothes. It took her a couple hours to stop hiding while in the cage, so I figure she'll eventually stop hiding out in my clothes. In the meantime, I've got no photos of her. Sorry.

Now the big question: how do I tell them apart? Niki has a bunch of white on her tummy, and Kora doesn't. I figure I'll learn to spot other differences, and small things may become more noticeable as they become adults. But for now I either have to look at their tummies, or guess from their behavior.

Kora was easily photographed

By the way, I named these two after a certain pair of rats (ha) from Tamora Pierce's Beka Cooper novels. The same books that I took the names Beka and Sabine from.

Also, I'll write about the introductions between these two and Sabine when I get to that. It'll be slow though, since I really don't want to mess it up. Better slow than sorry.