Thursday, December 31, 2015

Posting Schedule

At the start of this week I told myself that I would start doing two things for the next couple months. I got started on one, which was to post a video every Monday on my YouTube channel (which is thus far nameless). The other item on my to do list was to post something to my blog every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. That one...I've kind of neglected until now.

This isn't to say that I'll only put up one video per week, or that I'll only write three blog posts every week. I may do more. But that's the minimum, and I'm hoping that the schedule will help me not get sidetracked.

As to what else I want this post to be about...I don't know. I guess this is just a "FYI I want to do this, and I'm sharing my plan so that I'll actually stick to it" post.

Funny thing is, it isn't that I haven't had anything to talk about...but I've been having trouble with depression (I talked a bit about it here) and on top of that, I had to put down my pet rat Kora. She was old, had lived a long time, and she was so weak that it was obviously time. It was still tough, though.

And now, just for the heck of it, a photo I took recently.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Learning Photography

I don't know how young I was when I got my first camera, but I was young enough to enjoy photographing butts. The response to my obsession with photographing butts ranged from intense irritation to shrugging it off as just something kids do. Fortunately, my camera was never confiscated.

Along the way I've photographed many different things. Nature. My barbies. Trees. My family. Dead trees. Our pets. Landscapes. And just anything that caught my attention...which I think even from early on was largely nature related.

I've hardly had any formal training. Early on I was taught a bit about composition by my dad, who used to be am amateur photographer and even participated in competitions. I think he even had a dark room in his house before I was born. (It would have been awesome if he'd still had one when I was growing up.) Then when I got to Portland Community College I took a class in digital photography.

And that, my friends, is the extent of any actual education I have in photography.

Virtually all I've learned is from trial and error, and saying "Hey, will that work?" Sometimes shots that I think will be awesome just don't turn out as imagined. And sometimes photos that I think will be terrible result in my best photography. Sometimes I stick to the rules, sometimes I throw them out the window, and in both cases I've gotten great photos. So basically, trial and error while being willing to ignore the rules, but also being able to follow the rules. I even stick to the rules most of the time, since they do exist for a reason.

Moral of the story: just play with a camera, and with the rules. Remember that the rules are more like guidelines. Don't try to make every shot perfect. There's really no point in that. It's an impossible goal, so just accept that you'll take more bad photos than good ones. Realizing that allows me to experiment and figure out what works.

And just for the heck of it, here's a video where I explored the contents of my old camera bag. I hadn't touched it in years, and it had a pleasant surprise that rendered me temporarily speechless.



Coming soon...what I love about photography, and projects that I'm kind of working on. I'll probably also share what's on those disposable cameras once I finally get them developed.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Raine Rucker

I am now legally Raine Rucker.

The court date went really smoothly, and to my surprise I never even saw the judge. A group of us who wanted a name change were seated in a courtroom, and a few clerks (were they clerks?) called us up to go over paperwork.

Each of us were called forward twice. The first time we handed over the paperwork, and the the clerks took it off to the judge who was in some other room. Then they brought some of the signed paperwork back, and said that the name change had been granted.

Not what I'd been expecting since I'd read something about being expected to give a reason for our name change. But I'm not complaining.

I did notice one case where it was a bit more complicated, where someone wanted to change the name of his young kid and had to scramble to find the mother's written consent. But I'm going to guess that that was out of the ordinary.

I had to wait for the proof of my name change to be mailed to me, and now I'll get to embark on the process of getting new ID and whatnot. While I'm not looking forward to visiting the DMV, it'll be nice to finally get.


I took this photo in front of the courthouse afterwards, so I thought it worth sharing.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Autumn

This isn't purely advertisement for my photography stuff, honest it isn't. If it serves that purpose as well, then that's awesome, but that isn't the main point of this post.

The main point? I love autumn.


My absolute favorite time of the year is early spring, and spring in general. But fall is a close second. I guess I just like the changing of the seasons.

I love the changing air, the smell of wood smoke, even the chill. Well, if I have warm enough clothing, I like the chill. I wish I could take all of this and stuff it into words to show everyone, but failing that I'm using photography instead.


I also seriously love all the different colors, which fortunately is something that I can share with photography. It's amazing how the changing colors begin so slowly that they're hardly noticeable at first, and then it's suddenly all around us.

Go ahead and laugh, but when I was out with my boyfriend recently I kept saying "It's so pretty! The colors, it's so beautiful!" I just couldn't help it.


And then, I can find a bit of fresh greenery among the dying leaves. It's almost surprising.

Is fall your favorite season? If not, what is it?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Opinions and Facts on Gaming

I was at a performance this evening in which something happened. Well, ok, things usually happen at performances, usually things like music or acting...in this case bagpipe music. But what I want to talk about in particular was the MC making commentary on a performer's biography.

The biography shared the expected details, who he studied under and his focus in college, plus of course his interests. He likes reading, which the MC definitely approved of, and saying that's good since the performer is in college after all. Then she got to the bit about him liking video games...and she didn't like that bit quite so much, saying that perhaps that interest isn't quite so good.

Will people please stop treating gaming like it's going to melt brains?

My own interest in video games is limited, since I seem to inevitably lose interest (though I like watching others play), so I know I won't do as good a job as that performer might at defending gaming. But I'll give it a shot.

First, and the most obvious to me, is that it improves hand/eye coordination. I hope that no one needs to ask why this is useful.

Some games involve the use of logic, so I'm just going to call that educational.

Others like World of Tanks are educational in other ways, such as helping people to learn about tanks and whatnot. It's not one I've played, but I've watched it being played, and I know someone who has played it for the educational side of it.

I know that communities are built in games like Minecraft, which help people learn to work together. Heck, there are even competitions (you can find recordings of some on YouTube) where teams have to work together, proof of the game helping players work on team building skills.

And I haven't even gotten to the story telling and sometimes amazing art that can be found in video games, which I think shouldn't be ignored. I know that's part of what I've loved about Dungeons and Dragons. Well, that and exploring. It's surprising how much fun exploring video games can be.

Given all this, I really hope that people can move past the whole idea that gaming is a bad thing.

Slightly a non sequitur, though it is on the subject of video games...I thought this might be a good time to share a video about ban appeals on Minecraft. All true, and quite entertaining.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Flying Free and Vlogging

I had a peculiar dream. I was flying in it, which isn't exactly new. I've had flying dreams before, but this is probably the first one where I haven't had limitations...I could fly as high as I wanted, and as far as I wanted. And that was a wonderful feeling.

While flying I was also thinking about my name. About how I'm going by Raine now, and what my name(s) was (were) before. I'm not sure if I ever mentioned it on this blog before, but Sarita never has been my legal name. So it wound up with two sets of people: those who knew my legal name, and those who knew my preferred name.

Those who knew my legal name were people like my health care providers, or people at my credit union. Or, anyone who only knew me through paperwork. Of course I had the option of requesting that they use my preferred name, but would it really get noted down? Would they remember it the next time they went in? They haven't always, and I often didn't bother correcting them simply because I didn't want to be always saying "No it's SARITA." So, my health care providers and others have always called me by a name that I didn't want.

I particularly found it odd when it was my mental health care people calling me by my legal name. Shouldn't they be making me as comfortable as possible, and calling me Sarita? But my psychiatrist was calling me by my legal name the second time I saw him, despite me saying that I prefer Sarita the first time we met, so I just let it go. Because, what was the point?

The confusion between names has even led me to make my signature is illegible. This was the result of an experience I had when I was about eighteen, when a cashier observed that my signature didn't match the name of my debit card but said that he didn't want an explanation. Confused, I explained the reason, and he was pretty relieved. I quickly found out that he'd thought I was using my mom's card, and if I confirmed that for him he would have to refuse that form of payment. Not wanting the same thing to happen with another cashier who wouldn't be so laid back and trusting about it, I decided to change my signature. It now resembles scribbles, which embarrasses me, but it's better than potentially confusing cashiers and being unable to pay for something.

But when my legal name becomes Raine, all that will be past. I'll know what name to give people. My signature can be decipherable without someone thinking I've borrowed my mom's card. And I won't have to be resigned to my doctors and others calling me a name that I don't want. And I was thinking about all this as I flew as high and as far as I wanted in that dream.

In other news, I'm experimenting with vlogging. My first video is as follows.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Makeup Stuff

I caught myself thinking something that shocked me, something that made me take a step back and think. But before I get to that, a bit about my makeup habits and a certain exchange I had regarding them.

For years I rarely wore makeup. When I did start wearing it regularly that was for my first full time job, and because I wanted to look extra good around my boyfriend...even though he told me I was also great without makeup. Even then it was only tinted stuff to kind of smooth things out (actually, does it really do that?) and blush. It wasn't until the last year that I started using concealer, figuring out what kind of eye makeup works for me, or even that how someone does their eyes depends on eye shape. I'm even wearing bright red lipstick on occasion, and it actually looks good on me.

Basically, makeup has become a play toy for me, and tweaking my appearance with it is almost a game.

Among my discoveries is the fact that makeup can take a bit of maintenance throughout the day. For example, since my eyes water easily I have to reapply eyeliner at the edges of my eyes after a few hours. And if I eat while I'm wearing that bright red lipstick (or any other lipstick), I either have to be ok with it being faded or I reapply it. This maintenance isn't always worth the effort, but sometimes I'm fine with it.

One time when I was reapplying my fancy red lipstick Murray reassured me that it wasn't necessary, that I was lovely the way I was. This didn't surprise me since I'd seen him tell another woman that same thing when she was fixing her makeup and hair. This time though, I did say what was on my mind: I know I'm beautiful the way I am, I just want to be a particular and different kind of beautiful right now. I'll return to that point soon. Anyways, I think Murray got it, since he hasn't said anything about me fixing up my makeup since then.

So, the thing that startled me...

There are lots of makeup tutorials on YouTube, and I happened to be watching one the other night. At one point the woman said that because of the way her face was shaped she likes to contour. My immediate response? I wanted to tell her that she looked wonderful the way she was, and that she didn't need to do that.

...and if you'll recall, this was exactly the same conversation I had with my boyfriend. Except, now I was almost saying what he'd said to me.

When I caught myself I was pretty shocked. I don't know if this is just a me thing, or if others who also play with makeup also do it. You know, telling others that we know we don't need the extra makeup and are wearing it because we just like it, but then turn around and want to tell others that they don't need makeup.

Have you found yourself doing this sort of thing, or seen it happen? Thoughts? I'm curious to know what others think or have experienced.

makeup clip art

Friday, November 13, 2015

Name Change Stuff

I started the legal name change process yesterday, and when I realized that those I've talked to about it don't know how the legal name change is done I figured I should share it here. Because yeah, I hadn't known how it's done before now, but I figured that was just me. I didn't realize how many others also didn't know.

And of course, this is particular to the county and state I live in. For all I know, others might do it differently.

There are two times each week when someone wanting a name change goes to an "orientation" in the courthouse. I put "orientation" in quotes because it was really just taking paperwork I'd filled out to a clerk. It's three different pages that all have basically the same info, although one was completed in the courthouse with the exact location and time that the hearing for the name change will take place. Yep, I have to have a hearing.

After learning when/where the hearing will be and sorting out the paperwork stuff, the clerk kept two pieces of my paperwork. I got the one with my hearing info, and posted that along with other name change notices. It will stay posted there until my hearing, and I'll retrieve it on my way to the courtroom.

The last thing I had to do yesterday was pay a fee, which was $111. Now I just wait for the hearing, which is in December. Oh yes, and I also have to fill out more paperwork in the meantime.

I think that the hearing should be as straightforward as yesterday, though hopefully with slightly less getting lost. (Finding the first clerk was easy enough, but then I got lost both finding where to post my notice and pay, and again retracing my steps to leave. I genuinely don't know if the clerk gave me a confusing map or if I'm just easily confused.) Basically I retrieve my posted notice to bring to the hearing, plus other paperwork I have to fill out in the meantime. It will be asked if anyone objects to my name change, and when no one speaks up it will be granted. Then I'll get more paperwork proving my name change...and thus will be the fun process of going to places like my credit union and bank to tell them about the change.

I'll write about the hearing after it's taken place. :)

Friday, November 6, 2015

Earth Worshipper Photography

Earth Worshipper Photography
I'm selling photography now. And I'm blaming it all on Amber and Murray.

It was with their encouragement that I started thinking about how to sell my photos, and that led me to opening a CafePress shop. Only a day or so later I signed up with DeviantArt. I've been so focused on this that one might say I got a tad obsessed. As in, forgetting to eat obsessed.

You can already buy my photos, and visit my Facebook page or Twitter account for Earth Worshipper Photography, but I feel like I'm still in the process of setting everything up. I bought a domain name for a central website (since I'm going off in different directions with CafePress and Deviant Art to sell the photos), but it isn't up and running yet. I'm also planning on setting up an Instagram account, though I know nothing about beyond the fact that people use it to look at pretty pictures.

Oh yeah, and I need to buy a camera. I do already have a digital camera, but it's a tad old and my iPhone camera seems to take better photos. Which is kind of just sad.

I'm sure I'll share tidbits here about my photography adventure, but if you want follow keep up to date on what I'm doing I'd recommend checking out my Facebook page. I've been sharing everything there. Plus it's a convenient place to admire what I've done. :)

Oswego Lake

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

My Tattoo

It was last spring when I started considering getting a tattoo. Actually I suppose my mind was pretty much made up soon after I realized what I wanted and why, but I decided to give myself until fall to get the tattoo, and I waited that long for two very practical reasons. One is that a new tattoo shouldn't be exposed to sunlight while healing, and since I love wearing sleeveless shirts whenever possible I didn't want to get inked during the spring or summer. Also, I wanted to sit on the idea of a tattoo for a while to be sure that I wanted it. It is a fairly permanent alteration to my body after all.

To briefly sum up why I first decided to get this tattoo: I wanted a permanent reminder on my body that I can work through any anxiety or depression. After my anxiety meltdown (as I'm now calling it) last year this seemed pretty important...especially given that I've had this anxiety disorder my whole life, and I know I lean towards depression too easily for comfort, so it's a given that I'll have tough times again in the future. That's not all the tattoo came to mean to me, as I spent time thinking about it, but the rest of its meaning is for another post.

I knew I wanted a sun, and spent some time looking at various sun designs. I had planned to find a few examples containing elements I liked and then ask my tattoo artist to mash them together, but then I stumbled across something that was almost exactly what I wanted. After asking the artist's permission, I brought in a copy of that piece when getting my tattoo. :)

Getting the tattoo was a surprisingly fast and simple process. I walked into a tattoo place that I had already decided looked good, said I was interested in getting a tattoo, and to my surprise the tattoo artist there was in between appointments. After I filled outsome paperwork we got down to it, and it was amazing to watch the tattoo grow on my arm.

my tattoo

Different topic, but wanted to mention briefly...I've got something I'm working on with photography. I've already got the ball rolling with it, but want to work on it a bit more before I really write about it. You can take a look at what I've got so far, however, here. :)

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Finding Me

It's difficult to fully trust yourself when, on some level, you know you aren't being fully honest with yourself about some basic facts. I think I've known this subconsciously for some time, and I guess it's in the past year that the dialogue in my head started really making progress towards me figuring things out. Here's an abbreviated version of what went on in my head space.

What makes someone a man or a woman?

Wait...if I don't know the answer to that, then how do I know I'm a woman? But I obviously am. I know that I am.

 And why does "cisgender" feel weird when I apply it to myself?

I feel...like multiple genders? Like I'm not just a woman? No, that's weird...

I'm seriously asking, is there a word for someone who's a woman but also sort of a guy?

Oh, yeah...bigender.

Bigender = a person with two genders

Maybe I'm still sorting out my gender on some level, but bigender is the best word I've found for how I feel. I am a woman. I also have a masculine gender, which I'm calling demiguy for lack of finding a better word.

Finally acknowledging this to myself is a huge relief. I'm also laughing to myself, since there are some things that make sense in this light. Things that made me think some time ago that my gender might be a tad bit complicated, though I never said anything about it. How am I supposed say something when the words I need haven't really sunk into my consciousness yet?

The best thing is that I've become more sure of myself since this realization. More confident in myself. And I've seen other positive changes in me. For one thing, I'm now finding that I'm able to get myself places, alone, without freaking out about it. Given the agoraphobia I've dealt with for over a year, this is quite an accomplishment. And proving how calmly I can handle taking the bus by myself again, I went alone to get a tattoo that I've been wanting for a while. The tattoo is a topic for another post, though. :)

But aside from getting back to how I was before my big anxiety meltdown last year, I'm also becoming a person I've wanted to be for years. I'm learning to not constantly think that if something isn't going right, then it must be my fault. And I'm finally learning to not beat myself up so much over my failings, to just make mental notes about how I can do better next time.

It's good to finally be honest with myself, and it's a relief to finally be getting back to who I am. Perhaps the best bit is just being more comfortable with myself.

Halloween cat on textbooks

And, because I'm a student who ought to be studying on Samhain, here's a Halloween cat sitting on textbooks! And yes, I did use that Jane Austen novel for the ethics class, so those two books do actually go together.

I hope everyone has had a good Halloween and/or Samhain, or whatever else you might celebrate when the veil is thin. My Samhain has mostly been a mixture of getting the tattoo and sleeping, and I went to a Halloween party last night with my boyfriend. Before the night is out I also ought to do something creative, I've found that I always have the urge to make something on Samhain. I don't know why. Maybe as a sort of reminder that even though this is a day to remember those who have passed before, life goes on.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

What is Paganism?

So...new post about minority stuff. In particular paganism, but first a note about minorities in general.

It's a fact of life that this is a very diverse planet, and that it's impossible to know about all the minorities out there. The fact is that we're all going to make blunders on occasion, and it's easy to find that we're spreading false info about someone because of our ignorance. However, we can listen when someone of that minority speaks up to say "Um...no, that isn't exactly right." So long as you do that, I figure you're probably ok.

This is coming up as a result of a friend (who's also an activist for other minorities, which is how I met her) sharing something on Facebook. It was the following text beneath a pentacle:

pentacle, found at clker.com
"Contrary to what you may have been told, this religious symbol is used by a large number of people who share a common belief in the sanctity of life. They don't sacrifice living things for any reason. They do not worship the Christian Satan, nor do they revere any similar figure; most do not even recognize the existence of Satan. They do not cast spells to cause evil to befall others, for they believe that causing evil will bring back evil to the one who causes it. Their religion is based on nature, and is founded on the belief that the whole world is interrelated, that everyone is responsible for their own actions, and that peace, love, and tolerance should be encouraged by everyone, everywhere.

"And yes, I am one of them."

When some of my fellow pagans tout all the above as absolute fact I can hardly blame others, such as this friend in question, for believing it. But that doesn't change that it's misleading of paganism as a whole.

Are there pagans and witches who follow and believe all of the above? Yes, but we need to remember that many don't. It's like saying that all Christians adore the Pope. Catholics generally do, but some Protestants say he's going straight to hell. It's something that some, but not all believe, but if you're only around certain Christians you might think that all of them revere the Pope.

As to what pagans as a whole look like...I'm laughing because we're impossible to sum up in a single post. There are so many diverse beliefs that it's impossible to say anything without making generalizations, which of course won't apply to everyone.

Some pagans are vegan because they don't want to harm another living creature. Some pagans sacrifice pigs. Some pagans would never intentionally hurt another person. Some pagans join the military in honor of their gods. Some pagans dance around bonfires naked. And some pagans can't imagine getting naked in front of others, even for a ritual.

One last tidbit, for anyone who's still feeling lost...which is totally understandable. "Pagan" is an umbrella word that encompasses many different religions, hence the wide variety of often contradictory beliefs and practices.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Raine

The name "Sarita" hasn't quite felt like it fully fit me for some time. I don't know exactly how long I've felt like this, but I think I first said something to my boyfriend a couple years ago. That said, I wasn't in a hurry to change my name. I figured the right name would come along in time, no need to rush things.

I finally stumbled across it when I was looking up gender neutral names.

Raine.

In a way I'm still feeling it out. I'm not in a rush to legally change it, and for now I have both Sarita and Raine alongside each other on my various online profiles. But I have to say, it does feel so good to be called Raine.

rain

Thursday, October 15, 2015

On Medication

I wrote this post sometime last month, but then decided against publishing it as is. Why? I may have been a bit angry when writing it.

There's this weird idea I've had that I have no right to anger, so of course I didn't want to post anything that  may have been written when I was angry. Hurt and depression, or anxiety I can do. Anger, that I try to deny to myself.

But I'm human, I feel a wide range of emotions, and denying that just hurts me further. So I decided to go ahead and hit the "publish" button on this, rather than trying to rewrite it in a calmer tone. Which I did try to rewrite it, but didn't get very far.

... ... ...

I've finally realized one of the things that really bothers and upsets me: people being unable to accept facts or hear out other viewpoints because they're too busy living in their own little world and thinking that their experiences must be true for everyone.

Finally realizing this has helped me understand why some things bother me so much. Such as, something that I had to hear multiple times over the summer, and which I kept telling myself not to write about. But I came across someone else with the same attitude again, so I gave in and decided to address it.

One of my classes this summer was on how to write a research paper, and we got to choose our topics. A classmates decided that her argument would be that therapy animals need to be used much more often than they are in treatment for medical conditions, which is an something I won't disagree with. However, she went on to say (and I'm paraphrasing here) "When I was on meds they changed me and didn't help, so I went off them without telling the doctor. And I improved. They mess up everyone, and change people even if they don't realize that they've changed."

Cue silent screaming from me.

Given that I'm on meds for an anxiety disorder and depression, this is a subject that I inevitably get personal about, and which I wish everyone could understand.

A few quick points...

Can meds zombify people? Yes.

Have I been on meds that zombified me? Yes.

Have there sometimes been other unfortunate side effects for me? Yes.

Have I been on meds that were a huge mistake for me? Yes.

Have I also found that the correct meds at the right dosage can help me without messing me up? YES.

I lost track of how many medications I've been on some years ago. I can't even remember what all I've been on, just that most of them have been for ADHD. As I said above many were really not great for me, but when I find the right medication plus the right dosage (an important detail) it is a really good thing.

Does this mean I'm advocating for everyone with problems to medicate themselves? No. Meds are a useful tool, but that doesn't mean that they're the right tool for everyone. Nor would I say that meds should be the only tool used for those who turn to them. It's generally best to use meds in addition to another treatment, such as therapy.

...of course, now that I've written this, I wonder what the point of this post is. Just like the classmate who continued to insist that meds are the devil (ok, I'm exaggerating now) even when I explained my own experiences on two different occasions to her, this probably won't get through to anyone who agrees with her.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Comfy at Horror Conventions

I've pondered the odd fact that I feel like I fit in at horror conventions, despite the fact that I have an anxiety disorder. Why in the world would someone with an anxiety disorder watch horror movies?

(Note: I can't handle some of the recent supernatural horror with very realistic special effects, but most of the others horror movies are fine for me.)

I may have finally stumbled across a key to why I'm generally ok with the horror genre.

Thing is, my anxiety is all in my head and it's something that isn't actually a danger to me. The kind of thing that happens in horror stories on the other hand, there is actual danger in them. Visiting your home town that you haven't seen since childhood, only to realize that a vampire has also moved in recently? And then finding that the new love of your life has been turned? Not only does that involve actual danger, but it's also a situation that I'm highly unlikely to ever find myself in.

Maybe I like the reminder of that fact that I'm unlikely to find myself in such situations.

horror silhouette: a knife held in front of a bloody moon

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Missing School Already

I'm getting towards the end of my bachelors degree.

This hit me while I was sitting in class last night. I thought about a previous class I'd had in that same classroom, where we had talked about Beowulf and British fairy tales...and then of other English classes. In them I've enjoyed tearing into books, sharing my thoughts and hearing what others think, particularly when they came at the readings from angles I hadn't considered. That's what I love about school. That's what I really, really love. Just sitting down and digging into stories with classmates.

I'm going to miss that.

Sure, I can get people who will peek out of beloved books long enough to talk to me about them elsewhere. For example, at the H.P. Lovecraft Festival (also known as Cthulhu Con). But how often does that come around?

It's my senior year, and I'm really close to graduation. (I would have graduated already if anxiety/depression hadn't messed me up.) I'm already missing school, despite how difficult it has become for me. I'm trying to console myself that it's possible to audit English classes once I've got a bit of money down the road.

And I find myself thinking...I remember being a bit bemused when a classmate wanted a group photo on the final day of summer term, explaining that it was her last day at Marylhurst University. Now I finally get it.

Marylhurst in July 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Celebration of White Hairs

When I first started getting bookmarks of my life in the form of white hairs I'd happily count them. I made vague plans about dying them red someday because that sounded like fun, and why not have fun with them? And I hoped I would get a streak of white hair since white streaks look lovely.

By now I won't even try to count those bold white hairs, though they're still few enough that they aren't always noticeable. I'm not so sure about my former plans to dye them red, because yeah red is awesome but so is the contrast between my dark almost black hair and the white. Plus, I can tell that I'm getting the beginnings of a white spot on the top and center of my head. This last fact has me quite delighted.

Oh...and I'm reminded often enough that most people don't see white hairs as a good thing. In fact, they're often viewed very negatively.

I won't claim that aging has never bothered me. I have had the quarter life crises thing where I was saying to my boyfriend (pretty much word for word ) "I'm a quarter of a century old and what am I doing with my life‽‽‽"

Despite that, I'm perfectly happy with my white hairs.

In response to this culture I live in, I came up with this awkward idea to find a way to showcase how beautiful white hairs are by photographing them. Though, I have no idea where to share these photos or how even photograph them in a way that people know what they're supposed to be looking at. Hence, why I feel like this idea is awkward.

Awkward hasn't stopped me from trying to take such photos a couple of times, and I sort of wonder if anyone else might want to join in this celebration of bookmarks in our hair. Anyone?

my white hairs

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Bi Week

This is Bisexual Awareness Week. It's a time dedicated to discussing bisexual issues and also covering the important little detail that, yeah, we exist.

bi triangles
At first I wasn't sure what to write about bisexuality, since yeah I can't help but think about it daily, but I wasn't finding myself with any new thoughts that I hadn't already written on. Then I observed two things in myself that are worth mentioning, simply to discuss the bisexual experience.

First is probably a non-issue for those who don't experience depression. It probably isn't such an issue either for people who don't take it personally when people miss seemingly obvious points and seem incapable of freaking listening to facts (that this gets under my skin is something I finally figured out about myself recently).

Thing is, I get so exhausted and frustrated and even depressed from people spouting stupid stuff about bisexuals, and by bad news in the queer world, that this prevents me from engaging in the bi community at times. Actually, for much of the past year or so. Which is sad when I think about it, since I do want to be talking to other bisexuals about bi related stuff.

What's the solution? I don't know. But I know I can't be the only one feeling like this (and I'm sure there are others who feel like me for each of the letters in the LGBT+ world) so I thought it an important point to bring up.

The other thing I noticed is that I still have the habit of making assumptions about sexual orientations. This is despite the fact that I don't like it when others assume I'm straight...something that's inevitable when I'm out with my boyfriend. I was reminded that I do this, however, when I found out this week that someone I've assumed to be straight is actually bi like me.

What really amazes me is that this happened despite a similar thing happening last summer. As I was talking to a new friend who I knew had a boyfriend, she mentioned previous girlfriends. That took me off guard, and I'd thought I learned my lesson about making assumptions. Obviously though, I'm still learning.

The moral of this particular story? I guess it's that people can try their best, and still fall short of what they want for the world. But the important thing is that we keep trying.

I'd like to end this particular post with a poem that illustrates why it is that I think about my sexual orientation daily, as I mention above. It's written and recited by Ashley Mardell, someone who is gay/bisexual/pansexual/queer...she uses different terms at different times. It's a poem I keep returning to.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Goonies Festival and the Beach

I semi wrote about the Goonies Festival in June, though I mainly shared our (spectacularly failed) attempts to find a hotel because that's what we felt like doing last minute.

(And actually, totally off topic, but that wasn't the only time we failed to find a hotel in our random and unplanned adventures. More recently the three of us took off to the Columbia River Gorge on a whim, decided to find a hotel to stay the night...but wound up coming home at like 3am because we couldn't find any place.)

Back to the Goonies...

Several months ago I picked out photos to share, so probably the best thing I can do is just write about each of them. So that's what I'll do, after a brief reminder of how I started off that first post a few months back:

I was eaten alive by a balloon turtle, yet lived to tell the tale. I found out that the Goonies is a movie about pirates, and that it was filmed in Astoria Oregon. I let my hair fly free as I enjoyed a break from walking on a swing set at a children's playground. I got into a food fight with a four year old in a nice restaurant. I walked through grassy dunes to get to a beach. I got really sunburned. I made a sand castle on the beach. And I had a fun weekend that was full of surprises with a friend and her daughter. Ultimately, we wound up staying in a hotel not far from where I live.


The festival was spread across I don't know how much of Astoria, but the "headquarters" I guess you could call it contained vendors selling seemingly everything eighties. Above you can see a vendor selling movie posters, and a comic book vendor.


Same thing, just a closer look.

A different vendor had more current posters, including a Day of the Doctor poster that I had to get for myself. Amber also got a couple of Labyrinth posters. 


If I'd actually seen the movie (yes, I plan to...) I could probably tell you more about this building. It's the old county jail turned Oregon Film Museum, and was apparently part of the festival.


There was a Geocache hunt that was part of the festival, and since I've done Geocaching before I just pulled up my Geocaching app and took us off to find the closest cache.

...turns out there, it's apparently possible to make themed geocaches that don't show up on the app, which was what they'd done, plus we didn't even find the cache I took Amber and Pip off to find. Then the one we did find we had to figure out the code word, enter it into the website, and then that's when the site congratulated me with the "You Found It!" screenshot I shared above.

We lost interest in the Geocache hunt after that.

For those who don't know, Geocaching is basically a treasure hunt where someone hides a cache (they come in all shapes and sizes, can be easy or difficult to find, and can potentially have trinkets in them) then puts basic info and GPS coordinates into the Geocache website. Next, other Geocachers use GPS to find the cache. Or that's how it usually goes, and I should probably do a proper Geocache hunt with Amber and Pip sometime soonish.

Those uninitiated into the joys of Geocaching are Muggles, and a cache that has been removed by a Muggle has been Muggled.

It is with great pride that I say this worldwide treasure hunt began in the Portland area.


Many businesses had signs saying "Welcome Goonies!" in their windows, like the one above.


We parked on a hill a bit away from the action, and looking down the street gave us a nice view of the Columbia River and Washington state on the other side. In this photo you can also see a ship, which I'm sure was very careful as it managed the entrance to our river. So far as rivers goes, this is one of the most dangerous in the world for ships to enter.


Eventually we decided to take off to the beach. And with my lovely navigating skills, I somehow managed to take us to the only one we'd have to hike to get to. This was the start of the hike, with a lovely platform where we could either gaze out on the ocean or observe how far we would have to walk to get our feet in some sand.


A panorama during our walk through grassy dunes.

To be clear, I don't mind hikes. But when I want a beach I want a beach, not a hike. Then again, I was the one giving driving instructions, so I do know whose fault this was.


My lovely red toenails attached to my wonderful foot in my gorgeous sandal...finally planted firmly in sand.


Not foot prints in the sand...bird prints in the sand?


There were birds. Lots of birds. Amber and I speculated about whether they were plotting to kills us, since that's what would happen in a horror movie, and fortunately little Piper either didn't understand us or she knew better than to take us seriously. Or, maybe she was too focused making a sand castle to pay any attention to us adults.

The sun was getting low in the sky at this point, though we had time to enjoy ourselves and still get back to the car before night.


You know those things that you fill with sand, upend, and then you magically get a castle? I'm pretty sure that I'd never touched one before. But since we brought one along for Pip, I finally got my chance.

On the left is Pip's sand castle, and on the right is mine. It was actually pretty fun to make.

Of course this wasn't the end of our adventures during that trip, but the rest of it mainly consisted of: trying to find a hotel, giving up, and finally staying in a shockingly nice one for surprisingly little pretty close to home.

Overall, quite an adventure.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Lucid Dreaming

It's strange how I can have a dream one night that's stressful and follows me through the day in a bad way, and the next night have a dream that's actually really good.

The first was a dream that I labeled an unsettling dream immediately after waking up from it. It was unpleasant, but I definitely wouldn't have called it a bad dream, let alone a nightmare. Yet it managed to set off my anxieties, leaving me afraid of the dark (sorry, of what might be in the dark) again, and then I spent yesterday exhausted. It was so strange.

Then, there was last night's dream.

Sometimes in my dreams I decide to go walking, and last night I found myself in a part of town that I've visited before but which doesn't exist in the waking world. I was sad to see that it was run down, apparently having been neglected for many years, but I still enjoyed exploring this new side of that place. Exploration brought me to an old building that was bustling with life and people creating new things. It was a place I'd never been before, and I enjoyed looking around.

Soon enough my exploring brought me to a room where I think some women were sewing, but my attention was caught by a tank in the middle of the room full of tadpoles. They were fascinating. I spent a couple minutes watching them, thinking about how it would be nice to raise some tadpoles myself, before I realized that there was already a large frog in the tank. No, there were two. And after waking, I cannot remember if there were in fact three frogs.

It was while looking at this tank, marveling, that I became aware I was dreaming.

This isn't the first time I've lucid dreamed, but when consciously trying to take advantage of this fact I've had a tendency to wake myself up. I have lucid dreamed a tad bit recently, during which I typically just made minor changes to my dream space, but this time I decided to go exploring the building further.

I didn't try to create a place or dictate what the dream would do. I just went looking around.

Soon I found stairs that I went down, and that somehow turned into someone's private residence. I thought that was weird, but decided not to question it. Dream logic...you can't expect it to make sense. I found a woman who was very hospitable and who made me feel at home, and I remember she played a recording of The Lion Sleeps Tonight that I wanted to recreate while awake. Unfortunately, I don't remember what made that recording so unique.

Also unfortunately, I "woke up" while I was with this woman who seemed to know me. I wasn't actually awake, and was still in that woman's home, but I thought someone had woken me up and didn't question why I was still in a place I'd been dreaming about. It was strange.

Thus are my latest forays into the realm of lucid dreaming. This time, with more success than I've had before.

frogs

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Dragonfly's Laughter

It is with great pleasure that I can finally say Dragonfly's Laughter is up and running again.

I first started the online shop several years ago selling jewelry and other handmade items, but when that didn't work out so well I eventually abandoned it. Still, I had the idea that I might return to it eventually. Possibly. You know, just maybe. And when found myself with more hand spun yarn that I knew what to do with, I thought it was finally time.

Here are some quick peaks at a few of my favorites that are in my shop. The first one has got to be the prettiest yarn I've ever spun.

Late Sunset

Forest Green

Rosequartz

If you enjoy knitting or crocheting, know someone who does, or just think that yarn is pretty, remember that you can find Dragonfly's Laughter at the following locations:

STORENVY
Facebook
Twitter
Blogger

I've got to say, I'm pretty happy to have this up and running again. Not only is it good to be setting up a source of income, I also love making things.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Fourteen Years Later...

I know I've written about the morning of September 11th, 2001 before. Maybe I will again. Maybe I'll write about it every few years. It's a strange time to remember.

On that day I was twelve years old, and Tall One was ten. He would sometimes sleep on my bedroom floor, I don't even know why anymore, but he'd done so the previous night. That's how it was that our mom woke us up at the same time, and tried to explain what had happened to us. There was a history of trouble in the Middle East, she said, and it was inevitably going to result in something big and terrible happening. Well, that big and terrible thing had finally happened.

I don't remember what she said beyond that. I don't remember what I said, or how Tall One responded. I didn't even know anything about the Middle East, and was shocked that something like this was apparently inevitable. But I remember watching the towers fall on our TV, and not feeling anything. I was numb. I couldn't grieve or be upset for those who had died, and I was angry with myself for that. I wanted to feel something, but I didn't. I couldn't.

These days I know that being numb is my natural first response to any tragedy. Grief will follow soon enough. But I was twelve years old, and didn't know that about myself yet, so on top of processing what was happening in our country I was beating myself up for not feeling the "correct" emotions.

There are other things I remember from that time.

I was working my way through (while skipping the "boring" parts) the novel Les Misérables by Victor Hugo, and found myself thinking that it was a rather grim book considering the events of the time. I thought I might be better off with a happier book, but stuck with it.

Even then I needed to write. My diary was missing, and I couldn't persuade my parents to take me to buy a new one, so I started a new sort of makeshift one with regular lined paper and something to hold the pages together. I needed that, as I sorted out both myself and events.

Then, there's the Star Wars video game I'd play with Tall One. Before watching the towers fall one of our favorite pass times in that game was to shoot up our own buildings. Hey, it looked more impressive than killing the bad guys. The explosions were cooler. After the towers fell, though, I just couldn't keep doing that. Yes I'd play the game, but somehow I couldn't playfully destroy our own buildings in that video game anymore.

...and looking at my two previous posts about that day, I see that I've written about each of these things before. I guess there are a few things in particular that have stuck with me.

firefighters

Although this photo isn't directly from that day, I thought it might be appropriate.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Why Decaf

It's an argument that I normally shrug off because, does it really matter? At the same time, it seems weird to me that some people genuinely have to ask: What good is decaf? Why does it exist? Why would anyone ever drink that stuff? And seriously, what's the point of its existence?

A woman drinking her Morning Coffee
To be clear, I love caffeine. And I love starting off my day with a cup of coffee. It helps me wake up (in theory...in practice I've been known to nap right after a cup of coffee), is comforting, and helps me stay warm on cold winter days. Despite that, I do like to keep decaf around.

I expect there are a variety of reasons to drink decaf, but for me it's always one of two reasons that I turn to it.

For one, sometimes it's later in the day and I don't want the caffeine to keep me up that night. (Yes, I know I'm ignoring the fact that I've repeatedly shown myself capable of napping after a mug of coffee.) Sometimes I need it regardless of the time of day, simply because it's comfort food. This doesn't happen often, but I still like to keep decaf around for when such an occasion arises.

And then the other reason I turn to decaf is anxiety. When my anxiety is acting up and I'm on edge, with adrenaline ready to go at the slightest provocation, adding a stimulant into my system sort of goes in the Bad Idea category. If the anxiety is bad enough I won't be interested in coffee regardless of the form it takes, but if I do want a comforting mug of coffee then it'll have to be decaf.

So, yes, decaf does exist for a reason, and I'm sure there are also other reasons I don't know of to drink it. I still prefer regular coffee, but I'm also very glad that decaf exists.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Scandal at the Bookstore

Murray and I have a favorite bookstore that we like to visit on dates. Yes, we like to spend date time at a bookstore, sometimes just sitting and reading. This is what happens when book lovers date. Also, might I add, it's really nice to have a best friend I can just sit and read with.

As a result of spending time there regularly, we know our way around that bookstore well enough that we tend to notice if things get moved. Typically it's only seasonal merchandise or displays that get moved or changed out. I don't think I've seen them move an entire section before, but rather to my surprise, I noticed perhaps five empty shelves last time I was there.

It was...wait for it...the sex books. The sex books were missing.

Sexual Behavior in the Human Male
I speculated that maybe the books had just been moved, whereas Murray suggested that maybe someone got offended and convinced the store to remove them from the shelves. This was about when I noticed a few security cameras that I'd never seen before, plus one of those wide angled mirrors that allow people to see around corners.  They were all within ten feet of each other, which seemed rather excessive to me. Of course, I had to see what they were watching.

So I wandered over to the cameras, looked where they were pointing...and if you guessed that that's where we found the missing sex books, including the Kinsey book pictured to the right, you are absolutely right.

I so want to know the story, or stories, that made the bookstore move that section to a corner where it would be easy to install multiple obvious cameras, and a wide angle mirror. That has got to be a good story.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Autumn

Autumn may not officially start until September 23rd this year, but from the feel of the weather I'm going to say that this happy season is already making itself known in the Northwest. And given that we broke a couple heat records this summer, I'm quite relieved.

It started with a thunderstorm early Saturday morning, about the time that you aren't sure if it's really Saturday morning or if it's still Friday night. It's exactly when most people ought to be asleep, and that's the state I wanted to be in, but due to a virus I couldn't sleep or stay awake for more than a few hours at a time. Since I was already awake, and I figured that further attempts at sleep were pointless while a storm was raging, I wrapped myself up in a favorite quilt to watch it.

We rarely get thunderstorms like that in Oregon. Yes we get thunderstorms, but they're usually smaller, so although I wished I were awake for different reasons I was happy to be able to watch. And the rain, oh dang, after so much dry weather it was nice to hear the rain pouring down. I watched as the lightning lit up the clouds, noticing that I never actually saw the lightning itself. If you haven't seen it before, imagine looking up in the dark of night and suddenly seeing the clouds flash with a bright light. It was beautiful.

Sometime after I got to see a second thunderstorm cell sweep through the area (it surprised me to realize this storm had multiple cells) I eventually got to sleep. The next day as I looked outside, I saw the wind blowing leaves off a tree.

The season is turning, it's getting cooler, and I'm quite happy with that.

Lightning Dancing Across Sky

Not what the storm looked like, but I doubt many photographers consider shots of glowing clouds exciting.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Wildfire Smoke in Portland

There are wildfires burning in Oregon and Washington right now. I've been watching the news about them, sad to see them destroying homes and much worse, that some firefighters have lost their lives. I was surprised to see that Washington is even accepting volunteers to help fire fight. I also hadn't thought about how the smoke from these fires would spread far beyond the flames, though that should have occurred to me. After all, I can vividly recall traveling through desert in eastern Oregon and seeing a ceiling of smoke due to wildfires (that's another story).

The smoke moved into Portland Friday night. I guess I recognized it in my sleep, because I dreamed about fire. I dreamed that someone was either burning a field or their trash, I'm not sure which, before the dream moved on to auto accidents that resulted in fires. This probably wasn't helped by the fact that I had both my windows cracked so that I could enjoy fresh air in my bedroom. Or, I was supposed to enjoy fresh air. Instead I woke up to smoky air, which was a bit alarming.

If you want to know what it's like for the fire fighters you might want to check the news. All I can tell you is what it's like in the Portland area, and that would be officially unhealthy, according to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

map of air quality index

(Update added a bit after the rest of this post was written: I grabbed the above image late Saturday afternoon, about seven hours before I scheduled this post to go up. Doing a bit of double checking before letting this post go live I found that it's the same around Portland, with the differences being that there are now more red dots south of us plus one "very unhealthy" dot way on the other side of Mount Hood. That green dot is still there though.)

I guess it's not as bad as it could be, since the air quality is merely unhealthy and not hazardous where I am. Plus I suspect that the smoke overhead is helping to break the heatwave we've been experiencing. You know, keeping the sun off of us, like clouds would.

One of the strangest things about looking at the above map is seeing a little green dot of good air quality in between the red dots of unhealthy air. The wind's got to be doing interesting things for that to happen. And, as it happens, here's a video I found giving a visual of what the smoke has been and supposedly will be doing. It's fascinating, though it's in Washington whereas my map above is for Oregon.


Smell some smoke? Here's why.....I recorded the U.S. Forest Service's Blue Sky computer smoke forecast for the Northwest through Sunday night....made this "public" so share if you'd like.....here's where the smoke is coming from:
Posted by Bob Heye on Saturday, August 22, 2015


It seems that many of the fires aren't well contained, but I hope that changes soon. I also hope and pray that no more lives are lost in fighting the fires.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Blind Spots

Is it simply impossible for some people to really fully understand certain others? We all see events, people, and ideas, through our own worldviews...shaped by our own experiences and the people we have met in the past (and our own encounters with previous people were shaped by the ideas we had at the time...) and given this...is it going to be inevitable that we meet people who we are incapable of fully seeing as themselves, or who are incapable of accepting us as we are?

Perhaps the phrasing above is rather convoluted, but I don't know how else to ask it.

I found myself thinking about this while reflecting on a conversation I had with a health care provider, which is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. This guy was listing off things that cause me uncertainty, and he decided to throw my sexual orientation into the list. When I expressed my confusion at why he included it, he pretty much said "I once had a bisexual friend who chose to live the gay lifestyle since he thought it would be easier to remain faithful that way." I wanted to explain No, that's not how every bisexual works, we don't HAVE to choose between a "gay lifestyle" or "straight lifestyle" as he seemed to be suggesting I need to. But I was too shocked at realizing that he still doesn't get it, despite I don't know how many discussions we've had.

Why is my bisexuality so difficult for him to understand? Just at a wild guess, largely because he views all bisexuals with that one friend of his in mind...and he probably spoke with that one friend with preconceived ideas about what it means to be bi.

This leads me to ask, where are my blind spots? Where am I unable to see people as they really are because I'm too busy looking through Sarita's-World tinted glasses? How do I find these blind spots, and how do I learn to see once I've found them?

I know, this post is full of questions with no answers. Sometimes that's how the world goes I suppose.

butterfly wing

Looks like an eye at first, right? I also had to do a double take before realizing that I wasn't seeing it correctly, so it seemed like a good photo to accompany this post.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Poly Emotions

I make decisions about what to share on this blog, and what to keep to myself. On some subjects I can get quite personal, even to the point where I wonder if I'm over sharing. (I get past that by reminding myself that I'm not forcing anyone to read my blog if they really don't care about my ramblings.) There are other things though that I keep to myself for various reasons. Maybe it concerns someone else and I don't have their permission to write about them. Maybe I'm still working things out in my own head, and am not ready to share. And sometimes I eventually find myself ready to share things that I've kept to myself.

Polyamory: Having a relationship with more than one person. Often shortened to poly.

I've always been fine with friends who were polyamorous, though I admit it did surprise me initially. I first learned about it as a teenager when my then best friend had two boyfriends, and the only problem I found with it was when this friend of mine freaked out over "What if they both ask me to prom‽" (I'm afraid that dateless me laughed in her face, quite unsympathetic, though these days I would have suggested she go with both of them.) I got so used to the idea of polyamory that I even suggested to another teen girl from outside of my usual social circle that she date two guys since she couldn't decide who she liked more. That's when I discovered that the poly life isn't approved of by everyone, and I also found that a girl can silently scream "slut" with just a dismissively disgusted look.

That teenage friend of mine wasn't the only person in poly relationships that I knew, but she was the first. Actually, I seem to attract friends who are polyamorous, now that I think about it, which hadn't really occurred to me before. Maybe it's the people I hang out with, or maybe it's just more common than most people realize. I don't know.

Getting to the point though...

If you guessed by now that I've fallen for more than one person, you win a prize. (Actually you don't, sorry.) And it turns out that I didn't have the same calm attitude when it came to finding poly feelings in myself that I do when my friends are poly. Like being queer, it's something that was easily accepted in others but then didn't know how to handle it in me.

Without getting into too many details, let's just say that my first realization of this fact during spring term of last year contributed to a month long migraine. And then there was my second encounter with these surprising feelings last summer. Waking up one morning and realizing that I had a crush on a new friend resulted in the absolute worst panic attack I've had. Really, it was less than ten seconds after I woke up. Imagine your body saying "You're awake, now here's a panic attack! Yay! And it'll hang around for two hours! Isn't that fun?" Basically, recognizing and then responding to these emotions was a particularly unpleasant experience for me.

For a while I only discussed my confusion with people who I knew were fine with polyamory, either because I knew how they viewed poly people or because they are poly themselves. I didn't want to find myself in a position of having to defend what I might be while still making sense of myself. Recently though I'm realizing that I'm tired of hiding it, and if it somehow comes up in conversation (oddly enough it's been a natural part of conversation twice this summer) I go ahead and mention that I'm in love with two people. Though, I'm still only dating my boyfriend. And yes, he's one of those I've been talking to about this all along.

So, yeah, I've got poly feelings. Polyamorous emotions. Whatever you want to call it. And when I realized that I've been thinking for a few weeks about how to write on this subject, I thought it was time to share.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Dear Depression:

 Dear Depression,

I've said before that you feel like an old friend. In any case, you are someone who I've gotten to know fairly well, and whose presence I am used to. I expect that I will be familiar with you throughout my life, but I need you to not lean so heavily on me. Your presence I can accept, but I will do my best to fight you if you drag me down. So please, loosen your grip. Make this easy for us.

-Sarita

journal pages

The above is an excerpt from my journal/sketchbook. Oddly enough, writing a note to depression helped me, at least briefly. And yes, I have found myself wanting to describe depression as an old friend before, which is strange considering how painful it is. But I'm also used to it.

On the opposite page is a simple drawing of a person in the far distance flying a kite, which we see up close. (Though I suppose you could see a tiny figure and a giant kite, if you want to.) Not sure if it has any meaning, I kind of just felt like drawing it. Maybe because there isn't much that makes me feel as alive as wind does, and how better for someone with my limited drawing skills to portray wind that with a kite? But I guess that's me reading meaning into it after the fact.

As I've said before, this particular journal is a work in progress. I'll probably add some color behind the letter, and actually fill in the sky with blue at some point.

sleepy bee

On a slightly more cheerful subject, here's a sleepy bee. I found her when I was smelling some flowering mint, and she almost made close acquaintance with my face. (That wasn't the first time I've had a close call, and likely won't be the last.) She looked dead, since she was just sitting on a leaf under the flowers and wasn't moving, but I recently found out that some bees actually sleep on plants. In any case I didn't disturb her, and when I checked back later there wasn't any trace of her. So I'm going to guess that she was asleep.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Weird but Sweet Kora

When one has pets, odd things can happen. Sometimes these things can be worrisome, sometimes they wind up being just plain perplexing. And sometimes the first turns into the latter.

At first I thought it was just cute when Kora was sniffing my fingers with her eyes closed, but I raised my eyebrows when I noticed that only one of her eyes was shut. Taking a closer look at her that one eye seemed to be stuck shut, which I thought might be a bad sign. It was the middle of the night so I decided to call the vet if it persisted until the next morning, but in the meantime I did what anyone would likely do when they have questions: I asked the Google.

According to my (very brief and limited) research, rats are unable to intentionally keep only one eye closed. That wasn't exactly reassuring. But then I also found that wiping the problem eye with a damp washcloth might removing any gunk that's holding it shut, so I decided to take the Google's advice and hope that it would help little Kora.

I got a paper towel, moistened it with a bit of warm water, and picked Kora up to see if she would let me gently wipe at her eye. (That wouldn't have been a simple feat. Do you know how squirmy rats are?) I didn't actually get to try this trick out though, because she opened the problem eye as she tried to seize the paper towel from my fingers.

So...I guess it worked? In a way? I guess all I needed to do was put something interesting near Kora's face so that she would force both eyes wide open to get a close look at what she wanted to clamp her teeth down on?

In any event, she's fine now, and yes I did give her the prize once I got over my initial "Huh??" And now I know what to do if this ever happens again.

Rats, they're weird but sweet.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

My Pentacle

I was recently asked about my pentacle, and what it means. I was also asked about pagan idols, and explained that no we don't actually worship statues, or if anyone does I haven't heard of it. To this my Christian question asker then said "Oh! So they're like our cross!" After that conversation I thought the subject of what the pentacle means is interesting enough that it would worth writing about.

Pentacle, found at clker.com
First I have to say, exactly what the pent means depends on who you're asking. It would definitely be interesting to refresh my memory on the different ways others view it and write about that, but this post is about what it has come to mean to me.

When I started wearing the pentacle I think I was about eighteen, and it was more because of "Hey, I'm pagan! And I'd love to be able to spot other pagans, so this seems like a good idea, plus I finally have a symbol that I'm drawn to even though I don't know precisely what it means to me. Earth fire water air and spirit yeah...I'll figure out details later on." I still like that the pentacle is a convenient way to find other pagans, either by seeing them wear one or them saying something about my pent, but a large part of why I still wear it is that it's become a comfort thing. If I don't wear my pentacle and the cross my boyfriend gave me (he and I may be weird pagans), I feel like I'm missing something.

As for what the pentacle has come to mean to me...

The different points represent to me earth, air, fire, water, and spirit. I call them elements, which I know is scientifically incorrect but I'm kind of ignoring that. And it's occurred to me that these "elements" can also be called solids, gas, plasma, liquids, and the space between the stars (or vacuum...or dark matter? weird stuff in any case). I haven't seen anyone else refer to the points or the elements in this way, but I know I can't be the only one this has occurred to. Bottom line is, the points are everything that makes this universe, and then the circle around is tying everything together into one universe, one creation.

In a nutshell: the pentacle is all of Creation, and a reminder of the the vast universe (or multiverse) I live in. This line of thinking also takes me to a meditation I wrote about recently, which is coming to be part of my understanding of the pentacle.

I expect my understanding of the pentacle to continue growing, as I learn and experience more. For one thing, I know I'm drawn to pentacles whose points escape the circle, and I'm trying to sort out in my head exactly what that means to me. I've been told it represents power extending outward, but I'm still mulling over that over.

Do you wear a pentacle? What does it mean to you, and has that changed over time?