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.