August 31, 1999
August and Everything After
So what did I really do this month?
- Wrote: 22 journal entries, two role-playing character backgrounds, revised one short story and sent it out into the publishing world once more, started another story, innumerable emails, countless MUSH scenes, lots of ICQ, AIM and other online messages
- Read: The Dragonbone Chair, The Stone of Farewell, To Green Angel Tower, Part 1 by Tad Williams. Telling Lies for Fun and Profit: A Manual for Fiction Writers by Lawrence Block. Danse Macabre, Stephen King. Faerie Tale by Raymond E. Feist. Freak Magnet by Moira. (perfect way) by Sara. Book of the Amber Dragon by Ceit. Medea Sin by Scott Liles. perplexity & redemption by tesserae. Hedgehog Tales by The Mighty Kymm. Again, innumerable emails, countless MUSH scenes, etc, etc.
- Watched: The Blair Witch Project, The Princess Bride, The Mask of Zorro, some PBS special on Andrew Lloyd Webber, an episode of Pokemon (under duress)
- Visited: Podunk, Indiana.
- Played: Master of Orion II. Changeling. Werewolf.
- Attended: A full moon ritual, a meeting or two, I even almost made it to church a few times.
- Ate: At the Olive Garden. Twice. And I developed a fondness for iced green tea.
- Listened to: 88.7 FM. 96.3 FM. Indigo Girls. Nine Inch Nails. Weird Al Yankovic. Mission UK. Sisters of Mercy. Heather Alexander. Tori Amos. Sarah McLachlan. Violent Femmes.
What else did I do? I lived, I guess. Spent time outside, spent time alone, spent a lot of time thinking. I'm not usually much for making lists, but this was interesting, to sort of quantify how I spent my time. Of course, on top of that, I did the usual, like sleep and work and talk on the phone. So now we're going into fall, which is always the most interesting time of year for me...
Instead of just quoting a line or two of something today, I felt compelled to post the entire poem over on the left. Written one hundred years ago, it's a favorite of mine, mostly because it's about the sidhe, and something about it always sends a shiver down my spine. The good kind. I just get a picture in my mind of this army of terrible, beautiful, frightening, compelling beings riding off to... war? Maybe. Maybe the destination doesn't ultimately matter. All that matters is that they are not human, and they are riding past. I tried to find out a little about who exactly Niamh and Caoilte were, but I didn't find much. Brand, my usual mythology resource, is nowhere to be found. As far as I can tell, Niamh was one of the sidhe, but Caoilte wasn't, I think. Everything I found said he was one of the Fianna, a legendary group of Irish warriors, which I would think means he was mortal... gah. I have so much to learn about Irish mythology.
Anyway, I was reminded of this poem this weekend, while I was reading To Green Angel Tower, Part 1. At one point in the story, the Sithi (a magical, immortal race very much like the sidhe - in fact, one webpage I checked listed 'sith' as an alternate name for the sidhe) go riding off to war, and before they ride, one of the leaders calls, "Away, come away!" It was one of those very happy moments where I not only understood the allusion the author, Tad Williams, was making, but it gave me an instant mental picture of exactly what he was trying to describe. And by the way, if you like fantasy at all, go check that series out, called collectively Memory, Sorrow and Thorn.
As for me, I'm about ready to hie myself to the bookstore to splurge on some poetry.
Anyway, I was reminded of this poem this weekend, while I was reading To Green Angel Tower, Part 1. At one point in the story, the Sithi (a magical, immortal race very much like the sidhe - in fact, one webpage I checked listed 'sith' as an alternate name for the sidhe) go riding off to war, and before they ride, one of the leaders calls, "Away, come away!" It was one of those very happy moments where I not only understood the allusion the author, Tad Williams, was making, but it gave me an instant mental picture of exactly what he was trying to describe. And by the way, if you like fantasy at all, go check that series out, called collectively Memory, Sorrow and Thorn.
As for me, I'm about ready to hie myself to the bookstore to splurge on some poetry.
August 30, 1999
Here's Where the Story Ends
I never thought I'd say it, but it might be time for me to say goodbye to Jake. Jake is a character I play on a MUSH called Emerald Dreams. I've played her longer and more continuously than any role-playing character I've had. Her stories have made me laugh, cry, rage, sit on the edge of my seat... in some ways, she's as real as I am. For almost a year and a half now, she's been a part of my psyche. I've watched her grow from Jake Allen, a college student who was more girl than woman, to Joanna Mornim, a widow with a child on the way and a faerie domain to run. It's hard to explain how I feel to anyone who doesn't role-play, or to someone who role-plays but hasn't had that character yet -- the one who takes over your brain periodically, the one who tickles at the back of your head until you sit down and let them tell their story.
Because of that, I think perhaps the best way to explain why I'm saying goodbye is to let Jake explain it in her own words:
I'm tired. It isn't that there are no more stories ahead of me, I know that there are. Once Aislinn is born, the stories will begin anew. But those stories are changing. Once, every story was a grand adventure full of epic emotions: love, terror, hate, victory, loss, pain, healing... nothing was done in small strokes. I lived life on a larger scale, and I wouldn't change any of it. Every conversation had meaning. Every word, every look... A sense of wonder filled everything about me. In my time in Seattle, marvelous things happened to me, as well as horrible, nightmarish things. But threaded through it all was a sense of the Glamour of living as a changeling.
Then Elathan died. With him went all of the sense of the epic, and much of the wonder. Who else could know me as well as the one who was my soul's companion for millenia? All the struggle and the suffering and the joy, none of it means as much without him near me to share it. Sometimes in my private dreams, he comes back to me. In those dreams, I am no longer Oathbroken, and we are simply... ourselves. Each other's. Together we face the ghosts from our pasts -- Ryan, Laren, Tethier, to name a few -- and all our old sins vanquished and forgotten. I know that time may come someday, if I believe, and if I am patient.
For now, I have Aislinn. Perhaps when she is born, that sense of wonder will return, as I see Elathan and me mingling in her to form something completely new. Perhaps she will create new epics for the two of us to live through.
Or perhaps I will learn to enjoy life on a smaller scale. My days in the sun are behind me. I haven't given up, nor will I. I will learn to choose my battles, and to weigh what really matters to me, and what doesn't. Once I was a lover, a baroness, a fighter, a... a name. Now I want to go on, no longer as those things, but as a mother, a teacher... I want to take my place in the background, leaving center stage for those who still live the epic Dream.
My stories are no longer the ones bards put to song. For all that, they are still my stories, and whether they are of the triumphant blaze of glory or simply the warmth of the hearth, I will live and cherish them.
But for now, it's time to rest.
I know how Jake's story ends, and her dreams are true ones. As long as she believes, Elathan will come back to her. And who knows? After a rest, she may come back as strong as ever, demanding once again to be released from my brain.
August 27, 1999
Well, I was going to bitch and rant about some stupidity at work, but I apparently deleted the email that caused all the furor. So... I have to recreate what's going on.
All the women in my building (we're a three building complex) got email about someone's bathroom habits. Apparently someone in the building wasn't flushing and/or wasn't dealing with a toilet when it got stopped up. And our toilets get stopped up all the time. It was a pretty typical "Now ladies, let's all remember to make sure the toilets get flushed.." sort of note. Condescending and annoying. Someone printed it out and posted it all over the bathroom. On the doors, in each stall, everywhere. Things calmed down (and got flushed, apparently) for a while, because that was the end of it.
Comes Monday morning, and all the women get a new forwarded copy of that same email. This time from the Human Resources manager. I'm thinking, "What, are they going to fire anyone who doesn't flush or plunge the toilet?" Now there are nice little smiley-faced reminders up again, in every stall, giving us all exact instructions on how to behave in a bathroom. I feel like I'm back teaching potty-training in preschool again. "Okay now, Angelique, don't forget to flush. Okay, time to wash our hands..."
Some people's kids, sheesh.
And speaking of preschool and people's kids, I've been hit with some serious mommy-itis over the past couple days. I'm really starting to miss working in daycare/preschool. Or really, I just miss being close to infants and toddlers on a regular basis. One of the women at the ritual had her baby with her, an eight month old little boy, and he was just so sweet. She carried him around in a Snugli (a cloth carrier that keeps the baby cradled close to mom or dad), and I got nostalgic. I used to carry the younger babies around that way. Funny, how I remember all the old tricks for calming a baby down, rocking, bouncing on the balls of my feet while holding them, swaying, swaddling. I miss using that knowledge.
Don't get me wrong. I do not want to be a mother. Not now, not for a long time. Even if I was in a serious relationship with someone, I'm not ready. I miss being... a secondary caregiver, maybe. I'd make a terrific aunt right now. I miss having a chance to really get to know a little person, and having a hand in how they were growing and learning.
It sort of shocked me to realize that some of the kids I used to take care of in the cradle are in school now. Or almost there, at least. Eric, one of the first babies I got really attached to, is now four and a half years old. I met him when he was a month old, and took care of him until he was nearly eighteen months. And Isaac, my little buddy, I started taking care of him when he was nine months old and did until he was nearly three. He's five now, and probably starting kindergarten this fall. His baby sister is what, three now?
*sigh* My married friends need to start having babies, and that's all there is to it.
That, or I'm going to have to get another cat.
August 26, 1999
On My Own, Here We Go...
Out and up much too late last night, but it was for a good reason: full moon ritual with Helix. These are some very good, very caring people. I'm glad I'm getting to know them. Of course, a combination of being outside and getting sweaty, being too tired, not drinking enough water, and drinking a little wine has left me feeling decidedly hungover today. (Hangovers are mostly dehydration, after all.) Then again, a 'hangover' for me is a small headache and lots of lethargy. I'm not a heavy drinker.
I started wearing a wrist brace yesterday. It's my left hand, and I didn't realize how much I type with my left hand! makes sense though, since the most often used letters (E, S, T, R, A, etc.) in the English language are on that side. I wonder who created the setup of our keyboards, and why they chose the letter arrangement they did. Not that it isn't nearly intuitive to me by now, but... Hm... Ladies and gentlemen, I think we have a new research topic. (Addendum: took me all of five minutes to find this page. Explains everything.)
God, I'm sleepy. I went to meet with Nancy again today. Minor breakthrough, major work to do. I mentioned something Brand pointed out to me once. Since 1989, I have continually either been in a relationship, or been close to a relationship. I started dating Gary in October of '89, and when we split up in September of '94, Hollingsworth was there almost immediately. Once Hollingsworth and I started splitting, I was quick to look for a 'replacement' for him too. Being alone is not something I do well. I feel compelled somehow to always be in a relationship, or at least be fixated on another person, whether or not they return the sentiment. It's time to stop focusing outside myself where most things emotional are concerned.
Of course, that's like saying 'it's time to learn rocket science' to an aborigine. I'll get there, but I've got a lot to learn first. A lot of thinking to change.
I want to learn to be an entity complete unto myself. Not to see myself as an extension of someone else. Not to think of myself in terms of the state of my various relationships. Hollingsworth helped me move from a relationship where one of us couldn't sneeze without the other one to something a little more normal. But I still try to get too involved, too close.
I like the idea of being a full, complete person. There's an incredible attraction to it. A sense of power. A sense of maturity. Of course, the practical application here is that I'm trying to commit to being completely and utterly single for a while. No romantic relationships. No crushes. (That's the hard one.) No flirting? I don't know. Jeez.. where are the boundaries in this? What about friendships where I flirt? And how long do I keep it up? What if someone perfect comes along while I'm committed to this?
What if I talk myself out of this for a million different reasons?
Now I really have a reason to want to live alone. But at least now I have a project to keep me occupied until I do live alone. I'm tempted to hang a sign around my neck -- "Under Renovation".
August 24, 1999
I spent most of today wandering through different websites for different literary markets. Not terribly exciting reading, but I have to admit, it did get my hopes up. So many different magazines, surely one of them will want to publish me! I did decide on two distinct possibilities, and tomorrow two freshly-printed, edited-to-death versions of "At the Ocean's Edge" will be sent out. (As a side note, the Magic Eight Ball says that Amelia will be the one to buy it. So we'll see. ;))
There I go, writing for my readers again. On journals-l, an email list I'm on, the question came up "What do you think your readers like about your journal?" James' response was that the Magic Eight Ball link kicked ass. So, it's back by popular demand. No, not really. I really did ask who would publish my story.
I finally started writing a new one on Friday, but yesterday I came back and decided that everything I'd written on it, except for the last paragraph, had to go. That hurt. In fact, it made me pretty darn frustrated with the whole process.
In fact, there are a lot of things I'm greatly frustrated about today.
You get the idea. It's felt much more like a Monday than a Tuesday. I'm trying to figure out what super-cool-neato thing I can do for myself tonight to drive away the icky stressness that is today. One thing's for sure: writing this cover letter for Amelia isn't it. Then again, avoiding writing said cover letter (which I'm doing, quite handily) isn't it either. Okay Lisa, they can't buy it if you don't submit it. Off I go, to figure out how to write this darn thing.
- My apparent inability to stay focused on anything long enough to finish it (stories, journal entries, email, work).
- Miscommunication in my spiritual/religious circle. I have no idea how to address this, but it's making me nutsy today.
- Miscommunication at work. Messages aren't getting passed along and I'm getting yelled at for things I have no way of knowing, because no one told me.
- I'm very close to quitting staff on Emerald Dreams. Again.
- The Banal One is still here (and at this point, it's 6 pm). GO HOME!
- My wrist STILL hurts.
- I'm whining again.
- AND the phones won't stop ringing.
Oh. Today's one of those days where I feel really good, just for getting a journal entry up.
August 23, 1999
Just Because You're Paranoid...
My wrists hurt like crazy today. Of course, spending a huge amount of time on the computer yesterday probably didn't help. (Gee, Lisa, do you think?) In fact, yesterday only my left wrist hurt, today it's both of them.
Translation: this might be brief.
Aside from damaging myself on the computer yesterday, I really didn't do much this weekend. I read. I read a lot. Friday night I went to Barnes and Nobles (more on that in a bit), so Saturday I read Danse Macabre by Stephen King, an excellent, excellent non-fiction look at movies and books and shows that have scared us, and why. (I can't help but wonder what he made of The Blair Witch Project...) Then on Sunday I read Telling Lies for Fun and Profit by Lawrence Block. Subtitled: A Manual for Fiction Writers. I'm not sure yet exactly how much I got out of that one, but it was entertaining at least, and gave me some things to think about. More importantly, it made me realize how many things I'm doing right in my writing, and that's never a bad thing. The final thing I bought was a copy of the 1999 Writer's Market. This may have been the most practical purchase yet. I have several ideas of places to send my stories to now... just a question of picking which one to start with next.
Barnes and Noble Friday night served to point out to me the benefits of living with someone, and reminded me of the perils of wandering through a city alone at night, even a small one. I stopped by after work, and a decidedly nondescript man opened the door for me and gave me a weird smile. He was middle-aged, a little paunchy and just... off. I started through the store and soon realized he was following me. So I ducked down an aisle and lost him. I promptly forgot all about it, and went on my merry way, looking for books. I made my selections, then headed down the store's main aisle towards the cash registers. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed Mr. Nondescript, sitting and facing the aisle, apparently reading something. He watched me walk past, giving me another odd smile. I felt an odd twinge, but again, shook it off.
I paid for my books and gathered up the bag, heading for the door. Out of nowhere, comes Mr. Nondescript, making a beeline for the door to hold it open for me, giving me that same smile. It startled me. Even more, it scared me. This little voice in my head said, "You are not going out into the dark parking lot with that man following you." So I feigned a sudden interest in one of the book displays, turning to stare at them rather than going on. Mr. Nondescript did a quick fade outside. I stood there looking at an utterly banal Danielle Steele (or something equivalent) display, trying to figure out what to do. I panicked for a moment. "What if he's waiting outside for you to come out? What do I do?!" The moment passed, and I shifted my bag of books and headed to the cafe. If he was waiting for me to come out, he'd just have to wait until I had something to drink.
I calmly ordered some iced coffee and a scone, since I hadn't had dinner, and settled in to read the books I bought. Maybe thirty minutes later, I stood up again and headed out. Believe me, my keys were in my hand, ready to jab someone, and I looked in every possible direction before leaving the brightness of the building. Nothing happened of course. I got into my car and drove home. (Although, I did watch to be sure no one was following me.)
What does that say about society? Or about me? Once I got home, I felt a little sheepish. I mean, he was probably just some harmless guy who saw me and thought I looked interesting. His actions might have been the actions of a 'bad man', or they might have been the actions of an overly-eager man with poor social skills. But I couldn't take that chance. My instincts were yelling too loudly.
Was I paranoid? Probably. Was my paranoia founded? Maybe, maybe not. Jo asked an interesting question on hearing about this, "Why didn't you talk to him in the bookstore? At least tell him to leave you alone?" Good question. I don't have an answer. Maybe I'm not assertive enough. Maybe I didn't want to look stupid if I was wrong and he wasn't following me.
I'm no longer in quite so much a hurry to live alone.
August 20, 1999
Multiplicity of Me
I am a believer in the Eight Ball. I asked the same question twice, and it gave me no answer. As in, the eight ball hovered on an angle. Given the question I asked, it's the only answer I would have believed. (Heh. Now aren't you curious?) And true or not, it's just a very cool site. Makes me want to go out and buy an Eight Ball, that's for sure.
I met with Nancy today. It went pretty well, overall. I can tell it's going to take me a little bit to get used to being in therapy again. I spent a good part of the hour with this 'see how okay I am?' sort of face on. I mean, not that things are horrible, but something in me was going out of my way to present everything as 'not that bad'. I hate that, because once I left, it felt dishonest. I kept knowing what I wanted to talk about, but could never find a way to say it or to get there. I feel bad for the way I disappeared on her before. Which is, by the way, the second time I've done that to her. I can't help but wonder if I run when we start getting too close to some issues. Not sure if that's the right answer, but it feels right.
I noticed another habit I have -- and this one's been pointed out to me before. When I'm in a theraputic setting, and I'm nervous, I refer to myself in first person plural as in 'Let's not do that' or 'We don't want that'. Rather humorously, that was first pointed out to me when I had my one and only inpatient hospitalization in April of 1997. There was a social work student (or was she a psych student?) who was terribly young and terribly earnest. She noticed I kept saying 'we' and jumped ALL over it. I know she was convinced she'd found someone with multiple personalities. It took a lot of convincing on my part to reassure her that it was just a nervous figure of speech.
Hearing myself doing that today made me realize something: I do think of myself as many rather than one. Not in an MPD (or is the correct term now Dissociative Identity Disorder?) sense, but just... There are many sides of me. There are many voices in my head. They are all me. I am all of them. They are the different parts of my psyche that fill different roles. Along the lines of the idea of the id, ego and superego, but I'm not limited to just three. There is a Strict voice that tells me what to do, a Child voice that often cries out for nurturing, an Angry voice that fumes and howls when I can't, a Punishing voice that berates me and tries to make me ashamed, an Empowered voice that often tells the Punishing voice to go to hell, and over the past few years, a Soft voice that, although quiet, often can be heard over the others, reminding me of my true worth. There are others, but those are the main ones. As you might imagine, they tend to group themselves along certain lines: Angry and Empowered stand against Strict and Punishing, Child hides behind Soft, and so on. My head is often a rather noisy place. Not as much as it used to be. The trick is learning which voice to listen to and when.
Add to that the numerous characters for role-playing games and stories who speak up and demand their time in the sun, and it becomes clear just how busy my brain is, and why I consider myself a group. But they are all me. If any of them were missing, I would not be who I am.
But I am more than the sum of my parts. Isn't everyone?
Do you have voices in your head? Do you think I'm nuts? Do you understand? Let me know.
August 19, 1999
Some Days Are Like That
Odd mood today... tired, but with a very jumpy mind. I want to do something that matters to me today, but I can't decide what. This feels like one of those days where the only thing I really accomplish is a journal entry. Some days are like that. Maybe that's part of the reason I keep this thing, so on days like that I have something that I can point to and say, "Well, I did that today at least..."
Still no motivation to get anything actually done as far as work goes. Oh, I'm perking along on projects, but very... desultory and half-hearted. I want to finish the latest edit of my story, if I can focus my mind long enough to do it. I know where I think it's weakest, but I can't always figure out how to strengthen it. I hate that. Sometimes it comes so easy, then other times, putting three words into some coherent order just seems impossible. Today's somewhere in the middle. Writing isn't impossible today, it's just harder than usual.
Again, I got drawn into reading tesserae's archives. Although my own mental health issues weren't and aren't anywhere near as severe as hers, I can relate to a lot of what she talks about. And her feelings on the Internet are similar to mine as well. How much to reveal? How much is too much? When does sharing your feelings with someone thousands of miles away become an exercise in futility, or worse, selfishness? I think in the entry I linked to over on the left, she talked about having urges to hurt herself, and talking to an online friend about them. Then she felt bad, afterward. With a local friend, in a situation like that, they can come over and be there. Someone far away can only feel... helpless. I've been there, talking to someone suicidal and not knowing how to really help. Once or twice I've nearly called the police in their hometown... but sometimes I didn't even know their hometown.
I've been on the other end of things as well, although not in quite as severe a fashion. It bothers me a little to know sometimes that I've hurt friends by bringing them feelings that they can't help me resolve, simply due to distance. Times when I've really just needed someone to hold me... what good does it do to tell someone that who lives on the other side of the continent? Does telling that make me feel any better? Does telling that make them feel worse?
I guess maybe that's a drawback to learning to become open and honest with feelings. Sometimes it's hard to know when to stop. To re-draw boundaries that keep me from telling people more than they want to know, or more than they can handle. To stop and remember that not everyone is my therapist. :) And more important, that not everyone wants to be.
Speaking of therapists... I'm seeing Nancy again tomorrow for the first time in over a year. Scared? Oh hell yes. I don't know why. I guess scared is too strong a word. I'm nervous. I'm partly afraid that we won't have as close a theraputic relationship as we used to... and I'm partly afraid that we will. It's as if I have secrets hidden that I'm not ready to give out and give up yet. But I can't honestly tell you what those secrets are. The thing that has always been best and worst about Nancy is that she's been able to peer around masks and through motivations to see the things I didn't even realize I was hiding. She's very gentle about it, but it's still sometimes disconcerting. Especially when I'm not sure I'm quite ready to face some things.
I'm curious how she'll react to this journal. I'm wondering if I should give her the URL. There are several entries I want to print off and take to her tomorrow, as they relate to things that we've long been working on, like things with my dad and with Gary. I also want to show her some of the other things I've been working on. She's a terrific, wonderful, supportive person, even when she's being scary.
Here's me, Little Red Riding Hood from "Into the Woods" all over again. "...then I really got scared -- well, excited and scared..." I love that song...
August 18, 1999
Getting closer and closer to a new computer. I went and checked some out last night. It looks like the affordable ones are either refurbished or have a non-Pentium processor in them, like Cyrix or K-something or another. Saw a few Celerons too. So, it looks like it's time for me to do some homework. I don't know enough about that particular subject to make a judgement call. I saw a great corner tower-type desk though, and found the perfect spot at home to put it. I'll probably be able to afford all this after I get paid again.
I admit to being Miss Sloth at work for the past couple days. My motivation level is about as low as it can possibly get. Well, that, and I can just find so many more interesting things to do! I found a new angle to try and work into a story that I thought was already finished, so I really want to work on that as much as anything. And at the back of my mind, always, is the thought of how nice it will be to be able to work on things like that at home finally. I just have a very very difficult time writing at home, in part due to the computer situation there. No MS-Word, or any other decent word processing program. My work area currently leaves a lot to be desired too. I mean, it's great for just hanging around on MUSHes and the like, but for serious writing work? Not a chance. Too many distractions, and it's a little too relaxing. My brain sometimes gets lazy when I sit there.
Me? With a lazy brain? Surely you're kidding, right? We all know, Lisa, what a paragon of virtue you are when it comes to your work ethic. (Okay. Stop laughing now.)
I had planned to write so much more... but I stumbled across a new website and I've spent most of the afternoon reading it. It's a pretty intense thing, an abuse survivor with MPD, and she keeps an online journal. I haven't really even gotten to the journal yet. There's a lot more there. Some of the poetry made me just shake. it's called tessarae. And it's incredible.
I love ICQ. I've managed to get in touch with some interesting people that way, and stay in touch with some people as well. As far as instant messaging programs go, isn't it one of the first? For more info on it (if you don't already have it) go to their website. And by the way, my number is #13864694.
The reason for my affection for ICQ today: Ceit of the Book of the Amber Dragon. She's been fun to talk to, although I still haven't managed to get the information from her about the MUD she's working on. (MUDs are similar to MUSHes. MUSHes are better. ;)) After hearing about her problems with her boyfriend's mother, and remembering my own ex-mother-in-law, we both resolved to never be like that when we get older. Hence an idea was born. Now, if you've ever visited diarist.net you'd see there are a remarkable number of journal webrings and 'burbs (slang for lists of journals with one specific thing in common) out there. Well. I just might have to start another. The "I Will Not Be A Neurotic Bitch When I Get Older" Webring, or "IWNBANBWIGO" for short. (Everytime I look at that, I see 'Winnebago, is it just me?) Membership in the ring would be limited to those of us who resolve never to become meddling, whining, annoying older women and men who torment our children and those who love them. Whaddya think? Will it fly?
I think I might be onto something.
August 17, 1999
The Rainbow Connection
I left work last night in a terrible hurry, anxious to get home. It was maybe 8:15 or so, and the sun was setting in the middle of a wannabe thunderstorm. The storm never actually broke, there were just a few sprinkles here and there. Walking out of the office, I looked up and thought, 'Hey, this is rainbow weather.' Sure enough, there it was, hanging over my car. Boy was it. I could only see about half of it, as the building blocked the rest. Curving against ominous black clouds, it was as brilliant a display of color as I can ever remember seeing. I just stood there for several moments, letting the rain sprinkles cover my glasses and leave tiny dark footprints on my shoulders, and looked at it. Even after I left the parking lot, I watched the rainbow. I'm surprised I didn't cause an accident, because my eyes weren't on the road much at all.
Finally I reached a clearing, and a stoplight. I rolled down my window and stuck my head outside to follow the rainbow's arc. I have never in my life seen a rainbow that completely arched overhead, stretching down to the ground on both sides. It was enormous. Enormous, and it looked completely solid and reachable. It looked like I would be able to hang and swing from the top of the arch, if I could just reach it. Finding the rainbow's end seemed utterly feasible. What's more, I wanted to reach it. It looked so... tangible, part of me wanted so much to reach out and touch what my eyes insisted had to be solid.
Then I noticed it had a twin. Just above it, like a shadow or a reflection, was another rainbow, murkier and less distinct. A double rainbow. My mind simply refused to accept that it was all an optical illusion caused by refracted light. It wanted to insist that I was seeing a road, a magical path, or a sign, an affirmation that a decision I had just made was the right one.
I wanted to thank Someone, but I didn't know who to thank.
So instead I was just grateful to the universe at large. I mean, you just have to find someone to thank for something that big. It's also easy to find a meaning in something so visible, something that symbolizes so many things. And I promised myself I wasn't going to get all girly about all the things rainbows symbolize. I'm not a sunshine, hearts and rainbows kind of woman, even if I do collect unicorns.
I think maybe the best way I can describe it is by telling you how it made me feel. Yearning. But at the same time, reassured. Even as I wanted so much to reach up and touch that rainbow, to see and feel its colors washing over my skin, I also felt a sense of quiet, ancient calm fall over me. Here was something immensely bigger and ultimately older than I was, something that was ephemeral as the sunbeam that formed it, but ultimately as lasting as the source of that same sunbeam.
In my very first online journal entry, I defined a spiritual experience as "any experience that makes me stop and think about something really fundamental to who I am." That's probably still the best way I could put it into words, although I think I would make an addition as well to "or any experience that allows me to touch or come in contact with some True thing or power." That I can't describe, beyond saying "I know it when I feel it."
August 16, 1999
Weekend in the Country
Ah, a lovely, fun-filled weekend in Indiana. I feel much, much more relaxed now. Dawn and Jason and I didn't actually do much. In fact, we hardly did anything. Watched a couple of movies, played on their computer, talked a lot. I've discovered that I really like playing Master of Orion II. The three of us were taking over the galaxy. We talked a lot about what a hick town they live in, and how glad they'll be to move away, hopefully within the next month or so. I don't blame them. This place gives new meaning to the word 'podunk'. It reminds me a lot of Martin, Tennessee, where Gary and I lived from January of '93 to September of '94. Well, he still lives there, as far as I know. I left in '94. And at least Martin had a university (of sorts) to liven things up a little bit. North Cowtown, Indiana doesn't even have that. The most interesting thing about that place is that you can see lots of Amish on the roads. Whee.
We sang a lot more than we usually do, too. The three of us were in choir together in high school, and all pursued some form of music in college. Interestingly, our musical tastes have diverged greatly. Or, more accurately, theirs hasn't changed and mine has. Listening to their stereo on Saturday morning was very much a nostalgic trip for me: Bryan Adams, Elton John, REO Speedwagon, "Weird Al" Yankovic (well okay, I still listen to Weird Al). I have to admit though... it was great fun to sing along to the "Grease" soundtrack at 2am, at top volume, with all the house windows and doors open. We can only hope that we annoyed the crap out of their neighbors. The downside of this was that I woke up yesterday morning with "Freddie, My Love" running through my head.
It's sort of sweet and sort of funny, the two of them have decided to be the role model of a good marriage to most of their friends, me included. And I have to give them that. They're as happy as any couple I've ever seen. Things aren't perfect, of course, but they're stable and normal without being boring. They renew my faith in true love. I know they're both really worried about the Hollingsworth situation. Dawn even said something about being worried about me coming out because the two of them are such a happy couple. That doesn't bother me, of course. I'm overjoyed to see my friends in happy relationships... just apparently not Hollingsworth. I'm working on it though, I really am.
Max was furious at me for being gone all weekend. And not only was I gone all weekend, but I came back smelling like a dog and two cats. He's been randomly biting me since last night. Sometimes I think I need to find out more about cat psychology. He and I have a very strange relationship. Love/hate, or something. I think he's so bite-y because he was weaned way way too early. Either that or he's simply psychotic in how he chooses to show his affection. Also entirely possible.
I'm fantasizing about a new computer again. Apparently there's one within my reach on sale at an office supply store in town. I'd love to keep the old one in my room and put the new one in the living room, but Hollingsworth has this thing about either of us having personal stuff in the living room. I may say 'screw it' and do it anyway. I mean, how pointless is it to have a living room that nobody uses? And believe me, no one uses our living room. All that's in there right now is a couch, a past-the-point-of-throwing-out papasan chair, some tables and an empty entertainment center. There's a corner there that's just begging for a computer desk. Then I'll be able to feed my addiction no matter where I am! ;)
I'm in the planning stages for moving out. I may be planning from now until June when our lease is up, but... I'm planning.
August 13, 1999
R & R
I started to write an entry for yesterday, but it ended up being so tired and whiny that I finally just gave up. I was tired to the point that I couldn't focus on coming out with a coherent sentence, much less a completely formed thought or idea. My sleeping patterns have been loopy this week, even for me. I think I must have averaged maybe three hours a night or so. Today, in a lot of ways, was catch up day. Caught up sleep, caught up laundry. I feel much better now.
I sort of melted down at Brand last night. On top of being overtired, it was a pretty crappy day at work. The Banal One was annoying me to the point of near-murder. Every time she opened her mouth, I thought I was going to leap over my desk and throttle her. She prattles endlessly (in a very annoying voice) about things that no one else cares about. Plus there was a lot of oddness on my part about Hollingsworth last night. The simple fact of the matter is that I'm jealous, and so I'm avoiding him whenever possible. Then I get frustrated because I feel I 'can't go home' when I know he'll be here. That's crap, of course. He's not doing a damn thing, except what we agreed on.
Anyway, all of this resulted in me having a minor (very minor) crisis at about 5 in the morning while I was online talking to Brand. The "crisis" was of the "nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I think I'll eat some worms" variety. He dragged me offline so we could talk on the phone and he could talk some sense into me. It helped, immensely. If nothing else, just by talking to someone else, I could see how utterly irrational I'm being about all this. Sometimes it takes putting a feeling into words before you can put it behind you. It's almost as if by naming and classifying and analyzing a feeling, you deprive it of the power it has over you. For me, anyway. Probably one of the reasons therapy worked so well for me.
Therapy, which by the way, I'm considering again. I miss talking to Nancy, my old therapist. I mean, I can deal with all this as it comes, and take care of everything now, or I can keep on ignoring it until it gets me into trouble six months from now. Therapy isn't something that only belongs to people in crisis or who are out of control or whatever. I'm thinking about this as a preventative measure of sorts. (Aside: I feel like I should change the name of this journal sometimes to "... But I'm Not Depressed!" God knows I've been saying that often enough.)
But... I'm getting away from all this for the weekend, at least. Dawn called last night, and I'm going to see her and Jason in a couple hours. Yay for me. I doubt I'll be running my Changeling game with them. I still feel pretty fuzzy mentally, and I haven't had a chance to prepare anything to actually do with them. Who knows? Maybe I'll be inspired on the trip down there. Hey, it could happen. Or maybe not. Maybe I'll just spend the weekend doing little to nothing with some good friends, watching movies, playing with their dog and cats, eating Dawn's amazing cooking. There are worse ways to spend a weekend, like sitting at home alone and moping too much.
Anyway, no update until I get back for sure, although I might end up writing something Sunday night.
August 11, 1999
Evolution of a Goat
Strange, tired sort of day.
This might be one of those entries that rambles, because no topic really jumped out and grabbed me today. My mood's a little down, and I'm restless again. I hate posting stuff like that, because some of the people who read this (you know who you are) are going to get all worried about me. I think it's purely a hormonal thing, because last night driving home from work I was listening to the sappiest, mushiest love songs ever and getting weepy. "Make It Real" (anyone else remember The Jets?) made me cry. "On The Wings of Love" made me get nostalgic. That was amusing, actually. In eleventh grade I had a horrible crush on a boy who was a senior... Greg... oh damn. What was Greg's last name? I can't remember, but he was SO cute, and he had the sweetest voice. He auditioned it for some school talent show thingy, and all the girls just melted. Oh, and he played the piano for it too. That was the same year I auditioned "Send In The Clowns", and he was my accompanist. Neither of us made the talent show. Heh. I think I asked him out and he politely 'was busy'.
Last night I learned that I know far more about psychology than I realized. Especially abnormal psych. I guess that's part of my strong suit in developing and role-playing characters. When I give a character an odd trait or quirk or flaw, sooner or later I realize as a player just why they have that trait. I should explain. I consider my role-playing characters, the really good ones at least, on par with characters in an ongoing story that I'm writing. Given that most of my role-playing is in a text-based, written environment, that's easy to do. I've heard some writers (most of the good ones I know) talk about how sometimes their characters sort of take over, doing their own thing and revealing things about themselves that the author didn't originally know. It's like... you create this person, and breathe life into them, but somewhere along the way you can stop breathing for them and let them breathe by themselves. Then you have to just hope they still let you in their head and hang on for the ride.
Sometimes the ride is bumpier than you expected. Sometimes I feel a little like Dr. Frankenstein, when a throwaway mish-mash of ideas and traits and words suddenly lurches to life and becomes a entity of her own, demanding time and space in your head, offering problems that you never knew she had, never created her to have... only now those problems demand a resolution. The most unexpected characters do this. Characters that I spend ages working on, coming up with their backgrounds and histories and personalities, often go nowhere. The characters that live and take over are almost always the ones that I toss together without a ton of thought. The selkie I created to go to someone's in-character party. The satyr I created to be able to play on a MUSH with another friend. When the act of creation is the most careless, that's when I'm most likely to create something worthwhile.
Caitlin (the aforementioned satyr) took her first steps away from me last night. It was scary as hell for me, because she's so foreign to what I am, and yet I understand her. Scary because for a long time it almost felt as if she were ghostwriting through me and I wasn't inside her head at all. She kept doing things and I didn't understand why she was doing them. Then scary because I got inside her head, and understood far more about her than she understands about herself. She a troubled, angry, bitter nineteen year old who has never understood what loving someone means, or what being loved means. That's not what I originally created. I originally created a free-spirited, wild force of nature. And she is... but there's so much more there... It's almost as if she's been hurt so many times that she doesn't know what hurt is anymore, doesn't recognize it, doesn't feel it. If you asked her if she'd ever been hurt or traumatized, she'd laugh at you, probably asking "Who hasn't?" The go-to-hell grin that she wears so often is a mask, a defense against letting people get too close, against letting someone have the opportunity to hurt her.
I only learned that because someone got in. Another character got behind her mask, and pointed out to her that she was wearing a mask. Like any period of self-realization, it's not easy for her. But for someone watching her, both from the outside and the inside, it's a fascinating chance to watch someone grow and evolve.
Or maybe I'm just secretly sadistic. *grin*
August 10, 1999
Hm. Quoting Weird Al a lot lately... maybe I should make this an official daily thing. Only problem is, I don't think I know enough Weird Al to pull it off. Something to consider, I suppose.
Last night I dreamt that I got married again. It was one of those very vivid, extended dreams. You know, the kind that seems to span several months' worth of time? The odd thing about it all is that I dreamt I married someone I know already in real life. The dream was realistic enough that it's tempting to think that's how it would really be. It's tempting to think I could be happy that way.
Everything was vivid, from what kissing him felt like, to hearing him propose. We talked about problems that might come up in our marriage and how we'd deal with them. We discussed wedding plans. Apparently I still lived in the same place, because I saw us sitting on my couch in my living room. I think I woke up before the actual wedding itself, but the intention was there. Or did I? Maybe I just skipped the wedding in my dream, because I remember dreaming about actually being married. I find that interesting. Most people, when planning to get married, spend more time focused on the wedding and less on the marriage itself. Maybe I learned my lesson.
It's hard to explain really. I'm not saying that I'm going to rush out and propose to this person. Obviously this isn't someone with whom I am romantically involved (since I'm not romantically involved with anyone). I'm not usually someone who looks for a lot of meaning in her dreams either... but when they're as vivid as this one, it sort of makes me sit up and take notice. So, what does this really mean?
Is something telling me I should pursue this person? Or is it simply an indication that some of my negative feelings about marriage are fading? I've really been mulling this over today, trying to figure it out. Finally I gave up and looked in a few online dream dictionaries. Here's an interesting thought. I looked up "wedding":
"It usually symbolizes the joining of many parts of self. The coming together in a harmonious fashion of the many parts of your personality or psyche. The integration of the masculine, the feminine, the physical and the spiritual."Elsewhere, under "marriage", it said,
"It could represent a greater level of awareness where the dreamer's conscious and unconscious elements are becoming more familiar and are embracing one another."It doesn't strike me as a coincidence that I would have a dream like that after spending so much time working on this journal. The more I write about myself and my thoughts, the more things come together for me. It's a given, and it's usually a subconscious process. Sort of like when you're trying to remember something, and it comes to you when you stop thinking about it. When I write about things, what I'm writing about seems to trigger other thought processes that go on while I'm not paying attention. Now that I think about it, that's true of any sort of writing. Maybe that's why I'm so addicted to producing the written word.
Then again, it also mentioned over and over again that a wedding or marriage dream could simply be a wish-fulfillment. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes a wedding is just a wedding.
If pressed, I'd say it was a combination of both. I know I've been rather lonely lately romantically speaking, but I also know that things are coming together for me inside my head. Happy but looking, I guess is how you'd describe me. Of course, I've read that every person in your dreams somehow represents yourself. That would lend credence to the first interpretation theory.
Or here's an interesting twist: maybe it was a prophetic dream.
Gotta theory? Email me.
August 09, 1999
Ode to Max
Felis catus is your taxonomic nomenclature,
An endothermic quadruped, carnivorous by nature;
Your visual, olfactory, and auditory senses
Contribute to your hunting skill and natural defenses.
Max. Maxi-cat. Maximillian. Doofus-kitty. Goober.
Known by any and all of the above, Max is my baby and my greatest source of annoyance and cuddly moments. While perhaps not quite as dramatic as Scott's... The LIGER!, he's the source of much goofiness around the house.
I got him when he was much, much too tiny a kitten, probably no more than four weeks old, barely weaned. (Don't yell at me.. the people I got him from said he was eight weeks...) My personal theory is that because I got him so young, he bonded with me a lot stronger. When he was tiny, any time I stood near a counter, kitchen, bathroom, whatever, he would climb up my pantleg up to my shoulder and peek over to see what I was doing. This was only a problem once: when I was wearing a really really long top, and he crawled under the top and tried to keep climbing my bare back. Ouch!
He also used to have an arch-nemesis, in the form of a stuffed bear about five inches long. They were about the same size. From across the room, Max would stalk the hapless little green and pink (yeah, it was ugly) bear. In a flash, he'd pounce across the carpet and catch the Bear of Doom in his paws, rolling over and over with it. The Bear of Doom, I'm sorry to say, managed to win most of the wrestling matches, despite being completely inanimate. It wasn't until Max was much bigger that he was able to take his revenge, and reduce the Bear of Doom to a few ragged scraps of cloth.
We held a funeral for him. But of course, predator that he is, Max dug the tattered corpse from the trash. It's still lying around the house somewhere.
As attached to me as he is, Max tends to follow me around the house. Wherever it seems that I'm planning to spend time, there Max is. Even the bathroom. If I go in there and shut him out, he whines piteously at the door until I let him in. Saturday he followed me downstairs to the living room where I ate lunch and read. While we were sitting there, quiet and lazy, a neighborhood cat came to stand at the doorwall that leads to our 'backyard'. He and Max eyed each other through the glass for a moment, then Max decided the gauntlet had been thrown and he had to pounce the other cat. Some sort of macho feline thing, I guess. Fortunately for our visitor, and unfortunately for Max, my darling, brainy child forgot there was a half-inch of solid glass between him and his prey. He reared up, back arched, and made a strong, powerful leap forward... only to brain himself against the glass, chasing the other cat away.
Max didn't even bother with the 'I meant to do that' look. He was too stunned.
Forgive me for laughing at him. It was cruel, I know. He got back at me last night.
As often as once a week, there will be a night where I simply don't go to bed, or if I do, it isn't until 8am or so. Last night was one of those nights. Apart from being restless, I was talking to Brand online and so just never got around to the sleep thing. Inevitably, when I do this, Max can't sleep either. It's like he won't give up and really go to bed until I do. He'll nap on the floor or whatever, but until I get in the bed and turn off the lights, he's restless. So he ends up getting into things and wandering around and whining. It unsettles him, I guess. Somewhere around 4am, I hear a thundering, rattling noise from somewhere in the apartment. To my tired and overactive imagination, for a moment, it sounded remarkably like the noises in the woods in "The Blair Witch Project". I sent Brand a message to the effect of "Crashing noise in the next room. Going to see what it is. BRB [Translation: be right back.]. It'd damn well better be the cat."
With a pounding heart, I reached the bathroom and peeked in, to find Max standing on the bathroom counter looking at the glass shower door and meowing pitifully. He did this over and over and over last night. I figure either 1) for some feline reason, he had to be in the shower last night, and I wasn't properly removing the obstacles, or 2) something evil really was in there, that only he could see, and he was trying to protect me, or (and this just occurred to me) 3) he saw his buddy the neighborhood cat behind the glass and thought he'd give it another try.
Sweet boy, my Max, but not too bright.
August 07, 1999
On the Tip of My Tongue
When my whole life is on the tip of my tongue
Empty pages for the no longer young
The apathy of time laughs in my face
You say "Each life has its place".
I know. I've been quoting the Indigo Girls a lot lately. For one, they're eminently quotable. And for two, they've been speaking to me a lot lately. Today was a very odd day. I am, in fact, reaching the conclusion that I don't like weekend days much. I woke up sometime around 3, and Hollingsworth was still home, but I could tell that he was getting ready to leave. He couldn't leave fast enough, as far as I was concerned. Lots and lots of antagonism for him today, and I'm not sure why, exactly.
Well, untrue. I do know why, but the reasons all seem to be petty and not really the whole truth of the matter. I'm irritated about a thousand little things that add up to one big thing. And rather than talk about it, I avoid him. He makes it remarkably easy for me to do so. I can't help but wonder if he's avoiding me too. I remember we talked before we decided to renew the lease here. One of the things we talked about was 'what happens when we both start dating again'. We thought we'd be able to work it out, no problem. I realize now what I really meant by that. What I really meant was that I didn't expect it to really be an issue. In the entire time that I've known him, five years now, Hollingsworth has had one girlfriend who lived in the same city as him: me. And he moved here after we started dating. Everyone else was someone he met on the net and saw only rarely.
Well at least he did meet this one on the net. She just happens to live in this area, is all. It bothers me that I don't even know her name. I don't know why that occurred to me, but it did. What it all comes down to is that I'm jealous. But it's an odd sort of jealousy. I don't necessarily want him back, I don't think. It's more of a "I was supposed to find someone FIRST, damn it!" sort of jealousy. Or more accurately, "I know we broke up and agreed to see other people, but you weren't really supposed to!"
Yeah, it's a double standard. I'm not proud.
All of this led to a very curious period of self-loathing earlier. For maybe half an hour or so, while I was running errands, everything about me and about my life seemed to absolutely SUCK and I felt like the most worthless human being to ever walk on the face of the earth. It was very... unsettling. In fact, it felt a lot like the way I used to feel when I was seriously depressed. That said, let me state clearly: I'm not depressed again. The feeling passed, like I knew it would. That right there is the fundamental difference. When I was depressed, however I felt at the moment was how I knew I was going to feel forever and forever. Today, when I felt so lousy, there was a little voice in the back of my head that kept saying "It's all right. This is going to pass, just keep doing what you were going to do anyway. Keep moving and you'll leave it behind." And sure enough, it happened.
I'm feeling a lot better now, if still a little unsettled. I find myself wondering if I shouldn't go ahead and get in touch with my old therapist again, just to have someone to talk this through with. I mean, a journal is great, and friends are great, but... it's just not quite the same. It's something to think about.
There's a feeling inside me that I can't quite touch or express. It seems like if I can just get to it, everything will make sense. It's right there, a greatness of thought and feeling that will sum up everything that I am, that troubles me, that makes me strong, the good and the bad... and it's just on the tip of my tongue.
If someone was here, and I stuck out my tongue, would they be able to see it?
August 06, 1999
Addicted Cyberspace Selkie
First of all, you have no idea how badly that cracks me up. It just... fits.
As you may have noticed from the left-hand side, I finally got to see "The Blair Witch Project" last night. Scary. Scary, scary, scary. I slept with my lights on last night. In fact, I slept with every damn light in the house on. Even then I had to read myself to sleep. And of course, Max woke me up at 6:30 this morning, scratching and biting at the empty stereo box next to my bed. Of the times for the cat to decide to eat cardboard! I threw him out of my room and shut the door. (Don't ask why I have an empty stereo box next to my bed. You don't want to know.)
As soon as I got home from the theatre I turned on my stereo (loud) and tried to call Brand, but he was sleeping. So I got online and very very slowly started to relax. I made the mistake of leaving the upstairs windows open rather than turning on the air conditioning. In case you haven't heard yet, the biggest part of the movie is about being lost in the woods with someone making strange noises outside your tent. Because Jo, Eric and Justin had a lot of fun teasing me about how scared I was (they had seen it already!), I somehow convinced myself on the way home that they would probably show up at my house to scare me. So of course, I found myself actively listening for noises outside. Every time someone walked past outside or laughed under my window, I got spooked. Couple of times I heard something that I thought might have been them, but I wasn't sure. I asked Jo today, but of course she just gave me a mysterious look and Eric played along with her.
I don't really think they did. I just hope I didn't give them any ideas. In any case. The windows are going to be shut tonight. Like I told someone online last night: "What I don't hear can't come and get me." ;)
I absolutely positively have to do housework this weekend. I really don't want to. Bleah. But, I'm getting ultimatums from Hollingsworth so... that's probably a bad sign. Not that he'll be home this weekend, of course. I'm starting to wonder if the two of us signing the lease for another year was a good idea. Well, no. Untrue. I know it wasn't a good idea. I'm just starting to wonder if it was a liveable bad idea. I guess the question is if it isn't, what, if anything, can I do about it now? I've figured out that I could, technically, afford the rent on the apartment myself, although it'd be far from ideal. I definitely don't want to deal with finding another roommate. I can see trying to get out of the lease turning into a big mess. So... it's possible that I'm stuck until next June. But every day that passes, I'm more and more aware that I really wish I lived alone, Blair Witch or no.
So. What to do? I suppose the wisest course of action right now would be to get my shit together at home in terms of getting everything organized and orderly. Start winnowing through belongings, throwing away things I don't need/don't use anymore. For instance, I know there's at least two boxes that haven't been unpacked since I moved out of Sharon's apartment back in 1996. If I haven't looked at that stuff in three years... it kinda raises the question of whether or not I really need those things anymore. I just... I look at everything that I would need to do to actually move and I feel very very daunted.
The dumbest part of all this is that Hollingsworth and I, for the most part, get along just fine. It has nothing to do with him. It's all me. It's hard to describe really. When I know he's in the house, I just feel... tense. The other night when he was home from work unexpectedly, it threw me off all night. While that tension has been around for a while, I have to be honest and say that it's really increased since I found out he was dating someone else, and since he's been gone (presumably with her) every weekend. I don't know that I'm jealous necessarily. Or maybe I am, I don't know. Either way things are just awkward, and I know that awkwardness is only on my end.
I think too much sometimes. I'm convinced of this.
And if The Banal One doesn't shut up and go home, I'm going to strangle her.
August 05, 1999
Office Politics Suck
Okay.. so I've been playing around with some site counters like Site Meter and Nedstat. Those are the little square graphics at the bottom of most of the pages. So far it's really cool, not only can I spot how many people are reading, but I can usually spot who's reading and when. I find this immensely neat. And, most exciting of all for a relatively new journaller, there's a domain that keeps showing up, and I don't know who it is! Do you realize what this means? It means that I might have a regular reader who isn't already a family member or friend! Either that, or it's someone I know checking things from work, but hey.
Design Goddess Ceit has once again saved the day. The enormous graphic on the index page should load much faster now, or at least, should seem to. Instead of being one large picture, I cut it into nine smaller ones. This too, is immensely neat. Can you tell that I've found a new obsession? Everytime I think I'm done with everything except the entries themselves, something else will occur to me, or something else will need changing. I should have realized Law Number One of Web Page Design: Web sites are never 'done'. Or rather, once they are, they're dead.
Everytime I try to sit here and get my thoughts together, the phone rings or someone comes by to talk to me. Argh. The phone ringing I can deal with. I mean, that's my job. I kind of have to deal with it. And I don't mind talking to people usually, but... not when I'm trying to write, you know? I wish I could hang a sign on my cube that says something like "WRITING RECEPTIONIST -- DO NOT DISTURB". Somehow I don't think management would appreciate that though. I mean, it's one thing for me to work on my web site and my journal while I'm at work, it's another thing entirely to flaunt doing so.
Speaking of work, I guess my supervisor found a (heh) treasure trove of internal emails from The Banal One to our last supervisor. One of them, from last September, was forwarded to me I'll share it, in its entirety:
"Here's another FYI -- Lisa was also late this morning. I don't know how late, because she was here before me. But she told me she was late, and that she called B. from home to let him know what was going on. Something about cutting herself in the foot with an exacto knife this morning. Just wanted to let you know, in case either of them forgets to mention it."According to Jo, there are hundreds of these in Lance's email folders. I mean, how petty is that? She must have been spending her days watching the rest of us and snitching at the slightest opportunity. I don't know about anyone else, but I have better things to do with my time, like write snarky journal entries about coworkers. ;)
Oh, and for the record: I did cut my foot with an exacto knife that day. I remember it quite well. Damn thing fell off the counter and sliced my toes. (And thank you so much for bringing up such a painful memory!)
The atmosphere here is not always the greatest. There's a sort of 'us against her' sort of feeling, which I try to stay out of. But everytime I think I can deal with The Banal One, something like this comes up. Ah well, at least I only have to work with her. I could have been her. There but for the grace of God, you know?
August 04, 1999
It Had Big Sharp, Pointy Teeth!
(After a bit of a hiatus, I'm getting back to doing a collaborative entry for Speak Freely, a webring for journals on free webspace.)
Fear. Interesting topic for me to write on right now, considering that I'm planning to go see (finally!) "The Blair Witch Project" tomorrow night. Twice tonight I spooked myself over that movie, and I haven't even seen it yet. Things were especially quiet at work tonight, so I spent some time looking over the website. Mistake. Like I said, it was quiet in the office, and I sat there and read all of Heather's 'journal'. Major 'skin on the back of the neck crawling' feeling. But I got over it. I ended up staying over a couple of hours to work on the page that deals with the MUSHes I play on. So of course, when I went to leave, the parking lot (which borders on a patch of woods) was completely empty, and I was parked way off in a dark corner. MORE 'skin on the back of my neck crawling'. It was bad. By the time I got to my car, I was almost panicked, convinced that something was going to come out of the woods and get me. Once I was in the car, I had to lock the doors and check the back seat and the hatch thoroughly to make sure I didn't have any passengers. I was about halfway home before I really calmed down.
I haven't even seen the damn movie yet!
But that's not what I was gonna tell you about. Childhood fears. I had a lot. As a kid (well, okay, as an adult too), I was especially imaginative. And while that's a great thing overall, your mind does create a lot of fears. A lot of them were typical. The closet door had to be closed before I could go to sleep. When I turned out the light, I always made a running leap for my bed, just so the monster under the bed couldn't catch my ankle. Likewise, I couldn't sleep if my arms or legs weren't under at least a sheet. (I'm still this way.) See, if my foot is sticking out, then Something might reach up from under the bed and grab it. I also went through a period where I slept with my head under the covers too. I'd gotten the idea that ghosts and spirits floated in the air above my bed, and if I breathed in without having my head under the covers, they'd be able to get inside me.
I was afraid of UFOs. Moving lights in the sky at night terrified me. Or even anything I couldn't identify in the daytime. Once, when I was about five, maybe, my best friend Kristy and her older friend (damn, what was her name... Dawn?) spent the afternoon at Kristy's house telling me about UFOs and how they were going to come get me. The day was overcast, and I remember getting so scared I decided to go home. However, once I got outside, I got so scared I had to have my mom come and get me, because I could see something moving in the clouds. Not so bad right? Until you consider that I lived maybe half a block from Kristy. I just remember going outside, looking up into the sky and panicking. I knew that if I tried to walk home, the UFOs would come down outta the sky and take me away.
As far as more realistic fears, I was always frightened of house fires. I can't remember when I got over it, but I was an adult before I could actually sleep in a room with the door open. I used to spend hours trying to figure out how I'd get out of the house if it caught on fire. Likewise, I was scared of tornadoes. Even the tornado drills at school made me sick to my stomach. And I hated the hunched over, crunched-up position we had to sit in for that, too.
My really really big childhood fear though, the one that sticks out in my memory, is my fear of a dread entity, one that stalked the night, sneaking into people's bedrooms while they slept to bite them... and one that somehow had something to do with recreational vehicles. That's right...
What a way to combine two fears in one, monsters AND fires. But I had a way to protect myself from the evil van-fires. They weren't gonna bite me on the neck. If sleeping buried under the covers didn't make them think I was gone, then I was going to have my dad make a special mattress for me: one with a hollow center. Then, when I heard the van-fires coming, I could roll off my bed and crawl into the mattress and hide.
Like I said, I was an imaginative child. And I'm still not completely sure I should go see TBWP. I'm sitting here in my room with all the lights as bright as they can go.
Good night. Don't let the van-fires bite.
August 03, 1999
I Am Not The Eggman (Or The Walrus)
I'm remarkably scattered today, so if it shows here, I apologize in advance. I spent most of the early part of the day trying to track down car insurance. I was, eventually, successful. However, that meant spending my day from about 11 am to 2 pm either on the phone, sending a fax, waiting for a fax, waiting for a call... you get the idea. Very very banal. And we were shorthanded. The truly amusing part of the day was hearing two missing co-workers referred to as "The Eggman" and "The Walrus". Coo-coo-ca-choo. (And yes, if you've heard me talk about work, you probably know who those two are.)
Emerald is still down, so I'm still suffering from gaming withdrawal. Yeah, there are other places to play, but Emerald's home, for the most part. And speaking of my addiction, I'm working on a MUSH page for this thing, just to explain a lot of my references. So far it's got various links and character descriptions and even (wow!) pictures of some characters. Have I mentioned that I absolutely adore Arachnophilia? If you're looking for an HTML editor, I highly recommend it.
After talking to Brand the other day, I'm seriously considering trying my hand at writing a kith book for Changeling. A kith book is a source book that details a specific kith, or race of Changeling. Now, this particular book isn't for one of the main kiths, so I don't expect that White Wolf (or ArtHaus, whoever) will actually want to buy it, but it might make a good web book. So... if anyone out there has any suggestions or requests for Kithbook: Selkie, drop me some email. Now I just need to study the kithbooks I have and see how I want to format it, then research it and write it... ack. What am I getting myself into? Heh.
Somewhere on my list is a serious editing of "At The Ocean's Edge", the short story that got rejected from Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine. I know some things I want to change, but I can't seem to actually get time to glue myself to the chair and actually DO it. Well, that's not true. I'm almost always glued to my chair, that's something else I'm trying to change. I just seem to have too many projects that keep coming up as more urgent than editing. Like, well... this journal for example. I keep telling myself that by writing here, I'm establishing the habit of writing everyday, but I can't help but wonder, does this count? I mean, I'm not writing fiction, for sure, and half the time I'm just rambling, like I am right now.
Funny, I'd have so much more time to get everything done, if it wasn't for the damn phones at work. ;) Why can't I find someone to pay me to sit around and do what I want to do on a computer all day? Ah well. I'd dream about winning the lottery, but like the e*trade ad I saw the other day says, "Someone's going to win the lottery. But not you."
Hey... if it's you... can I come sponge? I'll be your very own pet writer.
August 02, 1999
I was born eight years into my parents' marriage, after a lot of trying. Dad was about twenty years older than my mom, and when I was born, he was forty-nine years old. I was the only child he ever had. Add all that together, and it's pretty easy to figure out that I was a daddy's girl. He spoiled me terribly. It broke his heart when I cried; I have absolutely no memories of him ever disciplining me. Mom says he spanked me once, but swore he'd never do it again after that. I know that can't have been easy on Mom, always being the 'bad parent'.
For a long time, I remembered him as the fun one. He retired when I was about three or four for medical reasons, so he was the one to stay at home with me while mom worked. It was more like living with my grandpa than my dad really, which is kinda funny, since I don't remember either of my grandfathers. From the time I was about old enough to walk, he would take me fishing with him. I can remember being five and six years old, sitting out in his boat. I never caught much, but it didn't really matter. I can't even remember if we talked about much... although he taught me where the fish would hide. He'd point out their hiding places and explain about the different types of fish we caught: bluegill, bass, sunfish (which were my favorite to catch, they always fought hard enough that they felt bigger than they ever were). Every trip ended with him speeding around the lake with me sitting up in the bow, letting the wind blow past me.
In the winters he would hunt. I don't think it mattered what. I know he hunted squirrel, rabbits, deer, pheasant, dove... once I think he even got a raccoon, I know, because I remember having it for dinner. I never got to go hunting with him. Granted, at the time, I don't think I wanted to. We always had beagles, always at least two, sometimes three of them, as dad's hunting dogs. And of the two, one was always named Katy, and one was always named Lady. Almost every picture of me under the age of two is a picture of me either scolding Katy or trying to kiss her.
Also in the summers, Dad would take Sheri and me to the Dairy Queen in Brighton, and let us wander up into the old cemetery that was right behind it while we ate. It sounds sort of morbid, but it was really neat to see all the old, old tombstones, and to look at the names. And of course, after that, we had to go to the duck pond (or the Mill Pond, if you want to be particular) and play at the playground there. That playground now is completely enormous and child-proofed and... sort of pretentious. The whole area is very yuppified now.
Until the age of about twelve, every movie I saw, I saw with him. I think we must have gone to every animated movie that came out. While Star Wars had been a family event, it was me and dad who went to see The Empire Strikes Back the night it opened, and then he was one of the first in line to get tickets for Return of the Jedi when it opened. In all honesty, I don't think he actually enjoyed those movies... he did all that because I wanted to see them. There was one movie I remember him actually enjoying. Matter of fact, I went with him because he wanted to see it, rather than the other way around. Out of Africa. That surprised me then, and still surprises me now. It didn't seem like the sort of movie he would like. He said he liked the scenery.
Then, my freshman year of high school, Dad started to be sick a lot. His back always hurt, and he wasn't able to do all the things he wanted to do. That spring, I found out that he had cancer. "Multiple Myeloma is a cancer of the body's blood forming and immune systems. It is a rare cancer characterized by the accumulation of malignant plasma cells in the bone marrow and excess monoclonal immunoglobulin (Ig) in the serum and/or urine." That's a quote I stole from a web page. I didn't actually know that then. All I knew was that dad had a cancer that was similar to leukemia, and affected his bone marrow. And I knew the doctors said he had two years to live.
He had his first real hospitalization during my sophomore year. During that year what was happening really hit home with me. Your parents aren't supposed to die before you become an adult -- I was fourteen. I spent a lot of that year withdrawn, angry. Especially angry, and I had no idea how to express it. By my junior year I had restabilized, mostly by not thinking about it. My mom was wonderful during all that time. She wore herself out trying to be there for everyone. I know she doesn't believe it, but she was there for me when I really needed her, even if she wasn't there 100% of the time. By my senior year, things seemed perfectly normal. I was going on with my life. I feel guilty about it now, but I've since learned that Dad wanted me to do just that. By now it had been three years, and it seemed like the doctors were completely wrong.
I have a lot of pictures of the two of us from this time. Pictures of me heading to various proms and dinners, always dressed up and as radiant as a teenager can be. In all of those pictures, Dad is in his hospital bed that we kept in the living room. And in almost all of them, he isn't looking at the camera. While I was beaming at the photographer (almost unfailingly my mom), Dad was looking up at me. Not smiling. He didn't smile very much. But smile or no, the expression says it all. Over and over again, he said that he wanted to see me graduate from high school.
June, 1989. He did.
After that, it was almost as if he let go. He held on to see the one thing that meant as much to him as anything, and when that was done, he could let go of it all. The selfish part of me still wishes he had held on for something more. I remember telling mom at one point that I wanted him to be around for my wedding, and to see me graduate from college. Hell, if he'd hung around for that, he'd still be alive. But it was time. He'd fought for three years. As a family, the three of us had fought for three years. Finally on July 31, 1989, he came down with pneumonia.
On August 2nd, at about five in the morning, he finally let go.
I woke up when it happened. I'm still firmly convinced of this. I woke up and knew something was wrong, and headed to work. A few hours later mom came to get me.
Sometimes I forget to miss him. A lot of the time now. I wondered, when I decided to write this, if I'd cry. I haven't, yet. After ten years, I've healed and moved on, but I still ache. I guess I always will.
I love you, Dad.
August 01, 1999
The Big Sleep
Today was one of those days.. you know, those days where you don't get anything done? I didn't actually manage to drag myself out of bed until nearly 5 pm. Of course I didn't get home until nearly 2:30 am, and wasn't in bed until 3:30 or so. The meeting went very very well. I'm glad I went. Helix was a spiritual sort of circle that did a lot of good things before it sort of fizzled. After last night, it looks like it might be... reborn, sort of, but as a very different sort of thing. Much smaller and more close-knit. I'm looking forward to having some sort of 'home', so to speak. Everyone in the group seemed very open to the idea of me exploring all the areas I have interests in, even including Christianity. That's really rare for most pagan groups.. at least, the ones I've run into so far. And I might actually manage to drag myself out of bed to go to church tomorrow, unlike last week.
I didn't get to see "The Blair Witch Project" after all. The meeting ran later than we thought, and we got to the theatre about ten minutes before the show was supposed to start. The lobby was absolutely packed. I overheard someone saying something about "Runaway Bride", so I thought maybe they were there for that. Ha. When I got up to the ticket counter, the guy looked at me like I was stoned when I asked for four tickets to TBWP. He pointed behind me at the seething mass of people and said, "See those people? It sold out an hour ago." Ah well. I had thought about going to see it this afternoon, but... movement wasn't happening today.
For last night's Helix meeting, we met near campus, on South University, and once we were all together, went further into the Quad, where the six of us sat around in a circle under the trees. Wonderful, wonderful place to have the discussion we did. We talked a lot about what we wanted out of any sort of spiritual/religious group, and what we didn't want as well. I feel like I got to know everyone a little better, although I already knew several pretty well. I also found out just how incredibly out of shape I am. I've been realizing it, but dodging it, for the past couple months. Now I'm at a point where my lifestyle is going to be changing again.. and to keep up with that, I need to be in better physical shape. We didn't walk that far at all, but it was much, much farther than I'm used to. That's part of the reason I slept as long as I did today. So I'm thinking it's time for me to start swimming again. Good a place to start as any, better than most.
I learned a great song yesterday too. It's a blessing, although I can't remember what it's called. "The Passing Time", I think.
May you walk the shores of harmony
May you live a life of peace
May you fill your cup of joy
May you all find hope
May you play among the stars
May your wishes have wings
May you know who you are
And may you live your dream