dreaminghope: (Confused Zoey)
I'm in an abs class at my gym, and I've finally achieved a stable plank with my feet on the ball:

Plank on the Ball

I've held it for about half of the minute the instructor is counting down when I realize that I'm not sure how to get back down. How did I get myself into this position?

I tried a step class once, and it was a complete mess. I am very uncoordinated, and I couldn't figure most of the moves. Mostly, I jumped around waving my arms and laughing at myself until class ended. I vowed to never take another step class.

Nash 360: This class covers all your fitness bases with Nash intensity! Three 20 minute segments of challenging cardio, muscle conditioning, and core training will get you total body results.

Sounds good, and it is on a Friday morning, which I have off of work. I wasn't even alarmed when we all started setting up steps; I'd been to a "Strength and Stretch" class where we used the step as a bench for doing chest presses. But what followed was an hour long step class, sometimes with weights. I'm still very, very bad at step class. I bounced, and flailed, and sweated - even done badly, step is a good workout - and shook my head at myself. I accidentally took a step class: How do I get myself into these positions?

Hatha Yoga: Experience a meditative, calm, yet strong practice. Perfect for beginners or advanced students who seek mind-body awareness and flexibility.

Before today, I'd been to about four yoga classes, all Hatha Yoga, with two different teachers. I'd found them to be challenging in some parts, but mostly relaxing, refreshing, and good for stretching. Today I went to my fifth class, with yet another teacher. Exact same class description as the others, but this was different. I guess the rest of the students are all regulars, so I suddenly find myself in an advanced yoga class for which I was very poorly prepared. As the people around me are balancing on one foot, tying their arms into knots, and pushing themselves into headstands, I hold the last pose I am able to get into and ask myself: How do I get into those positions?

At the end of the minute, my exit from the plank wasn't very graceful - a sort of controlled fall to one side - but it got me down and ready to get into the next challenge.
dreaminghope: (Firelight)
Just take your clothing off, stand in a circle with other naked people, and the magic starts.

On Friday night at The Gathering for Life on Earth, there's traditionally a skyclad (nude) ritual. I go to it most years; I ran it once.

The Gathering is a lot of people's first experience being naked with other people in a non-sexual context. Sometimes it is the casual nudity of the clothing-optional site, sometimes it is dancing around the fire, sometimes it is skinny-dipping, and sometimes it is the ritual on the first night of the event.

When you go to a nude ritual with people who have done it many times before, it can be very comfortable. As they undress, they take care to fold their clothing neatly, they chat about the room's and floor's temperature, and they tease each other about footwear choices (when naked, slippers look good; gum boots, not so much). Everyone takes off all their clothing the way people usually take off shoes. No one's looking at each other's nudity, but we're not not-looking either.

I went to this year's skyclad ritual. It had a good energy, it was a lot of fun, and it started a bit of a meme for the weekend ("my legs are strong like the trunks of ancient trees"). However, I did find myself with a bit of a dilemma: I couldn't figure out what to do with my hands and arms. I couldn't remember what I usually do when I'm clothed. Clasped behind my back seemed too exposed; in front seemed like I was trying to hide. Hands at my side felt forced. Crossed over my breasts was right out as being too defensive; crossed under my breasts was rejected as an option for pushing everything up too much. I try to figure out what other people are doing, but that leads to looking at areas not normally seen, which quickly leads to not-looking.

The concern ceased to be an issue when it came time to join hands and chant and dance, but I have to remember that for future skyclad rituals I run: give people something to do with their hands. Otherwise: awkward!
dreaminghope: (Zoey)
You have beautiful hands. I want to tell you, but I can't work up the words to the face of a stranger on the bus.

I watch hands a lot when people text, when people hold books, when people fiddle with their coats. Your hands are folded in your lap – so still.

You have very large hands for a woman, with long fingers. They aren't delicate. I wonder what you make with those hands; surely you must create something. They are hands for playing piano, or kneading bread dough, or carving wood.

When we get off the bus at the same stop, I notice that you are wearing sandals despite the cool, damp weather, and your toenails are perfectly polished in red. Your finger nails are plain: clipped short and tidy, with no polish. I wonder if you don't like bringing attention to your hands or if your craft demands practicality.

I hope you know that you have beautiful hands.
dreaminghope: (Flying Demon Girl)
We flew today!

We were out the door by 5 AM and at the park in Tsawwassen by 5:45 AM.

Very picture heavy. )

Incredible! I got two really good launches with short flights and one or two more launches that probably would have worked on a mountain but there wasn't enough space off the hill for me to get really in the air with them. I also had a few disastrous attempts: several times I forgot the release portion and the wing got ahead of me and collapsed, a couple of times I forgot to keep running once the wing got up, and once everything went wrong and I face-planted! I've got a scrap on my cheek and I nearly gave myself a black eye.

Craig and I were a team (taking turns on their smallest wing) and we did have some trouble getting going. The wind conditions weren't perfect, as there was some gusting and some cross-breezes, and being the lightest flyers, we were getting tossed around a bit and I think we had more false starts than everyone else. We didn't get in enough practices to get consistent in our launches. Russ did better and had some great launches. He could've gone on today to the next phase (Discovery Solo), but he wasn't feeling 100% sure of his launches and decided that he'd rather wait, do "Slope Soaring" again with Craig and I and then probably go on, hopefully with both of us too. Russ' teammate today was on his second "Slope Soaring", so that's not unusual.

It was a lot of work: lifting the wing, fighting the wind, running to get up speed, and hauling it all back up the very steep hill. We would do three or four launches, then switch with our partner and serve as their wingman for their turn. That involved laying out the wing and helping to get all the lines straightened - lots of running around. My legs, arms, and shoulders are achy. I've got some abrasions and bruises on the insides of my arms (not as bad as the ones from the tree course day though). It was worth all of it though, for the moment when you are running as hard as you can, towing the wind behind you, and suddenly your churning legs aren't touching dirt anymore and the wind is carrying you and your heart seems weightless from the success and the joy of flight and you can hear the other participants behind you, cheering you on.
dreaminghope: (Zoey)
I have fairly poor eyesight. I don't see well without my contact lenses and I have poor night vision, so my morning journey from my bed side to the bedroom door can be a bit of an adventure. I've ended up tangled in Russ' robe, I've run into the end of the bed, I've ended up crossing most of the room on the diagonal and missed the door altogether. Luckily, Russ is a deep sleeper and rarely wakes as I fumble and stumble my way out.

There are few things I do before putting in my lenses in the morning, but one of those things is petting Puck, who demands attention and affection immediately upon seeing the first human of the day. That means that I'm living in a blurry world for five to ten minutes at the start of each day.

When the world is out of focus, certain details disappear. Details like drifts of cat hair, a fine layer of dust, and the kitty litter that's been tracked across and then ground into the bathmat. My house looks very clean and perfect through the blur; even though it's an illusion, it's a nice way to start the day.
dreaminghope: (Naked)
tick - tick - tick - tick

That's not my biological clock you hear; that's my ticking time bomb that may or may not ever go off.

If it can be said, in a broad, unfairly generalizing way, that a man thinks with his penis, I theorize that a woman thinks about her uterus.

Remember the junior high conversations: "I think she's had it", "Has she had it?", "Have you had it?". Always wondering when it is going to happen to your body.

Reach the age of fertility, and start worrying about the doctor's visit: spread and scrape. Done to you, for your own good.

Heterosexual sex usually means one of two questions: "Am I pregnant?" or "Am I pregnant yet?" Watching the body as if from a distance, as if it isn't your own. Observing, watching for symptoms. Nausea in the morning: too much Thai food last night, or morning sickness? Bloating: not enough water, PMS, or pregnancy? Looking for the signs; hopeful or fearful.

If trying to conceive, measure and time the body. Watch the belly expand as a baby grows. It makes sense to be focused around the uterus, doing what it is designed to do. But the in-between, the time when the body is doing something other than reproducing...

I have fairly minor pre-menstrual symptoms, but they are similar to the early symptoms of pregnancy, so every month I worry and watch and hope I'm not and fear that I might be and wonder what would happen if I am.

I never am.

So far.

tick - tick - tick - tick

After fertility comes perimenopause, and the uterus becomes a focus in its decline, generating new symptoms, and are hormone treatments the answer? Menopause means the uterus is finally irrelevant again, for better or worse, for the first time since "When will I get it?". No more cycles of wondering and observing and analyzing. Sounds like freedom to me today.
dreaminghope: (Flying Demon Girl)
I am so sore.

My pecs hurt. My shoulders and abs hurt. My back, arms, and thighs all ache. My arms and shins are covered in nasty bruises. I'm having trouble lifting the laundry basket and every time I get off the couch, I groan. I beat the shit out of myself yesterday, and it was worth every bit of pain I'm feeling today. Lots of pictures with the story. )

dreaminghope: (Zoey)
I'm probably safe from vampires. Any vampire trying to feed off of me would get bored and leave hungry. Since I have a fear of vampires, this is a bit of a relief.

I donated blood for the first time last Friday. Tiny veins means slow blood flow, which meant needle wiggling – ugh. The nurse actually had to hold the needle in place towards the end, and she counted down the last three grams for me (slowly).

I was treated like a rock star. Well, like a low-rent folk musician, maybe, but it was good. I had a groupie – [livejournal.com profile] tareija, came along to support me and my fellow donors, [livejournal.com profile] fruitkakechevy and [livejournal.com profile] barry_macneil. After lounging on a couch with people frequently checking on my well-being, someone walked me to a table where I could have as many cookies (name brand cookies!) as I wanted and someone offered to re-fill my peach drink as fast as I could drink it. And everyone kept thanking me for coming in. That was pretty neat.

I have a pretty intense fear of needles. I didn't watch the needle go in, come out, or watch the blood during the process. I watched [livejournal.com profile] tareija watch the nurses. If I can do this, anyone physically able can too – It's in you to give.

After cookies and juice, they gave me a first time donor pin and a sticker. Despite an ice pack, I did bruise. I suspect that the needle pierced the other side of the vein, because the bruise took almost a day to develop. It's still visible; almost three inches long. Still, I think I will donate again. I'm looking forward to getting my donor card in the mail and finding out my blood type. And there are always the Peek Freans' Fruit Cremes.
dreaminghope: (Starry Starry Night)
Moments of Devastating Beauty

The sun is setting. The spring has been so cold and drawn out this year that the onset of summer feels sudden. The air's still warm tonight, but there's a breeze tossing the leaves and my hair. Someone's barbequing down the street; the air smells of campfire.

I can close my eyes and be at the campfire. We're far enough from the light pollution to really see the stars, far and cold. The lake is on one side, the tents and cabins on the other. By the light of the fire, all that's visible are the first two rings of log benches circling the fire pit.

There are about a dozen drummers. They aren't all very good, but the ones who are pull the others along. I'm sitting three rows back from the fire, wrapped in my black cloak and my anonymity. The drummers aren't all great, but the ones who are pull at me, make me need to move. The drums are like another heartbeat. I wait as others get up and start swaying. Finally, I drop my self-consciousness and my cloak and I move to the edge of the fire. The flames are on one side, the drums on the other. I look at the stars.

I dance first for the stars, because they don't care. I reach for them and sway.

Around the fire, other dancers shimmy their hips. They bend and twist. Their long skirts and scarves flicker like another circle of flames.

The fire makes us all too hot, and we begin to remove clothing. It isn't a striptease – we shed shirts like dead petals.

My hips circle to the rhythm effortlessly, mindlessly. The world is reduced to the fire and the drums and the dancers. We are all entranced together.

The natural flow of the dancing takes me around to the other side of the fire. The lake is on one side, the fire and drums on the other. There's only the dark water, the fire, and the beat in my hips and hands.

The drummers falter, and my body slows as they work to bring the beat back together. I look up at the stars. All the dancers and drummers together are still only a tiny spark in the night.
dreaminghope: (Zoey)
Some purchases feel like they should be marked by confetti and trumpet flourishes. Momentous occasions, marking major life changes, happening in front of blissfully unaware store clerks.

Do you remember the first time you bought "feminine hygiene" products?

My Mom kept my sister and I's bathroom stocked through high school, so I was in first year university the first time I needed to buy my own pads. As a budding feminist and environmentalist, I was offended and annoyed that the clerk bagged my pads into a brown paper bag before adding them to the re-usable bag that held all my other purchases. Not offended enough to say anything, of course, but annoyed enough to complain about it later in my Women's Studies class.

Do you remember the first time you bought condoms?

Russ offered to go to the pharmacy, but I insisted that I would buy them. A rite of passage, perhaps, or a test of my ability to do this "adult" thing. It was such a big deal to me - I felt shaky and jumpy - but to the clerk, I was just another student in an on-campus pharmacy full of students getting ready for the weekend. I lost my virginity a couple of days later.

Do you remember the first time you bought a pregnancy test?

I doubt there's ever been anyone who has bought a pregnancy test for themselves or their partner in a neutral emotional state. Considering my emotional turmoil, I was a little surprised that a pregnancy test was just scanned through along with my bread and cheese. Given my state of mind, I expected the transaction to be remarkable, maybe even traumatic.

Standing in this virtual room with a hundred-odd friends, acquaintances, and almost strangers, I have this to say: I am not pregnant.

More than two weeks of nausea, bloating, breakouts, smell sensitivity, breast tenderness, mood swings... despite being a consistent Pill user, I really thought I was in trouble. Even after my period started, I took a pregnancy test this morning, just in case.

One beautiful line. Relief.

I am not pregnant.

"Congratulations" isn't quite right, is it? After all, non-pregnancy isn't really an achievement. Never mind; I will celebrate my non-pregnant status tonight by spending the evening as I spend many Wednesday evenings - crafting - but accompanied by a large glass of wine.

It's been a stressful couple of weeks. Maybe two large glasses of wine.
dreaminghope: (Sleeping Zoey)
Saturday, not yet ten, and it's another gray and sodden morning. Up and out of the house so early and heading to the gym; I feel very virtuous.

I cut through the flat city park in front of the bus station, following one of the many paved paths that cut across the open space. Someone is still sleeping under one of the trees, but most people are up. One bench in the middle of the park has two glass beer mugs and an empty cigarette package laying on it. The mugs have an inch or two of rainwater in them.


It's called "sleep restriction", which makes it sound like something done to a prisoner. My doctor at the Sleep Disorders Program prefers to call it "sleep compression", which sounds nicer.

I think the torture name is more accurate.

When you start a diet, suddenly everything is about food: food you can have, food you can't have, how much to eat, when to eat, counting calories and fat grams and fiber content.

I'm a sleep diet.

The bench is pretty far from the bar. Two people must have stepped out of the bar, mugs in hand, for a cigarette. Must have been a man and a woman; I just can't picture two men wandering that far for a private chat, and it isn't the kind of bar that gets a big enough female clientele for two women to be likely.

There are a lot of rules:

No bright lights, television, or computer for at least an hour before bed. Have some carbs and warm milk. Go to bed at midnight, and not a moment before. Stay up later if you aren't tired.

Get up at 6:30, and not a moment after, even on the weekends. Thirty minutes of daylight every morning. No napping. No laying down during the day. Thirty minutes of exercise in the late afternoon or early evening.

If you are awake for more than twenty minutes in the middle of the night, get up. No television or computer, and no novels; do something boring, like folding laundry.

I'm not good at boring myself; I end up telling myself stories when I try. I think about empty mugs sitting on a park bench.

A man and a woman happen to go out the bar's back door at the same time for a smoke. He grumbles about not being to smoke inside anymore. She has a lovely smile. To keep talking, he lies that he left his cigarettes at home and bums one off of her. She listens while he talks about the weather, the crows, and the library strike. She watches his mouth and his hands. He listens while she talks about the transit system, the squirrels, and the punk show. He watches her eyes and her mouth, and her breasts, when she isn't looking.

He buys her a beer – to repay the cigarette – and smuggles the thick glass mugs out of the bar under his jacket. She giggles as they sneak into the shadows of the park, away from the crowd and the street lamps. They take a bench and drink their beers and smoke the rest of her cigarettes.


Two nights of sleep restriction and my body decides to stop fighting the virus that's been threatening for the past week. I've got a cold, and all I've wanted to do all day is curl up in a blanket and sleep. But I don't, because I am far too stubborn. I've drunk a gallon of peppermint tea and taken Advil for the sinus pain. I have to pee every half-hour. I do anything but sleep.

It starts to rain. His apartment is nearby. They leave their drained mugs and an empty cigarette package on the bench.

It's almost time for my hour of screen-free time. I've got a magazine at the kitchen table, where hopefully I'll be too uncomfortable to fall asleep while reading. I did manage to stay awake on the bus this afternoon.

Get through the next five days, and it'll all be better. So the doctor says.

Did she walk through this park this morning and see the empty mugs and the damp cigarette box?

It's no wonder I don't sleep.
dreaminghope: (Starry Starry Night)
I swagger when I wear a tank top. It's a tight white tank top with wide shoulders; the kind often called a "wife beater", but I don't call them that because that's an ugly name, though I understand where that comes from because wearing one does give me a sense of bravado. When I wear it, I swagger, I stand with my legs further apart and with one hip out, and I take up more room on the bus. A tank top brings out my inner Tough Broad.

I'm restless today. The weather's nice but cool - sunny late summer meeting early Autumn - and the Tough Broad wants to go.

I want to grab my keys and a twenty dollar bill and walk. Walk out. Walk until my feet are sore and the sun has dipped below the tree tops, then stop and spend all twenty dollars on whiskey shots in a bar that plays Tom Waits too loud. Tell anyone who tries to buy me a drink or strike up a conversation to piss off. Keep walking.

What do you do when your other self – your wild self that only comes out when you wear those boots or hear that song - tells you that you are too domesticated, too tame, too content?

Keep swaggering.

I need to hang my laundry.
dreaminghope: (Bee Faerie)
Monday morning. Breakfast isn't until 8 AM, and I packed most of my scattered sarongs and glittery bits the night before, but I'm up before 7 AM anyway. I leave all of my cabin mates mumbling in their sleep - they all made it back to the cabin last night; some for the first time all weekend - and grab my towel and head for the swimming dock. It's empty; the first time in years that I have gotten the dock to myself.

I sit for awhile, wearing only my cloak, and watch the mist race across the surface of the lake and the sun reach above the tree tops. I probably look meditative.

When I finally drop the cloak and slip down the ladder - fast; if you stop halfway, the cold water on your ass or breasts may convince you not to get in at all - it's simply because I can't sit still a moment longer. I do a shallow but rapid breast stroke back and forth to warm up and to out-swim thoughts of Pagan politics and bad pick-up lines.

It takes a dozen short laps, but I finally relax into the water and the trees and the sky and the mountains.

Finally, I get cold. After floating for so long, my body feels heavy under the relentless downward pull of the air. I feel like I weigh twice as much when I pull myself up the ladder as I did when I went down it.

Friday night. This is my twelve time at this Gathering, making me an old-timer here. It's like a family reunion; a very dysfunctional family reunion. It's the fourth year that this camp has been at this site and the paths, lit by long strings of Christmas lights that twist off into the woods to temples and lairs and docks and grottoes, are familiar. I even remember some of the tricky sections where the roots seem determined to twist the ankle of anyone not paying enough attention.

Saturday. We're still arriving, mentally and spiritually, to this place out of place. I hang out in the shade, too lazy to go to any workshops. I catch up on gossip and share some dirt of my own.

I envy the person I was my first year at this place, when I arrived alone amongst the Pagans as a naive seventeen year old and found a sense of community. Some part of me is still that sweet and naive.

A new friend calls me "Snow White" and teases me that little birds sing just for me and squirrels frolic at my feet. I think of a certain Snow White scene from "Shrek 3".

I say something a little nasty about a difficult member of the community and get rewarded with a big laugh. It's funny because it's true, and because it's sweet little me that said it.

Don’t mess with Snow White.

Saturday night. Or Sunday morning; I'm not wearing a watch. There's a fire, hot in the cool night, warding off the damp and the exhaustion. The drummers are maintaining a beat well despite scotch and wine and beer. I dance in the circle of dirt between drums and fire until I'm too hot, then I remove my shirt and dance some more. My hips know the beat my hands can never quite find. All around, the shapes of other dancers and the drummers' hands in the firelight. Through half-closed eyes, I see the half-round moon rise above the trees and shimmer on the lake.

As the night wears on, some of the drummers leave the fire, and the less experienced drummers left stumble more often. I begin to feel the ache of my legs from the length of time I've been dancing. An hour, two hours? I've lost track. I trance out and return over and over, never quite reaching the other state but always close. My body flirts with the drummers, trying to re-create the rhythm when they falter.

There's need and desire in the night, and it isn't all mine.

A young woman - 21, she says - with a carrying voice and too much to drink tries to lose her virginity. She pursues one man for several hours, flattering and teasing awkwardly, even as he tells her over and over that he is not going to sleep with her. He tries to spare her feelings, but she simply does not stop until he actually leaves the fire on an invented errand. He leaves her on the lap of a sweetly monogamous man who tries to soothe her ego only to find himself on the receiving end of her attentions. He talks about his wonderful girlfriend a lot.

Two people at the far side of the fire dance around each other, gradually becoming intertwined. They leave for the shadows before the rating reaches X, though she is topless.

An intoxicated pirate rawly propositions a friend. It seems that he'll take any to his bed, but none seem eager; we laugh at him in the morning, both for his behaviour and for his well-deserved hangover.

Sunday morning. Around the campfire, people cradle their coffees and their heads. I get a few (mostly mock) glares for my cheer. The young woman from the night before pokes at the embers and casually drops that she did get someone to bed the night before, though she doesn't say who. I fill a large garbage bag with cans and bottles and carry it to the main lodge. I pass a cabin mate who is heading to bed.

Monday morning. The closing ritual is simple and bittersweet, and followed by a whirl-wind of packing up our own cabins and the rest of the site and trying to say good-bye to as many people as possible. Garbage and recycling gets gathered up and all the Christmas lights and tent decorations are bundled into plastic bins. From magical space to just another children's camp in just a couple of hours.

Some of us caravan off site and meet at a White Spot restaurant in the nearest town. Over burgers and milk shakes we start processing, decompressing, and planning for next year.

It takes time to pull myself out of the Gathering mind space. My spirit feels heavy under the relentless pull of the real world. I feel twice as heavy coming out as I did going in.
dreaminghope: (Cute but Deranged)
I'm coming down off my Pine-Sol high. The rum and Coke has only mellowed the hang-over a little. Don't get into cleaning, man; it'll fuck you up.

Eight hours of constant scrubbing, and the walls, kitchen appliances, and bathroom are clean in our rental suite. I'm doing the floors tomorrow and getting a carpet cleaner on Tuesday. Does anyone happen to know what'll get six month old cat pee out of carpet? The pee is six months old, not the cat that made the pee. He was about a year and a half old.

I don't normally go for the hard stuff: Pine-Sol, Vim, Lysol. I try to stick to environmentally-friendly, locally-made, fair-traded, organic, biodegradable, unscented, made-of-sunshine-and-flower-petal kind of stuff. But this job needed something that would melt the dirt right off every surface.

Never again white appliances! But I now know how to get old maple syrup off the inside of a fridge without Vim or anything similar: spray with diluted vinegar, let sit, rub. Repeat until maple syrup is gone.

Ten foot ceilings in a bathroom without a fan: bad idea. Just trust me. Russ got them clean with a sponge mop and a lot of scrubbing. It took him about twenty minutes – the same amount of time it took me to get the stove top de-greased using lemon-scented dish washing liquid. It would've taken me twice as long to wash that ceiling; I need to go to the gym more to achieve optimum cleaning ability.

I'm a bit jittery; I suppose that's the Pine-Sol. Or maybe that's the Coke. I’m kind of dopey and sleepy too; I think that's the rum. Or maybe that's the Pine-Sol. Don't mix your highs, kids.

I need to do an extra half-shift tomorrow, so I'm starting at 6 AM. I was supposed to work today, but I was cleaning. That's a sign of a problem, isn't it? I'm missing work to clean.

I do think I may have a problem. It all started when I helped Shannon clean her old basement suite with Pine-Sol in hot water without ventilation. You could smell the fresh pine scent from the street. After, we laid in the grass and giggled. Good times. The first time's always the best.

I'm going to go sleep this off.
dreaminghope: (Cute but Deranged)
I took one over-the-counter sleeping aid last night; after, my edges felt fuzzy, like my skin wasn't containing me properly. I still didn't sleep properly. Today I tried to compensate for my exhaustion with coffee. I had two whole cups, and then I was jittery and shaky and...

A customer ordered four pounds of butter this week. Why would anyone need four pounds of butter? He only ordered a dozen eggs. What takes twelve eggs but four pounds - four pounds - of butter?

This seems like a food mystery in need of a food detective. Unfortunately, I am not a detective.

I'm a spy.

I'm a food spy.

This afternoon, I snuck around a West side grocery store in a state of caffeine-induced paranoia. I watched over my shoulder all the time, jumping at shadows and scurrying away from every person wearing the grocery store's colours. Every time anyone approached, I would hastily grab the nearest item from the shelf and pretend to be studying the ingredients. Then, if the other person didn't leave right away, I would casually wander off.

I now know all the Happy Planet ingredients. That stuff's popular with the yuppies; I had to casually wander away and back again four times. I bought a "man goes blueberry" because it doesn't have any bananas in it.

I'm a food spy: stealthily recording the prices of juices and crackers for a competitive pricing secret shop.

I think I need to go coffee-free tomorrow.
dreaminghope: (Squinty Puck)
When I was a little girl, I hated to be dirty. My mother jokes that she wanted to just roll me in the mud, because I was so meticulous and unnaturally tidy for a small child.

In elementary school, I used to borrow safety pins from my teacher and pin a little fold in my clothing to hide any spots of dirt. I hated looking dirty; if I couldn't get rid of the stain, I wanted to at least hide it and appear clean.

I like order. I like proper punctuation and clean sentence structures, stories with tidy endings, and labeled boxes for all my different craft supplies. I keep everything – I have scraps of fancy paper as small as a couple of centimeters square – but it is all tucked away in an organized fashion. It is chaos forced into order by plastic boxes and dollar-store shelving units. But my craft room looks nice again.

My LJ is like that too. A chaotic life – neurotic thoughts and silly fantasies – forced into individual posts with tidy titles. And things that don't fit into a tidy post often get swept aside, never to appear in LJ at all.

Russ told me I had a "Zen-like calm" this morning. When confronted with someone who is upset or annoyed (as Russ was this morning, since his cat woke us at 5 AM), I often become very peaceful and serene. I don't think of myself as a calm person, though, because my mind is so often whirling behind the scenes. I just hide that over-thinking like a dirty spot hidden behind a safety pin.

I fear insomnia tonight. I know that thinking that I may not sleep isn't the best way to get myself to sleep, but my mind is off and running. I am considering making what may seem to be a minor lifestyle change – starting to go to a gym – and I can't help but try to predict all the possible obstacles.

Next I do the self-defeating thing that lots of people do: I start thinking about all the other things I should do in my life. I should eat less sugar, I should eat more protein, I should wash the floors on a regular basis, I should wash the cats' food bowls every day, I should go to bed earlier at night, and I should get up earlier in the morning … and, of course, when you start thinking about all the changes you should make, it's easy to get overwhelmed and end up making none at all. I know lots of people do this to themselves, especially at this time of year, but I don't think all of them end up having sleepless nights because they are considering joining a gym.

I want my life to fit neatly into the days, and I want a healthy body and a clean house too. I don't make changes easily because I resent the confusion of changing my routines. And I want to bring this post to some sort of tidy conclusion, perhaps where I have come to terms with the messiness of life and feel secure that I will sleep well tonight, but life isn't really like that, is it?
dreaminghope: (Hand)
As tagged by [livejournal.com profile] katz_purr: Once tagged by this entry, the assignment's to write a blog entry of some kind with six random facts about you. Then, pick six of your friends and tag them; no tag backs. This explanation should be included.



I own a whole drawer of jewelry and accessories that I use for costumes. When I wear bracelets, I start gesturing more frequently, and increasingly randomly. I don't just talk with my hands; I also start thinking with my hands.



When I was a kid, I used to give a little curtsy every time I said "thank you". It was an entirely subconscious gesture that I had for years. Now I just say "thank you" too much. Four more facts with pictures )

Bonus random fact (without picture): When I get confused or stressed, I tend to flap my arms like I am trying to fly away. I've done it for as long as I can remember.
dreaminghope: (Naked)
On Thursday night, Russ and I finally went to see the Body Worlds 3 exhibit at our Science Center. If you've never heard of this exhibit, it is an exhibit of real human bodies that have been preserved by a method called plastination. There are displays of different body organs, complete and in cross-section, and displays of whole bodies.

Most of the bodies – referred to as plastinates in the exhibit – were displayed without glass cases, so you could walk around them and lean in close to see the muscles and tendons and organs.

One plastinate, about a third of the way into the exhibit, was about how the muscles connect, so the organs had all been removed. Facing the display, I could see the body's spine at the back of the empty torso. I had a rush of light-headedness. I wasn't feeling faint or squeamish; it was just a sudden physical reaction to my sudden realization (or re-realization) that I was looking at a real human body. The body in front of me was once a living person. That spine once bent so the person could pick up a pet or child.

There was another plastinate, in a gymnast pose, that showed the muscles under tension. I was admiring the grace in the limbs and the way the muscles all work together when Russ came up beside me. And I had another rush of light-headedness as I realized that beneath Russ' skin, he would look like that plastinate. I would also look like that. Everyone around us was exactly the same under their skin: muscles and bones and organs. Our spleens may be different sizes, but no one's going to tell.

You couldn't tell what race the plastinates were. Without their fat and skin, you can't tell what shape they were. Without looking at their genitals, you couldn't even tell if they were male or female. Because the exhibit is about the human body, there were no names or stories attached to any of the displays.

We are all alike under our skins. It is one of those super-simple truths that sounds cliché until you are actually looking at a bunch of bodies without skin and they do look alike. Even now, thinking about that, I feel that light-headed sensation again.
dreaminghope: (Sleeping Zoey)
I pull a pen out of a box of black pens. The cap's black; the end of the pen's black. I jot down a note; the ink is blue. I just stare at my handwriting on the page, knowing that there's something odd about that, but not being quite sure of what.

I'm sleep-deprived. The technical name for what I've been experiencing is hynagogic hallucinations, which sure sounds important. The experience is surreal, a dream, complete with dream logic, superimposed over the real world.

I'm talking to a customer on my headset while in bed. It doesn't matter that I am naked; the customer is on the phone and can't see me. Poor Russ tries to tell me that I'm dreaming. "Be quiet, Russ; I'm on the phone."

Someone's in my bedroom, watching me. Though they don't have any obvious malicious intent, I'm not going to be able to rest until they leave. I throw tissues at them, to get them to leave. Russ, my long-suffering darling, thinks that one's particularly amusing, once he gets over his annoyance at being woke suddenly by his bedmate sitting bolt upright in bed, chucking tissues at the door.

I have a long, involved discussion with [livejournal.com profile] barry_macneil in my sleep. I'm awake enough to know I'm in bed; asleep enough to dream him into my bedroom. Awake enough that sleep-deprived Russ has to listen to my side of the conversation; asleep enough that I don't remember anything about the conversation after.

I'm not fully asleep, so I don't ever feel fully awake after. My black pen with blue ink becomes surreal and develops symbolic importance without any meaning.

My dreaming and waking life slide into each other, and I drift from one state to another, never resting in either.

I want black pens to have black ink, and for no one to be in my bedroom tonight except Russ and I.

I am really, really tired.

Sight

Jun. 17th, 2006 06:51 pm
dreaminghope: (Naked)
I take out my contact lenses and instantly feel vulnerable. I'm acutely aware of my sudden lack of ability: I can't read anyone's facial expressions or see if anyone's addressing me. Like someone who thinks that everyone who's whispering must be talking about them, I am convinced that everyone is looking at me. I sit very still and try not to look in anyone's direction, lest they think I'm staring at them.

I'm never without my lenses during the day, especially not in public. Yesterday, I sat in the bright and busy optometrist's office, feeling exposed, waiting for my turn in the office.

I'll leave restaurants if I'm not sure whether I seat myself or wait to be seated. I'll leave stores without buying anything if no one's at the cash register and there's no clear indication of how to get someone there. In a bakery or deli case, I won't ask what something is or how much it costs; if I don't recognize it and it isn't labeled, I won't buy it. Alone in public, I get very peculiar about my interactions with other people.

The optometrist calls my name from across the room. By the time I grab my purse, she is already heading down the hall. I follow hesitantly, reluctant to assume that I'm supposed to follow her, but unsure what else to do. I'm relieved when she greets me; I did the right thing!

At the end of the optometrist appointment, I have a new prescription: -8.00 and -10.00, for those to whom that means anything. For those to whom that doesn't mean anything: I don't see well without lenses.

On a side note, I get asked a lot by those with good eyes what it is to see like me. So, if you would, a photo demonstration.



The right hand picture is approximately what I see without my lenses. This is what Zoey would look like to me at about two meters away.

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