Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Letter To My Friends: A Turkey Party Tradition

Every ending really marks a new beginning.  As we see another year pass into our history, we strive to view it fondly and remember every single happy moment. This is never possible, though, as time is bound to see even the strongest of memories fade eventually.  What we do have…is this moment.  I feel like it has taken me a lifetime of memories, and forgetting them, and remembering again - a lifetime of moments and lessons - to remember simply to live in the moment.  

We all have been around each other for so long that we are family.  We are a chosen family of gangly bastards and bitches, but we are held together by a bond that is as superficial and as deep as any true family tied by blood.  We are a gang.  We are a tribe.  And there is nothing stronger than that.  You can’t break it.  You can only take from it – and add to it.

Our family has been together for a long time but one thing that we are doing, other than simply passing through time together, is growing.  We are growing together.  A lot of us met years ago…some lifetimes ago…on the playground, or on the bus.  Some at the bar, or through a friend.  Our group started out an awkward kid on the schoolyard, but it has grown into a mature, responsible, calling following, world traveling adult, a group of excellent people…that love to celebrate.  

I would be a fool if I didn’t take this time to say how much I love each and every one of you.  You are the ones that have made me what I am today.  I can’t imagine if I didn’t have you backing me, what kind of person I would be if I didn’t have you in my life to shape me, if I wasn’t blessed with your reappearing laughs, your contagious smiles, your stories and tall tales.  I also hope that you understand how amazing of a feeling it is to be able to be here for you fuckers this way, to bring you all together…to put you all in a room together and sit back and watch.  I love to sit and watch our family, the diversity, the love, the compassion, the fickle fighting, the drama.  The growth.  

5 Years going now and I think we have ourselves a tradition.  With all of our members, I think we have ourselves a hell of a tribe.  When my dad left us the Hoover Ranch, Boyd Lucas said “Now we know we will be here forever!”  I think that the stable sense of family and kinship that we represented to him was one of the things that kept his passing from being a complete tragedy.  We are home, whenever we are together.  We started that simply by playing around.  Throughout the good and the bad, we are here for each other no matter what.  Some of you would move these mountains for your pals; you don’t get more family than that.  You people have seen me at my best, and you have witnessed me at my worst…and I am grateful for that.  I am a greater person for it and I thank you.  

I love you, friends.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November Blog #30: "This Is the End...Beautiful Friend"

NaBloPoMo Prompt of the Day (Nov 30): What did you learn from doing NaBloPoMo?

I reckon that I learned a bit about myself by participating in NaBloPoMo.  I relearned some things that I already knew and then learned some things that I haven’t known about me as well. 

I procrastinate, but I come back with the best of them.  I tend to fall behind, but I am determined and I recover.  I have stuck with this thing the whole month, getting behind a couple of blogs at times, but getting everything posted in time to stay up to date with the prompts.  I am proud of myself for sticking with it until the end and finishing up my 30th blog on the 30th day of blogging.  Go me!

I can also tell that my writing is slightly improving.  It is a muscle, after all, and apparently it is true that you have to move it or you will lose it.  I have found myself reflecting on things in ways I might not have and choosing words I might not have had I not been writing so openly via blog.  I enjoy challenging myself and working on “projects” so I have had a good time with NaBloPoMo.  The prompts were a lot of personal questions too that required a bit of reflection at times, some more than others.    

I really enjoyed taking part in National Blog Posting Month and think that I have learned a lot about myself and my style of writing.  I definitely intend on keeping up with my blogging.  I am sure I will not be posting daily, as it can be taxing on the schedule, but I would like to post more often and with more “abandon”.  I need to write openly and express myself through my blog, musing through my mind and meandering down the lanes of lunacy and enlightenment.  I think each and every mind has a lot to offer when given a voice.  I am happy to have my blog in order to give a voice to mine.  

I am grateful to have had this opportunity to share myself in this way.  Thanks for hosting this 'project', BlogHer.  
Me To You,
Missie Sue

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

November Blog #29: "Urination! Nature's Alarm Clock"

NaBloPoMo Prompt of the Day (Nov 29): What is the last thing you do before bed?

I have always struggled with establishing a routine to my daily life, but regardless of the flaws in mine, I do have some resemblance of a structure to my day.  I am usually up for a couple of hours after my daughter is in bed, like now.  I am usually on the computer, like now.  I will usually start getting tired…like now.  I will get dressed in my pajamas and all brushed and ready for bed and then come out to either play on the computer a little bit more (like now) or sit and either read for awhile or watch some TV for a few minutes.

Then, I get up and shut all of the lights off.  I then go and let Buster in if I haven’t already done so, and then turn off the outside light as well as deadbolt the door.  I go back to bed, but before I do, the last thing I do before bed is go into the bathroom…and pee.  Urination!!  I almost always pee before going to bed.  I also routinely pee before leaving the house and usually before leaving any place that I am at, aside from the grocery store or something.  Home or residences, I will usually pee before heading out into the world again.  I don’t know why; it’s a mystery.  Just a habit.  I like to have an empty bladder for what is in store for me...and for tonight, as I lay there trying to fall asleep, so the last thing I do before I go to bed is drain the system and prepare for shut down. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

November Blog #28: "The Gift That Keeps on Giving"

NaBloPoMo Prompt of the Day (Nov 28): Describe an heirloom that has been passed down in your family. What is its significance to you?

I can’t really think of any heirlooms in my family that have been passed down.  There doesn’t seem to be a physical item that has been passed down through the family for years and years, although, my sister was handed down an important tool---an instrument of purpose.
Google says an heirloom is “a valuable object that has belonged to a family for several generations”.  If I were to think of an item like that in my family it wouldn’t be physical per se, and I would have to say music

Music is a very big driving force in my family.  You couldn’t really show up to a family event without someone breaking into song together, or alone.  We’re whimsical and goofy and it’s wonderful.  My family loves music and are always incorporating it into our lives.  My maternal grandfather traveled around playing in a jazz band before my mother was born.  My grandparents’ first children were raised on the road, swinging in hammocks rigged up in the backs of cars, unheard of today, but perfectly safe and necessary for “living” on the road back then. 

After they had a couple more children, my grandparents settled down.  By the time my mother was born and growing up they were settled into a home and Pap Pap was working a normal job as a machinist.  He was still playing music around local establishments occasionally, though.  The man could play so many instruments.  I don’t have the best memory of him.  He was pretty old by the time I had memory of such things.  I never heard him play any of his instruments, but hear tell of how my father would just sit and watch Pap Pap play, mesmerized.  I wish I had the opportunity to hear him play the sax, which was his most played instrument.  He always played the clarinet, the violin, the xylophone, I think, and a few others perhaps.  I wish that I could have got to know him in this life.  Regardless, I think that it is neat that his “heirloom” of music has traveled down the generations.  I play the acoustic guitar and often wonder if his talents inspired me to learn.  I watch my daughter’s love for music and wonder if she inherited anything from him. 

We were “turned on” to music by my mother.  She was constantly watching videos (Night Tracks, who remembers that???!), or listening to records, 8 tracks or the radio.  This was no doubt inspired by her father’s appreciation of music.  In turn, it has given me and all of my siblings a love for music.  In turn, again, it is giving perhaps my daughter a love for it as well.  Pap Pap’s alto sax that he used to play was actually given to my younger sister to play in the band in school.  She played this sax her entire time in the band.  It is a relatively old sax and the people at a music shop tried to talk my mother into selling them that one and buying one from them.  Had she not know its worth, we might not have it with us today in my sister’s playing hands.  It isn’t just a slightly old saxophone that is worth a little bit of cash, it is an instrument handed down that has transcended the generation gap.  I guess it could be considered an “heirloom” or sorts, or a symbol for the true heirloom that was handed down through the generations---the love of music. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

November Blog #27: "The Way Things Are"

I’m retroactively writing this blog because it was a free one.  Whatever, it’s only by a day or two.  So, take it as it is.  I need a little rant.

Monday (the day after this blog was to be posted) I had a mini case of the blues.  I don’t know what it is, but rainy days and Mondays…always get me down.  I had just got the baby to bed and sat down in the recliner chair in the living room and looked at the clock.  It was roughly 5 or so after 8:00.  I just sat there.  And then came the frown.  And then I had to have a little pity party and feel bad for myself for a minute or two.  Here it was after 8, the baby was just down to bed, I was sitting down to my evening time, whatever that was to include, and I got sad that it included me alone in the recliner chair at a time when most husbands are home from work and spending a short amount of time with their wives before they go to sleep to repeat their day tomorrow.  I don’t have this. 

Joey works away all week usually at least 2 to 3 hours away from our home.  He has tied rebar (reinforcement bar in iron work) since before I met him, this is what he has done and he tells me this when we talk about it because we discuss it a bit.  I understand this.  I am proud of him for advancing himself in construction as far as he has; he makes a living to provide for his family and works very hard doing this.  It is tremendously difficult for him to be away from us also, and sometimes I feel  I forget about that when I am being sad for myself and getting on him; wasting time we are together being sad about the fact that it is only 30% of our time.  (I did the actual math to figure out how many days out of the year we actually see each other and it was fairly depressing.)

I usually do pretty well.  Truth be told, though, when we first moved here I did cry almost every time he left for work, a few sad miss you tears and a lonely place in my heart.  Sometimes he left back then on a Sunday afternoon because he was working in West Virginia a lot.  It always seems sadder when he leaves in the afternoon, driving off into the sunset, as apposed to leaving me with a kiss and a hug in the morning, half asleep sucking up his left over warmth in our bed.  It’s a hard way of life and in some ways I am a single mother, but I can’t imagine what he feels on his end, too.  I couldn’t imagine sitting in a hotel room most of my life, wishing I was with my family.  I am grateful, though, for my husbands sacrifice so that we can live the way that we do. 

I have Drifting Sun as a small business, but honestly, it doesn’t exactly rake us in the dollars.  I’ve been lucky if I can pay our car payment for us once in a blue moon when enough profit is saved.  Most other funds go back into sustaining the little business.  I have thought long and hard for years and it has plagued me…my purpose, my vocation, my role.  I always felt that I should contribute more than I could at home.  I was raised to not feel satisfied with someone providing for me, but in recent reflections I wouldn’t rather be any where else.  I pay for this with my husband’s absence, but I also gain the opportunity to be a 24/7 mama to my daughter.  With all of the uncertainties of life and how crazy things get and how fast time goes, I would honestly not want to be anywhere else right now than at home with my daughter.  Not where I "belong", but where I choose to be. 

I am very grateful to have a good group of friends that keeps me chipper and happy.  If it wasn’t for my baby girl, some days I probably just wouldn’t get out of bed.  And if it wasn’t for my friends, some days I probably wouldn’t get dressed.  I am thankful for my family and friends that keep me company while Joey is away.  As I was saying, though, it isn’t only being lonely that gets to me.  There is something in this lifestyle that can’t be resolved by visits to family and friends popping in.  It does essentially suck that my partner and mate is gone so much, it leaves me with a sort of permanent place of solitude within me.  I can put on a good face, but things do bother me.  And it gets to me.  I’m sad a lot.  And I do well, but sometimes I just have to have a pity party for a minute or two and then I get over it.  Incidentally, after my solitary recliner reflection, friends ended up stopping by and hanging out for a little while in the evening.  It really cheered me up and put me in better spirits, that’s for sure.  Just when I was feeling low, the silver lining shows up to lift my spirits.  It sure is good having pals. 

I know this is the way things are, at least for now anyway.  We’re always open to something that could possibly be in our future that would allow my husband to be home, but we’re so used to our routine now, we might go crazy if exposed to each other so often. Haah!  My husband is in the Ironworker’s Union, though, and he has a trade that he worked a long time to establish.  I am very proud of his ability to take care of his family like he does.  He is a great man, with excellent work ethic.  He’s a great provider and still helps me out around the house when he is home on the weekends.  He is a great support and has helped me through so many things in my life; I don’t know what I would do without him.  I also don’t know what I would do with myself if I saw him more.

We live double lives, but meet in the middle at the end.  When we’re together, I’m together. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

November Blog #26: "“The Contacts Removed: My 4 Straight Weeks in Soft Lenses"

"I Can See Clearly Now..."

I took my contacts out today.  My Acuvue with Hydraclear contacts have beenamazing, but my eyes needed a break.  I sit here in my glasses.  It was an adjustment getting back to wearing the glasses again.  At first they seemed like such mechanical instruments; so foreign and weird.  I could definitely tell right away how distorted my vision sort of is through my glasses.  They sit farther off of my eyes than contacts.  They are a little old so they are bent and scratched up. 

With this experiment I found that contacts intended forweekly wear can comfortably make it up until a month of wear.  I also only had saline solution for use during this month, up until around 2 days prior to removal.  I think that this “experiment” proved that I can definitely get more wear out of my lenses than they are intended for even with sub par conditions.  I am excited to order new boxes of contacts and get into the swing of wearing them again practically. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

November Blog #25: "Giving Is Recieving"

NaBloPoMo Prompt of the Day (Nov 25): Do you like to buy presents ahead of time or right when you need to give them?

Well, I like to buy ahead of time, but I also procrastinate with everything that I do.  I do generally always end up with a couple of gifts at Christmas time that I have acquired for people over the year.  This can be somewhat of a relief, but I usually wait until the last minute to buy the majority of my gifts for people.

Buying ahead of time has its advantages.  It’s usually a gift that you have seen and thought that someone would enjoy it.  If it is purchased with a definite a receiver in mind, that is great!  Personalizing your gifts is a must, I feel.  Sometimes, buying them at the last minute is a good opportunity to actually “cram” and really try to get into your friend or family member’s head and think of what they enjoy and would like the most. 

I would like to do more buying ahead, but the trouble is the planning.  Some people have gifts that they purchase just to have on hand to give people.  While this concept is great and would be an incredible time saver as well as ensuring that you seldom miss an occasion to gift, it seems like it would be a tad more generic.  I would like to have small gifts that I keep on hand for this, but generally get everyone something special. 

Giving gifts is a tough job!  Who would have thought that giving someone something would be so hard!  Being prepared and buying ahead can be efficient, but I think that it’s important to add personal touches when giving gifts.  In an ideal world, everything would be exactly what our loved ones wanted, wrapped perfectly, bow tied, and labeled.  In an ideal world, right?  Well, I come from an I.Deal world.  I would like to plan ahead and have gifts taken care of prior to the time I need to give them, but I deal with the fact that I don’t.  ;) 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

November Blog #24: "Alone vs. A Loner"

NaBloPoMo Prompt of the Day (Nov 24): Do you enjoy being alone? Would you rather be around other people?

I think that I probably answered this question when I blogged about my secret pleasure.  In retrospect, I guess it really wasn’t much of a secret.  It’s pretty obvious to me, and to some, but I suppose to others it wouldn’t be.  Maybe that is why I chose it.  Would I rather be alone or around people?  I always described myself as an introverted extrovert.  This may be a silly contradictory phrase, but it really does make perfect sense for me.  Vice versa would hold true, as well; I am also an extroverted introvert.

I grew up in a decent sized family.  There were six of us all together.  I had 3 siblings, two younger sisters and an older brother.  Not big by older standards by any means, but 4 children is quite a bit for today.  I was the second child, but the oldest daughter.  Sometimes it felt as though I was the oldest in general.  It goes without saying that the first born is born into a deal of responsibility in the hierarchy of a family, and being the first of three girls and so close to my brother in age, I was no different. 

Although being in a big family forced me to interact with people throughout most of my days, I also preferred to spend a lot of time in my room and/or alone as a child.  I didn’t dislike my family, per se; all families have issues.  As I mentioned in my blog about my secret pleasure, I am not sure if I am just innately like this or I became this way because of conditions during my development.  It’s just simply how I am. 

I actually prefer to be with people; I love social interaction, I love conversing.  I just need almost as much time alone.  That is to say, I am accustomed to getting as much time alone.  My husband’s work takes him away all week, so up until I had the baby, it was just me and the dog during the weeks here.  I lived the half life of a bachelorette.  I must say, having the baby has saved me from loneliness more than I ever could have imagined.  She’s like my new best friend.  I prefer to be with her, honestly.  As a Stay-at-Home, I have also become accustomed to having her with me 24/7. 

As she keeps growing and we bond more and more every day, I find myself changing more and more.
  My “self” is changing to include her as well.  I’m “alone” with Celie a lot of the time, but I am not really alone.  Sure, she isn’t an adult capable of intellectual debate and stimulating conversation, but she fulfills my social needs in a way I could never have comprehended before.  Don’t get me wrong, I still need time away from her, I still need time completely alone, and I still need time to be social without her, but I am growing more and more each day.  I believe I am being re-socialized by my daughter; she is making me co-dependent.  This is something I have kind of had a battle against since my husband and I got together.  I had to detach myself in a way from the loneliness I felt every time he left me or I would never be able to live the life that we do.  Even though I still feel this loneliness every day he is gone, my daughter is helping me to not feel so alone and feel more okay with him leaving me so much. 

Overall, I am a homebody.  I enjoy spending quality personal time with my family and that is what I choose to do most times.  I also would never be what I am today without the social stimulation of my friends.  I have learned things in solitude that one can never learn in social circles.  I have, in turn, learned many things in a social circle that one can never learn in solitude.  Although I have come far and overcome many personal obstacles, I continue to walk the thin line between social butterfly and social outcast. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

November Blog #23: "A Golden Hill of My Own"

NaBloPoMo Prompt of the Day (Nov 23): Write about a piece of music that changed your life. What do you feel when you hear it now?

Music in general has pretty much shaped most of my life, but if I had to pick a piece that has technically “changed” my life, I would have to probably pick Bron-Yr-Aur by Led Zeppelin.  It was this timelessly wordless acoustic piece of music that my husband and I walked down the aisle to in 2007---well, we walked out of the chicken coup to it, anyway, and through the yard to stand between two trees to take the vows that would make us husband and wife.  It seemed the best piece of music to back our stroll down the marital lane.  Its notes played us into the beginning of our married life together, the final strum starting the ceremony.  

I think that describing this song with words would be easier than describing what I feel when I listen to this song.  The feeling brought on by this song has changed in me over time, but through the course of the “relationship” I have with it, it has symbolized perhaps the intricacies of life and the domino effect of consequence…pieces falling into place…the fragility of the balance maintained throughout life…the road of destiny.  It was a piece that mimicked the flow of life to me, perhaps, picked out in perfect time by one of the greatest guitarists (IMHO). The winding down at the end nudges you into the beautiful unexpected and that last strum seems to symbolize the start of something, or maybe the end of something, or even both.   

During the height of my stress especially, during times I was sure that I was lost and on a road to nowhere and I needed to gather myself, I would sit in front of my computer, and unwind by listening to mp3’s.  I had collected the Led Zeppelin discography song by song during my “spare” time in college.  I find that when times are stressful I start collecting and organizing my music library, like a mad woman collecting things for her home, a loony bird crafting its musical nest.  Many a time, I sat with eyes closed listening to Bron-Yr-Aur at my computer, Nag Champa burning away.  The song gave me hope.  Not to mention I respected its simplistic complexity as a guitar dabbler.  I could die happy if I could ever play, let alone a compose something like that.  

Bron-Yr-Aur, Photo from Wikipedia
Bron-Yr-Aur, which is Welsh for "golden hill", "breast of the gold" or "hill of the gold", is the name of a cabin in which Robert Plant and Jimmy Page stayed for a time in 1970 and wrote Bron-Yr-Aur as well as some other songs included on Led Zeppelin III.  (Bron-Yr-Aur is actually on the Physical Graffiti album).  This was a cabin Plant’s family used for holidays, it was without electricity and running water and is the place Page says he first got to really know Plant one on one.  Plant also allegedly claims Jimmy Page’s daughter Scarlet was conceived minutes after writing That’s the Way.  Interesting side notes. 

I always felt that Bron-Yr-Aur seemed like such a lovely place to go; its soundtrack seemed so amazing and timeless.  Although I have never been to Bron-Yr-Aur, a part of its tranquility reached me perhaps through the songs it inspired.  I have been changed by many songs, but this song has seen me through some hard times, and has played me into some great ones.  I would listen to it with my eyes closed and welling up; marveling at the beauty of fingers on strings, notes that left me dreaming of my future and hopeful that I one day too would fall into place.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

November Blog #22: "This Land is My Land; This Land is Your Land!"

NaBloPoMo Prompt of the Day (Nov 22): What is the luckiest thing that has ever happened to you, and why?

When I was just dating my husband, we were staying with his brother and his fiance and their 18 month baby daughter, now my niece.  My husband had lived with them for years, it was just the arrangement they had.  When we started dating, I moved in with them and lived with them for approximately 4 months maybe.  I ended up being kicked out by my now sister in law.  Some people would think it odd that I am friendly with her today, but I am and actually, she is one of the best friends I have had in my whole life.  She is family.  She is my sister.  That is how it is now, but it wasn’t always that way.  I was luckily able to turn the other cheek, and all has been forgotten.  Well, apparently not forgotten, but it has been overlooked.  Our relationship means more to me than petty misunderstandings and rocky beginnings.  It’s bigger and deeper than that, and regardless of the reason for the eviction, it isn’t the point of this blog---the chain reaction of events that happened after being kicked out is the point of this blog.  I see this as being very “lucky” in determining the future of our lives and “where we are” today…literally. 

I convinced my husband that as my boyfriend it was insulting to him if he stayed behind without me.  I had no where else that I could go immediately other than my parents' house.  I hadn’t really lived there in nearly 5 years at this point, but I called up my folks and explained the situation and they were happy to take us in temporarily.  My husband had been working for my father at the time temporarily so he had gained some respect from him, which is kind of tough to do and had a lot to do with them taking him right into their home with me which I am grateful for.  Anyway, we slept on a mattress on the floor of my parents’ basement for what ended up being around 3 months. 

While we were staying there we started cleaning out the “Old Part” as we called it, which was actually the small house that we had when I was a little girl until around the age of 6 that was still left attached to the new house at the time.  It had been used for storage for years after they built the new addition on.  It shared a room off of the basement with the new house, the room above this which was my parents’ old bedroom was now their office, but other than that it could be completely shut off from the rest of the house to be a small house of its own.  My parents had rented it out for a few years when I was around 10 or so to family members twice.  We ended up cleaning it out, thinking we were going to stay over there, as I was already keeping my clothes in the closet in one of the rooms over there and mostly using the shower in the bathroom.  For some reason, after cleaning the majority of the house out, we didn’t end up moving into it.  I can’t remember if it was because of what happened next or if what happened next happened because that didn’t happen.  Either way…

A friend of ours was renting the trailer we live in now with her boyfriend off of my father.  This place is maybe a quarter of a mile behind my parents’ house back in the woods.  They ended up splitting somewhere around the time my husband and I moved in with my parents.  The boyfriend wasn’t able to come up with the rent after she left because she was apparently paying it when they were together, so ultimately he had to move out, which left this place up for rent.  Having done odd jobs for my father before and during the time of our stay, I ended up cleaning the trailer for him in between renters during which time I was also checking it out for us.  In some weird way I have always had my eyes on this place.  It has the best location for a forest dwelling hermit.  3 other of our friends had rented it off of my dad and stayed here also for a year or so back before I was with my husband.  So I had been around the place and had been visiting it.  I had never entirely left it.  

"I feel home---when I'm chillin' outside with the people I know!"
- OAR, I Feel Home

When we were young kids, my brother and I would play up here on the hill.  A little ways down the driveway my father used to have a small graveyard of old cars.  My brother and I used to play in them all of the time.  Also, before my father put the trailer that is here now on this piece of land when I was in my teens, he had an old school small, aluminum, rounded-back mobile trailer here.  I remember playing in it as a little kid as well, and staying here with my father a time or two when my mother was away.  It was a camp for him and he and his friends occasionally stayed there. 

We ended up renting this place off of my dad starting in February of 2004.  We rented for 3, going on 4 years, until we got married in July of 2007 and my father presented us with “The Deed to the Ranch” as he called it. 

“Now we know we’ll be here forever!”   
- Boyd Lucas

Yeah, we do.  It was very exciting when we got the place for all of us, including my friends.  I was completely shocked.  “Lock, stock, and barrel,” the deed my father wrote up himself said.  I had never been given something so big in my entire life, maybe other than life itself.  He gave us land.  We owned a home.  It was amazing.    

It was the biggest gift I had ever received and it was the greatest thing I ever “lucked into”.   Just think, it all would never have happened just how it happened if I hadn’t been kicked out of where we were.  I never would have come to live with my parents and had been looking for a place to live right when this place came up for rent.   Now we have our very own chunk of pretty in the woods, land for our children to run and grow up on and ultimately inherit.  As luck should have it, we became homeowners.
Home Sweet Home, circa 2008

Monday, November 21, 2011

November Blog #21: "As I Sit Here in the Drifting Sun"

Prompt of the Day (Nov 21): The Business of Being Born is a passion project. Are you pursuing a passion project?

I suppose that aside from being my “business”, Drifting Sun has really been a giant passion project of sorts for me.  I have never known what I really wanted to do with my life, per se.  I knew all of my interests.  I knew what I didn’t want to do, maybe.  But pinpointing it down to one niche, I could never seem to do.

I went to college and got a degree in Integrative Art, but after graduation, what did that even mean?  I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do the whole time I was working toward my degree.  I knew I wanted to do something.  But figuring out what, I could never seem to do.

After my husband and I moved into our current residence, I had graduated college and hadn’t gone out to find a job yet.  We weren’t rich or “set”, but the good news was his income allowed me to stay at home and not work right away.  The idea of a homemaker was always sort of a romantic notion, but I had always been driven to do something more with my life.  I have always wanted to be a mother and I greatly wanted to be able to do something that would allow me to eventually stay at home with my children.  I wanted to contribute and do my part.  Even though simply maintaining a household can be quite demanding work and is definitely a job in and unto itself, I was unsatisfied with this.  As a woman, I wanted to be able to support myself in some way, shape, or form.  I wanted to feel like I was doing my part.  We had no children yet to take care of and weren’t planning on having any until we were married; I had time to pursue what I wanted to do.  If I could only figure out what it was. 

During college, I had started sewing in my spare time.  I started making purses, blankets, curtains, etc.  I would make them for my friends and myself.  I eventually started ironing little “Handmade by Missie Sue” labels in them.  After college, I was able to focus more on improving my sewing skills since it was what I was doing at the time for creativity.  I ended up starting an eBay store and trying to sell my “duds”.  Around the same time I came upon screen printing and it seemed to utilize so many of my learned college skills, so in 2005 I formed Drifting Sun, my handmade clothing and silk screen printing services business…or was it?  To this day, Drifting Sun, like it’s founder, is technically without a definite purpose.  I print t-shirts for people; I print my own prints; I sell band shirts; I sell purses and earrings and odds and ends I make.  Drifting Sun basically is whatever I make it…literally. 

I have recently taken a hiatus of sorts from the biz while I was pregnant with and had my daughter.  I printed 2 jobs while I was pregnant, which I got assistance with because I was afraid of the fumes in my printing shop.  I have printed 1 job since and am planning on printing one here before Christmas.  I suppose this feels right.  I do enjoy printing my own designs immensely more than I do those commissioned for businesses, and groups, etc.  I can do both, but lacking space and money makes it a slow process, but I continue.    

Drifting Sun has been a battle with myself; it has been a project I have been trying to get fully passionate about, but like its owner, is a bit unclassified and without direction.  Where do I focus?   

“How can I go forward when I don’t know which way I’m facing?” -  John Lennon

I feel I am at somewhat of a stand still.  Sometimes I question if I am capable of such lofty endeavors.  Not only is it hard single-handedly establishing and running a business, it is also hard to be a stay at home mother and even harder to have your significant other away about 70% of the time, so sometimes I get a little discouraged, but I press on.  I believe that Drifting Sun is a beautiful vision and it deserves my all.  Logically, I understand that it can't have this, but I still can give it my best.  I don’t feel I have yet given it that.  So I continue until it feels right.  I continue to see if I can have my cake and eat it too.  And so the saga continues---here’s to finding my niche with Drifting Sun, and to Drifting Sun finding its niche in the world of small businesses.    

November Blog #20: "Experiencing Some Technical Difficulties"

It’s funny that in the 21st century we are so reliant on computers.  Well, I suppose it’s not really funny per se, it makes sense, look around, the world is nuts.  But it is funny how accustomed we have become to having computers, so much so that when they go down, it is like our power has actually gone out or something. 

On Sunday night I decided to take the bull by the horns in a manner of speaking and take charge of my computer maintenance.  I have been frustrated with its poor performance and my internet service provider for years.  The ISP I can really do nothing about right now, but my computer, I thought, I can control this, can’t I?  At least somewhat?  I am woman.  Stay-at-home or not I’m a feminist; I decided I needed to be the one to figure this out because having someone else in charge of “maintaining” my computer just did not make sense to me. 

I suppose this all started from me monitoring my computer’s CPU usage.  It has been spiking for no apparent reason probably for a few years now and I decided I wanted to get the bottom of it.  I had never really understood what these CPU spikes came from, but just learned to exist with them, even though their presence was somewhat of an annoyance, as they were usually accompanied by sub par computer performance, though in the grand scheme of problems my computer wasn’t THAT bad.  I suppose this is the reason it remains tolerable. 

I started tracking my CPU usage with a gadget and then decided that perhaps my registry needed cleaned and that would help or something was running in the background perhaps I wasn’t aware of.  I, not being a technical computer geek, only the sister of, know nothing of registry lingo and code; I could end up starting the self destruct sequence for all I know!   I decided to find a program that could clean my registry and what not and perhaps do a little bit more.  I found FixCleaner and did some soul searching beforehand then just bit the bullet and paid for a download of the full version, capable supposedly of many more maintenance options.  I was so frustrated with being frustrated that I decided I had nothing to lose other than the cost if it didn’t work, so I bought it. 

Upon installation, it found all sorts of errors which I corrected and of course it needed to restart after doing this.  I chose to do so and then after my computer shut down it became apparent to me again why I seldom shut down or restart.  It had done this before.   My computer refused to come back on.  It wouldn’t boot, just simply beeped at me six times over and over and over again.  I tried numerous times, but after a long sigh decided to let it sit over night to see if that helped, because it is what corrected the problem before.  Maybe it needed to cool down.  It was working fine before restarting and the cleaner seemed to improve the speed even!  Oiy!  What did I do?  All I wanted to do was improve my computer’s performance. 

The next morning I tried again, hoping it would just come on, and it didn’t.  Still the beeping.  Annoyed.  Why can’t anything ever work like it’s supposed to?  What is more discouraging is I’m still paying the last bit of this computer off!  I mean, come on!  I post a status to Facebook via my grade-school educated phone in hopes that one of my more technologically advanced friends could help me with the issue.  I could tell you what some of the parts in a computer are, but other than that, I’m lost.  I know more about mechanic work and the workings of cars than I do computers, and I’m no mechanic, let’s just put it that way. 

My one friend ended up responding right away and said about thinking it was a problem with the video card.  He suggested I pop the tower open and see if the card is loose and/or reinstall it.  I decided this was a great idea if he was willing to walk me through it.  I wasn’t exactly sure where it was and I have always been so terrified of the innards of computers.  Everything always seemed so delicate like a brain and if I touched it everything would be lost forever or I would mess something up some how!  I am far from a brain surgeon! 

Regardless, I was able to take the computer apart because I am familiar with this, as I clean it out occasionally, but after getting it open, it was apparently not enough.  It desperately needed cleaning, so I decided to do this first with my can of 3M Dust Remover.  I located the video card as described and found all of the fans, as well as the fan on the video card insanely clumped with chunks of dust rabbits (not bunnies, big rabbits).  I started into the cough-inducing task of blowing out the machine.  

After I got the computer all cleaned out, I was walked through the process of removing the card via text delivered Facebook comments.  (Thankfully for technology there is technology).  It is a little freaky handling static sensitive parts and I jokingly asked if I required a Hazmat suit or something to proceed, but luckily didn’t as mine was in the cleaners. Haah.  Anyway, I got the card out and reinstalled and everything.  I thought that perhaps simply cleaning it would help because the fan was SO clumped on the card that I could see if it wasn’t even working at all.  I hooked it all back up and plugged it in and…nothing.  Nothing to excite me accept the beep beep beep beep beep beep!  Rats. My “power” was out.  What am I going to do now?? It’s NaBloPoMo! 

Anyway, hanging out with my two friends and talking to others on Facebook while doing all of this we were able to come to the conclusion that it is my video card, because we had remembered that I have an on-board video card also on this computer, and I plugged the monitor into that and took the video card completely out and voila!  It worked.  Puzzle solved.  It was the video card. 

So then I ran the FixCleaner program again and finished up what I was doing on my PC.  I have been monitoring my CPU usage again after uninstalling some programs and things now and my computer seems to be running smoother because of the cleaning.  The spikes don’t seem as bad, but are still occurring occasionally.  I have at least added something to my bucket list with this whole ordeal.  I am a work(ish)-at-home-mom and my husband works takes him away all week.  Most of the duties of this household fall on me; I pride myself on being fairly self-reliant because I have to.  I do, though, require help from time to time.  Who doesn’t?  Super Mom, Wonder Woman, maybe?  Ch.  The lucky ones know those women aren’t real and help in some form is usually necessary. 

Thank Goodness I have knowledgeable friends that were able to help me get to the bottom of my problem this time, but the stay-at-home feminist in me was inspired to know my way around my computer better in order to be able to fix smaller problems such as this without assistance.  I’ve decided to add “Build My Own Computer” to my Bucket List.  There would be no better way to understand something than to build it from scratch.  I don’t know when I will do this, it might be next month or it might (and is more inclined to) be years from now, but I am going to do it, dammit.  I am building a computer for myself.  I am a capable woman.  I will take charge of my power.  I will empower myself with the sufficient amount of geektastic knowledge…and I will build.  It can be done.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

November Blog #19: "Contacts, Updates, and Eyeware"

I posted before about my experience with my Acuvue Advance with Hydraclear contacts, that I had then had in for 14 days!  As awesome as this seemed when I posted, I knew it wasn’t really stretching it for contacts.  My friend I blogged about had worn his for months straight I think.  I thought my vision was worth updating about.

This Saturday, November 19, 2011, will make 3 weeks that I have had my contacts in.  I actually thought about taking them out last week after I blogged about them because they were becoming quite clouded.  I actually decided to pop them out and give them a quick rub down with saline solution.  (I would normally do this with multi-purpose solution and be using rewetting drops throughout the day but during this whole “experimental experience” I have only had saline solution and been rewetting multiple times a day and cleaning occasionally with that.  I still have yet to pick up some MPS and drops.)

I was about to take out the contacts because my vision was blurred but after cleaning them they seemed okay and daily upon rising I am able to refresh them to a good state by simply using saline. I know that this probably isn’t the best for my eyes, but I don’t feel like they are hurting or not breathing right and they aren’t red, puffy or sore or anything and I can see pretty well considering. 

I actually  plan on ordering some contacts off of the internet and wearing them more often now instead of my contacts.  All in all, even when my eyes are blurry from deposits, it doesn’t interfere with my vision as much as grime on my glasses or all of the scratches or distortion from being away from my eyes.  I know this wouldn’t be good to stretch them out like this all of the time, but it was my last pair from the prescription I already had.  It’s like running your car down to E until it runs out to find out how big of a tank it has; I want to see how long I can get out of them.  Before what I am not sure, before I get an infection or am blind?  Definitively; I'm not pushing the limits of safety for my health in the name of my silly pseudo "science experiment" or anything like that.  I have always been very clean and thorough about my contact routine and have not noted any problems with my eyes during this time. 

I am definitely buying more contacts and incorporating them into my daily life more often like this.   I also miss my glasses, though.  I would like to have two pairs I could switch between, but vision equipment is so expensive, I’m lucky to get a pair of glasses AND contacts.  I went to Wal-Mart’s vision center for these contacts and my current pair of glasses, which isn’t exactly current at 3+ years now.  I really do not want to go back to Wal-Mart, for many reasons, so I plan on weighing my options.  I have never ordered contacts off of the internet before.  This prescription seems okay, so I think I might do that.  It’s worth a shot.  Who knows?  It may change my life.  

I put these contacts in on October 29th.  It is now November 19.  I have had them in for a total of 3 weeks day and night without even using multi-purpose solution (I know, I know.)  But hey, they have stamina. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

November Blog #18: "A Moment of Vision"

NaBloPoMo Prompt of the Day (Nov 18): What has been the happiest moment of your life thus far?

Hands down, the happiest moment of my life thus far has been during the birth of my first child, my daughter, Celie.  It is one of those things, those moments that you remember vividly, but at the same time is so surreal that it almost seems as if you weren’t even there at all, but yet were simultaneously there completely with every fiber of your being as a great observer of something completely bigger and far greater than you…if that makes any sense. 

A back part of my psyche was somehow a calm observer, a watcher.  Although part of me was terrified about what birth would be like, I also went into my labor insanely calmer than I ever could have imagined I could be for not having any birthing classes.   (My husband works away all week and it would have been difficult to have him attend classes with me, so it just never happened.)   All I had in my repertoire were a few words from the chapters of Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth I had read, and a puzzling calm center I tried my best to hang onto…like riding a bronco, right?  I figured this was something that my body knew how to do, and it essentially wasn't only “me” giving birth.  All I had to do was hang on for the ride, right?  All I had to do was endure.  The whole act of birth itself was so amazing it requires a full blog onto itself, but after it was all said and done, I have felt no moment greater than the moment that my newborn daughter was laid onto my chest and looked into my eyes immediately after being delivered. 

I was told by my sister who attended the birth (because after being in a complete state of awe and coming down from the most pain I ever felt in my life and being in a delicate position we'll say that didn't allow for the best view…I kinda wasn’t sure) that the baby didn’t open her eyes the entire time the doctor delivered her and sucked her out, cut the cord, etc.  I was the first person that she saw when she opened her eyes.  To me, that is one of the most beautiful things.  She saved that for the moment she was laid on my chest; her virgin eyes opening to my face and finding Mother's eyes to mirror, so innocent, so young and yet so old at the same moment.  I thought her eyes seemed to understand where we come from, and where we go to at the same time and were at complete peace with that.  

Even after having carried her to term plus 4 days inside of me, she seemed so alien, so foreign, yet so organically mine, almost not even human but beyond  human or more human…than human.  Pure human.  “Where have you been...?”  That moment seemed slowed.  I know it was only a couple of minutes that she laid on me before they took her for her checks and everything, but it seemed perhaps like a mini lifetime of getting to know each other, through touch and through sight. Finally. “Pleased to meet you.” 

She didn’t cry the entire time; we both lay there enthralled with each other.  She was wiser than me at that moment of her life by far---I looked into the grayed blue eyes of a sage at that moment, eyes that can not be seen in monks or gurus.  A blank canvas.  A fresh brick of clay.  And she stared into my soul, seeming to recognize that part of her which dwelt in me, or that part of me which dwelt in her.  These two parts of the same greater being met on my chest at that moment, eye to eye, for the first time.  At least it did for me.  And I like to think it did for her.  My heart says so.   

Me To You,
Missie Sue

[Wasn’t the first time you held your child the most amazing moment of your life?]

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mario vs. PETA: A Zoo Suit Riot

So, apparently, PETA issued a press release stating a complaint they have with Nintendo for their use of fur suits in their Mario video games, more specifically, the new Super Mario 3D Land for the 3DS which sees Mario wearing a Tanooki suit.  What the hell is a Tanooki, you ask? 

If you Google the animal PETA is defending with its proper spelling, from one source you will find, “Definition for tanuki:  the raccoon dog, Nyctereutes procyonoides; the tanuki regarded as a shapeshifter, also renowned for its enormous scrotum.”

Wow!  Now, this is just from and can not possibly be accurate, but if the animal is really renowned for qualities such as those, how could Nintendo NOT use it as a special suit?  Those powers seem all too perfect for Mario to utilize.  I haven’t played the game, but I imagine him in his little suit, shape shifting at will and gliding through the air, soaring high on the wind, lifted by his flapping scrotum.  I mean, if they went that route.  (Is it like a flying squirrel only nuttier?)

Anyway, I digress, if I even had a point at all, but the absurd thing is that PETA, claiming that this encourages the abuse of animals, has actually commissioned a parody of the game to be made called “Super Tanooki Skin 2D”.  WTF?  Apparently PETA also attacked the game Cooking Mama for not being vegetarian.  Really?  Kids can’t even pretend they’re making meals anymore unless they’re vegan?  No more plastic eggs or strips of bacon in kiddie kitchens.  Should the fake food all be replaced with fake tofu food?? (Is that redundant?)  I’m not making any cuts at vegetarians; people should be free to live the lifestyle they choose.  But when the majority of the world isn’t vegan, you might end up with a video game about cooking that uses dishes including meat, that’s all I’m saying.  What’s the real harm of this?

Well, I suppose that boys and girls could possibly grow up to wear fur, for one, and heaven forbid eat meat!  They are going to beg for Tanooki suits from their parents after the new Mario comes out!  You watch!  The world will eventually only be made up of meat eating Tanooki-wearing destroyers of furry animal life.  I get where you are going with this PETA, and we do need you to protest things, just to remind people to be compassionate toward the animals of the world, but you need to watch what you attack or you’re just going to look like a foolish entity! 

Contrary to popular belief in today’s age, video games are not real!  (Sorry if I spoiled anything for anyone.)  If PETA hadn’t pointed it out, especially because of the change in spelling, you might not even be aware that a tanuki is a real animal!  Hell, they are “Asian raccoon dogs”.  Can’t say that I’ve ever seen one!  But I bet the makers of Nintendo have!    I mean, the other ones were based on frogs and raccoons and penguins, it makes sense to base it on something real-ish.  But if you look up “tanuki” it is also used to refer to the skin of the animal itself.  Uh oh.  That raises an interesting point, at the very least.  Get ‘em PETA!  Maybe that is why they chose to change the spelling of the suit creature anyway?  And what do they have to say for themselves? 

"Mario often takes the appearance of certain animals and objects in his games.  These have included a frog, a penguin, a balloon and even a metallic version of himself. These lighthearted and whimsical transformations give Mario different abilities and make his games fun to play. The different forms that Mario takes make no statement beyond the games themselves." - Nintendo

DUH, PETA!  It’s lighthearted!  It’s MARIO!  He lives in a world full of mushrooms and clouds, even if he does have adventures to rescue kidnapped princesses.  He's more than that, PETA!  You just don't know!  But he's also Not.Real.  You need to learn to pick your battles, because if you aren’t careful, you’re going to end up looking quite ridiculous like the Westboro Baptist Church or something.  I get what you are doing, but really?  I doubt that the new Mario is going to make the sales of tanuki fur coats rise in the world.  Now, when Nintendo starts promoting sales of its game by selling kiddies real tanuki fur Mario suits, then I would release some statements and do some protesting.  Or when this new stylish suit Mario is sporting catches on with posh designers and it becomes world couture…then the world will definitely need your services to protect animal kind.  Until then, let it alone.   

Use your money to support the Nyctereutes procyonoides in a positive way or something instead of attacking Nintendo.  Spread awareness, not complaints.  Find a way to give a raccoon dog back his pelt for real, instead of making a video game about it.  I guess you’re still raising funds from your video probably, I would imagine, but still.  Regardless of what the animal suit use in the games may or may not suggest, Mario also helps us to enjoy the different qualities of all of the animals depicted too, I assure you!  You enjoy being the animals, but if you have been correctly taught that video games are not real, you don't really want to wear an animal skin.  I'm not aware of a story where a child has skinned a raccoon or other animal, and worn its skin around their neighborhood.  (If I am wrong and you know of one, PLEASE point one out to me!)  I mean, after all, I’ve played Mario all of my life.  I love all of the critter suits, but I never wanted to run out and try to buy a frog suit or coat to wear or some frog skin boots…but I was a kid and I did think they were really awesome.  Hmm…good call, PETA.  Maybe you need to be absurd in order to get your point across. 


November Blog #17: "A Word Collage for the Crushed"

November 17, 2011 Prompt of the Day:  Make a list of everyone you've had a crush on, then choose one and describe him or her in detail.

[I suppose I ended up making a collage of sorts...and perhaps it's more figurative than detailed.  It is what it is.]

They’re warm and caring, but distantly drifting.
They’re busy yet empty; slowed but fast moving.
They’re soft and giving, yet hard and solid.
They’re unknowing, unaware, oblivious…pallid,
To the grave fact that all is not what it seems, 
To the haunting memory running through dreams.

They’re rough and prickly, steadied in ego. 
They’re the one that’s got a way to go.
They’re the one that broke me long ago.
They’re the one that fueled the complex fires.
They’re the ones whose actions prove they are liars. 
They’re the one whose heads are down most now. 
They’re the ones that know what I’m all about.

He’s street smart and savvy, but knavishly fun.
He’s a real knock down fella, a real son of a gun.
He’s seen miles and loose women, fought battles I’ve fought.
He pins down the lighthearted, for what they are not. 

Rough around the edges, sharper than a tack.
Got the weight of the world sittin’ on his back.
Shuffles as he walks; he nails the presentation. 
Takes the long road about every destination. 

He’s silently outspoken, too many words to give.
He’s humble yet fluffed by the years he has lived. 

He’s Butters from South Park meets Pig Pen from Peanuts. 
He’s ambitiously lazy, prefers candy to beer nuts. 
His edges are rough, but his background is rougher. 
He takes all I throw; I have found no man tougher. 
He’s patient and caring, he’s gentle and kind.
He knows when to get the hell out of my mind. 

The world’s full of crushes, and people that will creep in,
But I think this one’s special, so I think that I’ll keep him.