labelleizzy: (bunny writer)
I've been thinking for the last few years, that attention is the rent we pay for being in relationship, for being in community.

It was never such a privilege to pay attention as it was, many years ago, when I was teaching high school reading and drama classes, and became the advisor for the Improv Comedy Club. Thinking back, I marvel at the quick wit and facility with ideas, language and expression that these teenagers had. How fluent and adaptable they were to performance situations where anything could change (and did) with the drop of a word or addition of a new gesture!

Nick was a wiry, nervous Italian looking kid, earnest and new to the Improv team, often half-a-beat late with his responses, or just this side of awkward, in its own kind of funny. Mariel was a comic genius, with a rounded buxom figure, huge brown eyes and an impressive range of physical expression, and she could also get really LOUD in all the good ways. Tawd was clever, almost effortlessly funny both onstage and off, and a deceptively mellow, slow voice. He's the reason I acquired a nickname among the drama classes, and I remember him fondly for that. Aliza was slim, sly, sarcastic, with a drawling kind of vocal delivery that could quicksilver turn to something manic and panicked if the character called for it. Lucas was tall, with what his friends teased him was "emo kid hair", at that gangly teenage stage where his every gesture seemed floppy, but he sure knew how to use that puppety-ness to his advantage, like a Tim Burton character. Brandon was short and compact. He had a deep voice that belied his small frame, and an onstage poise and speed on the uptake that was nothing short of marvellous. Adam was blond, almost with ringlets, and our tech guy when he wasn't onstage. He was ridiculously silly and ridiculously smart, and I still remember one skit where he was spontaneously, slowly, somersaulting around the stage for no apparent reason.

They were all, every one of them, hilarious, but Parker felt like the ringleader. That kid... well. Damn, that kid was a force to be reckoned with. Sandy sort of dishwater brown hair (and I'm not just saying that because he had a positive TALENT for pissing me off), a nondescript sort of everyman face, and sleepy-looking hooded eyes, he was an absolute fucking chameleon onstage, with a rubber face and a skill at vocal characterization that reminded me of the young Jimmy Stewart. He's the one who I remember (with Mariel and Tawd) as starting the club and teaching the other kids all the improv games. He had a very strong personality, and he pushed hard to get the team members to practice all the different kinds of games and to get them in shape for competitive Improv Comedy events with other schools.

Parker was so funny and occasionally so bizarre... I remember how impressed I was with how much he knew about comedy and improvisation. I was brand new to the drama gig, and I don't mind at all saying that I learned virtually everything I know about improv and theater games from these kids. From Highway Patrol to New Choice, tongue-twisters and physical warmups, their speed and sarcasm and joy and silliness just delighted me. I would watch from the audience space and sometimes grade papers as they worked and played and tried new things, always new things, even with the old games they all knew well.

Building characters and scenes with zero stage props or maybe only hats or scarves or a couple of chairs from the audience is what made me think of them when I saw this week's prompt. These kids? I could imagine them EASILY getting a "confession from the chair." You'd be laughing at the one-sided conversation, imagining the chair's responses, and then cheering as the chair is dragged offstage. Of course, there'd be implications that a well-deserved beat-down will happen once the chair is in lockup.

It was a privilege to pay the rent there, to be on the sidelines watching the worldbuilding these kids could do in the blink of an eye. I got no call to be proud of them, I didn't teach them anything. They did it all themselves, but I'm proud of them nevertheless. It was a pleasure to know them.

I hope they are all still finding joy in words and connection and their own quick minds, making creative and subversive things in the world, and messing with people's heads.

This has been my entry for [ profile] therealljidol . This week's prompt was, as I mentioned, "Confession from the Chair."

Here is a link to one place you can find short descriptions of improv comedy games, you can also google "theater games" or improv games if you would be interested in learning more. Also I recommend comedysportz san jose as an example of improv comedy as a hell of a lot of fun for an evening's entertainment. (hmmm, I need to get out and see that again sometime soon!)
labelleizzy: (bunny writer)
I was a school librarian way back during the dialup/AOL days of the internet.
We started the library microlab with three 386 machines in 1995, and at first they weren't networked.
Eventually we acquired 8 newer Mac/Windows Power PC machines, and daisy-chained them with a ninth machine to act as server.
By default I became the IT guy and network admin for the library. I was learning fast, but barely kept two steps ahead of the kids.

I remember when we got internet working properly. Even in '98 and '99, the junior high kids would rather look things up on webpages than use the CD-rom encyclopedias. In retrospect, finally I understand why. They feel so... STATIC. The internet feels *alive* in a way that most books and every encyclopedia I've ever met, simply do not.

I also remember staying late after work, and after I finished tidying up after the kids, I myself would sit down, read email, and surf the net a little.

There was a "meme" (before I understood "memes") which I stumbled across at some point. As I thought about this week's prompt, this page came to my mind's eye, so of course I Googled it. *smile* The Last Page Of The Internet. Hope you've enjoyed your browsing, now turn off your computer and go play outside!

Even fifteen years ago everyone could tell that the internet was a fascinating, roiling, sea of distractions and delicious, delicious data. Distracting.
Even then, it was apparent we would all need reminding to turn off the screen to go outside and play...

There was a bumper sticker on the door of my office in that library. I probably had picked the sticker up in Berkeley, it said in big dark letters, "KILL YOUR TELEVISION". Some kids would read that and argue that they loved their television; others immediately got the point of the message and why I found it so damn funny. Because they did too. But the thing I never would have expected, was to need to think about Killing My Tablet, Phone, and Desktop computer too, from time to time.

The most seductive thing about internet memes? They are in-jokes. You have to have been there. You have to be part of the culture, the subculture, the microsubculture. You have to belong.

And that's part of why memes are so irresistable. Embedded in the joke, is the reminder that you belong.

We're all citizens of the internet. With the rights and privileges thereunto.

but sometimes, you do indeed need to turn off your computer and go outside.


This is my home game entry for [ profile] therealljidol. The prompt for the week is "Keep calm and end this meme."
labelleizzy: (thinky thoughts)
Last night I was telling Nick about a (possibly apocryphal) Buddhist teaching story:

The master has a large jar, a bucket of big rocks, a bucket of gravel, a bucket of sand on the table.
He instructs the student to fill the jar with the big rocks, as full as it can go.
Then he asks the student, "Is the jar full?"
The student replies, "Yes, teacher."
Now the master asks the student to add the gravel to the jar. Most of the gravel in the bucket fits into the spaces between the stones.
And he asks the student, "Is the jar full now?"
The student replies, "Yes, teacher."
The master indicates the bucket of sand, and the student knows what comes next, and pours the sand into the jar, and it settles in around the gravel and the stones.
"Surely it's full now, teacher?"

The master smiles, and pulls out a bucket of water from beneath the table.

I heard this story used by Steven Covey to talk about prioritizing your life according to the values that matter to you. In the video, the Big Rocks all have words painted on them. Words like "Family" "Romance" "Health" "Job Advancement" "Planning" "Self-Care" "Spiritual Development". All the kinds of things people talk about as their Highest Values.

Only Covey told the story backwards.
He had the folks taking his seminar fill the jar with sand first, and then try to fit the big rocks in on top of the sand.
All of the taking care of yourself kinds of Rocks got left out, and it was a pretty powerful symbol.
Then he had his demonstration victims Subjects dump the sand out, and fit all the Big Rocks in FIRST. THEN add the gravel, THEN add the sand.

So, he points out, if you take care of the big Values first, you can fit the Projects and the Everyday Little Tasks in around them.
But you can just as easily let the Everyday Little Tasks take up All The Time You Have, and get to the end of your day not having taken care of any of the things you really find VALUABLE.

I'm finding myself dealing a lot in Sand, and not so much in the Big Rocks as I would like to.

So I'm making a drawing, and trying to set up a visual reminder of my priorities.

I've marked one "rock" as Dance, Music, Art, and Writing. I'm struggling for brief vivid descriptors. I could put Roles in, i.e. Wife, Friend, Sister, Aunty, Daughter, Lover. I could put it in as Nouns for the things I value: Self-care, Artistic Expression, Kindness, Philanthropy. I could use a personal pagan metaphor: Persephone, Demeter, Hermes, Artemis, Athena, Dionysos, Cerridwen, Brigid, Argante.

I'm leaning toward the Nouns at the moment. How about you? How would you describe the things you Value above all others?

How do you fit it all in?
labelleizzy: (creating yourself)
Today's massage was pretty darn good. This was the first time in recent memory that I showed up for a massage with nothing actually hurting or needing the therapeutic work. So on the therapist's suggestion, I opted for a relaxation massage. That was nice, and he (he and I are new at working together) seemed much more comfortable in this mode than the sports-therapy massage I requested two weeks ago. So that went well.

I'd had Wrenb drop me off for my appointment, we'd been doing errands together, so I opted to walk home via the bike trail. Less than two miles, I figured...
(How tough could it be, right?)

Oh dear.

Upside: no muscles are sore, my back is fine and my endurance for such things is hugely increased over the last time I took a long walk like this.

Downside? My shoes/boots weren't entirely the optimal choice for a long walk down the asphalt bike path. No heel blisters, thank Hermes, but I have blisters. Under my calluses. On the balls of both feet.

And the first of the early morning workouts with Tal and Tshuma. Like ready to work at 8 am early, when I usually roll out of bed between 8 and 8:30 kind of thing.

Oh well. I'll make it march somehow, and Tal probably has ane encyclopedia of things I could work on without straining foot blisters.

I have faith. Tomorrow will be good, and I will work hard, because I want to be tougher and stronger.

That's that.

Now to check in on Spouse and Tshuma, and rustle myself some more food.

Posted via

labelleizzy: (bunny writer)
As kids, we all knew about the pothole down the road that you had to avoid on your bicycle, or which neighbor's yard you'd never trespass in, for fear of a dog perhaps, or some grown-up's anger.

These are workarounds. This is knowing your environment, and keeping yourself from harm.

As kids, some of us knew grown-ups in our lives who had to be managed. Or avoided. Or placated. Or hidden from.

* I remember my fourth grade teacher, who used to hug all the pretty girls. I was maybe nine, and I envied Charlene (*not her real name), tiny and blonde, shy as a mouse, with Mr. M's arm around her. At the time, I didn't understand why she looked quietly miserable, when his hug looked so warm and affectionate.

* I remember my tenth grade English teacher (the third one we'd had that year) who struggled ineffectually to "manage" our class of high spirited and mischievous honors students.
His face is clear in my memory, though his name has faded. I had asked him to please control the class because I, at least, wanted to learn. He shrugged his shoulders and said helplessly, "But, Liz, what can I DO?"

* And I remember my dad. He started working from home when I was around 13, firmly planted in his comfy chair with his cigarettes, newspaper, and yellow legal pads. I remember him commanding me to fetch him yet another beer from the fridge's endless supply.

I was shocked and pleased in equal amounts to discover, some time last year, that someone had coined a phrase for these kinds of dysfunction. "The missing stair". Because some ideas are nearly impossible to understand until you have a name for them.

To deal with a Missing Stair in your life or environment means that some necessary thing is broken and everyone has just gotten used to, adapted around the brokenness. Used to it, enough that nobody talks about it anymore, and the collective assumption is "well, that's just how it always has been, we all just deal with it." Or maybe you've heard it phrased as "It's just part of the culture here," or as "boys will be boys."

*explosive sigh*

I call bullshit on that nonsense.

* My tenth grade teacher needed a mentor, or at minimum, direct instruction in how to manage teenagers in a classroom.
That skill is something that actually can be taught, something that can be learned and practiced. He should have been taught those skills, and he should have been provided with good examples to follow. His teacher training, and our school administration, should have seen to that, and failed to. (I am particularly incensed about this because it was something my own teacher training lacked as well, twenty years later: one of many things that convinces me this brokenness is systemic.)

* My fourth grade teacher, it turns out, was (eventually) reported to authorities and removed from teaching at my elementary school. I did not understand at the time, when the kids were gossiping on the playground, what it meant that Mr. M was no longer teaching at our school. Or why when I asked my parents about it, they made faces and changed the subject.
The silence around this subject is a kind of brokenness that could perhaps have mended by using the story, the true story, as an age-appropriate teachable moment on how to trust your gut instinct, how to be safer around adults, on appropriate or inappropriate touching, or on how to stand up for other people.

* And of course, there was my dad. The lessons I could learn from his life are manifold. But whatever it was that he needed, well. I don't know.
What I've learned from his example, I've had to unravel, unlearn, and relearn over years of ACoA meetings, journal writing, talk therapy; and my own year of total abstinence from alcohol.

Shame and silence NEVER solve these kinds of broken. The Missing Stair effect occurs in large communities and inside our own heads.

Problems like these fester and persist in the darkness and the silence.

Acknowledge the broken stairs. Point them out.
Talk about them. Research. Offer assistance, if you have it to give.

Because if one of us has a hammer, and another has nails, and someone else has some solid boards, and someone else actually knows how to fix a stair?

We will never know that the stair could actually be fixed, until someone says, "Hey, I have this thing that might help fix that missing stair..."

and I am so fucking tired of jumping over the broken places.

Hey y'all? I have this thing that might help fix that missing stair.
(listens for responses)

This has been my Week Two entry for [ profile] therealljidol, and the prompt was "The Missing Stair".

Beta-readings done by [ profile] chippychatty, [ profile] wrenb, and [ profile] violaconspiracy! Thanks, guys, you definitely made this better.

Please go read and enjoy my colleagues' entries here. To vote for my entry, find me at the bottom of the second poll, link is *here*.

Thank you for reading!
labelleizzy: (i dance)
Monday was a giant success in the Moving My Body department.
Matter of fact, I'm more than a bit sore today, in ways I haven't in weeks and weeks, so that's good.
(it's good because SORE is different than Injured or Impaired.)

Monday morning I met [ profile] wrenb at the gym for to try a new yoga class. Hadn't had a Hatha Yoga class in, well, at least a couple of years. *shrug* been doing other things, haven't had enough interest to go there, and it had seemed that the so-called Gentle Yoga was serving my yoga needs... But this Hatha class was very enjoyable and a good amount of challenge while not being a huge strain. Even if the teacher did look at me among others (I think I was the only roundy woman in the room) when she asked if any of us were new to yoga, I didn't mind. I was mildly amused, and smiled gently at her.

And then it was quite a good and thorough workout. The sacroiliac joint, where my chiropractor was working on me previously, made quite the series of long crackly readjustments toward the end of the session during a hip twisting stretch before savasana. It never hurts, but it still feels strange, like ... like pulling apart warm rice crispy treats. Only with a crunch with every stretch.

After Yoga, I spent some time with [ profile] wrenb, her husband, and her kids at a local park for part of the afternoon, then went home, took care of various personal and house things, and had something to eat before meeting [ profile] wrenb again for dance...5Rhythms in Mountain View. They meet, WE meet, at the Masonic Temple and use their ballroom for dancing. It's a HUMONGOUS lot of fun, although it's also challenging. Claire, the teacher, encourages all kinds of heart-centered meditation practices, and often has us try new exercises meant to break through the walls around our hearts, or break through our fears and engrained habits of self-image.

Claire ran an exercise last night that I know as a theater game... Everyone circles up. Then the teacher starts with simple statements: Walk across the circle if you identify as male. female ... as somewhere in between (two people I like, crossed the circle at that point, visually seeming as one of each gender).

Questions moved to a popcorn format eventually: Have you ever had your heart broken, have you ever been divorced, have you lost a parent, are you a grandparent, did you have a challenging day, did you have a good day, did you identify as other than heterosexual? (I walked for that one.) Have you lost an SO or a child? Are you now or have you been dealing with cancer. (I walked for that one as well, though a tiny bit of skin cancer hardly feels /worthy/, you know? But my little brother Scott died from cancer, so did my uncles Leo (leukemia) and Dino (skin cancer gone metastatic) and my cousin Jeff (testicular, he was only 6 months older than me), so fuck that, I will keep it in mind)

I danced a LOT. and I made an effort to dance with other people. 5 Rhythms isn't like ballroom or country dances, everyone dances alone most of the time, but people play together occasionally, in twos or threes or occasionally in hug-circles kind of things. It was good.

It wasn't an effort, like it usually is, to let someone come ask me (nonverbally) for contact or play. It flowed well, and was fun, silly, joyful. My native state. =D

More of this. Moving is joyful.
labelleizzy: (make things!)
Been taking notes and coming up with ideas on a casual basis all week.
Am taking this class with [ profile] bellacrow and she and I have discussed it a bit on FB.
I should look into the forums tonight.

There's a phrasing in the fourthsecond assignment that doesn't make sense to me: "the four course project criteria."

It's just that the language is confusing to me, because it could be parsed as
A) there are four projects in the course, the criteria for those four projects
B) There are four criteria, criteria which shall be applied for all the projects to be done during the course.

C) Jeff points out that the four criteria are described in the second project's description: D'OH!
  • You personally experience the gap (i.e., you want to solve the design problem).
  • You have access to at least five people who also experience the gap, or a closely related gap. This access is ideally face-to-face, not solely via the internet.
  • You can imagine creating some kind of design and prototype of an artifact that would address this gap within the next 8 weeks. In other words, the challenge is not so complex that you cannot imagine addressing it in this course. (For instance, the gap “I really wish I could travel in outer space” would be a poor choice for a course project.)
  • You can imagine the gap being addressed by an artifact in a domain that interests you personally (e.g., physical product, architecture, apparel, graphics, web design, furniture).

I'm hoping I'm correct in believing B) is the correct parsing.

From the homepage: "The emphasis of the course is the basic design process: define, explore, select, and refine." So I hope that's what's meant.

And I'm doing that, and from the syllabus, it CERTAINLY looks like I'll be making many more than four things, so I hope I've got it right, or I'll lose points on the fourthsecond assignment.


  • I have a sketch AND a prototype to do for HW 4,
  • (and I have to scan & submit the sketch, & photograph the prototype & submit that photo)
  • have to clean up (erase pencil lines), scan, and submit my sketch for HW 3, (closest to done)
  • have to type up and submit my list (of "gaps in the user experience") for HW 2,
  • (with a note about which one I'm taking for this week's project,)
  • (and under 100 words of how this gap meets the "four course project criteria above")
  • and take a photo of my Doc Martens for the Good Design (HW 1) and submit it,
  • and write fewer than 100 words explaining why I love "the artifact" (meaning my Doc Martens).

I think I'm glad Jeff was ambivalent about going out tonight. I really needed to sort out how much work I had to do for this course before end of day tomorrow. And Jeff is a handy engineer-about-town to consult in the understanding-of-design.

More than a bit sad to miss some social time with [ profile] joedecker and [ profile] wuukiee among other fine people who will be at Joe's party tonight, but I'm actually feeling more like assembling prototypes in my underwear than going out and being social.

Gonna go eat some food, and then get going on the prototype for 4. scissors, cardboard, and tape! Woot!
labelleizzy: (bunny writer)
Eighteen years ago yesterday, my dad breathed his last at around 3 am in a room in Kaiser's Morse Avenue branch in Sacramento. Mom and I got a phone call somewhere around 5. I figure now, that was when the shift change happened, and that's when a nurse discovered he'd passed. possible trigger warning for description of death circumstances )

I find myself using words and phrases he commonly used. It's a surprise almost every time. I'm mostly going grey like he did... very silver at the temples, though in the last couple of years I'm getting more salt-and-pepper scatters like my mom had.

Mom called me yesterday and told me again how much she loved me and appreciated the way we had each other's backs during his final illness, and how supportive I was as she transitioned from mother and wife to widow... "the start of her independence" she called it. And it was, no kidding, I mean after years of nursing him as he got weaker and crankier, she recovered a lot of her personal power. She really blossomed after we both did a bit of recovering from the shock. She got her master's degree, she researched real estate and bought a house on her own with the proceeds from the house we grew up in...

I did pretty well myself. Had a job for eight years as a junior high librarian. It was good work, worthy work, with a visible end-result and an obvious positive impact. Worked there from when I was 24 till I was 32. My brother was on track to graduate college in '94, I got a good job, mom had a good job, Jenny had a good job... and it's always felt like Dad sort of waited till all of us were kind of "settled" before he let go. I'm glad of that. Bit weird taking bereavement leave after only being two months in a job.

Still struggling with some of the secrets he kept and the ways he functionally lied to us about who he was and what he felt and what he had experienced as a child. Formative stuff, you know? Stuff that influenced the fact that he barely touched us growing up, for good or for ill. I didn't know I was a huggy person for 18 years basically... having a boyfriend made it okay to ask for touch, and I didn't know I'd been touch starved ... my whole life, I think.

I don't even think I can scratch the surface of explaining the depth and quality of the hole he left in my life... not only from his dying but his inability to connect to us at a heart level. He was always distant and funny and sarcastic, and you wanted his approval SO BADLY but never could figure out how to get it. THAT messed me up until only three or four years ago... He was so smart and so many people liked, even loved him. But he was adversarial with us kids, not cooperative. And Scotty, the Only Son, was the favored child. And now Scotty's dead too. (six years and two weeks ago.)

I have all these ideas of what a father "should be", you know, like ideally? And, at 42 I'm still shocked when I see dads being affectionate in public with their kids, carrying their kids or horsing around, and dads being actually tender with their child invariably makes me cry. Dammit. *wipes face* Because we really didn't get that. At least not that I can remember. I hope someday I can sit with my sister and try to get her take on how that all went down, I just remember being unbearably lonely all the time and basically hiding in my books, on the front porch or up a tree, because dad "liked to tease"...

At this point in my processing and life, at this distance, I can say that it's certain dad was hurting for most of his life. I'm pretty sure his dad hit him, it's sort of "what was done back then" but also, my grandma divorced my grandpa, in the early 50's when You Didn't Do That... She's gone too, gone since I was eleven, I can't ask her why. I'm not very close to my aunts but I would like to ask them if they knew what was going on and why Grandma left.

At this point that's all such old news it's moldering. And I do really have to do The Work based on the Here And Now. What I have is What I have. That's it. That's depressing, but that's it.

Usually What I Have is enough. I don't have quite enough resources to do anything further with Dad at this moment, so I'm just going to lay this here and leave it. My heart feels a bit flat and stony at the moment, I know that will pass though, particularly if I let myself have a good cry and go Do Other Things Instead of Brooding. Heh.

I think it might be a night for crochet and candlelight meditation. After the yoga and the groceries.
labelleizzy: (Default)
Had another odd thought tonight:

My dad would've LOVED smartphones. All the maps you could ever need?
All the possible strategy games? Probably download a bunch of chess apps...
And of course, he would have learned as much as he could about how things worked so he could be like all "expert" and teach other people about them...

haven't thought about him in that way ... probably since he died.
labelleizzy: (multitudes)
Finding myself lately, looking at a lot of older people. I see people with white hair and wrinkles, in athletic shoes and support hose, walking confidently or with a walker or in a wheelchair, hand in hand with a companion - a sweetie, a daughter, a son (or so I assume), or a caregiver (again I assume)...

and I realize I am indeed at middle age.

42 is a good age to be at, but I will be exceptional for my family if I live to significantly past 80.
So now is a good time, especially since I HAVE the time right now, this year, this season, to think and plan out what I want middle age to look and feel like, and to think and plan and imagine what eldering will or may look and feel like for me.

I think I need to really re-examine what I think I know about getting older, and what it will feel like from the inside. I think I am learning that a lot of assumptions I used to have about how the world worked, drove COMPLETELY off the tracks after I discovered a pagan practice, after I discovered a polyamorous lifestyle, after I realized I don't, and I can't, fit tidily into the boxes that pop culture seems to want to put everyone into.

I overflow. I am large and abundant and have way too much love and hope and earnest curiosity and quirky interests. I am not nearly sarcastic or bitter enough for "what it feels like is expected of me". I'm an idealist. I'm inclusive. I'm passionate and frequently relaxed and forgiving. I like to make things myself, to find things out myself.

I don't think we have enough dialog about what it means to leave the Youth Culture behind and move into ... what? What does it *mean* to "get older" or to "become mature" or "adult"?

Who are the models of behavior? What do we need to do to move from here to ... wherever there is? What can, what MUST we shed and leave behind to make the journey?

If I think of this process in a pagan context, I can use the five-stage model, which goes Maiden-Mother-Teacher-Warrior-Crone. (the last four steps, I feel, interchange and interweave in women's lives as we grow older and more experienced and sure of ourselves, rather than being concrete, definable stages we progress through in an orderly fashion.)

I've been through Maiden, Mother/Teacher stage (my teaching and librarianing all had a deeply maternal caretaking quality), have spent some time in Teacher/Warrior stage and want to spend more there and gain in strength and confidence. I want to return to Mother/Teacher stage as an artist, birthing words and images and inspiration... since I can't birth my children, I will find children to mother and mentor and teach; I can't "lose myself" in childrearing, so I will strive toward finding myself in artistic and community endeavor. I will find my own teachers, and worry later about Being Teacher, if I choose to return to that. Teacher/Warrior needs community, and I've let my community drift away from me for too long. If I rebuild and regrow Community for myself, I think that over time, my other needs will gradually be met: needs for people time, needs for meaningful work, needs for playful and productive connection and belonging. And my need for FUN. =)

Have been living in "stuck" mode for too long. Been struggling to do *anything* productive. I've been homecaring, and taking care of my own body. The good part of that, is that for the first time in my life, taking care of my physical self is an unconflicted, unguilted, first priority. Too many "wake up" calls about my health in the last few years.

No more "shoulds": The change is here. I *am* moving my body. I *am* finding the foods and activities that help me feel strong and healthy and good. I *am* looking to the future, to 50, 60, and yes, to 80. I'm Off The Path. I have NO idea what these years are "supposed to look like" and you know what? I don't care. I can survive in the wilderness, I can feed myself and take care of others and make all my own tools.

Not getting any younger. (in some ways, thank Gods for that!) Therefore: NOW it is time to take stock/inventory, time to truly see where I am as I descend into the season of Dionysos, into the dark and the cold, into the introspective time and the Lesser Madness. Sink my Roots. Allow myself the time to make my Tools, talk with others about the Path Ahead, laugh and eat and drink wine around the fire, love hard and plan to Do Important Things before I die.

Ripples in the pond. Are my ripples from a big ol' PLONK or are they the cascade of light, sweet rings shimmering out from a single smooth stone skipped far across the pond? I'm hoping for a many-times multiple skip with a surprising dogleg hop at the end before the splash...
labelleizzy: (powerful)
Late night feeling.

The mysteries are out there, waiting to glimpse the magic we create for ourselves...

(Thanks, @Charles DeLint...)
labelleizzy: (Default)
Funny how I can get sucked into an hour on Facebook and random page surfing and feel ill and confused, but an hour of hand-sewing leaves me peaceful, centered and focused.

Actually, it's not funny at all.
It feels to me as though there are forces in the world that draw us out of ourselves into confusion, that the goal of those forces is distraction and dismay and discouragement.

Feels as though these forces are trying to prevent us from accomplishing the wonder*full, important, world-changing tasks we are capable of accomplishing.

Someone I read recently was reflecting upon the results of introducing sugar and alcohol into the diet of the Inuit: addiction and obesity and other health issues resulted... along with the disintegration of the strong traditional society.


Don't get me wrong, I do my best to use my Internet Powers for good, and I know most of us do. I keep in contact with family and friends, both distant and near. I try to keep informed about political issues and problems close to my heart, and to use the internet to learn and grow.

But I do find there's thousands of ways to get distracted and lose focus.

(p.s. In the middle of writing this post, I got distracted, lost focus, wandered around other websites, and eventually left the computer, forgetting to finish this post and, well, POST it. One more data point for my hypothesis)

How many of us have to write down what we came to the computer to accomplish, because once we get online, it's "Oh, I'll just check email and facebook" and two hours later, dazed, go to turn off the screen, only to realize we totally spaced on the One Task we'd set out to finish?

*raises hand very high*

Right at this instance, I have two Chrome windows open, the first has 55 tabs open (I counted) and the second has sixteen. And I'm aggressively using ReadItLater to close tabs!

Why the holy FUCK do I need (or "need") SEVENTY-ONE windows open for websites?


I think, among other motivations, I feel guilt about not-reading things which are Relevant to My Interests, or I want to respond to people, participate in conversations, try that writing assignment [ profile] popfiend inspired, decide which events I will actually attend, find inspiration and support in changing my habits...


is complicated.

There is just Too Much Crap out there.
I'm not "keeping up" with Facebook, OR Twitter, much less Google Plus.

Livejournal is where I come for substantial food-for-thought. It's where I come for a human experience.

Here is where people can think, discuss, collect.
Here is where posts *stay still* in their original place, so I can refer back to them easily, they don't get shuffled all around in my reading list.
Here I can bookmark, tag, save to Memories, useful or interesting posts, information, and art.


I hope LJ succeeds. Because for me, it's rather like a beacon on a dark and stormy ocean.
Livejournal (go ahead and laugh now) is a bastion of sanity in the craziness and you-should-buy-this-now, inadequate-creature-that-you-are culture of the Internets and the western, corporate commercialization of thought.

People here truly talk, think, reflect. People here share, comment, (hug), give good advice or smacks with the salmon-of-wisdom.

I'd pitch a lot of the internet out the window (defenestration practice anyone?) before giving up on this site.

Matter of fact, think I will for awhile.
labelleizzy: (wandering)
I can sit and dwell on the past. Going through old boxes, reliving old memories, reading documents that were pertinent to my former life, feeling feelings about how things used to be...


I can move more deliberately in my current life, accomplishing tasks and organizing my environment for success in the now-time, working to Get Stuff Done and build the new relationships that will nourish where I want to be...


I can plan and move into the future that I imagine for myself and for Jeff, and work to accomplish things that continue moving us forward into the unknown, with hope and faith in myself, in us, in our love and relationship and future goals and dreams.

I don't really think I get a choice, I think I need a little bit of each of these things, but I can choose to focus mostly on the last two. Feeling these feelings about the past are unavoidable but I don't need to live there or dwell on it.

I have choices.
I want to move forward.

This means I have to do different things than I have done before, if I want different results.

So. Different things. Adventures, I hope!
labelleizzy: (this is it)
Recently the idea circulated round here on Livejournal to describe oneself in terms of absolute truth yet to paint what might be considered an untruthful picture of yourself as a whole.

In contemplating this idea I'm realizing that I can only think of descriptors of how I *used* to be but am no longer, or events or injuries, or choices I made, which can no longer describe the me I am now.

What am I now?

A teacher, a student, an artist. A dreamer, an idealist, a warrior for the truth. A happy homemaker. A woman with two lovers. A woman who is moving out of Mother phase but is not ready for Croning... I think Teacher and Warrior make good intermediate stages, don't you?

I am a crafter and a destroyer and a designer. I am a gardener and a keeper of the flame. I pray and I meditate and I struggle with forgiveness.

I am forgetful when I get immersed in technological storytelling. I get sucked in SO BAD by computer, TV, or phone that I try to take media-free vacation days where I don't touch any of them. This is hard though because the smartphone is soooo magnetic...

I have good intentions that I don't always follow through on. I miss my own deadlines. Yet I am still producing more and better quality projects with greater quotae of finished-ness than I have ever done before.

I get a lot done some days, and some days I do nothing at all. I'm okay with that. I quit shaming myself and beating myself up over not meeting my own or others' expectations, somewhere around five years ago. It didn't help, and it made me feel miserable.

I try to live for myself now. I try to DO a lot for others, but that's different than LIVING for others, the way I used to. I make my own goals and help my life to have rhythms that meet the goals without panicking or pushing myself, or at least not any more than a natural focus and attention to detail requires.

I love more easily. I don't tolerate drama much anymore. My ups and my downs both tend to be flatter than they once were (of course we used to be talking Himalayas and Marianis Trench, so that's actually a GOOD thing!)... and because I no longer need to wallow in my OMG SQUEE or OMG POOR ME, I do indeed Get More Stuff Done. More art, more fun things, more time with the cats and my sweeties. Soon, more time for my friends, and I can't wait!

simplification is very appealing. purging the unnecessary is very appealing, and I'm more ruthless than I ever have been. but, but I get overwhelmed by the leftovers of my former lives. Especially paper, especially in huge piles still packed up from the last move or the move before that one. so I don't deal with it for long periods of time. maybe I can trade with someone I trust: I'll go through that one box of paper for you if you will go through that box of paper for me. Save out the things that are actually useful and trash the rest.

I have tattoo plans that might surprise some people.

If I love you, live with you, and am happy and content, I will match and fold your socks in the laundry. If I'm pissed off, your socks will still be clean but you will have to turn them right side around and match them up for yourself. (I just turned a TON of socks right-side around today and matched them all up and made a pretty drawer-space for them. Today is a good day!)

Sometimes I'm a hypocrite in small ways. For instance, I will often forget to clean up after myself when working on a project, but if someone ELSE does that I get very angry. (shrug) Guess that's pretty human.

I'm working on (gently escorting) some bad habits (downstairs and out the door). Some I can't get rid of myself, so I plan to hire someone to help. Namely, a fitness/rehabilitation coach. Best advice on this: find someone my age or older who GETS what it means to rehab an injury or illness, and will listen when I say, this is my goal, how can I best and most safely achieve it?

I like to brain dump and don't always bother to come to a pretty conclusion. =)


Feb. 8th, 2011 11:05 am
labelleizzy: (Default)
Courage is a muscle that gets stronger the more you use it.

If I am brave, that is because I practiced bravery until it became habit.

Any of us can do it. Many, most of us have. Mostly we choose to be brave when the other choice seems intolerable : to stay in the infuriating job or the marriage that fails to feed us, to give up on the needs of our children, to knuckle under in the face of some illness or other burden that feels overwhelming.

Courage is a decision.
Patience is a decision.
Grace is a decision, and so is hope.

Some days I make my choice again and again and again. I try to choose courage, I try to choose hope, I try to choose faith in myself and humanity.

Some times I fail. Then the challenge is to get up again and make a new choice.

"I get up.
I walk.
I fall down.
Meanwhile, I keep dancing."

(Hillel, via Renee Locks)

Posted via LjBeetle
labelleizzy: (poly)
It's a short little book, The Five Love Languages, but it makes a lot of sense.
People speak different love languages.

The examples Chapman uses are: Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Gift-giving (or receiving), and Quality Time. If you and your lover speak different "languages", you are going to have a difficult time getting your needs met: as time goes on and you aren't feeling loved, even if your lover is making an effort, you become increasingly frustrated and feel empty and unloved.

You get a gimme at first when you fall in love: love relationships when they begin have a "honeymoon period". However, you can only fly so far on Limerence, aka the in-love feeling, aka NRE. Limerence lasts for a finite time... after that, well, your jet fuel starts to run out, if you don't mind the metaphor.

You can fill your tank with The Good Stuff by finding (or properly training!) a partner on how to Speak YOUR Love Language. If they can't speak your Love Language, it doesn't fill your emotional tank. They might give you kerosene when you need gasoline, or water when you need oil. They're trying, they made an effort, they want credit, but if it's a language you don't speak, or a fuel you're unable to use?
Read more... )

Long Story Short:
My Love Languages, in order, seem to be:

1st: Acts of Service (Will you do something for me, or with me? Can I do something with you, or for you?)
2nd: Physical Touch (Hug me, cuddle me, sit near to me so our feet or knees touch)
3rd: Words of Affirmation (Tell me you love me, that I'm pretty, that I'm doing good work or that you're proud of me)

"Gifts" got a ZERO score from me on both versions of the test I took. Doesn't mean I don't appreciate thoughtful gifts: I have a Scarf Lynn Leonard made for me, that I *love* and adore, an embroidery sample from Betty Pugh on my wall (both older lady co-workers in schools, both birthday presents, and both made for me, personalized with me in mind, so maybe even more Act of Service than Gift?), the easel, paints, brushes, scarf, and rose fragrance from Mom, the quilt T.R. bought for my 40th birthday, and others. I enjoy giving gifts to people sometimes too... I made a point for the first time in years to get presents for my immediate family and Jeff's too, and that felt good.

I *loved* that Lance and Joanne came over to help decorate my christmas tree this year. I *loved* helping R and TR with paperwork, hosting Paula as well, and feeding everyone into the bargain. I *loved* my Mad Hatter Tea Party a couple years ago, the clothing swap that I hosted in my bitty little place in Pleasant Hill, and I have warm, loving feelings toward all the people who have EVER helped me move house, and that's a LOT of people. I *loved* baking shortbread for last year's Waldorf assembly and I *loved* that so many people came to tell me that they loved my baking! Then, too, the compliment from Dorit on my work in our eurythmy performance will nestle in my heart forever... *bask*

Knowing I am appreciated in many ways, by many different people, makes me feel loved. Acts of Service, and Quality Time, Words AND Touch.

Read more... )

I feel respected and loved when I am noticed with words. (Jenna, one of the 7th graders from my practicum class, noticed and said she loved my new boots which I wore today (yes, those boots.)) Hee! I heard from one of the Waldorf parents during my practicum that her daughter said my lessons were fun and that she was learning good things. *swoon!*

I feel respected and loved when someone I care about helps me with a task or does something for me. The other day TR and Diana were at Orchard Supply and they called to ask me if I needed anything, then brought me a bag of soil so I could repot some plants. *squee* They a) Heard my Words and b) Did Something that helped me with a Task! super yay! Jeff vacuumed the WHOLE HOUSE after we got the new vacuum. It took him 4 hours because we hadn't vacuumed in almost a year. MEGA yay, and super bonus brownie points!

I feel respected and loved when I receive the kind of touch I crave: sometimes gentle and loving, sometimes tempestuous and passionate. I express love and caring attention by trying to pay attention to how and whether people I care about, like to be touched. At work, I use gentle, respectful touch to get my point across and to build relationships with students - a pat on the back for encouragement, a touch on the hand or shoulder to draw attention. I noticed the same kind of behavior in the teacher whose class I worked for today (I have GOT to find an alternative to the term "subbing"... ack. I AM a teacher, I'm not a substitute for a teacher. I'm just a *different* teacher than the class's usual teacher... okay, </ soapbox>... I like "guest teacher" and will try to be consistent in using that.). As a teacher, you have to be the Alpha Wolf, and you can accomplish some of that dominance in a quiet and affectionate way with touch.

I get a high from dancing with people... Act of Service (doing something I love with me) AND Physical Touch! Woo-Hoo! (Again, why am I NOT doing this more OFTEN?!?!?)


I would challenge everyone who has had "communication difficulties" in a relationship, to familiarize yourself with the concept of Love Languages, learn your own, and try to figure out what the other person's may be.

Might very well be that EVERYONE could have a full Emotional Fuel Tank... and then we could ALL fly!

What fills your tank with the right fuel?
What fills THEIR tank with the right fuel?
Are you willing to do what it takes for the person you love to have a full tank, even if it doesn't come naturally to you?

Learn how to fly. Learn how to fill your tank, so you can fly, and so you can help others to fly.


labelleizzy: (Default)

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