Monday, July 29, 2013

Ya gotta have FRIENDS!

I found romance through my hobbies and many friends too. I used to go to science fiction conventions. After closing my business I have tons of time, though my funds are desperately depleted.

So now I'm on a quest for friendship. I'm golden with Internet buddies around the globe and though I know a few people here locally, I want more. When I posted this on my Facebook my friend Nancy said she hopes I find my tribe. That's it, I want a tribe.

For most non native American's their first tribe comes from their family of origin. Sorry sister and nieces who might read this, but the only one in my family I had anything in common with was my bad. He passed away not long ago. I hope to someday be as ornery and cantankerous as he was.

In the late 90's, when I still talked to my mother, I saw the way she was around people and I felt so sorry for her. She couldn't find much nice to say about anyone. Everyone let her down. When someone lets me down, I move away and have less contact. Not mom, she went back for more. She begged them to be reliable in a constant game of "prove to me the world is filled with assholes." Then she'd whine about it.

In 2000 I went to visit dad on Christmas day. We met at a northern Nevada lodge of a friend of his. We hadn't seen each other in a good 20 years. The lodge filled up with about 30 folks from around the area. Some of the women came over to find out who I was. My husband, Murry, said he could see the information ripple around the room. "Who's that with Gene?" "That's his daughter." Pointing and head nodding.

These people liked my dad and he was friendly toward them. He still had his own idea of a lot of things, but he got along. This struck a stark contrast in my mind. Of course I wanted to be around him more. He had his complaints, sure, and he had his pleasures. That's what I want. A multifaceted grouch.

Okay, we can do without gripe as our main focus! Here's what I want in a friend. Lets start with an open mind. I'd love to be around people who can consider, not necessarily settle on, all sides of a discussion. I think it's great to have standards and positions on topics. But I insist that people I am around at least think about what it might be like in someone else's shoes.

My tribe must be diverse. I love learning about new and interesting cultures. I don't care what god you pray to so long as you have that open mind I talked about. I am not changing my mind on atheism. I love to learn about different professions, hobbies and thoughts too.

I insist my tribe members embrace imperfection. We all need something to aspire to and I admire great beauty. I feel expecting nothing LESS than exactness limits appreciation of the here and now. I make glorious life altering mistakes. Sometimes they turn out to be the best thing that ever happened. You never know where a lesson leads to more amazing experiences.

It'd be keen if someone had a little free time, a drivers license and car and an interest in local roaming. Mingus Park is a nice easy walk, so is a trip around the mall. I know there's a support group for blind people in the area. They used to meet at Baycrest Village.

I want to laugh to the point I may need adult diapers! My most treasured experiences happened around food. Since I'm being careful about what I eat, I'd like it to be healthy.

I want to try something new. Something I have never even considered. So long as it is kind to others and involves very little physical pain to me. Getting matching tattoos is out!

Do you have friend hunting thoughts? Where did you meet your besties? What did you do that made your funny bone ache??

Friday, July 26, 2013

Our House

Though I loved writing the fiction and a couple people have asked for more, I felt more like writing about something else today. I'll write some more fiction later. The potential in that story intrigues me enough to continue it.

Someone inside a Facebook group I'm on asked, "if you were a house, what kind would you be?" Funnily enough, I've already thought about this.

As part of an emotional healing exercise, I started thinking of my inner mind as a beautiful old estate. Since I had an erratic childhood and moved around a lot, many of my prized things got left behind. My mother even lost my original birth certificate. It featured a print of my foot. The beauty of my infancy pressed in onto paper within days of my entrance into this world.

Since things could be lost and stolen, I decided that my memories needed a place to live. Somewhere inside my mental home, I have all the treasures and trinkets that got left behind.

I loved my grandmother and she had a few things that I coveted. My favorite was a small glass and mirror shelf that hung on the corner in her dining room. Whenever we went there, I'd gaze at the tiny metal horse and the little tea set upon it. When she moved, grandma gave her shelf and a few trinkets it held.

When I moved out of an apartment, my sister Kathey refused to let me take the shelf with me. It had some damage on the edge and she regarded it as "junk." I was young and I let my sister intimidate me into leaving it behind. Now that I have my mental house, I can display my prizes prominently  That birth certificate with my foot print rests secure inside an antique safe. I keep grandma's shelf safe in my private bedroom.

My mental estate features a large three story house made of light tan bricks with deep set windows with filigree shutters of dark brown. The front shows off a symmetry of elegance with the same number of windows on either side. The main floor bumps out and the windows to either side of the entry way bay out even further. The slight gray of the shingled roofs on each level compliment the tan bricks.

The stately entry recedes back directly in the middle. Two white pillars frame the cherry wood red single large door. A small window with filigree covering sits in the middle upper panel of the door. It opens to query arriving guests. The white steps and porch reflect the solid foundation on which the estate is built.

Inside, dark paneling reflect a calm elegance. An ornate carved banister to the left leads upstairs framing the entry. straight ahead a set of steps lead into the main public rooms. Before the stairs begin to the left, there's an opening into a parlor set with antique furniture including a rocker with a needle pointed upholstered pillow back and lace topped table.

Most of the residents keep to themselves. Each room reflects it's occupant. Most children have all that they need to entertain themselves. Their desire, above all else, is for stability and calm. Their worlds are private, for now. They used to suffer from a mad woman roaming the halls. She would scream and beat on their doors. A few years ago, as lady of the house, I captured her and caged her in the basement. I assigned body guards to keep her confined. Now we only here the occasional echoes of her rantings.

The memory of my father takes care of the grounds. I see him dressed in green shirt and jeans and a cap like a farmer would wear while out plowing his fields. He lives above the garage. There's a small guest house with rooms for my sisters. My mother turned to ivy lives against the house. She tries to block the windows with her leaves sometimes, but my dad keeps on the maintenance and her covering doesn't last long.

I have many gardens with shrubs, trees and a pond with goldfish, water lilies and lotus flowers. The grounds are kept organized but not so tightly planted as to be formal. In my mind estate, I have many walking paths with trellis covered walkways so I can walk wherever I want. I walked on crushed shells under bougainvillea, climbing roses and wisteria.

I like my creative sense of home. Whenever I feel stressed, I can go there and relax. Parts of me who still need the safety of this refuge can live free and happy or cry and carry on as they need.

I guess in a way this is a kind of fiction. It's all very real to me. I live there and I feel safe, most of the time.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Undercover Angel

  (This is a fictional story I just made up from a suggestion of futuristic gangs. I have no thoughts for the future of this. I just like that I can start something and get drawn in myself. )

  "Oh, this is gonna SUCK, " thought Georgia as her helmet began to fill with fluid.
  "Chill, girl! You gotta calm down or you're gonna die!"
  Georgia choked on the smell of medicinal alcohol. She took in a big gulp of air just before it covered her nose. As it continued up her face she tried to close her eyes to keep out the sting. No luck there. She opened them again and tried to look out. After several blinks from the pain her vision cleared.
  "Get the sequence in! " Joe yelled.
  She punched in 9892257 from memory but forgot to hit the execute key before the door open button. The airlock blinked red. She grabbed the panel hard, frustrated with herself. Once again, 9892257 then EXECUTE then door open. SUCCESS!
  Pain seared her lungs. She wanted to inhale but knew better. She clenched her fists as best she could inside a heavy suit glove. The close sequence was just a large green button, but she had to get to it.
Wham, the outer lock shut and the inside began to fill with air. Now to stay calm enough to get her helmet off before she drown.
  After a couple bashes against the wall the mechanism slid up and liquid splashed down, exposing her nose and mouth. She spit and opened her mouth to take in gasping deep breaths.
  Two more sequences and her initiation would be over. She'd already spent months muling tech past security. Now she could rise in the ranks and get better jobs, a better percentage and a regular bunk. Most of the gang knew and trusted her, to a point. She still came with baggage. Or rather lack of it. No one stood for her or even sent word. She came from nowhere. Orphaned or so she claimed. She saw the outer rim as her only chance.
  Out of the airlock and into the corridor, she wriggled out of her suit. She opened the vacuum seal on the clean dry maintenance overalls and slipped them on. She ran her fingers through her mostly dry hair, the seal on the scull cap must have leaked some. It couldn't be helped. It would dry soon, she could always say it was sweat, if anyone asked. Maintenance could be hard work.
  She found an unused panel to stow her suit behind and stood quiet, listening to anyone further around the curve. Some murmuring echoed, but it began to fade. Silence the other direction. She squared up her shoulders and headed for her destination, junction B42X, maintenance hall 39. She had to bypass the security alarm to let Joe and his crew pass inside. The equipment they needed was too big to come in through the airlock.
  Hall B had a few people going about their business, but no one gave her a second glance. Neither did they see when she slipped into hall 39 and opened the panel. She clipped the leads punched a few buttons on her scanner and patched the wiring with tape. Once she finished, she cut the lead to the door where her companions waited. They would hear an alarm right away if she screwed up. All silent.
  Pleased with herself Georgia smiled and closed up the panel. She tapped the side of her face and told Joe, "done." She made it, now the really hard work began. She needed to prove herself trustworthy.
  "Good girl," said Joe. "We'll give your evaluation later. Head on out. "
  She found a vacant room, broke in to turn her overalls inside out to a blue MedTech uniform and made her way to the inner ring Med unit. Her shift didn't start for an hour, but she would just pretend she wasn't paying attention to the time and start early. No one would mind. It was a front job to give her the right to walk around the station. Mostly paperwork, something she could do in her sleep.
  Being early would also give her a chance to check in with the head of security. He had a spy in the Med Unit. She sent in the code updating her status and went on with her regular work. Soon the gang would let her in on all their secrets.

(that's all I'm going to write for today, if you want more, you're going to have to ask for it. )

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Paperback Writer

I love writing as a profession because I can study any topic that suits me. I just come up with something and find a source of information and learn.

I started out writing fiction and stumbled around a lot with it. I still have ideas come to me, and I desire to write it, I just struggle with getting past doing all the work. I could pour my heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears and end up begging others to read my imaginings. Plus the pay is low for fiction. 

I read an article in Writer's Digest that compared fiction to non fiction word rates. At that time the comparison was 10 cents for fiction to $1 per word for non fiction. Seemed like a no brainer to me! 

I started in college after my divorce and the first classes I took lead me to take my non fiction writing serious. Though the magazine writing class I started with ended in disaster. The grouchy instructor left half way through and I didn't like her replacement. I did, however, meet Felicia who talked me into going into journalism and the school newspaper. 

I did get a lot out of Ms. Grouch before she left the class. She told us about trade publications for police, carpenters and groups like that. They buy articles on all kinds of topics and pay better rates than a general magazine. She also had us reading the Writer's Digest Handbook of Magazine Article Writing. It featured just what a new writer needed to start making a career in the word smithing arts. 

I remember two articles the most. One talked about how to come up with ideas. Even though I have no problem thinking up something to write about, it made me feel good hearing another's method. The second was by Barbara Walters. She said to listen carefully during an interview. The person will say something that warrants a follow up question and you better be paying attention or you'll fail to catch it. 

So I started taking journalism classes. I wanted to write for magazines, but doing news stories helped me write fast, with a bit of pressure. I also used my computer skills and started the college newspaper website. At the time, there were only six other community college newspapers online and neither of our local Pasadena papers had websites. 

I went on to edit twice Pasadena City College's vocational magazine Spotlight. I started freelancing for the Pasadena Weekly and earned a cover slot with my second article. The president of the California Affiliate of the National Federation of the blind, Jim Willows, asked me to create a newsletter for them. I did that until Willows retired.

I moved out of Pasadena and worked on other life stuff for a few years. Murry and I remodeled our house and prepped it for sale. After we moved up to Oregon, we worked on this house. Writing went to the farthest back burner.

I started a blog to write movie reviews for the Coos County Library System. It helped me get back into writing and I really enjoyed exploring the DVD collection. I started this blog a few years later.

First, I worked with a web developer friend and we had the domain name and hosting on his server. His real life distracted him so I moved to Blogger as host.

Initially, I wanted to create a community of recovery from childhood abuse. While I think that's still a part of my mission, I decided that focus left me feeling a bit drained. There's so much more in my heart.

I survived and so can others. I know I can help with fellowship and compassion. I can also share survival strategies with people who just want to be happier and more adventurous.

I neglected both blogs after we started our business at the end of 2009. I learned a lot running a business and I will do it again, but I ended up so drained and depressed for a good three months. I saw a former customer and I just didn't know what to say. It's still raw. I am working toward my survival strategies. I feel this blog is leading me out.

Come with me! Come let the sun shine on our face. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Don't Cry for Me, Argentina

I'm reading Brene Brown's book Daring Greatly and she said something that made me cry. Not because it made me sad, but because it made me FEEL. Deeply and hard.

It's my nature to be an emotional person. For the longest time, I thought it was because I am broken, beaten up, split open by bad experience. Like a pomegranite dropped from the top of the tree, my innards exposed. I cry over movies, commericials or a memory. Okay, yeah, it can be hormonal.

I share my life story for you. I get to do my lessons. I share not to ask you to feel sad for me or to feel guilty about your own good experiences, but to remind you to value what you have.

LIVE A LIFE FILLED WITH JOY. Share that with me if you want. My sadness or flashbacks are for both of us to learn from but for me alone to experience. I can handle it. You can handle your stuff too.

Daring Greatly talks about connecting and being vulnerable. Brown says that we all crave the basic need to be loved and well regarded. When others withhold that acceptance, we start to question our value to ourselves.

I want to connect more. I love being brave. I like figuring out new ways to experience friendship. I am worthy because I decide that I am. Commment and connect.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Slavery: Part One

"You can't apply here. You would have to look things up and you can't see well enough to do that." "I should pay you less because you take longer to enter in the names." "Disability isn't an affirmative action criteria. You get no additional points on contract bidding."

These are my real experiences trying to make a living in the real word. My legal blindness does give me limitations, I have no illusions of this. I've started and ran two businesses because it's been so difficult finding other people to believe in me. Not everyone has the chance to start a business and not everyone who's less than perfect should have to.

Companies like Goodwill Industries do employ the disabled and take advantage of programs to help them pay far below minimum wage. Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)  allows the Secretary of Labor to grant special wage certificates to employers, permitting them to pay their workers with disabilities less than the minimum wage, often in sheltered work environments.

So an organization receives donated goods from genuine people who wish to be helpful, sells those goods bringing in a couple billion a year and touts it's good works, all while paying it's workers a minute  portion of it's income. If it were on a plantation, it would be called slavery.

"Many employers insist that paying the minimum wage to disabled employees would result in lack of profitability and a reduction in their workforce, but most benefit from philanthropic donations, preferred status when bidding on federal contracts, and federal funding.  Moreover, while their disabled workers receive subminimum wages that are subsidized by Social Security and public assistance, some workshop executives are earning salaries far above industry norms.  The economics overwhelmingly favor subminimum wage employers, encouraging the perpetuation of subminimum wage employment and leaving workers with disabilities little to no choice for real employment." The Braille Monitor, March 2012.

Most people without disabilities tend to get "starter" jobs like fast food or store clerk. Not only was I discouraged by attitudes when applying for these simple jobs, but the Social Security benefits I received could be taken away if I worked. Since government agencies react slowly to changes, if I had a job for a short time, the adjustment in benefits could last way beyond a job.

When I speak to people about my experiences applying for work, they suggest I sue. Imagine an employer finds a suit for discrimination on your record. How do you think that will look to them? Yes, it might help things for the next guy, but I wonder the better way might be to just go out and do a good job.

I will no longer shop at Goodwill. I ask that you consider doing the same. We have local charitable organizations that do good works, I'm sure you could find one of them in your area too. I also urge you to find a chance to look at a person for what they can do, who they are, and how you can REALLY help. Accommodate where you can and ask them what they might need.

You never know when you might find yourself needing a hand up and wouldn't it be much easier to know someone who can give you a perspective?

End slavery. Ask your congressman and senator to look at the Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act of 2013. Start here for more information:

Friday, July 12, 2013

Where the Boys Are

Hunters look for deer in the woods, where deer live. I didn't set about thinking of this, but I lucked out to find myself in groups where the male to female ration tended to be four to one. For every lady, there were at least four guys hanging around. 

My first encounter came from my first science fiction convention. I love reading the stuff so I fit right in. Being exotic, young and way under appreciated in the outside world, I felt as much drawn to these strange guys as they were to me. 

I went to parties and talked about books and TV shows that sparked my brain. I loved all the strange new people I met. I loved that adults dressed up and pretended the future was here now and they were part of it. I even loved the ones who weren't pretending. 

I looked at art and talked to the artists, I looked at novels and read short stories and chatted with the authors. Science fiction fans even have their own music, called filk, too. 

Everywhere I went, people accepted me without judgement. The computer revolution coincided with my first forays into the science fiction community. A lot of these people where doing amazing things that built silicon valley. 

I learned that you can talk to strangers much easier if you have something in common. I talked to people at parties by asking them their first science fiction book or what are they reading now. Sometimes I found great friends by asking about a costume, a badge or their hat. 

Some science fiction friends introduced me to my boyfriend Todd, I met my man friend Paul because I gave him a hard time for smoking. A year later, my other friend demanded I apologize for "insulting" him. I met a guy dressed up as Dr. Who, but it turned out he had a girlfriend. Oh, well. 

In 1983, I met my ex husband through some friends of his who were standing in a convention registration line. We all met up later at a party. Phil, my now ex, washed dishes and worked for a guy selling computers out of his apartment. His easy comedy and pocket protector geekness attracted me right away. 

He sported a light brown beard and mustache, common among science fiction fandom, and wore handmedown corduroy pants too long for him. To keep himself from tripping he rolled the cuff up on the outside. Just one roll, like a giant cloth cup. He told me he sometimes put pens in there. I chose to overlook his fashion sense. 

Soon we were inseparable  He still lived at home and I had been on my own for a year and a half. I moved down to where he lived and rented a room near him. I was going to community college  and studying chemistry and music. 

Though I wasn't looking for anyone to date, I noticed that in the chemistry class, the ratio of men to women was even higher. In some classes it was almost 10 to one. The lab assistant asked me one day if I was there to get an MRS degree. I had no idea what he was talking about until he explained that a lot of women there weren't interested in science. They just wanted to find someone to marry. I laughed and said no, I really enjoyed understanding how the world works. 

I dropped out of college and my ex and I started a computer business. He picked up a computer modem that lets you connect to other computers. We found systems that you could write messages back and forth, both in your local area and around the country. Again, I noticed most of the people doing this were male. The few of us ladies were mostly involved and married. A single lady could fill her social calendar with all kinds of dates. 

My ex and I broke up just before the Internet revolution started to take hold, but I had a ton of friends through my modem connection. I chatted with one friend who lived in Pasadena and we started dating. He did accounting for the bicycle store owned by his brother in law. He had a spare bedroom and asked me to move in. 

We broke up a couple of years later, but he asked me to keep renting the room. He said I was the best roommate he ever had. I started going back to college and taking chemistry again. I noticed the same high male to female ratio as when I was young. Being the older student, all these guys were too young for me, but a lady around their age would have a lot to choose from. 

One of the modem places I hung out started offering internet access and I started chatting with people around the world. I met women online, many of them are dear friends, but again, the male to female ratio trended high. A friend told me about a chat room where they talked about one of my favorite TV shows. I joined the Babylon 5 channel sometime in the mid 90s. 

It makes it easy that I enjoy subjects that boys enjoy. Starting with science fiction, science classes and ending with computers. There are a lot of men in sports, but I've never been that kind of a physical person. Maybe that's another great way to find someone to date. 

So ladies, if you can handle a nerdy type you might have to help dress, try out science fiction, science classes, the internet and computers. These kinds of guys also need to be taught how to pay attention to you. Though in general it seems men respond to the direct approach, these kinds of guys appreciate it most. There's no shame in helping someone care for you. 

If I want flowers, I tell Murry to pick me up some blue irises. If I want attention, I tell him when and where. Maybe i'm a demanding control freak, or maybe I just find myself attracted to distracted men who live inside their heads. 

So where have you found your boys? How about girls? I'm a geek girl, I have no idea where women go. How do all my geek boy friends find their matches? Share your thoughts!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Paved Paradise and Put Up a Parking Lot

What most people call love, I call attraction. Seeing someone across a room and feeling that sense of flutter can draw you to seek them out. It's only after you get to know their particulars that you can decide to love. Yes, I called it a decision. We don't run after just anyone who catches our fancy. They might be involved or have characteristics we abhor. We use our experiences and criteria to select who can move closer.

My friend Jess lamented that her boyfriend wouldn't commit. He kept stringing her along. I felt for her, but I didn't understand. He clearly wasn't interested in her enough to make time for her. So long as she was involved with him, she couldn't seem to find someone better. So she waited.

I suggested that he was like an old clunky car taking up space in her garage. You can't put a shiny new BMW in your space until you send the old beat up Chevy to the junk yard. No reason to disparage the past, maybe that boyfriend car drove you to where you needed at the time. Send it on to someone who can use it for something else.  Honor your time together, wish for peace for future road trips and let go.

Okay, boyfriends aren't exactly like cars. Usually you want to get another car to use ASAP.  Relationships require some time alone to sort out what happened and where you want to go from here.

Start with cleaning your emotional garage. Remove everything related to a past relationship. Put it in one box somewhere out of the way. You'll get back to it later. Now start decorating your space with your true personality. If you are messy, make a meaningful to you mess. If you're organized, get some of those shelf units with hooks and peg board and all that. BE YOU, ALL YOU! That way, when you start looking for something new, you don't have to change your life for it.

Spend some time being you. Prepare yourself for a new relationship by taking care of something like a plant or a pet. You don't have to bring them into your life, but you do need to experience some attachments to living things. Start doing activities you love. Join the Sierra Club, attend science fiction conventions, take a cooking class, plant a garden or go for a walk in a rose garden. Those are my likes, tell me some of yours?

Spend a good six months finding out what lights your fire. Then go through your past relationship box and remember the good, let go of the pain and see it for what it was. I had a kind boyfriend I cared for, he was just what I needed while we were together. He served as an EXCELLENT transitional person. We got together seven months after my first marriage broke up. I'm deeply grateful for the perspective he showed me.

We were together two years and I decided to end it when I realized it was hurting me to be involved with someone I didn't see a future with. We are still friends. I wish him the best.

I started doing everything I dreamed about. I wrote down goals and plans and step by step set things in motion. After the breakup of my first marriage a friend suggested I take a wonderful trip and send him a postcard, "Having a wonderful time, glad you're not here." I went to Europe, lived in Oxfordshire for a few months and traveled in Italy and France. I bought hundreds of postcards. Though I didn't send one to my ex, I did chuckle with every purchase.

There I was busy being my happy messy self and I came across my prize BMW revved up and waiting for me. Big Murry Wow.

Your Turn!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Unchain Your Heart

My friend Zan told me George Clooney and his girlfriend broke up. She wanted kids and ole Georgie wants to remain the rogue bachelor. At least he knows what he wants and she's smart enough to see that and not sit around pining for him to "change."

People don't. Well, that's not true, every choice someone makes changes them, but most people just want to do what they want to do. They don't change on your schedule. Like whacking one billiard ball with another, you can influence others behaviors, but that whacking can't turn them into a butterfly.

If you want a beautiful winged insect, stop looking in pool halls.

Clearly define what you want BEFORE you start going out with ANYONE! If you want to have a good time, no strings attached, go find someone who shares those values. It's a good idea to be VERY CAREFUL you know yourself and understand what all of you wants. You might find yourself in love with someone you picked as a good time Charlie. You changed, he won't.

"Please, universe, send me one like this, only single!" 

I knew Murry before I ever met him. Not only were we friends online, but I had a clear picture in my head of what characteristics I wanted in a mate. I had a sample in my real live friend named Paul. We met at a party and just hit it off as friends. He was happily married to a friend of a friend. He never suggested anything untoward, had he, he wouldn't be my example.

His friendly, easy going attitude gave me a template to shoot for. Plus we talked about all kinds of ideas that made different parts of my brain alight with intrigue. I remember programming my brain to look for someone like Paul. "Please, universe, send me one like this, only single!" Now the song "Mr. Sandman" is playing in my head!

I don't think we get everything we look for, but having a handful of standards helps a lot. I needed someone who's intellect matched mine. Someone into science, space, science fiction and adventuring. I wanted someone with a job, a house and who shared my open minded political views. Since I am unable to drive, I wanted a mate who drove his own decent car.

Dr. Phil suggests a list of "Deal Breakers" too. I've got those. These are just things I don't want in MY life, I don't care if someone has them or does them in their own. I watched too much abuse with my mother so no drinkers, drug addicts, smokers or abusers. I don't want an open relationship. Should Murry find himself infatuated with someone enough to consider cheating, he can come to me and break up. I'd be hurt, but that would be the end. Prejudice and homophobia baffle me, so that's not something I want in a mate.

Dreams can come true. Don't go on a date with George Clooney if you want to be with Tom Hanks. Maybe I'll baffle Murry and start calling him Tom for a while ;)

Friday, July 5, 2013

Learning to Live Brave


Big fat life eating FAILURE! That's what I feel like. A few months ago I saw Martha Beck talk about "quitting" when you realize what you're doing isn't working. She used Yoga as the metaphor. She says there's a "corpse pose" where basically you just fall down. Read what she posted here: Knowing When to Quit.

That's what happened last March with Confusion Hill Market. I went all corpse pose on it. The problems were many, varied and seemed intractable. They might have solutions that I couldn't see, but I checked out a year before. I resented Murry and I just didn't want to work so hard anymore. 

Spending three years running a market taught me valuable lessons I will carry with me always. I found friends, had wonderful conversations, learned amazing new skills and felt like part of the community. 

Carolyn came into the store asking for small boxes for the hand made pillows she sold on Ebay. We were happy to help. She came in regularly to pick up the boxes and buy our deli food. Chris and his wife Judy shared their home made wine and gave us lots of fishing pictures for the wall. Nick came by with free veggies his boss gave away. I love and miss all the fun people who shared our space. 

I learned how to use the register, credit card machine, food stamp machine and how to order product. I learned a tiny bit about fishing and what kind of fish swam outside the store. 

I did run a business for three years. When I realized there was no way to make things stabilize I stopped throwing myself at something that wasn't working. I am proud of myself for that. 

Now it's time to do things that bring me joy and happiness. I could see doing a business again, but not a market like that. I don't want to sell cigarettes and alcohol. 

Now it's your turn! What have you learned from the failures in your life?  Share as much or as little as you want. I can't wait to hear from you.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Hall of Ugliness

"You're not ugly, " the email read. Thank you, I thought as I raised an eyebrow to the weird comment. Then I got another one.

In those early days of my foray into the Wild Wild West known as the internet, I knew a few things about how to deflect unwanted sexual advances and ASL requests. My witty repartee of "Why no, I don't speak American Sign Language, that's a wonderful skill, your mama must be proud!" usually left the asker confused. In case you live in the real world and don't know, it stands for Age Sex Location. It's a kind of "hey baby, where you from?" come on. 

Could these strange emails be some kind of trolling for chicks scam I hadn't heard about? I asked around and someone found me a URL to a page titled "Hall of Ugliness." It featured photographs of several women from my ISP. My favorite picture that I had posted on our web page gleamed among the array of women. It's the one I still use today, because it's the best one ever taken of me. 


I love myself and I know I am unconventional because of albinism and very little interest in makeup and clothes. If I were gay, I'd be butch, no doubt! Only a select few find me attractive and I get that. I AM NOT AND NEVER HAVE BEEN UGLY! 

I do, however, have issues with weight. As I looked at the other photographs of the other women, I noticed every one of them were big. Then I got it. Some asshole decided to judge a bunch of women based solely on their weight. Oh, this isn't about me at all. 

My weight acts as a shield. It deflects unwanted attention and reflects emotional scar tissue. I love it for what it's done for me. 

These days I'm working toward being healthier and that involves finding new ways to have protection and resolve emotional pain. This blog for instance, gives me great release. Just THINKING about all those butterflies makes me let go. I'm taking tai chi and eating healthier too.

I will share things when they feel like a reflection of courage and perseverance.

UPDATE 2017: I found a group and concept called Health At Every Size. It shows that weight has little to do with health and that attempting to lose weight in any manner is as much a health risk as maintaining a stable weight. We focus on healthy habits like eating more fruits and veggies, drinking moderately or not at all, regular exercise and avoiding smoking. Also, trying all that weight loss crap simply stressed me out. Emotional health IS health. I have learned to love every bit of my body. I'm fat. So? I savor my food rather than feel judgement about it. Life is WAY better!