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.

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 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!