I'm at my parents right now for the night, my dad got me to come home and work in the basement, but as it turns out there is a winter storm out tonight. That leaves me here.
I have an avid interest in coincidences. Today i encountered a small kind of coincidence: several different people revealed to me their belief in metaphysical things. It began while i was teaching at Bridges today, a little girl informed me about the nature of faries- where they can be found, how they behave, etc. I was happy to hear her thoughts about it, i was happy to know that in 5th grade little girls still believed in such things. I thought about when i was young, how i believed everything had a spirit- i was sure the dolls came alive when i left the room, that it was not good to slam things around because it hurt them, that cars and trees alike had feelings. I remember hugging a tree and breathing on it after hearing that trees take in what we breathe out. It occurred to me that i have not altogether abandoned this idea: there is a door at MSU that i will not go in or out of because it creaks when it opens, in my mind it "groans". I will not say negative things about my car in it's presence lest it take revenge and not make it up the icy hill this time.
At home i was surprised to hear that my parents put stock into the idea that things happen for a reason, an idea that i had entertained for much of my life, but that has taken a backseat in my mind in light of new information. This all- in addition to recalling a story Jeremiahs mom told about signs that had pointed her away from attending her company christmas party- had me reevaluating my resistance to the idea.
As it turns out, maybe things happen for a reason.
Getting snowed in for instance, and the conversations that result.
Wednesday night i went to Madison and it was so fun! I went to a Dark Dark Dark show (one of my favorite musical groups, made up of a cello, a banjo, an accordian, and both a male and female vocalist.. and the girl graduated from Morris!) with Elena, and i stayed with Jeremiahs sister Dinah. When we arrived, her face was covered with blue make up and glitter, and she apologized for it explaining that she had been playing dress up with herself. I made cupcakes for Dinah that were frosted all different colors (vanilla frosting + food dye). I also left like 12 cupcakes at home for my roommates, less than 24 hours later they were all gone. I got to talk to the band, and i think my enthusiasm came off as a little nutty. Also, i wandered around on State St. and visited all kinds of neat little shops filled with handmade items like french barrettes and hand-knit scarves. This experience kind of rekindled my spark for crafts and i made several vows to myself. I resolved to learn to sew and make myself a christmas dress, to build shelves for all of my books in my bedroom (if you refer to an earlier entry you can see that all my books are lined up on the floor next to my bed), to learn to make button and pendant jewelry, and to go vegetarian again and make some nice meals for Jeremiah and i, who is conveniently attempting to live a healthier lifestyle. Early this week Jeremiah came along to the MSU painting studio with me, and of course documented the events. You can find the pictures here: http://figothecat.blogspot.com/
I need to get a pair of winter boots, but they are all so expensive. I get ornery though when the bottom of my pants are wet, because i often sit on my knees and then the rest of my pants get wet too.
I hope to take Spencer, Grant, Nation and Hugo out to play lazer tag today. That is my goal.
Hope all is well for those of you that read this, and for everyone else too, i suppose.
Today i learned: (with the help of Jeremiah) either enjoy downtime and use it for your sanity, or else do the things that you need to be doing. it is useless to sit around and fret about the things you have yet to do. I was using my downtime in a futile way- i was avoiding and procrastinating, and so i was neither enjoying myself nor being productive. i didnt realize what i was doing until jeremiah helped guide me to this realization.
Look- in mine you can see both of my parents eyes: (click to enlarge)
There is a blue/gray ring around the outside from my mom, and the inside is green from my dad.
You can only see my dads eyes in mine when there is a lot of light.
Comforting though, that i can find them each there.
My aunt (Laura) suggested this book: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. I checked it out from the MSU library today, and i am 3 pages in and i already love it. Sometimes, right from the start you can tell that you are going to enjoy a book. I knew the first paragraph when the author asked me to picture a forest, to be it's conscience, to be it's eyes. Here is a small exerpt from that paragraph: "A single-file army of ants biting a mammoth tree into uniform grains and hauling it down to the dark for their ravenous queen." (imagine an ant devouring a mammoth tree, grain by grain!) "And, in reply, a choir of seedlings arching their necks out of rotted tree stumps, sucking life out of death. This forest eats itself and lives forever." then on the next page "She is inhumanly alone. and then, all at once, she isn't. a beautiful animal stands on the other side of the water. they look up from their lives, woman and animal, amazed to find themselves in the same place." to me, this seems to demonstrate how temporary or fragile loneliness or despair can be. (although you would never guess if you were immersed in it!)
So, if you read this, thanks Laura for the suggestion.
Anyway. Homework today. Should be a productive Saturday. Nothing wrong with that.
wooo hooo it's the last week of classes and i have almost made it through the long haul! i could not help but rejoice tonight upon the completion of one of my more challenging classes.
I've so many plans for winter break.. all good things- paintings and letters and friends and violin and drums and holiday celebrations. I'd like to take my cousins (spencer and grant) to the new lazer tag facility, also, i'd like to start attending poetry readings at frentz art guild and going to the unitarian church more frequently, as i seem to always leave intrigued with a new perspective to consider. which reminds me, would my parents be interested in attending the UU church for christmas eve this year? I think it would be a very positive experience, and a lot of my students will be in attendance there!
Which also reminds me, a comment-leaving tutorial: 1. find the comment option at the bottom of the entry you would like to comment on, and click on it 2.type in the comment box 3. you will be asked to decode a word so that this site knows that you are not a computer leaving spam. the letters will look messed up, but type them in 4. select the name/url option, fill in your name, 5. hit publish comment.
VOILA! now come on people and demonstrate your newly acquired skills
there has been a lot of hype about my new watercolor paintings, 3 people have asked me for them already! But alas, i painted them with my mother in mind, and they were hers before they were even in existence.
Today i've been frustrated because my school and work responsibilities suddenly overlap, and it results in negatively impacting both environments because i have to choose between them. All semester long, i have had class tuesday nights and morning class on wednesdays, which happens to be the only available times for my monthly work meetings. Thus, i have missed the majority of work meetings for the past couple months, and i have finally been issued a warning. I am often late for work on Wednesdays because my class ends as my shift begins, and I often have to leave early after overnights, due to having class right away in the mornings. Not only that, but tomorrow i have to attend a mandatory CPR training for REM, which directly interferes with my morning class which has strict attendance policies, not to mention that it is the week before finals, when i am receiving valuable information in my classes. Work and school have always remained at the top of my list of priorities, but which do i choose when i have to weigh them against one another? Most say "school is more important!" but that has further reaching implications, those being a negative work environment, employers who feel that i am unreliable, and further down the road the possibility of poor references. Sometimes i decide that missing one day of class has lesser impact than one day of work, but that is the kind of attitude that builds upon itself until school is put on the back burner. In an ideal world, i could immerse myself completely in my schoolwork, without dealing with the daily frustrations that are offered financially, mentally, physically and otherwise. I can only imagine that the quality of my work would improve tantamount. But i carry on, and keep calm when i am able. It's a balancing act, juggling not only a full schedule at school, but a full time job, a weekly cleaning position, teaching at Bridges, my sanity, my health, and my responsibilities as a roommate, a granddaughter, a friend, and whatever other role surfaces for me to fulfill. When i think back though, i've successfully maintained a fast pased lifestyle for most of my life. This realization gives me confidence in my capabilities, and even makes me feel a little proud of myself. There is another kind of balance- a kind that grants a person flexibility to take time for themselves when they need to, to be less productive at times, to feel down and unmotivated occasionally. This balance occurs when said person has worked hard to earn themselves a reputation for their commitment and integrity. At times, a person can rest in the shade of their reputations while they recooperate before beginning another long haul.
Keep calm and carry on for things often work themselves out.
Today i had a lot of school. I had a mock interview as well, during which i was videotaped and now i have to watch it and evaluate myself. It's funny to watch, because when i am focusing on the interviewer's questions i squint my eyes, and when i talk i use a lot of hand gestures, which i had not previously realized. I will upload a little clip later, when i figure out how to do so.
Nobody is home right now in my house so i have been walking around, pretending like i know how to beatbox, interacting with the dogs and procrastinating. Have you seen our dogs? Here is a picture of them, courtesy of Jeremiah:
Odin and Ruepert
They are not entertained by my beatbox. They are both sleeping now. I found yesterday a poet that i like- his name is Thomas Hardy. I dont think i had previously been familiar with him. i like this quote by him:
"To find themselves utterly alone at night where company is desirable and expected makes some people fearful; but a case more trying by far to the nerves is to discover some mysterious companionship when intuition, sensation, memory, analogy, testimony, probability, induction -- every kind of evidence in the logician's list -- have united to persuade consciousness that it is quite in isolation."
^Something i have found intriguing myself. Jeremiah and i are soon going to be watching Baraka, i havent seen it but i've heard a lot about it- Wikipedia says:
I have one week left of classes before finals, and i have a lot to do. I find myself however, being productive in other ways. I work 40 hours this weekend, but in the 16 hours i have off i have already done the following things:
I cleaned my bedroom, which proved to be a 3 day task. (I also cleaned other rooms in my house with help from Jeremiah!)
I played soccer with 5 of my friends. (3 on 3, my team lost, but we played well and it was a close game)
I accidentally kicked the soccer ball into a window, while attempting to kick it into the house through the front door. Luckily nothing happened, but Jeremiah caught my reaction on camera.
We hosted a craft night at our house on Friday. I worked on a little book that i made. Ruepert (dog) made himself comfortable in the midst of it all.
Jeremiah has been encouraging me to take more photographs, and my interest in photography has kind of been renewed, so i'm sure there will be a lot of photo documentation to come. Sometime i will link you to several of his photographs that i especially like. I have to finish my laundry and do some homework before i go to work in an hour and a half, so that's all for now!
Don't aim at success - the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue... as the unintended side-effect of one's personal dedication to a course greater than oneself. -Viktor Frankl
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. -Viktor Frankl
Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms: to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way. -Viktor Frankl
A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved. -Kurt Vonnegut
"I tell you, the more I think, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people." -Vincent Van Gogh
"Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whoever loves much, performs much, and can accomplish much, and that which is done in love is done well." -- Vincent Van Gogh
"Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." -Harold Whitman
"real strength does not impair harmony or beauty, but often bestows it." -Herman Melville, Moby Dick
"and we went outside to once more see the stars" -Dante's Inferno
Thanksgiving this year was unforgettable. I woke up around 9:30 excited for the day ahead of me. Somehow instead of getting ready though, Jeremiah and I ended up taking our Christmas card photo (see below). We are a classy folk.I started out at my grandma Pattis- she and my grandpa cooked while my cousins and i played with my pet rats. Grant (7) could not get enough of Chica (rat) crawling into and out of his shirt. I walked in on him alone in the room giggling- it was that kind of belly laugh that brings tears to your eyes.. possibly one of my favorite moments of the day. Soon enough, family arrived and the meal was served. I scarfed down a lot of food before it occurred to me that i was going to be eating again in 3 hours, and then i felt guilty and started eating more slowly, though i was already full. It's hard to resist a full buffet of food these days, as it is a rarity in my world. My grandpa and i talked biology and evolution (Did you know that humans are progressively growing larger over time? We can no longer fit into the old time suits of armor! Looking at my grandpa, this is not hard to believe. He is a tall, tall man. Also, our most ancient roots can be traced back to Australia, not even Africa as i had so often presumed.) My parents and my brother and i took a family photo, and tried to make it look candid. My dad insisted that it not look posed. He suggested that we "act like we are about to leave." My mom pointed out that this would still be posed. My family doesn't often make small tasks do-able. We like to muddle, and discuss, and argue, and laugh, and struggle a bit i suppose. Anyway, eventually we got a few photos that should suffice. After a glass of wine that my parents urged me not to finish, i left for Jeremiahs.
The drive from my grandmas house on Lake Jefferson to Jeremiahs was beautiful! The lakes were starting to freeze and it was a sunny day and i wished for a camera.
Upon arrival, Jeremiah welcomed me inside and introduced me to several members of his family, whom i had not previously met. I came prepared with a bottle of wine, but apparently nobody else had realized the liquor stores were closed on Thanksgiving. We called around and failed to find any resources. As folks arrived, there was a consistent mumble of complaints about it. We made due though. At Jeremiahs, the hustle and bustle was notable. I tried to capture it in a photo, but without the volume and the array of laughter and talk, it does not do the actual moment justice:
(CLICK TO ENLARGE!)
The highlight of this experience: I was playing hide and seek outside with Nation (7) and Hugo (5) at night. I was hiding in the front yard behind a car, and tricked myself into thinking that i heard them, and that they had found me. So, i jumped up screaming, and both Nation and Hugo were at the other side of the yard. I had given away my position. Also, while playing catch phrase with 8 or so other adults, i confused the pentagon with the parthenon and was infinitely embarrassed. It was a good experience overall though, much warmth and laughter and conversation, made a person feel good to be alive in such a place.
I ended my night at work, because i was due for an overnight. I slept on the floor, which i have found to be good for my back. I faded away to the sounds of an episode of Seinfeld.