missroserose: (Default)
"Take this paper, and write down all the regrets you have from the past year. Then we'll burn them and start with a clean slate."

My friend hands me a torn scrap of foolscap, and I pull my purple pen from my purse, considering. The other party guests banter with each other, covering up the inherent vulnerability of the moment by proposing outrageous stories or asking whether such-and-such mundane thing counts as a regret.

I write a few lines, mostly small things; slowly, they begin to imply a theme of something larger that I can't yet articulate. I write a few more, circling around the issue: I regret not taking some of the opportunities my mother offered to grow closer. I regret not reaching out to my friends when I needed emotional support. I regret letting my certainty that I already knew the answers cloud my ability to learn new things.

Finally, I've outlined the shape enough to identify what it is my brain's been hiding from me: carefully, in clear letters, I print "I regret all the times my pride has kept me from connecting with the world."

Then I circle it and underline it twice, as if to emphasize its importance to the oncoming flames.

--

"Even from the time Ambrosia was little, she knew her self-worth."

I am twelve years old, and my mother has told this story many times. Still, my back straightens a little.

"When she was a toddler, I would take her to the playpark in our neighborhood, and she would want to stay longer. So I would tell her, 'Okay, I'm going home without you,' and pretend to leave. And she would keep on swinging, or playing on the jungle gym, until I turned right back around and scooped her up."

At this age, in the nadir of middle school, I am just now beginning to be aware that my greater-than-average self-confidence has been a handicap to my social acceptance. Eight years of teasing, of ostracism both subtle and blatant, of outright violence on a few memorable occasions, are finally starting to penetrate. I am slowly realizing that, contrary to the "just be yourself!" messages of a thousand thousand afterschool specials and middle-grade novels, my defiance of social dictates - my refusal to wear 'normal' clothes, to care about my presentation, to keep my opinions to myself in class - are exacting a very real toll on my ability to get on with my classmates.

Until this point, I've taken pride in not caring about the shallow and superficial things most people in my age group care about, in marching to the beat of my own drum. But the constant shaming wears on me, as it is meant to do; we are social creatures, exquisitely attuned to the slights of others. It will be some years yet before I start to appreciate the value of building my personality through careful negotiation with social norms, of bearing superficial markers indicating belonging to a particular class or cohort. And it will be many more years of careful observation and learning - often by saying precisely the wrong thing - until I learn the subtle arts of getting along in a community, of deferring to others' knowledge even when I'm convinced of my own correctness, of influencing group opinion in small ways, of quietly building social currency against the day when my integrity will demand that I take a stand.

--

This morning, cocooned in blankets and absent any driving motivation to get out of bed early, I sank into the sort of brightly-lit, highly-detailed dream that often seems to visit me at such hours. I was visiting a mall storefront that turned out to be a beautifully decorated Jewish temple, run by a particularly Orthodox sect. For some reason I had a pressing need to wash my hands, and I remember asking a stern-browed woman if I might do so; she looked displeased at the notion, but apparently my need was great enough to overcome her reservations.

I proceeded to the back of the space, where there were several sinks, and started washing my hands at one of them, only to realize from the horrified faces of those around me that not only was I using entirely the wrong sink, but that I was trespassing upon the men's side of the temple, as well as likely violating several other rules I didn't even know. I take such pride in knowing the social tenets in any given situation, in acting carefully to ensure the comfort and approbation of others; the realization that I was in a situation where I was socially illiterate sends a wave of shame, pure and unadulterated as few non-dream emotions are, swamping my chest and my cheeks. Strong as it is, it burns indelibly into my memory the dream that might otherwise have faded in the light of day.


--

"Are you feeling inspired?" I ask my client, once she's taken a few breaths of her aromatherapy oils. We had been laughing at the silliness of naming a scent blend "Inspiration", as if achieving so notoriously elusive a state could be as simple as taking a few breaths.

"Oh, absolutely!" she answers, tongue planted firmly in cheek. "Now I can go home and finish all those half-done songs I have filling my notebooks!"

We spend a few moments bonding over the difficulties of musicianship, and the specific frustration of unfinished artistic efforts. She admits that she finishes perhaps one in ten songs that she starts; I, having not even been brave enough to start ten, feel simultaneously relieved and humbled.

I've long known that my difficulties in finishing anything artistic stem from my perfectionism; so long as a song or a story lives only as an idea in my mind, it will always be perfect, spared the trauma of birth and the inevitable marring of being shaped by imperfect hands. But, with pride much on my mind of late, I begin to consider how much of that perfectionism stems from pride. Completion means sharing, and sharing means risk - of judgment, of failure, of losing my sense of specialness. If I could let go of that need to feel special, set apart, would that help me to take artistic risks? Would it be easier to share something imperfect and true if I didn't tie my self-worth to my pride?

That last thought startles me with the truth it implies, and I almost miss a stroke in the massage.

--

"You can spend your life trying to fit yourself into a box. But you'll always be too much for some people. For others, you'll never be enough. But the great joy is that, if you let yourself, you'll always be exactly enough for you."

Something in the yoga teacher's voice catches me, which seems odd - I've been ruminating of late on how the doctrine of self-exceptionalism has been harmful in my life, and on the surface her message reads very much as a variation on the "just be yourself!" mantra.

You'll always be exactly enough for you.

It occurs to me, as my brain slowly slots the puzzle pieces together, that perhaps the problem isn't pride, per se - it's what I'm proud of. All my life I've been told that I'm talented, intelligent, exceptional; all my life I've been secretly terrified that I'm going to seriously screw up and prove everybody wrong, prove that I really am that weird girl who deserved to be bullied and ostracized, disappoint everyone who had such faith in me. I've accomplished a few things, it's true, and I'm proud of them, but I think I've been even more proud of how they reaffirmed my belief in my own exceptionalism.

And yet...in order for me to be exceptional, it logically follows that others have to be unexceptional. And I've long since rejected the idea of talent as a zero-sum game; I strongly dislike the idea that because one person doesn't measure up to another on one arbitrary scale, that means they don't have something to contribute on another axis. I wonder how much of the fear and misery I can forestall by refusing comparison, by practicing humility with regards to others, by working on being enough for me.

I wonder if, freed of its shackles of fear and embracing its gift of imperfect life, my art might someday take wing, finally able to share itself with the world, to help forge those tenuous connections we so desperately need.
missroserose: (Life = Creation)
Is it weird that I find myself wanting to write a blog post about a day where nothing much happened?

Normally I would have been working yesterday, but things have been so slow at the gallery lately (thanks, most likely, to the weird-ass weather - seriously, we woke up to another couple inches of snow on the ground this morning. Pretty, but not exactly a big draw for the tourists) that C decided to just have me in on Thursday this week. So, upon finding out that Brian was going to be driving out to do some work on a tower just over the border in New Mexico, I asked if I could come along.

I was in a very strange headspace all that day. I'd been dreaming all night about being in airports - not going anywhere, exactly (I only remember actually getting on a plane once), but just sort of wandering through them with my guitar, sometimes playing, sometimes just watching people. And that in-limbo feeling seemed to carry over into the day; I spent much of it sort of half-there, half-zoned-out. But hey, if you're going to be zoned out, there are worse things to stare at than the landscape around the Arizona/Mexico/New Mexico border. We even drove up into the Chiricahua Mountains by Portal, intending to go over them and get back to Bisbee through Willcox and Benson, but the pass ended up being closed (probably due to ice and/or snow - see above re: weird weather). Still, we got to see how things are coming back after the Horseshoe Two fire a year and a half ago, which was reassuring. The sky island forests are so unusual for Arizona climate and weather, and so beautiful.

And really...that was it. We came home, I had a nap, I finished the book I was reading and wrote up a review for it on GoodReads, I played my guitar a bit. Not a very interesting or accomplished day, but an oddly pleasant one nonetheless.

I don't think I've mentioned it more than tangentially here, but I've been keeping a sort of unofficial list of daily goals in a spreadsheet on Google Docs. Things like doing yoga, exercising in some manner that raises my heart rate, practicing guitar, stuff like that. There's no real reward associated with doing well at them over a particular day/week/month (other than a nice line of Os in the associated line or column), but it's a nice way to keep track of how I've been doing on the whole.

I'm thinking about adding a goal for writing in there, too. I've been encouraged by the success of my approach to guitar - one of the ideas that really encouraged me was that getting good at something didn't require hours and hours of time on a given day so much as consistency in giving it a little bit of time, every day (or nearly so). I've given guitar, on average, fifteen minutes a day over the past eight or nine months, and while I'm certainly not as good as I would be if I'd practiced an hour on each of those days, I've made pretty significant progress. So maybe I should try something similar for writing. Given the amount of improvement between my NNWM 2010 and 2011 output, despite almost no practice between the two (and even if the latter is still nothing resembling publishable), it seems likely that daily practice would have a pretty good effect.

I found a sticker recently, that I had initially intended to send to a friend, but it sort of made its way onto my guitar case last night - I'm not sure exactly why; it just felt right there. It certainly feels apropos, given recent events in my music career:



So I think I'm going to sign off here and place my feet somewhere useful. Like on my yoga mat in extended-side-angle pose. Or on the floor, sorting out laundry. Or in the kitchen to make a pie.

And maybe I'll write something today, too.
missroserose: (Masquerade)
Extremely vivid dream this morning.

I was making silk cloth to help a person who was ill and needed it (not sure how that worked, but). I distinctly remember unwinding the filament-fine threads from the worms; it was something of a visceral task, as I could occasionally feel the worm move and I knew I was killing it. Once I had the loose silk, I would weave it on a loom threaded with strands so thin I couldn't see them except from an angle. But the resulting cloth (fortunately my brain skipped over most of the tedious weaving) was some of the finest and strongest I'd ever seen. Other people had dyed their pieces lovely vibrant colors (orange, yellow, red, green), so I selected a beautiful rich indigo for mine. The pieces were all small and undecorated, but exquisitely made.

Any thoughts?
missroserose: (Masquerade)
Extremely vivid dream this morning.

I was making silk cloth to help a person who was ill and needed it (not sure how that worked, but). I distinctly remember unwinding the filament-fine threads from the worms; it was something of a visceral task, as I could occasionally feel the worm move and I knew I was killing it. Once I had the loose silk, I would weave it on a loom threaded with strands so thin I couldn't see them except from an angle. But the resulting cloth (fortunately my brain skipped over most of the tedious weaving) was some of the finest and strongest I'd ever seen. Other people had dyed their pieces lovely vibrant colors (orange, yellow, red, green), so I selected a beautiful rich indigo for mine. The pieces were all small and undecorated, but exquisitely made.

Any thoughts?
missroserose: (Masquerade)
Strangely vivid dreams last night. No real overarching narrative that I can remember (even a dream-logic one), but some very vivid images with lots of recurring themes: travel, loneliness, sudden bonds between near strangers, sexual tension, fear of betrayal, response to authority. It occurs to me that many of the images I recall would not be out of place in some kind of post-apocalyptic journey story a la The Road or Zombieland; there was that sense of continuous danger as well as that immediate bond between the few people I met that came from the sense of Hey, you survived this, too!.

For all of that, it wasn't a nightmare as such. There was only one moment that provoked a strong emotional response; I was driving a small car along a road that I had driven down just recently, and therefore wasn't paying a whole lot of attention (it wasn't like there was much traffic in this nearly-deserted world). Unfortunately, there had been a flood of some sort, and a spot in the road that had just been a small dip the last time had become a full-on wash, and a very deep one, at that. For whatever reason, I didn't notice it until it was too late to stop, and while I gunned the engine and almost made it over the dip, the rear wheels didn't catch and I was quickly sinking, back-end first, the car rapidly filling with water where I'd had the rear windows down slightly, the current tugging it under the ground.

Needless to say, I could feel my adrenal glands dumping epinephrine into my system. As came up in the post about the scorpion on my foot, adrenaline seems to kick my usual "face the problem and find a solution" approach into overdrive; I sort of turn into a Guy-Ritchie-style Holmes type, calmly outlining my plan of attack in my head and then putting it into action. In this case, even as the water came up over my face and I woke up (hoping, belatedly, that the choking sounds I realized I'd been making hadn't woken up Brian), I could actually hear myself thinking very calmly:

1.) Undo seatbelt.
2.) Take several deep breaths of what air you have remaining.
3.) When the water fills up the car, open the door. {Thank you, Mythbusters.}
4.) Swim out and against the current.
4a.) Flood waters are often polluted and filled with trash; keep your mouth and eyes shut.
5.) When the quality of light grows brighter, start kicking upwards.

I also remember thinking, also rather calmly, that there was a significant chance that this plan would fail and I would die. But, oddly, this didn't incite any additional fear; on some level I seemed to know that I could only do the best that I could and there was no point in wasting energy (and oxygen) panicking over it. Even when I woke up, choking with my system in overdrive, it didn't take me long to calm down. Though I did have to take some deep breaths to ground myself a bit and get over the attack of the shakes that always seems to follow high-adrenaline situations.

Particularly vivid dreams like this always make me wonder a little as to their provenance. I know most folks just figure dreams are randomly-activated neurons that your brain attempts to stitch together into a coherent story, but while last night's fragments didn't really hold together, they all felt very much of a piece - like they were from the same world, even after the waking-up-and-falling-back-asleep part. Maybe some dreams are a way of visiting alternate universes?
missroserose: (Masquerade)
Strangely vivid dreams last night. No real overarching narrative that I can remember (even a dream-logic one), but some very vivid images with lots of recurring themes: travel, loneliness, sudden bonds between near strangers, sexual tension, fear of betrayal, response to authority. It occurs to me that many of the images I recall would not be out of place in some kind of post-apocalyptic journey story a la The Road or Zombieland; there was that sense of continuous danger as well as that immediate bond between the few people I met that came from the sense of Hey, you survived this, too!.

For all of that, it wasn't a nightmare as such. There was only one moment that provoked a strong emotional response; I was driving a small car along a road that I had driven down just recently, and therefore wasn't paying a whole lot of attention (it wasn't like there was much traffic in this nearly-deserted world). Unfortunately, there had been a flood of some sort, and a spot in the road that had just been a small dip the last time had become a full-on wash, and a very deep one, at that. For whatever reason, I didn't notice it until it was too late to stop, and while I gunned the engine and almost made it over the dip, the rear wheels didn't catch and I was quickly sinking, back-end first, the car rapidly filling with water where I'd had the rear windows down slightly, the current tugging it under the ground.

Needless to say, I could feel my adrenal glands dumping epinephrine into my system. As came up in the post about the scorpion on my foot, adrenaline seems to kick my usual "face the problem and find a solution" approach into overdrive; I sort of turn into a Guy-Ritchie-style Holmes type, calmly outlining my plan of attack in my head and then putting it into action. In this case, even as the water came up over my face and I woke up (hoping, belatedly, that the choking sounds I realized I'd been making hadn't woken up Brian), I could actually hear myself thinking very calmly:

1.) Undo seatbelt.
2.) Take several deep breaths of what air you have remaining.
3.) When the water fills up the car, open the door. {Thank you, Mythbusters.}
4.) Swim out and against the current.
4a.) Flood waters are often polluted and filled with trash; keep your mouth and eyes shut.
5.) When the quality of light grows brighter, start kicking upwards.

I also remember thinking, also rather calmly, that there was a significant chance that this plan would fail and I would die. But, oddly, this didn't incite any additional fear; on some level I seemed to know that I could only do the best that I could and there was no point in wasting energy (and oxygen) panicking over it. Even when I woke up, choking with my system in overdrive, it didn't take me long to calm down. Though I did have to take some deep breaths to ground myself a bit and get over the attack of the shakes that always seems to follow high-adrenaline situations.

Particularly vivid dreams like this always make me wonder a little as to their provenance. I know most folks just figure dreams are randomly-activated neurons that your brain attempts to stitch together into a coherent story, but while last night's fragments didn't really hold together, they all felt very much of a piece - like they were from the same world, even after the waking-up-and-falling-back-asleep part. Maybe some dreams are a way of visiting alternate universes?
missroserose: (Partnership)
As evidenced by the new icon, I feel like I'm hitting the next stage in the guitar-learning process. Don't get me wrong, I'm still firmly in the "raw beginner" category (and probably will be for the next year at least), but it's starting to feel more comfortable, and not just in the "my fingers hurt less" sense. I'd say that it's starting to feel more right to be playing guitar regularly, but that's not it exactly - oddly, it's felt surprisingly "right" since I started this (possibly because my mother played on and off while I grew up, so it felt more odd to go years *without* hearing guitar music regularly). It's more that I've started looking at it less as a separate instrument and more as an extension of myself - I plan things around practice time, and when I make travel plans one of the first things I look at is how I'm going to get my guitar there, too. Really, it's not unlike settling into a relationship that you've realized is going to be long-term.

I'm still incredibly pleased with Mary Jane the $100 Yard-Sale Ibanez. Especially after taking her to the music shop in Sierra Vista for an adjustment, she plays very nicely and has a surprisingly good tone. I've been doing a fair amount of research on guitars in general, and one of the things that people mention occasionally is that cheaper guitars aren't necessarily worse than more expensive ones; mostly it's the fit and finish (which you can redress by taking it to a good luthier for dressing) and consistency in quality that's lacking. Hence why, unless you're ordering a $2000 Gibson (*cough*), it's extremely important to actually play a guitar before you buy it. In any case, MJ seems to have been on the upper end of the bell curve, and I'm thankful for that.

Which doesn't mean I'm not eyeing other options for possibly trading up. Last weekend Brian and I went up to Tucson and played a whole mess of guitars; I got to hear the difference between a number of different woods as well as what an acoustic-electric sounds like when it's plugged in to an acoustic amp. (Mostly? Like a louder acoustic. I bet you never would've guessed that.) Probably the richest sound came from an $800 Takamine, with a cedar top and rosewood sides; apparently cedar gives a very warm sound and rosewood very rich deep bass (at the expense of some brightness in the treble). However, I'm not sure I'd want to go with cedar, since it's apparently a fairly soft wood that picks up dings and scratches easily. This Vineyard felt very comfortable and had that nice richness of rosewood; I was surprised when the shop owner told me it was a jumbo body, but when I compared it to my Ibanez it was absolutely bigger. I tried a Luna Butterfly, which was very pretty, but I didn't think much of the sound - maple seems to give very bright highs and almost no bass. I also tried their Dragonfly, but being spruce and mahogany, it sounded almost exactly like MJ. Certainly a nice tone, though - mahogany seems to give a very balanced sound between lows and highs.

At one point Brian tried a used Gibson that they had on sale for $1700; it was marked as a Hummingbird, but didn't have the fancy pick-guard, so it was probably from their "Hummingbird Pro" line (apparently those use slightly less cosmetically-perfect wood and don't have the painted pick guard but are supposed to be similar in every other way). It certainly sounded nice, but I avoided playing it as I didn't really want to end up deciding I wanted a $1,700 guitar. So now, of course, I've been eyeing the regular Hummingbirds, which go for rather more than that. I guess by the time I've busked enough to earn the purchase price, I'll be about ready skill-wise to play a $3,000 guitar...

Ah well. For now I'm perfectly pleased with Mary Jane, and with her there's the added bonus of not being too heartbroken if she picks up a few dings.
missroserose: (Partnership)
As evidenced by the new icon, I feel like I'm hitting the next stage in the guitar-learning process. Don't get me wrong, I'm still firmly in the "raw beginner" category (and probably will be for the next year at least), but it's starting to feel more comfortable, and not just in the "my fingers hurt less" sense. I'd say that it's starting to feel more right to be playing guitar regularly, but that's not it exactly - oddly, it's felt surprisingly "right" since I started this (possibly because my mother played on and off while I grew up, so it felt more odd to go years *without* hearing guitar music regularly). It's more that I've started looking at it less as a separate instrument and more as an extension of myself - I plan things around practice time, and when I make travel plans one of the first things I look at is how I'm going to get my guitar there, too. Really, it's not unlike settling into a relationship that you've realized is going to be long-term.

I'm still incredibly pleased with Mary Jane the $100 Yard-Sale Ibanez. Especially after taking her to the music shop in Sierra Vista for an adjustment, she plays very nicely and has a surprisingly good tone. I've been doing a fair amount of research on guitars in general, and one of the things that people mention occasionally is that cheaper guitars aren't necessarily worse than more expensive ones; mostly it's the fit and finish (which you can redress by taking it to a good luthier for dressing) and consistency in quality that's lacking. Hence why, unless you're ordering a $2000 Gibson (*cough*), it's extremely important to actually play a guitar before you buy it. In any case, MJ seems to have been on the upper end of the bell curve, and I'm thankful for that.

Which doesn't mean I'm not eyeing other options for possibly trading up. Last weekend Brian and I went up to Tucson and played a whole mess of guitars; I got to hear the difference between a number of different woods as well as what an acoustic-electric sounds like when it's plugged in to an acoustic amp. (Mostly? Like a louder acoustic. I bet you never would've guessed that.) Probably the richest sound came from an $800 Takamine, with a cedar top and rosewood sides; apparently cedar gives a very warm sound and rosewood very rich deep bass (at the expense of some brightness in the treble). However, I'm not sure I'd want to go with cedar, since it's apparently a fairly soft wood that picks up dings and scratches easily. This Vineyard felt very comfortable and had that nice richness of rosewood; I was surprised when the shop owner told me it was a jumbo body, but when I compared it to my Ibanez it was absolutely bigger. I tried a Luna Butterfly, which was very pretty, but I didn't think much of the sound - maple seems to give very bright highs and almost no bass. I also tried their Dragonfly, but being spruce and mahogany, it sounded almost exactly like MJ. Certainly a nice tone, though - mahogany seems to give a very balanced sound between lows and highs.

At one point Brian tried a used Gibson that they had on sale for $1700; it was marked as a Hummingbird, but didn't have the fancy pick-guard, so it was probably from their "Hummingbird Pro" line (apparently those use slightly less cosmetically-perfect wood and don't have the painted pick guard but are supposed to be similar in every other way). It certainly sounded nice, but I avoided playing it as I didn't really want to end up deciding I wanted a $1,700 guitar. So now, of course, I've been eyeing the regular Hummingbirds, which go for rather more than that. I guess by the time I've busked enough to earn the purchase price, I'll be about ready skill-wise to play a $3,000 guitar...

Ah well. For now I'm perfectly pleased with Mary Jane, and with her there's the added bonus of not being too heartbroken if she picks up a few dings.
missroserose: (After the Storm)
Finally headed home. On the one hand, I know it's been a while since I stepped off the plane last - if nothing else, the trees have gone from just slight patches of yellow to completely yellow and half-bare. But on the other, it's really hard to believe it's been a whole month, even though I've accomplished a lot in that period. My mother's new place looks fantastic.

Brian came up for the last week, and we had a lovely time. In some ways it felt like a second honeymoon - he wasn't all stressed about work, and since we were staying with my mother finances weren't a big issue, so we were able to just relax and help her with her housewarming party and things. I think a lot of folks don't even realize how stressed out they get day-to-day until they're suddenly in a situation where nobody's putting any demands on them. I know it was true for me, and I'm glad Brian got to experience some of it too.

I didn't get anywhere near as much writing done as I was hoping, and indeed there was one point where I was ready to give up on the idea altogether. Fortunately I seem to be biologically incapable of maintaining a depressive state for longer than a few days, and while I'm still nowhere near 100% sure I'm going to get anywhere with this, the way forward seems...clearer, I suppose.

Apropos of nothing at all? I'm so doing "Bat Out of Hell" next time I'm at karaoke. You all may consider yourselves invited/warned.

And we're boarding. Overnight in Seattle, then to Tucson and driving home to Bisbee. I've missed our friends and the kitties like crazy lately...
missroserose: (After the Storm)
Finally headed home. On the one hand, I know it's been a while since I stepped off the plane last - if nothing else, the trees have gone from just slight patches of yellow to completely yellow and half-bare. But on the other, it's really hard to believe it's been a whole month, even though I've accomplished a lot in that period. My mother's new place looks fantastic.

Brian came up for the last week, and we had a lovely time. In some ways it felt like a second honeymoon - he wasn't all stressed about work, and since we were staying with my mother finances weren't a big issue, so we were able to just relax and help her with her housewarming party and things. I think a lot of folks don't even realize how stressed out they get day-to-day until they're suddenly in a situation where nobody's putting any demands on them. I know it was true for me, and I'm glad Brian got to experience some of it too.

I didn't get anywhere near as much writing done as I was hoping, and indeed there was one point where I was ready to give up on the idea altogether. Fortunately I seem to be biologically incapable of maintaining a depressive state for longer than a few days, and while I'm still nowhere near 100% sure I'm going to get anywhere with this, the way forward seems...clearer, I suppose.

Apropos of nothing at all? I'm so doing "Bat Out of Hell" next time I'm at karaoke. You all may consider yourselves invited/warned.

And we're boarding. Overnight in Seattle, then to Tucson and driving home to Bisbee. I've missed our friends and the kitties like crazy lately...
missroserose: (Shake It!)
Tonight, for the first time in our lives, Brian and I bought a lottery ticket. It's sort of a joke for us - we figure it's an application for the "Act of God" financing, where the application process is easy (and you can't beat the APR) but getting approved is a right pain in the arse.

Anyway, that's not what I wanted to write about. I was examining the ticket itself earlier; not being a gambling type, I'd actually never seen one up close before. And on the back, amongst the fine print, were a series of pictograms talking about "care of your ticket" - including, and I am not making this up, a picture of a clothes iron with "Do Not Iron" printed beneath it.

At first, this just seemed amusing because of its randomness. But after a moment it made me laugh all the more, because it made so much sense. Can't you just see it? Some random person buys a lottery ticket on a whim, and then sticks it in their pocket or purse or what have you and forgets about it. Sometime later, they remember it, pull it out and check the numbers - and their jaw hits the floor when they realize that they've won the jackpot. So they pull out a nice set of clothes to go and claim their prize, and pull out the iron because they probably haven't worn their nice clothes in a while and want to look well-groomed for the cameras. And, since the ticket's looking a little worse for the wear after a week at the bottom of their purse or in their pants pocket, they go to iron it out too.

Except the ticket's printed on heat-sensitive paper.

I have a feeling that that was likely the "NOOOOOOOOOOO!" heard 'round the world...
missroserose: (Shake It!)
Tonight, for the first time in our lives, Brian and I bought a lottery ticket. It's sort of a joke for us - we figure it's an application for the "Act of God" financing, where the application process is easy (and you can't beat the APR) but getting approved is a right pain in the arse.

Anyway, that's not what I wanted to write about. I was examining the ticket itself earlier; not being a gambling type, I'd actually never seen one up close before. And on the back, amongst the fine print, were a series of pictograms talking about "care of your ticket" - including, and I am not making this up, a picture of a clothes iron with "Do Not Iron" printed beneath it.

At first, this just seemed amusing because of its randomness. But after a moment it made me laugh all the more, because it made so much sense. Can't you just see it? Some random person buys a lottery ticket on a whim, and then sticks it in their pocket or purse or what have you and forgets about it. Sometime later, they remember it, pull it out and check the numbers - and their jaw hits the floor when they realize that they've won the jackpot. So they pull out a nice set of clothes to go and claim their prize, and pull out the iron because they probably haven't worn their nice clothes in a while and want to look well-groomed for the cameras. And, since the ticket's looking a little worse for the wear after a week at the bottom of their purse or in their pants pocket, they go to iron it out too.

Except the ticket's printed on heat-sensitive paper.

I have a feeling that that was likely the "NOOOOOOOOOOO!" heard 'round the world...
missroserose: (Wistful)
As a few of you may have noticed, I've been keeping this blog for very nearly seven years now. And I'm very well aware that if you go back over many of the earlier entries, they're rather different in tone - drama-filled, all about relationships and feelings and problems. But gradually, as time went on, these became less and less prevalent; partially because my life settled down some, but mostly because I was getting older, and learning that [a] the world at large didn't care about my petty relationship problems and [b] maturity in our culture is in no small part measured by one's ability to keep one's private life private, and keep up the appearance of general affability on the surface. But if the world at large will forgive my slight lapse (and why wouldn't it, given that the world at large is hardly aware this blog exists?), I'm going to discard those rules, and talk about what's really on my mind.

This evening, we spent several hours in the company of the current owners of our dream home.

I will state for the record that I was against this idea from the start. We'd already seen the place (courtesy of the nice girls house sitting while the owners were in Fiji); we knew it was amazing, we knew we wanted it, we knew it was way, way out of our price range - so what was the point of spending more time mooning over something we couldn't afford? But Brian had his heart set on at least talking to them, so I agreed, despite my reservations that we'd be wasting their time.

The owners, despite being fairly wealthy, weren't snooty or pretentious at all. (In a way, it would've been better if they had, since then we could've walked away with no regrets.) They weren't even really giving us a sales pitch - they knew damn well the place would absolutely sell itself to the right person. Instead, we sat out in the terraced garden and drank wine and chatted for pretty much the entire evening - about Bisbee, about the other people who'd come to look at the place (none who really loved it the way the current owners do, according to their recounting), about the camping opportunities in the area, about Fiji water (surprise! It's not $3 a bottle in Fiji!), about the history of the place and the various improvements it's had over its hundred-year-plus lifespan. Heck, they even seemed to instinctively understand that for us a $400k house was probably not a possibility - while we didn't talk hard numbers, they told us more than once to please be honest with them and it was okay if it just wasn't going to work on our budget. And when we left (with a promise to meet again next weekend with some wine from Sonoita), they told us flat out they'd love to sell the place to a couple like us.

But, probably come Sunday, I'm going to have to compose an email admitting that yes, we love the place like whoa, but no, it's just not going to happen without some kind of financial miracle. And I'm sure they'll be more than gracious about it, and we'll still have a few more lovely evenings in the place (they talked seriously about getting together a dinner party with some of the prominent folks in Bisbee where they'd host, Brian could cook, I could mix drinks, and we'd get to know all of them), and then eventually they'll find someone well-off who likes the place and can afford it, and they'll head to Fiji permanently, and we'll find some other perfectly nice place to rent while we work on paying off our debts and saving up for a down payment on a more appropriately middle-class dwelling wherever we end up buying.

But it was lovely to pretend for an evening that it was a possibility.
missroserose: (Wistful)
As a few of you may have noticed, I've been keeping this blog for very nearly seven years now. And I'm very well aware that if you go back over many of the earlier entries, they're rather different in tone - drama-filled, all about relationships and feelings and problems. But gradually, as time went on, these became less and less prevalent; partially because my life settled down some, but mostly because I was getting older, and learning that [a] the world at large didn't care about my petty relationship problems and [b] maturity in our culture is in no small part measured by one's ability to keep one's private life private, and keep up the appearance of general affability on the surface. But if the world at large will forgive my slight lapse (and why wouldn't it, given that the world at large is hardly aware this blog exists?), I'm going to discard those rules, and talk about what's really on my mind.

This evening, we spent several hours in the company of the current owners of our dream home.

I will state for the record that I was against this idea from the start. We'd already seen the place (courtesy of the nice girls house sitting while the owners were in Fiji); we knew it was amazing, we knew we wanted it, we knew it was way, way out of our price range - so what was the point of spending more time mooning over something we couldn't afford? But Brian had his heart set on at least talking to them, so I agreed, despite my reservations that we'd be wasting their time.

The owners, despite being fairly wealthy, weren't snooty or pretentious at all. (In a way, it would've been better if they had, since then we could've walked away with no regrets.) They weren't even really giving us a sales pitch - they knew damn well the place would absolutely sell itself to the right person. Instead, we sat out in the terraced garden and drank wine and chatted for pretty much the entire evening - about Bisbee, about the other people who'd come to look at the place (none who really loved it the way the current owners do, according to their recounting), about the camping opportunities in the area, about Fiji water (surprise! It's not $3 a bottle in Fiji!), about the history of the place and the various improvements it's had over its hundred-year-plus lifespan. Heck, they even seemed to instinctively understand that for us a $400k house was probably not a possibility - while we didn't talk hard numbers, they told us more than once to please be honest with them and it was okay if it just wasn't going to work on our budget. And when we left (with a promise to meet again next weekend with some wine from Sonoita), they told us flat out they'd love to sell the place to a couple like us.

But, probably come Sunday, I'm going to have to compose an email admitting that yes, we love the place like whoa, but no, it's just not going to happen without some kind of financial miracle. And I'm sure they'll be more than gracious about it, and we'll still have a few more lovely evenings in the place (they talked seriously about getting together a dinner party with some of the prominent folks in Bisbee where they'd host, Brian could cook, I could mix drinks, and we'd get to know all of them), and then eventually they'll find someone well-off who likes the place and can afford it, and they'll head to Fiji permanently, and we'll find some other perfectly nice place to rent while we work on paying off our debts and saving up for a down payment on a more appropriately middle-class dwelling wherever we end up buying.

But it was lovely to pretend for an evening that it was a possibility.
missroserose: (Default)
Last night, Brian and I spent some time discussing the dissolution of the financial sector. Not with any real purpose in mind - I mean, neither of us can really do much about it, and fortunately we haven't had much in the way of investments to be concerned about (hurrah FDIC protection for savings accounts). Mostly, it was just the sheer level of helplessness we felt over the whole situation - even though it only affects us peripherally, it's still affecting us, and of course people we know are affected much more strongly. And as Brian put it, "These people are the financiers: the (mostly) men who run the world through the power of money. That's why we give them this much money. And suddenly they're telling us that they've lost all of our money, through utterly preventable means, simply because not a single one of them said 'No, that's an unsustainable investment model'? 'Yes, that will get us all fabulously rich but will destroy the system beneath us'? 'No, we have a responsibility to the government, or barring that, our investors, not to run headlong over a cliff and take the entire American economy with us'?"

While the discussion was purely academic in nature, I think a lot of the deep-seated anxiety bled through into my subconscious, because I didn't sleep well last night. I kept having dreams of an impending alien invasion of an unknown sort, and even though no aliens had actually shown up, and indeed there hadn't been any indication of an invasion past some mysterious decoded messages (sent, appropriately enough, through the stock market), the entire world was unraveling as terror rippled through the strata of society.

I think that, in the end, is what scares me the most - not that some mysterious external (or internal) force, no matter how powerful, will come and wipe us out, but that people will become afraid that such will happen. Because that kind of widespread panic is far, far more likely to have immediate negative ramifications for human society, and all that we have built, than some shadowy outside threat that may or may not ever materialize.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
missroserose: (Default)
Last night, Brian and I spent some time discussing the dissolution of the financial sector. Not with any real purpose in mind - I mean, neither of us can really do much about it, and fortunately we haven't had much in the way of investments to be concerned about (hurrah FDIC protection for savings accounts). Mostly, it was just the sheer level of helplessness we felt over the whole situation - even though it only affects us peripherally, it's still affecting us, and of course people we know are affected much more strongly. And as Brian put it, "These people are the financiers: the (mostly) men who run the world through the power of money. That's why we give them this much money. And suddenly they're telling us that they've lost all of our money, through utterly preventable means, simply because not a single one of them said 'No, that's an unsustainable investment model'? 'Yes, that will get us all fabulously rich but will destroy the system beneath us'? 'No, we have a responsibility to the government, or barring that, our investors, not to run headlong over a cliff and take the entire American economy with us'?"

While the discussion was purely academic in nature, I think a lot of the deep-seated anxiety bled through into my subconscious, because I didn't sleep well last night. I kept having dreams of an impending alien invasion of an unknown sort, and even though no aliens had actually shown up, and indeed there hadn't been any indication of an invasion past some mysterious decoded messages (sent, appropriately enough, through the stock market), the entire world was unraveling as terror rippled through the strata of society.

I think that, in the end, is what scares me the most - not that some mysterious external (or internal) force, no matter how powerful, will come and wipe us out, but that people will become afraid that such will happen. Because that kind of widespread panic is far, far more likely to have immediate negative ramifications for human society, and all that we have built, than some shadowy outside threat that may or may not ever materialize.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
missroserose: (Default)
I was arguing with Ian last night, not over anything greatly important but mostly just because he was being his usual infuriating self. As ever, it didn't go anywhere and I ended up giving up the cause for lost, but I woke up from a dream about him just now that I think illustrates my ambivalence regarding him nicely.

We were at a relatively upscale shoe store, looking for a nice pair of dress shoes for me, but after some time, we had failed to find anything of particularly good quality available on the shelves. Ian being Ian, he took personal offense at this, and spying a banner nearby that said "Quality Shoes for Sale", he angrily tore off the upper half so that it only said "Shoes for Sale".

Obviously, this attracted the ire of more than a few salespeople. I was all ready to just pack up and leave, embarrassed on his behalf, but he welcomed the attention - and started discussing with them why he was displeased, and what he was looking for, and why their current selection sucked. Apparently he critically saved his CHA roll, because towards the end, he'd convinced them to make him the manager of the purchasing department for the whole chain.

...and there you have it. Our relationship in a nutshell. :)
missroserose: (Default)
I was arguing with Ian last night, not over anything greatly important but mostly just because he was being his usual infuriating self. As ever, it didn't go anywhere and I ended up giving up the cause for lost, but I woke up from a dream about him just now that I think illustrates my ambivalence regarding him nicely.

We were at a relatively upscale shoe store, looking for a nice pair of dress shoes for me, but after some time, we had failed to find anything of particularly good quality available on the shelves. Ian being Ian, he took personal offense at this, and spying a banner nearby that said "Quality Shoes for Sale", he angrily tore off the upper half so that it only said "Shoes for Sale".

Obviously, this attracted the ire of more than a few salespeople. I was all ready to just pack up and leave, embarrassed on his behalf, but he welcomed the attention - and started discussing with them why he was displeased, and what he was looking for, and why their current selection sucked. Apparently he critically saved his CHA roll, because towards the end, he'd convinced them to make him the manager of the purchasing department for the whole chain.

...and there you have it. Our relationship in a nutshell. :)
missroserose: (Default)
First and foremost, the Crud (as I have mentally dubbed it) has mostly receded, leaving me with more energy and an only-slightly-aching sinus. This is something of a relief, since I didn't want (and couldn't afford) to miss another day of work and was really getting tired of the whole pain/discomfort/bother thing anyway. NyQuil and ibuprofen will only go so far, after all...and I'd like to think that my battery of vitamins and salt water and whatnot had some effect, if only a placebo one. In any case, I've invested in a box of cranberry flavored Emergen-C to keep here at work - I drink a fair amount of bottled water here, and it certainly can't hurt to drink one or two of those a day.

Secondly, Brian is stuck in Skagway for the night for reasons both convoluted and boring, but which essentially come down to nonspecificity and bad planning on the part of the client. However, they're the one stuck with the bill for his hotel stay and whatnot, so it's not a particularly bad thing...it just means a fairly lonely night for me. On the bright side, though, I called Monica and we're going to hang out for a while. I haven't seen much of her recently (partly due to sprog's presence and also due to the last time I was trying to catch up with people I came down with Round 1 of the Crud), so it'll probably be nice to catch up. It also sounds like she and Eric will be able to housesit for Brian and I, which is one more vacation-related thing done.

Speaking of which, we leave in a week. How the heck did that happen?

In semi-strange news, I had a rather odd dream last night that Brian and I had Neil Gaiman and his wife over for lunch. From what I remember, his wife told embarrassing stories about him and his family, while he mostly sat there and laughed a lot. Although I'm pretty certain said dream was caused by listening to the audiobook of Anansi Boys for a couple of hours last night, it was pleasant enough that I sent him an email inviting him to lunch, should he ever be here in Southeast Alaska, along with an explanation. It'll probably be one of the stranger letters he gets...although, considering the genre of fiction he writes in, perhaps I'm wrong. In any case, I hope he finds it amusing.

Anyway, back to work...or more precisely, trying to find something vaguely amusing online to pass the time until the phone rings...if anyone has suggestions, I'd be happy to take a look.
missroserose: (Default)
First and foremost, the Crud (as I have mentally dubbed it) has mostly receded, leaving me with more energy and an only-slightly-aching sinus. This is something of a relief, since I didn't want (and couldn't afford) to miss another day of work and was really getting tired of the whole pain/discomfort/bother thing anyway. NyQuil and ibuprofen will only go so far, after all...and I'd like to think that my battery of vitamins and salt water and whatnot had some effect, if only a placebo one. In any case, I've invested in a box of cranberry flavored Emergen-C to keep here at work - I drink a fair amount of bottled water here, and it certainly can't hurt to drink one or two of those a day.

Secondly, Brian is stuck in Skagway for the night for reasons both convoluted and boring, but which essentially come down to nonspecificity and bad planning on the part of the client. However, they're the one stuck with the bill for his hotel stay and whatnot, so it's not a particularly bad thing...it just means a fairly lonely night for me. On the bright side, though, I called Monica and we're going to hang out for a while. I haven't seen much of her recently (partly due to sprog's presence and also due to the last time I was trying to catch up with people I came down with Round 1 of the Crud), so it'll probably be nice to catch up. It also sounds like she and Eric will be able to housesit for Brian and I, which is one more vacation-related thing done.

Speaking of which, we leave in a week. How the heck did that happen?

In semi-strange news, I had a rather odd dream last night that Brian and I had Neil Gaiman and his wife over for lunch. From what I remember, his wife told embarrassing stories about him and his family, while he mostly sat there and laughed a lot. Although I'm pretty certain said dream was caused by listening to the audiobook of Anansi Boys for a couple of hours last night, it was pleasant enough that I sent him an email inviting him to lunch, should he ever be here in Southeast Alaska, along with an explanation. It'll probably be one of the stranger letters he gets...although, considering the genre of fiction he writes in, perhaps I'm wrong. In any case, I hope he finds it amusing.

Anyway, back to work...or more precisely, trying to find something vaguely amusing online to pass the time until the phone rings...if anyone has suggestions, I'd be happy to take a look.

Profile

missroserose: (Default)
Rose

September 2017

S M T W T F S
     12
345 6789
10111213 141516
171819 20212223
24252627282930

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 22nd, 2017 02:31 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios