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wander_free

Dec. 20th, 2009 09:13 pm climbing hay bales

I was helping my Dad put out rocks this morning. (Yes, we pick up rocks from one field and put them in the holes in another part of the field.) At one point, he was fiddling with his tractor and I yielded to temptation and climbed the stack of round hay bales. It was only three high, so less than 30 feet, but it's been years since I have done anything like it and I found myself enjoying it probably more than I should have. Made it to the top and just sat there for several minutes, enjoying the sunshine. Told my dad that I knew plenty of people who had never climbed hay bales and, while I know he was being facetious I have to agree at least a little bit, he laughed and said they were missing out on something fun.

Sometimes I think being an adult is nothing more than returning to our childhoods to discover that the things we hated when we were young are now the things we enjoy as adults.

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Nov. 6th, 2009 11:24 pm what a a week

Been a shitty week. No doubt encouraged by the travesty in Maine, people were bold enough this week to come right out and comment on my appearance and supposed orientation. Most people can't be arsed to actually ask me if I'm gay, they just assume and proceed to treat me as such. Jackasses.

Then Thursday, the shooting at Fort Hood and a couple worried hours until I got work from my friend that he was all right. Then today, at the end of my patience and tired, I made a six year old cry. It worked out in the end, but it's never a good feeling when big eyes feel with tears and you hold a hyper-ventilating child as they cry like their hearts are broken.

Then, as a perfect cap of the day and week, during recess as I was looking through leaves with one of the kids (a fey little thing, I wonder about her) I was told that 'adults don't laugh like that'. Sorry, I'm an adult and I'll laugh any way I goddamn want. Just because you have lost the ability to enjoy life and the scattered moments of peace to be found among all the shit that is the world right now, doesn't we all have. You can bite my gay, laughing ass.

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Oct. 15th, 2009 01:11 pm Memories

Most people will agree that the fall of 2001 was eventful, a season that most of us remember with horror and grief. Aside from that particular day, there is another day that lingers in my memory and often springs out of the ether to grab my heart yet again with remembered fear.

I did my student teaching in 2001, with fourth grade in the first half of of the semester and switching to first just before Halloween. In early October, a fourth grader came into the room where one of the fourth grade teachers was going over some paperwork. Cute kid, shy and silent for the most part, but one of the best readers in the class and smart with it. He said he had something to tell the teacher, something bad. I think she can be forgiven for assuming he was going to tattle on a classmate.

"Jay is going to bring a gun to school tomorrow," this silent little boy whispered. "He's going to shoot you. He says you were mean to him and he didn't like it."

The teacher, a hard as nails veteran of the public education system who probably has forgotten more about being a teacher than many of us will ever know in the first place, went pale and lightheaded, but she struggled to conceal the sudden spike of fear. Columbine was still a fresh memory then and everyone was raw from the events of September.

Holding it together with nerves of steel, because I've never met a veteran teacher who couldn't stare down a cyclone if she or he needed to, she got the details from this boy and sent him back out to recess, then hurried down the hall to the office, where she immediately informed the principal.

The next day, the principal was waiting for the kid at the edge of school property and as soon as his sneakers hit the grass, the principal confiscated his backpack and searched it, pulling out a box of bullets and a revolver, fully loaded.

Yesterday, I subbed in a fourth grade class and though the districts are nothing alike, the schools are not similar in any way and the subject wasn't even the same, that memory came back clear and strong when one of the kids made a comment. I don't remember the date of the original event, I just know it was early-mid October, so it's entirely possible yesterday was the anniversary.

Over the years, threats of violence have almost become passe. I once stared down a kid over a knife, I have dodged thrown books and desks, had fists shaken in my face and one kid threatened me with a stapler. But yesterday, remembering the soul-sickening terror and the look in that teacher's eyes when she realized how close she and the rest of the school had come to being another statistic, another 'school shooting' in a long line of shootings, it was all new and bright and shiny with tears.

Yesterday evening, I was walking with friends and one of them made a joking comment about 'going postal' about bringing a gun and just spraying bullets around a room. I don't even remember the lead-up to the comment, just the comment itself and the gut-churning fear that had sat in my stomach since telling the kids my story.

"That's not funny," I snapped. "I've been there, done that. It's not funny."

"I didn't mean it that way," he said, not even trying to apologize for the words.

"I had to relive it today," I continued. "I've had a kid bring a gun to school and it's not a joking manner."

"Fine," he said, holding up his hands in a gesture of peace, a sadly ironic move. "Going postal, then."

"Still not funny," I continued. "guns and shooting and killing and all the rest. it's not funny. Don't make that joke any more."

He finally subsided, but I doubt my words made any difference. He'll continue to make the jokes and make half-arsed apologies because he doesn't understand and doesn't want to. It's funny to him because he's never had to face his own mortality in the shaking hands of a kid and he can't see why someone who has might look dimly on the effort to lighten the atmosphere.

It's funny, I suppose, until it happens to you.

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Oct. 11th, 2009 11:14 am I'm such a selfish bitch

Once upon a time, I had two very good friends, the sort of friends to whom I could say anything and who I trusted above nearly everyone. As these things go, we grew up, grew apart, had our shares of fights and arguments and somewhere along the way, we ended up on different sides of the river. We're still friends, but the sort of friends who share an evening walking around the city park, but not secrets, not feelings and not worries.

It was inevitable, I assume. Just by the nature of things there was going to be a time when we ceased to connect. These last twelve years, we have led very different lives. I moved away, they got married; I explored previously hidden and often hated parts of myself; they stayed near family and what was familiar.

I found out things about myself, things that - once I accepted them - were anathema to them and to keep their friendship, I hid them, until I finally realized that I was hurting myself for people who would never understand. This last year has been rough on our friendship. I finally hit that wall, that place that says if you go any further, you will break yourself and well, call me selfish, I don't want to break myself, don't want to deny these things, things that are very much a part of me and my self-image of myself.

This last year I've been pulling back. Less open, less social, less willing to open myself to them. At first, I was angry, both at myself and at them and I'm afraid I took it out on all of us. Finally, though, I moved past it and they are simply friends, not confidants and not anyone whose opinion can hurt me.

My friends are pregnant. Okay, since I have always hated that phrase, she is pregnant, lol. They sent me an email, complete with the snide 'we didn't want to tell you in person so you don't have to pretend to be happy for us' that pretty much sums up our friendship right there. Just a few months ago I would have been livid, at the tone, at the way they told me, at the smug assurance that I will be angry at them. A year or so ago, I would have been hurt and angry because being pregnant would have been the death knell for our friendship.

Today, though, I quite honestly and sincerely told them congratulations.

I'm such a selfish bitch.

A couple years ago, my (male) friend S and I got into over it pregnancy and children because I reacted badly when another (female) friend had a baby. I acted badly towards her and I have long since apologized to my friend and I've tried to make up for it. Anyways, S emailed me saying that if he and J ever had children that it wouldn't change our friendship, that we would still be able to do everything, just with the little bit in tow.

Angry, hurting because of various personal issues, and bitter because once again someone was ignoring my experience as a single woman in a world of married and childed people, I told him that as soon as children enter the picture, the world revolves around said children and any non-childed person becomes nothing more than an also-ran, an afterthought, the person who was supposed to be willing to sublimate her own wants to the needs of the child.

Wanna go to the movies? Only if it's something the little bit can see.

Wanna go out to eat? Only if they have a kiddie menu.

Wanna go to the Ren Faire? I'm bringing the munchkin, if she gets too hot/tired/cranky, we'll have to leave early.

When I got the email this morning, my first thought was congratulations and my second, at least I've already pulled away and don't have to wait for them to do it in expectation of a baby.

I'm a selfish bitch because I was relieved. I don't have to pretend or worry or try any longer. They have their life and after the little bit is born, I won't be a part of it any longer, except as a periphery and probably not much then since my dislike of babies is well known.

I'm such a selfish bitch and part of me says I should feel bad about it, but mostly, I'm relieved. It's over and with very little pain and fuss for me. We will just...drift away. I'll make the little bit a baby blanket, send a gift card to J when she gives birth, all that stuff, but nothing onerous, nothing personal, nothing to commemorate the friendship that once burned so brightly.

Okay, not I'm just depressing myself and I kinda want to stay in selfish bitch mode for a while longer.

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Sep. 29th, 2009 10:57 pm apparently it's genetic

I have this thing about hotel rooms. If there are two beds - 99% of hotel rooms I've ever stayed in have been two-bedders - I inevitably choose the one nearest the windows and/or door and if I have to choose the inner bed, I get fidgety and nervous until whoever I am rooming with gives over the outer bed just to make me settle down. Even the one time when I ended up alone in a two-bed hotel room, I slept on the outer bed.

The handful of times I have ended up in non-chain hotel type rooms, I have always slept closest to the door, even if it meant sleeping on the couch instead of the bed. The two times I ended up in a two-story type condo rooms in high school, I chose the fold out bed over the upstairs bed because nothing hit panic buttons like those loft bedroom. It should be noted, though, that sleeping on the second floor of a hotel/motel or apartment building doesn't bother me, only second floors of rooms/condos/houses.

My younger brother is the opposite. He always chooses the inner bed, the one closest to the bathroom and often in the corner of the room. This worked out great when we went on family vacations and had a room to ourselves (with our folks next door, natch). We didn't have to fight over the beds since we both had 'our' bed.

He told me one time that he always went with the inner bed because it would provide more protection/warning in case someone broke into the room. I always choose the outer bed for the exact same and yet opposite reason. If there is trouble, I am closer to the exit. Not to mention, the inner bed always triggers my 'trapped!' response and I can barely even sit on the bed, much less sleep on it.

Younger brother worries about outer threats and I worry about inner threats, which is a fair description of us, lol. It must be genetic. He's a lot like our mother and I'm a lot like our dad.

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Sep. 28th, 2009 07:27 pm books I read (alot)

The first fantasy novel I ever read - I mean, the first high fantasy novel, not children's fantasy or romantic fantasy, but true fantasy novel - was Melanie Rawn's Dragon Prince trilogy, though it's a tie as to whether Dragon Prince or Terry Goodkind's Wizard's First Rule was truly the first. I bought them the same day and I honestly don't remember which was read first.

I generally see Dragon Prince as the first because ten years later, I still read Dragon Prince and the sequel trilogy Dragon Star while Goodkind has slowly but surely moved to the bottom of my bookshelf, where I keep other dusty books that once were favorites and now are only kept because I love the memories seeing the books bring back.

I've pretty much read through the fantasy section at the local bookstore. Everything from Douglas Addams, JRR Tolkien, JK Rowling, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaimen, Anne Bishop, Jacqueline Carey, Robert Jordan etc etc, have found houseroom on my bookshelf while others have quickly been sent on to people who will enjoy them. You name the author or book and I have most likely at least dipped into it enough to know whether or not it's the sort of fantasy I enjoy.

In fact, a while ago I was browsing at a used bookstore and a fellow wanderer offered to help me find a new author. This gentlemen was under the mistaken assumption that as a woman I did not know my fantasy. He was quickly disabused of this notion after every suggestion was quickly shot down with 'read it. didn't like it. okay but not great. got 'em all' etc etc. (I'm not kidding, his entire attitude was condescending and amused, until I had the temerity to actually start comparing various authors, which is when he made a weak excuse and went away.)

But, back to Rawn.

I'm a dragon nut, which is pretty much the reason I picked up Dragon Prince with the gorgeous Michael Whelan cover because for dragon nuts Whelan is our van Gogh, Monet and da Vinci all rolled into one. Visionary, impressionist and realist, all in one.

That was...over ten years ago, lol. Would have been the summer of 97, a month or so after I graduated from high school and shortly before I went to college. In college, I found Robert Jordan and Harry Potter and eventually Gaimen's Sandman and Discworld. Strange to think it all started with one book about dragons, the book I still compare nearly every fantasy novel to, for better or worse. More than any other fantasy novel - more than Tolkien, more than Carey, more than Eddings - Rawn set the bar for what I look for in fantasy novels. The characterizations, the humor, the sense that it's a world that is loved and enjoyed, rather than tolerated.

(The less that is said about the books she has done since her dragon books, the better. I enjoy The Ruins of Ambrai but it's a world that is rather hateful and unwelcoming. I don't spend a lot of time there despite the complex characters and setting.)

I know I had a point when I started this post, but I've lost it. :) I made the mistake of going away and doing other things, lol. Ah, well. :)

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Sep. 6th, 2009 08:18 pm Pissed and a little hurt

I'll be 31 in a week or so - somehow 31 is worse than 30...go figure. Anyways, today my mom asked what I wanted for my birthday and after digging my old Converse sneakers from the closet and wearing them all morning in the field with Dad, the answer was obvious.

There is only one store in town that carries Converse and after a quick run to the grocery store - where I had a mild panic attack - we headed for the shoe store and since there was only 30 minutes before closing, I walked straight to the sneakers.

The clerk followed me over and asked if I needed anything and when I said I wanted the Converse sneakers, she pointed out they had 'lady' converse in all sorts of colors. I said no, I wanted the black ones and...

I guess I should be used to it. Most people, when they see me, think something along the same lines as this woman but whether she realizes it or not, unlike most people she actually broadcasts enough of her emotions to be picked up, even through the shields I have. Admittedly I was already shaky from the panic attack in the store, but she was still more than enough to make me feel about an inch tall.

Ironically, today I was dressed more or less as a girl in sandals with thick soles, loose capris and a long tunic. Wasn't enough for her, however. There I was, with my short hair and androgynous vibe (if she's strong enough to emote like that, she's strong enough to pick it up from others, whether she realizes it or not) and choosing black men's sneakers over women's in the "pretty colors".

People suck.

Something similar happened earlier in the week. I was scheduled to sub wed/thurs/fri but because the new principal of this particular school is a douche and couldn't pick up a phone to call me, I ended up driving 20 miles only to discover they 'didn't need me' after all. I was pissed, obviously, but there was something more going on and it took me a while to figure it out. In fact, if the shoe clerk hadn't been the same sort, I probably never would have figured it out because the principal is much weaker and I didn't pick it up quite as clearly from her.

While deciding to have an aide cover the teacher's class instead of sub was understandable if teeth-grinding, there was something else about her that bothered me and after the clerk today I figured it out. The principal is another who decided that, based on my appearance, I was not acceptable. I feel sorry for the kids at that school if she stays long. They won't be able to come to her for help and she will not support them if they ever complain about being bulled for being 'different'.

People suck twice.

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Aug. 28th, 2009 12:42 pm

I went walking in my sleep twice last night. I didn't leave the house, but it was definitely more than just a sleepy trip to the bathroom. The first time I ended up in the kitchen trying to figure out how to open a box. Who knows, it was just a box of potato flakes, what I thought I was going to do with them. The second time I actually remember the impetus. I was 'dreaming' that instead of a pillow, I was holding a bag (pillow case) full of art supplies. Bottles of paint, a canvas, even an easel. I got up and put it - carefully - onto my desk chair. Then this morning I couldn't figure out where my pillow was, lol. Who knows what was going through my mind last night.

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Jul. 29th, 2009 10:06 pm satellite internet

I've almost forgotten how much fun the internet can be. :)

Every since I moved back home (three years in November) I've been using dial-up provided by a local company. It was slow, but not so slow that it was impossible to use and 'unlimited' so they never quibbled when I would spend hours online just reading fanfic and doodling around.

Well, back in January, the provider decided that 'unlimited' meant 'less than 3 hours per day' and 'slow' became 'molasses in january'. I had time to read my blogs, read LJ, read email, maybe do a bit of googling if I was quick about it and that was about it. The connection was getting slower and slower, until about a week ago it got down to less than 10, which was barely enough to open my google homepage, much less some of the graphic/text heavy blogs and email.

Needless to say, I was getting frustrated with it all, the speed, the slowness of the connection and the attitude of the internet provider, who acted like I was deliberately going out of my way to tie up their modem and make it difficult for other people to access the internet.

I was hesitant to get satellite because the price I was paying for internet and the landline needed for it compared to satellite? OUCH.

Finally though, it got to be too much and I took the plunge. :) It's like a whole new world. I had forgotten how much fun it is when webpages open within seconds instead of minutes, how much fun it is to simply stroll around the internet, confident that some pdf file or graphic heavy site isn't going to freeze my browser, how nice it is to simply goof off on google or walk around wikipedia without worrying about how long I've been online.

It's like discovering the internet for the very first time.

And the price? So worth it.

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Mar. 27th, 2009 07:45 pm reality? who needs reality?

*This is inspired partly by a recent discussion on a feminist blog and partly by the book I am currently reading. It's long and ranty and centers mostly around books.*

I like to readCollapse )

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