Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wandering Food :: Sustenance When Traveling

Even though food always seems to show up in bizarre and unexpected ways, when I skitter, wander, and travel about, I like to have a small stash of food to sustain me (such as when I’m on the bus from 6 AM one morning until 2 AM the next day).

These are the foods I traveled to California with, and foods I’ve brought to munch on the road:

- Lundberg Organic Brown Rice Cakes - Salt Free (non GMO)
This is my grain of choice (only because quinoa doesn't count as a grain). Me and brown rice get along pretty well and, unlike bread, rice cakes travel well. Yes, sometimes they turn into a very loose blend of puffed grains, but they taste fantastic and don’t make me feel gross. No sodium. 0.5 grams of fat per full cake. 18 grams of 100% whole grain per serving and full of fiber. And, apparently eating rice produces serotonin.

This is a huge staple, for me. I love carrots. Love ‘em! They’re crunchy and crazy and filling and I can eat them for hours. I like to always have a bag of them on hand. I think I could live off of these things. Unfortunately, they keep making my skin a peculiar orangeish-yellow colour so I look all jaundiced.

- Unsweetened Creamy SoyNut Butter (non GMO)
Sometimes, you want more than just brown rice. And sometimes, my body needs more than just carrots and rice. That’s why I carry around a small jar of soynut butter. No, not peanut butter. I’m allergic to almond butter, even though I love it. Protein is a huge mood changer for me, so a spoonful of this stuff can change my attitude in a moment.

- Theo Fig, Fennel, and Almond Dark Chocolate
It's a go-to thank-you-for-having-me gift. I need to start carrying more of these around. Local chocolate can make, in my opinion, a decent small gift to say, “Dude, thanks. You totally rock my socks!” 70% cacao. Vegan. Local. Fair trade. Organic. All set. I picked out this bar for Mackenzie.
There's even a TEDtalk about 'em.

- Rolled Oats
I like to keep a bag of oats on me at all times. They’re light, super cheap, easy to prepare, filling, and perfect for those times where you would eat anything and just need a small bite to keep you sustained. It might cost me $0.15-24 for a small bag. I can eat them raw when I find myself desperate.

- Strawberries, Sweet Potatoes, Water

So that’s how I roll and that’s what I’m eating today. Brown rice cakes, soynut butter, and carrots... lots of carrots. I think I have an orange I might eat too. Simple and filling. All that I’m really, really missing is some greens. I let myself indulge in some sort of food that will get me more vegetables sometime during the day such as a Subway sandwich with as many veggies as they'll give me (no meat or cheese) or a cup of soup.

Written on February 27th, 2012 when on the road from Sacramento, California to Portland, Oregon.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"So You're Alive" - California Weekend Exploration - 1,800 Miles With Beautiful Strangers

"So you're alive!" was my greeting as I entered the campus library this morning. It was my favourite librarian who had heard of my plans Thursday afternoon.

"And where did you end up going?"

And this is the quick summery she was given.

"Thursday night a man from Craigslist drove me to Portland where I stayed with the girl I met in the warehouse. In the morning, another Craigslist ride drove me to Berkeley where I danced and met up with someone who let me crash their place in San Francisco. We made it down to Palo Alto and stayed with a girl from Singapore in her hotel in Santa Clara. From there, Caltrain to San Francisco. Bus to Sacramento. Bus to Portland. Ride to Seattle. Arrived at 2 AM."

That is almost the briefest summery I can give.

Wait! Let me try again.

Seattle -> Portland -> Berkeley -> San Francisco->  Palo Alto -> Santa Clara -> San Francisco -> Sacramento -> Portland -> Seattle

Bold implies that I slept there.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

On ADHD and Being Weird

With Amica in Paonia, Colorado
"One of her little friends who she thought was her BFF told her she couldn't be friends with her anymore because she acts 'too weird.'"

I was browsing the status updates of my mates when I came across this sentence and it definitely touched a nerve in me.


Which of us ADHDers haven't been called weird?
If you haven't, kindly exit this post with your self control and lack of wild thoughts.

And now, who's left? All the weird ones?

I've been singled out as peculiar with a league of words - from unusual to odd to random to unique to special to strange. Rarely is this said in a condescending tone - usually it's after I've done something and they're thinking, "Is this kid for real?"

Sometimes the words stick. Not saying they penetrate and shove me down into negativeness. But sometimes they stick. I remember last time I was weird was on February 4, 2012. I doubt that person even remembers making the remark.

I can't speak for all folks with ADHD, but I've noticed that, for me, my brain runs a bit different of a route than the brains of other people. Instead of linear thoughts that flow, my brain likes to hobble around and leap onto new ideas. Different words in a sentence latch on and take over mid-conversation and I have to develop strategies to keep keyed in, sometimes, not always.

So, we've got these random thoughts going on.
Usually the sort of thoughts you keep to yourself.
What else classifies those with ADHD?

AH! That's right! We're impulsive! Impulsive to a fault. Impulsive enough that is has affected our lives enough to be diagnosed with having a disorder. See that's the difference between those with ADHD symptoms and those with legitimate ADHD. To have ADHD, these symptoms need to be have a stark-negative-can't-ignore-it effect on your life. A lot of folks say, "Yo! I'm ADHD, I'm random and don't like to do homework." Oh man. If only it was just that. It's really gotta be cramping your style, tilting things about and doing all it can to keep you from moving forwards. For me, I was going absolutely nuts at home.

I've gotten the idea that, in general, most folks censor their thoughts and words a bit before revealing them to the public. I can't say I say everything that comes to mind, I do keep things tucked away, but there are certain thoughts that I blurt out that most would consider not something to be shared.

I tell the world about how I used to make patterns with my blood when I had bloody noses.

These thoughts that they might not think of sometimes come out of my mouth.
And then their brain gets the unexpected.
And, for them, that gets filed away as "weird."
Let's see what Merriam Webster has to say about that:

weird     adj     \'wird\
1 : of, relating to, or caused by witchcraft or the supernatural: MAGICAL
2 : of strange or extraordinary character: ODD, FANTASTIC

Now looking at that, the first definition isn't one to be messed with - apparently weird means "magical" which I already am if you take away my umlaut and turn me into the "magi." We'll skip the witchcraft, though.

But the second one sticks out to me as I know what strange means. And I love extraordianry and fantastic! Take note that strange has among its definitions:

a archaic : of, relating to, or characteristic of another country : FOREIGN
b : not native to or naturally belonging in a place : of external origin, kind, or character
a : not before known, heard, or seen : UNFAMILIAR
b : exciting wonder or awe : EXTRAORDINARY

For me, when I first saw those definitions back when I was 16 or so, it flicked on a little switch in my brain and I went, "Ohhhhh!" When people say I'm "strange" it simply means they aren't familiar with my ways. I'm not the kind of person they've encountered before and "strange" is how they describe it.

And they're right. I am sort of foreign. I haven't conformed to society in totallity - what a novel idea! And when they're neck high in the rat race and someone like me skitters across their path, they're often thinking, "What?" How'd she do that?" because it hasn't even occured to them that they could take the next left and hop in an air balloon.
I know strange can have negative connotations that may be implied, but looking at the original meaning, it explains what's going on in them that encourages them to tell me that I'm "strange."
And if you look in those definitions, also listed are terms like "exciting wonder," "extraordinary," and "fantastic."
And that, I think, is where ADHDers can also be viewed.

Self portrait in Paonia, CO.
Sometimes you do feel like you're on the outside of something great, tapping on it to get in, and you can't ever find the door.

But being a non-conformist can be perceived in infinite ways at different stages of life.
If we skip back to grade school, here we don't always have such luck. I can't speak for all, simply me, but in my experiences, grade school was a time where the majority seemed to be trying to fit in. Conformity was the key for the mainstream and being unusual wasn't considered an asset. Not saying it wasn't appreciated and loved. I found my place. I found my way. But I never felt fully at home. I never felt "naturally belonging" in school.

But then I grew out of the schools where they try and box you up and started encountering the world of folks that gave up on being smashed into a box long ago!
That's where things worked out and this is where I especially appreciate being me.

Now I can surround myself with folks who celebrate the idea of living a near-uninhibited life. These beautiful people encourage creativity, which can now be considered an asset.

And over time, I've learned to sort of, kind of control the weird. Yes, it certainly breaks loose and reeks havok at time, but I feel solid enough, now, in my identity to feel secure in being me within the boundaries of not negatively affecting others.

I think that's the key.
Good will. Good intentions.When people see that you mean no harm, that you're not out to prove yourself, I think they often let down their guards with you.

And that, right there, is another benefit of this weird-ness and one that I find highly valuable. In seeing my freedom, I've seen others break out of the mold in my company. I've heard folks tell me, "I feel like when I'm around you, I can be me." And isn't that something to celebrate?

So you can call me weird. You can single me out as strange.
I can't deny those terms. I can't say I don't deserve them.
I know who I am.

Thank you to all the beautiful people in my life who have surrounded me with the love that I thrive on.

Disciplining as a Nanny :: Lying, Whining, and Deliberate Disobedience

Note: The kids I nanny rarely need correction and are, in general, an absolutely wonderful crew of angelic happy folks. Especially the girl in this photograph. I don't seek out chances to correct behaviour and prefer to let kids be crazy kids. But crazy kids need boundaries to be healthy crazy kids.

I started nannying two to four hours a week when I was around 14 years old. This week I will be caring for six children for a combined total of 23 hours in addition to my twenty-credit work load. I’ve cared for single children and I’ve spent mornings taking care of 15 kids while attempting to speak four languages (American English not being one of them because I had to refer to cookies as “biscuits”).

And what do I think kids need in order to thrive? Healthy boundaries.

Kids need to know the limits. They can push them a few times, but eventually they will know what is acceptable and operate happily within them. I’m not talking about limiting their creativity, individuality, or independence. The wildest and most unhappy kids I’ve seen are the ones whose parents can’t draw the lines for them. Their the ones who have the parents whose “no” never really means “no.” While the kids may think that the wishy washy parents works to their advantage, I believe that beneath even what they can acknowledge, they are craving boundaries. When you know that they’re in control, you can feel safe. There is comfort in knowing what to expect.

But many parents, these days, seem to think that discipling and correcting children isn’t always right. They slack off on correcting their behavior which can injure a child in the long run. We're raising a generation that doesn't respond to correction.

As a nanny, my interactions with children are quite different from that that they have with their adults. I don’t see myself as just their passive playmate (although I definitely fill that role and will play for hours with each child). If that’s what the parents want of me, just to play and give in to their every desire, I can do that. But normally I prefer it to be more so me also helping raise the child and encouraging them to become better people who know themselves. I rarely need to take action, but sometimes kids misbehave and I have to let them know from the very start that I expect virtuous behavior from them.

I have found that they react very quickly to correction and praise.

And, the key is that I call them out on their good behaviour. I call them out on it over and over. I love praising them! Love it! It never gets old I love praising them to their parents in front of the kids. I love telling them how much I appreciate the wonderful things they do. I like to praise and acknowledge good behavior at least ten times more than anything negative, normally more.

Kids love to be praised. They try to be good. They want to be good. And I want them to know their their efforts are being noticed. I know it isn’t easy. I want them to act in ways to earn the praise instead of pushing limits to see how I react.

But sometimes they do misbehave.

I do have my discipline voice and my kids know it well. It is very distinct, solemn, and straight forward. I do not crack a smile when using it. I don’t ever use it in jest or play. I only stop using it once the kid understands that what they did was wrong and we’ve worked through it. I’ll break out of it sooner if I’m working with the kid on talking about why they did what they did.

There are three cases when I’ll use it and two behaviors that I consider to be unacceptable.

One is lying. Sometimes, kids lie when it seems a whole lot easier than telling the truth. Lying is completely and totally unacceptable and never tolerated by me. I consider it to be a serious offense that needs to be dealt with as it weakens our relationship when I feel I can't trust their word. I need the kids to know that they can’t slip one past me. They need to know that they will be caught. This isn't just for my own benefit now. They need to learn at an early age that it doesn’t work out. It's a life lesson that truth really is the best policy.

Second is acting with the intentions of harming someone else.

Third case I might use the voice is deliberate disobedience and acts of defiance.

Accidents are fine. If I know a kid wasn’t trying to be bad when something happens, I don’t make a big deal of it. Something breaks? They drop something? They really didn’t know? No problem. They have to help clean up the mess, usually, but they can tell from my tone of voice and attitude that I don’t hold it against them in any way. Accidents really don't phase me. What matters to me are the intentions behind the actions.

But, let’s say they aren’t behaving. What do I normally do?

First, if the family has a structured method the kids are used to, I always use that. I always respect the wishes of the parents. I had one family where all I had to say is, “There will be consequences.” Then, if I had to, I would tell the parents when they got home and they dealt with it. It was a system that worked quite well.

Sometimes, kids just want attention. Actually, I think they always want attention - and they’ll do crazy things to get it - and sometimes those crazy things are not what they ought to be doing (I’m all for silliness and nonsense, but there are lines - I do not encourage kids to chew with their mouth open or yell in the faces of others). Frequently, in these cases where the silly slips into not-quite-appropriate, I’ll just turn my head and not acknowledge the action. I will look above their heads and ignore them completely for as long as they act in that way. The moment they are back to acceptable behaviour, I look them in the eyes and interact in full again.

This method has been quite effective as, sometimes by even acknowledging their ill-behavior, for them, it’s like a reward. They wanted attention and got it. But my depriving them of all attention when they act in such a way, they realize that it really isn’t too fun at all. They learn that they will get my attention most when they act appropriately. The important thing is I don't carry out the ignoring any longer than needed. I like them to be able to see instant results.

For lying and sneakiness, they need to learn that telling the truth is always the best policy and that deceitfulness will never turn out well. The first step is usually to get them to understand what is happening. They need to understand that what they’re doing is lying (and I do not ever call the kid a liar). They need to know that I want to be able to trust them and their behaviour is breaking that trust. Then we need to figure out why they thought they had to lie or try and deceive me. Sometimes, at this point, they feel a bit vulnerable. They might have been scared I would get mad if I knew the truth. I definitely don’t crack down on them, at this point. They know lying is unacceptable. They get to hear my normal tone now as I reassure them that telling the truth would have been better. They need to know how I would have reacted to the truth. As soon as we both understand, we move on. Simple as that.

I want my kids to know that I don’t hold anything against them. Once something is over and in the past, it’s over. I won't reference it again.

If a kid is out of control (very very uncommon), time-outs seem to be effective. They let the kid cool down. If they are having a melt-down (a stage I understand very well) discipline is rarely an option. At that point, I want to do my best to help them calm down. I remember in my melt-downs, I was miserable and often just wanted someone to reach out and help me snap out of it. There are points where we’re past discipline, where that won’t do anything. At that point they need a friend because there is something deeper going on. Well, at least there was for me.

For deliberate physical harm (such as hitting) - it is a direct time-out with no questions asked. They quickly learn that it isn’t tolerated. I don’t give warnings. They know it’s not right. They need to learn that when they get angry or frustrated, it is unacceptable to take it out on another human being. No excuses.

For whiners and complainers I take two roads (neither are discipline). Sometimes it’s a mental state for a kid. Then, I try and discuss with them what is going on. We talk about perspectives and how we can change them and choose how we view a situation. We talk about how they gain nothing from the negativity (I have one kid in particular who is the King of Negative). However, sometimes it’s just a bout of complaining. If I forsee it coming, I might tell the kid well in advance that for every time they complain, I’ll complain too. Seeing me complain let’s them see how ridiculous it is. Usually it get’s them laughing too. Sometimes they don’t like it when I complain (“Stop it!”) to which I let them know that it’s easy to get me to stop, they just have to stop themselves. Regardless, they tend to stop pretty quick.

With deliberate acts of disobedience, I feel like this is the kids testing limits. They know what I said and what to know what happens if they go against that. I rarely encounter this more than a few times. I give a consequence that fits the situation then and there and they soon learn that I’m one to keep my word. That is a clear boundary and limit for them. From there, we do just fine.

If a kid is acting in a way that I think isn’t the best, distraction is often a terrific method. No, they don’t need discipline. I can tell them “no” but then it turns into a matter of discipline which we don’t always want to deal with. Sometimes, I just have to direct them towards another activity and catch their eye with that. Kids can only handle being “controlled” so much by adults. I think they do have their limits and hearing “no” all the time can wear them down (some parents take this to the extreme) if they interpret it as me thinking that they’re a bad kid. So when I can just move them along, it works out well.

And that’s about it. I usually try and give the kids a choice as often as possible. I think it’s wonderful when they are allowed to make choices. When we enter into a disagreement (such as that they don’t want to take a bath but I know they need to take one), I like to give them two choices. Within these choices, I always “get my way” (that sounds awful) but it makes the kids feel like they’re at least somehow in control of the situation as well (“Do you want to take your bath now or in 20 minutes? Do you want a short or long bath?”).

As said before, though, more important than any of this is to praise them. I always need to be on the look out for good behaviour and acknowledge it out loud. I need to call them out on what they do right so they start deliberately doing good and being polite and helpful until it becomes a habit. I have yet to meet a kid who doesn’t like to be praised and doesn’t like to be told, “I am so proud of you and appreciate you.”

I don’t talk down to my kids, I talk straight to them.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Alaska :: Concrete Reality

So we're supposed to be in Alaska by mid-April? Early April?

What does that leave me? 50 days, I think. I think it's around 50 days till we'll leave for Alaska.
Definitely less than two months.

I don't know that I've mentioned this yet. Alaska is actually becoming a concrete reality of something that is, as of now, going to happen.

Who is the "we" that are going. I'm not sure. Maybe more. Not less. But we'll have Tyler, Andrew, and I from Seattle to Haines and then back to Seattle eventually (unless I feel that my normal bouts of joy are being inhibited, then I'd come back early without them). I've met them both on a Thursday in May, then the next day I saw them again through Saturday. Then I saw them for around 2 hours in September. They seem like solid folks, though, in multiple ways.

What is my hesitation? My only reservation?

Contra dancing! Ahhh! I really don't want to leave the Pacific Northwest Contra Scene behinds. I really don't want to leave it at all. I don't want to leave these wonderful people and dance opportunities. I left contra for three-four months this year and missed it a bounty. I need my three to six to nine to sixteen hours of sweaty spinning each week.

But these are my only hesitations, at this moment. I can't think of anything else holding me back in Washington state. My hesitation is leaving contra behind.

My goal? Get to Alaska by April 15th for the Alaska Folk Festival where I can dance.
And if I stay till the first week in August, the Retrospectacles will come up to Juneau for a dance camp I could attend.

Infatuated with Affection

An occurrence I have to keep watch for, with myself, is acknowledging and knowing the difference between being infatuated with a person and being infatuated with the idea of having all of their affection, in that moment, directed at me.

Some (many) folks fall in love with the idea of being in love. Seems it was an idea that we were fed from a very early age. It was a concept we were introduced to years before it need even be dealt with. So, we've got the folks in love with the idea of being in love and being loved...

And this is where some problems can occur.

Some relationships can start on that basis. Responding to someone directing their affection towards you can produce results that can be mistaken for you having love for the other person. But this "love" has a chance of being a "love" perverted and based off of a self-love and craving for attention.

See the danger in that?

I’ve seen countless girls and guys enter into relationships just because they finally found someone who would care for them. They were craving someone’s affection and ready to give their heart to the first person that would take advantage of the situation, quickly gaining their devotion. These relationships did not last long and were not healthy or well balanced.

"Do I like this person because they’re rad or do I merely like the idea of them liking me?” Look at the person you’re giving your heart to. Do they make you a better person? Do they challenge you to grow? Are they someone that inspires you? Someone you can respect?

When you start off a relationship on a crooked foundation that you don’t even acknowledge, building from there can have difficulties.

I perceive love to be something you work at, an action, not just a natural feeling that happens. Those feelings that just happen, especially when you first meet someone? Hormones, perhaps? They wear off eventually. Love. Wanting the absolute best for the other person. When you can put them before yourself.

And that, my dear friends, is a great deal of the reasons why I haven’t dated up until this point.

I have needed to wait and grow as a person and learn to not act based just on those “feelings.” I’m not saying good things can’t come of them or acting on them, but, knowing myself, it wouldn’t have been the best for me.

I need to wait. Patiently wait.

I know that younger me was not ready to enter into a relationship (by my standards). By what the world expects, yes, I probably could have done fine, but it wouldn’t have been healthy for me. I don’t intend to date a lot of guys, ever. I don’t expect to need more than one hand to list of the number of guys I’ve dated. Goodness, I don’t even know, at this point, if anything will ever even happen. Because for something to happen, someone has to like this awkward soul and, on top of that, I have to like them and we have to like each other at the same time. And, well, I’m not too worried about it. Whatever happens will happen.

Do I want to be alone? Naw. Not really. Would I like to get married? Sure. Would love to (not now). But I also know that I’m pretty content and rad being just Mägi, unattached, and that the future might not have room for another person to share it with me. As of now, it would not surprise me if, in a decade or more or less, I was living in a home and refuge for teens who weren’t given a healthy environment to grow in and need to get away from their situations in order to start off on the right foot. I might end up there in that home. And this is already more than just an image in my head, I can tell you that. Ever heard of Ontario? Yeah. Me too.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sleeping Around :: [numbers, photo compilation, listings]

Out of the past 26 weekends (exactly half a year), I have spent only four full weekends at home in Seattle. The other 22 have been spent in partiality or totality elsewhere.
One was Christmas.
One was Thanksgiving.
One was my grandparents’ anniversary.
And as for the only weekend spent in Seattle in 2012, that one was here due to a fabulous dance camp.

Beyond that, weekends have taken me to Bowen Island, BC; Vancouver, BC; Naniamo, BC; Chehalis, BC; Langley, BC; Whistler, BC; Bellingham, WA; Olympia, WA; Cle Elum, WA; Lopez Island, WA, etc. I’ve “laid me down to sleep" on around 18 different beds, bunk-beds, couches, and mats these past few whiles. I’ve slept in my tent in the snow, in beds squished between others, on buses, trains, cars, and ferries, on three different islands, and off the trail up the the overgrown hill in the middle of the trees.

If we extended this count to all of 2011, I’ve slept on a roofs (the first night into the new year), in the hay, in the most wondrous art house in the company of 80 dancers, in my tent all set up in a warehouse and flat in Portland, hotel in Austin, Cupcake Manour, fields, Purple House, Big Yellow House, an old quarry, in a crawl space hole attic place, and you can add yet another island to the mix.

I wonder where I’ll end up next weekend...

Photos are of most of the places I slept in 2011 although there's a handful of missing places of beds such as at Emily's place in Langley, BC; Nina's place on Vancouver Island; Joelle's place; the Ranch, Cle Elum, WA; L'Abri, Bowen Island, BC; Mary-Ann's, Bowen Island, BC....

Friday, February 17, 2012

When I Was Seventeen

Life presents to me people of a wide range of ages. Today I spent a wonderful amount of time with one of my favourite three-year-olds. One of my favourite people in my speech class is in her early 40s. Whereas, in the traditional college bubble I might be living life among the same-aged, I am grateful to always be with folks who are various stages of life.

And when I'm around these folks, I like to imagine what life was like for me at that stage, or what it will be like.

3. 7. 12. 15. 17. 18. 19. 21. 23. 24. 25. 27. 28. 30. 35. And then the point where they don't always tell you their age.

One person I cam across was 17.

I leaped back to 17 years of age (four years ago) and it took me back to my year as an exchange student

It was my year of train hopping.

My year of hanging out with people from countries all over the world - Iceland, Australia, South Africa, Argentina, Korea, Ecuador, Canada, China, Mexico, Honduras, Japan, German, Italy, Switzerland.
It was my year where I found myself climbing fences in Venice ("Bandito! Bandito!"), sleeping in a wheat field in Switzerland, stuffing pillows up my shirt in Italy, and rocking out to classical music in Vienna.

It was the year where I learned to live with three families and formed a solid family with other students from around the world as grew in incredible ways and were stretched to our limits.

It was the year where they tried to teach me German, Swiss German, French, and Italian all at once when I only knew Spanish and English.

But most importantly, this was the year when, for the first time since elementary school, I truly felt like I had learned to be myself in totality and that person was accepted. Well, not in totality, I had spurts of "me-ness" in different communities, but it didn't surround my entire being.

I always felt a bit like an outsider. I didn't necessarily feel alone. I just never felt like I was "in" with any sort of crowd. Ok, there were times when all was swell, but I still think I was suppressing a lot of "me."

When I went to Switzerland, I felt beautifully liberated as I explored who I was and expressed that for the world to see.

I grew more as a seventeen year old than I think I ever had grown. It was a powerful turning point in my life. I can't say it was or will be the best year of my life (no way! there are still incredible adventures to come!) but I can certainly say that it was the finest year as a seventeen year old I could imagine for myself.

I appreciate it for what it was.
I love everything that came out of it.

And then, the last three months of being seventeen. Well, that's when I was introduced to the world of of panic attacks. Guess there's a season for everything.

Ever since then, my number one guaranteed trigger for crying is people being united. I'll do a post on that later.

Oh seventeen....

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Is This What It's Like to Be "Normal"?

I am so normal that I take self portraits in front of my sock wall while being patriotically Lego Star Wars-clad. Shame on me for taking a self portrait. I wanted to document that my hair was crazy crimped after Hannah's braiding of it was left in for three days.
Sometimes I have magical days like today.

Today, I just did a solid four hour session of homework.
Oh the joys of hyper-focusing capabilities combined with the power of meds.

I arose at 6:12 AM to make Melanie french toast and popcorn and say good-bye as she heads back to L'Abri. It was refreshingly wonderful to see her again.

I allowed myself some unrestrained introvert time from 7:05 - 9:03 AM.

(I haven't had any intro-time since Wednesday last week, it's been solid people the rest of the time except for a two hour break on Friday:
Thursday - school until 8:50 PM, straight to contra till 11 PM, straight to work
Friday - work from 6:45 AM until mid-day, leave for concert in Seattle by 5:45 PM, Scotty comes over
Saturday - go to Bellingham with same kid, hang out with Alex and Kelli and see Venice and Vienna, straight to contra dancing, straight from contra to Canada
Saturday through Monday - Canada in wonderful house with 7-9 other folks
Monday - leave Canada 6:30 AM straight to picking up Melanie who stays until Wednesday morning, Tractor Tavern square dance in evening
Tuesday - school until 8:50 PM, straight to concert with Mel and Alex until 11 PM)

9:04 AM I began my assignments.
And kept going.

  • Geology Pre-Lab Quiz
  • Geology Lab 5.1
  • Geology Quiz
  • Study guide for next week's Geology midterm
  • 35 minutes on Sociology of Families outline

And I was about to make some soup, but instead, I think I'll just keep working.

Is this what it's like for normal people?
Is this how it works when I see other students doing their homework?

They just think, "Golly, now would be a swell time to get this stuff done. Why? Because it needs to get done. I'll do it now." And then they do it.

I am driven by the motivation of achieving that "I'm finished!" feeling.

Such satisfaction in the feelings of accomplishment.
Time to get back to work because there's a whole lot more of it to do. I want to get completed up through next Tuesday.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I Hold Nothing Against You Valentines Day :: In Fact, I Rather Think I Enjoy You

Valentines day.

Know what that means?

It means that Facebook should be avoided for a day as folks post their either loathing or joy in the day of love. Many attempt to be witty. A handful will refer to "Singles Awareness Day." A more lovelier bunch will wish me a "Happy Valentines Day," and I'll take their wishes to heart and have a happy day.

And where do I stand?

I think it's a lovely day. Celebrating it has always been amusing. Last year, a handful of the Mob family (the flash mob community) and I headed for Capital Hill armed with flowers, chocolates, and I had pocketfuls of old slides. We skittered around as Seattle sprinkled down on us, handing our treats out to strangers, wishing them wonderful Valentines day.

At school, I handed out Valentines Day buttons I had made to people who captured my eye. For many, they told me it was the only valentine they would receive that year.

In 2009, the Seattle Improvement Society went and did a freeze at the Seattle Center. Roswita from Switzerland was visiting. She, Brent, Christian, and I went up in the Ferris Wheel before heading over to the EMP Sound-Off where Dyno Jamz were champions.

2010 was devoted to cheering for our favourite Olympian.

Valentines day is not a day devoted to feeling sorry for yourself. If you're stuck in that rut, you don't sound like someone I'd be keen to know. You can either be oblivious to this day (acceptable choice) or rejoice in it.

Goodness! This day is to show your affection for others! How rad is that?!

I'm sure being with someone is swell. But I'm just as certain that where I am right now is definitely where I want to be right now. On this day, I don't want to be attached to someone, not when I'm only 21 years and 4 months old. Maybe when I'm 21 years and 5 months, but not 4 months.

Here's 2011's take on Valentines Day that I posted on the Book of Faces:

I can barely keep track of the numbers - of how many people either dissed Valentines Day (commenting on cards and chocolate or money), wittingly called it "Singles Awareness Day," or wished this happy day, ever so personally, to the world through their status update.

How did I celebrate this day? How'd I spread the love?

Through the three happiest things I know: buttons, tea, and slides.

I made up a set of Valentine's buttons before school and attached them to bags of Good Earth Sweet & Spicy tea. Those were for row and bus mates and dreary looking folks around the SCC campus.

Then, in the evening, me and the other mobbers took to the streets of Capital Hill sharing the joy and love we had. We were armed, as mobbers should be, with flowers, chocolates, and I brought at least 132 slides.

We raced the streets, encountering folks who were in the same story/windy/rainy circumstance as us, and hand handed out goods wishing them a wonderful night.

"Happy Valentines Day!"

We wandered into nail and hair salons, showering everyone within with chocolate kisses, slides, and smiles.

It was wonderful to look people in the eye and wish them a Happy Valentines Day. I loved looking back to see my path of destruction - people holding up little slides to the street lamps and then tucking them into their wallets to pull out again later.

On the bus, I handed them to those folks that looked pretty, well, down. One woman looked miserable but after the slide, she didn't stop smiling for the rest of the bus trip. Another man I gave the slide to looked like he was going to cry as he said thanks. Not sure what was going on there...

Anyways, this day could be all about moping around being single. But, truth is, being single is how I want to be at this point in life. It's not something I need to change or am discontent about. Valentine's day isn't a day to be bitter. It's a pretty fantastic day to make other folks smile and a good excuse to give away small gifts.

And it looks like, even a year later, my brain is still in the place it was last year with nothing new to say. Maybe that's something I need to work on...

Tonight's Valentines day will be celebrated with phở and a jazz jam at Owl 'n' Thistle along with an evening class that goes till 8:50 PM. Love this day.

Monday, February 6, 2012

You Know That Dancing You Do Alone In Your Bedroom....

I dance socially, ideally, three times a week (but often it's slimmed down to one or two times) -- but then there's my solo dancing I get to do in my house.

Everyone dances in their bedroom -- right?

Upon getting home from a glorious weekend of 16 hours of dancing, I saw a video posted by Matt Fisher of the dance and there in the video was me. Up until this point, I hadn't seen myself contra dance before ('cept a crappy video where I'm represented by approximately 3 pixels). I haven't seen myself blues dance. I've only seen myself in flash mobs and squares.

So here I was in this video and it was quite interesting. Here's the video posted:

I'm the one in the electric pink dress. Can't miss it. I make an appearance at 3:40 and 4:50. At this point we had been dancing for well over 4 minutes and had already danced for around 6-7 hours that day. We're also at the end of the line where confusion can sometimes occur. Hence, a bit lack of smoothness, but you still get the idea.

Anyways, I watched this video and I was like, "DUDE! That's what people see."
And it made me laugh.

And then I thought, "What does my happy-self-pyjama-solo dancing look like that I do when the house is cleared out and empty?" I had no idea. I've always been a bit of a self-proclaimed awkward dancer. However my body feels like moving, well, that's how I move.

So I got out the camera and this is what I saw...

Yep. You get to see what it looks like when I do my silly bedroom dancing (although that is not my bedroom). This isn't any sort of dance. This is me whirling and moving how my body wants to move when music plays. Since it's movement to music, I guess we can call it dance or flailing. Whatever it is, it makes me feel really good.

I bounce enough to upset stuff and knock it off the shelves.

When I look out towards behind the camera, I can see the beautiful sunny Cascades. That's something I love. 

I do dance by myself frequently. People gotta move! I gotta wiggle and squirm. And I think it is a beautiful fine thing to let yourself move without any guidance or form or thoughts. Maybe not the best to watch, but I find it amusing.

Solo bedroom dancing is an acceptable stand to hold me over till the next social dance night, I'd say.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Half Birthday Celebrations

There's something you need to know about my family. It's really important.

We like half birthdays. We love them! Especially my dad.
We even find it important to celebrate them.

I started the half birthday celebrations the night before my dad's big day. About two weeks ago, someone mentioned yeast waffles.

Yeast waffles? Why had I not heard of these yet. Or if I had heard of them, hadn't eaten them?

I didn't have an good answer so I decided to take matters into my own hands and make some up.

Whole wheat flour + yeast + coconut oil + water + milk + eggs + honey.
Over night.
Fluffy and ready for baking by morning.

6:24 AM, I rose and tuned into the White Girl Radio Hour hosted by one of my favourite people, Tucker, and a girl who's lovely, I'm sure, named Emlyn. It started with some rousing K-Pop and ended with an engaging reading of Emily Dickonson's "I'm Nobody! Who Are You?" By 7 PM, waffles were being churned out every 4.5 minutes or so.

Table set with coconut water, kefir, and waffle toppings.

The family ate breakfast together.

And then, mid-meal, my dad has this song stuck in his head that he doesn't know. Baa ba ba ba he sang to me, and I couldn't pick it. "It's like a song you listened to in Switzerland."

"Frans Liedje?"
And I started to sing, "Avec moi dans tes bras, tout est magnifique!" and, bingo, we had a winner!

Frans Liedje (French Love) is a Dutch song with French influences that I was introduced to by Astrid and Fabian of the Netherlands back in 2006.

You need to listen to it so you can be amused at the fact that it was stuck in my poor father's head.. and after he hadn't heard it for around five years. I'm impressed.

His Facebook page (which he almost never checks) was full of half birthday greetings. He discovered the puzzling world of tagged photographs.

Overall, a joyous morning.
Had some spinach to balance things out.
I like this household.

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