I had an interesting, introspective weekend - interesting to me, at least. Since my lunch with Dave on Friday I've been doing a lot of thinking about fear, goals, and living as one's authentic self; I do think on these subjects often, but something he said brought them to mind again, more potently.

My parents and I went to the spring garden sale at the Botanical Gardens where my mother purchased too many plants for my small yard, but which I will relish as I watch them grow, thrive, and bloom; by the time I'm done with it my backyard should be a veritable tropical paradise, shaded by the palms Cathy gave us as well as the collection of tibouchina, tree fern, hibiscus, and other tropical beauties my mom purchased. Since I'm still not supposed to do any heavy lifting I just planted a few of the smaller items in the front, like the Swiss chard, lemon balm, and Greek oregano I selected. I'm trying to grow a good selection of greens throughout the summer so I can cut down on the salad I need to buy, all of which comes in either plastic bags or boxes. Right now I have rows of tiny sprouts of red mustard, shungiku chrysanthemum, and beetberry. I was going to plant cabbages, but those really do better in cooler weather, so I'll wait until autumn.

We went to CPWC's breakfast this morning, but it wasn't really worth writing about; it was what I expected, nothing more or less, devoid of any real highs or lows. The Lamplight Circle meet-up I went to this afternoon, however, was great and I had a wonderful time and feel like I really learned a lot. Ty gave a presentation on Scott Cunningham, who is still absolutely the most accessible Wiccan author, and we discussed our own views of his teachings and our experience(s) with them. It's always good to get together with like-minded people and this meet-up was especially reaffirming and satisfying for me, because Scott Cunningham's books are what really made it clear that Wicca was (and is) the right path for me.

I have a follow-up appointment early tomorrow. I'm a bit apprehensive because I've been having some abdominal pain for the last two days, although it hasn't been nearly as intense as the pain the gallstones caused.

I need to do some research in to how Lamplight Circle can establish a community garden in my neighborhood. I know the space is available, but gaining access to it legally isn't something I know how to do. I also need to write some letters, specifically to Delgado and Touro's emergency department, otherwise I won't be able to move forward.
Sometimes when I look at people all I can see is a series of bad decisions. That looks so terrible, written there, but it's true so I'm not going to delete it. People just let fear and poor self-esteem eat up so much of their lives and I'm no different, although I like to imagine I have a better handle on it than most; I have at least learned, for the most part, to "feel the fear but do it anyway."

And so many people are willing to blame others for everything, or complain when they should be grateful for what they have. I'm no different- I do it, but I'm working at growing beyond that. I already send "thank you" notes whenever I receive a gift, whether I wanted it or not, whether I can use it or not, and I often take the time to focus on what is good in my life, even when things are bad; when I was so sick that I often couldn't get out of bed the only thing that kept me going was reminding myself of the things for which I should have felt grateful. Now that things are good I'm learning to live without constantly fearing that they will go bad and part of that process is keeping a gratitude journal; I'm not Christian, but I am grateful, so it's something that works for me.

Everyday we create ourselves, choose our path, control how we will think, behave, and speak, and are given the opportunity to do better, seek balance, give of ourselves, and live in awareness, but so often we instead choose to believe we are a product of our circumstances, that others' "make" us feel bad about ourselves, or that things will be so much better when we reach some specific goal, like losing weight or getting a raise. Really, our lives will always be imperfect no matter how many of those little goals we set for ourselves are achieved and there's nothing wrong with that, because our task should be to endure and enjoy the lives we make and, hopefully, to leave our shared world a better place for having had us.

I'm starting to agree with that imbecile, Cash, that "if you're going to do something you might as well do it with a glad heart."
I desperately want to paint, sculpt, and quilt again and somehow combine all three mediums. It's just a matter of making the time and finding the money, but I believe it can be done, so I've got to do it, because at my core I'm an artist who wants to make art, not advertisements or landscaping or even useful fiber objects- that's all there is to it, I just need art.
enduringplum: (Default)
( Jan. 20th, 2009 05:17 pm)
I dropped Miranda off at my dad's late in the morning, after Miranda and I had spent some time nursing and watching the inauguration; our new president's speech wasn't as overwhelmingly positive as his past speeches have been, but it was still infused with his Majestic Radiant Appearance (you Exalted people will understand) and I appreciated the more down-to-earth tone. I was horribly stressed out over the presidential race and extremely relieved when Obama was elected. Now I would say I'm cautiously optimistic and filled with a feeling of hope that I want to hide away, lest it get snatched away.

After dropping Miranda off with my dad I grabbed lunch at Taco Bell, then went to what is possibly my favorite (or at least the one un-hated) of the big box stores, Target, to shop. I went in feeling miserable about the shape of my body and my general appearance, but feel a whole helluva lot better now that I've changed in to some of my new clothes, which fit properly and are flattering to my figure. I will need to hem up the jeans, since I'm a shorty, and adjust the straps of the two camisoles I bought, because I'm a busty shorty, but I'm happy with everything I bought. I may go back to see if I can get another color of the sweater I bought, because it's comfortable and very flattering to my figure, but I don't remember seeing any others in my size; I would have liked the green one, because it's not a color I often wear.

When I picked Miranda up she was in a very good mood and so was my dad. He really enjoys looking after her and it was good for me to get out of the house, so I think the short break was good for everyone. Carl got home shortly after I did, so the whole family went on a walk, including Conrad, who is once again learning how to behave well on a leash.

I'm glad I got out of the house- I really need to make a point to get outside every day, even if it is just for a walk around the block with Miranda- because I was definitely sinking in to a sad, little funk. Today was rejuvenating and now that I'm feeling better about my appearance I feel like a weight has been lifted from me, which is a huge relief; I hadn't realized how badly that was hindering me.
enduringplum: (Geisha)
( Dec. 10th, 2007 12:05 pm)
If nothing else, this drawing class has got me drawing again and rebuilding my confidence at tackling my subjects on the scale and with the amount of detail I enjoy. Behind the cut are two self portraits, one done in about forty minutes on December fifth and another done in around two hours on December ninth.

Self Portraits )

Much of the difference between the two drawings has to do with confidence level: the first one is the first portrait I've done since some time in 2002, but it also has to do with pain level; on the fifth I was having a lot of fatigue, pain, and muscle burning, but I felt pretty good yesterday, so I was able to sit for much longer and observe myself better. When I look at the second self portrait, I can still see the errors, but I also recognize them as errors I could have avoided if I had taken a moment to step back from my work and observe it from a distance, so they don't bother me too much. The first self portrait is so inferior to most of the work I do that it's not even really worth noting the problems in it, but it did serve to make me want to do a better job on the next portrait, if nothing else - I think of it as a warm up.
Boz Fest turned out to be completely incredible, so much so that I can't even really begin to describe everything I felt and experienced. Just one night on stage with so many consummate musicians was fantastic, even if I do now have a reputation for being a bit of a diva - heh. It was an amazing experience that I was able to share with those other Boz nuts, who appreciate my mom's music in a way very few people do, so it was just a very special time that I won't soon forget; the energy at each show and gathering was so magical and completely permeated the room! I'm looking forward to doing it again next year and I hope it will become an even bigger event! - it really needs more attention and recognition!

I felt extremely complimented when a musician friend of my mom, Vernell, complimented my voice and when David McCain said to my mom, "Holley, you got the chops, but she's really got it!" Those kinds of things really make me miss Kenneth Raphael and wish I had known Bobby better, but he died of complications from AIDS before I had grown up enough to get to know him well; I know they would have been thrilled for me and also thrilled with my "diva" moment - that is a story my mom has enjoyed telling again and again, although I didn't think anything of it at the time!

I guess I can't ever escape the fact that the New Orleans music community, and the broader one that has grown out of it, is really a part of my family. I'm most at home with those people and their successes mean nearly as much to me as they do for the individuals who are living for them.

Of all the wonderful vocalists who came, I was totally blown away by a woman from Washington DC who can sing notes even lower than my mom! Not only is she another female baritone, but she's just an incredible singer with beautiful tone, pitch, phrasing - all that.

I liked the dark haired girl from The Stolen Sweets and the whistling of one of the other girls, but I did not at all care for the style in which the other two girls sang - it was very nasal, which does allow for good vocal blending, but which is a style I just despise and a mark of poor singing ability in my view. However, The Sweets are a good group that I think will get better with age, especially when they get a little braver with their vocal range and abandon that nasal singing style.
enduringplum: (Blush)
( Sep. 30th, 2007 02:22 am)
One of my long term goals is to relocate abroad or to a meaningfully different region of the U.S. Either would fulfill me on an important emotional and spiritual level. Of course, there are many practical issues that emigrating to another country or relocating to another city will bring, but my attachment to New Orleans is what will cause me the most distress; I know I am not at all ready to leave her now, especially not right after we've been through so much, but I do believe that it will one day be absolutely necessary to move elsewhere and I hope that I will be emotionally prepared for it when that time comes, or that I will have flown the nest before. New Orleans just possesses so much inherent, gentle, often crumbling beauty that when I think of leaving I hesitate for so long thinking of everything I would be leaving behind and suddenly realize another year has faded. I would miss my friends and family and my people, but most of all I would miss the mystique and faded glamour of New Orleans herself.

In any case, I trust that I will be prepared to leave this city behind at some point in the next ten years- At the very least, I will be as ready as I'll ever be and that may have to be enough - we'll see!- and at that point I will move away, because my restlessness demands it. I often consider moving to several other American cities, specifically Eureka Springs, Seattle, New York, and Boston; I think Eureka Springs would suit me best, because of its New Age atmosphere and friendliness towards the GLBT community there, but because I want to get in to illustration work Seattle or New York may become the obvious choices.

I could be happy in several European countries, including Denmark, but I would be concerned about their policies regarding bringing American animals over, because I could not leave Conrad behind for anything. Another problem is that Carl is not only disinclined to leave New Orleans, but totally unimpressed and nonplussed about my idea to emigrate abroad! I think the long, dark winters of Denmark would be too much for him and Danish is not an easy language to learn, so it's pretty much out of the question, although I feel a deep attachment to the country. I would love to move to France, but I think Carl's hung up on a lot of American notions about France and the French in general, but he's intelligent and open-minded, so I know that he can get over that pitfall. France also has relatively lenient policies when it comes to accepting immigrants, so it would be a somewhat easier move than one to other European countries.

Of course, my black-and-white nature makes deciding these things difficult, so only time will tell. I would also be very happy building a cottage in the woods somewhere, because I so enjoy the grounding effect being surrounded by nature has on me. Of course, the most memorable experience I've had in that regard was in a pine forest in Denmark, where the woods were so profoundly silent and upright, with black ants passing inexorably over the thick, springy moss covering the forest floor, that the stillness was nearly overwhelming and I felt compelled to speak in a whisper, although I would have preferred not to speak at all. It's amazing to me, also, the subtle variations in emotional sensations that different wild places evoke, like the dark, self-possessed bayou backwaters my dad and I explored on his little, old flatboat when compared with the sacred, looming, blue mountain of Glacier National Park when reflected in a lake of water that was so crystalline that its bed of stones was obscured only by the perfect mirror image of that mountain at sundown. I could write more about seeing my first sunset on the Grand Canyon, or the vibrant colors of desert mud in the Badlands, or about watching vari-colored lightning bugs in a black-as-pitch Arkansas night in the mountains, but I've already lost sight of my original point, so I'll just stop here.
Sometimes I forget just how awesome punk is, but then I dig up one of my old records. The first sorta-kinda punk I was exposed to was, naturally, Green Day, because it was played on main stream radio. After I fell in love with that band, my mom introduced me to The Ramones, and from them I moved on to their modern counterparts The Riverdales. After the Riverdales, I had a lot of discovery to do... and I still do. I'm not sure what it is about punk, but aside from opera it's the only music that really makes me want to go to a show, although I certainly don't fit in to that scene any more; I think it's that it's just so fun, vibrant, and in-the-moment. I've been going through my flooded-out CDs little by little and rediscovering some albums I haven't even thought about in years, so getting this iPod is turning out to be a deeply rewarding experience on an almost a spiritual level.

Tomorrow morning we're heading out for Dragon Con! I picked up Girls of Riyadh to read on the drive up to Atlanta.
enduringplum: (Heart Rending)
( Jul. 23rd, 2007 05:06 pm)
My laptop arrived this morning! I am thrilled to have it and to be online with it!

I'm going to begin downloading WoW to it just as soon as I download Adium, a wonderful chat program to which Mischa introduced me when I was first experimenting with my mom's MacBook Pro. The WoW download will probably take between four and six hours, which I will spend knitting and folding laundry, then I'm uploading some of my CDs to the new lappy so I can transfer them to my iPod! I feel so hip and l33t. Carl even bought me fancy, new sunglasses to replace my long lost Ray Bans.

Now I just need to get around to doing my taxes from the last two years. Ew.
enduringplum: (Psychedella)
( Jul. 13th, 2007 03:18 pm)
I'm so excited and so thankful! My parents have very generously bought me a 17" MacBook Pro, as well as the software I'll need for the classes I'm taking in autumn. Depending on what size grants I receive (if I receive any), I may be able to repay them at least some of the cost of the computer and software, but by allowing them to buy it for me I am able to have the materials I need for my classes before they begin, which is just one more worry off my mind. My mom is keeping the free printer that comes with it because I really need something nicer and because I do not need any printer immediately.

This weekend Carl and I are doing our taxes that are overdue from the last two years specifically so I can finish filling out my applications for financial aid.

Along with the computer, I also got an iPod, but Carl and I are paying for that ourselves. We just bought it with the computer because that way we will be able to receive a 150 dollar rebate on it just as soon as it gets here and we can mail in all the proper UPCs. Because I want to rip as many of my flood-damaged CDs to it as possible, I chose the iPod capable of storing up to 20,000 songs.

Oh La La )


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