Sunday, September 24, 2017

Common Sense

I wish it was easier for me to talk to my kids. Sometimes I'm very concerned about the choices they are making and I would like to talk to them about it, share my life experiences, but I end up tongue tied.

For instance, was introduced to a new way of thinking about monogamy, or actually it is an old way to think about it, from the book "Assassin's Apprentice."

"Soldiers and sailors whore around. It's a common way for common folk. But not for royalty. Or for anyone with a bit of pride... It's fine to fall in love, Fitz, and no one begrudges a young woman or man a kiss or two... Traders bring pretty girls or well made youths to the market like so many chickens or so many potatoes. And the children they end up bearing may have names, but they don't have much else. And even when they marry, they don't stop their habits. If ever I find the right woman, I'll want her to know I won't be looking at another. And I'll want to know all my children are mine"

So in order to preserve your pride and to give your children a good upbringing you must be able to have self-control and temperance in your habits. Self respect and pride in yourself and your potential family.

This explanation is a less loaded than the religious explanation of "purity" as a reason for temperate behavior. In the one it is a matter of worthiness before "god" in the other a matter of worthiness of self and explanation for right behavior.

Following the rule of temperance due to self respect lends nobility to your actions, following the rule of "purity before god" lends an air of self righteous judgement to your actions. One is easy to defend, you have self respect and wish for a good life outcome. In the other the reasons may be the same but are harder to defend because the rationality is different.

I think that many things taught within religious scripts are good things but they obscure the essence of the thing making it a matter of following the rules set forth by an invisible god, rather than understanding that following certain rules or patterns of behavior will bring greater success than not.

Follow common sense principles to achieve success not a place in heaven. That certainly makes sense to me.


Monday, September 11, 2017

Acknowledging That Writing is Hard

It is hard, trying to force ideas to come is difficult if not impossible at times. I think that the best way for me to generate ideas is to keep a notebook with me. When something comes to me I will write it down, this is something I have done in the past but if I don't take the time to transcribe my thoughts onto the computer then they will be lost to me in the pages of a notebook.

I do need to find balance, I want to be able to relax with my family and friends but I need to somehow carve out some time to write, otherwise I won't ever develop my talent in writing.

So yes, writing is hard but I want to learn, I've wanted to learn for a long time...


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Writing Assignment: The worst hotel I've stayed in

I've had a few chances to stay in hotels throughout the years and I've gotten used to them I suppose. They are sterile, with their generic artwork, industrial carpet, stiff sheets and pillows. Of course there's usually the obligatory air-conditioner under thick blinds that spews out frigid air scented with a twinge of cigarette smoke from previous guests who thought they could get away with smoking in the room. 

Generically hotel rooms are somewhat unpleasant. 

We stayed in a little podunk hotel in Kanab this summer, the shower and toilet were in a separate space from the sink, which was a result of poor design by the builders I think. The outside was designed to fit the historical image of American Trans-continental hostelry with fake wooden beams that were glued and tacked onto the outside of the place. The room was tiny, two full-sized beds masquerading as queen sized beds, set side by side in a space not much larger than the waiting room of a doctors office. They somehow managed a dresser with the obligatory television and mini refrigerator that whined in the middle of the night waking me from my uneasy sleep. The door was right up against the parking lot so we really depended on the thick curtains to protect our privacy. We didn't plan well for our overnight stay, so there we were, we made the best of it. 

A rather unexpected hotel was the one we stayed at in Ireland. We got off the plane in Dublin and exhausted, looked forward to finding a place to relax. My cousin Kathy was the one who had made all the travel arrangements so we trusted in her plan. Well off the plane, we hoped on a bus which took us down to the middle of Dublin where we un-boarded onto the thoroughfare. According to Kathy we were quite close to the hotel so we gathered our luggage as best we could and followed her like ducks in a row through the cobblestone lined streets of Dublin. Our luggage clacked along behind us as we went, jarring our arms and vibrating up into our heads. We passed through several intersections and our guide Kathy had us walking up one street and down another until we reached a door in the middle of an alleyway just past a small convenience store and across from a cafe. She pressed the buzzer under the glowing yellow sign emblazoned with a bumble bee and a voice on the other end told us to enter through the door that buzzed and clicked letting us know it had been unlocked. 

We opened up to narrow lobby and we all jammed in as best we could, a few were left out in the alley while our fearless leader discussed our rooms with the clerk in the lobby. After things were settled we made our way to a tiny elevator where a few jammed in and others waited to be taken up to our room. An accented voice declared which floor we had arrived on and with a ding we were let out of the death trap of an elevator. 

We arrived in a narrow hall and stairway, and followed that down until we found our rooms which ended up being rather like a small apartment, quite different than the hotels we were used to in the States. I found the corner of a dark room to unpack and freshen up and we all met together in the living room area which was next to a tiny kitchen and balcony. 

We all ended up really enjoying the view from our 3rd story window out over the middle of Dublin. We could see the university and the river and at night we heard the frequenters of the local bars singing, we might have imagined that last bit... ;)

In any case, this is my reminiscence from our trip, hotels in general are the same but sometimes you can be surprised. 


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Books I want...

Dresden Files
Storm Front
Fool Moon
Grave Peril
Summer Knight
Death Masks
Blood Rites
Dead Beat
Proven Guilty
White Night
Small Favor
Turn Coat
Ghost Story
Cold Days
Skin Games

Brandon Sanderson Books

The Stormlight Archive
The Rithmatist

Riyria Chronicles

The Crown Tower
The Rose and the Thorn
The Death of Dulgath
Theft of Swords (contains The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha)
Rise of Empire (contains Nyphron Rising and The Emerald Storm)
Heir of Novron (contains Wintertide and Percepliquis)

Riyria Revelations

The Crown Tower
The Rose and the Thorn
The Death of Dulgath
Theft of Swords (contains The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha)
Rise of Empire (contains Nyphron Rising and The Emerald Storm)
Heir of Novron (contains Wintertide and Percepliquis)

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Annals of an introvert at work

July 17 in the year of our Lord 2017

A documentation of the struggles of an introvert. 

Now properly started out I can begin my tale. 

There is a great beast hovering beneath the surface of my exterior facade. It snaps and snarls as I go through my day pulling me inward, driving me to hide away from the outside world. 

In fact the tendency to hide is so great that if I had money enough to not have to work I would do just that. I would find a little space and curl up, doing as I pleased and avoiding interaction with others. 

My world would be narrow, I would feel safe, but at the same time claustrophobic. Enclosed with my thoughts, my thoughts would trap me. 

The paradise of solitude would become a torture. 

Thankfully (though I'm not always thankful) I have to go to work where I am persistently bombarded with requests to interact with others. To push past the boundaries which I have set for myself, past my comfort zone. 

My mind is constantly chanting "no, no, no." The discomfort grows in my stomach, my chest... my head hurts, I want to cry... I want to hide.

But I put on a happy face. I speak to others even though I would like to hide. I listen when I want to retreat. I venture to someone's desk, to talk to them even though I am much more comfortable hiding at my own. 

Thus is how it is for an introvert like me. 

At odd moments though when I have managed to break past my fears, I find that I enjoy speaking with other people and getting to know them. 

It is an effort, but there is a reward. That is what I seek in my travels through life.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Why I love rainbows

A rainbow is a shaft of hope, a reminder that pure unadulterated color exists, in a world of dimmer hues.

On a grey day the sighting of a beautiful rainbow can touch childish emotions that we may have forgotten in our day to day adult lives.

Revered as harbingers of Gods love, a promise that the floods would end and that the sun would shine again.

We've always held out hope that these shining beacons of light can point our way to unimaginable stores of gold.

To me they are phantoms of wonder. They make my heart quicken, I am always struck by a sense of awe every time I spy a rainbow. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

My Struggles, My Guilty Conscience

There are a lot of things going through my head right now. I think my childhood looked to be pretty conventional, I had a Mom and Dad, older brother, younger brothers and little sister. What isn't conventional is the inner turmoil I've felt throughout life for things to be in order. My older brother has autism, this has always necessitated a certain amount of extra work for my mother. She started working when I was little and she would come home really tired. I felt a certain amount of responsibility to try and make things easier for her. Clean the house so that she wouldn't be stressed out, help with dinner.

Through the years as I've grown and made certain choices in my life, I've felt a sense of responsibility to do the best that I could with the circumstances that I've been given. I was a young mother and my husband made choices that led to many difficulties for me. We lived with my parents for a time because we were very poor, I lived with debilitating depression. I felt a sense of dread when I was in that situation, I wanted to fix things, all of my siblings were still at home and I felt like I was adding a burden to my parents that was unfair to them. I felt a great deal of guilt. So I worked hard, I went to school and I tried very hard to make due with the amount of money my husband made so that we could move out of my parents home. I was in school for a long time, my mother watched my children and my sister has helped with them even when she was very young.

I've always had some amount of inner conflict about the amount of control I had over my kids schedules and what they were watching on TV and/or the amount of video games that they played with my brothers. I wanted to be this shining, perfect mother and I've had to compromise in order to become educated. My relationship with my husband was complicated as well, I wanted to be the perfect wife, I wanted to have a stable, happy family. But I had to let those ideals go when it was clear that my husband was abusive and had abused my sister and my daughter. If only I had realized sooner! I wish I could say I would have been able to leave sooner but I know that I didn't have the support or resources I needed to leave.

Now when I go to my parents I still feel a sense of responsibility. I feel a bit of guilt and unease. For one thing, my siblings all are still living at home, it's a frustrating situation because there is a reason for the extended adolescence of my siblings (autism, ADHD, medical issues) but also I can see that my siblings are fighting to get an education as well and that gives me hope. But the strain that it has taken on my parents is difficult to see. Also the state of our family home induces guilt and shame in me.

It's a story of an interconnected chain of events that has led to a difficult situation. My father won't stand up and be the leader of the family, in a way he can't because what is there for him to be in charge of? All of us are adults. My angel mother still works every day and is trying to repair her home but the task is so great, there is so much to do and she is getting older. She has been in charge of our holidays and traditions and it has taken a toll on her. I wish I could swoop in, clean house, fix things and give her the rest she deserves... but I've only got a limited amount of physical, mental and emotional energy to spare.

I guess I'm feeling frustrated tonight.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Unconventional Wisdom

My Toastmasters Speech from Today

What we eat affects our state of well being

I'm not sure if you've heard the term "Hangry" it's a tongue in cheek term for the feeling of being hungry and how that makes people feel angry at the same time. This is a simple example of how food, or lack thereof affects how we feel emotionally and mentally.

For many years, I struggled to live my daily life, my world was a dark place. It was hard to concentrate, hard to wake up in the morning, hard to face the world. My stomach hurt all the time and I didn't know why.

I've learned that food can affect us at a deep level and it's only rarely that we realize it.

We all have prevailing ideas about what eating healthy is, conventional wisdom

In our culture, we are encouraged to stay trim, fit is the new skinny, avoid fat yet eat healthy fat, go low carb. Eat whole wheat, especially wheat bran it keeps you regular. Soy is good for your heart health. Eat a spectrum of food of differing color it's healthy.

Sometimes conventional wisdom is wrong

I learned a difficult lesson about 10 years ago, and that was that nature has a way of balancing us out when we try to control it.

I felt that I was overweight, I was about the same weight that I am now, maybe a 5 - 10 pounds more. I decided that I needed to take control, so I joined Weight Watchers.

At first it seemed like a miracle, I followed the program strictly and obsessively and I was losing weight.

If I felt lightheaded I drank more water, I was obsessed with food but I didn't realize how bad the obsession was. I found tricky ways to make the foods I craved cost me less points and started to eat bran muffins to fill me up and something called TVP or Textured Vegetable Protein which is a product made from soy to replace meat. Who needs meat anyway, it's cruel that we kill animals so that we can survive.

Well I got to a point where I could feel no emotion, the medical term is "Anhedonia." I felt no pleasure at achieving my goal weight of 120 lbs, I looked in the mirror and still felt fat. I didn't feel sadness either. I felt empty.

Eventually I went into a tailspin, at one point I was too weak to lift my baby daughter and my brain felt dry, I couldn't speak my mind. Yet I was still obsessed with following the WW program.

Then something odd happened. I added walnuts to my cereal. Somehow that little bit of fat triggered an intense feeling of well-being and happiness. That sparked a desire to figure out what I was doing wrong, I still felt confined by the WW program and tried to fit more fat into that model, eventually I had to let go.

That was the hardest thing

I let go of the conventional wisdom, I put ideas on trial and I tried out a lot of unconventional things.

It all came back to food

I found through trial and error that I do a lot better when I don't eat anything with gluten in it and through a very bizarre episode of an angry fit of rage I found out that milk triggers an emotional response for me (I feel anger, sadness and my ears ring when I drink a lot of milk). I cut these things out and felt quite a bit better but still had lingering issues, I finally paid a visit to an allergist who identified some other allergens

Sometimes people feel bad when I tell them I can't eat certain things. It's hard for them to understand that knowing that I shouldn't eat these foods has been a big blessing. I no longer suffer from debilitating depression, anxiety, chest pain and illness. For the most part.

Conventional wisdom led me astray, it was unconventional thinking that led me to the truth.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Happy Moments

Tonight was another moment of serendipity for me. I showed up at my parents house just as my brother's home teachers showed up. They asked my brother about his production company and he points at me, so I jump in and tell them all about the studio and how things came together then mentioned that we don't have morning hours because I have work and my brother has school. So one of them volunteered to man the studio on Tuesday's and Thursday's haha, so we now have an 'employee'. He'll only come record people if they book during those times, and we won't have to pay him unless he records someone so that works perfectly. :)

Let me tell you I am pretty chuffed that someone wants to man the booth during the day for us haha

He's coming by tomorrow to learn the ropes so to speak. :D


Friday, May 19, 2017

Good Moments

So I feel sometimes that my blog is dominated by the hardships I face and it can get a bit tedious to read through my old posts seeing page after page of frustrations. So I'm making a conscious effort to record moments that were good. This afternoon I had a few good moments I want to jot down before the happy feelings get away from me.

I went out to lunch with Darrin, he has been a good friend to me for a long time. I don't have many long time good friends so I cherish the ones I have. We went out to lunch and had a good conversation, he gave me several good ideas for my little recording studio and he gave me an update about his sweet Dad. That made me pretty happy.

Then getting back from lunch I met 2 of my other long time friends on the stairs and got big hugs. That pushed me into endorphin overload and I'm now really, really happy. :) Plus it's Friday :)

I hope you are having a good day.