Category: life


Re-entry

- Working on my huge blog post about Burning Man and our cross country trip.

- Hating how soon I was back to having Mondays kick my ass and NJ drivers having me cursing.

- Struggling in the in-between states (of mind) between burn/vacation and daily life.  Feels like it’s either driving me deep into depression or to a launch point for something fabulous.

- Somehow, this really helped:

- As well as this.

- For now, giving up on sentence/paragraph structure, holding on as best as I can, and just being.

 

No more hiding

I’ve been hiding.

In winter, we called it hibernating – given the amounts of snow we had, and few things to do, it was a great excuse to stay holed up and rest.  Just when the urge to be social again hit us, a bunch of crazy stuff happened that made me pull back again.  We started making plans and seeing friends, but emotionally and virtually (on blogs and social network sites) I’ve retreated.

I questioned who my friends are and who could be trusted.  I questioned myself, as to how I felt less myself and why – was it an issue of struggling to maintain self identity in a marriage already? Was it post wedding depression, and would it go away?   I don’t know, and I may not for a while.

(However, for the record, married life really DOES rock! Just to be clear, none of these are marriage issues – they are the “sort out my head” issues and having never been married before, these questions come up.)

But while I used to come here and spill out my heart, I stopped.  I feared the consequences – as someone who is likely a facebook friend betrayed me.  I feared being hurt or hurting my friends in some way.  I feared my mother was reading (while I always keep in mind that a parent or employer could read this, I try not to restrict myself as much as I have been).

Blogging is a part of me – typing out the entries is my therapy.  If I want to (and I do) someday make money from any creative endeavors on my part, I need to sell my soul.  (I love Danielle LaPorte, though I am not taking that workshop.)  If I don’t, I’m just imitating everyone else who inspires me.  I look around at what others do, and feel that they stole a concept that was going to be my great enlightened moment in the near future.  And now that they are doing it, they probably do it better than me, so I need another idea.  Yeah. This has been the crazy circular logic that – along with my fears – has had me stuck in one place.

And here we are in spring, where the spring weather is STARTING to make an appearance, but even on the cold days I see the buds in the trees and bushes, the cherry blossoms, the forsythia bushes.  In true stereotypical fashion, spring brings a new hope.

I need to let go of the how, and focus on the why.  I want to share more, even the ugly messy parts, because when I do I find a new level of connection with people.  I’ve blogged while crying and planning to erase it the next day, when I get supportive comments saying that others have felt exactly the same.  This is my soul, my truth, and I need to keep sharing it.  I can’t always share it in the real world or in person, if only for lack of thinking fast on my feet, but this is how I do it.  This is MY space, my identity, and I’ll keep it despite however many blogs/sites we may have at one time :P

Kinda crazy, but a big part of what prompted this entry was a simple encounter at lunchtime with a coworker.  We were having a great chat about TV shows, when he stated that he stopped watching one because there were scenes of two guys making out.  I was offended by his statement, and replied that it wasn’t a problem with our TV watching group, as some of them are gay.  Maybe I could have said something better, maybe not.  After the shock passed, it made me so thankful for my community of friends and their lack of homophobia.  It made me think about how my coworker would probably never become friends with the gay couple we watched that same TV show with, and it made me realize just how much he’s missing out by that.

What it comes down to is that I am so restricted in how I can be “myself” in the office environment, that I absolutely have to take advantage of the ways that I can, that I have to use outlets like this to bare my soul, and that – especially as a woman married to a man in this hetero-normative society, I have to make sure that my thoughts on human rights, sexual identity, and such that I take for granted among like-minded friends are shared with those who are NOT in that mindset.  It’s time to shake the world up a little bit more.  It’s time to be less afraid.  It’s not about confrontation, it’s about being more open about myself and my viewpoint so that people don’t assume my thoughts for me.

It’s going to piss some people off, it’s going to hurt some people.  I hurt someone with my post on my friend’s suicide, as someone who knew her protested loudly that it wasn’t suicide, I was wrong for saying it was, and I was offending her family.  It was upsetting at the time, but now I can only think of how hurt this woman truly was when she eventually was told the truth, by someone other than me.  I still don’t regret posting it.

Fuck the haters, fuck the cowardly internet stalkers, fuck the homophobes.  If the only thing I have to lose is the support of people I don’t agree with?  Then I have absolutely nothing to lose and we all have something to possibly gain.

Oh hello!

Just starting to come out of hibernation over here, and now fighting off a head cold that makes me want to go back to hiding under the covers :P

But I wanted to share part of the reason for my absence.  Our new project. Go learn all about it over there!

And on February 28th, Offbeat Home goes live, with a guest post by me! :D  (Also the first post on the blog link above)

I also was busy with a photo shoot for Valentine’s Day!

So I’m gonna hibernate a little more this weekend, but even while doing that we are laying some groundwork and doing our assignments for Digital Nomad Academy to make some big things happen soon.

Happy New Year

The days after the holiday craziness ended were not, as I had intended, full of catching up and productivity.  To-do lists were barely touched.  A head cold hit me, and it was a time of self care and reflection, of video games and juice, cuddling husband and petting crittters, resting up enough to celebrate New Years.  And it was perfect, in all it’s imperfection.

I don’t make resolutions anymore, though I do often recommit to modifying habits around this time of year, I avoid the pressure of promising to do them all at once.  I just wish the following for myself, my husband, our family and friends…

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.

(Neil Gaiman)

Crunch Week

It’s Holiday crunch time.  Sure, the week before Christmas has lots of running around too, but there are many deadlines this week.  Getting things ordered to be delivered in time without paying for overnight, shipping things off to family.  I’m in a whirlwind of cookie baking and online shopping and secret santa activities right now.

I hope to post at least one reverb post today, but I gotta go place some orders and do some planning first!

In the meantime, two things I came across that caught my attention today and I wanted to share:

Tiny Buddha’s post about productivity and happiness – as I struggle to not be stressed out about lack of productivity for the holidays, this really is year round advice.

Similarly, the 5 most common regrets at the end of one’s life is another great reminder.

I was a ball of stress yesterday (helllo mercury retrograde! thanks for frakking things up!) and had my mini-meltdown over it.  I tried “leaning into it” but didn’t really know what the hell that means :P but I admitted defeat on getting one gift (for multiple family members) done on time – they’ll get an IOU and it will be here in January.  I had hoped to surprise Random on Yule with the gift we planned to get ourselves after Christmas, but it’s sold out or overpriced so I had to admit it to him, and tell him to keep an eye out for it as well.

I also came out of the secret santa closet for something that I had been doing anonymously for a friend’s kid.  In order to relieve the stress of that task, I had to know that it would be appreciated and get some input on it – and who knew, maybe someone else was doing the same thing all these years and I could step back.  As it turns out, it is something that is appreciated, and the recipient is just getting old enough to understand it.  Armed with more information, I still rushed and had to pay extra to send it overnight (yet again) this year, but I didn’t stress as much as I would have if I had kept it to myself.

I’ve got a plan and lists, and deadlines still.  The most important being getting cookies to my dad, since I’ve tried to send him our favorites every year after my grandma passed and the post office lost his last year :(

But they are mostly self imposed guidelines.   When I was honest with myself yesterday, I was stressed because I wanted to make Christmas miracles happen for everyone I love.  Well, I love a hell of a lot of people, I’m one person with a full time job, and hello? it’s the craziest time of year.  I may feel like I’m admitting defeat, but it can still be a successful Christmas even if I don’t pull off every miracle I hoped to.  It’s the thought and not material items that matter most.

At least, that’s the story I’m sticking to when I give Random a half knit/crocheted gift on Yule.  (Hey, it’s entertainment for him to watch me finish it right?)

 

Reverb 10

Another blogging project which I may or may not abandon somewhere in the middle of the holiday crazies.  But I needed something to prompt me to actually post here, so I will!  Join me for Reverb 10, daily prompts for the month of December focused on reflecting on 2010 and manifesting for 2011!

December 1 One Word.
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

It may be an obvious cop out, but I have to say Marriage.  So much of the year was focused on planning and enjoying our wedding festivities and honeymoon, which do not a marriage make, but the transition into a marriage is a significant one.  The year flew by and I know much of the focus was on preparing for that one day, but by the time we said our vows, we already felt married!

It was a transition that started over two years ago when we had our “playa wedding”, and both felt in our hearts that there was much more truth to that spiritual (but not legal) act.  This year was about bringing that part of us and our lives out in the open, legally and officially recognized by our friends, families, and community.  It was a blast! And yet, I am SOOOO glad it’s over! :D  While I would love to relive the wedding day itself in slow-mo over and over again so I don’t miss a single moment, it was an intense year.  I have relished the return to the mundane and the comfort of being husband and wife, even on nights we are apart.

Yup – there have been some already and there will be more – Random is working a few hours away and spending several nights a week out there!  I cried about it for two days – of course it happened during PMS – but the marriage is a comfort that we are more permanent than any job, and we’ll get through anything together.  (And then I think of couples who are separated for months while serving in the military, and that just stops my complaining right then and there. For a few hours anyway.)

For 2011?  Oh there are so many I could see…. but I am focusing on making one word happen in 2011 – Adventure!  Grand Adventure! if I’d be allowed to have two words…  Some of you may know what I’m talking about, and I’m sure we’ll do a Big Announcement type thing, but I don’t feel right doing that here without discussing it first with Random.  Maybe on New Years Day or something :P  I think our wedding blog will be transitioning to the Grand Adventure blog, but first we have thank you notes and holiday shopping and baking cookies and getting the tree up.  So y’all will just have to wait! :D

 

Won’t you join me on Reverb10?

And because every post is better with photos, just like every bar is better with theme nights…

Corset night/Birthday celebration at the bar with some great gals!

 

The Middle

In a slight follow up to the previous post, I read “Exit the Middle” just now (and the sequel post).  And it sounds so familiar.  I like the beginnings.  I like the challenge.  I don’t mind not knowing what I’m doing, because it’s the beginning, no one does in the beginning.
The middle is where I get bored.  And often quit.

Unfinished art projects, past obsessions gathering dust, the artifacts are all around. I enjoy coming back to them at times, or entertaining the thought that I will.

I don’t regret not becoming advanced, because once I conquer the beginning, I know that I COULD become advanced, with time and patience.  Or – I could go learn something else shiny and new and enjoy the beginning again.

It’s the middle you want to watch out for. When you need other people to create challenges for you.

Is it good that I don’t fluster in the middle, asking for external solutions to being there?  Is it bad that I am obsessed with the new beginnings?

I like to think it means I adapt to change better (HA. I crave and resist it at the same time!)

Or have I already adopted her advice on getting out of the middle?

You just decide. You say it:

Here I am. I’m ready and willing to consciously engage with everything in my life. With the ecology of my life.

I’m open to finding challenges in the places where challenge is needed, and challenging myself to find ease when ease is needed.

That’s it. You’re out of the middle.

I’ve felt that strong desire for solutions to come from other people to get me out of ruts, to challenge me.  It’s been the ennui, the longing in my past for answers to come to my doorstep.  They didn’t come, and I ended up going out there and finding them for myself.  And that’s so much more fulfilling!

Musings for a Monday.  I suppose it’s sometimes a good thing that I’m like this, and sometimes not so good.  But whichever way, I think it beats the hell out of being stuck somewhere I don’t want to be and not doing anything about it.  (Which is right where I am with some aspects of life in particular…. ah. After the wedding though, after the wedding.)

(and now I have “Stuck in the middle with you” as an earworm in my brain…. )

Do I contradict myself?
Very well, then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

- Walt Whitman



I feel a million possibilities within me.

I feel the urge to chase them all, do them all, but the ole limits of space and time get in the way.

One day, I know I’ll have time to putter in my garden.  Spend hours taking photos.  Energy and money to travel to places near and far.  Cook sumptuous meals for friends and family.  Escape the cubicle.  Create art.  Do things I never imagined doing.  Run my own business.  Collect eggs from my chickens.  Create a new legacy.  Design costumes.  Decorate interiors.  Paint.  Write.

When it appears that I don’t care about what I do, it’s just that I want to do it ALL – so go ahead, pick something you’d like to do.  Even if I never thought of trying it, I may enjoy it. I’ll let you know if I don’t.

I thought that I needed to find my one true passion.  Something that would be my career and define my life.  I’ve slowly come to realize that my gift is having passion for so many things, so many options… As long as I don’t stop short out of fear of making the wrong choice.

I keep forgetting that the major cause of all my stress is trying to live according to how other people think or say I should live.  When I think of how it fits into my personal rules of life, things are so much clearer.

Occasionally I am sad that I don’t have the time/money/energy/space to devote to one singular passion.  I rationalize it that there will be times in the future that will be more suited for that task.  There’s part of me that knows “What if?” that day doesn’t come.  But you know what?  It just means I spent my time on something else, something just as important.

The only thing I do know is that he is my constant.  There are a million possibilities within me, and a million paths we could travel in life.  Some are not meant for us, for this lifetime.  But some are.  All I know is I want my hand in his as we discover our adventures together.

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.

ETA: In discussing this with an online class, people referenced two books I already own and read a while ago!  Refuse to Choose!: A Revolutionary Program for Doing Everything That You Love by Barbara Sher (she also has a forum for “scanners” – her term for our habits!) and The Renaissance Soul: Life Design for People with Too Many Passions to Pick Just One by Margaret Lobenstine.  And I stumbled on this site too.

Since this may help others who can relate to the “scanner” or polymath lifestyle, I had to come back and share it!

Tuesday Randoms

I’ve been too quiet lately, been absorbing too much information and not enough time for my own creating.  Though I do have a big project in the works!! I think I needed to fill in time because well, wedding planning doesn’t take that much time, and either everyone else is really busy or assuming I’m really busy because of that! :P

I realize I contradict myself there.  I have lots of time for thinking, daydreaming, consuming information online.  I don’t have the time get done things that need to get done in person, in free time.  (I think you all know where I’m getting at here, without incriminating myself.)

Wedding – not much going on the planning front right now.  Need to sort hotels, florist, and rehearsal dinner – hopefully that can be done in one day in Stroudsburg this month!  Once I settle on one of my numerous ideas for favors and decoration, I should start those projects and have a crafting party for help.

This weekend is the Steampunk World’s Fair – it’s a Jeff Mach event (he does Wicked Faire) and I spent Sunday afternoon improving my steampunk outfit!  I’ll definitely have to post photos but haven’t taken any yet.

Speaking of photos… that’s what my big project is about.  I am slowly working on taking my photography to a new level.  Slowly for a few reasons, one is to not stress over that in addition to wedding and other events going on, and because I want to launch and brand it with my new name (rather than launch and change names in October!)  I am working on a gallery site and a blog, but it’s lower on the priority list except when I have the time to brainstorm about it while doing other things. But I plan on making lots of my friends sign model releases, and I hope to take photos at the Steampunk fair with signed model releases, to get that gallery up and going!

I have several folders of photos that still need processing and uploading, but I have ones from a Morristown event here.  Some are too dark because I just published them all without fixing.  Oh and my flickr will remain as it is for informal and vacation shots to share with friends.  All my “pro” photos will be on a new gallery/site, which I’ll let you know when the sneak preview starts!

My tax refund went towards two new camera lenses, they arrived yesterday and I have YET to use them! The horror.  And tonight I must do belated mother’s day visits, since we had company and my mother was under the weather with a headcold or allergies on Sunday.

And because I was caught off guard an hour earlier than expected, and pre-coffee, I signed up for Susannah Conway’s sequel to her Unravelling course!  I was debating the cost, but I enjoyed the last workshop immensely and I hope this helps me in outlining a vision for where I want to go.

What else…

Oh. I thought about writing a whole entry just on Bella, but still can’t bring myself to do it (edit – this turned into most of what I wanted to say).  Yesterday, more information was shared with me about her death and it reopened that wound.

I don’t know why I am so affected, because honestly I feel like saying we were friends is not the complete truth.  We were online acquaintances, we met once, and we never had any particularly deep interactions with each other.

But I remember her being so full of joy, live, love, and energy.  I admire her photography and her urban explorations, and I kept wanting to discuss that with her but I never did.  I can relate to how she can appear happy and yet be hiding a lot of pain underneath.  She sent me a private message once just to say that I rock.

Somehow her death just pushes me to be inspired by her, to live how she wanted to live, to seize the day, to not dismiss people who learn to put a mask over their pain, to realize that any of us can get to that point.  And to not keep quiet.

A coworker of hers left a note on my previous post about her.  I didn’t see it at first and followed up in an email.  After my inquiry about her note and message, I was attacked for stating the truth, for stating that she killed herself, though it was below a blog entry cut (you had to click through to read, and there was a warning first) and it was only mentioned once, with her nickname.

I feel sorry that in her pain and loss of her friend, that reading my entry caused more hurt. But I refused to be silent about it because I stand by the fact that the more you try to push suicide under the rug, the more people will suffer.  I am still keeping the details of her death private, because while I learned of them from her friends, it’s not my story to tell to those who don’t know.  But stating the truth is never inappropriate.

This is part of my email response to her -

There is no shame in saying how she died, and to pretend that she didn’t kill herself is dishonest to all those who struggle with depression.She brought such joy and light to the world, most of us never could have ever imagined that under the face she presented to the world, would be someone struggling, who would have a moment of weakness and give it all up. What I personally take from that is to follow her example in life, and do every single thing I can to make sure the people I love KNOW that I love them, so that just MAYBE if one of them is struggling, they’ll reach out for help.

Believe me, I have anger too.

And it’s not going to let me remain silent.

What I do will not change anything about the facts of Bella’s life (and death).

What I do CAN HELP SAVE SOMEONE ELSES LIFE and it CAN INSPIRE OTHERS WITH HER WORDS AND BEAUTY AND COURAGE. And I make no apologies for that.

So yeah… a wave of grief and depression came over me yesterday upon the updates about her death.  I am recommitting myself again to this Bella pledge, and to have her life be an inspiration to do what would honor her most.

And then I got out and ran.

Random and I started the Couch-to-5k program. We are 2/3 of the way through Week 4.  Not only am I shocked that I’m doing this, I am astonished that I like it.  And yesterday, we were overdue for our next run and had excuses to put it off (like running over to mom’s), but I needed it more than ever before.  It’s still tough at times, but doing it as a team with Random is absolutely amazing – we both do our best to help each other and encourage each other.  We get a chance to be outside together with no distractions, other than beautiful nature, eating bugs, and trying not to die :P  So yeah.  Never thought I’d be a runner.  Crazy shit man.  But when my mind was overburdened with family drama/health issues, Bella, and all that kind of stuff, it really helped.

(I’m gonna need reminding of this when it’s hot and humid, or cold and snowy outside.  Good think I’m getting used to this during wonderful spring!)

Spring has sprung!

I’ll avoid apologizing for the lack of posts and just catch you up to what’s been keeping me away…

Winter was extra snowy for us this year, and we really took advantage of that and our habits of hibernating during the cold months.  As things started warming up, you read about a friend of mine who committed suicide.  While I had been pulling away from sharing things for a while, these really added to my introspection and keeping things private.  All good, of course, but now I’m starting to pull back out of it and find a better balance.  Naturally, the warm weather is leading up to a busy summer when there’s more doing than sitting and thinking, my goal is to just embrace what it is in the moment!

March started wedding season for us – Steve and Cait were married in Monmouth, NJ, and a week later Timo and Jessica were married in Sonoma, CA.  Random was a groomsman in both weddings, and it was a busy time but we thoroughly enjoyed both – as well as the extra time we had to enjoy San Francisco and Sonoma!

We went to Baker Beach, where Burning Man originated, Muir Woods to see the redwoods, and Fisherman’s Wharf for the Musee Mechanique!  We stayed at the Lodge at Sonoma, which had amazing rooms with a gas fireplace, and managed to fit in one wine tasting though we had plenty of wine at the wedding (held at Sebastiani Vineyards).  The rest of the time was full of wedding activities, pampering for me with a manicure and pedicure, and hanging with friends – Random’s pals in Sonoma, our mutual friends from Burning Man’s Camp Jersey in San Fran, and a meet up with old friends of mine from veggie board days at Cafe Gratitude.

Still working on pics from the Cali trip. You saw a few iphone ones I posted but more will be up on flickr soon.

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Steve and Caitlin

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Before the weddings, there was pie. Pi day party, 3/14 at 1:59 pm.

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QT Pie won the trophy for best pie - hers was the only one made from scratch and deserved it!

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Random and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

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Poppet kept travelling after San Fran, and met a lion at Random's mother's house!

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Easter weekend meant Peep Sushi (Peepshi!) for major sugar overload!

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My new quad camera app on the iphone and Random's family!

I’d love to wax poetical about the redwoods, and a great sense of peace that I felt there, but it’s almost beyond words. Maybe when I post the photos… I’m also halfway through the story of Julia Butterfly, who lived in a redwood tree (Luna) for two years to save it from destruction by logging companies (whose clear cutting caused mudslides and the loss of homes).  Truly amazing, and I can see how she felt so compelled to save these trees.

On our wedding front, we’re in the midst of moving the site so nateandkatie.com won’t work for a while, but we hope to have that changed soon! And I’m working on save-the-dates to send out this month. Fingers crossed :P

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