2012 in Review.

2012 has been one hell of a ride, that's for sure.  It didn't start off so well, in Virginia in a bad place with my husband, stuck in a location and relationship that didn't suit me.  I think it has been a great year to learn and explore, and most importantly 2012 has seen me realize several of my dreams.

The year was full of meeting new friends...some on this blog! I am very lucky for the magical people in my life.  

And this year was also packed with adventures. Here are a few of them.

I visited Sweden for the first time since 2009.
I saw Rammstein in Denver.
I went back to college.
I enjoyed the Utah Arts Festival and Red Butte Gardens.
I took some pills....
went back to Tennessee...
and had an amazing Halloween.
Recently I celebrated Utah's first snow of the year.

I'm ending the year with an adventure too.  I'm currently in Sweden! It's been great.

2012 was also an amazing period full of learning about myself, self-exploration, venting, and facing some hard life lessons, but in the best way possible.  I don't have negative feelings about anything that's happened to me this year, even the hard stuff.  Usually I do have some reservations and regret, but this year has shown me so much and I've gained so much from it that looking at losses seems a bit silly.

For the first time ever in print (or web) I shared my foster care story.
I learned a lesson about the past.
I also went public with my suicidal thoughts.
And shared my experiences with depression.
My most difficult day was when I ran into my Dad.
And my best day of the year involved a letter in the mail...

So there you have it, 2012 in more or less a few links!  Thanks to all of you who have turned up to show support and enjoy my madwoman rantings.  I promise soon to fill you all in on my Swedish holiday adventures, but I have a new year to ring in!!  Bring on 2013.  :)


It's the (sometimes very) little things.


 So, I won't lie, I haven't been well recently.  Not by a long shot.  Anytime there's erratic pauses in my blogging you can bet that I'm turning over some turmoil in my head.  And I've warned my readers that my depression gets to all new lows in winter.  I've been obsessing over death lately and honestly, I felt (and feel) that my purpose, if I ever had one, is over and I can't do anymore for the world.  I can't do good for the world.  I've been feeling like I'm destined to end up like my family.  

I think about them, how they're so sheltered and they live in this sort of false reality where emotional outbursts, physical violence, drugs, discrimination, laziness, and immaturity rule the day.  Because I am so emotional lately I just feel like I'm going to be the same way they are.  And if I dare say it, I've been feeling jealous of them, too.  Ariel may be a 20 year old with a baby, but at least she has a son who depends on her.   A baby to look at that's her own.  My mom is basically the worst human being ever mashed together genetically but she's had a successful 25 year marriage.  I know most people don't count being physically abused and mentally a slave to your husband "successful"...but she does.  They all do.  I may have spoken too soon about growing a beard and being suicidal, because the beard is next on my to-do list.

I was talking to a friend about this Saturday and he asked if anything would make me feel better.  Oddly enough I mentioned that snow would make me feel better.  I wanted it to be a cozy beautiful sparkling wonderland, not a cold dead depressing suicide garbageland outside.  Not twenty minutes later as I prepared to leave, it started snowing.  It snowed all weekend.  This morning while I was waiting on my bus to work it snowed, and I looked down at my hair and saw this.

(Because everyone keeps asking me) yes this is a real snowflake.  It landed on my hair for maybe ten seconds, long enough for me to gasp, take a photo, then look again--and it was gone.  I was so excited.  Others fell and were equally majestically amazing, but this one seemed special.  Maybe because it landed right there, or because I got the perfect photograph.  I've seen snow my entire life and I've never seen anything like this.  Henri put it best: "It's like nature wanted to show you something beautiful."

So, thanks, Nature.  I do love the way you form water droplets around pollen and dust and make this breathtaking art.  Why people need a god in their lives, I will never understand.  Look at this, isn't it enough?

And if that weren't enough, take a look at this email conversation: 

(Her) After talking to you yesterday we both felt happy because we really think you are wonderful. We have made our decission, and would be glad to have you as our new family member :)  Please let us know as soon as you have decided!
(Me) Ahhh! That is wonderful news indeed! I was so hoping you would say that because I really feel like we clicked and I would love to come be a part of the family.  I was hoping you would want me to. Well I guess I will be bringing all my identification to Sweden in a week!

(Her) Wiiiieeee! Oh, i think this Will be as you would say... AWSOME! Your so welcome dear!! Im so happy! :D
See you soon our Patricia!
Warm hugs

She said our Patricia.


I get a Swedish family.

Music Monday.

I generally only do this if I feel there's music worth sharing.  And while I'd love to put together a whole list of some of the amazing music I've found lately, I just don't have the time.  Sweden is in 11 days.  I have even more exciting news about that, so stick around.  In the meantime....I know that this song will remind everyone of someone.  Hopefully they're worth it.

It sure is hard to dance across the room when you've got
one foot on the floor and one foot outside the door.

I want nothing more than to dance with you.

The peace I've known, floating along,
The deep green river with you and a song
is something like the peace I hope
to make with you my whole life long.

I want nothing more than to float with you.

paddling through the hail storm, clothes ravaged, the leaves all torn,
a part of me was born.

Why care about yesterday's haze
when the stars above are all ablaze?
Why care about the coming dawn
when the moon pours now, its searchlight strong?

I want nothing more than to dance with you.
I want nothing more than to float with you.


What Santa Means.

(Santa and I at Wheeler Farm)

As you may or may not know, I now work for Santa.  Not only that, I'm an assistant manager for Santa! (quick promotion amirite?)  Every weekday morning I see him coming out of the mall with security escort and toward our little cottage area, and every weekday morning I get to greet him with a big cheery "Good morning, Santa!" I know it might seem silly but I feel so privileged when I say those words.  What kid doesn't want to meet Santa, to thank him for all he does and ask him about the North Pole all day long? 

I've gotten some flack lately for believing in Santa, from both friends and a co-worker. WHO BY THE WAY SHOULDN'T NOT BELIEVE IN SANTA SINCE HE WORKS FOR SANTA. I'M TALKING TO YOU BEN.  In Sweden, it seems to be common and accepted for kids to grow up knowing that Santa is Mom and Dad or whoever, and both atheists and Christians alike have accused my belief in Santa of being hypocritical, as I'm strictly opposed to any religion.

To me, the idea of Santa has nothing to do with religion.  I wish I could properly explain just how much this idea really does mean to me, but it's one of those things you can't put in words.  Little kids will see him through the doorway, they'll scream, "HE'S REAL!" and some of them will bolt to the door and hug him fiercely, just as they'd hug a family member.  Seeing the unbridled joy and innocence from so many kids and adults every day is just part of what makes Santa so great.  I also admire the parents who come in, encourage their children to tell Santa thank you for all the hard work he does, how much the parents admire this hardworking gift-giver.  They take no credit for their work, it's all Santa.

And I grew up believing that Santa lived in a castle at the North Pole, that he was hundreds and hundreds of years old...that he was in fact just a very generous wizard who happened to love the best part of humanity; charity.  Giving without needing thanks, giving in fact at night when everyone was asleep and no one could disturb his work.  Instead of breaking into your house to TAKE stuff, Santa breaks in to GIVE.   Is that not the epitome of kindness?  Not only that, but he loves cookies...and he has reindeer, one of my favorite animals.  It's just a formula for a beautiful, warm feeling.

I don't know what made my parents turn from depressing hillbillies into slightly less depressing hillbillies right around Christmas time.  Our Christmas celebrations were something to behold.  From my dad shooting down mistletoe with a rifle, to sneaking out into the forest at night to chop down our Christmas tree, to the antique German Christmas ornaments my mother hoarded like Gollum over the Precious....everything was just wonderful.  We had cards from tons of family and friends taped up over our entryway door.  Tinsel and a gorgeous wooden Nativity scene was prominently displayed on our piano.  And every year Dad would sit quietly and play his Gibson while Mom, Ariel, and I decorated the tree in near-silence.  

We drove around at night and looked at Christmas-lights on houses.  We sang carols.  We climbed to the top of a mountain to view one of our local parks', Fields of the Wood, light display at night.  We drank egg nog and made sausage balls and shrimp dip and lemon pie and everything was just wonderful and beautiful.  Sometimes it even snowed, enough snow to give the ugly shack we lived in a really cozy 'cabin' feeling, and it looked like maybe we were normal and functioning in whatever way we were capable of.  And it was all in anticipation of that big night, the night Santa came and our stockings were bursting with presents the next morning.  Despite the disappointment and heartaches that followed every Christmas morning, it was worth it to feel loved and noticed and taken care of, those few short weeks in December.

I believe in Santa because he reminds me of happy and simple times, because he reminds us all to give selflessly and keep others in mind, and because he is a magical figure who lives in a castle surrounded by the Northern Lights and flying reindeer.  

Here is the Santa (and his wife Mrs. Claus) that I work for.  The second photo was our test picture we took this morning when the camera wasn't working.  Well, it worked on this pic!



Today started off rough.  Work was crazy busy..we had a visit from the Utah School for the Deaf and Blind.  My co-workers weren't functioning as a cohesive unit and there were reporters from all over Salt Lake swarming upon our Santa's Lantern.  I wanted to take a flamethrower and clear the place out by the time it was all said and done.  My boss commented that she noticed the lack of pep in my step today.  I guess my frustration over my co-workers and the general sloppiness with the way the selfish and competitive media handled the entire situation showed through..but the kids made it wonderful.  The kids, and the Santa.  They were so amazing.  I have a newfound respect for ASL that I never had before.  It really is a beautiful form of communication.  I wish the stupid news site would let me embed the video I found on us, but find it here anyway:

(My 2 seconds of fame start at :48.  Why do I even look menacing while standing?)

Then, yet another worker called in (one had came in over an hour late) and my boss rather sadly asked me if I would be willing to stay two hours past my scheduled time off.  Naturally I agreed, though still irritated with the day, there was no reason to not help out when I'm capable.  Even if I was doing it on 2 hours of sleep.  

After the craziness died down, my boss approached me and said, point-blank: "I have a question for you.  How would you like to be my assistant manager?"


I learned some new managery things (concerning operations and the swing of things) and then after I got off I wandered City Creek Center, which I haven't really had a chance to do properly.  The sun was down and the Christmas lights were on, and the Temple was glowing.  Despite my obvious disdain for religion and the LDS beliefs in general, I really love where I live, and I love the Temple.  It's a beautiful piece of architecture and the history connected with it means a lot to me.  I suppose that some people might see it as a place of devotion or sanction but to me it symbolizes freedom.  I was only allowed to be myself after moving to Utah, getting away from my past and all of the unnecessary hardships I had to endure at the hands of incompetent caretakers.  So, thanks Mormons.  Your magnificent creation of Utah granite reminds me what really matters in my life.

 So, I thought that my night couldn't get any better.    Two hours past shift end I went home and found an envelope addressed from the Utah Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and Preparedness.  Hoping it was what I thought it was, I sat on the couch and opened the letter and burst into tears when I saw not only the letter, but my EMT Patch, Certification card, and decal.

Despite over three months of gathering old TB tests, X-rays, medical documents, immunizations, forgetting every single fucking thing I learned, failing a written exam once, and dying of fright over my practical...I am DONE.

 I am EMT Certified.

This was something I set out to do at the beginning of the year, and I was terrified about it--having not gone to legitimate COLLEGE since I was 18 really had my anxiety levels up. 

I have low confidence in my ability to succeed, but that doesn't mean I ever stop trying, and today it's paid off in physical, embroidered patch form.  My will to help people has gone from a will to a certifiable ability and I couldn't be more shocked and happy.  I passed the class with an A, so not only am I certified, I'm certified with a 4.0 GPA.   

I know that I may be having some issues about love, but right now?  I just got promoted, I just got certified, I have 18 days left until I see my favorite place on earth and my favorite person on earth.  Love is not even on my to-do list. I for once actually feel proud of myself, both for succeeding at my goal and doing such a good job that within two weeks of hire my manager trusts me to be second-in-command. A huge thank you to everyone who has supported me through this school and EMT thing.  It wasn't easy being candid about my feelings before and during all of this but now I can appreciate even more the voices who said not to give up or be afraid.  

So, thank you.  I will be extra careful to not break your ribs when performing CPR.  Actually I won't.  But you'll thank me once you live.  Assuming you do.  Hopefully.  I'm not a miracle worker. 

Love Findings, Round One.

I'm titling this 'round one' because I'm hoping there's more to find about this.  I have to admit, usually these big life realizations are much more traumatic.  This one has just been mostly interesting with a hint of depressing.  If you're new to my What Is Love, Baby Don't Hurt Me crisis, it starts here.  Basically I'd like to share some of the things I've ruled out as answers to the question 'What is love' ("relationship" love) ..since I don't have the answer, I can at least discard the non-answers.  Maybe this is the wrong way to go about this but I don't know any other way to do it.

Untruth No. 1: "No one has ever loved me." 
Essentially what started this was the sad emo reflection on how I've never been loved in the same capacity that I love.  Maybe I was just in a downer mood (highly probable) but when I remembered that whole train of thought was what caused this screeching thousand-car pile up I was taken aback with how selfish and incorrect that statement feels.  I know that some people in relationships with me have been real turds, or have said douche things, or have done douche things, from hitting and throwing things to calling names and cheating on me.  But I don't think that it's fair to just lump every person in my life into some horrible asshole category.  People love me in their own ways.  My husband has loved me in his own ways despite our tumultuous relationship.  In the past I've felt loved, many times.  Whether or not I do in the moment of my emo-ness aside, I feel certain that I can assume by their own personal definitions of love, I have been loved by some people.

Untruth No. 2: "God is Love/One True Love Exists/Fate and Destiny/Soulmates" 
-points to self- Atheist.  I don't believe in God because..well....science.  Just felt the need to throw that out there since it comes up literally everywhere I look for answers.  I stopped believing in fairy tales sometime in my late teenage years, when the appeal of the Disney princess had worn off for real life.  I also think that the relationships where people say I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'D DO WITHOUT HIM/HER are kind of creepy and borderline co-dependent.  My better half, I can't be away from them, blah dee blah.  I have never felt that way about anyone.  I don't get how a person can exist as a team and not lose themselves in the process and it's something I wouldn't want to do.  Lack of belief in religion also renders destiny as false, and I'm kind of thankful as far as relationships are concerned, because I think if I believed in destiny I would think myself incomplete without another who I need to constantly search for and so on.

Untruth No. 3: "Love exists in Nature."
This kind of ties into my whole recent enlightenment on the potential uselessness and harm of family where I surveyed human relationships next to other mammals, even those of higher intelligence, and couldn't find any of the values we're supposed to have.   I don't see us as significantly different from other life on earth, unless you count how useless and stupid and wasteful we are, but the point is, love doesn't exist anywhere in nature.  Gangrape does, as well as homosexuality.  Sex for pleasure and competition for female attention exist throughout...but not love.  Compassion is common among animals, especially pack animals like dogs (humans are pack animals as well obviously) but compassion and relationship love have always been distinctly different to me.  So, my answer is not in nature.

Untruth No. 4: "Love exists within Family." 
This is really just an extension of Untruth #3, but to highlight it, one of the most infallible types of love people talk about is the love of their offspring or the love of siblings.  This is contradictory because families hate each other all the time.  Families even kill and slaughter each other, or rape each other and neglect each other.  Just like with the other animals that surround us, we're pretty barbaric and gross, and while these things aren't acceptable by the majority of mankind or society, they still exist, which rules out the possibility that love is sacred in every family unit.  Good thing I never put much stock in family anyway, right? I'm not saying it's impossible to love your family or anything.  Just saying it's not the right path to understanding love, for me.

Untruth No. 5: "When You Feel Love, You JUST KNOW IT." 
Good goddamn, this one annoys me even more than the religion one.  Seriously.  No you don't just know it.  It's not that simple.  Maybe for the people whose most difficult decision in life is how many kids they want to shove out their vaginas but that is not me.  If this were true I wouldn't be in this predicament in the first place.   I wouldn't be divorced.  I never knew if what I felt was real, even for Ron.  I doubted myself all the time.  I doubted whether my parents loved me from day one.  I have a hard time defining the gray lines of infatuation and friendship and crushes and love.  I always have, as most people have.  I'm better at it now, but by no means do I think I can discern TRUE LOVE based on a few dates and a strong chemical connection to someone.

More Realizations. 
I always thought that 'love' was a riveting, important word.  A big intense thing that you should only say when you really mean and you should only really mean when someone else's life was above your own.  In the past when I thought I had this all figured out, I never factored myself into the relationship or how well it worked at all (probably why my relationships have all been hilarious failures?) but simply the other person and who they were.  What they did with their life and how wonderful it was to be a part of their life.  Basically, them, and their light.  Don't get me wrong, being a good kisser or devastatingly attractive helped the case, but I can list off several people who are nothing but good friends that I would do anything for.  Give anything to help, people who I think are the most amazing creatures on this little rock of a planet, who give me hope for our race.  But yet I wouldn't want to marry them or have relationships with them, because that's just not practical or what I want from our symbiotic relationships.  So yes, I can say I "love" them, but it's not the kind of love I'm searching for.

At this point I don't know what to do or where to go.  I can tell you what love ISN'T.  Does it exist to me? I don't know.  I know it's not a priority, and I have such good relationships with people that I'm not going to go take a flying leap off the Mormon Temple just yet.  Jaykay, there's no way I could even get in there with this rauchy mouth.  I feel like I'd be an ugly disaster in a polyamorous relationship, yet monogamy within our species is also a broken system that hasn't worked out much lately in the last fifty years or so, since religion has loosened its grip on our balls.  I guess maybe this is my cue to live in a grass hut by a misty lake and eat raw fish for a few decades.  That's okay.


What I'm Painting--and Writing.

It's been so long since I've done one of these, and equally as long since I've painted anything of any worth. These are just doodles, nothing fancy, but they are important nonetheless because I really needed to show that I can still create, I can still do something I enjoy that gives me release. The 'What is Love' (I can't say that without singing Haddaway) crisis is still ongoing...I've been asking people their definition of love and have gotten some really great responses. So please, if you want to throw in your two cents about what love is, I would really be appreciative. Feel free to shoot me a comment, or an email. Just don't be a dick and say "God is love" because we all know how I feel about religion.

So I was spiraling downward in this tornado of 'unknowing' and I still haven't figured it out, but my epiphany was that Alex who chimes in sometimes and reminds me what really matters.  I was staring off into space at work, thinking about love and wondering if I will ever really understand it, and how I'm going to adjust my relationships in the future to compensate for this lack of meaning of love, when it dawned on me that I know but that I am to write.  I don't believe in an afterlife or destiny and as such struggle for some kind of way to have meaning, both for myself and future generations, as it is a biological want and a personal goal to make a difference.  I can't do that by loving others. Or being loved by others.    Some people maybe, but that's not my passion or talent or anything.  Writing is.  Writing has been hard to do lately (is it ever easy though?) but sometimes it's this thing that I have to cling to.  And right now it's the thing I should be clinging to, since I am undergoing this period of huge change in my central functions.  So while I haven't reached some great epiphany on the understanding of love and whether or not it is real, I still have solid ground to stand on and will as always, get through this with some greater understanding than I had before.

 Anyway, I realize now that a central theme in my writings is winter. I never really got this before, because my short stories and well, all of my plots are so different that I couldn't compare them from a writer's perspective. Now I see that at least probably 50 percent of my settings are in some winter environment. This is interesting and exciting to discover. I won't lie, I love the idea of beautiful snow and even cold slushy rain, it really draws the reader into this cozy comfort with the characters if that makes sense. It allows me to have each character to relate to some cold and dark aspect of themselves, which works far better than if they were you know, playing it up at the beach with some sunscreen.  I'm wondering if I should post one of my short stories on this blog?  Maybe someone will read it and give some feedback.  I normally don't share my writings with my blog readers, but there's a first for everything. I digress.

 I paint a lot of winter scenes too. That's one of the only things I would paint when I first started back in high school. I've decided that if I can do some research on really colorful and good landscape tattoos, my next piece might be a big winterscape. If you know a place where I can view some good examples of tattoos like this, let me know. Here's my "Am I still Useful?" doodles. You tell me.


Black Friday.

I'm just going to touch on Black Friday before I go blog about Sims 3.  But first...let's backtrack.  Thanksgiving.  A pointless holiday, really.  I don't need a single day of the year to give thanks to everything that makes my life amazing.  I suppose I find that holiday as pointless as some people find Valentine's Day.  The difference is that Valentine's Day didn't originate from a make-believe tale of friendship that hid a true story of violence and genocide.  I live with Native Americans.  So no, I don't enjoy or value Thanksgiving.  I am eternally grateful for my life and what's in it and a day of being a total glutton doesn't make me feel any luckier, it just makes me feel disgusting and greedy.

And then we have Black Friday.  I've never given a single shit about this shopping day and I haven't started now, but a Wal-Mart just opened up the street from my house and they had a waffle maker for really cheap that Derik wanted.  The place has been dead since opening day so I thought, why not? I'll just drop in during the madhouse, get my happy little waffle maker and then get out.  Yeah no.  People were EVERYWHERE.  I don't know if you participate in Black Friday, but for the twenty minutes I was there for one item, I was more disgusted than I have been in years.  People antsy, running, dashing about like total fucking morons.  Some had kids in tow.  Some were literally battering through the aisles with their carts like fucking Roman castle stormers.  Some had BABIES with them!!! Their carts and hands were spilling over with things like tupperware, TV's, bikes, toys, and who knows what other Christmas presents.

This is sickening to me.  I mean, how pathetic is our culture that this asinine display of greed and selfishness passes for "normal" and "the biggest shopping day of the year"?  Is this how we show people in our lives that we love them? Being an atheist I don't care a damn bit about the birth of 8 pound baby Jesus, but nonetheless Christmas is a special time that should be full of good memories.  Wanting to stab every single person who stormed past me with unnecessary amounts of merchandise in their arms, is not a good memory.  People were excited about this.  How do you get excited about acting like we're barbarians but instead of killing each other over deities we're just grabbing fucking food processors? Is the ten dollars you save THAT worth it?

The answer is no, it isn't.  If you want to buy a few nice items for your loved ones, do so.  If you want to make them something, that's even better. If DIY isn't your thing, feel free to look at local boutiques and places like Etsy where you can get homemade stuff for good prices.  My god, most people are fine with a card or a letter and a damn candle.  If the gifts themselves are your priority you're missing the point.  And, like, I'm a GREAT gift-giver.  I'm known for picking out things that people will enjoy.  I can do this without barging in the doors like some rabid bloodthirsty animal foaming at the mouth and snarling at people over five dollar movies.  This bullshit has to stop or I'm going to start hiring mercenaries to open-shoot across the country on Black Friday.  Think that's fucked up of me to say? I don't care.  This is my blog and I will vent as needed.

So, to all you people who have enough brain cells to avoid this mess, and to those of you who value a homemade gift or something small and heartfelt over some absurdly expensive thoughtless "filler" present, thank you for existing.  If it wasn't for you I'd probably be in a loony bin.

And if you are mad about Black Friday and not reading this because you're out plowing down other families for the closest Monster High Polly Pocket Barbie and Ken whateverthefuckitis:   go fuck yourself.


Wrapping up November

Well, first, a few big things:


Wooo I am so happy!!!! Also, some other tidbits: 

-I have a new job that I absolutely love as a Santa's Helper at City Creek Center.   My boss is really cool, my coworkers are...entertaining, at least...and the job itself is great.  The Mormons have already whined to my boss about my "unnatural" hair, but she's pretty lax about it.  They can't fire me over it, so they will just have to keep their magic little panties in a bunch for a few more weeks until Sweden.  Which reminds me....


-My existential crisis has been throwing me into meltdown mode and has been plaguing my emotions for the past little while, but I've finally hit an epiphany, which I'll write about later.  In fact it might not even be an epiphany.  My epiphanies are along the lines of "nothing matters" but we'll see, I will go more in-depth when I write about it.  No beard or suicide for me so far.

-I lost two dress sizes!!!! I'm almost down to my "college" size, what I wore when I was 18.  Unbelievable.  I fully credit Tumblr and Jillian Michaels.  And also myself, for getting in shape and exercising.  

-I get to see Madi soon!!! I am SO stoked.  Her sister is getting married and she will be in SLC soon.  I'm sure she'll be whining about how smelly Portland is better, but that's okay ;)  She is wonderful despite her bad tastes location-wise.  

-I booked tickets for Derik and I to go see The Nutcracker the Sunday before I leave for Stockholm.  I've never seen the Nutcracker (NEVER! AND I AM THE BIGGEST FAN OF TCHAIKOVSKY EVER) so this will be extra excellent.  


Existential Crisis.

 "What you call "love" is nothing more than a wishful fancy.  Let me tell you one thing, and then let us speak of it no more. Love is a weakness. Love is a cancer that grows inside and makes one do foolish things. Love is death. The love you dream of is something that would be more important to one than anything, even life. I know no such love.  What I know is passion. The respect of equals. Things far more valuable that I'll not speak to you any further."

--Morrigan, Dragon Age Origins

I've been wanting to write about this for a few days now but I haven't really known what to say or how to word it.  But I guess I've gotten my thoughts as in order as they're going to get.

I've whined emo-ly several times now on this blog about love and how I feel that it eludes me.  Or for some reason that I don't deserve it.  This has been a constant thing I've felt since childhood and I'm sure that unfortunately, many can relate in some way.  Still, it wasn't until Brianna left a comment that I started reflecting that maybe my definition of love wasn't appropriate or accurate.

I have been thinking lately about the type of people I love and who love me.  While I have no problem in the realm of friends and confidants, people in relationships don't really give me what I feel the love I deserve is.  I guess maybe that sounds haughty of me, but then I wondered, well, do I love anyone? I'm not talking, again, about friends and people I consider family...those I love without question, would die for without question, would do anything for and they hopefully know and understand that.  I'm talking specifically relationship-type love in this blog entry.  The kind of people who marry each other or have these at least seemingly-deep connections and mutual respect for each other or something that eludes me.

I've only felt what I would call relationship-love for one person, and even that is testy and a whirlwind at times and more often than not I'm feeling a plethora of negative emotions alongside that feeling of relationship-love.  It never just stands alone as a good feeling, one that I can believe in at a time like this.  I've never been able to just truly embrace that singular feeling so I don't know what it holds and all of its secrets.  Also, that person has never loved me back, which gives me no reason whatsoever to even attempt to understand my love for them and what to do about it or what its potential is.  The fact that this one relationship is the closest I've ever come to real, true love and it's such a messy and rocky and unstable give and take makes me think...well, that must not be relationship-love either.   Nor am I content with others' definitions of relationship-love.  I feel that it doesn't pertain to me (as I have always felt) and due to my low self-esteem I really also feel like I'm not worthy of even learning more about love and what it has to offer.  It's not a priority.  I never felt that it was, but what's different now is that I'm not even fucking sure what it is I'm searching for.

What is love? (Baby don't hurt me...don't hurt me...no more)

What is it really? It's something more than that protective desire I have to watch over and take care of my friends and family.  It's something more than passion and emotions that I feel with lovers.  It's obviously not the stuff marriages are made of, or so many marriages wouldn't be failed (including my own).  It's also obviously not the stuff in fairy tale romances, because we've all accepted that those don't exist.  What more could I do to show someone that I relationship-love them than offer my life, and yet there are tons of people that I would do that for because I'm selfless in general when it comes to my friends?  Do we marry our best friends (as so many bloggers gleefully proclaim) because we get along well and we care and it's that simple?

This specific type of one-on-one love is not something that's found in nature.  Humans have been borrowing their morals and shit from religious texts for thousands of years now....is love one of those doctrines we learned about through myths?  Just like the completely ludacris idea of souls?  Or is that even ludacris?  Marriage, I firmly believe, is completely unnecessary and at most should be a ritualistic ceremony embracing an emotional bond between a pair of people who want to accomplish mutual goals in life.   Marriage is also rooted in religion and the stigma that surrounds "unconventional" marriage and relationships is yet another insanely out of date problem that shouldn't even exist and yet thanks to religion, it does.  So is the idea of love like that?

I don't know why I care about the people I do, in the way that I do, either.  I know that we humans started out as pack animals and just the same way as other packs do, we look out for each other.  We respect each other and we test boundaries and we work together and oftentimes, we enjoy it.  Maybe it's just a good quality of mine that I can be such a good friend and so ferociously take care of those in my life.  I never had anyone do that for me when I needed it, when I was a kid, so that probably influences my want and drive to do so for others.  But it has very little to do with relationship-love.

So as you can see I've entered an existential crisis on whether or not love is real.  It's very humbling and also very depressing to realize not that you don't love..or not that someone doesn't love you...but that you don't know what love is, or worse, IF it is, or if it's one of those things that like God, was something to keep you cozy on those lonely nights.  It's unnerving, considering how potent love is in our society and how generally accepted it is to exist and mean something wonderful.  I feel like a large part of my entire being is now just empty, and silent, and that makes me wonder what else isn't real, or what else I'm unsure about.

None of this probably makes any sense, and that's okay.  Go on with your lives as normal and I will be over here poring over coffee and growing a beard like all those suicidal philosophers before me.


The Grey.

I hardly post reviews, and if I do it's something I love very much.  I don't really like to review things that I dislike, it's kind of boring to me.   Also, I am so extremely picky with movies, I've never met another person like me.  And I didn't even blog about the Avengers (reviewing it anyway) and I watched that movie ten times in theaters (!!!!) but I have stumbled upon a movie so wonderful it is without a doubt one of the best films I've ever had the privilege to watch, if not my absolute favorite movie I've ever seen.

When I say this movie is good, what I mean is it's a movie that will pull your heart out and stomp on it and leave you with deep and dark and mindblowing thoughts, if you let it.  I see complaints of it online that talk about the "unrealistic portrayal" of the wolves and the situation, but what these people were expecting is Liam Neeson punching some wolves in the face.  They wanted an action movie.  And while the movie sure is full of action, that's not what it's about.  Not at all.  It's a philosophical art film that touches on so many symbols and allegories that you pretty much have to watch it twice to catch everything.  

The main character, Ottway, is an oil rig worker who kills wolves that threaten the workers.  On their way home to Anchorage, the plane crashes and he is left with six other men, to try and escape the Alaskan wilderness.  A pack of wolves who hunt in the area turn their attention on the group, who go through some pretty insane obstacles to survive the cold, the wolves, the cliffs, the lack of food, and each other's tempers.  They talk about family and share stories.  Ottway tells the men of a poem his dad wrote long ago and he recites it at several integral points during the film.  

Once more into the fray…
Into the last good fight I’ll ever know.
Live and die on this day…
Live and die on this day…”

The poem gains meaning as the movie draws to a close, and the ending itself had me bawling, squealing like a baby for at least an hour afterward.  When Derik watched the movie it affected him the same way (though he was a little more composed about it) but it seems like other people, the people who GOT the point of the movie and its ending, agreed with our sentiments: perfect and heartbreaking and wonderful and powerful all at the same time.  

I'll try to analyze some of the philosophical elements of the film without giving away spoilers, but if you're one of those people who must know NOTHING about a movie before seeing it, go get it.  It's on Netflix and Redbox.  You have no excuse.  Just remember--despite the misleading trailer and the sound of the movie description, this isn't a cut-and-dry survival action movie.  It's much deeper.

Atheism: Atheism is a very subtle but important (to me) plot point in the movie.  Some of the survivors are religious.  Some aren't.  The movie has been accused of being pro-atheism, and if that was the intent, I applaud it.  Whether it was or not I took it that way, as I'm sure pro-religion people could take the movie as a symbol of God's presence.  For me, though, the moment that stayed with me was when Ottway leaned against a rock and shouted up, “Do something. Do something. You phony, prick, fraudulent motherfucker! Do Something! Come on. Prove it! Fuck faith, earn it! Show me something real. I need it now—not later—now! Show me and I’ll believe in you until I die! I swear. I’m calling on you. I’m calling on you!"  I think anyone in such a dire situation would beg in that way.  He stares up at the trees and everything is quiet.  After calming down, a sort of disappointed look comes over his face and he states the impressive, " … Fuck it. I’ll do it myself. I’ll do it myself."  

Man vs Self:  Every supporting character in this movie represents an allegorical "stereotype" of male in modern society.  There's the family man, the gentle giant, the rebel and the 'smart' guy.  The main character is of course a conglomerate of these, having been them all at one time, so the supporting characters can be seen as a symbolic extension of his personality.  In other words, the movie explores the facets of man's ego when he is left alone with himself.  Some of these are heartbreaking.  We usually don't ever get the unlucky chance to be in that situation and see what would happen, but the movie is an accurate portrayal.  

The Harsh Truth.   The antagonists in the movie are obviously the wolves, but one of the men has a real mean streak and penchant for saying unpopular things.  Among his lines are "This is Fuck City, Population 5 and dwindling," and "I got a book. It's called "We're all fucked". It's a bestseller."  He has altercations throughout the movie with different guys, and he does some pretty rotten things, but the thing about Diaz is, he's always honest.  Everything he says about their situation, though it's hopeless, is accurate.  He doesn't like Ottway's leadership and argues any chance he can get about the direction they're going.   Diaz in other words is that little nagging voice of doubt in everyone's head.   The sad part about it is that he IS so honest, whether he means to be or not.   Once you watch the movie a second time you realize that every single thing he says has merit, even if you just want to yell at him to shut up.  

His most moving line was, "That's exactly why. What I got waiting for me back there? I'm gonna sit on a drill all day. Get drunk all night. That's my life. Turn around and look at that.  I feel like that's all for me. How do I beat that. When will it ever be better? I can't explain it." 

Alpha.  There's no hiding the fact that Ottway and the Alpha male of the wolf pack mirror each other throughout the film.  During the movie, Ottway leads his men just as the Alpha leads his pack.  They both subdue the would-be rebels, and they are both cunning in ways.  They have several "looks" at each other as the movie progresses, and neither attacks the other.  Just as you can see in other literature--a good and recent example is Harry Potter--  "neither can live while the other survives."  This is a biological truth we see around us in nature and a sad fact of life.  There can't be two such strong insurmountable mountains of power in the same territory.  It's unbalanced.  It's cruel that they have to fight, but it's not a weak fight or an unmatched one.  Before their actual confrontation, the Alpha very slowly approaches while Ottway prepares himself.  The wolf could have leapt, he could have called the pack to help him, but he didn't.  Instead, he called the pack away and allowed the man to get ready for an honorable fight.  

There's more I could say, but instead I am going to go watch the new episode of Parks and Recreation, and then watch the ending to The Grey again.  It's really a life-changing movie.  And perfect for winter, so go see it.  Also how is Liam Neeson hot at like 60-something?  Mmfff.



Yep, it's that time.  Another atheism post.  I normally don't even mind to the point of getting aggravated, but everyone has their limits.  Out of the kindness and courtesy of my little godless heart I will refrain from linking the source of my aggravated mood over this, but to sum it up, I found a blog post by some random woman who was expressing severe discontent about the election, and how she was afraid for the future.  That's fine and dandy, (and a little dramatic probably) but the icing on the cake was her not-so-subtle move toward insulting Democrats, saying "I hate that we are a world of godless souls."

Needless to say, the post sparked quite a range of reactions, including my own comment, which she hasn't approved yet and probably won't.  But everyone who commented, even the defensive Dems, claimed that they weren't godless.

A political party shouldn't ever be grouped into a singular religion, but that's beside the point.  They were acting as though the term "godless" was a slap in the face.  And in this fine country we live in, "godless" is synonymous for heathenish,  uncivilized, uneducated, barbaric.  That's what pisses me off, ladies and gentlemen.  I don't give a fuck if you are all up in arms about your personal savior.  I could care less, really.  But why is my lack of a belief, the simple descriptive word 'godless' to be used as an insult?  I guess this is how gay people feel when someone says "That's queer as fuck."  What's so negative about being gay? What's so negative about being an atheist?

I'll tell you what's so negative about being an atheist.  Nothing.  Not one single thing.  Never have I bemoaned my eternal soul, never have I worried about friends and relatives in the afterlife, never have I had to give up 10 percent of my check to fund a ridiculous prehistoric civilization that claims no taxes and discriminates on an hourly (at least) basis.  I may have worried about what I'm going to achieve in this life, I may worry about seeing my friends often enough.  I want to do everything to make this life a wonderful adventure and sometimes that can be stressful.  But yeah, otherwise? I'm good.  I'm not disappointed that god isn't real.  I was more upset when I found out that Santa wasn't real.  At least Santa's works of good were visible and tangible and I could hold them in my hand and say "Wow, Santa!"

Now when something goes right it's like, "Wow, science!"  or "Wow, friends!" or even "Wow, random happenstance!"  I don't care about any fairy tales.  The same way that Christians and so on and so forth view the ancient myths of Greek, Roman, Norse, Egyptian civilizations, is the EXACT same way atheists view those ridiculous stolen books of the Bible and Quran and all that shit.  The difference between dead myths and Christianity et al is that those religions are STILL prominent they're STILL influencing life and politics and everything for everybody, they're STILL causing war and discrimination and guess what...atheists don't LIKE that.

 We don't like being told to hate a certain group based on color or gender preference just because a book says so.  We don't like countries killing each other over the "holy" land.  We especially don't like the guilt trips and the false humility that religion beats down on us--we know real humility, because again: science.  We take responsibility for our own actions and don't have or need a scapegoat to die for us only to go to eternal heaven three days later.

So for those Christians who think that the world is ending and that we've strayed too far from God and that this GODLESS nation/world is threatened, let me tell you a little something about your own bullshit beliefs.  They didn't stem from beautiful dewdrop flowers whispering in your sleeping baby's ears at night.  The ONLY reason Christianity gained prominence in the Western world is because the believers at the time went on bloody, ghastly, horrific Crusades: MULTIPLE TIMES, and killed the non-believers while converting every single fucking person they could.  Thus it spread.  Congratufuckinglations, the Romans and some other dicks were better warriors.  If your history is so strewn with blood and gore, what on earth could you POSSIBLY forsee as a future ran by the godless?


...No, it isn't, it never was.  Do some reading on the Red Scare and recognize the fact that "In God We Trust" and "Under God" were written in, in the goddamn 1950's.  Two centuries after the founding of the country.  And it was during the time of black segregation, don't even get me started on women's rights....and it was all to push America toward being that perfect Atomic Age country and scaring the pants off those old mean Commies.  It has nothing to do with anything else.  Sorry.

So you must either want to go back to the Dark Ages, or you want to go back to the 1950's when everyone ate lead paint and swam in different swimming pools.  This is your logic.  Not mine.

Godless is not an insult.  It's something I am proud of, something others should be proud of, and something you should be ashamed of trying to eradicate.  I am a godless person and it simply means that I'm intelligent, strong, independent, realistic, and extremely, extremely sexy.

One final word on America and its creation, and then I will get off my little soapbox here:


Blogging reflections.

So I finally found out how to go under the settings tab and clear out my reading list.  This is awesome because I don't get to see the blogs and bloggers I love because like most of us, I went on a "following spree" upon first learning about blogs.  A lot of the blogs I was following weren't right for me, and now that I've thinned out the list I will actually be INTERACTING with the people whose blogs I love and read.  My actual blogging friends, of which there are many and all of them are amazing women.

It's funny how out-of-the-norm I am when it comes to blogging, from my perspective at least.  I get "minus points" for lacking all of the following: 

-a happy marriage or "LOVE OF MY LIFE" or some other significant other whatever.
-ability and want to craft
-ability and want to cook
-ability and want to DIY ANYTHINGGGG and I mean anyfuckingthing
-inability to stop using the word "fuck"
-an addiction to pinterest
-an addiction to twitter
-some cool neat cliche thing that I'm obsessed with like foxes or owls or dinosaurs or candy
-ability to do hair and makeup
-love of thrifting
-a tripod for posting 100000's of photos of myself in thrifted/Modcloth dresses
-vanity to post aforementioned photos
-a link in my sidebar for some religious affiliation, more than likely Mormonism
-good scheduling for posts (i.e., weekly features, I fucking suck at them)
-reviewing products.  I just don't give two fucks to yell out my opinion to the virtual world.
-not making fun of gingers despite having glaring artificial red hair

In addition to the things I DON'T have that make up your stereotypical blogger, I also possess THESE qualities which keep me 'out of the norm':

-disgust at the thought of having children
-disgust at relationships
-disgust at life in general and everyone and everything in it
-the love of the word "fuck"
-Rammstein and porn are actually the same thing to me
-actual video gaming nerd. Not like the LOLZ IMA NERURD girls.  I actually game.
-staunch, Hitchens-esque approach to atheism and rustling the jimmies of those religious
-rustling jimmies over anything really (aka I'm an internet troll, lol)
-cynic intelligence
-political apathy
-an inhuman obsession with Sweden
-And Swedes
-If I could get away with it I'd probably own a Swede
-but I think that's illegal
-hatred of Portland, hippies, 70's vintage, thrifting and interior decorating, and people who wear Native prints who are clearly Caucasian or other races not pertaining to the Native American culture
-Parks and Recreation

There was a time which this all discouraged me and I hardly bothered writing because I thought that no bloggers would want to read it.  In addition every blog I searched out seemed to have that stereotype to it.  Feminism! Political activeness! Body Acceptance! Fashion! Yeah I don't care, deep down.  But going through this list of blogs I follow reminded me that no, that's not how it is.  There are others out there who have just as terrible of a sense of humor, or some blaring "blog deformity" about them and those are the women I adore and online stalk.  Writing this list actually made me feel better...and now that I'm out of DIY/Craft land (for the most part) I am happy to have a blog feed reader that's full of non-cookie-cutter blogs.

If I'm not on your followers list and you think I should be, fucking tell me woman! Leave a goddamn link in the motherfucking comments and I will check your shit out.  (The cursing helps weed out imposters.)

Snow for the Mountain Girl.

I've talked before on this blog about how I grew up in really poverty-ridden circumstances.  Our house could barely be called a shelter, with its open holes to the ground, and its bare insulation and plywood ceilings.  Winters were atrocious for me to endure as a kid.  We had no water, no electricity, and winter was one big nightmare of no baths and hardly any food.  By January we were always resorting to our stockpile of potatoes from that summer.  The only heating was a lopsided and very old wood heater and it was barely enough on some days.  Keep in mind we were not only taking care of ourselves, but also around 300 chickens, 10 horses, and 20 dogs.  There were still chores to be done.  My rubber boots were leaky and I remember taking them off and putting my wet socks by the heater to thaw--they were frozen to the point that they stood up on their own in the shape of my feet.  

I slept in a "mummy bag" that my dad got from who knows where.  At night it was cold enough that when I crawled into it, I felt like I had just stepped into cold water.  It took hours of shivering for me to heat up the bag and fall asleep at night.  Some winters I went days without anything but meager water, and if I was lucky enough I bathed with heated water once a month.  Chopping and loading and unloading wood, feeding the horses, de-thawing the watering containers for the chickens...it all took hours.  I can't really remember doing anything else in the coldness of winter, other than Christmas and then work, work, work, work, and more work.  

Winters in Tennessee are nightmarish--on the east side, anyway.  In the Appalachian mountains, the humidity plus the low temperatures produce not beautiful white fluffy snow, but ice and slush.  We were commonly victims of "ice storms" where freezing rain would settle on the trees and cause them to be crushed under the intense weight.  It was not uncommon to hear of families losing their homes and even their lives to the fallen trees.  As a result, we had to sleep in our full clothes (two pairs of pants, two shirts, coat, socks, and shoes) and be ready for anything.  I remember staying up at night and hearing the creaking, crashing and groaning of the trees in the forest around us.  I used to imagine that they were giants, and that one misstep would cause them to fall and crush us all to death.  

Needless to say I wanted nothing to do with winter, ever.  My dad used to turn into an entirely different person in the winter, as well.  He grew even more sullen and melancholy than he already was, and his bright (and cruel) humor just turned cruel.  His mind shifted into work and survival mode and the rest of us followed suit.  Mom, who I believed at the time was of course influenced by her "rich" upbringing, tried to get us to see the beauty of snow.  She thought it was pretty and always referenced Christmas cards in the beauty of it.  I was on my Dad's side.  Fuck the snow, fuck winter, fuck all of it, who needs that?  It was a cumbersome hindrance and nothing more.  Then there's the fact that one of my great-grandmothers actually froze to death in the house we lived in....that was always a nice quaint reminder of what the winter could do.

When I moved to Utah, I retained my disgust of winter.  Why wouldn't I?  I scoffed and still scoff at those who enjoy winter sports, I shut myself in for months at the first sign of fall, and it's taken all of almost seven years for my stubborn outlook to change.  My views as a child were not out of spite or jealousy or misunderstanding...I was in survival mode and snow is no good company for survival.  We got our first snowstorm yesterday and I went out in it to get some photographs, which I succeeded at, and being in the snow made me so happy.  It was majestic, beautiful, calm, serene, and at the same time a reminder of the brute force and harsh enigma that is Nature.  But every time I enjoy snow, I think about those who are trapped in it...those people and animals who are doing everything in their power to just survive.  Sometimes I feel like I don't belong to this world, the world of people who enjoy snow and play in it and photograph it.  Sometimes I feel like I belong with the survivors, because that's what I am and who I grew up with.  

All in all, it's a very lost feeling, and maybe that's why I get so sad in winter.  


Christmas in Sweden.

Congrats, for those of you who are still with me through this blog design ongoing project.  I feel like I should re-title it to "existential crisis blog" because that's what it looks like every other day, going from one extreme to the other.  One should not design blogs based on one's mood.  But as usual, I like this layout, even if it does make me look like a member of the Nazi party or maybe a Communist.

I'm already getting off-track.  Here's my news: one of my closest and oldest friends, who lives in Sweden, has asked me to spend Christmas with him and his family.  Now what do you think I said to THAT invitation?

Stockholm fascinates me.  It's something of a mix between old European heritage, a hilarious ship graveyard, a cultural mecca, an American and German tourist haven, and your normal 21st-Century metropolis.  Swedes in Stockholm are a fun mix of welcoming to American tourists and American culture while simultaneously being hermits and socially closed.  I don't know how to describe it, but the combination of everything that is Stockholm makes me feel really safe and secure.  I've only gotten lost a few times (when wandering around alone, obviously, as my friends know what the hell they're doing) but I was never particularly worried.  I would be more uneasy about getting lost in my own state, to tell the truth.

I have tried to come up with an answer about what's so special about this place, and the simplest thing I can say is that everyone has their haven, their utopia, and I suppose Stockholm is mine.  It's big enough to get lost in, obviously, but small enough that I don't feel overwhelmed, crowded, or claustrophobic.  It's been a dream of mine to live there since before I even saw the place.  At the very least I plan on retiring there.  I could get really deep into my conspiracy-theorist Libertarian-sounding anti-Murrican ways (I am neither anti-American or a Communist just fyi), but I don't really feel the need.  I love Sweden and Sweden loves me, and anyone who has ever fallen in love with a foreign place can understand what I mean by that.

So, I will be spending this Christmas in Sweden, and if all goes well, ringing in 2013 in Sweden as well.  A lot of stuff about next year is really uncertain and kind of sad, so I think it's even more fortunate that I have people who care about me and want to get the year off to a great start in the place they know I adore.  Tentatively I will be in Sweden for a month.  Pretty badass, right? 


Poison Ivy and Batman. (Halloween)

Just me and my awesome Batman.

"He's the hero Wheeler Farm deserves, but not the one it needs right now..."
Our hero scouts the farm for any signs of danger, but all seems quiet.....

But in the fields of Gotham awaits a poisonous redhead...!!!!


Whose very lips are venomous!!!
Oh no!!! What will our hero do?!?!?!

In a crazy change of events it seems Ivy has become smitten with Batman instead!!

So everyone is happy! Except Batman who then wanted to go look at the cows at the farm.

Closeup of makeup. 

How To Cope With Autumn, Alex Style

Summer is so over.  Winter is so close.  The temperature is so cold.  I have severe SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and every season change is like a four-month-long knife in my heart.  Metaphorically.  Here are some of the ways I cope, complete with vintage cliche photo editing.  You might also want to check out this fucking amazing indie album which sets the mood for cooler weather with beautiful soft vocals, intricate and soothing acoustic guitar, and cozy/sad lyrics.  I recommend "Goodbye My Love" and "The Dragon's Tears" especially.

Onto my autumn list.

1. Live in a beautiful, breathtaking place, and appreciate it.

2. Take cold morning walks and get creeped out by the sound of footsteps behind you.

3.  Appreciate snow.  You might as well. It's better than bitching.  Besides, it's pretty.

4. Have the best, most wonderful and amazing international friends anybody could ever hope for.

5. Find a badass local coffee place complete with art and amaaaaaaaaaazing coffee.  Quirkyness helps.

6.  Have the world's best pet, a kind of pathetic pumpkin, and photos of your biggest inspirations over your workspace.  And yes, Sanguine, a god of debauchery, is one of my inspirations.  Are you surprised? Also in the mix is Benny Siegel and Howard Hughes.

7.  Read awesome books all goddamn winter long. Real books. None of that ebook shit.

If you follow these steps then you're well on your way to transitioning into this colder weather!!! Stay tuned in case I have more inspiring advice.  I doubt I will, but you never know.  And now I'm off to eat watermelon and read more about the mob in Vegas.



Tuesday Derik and I went to Wheeler Farm, which is as you might have deduced, a farm.  It's a nice place here in Salt Lake, sort of a mix between an agricultural group and a farmer's market and a park.  There's lots of things to do and lots of animals: horses, cows, pigs, goats, chickens.

Chickens.  I grew up with chickens.  I raised them; game chickens which my dad used for cockfights (go ahead and laugh, I said 'cock', hardy har har.)  I have hatched baby chickens out of their shells without an incubator, I've nursed sick chickens back to health.  Once I even took in a poor crippled chicken who had been dropped by a hawk and his legs were deformed. We named him Charlie Chaplin.

Anyway, chickens.  They were my companions.  I know I've already put myself on the weird wagon a lot and talking about chickens won't make things any better, but I really loved those animals.  I can tell you everything about a chicken, from what to feed it to make it stronger, to how to cuddle it and calm it down, I can glance at one and tell you if it's healthy or sick and what it needs to feel better.  I taught my baby chickens how to roost; I put them in trees and then sat with them in the branches reading stories aloud until they went to sleep.  It was always difficult when they got old enough to sleep outside on their own (they were swaddled while they were too small to roost) but my chickens and I were always close.  That's why I don't eat chicken now; the occasional hamburger or BBQ sandwich might slip by me as I'm a flexitarian, but chicken is off the menu now and forever.

So, there were two baby chicks at Wheeler Farm.  I couldn't stop, I couldn't leave them alone.  I cuddled them and kissed them and cooed over them in a way that would even be embarrassing for a human baby let alone a bird baby.  So many memories of my pets came flooding back to me and I felt like a piece of me that  got so lonely I'd forgotten about it had just mended right back up.  I seriously couldn't stop being so happy about the darling little chicks.  Derik actually noticed what I felt, and he commented throughout the day (both during our time at the park and after we went home) that he'd never seen me that happy.  He's seen me travel the world and achieve a lot of my dreams and have a lot of fun over the past six years, so for him to say that is really evidence of just how much these little birds mean to me.

There's nothing I can do about it.  I want to raise chickens again but I live in an apartment, in the city.  Also, I have cats.  I'm kind of the worst candidate to have chickens.  This makes me sad, because nobody loves chickens like a Worley.  Especially Alex Worley.  I wish there were some way I could have them in my life again, because I feel like it would be therapeutic   Like how some people have depression cats? I'll have a depression chicken.


Creative Chaos and Blogging.

If you've even been looking at my blog over the past week or so, you've probably thought someone either hacked me, or that I finally fell off that steep ledge of 'barely sane' I've been wavering on for about a quarter of a century now.  I've been stuck in a really weird state of mind since Tennessee, although maybe that's not fair.  I was really in that mindset as soon as EMT class came to a close, because my focus has to shift to the next phase of my life, whatever that really is.  I don't like change and I especially don't like transition, so I've been feeling weird.

And usually when I get in this angsty existential crisis mode I take it out on my creative outlets; usually writing and painting.  Painting has had a wrench in its side ever since I was supposed to move out of this shit apartment way back in July; all my supplies are sitting in bins packed up and ready to go.  My novel will never suffer at the hands of my own mental feebleness, so the next creative target was my blog.  I feel like blogging is a conglomerate of scheduled linky parties, questionnaires, people standing awkwardly and taking waaaaaay too many self-photos of their thrifty outfits, Moms and Mormons, and married women who are loving their significant other, and young college girls who make crafts.  And then there's me.  It's hard to find a niche, but I did it successfully over the course of this year and I've met some amazing people.

But as always, my creative process is changing and growing and transforming, and it's taken a turn away from that de-facto style of blogging that still fascinates me, but that I don't really have the energy for.  There's nothing cathartic to me about blog parties or step-by-step photos.  There's nothing cathartic about organization really, I kind of hate it.  I'm the anti-anal personality.   I think maybe the scheduling (weekly features, etc) messes up that sporadic creative spark that is the driving force behind my ability to write interesting things, and I also feel obligated to do things others do, because...when you're a blogger, that's 'what you do'.

Not only has my creative process taken a few unexpected turns, but here's a point I feel the need to share with all my followers: every winter my personality and demeanor takes a very drastic turn.  I am pretty sure that most people can relate to this.  We act and feel differently when the weather is different (assuming you live in a place with seasons.)  Mine is severe, and I don't know if it's inherited, and I have been diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder, but the end result is the same.  I become more closed, quiet, doleful, melancholy, hard-working, hard-thinking, and my emotions go into the toilet and are to some extent even filled with bitterness.  Having 'family' holidays in winter probably doesn't help this mindset, as I'm forced to watch everyone participate in those celebrations I've been alienated from for a decade.  I still write in winter, I still do everything, but I do it almost like a different person.

This entry is already longer than I thought it would be; the point is....this blog is probably going to sound different, and become way more of a personal blog than it ever has been before.  I know a lot of people see me as candid because I really put myself out there with the things I write about, but there are things in my life going on that I never write here and I really don't know why.  For example, I'm currently trying to apply to be an au pair in Sweden and have spoken to a few families.  This is a huge thing, it would be a crazy change--living in Stockholm with a host family--and for some reason it hasn't made its way here.

I don't expect anyone to want to stick around if they're not interested in my winter personality switch and my probably boring rants on things like the human psyche and the uncertainty of my future.  But I felt that instead of just deleting this blog and starting fresh with zero followers (which is what I at first had considered) I would try to push on because I love this blog and all my peeps here, and they had an explanation owed to them.

That's all, now get out of here.


Tennessee, September 2012.

This is a blog post that actually means a lot to me.  See, I have a certain angst about the term 'home' and everything it implies (something I bemoaned here) and I don't rightly know how to explain it.  (I don't rightly know? My Tennessee is coming out.)  I always just summarize it with "Tennessee sure is pretty."  And it is.  In an almost dreamy, heartbreaking way, for me.  People don't really believe me when I say this, mostly because they're already conjuring images of Deliverance, and also because I happen to think the desert is gorgeously, breathtakingly beautiful.  I do have a lot of pride in the state I was raised in.  These places all mean a lot to me and they come to me in dreams, or in my most nostalgic memories.   So I will share them without saying much more in the hopes that you can see why I call Tennessee beautiful and leave it at that.

(ps, stay tuned for my next blog entry where I have a surprise run-in with my dad)


Tennessee Vacation: Arborea in Nashville

Well, I'm back! After a full two weeks in my home state, I have a TON of pictures and stories that I can't wait to share.  Sidenote: I'm up to 99 followers, oh my! I never dreamed to have 10, much less almost 100! Thank you wonderful ladies :)  And now, since I could post a thirty-page entry on my vacation, I'm going to split up the events and start with the first one: Arborea in Nashville.

Arborea  is one of my favorite bands (though they're really just a duet) and I have loved them ever since I found them back in 2010.  Their music is mysterious and haunting, with just the right touch of melancholy and  wilderness charm.  They're a husband and wife team who play a variety of instruments and sing about beautiful things.  So when I saw they were playing in Nashville during my trip, I was excited, flailing around uselessly with glee.  Because another of my favorite artists, the beautiful Mariee Sioux, was with them on tour.  

On the day of the concert, we rode from Murfreesboro to Nashville as the sun was setting.  Sunsets in the east are so different than my desert sunsets.  Out west, the sky lights up with fiery colors and the sun lingers for hours, almost refusing to give up on its mission to make everything buttery and golden.  In the east, the colors are softer, the sun is meeker, and the sunsets are brief at best, so quiet and fleeting.   These were the sunsets I grew up with and remember as a child; I will never forget seeing my first desert sunset and thinking that my retinas would be fried with all of the reds and yellows we rarely get in Tennessee.  I think that both types of sunset are beautiful, but as always, I prefer my desert. Still it was nice to see the calmer side of a sunset for once.  

the sunset on the way to Nashville

The Basement--the venue, as it were, is very properly named.  It was easy to find and hard to get into.  A typical Nashville hipster kind of place, really small, crowded, funky, and dark.  Perfect for the type of mood you'd expect.  We finally found the 'alley entrance' which wasn't an alley at all, it was a side road and a sign nailed on a tree that led us to a hidden parking lot.  Thanks Tennessee for being so needlessly confusing.  It's hard to look cool and musical when you're walking around going "duhhhhhhhhh? whrurdoigo??? durrr"

I guess it's part of the charm for hipsters.

Arborea had a few guest singers, William Tyler and Jeff Zenter.  Both were great artists and I enjoyed them; they complimented Arborea and Marie beautifully.  William had a song (I forget the name) which he wrote in response to a priceless occult library being burned down because of a Quiznos fire.  There were a lot of psychedelic tones to the song, and he used different things like a handheld fan, a violin bow, and some unidentified device on his guitar.  I would've been angry about the destruction of the instrument, but it was a Fender Telecaster, one of my most despised guitars.  While he was hammering out the screeches about nine minutes in I turned to my friend and whispered, "Man, he's really tore up about them books."

Jeff Zenter was just....fucking awesome, no other way to describe it.  With songs about the desert, the heat of summer, and everything played and sang with a gritty western vibe, we all know that I liked him.  He's pretty cute too, but don't just take my word for it.  When Mariee got up, I was all ecstatic and giggly.  Nobody ever expects to see someone they admire and listen to on at least a weekly basis, sitting five feet in front of them.  But there she was....and she was amazing.  I never knew just how great at guitar she was until I watched her play and sing.  She was self-professed 'sick with a virus' (probably a virus named mushrooms) and while she could barely talk in between songs, she sang like an angel and never, for a single goddamn second, did she go even slightly out of tune.  I was so pissed.  Someone that perfect shouldn't exist.

At one point, her 'fever' got the best of her and Mariee paused, in the dead center of her song, and rather flustered, tried to explain a lyric that mentioned underwater tea parties.  It was so funny to hear her pause, explain the song, and then immediately go right back in where she left off.  I mentioned to my friend that how, with her green sparkly dress and black hair, she looked like a psychedelic mermaid.  He responded, noting the emphasis on psychedelic, and I countered in her defense, "There's not a lot of oxygen underwater."

I was sitting right next to Shanti from Arborea and I was too much of a damn chicken to say hi.  But I mean, what do you say to someone who is at a venue about to play music? "Oh hi, I love your music--no fucking shit, but I mean--OH MY GOD YOU GUYS ARE GREAT!!!"  I maintained my dignity (maybe) and didn't fangirl to them publicly, but I probably leered while they played.  And it was the most wonderful and beautiful thing I could've expected from Tennessee.  So thanks Nashville, and thanks amazing musicians!