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Well damn...

My parents were supposed to come for Thanksgiving. I was thrilled and looking forward to it. I had plans that my mom and I would watch the parade Thursday morning while we drank coffee and chatted. My dad would fall asleep in the chair or regale us with their latest travel story (they were just in Florida with friends at Disney) while Casey smoked the turkey. Later my mom and I would set the table like we've done most of my life. We'd have cocktail hour. We invited some of our closest PIttsburgh friends to join us. We were going to be 9 of us... a little tight around the table, but that's what makes holidays fun. Friday we were going to go Christmas tree shopping and then maybe hit the Cathedral of Learning and maybe one of the Carnegie museums. Saturday we'd have breakfast and they would head home. That's what was what was the plan any way. Today, my dad called.

They just returned from Disney and he took my mom to Urgent Care. She had gotten sick while they were away and it's developed into pneumonia. :( Craaaaaaaaap... my sister just recovered from a really bad bout of it. My dad is sick too, but just stuffy. So they're staying home. Mom is resting, taking antibiotics and cough medicine with codeine (or something to let her sleep). They're both under offspring orders of chicken soup and OJ.

This is the sucky part about being on the other side of the state. I know there's nothing I can do really and I know they'll both be fine, but it still sucks. I'll talk to my mom tomorrow probably. I know she's probably upset too. I know my dad was. He was unusually chatty when I talked to him.

So healthy thoughts for my folks please.

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30 Day Writing Challenge

I'm participating in a 30 Day Writing Challenge that I found on Facebook. I started on Friday, April 1. You can follow along with me on my writing journal, writero. The rules are in the photo:

I'll give you breast cancer awareness

Right. So here's the deal. I've had a grandmother did from breast cancer. I had another who beat it when she was over 80 thirty years later, as well as several other cancers through her senior years. I have had several friends survive breast cancer. I have watched the physical, mental and emotional toll breast cancer has taken on all of these women and their loved ones. I've experienced the emotional and mental toll it took on me WATCHING them go through it and being helpless to fix it.

Don't tell me what breast cancer awareness is or is not. If I want to cover my feed in pink and participate in walks, then I'm going to do it. Every little thing that wakes people up and makes them aware, counts. Don't discount anyone's efforts to raise awareness.

Breast cancer is ugly and horrible and devastating. Deal with it how you deem fit but don't tell me how I have to deal with it or raise awareness.

And yes, this is in response to a recent trend of posts I've seen in social media showing in graphic detail what cancer physically means. You want to know what my "trigger warning" needs to be? There you go.

Changing traditions

I'm not sure how I feel about this. The compassionate side of me thinks it's a wonderful idea and loves the published plans for retiring the elephants.

The nostalgic side of me, though, has fond memories of being in awe of the elephant acts as a child and doesn't want them to leave the show.

Then there's the tradition of it. Barnum was the first American circus to have an elephant act. He bought Jumbo from the London Zoo in 1882, amid much controversy.

In the end it's a good business decision. But more than that it's a compassionate decision for the elephants.

WPXI 11 News: Ringling Bros. says circuses to be elephant-free in 3 years

To learn more about Ringling Bros. elephant conservation efforts, check out their Elephant Center web site.

Also, Emma Donohughe wrote a fantastic short story about the Jumbo controversy. It appears in her collection of short stories called
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I'm not sure how I feel about this. The compassionate side of me thinks it's a wonderful idea and loves the published plans for retiring the elephants.

The nostalgic side of me, though, has fond memories of being in awe of the elephant acts as a child and doesn't want them to leave the show.

Then there's the tradition of it. Barnum was the first American circus to have an elephant act. He bought <a href="http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jumbo">Jumbo from the London Zoo in 1882, amid much controversy.</a>

In the end it's a good business decision. But more than that it's a compassionate decision for the elephants.

<a href="http://www.wpxi.com/ap/ap/entertainment/ringling-bros-says-circuses-to-be-elephant-free-in/nkPsK/">WPXI 11 News: Ringling Bros. says circuses to be elephant-free in 3 years</a>

To learn more about Ringling Bros. elephant conservation efforts, check out their <a href="http://www.elephantcenter.com">Elephant Center</a> web site.

Also, Emma Donohughe wrote a fantastic short story about the Jumbo controversy. It appears in her collection of short stories called <a href=""http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B007BGNSJQ/ref=mp_s_a_1_6?qid=1425648821&sr=8-6&pi=AC_SX110_SY165_QL70&keywords=emma+donoghue><i>Astray</i></a>. I highly recommend the whole book, but especially that story.

Letting things go

There's a lot in the news and on the web lately about decluttering and shedding oneself of stuff. I started doing this while we were packing. I plan on continuing to do it too.

I will admit that some things I'm still holding on to - yarn, fiber, BPAL - and will likely still collect. But other things - books, fabric, clothes, even shoes! - have been easier to release into the wild. Anything still in good condition has been donated. Anything torn, broken, or ridiculously out of date has been trashed. And OMG was that hard! But the more I did it, the easier it got.

The next thing for me to tackle are mementos. Little things that don't take up space, but that have a special meaning to me. Photos and video tapes, even old letters and cards, are easy. I can get digital copies made and they're easily stored. But things like theater programs, brochures, trinkets... things still with meaning to me... those are harder. If anyone has a creative idea for that stuff, let me know!

Interesting tidbit: there are mementos I was holding on to that no longer have meaning. Those have been released into the wild for others to enjoy.

Letting go does feel good!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-31051632

Well lookit that...

... my LJ still exists... huh...

I've been away for quite a while. I started a new job at the end of 2012 and while it's a definitely career builder, it's exhausting and usually the last thing I want to do when I get home is stare at a computer screen for another 3 hours. But then I found myself staring at FB and G+ on my phone for hours... and ... yeah... not productive at all. So here I am, back on LJ.

All the news that"s fit to print... and some that"s not...Collapse )Anyway... that's what's up with me for now. Hopefully, I'll make writing in LJ more of a habit again. I'm hoping that it will spark my writing muse, too. I miss writing.

Full Moon Dreams

The full moon is coming. I dreamt of angels, and male friends kissing male friends, and men kissing me, and stuff being pulled out of my body and... I suppose I should be upset, or consider at least that last dream a nightmare, but it didn't feel that way. It felt like a release, a letting go. I feel energized this morning and it's a good thing. :)

Good morning, World! :)

Word Demons

Word Demons

Words swirling, spinning, dancing
Bright as cherry blossoms
Elusive, ephemeral, empty
Thought colliding with idea
Idea crashing into concept
Theory fragmenting against
Reality
Harsh, brittle, sharp-edged
Words demanding meaning
Form and shape, while the world
Reels again in the dark
Lashing at the
Demons
We created.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

And there's a new pope

So there's that. A new pope. He's from Argentina. I am almost waiting for someone to do a YouTube video of him on the papal balcony with a dub of "Don't Cry For Me Argentina." Almost. Yeah. I'm a bad Catholic, but then we knew that. I'm so far from the religion of my birth, I'm starting to look at it mostly objectively. There's still much navel gazing to happen about that though.

"Navel gazing." I used that phrase at work today and my office neighbor looked at me like I had sprouted antlers. He has apparently never heard the phrase before. Both my boss and I thought that was incredibly odd. And funny.

I like my boss. He's from Guyana and has this interesting way of relating to the world. He grew up in the Caribbean in the British school system, so he's incredibly well read. He is the type of person who will randomly research a topic that strikes his fancy. It doesn't matter what it is. He was a teacher for a while too. And now 11 years in positions of increasing responsibility at my company from its inception. He's reminding me what it's like to have a manager who will actually challenge you and push you to your potential. It's kind of cool. Ok. It's a lot cool!

My job. My job is incredibly challenging right now on many levels. This is the first job I've had where I manage people. And the first job where I had to fire someone who worked for me. That's no fun. Not that I ever thought it would be, but man. Wow. Hard. Especially since personally I like the woman. The fit just wasn't right. So now I'm interviewing people and that's just as hard as interviewing yourself. Not only am I trying to find someone who will be the right person for this incredibly high volume, fast paced administrative position in a highly unstructured environment (one of my tasks when I have someone is actually to bring some structure to the function), but I have to sell this job to people who might, just might succeed at the job without running screaming from the building in a month. And still be honest about the position. It's ... interesting. When I've been asked to describe the environment, I've taken to saying, "Imagine you're in the circus. Now picture yourself juggling balls, spinning plates, and teaching elephants to fly." What I don't say is that oh, by the way, every so often, one of the elephants bursts into flame for no apiary reason. Sounds like fun, no? But then we all knew I was a little touched in the head. ;-)

Let's see... What else? Oh. Hrm. I went to the shore house for the first time since Hurricane Sandy. I was helping my folks and my sister pack things up and move things. See... The house is being knocked down. Soonish. My dad found a builder to take half of the land in exchange for building a house on the other half. So this was the beginning of saying goodbye to the house and, in a way, my childhood.

Walking into the house was like a blow. The first floor has been gutted. It had flooded with bay water and sewage. So everything on the first floor had to go. There was nothing left but the wood framing, the cinder lock outer walls, and the wood floor. All of the light fixtures are gone. All of the appliances and cabinetry. The funky paneling over the fireplace was really all that remained familiar. It looked so out of place and lonely. It was all I could do not to break into gut wrenching sobs at the loss. I had dreaded that day, but it had to be faced. So I faced it. I swallowed my tears and plowed on because I was there to help. It was hard. Especially seeing the look on my mom's face as she tried to swallow her tears. And watching my dad and my sister go all Klinger stoic. We each deal with loss in our own ways. So I'll take private moments to grieve for the loss of childhood, store and savor my memories, and look to the future and creating new memories.

Once the initial emotional punch had passed, there was just too much to do. Upstairs is its own special kind of disaster area. The second floor was untouched and has become a storage area and staging space for the stuff from those rooms and my sister's shop. After helping my sister move stuff back to her shop, I packed books all afternoon. If this had been my house or my parents' main house, it would have taken weeks. Still, there were at least 12 boxes of books - beach reading and children's books - and more to be packed from the studio. Huge, awkwardly sized art books mostly.

Now I'm trying to figure out exactly when I can go down again and help my sister. She needs the help. A lot. The goal is to get the shop ready to open for Memorial Day. Which means I really should be down there every weekend helping her and giving her support. And I know because I'm not, I'm letting her down and I'm a Bad Sister(tm). Thing is - and maybe I'm making excuses - early on I kept asking, "What do you need? How can I help?" I kept getting no response or, worse, non-committal responses. I also know that when I've tried to just insert my help into the family equation, I've been rebuffed. So... I've learned not to. And it's a vicious spiral of self-recrimination and second guessing myself. Frankly, I'm sick of it. I have told my family that I love them and I will do what I can, but they need to a) tell me what they need and b) let me help.

Ever get the idea that somewhere along the way, you picked up a label in your family that's just ever so slightly... off? I feel that way with mine. I feel as though they have me labeled in their collective minds as a delicate flower who can't take the harsh realities of life. Honestly, if that were true, I would have never made it past middle school. I mean come on. Really? Some of the crap I've been through in the last 40-odd years while not always Oprah-worthy (thank God!) was definitely trying and has sorely tested my mettle. But here I stand, alive and kicking.

Writing has been happening in sporadic bursts. Poetry, new stories, short scenes usually... It's good and always makes me feel better when I can write.

I've joined the gym again. While I haven't gone this week, I do enjoy it first thing in the morning. I'll go tomorrow if I can pry myself out of bed in the morning. The time shift has really screwed with my biorhythms. Again. It gets harder and harder to deal with as I age. I'd love to be back up to running 30 minutes straight by the time the summer gets here. I think I need new shoes.

Swimming really lets you know how far out of shape you really are too. Omg. Ow.

I am so sick of having constant congestion and coughing. It's a dry cough now. The humidifier isn't helping anymore. I know it's just the progress of this particular bug but man it's annoying!

Things spiritual have taken a back seat for now. That's not to say I'm not paying attention and feeding my spiritual self, but it does mean I'm feeling less in tune with that aspect of myself right now. And that's ok. I know I'll get back there again, I just need for the spiritual to not be so incredibly intense for a little while.

And we have a new pope. It should be interesting to see if the Italians think they can control him.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

For future reading later today

An article about the study of consensual non-monogamy and how it may help all relationship styles.
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=new-sexual-revolution-polyamory

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.