Friday, August 31, 2012


Today was the last day of the job. It was always temporary, and was extended two months later than originally planned, for a total of eight and a half months of not having to worry too much about money.

 One of the hundreds of mock traffic signs in Amarillo, Texas funded by millionaire Stanley Marsh

I can't say I'm not looking forward to a break. That it has to be an unpaid break sucks the big one, but there are possibilities out there that need to be explored.

I applied for a teaching job Monday. There are a couple more teaching jobs to try for. I am debating applying for a job I walked away from last year.

I found out there has been a moratorium placed on expiring teaching certificates. I wonder why, but if I am reading it right I have two more years. It was due to expire in December.

Beach chairs Curacao
This is what I wish my break looked like. 

One of the ladies at work sent my resume to a friend of hers who is looking for people for projects. However I haven't heard from this person and don't have his contact info, so we will see.

As soon as October, there may be work at the job I which have just finished.

So there are lots of possibilities, no certainty, and my goal is to be busy, do fun things, and explore ideas for as long as I can.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Stories we tell

I've got allergies.

Sneeze in white hankie 
By mcfarlandmo [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Big, dry-eyed, sneezin, snot-drippin allergies.

I have never had allergies, I say to myself. I always check no on the allergic-to-anything box. For the past couple years, allergy season has rolled around and I've sneezed and people have said it's allergies and I've said oh, no, I don't have allergies.

And then Thursday before class I sat down to center myself and the first thought in my head was "So fine, so I have allergies, then."

And I had my thought to impart for the day. I've been sneaking them in, now that I'm more comfortable with the actual teaching of the poses, I've been adding a little "yoga-talk" or thought to the beginning of the practice. It's just another one of those things I knew I would do when the time was right, so I didn't set a particular date or goal of doing it. I didn't even have a thought planned for yesterday, but when I came to my mat and got quiet it came to me.

We define ourselves as someone, saying "I am someone who..." or "I am someone who does not..." and in defining ourselves, we create ourselves. When I say that I am single, I reinforce that idea. Certainly it does not help when the @#)%#@)%( optometrist asks me to check a box for single or married (still the only two options, and I don't check either because they are checking my eyes). The idea gets reinforced every time there is a box to tick, even if it's an idea we don't particularly care for. Not only our definitions of ourselves as requested by the boxes on a form, but the very idea that this matters.

So I don't check the box. And somehow that seems like a marked option too, like if I were more at ease with what is -- the fact that I am single -- then it wouldn't be an issue with me, to check it or not check it.

But I persist in wondering why it matters.

Monday, August 27, 2012


So, so, so much of my identity is bound up in being single. Being on my own. Being independent. Different ways of saying being alone.

Therapist and I are exploring this idea of being alone-independent-single.  It's weird. Therapy is weird. Someone listens to what I'm saying, don't realize I'm saying, or what I'm not saying, and tells me what I'm saying or not-saying. And then I'm like, whoa, because he just said in one sentence that thing that I am taking my whole life to say. And it sounds so simple and obvious and so frightening I cannot accept that it's true.

When the boundaries between me and my willingness to believe the truth are thick, I continue past the saying and not-saying and add on not-hearing.

I love working in my yard pulling weeds. However, I have a really hard time staying present for pulling weeds. I tend to have imaginary conversations, which would better be described as me-talking/someone-listening-and-being-very-interested-and-asking-me-many-questions. Whoever it is, is usually someone that I kind of like in a squishy-innards way, and is quite often someone who has already turned away. When it's someone who is still a contender, it begs the question, why am I not having this conversation for real.

Because conversations don't go like that.

In conversations I have to listen to the other person tell me about their day no matter how much I am just not interested in their job and the thing they had to get that didn't work even though it was a brand-new thing.

In conversations I have awkward moments when I'm going to say something and they're going to say something and I'm nice so I don't want to talk over anyone so we both stop and that's how I find out if someone's not nice, because they just keep talking. But then we have to figure out who gets to talk first.

In conversations I don't keep habitually finishing others' sentences like I do in real life because I can be a bit impatient.

I was having a conversation-in-my-head. It was with someone I could have with the snap of my fingers. Who I don't want and am not attracted to.

Except every day I let the idea in a little, mull it over, play with it a little.

But then I think about the time when it will be over.

I remember the last time someone came this close. I held out my hand, he grabbed on, and then he tumbled faster than I did, right into all kinds of future plans that I wasn't ready for and I got scared and I knew -- I knew -- that I would calm down if I broke it off.

The panic evaporated and I could relax again.

I script and practice how I'm going to let him down, how I'm not going to feed him 20 minutes of bullshit detailing all I've gone through in the last year and how that contributes to Not Ready and Need To Be On My Own.

Last time, the time when it will all be over was the time after it began. It hasn't even begun and I'm thinking about being on the other side.

And yet I don't go there. I don't say the dreaded words, "we need to talk." I sit down next to him to take my shoes off, let him hold my hand as we walk out the door at the end of the evening.

Do you see how far I'm talking around what I'm supposed to be talking about? Which is this identity issue.

Some examples.
  1. I bought a house.
  2. I ripped up carpet on a Wednesday after work.
  3. I ripped up carpet at 9:00 on a Friday.
  4. I painted rooms and their ceilings in a color palate that would make many a man -- and I expect, this particular man -- shake his head in disbelief.
  5. I drove here, and there, and back again.
  6. I moved to the Grand Canyon because a guy broke my heart. (Did I fail to tell this story? Maybe later. Maybe never.)
  7. I always liked the guy my friend liked, especially if he liked her back.
  8. I had to start school a year early, but Brownies a year late.
  9. My legs were too short to reach the hollow below the swing. I was the only one who needed a push.
And now some of the most meaningful conversations that give me what I think I want, I have alone, even though they are with someone who exists.

But he does listen when I talk. He isn't just waiting to talk, himself.

So I'd have that. If I would let myself.

I can never get all the weeds. After two hours I'm tired. And the hedges still need to be trimmed, and all the other weeds, in all the other places, pulled, and the mulch spread, and the ivy cut back, and the basement vacuumed, and the kitchen floor scrubbed clean, and the living room painted and the gutters cleaned and repaired and the upstairs walls explained and repaired and painted and the vinyl removed or remedied and the furniture moved and the boxes unpacked... And I wonder what I was getting into.


I imagine that I could turn around tomorrow, dial a number, and have all of it -- everything I've ever wanted. Have motorcycle rides, ice cream after dance, sweet thoughtful texts that show he was listening, help with this never-ending project of house, and the last dance every Tuesday night.

What I will need to give in return is too daunting. Too precious.

S is right. I need to do backbends.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

All Along

The funny thing is, the person who first said this to me -- that you have it in you, this peace, and you can access it at any time -- was, at the time, an adherent to a religion I consider decidedly kooky and fearful of outsiders.

I had just come back from Kripalu and I was so at peace. I was full of love for absolutely everyone and I couldn't really even talk about my experience without sounding a little bonkers.

By Sonoma-rich at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons 

Vacation-happiness tends to fall away after a week or so. The return to real life, the stresses of the job I was trying to do at the time, it all just took over and I spiraled downward.

And that's what he said, when I came back. That now that I had found that peace, I could access it any time.

I still want to go back, of course, because it's beautiful there, and who doesn't want to go on vacation -- especially when the place I'd be going to on vacation is myself.

Taken from the High Line, NYC, 10-02-2009

I heard it again when I started teacher training: that we all have this place inside of us. That we don't need anything special, no one to find it for us. We don't need to ask anyone or look anywhere outside of ourselves. We just need to be still and let it be there.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Walls don't keep you out

They keep me in.

Wall 1
By Roger Bunyan (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

And this is a thing I've been trying to figure out for many years, how it can be, that even when I feel myself connecting to people, they quietly slip away.

Even my very first boyfriend seemed to think I'd built up a wall around me, and I was only fifteen. Was it some romantic notion he'd got from a book or movie, and he was going to be the one to take down the wall?

The funny thing is that he was right. People have noticed it over and over again through the years.

The walls were put there to serve a purpose.

We don't leave our precious jewels, our treasures, or the ones we love out in the middle of a field in the rain. We wall them in. We protect them.

The problem with my walls, I began to see, was that they don't protect me at all. People get in. I see them, care for them, begin to love them. I look for the light and I see it and it amazes me.

Source: Uploaded by user via Katherine on Pinterest

But they're less like walls and more like tinted glass; more like a porous selectively permeable membrane that allows people to seep into my heart while preventing them from seeing what has happened. Prevents me from coming out.

And I see it all the time. When I choose not to do the things that would make me shine.

I spent all of middle and high school liking guys and never saying a word about it. The one time I did, he wasn't interested and that didn't stop my feelings, not at all, not even as I hid behind myself and liked other boys and said nothing, because I'd been rejected by one. I spent a good ten years choosing not to try social dancing unless I could convince the occasional date to go with me. I spent about as much time only looking for dates online, because meeting people in real life and talking to them and letting them know I was interested was somehow too embarrassing. Too ripe with the possibility of rejection.

So each day I try to be out there, a little more. Try to ask for what I need. It's not easy. So many people have so much more practice at it than I do. But like all things, we don't choose not to do it simply because it's hard. We stay with difficulty, whether it's a handstand, a dance step, or opening to the universe.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Where the money is

I am less than two weeks away from the end of this contract and have done very little about it. In a way I really don't believe it is going to end; the content we are reviewing now is in rough shape and there is a lot of it. I could see at least another month. There was a faint hint at a permanent position for me. And I really don't even know what else they have coming down the pike.

I have a couple directions I could go with this. I could talk about the changes in education that I don't agree with, and how hard it is to work in a field where I feel like my colleagues and I have no voice in the conversation about what good education does. I could talk about how I need a break. I could talk about wanting to explore some future directions and being at a job 40 hours a week is holding me back because it takes up time and takes away the sense of urgency.

Or I could talk about the deep depression I felt last summer and my inability to do much of anything, the futility of sending out resumes, and the day I realized I had been something like asleep all summer and the garden had weeded over in my absence.

I hope for security, but I need to work for it more than I hope.

Henry Rollins says hope is the last thing a person does before they are defeated. I guess I've held that to be true for a long time. But maybe there's another way of seeing it. Maybe it's the only thing to do when you've done all you can. But I haven't done all I can, not yet.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Fabric decision time!

or, Indy-cision Time.

Now that I have floors, I need to do a few things. After a semi-epic home improvement store trip, I decided that choosing such a thing as a just-inside-the-front-door rug is beyond me and I'm going to do Jess's floor mat thing. I need a kitchen one too, but since I still haven't committed to redoing the kitchen, I may or may not need to make a decision. Actually I probably do because that floor is teh ugh.

Source: via Katherine on Pinterest,
Honestly I never get tired of this picture.

But to do that I need fabric.

Enter Spoonflower, where you can make your own fabric. Or order fabric that someone else designed. (Yes, they have TARDIS fabric. Lots and lots of TARDIS fabric. Also gothy spooky fabric.) That second one would be better for me because no need tomake my own, but also worse because Must Look At All the Fabrics. Okay, not all, but all the damasks. Or all the purples. Or all the turquoises. Or all those. And some owls. Steampunk wot wot?

Let's just start with the entryway.

Walls are light blue.

I changed the entryway collage from the original one it took me a month to do, to one with purples and blues, you know, like the rest of the downstairs. I don't know whatever possessed me to buy red picture frames. Those are getting painted.

Here are the entryway contenders.

1 - Simple, fits my colors, and bright. A little light for something I'm going to step on.
2 - Doesn't fit my colors at all, but I'm a sucker for mixing patterns and words that look like they're from old books. And some of the designers say they will do custom stuff, which I take to mean "slap new colors on the design they already made."
3 - Bold, reminds me of Jess's print above, but otherwise probably not fitting in that great with the look I've got going, whatever that is.
4 - Fits colors perfectly. Bonus: not a lot of white, so it won't show the dirt. But both colors are about the same intensity/saturation. There's a bit of a dullness to it.
5 - Clear and simple. It is going on the floor, after all.
6 - Alluring, interesting, and that pop of red. But it does have brown. Brown is like "we didn't know what color to make your rug, so we made it brown."

7 - Great pop of color, though still with the brown.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Things I think I get now

I think I get it when women try to dress their boyfriends. They're thinking,
If he'd just wear something other than t-shirts and jeans, or lose 10 lbs, or do something different with his hair, I think I could like him. I want to like him. But first I have to make him presentable.
Supposedly none of that shit matters when you really like someone.

I don't know if that's bullshit or not.

The little things eat at me and become the big things. I dated a guy whose cell phone ring I hated. I broke up with him at least seven times. Not because of the cell phone ring. But the cell phone ring was really really annoying.

I think I get it, why I keep going for the guys who are not interested and/or too busy for me. I'm thinking,
If I can get him to slow down and pay attention to me, I must really be something. I must really be that amazing that I can get someone like that to totally change for me.

If I can get him to totally change his life. Totally change his look, his behavior, if I am worth all that, I must be worth something.

I get, too, that this is all flawed thinking, Yes, the right guy will have loads of time for me, will want to be around me frequently, will do not whatever I want, but many things that add to the good and make efforts minimize the bad or annoying. I think it will feel less like "he totally changed for me" but "he was right there, right from the beginning." I've never really looked at someone and thought "he would be 'the one' IF." I don't really like that way of thinking. I don't want to feel like I need to change anyone's appearance or habits. I don't think I could manufacture attraction for someone by changing these things. I think it's either there or it isn't, and efforts to rationalize why it isn't there, or remove the reasons it isn't there through external changes, aren't going to make it there and are just going to lead to frustration.

But when I get to know some people, I do see the IFs. Even as I feel it's not up to me to change those IFs.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Befloor and After

I can't believe I didn't post a picture of the finished floor product. Chalk it up to setting automatic posting (if I don't do that I will tweek posts endlessly) and not being able to find the cable to connect the good camera to the computer. I took some pictures in the daylight with the iThing, so you can really see the difference.

You remember this disaster, right?

This is what I came home to after our yoga workshop weekend. I was a little bit like, whoa, three days and they've only gotten this far on the stairs. The rest of the floors were done. The stairs still had a long way to go. You can see that the risers are exposed but the treads still need work. The risers don't even look that great here; there were lots of dings.

The next day, the stairs were pristine. They still had to fill in a lot of the gaps with wood filler, but their piney beauty was now apparent.

And here they are, finished and gorgeous.

Dear readers, here are some things to know:

Sometimes, you really should not D it your Y. I am a huge DIY girl, to the point of stupidity sometimes. Like right now I should be coordinating some people to help me unpack and move furniture (really, we could have a big ol house-based dance and then people could move stuff up and it would be done), but I know I won't. Partly because it's asking people for help and partly because I want to Stain All The Things before I move them back in. But floors as damaged as these were? Totally need the professionals.

The other thing is a little more esoteric: People come into your life for odd reasons, and they are never the reason you think. Recall that I found my realtor through a broken boy who broke my heart. I found West Coast Swing -- and my floor guys, and community, and a new guy-possibility -- through someone who turned out not to be the right guy for me at all. Letting people be who they are and play the roles they end up playing, rather than the roles I want them to play, is a continuous challenge.

But it brings good things, if I let it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


It's been a process.

Originally I was going to rip up the carpets myself. There is a strange part of me that enjoys ripping up carpets. I think it's because I like to feel like Xena. What is stronger than a woman ripping carpets off her floor?

Ha, trick question. What is stronger is a woman who realizes there is no point in doing that herself on a hot weekend, and exhausting herself, when she could weed the garden and go for a motorcycle ride and do yoga.

Took them less than an hour to rip up the carpet, roll it, tape it, put it in the back of the truck. Of course after that was taking up the tack strips and the nails, which is the real torture of it all.

But I was gone! Kitties in the basement, Auntie C coming to visit kitties, and me off to retreat.

I was amazed when I came home. They were not finished by any means, but holy wooden miracles, my floors are made of a beautiful light-colored oak. And they were so, so smooth.

Except the stairs. They're pine.

I would have loved to keep them light, but there's a lot of damage -- a patch job with a subtly different kind of wood, the stairs of pine. One section had to be replaced due to Rufus-damage. So I went with my original choice.

The up side: Beautiful new floors. A house that feels a bit more like a grown-up owns it and lives there rather than renting it to some sucker. A house that feels more like me.

The down side: My kitchen really, really looks crappy now.

Friday, August 10, 2012

5 reasons to give it a chance

  1. I get to talk. If we both talk at the same time, he shuts up and lets me talk. Of course, I do this too.
  2. I'm taking the time to practice my ideals of being kind, of not gossiping, of reserving judgment, of not jumping to conclusions. Of finding out.
  3. I don't feel at all kooky or goofy talking about yoga. Even the spiritual aspects. But maybe that's me. Or maybe it's that, okay, this sounds horrid, but I don't care. I don't care what he thinks of me. And I think that's what the change is starting to be, letting go of caring what other people think and of how they might judge me. Because that's their problem, if they judge me. Not mine.
  4. He's not anyone other than who he is: not pretentious or slick or charming. And I don't have to be either, even if who I am is not someone who feels the same way.
  5. He's not an extrovert. That means I don't have to live in an extrovert's world, competing to be heard, fighting not to fall back into the shadows.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bastions of maleness

I know this is probably going to offend males. If you're offended, then I'm not talking about you.

In all my years of being in the world, working in places, I have never seen so much stereotypical male behavior as I have in this office.

Larus argentatus - two adults fighting 1

Maybe I just haven't been working in traditional places.

Maybe I haven't spent much time working in the Midwest. (Yes, Pittsburgh is the Midwest.) Except I have worked in offices in this city before.

Maybe I just didn't notice it.

I'm talking about
the cursing
the need to talk loudly
the need to talk all the time
the yelling into the speaker phone when there is a door that could be closed
the need to talk over people
the need to tell other people every single thing you know and be the authority on every single subject
the need to have an opinion about everything

At first I thought it was just one person, but the more people are added to our area, the more people I notice doing this. It's not all of them, not by any means. Probably not even half. But it's starting to wear on me, this need to be on the top of the heap, this need to "win" conversations and top each other and be an authority on every subject.

Peacock terms

I don't want to be part of this world, but when I don't participate, my opinion doesn't get heard. I get stuffed in a corner. I am not going to shout someone down, so whenever I talk and someone else starts talking, I stop. Even though they should not be talking over me.

I know I do this too when I'm excited to share my knowledge about something. But I don't do it all the time. And I really try to be aware of it.

I'm supposed to be myself and value my own opinions enough to share them. But it's so discouraging to be around people who don't even want to allow me to have opinions. Who don't want women to be strong. Who want us to clean house and bear children and be seen and not heard. At least that's what it feels like, when I start out trying to say something to someone, and the whole conversation gets sidetracked into what he wants to say.

The therapist says maybe it's time I stop letting others lead, and do the leading myself. To go ahead and call people on it when they're feeding me bullshit. Still. I've also witnessed people straight up ignoring me when I did call them on it. I guess that's down the road? Maybe it's not waiting for them to listen, but saying it anyway.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Motorcycle Pratyahara

You can't hear anything when you're on the back of a motorcycle, just the engine. You can feel everything, see everything, smell everything. As a passenger, you don't have to think. You can meditate for an hour, watching the world go by, the light through the trees, fog gathering in the valleys, feel the cold wind created by the speed of movement. Feel the breath loop up the front of the body as you grow taller, down the back of the body to relax the shoulder blades, make movement easy, free, lean with the turns, get back into the body. Remind yourself: this is now.



Be here, now.

Ohiopyle Falls 
By Kathy from just livin' in a small town in SW PA, USA (
Ohiopyle FallsUploaded by GrapedApe) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

I'm a city girl, but I really do need to get out into the woods more often.
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