Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Last of the Season

Earlier this week (or was it last week? They all run together lately), it was gorgeous outside. Like, 70 degrees in late October gorgeous. Sunny, beautiful... the kind of weather that you know you have to get out and enjoy because you're not going to experience it again for six months.

Anyway, I went out with my camera one afternoon and took some shots. These are really the last of the leaves here - the rest of the state is pretty much way past peak. In fact, about 24 hours after I took these pictures a wild storm came through and pretty much took care of all the leaves on the trees. In fact in fact, we've had snow. Today. It didn't stick (here) thank The Maker. But damn. 70 degrees and a week later snow? WTF?

So, I present to you Fall's Last Hurrah!







Wednesday, October 27, 2010

*Gulp*

In Vermont, there is currently no official licensing of massage therapists. Theoretically, anyone can hang out a shingle at any time and call themselves an M.T. However, the vast majority of spas/salons/anyone on the up-and-up requires proof of at least 500 hours of professional training. A copy of your certificate or diploma will suffice, but some of the really high-end spas (especially in Stowe) require National Certification. 

This is actually not difficult to get. Basically, you need to meet certain minimum requirements, be able to pay the not-cheap fee and have the ability to take a computerized test. I believe it actually takes longer to get through the red tape than it does to actually make an appointment and take the test. But I digress. 

Today, I applied to take the National Certification test. 

Gulp.

I know I will pass it. I know I'll spend the next month or so freaking myself out and studying way more than I need to in a vain attempt to be prepared and have I mentioned I have issues with perfectionism? I know I had initially planned on taking the test straight out of school, but after getting there I felt the need to give myself a "thinking break." Every time I had a vague thought about maybe opening a book remotely related to anything I studied I felt a need to crawl into my happy place until the feeling passed. 

So, yeah. Needed a break. 

My overall goal is to be Nationally Certified by the end of 2010. And by waiting until the end of October to submit my application, I'm pretty much ensuring it'll be December before I can take the test.

This is a good thing for me. It helps to set me apart from others in the State who do not necessarily have any professional training. And when Vermont does eventually set itself some kind of standards, I'll already be several steps ahead of those who don't have the Certification. 

My goal is to not drive myself crazy and over-do it like I did in school. It was necessary at the time, but not now. I have enough wiggle-room in my days to ensure that I'll still have time to breathe. I'm setting up a realistic quasi-studying schedule that allows for two days off while maintaining that I review everything I need to review. If I do up a "for real" schedule, I'll just rebel against it and not get anything done, so I have to have a quasi-schedule. 

Yes, I literally have to play psychological games with myself in order to get anything accomplished.

Shut up.

Anyone taking bets on how long it'll be before I start writing crazy posts asking y'all to shoot me and put me out of my misery?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday as Friday? Is Up Down?

One of the nice things about working a non-traditional week is that it makes you kinda rethink certain things. Like Mondays sucking, for instance. When I was working a traditional week (Monday-Friday), Mondays were indeed no fun at all. Having to get up early and go to work after two beautiful days of sleeping in, doing what I want when I want and general fun-ness was distinctly no fun.

But now... Monday is my Friday. My two days off are Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Moreover, I work the last shift on Mondays so I don't even have to be there until 4:00, so I have the entire day do pretty much as I please. And since Monday nights are pretty quiet at the clinic, it's not a hardship to be there.

Historically, I would take one weekend day and not do anything or go anywhere unless there was a compelling reason. Usually, it was Sunday. I would spend far too much time in bed watching the Food Network. If the coffee ever kicked in, I would eventually "get dressed" in sweats and go for a walk. Maybe. Or maybe cook/bake something. Still in my PJ's of course.

Now, this is how I spend Mondays (the Food Network being replaced by NPR). Sundays at the clinic for me are long days as I'm usually straight out the entire time and exhausted by the time I get home. I use the day on Monday to recover, to lounge about and do little to nothing. In my PJ's of course. The nice thing about this is that I don't actually have to use one of my "real" weekend days to do this anymore! By the time I hit my weekend, I've already recovered from my work week so I have the energy to more fully devote to enjoying it.

And I just totally realized that this whole post sounds like me bragging about all my new-found PJ-lounging time. Which totally wasn't where I was going with this! I just kind of find it ironic that I now absolutely adore my Mondays.

Just don't ask about Thursdays, okay?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tao Te Ching

Every once in a while, I get out this book and open it to a random entry and see what it has to tell me. This morning, I opened it to this entry:

Use the expected to govern the country,
Use surprise to wage war,
Use non-action to win the world.
How do I know?
     Like this!


The more prohibitions and rules,
     The poorer people become.
The sharper people's weapons,
     The more they riot.
The more skilled their techniques,
     The more grotesque their works.
The more elaborate the laws,
     The more the commit crimes.


Therefore the Sage says:
     I do nothing
And people transform themselves.
     I enjoy serenity
And people govern themselves.
     I cultivate emptiness
And people become prosperous
     I have no desires
And people simplify themselves.

I just really kind of liked this. It seemed appropriate, especially given the state of the world today.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Happiness Is...

I was thinking about happiness as I was driving home from work today. Which was a little ironic because frankly the commute sucked eggs. Nothing like some last-minute-before-the-snow road work on a main thoroughfare to really mess with your life.

But I digress.

I was thinking about happiness because I was happy. There was no particular reason for my happiness - the weather isn't that great, work was good but nothing amazing happened, the aforementioned traffic, plus the fact it's supposed to be in the 30's tonight and my heat doesn't get turned on until tomorrow - but yet I was happy.

There are many spiritual paths and philosophical points of view that say you make your own happiness. You can choose to be happy in any given moment. I believe that to a certain extent, but to be perfectly honest, I don't believe it's 100% true. Because sometimes it is damned hard to be happy. Sometimes it feels like the more you try to be happy, the more the Universe throws at you to make you unhappy.

Besides, who wants to be happy all the time? I mean, really? How can you truly appreciate happiness if you never have the mopes? Moreover, would you really trust anyone who was that cheery? Admit it, you'd kind of wonder what was wrong with a person if they were happy all the time.

I think I'm learning not to take happiness for granted. It's been 18 months since I quit my last career, since I left a job I was miserable in to start on this new path. In each day I'm learning to find contentment and happiness, and I cherish those moments very much. I still remember what it was like to feel dragged down, that nothing I did was right or needed, that I was being taken for granted, that I was on some dysfunctional roller coaster where the boundaries between work and personal were being blurred by people I didn't want blurring them... I could go on. There was very little happiness then.

There is a great deal of happiness now, and I am very grateful for this.

But, coming back around, I am the one who got myself to this point. It was me who worked my ass off, took the risks and fought my way onto a new path when the old one wasn't working anymore. So, I suppose I did make my own happiness, in the end. I guess maybe you have to have a long-term approach to the idea? Maybe, if you can't find the happiness in the place that you're in, you need to figure out a way to get where the happiness is at.

I dunno.

And a fruit fly just took a header into my red wine. At least he's going out happy...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I Heart You

Today is "Wear Purple" Day, according to Facebook. People are doing this in order to bring awareness to the effects of bullying - in this case, the result being gay kids committing suicide.

While I'm not much of a joiner and usually scoff at these things, I am in fact wearing purple.

Why?

Because everyone has the right to Be. Everyone has the right to Love.

It's really that simple.

So, whether you be gay, lesbian, transitioning, bi, or anything in between, thank you for being you. I can't pretend how hard it must be for you to make your way in this culture, but thank you. Thank you for existing, thank you for being true to yourself. And thank you for proving that we are all of us beautiful.

Monday, October 18, 2010

I Need Help.

My cousin, feeling sorry for me and my lack of cable, lent me the entire series of Angel. I just went through the second season in, like, five days. Maybe less. Probably less but I'm sticking with five days because that almost sounds normal. Even though I am well aware that it really kinda isn't.

I am officially obsessed.

Save me.

View Image

On second thought, don't bother.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Choices

What we call the secret of happiness is no more a secret than our willingness to choose life. 
- Leo Buscaglia


There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them. 
- Denis Waitley


We chose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them. 
- Kahlil Gibran


It is our choices who show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. 
- JK Rowling


Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely. 
- Unknown


We are not animals. We are not a product of what has happened to us in our past. We have the power of choice. 
- Stephen Covey


Every man builds his world in his own image. He has the power to choose, but no power to escape the necessity of choice.  
- Ayn Rand


You have a choice. Live or die. Every breath is a choice. Every minute is a choice. To be or not to be. 
- Chuck Palahniuk


You always do what you want to do. This is true with every act. You may say that you had to do something, or that you were forced to, but actually, whatever you do, you do by choice. Only you have the power to choose for yourself. 
- W Clement Stone


It is almost impossible for anyone, even the most ineffective among us, to continue to choose misery after becoming aware that it is a choice. 
- William Glasser


Although we love the idea of choice - our culture almost worships it - we seek refuge in the familiar and the comfortable. 
- Hugh Mackay


There's always something to suggest that you'll never be who you wanted to be. Your choice is to take it or keep on moving. 
- Phylicia Rashad

What we think, we become. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.
- Buddha

We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves. 
- Dalai Lama

Pain in inevitable. Suffering is optional.
- Buddhist saying

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Writing Stuff.

Lately, I've been toying around with picking up fiction writing again. Back in my 20's, I was doing quite a bit of it. I didn't actually sell it or anything; it was for my own personal entertainment as well as that of a few close friends. I was working on several short stories. I still have them kicking around here some where.

I like to think I stopped the fiction round about the time Dad died, but the reality was it had petered out for a while previous to that. I'm still not entirely sure why. It gave me great pleasure to find the words to describe what was going on in my head.

I don't know if I thought I wasn't particularly good at it or if I just simply lost interest in a hobby. Both? Neither? But I've been thinking about starting it back up again.

It's a pity I can't think of anything to write.

Ugh.

For a while, I considered starting up another blog - one where I was "publishing" my own fiction. But frankly, while it would give me an avenue to put stuff out there again, I don't want people stealing it. I mean, I can say "copyrighted by" until the cows come home, but if someone wants to steal my work they will and the onus (and cost) would be on me to make sure that didn't happen.

Plus, I still can't think of anything to write.

I am out of ideas. I can barely manage a poem these days, much less a short story. And a novel? Well. I had novel ideas back in the day and I think I even started a couple. Not only can I not recall where I was going with them (not a firm believer in outlines), but I don't care about the plots anymore.

Still, it's in the back of my mind to start doing that again. Or just writing in general. It doesn't need to be fiction. I'd love to find a super part-time job writing grants or copy or even in the publishing industry writing book blurbs or book proposal evaluations or something. I used to love doing that when I was working in the industry.

I dunno.

Anybody wanna send me some book proposals for comment? I have opinions aplenty.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Columbus Day.

Happy Columbus Day! Especially to you schmucks who actually get it off. Generally speaking, Vermonters do not get the day off. So while 90% of Americans are using this day to sleep late and enjoy a fall long weekend, most of us in the Green Mountain State are still schlepping to work and cursing all the damned tourists who are going 20 mph on the interstate looking at the leaves.

Get out of the damned way!

And leave your money here.

Happy Day Off!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Yoga Pose That Puts the Fear of Death Into Me

I frequent a certain yoga studio here in town. Well, frequent in the sense I haven't been forever but I keep meaning to go. Anyway, their "pose of the month" is Plow Pose, or Halasana for those who prefer the sanskrit name.

HP_216_Halasana_248.jpg

I HATE plow pose. And not because I can't do it, because I can. I hate it because it was obviously developed by a man without boobs. Because if you have anything over a B-cup this pose not only becomes awkward but possibly dangerous. I mean, think of the headline: Woman's Own Boobs Suffocate Her During Plow Pose. I'm sure there are more embarrassing ways to kick the bucket but this has got to be right up there.

So if you're ever in a yoga class with me and the teacher has us all go into Plow, you'll see li'l old me going into just about anything but. Because I prefer to live, damn it!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Nosy Neighbor

My front window looks out across the street to my next door neighbor. I love watching them. I am trying to piece together their story just by what I see. This is what I've come up with so far...

1. I think it's a blended family. The parental units do not seem particularly old, but the Father Figure is ALWAYS around. I mean always. Which makes me think he either works at home or is retired. I am tending toward the latter mainly because he spends most of his days puttering around the yard without a shirt on and annoying any users of cool machinery whenever they come by, whether they are on a riding mower, garbage truck guys, or flushing the sewer system. He is a Curious Fellow.

2. They have two children - boys - one around 16 and the other around four. Which is another point in the "blended family" column. I actually get a kick out of watching them horse around because the elder is so good with his younger brother. You can tell they completely adore each other.

3. For a while I was wondering if the older kid was in school or if they're home schooling or something. I was getting kind of suspicious with the older one - school had started several weeks previous and he always seemed to be around in the middle of the day. But I haven't seen either kid around much except in the mornings and afternoons lately so maybe not.

4. The older boy had a sound system put into his truck this summer and he was very proud of its thumping base. He showed it off a LOT.

5. Last weekend Dad had a tree cut down and it was literally one guy with a chainsaw and four others sitting around in plastic chairs (the Little Guy had his own chair) and watching. It was a true Vermont Guy Party.

6. They have two very nice dogs of the same breed that spend most of their time inside, as I only seem them like twice a day when they get walked. I think they are the same kind of dogs that Oprah has. Whatever they are. I'd link to them but I refuse to link to anything Oprah related.

7. They have a very large, sprawling house mostly hidden by trees. The trees are pretty much full grown and do a pretty good job of hiding the front of the house.

8. They started up their wood furnace/stove/heater/whatever a couple weeks ago and it smelled so nice when they did. There is nothing like the smell of a wood fire going.  Unless, of course, it is your house. In which case, not so much. Chimney fires don't smell good either. Trust me on that one.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Clouds Have Cleared

The sky is blue, and it is a beautiful fall morning.

We had a lot of rain here the last couple of days. Yesterday there were flash-flood warnings all over the State. Most of those are expiring now, thankfully. But after weather of that intensity, a chance to dry out is most welcome.

I went up to my Mom's this past week, and the fall colors are really out up there. They are very near to peak. Where I am, most everything is still green but should start changing very soon. Hopefully. I'm surrounded by trees in my new place and I can't wait to see them bloom!

Work is still going well. I got a marriage proposal from an 80-year old man yesterday. I guess that's the ultimate compliment!

I am also hard at work dancing a couple times a week. We are doing another goth show October 30th - yes, Halloween Eve. I'm dancing twice: a solo piece and a duet with my teacher. We are choreographing the latter, the former I think I'm winging. I've been winging my last couple performances, and I must admit there is something freeing to not being a slave to choreography if you're dancing by yourself.

However, I do need to start working on it a bit more aggressively, as I have a month to prepare it. I really want to bring my dancing to the next level. I feel like I've kind of been "phoning it in" and resting on my own innate talents without actually progressing. I need to progress. I want to progress. Of course, that also requires me to get off my fat ass once in a while and do some drills. I think that's what I really need to work on.

After my post on missing television, one of my friends emailed me and told me to try just a simple antenna. I actually did try that. You remember all those pretty trees I mentioned above? Well, they're all also in the way of the signals. I couldn't get anything. I even rolled the TV into the front room to try it there. I got nuthin'. Ah well. Probably all for the greater good anyway. If I had TV then there would be no hope at all that I'd get off my ass and do something.

I cannot seem to keep enough food in the house these days. I am just packing it away like there's no tomorrow. The plus side is that all of my pants still fit, so win. I'm also trying to stock the place with healthier, more whole food eats. But my god if I don't reign it in soon or find some kind of solution, I'm going to eat myself broke!

And I'm just going to end this meandering post to nowhere now before this stream-of-consciousness posting bores you to any more tears...

So.... You Want to be an Artist.

For the last several weeks, I have been working through The Artist's Way . This book has been out since the 1990's and I've been...