I have a small garden of plants that have grown from seed, but they're my mystery.

I don't know what kind of plants these are, but I'm fiercely proud of them. You see, when my bestie and I went to the Salt Lake City Library Book Sale, there was also a celebration for Earth Day happening as well. Lots of activities and lots of people in a cool building; I made a badge for my pin collection that resides on my scripture bag, and I encountered a guy who was wearing large signs telling me to go get a free plant. The goodies ended up being dirt in a plastic baggie scooped from a bucket by another guy surrounded by kids; I was a little disappointed, so the bag sat on my wooden stool just inside our bedroom doorway. Until the dirt started sprouting little green things. With very little sun and no water or attention from me.

I also had a packet of wildflower seeds from a church lesson on Faith. But especially heaven knows how many wildflowers there are in this world. Still, they all got planted in half a milkjug with holes and pebbles in the bottom:

They sit outside on a metal shelf-thing that neither of us care about anymore. It's a nice place for excess water to drain-- if it rusts because of my growing efforts, we just won't take it with us on our next move, and neither of us will care.

One other brief thought concerning growth: I no longer have a bellybutton. It has stretched out almost completely. Ironic that mine disappears so that another belly button can grow and flourish.

Also, my favorite pair of shoes has been decided unwearable. There's a hole in the sole of the left side that goes completely through. So, on one last thought, here is a memorial to something else green:

I've volunteered myself to a national cause. I don't do this often, and if there's no interest from you in donating money for research to cure my blindness, feel free to skip this entry.

I'm not asking for your next paycheck or even what you would spend on your grocery bill. You know me in some shape or form, either from reading me for awhile or because you know me in person. At one point in our acquaintance, you've probably asked questions like, "Why are you walking around with a white stick for a blind person? You're not blind," or, "Why can't you drive?" and those honest questions lead to an honest explanation from me as to how I really do see. If you've never known me in person, maybe you've read this entry that I wrote in December.

Whatever encounter you've had with me involving vision, it probably made you a little sad. Or it made you fiercely proud of me. Or something else. I've had questions that follow all this that sound something like, "Well, is there a cure? Can't you get laser surgery to fix it?" and I explain that this can't be fixed. Yet.

What I've discovered is that there are people who are making exciting scientific discoveries that present breakthroughs for those who have my specific retinal disease. There are all sorts of clinical trials for all sorts of different treatments: some have to do with technology like tiny cameras in eyeglasses that hook up to the seeing part of the brain. Others are doing really scientific and really detailed studies on how exactly the retina is designed.

There's more information on exactly what progress and what new research here, if you want to see, here. And the details on what my retinal disease is exactly, in case you don't remember having any sort of encounter with me on this subject, are here.

It's all really exciting. Clinical trials mean that what someone has discovered is being tested to make sure it really does work. And more scientific progress needs more money to back it up. What better way to find the help than by recruiting those who are blind? Who better to find the money than those who love and know the blind?

So Utah is starting its first-ever fundraising activity. We call it VisionWalk, and it's a celebration party that gives us a deadline and a goal to work toward. Our goal is June 13. I have several friends involved in this, as well. If you want, you can see their progress or read more about VisionWalk in general.

So you can see where this is leading: Will you help fund the research that would give me sight? Will you donate something to forward the progress we've made so far? There's two ways to do this, and they're both really simple. One is to go to a website and click on the "Support Kate" button. Another is to send me a check payable to "Foundation Fighting Blindness" and put my name in the Notes Section next to your signature. Comment here with your Email address and I'll send you my address; all comments are screened, which means your info won't be posted here publicly unless I allow it.

You can donate as much as you want. There's not a minimum payment, and I don't have a specific goal in mind. Thanks for reading. Thanks for caring. Thanks for donating. I appreciate it.
Every family starts with either a boy or a girl. We know what ours is, but the thing we've been most excited about is the stuff. And I'm convinced that the way to get the best stuff, the coolest stuff, the most long-lasting-through-the-whole-family stuff is to not tell the gender of the bump inside me.

Most of this is because I don't like very gender-specific stuff. I love white and off-white, chocolate and every shade of green. I love yellow with red and orange with grey. I even love navy on girls' dresses and boys in purple shirts, although I'll have to buy that myself. But I don't like pink. And blue on boys is too typical, although I'm not as opposed to blue as I am to pink.

I loved pink when I was a girl. I didn't willingly wear a pair of pants until I was in the third grade. But considering my kid is my accessory until it can choose for itself, I don't want it wearing pink. I don't want all blue and baseball uniforms in my baby drawer.

So we're keeping the gender a secret. The girls at work are telling Just'In to tell me to tell them so they know. His grandma got really close to throwing a whiny temper tantrum when the glint in my eye arrived and I told her that we had a secret.

What she doesn't know or doesn't remember is that when Just'In and I decided we were going to get married, we told ourselves we'd keep it secret until he met my parents over Spring Break, and then a little longer until he proposed after that. But it didn't work, and I was the first to spill.

I didn't want to know, but Just'In did. So this is our compromise, if it works. But my weird revulsion for gender-specific colors is keeping the glint in my eye. And it forces gift-givers to be creative or give us cash. I like cash, and I like creativity along an entire spectrum of colors even more.
If anyone ever offers me almond bread, I'll know to run away quickly, glancing backward to make sure they don't follow me, with plate in hand.

Along with that image, please visualize this: a pregnant girl slowly walking along the sidewalk, sprinkling breadcrumbs along the grass lawn beside her. Now visualize this pretty much every week for the last few months. A pleasant pasttime, but not when almond bread never seems to disappear from your freezer.

Now the fillers for these two images. Just'In's grandma has a German/Austrian/from-Holland friend who gave her lots of almond bread for a Christmas present. And then again for an Easter present. And guess who got most or all of it because Grandma and Grandpa don't like it? Yep. And it all got frozen.

And then it all got freezer burn, so I pulled it out, let it thaw in the plastic, and then set it out to dry for a few days. Someone had packaged this stuff four or five pieces at a time, so it dried four or five pieces at a time. And then got fed the multitudes of birds we have living around here.

Yes, I think it's gross, too, with or without freezer burn. But the birds like it; it crumbles easily and makes my fingers only slightly tingly when it's all broken apart. I know how the old, crazy birdladies who live among pigeons feel--a sense of generosity, well-wishing well-being, and a sense of beneficial motherhood because of all that food-spreading. Only I do it with no shoes and long red hair.

And I organized my freezer two days ago because falling objects attacked me whenever I went looking for food. The difference between the birdlady covered in poop and me is that I groaned when I found one last package of almond bread. And the birds only come for my food after the human scent of me has left.
I've survived a flood, and can now breathe enough to write about it.

For those of you who are familiar and associated with LiveJournal, feel free to skim. The website that hosts my writing is a blogging tool called LiveJournal. In addition to having your own personal site, you can also create what's called communities here. They're essentially forums that lots of people who have joined have posting access to, and each community is usually centered around a particular subject or interest. A community often has a moderator, much like a forum or a panel, who makes sure that there's nothing inappropriate being said and who filters through unnecessary or irrelevant content.

In this case, the purpose of the community is very specific: people who have forgotten the title and author of a book they're looking for can submit help requests to the group. We get requests for sci-fi/fantasy books, children's picture books, horror/ghost stories and collections, classics, romance novels, and just normal books that don't really fall into a genre neatly. Occasionally, we get non-book requests, like for poems, quotes, or songs; sometimes we get people asking for the book that was based on the movie they watched, and sometimes, the requester owns the book but they don't know which one matches the plot in their head or they've got all their books packed in boxes.

A stranger named [livejournal.com profile] blindsage called it "group therapy for bookworms." I often find, through other's found books, things to add to my own list of books to read.

Well, on the main page that each of our journals links to, and on livejournal.com, there are three or four specific communities that are featured for a week. They're usually communities that have interesting premises or that have large memberships. This book-find community of mine was featured last week, and, as you would expect, we had a flood of people join and an overflow of requests.

Of course, the logical thing to do is to just not read the community for a week. But that's how lots of these communities under the spotlight, after the initial flood of extra attention, have turned defunct under the pressure. Old-timers don't want to contribute anymore because of the sudden overflow of stupidity that appears, and everyone else forgets to start reading again when the flood of newbies ends. It is possible that the newcomers could keep the community active, but most of the time, newcomers who join lurk in the background after their initial interest to read and wonder for awhile without actually ever contributing usefully.

So the only thing I could do all last week was flip back 120, 160 entries to the place I left off the day before and continue wading. The moderators do quite a bit of filtering--the most common requests we get are for The Fairy Rebel by Lynne Reid Banks, a short story called All Summer in A Day by Ray Bradbury, and the horror story about the girl with the ribbon around her neck whose head is really severed. We also get posts like, "Hi, guys, I just joined the community. Isn't this great?" with no book request, which are automatically deleted.

Each requester is supposed to edit their post to indicate whether the book has been found so we can concentrate our efforts on the ones that haven't been identified. When they don't make some sort of addendum in the body of the request, I end up reading the request carefully, comparing my memory to the details they've got and often doing Amazon.com searches to recall authors of books, only to find that my careful effort is for naught because it's already been solved. Before the flood, I have often inserted a polite comment along the likes of, "Could you please edit this post?"

But now, I simply struggle to keep up with the flow of people who all have lost something. I've given the answer to three or four books now, when no one else knew the answer; I'd hate to miss that one entry where I am that person's only hope. After reading this community for awhile, I've felt like I'm well-versed in the common book-lore I ought to know; sometimes, the answer is obvious and I race to the comments to be the first the answer, only to find that the solution has been seconded many times over. I developed a relationship with the site's founder, who acted as moderator before she tired of the job, when we were smaller.

And the flood seems to have abated; I can soon return to my self-appointed admin duty. I joined when the community was spotlighted in 2006, and we survived the flood then. We're still going strong now, but I no longer have a daily six hours of sleuthing for missing book memory, wading past too many people who all think the community I belong to is a wonderful tool. Now, hopefully, the people who read make up a wider reading audience than before, and we can leave fewer requests unanswered.
I'm a Trekkie. And like most Star Trek fans I've met, I like one series better than all the rest. There are lots to choose from because of the nature of TV shows and TV series, although I'm sure there are people out there who wish that their favorite series never stopped running.

To refresh your memory, I'll list them: The Original Series (with Kirk and Spock), Star Trek: The Next Generation (with Jean-Luc Picard and Data), Deep Space Nine (with Ben Sisko, Odo, and Kira), Voyager (with Kathryn Janeway and Chakotay), and Enterprise (which is situated time-wise to be before Kirk and Spock). I have my opinions about each of these series, as every Trekkie does, but my favorite is Voyager.

One of the main reasons why Voyager is my favorite is because it became a family tradition one summer. We got hooked on the series introduction. I was still in high school, and we watched almost every night at nine o'clock. We followed it pretty consistently; the beautiful thing about Voyager is that once you've watched the general premise of the series, the first few episodes, almost every episode stands alone with its own plot.

Each season has its own twist, of course, but there are so many variations and plot twists you can give a crew that's trying to find its way back home after being stranded out in the unknown. I have fond memories of engaged, intellectual and moral argument during the commercial breaks with my parents and siblings about the happenings of the show we were watching. At the end of the summer, we caught the very ending of the series. I'm sure we didn't watch all the episodes, but after three months of watching this show, we were so invested in these characters that it was a gratifying end, if not infuriating in some aspects.

I like Voyager also because it's got lots of strong female characters. On Jean-Luc's crew, it's a bunch of men with a female counselor and a few female villians. In Deep Space Nine, the strongest female I can think of is Kira. In Voyager, the captain of the ship is a girl, and we have Kes, who is introduced and involved heavily, who is also a girl. I could go on, wading in the details that Trekkies argue about involving traits of each series, strong versus main characters, and so on, but I'm writing all this because of Seven.

Seven is also a girl, and she's honestly another main reason why I love Voyager. At first, she's a girl in search of her identity, and once she finds her confidence, she is often critiquing all the facets of this society and culture in which she finds herself. Her character works well in a TV series because she's sometimes brash and action-oriented when everyone around her tiptoes, and other times, she's blatantly unsure of herself when everyone else is overly confident.

Seven's also the sex appeal of the show, despite all her intellectual propensities--she dresses regularly in a tight yet modest version of the crew uniform, and she wears heels and a classic French twist. She has large eyes, blond hair, a lilting eyebrow, and a temper; understandably, more than one character on the show looks at her with a romantic interest, and at the end of the series, she goes out with a bang. Because of the balance she finds in the intellectual, sexual, and emotional fields of life, she's admirable; she's the modern everywoman, I think.

I have a crush on the character, obviously. But there can't be a great character, especially in Seven's case, in an un-compelling environment. One reason she's great is because the plot and the premise surrounding her are great. Some episodes are better than others, obviously, but the series, overall, is more entertaining, more engaging, and more well-rounded than everything else Trekkie I've seen.

Feel free to argue your opinion, if you like, but I like my point.
I now look visibly pregnant. I can still hide it pretty well by clothes, if I really want to, but I also have the inclination to rest my hand in a spot underneath my breasts and above this new arch that has formed.

I fight a strange ingrained doctrination of feeling fat and feeling like I need to lose weight-- I've only felt close to this once before in my life, and it was after a road trip in which we did virtually nothing but sit in the car and eat really rich meals. That weight was surprising because I have a really quick metabolism and have always been able to eat whatever I want, whenever. But I burned off the road trip weight doing normal, daily activities, and the surprise I felt then didn't linger.

By nature, I'm constantly moving or doing something. Even when I sit around and read all day, I'm shifting my position and don't feel inclined to eat much because I only need curiosity to fuel a reading habit. When just sitting in class or in church, I'm wriggling my foot or doodling or tapping my fingers in some unconscious rhythm. I'm even an active sleeper.

Now is the first time I've really felt those feelings of physical inadequacy that the media and an underlying male society ingrains in all girls. Apparently, it is even ingrained in me--one who rarely wears makeup, has really long hair, feels successful if she shaves her legs once a week, loves food and sleep and the simple pleasures.

To counter those fat feelings, I look at beautiful photo projects of other pregnant women. We're taking my own series of pictures, one a week, to chart my progress; we're going to turn it into a quick slideshow when the parasite finally pops. But while we're slowly working on ours, you can look at the two I've found so far: This quick video called How To Make A Baby, and a site that has a little bit of language shock to it, but is still beautiful, honest photography: Pacing the Panic Room, appropriately named because the father is the photographer.

Anybody else have links to counter these weird fat feelings, or any other good pregnancy projects? I'd love to see them.
Spring is in Utah to stay. All the trees have begun blooming, each at its own rate. Our windows are now permanently open, and we've taken two heavy winter blankets off of our bed. I've put my sweaters into storage at the top of our closet, and I've taken out my shorts and short-sleeved shirts. Looks like I'll be buying fewer long summer shirts than I originally thought--most of them should be suitable for a growing bun. I feel well-prepared.

Open windows means the constant sound of traffic on the nearby freeway. If I don't think about it too much, it sounds like the flow of the ocean or the roar of rapids. Still, if I concentrate on that flow, my ears go mad and I have to turn on some sort of ear distraction to counter that constant static. On the pleasant side, open windows also mean hearing the birds that are in abundance in this complex. They often swoop and chase each other and cry for food or call in warning. It's an interesting contrast, having all these birds in a complex full of people. Two separate worlds in one place.

The light quality changes in the spring, too. Not only are the days longer, stretched toward both sides of morning and night, but the light is less blue, less filtered, more direct. Most of the time, it means an occasional headache and fatigue for me--there's something in me that has to be reset to the new angle of the sun and the new constant in temperature.

Some of that is caused by the onset of seasonal allergies, but every year, it feels like there's this switch inside me that has to flipped, some sort of puddle that has to be thinned out by a child's frenetic movement. Then I have finally turned around and been thrilled by the new light that was once behind me. My eyes have forgotten the dark and the headache is gone.
The inevitable thought that comes with brewing babies is where and how to obtain all the stuff that comes with a baby. I've been anticipating this since I got married, so, of course, I have over 250 bookmarks on the subject of all this stuff. I've concentrated on what I like and what ideas are new, but now that the time comes to actually use this hoarde of resources, the two key importances for me are: what is the least expensive and what will take up the least room?

Because this thing is a first grandkid for two sets of parents, the first great-grandbaby for one set of grandparents, and the first in our family, it's bound to be spoiled. It already has stuff bought for it--a very round and very large stuffed sheep, cloth for two blankets to be crochet-bordered, and the first set of pregnancy pants and shirt, brand-new from a retail store. I plan to use the generosity that comes only during weddings and babies. Call me an opportunist, call me greedy and conniving, but I intend to use every offer of, "What do you want me to get for you?" to the fullest extent.

After all, a baby needs somewhere to sleep, something to wear, a carseat, a stroller, a changing pad, a sling (or more than one), and diapers. Because kids grown quickly, I'm not going to be too picky on what it wears, and there are so many slings out there, I can provide several sources so whoever wants to can just pick one for me. They're all so pretty, it'd be hard to pick one myself.

I am specific on what I want for a stroller and I don't intend to carry the carseat anywhere, but take me shopping, especially when you're going to pay for whatever we find, and I'm very confident I'll find something that works. When I went shopping for the blanket cloth last week, it was the first time I got excited about the parasite since the initial pregnancy test.

I've been anticipating a growing belly for years as well, and that's meant choosing clothes that look hot on a skinny figure, but will also be long enough or stretchy enough to accommodate that growth. Thus, I don't anticipate having to buy too many new pieces of clothing. Pants will be the hardest thing, and since this thing will be born in Octoberish, it means I won't have to put up with unbearable heat during those last months.

It also means I'll have to have enough winter clothing. Which means buying from the clearance racks right now, so I won't have to pay for the new lines of fall clothing that will be just bulging with newness right when I will. In the next few days, I'll be buying from JC Penney's clearance rack; I'll also be seriously scouring my links in the pregnancy folder to see if there are any great deals on clearance. Feel free to browse yourself, if you want and if you've got the time, and comment with a link to anything that shouts Kate to you.

And if you're not familiar with my very distinct style, you can help me with a specific problem. I've been consistently looking for a dress to get me through those last several months. I want something long, like ankle-length, but I also want that something to have sleeves and a neck that's modest. It's harder than you think; the closest I've come is Shade's half-sleeve dress, which I'm not sure is quite built right for a large, cooking bun, and Shabby Apple's Hideously-Pink dress. Once again, if you find a dress that fits these criteria (long, with sleeves, for a really pregnant girl), please comment here.

Meanwhile, I'm just going to get excited about all the new stuff. Besides, until the kid can make its own decisions, it'll be my accessory. Feel free to be excited with me.
As a teenager, my mom would often approach me right before a shower: "Kate, have you washed your hair lately? It looks dirty. You should wash it." Sometimes, I knew it was dirty and I was going to wash it anyway, or I didn't care because I had more important things on the brain like projects that were due. Other times, I'd turn to the mirror and say, "Really? It doesn't feel dirty. And it doesn't look shiny or greasy to me."

She would always assure me, "Yeah, Kate. It's gross. Wash your hair."

My hair is actually quite a bit longer than it was in high school. And projects have still gotten in the way of me caring about what's going on with the top of my head. After I got married, instead of fighting a mat once a week accompanied by tears, I finally got into a daily hair routine: brush every morning, wash every other day. And that was a healthy and water-saving routine for me. Until I read this, along with the comments and testimonials here: both proof of a movement called "No-'Poo", as in Shampoo.

This fascinates me, this idea that we've all got a build-up of a by-product of crude oil conversion in our hair. This idea that someone decided to bottle it and sell it and we've all been convinced that our hair needs this every day. I spent a few days studying strangers' heads, trying to see if I could tell what they washed their hair with and how often. And I thought that my shower routine was simple enough--I have, total, one bottle of shampoo, a bar of soap, and a razor that belong to me in our shower. It's quite sparse compared to roommates I've had.

Of course, the setback of this revolution is that while each of us figures out individually how to eliminate that frequency down to a minimum, our hair is greasy. And I'm not suggesting that rinsing with baking soda and vinegar is pleasant or even an appealing idea. I'm not converted to that much of an extreme. But I'm working on trying to find out of my hair can stand being washed once a week by shampoo, and then just washed with water for any other time that Automatic Mother installed inside tells me that it's time to wash. And I've been convinced that the Clean Smell comes from my shampoo; but when I wash with just water, it feels and smells exactly the same.

I'm still in the middle of my experiment, but I hope I can push you toward thinking about your own shampoo experiment. How much shampoo does your scalp actually needs to be clean? Could you be applying shampoo too often? There's the transition at the beginning of the experiment that's gross: the oils overcompensated on my scalp, as is mentioned in the links I've offered.

But I like the change. I'm still clean, but I'm wasting less, my showers are shorter, and I don't feel brain-washed anymore. It's a new routine and a new idea for me, the thought that something simpler than a handful of shampoo is necessary. Two days ago, I just used a penny-sized lump, and it was perfect.

Of course, you might not need my convincing or the articles I thought interesting. I told Just'In about this new idea I'd discovered and he just shrugged. "Yeah," he said, "I already do that. I rinse every couple of days, but I only need shampoo about every week. I just clean it when it feels dirty."
greendryad: (The Craft)
( Apr. 1st, 2009 04:56 pm)
First ultrasound today. Just'In's boss readily gave him the morning off, and considering the air and the ground were white this morning, I'm very glad I had a car roof to sit under instead of a bus stop sign.

We spent more time in the lobby waiting to do this than actually in the ultrasound room. The ultrasound services were in the same office as three OBGYNs, and two of those three doctors were delivering babies. The poor secretary--she was re-scheduling and delaying appointments left and right. I saw lots of frustrated and strained faces.

Once we got in, I just pulled my waistband down, my shirtline up, and laid on paper. All very straightforward. Ten weeks, this thing was determined, and it looks like a blob with a head and little blobs for legs and arms. We heard a heartbeat and got photos to commemorate the event. All in all, a very surreal experience. I wasn't particularly excited because I'd seen ultrasounds before, and Just'In didn't say much.

The ultrasound technician asked us if we had books. Just'In said, "Oh, yes we have lots of books," and I knew what she meant. "No, we don't have a specific book for this," I told her. I've got an old magazine supplement with lots of pictures and a good website. That's good for me right now. The feeling of surrealism hasn't disappeared, but the feeling of nausea hasn't disappeared either.
I've always been small in stature. I'm now going to use many of the words that have been used to describe my frame: short, thin, skinny, slender, scrawny, wiry. And when my family visited for the past four or five days, I felt even shorter: so far, along with my parents, three of my siblings-they're all younger- have passed me in height. We're all thin, and it never takes any effort for any of us.

But I see solid shape changes in my future. I hope I'll just get a pillow under my shirt, and nothing else will change, but my butt could grow, my feet could get larger, my shoulders broader, my thighs wider. My heart will get larger as well, to accommodate for one more small thing.

It arrives in October or November. My first discovery appointment was yesterday, and my mom was all smiles the entire time. A succession of appointments will yield more discoveries, including a firmer expectation date and a very quick heartbeat in a strange place. I've spent the last four days hearing shrieks of delight and seeing eyes widen in joy from relatives close and distant. Now comes a mass accumulation of preparation--of stuff, of resources, of mental readiness.

I've been readying for this for as long as I can remember. But nobody can tell me that I'm not entitled to be nervous.
Want something to entertain and yet make you feel smart, inspired, informed? The newest thing bouncing around the Internet: The Ted Talks. Lectures by all sorts of people on all sorts of subjects.

If I had to pick two out of the stuff I've seen so far, it'd be Elizabeth Gilbert on a fascinating train of thought of inspiration and genius. It's so wonderful that twice now I've been in tears by the end and have had to go elsewhere to compose myself. And a lecture by Mike Rowe, the host of the TV show Dirty Jobs. I like this one because of his conclusion, but also because of his realization.

I love these because they make me feel like I'm not wasting my time. Lately, I have to make a conscious effort to step outside my apartment. I also make sure that I do some sort of job-seeking activity every day. Even if it means just doing another search to see if anything new hasn't sifted through my fingers yet. I also get bored at the end of the day; I sleep because it's something to do and my dreams are entertaining. There's only so much reading and web-surfing and TV-watching one can do. I take out my collage project every few days. I'm happy for church activities and for checking the mail. I'm also happy for these talks.
I just turned down a great newspaper subscription rate from a door-to-door salesman. This kid was really good--about my age and very up-front and honest in face and speech. I had his pen and tiny clipboard in my hand, and I was ready to fill out the form so this kid could get financial aid on his college tuition.

I'd decided from all his forthright information, which newspaper I was going to have delivered. Then I realized: I don't have a job and I really can't afford to pay for it. I was standing in my open doorway, letting all the cold air in, with no shoes, contemplating a newspaper subscription.

He was still persuasive--he won't cash the check until Sunday. Or I could pay via credit card. I asked him if he could just give me the form with his signature and representative number and I could mail it in or something when I've actually got the money. He shook his attractive little head with the long, dark hair and kept talking.

Part of that drive to hold his small clipboard and fill out that form was his sex appeal. And you think only women use sex to get what they want? Nothing huge and suggestive there, but he was just inside that physical intimacy circle. I remember learning a song called "Stay Outside of My Line" from an audio tape called Safety Kids. It had a booklet with illustrations and lyrics; one illustration showed a kid tracing a dotted circle around himself on the ground.

Yeah, this guy had stepped just inside my line. I couldn't quite smell him, but when I leaned on the other side of the doorframe to contemplate his enticing offer, he followed me to that side. I backed up a little, and he stepped forward, just on the metal rim that held my apartment's carpet in place along the door. I couldn't quite accuse him of trespassing. I don't even know if he was doing it deliberately.

When inside that line of mine, I was conscious of it as he kept talking. And that consciousness coincided with holding the clipboard and contemplation of where the money would come from. I eventually told him to come back to my apartment in a month or two when I have a job. In retrospect, maybe he'll forget. But wow, he was convincing.
I'm feeling inspired by Liz's Latest Post. And by a friend who just refinanced the house she just moved into because her hubbin wanted to, not because she was sold on the idea.

Just'In has been poking his head in the real estate market during this last weekend. His co-worker has grand delusions of moving into a house with her boyfriend once he suddenly proposes the moment her divorce with her ex gets finalized. She's got the wedding and the honeymoon all planned out, and they're not even talking about any further commitment. She also found a great deal on a house in the neighborhood; she wanted to show Just'In, so she Emailed him a link.

And he thought it was a great deal, too. His reasoning, he told me later, is that the mortgage payments would be lower than our rent payments are now, and we'd have it paid off in five years. So he delved deeper. And continued to find good deals on places in the area; he also continues to be excited.

This throws almost every fibre of me into a panic. We moved to the area because of Just'In's cancer; the cancer institute here has given him free treatment. We're renting an apartment because it's just the two of us; when we eventually have kids, it'll be awhile before they'll need the room that a house justifies. Babies don't take up much space, you can put a kid on a cot that folds up when they're not using it, and kids like to be physically close to their parents anyway. All in all, I love the ideas written about at MSN Real Estate.

Plus, we're here for short-term. We were planning for a year, maybe two. Just long enough to get the cancer treated and long enough to build job security in something outside of retail so Just'In has a better chance at a job in Oregon. A house just feels so permanent. I don't want to be permanent in Utah; ever since we were engaged, we've wanted to move out of The Bubble that all the Mormons create.

Getting a house just seems like a counter-productive wall to all those goals of ours. But Liz's article made me realize that he's just looking for a solution to a problem: he wants to save more and pay less on bills. As much as I don't want to move again when we've just settled in, I realize that he's just exploring those options: different housing options might mean lower bills.

I just think he's getting a little ahead of himself. Of course, I also know that is also his nature. Just'In has always tried to be aware of everything that's available before he gets stuck. In this case, he hasn't asked the doctors yet if they know how much longer the cancer needs to be monitored, but he wants to have all the variables in place so he can start computing all the options.

It still freaks me out. I was hoping for a place to paint, but I wasn't hoping for such a permanent statement so quickly. It's nice to know what his nature is and that this is just how he works or I would go crazy with such sudden anticipation.
I see commercials for different methods of teeth whitening everywhere I look for entertainment: Websites, TV commercials, magazines, newspapers, the mail, and even on the radio. There's all sorts of different ways of doing it, from trays to strips to dentists who will do it for you.

I really don't like teeth whitening. I think it's unnatural and a ridiculous beauty fad. If you've got brown teeth, you've probably got a nasty habit you're trying to hide. That nasty habit is nasty because it shows itself physically. You picked it up; you deserve the effects. Otherwise, your teeth are slightly yellow from eating food that's got lots of stainers and not brushing your teeth every day. Yes, if you eat fast food with artificial coloring and acid and all sorts of nasty stuff in it, your teeth are going to show it.

Naturally, your teeth should be an ivory color, not bleach white. If you're white and you're comparing the color of your teeth against those of black people or those who have a greater contrast between the color of their skin and the color of their teeth, you're ridiculous. Their teeth are beautiful because of that contrast--have you noticed that most people who whiten their teeth or who star in commercials for it are white?

If you're really worried about it, brush your teeth every day; get a toothpaste that includes a little bit of whitening with the other stuff that cleans your teeth like it should. If you're still worried about it, get some really red lipstick to bring out that contrast. Stop damaging your teeth because of a style fad.
One of the things that was waiting for me when I moved into our first apartment was a bottle of bleach. You see, Just'In moved into our first apartment a few months before we were married. He and his two roommates were all coming to life-changing events, and one of them happened to get married first. And then another one decided he was going to go on a mission for our church.

The married guy moved out in May. And the two guys left over still had to have somewhere to live until August. So Just'In moved into a one-bedroom with the remaining guy until Just'In got married. And when August came and our honeymoon was over, I moved in.

When one goes on a mission, one doesn't take too many of his belongings with him. One knows he will be gone for at least 18 months, but one also knows that all the belongings have to fit in suitcases. So one leaves behind stuff like furniture and bleach, even if they are everyday items. And if one knows one will be gone for two years, the knowledge of the adventure ahead is huge compared to where bleach goes.

So he left it in the apartment he was staying in. Just'In doesn't use bleach in his laundry, but his roommate did on a regular basis. I used a little bit of it to intentionally stain a shirt of mine. And since I started doing the laundry at the beginning of this year, I've used the bleach, too. Just to get rid of it.

I used the last 3/4 cup of it today. I brought my 1/4 measuring cup with me to the laundry room, and the last little bit in the bottle came very neatly to the rim of the measuring cup.
greendryad: (Default)
( Feb. 27th, 2009 01:55 pm)
I'm missing Albuquerque right now.

We have a saying that floats around the teenage population of Albuquerque: "The weather's great. And that's about it." As teenagers, we thought that the town was boring and our families were boring and we just wanted to get out, so of course we could only see the awesome weather.

My dad likes bricklaying, specifically on the ground. Making brick floors outside. When he had a new place to brick, we'd go to where there was a new neighborhood being built and ask the construction men who were all going home a question: Can we raid that huge pile of junk in the front yard area of this house? Most of the time, they'd shrug, and so we, as exuberant kids all are (except Just'In, because he's weird), would scale the massive pile of rebar and chunks of concrete and wood peices to search for whole pieces of brick that weren't quite right.

The brick came from the finishing touches of those brand-new houses. For some reason, certain bricks weren't the right color or they weren't the right size. But they were the perfect size for my dad. He laid a little nook in the backyard behind the scrawny pine tree in the corner. He made a flower bed around another pine tree in the front, and behind that tree, he laid a red brick porch next to the front door under the eaves of the house.

He made it safe for bare feet. I could often stand on that porch and look through a hole in the dense juniper bushes that grew there. From there, I could see the sunset. If the hole wasn't enough, we'd go stand in the middle of the street. We lived at the top of a little hill, close to the mountains. If you stood in the right place, you could see the sky above the entire valley. The sunsets there are amazing. Among other things.
I can always count on the latest writing trend to give me a prompt to post. Today's prompt comes from Leslie, or [livejournal.com profile] oursin, and the five words she picked because I asked her.

Dryads: The username for this journal is [livejournal.com profile] lightgreendryad because I love trees. I enjoy their beauty, their structure, their evolutionary ingenuity, and the many chances to anthropomorphize their existence. Naturally, in that anthropomorphization, I latch onto the ancient idea of dryads. Those with a common knowledge of Greek mythology can tell you that dryads are women who are the spirits of specific trees. The dryad is tied to the life of the tree; dryad dies, so does the tree, and the opposite. Those who have common Greek myth know-how might be able to tell you that dryads did all sorts of mischief and had all sorts of sexual interaction with the characters in Greek mythology.

Of course, what they won't be able to tell you about is the complex fantasy/sci-fi world I've built up using those rudimentary facts. I've unearthed all the tiny facts that float around Greek mythology about dryads and then made my own applications from them. It's an ongoing project. it's work that will eventually be a publishable story, it's beautiful, and it's mine. I won't tell you anything else for fear you'll steal my creation.

Creation: I believe in the creation myth of Adam and Eve, of seven days, each with various building blocks of essential progress. I also think that the days aren't days as we think of them, but sets of several hundred/thousand years. I think that this idea easily combines the Bible creationist myth and Darwin's idea.

I believe in progress in general. I believe that every individual should have some sort of progress in their lives, and that no one should get themselves stuck. I also believe that my body is capable of the creation of another human being. Maybe several, or maybe none. That belief is being tested this year. I'm sure you'll hear whether we're successful.

Belief: Belief plus action in the direction of that belief equals faith. If you ask for help from your deity on the really big test that you've got, and then you study for the test and do as much as you possibly can, it shows that you've done the necessary work for the thing you have faith in to happen.

If you ask for safety and then jump out in front of a moving bus, that's not faith. That's just stupid. The same thing happens if you take the asking out of the action. You're just doing, but you're not depending on anyone who wants to help and who can help. I believe that we need to ask for help like we can't do it ourselves, and then act like all of it depends on us.

Dry lands: Interesting choice of words, [livejournal.com profile] oursin. You didn't say desert, you said dry lands. Two images pop up: the cold desert of Antarctica. And a reservoir of water that's dried up and receded, leaving mud with the skeletons of dead animals and trash embedded in it. The mud is left in the sun to dry. It gets that crackly effect, but if you arrive as a youth group and you want to play volleyball, the net is really easy to wedge in the mud and the game turns into a mud fight. It was exhausting because the mud went almost up to our knees, but it was the funnest game of volleyball I've ever had, once we got over the discomfort of slightly spiky skeletons under the several feet of mud.

Epiphanies: The reason I enjoy art. I've had the clearest, most amazing epiphanies while pacing backstage, waiting for the show to start, with the energy and excitement coursing through my veins. As both an actor and a technician. That energy is unique to performance and it's addicting. It's also the reason we subject ourselves to so much work in the theatre.

I've had the most self-revelatory realizations after I've pasted pictures into my collage book. When I collage, I'm very much in the moment of spacial perception. How things fit with each other, what parts of each image are most important, what fits where the best. I'm vaguely aware of how it all fits together, like a little buzzing in the background. The meaning of all the images only comes together after I'm done. And sometimes, it's amazing what I come up with.
Just'In's stepmom told us one day that she'd love more to read at work. And we promised her that we'd each send her a list of links to each of our favorite blogs. When I sent her mine a week or so ago, I realized I mistyped a link. So I sent her an addendum, and it turns out, she didn't get the original Email. I tried it again. Nope.

It must have something to do with some spam settings on her work Email. It makes sense. Usually Email ads have lots of links on them; by blocking emails with lots of links, they eliminate those ads. Considering there are lots of businesses who have an email server, this is a smart thing to do.

But it means that Joyce doesn't get what she asked for. So I decided that if the addendum with one link went through where an Email with a bunch of links didn't, then I'd send one link a day. Easy.

Today is the second day of this project of mine. And when I sent her today's link, she asked me whether a blog is a web page.

A good question. And I thought my response was particularly clear and might help some of you who read this:

Yes and no. A blog is a type of webpage or website. A blog has individual entries of writing by individual authors (or by one author, depending on the type of blog), and even though those articles have pictures and links in them, the blog has content that changes

The website, on the other hand, generally doesn't have content that changes nearly as often. Some blogs are updated several times a day, whereas most websites, like shops or information pages, are static. Shops change their inventory maybe every season and occasionally an
information webpage is updated for content or style, but they don't change nearly as drastically as a blog does.

So if you visit each of these blogs several times a week, you'll most likely find something new to read. It depends on the blog, of course. Because Apartment Therapy has lots of different authors, it changes more frequently than a blog with only one author.

Did I forget anything? Does anyone else think there're any other characteristics that distinguish a blog from a web page?