Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Alphabet Game-- Took Me Long Enough

Some number of days ago, Naive-No-More posted a game on her blog. The point was that you would be assigned a letter, and then you had to think of 10 things that were important to you that start with that letter. I was intrigued, and asked for a letter assignment. She gave me "P."

Enter instant writer's block. (Just add water!) Oh, I thought of nine things easily enough, but a tenth eluded me. Until today, that is! Ha! So, with apologies for my tardiness, here is my list.

Poetry: The language I am learning to speak. There are times when prose just won't do, when what I want to say has far too much depth to be spoken in drab, ordinary language. So I shall learn to paint these pictures in words.

Pacifism: I'm actually not a true pacifist, as defined by the dictionary. Mr. Webster insists that a pacifist is someone who will not respond with violence, no matter what. It's the no-matter-what that I have problems with. I'm an almost-pacifist. It takes a whole lot for me to respond with a physical fight, but if you push me far enough or threaten those I love, I will draw my sword (figuratively, of course, as most swords would be far too heavy for me to wield!).

Palm: Palm trees are one of the symbols of my homeland, the far white beaches of Florida beside the green sea. They aren't much good for climbing or shade, and they don't bear any fruit (no coconut palms in the part of Florida where I once lived), but they are pretty and they do
remind me of my old home.

Panentheism: The belief that Deity is both in all things and simultaneously observing all things. "We are the Universe made manifest, examining itself..." It comes closest of all named systems I've found to describing my beliefs.

Physics: If we add "astronomy" on with this, it's one of my strange fascinations. Not the standard Newtonian physics of energy, motion, and thermodynamics, but the strange world of quantum particles in which reality itself seems to break down to particles of vibrating energy, or
the vast reaches of space, the birth of galaxies and stars. I can't say I understand it fully (well, no one can)-- I lack the math for that-- but I'm trying.

Passport: I have one. It has no stamps in it. It actually has been used, to get me in and out of Canada and Belize, but the Customs officials never bothered to stamp it. Someday, it will be full of stamps. (See "Plan.")

Practice: Seems like I've spent most of my life in some form of practice or another! Music, drama, freewriting (you know, the stuff I write and don't show anyone that helps keep my writing muscles limbered up).

Plan: I am forever making plans! Strange plans, beautiful plans, plans for the far future or plans for what I might do this weekend. Of course half of them never come to anything, but the planning itself has a daydreamy joy of its own.

Puppy: I want one. :-) Puppies and dogs love me, and I return the favor. Having a puppy wander up to me and ask to be petted out in the park or along a sidewalk somewhere can make my entire day better.

Phoenix: From the fire and ruin and ash of the mess I made of my old life, I was reborn. What could be more phoenix-like than that?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Unexpected Benefit of Bookworminess

As a geeky bookworm of a teenager, I always used to imagine that I would meet the great love of my life in a bookstore or a library. Our eyes would meet over a shelf of Dragonlance novels, or our hands would brush as we reached unsuspectingly for the same copy of The Hobbit. I can’t say I truly ever believed it would happen, but I wished it would. What good would it possibly have done for me to be with a non-reader? We’d have had nothing to talk about.

(That, by the way, was one of the things that should have been a clue to me that the relationship with my ex-H was a bad idea; he had no books at all!)

Well, it wasn’t in a bookstore or library, but instead across an internet message board, but it did happen. A most vital reason that Tirithien and I fell in love was a long, ongoing cyber conversation about different books we’d read, particularly the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Now, these would have to rank among my favorite books of all time. I can’t explain exactly why (people have asked). The beauty of Tolkien’s language and the thrills of the story itself don’t go quite far enough. It’s just that there’s some chord that the tale plucks on the harpstrings of my soul that resonates in a way that few other things ever have.

So in our ongoing conversation, little drops of Middle Earth would appear. A description of dealing with some rude folks as “slaying orcs,” or a description of a particularly beautiful valley that “could have been part of Rivendell.”

It was like speaking a secret language, a language I thought I’d been alone in knowing, and discovering to my surprise someone else whose thoughts were shaped in the same words, someone else whose ideals and dreams had been shaped by songs of honor and glory.

So no, it wasn’t a bookstore or library. But it was the fulfillment of a dream, just the same. And if two geeky bookworms can meet and fall in love, there’s hope for anyone. ;-)

Tye melan, kolanya. Tye melan.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Ohio Birdwatchers and What a View REALLY Looks Like

All right, I have to admit to being jealous.

Of what, you might ask?

The Ohio State Parks system!

There is exactly one Michigan State Park within easy access of me—Sterling State Park in Monroe. It has a beach, a campground, and something which vaguely resembles a hiking trail, but is really more of a biking/rollerblading trail. And the beach has a lovely view of the Fermi 2 nuclear power plant. Yep, just what I want to see while I’m swimming! And admission is $6.

But on Saturday, Tirithien took me to two State Parks just down around the corner of the lake, in that other state, and they both had free admission. We started out at Crane Creek, which is about halfway between Toledo and Sandusky. And it was lovely. It has some trails through marshland and a wonderful shoreline. (Granted, we were now within sight of the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant, but you can’t have everything.) The only problem was that it was overrun by birdwatchers.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever had the pleasure of sharing a trail with a flock of dedicated birdwatchers, but I have to say that it’s a truly surreal experience. See, as a Woodland Ninja ™, I’m used to meeting very few other people along the trail, if any. I’m used to quiet hikes. But instead, it was rather like making way through a crowded outdoor flea market, ducking and dodging people with expensive binoculars staring devoutly into trees and saying things like, “Look! It has yellow feathers and a purple head! It must be a Snodgrass Peregrine Swallow!” while their bored children hang upside down off the wooden railings and do flips into the swamp to look for frogs, turtles, and bog monsters.

Eventually the birdwatchers figured out that we didn’t belong (having no binoculars was a clue, as was the fact that we were tending to look at trees and wildflowers rather than birds), and they ran us off. (Okay, not really, but they were giving us some dirty looks.) We headed back towards town and went to Maumee Bay State Park instead.

Now, this is a truly beautiful park. It’s a park of the well-groomed variety, not a wilderness, but oh, the shoreline there was the closest thing I’ve seen to being a real beach since I left Florida 15 years ago. And the wind was even stirring up the lake enough to form something resembling waves! We wandered along the shoreline, climbed a few rocks (you know, the ones marked “Don’t Climb On These Rocks”), and climbed a rather impressive hill which gave us an absolutely amazing view of the entire park. While we were sitting on the bench at the top of the hill, we were joined by a man with his two young sons. The younger of the two, a bright-eyed lad of about 6, kept saying knowingly, “Now, this is what a view looks like!” and nodding his head sagely.

Rather than risk the boy’s feelings (because he was really quite serious in his fervent declarations that this was indeed what a view looks like) by laughing, we headed down the hill and spent some time on one of the hiking trails, where we encountered wild roses, wild grapes, a bunny, a deer, and several friendly dogs taking their humans for walks. Then we wandered back to the park resort building to find something to drink and headed home after that.

It was really a very good day for Woodland Ninjas to try being Swamp Ninjas and Beach Ninjas. And I have my first sunburn of the year.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Oh, hey, my blog is still here!

No, my fellow citizens of blogland, I haven't forgotten you. But between not being able to access the 'net at work anymore, and my boss being out all last week, I've been busy, frazzled, and fried.

I'll try to come up with something lovely and/or profound to post soon. Meanwhile, have some old poetry. From the Spring of 1997:

"You are meant for other things.
Your destiny lies elsewhere.
So it is now, and so it has always been.
My destiny has always been elsewhere.
Voices speak in troubled sleep.
I cannot understand.
These are days of turmoil.
My dreams are put aside for now.
I am a wanderer,
and must be true to my Gypsy blood.
Spirits of Nature, do not forsake me.
I become as fragmented as you,
as drifting, as insubstantial.
I resent my dreams, for
they make me dissatisfied with drifting.
I shall ever drift
on a storm-swept sea,
with no anchor
and no port in sight,
for my destiny lies elsewhere.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

My Brother's Stage Debut!

Tonight marks the very first ever onstage appearance of my baby brother! He will be playing a native in his middle school's production of Hurricane Smith. Apparently he has no actual lines, but has to make a lot of very strange noises to represent the native "language."

The kid's been doing imitations and accents and telling jokes practically since he learned how to talk, so I say it's about time he made his talents known to a wider audience!

Break a leg tonight, buddy!

Monday, May 08, 2006

No more internet...

Well, it's not GONE, I'm just not allowed to use it at work anymore. My employer is having a massive crackdown on "unauthorized internet usage," which I suppose includes blogging.

Never mind the people who are constantly on personal phone calls, or the gaggle of women who bring their scrapbooking gear to work and spend long, leisurely lunchtimes at a table near my cubicle gossiping and cutting cute little shapes out of strange types of paper. Nope! It's the internet which is the greatest possible threat to office productivity!

I mean, in protest of this, I may well wind up blogging more. I'll just have to write everything in Word and then bring it home to post it. But hey, Word documents are even easier to disguise as work!

And yes, I am feeling better today. :-)

(I really am a decent employee... I'm just rather disgusted with my employers' blinders today!)

Friday, May 05, 2006

29 is NOT off to a good start.

WARNING! GRAPHIC BLOGGING AHEAD! People with weak stomachs may want to skip this entry.


So, my birthday was going just fine. My family came over and brought cake and presents, and Tirithien was making me dinner, when I started to feel nauseous. He sent me to lie down while he finished up dinner. I felt a little better when I woke up, but I could only eat a few bites of dinner.

We curled up on the couch to watch a movie, and then my digestive system went into full rebellion. The top half went into reverse and the bottom half went into fast forward. This phenomenon is known as emetocatharsis. (Bougie Black Boy taught me that $5 word when he had the same issue freshman year.)

This kept up all night. Every hour, I would have to get up and go run to the bathroom again. It was like clockwork! Quarter after, it would be time to get up. When I went back to bed after my 4:15 emetocatharsis, I was able to sleep until 6:15, and this seemed a great blessing-- 2 consecutive hours of sleep!

Needless to say, I did not go to work on Thursday. I'm at work today, but I'm not going to be able to make it all day. I'm exhausted and weak. I actually made myself carsick driving here.

But I ate a piece of bread this morning. Hey, progress is progress.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yes, today is the big 2-9!

I remember when my uncle turned 29, my mom found a card for him with a sort of wink-wink, nudge-nudge, oh SURE you're 29 theme. Because, after all, this is where people stop and hold, and refuse to go on to 30.

But I really am 29.

And I'll be perfectly happy to be 30 next year, as long as I get cake and presents for it.

I mean, overall, my 20s haven't been that great. They're shaping up nicely NOW, but they're almost done! Which means my 30s are poised to be thoroughly fabulous.

So, bring it on, Time. One second per second, I'm moving forward.

Now, just as I was getting ready to post this, I got a call from the office receptionist, telling me I should go up front because there was a package I had to sign for. So I did. And what do you suppose I found? A perfectly gorgeous bouquet of flowers from my Tirithien, eleven red roses and one white, with baby's breath and a soft purple "background" flower I don't know the name of, tied with a huge red ribbon. Thank you, my love! :-)

Monday, May 01, 2006


On the ancient Celtic calendar, the 1st of May was a great festival day called Beltaine (or it was maybe celebrated on the full moon closest to the 1st of May, depending on which anthropologists you ask).

It was the heart of spring, the fires of life returning to all things that grow, a time of blessing and renewal. It is said that on the Eve of Beltaine, lovers would lie together in the fields, making love by the light of moon and bonfire, and that this display of fertility would cause the crops to grow tall and strong, symbolizing the union between the sun and the earth.

It was also said that Beltaine was a time of in-between. In folklore, these were the times when the veils between this world and the Otherworlds wore thin, when spirits and faeries might walk among us, or brave mortals might enter the worlds of faerie.

To guard against intrusion by malevolent spirits,
then, ladies would gather flowers of the hawthorne tree and weave them into wreaths, which they would hang above their doorways or above their children's beds.

It would have been a lovely thing to celebrate my ancestors' tradition by gathering some hawthorne flowers, but alas, in this part of the world, they won't be in bloom for a few weeks yet! (Besides which, they generally grow on private property, and an arrest for trespassing and flower theft is hardly my idea of a festive holiday.)

So what is the American descendant of wild Celts to do?

I picked some dandelions instead. They may not guard against malevolent spirits, but they should! Just look how bright and cheerful they are! What evil spirit would want to hang around with those?

Happy Beltaine!