Saturday, February 08, 2014

Mission Statement in Progress

What is most important for you to live by?  If you had to create a mission statement for yourself, what would it entail?

I'm trying to sort out what I feel is most important to me in the way that I am living my life.  Here's a first attempt:

Live compassionately, with a heart and spirit full of love.

Don't intentionally make choices or do things that I know will cause harm to others.  It is unavoidable that I will at times make mistakes.  Sometimes they will be huge mistakes.  But it is imperative that I learn from my mistakes, and take responsibility for them, and use them to inform myself.  It is all the more important that I examine what has happened and take responsibility for whatever I have done if it has caused harm to others.

Forgive myself when I fall short.  This doesn't mean ignore - still learn from my shortfalls, and do better by myself the next time around - but, at the same time, don't continually beat myself up and punish myself long after the fact for something that is said and done.

Value connections.  Life is passing by, faster and faster every day.  "All we are is dust in the wind," and moments for reaching out, loving the people who are dear to me, creating moments of joy and happiness are not as endless and infinite as I'd like to think they are.  And yet those moments - far and few between and undervalued as they have been in the moment so many times in my life - those connections are what has mattered to me most in my life so far.  It's so easy to get caught up in little things, in routines, in work, in various pursuits and to let connections fall to the wayside - to never get around to sending the letter I've been thinking about for days, or weeks, or oftentimes even years - to never just figuring out a way to find the money and the time and actually plan a visit to someone who is far away - to not reaching out and planning a time to be together with friends and play games or have dinner or share whatever interests we have in common - so, so easy to just let those things slip day after day, week after week, month after month.  But I want to do better, and I want to slip less. 

Be genuine and authentic, with others and especially with myself.  I don't want to spend my life trying to be something other than what I am.  I don't want to tell myself stories and fictions about my life to comfort myself or to try and make things feel nicer, or easier, or whyever it is that we tell ourselves such fictions.  I want to see and witness and embrace myself and my life in all its glory and in all its grittiness, the big and the small, the things that make me proud and the things that make me cringe, and to live and to value the full spectrum of experience.  Sadness is a vital part of the human experience.  Shame is part of the human condition as much as is pride or joy or euphoria.  Inspiration, gratitude, happiness, frustration, anger, fear - so many colors, so many facets of experience, and each one is valuable and precious.  While it's easy to resort to lying to myself in an attempt to protect myself from some perceived negative experience or feeling or to ease a fear, when I do so I am limiting my own experience of my own life.

Back to being authentic and genuine with others - connections matter.  If I am presenting a fiction of myself to someone else, even if I think it is what they want to see, I am not really connecting.  I'm passing up an opportunity for real connection.  Along similar lines, I don't want to box myself in or constrain myself in my relationships out of fear.  Sometimes something about me will push someone away.  That's okay.  For all the times that I am true to myself and as authentic as I can be, and it creates deeper understanding or connection, it's worth the times that being authentic pushes someone away.  And really, if being as true to who I am is going to push someone away, than in that case I don't think we were ever really connecting in the first place.  It was a fiction.  Fictions are great to read, to enjoy, to consume, but they aren't what I want to be living.

Live passionately.  Seize the day!  Find things that interest me and apply myself to them.  Find people that are interesting, amazing, people who inspire me, people challenge me, and create connection with them.  I am a master of putting things off that I mean to do, or I'd like to do, but I'd like to put things off a bit less.  More doing, less intending, less putting off. 

These are things I am working on every day in my life.  It's a work in progress, and some days I do better than others, but looking over my life - when I've done a better job of living by these ideas, I've felt more alive.  And I've created more moments which were precious both then and now in retrospect. 

Friday, February 07, 2014

Running while 6 1/2 months pregnant

So I ran to catch a bus today, in the rain. Up a hill, then down the other side again. Then down some stairs and up an incline. Running is not easy with this huge awkward belly, and if the physical spectacle it makes isn't enough, it also makes my pants fall down. I have grasp and hold them up while I run to retain some small bit of modesty.

I got to the stop 20 or 30 seconds before the bus pulled up, but did that sadistic bus driver actually stop the bus? No. He kept driving past, so I had to run again, after the bus, one hand grasping to keep my pants on, the other flailing in a bid for him to actually stop. Which he did. Finally. So very gracious of him.

In other news, some woman with her 8 or 9 year old boy in tow gave me the evil eye several times at a bus stop a bit later in the day, with the brunt of her glare always directed at my stomach. It was like my pregnancy mortally offended her. I wasn't really sure what to make of it.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Hello, Self. So nice to make your acquaintance.

Do you ever forget who you are?

Working tonight with sticky hands and arms, intently focused on the papier-mâché in front of me, listening to music I love - I felt so alive and satisfied.  Alive!  If not happy, then sublimely contented!  Lost in the moment without care for anything else.

It's an intense, special sort of alive that I experience often when doing such things.  Molding papier-mâché, sculpting with clay, sketching, painting with oils.  Artsy endeavors where I am able to become immersed in the doing, and through which I can easily express myself.

And so much the more so when coupled with music that I love!

And yet...

And yet I go years sometimes without ever doing this.

Decades, even.

I am only just beginning to listen to music after several years without it having had any presence in my life.

I am only just beginning to again find or create projects for myself, or to find the time to sit and create when I feel a niggling urge or conceive a partial idea that I'd like to explore.

Where have I been all this time?

What have I been doing?

What has kept me away from that which makes me feel so much more myself?

Whatever the case, I am grateful to have stumbled back into it, and I hope I don't unintentionally stray so far away again any time soon.

Monday, June 24, 2013

My Thoughts on the 2012 film version of Les Miserables

I've finally managed to see the latest film version of Les Miserables

While I love and appreciate Hugh Jackman's character acting and the ways in which that filled out Jean Valjean - bringing dignity, strength, and intelligence to the character - I was at times underwhelmed with his singing. It was good, it just... didn't hit some of the best sung lines as strongly as some of the stage Valjeans that I have heard. 

And Javert... on the whole, I was sadly disappointed with Russell Crowe as Javert. 

Though I must confess I have never been a huge fan of the Thénardiers,, I did not particularly like the way Sacha Baren Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter played them in this film. In particular, while they brought some interesting color to the characters, I felt their musical presentation and sung lines were not as strong in the film as they have been with previous actors on stage.

Anne Hathaway was a deliciously poignant Fantine. Her performance stood apart from the rest of the film. I am not entirely sure about the choice to move "I Dreamed a Dream" to the end of so many of her trials and degredations (in the stage show it comes just after she has lost her job at the factory, before she has sold her hair or been forced into prostitution). The placement gives the song entirely new color and texture. It's very different. I'm still absorbing it. Speaking of degredations, Fantine in the book sells her teeth, but that has not previously been a part of stage productions. I am still absorbing its inclusion in the film, but I must confess that I found it somewhat incongruous to see terribly close shots of her face showing perfect white teeth in "I Dreamed a Dream" just a few scenes after she had supposedly sold and had (at least one or two of) her teeth roughly pulled.

I was surprised to find myself particularly taken, also, with Aaron Tveit's Enjolras. This is a character that I have never taken particular note of before, but what a tremendous stage presence he had!

Samantha Barks was a good Epoinine. Amanda Seyfried as Cosette was stunning to look at, though her singing was a bit too warbly and trilly for my taste. Eddie Redmayne played a quite decent Marius. Most other castings seemed good, if not great.

I wish that Tom Hooper had been a bit less heavy handed with the super-close ups, and with the constant camera view shifting. Sometimes it took a great deal of processing power to figure out what was going on in a scene with constant close up camera shifting between characters, when it would have been clear, easy to follow, and perhaps easier to appreciate the music and story if he had just stepped back with the cameras. And, if used somewhat less, the closeups might have had somewhat more emotional impact when he did use them.

My thoughts on the film aside, if you want to read a good comparison of previous Les Miserables stage versions to this film version, I found this four part review quite interesting.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Google, for shame.

I am on the verge of uninstalling all Google chat functionality from my android phone.

First, Google Talk updated itself to Google Hangouts.  Differences?  From what I can see, Google Hangouts does not order my contacts well, gives absolutely no indication of whether anyone is on or offline, and makes the path to initiate a new chat awkward at best.  This is a huge step back from Google Talk, which did all these things just fine.

To add insult to injury, it looks like Google Hangouts grabbed and imported every contact on my phone, including sim card contacts consisting of just names and phone numbers, with no warning or request for authorization. Way to violate my privacy.

I am not impressed, Google.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Why is it that all the responses I get must be spam?

Spammers, why is it that you must target me?

I write from my heart.  Really, I'd rather that noone reads what I write, than that spambot after spambot after spambot targets me.  Spambots, go away.  Go spam someone else's site.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Rest in Peace, Johanna Sällström

I know I am many years late experiencing and reacting to this, but I am very sad about and for Joanna Sällström. I just watched Hemligheten, the final episode of the first season of the Swedish TV series Wallander, where her character discovers Ola Rapace's character just after he, himself, has committed suicide. She was so beautifully but powerfully affected. Knowing what I did about her sad end, the scene was that much more unsettling.

Her portrayal of Linda Wallander has resonated strongly with me, and as someone who has struggled throughout my own lifetime with depression, I can relate more than I might like to her struggles off screen.

I found several lovely comments on this page -Johanna Sallstrom - A Modern Story - and agree with them heartily. Johanna Sällström, your life was too short.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Feels Like Home

I had ... a strong glimpse of a feeling of very connected home-ness in my home this morning.  Standing and making coffee with the sun shining through the window behind me on my back and on the counter in front of me, the guest room I recently finished putting together in my side vision, it felt for a moment the way I remember my grandmother's house felt to me when i was a child.  My grandmother's house was one of the warmest, most welcoming places I've always been, and is the root of some of my fondest memories.

Like, "Right here is a place I am happy to be, would be happy to visit, others might be happy to visit, and I have momentary sublime contentedness".

I think it's the first time I've felt that in this space, or in a space of my own, at all, ever, maybe.

Unrelated to this specific experience, but tied to this post's title: Chantal Kreviazuk, "Feels Like Home"

Nightmares vs. Night Terrors

Nightmares and Night Terrors.  One is not the other.  Ravenna used to have both - there was a period of time where she couldn't sleep for more than 4 hours at a time without waking to one or the other.

Do you know what a night terror is?  I've never had one, but here is what it is like from the outside:

Ravenna "wakes up" screaming uncontrollably, completely unresponsive to anyone talking to her, picking her up, walking around with her, trying to calm her down.

I'd pick her up, walk around a bit with her, trying to talk to her, and then sit and rock with her.  All the while she continues screaming and crying hysterically, for 30 minutes maybe, sometimes more, sometimes less.

Then she finally falls back asleep, and later has no memory of this ever having happened.

The unresponsiveness and the inability to effect her or help pull her out of it were what were most terrifying

She has not had one of these for more than a year now.  I am so grateful.

There is still the occasional nightmare, but I would much rather have that, where she's a bit afraid but we can talk through it and I can soothe her.  She likes to play a "nightmare game" that a therapist suggested to me, where she tells me about what she dreamt and then we think up a way that it can end being resolved in a better state.  A "good ending".  She finds this to be very soothing and empowering.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Suggestions for early parenting

I found out that one of my first close friends, a girl I knew back in Junior high, is going to be a mother soon, along with her lesbian partner.  Here is the letter I wrote to her about my early parenting experiences:

Angie, congratulations!  

I know we have not kept up for - decades now!, oh my - but you were absolutely one of my favorite people when we were young.  Gifted and talented and full of life, you inspired me.  You were also one of my first crushes, which prompted any other number of self-discoveries down the line.  All that said, I love the idea that you and your partner are going to be nurturing and raising a child; you have so much to offer, and I think it will be a very lucky child, indeed.

Anyways, my recommendations:

Starting when my daughter, Ravenna, was just a week or two old, I attended a drop-in post-partum support group ( in Seattle that met weekly.  Spending that time with other parents along with their similarly aged babies really helped me to gain confidence, to be less anxious, to get feedback and ideas for dealing with issues that were highly relevant at that point in her development, to develop an understanding of what was normal in terms of milestones, to be able to anticipate what changes were just around the corner, and to find solidarity in knowing that other parents were experiencing all the same issues that we were.  In case you wonder at all whether a group like this will be relevant when neither of you will have birthed the child, there was a set of lesbian parents with an adopted infant who attended First Weeks at the same time that I did, and they seemed to enjoy and benefit greatly from it also.  You wouldn't have the same group available to you, of course, but I am sure there are at some similar resources where you live. 

I loved carrying Ravenna around in a sling when she was small (as opposed to strollers - I never actually owned one).  It felt close and connected in a lovely way.  Slings are also super easy to pack up and have anywhere with you, at any time, on a moment's notice - something you can't say about a stroller!  The native sling was my favorite for easy packing and quick/cozy use ( and the moby was my favorite when I wanted something more versatile that could lend itself to any number of positions, both back and front (

I also did elimination communication (EC - with Ravenna, which is a process of learning to recognize unspoken cues, experimenting to find certain timing rhythms that work for your child, and giving your child early tools to explicitly communicate in a way that you can understand when they need to eliminate waste, so that they can do so in some other place - held over a toilet, held over a sink, held over a baby potty, held over a diaper they aren't wearing, etc.  I also used cloth diapers without a cover, or with a thin cover, that helped more than anything to train my observation of her unspoken cues (and gave me a quick, direct form of feedback when I had missed a cue, in the form of a little bit of wet).  

Thanks to EC, by the time Ravenna was 4 months old she was able to sometimes communicate via a specific sound (psssss) that she had to pee, so that I could get her someplace where she could do it outside of her diaper.  She once managed to hold it for 10 minutes, the remainder of a bus ride home, at that age.  When she was 10-12 months old she regularly communicated her need to potty via sign language and was largely out of diapers with few accidents.  I don't know what your inclinations are and EC certainly isn't for everyone, but in case you didn't already know about it and it might appeal to your sensibilities, now you know about the idea!  I personally loved it and plan to approach pottying the same way with any other children I might have.

The most important thing I learned about early parenting is this: there is a wide range of possibility for any number of parenting choices; slings vs strollers, co-sleeping vs sleep-conditioning vs other sleep methods, EC vs western pottying with cloth diapers vs western pottying with disposables, buying processed and specially marketed baby food vs using a handmixer to feed your child the same food that you eat, etc.

Because you put care and consideration into every choice that you make, it is easy to fall into a trap of thinking that your way is the best way.  One issue with this sort of thinking is that you can get stuck holding yourself to a choice that you find isn't working for you and is a source of daily frustration, maybe because you are invested in it, or you've been telling yourself that anything else is sub-par, or you feel like you would be failing as a parent if you went back to re-evaluate other options.  Another issue is that it is judge the choices of everyone else who went another way.  But I know people who made parenting choices all across these spectrums - and each our children has grown and thrived in spite of the different beginnings.  I think ultimately it matters less WHICH choices you make, and more that you are loving, that you are attentive, and that you are engaging yourself in a process where you pay attention to what is working for you what is not, and you adapt accordingly.  Be accepting and loving of yourself, your partner, your child, and your peers.  (Don't beat yourself up about whatever struggles you encounter!)  Allow yourself to make mistakes, and try to look child rearing as an evolving journey of discovery rather than a set, constrained path going the "right way".  Remember that children, even infants, are incredibly, amazingly resilient.

If you'd ever like to chat about these or anything else, just let me know.  I'd be tickled to hear from you.

Best wishes,

Monday, October 08, 2012

Tiden flyger snabbt

Ju äldre jag blir, desto snabbare verkar tiden flyga.

Som ett barn minns jag långa dagar där jag ofta ropade till mina föräldrar: “Jag är uttråkad!”  Varje dag avgav ändlösa timmar för att leka, lära mig, och undersöka.  Tiden var något att fylla.  Mitt hela liv sträckte sig ut framför mig.

Vid något tillfälle började det ändras.  Jag vet inte exakt när men jag började ibland känna att det var för mycket saker att göra och det var inte alltid nog tid for att göra dem alla.

Nu är jag 34 år gammal och det är distinkt aldrig nog med tid.  Timmar är en dyrbar handelsvara.  Oavsett hur effektivt jag jobbar kan jag aldrig kan avsluta allt som jag menar.  Jag vet inte den meningen av “uttråkad” längre.

Vad än mer passerar timmarna och dagarna jättesnabbt nu.  Inga fler är långsamma timmarna som breder ut sig framför mig, som väntar på att bli fyllda.  Det känns som för några månader sedan som födde jag ett barn, men hon blev 6 åring för två veckor sedan.  Det känns som igår som jag lämnade Seattle för att flytta till Sverige, men det har faktiskt varit nästan två år nu.

Tids bortgång nu påminner mig lite av sitta i baksätet av bilen som ett barn, försöker fokusera på världen som virvlar förbi utanför bilen.   Jag skulle ställa min uppmärksamhet på en plats och det skulle komma i fokus - ett träd, en uppochnervänd skottkärra, och ett fält breder sig ut bakom - men jag kunde ändå hålla mitt fokus om platsen för en kort stund innan det gled undan.  Och hela tiden rusade alltihopa kring platsen förbi i ett sådant suddigt dis så att jag inte kunde plocka ut några detaljer förutom svischar av färg.  Allt var konsumerat så småningom av det strömmande ofokuserade ruset av färger.

Som är hur livet känns just nu.  Jag kan fokusera på spridda fläckar här och där för att föra dem ut i mer klarhet - skolarbete som måste göras, det arbete som vårt hus är i behov av, eller min dotters anpassning till sin nya skola - men allt annat är en rusning och en virvel och ens dessa fokuserade fläckar är snart konsumerade av virvlande också.

Vad är tid för dig?  Är det långsamt och fullt av möjligheter eller fräser det förbi så snabbt att du knappt kan hänga med?  Har ditt intryck av tid förändrats under ditt livs lopp på samma sätt som mitt intryck har förändrats?  Tiden var en gång långsam men nu håller det på att glida genom mina fingrar, aldrig sakta, snabbare och snabbare varje dag.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


My mother found out recently that she has cancer. So scary. This week she had a hysterectomy, and had her ovaries and pelvic lymph nodes taken out as well. My father was excellent at keeping us all up to date via SMS, but the day she had the surgery felt endless, still.

Post surgery, it looks like the cancer may have been contained entirely within the uterus, so after some time to recover from the surgery she may be fine with no further action needed! I am feeling very thankful.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Ravenna is in her dance class right now. I am tired. I like her having the opportunity to dance, to become more aware of her body, and to socialize, but it really makes Saturday mornings a whole lot less restful.

Monday, March 12, 2012

new fangled contraptions

Here we go, first post ever from my new smartphone. (Such a lovely  early birthday present!)

I've been thinking about things I'd like to post quite often, usually when I am out and about with no easy access to computers; maybe this will help me to actually get things like that posted.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Time, again

There's never enough time in the day.

I wish I had 2 or 3 minions that I could just set to do my bidding all day, every day, when I head off to school.

  • a Laundry-Cooking-Shopping Minion
  • an Unpacking-Boxes Minion
  • a TakingDownWallpaper-PatchingWalls-Painting Minion.

Yes, I think I could be content with that.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Time is slipping through my fingers. Yesterday, I was standing right there...and now suddenly 3 years are past.

It reminds me a bit of sitting in the back seat of the car as a child, trying to focus on the world swirling by outside. I'd set my attention to one spot and it would come into focus - a tree, an overturned wheelbarrow, and a field spreading out behind - but I could only hold it for a short moment before it slipped away. All the while everything surrounding that spot rushed by in such a blurred haze that I could not pick out any details except for swishes of color.

And, yet, if I did not apply that focused attention to singular spots along the way, they also becomes nothing more than a swish of colors rushing by.

That streaming, unfocused rush of colors ultimately consumed everything.

That is how life feels right now. I can focus on scattered spots here and there to bring them out in more clarity, but everything else is a rush and a swirl, and even these focused spots ultimately get caught up in the whirl as well.


I miss english muffins and bagels. Hard bread just isn't the same.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


The first several months were really hard.

Things are starting to pick up now.

I'm actually starting to feel at home.

Still some hurdles to overcome and a lot of adjusting to do, but the sun is coming out and it's spring in more ways than one. Here comes the sun, little darlin', here comes the sun... and I say, it's all right.

I am meaning to come out of my antisocial hibernation and start catching up on correspondence one of these days soon, and perhaps start taking and posting pictures. Will link that here if I don't put it here in the first place.


I never knew there was a word for it.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Small Happiness

I'm glad, though, that blogger is letting me post properly. When I posted the r.i.p. post I actually had to send it from my email to blogger, because I could not get the blogger posting page to load on any window on any browser. The frustration I felt, wanting so badly to express something, and the tools themselves blocking my way.

Spring Cleaning...Wish It Were Spring, Anyway

I went cleaning out spam comments, just now, and...a great deal of the non-spam comments that exist on this blog were from bem.

So many thoughtful responses to the random, infrequent posts these last few years.

I miss bem.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

R.I.P. bem

R.I.P. bem

A friend of mine passed away today.

Brian was one of my first close friends off the internet.  I played a MUD back from....1995 to 2001, maybe, and he was the implementer.  

If he was here, still, he would have been one of the first people to read this post; even after all these years and my long periods of blogging inactivity, he still kept an eye on here.

He lived in Portland, OR, which is close to Seattle, so when I moved there in 2000 I would see him every so often. 

I helped him through some rough times in his life, and he was strong and supportive for me through some of mine.

His MUD ( 9000) went down in the early 2000's, but someone from the MUD convinced him to put it back up a year ago.  I logged on tonight for the second time in maybe 8 years.  Talking to people who I was fond of, in the way that I am fond of Rampage people now, when I was 16, 17, 18....

It felt surreal.

There was someone logged in tonight who had a ring item that had been "engraved".... by me.  And his description had all sorts of nods to me.  I could hardly remember who he was, but I had the distinct sense that it was someone I had liked quite well at some point in my life.

It's a bit unsettling to realize there's so much I can't remember.

And that time keeps on flowing by.

And I might be gone, at any moment.

Or if I'm still here, soon enough the moments I am living now will be moments that are lost to my memory.

A few years ago Brian met the love of his life, and about three years ago, asked her to marry him.  I think the last time I saw him was at his wedding.  He was so happy.  This woman and this relationship really seemed to transform him.  Every time I talked to him since, he seemed so happy.

It feels like - it was too soon.

He isn't that much older than me, he was a peer.

He'd recently found such great happiness in his life.

I loved him, he was very dear to me -

I meant to visit him before I moved to Sweden, but that's one of the things that never happened, I was so busy.  Now it's too late.

I wasn't ready to lose him.

It's awful to see him go so soon after he had found great happiness in his life.

It makes me feel more mortal myself.  I feel very blessed these last few years, but I could pass away and lose it all at any time.

Or lose the people closest to me.

It's scary.

And, my friend, Brian - it's sad.

I wrote him a mail today, after I found out.  I know he'll never read it, but -  I needed to say goodbye, somehow.

Brian, I will miss you.

I do miss you.

I am sad.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Göteborg to Leeds

Pigeons! In the train station!

So many people here with so many differently colored coats. In Sweden, it seems like almost everyones' coat is black.

The UK is unfamiliar to me, but it somehow feels so much more familiar than Sweden. In some ways, it almost feels more familiar than Seattle, as I sit gazing at the scenery out the trains. I don't know why that is. I don't think it is just the language - when I first noticed it, I was on a train full of Czechs, I think. The architecture, the fields, the occasional horse, the hedged lines between fields, the faint hint of frost seeping out from all the shadows and corners; perhaps it is in some ways like the midwest of my childhood, but in others not. Yet the feeling of familiarity is strong.

I found it funny to see Indian-looking people speaking with Scottish accents. Unexpected! My eyes and my ears could not reconcile.

I love subways. The feel in the core of my body standing on a crowded subway as it accellerates, runs speedily, and then decelerates, working to maintain balance. I feel taller, more at ease in my body, and more grounded when I step off. The faintly dirty, sour smell in the underground stations; I haven't smelled it since I was last in New York City,

Every train station that I have been to (3 so far) has been quite chilly. No overheating for these Brits! I like it.

I like London. I stepped out onto a London street at the King's Cross Station, and felt such joy! The buildings, the people, the double decker buses...I loved it the first time I saw it, at 13, and I still feel that way now that I see it again. I forget when I am away, but the moment I am here again and I step out into it, I want more. I want to visit London more. I want to explore her, to know her, to discover her crooks and crannies.

But, oh my - I had to pay to use the restroom. How very strange that was. Theoretically, I know that this is the way it works in other places, but I have never before paid to use the restroom, myself.

I am eating my first mincemeat pie. I'm not quite sure what consitutes mincemeat. I'm also not quite sure that I like it.

There is, of course, much that I should write about having to do with Sweden. But I think I am so deeply involved in processing it right now that I cannot step back to write about it. I feel more clear here on this short trip to the UK, a lovely little interlude.

I am, however, missing Henrik and Ravenna.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

All That We Leave Behind

Steve said to me at breakfast the other day that my leaving is one of the most significant events in his life.

I'm really going to miss him, too.


Happiness is a Nice Pair of Shoes

Someone said to me at the Beginner's Milonga last night, "I've always been too shy to talk to you, but I wanted to tell you I will miss your music. And your shoes. You have some of the best shoes."


Friday, October 15, 2010

Goodbye, Seattle Tango.

I cried tonight.

I didn't expect to. I was surprised when I did.

Tonight was a going away dance for me, hosted courtesy of Kathryn McDonald, at her practica at Dance Underground.

Quite a few people came. So many people that I was happy to see!

Greg Constantino DJed, and I loved it. The evening flowed nicely, and it was so lovely to be able to just dance, and not worry at all about what was going on or needed to be done.

I've never had a birthday dance or anything of the kind before, but tonight they insisted on a going away birthday-dance-style song for me. Greg played Jem's "Missing You", and then, to cries of "Opa! Opa!", he followed it with Israel Kamakawiwoʻole's "Somewhere Over The Rainbow".

I was touched, really, by both choices.

And I was touched by all the people who danced with me during the two songs. I felt...loved. And I felt so much love for all of them. And for this community that I've been a part of for so long now.

I was so touched, in fact, that I made a short speech after the second. I did not plan to talk. I don't even know any more what I said - just that it was from my heart.

I am sad.

Seattle has been long and hard and beautiful and wonderful and horrible and terrible and lovely. So many things. I've been here for 1/3 of this life, now, that I have been living...and am walking away. From everyone. From tango. From friends. From people who feel now like family. From everything.

What am I doing?

After the dancing was done, the music was done, Kathryn came over and hugged me and said goodbye, and I could not help crying.

Ah...without endings, there could be no beginning.

I wish I could have the beginning without this end.

Thank you, Seattle.

Thank you everyone who came tonight.

Thank you to a community that I have sometimes struggled with, but which has also given me much love, and in which I have felt myself at home.

I will miss you.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Sadly, there still is no internet in my current residence. Except in one specific spot in one specific room sitting just so on the windowsill.

Google Search

The following two columns amused me terribly when they first came out, and I still get a kick out of them now. Here they are, for posterity (and so I don't have to search all of the internet again next time I want to reference and find them for a friend).

The Jungle

I'd like to see an Upton Sinclair for the 21st century bring GE salmon and the current workings of the FDA and any number of other issues to light and to the public eye the way he did meat packing and immigrant conditions in The Jungle.

Gene Patenting

I think Gene Patenting is ridiculous.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Core Values

Today, speaking to a friend of mine about how important I feel it is to allow Ravenna to dictate her own relationship with Jaimes, based on her own experiences, wants, and needs, uncolored by my own issues with him, I realized I was speaking quite passionately. This gift to her is greatly important to me and speaks to one of my core values. That got me thinking; what are my other core values? What drives my choices? As an exercise, I'm going to post a few now, and then post others as they come to me over the next few days.

* Give my children the gift of a clean slate. Maintain an understanding of what my own issues are, and with whom I have issues...and keep those as my own issues. Do not pass them on. Let my children develop their own relationships with people and the world, unfettered by my biases, prejudices, and injuries.

* Maintain dignity in my interactions with the world and with others. Treat others with dignity.

* Reach out to the people around me with love. Be a healing, nurturing force in their lives where and when I am able.

* Don't become too attached to wealth or material belongings. Save and be thrifty where it makes sense, but never lose a sense of generosity or a wanting to share what I have with those I love.

* Be open to goodness. Find joy in small things. Allow myself to be surprised and to notice and engage the world in new ways.

* Take sadness, angst, grief, anger, jealousy, fear, any number of other "negative" emotions, let myself feel them, savor them, truly experience them, and realize that they enhance the overarching experience of a life. Only through contrast can we most truly appreciate what we are and what we have.

* Respect my body. Foster an awareness of my body, of what effects my actions and non-actions have on my body. Breathe. Don't be afraid to take risks and to act at times in ways that stress or challenge my body, but be aware of the causal relationships and mindful of what it is that I am doing. Care for it when I push it to or beyond comfortable limits.

* Respect my spirit. Foster an awareness of what effects my actions and non-actions have on my spirituality and on my emotional well-being. Don't be afraid to take risks and to act at times in ways that cause emotional or spiritual conflict, but be aware of the causal relationships and mindful of what it is that I am doing. Care for it when I push it to or beyond comfortable limits.

* Act in awareness. Be mindful of what effect my actions have. Try to keep from acting in cruelty borne of carelessness; if I am to act or speak cruelly or unkindly, let myself be mindful that I am doing so, and take full responsibility for what I am saying, what I am doing, and any consequences it may have.

* Advocate for myself, for my own needs to be be met, but with mindfulness and awareness. Stand up for myself and be sure to find space and resource to adequately care for myself.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Drowning in Adrenaline

I was just standing in a parking lot just a short while ago that got shot up. My friend had the presence of mind to notice how things were escallating and to duck down under my car, but I just sort of stood there out in the open like a dumbass because I've never been around a situation like that before. I ducked down with her, but only after the shooting was done.

Next time i hope to ducke down at least midway through.

She is more worldly than I and thought maybe "it was 38's, but certainly not 42's".

I'm fine. Just kind of stunned. And drowning in adrenaline.

I am rarely out in an ihop parking lot at 3am. Almost never, i would say. I don't believe I will be in a hurry to be again any time soon.

I do live in a major metroplis, but i've never been around gunfire before in my life. It didn't even seem real. Seemed like firecrackers. Everything sort of moving in slow motion.

Oh my.

Breathe, Kathryn, breathe... deep breath, breathe now.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

2 + 2 = A Great Evening, For All That

Two people treated me coldly at a dance last night.

One, who I used to think was a close friend of mine, and who I approached at the end of the evening warmly and with no ill will, spoke disapprovingly to me of choices that he knows nothing about, and then dismissed me without further thought.

The other, whom I hardly know at all, turned his back on me at the end of a song and walked away without a word or a goodbye, as if to say, "I did not enjoy our connection as we danced, therefore there is nothing of value to you and you are not worth even a cursory goodbye."

I don't understand why people treat others in such a manner. Dance aside, tango aside.... there are so many ways to connect, and value in so many aspects of of the people around us. So much to appreciate. So much life beyond the small world of tango! Why brush that aside so brusquely? I am sure that I take the people around me for granted sometimes, but I want to try as best I can to keep perspective, an open heart and an open mind.

On the other side of the same coin, I had two absolutely lovely interactions tonight, as well.

Two relatively new friends of mine came out to the dance solely because they knew that I would be there. I greatly enjoyed talking with them, getting to know them better, and briefly dancing with one of them.

Another friend of mine soliloquized very sweetly to me, about me, at the close of the night. Her flattering but sincerely spoken words and were a balm to my spirit. I felt near to tears as she spoke.

I must be at a good point in my life. At other times in the past the cold interactions would really have gotten under my skin, but last night they rolled fairly easily off me. But just now I feel so good about the world, about this gift of life, about the amazing people that surround me, that a few people who are unfortunate enough not to notice or be privy to all this goodness are not able to blind me to it or to pull me down. It's interesting how much one's current inner space and state informs the way and degree to which feedback from the outside world is taken and internalized. And in what way that feedback is colored, and which feedback is given most notice.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


I'm depressed.

It's not a "just in this moment" thing, it's a generally thing. This last week, I find myself taking offense to things that people around me do or say, things that usually would not bother me. I'm having more trouble amassing the energy to do just basic things. And I feel....unhappy. For no reason that I can put my finger on.

I also feel isolated. I don't know how to talk to people about it; when I do they quickly respond with, "Is it something I said?"

No. It's not something you said.

It's nothing to do with you at all.

Maybe it's everything with Jaimes and the lawyer and all the money we've spent and STILL not being able to even file our initial paperwork for our residence application and feeling quite helpless as to determining my own destiny or timeline in this process, all of that weighing down on me. We had a large setback with Jaimes last week; a month ago I thought, for sure, here we are through the door and we will be filing within days, but turns out we needed just a bit more. But he's now again unwilling, and now we're back to being stopped up by him, not able to file anything at all. When we do file, it will supposedly take Swedish migration another 6-9 months to give us their decision, and we don't know when we can even start that process. This all certainly doesn't help, I guess, even if I can't pin it as the cause.

Maybe it's the weather. Except the weather has been amazing. The last few days felt like a bite of summer.

Maybe it's simple brain chemistry.

A lot of the time I feel okay, perhaps even most of the time. But more often than I would like, this last week or two, when I find myself with some time to stop and reflect, I feel...sinking. When I'm busy enough, I don't feel it. But in those respite periods, it feels like gravity is pulling on me harder than usual, everything is heavier.

Wish me well.

I hope this passes soon. I hope, also, that this most recent push with the lawyers turns out not to be too expensive, and is the last push we need to finalize and file the parenting plan we actually agreed to four long months ago.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

United Breaks Guitars

I'm not flying United, I'm flying KLM. Still, would it be unwise to bring my guitar?

It looks like they will probably let me bring it as hand baggage, "provided it fits in the overhead bin". But if they don't... aiee! It is a very nice guitar, and I don't want to trust it to the hold.

Anecdotal stories across the net seem to indicate that most of the time they will allow a guitar as hand baggage, but every once in a while they will force it to be checked. Please, please, KLM, do not force me to check it.