December 31, 2007

It's snowing again

Pumping gas in the freezing cold while the snow falls heavily sucks ass. Just sayin'.

December 28, 2007

Updates and stuff

Christmas came and went, with the usual fun times watching the kids and their joy at opening their (many) gifts. Time spent with family was per tradition...good food, lots of gifts, games played, laughter.

I had to return to work the day after Christmas, and have been attempting to cram 40 hours worth of work into three days. It's been fun, let me tell ya. Not sure if we are taking off next week Monday as well as Tuesday, but I may work Monday anyway just to make my life a bit easier. Year-end stuff is adding to my usual work which is always a joy. ( you like how I'm trying to convince myself here? Truth is, it kinda sucks but I'm avoiding saying that aloud. It helps).

I have been neglecting writing my own thoughts in my blog, but hope to write more often here as my only New Years resolution. I like it. What do you think? I generally avoid making resolutions at all for myself, recognizing that for me they are a futile endeavor anyway. If I see something that needs changing, I'm gonna just do it now, if it's that important to me. Or I'm gonna at least talk about doing it now...queen of procrastination that I am. Ha!

I wish you all a very good New Year and hope that you all find the happiness you deserve. This I wish for you above all else.

December 23, 2007

If I were free of all fear, I would...Guest Post #6

Having died (no vital signs) 4 times in this life and having my family brutally murdered in front of me, with me killing one of the murderers, I have little left to fear.

My one great fear is of being disabled. I have a touch of that from this latest stroke, where half my body still doesn't work too well (I'm typing this with one hand at about 30wpm), but I am terrified of being trapped in this body unable to communicate or do anything. My best friend's father was in that state for several months. His only communication was by the look in his eyes; he didn't even have the muscular control to blink 'yes' and 'no.' But he could cry. There are many definitions of hell; surely this must be one of them.

If I had no fear, I'd throw away all the stupid pills I take every day and just let nature take its course.

Mai (Harinder Kaur)

Some see things as they are and ask, Why?
I dream things that never were and ask, Why not?
Bobby Kennedy

Other blog links for Mai: Sometimes - 2 and The Road to Khalistan

December 21, 2007

Happy Holidays!

May your holidays be filled with joy, love, and happiness this year!

I want to send you all a personal greeting card from SML, but since I can't, this will have to do. I have enjoyed this last year getting to know you. Perhaps more importantly, I've enjoyed getting to know myself better with your help, so thank you for that! I feel like blogging has helped me to grow as a person, and I feel for the first time that I'm actually steering my own ship. It's pretty cool.

I hope you are all able to enjoy whatever celebrations you have in the coming weeks, and that you realize that you are special to me in ways you may never know.

(PS ~ I wanted to and even tried to get a pretty image of a snowflake onto this post, but it kept failing on me so I bagged it. It's the thought that counts...)

December 20, 2007

If I were free of all fear, I would...Guest Post #5

free from fear

fear is the feeling, the false reality, the insidiousness that binds us, fetters us, keeps us stuck

fear of what is out there away from the shelter and support of family weighs heavy on me…family fears for me, wants me to stay close, discounts my happiness in favor of what is frightening…this fear is a direct outgrowth of religious training, which is rooted in fear as a mechanism to keep adherents on the straight and narrow, holding to the rod, contemplating every possible consequence to the point of debilitating standstill…all in an effort to achieve perfection and immortality…all while letting life pass me by

free from fear

if i were, i would sell all that i have and follow my bliss…my bliss would be “making it up” as i move along…i would be a butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker…i would open a card shop, a gift shop, a flower shop, a book shop, a cakes and cookies shop…i would write children’s books, coloring books, novels, erotica…i would go back to school and climb mountains and swim oceans and become wise…i would only work for me and never answer to anyone ever again…i would learn to do well the things i love best: cooking, writing, capturing beauty in word, picture, and paint…i would buy a vw van and live in it, worrying only about gas and food and where to bathe; no utility bills, no mortgage payment, no settling, and being stuck in one place…i would be a vagabond and stop worrying about responsible stability

free from fear

if i were, i would stand up to my parents and clearly articulate to them who i am and why i have made the choices i’ve made in my life…i would resign my membership in the church and do it without regret…i would never question again whether i’ve made the right choices and whether i’m going to hell or whether god loves me…i would never worry about whether i’m enough and i would stop worrying about how to avoid upsetting my family or hurting their feelings while suppressing my own…i would never again apologize for who i am

free from fear

if i were, i would go to berlin and london and rome, delhi and beijing and moscow, yellowknife and macchu picchu and patagonia, kinshasa and tangier and istanbul, taos and fargo and niagara…i would breath in their beauty…in the darkness i inhabit, i would walk the avenues of paris, hand in hand…in the luminescence of the city of lights, my darkness would melt away and my heart would grow warm and passionate again…you would be there…i would be there…the energy would be palatable…but real…and i would embrace it without fear

free from fear

if i were, i would free my better half…we stay together out of fear, false security, ease…i would free us from each other…then, i would find my way to the one i love, have always loved, still love…i would stand on her doorstep and to her and the neighbors and the world around declare, i love you…i would not fear whether she would love me in return or send me packing…i would only fear not saying those words…i love you

if i were…

December 19, 2007

If I were free from all fear, I would... Posts on Other Blogs (Updated)

A couple of online friends have been brave and posted their thoughts on this subject on their own blogs, and they are worth sharing here.

FtA at Emerging From the Ashes

Sillynut at He Gave Me My Eyes, That I Might See

Angie at Touch of the Phoenix

Cele at Oh Joy, It's Me

JulieAnn at Ravings of a Mad Woman

Sideon at Sideon's Sanctuary

Chandelle at Our Organic Life

If I missed any others, please email me so I can link to your blog. I am LOVING your thoughts and daring, my friends. Thanks for sharing.

**Edited to type Chandelle's name correctly. I seriously thought I DID type it the right way with a D, and hadn't. *blushing* How embarrassing!**

December 18, 2007

Been busy...

I have been pretty busy lately, unable to take time to post on my blog. I still have a ton of memories to share from my trip to Paris...that will be coming soon. With pictures, even!

I've been enjoying all the thoughts on what you'd do if you were free of all fear! Thanks so much to those of you who shared your posts on your blogs and to those who posted here. I am impressed by your raw honesty and heartfelt introspection, and I feel lucky to associate with such wonderful people cyberly. (Is cyberly a word??)

I finally got my work Christmas cards out, addressed almost 200 of them by hand, as well as addressing around 50 gift certificates. Amazingly, I also got my own greeting cards filled out and now just need to mail them. Any overseas friends will get them after Christmas, sadly. But at least they will know I am thinking of them.

My ten-year old daughter made a gingerbread house at home a couple nights ago, it looks awesome! I'll get a photo of it and post it if I remember. She basically did it herself. So cute. Today I'll go to her school and make another one with her. I look forward to it. She's very creative and it's fun to watch her shine. She and I love to do artistic things together. When we are at the ceramics place, we both sit there focused intently on our art, and we hardly speak. Bliss! Other people watch us and probably wonder how we can be so boring and quiet...

I've got all my Christmas gift wrapping to do still, which I had planned to do this weekend but a horrible migraine prevented me from doing it. Oy, I hate headaches. Last night we had a music concert for my 14 year old son ~ my youngest and I laughed silently throughout the concert as we made faces at each other to the music! so fun ~ and tonight is a Christmas party for my husband's work, so I guess tomorrow I can hit the wrapping hot and heavy. We may have a birthday dinner for my 22 year old daughter Thursday night. Somewhere in there I will also be shopping a bit more.

I can do this, right?

December 13, 2007

If I were free of all fear, I would...Guest Post #4

If I were free of fear I would see my vulnerability as strength. I could love my wife more fully without worrying if I will get anything in return. I could give compassion completely to anyone without wanting reciprocity . If I were free of fear I would tell that anonymous woman that I think she is beautiful, I could flirt, and not feel guilty. Free of fear I would not be worried about how I look when trying to ride a skateboard, a surf board, walking down the street. I could be homeless and eating out of dumpsters. I could talk to my LDS cousins without the nagging feeling that I am a total loser.

Free of fear I could leave the church I was brought up in, (did that) completely; I could write my thoughts and opinions and post them where total strangers could see them and comment on them. (hey......I do that did all of you. cheers! you fearless people)


If I were free of all fear, I would...Guest Post #3

If I were free of all fear (and guilt), I would....

Pack a suitcase of clothing for my children and I, leave my husband a "Dear John" letter and walk out the door. I'd find a bungalow downtown to live in and I wouldn't be afraid of living alone with my small children. They could play on the street with their friends all day long and be safe.
I'd tell my parents, to their face, that I resigned my membership from the church and explain in detail why I left.
I'd hold my head up high and tell people that I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and I wouldn't care about their reaction. They wouldn't show me pity, they would just understand.
I would find a job that required me to be creative, artistic and then throw myself into my work. I'd go back to school, just for fun. There would not longer be "have tos", I would only have "want tos".
I'd drive my car as fast as I want to, music blaring and I'd let my hair blow wildly in the 35 degree wind. When I get pulled over, I'd pay the handsome police officer off by having incredible sex in the back of my car on the side of the highway. I'd write my name and phone number in the steam on the windows afterward.
I would dance naked in my kitchen (which I do now), with the blinds up and without fear of the neighbors gawking. I would sing loudly, and maybe a little off key, but it would be from my heart.
I would sun bathe naked during the summer and get a tan without lines. I'd put blond streaks in my hair and go out dancing with my friends. I'd wear a tight red dress and let my breasts overflow... there would be no fear of men staring. I'd let my sexuality just be and learn how to strip and grind my body against the pole.
I'd travel the world, meeting friends, making friends and just enjoying other cultures. I would stay as long as I like, without consequence. There would be no itinerary, I would plan nothing... just go by feeling.
I'd fly to Paris and meet my extended family. I've never met them and I want to.
I'd meet an attractive man in an elevator...rather then turn my eyes away, I would look at his deep blue eyes and make the first move. We'd go to his hotel room and make love (or screw like rabbits, whichever I choose) all night long. I would have no fear of STDs or pregnancy. His only desire would be to please me.
I would say "Fuck" more often, in front of who ever I wanted, without fear or consequence.
I'd tell my mother what I really do and how I feel, instead of sugar coating everything so she can live in her Mormon bliss.
I'd wear slippers and pajamas all day and not feel guilty or think I'm lazy.
If I was free of fear, I would take more time for myself, do more for myself and love myself more.

Enlightened Fairy

December 12, 2007

If I were free of all fear, I would...Guest Post #2

Let me just preface this by saying that on the outside, I am fearless. I have adrenaline and dare in spades when it comes to the physical. Skydiving? Boring. Bungee jumping? Yawn. Public speaking? For sissies. But being vulnerable? That scares the shit out of me. Can I say shit? Well, I did. And it does.

If I were free from all fear, I would do what I love for a living. I'd stop it with this Corporate America crap and throw myself into my photography and into teaching. I'd apply for that doctorate program I have my eye on and stop hedging because I'm nervous about having a safety net. I'd travel the world and take pictures of every pretty flower, every beautiful bridge, and every gorgeous person I see.

If I were free from all fear, I would be myself - my whole self - around my family and old friends. I'd stop being a watered-down version because I wouldn't be worried about rejection. I'd tell my parents that I actually learned more about unconditional love and integrity after I stopped going to their church. I'd tell my family that my being gay isn't evil, but their efforts to get me to conform are. I'd tell them that they have nothing to be afraid of.

If I were free from all fear, I would spend more time being still. I'd let myself just feel my emotions as they come up instead of constantly doing something to drown them out.

If I were free from all fear, I would spike the eggnog at my family Christmas party. At every family party, actually. I'd at least sneak a flask for myself.

If I were free from all fear, I would stand up for myself more. I'd accept that yes, I'm a really nice person - but that doesn't mean I have to sacrifice my wants. I'd understand that it's okay to be an asshole sometimes. In a business setting, I have no problem saying what's on my mind. But if I were free from fear, I'd do myself a favor and do that with the people I love, too. They mean the most to me anyway, and that would probably improve my relationships.

If I were free from all fear, I'd go out to dinner and order something crazy. I'd stop playing it safe, even with the menu. I'd have one too many drinks, spend a little too much, and stay up a little too late dancing my ass off. I'd request Britney Spears.

If I were free from fear, I would have more faith in myself. I'd let myself be as smart, as daring, and as amazing as I want to be. I'd follow my outburst from when I was four, when I shouted, "I don't WANT to be reverent!" in the middle of church. I'd stop thinking that my life has to fit nicely and neatly into a little perfectly-wrapped box. I'd let my past mistakes go and be a little easier on myself because my life has been one hell of a ride so far. I'd let go of one trapeze before I reached out for the next ...


If I were free of all fear, I would...Guest Post #1

If I were free of all fear:

I would:

Not worry about how much money there is (or isn't) in my bank account and just live

Climb up the steep, metal-grate stairs to the top of the old powerhouse with you to watch the fireworks from the edge of the roof during winter carnival

Have a real orgasm, not fake one after just a few minutes because I am scared to let my husband know how long it really takes me to come and it's been so long now I just can't tell him I have always faked...

December 11, 2007

How can I expect you to do it if I'm too scared to?

Here is my writing from months ago which I wrote when I was asked what I'd do if I were free of all fear. I figured that it was pretty lame to ask you to post about your fears if I can't do it too. Of course, you are able to do so anonymously here, whereas I'm putting myself out there somewhat. So be kind, please. This isn't easy.

If I were magically free of all fear, I would swim naked in the ocean. . .in daylight. . .with my friends. . .with large sharks swimming around me. . .in water over my head. . .and I'd calmly let the currents pull me into the deeper water until the shore was no longer in view. Hell, if I were fearless I'd swim AT ALL.

I'd go dancing in high heels and a little black dress, and I would dance alone in the middle of the floor, my arms raised high and my hair and hips swaying to the music, and I would relish all eyes on me. I would accept the drink bought by the handsome stranger across the room, and I'd confidently charm him and would later enjoy our one-night-stand. I would return home the next morning without regret.

If I were magically free of all fear, I would quit my day job (my awesome day job that allows me to blog a lot) and I'd become the artist I know I am. I'd laugh in the face of rejections and I'd damn well shine. I'd approach the best galleries to sell my art.

I'd eat alone in my favorite restaurant, and then I'd go to the movies alone too. Afterward, I'd walk to my car with confidence that nobody bad was lurking in the dark shadows near my car. I'd roll down my windows and crank up the volume and I'd sing along. . .You and me baby ain't nothin' but mammals, so let's do it like they do on the Discovery Channel. . .

If I were magically free of all fear, I'd book a trip to Austria immediately so I could visit my LDS host family I abandoned for 12 years after being afraid to tell them I got pregnant at BYU, and I'd tell them (in person this time) that their adoptive daughter left the church, and why. I'd say it with caring and with confidence that their love for me is secure. I'd also book a month-long trip with my host sister to heal the wounds I caused by not calling, writing, or staying in touch from the time she was 13 to when she was 25. I was her only "sister" and I really let her down. I'd attempt to make it up to her bigtime.

I'd write a novel. A very good novel.

I'd tell people what I really feel and not worry that they'll think less of me for my honesty. I'd also do it with style.

I'd take myself and my kids to a counselor and we'd learn how to communicate better, if I were free of all fear. I'd encourage my husband to do the same. If I were free of all fear, I'd say what I really mean and I'd mean what I say, and I wouldn't worry about the ramifications of doing so, which are probably all in my mind anyhow. I'd walk away from people who consistently hurt me with their words, because I would have no fear that my happiness isn't worth fighting for or that I don't deserve to be happy.

If I were magically free of all fear, I'd walk up to Dubya and tell him what I really think of his fucking bumbling ineptitude.

If I were magically free of all fear, I'd take the chance to meet each and every one of you as I travel the world to gather experiences and reference material for my art and my writing. Oh, who am I kidding?? I'd meet every one of you because I love you and feel like you have made me whole. And I'd tell you that to your face, because I fear nothing.

If you were fearless, what would YOU do?

December 10, 2007

If I were free of all fear, I would...

I have an idea that I'd like to try with the help of my friends who read my blog. Once a very good friend gave me the assignment to write about this topic:

If I were free of all fear, I would...

I posted it elsewhere, and it was raw and scary and amazing to write about my fears and to interact with others about them from the relative anonymity of the internet. So I hereby propose that it'd be cool for anyone who wishes to anonymously send me their thoughts on this topic, and I'll post them here for anyone to read and comment on. Trust me, this is way cool to do. It puts you in touch with yourself in a way that is not common, and I was so glad I did it.

If you're interested, send me your thoughts on what you'd do if you were free of all fear to (use Fear as your subject line or something so I don't think it's spam) ~ your identity will remain anonymous (unless you specify otherwise) and I will probably post one at a time. Not only will this be fun for you, it'll revive my blog that has been sadly neglected while I've been buried at work. And if you should choose to do this and not send it to me, that's good too.

Good luck, and happy writing.

December 4, 2007

Vanity Plates....Oy.

Yet another sighting of a vanity plate in my ongoing saga with vanity plates that just had to be shared...


I'm certain that this vehicle owner didn't actually think before doing this, considering the three Jesus fish symbols on the back of the car, and the bumper sticker that read "Let Jesus in the Schools" And perhaps I need more Jesus in my life, but seriously...I saw that license and two things came to mind first:



I obviously need to get back to work and get my mind out of the gutter.

December 2, 2007

Paris: Arc de Triomphe

Montchan and I finished shopping and we returned to our apartment where Genilimaa was waiting for us, eating baguette bread and brie cheese. We snacked on the bread for awhile until Tari called to tell us she had arrived! We ran out to let her in and greet her, and we were thrilled to finally be together at last after months of looking forward to this!

She got settled and we decided to find a restaurant for dinner. We found one a block or so away and enjoyed a good time talking and laughing and hearing about everyone's travel experiences and lives. It was fun to discover that the women I had enjoyed getting to know through their blogs were much like I expected. Each of them were beautiful and fun to be around, and I enjoyed getting to know them in person. Montchan is an American woman who grew up in South Africa (her accent came as a surprise to me, I don't know why!) who now lives in Sweden where her husband works. Genilimaa is a Swedish woman who lives in the same town as Montchan. They met after the local newspaper reported about Montchan's blog. Tari is an Indonesian woman who lives in Tokyo ~ she was in Paris to conduct a conference for her work, and this was what brought the two from Sweden to Paris to have a girls' weekend, which resulted in an invitation to me. I'm so happy I met them in person. Finding such good friends is priceless to me.

Those first two days I didn't drink any alcoholic drinks because I was still pretty tired due to jet lag, and drinks make me sleepy sometimes and I didn't want to risk it. I enjoyed eating and talking ~ I think that dinner was very late (my memories are already somewhat hazy detail-wise) and was surprised when someone said it was after 11:00 pm while we ate. After dinner we walked back to our apartment and crashed for the night.

The next morning we got up and ate breakfast then headed out to buy tickets for the Metro, and then took the subway to the Arc de Triomphe, where Tari planned to meet with a friend whom she wanted to visit.
Emerging from the Metro just below the Arc de Triomphe.

We stood in the cold wind underneath the arches, reading the names on the walls and taking photos and laughing and planning what we'd do for the rest of the day. Genilimaa and I planned to visit The Louvre, while Montchan planned to shop some more (at The Gap, no less...something about her husband needing some specific clothes and The Gap not being anywhere near them in Sweden ~ we had a good laugh at that considering all the shopping opportunities in Paris). Eventually Tari's friend arrived and we all went our separate ways.

Tari, Genilimaa, and Montchan

I made my friends pose for about a thousand photos to try to get good photos like this one. Isn't it great?! Thanks for being such good sports about it!