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Monday, November 26, 2007

Neon Blue, Of Course

Your Brain is Blue

Of all the brain types, yours is the most mellow.
You tend to be in a meditative state most of the time. You don't try to think away your troubles.
Your thoughts are realistic, fresh, and honest. You truly see things as how they are.

You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about your friends, your surroundings, and your life.
What Color Is Your Brain?


It's true. I have Blue Brain.

I think since it's Cyber Monday, this calls for bullet points.

  • The adorable horselet? Not buying her. She is too big to fit into my budget right now and despite what the LoA dictates, I'm not foolish enough to risk bankruptcy in three months over a baby horse. She's cute... but I think she was there to remind me of my PNH goals and spark my flagging interest. (It worked.)
  • RIP Kevin DuBrow. The Riot will be extremely Quiet from now on, since the singer has died. Only 52. Shame.
  • RIP Casey Calvert, guitarist/"screamer" from the band Hawthorne Heights (a band I'd never heard of until today). Only 25. That makes two well-known musicians to die today. Who will be the third?
  • Toledo voted third most livable city IN THE WORLD. Please prepare to report for the Rapture. It has to be the end of the world because this is impossible for me to believe, having lived in Toledo. (Yes, Toledoans, I don't like it. Aren't you glad I moved?) ;-)
  • Organizing Challenge: the living room cleanup has failed. Because I'm selling my house in Toledo (3rd most livable city in the world, hurry and buy now because I'm tellin' ya she won't last long), and it goes on the market 11/30, I have been focusing on cleaning IT.
  • Being the musical genius *cough cough* that I am, I figured out a way to import several of my favorite affirmation MP3s from podcasts into separate tracks in Cubase™, then line them up so they were in an order that had a nice flow, then export as one big MP3. Then I uploaded that to my cell phone's memory card.
  • As an experiment, last night, I laid in bed listening to it—yep, earbuds, cell phone, affirmation MP3—before falling asleep. I listened twice. I fell asleep in the middle of round two. I slept soundly. I woke up feeling more centered. I've behaved slightly differently today. I feel better.
  • Therefore, my plan for the week (in between revving up the Toledo house) is to design my own personalized affirmation MP3 (since I have the technology). I want something about a half hour-45 minutes long, with a very simple quiet sound loop (I can so do that), and affirmations that address specific issues I've been challenged by. I want to see if I can totally retrain my brain subconsciously before sleeping... and see if it actually does change my life.
For example. I realized with a shock what my most basic, core belief is, and it scared me to death. While thinking about beliefs I have and how to change them, I heard my Mother scoffing at me.
Do you really think that all those affirmations and statements are gonna have any effect on your life? It might change what you believe to be true, but it's not going to just magically change the way it REALLY is.
Now, how am I supposed to work with that? I'm studying a philosophy that teaches that by changing your core beliefs, you affect change in your life—but my core belief is that it WON'T work. If I don't even believe that changing beliefs has an effect... um... kind of a problem, dontcha think?

So I'm sitting here telling myself I choose statements, reaffirming my intent, doing my best to shift my beliefs from limiting ones to the kind that will manifest my dreams, but my core belief tells me "yeah, cute how she does that, but she'll be so disappointed when she's changed all of her beliefs but all hell came crashing down on her anyway, because the way it is now is how it IS, and the logical natural progression of things from how it stands now is down—there simply IS no other way for it to go unless, ha ha, a miracle occurs or magic really exists, and all the mystical affirmations in the world aren't going to change that, so she's just kidding herself. Tsk tsk. So sad."

Well, I'm stumped. NOW what do I do?

No wonder my brain is blue!



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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Nominate

Nominate: designate, select, appoint, suggest, choose.

As you know, I'm really into that Law of Attraction thing. (Knitting? What knitting? Oh, it's around here somewhere... OK, I'm on the last repeat and a half of Sock #2 of the Embossed Leaves socks and when the toe is done I will post a picture. Promise.)

Today, I found another LoA blog, relatively new, by Colin Joss. He's not a heavy poster, but he makes some profound entries. Like this one from June. In it, he talks about the ONE MAGIC WORD that is the key to manifesting your desires. The one we forget to include.

Choose.

Well. I read his post. Then I mulled it over. I agreed wholeheartedly with his admonition that every time he voices an affirmation (that has even the slightest air of grandiosity about it), that little voice mocks him and tells him he's lying.

I'm very familiar with that voice.

It's the same voice that snorts in disbelief when I affirm things such as "I'm OK right now in this moment. I have more than enough money on hand right now." It snorts, and says, "Yeah, but the minute you pay a bill... pretty soon, you won't be all right!" The voice that screams "OMG we are NOT all right!" It's the voice, I think that awakens me bolt upright at 3 AM (if I'm asleep by then) and sends me into a panic attack with the "what ifs":

What if the estate doesn't close in the next month or so?
What if Grandma's house doesn't sell until 2009?
What if the house in Toledo doesn't sell, or only gets low-ball offers?
What if something terrible happens requiring large amounts of money to fix?
What if you can't ever get another job?
What if you don't make it at some level in the music biz?
What if, what if, what if... yaaarrrrrrrgggghhhhhh


I lie there talking myself down from the ledge. I tell the Voice to SHUT UP. (Yes, literally, out loud.) I tell it that the money we're currently living on is, if used conservatively (ie the lack of yarn crawls lately), plenty to see us through for a while. I tell it worst case scenario I might have to take a crappy job I can't stand* if only to pay bills and that I think "we" are smart enough to do that before it gets really bad. I tell it the houses WILL sell if we believe they will.

I tell it just because it looks a little scary right now doesn't mean it's going to stay this way OR that it's going to get scarier—life changes. It HAS to get better eventually. Just because it isn't wonderful today, this moment, doesn't mean that tomorrow won't be better. A lot can happen in a day, a week, a month, a year. Life today is not the same for me as it was this time last year. Or this time in 2005, or 1993, or 1978. There were days when it seemed like it was never going to get better, then it did; or vice versa.

Hell, a lot can change in an instant. Ask anyone who has sat beside their dying loved one, who has observed that one moment, the person is breathing and alive, and the next minute, they aren't. Ever. Again. That's not the most positive anecdote... hmm. Or, ask someone who was lonely and single one day, then the next day they turn a corner and bump into someone and it turns out to be the person they marry. Or ask someone who's having a baby. One minute they are one; then they are two and an entirely new life is here.

Then I lie there and run through affirmations, positive thoughts, taking all the scary stuff and turning it around. When my version of Hysterical Mind (thank you, Sheepish Annie, for coming up with the perfect name) tries to take over and flash visions of my bank account balance in a downward spiral with bells of doom clanging wildly and emboldens and enlarges the "current balance" number as it shrinks before my eyes, I tell it again to shut up, then I force the vision to shift. I simply add zeros to the left of the decimal point. Just take the number where it currently stands, and scoot it to the left one or two spots. Try it—it's easy to turn 110 to 1,100 to 11,000 to 110,000 to 1,100,000, then hit pause and hold it firmly until something inside you relaxes and you don't have to use as much energy to keep that big number floating in front of you. I visualize the tally increasing, bigger and bigger and bigger until it is to a realistically-attainable and comfortable level.

Still, sometimes when I imagine a million-dollar bank balance, I hear snickering from That Voice in the background.

Today I've realized a couple of things. The word "choose" was actually the second of the two, but we'll examine it first. Like Mr. Joss says, rather than affirming something like "I make $10,000 a month" (which is sure to send That Voice off into fits of hysterical laughter), just add "choose to" to the mix.

"I choose to make $10,000 a month."

OK, I tried it with one of my own affirmations, which *cough* is "I am the multimillion-dollar winner of the MegaMillions (Classic Lotto) jackpot".

Hear the giggles? The rolling of the eyes, the "yeah, right! in your dreams!" that comes spewing forth? Good. Now try it this ways:

"I choose to be the multimillion-dollar winner of the MegaMillions (Classic Lotto) jackpot."

Funny. Can't seem to mock that.

The first realization I had early today over mornternoon coffee was that maybe my mistake is in fixating on HAVING a set amount of money in the bank. (It elicits the same snort from That Voice, because how much is enough? What if you spend it all and need more? It IS possible to spend millions. Not that I currently have that worry, but still.)

What if I focus instead on the process? Because what gets any of us into financial trouble is the process of spending more than we make/have. The outflow is greater than the inflow. So we think, well, if I had MORE money, that wouldn't be a problem. But many have found that something interesting occurs: we think if we get a raise, we'll be better off. And we are, for awhile, until we elevate our lifestyle just a tad, and suddenly, we need more again to meet the new expenditures. So since we can never really have "more"... it's not about needing MORE.

It's about SPEED.

It's about reversing the PROCESS.

The money flows out FASTER than it flows IN. That's the process that gets people into trouble, whether they make below minimum wage or are Donald Trump™. It's not the amount, it's the speed of transfer and the direction of flow.

So... to be financially solid, another new term I particularly enjoy (better than solvent because although one definition of solvent relates to being well-off, it also is a product used to dissolve things), maybe the thing to do is reverse the thought process to this affirmation:

I generate income faster than I can spend it.

We can expand on that:

I generate income from multiple sources faster than I can spend it. There is always more than enough money on hand for everything I need and desire.

Again, it still makes my mean little inside voice smirk. So let's combine today's lessons. Reverse the process, and add "choose".

I choose to generate income from multiple sources faster than I can spend it. There is always more than enough money on hand for everything I need and desire.

Say it out loud with me once. How does it feel inside? If adding the second sentence sets off your own Inside Voice of Mockery, just eliminate it—or add choose:

I choose to generate income from multiple sources faster than I can spend it. I choose to always have more than enough money on hand for everything I need and desire.

Feels pretty good, doesn't it?

I choose. Powerful stuff.



*What do I have against getting a job? Nothing, except that jobs are not THE lone source of income. Also, I'm knee-deep in estate distribution still (meaning gargantuan task of sorting through stuff) which is like a full-time job. And I tend to get distracted by jobs, get off course, and I have this opportunity to avoid that and stay on the course I want to be on. For once. Focusing on music and horses unencumbered. I'm indulging the opportunity while I can. If a job opportunity comes along that is in alignment with my goals, I'll consider it, but I'm not taking any old job just for money. It might sound like backwards thought, but it isn't, according to my studies. It's "watch what everyone else does, and do the opposite". It works.


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Nouveau Favorito!

Oh my Good Lord.

ALTER BRIDGE.

My new favorite band. Powerful, progressive, musicians who can play, a vocalist who ROCKS, and total positive Law of Attraction anthemic lyrics!

(Note: in the video below, from Yahoo!, the audio seems too compressed. To really hear it, ignore the video below and visit this link instead. UMG, their label, had embedding disabled. Sillies.)




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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Novocaine for the Brain

T-Day Phase I is complete.

He's right. She's a yawner. IF I were still in the competition, I'd feel quite confident that there is no competition. She was nice. I was nice. We were both on our best behavior. I tried very very hard to find something about her to answer the question "why on earth did he hook up with her" and sadly, can find nothing to substantiate long-term prospects.

Let's be blunt.

Knowing him as well as I do, this particular female was never meant to go the distance. This one was only supposed to be a temporary relief from DSB*.

There were place cards at our seats. (Assigned seating for the first time ever.) They placed Current next to him. I was once removed with a grandmother between us. Hmm.

She did her best to scootch her chair as close to him as possible (MINE! said her body language—MINEMINEMINE). Possessive, aren't we? *smirk*

I refrained. I raised an eyebrow internally but remained in neutral. Complete neutral. It was fun to watch myself, too. I did my best to avoid egging her on. Oh, I could have. There is 14 years' worth of raw material—shared experiences, inside jokes, old memories, and then the little things that prove how down and dirty you know the other person (dislikes, habits, how they take their tea, and so on). Not to mention the natural rhythm that you fall into.

But I behaved.

Because I'm not interested in him anymore.

However. I am concerned that he makes the right choice for himself. And that I can stand her, because unless something unthinkable occurred, we're friends for life. I will always be around. Whomever we wind up with will have to accept that. We're like siblings. Sort of.

I will say this. I know one reason she's around. Oh, she's dull, plain, really not a remarkable person, but... she fits in with his family. I noticed this when she was helping his Mother clean up afterwards and I observed Current and J's Mother side by side from the back. Current is exactly the same height as J's Mom. Same body shape. Same hair color. Same movements. If her hair was straight and flat rather than nappy/curly, she could BE his mother. If her hair was as pretty as J's sister's is, they'd have the same hair (style, curliness). When they were face forward, Current and J's mom smile the same, have the same eyes—in fact, Current looks more like she could be J's sister than J's sister does!

She fits.

I never quite did. Though they liked me anyway. No, I'm too different. I'm tall. Brunette, green eyes, pretty. (Yes. I'm pretty. I know that. Even fat—er, fatter than I'd like to be, I'm pretty.) I'm wild. I have a nosering and a tattoo and my nail polish matches my hair. I ride horses. I knit and weave. I'm creative. I'm funny. I am animated, lively, a good conversationalist. Basically, I'm the opposite of Current.

She's nice. But she's wrong for him. He did wind up directing his conversations toward me more than her and we talked about music at great length. He didn't really converse with her. She tried to act all "married to him" but he didn't play along (although I noticed his mother did). She tried initiating body contact and he diverted. But it didn't seem to phase her.

At the end of the afternoon, after all the doggie bags were packed, goodbyes were said. She said politely that it was nice to finally meet me. I said it was nice to meet her too. She said "I'm sure I'll be seeing you again someday".

I said "Probably".

My mind snorted and said to Current (in a voice only I could hear), "Don't bet on it, honey."

My mind felt sufficiently justified in telling me that when, on the way out, J snuck out the door, walked along side me and said "Oh my God she is so BORING." (pause) "You don't have to leave right away, we'll be back after we drop off Grandma and we'll probably play more games," he begged.

Sorry, J. You're on your own, you, your Mother, and her boring little clone. You picked her, you gotta live with it. Have fun. As for me, I'm off to Phase II—crap, I'm late—dinner with B and her family.

*snorting and chuckling the whole way home*

*DSB = Dangerous *ahem* Backup, a serious condition found only in the male of the species when there is a substantial lack of, er, action for a long period of time

Happy eating, all.


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Niceties

Ah, yes, "niceties". These will be heavily in force as we enter the Hell That Is The Holiday Season.

Now, before you think I'm going all "bah, humbug", let me explain. I'm not anti-holidays. I'm anti-commercialization and anti-fake. If your good cheer is authentic, great! If you are focusing on the Reason for the Season and remembering the true meaning of Thanksgiving and Christmas, wonderful. It's the "BIG SALE STARTS AT 4 AM!!!" stuff that I'm opposed to. I mean, come ON.

FOUR in the morning? I thought 6-11 earlybird hours were bad enough but things have gotten completely out of hand. Although... I can see the benefits of moving from eating festivities to naptime to night out on the town to closing down the bars at 2 AM, fortifying one's drunken self with breakfast at an all-night diner (or an after-hours party), then being first in line for the shop-off two hours later.

Yeah. That's gonna work out great.

Just think. Now people can get in a good four hours of shopping before arriving at work.

But I've derailed myself here. The subject is niceties. Not "Nice Ties" as in compliments to your Dad, but "niceties", those inane blatherings we must endure when trapped amongst our relatives or our friends and their relatives for several hours in the name of holiday celebration.

My tradition for 43 years was to be with my parents, sister, nieces, and later their spouses (and the occasional boyfriend of mine), noshing on turkey at my parents' home, drinking champagne, playing cards, and having laugh attacks (because we genuinely liked being with each other, or so I mistakenly thought). Parents dead, I'm the only one here, and the rest of them decided almost on the drive out of the cemetery last year that they were scattering to the winds. One comment was "gee, I don't have to worry about getting time off this year". (Sorry to cause such an inconvenience for you... uh, how many thousands is it you plan to inherit?)

Last year, I reluctantly spent turkey day with my friend B and her family. Not reluctant because it was her family—reluctant because I was still fresh from losing Mom and not sure I was ready to upend my traditions. In other words, I really just wanted to crawl under the covers the day before Thanksgiving and hide until January 3rd. Just make it go away.

But it turned out to be OK after all, so I'm comfortable with repeating the pattern this year. With a twist. This year, I'll also be attending the festivities held by the family of my ex/bf J. Yeah. Not sure I can sum this up in a few sentences, but... we began dating in January 1993. Dated for about 2 years. Played in a band together (yeah, I know, but this time, I'd already been dating him for nearly a year before he begged me to sing for his band so it wasn't like oooh I hooked up with yet another one of my musicians) for 2.5 years. Broke up but stayed friends because we were the main writers of the band and to be honest, our friendship was far more developed than our romantic interests. So we cut out the romantic stuff and became strictly friends. ABSOLUTELY friends. No booty calls, no "just this once". End. Of. Story.

And, as I seem to have a habit of doing, we stayed friends. It's been 14 years now. I was always very open about my dating; he was less open. So I never knew about his gfs except what I gleaned from chats with his sister (also my friend) but I could always tell when he was involved because he'd drop off the face of the earth for a few weeks. Then I'd hear from him again as if nothing happened. But I blew it off as being busy because I do that, too, sometimes. Just drop out of sight for awhile and don't return calls right away.

One thing you need to know about his dating habits. We met through the music store. Since then, the only way he meets women is online. The ONLY way. He's not on Match.com looking for his one true love, though. Nope, he, uh... as I put it when I first learned of this years ago, he "trolls the internet picking up cybersluts". Then he quizzes them to make sure they pass the criteria (decent-looking, no kids, not looking for step-daddy or marriage) and if they do, he chats with them for a couple of weeks then meets them. If they "hit it off", he "dates" them for awhile (a few weeks) until "they lose their flavor".

He has, however, maintained that he really IS seeking true love. We've had many an argument over whether his actions align with what he says he wants (they don't, IMHO). I think he's going about it wrong (moves too fast, only in it for physical and I mean if the girl he's known for 10 days hasn't put out by the third in-person date, he drops her and moves on); he thinks I'm "too picky" (because I've been celibate by choice for far too long, no thanks to Rocker Boy who decided at the wrong time to join me on that road, dammit) and that it's possible I'm "frigid". I assure you, I am anything BUT. I'm just capable of keeping it in my pants until someone WORTHWHILE shows up rather than thinking "OMG it's been three months I must feed before I diiiieeeeeeee...."

Well. J got his dream job in Minneapolis. He'd been dating someone locally, though—she helped him move. She's talking about selling her house and moving to be with him. J feels differently. He expected that having 700 miles between them would allow it to end naturally (avoid confrontation) because he was bored with her but... gee. She has money and she's so helpful, so... he's not doing much about it but she continues to maintain it on her own. Most of what I know came from the sister, but J finally opened up about ALL his ex/gfs once he'd safely moved to Minneapolis. (Odd, eh?)

(About 700 miles being an issue? All it did for me and Rocker Boy was bring us closer. 997 miles, now, that's another story. *sigh*)

J arrived in town Monday. We had lunch Tuesday. All he did was talk about how bored he is with this girl, how being away provided perspective he didn't have when he was around her all the time and he sees things he didn't see before (in a negative light). She never ever wears makeup or dresses up—doesn't even try. He's big on the natural look and he's not a dressup kind of guy, but he says once in a while, you know, if the occasion calls for it, he can dress decently and he'd think she'd want to but she never does. And she's nice. Calm. Never gets upset. Too easy.

His Mother and sister both think she's exactly what he needs—someone "level-headed, calm, down to earth to balance him out" rather than "overly dramatic" like some of his other exes (meaning me—and they LIKE me, if you can believe that). They want him to marry HER.

Personally I think both of us are wrong for him. He needs someone level-headed, calm and not as prone to emotional expression as I am (I'm a singer—I'm neurotic)—BUT he also needs someone who will challenge him intellectually, stimulate him in other ways (and with as much enthusiasm *cough nymphomania cough*), and stand up to him so that he's never bored.

I asked what he planned to do about her. J said he didn't know. Because where would he stay the rest of the week? (Uh... your Mom is nice, she has a big empty house, and it's not like you have habits you have to hide or anything... and there is your sister... or your friends?) I pointed this out.

But... she's letting him use her car.

OH. Well, then...

I told him I feel sorry for her because she is obviously head over heels for him (she even bought him a cell phone with a local number to ensure he'd keep calling) and is planning a future with him and he's ambivalent at best. He said he's not against ever getting married to someone in the future, but it damn sure won't be to HER. Except...

...it's tempting, because he'd be safe and comfortable for the rest of his life. Because she has a good job (in finance, in the boring sector thereof), her own house, he'd never have to worry about the bills being paid because she knows how to do all that...

I was aghast. A guy telling me he was considering marrying someone safe simply to be taken care of?

I'm glad I'm not dating him anymore. It's OK to be friends with him, though. Different boundaries.

I told J, if you marry her, you'll get bored. Then you'll cheat. Just like your Dad did.

I struck a chord. But he wasn't mad. He was surprised at my honesty and insight. He agreed with me, too. Because Current GF reminds him an awful lot of his mother (who is perfectly nice but not challenging in the least).

Why am I telling you all of this? Because Current will be attending T-Day dinner tomorrow. Current has no idea that she's on the way out. Unless, of course, he took my suggestion to heart and did the only fair thing (break it off with her) and she opts out. Current knows all about me. Current totally supports (or at least doesn't fuss about) his friendship with me. Current let him have her car so he could meet me for lunch.

I know nothing about Current except her first name (which I had to pull teeth to get out of him), what she does for a living, what kind of car she drives, that she has a brother, that her parents live in town, and that she's short, quiet, and has "nappy" blonde hair. I don't know how old she is. I assume they met online. I assume the only reason she is still around is because she overlapped with his moving (see "700 miles makes dating a moot point", above) and because he has no shame in accepting whatever someone generously offers him. (He's not big on giving, though, that's why I dumped him.)

So. I'm a mixture of curiosity and a tad bit of dread. I feel sorry for her. If I were her, I'd feel all kinds of uncomfortable, being in the same room with the Ex That For Some Reason Is Still Around. It would be like dining with his ex-wife or something and having the family enjoying the ex-wife's company, all the inside jokes and stuff. Because I can't imagine she feels all that secure about him if she's clued in to his vibes. She invited him to her parents' holiday dinner and he flat out refused to go. What does that tell you? The way he described it, she's only going to his because she assumes she's invited. I was personally invited by J. In fact, he insisted I come. (As a friend. He attended several of ours as a friend long after we were done. They accepted him as part of the family and his family... vice versa.)

I'm also wondering if he's using my presence as an excuse not to go to her parents' if he needs one. Or if he's going to focus all his attention on me and ignore her to see if she gets the message. I don't have any idea how this is going to go down. It should be interesting. I just hope the poor girl survives it.

Then again, she may not even show up, if she happens to have gotten a clue in the past couple of days.

Y'know, as adamantly as he is about not having any intention of marrying her, he's also a path of least resistance kind of guy. I can see him dumping her, but I can also see her wearing him down until he weighs the options like a business deal, decides with a shrug that it might not be so bad to be a kept man, and marries her anyway. Not for love, mind you. The next chapter of that is him getting divorced (with a shrug) because she catches him cheating. He does not, as a rule, cheat. But he is deceptive. And if he were in a marriage and bored, I can see him going for just so long before he cheats.

Uh, he actually does have a lot of good qualities, too, just so you know.

So that'll be my day: noon with the J-Fam, dinner with the B-Fam. I'm taking Friday "off" from people.

But I'll close with my list of things for which I am thankful this year:
  • every blessing that the Good Lord has bestowed upon me
  • my cats
  • my horses
  • my friends (however insane they may be)
  • that I had my parents for 43 years
  • that I had a great relationship with my parents (overall)
  • that I have a nice house in a safe neighborhood and it's mortgage-free
  • that I'm still here and healthy *knock wood*
  • all the "stuff" I have, even if I'm still unsure where it all fits
  • that I have good food to eat, money to pay my bills, a decent car to drive
  • that no matter how treacherous the future may look at times, I am, as I realized a couple of days ago, much better off financially and materially than my parents were at my age (and that's without a job, too, which is amazing)
  • my talents, intelligence and skills
  • that LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL and the best is yet to come
I'm sure there is more, but that sums it up well. Happy Thanksgiving to you all.


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Friday, November 16, 2007

Nine Hundred

That is the amount, come first of the year, that I may be expected to pay in horse boarding fees if I have three horses AND if the barn manager does indeed raise the board by $100 by then. She called with information about Bella for me, and let me know that due to increased costs for hay and shavings (bedding), she may be raising the board by $50-100 in January.

Since my purple bracelet has yet to arrive and I'm under no obligation to withhold my complaining, I'm free to bitch.

I like this barn. I really do. I like the barn manager couple. I like that their philosophies resonate with mine. I like how they take care of my horses. My horses are happier and healthier than they were at the other place.

However. My old barn charged $225/horse/month for full care with a round pen, outdoor riding arena, and instant access to 18 miles of wooded bridle trails.

My current barn charges $200/horse/month for full care. When I arrived, there were only two pastures, no round pen, no place to ride. Now they've added a round pen and fenced off the back lot, so the two small pastures are suitable riding areas. But there is nowhere else to ride.

If a barn in this area is to justify $300/month per horse, then they need to have an indoor arena or trail access and a much nicer stable (not a barn) than either place has/had. For $300, I could board at a show barn with a heated indoor arena. Granted, they rarely turn out horses onto grass, they balk at Parelli, and I'd probably clash in philosophies, but really. That's a bit rich for my blood. If it goes up to $250, I can swing it for awhile. But if it goes up more than that, rather than increasing, I'll likely be culling my herd down to just one horse (Cheerios) and praying I can find Shaveya a better home. God, I just HATE to do that.

My horses basically exist 24/7 on pasture, only come in during extreme seasons (heat on summer days, cold on winter nights), to eat, or in inclement weather, and one of them isn't even being "used" (ridden, shown, etc). She's special needs, requires extra supplements. All they need is a pasture to live in and an enclosure of some sort for protection. They don't even really need stalls. Partitions to separate them when eating, maybe. But not full-on stalls.

For $900/month, I could own my own property and take care of them myself. (OK maybe a little more, but we're talking house, barn, horse food, etc.).

Maybe that's what the Universe is trying to tell me. Oy. But I'm not ready. I want to do that test-it-out thing first, where I go visit Nashville and Austin and Vermont and any other place that strikes my fancy, live there for a few weeks each and see how it works for me. I can't just go out and buy a place yet.

Although... if I can swing the board for a little while, I could size up the locations and THEN buy a place. Hmmm.

Jus when you think you have it all worked out, another wrench is tossed into the toolbox.


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Neutral (Idling In)

Before I get into today's topic, I want to clarify the definition of a word from my last post. "Horselet". A horselet is my oddball word for a baby horse. It's not an actual equine term so if you were thinking next time I am amongst the People of the Horse, I will show my knowledge by using the word "horselet" properly in a sentence... don't. ;-) I apologize for any confusion this may have caused. Remember, I am weird that way.

And yes, I am seriously SERIOUSLY considering the purchase of Equus Numero Tres, thus creating my own holy trinity of equinity.

Oh, my. I guess I've been listening to Pat Parelli way too much lately, he of the coinage of corny phrases (that you laugh at the first time you hear them, then find they stick in your brain and pop up exactly when you need them to).

Also, let us send our condolences to my right knee, which suffered the tragic shattering of cartilege during the Fall on the Tile Floor just two years ago today. Right Knee is honoring the loss by aching quietly.

Anyway. Onwards.

Whew. Today I am just feeling wiped out beyond belief and I don't know why. My mood is pretty good. It's physical. I forced myself to get up earlier than usual because I am tired of seeing only a few hours of daylight. But I am just not feeling good if that makes sense. It feels like I slept with a cat sitting on my chest all night (despite the knowledge that all five cats were safely sequestered in their room on the other side of the house), and I seem to have developed a slight cough (or redeveloped it, as the case may be).

Now, this could be due to the face-full of year-old stagnant cat litter dust that I got Tuesday afternoon when I was attempting to rip out the 70s blue shag rug in what was the Cat Room in my old house (next time I'll wear a mask), or it could be allergies (I need to vacuum this house, too), or it could be from burying my face in horse neck Wednesday for a long deep inhale, or it could be I've been exposed to The Nasty Cold that everyone I know seems to have had (except me, but I claimed mine earlier in the season and crossed fingers for immunity from this challenge).

Or it could be my sports bra is too tight (wore it to the barn), or maybe I need to put on a bra (are they sagging so far as to cause discomfort?), or sore muscles from yesterday's trip to Walmanure where my determination to avoid getting an actual cart may have lead to muscular downfall—because I was only there for a small bag of cat food, a bottle of nail polish in black or dark berry to match my hair (can't believe I used up all my black polish!), a box of tea bags and cash back so I just needed a basket, right?

Well my brand of cat food was on sale, so I got two bags, which was just heavy enough to make me question my decision but I soldiered on because I was a tea bag box away from leaving anyway... even though every ten feet I encountered an abandoned, empty cart (highly unusual). Like a sign. A big, neon sign saying "TAKE THE CART, DAMMIT! Quit being such a 'man' about it!"

I don't know. All I know is, the damned invisible cat is still sitting on my chest, I'm still coughing, I have zero energy for anything requiring enthusiasm (such as house cleaning) or being upright (well, upright is all right as long as it doesn't require much movement), and it's pissing me off. Because I have STUFF to do. And feeling this way, the STUFF is not getting DONE. That makes me feel all sorts of guilty and worthless and lazy (even though I'm not). I can hear my bitchier relative saying "Tired?!? Why should YOU be tired? You don't DO anything!!!" (Note to bitchy relative in my brain: First of all, get the hell out of my brain; secondly, eff the aitch off.)

I wallowed in exhausted self-pity for a moment, wondering why the plans I hatch at 3:30 AM seem so exciting and sound but in the light of day seem impossible (when I wake up this worn out). Then I thought, just because I'm feeling low-energy today doesn't mean I can't make progress toward my goals. So I sat down and came up with this list.

What I can do to further my music/PNH goals

WHEN I'M FEELING HIGH-ENERGY, I CAN:
  • spend the afternoon playing with and/or riding my horses—one, two or three, depending on my energy level
  • groom the horses vigorously, give them a bath, practice feet trimming
  • practice vocalizing for a good hour
  • record for hours (all parts)
  • jam/exercise my bass and guitar playing skills
  • workout at the gym
  • go see bands
  • try out for bands
  • play with a band
  • perform live
  • clean the house
  • organize stuff
  • run errands
  • socialize/network
WHEN I'M FEELING LOW-ENERGY, I CAN:
  • sit at the computer and learn Cubase (recording software)
  • record lightly (a slow bass part, something simple)
  • craft drum tracks in MIDI
  • tweak mixes
  • read music books (recording, MIDI, mixing, business, theory)
  • read/study my Law of Attraction/positive thinking stuff
  • listen to LoA podcasts
  • visit the barn just to observe the horses naturally, play the Quiet Time game, or if feeling slightly energetic, groom them gently
  • watch Parelli DVDs (Lord knows, I have hundreds on backlog to watch)
  • think about goals/plans
  • meditate in candlelight to recharge
  • listen to and study the musical structures and mixing techniques of songs/bands I really like
  • rest (because sometimes you just need to rest)
  • take this opportunity to practice the fine art of NOT feeling guilty about resting, i.e. the art of releasing the need to GOGOGO all the time, releasing the need—rather, the limiting belief—that I need to be BUSY in order to feel/be "productive" or "worthwhile" or "using my time wisely"
As you can see, my MIND is quite energetic today but my body is not. As it appears to be precipitating in some manner, outside activities are out of the question, so I think I'll finish up here and go watch some Parelli DVDs. Have a good one.


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News Flash

I've made a decision.

Who says I have to CHOOSE between a career in music versus a career as a Parelli Instructor?

Right now, I have no idea which one of them has the better chance of being successful. So why not just go for both of them? Balance my time between horse play and music play. Take a 60-hour work week, split it in half... 30 per career.

As for investments (financial) necessary to further each career, they're incremental and flexible. One clinic at a time. One piece of music gear at a time. Recording can be done in chunks. It's not like I have to have all the necessary fundage available from the git-go (even when I finally have the fundage, I can pay it out in portions). Both are step-by-step processes.

Meaning, I can promote one or the other more when need be, or drop out entirely when the other takes off. I can pause to work for awhile without interrupting much, then free myself up to focus on one or both of the careers.

I can spend a few weeks straight focusing on recording. Then a few weeks at the Parelli Center. I can work a temporary short-term job to build up the survival coffers, and attend weekend clinics with my horse. These are sort of like "how" statements, which I'm supposed to leave to the Universe's discretion; but they are also "what can I do to progress" statements.

I can pause along the way and reassess each career. Have I achieved my goals with music? Have I passed the next PNH level? I can take a personal litmus test: I'm this far along in this career... does it still resonate or has the other one taken priorty?

I can do this.

I can have my horses and my music, too.

I just solved the biggest issue I have had in my life: what career to pursue.

Because as we all know, who we are in this life seems to be defined largely by what we do. That has been the most difficult question for me to answer. I've been so conflicted, confused, and torn between my two greatest passions: horses, and music. Music came first—or did it? Maybe it only came first by default (meaning, we lived in the suburbs and guitar lessons were more accessible and affordable than riding lessons), because I've been a horse nut for as long as I can remember, too.

From past experience, more in the Parelli realm than the music realm, I know that the Law of Attraction works GREAT. It always worked for me with horsemanship. I've told the story a thousand times about finding Wildflower and the first clinic. That was definite LoA at work. I also told the story of my last clinic with Wildflower, how I had no idea where the fundage for the clinic would come from, but I signed up anyway, had faith that the money would come, and then this big company hired me out of the blue for a 2.5-week gig that paid for the clinic and then some. (I wasn't even looking for the job; a former classmate remembered I was a designer and called me up when they needed emergency help.)

Nashville is halfway between here and Parelli land. It's closer. That's good. Living there would help. There is a five-star instructor based there with whom I have studied (five-star is the highest level instructor and there are only a handful). It makes sense that if one wants a job in the music industry, one should relocate to where the industry is.

I smell possibilities.

I have faith. When I decided there's no reason why I can't do both and see which one flies first, this wave came over me. Relief. Excitement. Rightness. Like the Universe was saying FINALLY!!! Geez, what took ya? The Universe will provide the ways and means. All I gotta do is provide the "what".

Good feeling about this.

So. There you have it. I'm pursuing two careers.

I think I'm buying a horselet, too.

I don't know how I'm going to make all of this happen, but... I don't have to. I just have to know that it WILL happen.


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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Need Not Complain

I just read on Dr. Joe Vitale's blog about a new campaign that appeals to me greatly. It's called "A Complaint-Free World" and you can read about it here.

The mission is to rid the world of complaining. Does that fit with my concept of Positive Gossip, or what? They are giving out free purple bracelets to wear for 21 days. The idea is to remind yourself not to SPEAK a complaint (you can complain all you like inside your head). Wear the bracelet on one wrist. If you hear yourself complaining, you move it to the other wrist. (There are more rules details on the website.) If you can make it 21 days without speaking a complaint, you'll have changed your habits to a more positive manner of speaking.

And that, my friends, can be life-altering. Thoughts become things, right? The words we speak send out vibrations into the air that create the situations we encounter, right? What we complain about we often get more of. So why not take the challenge?

I'm game. I'll try it. I ordered my bracelets—one for me, two for whomever I encounter that might want to try.

You know, I'm thinking I really need to turn this into something other than a knitblog because my knitting content... not that I'm complaining or anything... ;-)

Did you listen to Sixx A.M. "Life is Beautiful" yet?

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Nuzzled Into It

Why visiting the barn can sometimes not be such a great idea and why I may soon be in so much trouble with myself... (explanation follows)









This is Bella.

Bella is a yearling.

Bella is a registered Paint mare with two blue eyes (and black eyeliner and ultra-mod white eyelashes).

Bella is visiting the barn for a couple of weeks while the barn manager teaches her about respect and manners, since apparently she has none (according to her owners). (As we all know by now, being of the Parelli Persuasion, my initial off-the-cuff remark to the barn manager was something to the effect of "well then it's the owners that need to be here..." because it's not the horse's fault, it's that the owners, however well-intentioned, don't know how to ask for the horse's respect. I know I'm at the right barn, because the BM chuckled in agreement.)

Bella was occupying the round pen. (Flashbacks to the old barn: every time I made up my mind to play with my horses, there would be a new horse being "quarantined" in the round pen.) BM explained the training situation (and said it's no trouble to put her in a stall if I want to use the pen). Then BM suggested that I have a go at her. Play with her. See what I can get out of her.

Well, OK. If you insist. LOL!

This was a new situation for me because babies don't know what older horses should know, so the approach is different. It was important for me to bond quickly and establish trust rather than get really firm—that's just too scary for a baby horse. So I had to employ a much softer, gentler approach but still not let her get away with stuff. No nipping. However, no smacking if she nipped because that's her way of testing out the world—there are kinder ways of dissuading her from nipping at me. She wasn't very mouthy with people but she chawed on the lead rope quite a bit. That's OK for her to do. Then she knows it won't hurt her and it keeps her curiosity intact.

That's the biggest challenge—how to be firm enough, yet gentle enough, and teach her without knocking the curiosity out of her. She's a very curious little mare, and that's GOOD. We LIKE that. She's smart. She's inquisitive. She wants to explore and taste the whole world. She just needs to understand that the two-leggeds are in charge, have the plan and that she needs to follow and trust the leader.

It was fascinating. Much different from playing with Cheerios, my obstinate 10-year-old gelding. But what was more fascinating was what happened later when I played with Cheerios. I changed my approach with him without thinking about it, because I was still thinking about Bella, and to my utter amazement, I realized I've been much too firm with him (even though I thought I was being too soft). I found out he WILL respond to the slightest suggestion IF I am POLITE. I didn't realize until today how impolite I tended to be with him. Impatient. Kind of snotty, like "you should know this, now do it".

When I treated him more like the baby, I got responses! I mounted Cheerios bareback at the end of my session with him and I barely had to ask him to walk, to stop, to please go left please go right. It was the lightest he's ever been. There was a LOT of apologizing on my part to him for yanking on him in earlier sessions and expecting him to not respond.

Anyway. Back to Bella.

Bella has been with her current owners for about a year. Bella was purchased from a sale (auction? dunno). Bella's owners have other horses. Bella's owners adore her, but. Bella's owners want an older horse for their daughter. Bella is far too young to be ridden (not until she's at least four).

Bella is for sale, priced at $1,000.

I made four five huge mistakes today:
  1. I went to the barn to play with horses because it was 60 and sunny
  2. I played with Bella and we bonded
  3. I fell in love with Bella
  4. I asked the BM if they'd maybe take $800 for her
The BM called later. They said if Bella was going to a really good home and would be boarded out there, then yes, they'd take $800.

Oh, crap.

Thankfully, the BM also told Bella's people that I was just thinking about it. So I haven't bought her.

Yet.

Yeah.

We know better, don't we?

Oh. What was the fifth mistake, you ask?
  1. I asked the Universe/God, "Why have I been so unmotivated lately when it comes to my horses and horsemanship, and could You PLEASE give me a reason to get motivated again?"
Is there anything more motivating than a fresh, unspoiled (and absolutely GORGEOUS to whom cell phone photos in poor light do no justice) baby horse and the opportunity to start her off right? A baby horse that within minutes had decided I am THE COOLEST thing since sliced grain? Who tipped her head toward me and looked at me with those wide blue eyes, muzzle on my belly, when I asked her if she wanted to be the foundation of my Paint Horse Empire? (Of course, this is how I wound up with Cheerios. He stuck his nose in my belly and blew, and the guy said "by the way he's for sale".)

Blue eyes. What IS it with me and blue eyes? Aren't horses "supposed" to have big brown eyes? If I wind up with her, that will be five out of six eyes blue and only one brown in my mini-herd. And two Tobiano Paint Mares. This little girl, she's like my first three horses (Cheerios, Shaveya and the late great bay mare Wildflower) all rolled into one.

$800!

I won't tell you what I paid for Cheerios as a four-year-old, and he's GELDED. As in no babies ever. And I thought I got him cheap. Of course, there would be vet checks and the farrier has to look at her feet, and I need to research her bloodlines... so it may not fly. Oh yeah, and there's the additional board fees. But I have set a deadline to decide. Three days. By Saturday night, I'll know if it'll fly or not.

Either this is my next acquisition, or it was just a kick-ass motivator to remind me of why I got into Parelli in the first place.

Yeah, I still wanna be a musician. Why, can't I be both?

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Nikki Sixx / Sixx A.M.

Even if you're not into heavy music, you need to listen to this very life-affirming song.

How ironic that I am officially addicted to this song/project...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Natural Hair Color? Uh, What's That?

My natural hair color is fast becoming grey. Not that I'd really know the true color, since I started dyeing it in the 1980's.

Back then it was mostly blue-black—Black Azure, I think it was called. Depending on what was in style, it was usually blue-black with variations.

One time, after being inspired by George Lynch's cool hair (guitarist for Dokken), I did the top light and the bottom dark—but red and black rather than blonde and black because my stylist said no way are we gonna get your hair to go blonde without making you bald.



Another time, I had a stylist bleach out just the ends, about three inches' worth, as blonde as she could get them. I've had streaks. I had the half-mullet or whatever you called it when I copied Stephen Pearcy of Ratt and had the left side cut wicked short while the rest flopped over my right eye.



Mostly, though, it was blue-black, layered, and ratted up to within an inch of its life. I never ever had mall bangs because (no offense) I thought it looked stupid to have just the front part teased up and in some cases out around the face like a flower then have the rest flat. If you're gonna do it, DO IT. Commit to the hairspray. Tease the everlovin' sh** out of it. I looked like Nikki Sixx's little sister.



**edited to add: I just found out Mr. Sixx is recently divorced. Oh boy... he's single again! (Yes, I still have a raging crush on him) :-D **


Then I went to college and went "normal", and for the most part my hair has varied from a rich brunette to a near-auburn. Once it was burgundy (my Mother liked that). A few times I had the appropriate lighter streaks—highlights?

Until last year. Then I got the blonde streaks. Then I started dyeing them, too. We found a lovely hot pink which was supposed to be purple but on my hair pulled red causing it to go pink. We got closer to violet by adding blue. We were all set to add more blue this next time, when BOOM.

The company that made the fashion color stopped making it.

But my stylist found a new color. Instead of the labor-intensive process of dyeing the "foils" (blondes) separately with the fashion color and the roots/rest dark brown, she found an all-over called Blueberry that she said should be a violet-black not unlike my old blue-black but purple instead of blue, and that the blonde parts were expected to turn a "more neon violet".

I said "go for it".

Here's the result:

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Nimbus

Of all the strange weather... thunderstorms this afternoon! I couldn't believe it. The rain, yes. The thunder and lightning, no. Somebody thought it was spring, I guess. It was kind of warm. I don't mind the warm.

Back to my levitating now...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Nyum Nyum NYUM!!! and KUI

OMG.

Biaggi's.

Butternut Squash Ravioli
Roasted butternut squash filled ravioli tossed in a brown-butter-sage sauce with toasted walnuts, diced butternut squash and parmesan cheese.

I met my friends D and C for lunch this afternoon. Haven't seen D in a year (time flies). Never been there before. Definitely going there again. I had the Butternut Squash Ravioli and it is To. Die. For. So is the onion bread with the oil/parmesan/pepper dip.

My only complaint: beverages. Now, if you're going to order wine or something, great selection. But for non-alcoholic bevs:
  1. they aren't printed anywhere on a menu
  2. P products, not C products*
  3. no ordinary iced tea—just black currant herbal**
*Though the myth that Pepsi™ contains pepsin, a chemical which contains pig blood, is in fact a myth, I've been sufficiently turned off enough to avoid the P products at all costs and besides, I prefer the taste of the Real Thing™ anyway.

**Kudos for being fresh-brewed and it was tasty, but it wasn't the caffeinated regular tea I needed, it being still rather morning-ish for me at that point. Rocker Boy would have been sorely disappointed, being the fresh-brewed iced tea aficionado that he is.

But OMG the Butternut Squash Ravioli! OMG! What a flavor! Slightly sweet, buttery, and nutty. OMG. Walnuts. Crunchy. YUMMMM. I've never had anything like it.

The conversation was good. But I realized how much my thinking has changed this past year due to my exploration of the LoA. While listening to the verbal tennis-match between D and C concerning D's daughter's college plans, I started counting the amount of limiting beliefs emerging from both of them. They seemed to feed off of each other's beliefs. It was frightening. They were nodding, stabbing at their food, just chatting easily like you do, and I'm not even certain they really heard what they were saying or stopped to think about what they were telling themselves. They were confirming the impossibility of the daughter's dreams (even though her career choice in comparison to most is relatively common and possible) and how difficult it would be for her. I lost count of the limiting beliefs.

When they reached a point where they both agreed wholeheartedly that D's DD should rethink her major (she hasn't even graduated high school yet) and the chatter drew to a halt, I was shaking my head and I guess chuckling a bit—which drew their attention upward from their meals to me. I said "Oh, nothing—I'm just listening to the barrage of limiting beliefs being tossed out here." Perplexed stares. I said apologetically, "Well, I've been reading a lot about the Law of Attraction and about how beliefs can stall us out, and I've become more aware of the things I tell myself and the things other people tell themselves... stuff that limits the possibilities." I shrugged.

Momentary pause. Dee continued. She and her DH are trying to encourage DD to go into dental work.

I said point blank, "Does she like teeth?"

From her startled expression, I knew she hadn't been expecting me to say THAT. Dee said "No, but..." blah blah blah money blah blah blah good future.

I said "If she isn't passionate about teeth, she'll hate it, and she won't do well. Whatever she does, if it is something she is passionate about, she is guaranteed to succeed, because she will want to".

They were both shocked into silence, staring at me.

I continued, "Take it from me. Don't let her do what I did. Don't go to college and study something you don't like, because no matter how much earning potential it has, if you hate it, it won't work out like that for you." I could have elaborated with comments about how you can be wealthy but a failure because you are miserable and hate what you're doing, or how if you don't want it you may not work hard enough to make it and then you'd fail for sure, but by their expressions, I knew it would be lost in translation.

There was blinking. Forks were poised in mid-stab. Then the spell broke, and they changed the subject to dogs.

I love them both, but as they were talking, I thought "OMG, listen to them. No wonder they are only as far as they are and haven't manifested their dreams (most of them)." Then I heard my brain say "maybe you need new friends. Ones that have expanding beliefs rather than limiting, because you aren't going to change them." Interesting what you can learn in an hour's lunch.

I'm beginning to think I'm on another plane of reality from a lot of my friends lately. I mean, they don't get it. Take the Rocker Boy thing, for example. I mentioned something about him and D said "You mean you still talk to him?" as if that was the craziest thing she'd ever heard. I said "Of course, why wouldn't I?"

Because he "left" me? Er... he didn't leave me. He just moved. We didn't "break up" because we weren't going out. We were just roommates. Like in college. Except at my house. Uh... why is this so difficult to understand?

I'm also beginning to believe in a new concept I call Positive Gossip. Rather than "did you hear about so and so isn't it awful", I'd like to hear/say "did you hear about so and so isn't it WONDERFUL". Wouldn't that be nice? Maybe people think that it's boring to be happy. I don't.

The kicker was the conversation I walked in on when came back from the bathroom. D and C said they were just talking about me and D was worrying again about me becoming homeless in the future. Geez Louise! That was followed up by "when are you gonna get a job?" I deflected with "when the money runs out" then changed the subject to selling my house. (No, despite actually having a plan for the future, I decided to withhold all talk of running away to Nashville to join the circus—er, the music industry—"again" for obvious reasons.)

Here's what I realized on the way home:
  • I won't ever be homeless because I always have this house
  • they are both stuck in the limiting mindset that a job is THE LONE conduit for money
  • they both believe that not having a job = being homeless
  • (that the strangers who read my blog know far more about my life and inner thoughts than friends I've known for 20 years)
This is why I won't ever be homeless: because this house is paid for. No mortgage. They can't take it from me (same with the car). It might ONE DAY be uninsured, with back taxes on it, get run down, have no utilities, and I might not have food, water, heat, electricity or cable TV, but I will ALWAYS have these four walls, roof and a floor regardless (and it does have a fireplace and there are big trees around here and I have a saw).

So unless I sell it—which I hope I would do before it got quite that desperate; and spend all the profits—which considering how frugally I live (dinners out aside) and that I am and have always been addiction-free it's unlikely I'd do that (spend it all) right away; or some horrible tragedy befalls me (God forbid)... the likelihood of my not having A home is very, very slim. It is a long, long way from here to homelessness for me, despite not having a job today.

But tomorrow, I may have a job. Or next month. Or next year. As for today, right now, this minute, no I don't have a job, but I DO have other conduits for money (all legal, moral and ethical), and I have an adequate (by my standards) surplus of money stashed, and I'm paying my bills, and I have heat, water, food, electricity, cable TV and internet, as well as insurance and up-to-date taxes, so...

Can everybody please quit with the "OMG she doesn't have a job she's gonna be homeless!!!" ridiculousness now? Please? Let's stop putting that out into the Universe. Instead, let's focus on the fact that as stated above, I'm basically OK today, and will still very likely be that way tomorrow, and that a LOT of wonderful amazing things can happen between now and the point where I'd be living under a newspaper in the park, and that I'm smart enough and talented enough to hop on the appropriate gravy train when it comes along to keep myself OK.

OK?

OK.

Oh, how funny. Last night I went out to dinner (aren't I the butterfly this week) with B. So that's friends B, C, and D. Do I have a friend A? Hmm. Not off the top of my head. Not locally, anyway. Last night was Mexican at a new restaurant in town (Reverend Chico's). Love the ambiance. Felt like I was miles away from my hometown, maybe in a hip urban eatery tucked away in a city like Austin or Nashville. Definitely cool. Music was a tad louder than I like (had to scream to talk, hate that.) Slightly different menu from standard Mexican fare: in the Build-Your Own, choices include pickled or fresh jalapenos, cucumbers, tomatoes, jicama. No onions or green pepper which I found odd. But I tried jicama in mine. It's a root veggie not unlike water chestnuts.

I will say this. The first two Tecate's with lime went down far too easily (and quickly). The third lasted a bit longer. But when did beer cost $4 a bottle? My dinner would have been El Cheapo had I forgone the beer. And the guac. But ya gotta have the guac.

I also learned about the dangers of knitting under the influence (KUI). See? Actual Knitting Content. (It was also SnB night for us and this time we actually made it to the coffeeshop which had live music—another cool factor.) I've decided that instead of making you touch your nose with your fingers, a better sobriety test for coordination would be to have you knit from a chart such as the Embossed Leaves Socks for a few rows and see if you get it right. It's only three rows. I can rip it out. While the coordination was there, obviously the ability to be able to see straight enough to read the chart needs to be in place, too.

So that's been my weekend. Great food. Good friends (despite it all). Good times. But now it's Me Time. The guitar is calling. Off am I. Have fun, y'all!


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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Namaste, Anyone?






Which is the right religion for you? (new version)
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as Hinduism

You scored as Hinduism. Your views are most similar to those of... Hinduism! Do some research on Hinduism and possibly consider becoming Hindu, if you aren't already.

With its origins in the Vedic civilization it has no known founder, being itself a conglomerate of diverse beliefs and traditions. It is the world's oldest extant religion, and has approximately a billion adherents, of whom about 905 million live in India and Nepal, placing it as the world's third largest religion after Christianity and Islam. Other countries with large Hindu populations include Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Fiji, Suriname, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago.

Hinduism contains a vast body of scriptures. Divided as revealed and remembered and developed over millennia, these scriptures expound on a broad of range of theology, philosophy and mythology, providing spiritual insights and guidance on the practice of dharma (religious living). Among such texts, Hindus consider the Vedas and the Upanishads as being among the foremost in authority, importance and antiquity. Other major scriptures include the Tantras and the sectarian Agamas, the Purāṇas and the epic Mahābhārata and Rāmāyaṇa. The Bhagavad Gītā, a treatise excerpted from the Mahābhārata, is sometimes called a summary of the spiritual teachings of the Vedas.


Paganism



75%

Hinduism



75%

Buddhism



70%

Christianity



65%

Islam



60%

Satanism



45%

Confucianism



45%

Agnosticism



40%

Judaism



35%

Haruhism



30%

Atheism



15%


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Nose-Blowing Good Time

OK, Kellie Pickler on the CMA Awards tonight. Anybody else catch her performance? When Mrs. Brad Paisley (Kim "Father of the Bride" Williams) announced her and said that spiel about the song "I Wonder" hitting close to home, I thought back to what Kellie had said about her background when she was on American Idol. Then I heard the song, and as I listened to the lyrics, my thought was:

Oh, shit.

If I were singing that song with those words on NATIONAL LIVE TV, about my momma, knowing my momma might just be out there somewhere listening to me, I don't think I'd be able to hold back my emotions. I'd be bawling like a—

Oh, shit. There she goes.

And there I went, too.

She may not have the strongest voice in the bunch, but she delivered the most honest performance I've ever seen. Talk about feeling a song.


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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Next Big Thing

Wasn't much on the tube tonight, so I meandered over to ABC.com to catch up on missed episodes of a couple of shows. After that, I was still a bit in need of mindless entertainment. Having heard so many raves about Pushing Daisies, which I'd refused to watch because I thought it would be drivel, I decided to watch one episode and see what all the fuss was about.

Stupid me.

Judging by one viewing, it's the best danged thing on TV. I'm a big fan of quirky—Six Feet Under, Dexter—and this fits the bill. That has to be some of the best dialogue I've heard in ages. As in, very intelligent, completely unexpected, cannot predict it at all. And FUNNY.

Great. Just what I needed. Another addiction.

Scuse me while I go catch up on the season...

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Monday, November 05, 2007

No Effing Way

So I was about to head out to buy a new answering machine. In the lovely rain.

But I paused.

I looked at the machine, which I'd unplugged and wrapped up, ready for disposal. I thought,

"Oh, what the hey. I'll give it one last chance."

Plugged it in. Poked half-heartedly at buttons. Stared at the glowing red 8.

Yep. As I suspect—wait—what?

The solid 8 burped, then began flashing "3, 3, --" and I nearly dropped it when I heard the disembodied voice say "twenty. five. messages. message. twenty. five." followed by my former drummer's voice.

IT'S AH-LAHHHEEEEEEVVVVVVVEH!

(It's alive.)

THANK you! Just saved me $30. Or so. Give or take.

Which means... hey. It's been unplugged for several hours. Shouldn't it have reset and all messages have been lost?

Techmeister lied.

Should I call them back? Or just let it go?

Machines.

Well, I know what to do next. Figure out how to tape ALL of the machines so I can avoid this in the future.

Most interestingly, the machine refused to work when I was feeling desperate. But the moment I let go of its working ever again, the moment I let go and shrugged it off... that's when it came back to life.

Hmm.

Isn't that EXACTLY what the Law of Attraction dictates? Desperation drives away the very thing we want; letting go attracts it to us?


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Non-Responsive

Answering machine updates:

  • The machine that was up at my old house, the one with all of Ron's old messages through the years and my Mother's messages, is safe. It was unplugged for well over an hour and it preserved everything.
  • The machine my parents used that has my Dad's greeting is safe.

Note that both of those are little cheapo Sprint™ brand machines I bought at Meijer.

  • The machine I bought to use at my parents' house after Dad died (so I could preserve his message but stop freaking out everyone who called) is the one that commited suicide.

Note that it is a little cheapo GE brand machine that I bought at WalMart and actually thought was nicer than the Sprint machines.

I just got off the phone with tech support. Frustrating. Apparently this has never happened in the entire history of the company. Couple this with a bit of a language barrier and you can understand my irritation. (I'm not being critical here, it's just that usually I'm good at deciphering accents but this guy's was beyond awful, and I get the feeling his grasp of English is limited to the words on the tech support script. Attempts to veer away from the script caused him great confusion.)

He said "I'm sorry ma'am but if you unplugged the machine for longer than ten minutes, it will reset the machine and—"

"But I didn't do that. All I did was move the adaptor from one plug on the power strip to another. Unplug, plug."

Silence.

"Yes, but ma'am but if you unplugged the machine for longer than ten minutes, it will reset the machine and you will lose all of your settings, I'm sorry? Is it under warranty?"

Oh boy.

"I don't know."

"Was the machine purchased within the last year?"

"Sometime in 2006, maybe in the fall, but I couldn't tell you exactly when and I damn sure couldn't tell ya where the receipt went."

More silence.

"You purchased last fall?"

"Maybe. But if it was only unplugged for a half second, why is this happening?"

Then he tells me to unplug it from the wall and the phone, wait ten minutes, then plug it back in. Then try to record a new outgoing message blah blah blah.

"So basically if I do that, I'll lose everything?"

"Yes ma'am I'm sorry. This model unfortunately has no battery backup and may lose data in the event of a power outage."

"But that's wrong—we've had a couple of power outages this year and the machine has been fine. All the messages were still there." Y'know. Being that it's been digitally inscribed on a computer mini-hard drive chip somewhere and not dependent on a battery. Like the Sprint machines, which also have no battery backup and somehow managed to survive hellacious storms last year, lots of power outages and even transportation from one city to the next one a half hour away with a 45-minute pitstop at Barnes & Noble.

"Oh..."

"So in theory, if it wasn't unplugged for more than ten minutes, it should work fine and all my messages or settings and so on should still be there?"

"Yes ma'am."

"OK... so why isn't it working? When I plugged it back in, immediately after unplugging it, the window displayed a solid number 8 and the buttons became unresponsive. No response when I push any button. Nothing happens. Why is that?" (I felt like following with and the machine is fixed and dilated...)

"A solid eight?"

"Yes. A solid eight. I had like 30-some messages on that machine (so it would be flashing 3, then 3, then the dash) but it's just a solid, non-flashing number 8. What does that mean?"

"And you are unable to record a new message?"

"Yes. (No?) When I push a button, NOTHING happens. Nothing at all."

"I'm sorry ma'am I don't know why this is. The machine may be defective and need to be replaced. If it is still under warranty, we can replace it for you."

I said carefully (realizing it would go faster if I stuck to the script), "if I want to move the machine in the future, is there any procedure I should follow to ensure that my settings are preserved?"

"I'm sorry ma'am, no, there are no other procedures. The machine should have worked normally if the power was removed for less than ten minutes. The machine may be defective and need to be replaced."

Yeah, I got that part. You're damned straight it's being replaced.

But NOT with another one just like it. Thanks but NO THANKS. I let him know this, too. Said that I need to trust that my machine will still work following power outages or random relocation.

Sprint, you have won my heart and my undying customer loyalty because so far, you've lovingly preserved my most precious messages, through thunderstorms, power outages, moving, and cats with wayward paws. May that hold true in the future as well.

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Negatory on the Negativity

Y'know that saying: "Damned if I do, damned if I don't"?

I was just watching some videos on Byron Katie's blog (another in the Law of Attraction genre) and happened to read a comment that mentioned that phrase. The commenter then said she felt more blessed than damned, and that got me thinking.

How "damning" is that phrase, anyway? It's negative, no matter whether you "do" or "don't".

So let's employ one of BK's techniques, "turning it around".

From now on, I'm going to try to remember to say:

"Blessed if I do, blessed if I don't".

That has a nice ring to it.

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Sunday, November 04, 2007

No Messages For Me Today

I finally became inspired to drag myself up to Toledo to face the house. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The house is *knock wood* staying secure in my absence; the house next door is still listed For Sale (not good—it was pending last time, guess it fell through). The Ronganization method is what I'm using to pack up the remaining odds and ends: get a box and shove stuff in. Don't think just shove. None of it is vital anyway—it's going straight to the storage unit.

My objective: empty all rooms completely. Leave nothing behind. The original idea was to move it to the garage, but it was packed, so I skipped that step. I have a carload going over to the unit tomorrow. Everything except cleaning supplies and tools needed is out of there. The garage and basement are next. That's Tuesday, I think.

The one precious object I brought home today was the answering machine. You might wonder why it's so valuable to me—well, my Mother's last phone message to me is still on there. It's the last call she made before I moved in. It's the last recording I have of her saying "I love you". I wanted that.

There are other messages on there, some worth keeping. Others... I probably should erase but haven't yet. All the messages I missed the day my Dad was dying—my Mother's panic increasing with every message. Why keep these? I'm not sure. I just can't erase them yet.

But the ones worth keeping? About a dozen from Ron over the years. Yes, I kept them all. One was Christmas 2004. Another right after my horse died. Another on St. Patty's day. All funny. All endearing. The machine made it home safely, and upon being plugged in beside its identical twin, the machine that was my parents that still bears my Dad's greeting, I was relieved to discover the messages are intact.

Which is good, because when I unplugged the third machine on the strip to make room for the Mom/Ron machine's adaptor, the third machine which I actually use daily for incoming calls, it fried itself.

*sigh*

Oh, there goes the oven buzzer. My Beef Strokinoff is done...

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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Nuisances

Sometime this afternoon, I was sitting on the floor sorting one of my boxes of papers (old bills and stuff that were haphazardly thrown into a box "to be sorted later"). Piles were growing—some in box lids, others beside the lids, a couple in my lap.

Cell phone rings.

With great effort, because of the necessity of relocating the lap papers, I got up off the floor to see who it was.

RESTRICTED.

Hmmm.

If it's AllSmell, there's usually a 1-800 number showing. Or it says AllSmell Customer Service.

Could be Ron, calling from his new cell.

Curious, I answer: "Hallo?"

Brief moment of silence followed by that connecting sound.

Female voice mumbles to someone.

OK, I think, it's a telemarketer? More background noise. Wait... it sounds like my friend D who rarely calls. I'm about to say "Hey, D—" when the voice becomes intelligible.

FV: "What are YOU doing today?"

Me: (politely) "Who's this?"

FV: (repeats) "What are YOU doing today?"

Me: (less politely) "Um, who IS this?"

FV: (nearly identical to earlier) "What are you DOING today?"

Me: (irritated now) "Who IS this?!?"

FV: (giggles) "What are YOU doing today?"

Me: (snottily) "Hanging up on YOU!" *click*

I mean, WTF? What the eff was that? If you're my friend, you'll tell me who you are. If you're a telemarketer, you'll tell me who you are. If you're a bill collector, you'll tell me who you are.

So who the F WERE you?

Like I have time for that kind of bull. And there's no way to get their number and pester them back.

Oooooogggh! What a nuisance.

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Nightmare on My Street (30-Day Org Challenge)

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. AVERT YOUR EYES IF YOU HAVE A WEAK STOMACH.

This is what happens when you move a 3BR house into another 3BR house while trying to clear out the one 3BR house because it's now an Estate (meaning sorting through and distributing two dead people's stuff but not being allowed to touch it until the lawyer says it's OK) then you have a roommate move in with his own 2BR house.



There is a sofa in there somewhere. And a floor.

True, said roommate has since relocated, but... he left behind some of his stuff because the trailer he rented wasn't big enough. He'll be back for it "later", or, as he said "we can load it on the big moving truck when we move you down to Nashville" (meaning me, meaning when we both move there and meet in the middle).

But I cannot live like this. It's the front room. The holidays are coming. I cannot open the front door. It is time. Thus, I have risen to the Organizing Junkie's 30-Day Challenge.

I dare you to join me. What a productive month this is promising to be.


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Need a Cub?



Rocker Boy finally figured out how to send pix from his cell phone. This is from the day he left, when we happened onto the exotic animal day at the Mall and I got to hold a baby lion cub.

Is that the CUTEST darned thing you've ever seen? SO SOFT!!! Can you tell I was completely in love with the fuzzster and wanted to bring her home? Never mind that within a year she'd be big enough to eat me.

It totally brought out the squee in me.

Odd thing I have Noticed. All of my post titles this month begin with N. I've decided to challenge myself to carry on with this trend through November. Why Not, eh?

Ooooh. I think the house across the street finally sold. Yay. Maybe that's a good sign for my old Toledo house (which, according to tax assessments, is worth $6k MORE than I was going to price it at).

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NaNo NaNo

Oh, and at the very last minute, I signed up for NaNoWriMo.

Well, it is a new year, according to the pagan calendar. Apparently this is my year to say "no more of this 'one day, I'm gonna' crap—today IS 'one day' and I'm DOING".

All right. For the "new" year beginning on November 1, 2007, these are my resolutions:
  • write a novel via NaNoWriMo
  • get my voice and body back into stage-worthy shape
  • polish my guitar playing skills back up to where they were or better
  • finish my CD (finished= written, recorded, mixed, mastered, duped and available for purchase)
  • move to Nashville
  • give myself permission to be an organized person
  • win the MegaMillions jackpot*
  • get married**

* and **: Admittedly, these last two might take some doing, but I've got 12 months, right? Lots can happen in 12 months. All I need is the right six numbers and for him ("We Know Who") to get on the same page. Naw, he doesn't read this.

I hope.

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November, the Ninth—er, 11th Month

All right, so there used to be 10 months. That makes sense. Why they changed it? Must've been Bush's predecessors. Only someone like that would do something so sweepingly inane. Speaking of, I saw a bumper sticker today that said "01-20-09: Bush's Last Day". Interesting.

Well, as it is now November in the eastern part of the the US where I am, is it even worth it to mention the holiday that has passed?

Oh, all right.


HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

I went as a hermit. It was easy. I just hid inside my house behind closed drapes and didn't get dressed today. LOL!

Really, though, sarcasm aside, I'm feeling good. Rocker Boy called (about effing time, he left the 13th) and we had a good chat. All is well with us. I miss him like crazy, but... I have a feeling life will be swinging our boats into the same shore again very soon.

Hope you all had a good one and got lots of CHOCOLATE.

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