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I was reading a great blog post about societal barriers to breastfeeding, and it got me thinking about habits, perseverence, willpower and identity.

In many ways, I am not a very self-disciplined person. I’m not that gal who decided to wake up at 5:30 am, change the way I eat, workout daily etc. and have it go easy-peasy. In fact, I still struggle with many MANY things I would like to change about myself. However, despite this, I *have* made major changes in my life – and they didn’t come about because I bullied myself. I wake up without an alarm clock at 6am every day. I no longer oversleep. I have eaten all-raw for months at a time. And, what prompted me to think of this, I breastfed for six and a half years over the course of two children. It wasn’t “easy” at first – in fact, with my second it was even harder than the first time, and I had thrush and pain and OUCH for weeks. Depite that, I stuck with it. The thought of switching to formula never crossed my mind. Why? Many many women drop breastfeeding when they run into difficulty. I don’t think I have any stronger willpower than they do – in fact, I often have less! So what made the difference? I think, more than anything else, it was identity and belief. I *knew* I could do this, absolutely, and never had any doubt about it. After all, women had successfully nursed countless generations previous or we humans wouldn’t even be here, and I knew the problems I was having weren’t “big” in the grand scheme of things. It helps that I have always been a very physical person. Dance is one aspect of that for me, and definitely helps that “my body does what I tell it to” feeling, but also I am VERY touch-oriented. I am very grounded in my body, and I knew “mothering” would come naturally to my body given time. Now, I also had a good amount of support from my family, my then-husband, my mother had breastfed (not exclusively), and I had done a lot of research, which helped me know what issues I might run into and how to deal with them. But mostly, anything other than the boob (and later pumping at work) was just not even visible to me. Formula may as well not have existed, for all I thought of it. (Of course, the fact that I don’t read magazines or watch TV probably helped in that I didn’t see any forumla advertising!)

So how else as that worked for me? I’ve written before about my need to make habits easy – in fact, to make them THE easier choice – due to my inherent laziness, but I’m not always great about doing it. However, those are changes I have thought about and try to implement. Breastfeeding wasn’t like that – it was part of my identity. I think when I did the raw food thing, it ended up working the same way. It just became this *thing that I do* – but not quite enough of my identity was invested in that, because later it became easier to let it slide for outings, and then I lost my grip on it altogether. Waking without an alarm clock definitely worked that way. I think it came about during my brief flirtation with 20-minute-naps-polyphasic-sleeping, and all of a sudden I just…woke up on time. Every day. And now? It’s been that way for over a year. It’s become part of “who I am”. I remember when it first started happening, I realized that if I *did* set the alarm, I would sleep through it. I actually functioned better *without* the alarm clock. And I thought “OK, this is kind of weird”…but I also just kept saying to myself “it’s this thing I do”. I felt even in the beginning that if I thought of it as a quirk of “being me”, I would be able to “keep” that skill.

I’m not really sure where I am going with this post – it seemed as good a start back into blogging as any – but I suppose it is “How do I identify myself?” And, if there are changes I want to make, how can I change how I *view* myself differently, how can I believe that I am the kind of person who keeps a clean house (for example)? Because I’m pretty sure at this point that that’s where I have to start for any lasting change.

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2010, thus far

Just my musings on the year thus far…

I’ve been going through some major life changes this year. While my year has not developed quite as I anticipated (and I feel I have not been nearly proactive enough on my goals), I am pretty damn happy with the direction my life is headed and where I should be by the end of the year. The biggest impact on my life thus far this year has been the end of my marriage. My husband moved out three months ago, a time that feels both short and exceedingly long. It was an abrupt end and one that sent us both reeling for a time, however I believe it heralds positive change for both of us and equilibrium does seem to be returning on both sides. We are still fairly close, although we see each other very rarely, and we are generally very supportive of each other. We try to co-parent amicably, and while we have occasional differing parenting philosophies, I have no doubt that, as with our previous separation, we will manage that just fine. I wish him nothing but the best.

One benefit of being poly during this time was that I had a boyfriend to turn to in the midst of all of this. His support was wonderful, and I am grateful as always for his presence in my life. I am even happier now that he and my ex have patched things up – there had been some anger between them that I think was more confusion than anything else. I am thankful that time allowed them to reconcile their issues, as I have no anger towards my ex and did not want my boyfriend to either.

As interesting aspect to come out of all of this is that my decision to be poly has been reinforced. I have no desire at all for monogamy, and highly expect that I never will. This rather surprised my ex, who is currently monogamous with his girlfriend and quite happy that way. For me, monogamy is simply not a path I enjoy. I am dating, with various levels of commitment and contact, several people at the moment, and am much happier for it.

So…my goals for this year were as follows:

1. I want to win the Turbulence Training Transformation Contest.
2. Deme and I are going to Burning Man this year
3. I am going to attend some TES classes and/or other bdsm learning opportunities
4. I am going to build a toy collection
5. I am going to update my blog on a regular basis again
6. I am going to have an even better job than the last
7. I am going to make/craft more things and get them sold (likely through etsy)
8. I am going to buy a somewhat decent digital camera
9. I am going to read more chapter books to the kids, and play more card games with them
10. I am going to move to more of a paleo/primal diet that is high-raw
11. I am going to integrate my “taking care of grandmother” routines effectively into my “taking care of myself, home and family” routines
12. I am going to have people over for family-oriented dinners frequently – and also for non-family oriented times
13. I am going to learn how to drive

I had intended to start the Transformation Contest that began in May, however my ex moving out (on, coincidentally, the same day my father died) just threw me too much. I have no shame in saying it took me some time to recover my stability after that. However, there is a new contest starting in September, so I have one more shot to get this done before 2011 dammit!

While I have not been working out regularly, I do now own a set of weights, so I am very prepared to start. I HAVE been eating all raw, with the exception of some meat upon occasion. I have been doing this for about 6 weeks now, and have also not been drinking during this time at all. I had a very clarifying moment while being very sick post-drinking after I got my first tattoo, and decided that day to go raw again,and not drink again until at least my birthday (December 1). I have not struggled with these choices, they have actually been remarkably easy. As with the first time I went raw, it was simply the right time for me to do so.

I am, sadly, not going to be able to attend Burning Man this year. Unfortunately, Deme lost the tickets in the midst of packing to move. Since finances have been tight, I was simply not able to pay for a new ticket. On the upside, since I made my peace with that decision, two different travel opportunities have appeared on the horizon, one to Chicago and one to L.A. There is a high probability that I will be able to go both places before the end of the year. I am REALLLLY excited about this!

BDSM-wise, I haven’t really attended more classed this year. I would like to, however many of them are weeknights and now that the living situation has changed, my free nights are less flexible. I also spent several months recovering my equilibrium re: D/s, so that of course had an effect. I plan to go to Suspenion at the end of this month – it will be the first time I’ve been since Deme and I broke things off. Toy-wise, I have a few new toys that were given to me by someone, so that was a win without effort on my part lol!

Technology…well, I now have not one, but TWO digital cameras. I am muchly pleased by this. On the downside, I have blogged hardly at all, in large part because as of the current moment, my computer will not even boot. So I am working to fix that, but not entirely sure I will be able to.

Income & job, I’ve been lucky in that, since I was laid off last year, I have worked a temp gig almost nonstop. This is not ideal, but it does pay the bills. My home computer not working has made it rather difficult to search effectively for something better, as well. On alternate means of money-making (i.e. non-corporate employment), I have not put enough energy into making anything happen as yet. I do though have several people willing to help me in a variety of things, and I am really looking to make that happen. Also, there’s a new boy I am dating who is extremely ambitious, has a plan and works his ass off to make it happen (and is, relative to me, doing EXTREMELY well for himself), and I have every intention of letting him influence and push me. Being around someone whose “everyday car” is a Lexus is definitely doing a great deal to shift my own perspective. One of the things I am thinking about is how to integrate my passion for making things and for teaching into income streams.

Kids and family…I have been reading to the kids more, and definitely need to play more games with them. I’ve been slacking a fair amount with my grandmother because my sister has become the default caretaker. There are several things that I had been planning to address regarding my grandmother, and I kept expecting free time to do so, however every time I thought this job was over, I was there the next week. So, I am going to have to give up on the “free time” idea and simply work around ways to handle what needs doing. Time off is a luxury I simply haven’t had, for all I expected to!

Inviting people over has largely stalled, because instead my focus has been to redecorate and fix up my apartment. One of the issues I had previously is that I never wanted to “settle in” because I knew my husband wanted to move, and I did not want to give the impression that I was unwilling to. This approach unfortunately benefitted no one at all, and now, without that concern, I am looking to make my apartment look as I want it to. This would be easier if I had more money, but I did quite a bit in the kids room for under $300 – luckily I have great friends!!

Driving. Ahhh driving. Well, I am going to the DMV tomorrow, and have the aforementioned wonderful friends very willing to help me learn, so that should start in the next few weeks!

Some unexpected things have come together, or are starting to come together this year. Among them, my body modifications (I now have a total of 12 piercings, including my nipples and a vertical clitoral hood piercing) and two tattoos, one of an alchemical symbol (on my hip) and one, taking up my whole back, of a tree-woman (which will start getting color tomorrow, whee!!!!) I am exceedingly, overwhelming pleased with these changes. I cannot express how happy I am, especially with my new back piece! I am going to soon be doing a teaching exchange with a friend – which means I will be doing my first *structured* salsa lessons (those of you I’ve randomly cornered for an impromptu lesson know I do THAT lots lol!), a process I am possibly as amped about as what I’m exchanging them for. I love teaching, I love sharing my passion for dance, and best of all, teaching is a wonderful learning opportunity for ME, I always come away from it with more understanding than I had going in. Plus, my teacher/student is also a really hot guy, always a plus! Perhaps the most unexpected thing is that I have discovered I am much happier being alone than I ever realized before. It’s been a fascinating process, and far from over, but it’s really led me to understand myself a great deal more. It is very freeing, not having to be tied to someone, in many ways. When I opened my single, solitary, me-all-myself checking account, I was thrilled. I felt like I was just told I could actually FLY. I have even, since then, opened a credit card in my name. I have, at 30, never had a credit card, ever. Neither has my ex. While I do not believe one “needs” credit cards, I *would* like to have a credit history, and to that end I have both a secured card and a secured loan now. Of course, I still buy exactly what I can pay for, and have no plans on changing that. I just put my very first purchase on my card – an unlimited metrocard – and will be paying it off shortly. Another thing to come from all of this is that I have an ardent desire to travel. I don’t think it will happen as much as I want in 2011, but definitely in 2012 it is ON.

On the whole, I am really REALLY happy right now! 🙂

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Sunny Curry Pate

Sunny Curry Pate

This is one of the easiest things to make, provided you have a food processor (and you can get one for about 30 bucks btw), and a default for me eating raw. It’s great on salads, rolled up like sushi with raw nori, or in a sandwich with raw “bread”.

The trick is to think about it the day before you want to make it. That’s when you want to dump some raw sunflower seeds into a jar, cover them with a generous amount of water, and let them sit overnight. After that, everything takes less than 5 minutes, and that includes cleaning the food processor when you’re done!

This is a VERY flexible recipe. All measurements given here are estimates – truth be told, I never measure anything while making this. There’s no need!

INGREDIENTS:
Sunflower seeds
onion or scallion
garlic
sundried tomato
curry powder
apple cider vinegar
olive oil
salt
pepper
(Day before) Step 1: Soak sunflower seeds (I think there’s about a cup and a half here before they were soaked – they expand on soaking)

Step 2: Take out food processor.

Step 3: Gather ingredients.

Step 4: Drain sunflower seeds and put into food processor.

Step 5: Add other ingredients to the food processor. You can see from the picture that for this amount I used one scallion (I ended up using 2), 3 garlic cloves, about 5 sundried tomatoes, a heaping amount of curry powder, and some salt, pepper, a few spoonfuls of olive oil and drizzle of ACV.

Step 6: Blend. You will have to stop it a few times to scrape down the sides. Now is the time to add more olive oil if the consistency is not pate-like enough.

Step 7: TASTE! Does it need more curry? More vinegar for some bite? More onion? I often add red bell pepper. Play with it!

Step 8: Put it into a container and stick it in the fridge, where it will keep a few days. Better yet, eat some!

Step 9: Wash the food processor and enjoy how easy it was to make something so yummy.

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On my OKCupid profile, I have under “The most private thing I’m willing to admit here” section: I believe in some psychic phenomena.

I have gotten a number of messages on OKC with questions about this. I suppose it’s an easy thing to ask for more information about as a conversation starter, and people don’t worry it will make them seem creepy the way they worry if they start off asking me about sexuality related things. So it comes up a fair amount, more than I expected it to really.

I’ve given a number of examples of things that have happened to me, that I have directly experienced. All of them can be summed up as “strong intuition”, and one clear and definitive lucid dream. I do believe in other things that I have *not* directly experienced (yet), for the same reason I believe virgins have a sexuality – just because it hasn’t happened to me yet doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. However, I am obviously much more familiar with things I have experienced.

Anyway, I thought I’d share something that happened to me today. It started yesterday, with an IM conversation on OKC, someone I have spoken to before and I would consider a friend. He found a video of me on Youtube, and showed me the link. It was from last year’s Hot Mama Burlesque show, and as it happens this video was not authorized. So I send an email to Raven Snook (the organizer of the show) to let her know about it, and meanwhile find another Youtube video from the same show, this one featuring Raven and myself, and posted by Mamapalooza. Now, once I saw it I remembered that Mamapalooza had been taping the show, so I didn’t bother to email Raven about it. However, in her reply email she mentioned the Mamapalooza video as well.

Photo credit: Ryan Roman (2007) Ginger Baker performing at the Slipper room (Sep. 2007).

Photo credit: Ryan Roman (2007) Ginger Baker performing at the Slipper room (Sep. 2007).


This morning, I open my email to find an email from the videographer for Mamapalooza. At first I figured Raven had emailed her. Then I read further and saw that *she* was asking *me* if I had Raven’s email, and had she sent me the video from last year (she had not), and would I be interested in having her tape the show this year (I would!)

In the year that has passed since the last Hot Mama show, I have not thought once about that video until yesterday. What are the odds?

And yet, I was not surprised. This is my life.

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