Sunday, May 30, 2004

In Memory

I miss you Mom.
I miss you Matt.
I remember all those who have come before.

Friday, May 28, 2004

With apologies to Morgan Llywelyn

(Note: I have officially remembered the blog topic from the other night...the one that escaped me in my sleep. Brace yourselves...another long one!) So I've been re-reading a book called "Druids." I know it's not the most popular of books (or authors) with some folks, but I like it, so cope. There is a line that repeats throughout the story, and it struck me the first time I read the book several years ago. And lately, it's been on my mind a great deal. So I'll co-opt the line for today's post.

I was a person who sang.

Music has always been a big part of my life. Some of my earliest and happiest memories are of singing in the car with my mom and sister. Living in Wyoming, especially growing up on a ranch 20 miles from ANYthing and 40 miles from SOMEthing, you've got a bit of time in the car when you go anywhere. Trips to church, grocery shopping, visiting, or for other errands involved time on dirt roads with little option for radio stations. Compound that with a mother who's not fond of rock and roll's "sex, drugs, and alcohol attitude" and my dislike for most country music, and the radio in the wilds of northeastern Wyoming is out.

So we sang our way along. Show tunes. Disney songs. Silly songs. Fun songs. Campfire songs. Any songs we could think of, we'd sing them. We'd sing on the way to Wright or Gillette. We'd sing on the long road trips back to Illinois. We'd sing on our weekend or day trips to scenic spots in the Black Hills or around Wyoming. Show tunes and Disney were always present. Perhaps that should have been a clue, eh? Maybe the Southern Baptists are right: Disney is evil and will turn kids gay. Ha. It's funny....laugh, dammit.

I was a person who sang.

Once we moved to Wright, I joined choirs. I was in the Children's Choir at Church. Then it was Show Choir at the elementary school. There were tryouts for that even! It was pretty competitive for Wright, Wyoming, and I made it in both years I could, 5th AND 6th grade. In Junior High I took Choir as an elective. I went to the North East District Honor Choir and Clinic both years. We had an outstanding director who really made me love music, despite the comments from some of my classmates. After all...Choir? In Wyoming? For boys? There were only 3 of us, you know.

As I entered 9th grade, we lost our director, thanks to an ass of a principal. The new person was nice enough, but didn't have the skills or enthusiasm. She didn't understand how to make us passionate about music. That, combined with growing peer pressure and a burgeoning understanding of who I was...and that Choir might reveal that, made me leave "organized music," despite a few awards and a heavy heart. I still sang with the fam in the car. I sang at church too, though I wasn't long for "organized religion" either - go figure. On holidays, the Parkers and my family would often perform songs in Spanish or German, especially "Silent Night." And we were pretty good, if I do say so myself. I'd drive around town with my friends, singing along to the radio, cassettes, or CD's. Music became more private for me. Something for small groups, close friends, or evenings at home with the family. Not for public performances.

I was a person who sang.
Until the music stopped.

Of course, not practicing "organized music" means I lost some of my skills. When you don't flex your muscles (or your voice), they weaken a bit. Basic anatomy, right? Being depressed and suicidal while coming to terms with the fact I wasn't straight didn't help matters either, and music was soon something I listened to, but didn't really sing with. Unless it was a sad song. And so on the rare occasions I sang, people were surprised. They didn't know I could do it! While I'll never have a professional music career, I CAN carry a tune in something other than a bushel basket.

A don't really really remember when it happened, but one day I felt like singing again. Well, I do know when it was, I suppose. Someone came into my life and showed me what it could be like to have someone in my life. Someone to lean on, confess everything to, and someone to hope for. Without dating, I still knew what a relationship could be like. And the music came back.

I AM a person who sings.

And music is still here for me. Though music is still something private for me, and many of my friends don't witness me singing much. I randomly break into Billy Joel tunes and, oddly enough, Christmas carols. The pups sometimes look at me like I'm crazy, but there are times I can't help but sing. Loudly, and at the edge of my range. I've found my range and breath control returning somewhat, as I'm practicing again, albeit informally. In the car, the shower, the living room...doesn't matter. And I fully expect to be in rare musical form on the impending road trip. (Fair warning, ladies!)

The lesson for today: We all have a song in our hearts, we just have to remember how the tune goes. Maybe it's one we write, or one we've heard on the radio. Something that speaks to us, to our very soul. Something that reminds us why we wake up in the morning, or the smile a dear friend can bring to our face. It's there inside us always, even when we want to be sad or wallow or cry or scream or rage. Remember the song and hold onto it tight, but also remember to let it out once in a while. For I am not the only person who sings. We all make music in different ways. We all have a song. Let your heart and soul sing it out loud in whatever form it takes. Even in great sorrow, there can be joy...or at least comfort.

Sing with me...

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Morning Quote

"My fullest concentration of energy is available to me only when I integrate all parts of who I am, openly, allowing power from particular sources of my living to flow back and forth freely through all my different selves, without the restriction of externally imposed definition." - Audre Lorde

Depending on how much I accomplish today at work, how bored I get this afternoon, and whether I remember the uber-post I thought of last night waiting to go to sleep, I may post again later today. Until then, please read this quote and derive your own lesson for the day. It'll do you good!

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Sick Day

So it was almost 2am before my brain stopped spinning long enough to get to sleep. I also wasn't feeling well, so when I woke up this morning it was pretty clear: today was a sick day. I called by boss' voice mail and went back to sleep. To quote Mr. Frost "And that has made all the difference."

I didn't realize how much I really needed some rest. Some time to take care of myself. To be alone, and to not worry about others. (Attention friends: Please do not take that the wrong way. I am not sorry for being there for any of you at any point. Ever.) I just needed to remember to focus on myself and my own needs for a while. Funny how the body has ways of forcing us when it needs to, eh?

I got out of bed at about 10:30 this morning. I was dressed and presentable a little before 3pm, when I gassed up the car and headed to Fort Collins for an oil change. It was time for a bit of work on the car too. Imagine my suprise and glee when I learned that in addition to free oil changes, my extended maintenance package also included air filters and inspection services...all for free! I did spend about $15 and had the tired rotated, which was also due. I figure $15 is pretty cheap for a pre-roadtrip work up. I even called into Dereck and Romaine on the way home. A pretty full day, even if I didn't really do anything.

No earth shattering lesson for the day again, other than to say remember to take care of yourself. Time for yourself, even if it's not time alone, is very important. Here's my perspective from today: If I don't take care of me, I can't help take care of those around me as well as I could if I'm in a good place. So thanks to my body and the universe for the reminder and the chance to simply be. Tomorrow, we return you to your regularly scheduled work day. Or at least, I'll go back to mine. Night all!

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Sugar...Aw, honey honey...

What a bleak and dreary day here in Wyoming. Nothing like a little snow a few days before June to make you go "Fuck." But it could be much worse. All things considered, I'm in a pretty good mood. The plans for the road trip continue to develop, and that has me all bouncey, a la Mandy (and Tigger, I suppose). We ran away for lunch. Yummy Mexican food, even.

Then it started raining, and we were sad. So we went for ice cream. LOTS of ice cream. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Blizzardy-type ice cream. So now I'm in the midst of a massive sugar buzz. I figure I'll slip into a diabetic coma any moment now. And it will be good. It's been a while since I've been this hyper and happy, even if it is glucose-induced (hence the title of today's post).

So the lesson for today? Get high on sugar, or whatever else makes you giddy. And enjoy life. It's all you can do on such a gloomy day.

Oh, that and play video games. Which we're doing later tonight. Woowoo!

Monday, May 24, 2004

Go, Go Gadget Grannies!

So I spent my weekend being a slacker. Saturday was "Day o' sloth." I did laundry, but that's about the extent of it. I watched some movies and caught up on my TV shows that were saved on the satellite's PVR (much like a Tivo). And it was happy. I'd not spent time alone like that in a bit, and needed it more than I realized.

Sunday brought a new flavor of adventure and slack, though. While it wasn't really productive, my day was far from lazy. I woke up when dad called - at 7am! Now, as much of an ass as he usually is, he has his moments. He called to tell me that he has a new Ithaca 10 gauge shotgun for me. Sporting a wallop like a Howitzer, it's not good for much other than goose hunting. But it should be pretty and shiny and I will love it and squeeze it and call it George. Or not. ;) I had been planning to call him that morning anyway, so it saved me remembering to do it. I asked if he could, by chance, help cover my car insurance this go around, as they charged me more than I was expecting and made it due sooner. The raise doesn't kick in until July 1 and the impending trip to California had me stressing over the almighty dollar. He's actually going to send a check for a little more than the insurance, so I can pay my bill and buy gas for the first 10 miles of the trip (SO EXPENSIVE RIGHT NOW)! I can breathe AND take a vacation. The chair will now entertain a "woohoo!" Buying my love? Well duh...that's his m.o. Am I so stupid to fall for it, or ethical enough to reject some nice things now and then? No on both counts. I'm capable of being shallow too, y'all. ;)

After 45 minutes on the phone with Dad, a new record (since I was also talking and not just listening to him droll on about livestock) and minor miracle, I went back to sleep for an hour or so. Woohoo again! The morning though process is not exactly ornate: dogs outside, make teeth clean, shower make me clean, make hair pretty, must wear clothes...there...I'm fabulous again. (Shut up, Travis - and get a damned blog! ---OOO. You did while I was writing this post. Check it out, y'all ) Ready to face the world by 10am on a Sunday is a decent accomplishment, I think. And I was right on schedule. I had to call the Rainbow Riders, a pair of lesbian grannies who are biking across the country to raise awareness about and support for marriage equality. Carrie and Elisia are FABulous! We picked up some coffee before the gay tour of Laramie, which doesn't take long, as you might imagine. We drove past the Fireside and campus. I pointed out the Courthouse and headed for Albertson's for picnic supplies. We grabbed some grub and headed for the park, where we met some of the (un)usual suspects in the park for a potluck picnic with the grannies, and had a blast!

After we left the park (3-4 hours later) I took them out to see the fence. It had been about a year and a half since I'd been out there, and things have changed a bit. The fence had been moved some time ago, but now it has been expanded. A LOT. It now stretched to the top of the ridge on the north. Originally, it was about 3-4 sections of buck fence, and that's it. It's now MUCH longer. While there, Elisia turned over a rock randomly, and written on the bottom was the word "Forgive." Coinkydink (that's the REAL way to spell it, Travis)? I think not.

So today's great lessons? Meeting the bitchin' babes on bikes was a wonderful experience, and a great way to accomplish nothing while doing great things. They reminded me that I'm/we're not the only one(s) fighting the good fight. And that there are many ways to do it. No matter what the issue is, if you're passionate about something, create change! Find a way to make to a difference, to make your voice heard, and make others think in new ways. While biking across the country is a monumental task, it's something pretty much everyone can do (it would just take some of us longer). Again I'm reminded that simple thing can make a huge difference, and can take on a life of their own when fueled by passion, COMpassion, and pure hearts. So go out and make a difference today!

Thursday, May 20, 2004

I want one

Apparently, I published too soon. If you love me, you'll buy me one of these:

I'm not even kidding.

Has it really been THAT long?

Wow. I am ashamed. I didn't realize it had been almost a month since I blogged. I knew it had been a while, but day-um. I am a horrible person. Wait. No I'm not. I'm just an insanely busy person at the end of semester. And perhaps threw my arms up and let certain things slip into the sunset. Unfortunately, they were things that make me happy. Things that let me spend time doing something for myself. Giving back to myself. Stooooopid me!

Let's see....updates. So the semester is over. Thank gawd! AIDS Walk is over. THANK GAWD. I have scheduled employees at work, and summer is officially underway, as evidenced by the fact my work hours are now 7:30am-4:30pm. It's great being done 30 minutes earlier in the day, but it also means I have to be up and quasi-functional that much sooner as well.

We had our first ever Lavender Graduation this year, as part of the OMA's Multicultural Graduation Celebration. We were included. And that's huge. Beth and I presented the first 5 graduates with their stoles and certificates. We had a dinner the night before. Coley and Travis said nice things about me, which made me cry. (I will still have my revenge!) "And it was good."

I bought myself a new wardrobe last weekend. Spent way too much money, but new clothes were needed. Shorts. T shirts. Semi-dressy shirts. Dress slacks. Yup...Loving it. And getting comments. Woo woo. Oh...and I'm going to California in June. WOOWOO! NerdyGirl and MandyFish and I are roadtripping, baby! A week of fun in the sun. And, depending on when we come back, either Pride in California (drool) or Denver (still a rocking good time)! One way or another, it's gonna be a blast. And it's going to involve nothing but pure, unadulterated (though possibly adulterous - there's boys in them thar hills!) fun! And I should have a chance to see my friend Rod in San Diego too!. *sings* "I'm so excited...and I just can't hide it...I'm about to leave this town...and I KNOW I like it!" So yeah, I'm looking forward to that, but just a little bit. It's why I've already ordered travel books from AAA and printed door-to-door driving directions. Road trip. Old school. With satellite radio, so we never have to listen to scary AM talk or country radio stations. We can listen to 80's, comedy, and queer radio the whole damn time, if we want. Par-tay. Beaches. Sun. Hot guys wearing almost nothing. It'll be perfect! (There shall be no mention of smog, California traffic, or rising gas prices!)

So that's the updates. Today's lesson about life: I got my ass kicked last night. a good way. I won't go into gory detail, but some of my dear friends reminded me of something in ceremony (read previous blog post about being a shaman in training). There are several pieces to us. Body. Emotion. Spirit. Mind. We need to balance these things in order to be whole and healthy. I have been too much in my head lately. Over-thinking. Analyzing. I haven't been feeling, because it was easier. What do you suppose happens when you ignore your heart and emotions and only live in your brain? That's right....bad things. Depression. Anxiety. Withdrawal from the world. Withdrawal from happiness. So I'm being more conscious about being less conscious, as odd as that sounds. And when I start to live in my head too much, I'll escape to the great outdoors, take my shoes off, and feel the dirt between my toes. I'll intentionally reconnect with the strength and joy I (re)discovered while in Colorado ( the previous blog posts). That energy and happiness are inside each of us, we just have to remember to tap into it. To focus on it. To embrace it.

Sound cheesy and shamanic enough for you? Good. :) Remember to take a moment today to celebrate yourself. To FEEL...not think. Turn your brain off (this will be easier for some than for others, as some of you leave your brains in powersave mode most days). Open your heart. Listen to your fear, your pain, your joy, your sadness.'s my homework too, so you're not alone. And if you want to learn more about the flavor of shamanism I'm learning, just ask. Doesn't matter if you're just curious because you wanna know or if you think maybe you'd like to start learning more about earth-honoring traditions yourself. Drop me a line.

Thus endeth the long post...but hey...I'm making up for some lost time, aren't I?