Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sometimes Credit is About Taking Charge

Cash or credit? Do you want change with that? Can we charge it?

Funny how these phrases come at us every day and we always assume the speaker is referring to payment. What if we take the financial whim out of the question and focus on the underlying meaning of the words?? Credit. That means so much more to me than a piece of plastic or the status of my borrowing and lending power. It isn't something defined by a number because I am not something defined by a number. It's... it's the idea that my word has significance and meaning to it. It's linked with the phrase "give me some credit" and "I'll take credit for that" - ownership, responsibility, worth. It's the idea that I will follow through on something and that I am a trustworthy individual.

Charge. Yes, it's something you can do when you swipe your cards through those annoying readers at various stores that all have different instructions and leave your signature looking like your primary school teacher's attempt at teaching you cursive... But it's also something about leadership, responsibility and agency. People take charge of given situations and we call them leaders, sometimes even heros. We celebrate their courage, strength and wisdom. Sometimes it's "I charge you with..." and it means giving someone else ownership of an item or situation. Again, it's linked with responsibility. When a nanny says "this is my charge" s/he is referring to the child s/he is watching over at the time.

What is at the root of the meanderings?? I've meditated on a lot of things lately (side effect of being at the beach and stuck in cars for very, VERY long times). I've come to the following conclusion: the only way to have a future is to take charge of the present instead of dwelling in the past.

Perhaps this is a "duh" expression for most people. I'll admit, it's rather simple to say/type right there. But how many people really LIVE by this standard? Really invest time every day to this commitment and make the necessary changes in their routines for it to become reality? My hunch? Very few. I know I have been batting pretty low at this lately.

Sometimes taking charge of the present means doing things against the advice of others. Everyone had trusted folks in their lives that give them good advice. Many people have opinions on various issues you may deal with - from employment opportunities to clothing/fashion choices. It is our responsibility, however, to navigate through these well-intentioned offerings and figure out what is true for us in this PRESENT moment. Sometimes it is related to our past, sometimes it's breaking away from that past to move towards the future.

The other thing about this new standard... it provides total agency to the individual (in this case me) and responsibility for his or her successes and failures. I really don't like that word - failure - for even a mistake is a learning opportunity. It's never really failure... just more information about how to do things differently next time. I guess failure would be if you gave up and refused yourself the chance to have a "next time" - but, alas, I digress.

Too many times people (at least I know I do) wait for other people to resolve their issues or situation. They wait for that phone call or for the other shoe to drop. Honestly? I'm just not that kind of person. I'm the kid that saw a problem in my high school and confronted it head on, creating a new student organization and speaking before parents, school board members, teachers and peers to make it happen. I'm the college student that dared to be the only dissenting opinion in a sea of homogeny. I'm the professional that stood up for others in dire situations despite overwhelming evidence against it. I believe people because I take their word seriously - I give them credit. It's time to do that for ME. A lot of folks have opinions about my life... about what I should and should not do... about how I should live or look or pray or whatever. I appreciate the opinions, they give me items to meditate on. They help me by challenging my status quo... sometimes encouraging an adaptation to a routine or a refining of a skill (oooo, she's sounding so Locke-ian today!).

Moral of my morning story? I'm taking credit for the things I have done well and not so well. I'm taking ownership of my life. I'm tired of waiting for the right thing to come alone... I'm going to go out and make the right thing happen. I'm taking charge of my present instead of waiting for someone else to tell me "yay" or "nay" to given situations. I will continue to listen to the opinions of every important person in my life that offers such a thing... but I am taking charge and giving myself credit.

Attitude. Confidence. Courage. Never leave home without 'em.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Kudos to the Random Nice GuyI was

I was down in Cool Springs this morning for a meeting at a place that I've spent many, many hours in the past year or so. I drive my car there... the silver Chrysler Sebring that I bought while living in Potsdam. It's a great car, comes complete with a faerie wind chime and quite a few socially activist and aware stickers. It stands out due to these statements of my endorsements and, because I still have New York plates.

So, I have parked this car in the same general area for all the many hours I've spent at this particular place in town. Today, as I was pulling out to head towards another meeting, a man in a larger SUV stopped me. He was blocking my way out and got out of his car, signaling at me to roll down my window. After the initial confusion (I mean, this is NOT normal behavior!) the nicely groomed, khaki-clad gent told me that he really appreciates the causes that I support. He has noticed my car parked here off and on this last year and had always wanted to thank the owner for speaking out for others like that. He smiled and said a big thank you, and told me that I'd just made his day. He then got back in his car and let me go in front of him.

That is just... really random, and really nice. It's also a little sad that I've been at this place so long that this poor guy thinks I'm employed there!! I got a kick out of that... and I got a real deep smile that lasted for quite some time. What causes are on the back of my car? I got out before going to my next meeting to check! I have two "Stop the Violence" stickers - one for domestic violence and one for sexual assault. I have the "Have a Faerie Nice Day" and "She Changes Everything She Touches" for pagan stuff... and an OBX sticker I just added from my recent trip. There is "Namaste" and a beautiful tree that represents religious diversity and support for multifaith communities.

Here's what is just... awesome. This random stranger in the parking lot in about two minutes said more supportive words about key issues in my life than many people that I've lived with for a lot longer than that. Here's a man that took notice of something small... and took the time out of the hustle and bustle of life to tell me about it. How often does that happen? What would the world look like if more people engaged in random acts of kindness???

So I took the spirit with me to the doctor. While getting some labs done (everyone breathe, I'm totally fine, just routine stuff after a lifetime of borderline EKGs), this older lady comes out crying. She looked like she'd just received some bad news and was having trouble digesting it. She could barely walked. I quickly moved the magazines out of the chair closest to her and let her sit... and then quietly got up and snagged the tissue box from the counter for her to use. Her eyes smiled at me despite the tears and I knew that I'd passed on the random kindness. I don't know what her story was, I don't even know her name. But hopefully she'll tell someone about the random lady in black and white in the waiting room who took a minute to do the right thing.

I challenge everyone to take a moment out of EVERY day to do the right thing. If it's texting or calling or Facebooking a friend and telling them you care about them... or telling someone when they cross your mind... or helping someone reach something from that tippy-top shelf... do it. We never know how long we have on this planet... why not take some time to do the right thing instead of losing hours upon hours being lost within ourselves.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

An Ignored Storm Still Rains

Wisdom comes in many shapes and sizes, especially while relaxing at the beach. I thought I'd share with you the lesson learned from yesterday:

I sat on the uppermost deck of the cottage named ONE, slowly rocking along with the crashing waves below. The wooden chair was cool to touch after a morning shower and there was a slight chill in the breezy air. I snuggled in with my large cup of coffee (in the white ceramic mug with brown sea shells painted on it) and my OBX sweatshirt I purchased several years back. I thought of how wonderful it would be to have my Naia at that moment, cuddling up with the furry child and sitting, totally at peace, in this paradise.

The clouds behind me were quite ominous - in the dark blue, stormy, rumbles of thunder far away type of way. In front of me though, was a beautiful array of white clouds with spots of sunshine filtering through the various holes in the arrangement. I sat with my back to the storm and focused on the single beams coming down, penetrating through the clouds, and reflecting off the morning ocean. It was magnificent! I savored each swallow of the warm liquid (flavored with sugar free hazelnut creamer) and sat wondering if mind-over-matter could work with Mother Nature. I contemplated the meaning of these sun beams in an otherwise nasty, threatening sky. I took respite in their beauty and the sanctuary of sunshine that they offered. I focused on the positive aspects of the reflecting waters and wondered if a fish out there was pulling out a pair of sunglasses.

I thought about how this could be a metaphor for my own life. Is it better to ignore the giant thunderstorm looming behind you to focus on the positives that are right in front of you (but slightly out of reach) or to turn and face the storm head-on, bunkering down for the impending weather in order to find the brighter skies on the other side. I thought about the meaning of optimism... and questioned the sky aloud as to why it had a chill to it in North Carolina towards the end of July. THAT is just not right.

As my thoughts began to wander even further (hopefully that does not count as exercise), I felt the first drop of rain. The wind had picked up and was slapping water pellets in my direction. The spots of sunshine were filled in with gray and the droplets began to descend furiously from the sky.

The conclusion: An ignored storm still rains.

This being said... it rained for about 2 hours yesterday morning before the system passed, giving way to a beautiful afternoon of sunshine and brilliant blues. The weather lasted just a few hours before the next wave of storms, but carried with it the promise for continued changes in the tide of life. Very applicable, I thought to myself, very very applicable.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Faeries are not a Farse

Okay... break from the breathtaking bucolic beach scenes for a small rant. It's another cloudy, rainy morning... which means a sluggish start to the day. I shared with my family a video that was sent to me this morning from a good friend, IK the Troll. Yes, when you work at the Renaissance Faire, you have friends that are trolls, peasants, nobles, faeries and everything in between. Well... let's just say that my family does NOT share the same fun and excitement about the winged creatures as I do.

I understand that it's hard for a parent to realize their daughter is a college-educated Faerie. But really... why must you poke such fun? There is NOTHING wrong with being a sprite at the Renn Faire... we had great fun! Playing in the mud puddles was entertaining to patrons and amusing to children. We ate stuff off the ground... sure... but it wasn't "gross" and "disgusting" and worth wrinkling your nose at. Apparently they've been telling people how "my daughter is a faerie" and just... not in the proud way. But the wow-look-at-the-freak. Really? Thanks.

Okay... I get that I'm 25 years old and still believe in faeries. Maybe if people would stop and ask about the Fae Traditions within the pagan philosophies it would make sense. Maybe if they realized it isn't an obsession with Tinkerbelle or a refusal to grow up... but a genuine belief in Nature spirits and the natural energies that surround us... maybe if they realized that as an actress I'll do many things and if I can enjoy it, why not??? It's just... frustrating. There were a lot of wonderful things about the Renaissance Faire and a lot of not so wonderful things. It was hard work! It is something I'm proud of and enjoy sharing stories about. Why is it so difficult to take me seriously?

Then there's the people that go off on the term "faerie" - implying that because it is linked with homosexual connotations it's an impure or dirty word. WOW. Homophobic much? And if you are... then how in the WORLD do you expect me to take you seriously? There is nothing wrong with the phrase or the word. People believe in angels and they aren't freaks or gay or anything. And if you ARE gay, why does that make you a freak? Why is it such a bad thing??? Why do people have to extend judgement for something done in good fun???

Guess what world. I am Kayti. I like faeries. I was a faerie at the Renn Faire and, if I do the Faire again, I hope to be another faerie. It's brilliant to see a child's face light up when they realize that faeries are real. They have conversations with us. They believe. We take some of the seriousness out of life and out of the festival... which is good. The whole thing is designed for people to get dressed up and play. Adults do not play as much as they should... it's always work work work. Faeries remind us to take life a little less seriously and to converse with our inner children. If someone isn't willing to accept my adoration of faeries... then we've got some major issues. I have some pretty substantial differences from the people around me... and the faerie thing is one of the more minor, innocuous ones. If you judge me for my wings... what do you think of the other things in my life??? Then again... if you judge me for speaking in Fae... then maybe I won't take your thoughts and opinions that seriously on other matters.

It just... pisses me off. And believe me, you do NOT want to upset the Fae. I'm not saying I believe I am a faerie, only in costume. I am human. I'm not psychotic. But I do believe in the faeries and I enjoy playing the role. Most people smile and laugh and tell me it's nice to see someone having fun in life. Why the harsh judgement? Why the critical eye? Sorry world, I'm not here to be a pretty princess all donned in pink, waiting for her prince to ride up on a pony and save the day. I make my own magic and my own history and do my own day saving.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Faerie vs. Ferry

I have decided that faeries are FAR more reliable creatures than ferries. Now, the boats are fun and all when you are up early with your family and able to stand on deck... sun beating down gently on your back... ocean spray bouncing up in your face. There are some great things about the ferries... including being able to drive around the next island with your family. BUT... when you have to wait TWO HOURS to get onto a ferry late at night... when you start to wonder if you're going to get home at all... well, that's when I've had enough. Many people have challenged me to sit still. Somehow... being stuck in a car in line for two hours on the tip of an island waiting for a boat was NOT what they had in mind. I hope.

So other than the whole ordeal of nearly getting stranded on the island... yesterday at Ocracoke was WONDERFUL. We spent the morning at the beach and then changed into "civilian clothes" to wander around the various shops. Dinner was at the Back Porch restaurant. It was okay... my family tends to enjoy fancy seafood places far more than me. I did find this delightful hummus dish that was just the right size. Funny how large appetizers can be the perfect amount for a main course. I was able to find a cup of coffee on the island as well, which made for a happy Kayti.

One really cool-somewhat-freaky-glad-it-went-away thing... we saw the beginnings of a water spout!!! This is the closest I've ever been to a tornado, despite living in Nashville. It was rather freaky. I'm glad I got some pictures of it... and that we got off the beach before the storm came to shore. You'd be surprised how fast a group of people can tear down camp when you start to see funnel clouds forming and you are parked about 15 feet from the ocean. :P We did get some great sunset shots last night though... here's one to share!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Yesterday was one of those gray days at the beach that starts out with folks wondering if the sun will ever come out again, then ended in one of the most beautiful afternoon's we've had in a long, long time. The parents and I went for a shorter (3 miles) walk on the beach and then gathered up a few other troopers for a small shopping expedition in the village where we are staying. Lunch was a variety of leftovers... then getting ready for the afternoon of water fun.

There is a Low out over the ocean - a GREAT thing for those that love to play in the surf. My father, uncle, brother and I are true ocean-dwellers. The waves were around 4-7 feet high... plenty to splash around in. Not good boogie-board waves as the tops were too "weak" to carry you to shore... but great fun all the same. We splashed around for quite some time... before laying out in the sun to dry out.

My mother and I took some pictures in the dunes while we had the brilliant afternoon sunlight to work with. It's great... because not only can I use some of these pictures for my photography exhibits, but I can get some good ones with me IN them!! :)

Today we're off to Ocracoke, an island South of this one. My cousin heads home as well, which will be sad. It's been way too long since I've seen her. She lives in GA... so we're hoping to get together more often now that I'm only 4-5 hours away. More to come later... happy reading!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Heavenly Landscapes

First day at the beach is going quite well. The morning was RADIANT... bright sunshine after a night of thunderstorms. The feeling of sand freshly rained on is just... amazing. It adds a level of firmness to the sand that makes it easier to walk and more massage-like on the foot. As mentioned, the cottage is right by the ocean. There is a private walkway to the beach in front of our house... so these dunes are the ones that I walk by to get to the ocean.
The ocean in front of the cottage has a very narrow beach... and it is very unpopulated here. We are the last cottage in the little village... so that makes it extra private. We are the only family out so early (9am) and take the 2.1 mile walk to the pier while others start to meander their ways to the shore. We don't always walk to the pier... but it's become a tradition to touch the pier on the first day. My cousin and I were the first ones there today. :)

Michael, Rachael and Beth ran back to the blankets while I walked at my own pace... leaving the "older adults" to catch up. We went swimming and played catch after this... bobbing up and down in the surf. The water is so warm this year! It's crystal clear out there, at least for the Atlantic, without much seaweed getting in the way. After some splashing around, we take time to dry out on the towels... collecting rays of sunshine and transforming them into tans.

Lunch was bbq pork... WOW was that good! It puts Jason's Deli to shame, that's for sure! My father has a cooker thing that just... wow. The pork was put on last night and smoked all night long. He makes homemade bbq sauces as well, one based in vinegar and one based with red sauce. It's like... an orgasm for the taste buds. Apparently it's good mixed with coleslaw, but as I'm not a big fan of cabbage, I let the others experiment with that combination. Me? I stick to my pork sandwich and side salad. Nice cup of coffee for dessert. It's only my second cup of the day!

All right.. we're almost ready to head out for our afternoon adventures. Driving to the end tip of the island and going to the point... where the island is like an elbow and you can be where the two sides of the Atlantic literally come to a POINT. It's quite awesome. More pictures and more blogging to come! :)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Finally Here!

After 9 hours in the car (with an hour to eat at the pier) we finally arrived at the cottage - ONE - in Avon, NC. The trip was uneventful... sponsored by coffee and various mix cds from yours truly. We always stop at this lovely place called Grandy's for fresh fruits and veggies... this year was no exception. I was shocked to discover the cottage has wireless internet readily available... so YAY for that.

It has been TOO LONG since I've been at the beach. So, I did the only logical thing possible. Started taking pictures ASAP! This is a quick picture I snapped (and jumped into) from the top deck of the house. As you can see... we are RIGHT at the ocean. The area is undeveloped (which is a BEAUTIFUL thing)... and we are on a spit of land less than 1/4 mile wide. Please excuse the silly face... I told you... lots of coffee + long, long car ride.

Let's see. What else? Oh yes... this is the main room upstairs. It is a joint living room, dining room and kitchen. The deck that I'm standing on is what the sliding doors opens out onto... The stairs lead up to this amazing little tower with two couch-benches you can sit in - great for journaling or cozing up with a book and cup of coffee. For those that I've talked to about watching storms come in over the Ocean... that's where we go. :)

Okay... time for us to start putting together dinner. We're waiting for one more family member to arrive - my cousin Beth, who I haven't seen in years! There's 8 of us now... she'll make 9. I think dinner tonight is a bunch of salads that my mother made during the week and we brought with us. Sounds good to me... there are few salads I've met that I didn't like. We'll be off for a walk along the beach later on tonight... I'm just itching to get my feet in the sand and to feel the ocean between my toes.

Off to the Beach!

Finally, after 2 years, I'm off to the Outer Banks of NC in about 20 minutes... heading South with my family. We leave quite early... as is tradition... so we can have lunch on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge at the Seagull Pier Restaurant. We pass the bike cops in DE. We pass through the Land of Corn where my brother would usually fall sound asleep. We wave hello to Virginia Beach as continue southwards. We meet up with my brother, sister-in-law and her parents around the North Carolina area.... meeting at the Grandy's fresh market on the side of the road... which as the BEST fresh fruit in the county. We stop at Nags Head to put our feet in the sand and to relieve our bladders... "bio break" as a friend would say. Then we journey another hour and a half once on the island to the little tiny town of Avon.

From there... we'll all unload the various cars... very much in donkey-style. All able-bodied people go up and down the steps as many times as needed. Not so bad now that the family has expanded... but my brother and I used to worry about this process. My parents' believe they had worker bees, not just children. :P Then... it's figuring out if we want to go for a walk on the beach BEFORE or AFTER dinner, or the obvious answer, BOTH. :)

I'll take tons of pictures and try to chronicle while I'm away. Not sure if I'll have internet... so will make posts and then upload them later if that's the case. This is heaven on Earth... captured in the bucolic scenes of the National Seashore. It is my favorite place on this planet... and it will be my home for the next 7 days.

I'll talk to you on the flip side... having quelled my appetite for the beach for a little while. Or... at least satiated the urges to keep driving until I hit the shoreline.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A fantastic invention

I've discovered a pet peeve. Blinkers. Or, more explicitly, the seemingly universal MISUSE of them. And by misuse... I mean NON-use of them.

Seriously people. Is it THAT difficult to extend your left arm out, move the hand away from the wheel, wrap the fingers around that piece of plastic jutting from behind the steering column and push it ever so slightly up or down? Left or Right. Not too many choices. If you can't make up your mind, then GET OFF THE ROAD. It's common courtesy to other drivers to let them know where you are going when you are responsible for a heap of metal whipping down the road at extreme speeds. Not going too fast? You STILL need to use those little blinking lights.

Some tell me they hate the noise. Really? Click click click fucking click! It's not that bad. Turn up the radio. Or... go talk to a therapist. Because that's ridiculous!

Not only does it bother me when people change lanes on the highway without using these little indicator lights... but it also REALLY frustrates me in parking lots. People that don't put on blinkers before turning into a spot. See, blinkers are like the seagulls in Finding Nemo... they declare "Mine! Mine! Mine!" for a potential parking spot. Even more... they alert the people behind them that you are STOPPING, especially when people have a nasty habit of pulling into parking spaces without turning on the brakes. It's awful when you are doing the good-driver thing, leaving enough space between you and the car in front of you, going along at a snail's pace... and BAM! The person veers off into the spot you thought you would occupy without even TELLING you. It's disappointment magnified, just like that!

Then there are the people that OVER use the blinker. You know you've done it once or twice... and you PISS ME OFF. The people who leave the blinker blinking away AFTER switching lanes. The other day... someone had their RIGHT blinker on and kept merging LEFT. Okay... what the hell? Look at your hands. If the index finger and thumb make a "L" - that means Left. If it looks more like a J... that's Right. So sorry that No Child Left Behind failed you out of Kindergarden... but maybe you ought to consider taking the bus. Then... for those that just drive and drive and drive with the blinking lights going... it drives me NUTS! Are you turning? Are you lost? Is it a flasher that says "I'm in trouble" and a burnt out second flash light??

If you listen to the radio that loud you cannot HEAR the clicking... turn it down. Save an eardrum, save a tree, whatever gets you off... I don't really care. Just... stop the incessant blink blink blink blink blink that I have to stare at driving behind you (again, at that respectful distance).

Now... some of you might be wondering. Does Kayti have road rage? No, not really. I prefer the term road conversation. It really doesn't hurt anyone for me to talk angrily at the cars that share the road with me (as long as the windows are down, even that top sunroof... oops). I'm not going to go crazy-Mary on you or anything... but I will consider smiting you for the 10 seconds our worlds overlap. Or sending you to Blinker Use 101. By the time I'm done with this world, I'll have a whole University of "re-education" classes that I want to send people to.

So... moral of the story? Think twice before you abuse your blinker. There might me a recently relocated New Yorker nearby.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Spick Spack Spaghetti

Tonight was one of those "radical revelation" nights. I was standing in my kitchen, not wanting to eat anything for dinner. I stood by the fridge with the door open... staring inside at the bare contents (about to leave town for a week = minimal groceries in the house). I opened the freezer and was staring down frozen dinners and mysterious items (some of which have been in there since my move from NY!). Nothing sounded good. Nothing sounded appealing. I moved to the pantry... same dilemma. With a sigh, I said (out loud) "I don't want anything... processed" - and it just clicked into place.

I eat out a fair amount... I got lazy living by myself and relied too heavily on frozen dinners and quick fixes. I forgot that I come from a family of people that know how to cook and bake and do the food thing really REALLY well. It got too easy to eat the same things again and again - the easy things - the not-messing-up-too-many-dishes things. Yeah, BORING!

So I made an absolutely fantastic spaghetti tonight. Not according to the family recipe. Not according to things I've eaten before. Not according to Renfrew suggestions for the meal. But according to ME. And you know what? It was pretty frickin' fantastic. The secret? I listened to what I wanted... tomato base... mushrooms... turnip greens (was lacking fresh or frozen spinach)... that was the sauce. Spiced to taste... on top of a bowl of whole wheat thin spaghetti noodles. Heavy dose of parmesan-romano cheese... with said cheese also mixed into the sauce. Now THAT is how you make spaghetti! Correction... that is how I make it.

You may be wondering... is this really blog-worthy? HELL YES! I haven't cooked pasta like that in a year. I've ordered it... I've eaten it because I had to... I've made processed pasta (ramen noodles, mac n cheese, etc.) but not the REAL DEAL. Oh wow... hello taste buds, how you doin? I have a dish washer in the apartment... AND a garbage disposal. It's time to start using them. I mean... it's pretty pathetic when you couldn't recall if the certain eye on the stove even worked... or when you have to dust your pots and pans before cooking with them. I'm not really lazy... and you know what? The whole bit where "it's not worth cooking for one" - bullshit! It sure is! Not only does it give me more variety and better tasting meals, but it also prepares me for entertaining others.

This is just one of my "radical revelations" tonight. I'm not just turning over a new leaf, I think I just planted a whole new tree. It includes letting go of certain things... realizing that not everything is as useful as it seems... and that sometimes? Listening to gut instincts about what is right is the most important thing you can do. Things haven't felt "right" for a while... and I'm finally starting to realize why. Changes are afoot... all for the better. Even if my process goes against the advice of others... I know it will work... because it's the process that feels right for me.

Also... had two job interviews in two days... applications in for more positions and a real shot at a fantastic job opportunity. These are all things that encourage this "change is afoot" mentality... and remind me of the importance of focusing on the FUTURE instead of mucking up the PRESENT being stuck in the PAST.

Watch out world... Kayti's back, armed with marinara and tiny strands of whole wheat yumminess.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Request to the Antioch Arachnids

I have come a long, long way in my arachnophobia. I no longer freak out when I see the spiders outside... nor do I mind too terribly much when I walk into one in another person's space. I've gotten to the point where I can calmly ask someone to get the spider off of me or to remove it from the room - not the automatic EEEEEEEEEEEKKKK KILLLLLL IIIITTTTTT! that used to come out at the same moment I would be flying out of the room in barely-human leaps and bounds.

The Renaissance Faire did a lot for me that way. When you are playing the part of a tree faerie, you do a LOT of lying around in leaves, rocks, trees and stone walls. Guess who else adores these habitats? Yup, spiders. They liked to chill out in our tent back stage as well... and I even got to the point of still going to the water cooler despite several just chillin' right there by the spicket. They were in the port-o-potties and I still used them... serious progress.

But seriously? This morning? I'm going to have to draw the line. I woke up with the kitties wanting food... so I fed them around 6:30 in the morning. This is okay for normal rise-and-shine during the week, but not on weekends. So... I figured I'd just go to the bathroom (because once you are awake and realize you need to pee, there is NO going back to sleep without using the lavatory) and head back to bed. I'm in my bathroom, minding my own business... about to reach for the toilet paper to finish my needs... and there's a spider just sitting right there. What the hell?? Sneaky little bastard was just ASKING for me to smack him silly. After the initial shock to my dreary system and the comprehension that my toilet paper wasn't moving, but the spider on it was... I realized I needed to have some words with the local arachnid population.


You'd think having two cats would be deterrent enough. Apparently not. Now, it's not a declaration of war, because I do NOT fancy the idea of a spider invasion... I think my heart would stop beating entirely at the sight. But I am saying this. To the local spiders... STAY OUT. You can have the outdoor world... you can even have the fireplace itself... WHY do you need to be in my few rooms and, especially, on MY toilet paper! That's just... not necessary.

What happened to that TP Spider? Well... it got smushed by a dirty kleenex. Usually I just use the TP... but he was in the way. So... I had to make do with what I had. I did flush him just for shits and giggles... and as a warning to others to STAY AWAY FROM THE TOILET PAPER.

I mean... seriously. Seriously!!!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Rest In Peace Aunt Ginnie

Wow... things sure can change quickly. Just talked to my mother. Apparently one of my aunts on the Greek side of the family developed lung cancer just two weeks ago. Okay, she was diagnosed... it was probably a long time in coming as she was a lifetime smoker. Anyway... I just got off the phone with my mother. Aunt Ginnie died today. She was only 73 years old.

I'm not really sure what to think. We weren't particularly close, but she was one of my favorites of the Greek get-togethers. I'm very thankful I was home for Christmas and seeing everyone this December. Very grateful that I have a happy memory of her... with her green salad that she always brings and her wrinkly smile. I feel for her two grandchildren... they just lost their "yia-yia" the Greek word for Grandma. Ginne was always fun. She treated my brother and me like equals... she would sit on the floor with us when there weren't enough chairs to go around. She was the nonGreek that married into the family - something we appreciated, being only 50% Greek ourselves. She had a brilliant laugh and a golden heart.

It's Greek tradition to wait 40 days to have a memorial service. I don't know why... but that's what the family does. I'm not sure if I'll be able to afford the ticket up to go... but hopefully I can at least leave something for the service when I'm in the area next week before the beach trip. That side of the family has had a rough time... 4 sons, 2 of them have already passed, 2 are remaining. Her husband is the second child of three... they were the nephews and nieces of my "Papou" or Grandpa. Our families have gotten together for as long as I can remember... the cousins... or, as I call them, "the Greeks."

Life is so fragile... that's for sure. It gives me a lot to think about. I sit here, still in the coffee shop, still unemployed. Just... thinking. She had a bad cough, but that was it. Two weeks later, she was dead. How much of my life have I wasted stuck in my head or trying to change the very core of who I am? How many days have I let slip by in my own selfish stickiness... when really? Every damn day is a gift. We don't know when we are destined to leave this world. We don't know when the hour might be our last.

So, my dearest Aunt Ginnie, you have my heart and my soul wishing you the best right now. Wishing you peace and tranquility. Wishing you healing from the pains you have suffered. Wishing you safe journey as you reunite with your sons. Wishing you the happiness that life ceased to provide for you. Wishing you love from those already gone and those still in this world.

And for me? I think it's time to stop wallowing in myself and to face the remaining demons that need facing. Life really is a fragile, precious gift. I'm not going to waste it any more. This world is such an incredible, beautiful place. There just isn't time to waste any more. I'm 25 years old. How do I know I'll live to be old? I can only hope to be so lucky! Now is the time to be thriving... enjoying my "youth" and my energy and all that. Not wasting away in various issues... obsessively worrying about the meaning of life and my purpose here... so enough. I'm done whining about being unemployed. I'm done poopooing my dreams. I'm done saying "another day" - what about THIS day?

Hmm. I think I just found motivation. Because honestly? There is so much in life that I want to do. So much that Ginnie would have wanted to do. So very much. With people that may not be around forever. With opportunities that may not knock again. With so much. I want to love and be loved. I want to be free. So if I have to face my dying day, I go with peace of spirit, heart, body and mind.

Nero Nostalgia

I'm doing one of my favorite things right now... sipping on something strongly caffeinated while cruising around the internet at a locally owned coffeehouse. I've kicked off my brown flip flops and am sitting cross-legged in my super-soft brown kapri sweats and fun top. Soft music playing in the background... and random people online. There is something that makes me smile through and through when I get "real emails" from people, not just spam. It's just like when you open the mailbox and there's a handwritten note (typed works too) from someone mixed in there with all the bills and obnoxious catalogs.

As I sit here surfing the net for job opportunities and writing back to various people in my life... I was struck with a random moment of nostalgia for Cafe Nero. For those that have never been to Europe, it's one of the BEST coffeehouses in the world. It also had an internet cafe attached to it and was right next to the hotel where I stayed as a sophomore Vanderbilt student during my Maymester abroad. It had the BEST coffee (italian, I believe) that you could alternate with original Orangina... a truly divine substance that redefines orange juice for the massive win.

Seriously... if I had the money to do so (or a financial backer willing to front the cost) - I would love to create a Coffeehouses of the World travel guide/book. I'd love to spend a month in various countries and give a written description of the coffeehouses there. I'd spend several days in the coffeehouses... sampling the various blends... taking notes on the people that go... the ambiance created... whether or not wine/beer is served... whether or not food is served... and how the local population reacts to the coffeehouse. I'd want to capture as many different places as possible... finding the unique places to each little area of the world. Not the S'Bucks or Dunkin' Donuts of the world... but the universal equivalents to Cafe Coco and Fido. I want to see what makes a good coffeehouse separate from the bad... I want to find out the world's opinion on the best way to take your coffee. And what the average amount of time in a coffeehouse really is.

I think it'd be awesome! Not to mention... I could LIVE off coffee for a very, very long time. And coffeehouse food... which is perfect in my world. I mean... have you TRIED the pumpkin chocolate chip muffins at Fido and Bongo Java? Or sampled the hummus platter at Cafe Coco? Think of all the syrups... all the combinations... the various teas that get mixed in. It's heaven in a mouthful.

Seriously... someone should win the lottery and front this cost. And traveling around the world? That would be AWESOME. Just me and my laptop. And my camera, of course. It could be a photo-journalism project as well. I could create a world coffeehouse book for, what else, coffee tables! I could get pictures of baristas from everywhere... signatures from random people and patrons... would keep the napkins from everywhere and do a collage-page just of that. Then you add in the chocolate that you can find... WOW. I think it'd be awesome. I'd love to do it...

... oh wait, brings me back to what I SHOULD be doing right now. Applying for jobs and finding a source of meaningful income/employment... not daydreaming about things that cost way more than I can afford. Ah well. Maybe another day. Maybe another day.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Back, my popular demand

(And by popular, I mean that at least one person in the last 48 hours has said to me "Kayti! Update your blog!!!" Here I was thinking that I was chattering away to myself!!

What shall we rant about today? OH! I know. See... body image issues have long been a passion of mine. So much so that I wanted to go off and get a PhD to be paid to research and rant about them all the rest of my days. Well, the whole economic crisis that left universities with no money and the me not getting in anywhere stunted that ambition... for now... but that doesn't stop the ranting and raving. Oh no... it just makes it come out in forms of blogging and random conversations, sometimes with others, sometimes with the cat, sometimes at random cars driving by.

I just spent an hour by the pool... let's not even GO there on how that can complicate body image... and finished reading the latest edition of Marie Claire. Okay, I know that these magazines are going to piss me off in one form or fashion... but I did not anticipate this particular manifestation of cultural crappiness. I can take apart the skinny jeans and the models and the liquor bottles shaped like the female body. I can dissect the images that portray violence against women as a tool for selling handbags and high heels. I can shake my head at the eccentric fashion guidelines that have taken misery to the next level (I mean seriously, have you SEEN the shoes they want us to buy for the Fall? FOR REAL!)

Then, on the LAST page... there's an ad for the new emerald-green 4x9 inch Sony VAIO notebook... a COMPUTER... that says "Make your MacBook Air feel old and fat." WHAT THE HELL?????

My first impulse? Rip out this page and send it to a friend and therapist, Elyse, who happens to be the resident guru for body image at Renfrew. Second impulse? Scream and shout. Third impulse? Write a ranting raving bitching post on my blog. Guess which ones I did?

I mean... seriously?!?!? It's a fucking computer! It doesn't have to worry about body image or size or anything. And why should it? Why not have a comparison about megabytes or pixels... or just bash the PC vs. Mac thing again and again. You could talk about internet safety and high-speed access. WHY does the ad have to "go there" with size and age and weight? First of all... the whole Macbook Air thing as being the "thin" computer - really? What's up with that? And then to go even SMALLER? What the hell? What is this culture trying to do... institutionalize anorexia so that even our electronics have complexes and avoid mirrors?

It seriously pisses me off. Secondly... why would ANYONE want to make something that is already perfectly fine feel "old and fat" - that's just mean. Thirdly... and this is going into my rhetorical theories... WHY do we insist on making "old" and "fat" dirty, bad words?? Seriously... there is NOTHING wrong with either of those words. Old is a state of aging... if we cease aging, we cease living. I'd rather be old than dead. So what is so wrong with being old?? And fat? Okay... I struggle with this still... but really, at the end of the day, it's a food group. It's NOT about body size or cells or anything else. That... and to insinuate that a MacBook Air is FAT... it has AIR in its name... what is fat about air? NOTHING. Ads like these just perpetuate the ideas that fat = bad and aging = bad. When really? Having fat is part of LIVING. It's part of being a normal human being capable of living and breathing and jumping and remembering and all those fun things that come with being alive.


Maybe I'm just ranting. Maybe I'm over-sensitive. But really? Really? They had to go and make something about ELECTRONICS into an issue of fat vs. thin and old vs. young? What the hell is wrong with us? What's next... pillar candles are going to be sold as "fat" or "thin" - you can't have any curves in your house... not even in your candles. Or electronics. Watch out for the wine glasses... they're going to get straighter and straighter until they resemble shot glasses... but wait... being short isn't good either... so they'll be the tall shooters. Maybe we should get rid of bowls as well... can't have those rogue curves lying around the kitchen. Plates are flat. But stick with the breakfast plates because they are smaller and clearly, the dinner plates could go on a diet, shave off an inch or two around the edges.

I'll stop. For now.