Saturday, May 7, 2016

Thirty Day Writing Challenge: Day 7, What Tattoos You Have, and Their Meaning

Despite the fact that my mother, both of my sisters, and my husband, have all offered to get my tattoos, I have none.  It's not that I don't want one, per se.

I'd love to have a shoulder cap lotus in black, white, and blush.

I'd love to have tributes to my children in the form of their birth flower paired with their Chinese zodiac.

But I have conundrums.

First, as an artist, I don't like the idea of being someone else's canvas.  (I figure if I designed my own tattoos and found a tattoo artist who's work I appreciate/ could trust to do my work on me, I can probably get around this one.)

Second, I have incredibly sensitive skin.  My husband teases that the princess and the pea is about someone like me.  I can feel a mosquito land on me before it bites.  Sometimes, I have to put my hair up, off from my neck and back, take off all of my jewelry, and reduce the amount of things touching me because I'm being overwhelmed by the sensations, and they're starting to read as pain.  (I understand how tattoos work, and I don't know if I can get around this one.)

Third, I'm fickle.  It's not flattering, but if I can't be honest with myself, life would be much harder.  I am a creature of change...And tattoos don't.  (I'd probably need to have them where -I- couldn't see them to get around this one.)

And fourth, I'm very much a 'feeling' kind of person:  Gut feelings, intuitions... when the thought crosses my mind to get a tattoo, I've yet to have the feeling that the time to try is right.  When that happens, the rest of my objections won't matter.  (Even if all I learn is that I can have the outline of the start of the lotus for my shoulder cap, and know for certain that I can endure no more.)

Friday, May 6, 2016

Thirty Day Writing Challenge: Day 6, Someone Who Fascinates You and Why

Someone who fascinates me and why...

When something (or someone) fascinates me, I learn everything I can, because I want to know more.  Right now, at this very moment, there is no person I am fascinated by.  But I can respond to this in past and future tenses.

I was fascinated with Anne McCaffrey, Piers Anthony, Stephen King, Anne Rice, and Anne Maxwell...in respect that's two men and a trio of Annes, but that's purely incidental.  I loved (And still love) their books, their writing, their word choices.

I was fascinated by M.C. Escher and Albrecht Dürer, and the pieces they would create that required looking, and looking again, and looking a third time, and still seeing more, and still wanting to see more.

I was fascinated by Bruce Spiner, James Marsters, Leonard Nimoy, and other actors for their incredible character portrayals.  But with further research, I found myself even more fascinated with Gene Roddenberry, Steven Spielberg, Jim Henson, Joss Whedon - the minds that turned ideas into stories, into massive collaborations made tangible, visible reality.

I was fascinated by the most beautiful red headed boy I've ever seen, and again when he turned into the most beautiful red headed man I'd ever seen, and again when he said I do, and again when we became parents together, and again when silver started sneaking into that beautiful red hair, only making him seem more distinguished, and I'm sure I will again when the sunlight catches the green of his eyes and the crinkle of his smile, or the warmth of his laugh surrounds me like a comforting blanket...But right now, he's asleep, and snoring, and mundane, and comfortable, and it's a nice counterpoint to fascination, because fascination is exciting and thrilling and new, but life needs balance and the quiet, boring, humdrum is just as welcome.

Thirty Day Writing Challenge: Day 5, A Place I Would Live But Have Never Visited

A place I would live but have never visited...

When I was a child, my mother was in the Army.  I grew up hearing 'Home is where the Army send you', but believing 'Home is where you hang your curtains'. 

We got used to making home wherever we were currently assigned.

Growing up semi transient, most military brats develop a wanderlust, whether they join themselves, move frequently on their own, or just rearrange their homes more often than most.

As an adult, I quickly realized that 'where' matters much less to me than 'who'.

As long as it is in good company, I could live (If only for a short while) anywhere. 

But given my druthers, I am entirely happy where I currently am.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Thirty Day Writing Challenge: Day 4, Ten Interesting Facts About Myself

Ten interesting facts about myself...

1.  I've written, and deleted, six sentence trying to come up with a number 1, (because I'm with me all the time- I don't find me particularly interesting).

2.  My hair grows an inch per month.

3.  I can wiggle my ears.

4.  When I was little, my sister and I were very much looking forward to getting body hair.  We wanted to have French braids running down our leg hair.

5.  When I can't fall asleep, I make up fairy tales, or play with words, or write out to do lists.  (Example: M I double S I double S I double P I... T E double N E double S double E Double 'U' (W) I double L I, AMS.)

6.  I frequently, and sincerely, use jazz hands in celebration.  I also literally jump for joy, and break out into all manner of happy dances.

7.  When I figure something out, I tend to put my pointer finger on my nose, because now I "knows" the answer.

8.  I have a love/hate relationship with puns:  I love them, my husband hates them.

9.  I love seeing the world peripherally.  What I catch out of the corner of my eye is always much more exciting than what is there when I look straight at it.

10.  I still pick dandelions, count paddidles and tiddilywinks, the first star at night, and shooting stars to make wishes.  Sometimes, those wishes are for me or those close to me.  Sometimes, they are for all of us.  Sometimes, they're a thank you.  And sometimes, I offer them out into the universe for the next person who needs it more than I.

Thirty Day Writing Challenge: Day 3, Your First Love and First Kiss

My first love, and my first kiss...

My first love was warm, soft, caring, gentle.  She watched over me, though my mother tried to stop us from sharing a bed.  She was older than me.  Wiser.  Kinder.  And infinitely patient.  It mattered not a wit that I was incredibly allergic to cats, that calico slept with me in my crib every night and every nap: me softly sneezing and coughing all over her, and her purring and cleaning the ever running font of mucus my nose presented in protest.

My first kiss...

My first kiss was when I was born and they placed me on my mother's stomach and she smiled and kissed me in delight.

My first kiss was when I was two and he was two and we were in his mother's lap and the grown ups told us to blow kisses, and laughed in delight when we did.

My first kiss was in fifth grade, when I was hanging up my jacket after recess and the boy I liked, tripped, and his face bumped into mine, and his lips ran painfully into mine, and I returned the surprise with an indignant slap.

My first kiss was my then best friend and we were both in eighth grade.  He asked me out and I said yes because we were already always hanging out.  But then we were sitting on the couch and he put his arm around me and kissed my cheek and WHOA! That was NOT what I'd signed up for! And we were no longer dating.

My first kiss was in tenth grade and he was in eleventh, and his lips were soft and warm and the peach fuzz on his lip tickled my nose, but then he tried to put his tongue in my mouth, and all I could think about was the way that earth worms mate:  all mucus out of holes in the ground and flailing against each other making a mess, and I hadn't signed up for -this- either! So we were no longer dating.

My first kiss was in spring in the south and we were in eleventh grade.  He was showing me a local sand bar and the sunlight was romantic through the green leaves of the trees. A gentle breeze whipped some of my hair about my face, and he gently caught it, taming it.  His hand warm on my cheek, barely touching, hesitant.  He looked into my eyes and leaned in, and briefly, I panicked:  Am I supposed to tilt my head?  What if we bump heads?  What if I have bad breath? What if -he- has bad breath? Maybe I'm supposed to hold my breath.  But then when do I breathe?!?  What if I pass out? What about spit?!? What if... And then his lips were softly on mine, hesitant, testing, respectful, questioning, warm, pleasant, new...And I forgot all about my silly questions.  And we didn't bump heads.  And I tilted a little to the right, but so did he.  And I didn't notice his breath, because all I could focus on were the two spots where we met: his hand, warm and gentle, cupping my face, and our lips.  And I can't remember if I breathed, but I didn't pass out. And I smiled, and opened my eyes shyly, and so did he.  Then he showed me the minnows and how they'll come to tickle your toes if you put your feet in the shallows.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Thirty Day Writing Challenge: Day 2: My Oldest Memory

My earliest memory is watching the eruption on Mt. St. Helen, on May 18, 1980. 

I was in my mother's arms, as she bounced me and walked across the floor behind the couch, when she suddenly stopped, and turned slowly towards the little television across the room.  The television is a small rounded box with rabbit ears on the corner of a counter, and all the adults in the room go silent.  Their silence frightens me, and I burst into tears.  I am 2 1/2 years old.

It's only because I can put a date on it that clearly marks my age.   (A mountain exploding tends to stick out!) 

Another early memory, I was four.  We were visiting family in Arizona and stopped to see the Grand Canyon. 

I remember standing near the edge with my Aunt Charlene, and specifically wondering what the view looking up looked like, and thinking that the fastest way down to find out, was right off the edge.  I never even considered that it might be dangerous. 

But as I prepared to find out, my Aunt Charlene called my name, once, sharp, with a hidden 'No!' in it, "Janin!". 

I blinked and stepped back to her, and she told me to stay away from the edge so I wouldn't fall.  Once she told me I couldn't, I couldn't.  Aunt Charlene said so.  But I remember being really wistful that I had missed my opportunity to know what the canyon looked like from below. 

Maybe that means I need to plan a trip back to show the canyon to my boys, and from the bottom... but do it safely (NOT right over the edge) (;

Thirty Day Writing Challenge: Day 1 Five Problems With Social Media

As a way to get back to regularly blogging, I thought I'd share my responses to a daily writing prompt.

I've been focused on editing my dream journal this year.  So far, I've edited about 40 of (slightly over) 365 dreams.  It's the way less interesting cousin of writing and having the original dreams, but there are decidedly fewer spelling errors (;

So here's the first post of 2016!

Five problems with social media: 

1.  Although it's a great way to peripherally stay in touch with various aspects of our life and the people who shared those times with us, at its heart, all social media platforms are businesses.  They don't charge us...because we're the product. 

2.  Because social media is a product we aren't charged for, we have little to no say in how it is changed and tailored around us.  I've yet to meet a person who would prefer to see the most commented on posts over the most recent. 

3.  With all the various platforms, social media can feel like an obligation-  congratulate the newly engaged, the new baby, the big job/ condolences for the accident, the illness, the death or misfortune.  It's not that I'm not entirely sincere with each of these, but it feels like you HAVE to stay connected to even know. 

4.  I used to make a point of wishing everyone a happy birthday, or go thorough and thank each of the service members that I know at veteran's day, mother's day moms...etc. 

But then two things happened:  Facebook put a cap on the same kind of posts you can do in a day, and treats you like spam if you reach their quota.  The exact warning is that you're not using Facebook the way they want you to.  And second, I decided that I could just as easily replace them with actual cards, or my voice...so if I didn't have their address or speak to them, they didn't actually need my birthday wish because I'm just one in a sea of many and Facebook won't actually let you SEE all of your birthday wishes anyway. 

And 5. Between pages, suggested posts, advertisements, and what's popular, you really, REALLY have to look to find people's posts.  To help deal with the algorithms they have in place, I set most pages not to send me anything, and if someone crosses my mind, I visit their wall, send them a post that they'd like or that makes me think of them, or send them a message.

That said, there are actually a lot of good things about social media, so here's five.

1.  We ARE connected to people from every aspect of our life!  They are literally just a click away. 

2.  Groups!  I love, Love, LOVE that there are groups.  It doesn't matter what the group subject in, these are people as passionate about that thing as you are.  And they are communities that help and support each other.  Groups are what social media used to be, before the marketing. 

3.  Social media is an -excellent- platform for small businesses, artists, bloggers, authors.  Pages are a lot like groups and if you don't worry about trying to farm likes for numbers, what you have are people who are sincerely interested in whatever it is YOU are doing. 

4.  Cat pictures.  (And dog pictures).  Flowers.  And sunsets.  Photography was always an elite...but people are documenting the wonders they encounter daily, and even a cell phone can capture beauty. 

And 5.  Inspirational memes and world news.  I'm a believer in synchronicity and the world conscience.  With so many people connected, social media is now more frequently ground zero for breaking news because real people, actually there, are telling their friends about it, who tell their friends, and six degrees of Kevin Bacon later and you know about the earth quake in Madrid before CNN does.  Or the posts/memes in your feed resonate with you on a deeper level, because they also resonate with the original poster.  Social media tends to help me sort myself out when I start to feel adrift. 

And so I would say that social media is a microcosm of the world itself (well...because it IS), filled with both good and bad features, and imperfect people trying to navigate and find meaningful connections.