Fear is your weapon
Hopelessness your fuel
Twisted by sexual repression
And lack of resources
Skin is the enemy
Lust an evil temptress
You say 'Western girls deserve to die
For the way they dress and dance'
Well the Dark Ages passed
And light won out.
Your reign of terror
is destined for failure
Because the spirit in us all,
Even in you,
Longs for freedom
And justice and life
And expressions of joy.
But you see no future
And you are fed lies
And your desire to change your world
Yields only a fool's bitter destruction
And one day the frantic despair
You vomit everywhere
With your bombs and nails and gasoline
Will disgust you and kill you too.
And if you were not already dead
You would mourn the
Lives wasted
On the fruitless and heartless
War you waged.
And there will be no virgins
No one will forgive you
And no one will tell their children your name.

Leaving Dodge

I thought it might do me good to get out of town this weekend and spend time with family. I'm so lucky to have that core group of people that love me unconditionally and whom I know will be there for me through hard times.

I decided this yesterday and got a good price on an oversold flight to Lewiston, ID. A couple days with my parents and a few days in Bozeman with my sister's family should do me good.

I'm exhausted from working a full schedule and moving all my worldly possesions across the earth, getting no help or support from the man that supposedly loves me, and dealing with a car accident and news that I have to be out of my massage space in 1.5 months. I started to think that if everything I owned burned to the ground, it wouldn't be so bad!

So here's to family, a change of pace, and fresh mountain air…

Unfortunate Discrimination

In a way, my father was right. Partnering with a black man would make my life more difficult. He warned that my children would get made fun of, for instance. He didn’t predict that my 4Runner would get a swastika keyed in the passenger side in Las Vegas, or that I would be given my deposit back & asked to leave my new apartment minutes after my boyfriend came for a brief visit and look at the place. Fear is still running rampant in the world, and I’m still running into it head-on.

It seems I was fated to move into the place I’m moving into tomorrow. Although it was 1.5 miles further from my job, in a worse neighborhood, and $175 more per month, I felt bad about saying no to it, and asked the sweet woman who showed me her home for her contact information “just-in-case” the new place didn’t work out. I called my parents today, and they joked whether I was moving again since I had just called them yesterday to tell them I had moved from Treasure Island. Ha, ha, I don’t think so, I told them. Not an hour later, and I was moving again. So hopefully fate is directing me to this new home for a good reason.

I’ve been thinking more about what I want to do with my life. I keep saying (and feeling) that my biological clock is ticking, and that I really want to have children NOW. But I’m also considering where I am in my life, and what really makes sense right now. Should I wait 2+ years for things to settle down with my boyfriend’s job, and to progress our relationship along? What do I do in the meantime? How can you plan your life around an event that will be happening maybe, SOMETIME in the next 10 years?

I’m thinking if I had a choice, my next move would be to Washington, D.C. I could still keep my morning job, if needed, and pursue temp work with different agencies to get some exposure in the area. Or, I could put an application in with a government agency and start the 9-5 life back up again. But one thing that bothered me about working at a large corporation was the 2 weeks vacation per year. It’s like President Bush’s comment that working 3 jobs is “uniquely American.” Sad and true.

Why do we need to work so much to support ourselves? Now, I’m not against working hard. Anyone who has known me for any substantial amount of time can attest to that. I just think that progress should look like becoming more balanced between family & work life. All our inventions and efficiencies and progress have not resulted in less work for the average American.

And if 8 hours are spent sleeping, and 8 are spent at work (let’s just bump that to 10, which is probably more accurate), that leaves 6 for commuting, eating, errands, other committments, entertainment, learning, free time (what?), and oh, yes, family & friends.

So my fear in settling back into a career-type-job is that I won’t love it enough to agree to forfeit some of the things in the 6-hour column. I must admit, my current lifestyle choice of a self-employed person isn’t exactly providing me the amount of free time I desire either, so what is there to lose?

I do know that I DO NOT want to work a 9-5er while raising children until school-age. So that takes 5-10 years out of my earning potential. I made this very clear to my current boyfriend, actually within hours of meeting him! But here I go talking about children again, with no promise of any such thing in the near future, though it’s the one task I’m perfectly made to do. It is enticing in a big way, in that it promises a diversion, or a relief from the burden of deciding what course of action to take next in my life. I don’t clearly see what it is I’m supposed to be doing with my next few years, and it frustrates me to no end.

Fade to Grey

How I’m feeling lately, explanation to follow:

In my state of blind confusion, no god can pull me out.
These lonely tears I cry, they keep me in chains & I wish they’d release me.
Cold is the night but colder still is the heart made of stone turned from clay.
And if you’d follow me you’ll see all the black, all the white, fade to grey.

~Jars of Clay, Fade to Grey, Much Afraid album

First Line:

Sometimes, I don’t know what to do, and it feels like blind confusion. You have your experience, you have what others advise you to do about your experience, and if you keep an open mind and try to see all sides of the story, it feels like you are blind, because the easy answers disappear. “No god can pull me out” is my general state of mind. When there are no answers people turn to God. God implies absolutes, and I have no absolutes to pull me out of my tough situations.

Second Line:

Tears feel very lonely in general. Tears feel like an indulgence, one that you feel guilty for. But when you need to be strong & reign in your emotions, the emotions do not disappear. They are repressed. And what is repressed will be expressed.

Third Line:

When you go through trying times, it’s hard to keep your heart open to the world. You want to focus just on yourself and shut everyone out. I suppose this is a protective mechanism. You can’t take the chance that anyone else will rock your world. You can stay behind your wall for some time, but you must come out in order to heal, and in order not to alienate people that want to help you. You want your heart to be clay, and not to let it turn to stone.

Fourth Line:

I love this line, because I think it sums up an important characteristic of mine: “If you’d follow me, you’d see all the black, all the white, fade to grey.” I pride myself on consideration of multiple viewpoints with as little prejudice as possible. People like black & white. The enemy is “evil.’ Abortion is “wrong.” Things are “good” or “bad.” You’re on my team, or you’re not. But the truth is most often somewhere inbetween. It is not popular to be perceived as indecisive, or not to take a stand on an issue.

“Any fool can have an opinion…” I would rather live with some confusion than to back an opinion prematurely.

I’m not the person you come to if someone wronged you and you want a simple answer. There’s so many people out there that think they can give good advice not knowing the situation. Oh, he cheated on you? Leave him! Maybe my dilemma is the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know. But I’ve found that I live in the world of grey more than most people are comfortable with.


I’m feeling a little mad lately. I think I’m one of those people that needs a goal to work toward, and I just can’t settle on one yet. I feel like I could do something really great or important, if I only put my mind to it, but the situation I’m in is not conducive for goal-setting. My boyfriend has asked me to consider moving with him if/when he gets a job offer he likes. He expects this to happen by the end of summer. I am actually open to and excited by the prospect of moving forward with him, but in the meantime, it leaves me in a bad position. I don’t know what goals to pursue with my business if I might be leaving in 2 months. And I’m trying to be practical at the same time, with the advice nagging me from the back of my brain, saying you should never depend on someone else for your livelihood, because you never know when that relationship might end for whatever reason. I’m also in the process of moving out of my first apartment, which in and of itself is unsettling. Happily, the cat is adjusting well.

Defining Yourself

Yosemite 031

I wonder if the darker flowers in the forest call this tall Yosemite weed a “dumb blonde” because she gets all the attention!

Change is hard. I didn’t realize that by accepting a new job with a new company and a new boss, that I would have to learn so much about myself. Today, I discovered another one of my weaknesses. I believe that, as a child, I prided myself on being the smartest one in the class. It became an identity of mine, and as I progressed through school and social scrutiny, it was one of the things that made me “OK” as a person. My family did not have money or nice things, but at least I could get a better grade than you on a test, or do a math flashcard faster than you, so I was going to BE somebody.

So I realize that I feel extremely unsettled when I feel my intelligence is brought into question. It doesn’t even have to be your intention, but if I feel like you’ve underestimated my intelligence, I take it very personally. If I think you think I’m stupid, I feel almost physically threatened, and my first reaction is embarassed anger.

Thinking about it further, I suppose my athletic abilities are probably my second Achilles’ weak spot. I remember getting very flustered a couple years back when my boyfriend teased me for not being able to do very many pushups at the gym. I think I was actually so embarrassed and hurt that I aimed a low-blow at him, insulting his intelligence. It made me feel better, but I felt bad afterward.

If there was a third weak spot, it would probably be my beauty, but this hasn’t affected me much yet for probably a couple reasons: First, I’m not stunningly beautiful, so it was never my most valuable asset. But, I’m fairly well-proportioned and I’ve always been able to turn a few heads when I clean up and am feeling confident. Secondly, I still have some youth on my side, which automatically makes you more beautiful than the average woman. So I haven’t been too bitterly crushed by anyone rejecting me as “ugly.” Not yet, anyway.

The trick now will be spotting future character “attacks” for what they are: My own insecurities about being good enough and feeling valuable as a person. It’s hard when you are thrown into a new environment, being as sensitive as I am beneath my exterior, to stand your ground and believe in your strong qualities, or further, in your innate value because YOU EXIST.

You have to acknowledge the crutches you hold onto that carried you through childhood, while not leaning too heavily on those crutches that you push others away. I’m learning to resist anger and work with others through what feels like attacks, so that you can both grow together in your understanding of one another, and to bring out the best in both people.


Added 6/17, 7:00pm

I thought of my other strength/vulnerability after writing this: My integrity. I believe I grew up as somewhat of a perfectionist, in order to avoid anger & instability in my household. So when I think that people might be questioning my integrity, I take it very personally and get angry and panicky, thinking that my world may collapse if others believe I don’t have integrity. It is hard for me to feel accused of anything; in fact, many times I’ll feel embarrassment over a situation in which I could have dong the wrong thing, but didn’t, but just the fact that even a stranger would consider that I might have done something wrong makes me flustered. I’ll turn red, and then people will think that I’m lying when I’m really telling the truth. It’s weird, but I suppose it’s all tied up in that childhood psychology of feeling like I must have integrity or I might die.

Wonderful Food

I’ve been privileged to have some very wonderful food near where I work. Today I’m eating lunch at a Nicaraguan restaurant, literally the first open restaurant my hungry belly found closest to work. The picture shows what I’m drinking, a delightful seedy drink called Chia. Also had some very tasty meat porridge and fried plantains here.

Yesterday I had tropical ice cream (mango and a flavor I’ve never heard of) served in a coconut shell with banana slices, whip cream, nuts, & a cherry on top, from Mitchell’s. I’ve also frequented a place that makes Indian pizza, and the crust is the best crust I’ve ever eaten, not to mention the super-tasty toppings.

Yes, I am a happy camper lately! A huge benefit of living in a diverse city like this is the diversity of different food available. Yum, wonderful.

Speaking of…

Yosemite 006

Speaking of handling wealth, I am drawn to the idea of socially responsible investing. There are now several credit unions and financial planners that specialize in investing in companies that are environmentally responsible & socially responsible, as well as environmentally progressive. They weed out the companies that support violence/war efforts, non “green” companies (oil companies are the most obvious), and companies that don’t do business in a sustainable way. You can invest and make money this way regardless of how much money you have:

  • They say if you have enough money for a checking or savings account, you can open your account in a credit union or community bank that invests this way, and gives you a small return in those accounts. Much like putting your money in a normal bank, but with the money going toward something good.
  • If you don’t need the money for a few months, you can put it into a liquid Money Market fund at a similar institution and get a little more interest paid.
  • If you don’t need the money for about 12 months, you can put it in a CD and earn even more interest.
  • You can put it into bonds if you don’t need it for a few years.
  • You can invest with a socially responsible financial planner in a mix of stocks & other green investments if you don’t need the money until you retire.

They say the “green” market has actually out-performed the “normal” S&P-type market over its lifetime, but to be aware that when gas prices are high, or during times of war, that the general market will outperform the green market due to the Lockheed Martins, the Exxon-Mobiles, etc.

When I left Chevron, I cashed out my 401K. Part of the reason was to pay off some credit cards. But another reason was that I was becoming aware that I didn’t know exactly what kinds of companies or investments my money was going into. I was broadly diversified nationally & internationally, and I had no way of knowing who or what kinds of practices I was funding. This way of thinking actually started when I tried to launch an investment club while living in Bakersfield, CA. We were getting to the point that we would have to start choosing companies to invest in, and I starting thinking that their ethical practices would come into the picture and I may not be able to contribute with good conscience, even if the profit potential was substantial.

Just something I felt like sharing today…


Yosemite 095

Lizard I saw on the trail down from Yosemite Falls
When I was younger, I dreamed that I would win the lottery, or win a big cash prize and all my troubles would be instantly solved. Now that I am older and wiser, I am grateful that I never received such a windfall. They say over 90 percent of people that receive a large sum of money all at once end up the same or worse off than they were before. I believe that if I am meant to acquire wealth, it will be at a time in my life when I am ready to handle it responsibly.

Incomplete Thoughts on Exploitation

I’ve been thinking about the exploitation involved in capitalism. It seems a little like a pyramid scheme, where the ones that get in first have the most to gain, where the ones on the way up are fed big dreams and exploited to work for the benefit of those higher on the ladder. Think of the American companies that have so quickly resorted to outsourcing to cheaper markets.

Everyone wants the American dream: that anyone with a good work ethic will live a comfortable life of their choosing.

Companies can claim that the low salaries paid to these workers are relatively competitive for their countries and that the dismal & unsafe work environments are acceptable by that country’s standards–that sometimes the worst lifestyle an American can imagine is still better than the best lifestyle of a person in a bad environment. Is it truly exploitation if both parties feel they are getting a good deal? Is it for the good of the world if these people end up marginally increasing their standard of living by providing cheaper products for the rich?

On the other hand, think of the animals that have been exploited from our domestication & mass-production facilities. Clearly the animals have not gotten additional benefit. It makes you wonder who was the first person to line a bunch of cows up on concrete, hook them up to machines, pump them full of steroids & antibiotics, watch them get sores and become crippled, and think, “Oh well, we’re making lots more money this way.”

I suppose it comes down to the fact that we are competing with people for resources…the more cheap, available resources, the better. I think everyone at heart (at least those without power) feel that democracy is the best way we’ve figured so far to run a society, but economically, is capitalism the best way? Or is capitalism just broken, or unrefined?

There just seems to be growing corruption & exploitation, even on an individual company level, with CEO’s exploiting their own American workers and running off to the bank.

The age old disparity between haves & have-nots continues to play out…are we Americans setting the best example for the world? For history? How can we do better?