Monday, December 29


The festivities are over. Everyone is gone. It is nearly silent. Ahhh. No more drawling children calling my by an improper name.

It is good.

Saturday, December 27


I feel kind of snobby when it comes to matters of accent or regional dialect. I have found that it is increasingly difficult to listen to a conversation between family members. Especially my uncle and my grandma. He has a weird accent that screams "I live in Missouri!" and her laugh just makes my insides want to have an upheaval. It's not pretty. In fact, it makes me sad.

I suppose it's not only the way the words come out, but the content of the conversation. My uncle talks about deer and hunting and eating deer sausage way too much. It's a little revolting, especially since he brought at least six large chunks of deer sausage to our house for the holiday. That grosses me out.

But at least I'm getting really stylish lately. [This thought has been interrupted by an emergency notice : I want to go pierce something.] I have dyed my hair again and am getting new glasses very soon. Exciting.

Well, back to the family and their stimulating conversations.

Friday, December 26


This is a true story from a first-hand account of one Ms JL. I bring it to you for all the teachers [or would-be teachers] out there, most especially for the elementary music teachers.


Kindergarten. Ms JL was preparing to reveal her wonderful closet of instruments to the eager students. She had a portable bulletin board in front of the cabinet; as she rolled it away, the kids got excited. [And who wouldn't be at the prospect of playing with noisy instruments?] Tambourines, maracas, triangles, wood blocks - very fun and percussive instruments. Ms JL took each instrument one by one and described and demonstrated the correct way to play it. When she got to the maracas, she said, "Make sure you shake it - don't hit them together." [A very good point to remember if you plan on teaching someone to play the maracas.] One spunky little boy retorted, "I'll show you how I play with my maracas." He then spread his legs and started playing with himself. Needless to say, he got in trouble, and Ms JL had a little talk with his mother. She laughed a little, disgusted as she was. All Ms JL had to say was, "Well, he certainly didn't get it from you."


Also, I'm very grateful to be back in action here at CM - Upsaid's apparently been having troubles. The last time I tried to log in [Saturday, I think], It wouldn't even go to the main site. Scary thing is, that's not the first time that's happened to me. At any rate, I'm very relieved to be able to post this story - Ms JL related it to me on Monday, and I absolutely had to share it. Take care, and to all the Canadians, happy Boxing Day.

Monday, December 15

Et cetera

Today was very relaxing in a way that the beginning of finals week usually isn't. I only had one final today, and since it was of the take-home persuasion, we were having a leisurely coffee-and-breakfasty-things gathering at the prof's apartment. It started out a little awkward in that nobody really knew what to do with themselves, but we got into some very interesting discussions on books and movies and current events and the like. I love listening to intellectuals just bantering about. I hope I get to keep having opportunities like that in the future.

Also, I stumbled upon the Mayfly Project today. The only instruction is to sum up 2003 in twenty words or less. My submission follows. I grew intellectually and creatively, came out to my family, lost and gained friends, lost family, cried little, loved much. I think it's a good representation of the past year. Not a bad year, really. But what's a bad year? Life's a roller coaster of ups and downs, so I just hold on tight and enjoy the ride.


I've found out a lot of interesting things this weekend, mostly relating to my naïve roommate [previously mentioned in Nicknames]. The following is a slightly reworded portion of a letter I sent to request a different room. Because I feel uncomfortable discussing things with her, we are sometimes on testy terms. I have a tendency to remain subdued and blend into the background, at which point she thinks I am mad at her. [Which, in a way, is the truth, but I wouldn't admit that to her face.] I might admit it to her, but only when I've moved out. Not worth causing strife until I am far enough away to not be harmed.

We talk about her behind her back, of course, because she thinks she is the Queen of Knowing Everything About Anything. She, in turn, talks about us. I learned today that she thinks I'm manic-depressive [which may be true on some levels, but that's another topic for another day], and that it would be good for me to go be manic-depressive in my own room. Go figure.

Also, her boyfriend seems to bring with him this horrid odor. It smells like sour feet and smoking and booze. Whenever he shows up, our room is permeated with the stench. I only realised this the last time he was here, because the same odor came with him. I wanted to cry. I thought back to last year when I lived with the same girl, and he definitely had that putrid smell then, too. Disgusting.

On a lighter note, I've discovered that knitting is a lot like meditation - it's very repetitive and wonderful, even if you've made a mistake and have to rip out two inches of work. I've been working on a scarf for a friend ... I promised it to her about two years ago. I was crocheting it at the time, but knitting somehow seems to go faster. And I love the yarn, too. It's Lion Brand Homespun and is wonderfully soft. It's not bad to work with, although it tries to come unspun.

All in all things have not been too terrible, except for the naïve roommate and the boy that comes with her. I feel a little bad about leaving the other roommate with Naïve Girl and her myriad miscellany, but I will visit her. Or at least invite her to my new sanctuary.

Thursday, December 11


On the one hand, there's you, and on the other hand, there's America. It's bigger than you are. So you try and make sense of it. You try to figure it out - something which it resists. It's big enough, and contains enough contradictions, that it is perfectly happy not to be figured out. - Neil Gaiman [December Ampersand project]

Being introspective has always appealed to me. I like to "try and make sense" of things, as it were. There are so many day-to-day things that have rippling effects years later. For example, I frequently wear a green knit hat. Someone could come up to me five or ten years from now at a reunion and say, "Hey, aren't you the one that used to wear that green hat all the time? Let's go out for drinks and reminisce." I could then end up getting together with that person and having a long-term relationship. Who knows? It's like the butterfly effect - simple events in one case can cause complex behaviors in something entirely different. [Or perhaps not so different - it's hard to say.]

I enjoy thinking about things, speculating on what could happen if I say something to one person who then tells another person in a slightly different way because he interpreted it differently. The power of language is complex and amazing to me. I love how connotations of words can completely change the meaning and yet not destroy it, how they can throw in complexities and contradictions that one wouldn't necessarily think of otherwise.

Trying to puzzle out contradictions is often difficult - indeed, sometimes it is easier on everyone if it is just left alone in a mess of threads hanging off an intricately woven rug. If you tug on one thread just a little too hard, you may find that it is more interconnected than you thought, which causes the whole rug to come unraveled and the beautiful pattern marred.

It may be "perfectly happy not to be figured out," but what's the fun in removing all the wonderments and ideas that made and unmade and remade the pattern in the first place?


Some nicknames I don't mind, but sometimes they go just a little too far. Last night one of my roommates was talking to either her mother or her boyfriend [she talked to both] and her phone had just cut off the conversation again. She decided to inquire about my well-being, asking, "Whatcha doin', baby?" I replied that I was cleaning [putting clothes away]. She was asking because I had taken to one of my quiet spells again, and when I do that I'm fairly sure that she thinks that I am mad at her [which is usually the case, but that isn't the point].

At that moment when she called me baby, however, I paused and thought about whether she had meant something deeper than just referring to me by a pet name. I wondered if her subconscious was peeking through. I see her as a very demeaning individual. [Side note: 'demeaning' is from the Latin minare, meaning 'to drive animals by threatening cries.'] Oftentimes the things she says make her sound like she thinks that she is older and knows better than the rest of us. It's like she's trying to be motherly in a snide sort of way; she acts superior to all of us much of the time. It bothers me.

At any rate, I let it go [after writing a bit about it on a post-it so that I could write about it today] and returned to my cleaning. A few minutes later, she was talking to her boyfriend. He had just told her something or other that he had done, and she called him a good boy. I felt that this reinforced my theory, and then I began to wonder what in her childhood had turned her into this mean-spirited and self-centered person. It may be the fact that she's the oldest child of three, but then I didn't really turn out that way. It may be that she moved around a lot during her childhood, which I did not do. I can't imagine having to try to make new friends every few years. [She tells stories of Texas, too, about them making fun of the way she pronounces the word 'aunt' as 'on-t' instead of 'ant' ... she says they put it up to snobbery, but she told them that she was from Minnesota and that that's how they said it.]

And that's what I have to say about that.

Wednesday, December 10


More and more often now, I've been noticing the patterns in everyday life: the waxing and waning of the moon, the weave of a blanket, the veins on a leaf. I wonder what life would be like without recognisable patterns. I sometimes get stuck in a rut and obsess that patterns will take over my life, but I really do appreciate them from time to time. When you're all strung out, you can remember to just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming until things get a little less manic.

I love that when I get into the shower and turn on the water, it's always cold and makes me shiver in the corner until it warms up. I would miss that. I love that when I look at a blank white surface or the sky I can see floaters, because if they are there, then I know everything will somehow be okay and that I will still be me. I would miss that, even though it means something's a little wrong with my retina. I love that my fish always go nuts when I feed them, like it's some priviledge to get food. I would miss that.

Just because they happen over and over. I would miss them.

Tuesday, December 9


I have not always been like this.

I have not always believed that it's the little things that count. I used to obsess hard-core over the big things until I realised that it's the little things that add up to make the little things. How foolish I felt. No matter how big and daunting the big things may seem, they are only a bunch of little things grouping together to try and fool you. I am fooled easily. And often.

I have not always believed that I am a lesbian. There was one point [or maybe many points] in my life when I thought the lesbians were gross and weird. The more I thought about it, though, the more it made sense. Why would someone restrict themself to the opposite gender when her own could very well be where her true heart lies? I couldn't tell you. I also couldn't pinpoint the exact time or place that I realised that I did not like boys. I knew during high school, but I thought at the time that I was only being rebellious and fitting the stereotype of all rebellious children. I remember talking to one friend or another and telling her that boys are gross and dumb and that they deserve to die. [I apparently had a tendency to be mean.]

I no longer hate men, but they still tend to give me the creeps. I don't really know why. It could, of course, have something to do with that extra thing dangling between their legs. I have a strong suspicion that that's the case. There are, however, many men that I admire for odd reasons [Patrick Stewart, for example, or Neil Gaiman, or D], so it seems that I don't yet loathe them enough to ostracise them from my very thoughts.

I have penchant for reading children's books. I'm still stuck in the fantasy world with Tamora Pierce and Madeline L'Engle, because these writers shaped my childhood in many odd and wonderful ways. Madeline got me to wanting to learn about physics and dimensions beyond the third, which led me to learning the basics of string theory, which makes me fell terribly important. Tamora brought me back to the natural world to that I could just sit for hours and look out the window or up at the sky and not be bored at all.

I am fascinated beyond belief with the patterns that emerge in nature, both in the microcosm and the macrocosm. And yet I still don't manage to feel insignificant. I don't understand that, because looking up [or down, or sideways or longways or shortways or any other way you can think of] doesn't make me feel miniscule. I have yet to reach that point beyond pure wonderment that somehow all of these things fell together at the right moment so I could be here and now rambling on and on about things that I feel no real need to talk about. It's just the intrinsic nature of my being.

Sunday, December 7


I've had the Indigo Girls' song Devotion stuck in my head for the past few days. Only yesterday did I get a real glimpse of devotion. It was a somewhat surprising source as well - my family.

I knew they were coming up here, of course, and that it was a long haul, but I didn't really think anything of it. I figured that they would find a hotel room, although it would've been tough to find anything near. When they got here, however, I found that they did not manage to find a hotel room but simply came to see me, to hang out for a while, and to head back home the same night. They spent at least eight, probably nine, hours in the car yesterday. That's more time than anyone should have to spend with my family, really. [I realise that this is harsh, but they are not an easy bunch.]

They definitely were with me for less time than they were in the car. We visited a couple of cute shops in town - the same sort that are in my hometown - and had dinner - the same place we always go when they visit. They saw the performance, they saw me, we bought Oreos and then they left. I think they spent between six and seven hours with me, including the time that they were in the audience.

I am often impressed with displays of affection among my family for the main fact that they are rare. I don't cherish them as I should, but I'm fairly sure that that's a common occurence in society. But I'm not going to talk about society right now. I use references to the general term "society" quite often, but sometimes I wonder if I know what I'm talking about. Tonight I'm almost certain that I don't.

I only hope that I can be more appreciative of my family and the effort that they put in, the time they devote, and the values I've gotten from them, even if I don't agree with some [or any] of them.

Thursday, December 4

Secret things, Part II

I think that more people have barriers than let on. Another example of my personal barriers is when I talk about myself to people. I hadn't even realised this until a friend of mine pointed it out. I catch myself often keeping the barrier up - not necessarily adding to it, but not tearing it down, either. If one didn't have barriers, however, one would feel so exposed and naked. I don't know if my psyche can handle that at this point in time.

There are many things I don't deal with well; being exposed is only one of them. I deal surprisingly well with death, at least in the beginning. Problems only crop up when I shove the feelings deep down within myself and try to hid them. The interesting thing about that is that it happens all the time. Somehow the current societal norm has become shoving everything down inside and not showing emotion. Showing emotion has become equated with showing weakness. I don't think this is the case. Quite the contrary, I think that showing emotion is strength. Strength in oneself and willingness to bare everything.

Back to barriers. I find another large block in my source of creativity. It's almost that it is hard for me to be creative, at least harder that it used to be. When I get a brilliant idea, I want to really make something of it; I want to pour it out of where it's hiding and bring it into full potential. Unfortunately, this rarely happens. I have multitudes of story ideas that never get past an introductory stage, a myriad of compositions in my head of various media, and bits of papers everywhere that show plans for this or that. These things never get built up but instead remain ghosts of the original ideas that birthed them. I find this a little unfair. If I could have one idea that came out the way I wanted it to [the way I see things in my mind], then that would be a start. I think that after I saw my idea become reality, I would feel more motivated to create more things, and the cycle would go on again.

Motivation, however, is this whole other thing; it is a big step that I need to find. After all, someone once told me that I was a butterfly that was finally learning how to use her wings, or something eloquent like that. Of course, this same person told me that many people find it hard to be themselves, but that I do it very well. Sometimes I'm not so sure, but that's what this is all about - a blank slate to start over.

Secret things, Part I

Keeping things to oneself is a defense mechanism. I do it more than anyone would guess. It's a habit formed early in life; I must have begun it somtime around junior high or high school. Now that I'm a junior in college, I wonder why some things are kept closer inside than others. I'm surprised how many people notice it, really, but I'm even more surprised by the people who don't. But I won't talk about those people at this juncture. I want to talk about the secret things.

I put up barriers. In voice lessons, for example, I am somehow unable to let the music flow out of me. There is a sort of barrier up that is afraid to let too much through. The barrier has been up so long that I've forgotten what it is made of and now don't know how to take it down, either gently or by force. My voice professor has to remind me every time, every lesson, that I just need to relax and let it go. Part of this is nervousness - he is a very tall and intimidating man - and part of this is lack of practice. After lessons once a week for a few semesters, though, you'd think I'd be able to remember that bit of information. It's somewhat crucial if one wants to track progress.

I'll be back later for Secret things, Part II.

Wednesday, December 3


This is the beginning. Beginnings are difficult, I think, because suddenly there is a blank slate in front of you and anything goes. Sometimes blank space is intimidating. I want to put this space to good use, filling it with ponderances and beautiful moments and scary things and wonderful things and run-on sentences.

The title. The name Crimson Mittens took a good deal of thought to come up with. I started with red and string, but someone had already used that for a comic. I tried variations with red and string and thing, but none of the permutations were quite what I wanted. I even started asking people what their favourite adjectives and nouns were. I was surprised at people who did not have favourite words. They were literary types, too. Amazing, I think.

At any rate, red mutated into crimson. The second bit, mittens, came a little later on. Mittens is a twist on a joke between my friends and I - when B was smitten with someone last year, we said "mitten with an s" instead of smitten, just because it's more fun. Yesterday, I was talking with D about his secret boyfriend and my secret girlfriend and how I am so smitten; I said something to the effect of being very mittens. [Another interesting, albeit geeky, part of it is that mittens is a Latin participle from the verb mitto, meaning "I send" ... the translation of this particular participial form is "sending," so if one is "sending mittens" then one is particularly smitten with someone.]

And that is the beginning.