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30 June 2013

DIY life

I'd forgotten how much fun it is to do woodworking. The heat of sandpaper against smoothing wood, the smell of raw wood coming out from underneath the old varnish, the sawdust coating I'm gradually acquiring... *happy sigh*

This feels good.

It makes me want to start the rest of the project ideas I've been tossing around.




There's a way of living in a more hands-on manner than we tend to do in developed countries like this one, that is probably very good for the soul. Not good in the sense that, if you have no choice then doing things yourself will spiritually sustain you. No, they might sustain you physically, but that's not what I'm getting at here.

Let me try this from another tack - when my depression is at its worst, the best thing for me to do is the do something. Anything, really. Visit friends, go for a walk, paint - that one's really great for me - all these things help. It gets my body moving despite my own protests; it forces my mind to focus on something other than my own shortcomings. But I can't hang out at my friends' houses every single day. They'd get sick of me, my dogs would miss me, and Bear will be home soon, too, so I'll need to be here for him. I can go for walks, but that's a timed event - can't do that all day, every day, either. I can't even paint every single day; I have to do something different or my mind gets bored and goes back to being depressed. That's why I get into so many different types of crafts (book making, jewelry making, rune crafting, etc). Sometimes, I just need something new. Or, something that has been in the background so long that it feels new, like wood working.

Anyway, I'm rambling. My point is (I think) that I find working with my hands to be spiritually sustaining, no matter what type of work I'm doing, and maybe that's something I need to work into my regularly scheduled activities.

I haven't really had a schedule since Bear's been with his dad. He's usually the reason I keep one. I've made a couple feeble attempts at scheduling myself for regular stuff (i.e., getting chores done on a schedule, rather than when I notice they need to be done, or remembering to take my meds in the mornings, or planning to do certain tasks). This past week I scrapped the whole schedule idea. I felt like I'd go crazy if I tried to get myself to do anything on any sort of schedule unless it was actually necessary. But then again, I spent that whole week pretty much in the bottom of a vicious bout of depression. So, not a good example.

Yep, that's me rambling again. As I was saying - this DIY stuff feels pretty good. And when I think about it, the people who do more DIY stuff seem less stressed in general... maybe I should study that. I wonder if Lowes or Home Depot would fund that study? Hmmm...

SQUIRREL!
(ADD, much?)

Whew, I can't focus for crap today.

Point: I'm gonna do a little crafting/DIY every day that I can fit it in. Cuz it'll feel good.

29 June 2013

"Mamaaaaaaaa!" - Bear

So the plan was that my little Bear would spend the bulk of the summer with his dad, after spending a couple weeks with my mom. Here's how things have gone down thus far: I went to Iowa with Bear and we stayed at Grandma's together for about a week and a half. Then I came home. Bear spent another two weeks with Grandma, then flew from Grandma's house to his dad's house on 14 July.

He was going to stay at his dad's house until late July. Well Bear has decided doesn't want to stay there that long. Instead of coming home at the end of July, he's now coming home on July 3rd. Surprise!

I'm both happy that I'll see him again sooner, and totally unprepared for him to get home that early.

I also felt, when I received the news, that I shouldn't really be that surprised - but I was. I knew Bear had expressed the desire to come home early, but that was while he was visiting Grandma. Bear and Grandma can be a little bit oil-and-water-ish sometimes. I figured that once he got to his dad's house, he'd have a great time and not want to come home - even at the end of July. That's what has happened in the past.

Past, shmast.

[Side note - my spell check doesn't like "ish" but thinks "shmast" is cool. I'm pretty sure "shmast" is not a real word. You fail, spellchecker.]

This year, things is Different. Bear misses me. That surprised me. When I spoke to Archer about it, he said this (which is probably more of a paraphrase than a quote), "It's not surprising. You're that boy's whole world. He loves you so deeply. With everything he goes through, you're the only one in his life who understands him. Of course he misses you."

I've never seen that before, and I said so to Archer.

He responded, "You don't see it because you're so used to thinking of yourself as not being a natural mother, as being bad at mothering, but you're a very loving person. Once you started digging yourself out of that hole of depression, that came out. When you were depressed before, you were cut off, but since you started coming out of that, you have become a great mother to Bear. He knows that you're there for him. You're doing great. Just cut yourself some slack."

When Archer and I first met, a little over two years ago, I was just beginning to realize that I had  chronic (Major) depression, and I had no idea how to manage it. I was cut off from everyone, including Bear. Gradually, I began to see that and figured out how to correct it. And I've found ways to help Bear deal with his ADHD and anxiety - he's doing better than ever, and he's not even on meds anymore. He's finally thriving, and so am I.

Thank you Archer, I see it now. As always, you help me find the point to my story light years faster than I ever would have found it on my own. You're my hero.






(I shouldn't, but I can't resist: Thanks, Captain Save-a-Ho! Hahahaaaa!)
[The above is in reference to Archer's penchant for saving damsels in distress such as myself. It's probably a tasteless joke. I have a terrible sense of humor.]

27 June 2013

something

I'm not sure I should post this. It used to be easier to make these decisions, when my blog was anonymous. It didn't matter because nobody would see me later and feel the need to express some sort of sympathy or well-wishes. That's always so awkward in person, because I know this will never go away. The cycles will complete, and I'll feel better for a while, until it begins again. This is just the bottom. I hope this is the bottom.

I'm going to post this, because I want people reading to have a better understanding of what depression is from the inside. I'm posting this for the sake of those times when I feel better, and can't find the words to explain what it was like being on the bottom.

~

Right now, I feel very little. Little enough that it should frighten me, but it doesn't. It just is. Everything just is. I feel no need to get out of bed. I feel no need to leave my house. I do these things anyway, because my rational mind is still in charge, mostly. It's a cold rationality. It's empty, but it's right. I don't get up and interact with the world because I want to; I do it because there are other people I've made promises too. I know that if I break those promises, I will not be acting as the person I want to be. There's nothing in my heart that cares, but my head knows that later, my heart will care again. More than that, my need for fairness is anchored in me somewhere deeper than my heart, somewhere deeper than my depression has yet touched. For now, I feel dead.

The only spark of emotion I felt today was when I got angry with Archer. I was wrong to be angry with him, but at least I felt something. The anger was only skin deep, and it faded quickly, but it was something, and that's a good sign.

My heart still leapt to hear his voice on the other end of the phone when he called me. Not so high as usual, but still. Something.

I still felt anxious when we started talking. Not the good anxiousness I usually get, but still. Something.

I got angry when he seemed to be blowing me off. He probably wasn't, but maybe he was. I don't know. And now that the tiny burst of anger has faded, I care to find out, because I know I should. My heart doesn't care. My heart is blank.

But I know that if I could just hear a whisper of love in his voice, my heart would jump again, and everything would be a tiny bit better. And that thought, somehow, brought me a shadow of pain. I think that's a good thing.

- It's gone now. -

I'd like to apologize to him, for feeling so little. For not being supportive of him. For getting angry.
And I will, if he will pick up the phone.

Somewhere under this blanket of nothingness, I ache for him. 

ferret!

A couple months ago I bought a ferret for my little Bear. He had asked for a hamster because he wanted something little he could play with. I nixed the hamster (they really tend not to be terribly playful with their people, in my experience), and convinced him that he needed a ferret.

Best parenting decision Ever.

video

26 June 2013

bubbles

Today I rode passenger in my little truck while my friend drove us around to do errands. I didn't feel like driving. I didn't feel like doing errands, either, but as long as she was driving, it wasn't so bad. I sat there with my right arm and leg out the window, blowing bubbles with a bottle of bubbles shaped like a bottle of wine. A very tiny bottle of wine. That arm-and-leg-out-the-window thing makes more sense if you know that a) I live in the desert, and b) my truck has no AC. The bubbles didn't last long once they streamed out the window, but it was totally worth it. It made me feel like I could ignore how fucking difficult everything single thing is right now, and just smile at the bubbles. I was putting a positive spin on mental vacancy.


25 June 2013

hermiting

I'm hiding in my house today. I needed to do some errands - drop the rent check off at the bank, for example - but that would have required putting on pants and going outside my yard. I don't have the will to do either of those things. On the bright side, my hands aren't shaking today, which makes it easy to type. That might be because I haven't had my medicine yet today. I think that's what makes my hands shake all the time. I can hear Archer saying, "baby, you need to take your medicine." I know, but I have to take it with breakfast, and I wasn't hungry until just now. I'll take it, I promise. It's ok though. I'm staying home today. This is my safe place. I'll be ok.

The Madonna, the whore, and the BMW (a short academic offering)




If the art of a culture is a reflection of its values, advertisements should be considered no differently than a sculpture or a painting. Advertisements, too, reflect what we value. In terms of gender ideologies, our advertisements show us to be a culture rooted still in the Madonna/whore dichotomy of womanhood and the accompanying ideas of how men should react to feminine gender performances. In this paper I will focus on how this plays out in one particular commercial. 
For my analysis, I’ve chosen a commercial from the car company BMW, promoting a line of convertibles (BMW commercial – youtube). In this commercial, we see a rakish man driving, presumably, away from a liaison with an attractive woman who tosses her scarf down as he drives away. The setting appears Italianesque and affluent. As he drives, he neatly avoids the steady stream of increasingly intimate apparel being tossed down to him by attractive women on balconies. Finally, he gets to his destination, which seems to be his own wedding. His bride waits on the steps of a cathedral, waiting for the groom and surrounded by the men of her family. The groom hands the bride handkerchief so that she can dab the pending tears from her eyes. This move gains the groom the renewed approval of the bride’s family members. The scene cuts away to show text: “The new 3 Series Convertible/It could just save your life”. We come back to the cathedral scene and all seems well, until the bride unfolds the handkerchief and discovers that it’s actually a pair of lacy white women’s panties.
Certain things should be noted about the scene which plays out in this advertisement. First, there are two opposing feminine ideologies portrayed: the seductresses, throwing their underwear at the groom (who seems to be late to his wedding after a dalliance with one of them), and the bride who is virtuously waiting for her roguish fiancĂ©. This dichotomy of feminine ideologies is representative of the commonly referred to “Madonna/whore” ideology (Tishkoff 2005), in which women fit into one of two roles – the virtuous Madonna, or the disreputable whore. Second, all of the women in this commercial seem to be in places of power by their positioning, specifically by their relative elevations to the men in the commercial. These two things – the dichotomous female roles and the placement of the women – work together with the many details of the scene to create tacit approval and even encouragement of certain Western gender ideologies.
Let’s begin by examining the representation of the two feminine ideologies in this commercial. The women throwing their lingerie at the groom from their balconies are the “whores” in the Madonna/whore dichotomy. They are presented as alluring, seductive, and quite likely to get the man into trouble. There’s a ‘naughty’ element to their behavior which creates the idea that the groom is making his way through a gauntlet of temptation in order to make it to his bride’s side. However, he is pleased by the attention, as evidenced by his smiling demeanor, and he takes on the masculine role of a playboy. In that role, he is characterized as suave, debonair, and because of that, prestigious. The luxurious setting and expensive-looking car add to the aura of prestige surrounding the groom. That the groom’s prestige is wrapped up with his intimate connection to several women, indicated by them tossing their lingerie at him, reinforces our cultural ideology that connects male virility with male prestige. Female virility, however, is not so celebrated. The groom dodges the intimate clothing being offered, showing clear preference for the virtuous bride waiting at the cathedral. The bride’s virtuousness – her prestige – is reinforced by the groom’s avoidance of the balcony women in his efforts to get to her. Holland and Eisenhart discuss this application of prestige in romance to great length in chapter seven of their book, Educated in romance (1990). There are subtle indications, though, that while the prestigious groom prefers the faithfully waiting bride, it’s merely humorous is the groom is caught being, or appears to be, less than faithful. The end of the scene, in which the bride unfolds the scrap of cloth to discover that her groom has handed her another woman’s panties, is intended to be funny. It’s a lighter note to end the commercial on, leaving the audience laughing. On the other hand, the audience is also subtly encouraged to contrast the freedom enjoyed by the women in the balconies with the danger of walking into a marriage because the bride will expect her faithfulness to be returned, and there will be dire consequences if it is not.
At first glance, the relative elevations and sizes of the men and women in this commercial would seem to – literally – raise women up in status. All of the women stand above the groom; even the bride is higher up on the stairs than he is. When the groom offers the bride his ‘handkerchief,’ he has to reach up to hand it to her. Additionally, in frames which show only one face, the women’s faces are shown higher in the frame than all the men’s faces are, and larger than the groom’s face is. The women are indeed portrayed as the protagonists in this commercial. The groom must evade the women on the balconies, not confront them. Then he must face his bride from a lower position, and use a peace offering to appease her when she is upset. The bride’s family members are not placed at a lower elevation than the bride, but they are still in a subordinate position, reacting as they do to the bride’s temper (which is another indication of the pitfalls awaiting the groom, should he proceed with the wedding).
The ramifications of commercials such as this one become painfully clear when viewed alongside Holland and Eisenhart’s work (1990) concerning the priorities of young women. If the virtuous woman is the one who waits faithfully at the cathedral rather than the one who independently pursues the man while eschewing committed relationships, then it’s no wonder so many young women reprioritize their romantic lives upon entering adulthood. Who wants to be called a whore? However, I do not think it fair to say that this advertisement and ones like it have the potential to change a person’s gender performance. Instead, I would hypothesize that these commercials merely encourage an already-indoctrinated gender ideology to continue. Thus, while not harmless, the role played by this commercial and its like is that of a mirror – they only reflect what is already there, providing validation for those people who already are invested in the gender ideologies these commercials show. 
Advertisements are, in general, reflective of the cultures which produce them. The advertisement I’ve analyzed is no different, and what it says about us isn’t pretty. The difficulty in finding an advertisement that uses gender ideologies to sell its product isn’t in searching out a suitable subject, but in narrowing down the field. We are inundated with stereotypes that paint men and women into oppositional corners, because in our culture, men and women are oppositional. The commercial described above merely illustrates that.




References
BMW commercial - YouTube. (n.d.). YouTube. Retrieved June 25, 2013, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snVZhCgy37Y
Goffman, E. (1976). Gender commercials. Gender advertisements (pp. 24-45). Washington: Society for the Anthropology of Visual Communication.
Holland, D. C., & Eisenhart, M. A. (1990). Why study women's responses to schooling?. Educated in romance: women, achievement, and college culture (pp. 3-9). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Holland, D. C., & Eisenhart, M. A. (1990). Gender relations culturally construed: Romance and attractiveness. Educated in romance: women, achievement, and college culture (pp. 93-107). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Tishkoff, D. (2006). Madonna/whore: the myth of the two Marys. Bloomington, Ind.: AuthorHouse.


24 June 2013

a conversation with myself

"The mysterious call of the Goddess doesn't come from the mental-thought realm. It comes from the body, pouring forth from your bones and your blood. Your cellular memory nudges you to remember there is more to life than what you experience in the outer world. The inner world is the domain of the Divine Feminine. She nutures and encourages you to explore your inner sanctuary."
- from Properous Priestess Handbook by Lisa Michaels

"Do I even have an inner sanctuary?" I pondered this; momentarily bitter and reflecting on the ravaged landscape of my inner self. The answer came from within: Yes. "But I don't know where it is." - Sadly, feeling knowing and confused. Yes I do - it's underneath, it's the core within the core, the life within the rot. It's what stays my hand when all feels worthless.

"If my inner world is the domain of the Goddess, then mine must be a real bitch. It's a war zone in here, and I'm not winning. Not much of a sanctuary."

But the battlefield isn't in the place of a sanctuary. The battlefield stands between me and my inner sanctuary. If I'm war-torn, then maybe it's because I've spent my life fighting the concept of housing anything Feminine in my body.

-Full stop-
-Epiphany-

Oh... wow. Yeah, could be. Could be.
Hela help me.

this night

Tonight is the first night of the waning full moon;
tonight is the second night of the waning year.

Tonight the cycle turns toward endings;
Tonight, as the endings begin, I ask that my cycle of pain end too.

Hela, please, help me shed these corrosive fears, help me silence the disparaging voice. 
Hela, please, help me release the parts of my body that do not serve me.

Hela, please, let these things end.

Burn away the sickness; I prefer the pain of the burn to the pain of lingering ailments.

May my upcoming surgery go well and be successful; may that which needs changed, change.

By Hela's Hand, so mote it be.

22 June 2013

my brain: unfocused

I wonder, sometimes, why it hurts to hear someone say they love me. Especially when I know it's true. They really do. Why does that make me cry? There's no reasoning in my thoughts that explains the tightening in my chest, the burning in my eyes; there's just emptiness in my head.

Maybe there's isn't any explanation, besides, "you're mentally ill, Bones."

~

I had a disagreement with my boss earlier this week about the relative meanings of "their" and "they're." I was right. I'm not sure who won. But luckily, we're still friends. She understands my virgo side, even if she's not sure about my grammar skills. She's a pretty awesome boss. She also makes great tea.

~

My favorite bumper sticker to date: "Bisbee: it's like Mayberry on acid" - that's totally true. Most accurate description of this town, ever.

~

I'm headed to the next town over to get some quality Archer time tonight. It does a body good. Specifically, my body. And my heart. And I need that. I'll miss my critters though. It's a trade off.

~

I should be doing homework right now. I'm scheduled to do two more classes in the second summer session, next month. I might withdraw and just take the rest of the summer off. It's a very appealing idea. My GPA would probably be better off if I did. I'm completely burnt out on academia right now. But I'm so close to my degree....! Another trade off, this one far more uncertain right now.

~

I did some paintings this morning. They're itty bitty - only 2x3" - and it was totally fun.



See that one in the middle? I used a strawberry to paint that one. It was a really juicy strawberry. Then I ate it. It was delicious. I think I'll leave it just like that, only I'll put a clear acrylic seal over it. So it doesn't attract ants. It would suck if ants ate my painting. Even though I bet it would be tasty. It still smells like strawberry. You don't even have to scratch it first. 

He's looking at you, kid.

I might keep that one for myself.
Because I love strawberries.

21 June 2013

attractive

I'm been feeling distinctly unattractive lately. It's not unreasonable, because I'm overweight right now. I've only been struggling with my weight for the past few years. It's not an accustomed feeling. At first, it wasn't so bad. I still felt pretty, I was just wearing a bigger size. Now, at five pounds over the weight I was when I was nine months pregnant with my son, I feel yucky. Most of my clothes don't fit - even my "fat" clothes - and I refuse, refuse, to buy bigger clothes again.

Last night, in a fit of insomnia, I laid in bed reading - because that's what I do when I can't sleep - I had the sudden feeling of detachment from my body. Not like an astral projection or anything like that. More like, "this isn't my body - this isn't who I'm supposed to be." It was somewhere around 2 am, and I literally had to tamp down on an urge to jump out of bed and go running out the door. I wanted to go hiking or on a bike ride, anything to feel like I was actively fighting the poor state of fitness I'm in, and I wanted to do it immediately. I didn't go. I went back to my book, trying to ignore the feeling. Eventually I went to sleep. That was sometimes after 3 am.

I want to be healthy again.
I want to feel attractive.
I want to fit in my damn clothes. 

20 June 2013

we have a winner(s)!

So.... all the craziness in my head life this month has meant that I didn't have time to properly advertise this giveaway, which means that only three people entered - really!
Here's where you say, "oh damn!"

In light of that information, I decided that instead of doing a drawing for two winners, I'm just calling all three people winners. Because they're that cool, for supporting me with something I wasn't even giving the proper amount of energy to. I have great friends.

*ahem*
I'm pleased to announce the winners of one $20 gift certificate, each, of Archer's Bones goodies: 

Jonathan Bollin
Charlie Conklin
Magaly Guerrero

And, since I happen to know that all three of you are either veterans or married to veterans, I'll also tell you the coupon code for my veteran's discount when I email the details to each of you - you can use that when you spend your gift certificates!

19 June 2013

an evening recap, and runes

I'm so tired.
I'm not mentally exhausted; I'm just... a little too well grounded. It's like my mind never wanted to wake up this morning. It's the Depression, I'm sure.

Around lunchtime today, I was able to get myself moving. Not literally, but at least in terms of being productive, and that's a good start. I got my newest goodies posted to my etsy shop. I'm pretty excited about the rune set, and the rune sets I'm making next.

I had visitors this afternoon, whose presence helped me immeasurably. We discussed business plans and gardening plans, and I'm getting excited for what comes next.

Note to self: when feeling down, find a friend to talk about future plans with. It helps a lot.


Wanna see the runes?



Get more details at the shop.

17 June 2013

need more time? me too!

I'm still adding more goodies to the store!

Saturday was awesome, by the way. More on that later. I'm working on a whole write up with pictures and everything.

I'm doing a little homework tonight, and I have a pre-op appointment that will take up most of my day tomorrow. After the appointment, pictures of the new goodies are going up!

I have a winner for the giveaway - but I'm going to keep you in suspense until Thursday, when I have time to do this all properly.

And just because I love you and your patience, I'm going to have TWO winners. Want a chance at free stuff?

Follow me on etsy, favorite something in the shop, or leave a comment somewhere on my blog between now and Wednesday, and you're in!


14 June 2013

this is my town...Bisbee Pride & Archer's Bones

I know, I've been throwing my own little love fest for my town lately. But really, it's all true. I love this place, because I love these people. A couple days ago I posted a snippet of a conversation with my friend Seth. Today I'd like to share the rest of that evening with you. And I will. But first, this:

This morning is the beginning of the Bisbee Pride weekend. It's a Queer event, but when I think of everything the people of our town are doing to make this event a success, I can't help but be proud of us.

Just recently the Bisbee city council approved civil unions within the city's jurisdiction. Obviously, this does little in terms of civil rights beyond our small borders, but our elected officials decided to do it anyway - just because "it was the right thing to do." (I forget which said that for sure, but I think it was Council Member Gene Conners). I'm so, so proud of this town. We're the only town in Arizona to even attempt this kind of legislation, though other municipalities are considering following in our footsteps.

This place has soul. I'm lucky to be part of it.
If you're not joining us for Pride this year, I hope we'll see you next year.

If you are  going to be here this weekend, don't forget to come say 'Hi' to me in the artisans & vendors fair! Or, stop by my etsy shop online from anywhere and let me know you're there for Bisbee Pride. Either way you can get entered to win an item from my shop!

My shop: etsy.com/shop/ArchersBones

I'm going to include links to the entrepreneurs' shops who you're about to read about, too. Yes, I'm assuming you're going to keep reading. I'm cocky like that.

Ok maybe I'm not. But seriously, check these people out. They're beautiful, and they all do beautiful things.

Seth's coffee link: http://www.oldbisbeeroasters.com/
Autumn (aka Jill)'s business: http://www.hpsilver.com/index.html
June doesn't have a website, that I know of. You'll just have to wait for me to take some pictures of her extraordinary artistry. ;)

Without further ado, here's the rest of Sunday night:




In an alley in Bisbee, there’s a coffee stand, a woman who sells hand-painted silk scarves, and a metalsmith who sells the most amazing jewelry of precious metals and stones. This is Peddler’s Alley. Seth runs the coffee stand, giving out free espressos and selling bags of coffee beans. June sells her scarves. Autumn is the metalsmith. Trez, the hotel manager from across the street, likes to hang out and drink coffee in the alley. When the guests are all settled in for the night, she joins us for a beer or some of Seth’s whiskey. Sometimes Belle and Patty come over from the cafe next to the hotel. The Honey Man, Reed – he makes our local honey – comes to get some free espresso from Seth and chat with the rest of the alley. I’m there, too, but I’m not usually a productive member of our little alley-family. Sometimes I do oracle readings, which are like tarot readings but less complicated, for whoever wants one. That’s my contribution.
Today, we had dinner together. The cafe was getting ready to close for the day. It had been a slow day, so they had an entire quiche left over. Seth bought the quiche and a pitcher of ice tea. Belle, Seth, and I handed out the ice teas in the alley. Patty heated up the quiche and brought it across the street to the alley. I cut and served the quiche, while Patty and Belle went back to clean up the cafe.

The conversation went like this –
June: Cut small pieces, Katy. We just ate a bunch of this (gesturing to a lidded pot).
Katy: Sure thing.
Seth: Oh you need – (reaches for a roll of paper towels) – something to put that on.
Katy: Nope, Patty brought us wax paper.
Seth (not hearing, handing over a paper towel): Here –
Katy: No need hon, I got this covered. (Winks.)
June: Yeah Seth, she’s got this covered.
Katy (to Seth): Thank you sweetheart. You’re awesome. (Takes the offered paper towel; passes the first piece of quiche to June.)
June: No, give that to her. (Pointing to a tourist who was looking forlornly at the nearby, but closed, restaurant.)
Katy (to the tourist): Would you like some quiche?
Tourist: Oh, no thanks, we have to eat dinner in an hour, so...
Katy: (Shrugs.) Ok, your loss. Here Trez, this is for you. (Handing quiche slice to Trez.)
Random local person who happened to stop by right then: Haha!
Trez: Thanks!
Reed: Hey, lemme try some of that quiche. That looks good... Oh man, that’s rich. Who made that?
Katy: Patty.
Reed: That’s delicious. I have to take home some of that for the old lady. Can I take some home?
Seth: Sure – that’s what it’s there for.

Customers came and went; some joined our conversations, some shrugged us off. Most of them got espresso from Seth.
Trez: Maybe that’s my guests – (runs across the street, just ahead of a couple tourists carrying luggage; she disappears into the hotel).
(June nods sagely.)


Seth: I’m thinking about going to upstate New York.
Katy: Really? What part?
Seth: Upstate.
Katy: Where in upstate? I’m from there.
Seth: Finger Lakes.
Katy: I’m from the Finger Lakes! Where are you going?
Seth: Lake Chitaqua. My dad turned me on to it. There’s this place he goes in the summer, and he lives for it.
Katy: Cool! It’s so beautiful there, especially in the summer.
Seth: I might do an event there.
Katy: Need a helper?
Seth: Maybe –
Katy: Ooo, pick me!
Seth: Yeah!
Katy: So when are we going?
Seth: This summer. I don’t know.
Katy: Well, I have til the end of July.
Seth: Sweet, that’s my time frame.
Katy: So what’s going on at Lake Chitaqua?

Seth told me the story, then, of how he and his father came to terms with each other, just a few years ago. He didn’t like his dad much, growing up, he said, and he moved out quite young. After he moved out, he’d call his dad once in a while, but hated doing so because the conversations were never pleasant. They didn’t argue, or anything like that, but his dad was something of a hypochondriac and would tell Seth that, someday, Seth would have the same health complications he believed himself to be plagued by. Seth felt his dad was trying to bequeath those illnesses to him, and he found himself reluctant to call his dad. He’s say, “Hi Dad, how are you?” Then he’d kick himself for asking, because he dad would respond with a listing of medical misfortunes.

Seth: And I never wanted to go home unless I could do it on my own terms. I pay for everything. If I want to go somewhere with him – last year, I wanted to go to Santa Fe. I called my dad and said, “hey, let’s go to Santa Fe. I’ll send you a plane ticket, you just get on the plane and meet me there. I’ll rent a car at the airport.” And I did. I flew us both in to Albuquerque, rented a car there, and drove us to Santa Fe. And it was great. But I never wanted to make him provide the vacation. I provide the vacation. He just comes along. I like it that way.

A few years ago, his dad called him. While they spoke, Seth realized that the neediness usually so present in his dad’s voice was – gone. His dad told him about going to this retreat at Lake Chitaqua, and how it was a life-changing event. Seth’s dad learned, at the retreat, that in all his life, he had never learned to say “I love you.” Further, he learned that all his life, he had been going to doctors when he needed to feel cared for. Seth’s dad said, “my biggest regret, is that I didn’t do this sooner in my life,” and he wanted very much to share the experience with Seth. After some resistance, Seth agreed to go spend a week with his dad at the retreat at Lake Chitaqua. He stayed an extra week; when it was time to leave, he let his dad go and booked the extra week for himself. This year, he wants to go back.

Seth described the retreat location: hundreds of acres of gated land where no cars were allowed. People would drop off their luggage, then park their cars by the entrance for the week – or weeks – they were staying. They’d walk everywhere – around the lake, to the opera, the theater, the symphony, the lectures. Speakers come from all over the world for the once-in-a-lifetime chance to speak at Lake Chitaqua, and there is a different theme every week. The second week Seth stayed there, the theme was National Geographic: Oceans. They would talk about science all morning, and theology all afternoon, then go to the opera in the evening.

I wondered what the theme was the week Seth’s dad discovered how to say “I love you,” but I didn’t ask. He was telling his story and we were sipping Irish whiskey from his flask. It wasn’t a good time to get interrogative.

At the end of the evening, Autumn has packed up and gone to dinner with her husband, Logan, who came to visit toward the end of the day. June has gone, too, with her rainbow of scarves, and Nicole and Kirsten have parted ways. I tell Seth about the paper I have to write, and how I’m not sure that I’ll be able to, since I’m not around many families at the moment.

Then Kirsten stopped by to see Seth; she and I introduced ourselves to each other. The three of us talked about road trips and motorcycles and cars. Seth pondered how he would drive to New York. Not a direct trip, he said – he wanted to be in each place. He wanted to enjoy every stop on the journey, to have lunch with people who knew his coffee. He has at least 200 customers in every state. Every place he goes, if he gives enough warning, he can meet someone who drinks his coffee and have lunch with them. He wants to meet as many people as he can. He loves people, he says with a smile, and people love coffee. I think he’s right.

Nicole stops by next. I’ve never met her before, either, but she’s familiar, like we’ve seen each other somewhere, somehow. It’s a small town; that’s not surprising. Nicole is full of life, a flower about to burst in a pink velvet dress and brown boots. Nicole and Kirsten talk animatedly about Santa Cruz and Nicole’s latest gig, managing the creation of an art installation at the MOCA, the Museum of Contemporary Art, in Tucson. Her friend Chico had asked her to be part of the team. The piece her team created is called “Chrysalis,” and she talked about all the changes in her life and how the project was so appropriate for this period of her life. She talked about being the only woman, in charge of a group of men, and how that made her want to “do fist pumps every day.” She felt like the butterfly emergent and powerful.

On a whim, I decided to do an oracle reading for Seth. While he entertained customers and Nicole and Kirsten caught up with each other, I shuffled and drew my oracle cards. When the customers departed, I nodded Seth over to my cards and explained the reading to him. The reading helped him make a decision: he’s going on a road trip this summer, north to Colorado, then east to New York. He’s going to sell his coffee at Lake Chitaqua. I’m so proud of him.

Then I notice, for the first time, the beautiful stained glass windows on the second floor of the building across the street. I mention it to Seth. He agrees. We stare at the glass for a moment, slightly inebriated and almost out of whiskey.
"I feel like I'm going to cry," he says.
I ask, "Good cry or bad cry?"
"Good cry."
"Oh, good then."
"I can just feel it. You know, life is so beautiful. It's like how old people's eyes always have that sheen of wetness. Their eyes have seen so much, and it's all there, all that beauty, and there's so much that they're about to burst. They've seen so much beauty. The tears are always just about to fall because life is so beautiful. It's like that."
"That's going in my paper," I say.
"That's cool. It should," he replies.


Norman stops by, seeing Seth and I still there. Norm is one of Seth’s employees. We chat. A kid stops by with a young sparrow on his finger. It can’t fly because some of its flight feathers have been damaged. A cat, maybe, from the looks of the sparrow’s matted downy and torn tail. The kid thinks the bird is “part finch and part sparrow” but the rest of us doubt that very much. He’s looking for food for the little bird, and I recall that I have chia seeds in my kitchen. So I say good night and leave the alley, kid and bird in tow, hoping to write a paper after I feed the bird.



11 June 2013

tea shop titillations


What did you do yesterday?

I hung out in the tea shop where I occasionally work, enjoyed the cool air and drew pictures. 

Quote of the day:
When the cash register didn't want to open and I suggested that spewing vulgarities might convince it to work, a regal-looking woman told me, "not in front of me, please - my delicate ears won't stand for that shit."
I like her.

09 June 2013

Sunday evening conversations with Seth

"I feel like I'm going to cry."
"Good cry or bad cry?"
"Good cry."
"Oh, good then."
"I can just feel it. You know, life is so beautiful. It's like how old people's eyes always have that sheen of wetness. Their eyes have seen so much, and it's all there, all that beauty, and there's so much that they're about to burst. They've seen so much beauty. The tears are always just about to fall because life is so beautiful. It's like that."
"That's going in my paper."
"That's cool. It should."


scary stuff

I have to write about this. Because I have to talk about it. It's bothering me. Not in a "please help me fix this" way, because it can't be fixed. It can only be lived through. It's a lesson waiting to be learned. But I see it coming, and I want someone to talk to about it, someone for whom I don't have to pretend everything's ok and I'm not scared. Because I am scared.

I'm having a hysterectomy early next month. (It's ok if you want to skip the rest of this post. I'll understand. You're not a captive audience, after all, and girly-bits discussions aren't for everyone.)

It's a partial hysterectomy - they're leaving my ovaries in, only removing my uterus and cervix. I'm happy that my uterus will be gone. It's a relieving thought. I'm disconcerted that my cervix will also be gone. Maybe it's silly. Maybe it's just because I didn't anticipate the implications of how, exactly, this will all work out. I had wondered, of course, but I just didn't know. So I asked, and the answer seemed completely rational, even obvious.

In order to make the whole surgery less risky and to reduce my recovery time, the doctor wants to do a vaginal hysterectomy - meaning they remove the uterus through the vagina, thus avoiding an abdominal incision. I agree, that's the best way to do it. I don't really need any more abdominal scars, thanks. I hadn't realized before that in order for them to do a vaginal hysterectomy, they have to remove the cervix along with the uterus. I'm still not sure precisely why that is. Anyway, they'll close up the end of my vagina, where my cervix will no longer be, making me fractionally shallower, and - as the doctor phrased it - "a blind alley." So I'll be a cul-de-sac instead of... a freeway? At least she didn't call it a "dead end." Hmm. Well, that will be different. I'm wondering how that will change having sex. You know? Because I think it will. But I'm not sure. So that worries me.

I've wanted a hysterectomy since I figured out I had a uterus, and they could be removed. Not that this is an optional surgery. I need to have this done, because leaving it in means living with chronic pain. I'm happy that, finally, my body, mind, and doctors are in agreement. The uterus has to go. It's still scary. Thanks for listening.

Archer's Bones: VaVoom!

This is my favorite store.
It makes "quirky" sound clichĂ©.
They find and sell antiques, vintage curiosities, modern art - any era, all awesome.
Also, there are zombies.

I frequently have trouble describing VaVoom to people who've never been there. I'm having that problem right now, in fact. Typical conversation:

"What's VaVoom?"
"It's... a store... full of Awesome."
"I mean, what do they sell?"
"Awesomeness."
"You're not helpful."
"Um... they sell everything that is awesome. Clothes, accessories, leatherware, books - old books, new books, vintage toys... You know, Awesome stuff. And zombies. And steampunk zombieware. Oh, and earrings. And -"
"Ok! I get it! Geez, you can stop now."

See? Not easily summarized, but totally one of the best shops ever.

AND I just found out they're on Etsy, too!

Check it out!

etsy.com/shop/vavoombisbee



So, have you made plans to stalk visit me during Bisbee Pride yet? What are you waiting for?

06 June 2013

Archer's Bones: the Bisbee run!

Remember back in May, when I said I was going to do my official opening of the Archer's Bones etsy shop on the 1st 14th of June? Me too!

I hate extending things like this, but it seems like I'm doing it a lot lately. Well, things are settling. I'm finding my rhythm. It's getting better; it's good. Besides, it just means more time to walk the shops!

So, there's a huge holiday coming up here in Bisbee - Bisbee Pride, woot! - and I'm sharing a booth with a friend of mine for the event. Our joint shops will be there in person, which is wicked cool.

Feast your eyes, People! It's Archer's Bones & The Mustard Cave! (Sounds like a bad band name, eh? hehe!)

Celebrate?! Who, me? Hell yeah!

Here's the deal: Stop by my shop during Bisbee Pride (14-16 June), either in person or on etsy, and let me know you've been there. If you're stopping by in person, just mention my blog. If you're stopping by on etsy, send me a message saying you're there for Bisbee Pride. That's it!

What will that do for you, you ask? You will be entered to win one item - up to $20 - from my shop for FREE. Your choice! (Also, free shipping, for the online folks.)

And FYI, I'm adding more items to the online shop every day between now and the 14th.


03 June 2013

back in Bisbee

Today was my first day back in my own house, in Bisbee. And dude, it was awesome.

I chilled. I crafted. I sewed. I played with my critters.

I missed my little Bear, but that's ok. It was somehow invigorating to be alone in my house. Stress is knocking at my door - the VA hasn't sent me the stipend I live off, and if it doesn't show up soon I won't be able to pay my rent - but for today, I just enjoyed being in my own space.

I love being back in Bisbee. I went for a walk today, intending to spend some time at the tattoo shop where I'm doing my apprenticeship. My teacher wasn't there, though, so I didn't stay. Instead I walked over to the cafe where a friend of mine works, and had some tangerine lemonade and some spinach quiche. Delicious. I wandered over to the post office and picked up a week and a half of mail.

There was no rain.

All I need now is for Archer to come home from his business trip.