Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Aravi, the Sirens, and Religion

Hey you! I know you're on the verge of super-duper big life changes, but as soon as you're back in MN we will (if we're smart and motivated) have a much easier time writing (I hope), and thinking about that meant that some ideas began percolating a bit.

Okay, so we were thinking that Elydra would have six uncles, with her mother being the youngest of her grandmother's children (since she had to keep going until she produced a female). Would it be crazy if each uncle held stewardship of one Maranese city? Aravi, as the oldest, would of course have (the one on the coast), which is second only to the capital in beauty and size.

(As a note, what if the capital used to be the one by the coast, but a queen was assassinated by the sirens a couple of centuries ago - the last time they were really active - and to protect the lineage, the capital was moved further inland? That would explain part of why the coastal one is so beautiful, and also why the main Caisharad tower is there.)

Anyway, what if these sort of preacher-ish guys begin roaming the countryside proclaiming that the Caisharad are evil and that because their power originated from the Sirens, they should be destroyed because nothing good can come of it? And that the queen, as the hub of the power, should be replaced by someone with no connection to the power...which would also eliminate all of the protection Marann has from the Sirens. Aravi could be behind it, as a subtle attempt to begin to undermine the power of the Caisharad and the queen. Then, when tensions get really high and people begin believing that the Caisharad really are evil, Aravi could make his move and have more followers right off the bat (though, of course, they wouldn't know that he - and the rest of the uncles, except maybe for one, perhaps the youngest? One should stand with Elydra - ALSO gets his power from the Sirens, except that his is really the evil one). That could stir up some really good dissent against Elydra, too - some people could actually believe that she's just a pawn of the Sirens, and they could blame the worsening state of the country on that, when in reality, she's doing everything she can just to protect them FROM the Sirens.

Erm, hopefully that makes sense. I have to get back to work, but I might come back and edit this later. Not sure.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Thoughts on Anxiety and Medication

Note to my three readers: I'm going to be writing about mental health and anxiety/depression and whatnot. I guess it's kind of personal, but also not so personal that I don't feel comfortable putting it out there in the public domain. I think talking about these things is important, but obviously nobody is obligated to read them.

One other note for myself - sometimes I need to have it reinforced that it is okay to talk about these things. I always have this nagging urge to blame myself for feeling this way, like if I was just a better, more moral, upright, and stronger person, I'd be just fine and able to quit bitching about it. But the fact is that I've had anxiety problems since elementary school - I just realized the other day that those times when my parents would pull me out of my birthday parties because I was hyperventilating and freaking out all over the place? Yeah. Those were panic attacks. I've been having them for years. And it's an enormous step forward for me to be able to not just admit it, but to be responsible for really dealing with it.

Today I did something that I've been considering doing for quite a while, but couldn't because of the whole no-health-insurance thing: I saw a doctor about my anxiety, and I'm going to try medication for it. The college I'm at has a reciprocity program with WSU, so I'm able to use their health services and whatnot, which is neat. (I have lots and lots of thoughts and feelings about WSU, but I'm not going to go into them now. Suffice to say that while I love the reciprocity thing, WSU has always pissed me off, and their brand-spanking-new "Wellness Complex" is absolutely no exception to that rule.) Anyway, I figured that, since today was also the first day of taking the medication, it might be useful for me to do some mood tracking, because in the past I've always had trouble really identifying how I was reacting to medication (at least until things got bad, like with the Lexapro, which was a disaster, no thank you).

My appointment went well, I think. The counselor referred me to a really nice doctor, and she and I chatted for about forty minutes about what my anxiety levels have been like (high. Always high. Never not high, unless I'm really zoned out in a book or something), how I deal with it, whether or not it affects school and work (it had better not affect school; that's a big part of why I was there), and what kinds of medications can help deal with it. I told her that I was on Zoloft in high school for a little while, but that while I couldn't remember having any distinct side effects, it also made me wary because I couldn't remember.

She first recommended Lexapro, because apparently it works well for many people, but after I explained the whole depersonalization/dissociation experience, she said that it'd probably be best to stay far away. We settled on Citalopram, which is the generic form of Celexa, and actually pretty close to Lexapro, though I guess it tends to work more on anxiety than depression. I was still pretty reluctant to go on anything relating to depression (I really don't think I've been depressed in quite a while; I have my low points, but one, that's part of the natural cycle of bipolar II tendencies, and two, that's part of life. Which is fine), but SSRIs are generally what they use to treat anxiety, so I guess that narrows the field a bit. Cost is also an issue, since...well, I still don't have health insurance. For right now, my options are limited to what you can fill for $4-10 at Target.

I took my first 10 mg of Citalopram at noon, and while headaches are listed as a side effect for starting the med, I'm not sure whether or not it's too early for me to feel any. I do have a little bit of a headache, and I'm lightheaded when I stand up, but that could easily be because I haven't really had time to eat anything yet today aside from a really delicious slice of lemon cake from Starbucks, which was my reward for marching my butt down to Target right away and filling that damn prescription.

Run on, sentence, run on.

There are some other side effects listed whose possibilities make me nervous, but that's the risk you take when you go on medication, I guess. I just keep telling myself that it's okay; I'm not obligated to stay on anything I don't want to. If something doesn't work, I can try something else, or I can opt to go without. I've managed so far. It's not comfortable, but I have. Mostly, though, I'm sick of the panic attacks, sick of the social anxiety, and sick of the obsessive tendencies that I really try not to think about (re: my fingernails, etc.). There's just no good reason for being this wound up all day, every day, when you can do something about it.

This entry ended up a lot more scattered than I wanted it to be. There were so many things I wanted to talk about! Which is weird, because this is only my second entry in like, six months.

Edit: I left this entry for a little while, and now that I'm back, I can say for a certainty that I do feel kind of weird. Like, there's sort of a pressure in my head, and I'm a little foggy, but also have a lot of energy? I don't know. Every time the phone rings, it freaks the heck out of me.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Thoughts on Losing

From the Pursuit of Harpyness blog, which I just discovered:

Born in New England and raised in Nova Scotia, Elizabeth Bishop was one of America’s greatest 20th century poets. She served as Poet Laureate of the US, and won both the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award for poetry.

One Art

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster,

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three beloved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

– Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) a disaster.

- Elizabeth Bishop

Monday, January 9, 2012

Thoughts on School

Well, today I went back to school.

Not in the sense of, "Oh no, I forgot something at school and I must go back." No. I went back to school after two years of doing nothing but working.

And it's weird.

I have an Anatomy class at 8 AM Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with a two-hour Friday lab. My professor seems okay; the impression I got this morning was that he knows exactly how hard this class it, and he would genuinely prefer it if his students succeed. That's always helpful.

In two hours - no, an hour and a half - I have an Algebra class (from 11-12 PM). I've heard that that professor is nice, and also cares about her students. And then on Tuesday nights I have a three-hour computer class. Fun.

I just went to get my books, and though I was convinced that I would have enough financial aid to cover them, they still ended up running $84 over because - get this - these three books are costing me $430. Three books. And yeah, I know that textbooks are expensive, but...I'm buying all of these used. This just shouldn't be. Though I have to admit that complaining about having to pay $84 for books is like complaining that a 9-credit semester is costing me $90: it's ridiculous. I'm very grateful that my financial aid is so generous this semester. I may end up applying for a very small loan, but that will be to help make up for the work that I'm not going to be able to do because I'm, you know, studying and not able to cover for people at the bank.

I'm sitting in the cafeteria smelling the (probably awful) coffee coming from the...ah, "Cobblestone Market", and wondering if it would be worth it to put a cup of coffee on my credit card. Probably not, but the jury's still out. I'm very sleepy, and I'd rather not get a caffeine headache on top of it. If I do go get coffee, though, I'm going to have to lug about sixty pounds of books through the line.

So yeah. That's that. Here I am, living the dream, getting my degree, and somehow, at least for this semester, not putting myself further in debt. Unless you count the interest that my previous loans will accumulate while they're on deferment, of course. If I sound somewhat less than thrilled right now, don't worry about it. It's just early, and the cost of those books really took me by surprise.

One last thing: a few days ago, I submitted a piece to the fantastic Six Sentences blog. Well, today it was published! I know it's just a small thing, but it's super exciting to have anything published, so I'm pretty thrilled.

Heather, if you read this, the piece is (quite obviously) about our experience at the Assembly of God. Also, want to hear something freaky? I had to go to my mom's new church to pick up Sarah last weekend, and guess who attends? Joanna's sister. She said hi to me and I was all like, um, do I know you? BUT I DID KNOW HER. So. Yeah.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The bloggy magic... pretty much gone.

Probably not forever. I mean, it's not like I know. But what I do know is that blogging just doesn't have any appeal right now. I seem to prefer restricting my ramblings to my internal monlogue. If I were to blog right now, it would only be to say things like:

I went to work. It was busy/boring. I went home, played with the dog, hung out, and maybe did some cleaning or writing. Then, if it's the weekend, I went to work again. Night jobs are crazy. The shift was busy/boring.

And it isn't as if my life is really as terribly dull as that sounds, but I don't have the energy to go into more detail. Maybe it's just blogging itself that's boring right now. And I guess it's started to feel really narcissistic to me, too, which doesn't make much sense because I adore reading other people's blogs. Go figure.

Anyway, though, I'm done with this for now. No more even thinking about blogging for me for a while, unless something comes up that I just desperately need to post. Which probably won't happen.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

10 Myths About Introverts, awesome shows, general update.

Warning: long post is long. Just so you know.

Okay, I just stumbled on a post by Carl King called "10 Myths About Introverts", and it. Is. Wonderful.

I'm a pretty strong introvert, and it feels weirdly self-centered to say, but I could see some of myself in every single one of these points. The first one, especially, made me laugh, because once I get going talking about something I love with a friend, it's really damn hard for me to shut up. The thing about dopamine sensitivity makes so much sense, and really, it's nice knowing that there's a biological reason that people react differently to situational stimulation. I've often been really, really embarassed at how overwhelmed I've felt in groups, crowds, at work, whatever - like there's just so much going on, and while I can keep up for a while, I just don't have the energy to be constantly reacting to everything around me. And it doesn't mean that there aren't certain times that I just adore being out in public, because there totally are. It's just...everything in moderation, you know? And, knowing this, it means that not everything has to be laid at the feet of social/general/whatever anxiety. It's still a factor, but it's not the be-all and end-all of my social woes.

(Also, it makes me kind of proud that I got through a year of full-time food service, because holy chaotic situations, Batman!)

Anyway, general update? Um. Work's fine, pretty busy. I'm all about making myself more and more useful right now in the hopes of snagging extra hours, because right now it seems like a better bet than spreading myself thin over another job.

I'm also kiiind of starting to learn some wireworking techniques for jewelry making, which is crazy fun (and HARD, my GOD), though I think I might not be the wireworking type - I'm finding that I prefer beads made of semiprecious stones and antiqued brass chains and unique pendants, preferably with oceanic/steampunk/generally unique themes. Also, when you play with wire, you end up with metal smudges all over your hands and weird smells, which is slightly offputting. Nate's already much better at it than I am, too. I think he's going to work on making kilt pins, but you never know with him.

I ordered a gorgeous necklace from Sandrandan Jewelry on Etsy last week (Heather, look at that store! I think there's a lot there that you'd like. Possibly). It was totally impulsive, which is really not normal for me (in the past, I haven't been into jewelry too much - I tend to lose things pretty easily, and...I don't know. It costs money?), but I just about fainted when I saw it, it was so lovely. It's a stylized brass poppy with three amber drops on one side - has really gorgeous kind of asymetrical Art Nouveau thing going on. I also ordered some tiny little brass lockets with settings for tiny little cabochons (8mm! So small!), which will be green glass beads with yellow roses. So those will be fun to add to whatever I end up making.

I think I'm a little bit addicted to Etsy.

Aside from that, though, not too much else going on here. We're still waging the Apartment War - yesterday Nate won the Battle of the Jeans, which previously were in a terrifyingly enormous pile and now are neatly folded and put away. We also swept, mopped, and did dishes. So that's actually some really good progress.

I don't know what else. I've been terrible on the communication front, which has definitely been an on-and-off theme lately. Last week was actually really rough - things didn't start turning around until the weekend. So hopefully they'll keep getting better, I guess. Oh! Two shows we've been watching that I wanted to mention!

Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss's "Sherlock", which currenly only has three 90-minute episodes up for season one on Netflix, is one of the absolute best things I've ever seen EVER. It's a modern update of the Sherlock Holmes thing, and it's got Martin Freeman as Watson and Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock, and oh my god. I can't wait for season two. Each episode is movie-length, so they're a bit of a time commitment, but they're so witty and well done. Best quote (from Sherlock): "I'm not a psychopath, I'm a high-functioning sociopath. Learn the difference." He's very much in the tradition of Jeremy Brett's Sherlock, except that his Sherlock loves to text, and it is just so wonderful. Also, Martin Freeman is adorable. As usual.

The other show is Joss Whedon's "Dollhouse", which I really wasn't impressed with until maybe the third or fourth episode - Eliza Dushku isn't the greatest actress, but she's certainly not terrible, and there are some really great characters in it. Not to mention the fact that it's setting up a really, really interesting dystopia. It moves more slowly than Buffy or Firefly, though, so you really have to have some patience and get past how much more sexualized it seems than Whedon's other work. I mean, he's never shied away from things being sexy, but this time it feels like it's all over - the theme song, the main character, the settings. It's not bad, though, and it'll take something pretty extreme to keep me from watching to the end.

(Okay, random thing - I keep getting calls from someone named, and I'm not kidding, "Bambino Lamb". I don't think this is a real person. They keep calling and hanging up. Very odd.)

Anyway, though, this is a much, much longer entry than I was planning on. I'd probably better wrap it up.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


One of the biggest problems I've seen with political dialogues is that when it comes to issues all across the spectrum, everybody is talking at different levels. You have some people with one understanding of an issue saying what they think is right based on their understanding, and other people saying other things based on their understanding, and then someone with a greater or lesser understanding will say something and the same generally-well-meaning people will riot over how that person is wrong, and it's just a fucking mess. And this applies to people talking on the street just as well as it does Congress and the House of Reps and the variety of morons putting in their bids for the presidency. It takes a huge amount of concentrated effort for any kind of clear and basic communication to take place, let alone constructive debate.

It's because everything's so damn personal.

There's no way to separate who someone is - their backround, ideology, theology, psychology - from their ability to make decisions. In most cases, that's a very good thing (theology excluded. That is never a good thing. In the U.S., at least). We don't want robots making bottom-line objective decisions. Then you end up with...I don't know, the world in Biting the Sun or something (not that that wouldn't be fascinating). But we just have this incredible surplus of people who can't take their theology out of it, who can't think beyond their own comfort and self-righteousness.

I don't know. Whenever I try to articulate thoughts on politics I almost always end up talking in circles and confusing myself.

The point of this, however, was that I am NOT HAPPY with this country. And it had better GET IN LINE or else it will get NO SUPPER.

Also, I think that studying the ways that people communicate is really interesting. I should look into that.

ALSO-ALSO, Stephen Colbert is what Republicans wish they were. Middle-aged. White. Charismatic. Interesting. Funny.

Ugh, I hate them so much.