Time, time time, slipping away. Body constantly feels under stress, and so much energy and thought put into combatting the strain. it works for a while, and then i get tensed and sore again.

i've been feeling pretty melancholy for the past month, after a welcome little break from the winter. my back and legs have been in a state of not-quite-healing for the month, and therefore epic bike rides on the new touring bike are scaled back in favor of resting on my days off, which is sad, because it is precisely those rides to new lands that rejuvenate my mind. i want to cover longer and longer distances so i can begin exploring the really fun places.

my five year anniversary at work is coming up this summer, and i'm feeling an itch to leave, but i don't know what i would replace it with. money is a key factor. i had a dream last night that i got change at walgreens and the cashier didn't notice that one of my $5 bills was actually a $500,000 bill. as absurd as that sounds, in the dream i somehow knew it was true, and i quietly pocketed it, feeling a momentary twinge of guilt for the act but also guessing that the bill never belonged in that till in the first place. i hid it while i made plans to change my life before it was time to clock back in from lunch.

it felt so real.

i am feeling another urge to live simply. i want to jettison as many possessions as possible. i want to travel - by bike, by train. i want to rent a tiny and tidy little room in some small city in europe. i want to disconnect from the internet and connect with real people.

there is so much fear holding me back. what i need to do is save money and somehow remember not to give as much of myself to my job. i have it good there, in some ways - i'm trusted, i have a great team who works for me, and i often set my own agenda. if i could manage to scale back my effort there gradually over time so that others didn't notice - if i could just bloody figure out how some people get away with that - and i can cut expenses, i can pile up some cash and go a traveling.
God, I can barely remember how to do a cut.



1. What did you do in 2012 that you'd never done before?

- Went to Gender Odyssey, a trans-focused conference in Seattle.
- Drove to Seattle, seeing Portland, Eugene, Eureka, Salem, and a ton of little towns in between.
- Camped in a redwood forest.
- Went to NOLOSE.
- Stayed in a yurt.
- Worked as a manager in retail sales. (I've managed before, and briefly worked sales before, but never in combination. It's a hopefully temporary staffing solution.)
- Joined a gym.

1b. What did you do in 2012 that you hadn't done in a long time?

- Went swimming

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

My resolutions from last year, now that I've gone back and checked, were rather vague, yet important. They were to see what I've been holding myself back from, to try new things and to get a better handle on the strong baby urges I've been having.
I don't feel like I made definitive progress, although I have confirmed that yes, I still do want kids, and no, I'm not nearly ready for them yet. I tried some new things and have done more socializing, and I feel like this coming year will be a continuation of that path with some classes thrown in so I can feel like I'm making forward progress.

As for next year's - I was part of some "group-o-lutions" at my friends' new year's party to a)throw out underwear that doesn't fit right, and b)wear more tiaras. I intend to do both. I am also doubling down on last year's unspoken resolution, which is to not work in retail anymore. I may not be able to fully sever the cord yet, but if I'm going to school and on the road doing something different by the end of the year, I'll consider that progress.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My friend Marla gave birth to twins in February; I met them this week for the first time (I'm making my annual visit to NYC) and OH MY GOD the cuteness. They are 11 months and precisely at that age when they are into interacting and exploring the world around them, but aren't really verbal. They have two older siblings, ages three and six, so we were highly encouraged to help her corral the kids, which meant I got to hold babies, walk babies around, and keep them distracted with shiny things. I loved every second of it.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No.

5. What countries did you visit?

Just more of the USA. Washington and Oregon were brand new states for me.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?

Greater financial flexibility, aka pulling money from multiple sources and being able to temporarily increase cash flow as needed/wanted.
A real plan for long term financial stability.
A date that excites me.

7. What date(s) from 2012 will remain etched your memory, and why?

No particular dates, but Gender Odyssey (and it's road trip) and yurting rank up there. Apparently, I remember nature and being on the road.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I don't feel like there's anything concrete I can point to. Generally being on a trajectory toward living a healthier, more conscious life?

9. What was your biggest failure?

Again, nothing huge and concrete. I would probably say that the general balance of inertia versus measured change was less than desirable this year, so perhaps all of the little decisions that led to that?

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Various minor illnesses and injuries, but overall I was healthier than last year.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

The trip to the Pacific Northwest. As for an object... I am pretty jazzed about the Ikea bed that I bought with a year's worth of saved coins.

12. Where did most of your money go?

Other than rent, food. While progress has been made, this really needs to change.

13. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

The Pacific Northwest roadtrip, various parties and gatherings.

14. What song(s) will always remind you of 2012?

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. richer or poorer? Richer, in the sense that I have continued to both chip away at student loans and pay into my 401k. So on a macro level, I'm richer. Day to day feels the same.

ii. fatter or thinner? thinner, but with more muscle.

iii. happier or sadder? Both. I am letting my emotions back out of the cave I threw them into somewhere around 2008, so I am feeling more highs and lows.

16. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Saving money. Learning. Positive sexing.

17. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Whittled away hours on the internet.

18. How will you be spending/did you spend Christmas?

Working right up until 5:00pm on Christmas, but then it got awesome. I saw the Gay Men's Chorus sold out show with F, JM, W and C, and then came home and hung out with Alex and JR (who was in town). We had the bestest Christmas morning ever with cartoons, a full breakfast and cookies, and then spent the evening at our dear friends' house. A good time was had by all.

19. Did you fall in love in 2012?

No, but that's okay. I focused on friends and being more sociable, which has boosted confidence in many ways.

20. How many one-night stands?

One. And for once, I mostly didn't regret it.

21. What was your favorite TV program?

I watched less TV this year, but Mythbusters has been my go-to show this year for relaxing at the end of a long day.

22. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

No, no hatred.

23. What was the best book you read?

I read a lot of great books and am horrible with names. Sherman Alexie's lastest novel is one. I also enjoyed Mistakes were Made (but not by me), Good Germs, Bad Germs, and a bunch of other social science-y or science-y type books.

24. What was/were your greatest musical discoveries?

Pandora? I really enjoyed that song by "Sin the Shark." Oh, if only I were filling this out at home, where names of random Pandora songs that I really liked are scrawled across my whiteboard so I remember to buy them when I have the money!

25. What did you want and get?

- Electoral results that mostly aligned with my wishes. (Sadface, Measure B1. :( )
- More socializing
- A slightly better wardrobe

26. What did you want and not get?

- A new bike with gears, but that may happen early this year.
- A non-retail job.
- A pony. (Okay, not really.)

27. What was your favorite film of this year?

Have I even seen a movie in a theater this year? Maybe not. I am going to see Les Mis in two days, but that will count as 2013. I'm sure I watched a lot of films on Netflix last winter, but that's like a lifetime away.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I was 31. Alex took me out to brunch, and then I rode my bike all over the place and visited people.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Feeling like something large and tangible had changed? Lots of good little things happened that will have ripple effects going forward, but I feel like nothing large moved.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?

More purple and better fitting clothing.

31. What kept you sane?

My home. Alex. Long bike rides. Sweating it out at the gym. Having getaways to look forward to throughout the year.

32. Whom did you miss?

- Various departed members of my family
- My NYC friends, who I do not have to miss this week!

33. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012:

- I think it was finally being able to get above the level of my head funk when my annual seasonal depression kicked in and tackle it as a biological phenomenon instead of a personal failing. I was only in it a few weeks this time when everything clicked. Journaling helped, because I was able to pinpoint the time of year, realize that the lack of light outside was responsible for the vast majority of my shift in attitude, and put together a plan to get through it, which was as follows:
a) Get back to taking my daily fish oil pills
b) Take some Vitamin D.
c) Work out when possible, but treat working out as a treat to raise my dopamine/body heat levels, and not as an obligation.
d) Not allow myself to descend into a deadly cycle of eating processed crap food because I had no energy to cook, which would therefore lower my energy level even further.
e) Have lowered expectations of my energy levels and not beat myself up over them; I will naturally want to go out and tackle the world when spring hits, but now is the time to catch up on fabulous documentaries and play board games with friends.
I had a dream the other night that I was sitting with a bunch of friends in front of my house when an elaborate pink truck glided up the road. It was playing music like an ice cream truck, except with gentler and better acoustics, and as it slowed, we rushed forward, asking it to stop. It was a "tart truck," and made a variety of pies, souffles and even sorbets. They stopped and the truck expanded - awnings dropped down and somehow, a rope line appeared - and we gazed at the menu, trying to decide what to order. I snuggled up on a bench (that also magically appeared) with a friend and former lover as we waited in joyous anticipation for our custom made sweets.

And then I woke up before our orders were ready! It was otherwise a perfect dream. :)
Driving around West Oakland in an electric car and we pass by a block I've never seen before - I focus in on an adorable little house, and notice the houses are all on piers, like my Grandma's house - and then I notice a little sandy spit of beach. As I'm looking at the cute house, I see waves behind it. Suddenly, a huge wave crests up behind the house and crashes over it. I'm standing on the sand, stepping back a bit, but there is not much fear, only awe.

"How is that house still standing?" I ask Alex. Wave after wave bashes over it and nothing about the house seems to change, other than the roof looking wet. We get back in the car and the car is hot and the roof and dash seem really close to me and I feel like I am suffocating as I wait for him to turn the engine on so i can open the window, and I wake up.
I was a deeply religious kid.

Unlike the majority of the kids that I grew up with, I enjoyed going to Mass. My Mom had been taking me when I was a little kid, but had slacked off. I started going by myself when I was in the 4th grade, the same year that I had been given permission to walk to school alone. It must have been a strange sight, to see a nine year old entering the church and sitting in the pew alone, but I didn't really mind. I did get my Mom to come with me from time to time, but I didn't really see the disconnect between my own piety and the Church's teaching that skipping even one Mass was a mortal sin, meaning that my Mom's spotty attendance put her in spiritual danger.

No, what I liked was the hour of enforced social codes. There was no need for awkward conversation; to the contrary, it was completely frowned upon. There was a ready excuse, even before Mass began, to not engage in chit chat. We were in the Lord's home, and I was reflecting on my week. I would flip through the hymnal and read the numbers on the board to find all of the songs, and then I would find the weekly readings. Half the time, I read them all before Mass even began. I was a fast reader, and precocious. I had memorized all of the responses during Mass, and it was soothing to ritually chant the words while getting lost inside of my head. There was one moment of social interaction that was part of the Mass, and even it was ritualized. After the homily and before moving into the Eucharist, there is a moment where the priest asks the congregation to offer each other a sign of peace. Everyone turns and offers each other a handshake and a "peace be with you." I would imagine that peace flowing around, staunching wounds in people's hearts. It certainly helped ease mine.

Right around the time that pre-teen rebellion might have seeped in, I was faced with a number of calamities in my life at the moment my social support network disappeared - my mother was battling cancer, my Aunt Winnie lost her legs due to complications from a diabetic coma she had slipped into, and two of my summer best friends left the neighborhood.

Going to church became not only a form of weekly meditation, but a chance for me to throw myself on the mercy of God every week and ask for a chance for my mother and aunt. I was terribly, terribly alone. Instead of talking it out with a therapist, I put it all in my head and sent it out into the church community every week. Somehow, it got me through that time.

I continued to attend Mass regularly through my freshman year of high school, when my beliefs began to falter. There were many reasons. I could never fully accept the idea that only men could be priests, or that the Pope was infallible. I began to associate the church with my generally miserable years in Catholic school. When a friend (who had attended that church with me) came out as gay, I chose my friend over the church. Later on, I grew disgusted with the epidemic of child abuse by the clergy.

I had a brief rekindling of interest in my freshman year of college, when I met a number of Catholics of liberal persuasion, who believed that the church was wrong on gay and feminist issues, and who quietly were building their own Catholic communities with different sets of rules. A nun at my college was doing really interesting Catholic meditation sessions, combining tenets of Buddhism with Catholic faith, and implying in her discussions (as many have) that Jesus was known to have traveled during his "missing years," and had taken back some Buddhist teachings to integrate them into what was to become Christianity. The priests, sisters and Irish Catholic Brothers that I met were all very service-minded, and believed that living their faith was helping the poor and needy. I took a campus ministries trip to West Virginia to help homeowners in Appalachia. We worked hard all day repairing homes, and then came back to a common house with lots of good food, guitar playing, board games, and campfires. These people were deeply religious but didn't really care about sexual orientation. Neither did the people at the Strand, which was this renegade Catholic church in Connecticut that the head of Campus Ministries took us to one Sunday. It was built in a beautiful old barn, the priest was openly gay (but celibate), and the heads of the choir were two out, married lesbians. The place was filled with all sorts of progressives.

In most other religious Denominations, there would be a natural split of these social justice progressives from the more socially conservative parishes. That's how we got Protestantism in the first place. But Catholicism is very hierarchical, and I think a lot of Catholics, lost in the joys of their individual churches, forget that until reality hits home. When the Church did some belt tightening and closed a bunch of schools to save money, it made a lot of Catholics angry. But that was just the warning shot. The problem with having a religion where you set up one leader as infallible is that he has every right (whether or not it's morally just) to come in and demand conformity to his interpretation of the faith. In that freshman year of college, when I was dabbling in Catholicism once again, Pope John Paul II's health was fading and there was discussion about whether the new Pope was going to be a conservative or a progressive. There was hope of a modernizer who would draw people back to the church. Instead, we got Benedict, and he has been fairly ruthless in going after churches who buck any of the rules, forcing those who long for a progressive era underground. Just this year, I read about the struggle between Berkeley and the regional Catholic leadership. Berkeley's progressive priest got replaced by a social conservative who has cut back on a lot of the programs that the parishioners of that church treasured. They're asking lots of questions about who makes up a parish - is it the priests, or is it the people?

I admire people who stay and fight, but it's not my fight anymore. I'm still very spiritual, but have a hard time dealing with such a literal religion at this point. I think that Carl Sagan and Neil Degrasse do a better job of explaining the wonder and the beauty of the universe. Yet, there are times when I long for the simple respite of a Mass.
I just want to see if the Dreamwidth --> Livejournal post feature is still working.
From the final episode of Carl Sagan's Cosmos. This quote gave me chills:

Alexandria was the greatest city the western world had ever seen. People from all nations came here to trade, to live, to learn... On a given day, these harbors were throng with merchants, scholars, tourists... it's probably here that the word cosmopolitan realized its true meaning, of a citizen not just of a nation, but of the cosmos. to be a citizen of the cosmos!

here were clearly the seeds of our modern world, but why didn't they take root and flourish? why, instead, did the west slumber through 1,000 years of darkness until Columbus, Copernicus and their contemporaries rediscovered the work done here?

i cannot give you a simple answer, but i do know this. there is no record in the entire history of the library that any of the illustrious scholars and scientists ever seriously challenged a single political, economic or religious assumption of the society in which they lived. The permanence of the stars was questioned, but the injustice of slavery was not.
This trip back east has felt surreal.

I came here looking for answers this time. I've had a lot of thoughts in my head about starting a family within the next five years, and it only seemed natural to reconnect with my roots - my family and oldest friends.

I don't know exactly what I've found yet. The overwhelming feeling is one of retracing a very worn path. It's comfortable; I can slip back into it easily. The stores on Jamaica Avenue have changed somewhat, but the neighborhood is, overall, the same place I left. I still know which direction to go to catch a train or make a transfer. Everything is the same with slight variations. It truly does feel like going back in time; it is only me that has really changed.

I'm glad that I moved to California. I'm glad that I've experienced multiple places and ways of moving in the world. This trip makes me appreciate that more. I am happy to lengthen my connection with my roots in order to not feel tethered by them. I worried about being so far away from family, and I'll admit that I still hate that long flight... but the solution is to make more money and be able to travel more frequently, and perhaps in a manner not so odious to me. Or, hell, I may end up back on the east coast again someday, but I don't think it will be here. Not because Queens is necessarily a bad place, but because I've worn this path already, and I'd rather walk new ones.
Age 29, major accomplishments:

- Moved into current apartment, which is fabulous.
- Cleared myself of all non student loan debt
- Learned to ride a bike
- Reconnected with cousins on Mom's side of the family, for the first time post-transition
- Got in better physical shape (mostly - except for the foot thing and the horrible flu thing)

My goals for age 30:

- Learn a new craft
- Continue to get more comfortable with my physicality - yoga, sexuality, even dance?
- Get something - anything - published
- Get a volunteer gig going
- Now that I have the essentials of life covered, build up some non-retirement fund savings.
- Travel to a new city on the west coast

Okay, now that the rain has stopped and my back has stopped twinging from yesterday's combination of over-enthusiastic biking and then sitting on the floor at a reading for two hours, I think I'm going to head out to Eat Real and get some tasty food. Maybe pet some goats.
I am no longer battling the Grand and Terrible Virus.

It shook me to the core (sometimes literally). I didn't like the way that thing invaded me and caused me to shiver, sweat, burn, and sometimes, yes, cry, when my headache would get so severe that all I could do was wait for the Vicodin to take the edge off.

It's gone. It left in a huff on Saturday morning, leaving me drenched in pools of sweat. I felt weak and crappy for a few days afterward, but today seemed to be the first day of truly restored health. I rode my bike to BART to go have lunch with my friends in Berkeley, and conquered that same long uphill incline back to BART that used to kill me on my trike fairly easily. My legs were burning, but I kept up speed.

And now the ruminations:

When I focus on certain life projects, I am like an unstoppable steam roller. I research obsessively and prioritize that thing above almost all others, even when I sometimes shouldn't. (See: buying an old Mercedes and running it on biodiesel. Not that it wasn't a good life experience, but it turned into a money pit.) But generally, when I say "I want to do this," it happens. Moving out of my parents' house. Transition. Finishing my degree. (Okay, I faltered on that one a while, but once I regained focus, I did it despite living far away from campus and working full time.) Moving to MA and across the country and buying an RV and learning to ride a bike. Etc.

My mother even said the other week (in response to the bike), "boy, when you really want to do something, you do it!" And that made me stop and think - with all of this ability to generate obsessive project mojo, why the hell can't I similarly generate and execute the same focus on finding myself a viable career that makes me decent money?

I mean, my current job (sort of) provides for my needs, and I'm certainly better off than a large percentage of the US population. I have health insurance and can pay my rent and bills every month, with a little left over for gourmet cheeses and hobbies. But that nagging voice in the back of my head tells me that I could certainly do better, and moving up opportunities that I'd actually want within my company are slim to none.

The goal is bigger and hazier. I could start small. I'm not sure that more schooling is the answer. I just spent a lot of time on another project to get my debt manageable. Only student loans now, and those actually aren't that bad for me. I have no desire to put a lot of time and money into something and be worse off than I was, which is the case with several people I know who are carrying high student loan debt without the big salary to pay it back.

I think another part of the problem is that I just have no passion for building my life around a career. When I daydream of the future, what do I see right now, at this very moment?

- Riding a nice, fully fitted bike with confidence.
- Having the time to have a cleaner, better decorated house with more meals cooked from scratch.
- Taking more road trips
- Having the time to see family and friends on the East Coast more often
- Traveling overseas
- Raising kids?

Most of these things require more time than a full time job generally gives, but they all also require money. The goal is to make more per hour and work less hours, or to be able to make my own hours (no problem working a few 10 hour days in order to have days to myself). And who wouldn't want that, except for people obsessed with their careers who are willing to put in 60-80 hour weeks for years in order to earn a ton of cash?

Yeah, some of those people retire early, and that's pretty sweet in itself. But that's a risky bet to take - the bet that you'll be in good enough health during your later years to enjoy that time.
I had a fever Monday evening. (And hell, probably all day Monday, too, but I was too busy being mildly productive at work.) I came home and took my temperature and said, "oh yeah, I was not hallucinating this."

I made an appt the next morning at Lyon Martin, and actually got a spot in the same day. That was a small miracle in itself. Symptoms? No congestion whatsover, but a nasty fever and a nasty headache and general lethargy. Thought it might be connected to the big ugly bruise I got last Tuesday from my fall. Doctor at LM poked (ow!) and listened and told me to go to urgent care. I might indeed have a bacterial infection.

Alex picked me up in the city and we drove back to Oakland, where I fortified myself with a grilled cheese sandwich and a spoonful of chocolate ice cream before preparing myself for a long wait. The wait was surprisingly short - yay me for going to Summit Hospital instead of Highland Hospital, where they bring all of the intense trauma cases. (Every violent crime story in Oakland seems to involve Highland.) I was seen within an hour, and the doctor decided that the bacterial infection possibility was small due to the fact that the lymph nodes were not swollen near the bruise, but that my wound was "righteous" (I loved him for saying that) and he was going to give me antibiotics to ward off the impending possibility of it going that way, as there was a yucky ridge created by clotting all along the edge. Oh yeah, and I also had a viral infection that was causing the rest of my symptoms, including last week's hives.

My head hurt so badly that he gave me Vicodin. And all it does is take the edge off, folks. This headache is not fucking around. I realized that I forgot to drink coffee today, so I just had that a half hour ago, and it took another edge off, but it is still hanging around. This has been the first time all day I've been able to read or look at a screen though, so I am considering that small progress?

Also? Fever, chills, waking up drenched in sweat at regular intervals. Eww.
This morning, I was awoken by the kittens at the standard hour of 5am. They see a sliver of light, and they think it is playtime.

I got up and ate and decided to try to find a solution to the car woes one more time. I used different search parameters, and the #2 result on my list was a tire repair shop that opened at 7am on Saturdays.

I quite gingerly drove there (all three miles of worry and Oakland's famous potholes) and was greeted by a smiling man who managed to take care of me in about 15 minutes for a reasonable price. I was on my way to Santa Rosa!

So I did go to my class, and the end result is: I RODE A BIKE!

I mean, not far, and not very suavely. But in the third hour of the four hour class, it finally clicked and I was able to start from a pedaling position and do some laps around the track. My dismount is less graceful, but I do manage to remain standing (mostly) when I get off the bike.

There were four of us, all adults, ranging from my age to a woman in her 60s. We all entered the class not knowing how to ride, and we all left riding and feeling great!

I am sore. My hands are sore, my wrists are sore, my abs are sore, and OH is my crotch/ass region sore. But I flew today, and accomplished something I've wanted to do for a very long time.
I drank a full glass of milk for the first time in a long time (I switched to mostly soy long ago because of a few sour milk experiences that left me a bit grossed out with consuming lots of cow's milk, along with some general recognition of stomach upset), and several hours later I entered what felt remarkably like gluten fog. I guess large amounts of casein do the same thing to me?

I'm still in it, and wanted to post while my brain was still in this space.



Recognizable changes: vision feels less focused. Muscles tingle in a slightly achey way. Gassy, slight stomach unease. Brain feels taxed; emotionally and mentally I feel like there's a higher wall between me and the rest of the world. Can interact pleasantly enough on the surface but larger demands feel intrusive.

At work, it felt all bad - made it harder to focus on job. Kept getting distracted in the middle of simple tasks. Just resigned myself to getting what I needed to get done done, and not stressing about getting ahead. No major projects.

But on the way home - when demands on my mind had ceased and my only task was to get myself home, I found that I was enjoying myself, in a way. (Well, other than the gas.) I cranked up the iPod - Love Reign O'er Me and November Rain seemed apt for the dark, rainy walk home - and felt very stimmy, like there was less inhibition between me and just feeling the moment and the music. Greater joy, greater high of hearing the notes I love so much. On empty blocks, I happily hand-drummed along and sang to the dark and peaceful streets.

It made me wonder if I need to find a way to get a brain vacation on a quasi regular basis that doesn't also make me feel sick. It's like with clarity brain, I feel more confident because I'm not ignoring the important logistics in my life and therefore not feeling that horrible mixture of guilt and panic. But tonight has reminded me that I've lost a portal into part of my brain and I want it back, sometimes.

I used to smoke green because I felt like my brain was absolutely useless at the end of a long day, so I might as well enjoy it. I stopped around the same time that I went gluten free because I was enjoying the clarity and felt like being in an altered state was connected to all of the bad and helpless times I had had. I don't want to go back to the way I was before, but I feel like I want to restore some balance - I want to feel more in the present, like the way I feel now. Meditation? Yoga? Dancing? Not having large stuff in my life to stress about so I can let go? I don't know. All right, back to enjoying this.
29 is the year of earning an adult trophy so I can get back to more interesting things.

I've been in a thinking phase for quite some time. I've adapted to its unrelenting drive for the most part, although there are times that the illusion of control comes apart at the seams.

Seeing myself come close to some remarkably large and scary goals has brought about confidence and a stronger work ethic, but the latter only because I'm running that last quarter mile and the finish line is in sight.

What comes after this? I don't know. Building again. Saving money so I can look at some cool activity or skill and say, "I'm going to learn to do THAT or experience THAT!"

No more guilt. Life is short and the system is rigged. Might as well live simply and beautifully. Work hard when needed to have enough freedom, but no chasing illusions of riches.

Of course, that's one possibility. The other nagging possibility is kids. I'm years away yet; I know that. But I can't help but feel like parenting is something that I would be good at, and that's something that has changed in the past few years. When I was in a depressed foggy turmoil, I barely believed in my ability to take care of myself, let alone someone else. I am believing now.

But no decisions yet. First, freedom. Then, little choices, little experiences. It's time for my emotions and spirituality to fully re-emerge. I can feel it; they're chomping at the bit, but without the angst that used to tag along with them. I think it's going to be a fantastic summer.
For years, my mother would tell me that I used to sing along with this song when I was a baby, and I had no idea what song she was talking about. This being the era of cassette tapes and encyclopedias, she couldn't just go look it up. (Or, in more scary technology that I just recently learned about, you can use your iPhone to listen to whatever song is playing out in the world and it will recognize its musical signature and tell you what song it is - and give you the link to download it! That would have saved me a lot of grief as a 'tween, when finding out what song just played on the radio was a matter of life changing importance.)

She called it "let lovin' start," which is not actually the title, even though it's the most prominent lyric. But my boss from Berkeley had made all of these 80s music CDs during his brief tenure at the SF store, and left them behind for the SF folks to enjoy. And it was slow tonight, so I actually had time to change out CDs and listen to the 80s discs one through four.

On disc three, I heard the song. I wrote down enough of the lyrics to google it when I got home. It is called "Hold Me Now" by the Thompson Twins. It is 80s ballad cheese at its finest, and I admit that I rather enjoy it, on that level. Nice harmonizing, too. I can see why baby me would have perked up at it, and apparently I sang "wet wovin' start," because I could not pronounce L's.

Just picture it. AWWW.

You know that I totally just downloaded it on iTunes. That, and an Iron Maiden album. I have developed a growing appreciation for their craft.
The other day, JR told me that the M train had been expanded to cover the rest of the dearly departed V train's route, and that they had consequently changed the color of the line to orange.

This made me sad, because I had heard that they had gotten rid of the Z train, and that meant that out of the original brown trio of the JMZ, only the J train would be left with the brown color code, sad and alone.

But no! I just looked on the MTA website at their subway map to see what other insidious changes they've made while I'm away, and the Z still exists. The M train may have made new friends and spruced up its appearance, but the J still has a friend (which runs for scant hours a day and does that annoying skip-stop thing, but whatever).

Other changes of note - they've expanded the G train so you can actually get to Park Slope from Queens!

And the W is gone, but they're running the Q up to Astoria, which actually makes a good amount of sense.

I know this is probably all old news to the locals, but I am fascinated.

Ah, NY. I'm going to buy a Metrocard and freeze my ass off next week!
Vale Decem.
Ad aeternam.
Di meliora.
Ad aeternam.
Vale Decem.
De meliora.
Beati Pacifici.
Vale Decem.
Alis grave.
Ad perpetuam.
Memoriam.
Vale, Decem.
Gratias tibi ago.
Ad aeternam.
Nunquam singularis.
Nunquam dum spiro fido.
Vale...

Vale Decem = Farewell, Ten.
Ad =
aeternus = eternity
Di = God?
Melior = better
Beati = (v)make happy, gladden, delight OR (n) "the blessed," the saints, the fortunate man
Pacifici = making or tending to make peace
Alis = (n) wing, forearm OR (v) feed, nourish, cherish, support
Grave = heavy, important, serious, grave, impressive, burdensome
pepertuam = perpetually
Geraldine blew her fuel injection pump last week.

I wasn't aware of this at the time; Alex went to move the car for street cleaning and a horrible rumbling and shaking occurred. We were getting Silverjack the Volvo back from the shop the next day and I wasn't about to get ticketed for street cleaning parking, so I decided that I had too much to worry about to start stressing my car again.

I looked today. Eeesh. Car doesn't want to start. Oil all over the f*cking fan belt and front of the car. Glow plug lights won't come on. I am pretty sure the pump is the culprit.
And I don't have the money or care to fix that shit. I am pretty much done. I wish the car had held on another week - the day after this happened, I got a letter from the Bay Area Air Quality fund, offering me $1000 to retire my car because it's from before 1989. The caveat? It has to be drivable, because otherwise they'd have a bunch of people towing in their wrecks.

I don't know if I could have done it, anyway - if I could have driven Geraldine to certain doom when I had no idea how much life she had left in her.

But now? I am pretty damn certain that the cost of replacing that pump will exceed that $1000.

Therefore, desperation plan A is in effect - I put up the whole sad story on craigslist and am offering the car for a pittance. If someone snatches it up quickly, I will not have to pay for repairs, future parking tickets, or re-registration in December.

I haven't figured out plan B yet.
The world is filled with objects - small and copious or big and heavy - that need to be moved in order to maintain existence as we know it. You are surrounded by things that have been moved, both as components of themselves and as complete pieces. Perhaps they came from a farm, or maybe they rolled off a production line, or even off the garage table of a friend. But they were shifted from place to place, fighting gravity.

Despite this, we don't place much value in our society on people who move things. Even the engineers who design complicated production schemes owe something to the people who move things - those people are often the ones who see the inefficiencies and have devised systems to make moving those things a little easier. It's amazing how much muscle power can be saved with a simple handtruck or a dolly.

There are all different kinds of intelligence out there, and there is a special kind for people who move things. This is often not recognized as intelligence.
a) We moved a big desk into my friends' house. There were dollies and back braces and lots of moving it one nanomillimeter at a time through very tight doorways. But success was won at the end of the day! It's huge and solid!

b) Alex and I finally got Games of Berkeley when it wasn't about to close and redeemed our gift certificates from Christmas! We got three games - Kittenwars ("may the cutest kitten win!"), Man Bites Dog, which involves constructing headlines for points out of the cards in your hand, and Freeloader, a strategy boardgame from the Cheapass Games company. We came home and played all three with JR last night.

c) Work today, and then tomorrow I have my interview with the SF store manager. *nervous drumroll*

d) I had bizarre dreams that I didn't really like last night - like my brain was playing out hypothetical bad situations, and was making them *just* realistic enough that they were believable. Trying to shake it off with coffee from my awesome donut mug. (I got it from a yardsale yesterday - yes, there's a hole in the middle.)
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