Monday, October 24, 2011

That darned rat (and those darned cats)

Last evening I was letting the rats run lose in my bedroom as usual, and was only vaguely keeping an eye on them. I knew approximately where they were in my room, but most of my attention was on my book (Mansfield Park by Jane Austen). I knew that Sabine was in one of her favorite hidey holes, and that Beka was wandering in the approximate location of my altar. Situation normal.

After a little while Beka came running back to me, and I then heard her chewing on something. It took me a few seconds to realize that it wasn't just her usual bruxing, and that she actually had found something to eat. On investigation, this is what I found:

Beka, with her contraband acorn

Beka had an acorn.

This was an acorn that I had found a few days ago under the car port. I was rather surprised at finding it there, because even though we do have an oak tree (at the opposite end of the yard) it doesn't produce acorns. There are other older oaks in our neighborhood, but they're further away.

So, what did I do with the acorn? I picked it up and randomly put it on my altar.

Then Beka stole this acorn off of my altar, and ran back to me with it before eating it.

The nerve of that girl!

The good thing is that the acorn wasn't an offering. *sigh* I guess I'll have to be careful about offerings in the future... And yes, I did eventually allow her to keep the acorn.

And then the cats today...

Kokopelle, lying on top of my psych book

Kokopelle decided to help me study. Unfortunately I was too soft hearted to remove him from my book, so I was utterly at his mercy.

Socks, between me and my psych book

Then later Socks decided that he also wanted to help! And unlike Kokopelle he was actually purring, so even though he didn't lie on top of my book it was almost even worse.

Those rats and cats. And the things they do.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that Beka also grabbed my pentacle pendant that happened to be on my altar (she also likes to chew on it when I'm wearing it) and dropped it off the edge of my altar, and then she tried to run off with one of my runes.

Maybe she's a Pagan rat?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I HAVE A JOB!!!

I have a job I have a job I have a job I HAVE A JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am a canvasser, and I start work immediately.

I've got to admit that I'm slightly amazed. I've been looking for work for so long. Then things didn't go too well yesterday, which was when the interview was supposed to be originally: First I got lost (I was standing outside an apartment building saying "This doesn't look right..."), so we rescheduled, then they canceled the reschedule, and rescheduled again for today. Things just weren't working out at either of our ends.

But we persevered, I finally did interview today, and they hired me.

The fact that I am now employed is still sinking in.

I figure I'll save money for a couple of months and then get my own place over winter break.

Oh my gosh, I'll be able to get my own place soon! My very own place. Then I'll get to start paying bills, buying groceries, buying my own toilet paper, figuring out how to haul heavy kitty litter home without a car...actually that's easy. I just have to find something with wheels.

My dream is to get a two bedroom apartment (I know some of them are inexpensive) and turn the second bedroom into a crafty room, where I do book mending, needlework, spinning yarn, and all that fun stuff.

OMG I HAVE A JOB!!!

As a canvasser I'll definitely get lots of fresh air and plenty of exercise. Which I guess is good compensation for being out in all kinds of weather. :)

DFTBA

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

This and that

I really should be job hunting right now, but I can't focus (that's becoming a theme lately, isn't it?) because I just got a call to set up a job interview tomorrow.

Wish me luck!!! I would be working for gay rights, which is something I feel strongly about, so I think I'm the sort of person they would want. :)

Now, on to a different topic, which may also be distracting me...

I haven't really talked about Samhain much this year. My Pagan followers already know all about Samhain, but my non-Pagan followers might not. Full details can come later, but for now I'll just say that it is one of the biggest Pagan holidays, and it is one of the two most important celebrations to me. And the date is October 31st.

Well guess what? October 31st is on a Monday this year, which is the day of my on campus class.

I'm really torn. On one hand I want to just focus on Samhain that day, but on the other hand I don't want to miss class.

My family thinks it's a no brainer that I should attend class on Samhain.

I would compare that to a Christian attending school on Christmas. I'm not saying that no Christian would attend school or go to work (many do work on Christmas) on December 25th, but my point is that most really wouldn't want to, and with good reason.

I e-mailed my professor about this, she said it's fine either way. Our school just requires I give a two week notice for missing class due to a religious holiday.

So, what do you think? Am I being unreasonable for seriously considering skipping school on Samhain?

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Golden Rule

Since I'm having trouble focusing I figure I may as well write on a school topic, even though I'm not actually accomplishing a school assignment. After all, if I at least write a school related topic it might be helpful, right?

How do I make ethical decisions? What version of the "golden rule" do I follow?

If I weren't Pagan I would probably be Buddhist, and I happen to agree with the Buddhist idea that, at the end of the day, we're all one.

so the monk says to the hot dog vendor, "make me one with everything"
Buddhist monk saying: so the monk says to the hot dog vendor, "make me one with everything"

(Never mind that this means I technically believe in monotheism rather than polytheism. It's easier for me to think of the gods as separate entities than all being part of each other, so I pretend to myself that I'm a polytheist. Besides, then I would also have to think about me being one and the same as the person sitting next to me on the bus, which is weird.)

So if the person next to me on the bus is part of me (I know, I know, I just said I don't want to think about that. But I'm human and therefore inconsistent, ok?) then that means that whatever I do to him/her I'm actually doing to myself.

If someone has their hands full and I hold a door open for them then I'm really helping myself.

And if I stab someone with a pencil then it's myself I'm hurting.

So my version of the golden rule is basically this: Be nice to others because whatever you're doing to them, you're actually doing to yourself.

I guess it's a version of karma.

I haven't actually seen anyone else explain the golden rule exactly in this way before, but I'm sure that I'm not the only person who thinks this way.

Living forever

We are what we eat, right?

And a twinkie will stay good for thousands of years, right?

So, isn't the secret to immortality (or anyways, super long life) to only ever eat twinkies?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Insainty

I would like to share with you a little of what I am studying for school:



Perhaps you'll understand when I tell you that, in trying to read what David Hume wrote on the topic of ethics, I am slightly going crazy.

In an attempt to restore my sanity I would like to share a video containing a song that popped into my head when I woke up today, and has more or less remained in my head throughout the rest of the day.



(By the way, for those who can hear but not see the video: the techno remix involves rewinding the video so that the baby goat not only leaves its mommy's womb, but also returns to it.)

And I'm wondering -- If Hank thinks that a goat giving birth to a baby goat is gross, what would he prefer? That the goat give birth to a baby chimpanzee?

DFTBA

Friday, October 14, 2011

Morrigan Crone of War

For some reason the mood suddenly struck me to share a song honoring the Morrigan by the band Omnia.



I'm not sure why I love this song so much, because the ending isn't exactly the kind of thing I normally like. But I do like it. It's also funny because I don't really think of the Morrigan as a crone, but then again she appears to different people in different guises.

Morrigan is an Irish goddess, and as you may have guessed from the above song she is a goddess of war. She's a great goddess to call on if you need help setting boundaries or if you need to embrace some more of that warrior spirit. Additionally, she's the one who carries the souls of warriors killed in battle from the field.

...and I find that I just have to share a second song that the Morrigan song puts me in mind of. It's one by Heather Alexander. Again, it's totally not my typical style, but for some reason I like it. Oh, and it has BAGPIPES in it!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Coming Out Day, two days late

So apparently National Coming Out Day was two days ago. I guess I'm two days late for writing on the topic, but I figured I may as well add my two cents worth even though I'm late.

I do consider myself straight. Or anyways, I think of myself as straight. But thing is, despite virtually all my crushes being on guys, I have had two crushes on women.

What does that make me? I don't know. The term "bisexual" doesn't seem right because it seems to imply more interest in both genders than I obviously have. When I asked a friend of mine about this she said "You're just a person who has had crushes on two women."

Do we spend too much time worrying about what to call ourselves?

I also want to mention that my first crush on a woman confused me in the extreme, and it may even have upset me. I hate to admit that it may have upset me, but that's the truth. Why did it upset and confuse me? The crush completely upset my understanding of myself. I'd thought that I was completely straight and a straight ally. I was being forced to reevaluate where I stood: was I a straight ally, or did I fall into the LGBTQ category? Something that I thought was concrete had been suddenly turned upside down.

Although for simplicity's sake I call myself straight, I'm not sure what I really should be called. I'm just a person who has always been attracted to men, with two exceptions.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A good Halloween read...

Well I posted this on my book blog yesterday, and I'm going to share it here as well!

...

October 31st is coming up, and for some reason I was suddenly reminded of a certain book that would be a good read for anyone who is looking for a good (and more funny than scary) ghost story. And guess what! It's a book I've reviewed in the past. Without further ado, here's my review:



"It's me again, Hank the Cowdog."

So begins the ninth installment of John R. Erickson's Hank the Cowdog series. And I'd like to note right at the beginning of this review that the series does not have to be read in order -- any and every book in this series is a good stand alone story.

Hank the Cowdog is Head of Ranch Security in ranch in Texas. As the Head of Ranch Security he ensures the safety of the ranch and deals with any trespassers, whether they be human, animal, or ghost. Except, he doesn't believe in ghosts. Or does he?

In this book you will meet Drover, Hank's loyal if somewhat cowardly side kick, who does seem to have slightly more sense than Hank. You'll also meet a ranch hand named Slim Chance, a couple of lost buzzards, five trick or treaters, and a ghost who doesn't care that Hank doesn't believe in it.

All these characters, added to the fact that Hank can never keep his nose out of trouble (and is always wondering why he keeps getting in trouble) makes for a great read. I would like to recommend, however, that you either read it aloud or get the audio book version of it. It seems to me that this particular book is just better when it's no longer just words on a page.

Happy reading! :)

Rattie pics

I just wanted to share some photos of the rats.

Beka, hanging onto a yarn picture.

If they can climb it, they will.

I'm not sure which one this is, but she's digging in my potted plant.

They also like to dig. I've shared that fact before, I think.

My kitty Kokopelle, napping on top of the printer.

Hey, that's not a rat! That's a cat!

I was picking out what rattie photos to share and I could not resist sharing this one also.

Sabine climbing my bathrobe.

I keep my bathrobe hangs on a nail in my wall when I'm not wearing it, and Sabine decided to climb it. Here she's eye level with me, which is about five feet.

Sabine, at the top of the bathrobe!
Isn't she so cute?

Of course I helped her get down safely. Rats generally handle falls amazingly well but that doesn't mean they can't get hurt.

Oh and guess what? Sabine has figured out,

1) How to get to the top of my tall tall dresser, and
2) How to get onto my bed, which had been declared a rat free zone.

Is any place safe from them?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Since my ADHD is giving me fits...

I'm having trouble focusing on homework (lovely ADHD) so I'm going to review some fascinating material that I just read in my psych book* (I may as well do something school related, right?) that I just read about sleep (even though reading new material might be more constructive). After all, it's slightly easier to focusing on writing than on reading. At least, sometimes.

Hey, I wonder if ADHD might be addressed in my psych book? That would be awesome.

Anyways...back on topic. :)

As I mentioned in my last post that I wrote not so very long ago I started giggling insanely when I got to the bit in my book about sleep disorders. Why? Because of my case of insomnia last night.

Something I found to be really amusing on the subject of insomnia was this: "The desire to sleep initiates an ironic process of mental control -- a heightened sensitivity to signs of sleeplessness -- and this sensitivity interferes with sleep. [. . .] The paradoxical solution for insomnia in some cases, then, may be to give up the pursuit of sleep and instead find something else to do" (195). Isn't that so strange? I guess that's why it's recommended for people with insomnia to not just continue lying there in bed, although I admit that that's precisely what I usually do. My bed is so comfy and once I'm in it I don't want to get up!

On the next page I came upon the subject of night terrors. The definition? It is "abrupt awakenings with panic and intense emotional arousal" (196). I was surprised. This happens to me sometimes, and often I sit up in bed gasping involuntarily when I wake up. Of course I've heard the phrase before, but I never made the connection between the two. They're usually related to nightmares, although my nightmares don't always result in waking up terrified. Sometimes I'm quite calm after waking up from a nightmare.

One topic which, to my disappointment, was not addressed, was seeing things upon waking up. Sometimes when I wake up I see things left over from my dreams which, once I get up or shine a light in their direction, disappear.

*My textbook: Second edition of Psychology by Daniel L. Schacter, Daniel T. Gilbert, and Daniel M. Wegner. Yes, all of their first names are Daniel.

Of sleep (or lack thereof) and dreams

Just something I wanted to get down in writing...

Both of the times that I decided to take control of my dreams I was thinking to myself "Well, all that I'm seeing is created in my mind, so once I take control I'll also have to consciously start creating for myself, right?" Ok, so I know I was thinking that one time, and that's when I abruptly woke up. The other time I think I was thinking that, and I can't remember what happened next in the dream, but I don't think I woke up immediately.

(By the way, no success in lucid dreaming last night.)

Maybe the solution is to:

1) Order my subconscious to keep creating an awesome environment for me to dream in, and ONLY
2) Taking control of my own actions, not the environment.

Maybe I should look info up online on the topic. But at the moment I'm reading about the consciousness, sleep, and dreams (!!!) in my psych textbook, which is pretty darn awesome.

I started giggling insanely when I got to the section about sleep disorders. Why? Because I had one of my seemingly random cases of insomnia last night. And then I came up with a brilliant idea: maybe I should keep track of my cases of insomnia and see if there's a pattern? I know they aren't always linked to my worrying about something, but might they be hormonally induced? So I'm also keeping track of when they occur in relation to my menstrual cycle.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Clueless moms...

Ok, so I'm telling a story on my mom...

Most of us have family stories that get retold every so often. In my family, one of them is about how my mom realized she was pregnant with me. Or rather, she she didn't realize she was pregnant.

She and my dad had been trying for over a year, and she was becoming convinced (or maybe she was convinced) that they might not be able to have a baby. Making the situation even worse was that in an English class she had to read a book about a woman who was infertile.

And then, happy joy! She got pregnant. Except, she didn't figure it out for a while. In fact, she was probably the last person to know. She even got into an argument with my dad about it, because they were going to move from Texas to Louisiana (yes I was born in Louisiana, though I consider myself a native Portlander) and dad was worried about the pregnancy making the move difficult for her.

The argument went something like this:

"I'm not pregnant!"

"Yes you are."

"No I'm not! And I'll take a pregnancy test to prove it."

I think you already know how that went. She went to my dad, amazed, saying "I'm pregnant." And he said, "Yes, I know." In fact, he'd already told a coworker. One of my dad's coworkers knew about my mom being pregnant before she knew herself!

After this discovery things started to make sense. Duh, it was the pregnancy that made her run out of her class(es) for the bathroom every so often. By the way, she had an agreement with her professor(s): if he didn't stop her to ask her why she was running out of his lectures, she wouldn't throw up in the classroom.

Then of course mom had to tell her best friend that she was pregnant. This friend of hers had also already known about the pregnancy, and had her feelings hurt that mom hadn't told her before.

*sigh* I wonder if there's any connection between the above story and the fact that I was born two weeks late...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Project Lucid Dreaming

A few weeks ago I decided that I want to learn lucid dreaming.

What is lucid dreaming? It's when a person becomes aware that they are dreaming. From that point they are able to take control of their dreams.

After this decision Google quickly took me to a web page FAQ about lucid dreaming (http://www.lucidity.com/LucidDreamingFAQ2.html) that gave me all kinds of info on the topic. What did I decide to do with all that info? Before going to sleep I chant silently to myself "I will become aware that I am dreaming. I will become aware that I am dreaming. I will..." etc. etc. etc. Notice that I don't mention anything about taking control of the dream, though. After a few nights I decided to just take it one step at a time.

Guess what? I have been making some progress in Project Lucid Dreaming.

Last night I dreamed about my last home. It's a place I often dream about, at first because I was so attached to it and had trouble letting go, and now (I think) because it's just habit. However, the house does get changed in strange ways in my dreams.

For example, we never had a swing set in the part of the yard where I was swinging. In reality there were no power lines following the property line between us and our neighbor. And last but not least, in my dream last night my bedroom was the master bedroom, which was definitely not the case in reality.

But I did become aware that I was dreaming. I knew that those power lines weren't supposed to be there, and I even remembered dreaming that they were there before. (Which I have.) While I was at the high point of my swinging I looked in through my bedroom window, trying to get glimpses of things that I used to have but gave to charity, such as a giant green frog named Skipper. I examined a quilt hanging on the wall, and compared what it looked like in the dream to how it looks in reality. And when I decided to enter my home through the basement door I wondered if the dream would dissolve.

I don't remember what happened in the dream after entering my home, so I guess the dream did dissolve. Actually, I don't even remember getting to the door to go in.

Still, it is lucid dreaming, and it is progress. I was even taking charge of the dream to some extent! :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Rattie ♥

I ♥ my ratties. It's so much fun to see their different personalities!

Beka:
*More likely to give kisses
*More likely to crawl inside my clothes
*Generally more adventurous

Sabine:
*More likely to get into trouble climbing things
*More likely to find a hidey hole and hang out there
*When she does get adventurous, she gets adventurous!

I can often tell who's who just by their actions alone, without even looking at their distinguishing features. Then again, they do sometimes surprise me. Such as when Sabine spent at least half an hour inside my sweatshirt a couple days ago. It's true that she's the one who is more likely to find a hidey hole, but it's Beka who normally likes to hang out inside my clothes.

And then a few days ago I found this video...



I am now teaching them "walk". We've had three training sessions spread over three days so far. I don't know if they've yet connected my saying "walk" to what I want them to do, but they've figured out what's up (heh heh) when I hold a treat over their heads.

Sabine was actually somewhat resistant to the training at first and I had figured that she might not learn the tricks, but last night she caught up with Beka. Maybe she'd learned from watching her sister? I don't know.

What's cute is when they go after the cup that I keep their treats in while I'm training them. Naughty naughty ratties!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Job hunting

While working on an application today I came across something that I've never seen before: in filling out info about previous jobs they asked about my favorite and least favorite things I liked about those positions.

In each of the jobs it was easy to say what was my least favorite thing was. In my Office Assistant job it was taking inventory, volunteering at the library it's pulling holds and shelving materials in the "easy" section (which is only called the "easy" section because it's easy reading), and in my Temporary Janitor job it was getting gum out of the carpet.

(It wasn't the process of removing gum that I didn't like, it was the fact that somehow gum made it onto the carpet instead of into the trash can. TWICE, in fact, during the one month I worked there. That and the discovery of a potted plant that was being used as a trash can really irritated me.)

And as for my favorite things about my previous jobs, that was almost as easy. For my Office Assistant job it was my coworkers, and in my volunteer position it is getting to mend books. But as for my Janitor job...I had to think about that.

It's not that I couldn't think of anything I liked. It was because I couldn't decide what I liked best.

1) Should I put down that I loved the people I was around?
2) Or how about that I loved being around books? (The job was at my local library.)
3) Maybe it should be that I loved being helpful at my all time favorite place in the whole entire world?

After a little thought I put down idea number three. :)

The five elements

A few weeks ago Tall One and I were having an interesting discussion about...I guess it must have been about teaching creationism in schools. Anyways, he made the comment "What are they going to do next? Maybe instead of teaching the periodic tables, they'll be teaching about the four elements: earth, air, fire, and water."

An awesome pentacle
I agreed that such a thing would be ridiculous, but observed that I do tend to think of the elements as being earth, air, fire, water, and spirit. Tall One was surprised, so I pointed out something that seems rather obvious to me, but which I guess not everyone has thought of, which is that these five "elements" do correspond to nature:

Earth -- solids
Water -- liquids
Air -- gases
Fire -- it starts with a ph, but I can't remember what it's called!
Spirit -- what science can't (yet) detect

Of course these don't replace the periodic table, but I run with it because it's what (according to some, including myself) that five points of the pentacle represent, and it's just what makes sense to me. Also, I don't see one worldview as excluding the other. Rather, I think that the two ideas can coexist quite happily, one being the scientific way of looking at the world, the other being a spiritual way of looking at the world.

Do you think of the elements as being earth, air, fire, water, and spirit? Do you think of them as being some other combination? Or do you stick to the periodic table? I am curious to hear what others think. :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Of tree climbing and school

Hullo everyone! Have you missed me? I haven't been posting much lately, other than over at my book blog. And even there not very much. But you can click here (or follow this link: http://saritaslibrary.blogspot.com/2011/10/funny-text-book.html) if you'd like to read about a fun(ny) textbook of mine.

The first week of fall term has come and gone. I'm taking two classes this term. One online, and one on campus. This means that I'm really only on campus one day a week.

Last week I arrived early for my on campus class. I bought my text books (about $180 for two books!!!) and then headed over to my favorite climbing tree.

To tell the truth, it barely even qualifies as a climbing tree. Yeah, I have to grab the branches to pull myself up, and I have to make sure that I put my feet in the right place. But this tree seems like it was designed for someone to hang out in its branches, and there are a few "steps" that seem like just very steep stairs. And once I get myself up into it there's a way of sitting that makes it impossible to fall out.

So there I was, sitting in the tree, just doing whatever...communing with nature, daydreaming, and reading Pride and Prejudice...when the grounds keepers drove by in their little golf cart type things. I didn't think anything of it, until one of drove his cart back over to me, right under the tree, and said very abruptly "Please get down from there."

He went on, "I don't want you falling and getting hurt, and then I'll have to do a bunch of paperwork."

I wasn't pleased, but I did get out of the tree. Since then I've considered trying to find out if there is actually any rule against climbing trees on campus. Because that is such a perfect climbing tree.

Fortunately my day improved after getting run out of my tree. I found out that The Belly Dancer (I visited her last spring break) will be visiting Portland for a few days next month. Hopefully we can get together then. :D

I also discovered that an old classmate of mine is in my on campus class. He seemed delighted to see me, and he expressed his delight by giving me a hard time. Then he promised to bake me brownies to make up for giving me a hard time. And he did bring me brownies this week. And they are yummy.