Wednesday, December 26, 2007

New Year's Gift - My Hair - Entry for December 26, 2007

I donated my hair to Locks of Love, an organization that collects donations of hair to make wigs for children who have cancer and other diseases who have lost their hair.

Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under age 18 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. We meet a unique need for children by using donated hair to create the highest quality hair prosthetics. Most of the children helped by Locks of Love have lost their hair due to a medical condition called alopecia areata, which has no known cause or cure. The prostheses we provide help to restore their self-esteem and their confidence, enabling them to face the world and their peers.

I have thought about donating my hair for a while now. It had grown so long that I was starting to sit upon it (an annoying thing). In truth, my hair was a major vanity of mine. Strangers (usually women) would come up to me and say how beautiful it was. I liked that. But the need to change it, to cut it, became very strong. I would drive by a hair salon, wanting to go in, but not having the courage to do so. If I was going to cut my hair, I wanted it to have meaning. Perhaps that is a bit presumptuous of me, but I wanted it to matter. Here I had all this hair, and there were children out there who were losing theres. Locks of Love was the perfect solution.

It feels strange to have short hair. I did not want it quite so short, but oh well. It makes my head feel light.

I have not written in so long. I have so much to say. Perhaps I will have some more blogs by the end of this week.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

El Conquistador - A Poem in Spanish - December 8, 2007

Ese gringo invadió mis tierras
Crusó la frontera
Subió mis montañas
Y enterró su bandera en sus cumbres

Ese gringo dejó sus huellas
En el llano de mi existencia
Clavó su hacha en mis muros
Y minó los diamantes de mis cuevas

Y cuando ese gringo alcanzó mis playas
y se tiró en mis aguas
Al punto de ahogarse
Yo, con compasión
Le di, también, mi aire.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Self-Realizations - Entry for December 01, 2007

I am needy
I am not high maintenance
I am loving
I am not spiteful
I am empathetic
I am not clingy
I am smart
I am not arrogant
I am high strung
I am not crazy
I am soft-spoken
I am not a push-over
I am shy
I am not quiet
I am sad
I am not depressed
I am giggly
I am not high
I am beautiful
I am not a beauty
I am overweight
I am not a monster
I am angry
I am not violent
I am overwrought
I am not overworked
I am strong
I am not invincible
I am stressed
I am not giving up

I am Vanessa
I am not what you want me to be

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Complacency, Idealism, Politics, and Change - Entry for November 25, 2007

To the world, Americans are ignorant when it comes to world affairs. I get this impression from conversations with friends from other countries and from news outlets outside this country. World news should not be a ten minute segment that follows talk of another celebrity getting arrested for a DUI. In truth, the news covers pop culture and disaster more than they do social unrest and conflict - abroad and at home. At the core of this disconnect is the American educational system and the political machine. We are not taught in school the current events of other countries, the history behind these events, the country's socioeconomic and political status, and how they impact the global community. At best, we get a cursory instruction on the ancient world, and then if we wish to learn more, we can take courses at the university level.

From where does American complacency and ignorance of the world stem? How can it be changed? The problem with finding out where the this ignorance comes from lies in ignorance itself. People do not question what they think is fine. The old addage (or cliché if you will) applies: "If it's not broke, don't fix it." This ignorance does not only apply to world knowledge but knowledge about the various social and economic problems we have this country. To give an example: AnyCity, USA codifies the removal/arrest of homeless people from public property. The inhabitants of this city stop seeing the homeless people where they once did. What happens then: there is no outrage at their living conditions; there is no sense of shame at seeing them shiver in the cold or begging for food; and the people go about their daily life. If we sweep away the homeless and make them disappear, does this stop homelessness? NO! Analogously, if we do not see what is happening in the world, it does not mean it is not happening and that there will be no impact in our lives. Out of sight should not mean out of mind.

If we are taught about the world when we are children - not in some propogandist nationalistic bent, but in an objective study of how different countries operate and their political, social, linguistic and cultural structures- then we can truly operate as knowledgeable citizens of this country and the world. With this instruction, we will grow up intellectually invested in the world; we will understand outside views of Americans as a people and nation; we will not be so arrogant when we talk about our fledging country because we will understand that many of the countries of this world have been around for millennia; we will learn other languages to be competitive on the global stage; and we will then understand the world's horror at the military campaigns the United States has spearheaded up to this point. More importantly, we will be able to respond to the world's criticisms of our actions with ACTION.

Actions. In the short history of our country, we have been kept in the dark about many of government's actions. In 1966, the Freedom of Information Act was enacted to allow more accecss to government agency information, but I do not think it did anything with regards to transparency - or our country's complete openness about its actions and why they are doing them. We are giving pretty stories about helping our neighbors and liberating countries from oppression, but we are not told the truth as to how we gain from helping. But if Americans do not know how or why they should access this information, they do not do it.

If we do not demand more information, we will not receive it. We are complicit in our country's decisions because of our complacency and ignorance. So this is my idealized solution: knowledge. We need knowledge from the ground up. We need transparency. We need honesty. We need history. We need education. We need to change the very core of our country to ensure its longevity. And once we receive this knowledge and transparency and honesty and history and education, we need to do something about it. We need to demand that our politicians work on what is important to us. We need to vote and keep voting till the majority of this country - the working class man and woman - has their voice heard in a thunderous roar. We are not stupid, America...we are kept in the dark with a blindfold and earplugs. The lights needs to be turned on and the blindfolds lifted. Open those ears to what our world is telling us.

So for a purely selfish reason, I was confronted with the realization that while I have many opinions on what I read about in the news, and I am more informed than most Americans with regards to world events and politics, I have not thought about exactly where I stand in terms of American policy, politics, and the world. The politics of this country are like a choreographed dance, and I haven't the steps. They are mired in money and cronyism.

Monday, November 19, 2007

360 Worlds - Entry for November 19, 2007

I started clicking on the 360s on the pages of my friends. People i did not know. Soon, I was in a sphere of chat friends that was foreign. They had testimonials, references to the same events, and it kept going farther and farther away from the chat world that most of us have here. I have 360 friends from 3 places, and some of those friends overlap for a lot of us. I have seen friends I had in Books and Literature many years ago on the pages of the friends I created in Professors Chat in the past year or so. I also have friends from the Classical Music room, and some that I developed through 360 itself.

It is very strange to contemplate the spheres of friends that are going on all over Yahoo and other social networking sites. They exist and are chatting and are messaging each other.

Of course, I knew this was happening. There are so many other rooms in Yahoo chat and groups and so many other Yahoo communities that it would be foolish to think otherwise. But to actually venture into those realms and read their familiarity felt a bit . . . .uncomfortable. So many beautiful words, poetry, people, pictures . . . lives.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Mariposa Pensativa - Entry for November 14, 2007

The phrase Mariposa Pensativa itself means Pensive Butterfly. I use the term butterfly not because I like to flit around but because my name, Vanessa, means butterfly in Ancient Greek, and more commonly known as a genus in the butterfly kingdom. The actual etymology of the name is disputed. The website Behind the Name says that the author Jonathan Swift invented the name Vanessa by rearranging the initial syllables of the first name and surname of Esther Vanhomrigh, his close friend. But the name Vanessa could be derived from Phanessa, a feminine form of Orphic Phanes (which, by the by, is also a genus of butterflies), a primeval, golden-winged hermaphroditic god, meaning "appear." Yet some naming sites say that Phanessa is the ancient greek goddess of brotherhood. *shrugs shoulders*

When I was 9, my best friend Marcia gifted me a phone book with my name on the cover and a stamp of my name. The cover of this book said my name meant butterfly and this is what I have always believed. I remember thinking that I loved that it meant butterfly. I felt like one day I would stop being an ugly caterpillar and be a beautiful person one day. Before that day, I always felt awkward having the name Vanessa. It is not exactly a "Mexican" name.

My mother said that she would have named me Helen, but that during her pregnancy there was a Spanish telenovela that had a protagonist by the name Vanessa. I did some research, and the Mexican soap was called "Vanessa" and aired in 1982. The role was played by Lucía Leticia Méndez Pérez.

Mendez continues the streak of success with Vanessa (1982). Suspenseful endings will play a part of the pull audiences have of her stories, Vanessa is no exception to the rule. Not only does she paralyze Mexico with her endings, but the whole world turns to watch her endings. With Vanessa, she becomes the first star to be killed in a nationalized television production. The world would be shocked as the movie transcends borders. She goes on to sing the theme song that will sought after fans, that will never be compiled on her albums. The production team decides not to cut it because it may detract from her fame has pop singer, where some critics may say that it used that track has a pull for cd buyers.
Since then, I have grown to appreciate my name.

I did some digging into the photograph that I have so willingly put into my Yahoo 360. It is José Domingo Noriega's "Ladina disfrazada de mariposa." s.f...."Ladino woman in butterfly costume." n.d. It was most likely taken sometime during the 1890's through the 1930's. It is part of a collection of glass plates of photographs taken by Noriega and other Guatemalan photographers that are being rescued by CIRMA, the Center for Mesoamerican Research, a non-profit foundation founded in 1978 and based in Antigua, Guatemala.

The three photographers - Yas, Noriega, and Zanotti - produced arguably the most extensive photographs on culture and ethnicity in Guatemala in the late 19 th and early 20th centuries. Their images document the evolving nature of interethnic relations in Guatemala, the emerging syncretism and dialogue between native cultures and Western culture, and the broad cultural change provoked by the expansion of the coffee industry as of the late 19th century. At a time when virtually all other photographers focused on the metropolitan elite in the nation's capital, these three revealed the rapidly changing cultures in the interior of the country.
In Guatemala, ladino refers to non-indigenous Guatemalans or mestizos...a mix of Spanish and Native American.

I hope that this new blog lives a lot longer than my last one. I am backing up my posts in text files. What I miss the most about my old blog are the comments that everyone wrote.

Thank you for adding this Mariposa Pensativa. I hope to learn a lot more about all of you.


In 1995 - Entry for November 14, 2007

I was sitting on the corner, looking across the street ....Nov. 14, 1995

Monday, November 12, 2007

Writing About Writing - Entry for November 12, 2007

As the minutes tick off in a day, there is a constant dialogue in my brain; a narrator and judge that constantly screens my actions and thoughts. The desire to blog about these thoughts surfaces every once in a while, but it sinks down again and the thoughts are forgotten or stored in the rolodex that fits neatly inside my cortices. A major fear is that if I sat down to write, I might not get up for a few days.

While at the San Francisco airport, awaiting my flight home, I began to write about my stay. Within one hour, I had about 3-4 pages of words-- too much for a blog post. Writing was much easier when I had a physical journal. I would write in my journal, draw pictures of things I would see. I was guileless and pretentious enough as a child to think that some future scientist would find my journal and actually gain insight into the world I was living in. The world is too large for that now. So many people are writing down their observations that many of those words will get lost in the oblivion of time. So as it stands, my trip to San Francisco will be remembered in great detail, just not on my 360.

It's okay.

Writing about writing. I seem to do that a lot. *laughs* Perhaps there is enough material in there to write a book one day.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Waters of San Francisco - Entry for November 09, 2007

My recent trip to San Francisco was life-changing. I went touristing around the City by the Bay, walked to the Golden Gate Bridge, took a cable car, visited Chinatown and Golden Gate Park, went to the opera, and just marveled at the sights and smells of the City. I was composing a long blog about my experiences, but I feel I must wait a bit because that beautiful bay I walked along was marred when a container ship was damaged in the bay and dumped 58,000 gallons of bunker fuel into its water.

There were so many birds there. So many diving birds, pelicans and seagulls. There was a moment when they all took flight and I captured the moment...the Golden Gate Bridged displayed prominently in the background. Those poor birds will now have to fight to survive, including the sea lions of Pier 39, the fish and other sea life.

I sincerely hope that this ecological disaster is responded to promptly or the Bay that I saw just scant days ago will accessible to those who live by the bay and jog along its paths, and those that visit the bay will not get to see it as I did.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A Few Bad Apples - Entry for November 08, 2007

Being in a chat room exposes one to many people. The majority of chatters congregate in the same room because they share like interests and enjoy the same topics of conversation. I like to believe that most of us go there to relax, share stimulating ideas, share music, talk on voice chat, and yes, to laugh and share the minutiae of one's day.
I am a veteran chatter. I say this because I have been chatting since I was 16. I have made good friends with the people I converse with. These friendships sometimes extend into my day-to-day existence via phone calls, text messages, and the rare meeting. In fact, one of the first posts I ever wrote on Yahoo 360 (with my now dead 360 account) focused on the fact that I considered the friends I made in chat to be just as valid as the friendships I held with people I can see every day. In retrospect, I did not have true friends until I started working, so my chat friends were my only friends for a long time.

Yet, there are those who come into a chat room to harass, wreak havoc, and cause discomfort to the chatters. It is a form of entertainment for them. I have never understood this type of person. They are not interested in creating friendships or sharing ideas. Their sole entertainment in a chat room is calling people bad names, interrupting conversations, and spreading lies and rumors. They are equivalent to school-yard bullies.
Yesterday, I got upset in Professors' Chat. For the past few weeks, there is a chatter who delights in calling me silly, stupid, and a bitch. He also makes comments about my divorce, that he feels sorry for my ex-husband who must have left me because I was a bad wife. He started these insults because he felt that I talked too much about my children. I talk about my children because they are a vital part of my life, but it is not all I talk about, and frankly, many chatters mention their children. This chatter does not insult the other parents, so I feel like he is picking me out for this treatment for no reason.
The people that know me well understand that he doesn't know what he is talking about, but for some reason, it galls me. His comments make me upset, defensive, and angry. Yesterday, I was so upset, I resorted to petty retorts about him being a bad husband for spending so much time chatting.
The truth of the matter is, I do care about what my friends think about me. I care that they respect me, and I in turn respect those who are worthy of it. I am a good person. While I am also an imperfect person, I treat people with kindness and will help anyone who needs it and if it is within my power to help. I was a faithful wife and a good wife. I tried very hard to make my marriage work. I am a good mother and adore my children. I try hard to be a good friend. I am not always successful. So when this chatter insults me, there is a fear that someone will believe him.
I realize it is not healthy to get upset over this person. I have ignored him, and will continue to ignore him in the future. I just wish people like him would find something more fulfilling in their life to do than to make others unhappy.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Helping + Knowledge = Satisfaction - Entry for November 06, 2007

My aunt mentioned a few days ago that my cousin needed help with her algebra. She is a very bright, thirteen year-old, who normally gets A's in her classes. Algebra has been the only class she has had trouble with. Last night, my aunt arrived around 9pm with my cousin to receive help with her math.

Sitting with my cousin and explaining to her not only to reach the solution but how to apply it to other problems was really satisfying. There were several moments where I could literally see her eyes light up with understanding. This experience brought back memories of being a tutor.

When I was in high school, I was a tutor for a program called AVID. AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination. I was trained in tutoring my peers in mathematics and English. The satisfaction I received from tutoring almost steered me into the teaching/professing field. I had actually wanted to be a teacher throughout elementary school and junior high. It was only my fascination with computers that led me down the computer science track.

The tutoring went well, so my aunt said that she would be bringing my cousin back on a more regular basis. I look forward to it.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Words - Part II - Entry for November 04, 2007

The Chaos
by G. Nolst Trenité, a.k.a. Charivarius
1870 - 1946

Dearest creature in creation
Studying English pronunciation,

I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse

I will keep you, Susy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.

Tear in eye your dress you'll tear,
So shall I! Oh, hear my prayer,

Pray, console your loving poet,
Make my coat look new, dear, sew it!

Just compare heart, beard and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,

Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it's written).

Made has not the sound of bade,
Say said, pay-paid, laid, but plaid.

Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as vague and ague,

But be careful how you speak,
Say break, steak, but bleak and streak.

Previous, precious, fuchsia, via,
Pipe, snipe, recipe and choir,

Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, shoe, poem, toe.

Hear me say, devoid of trickery:
Daughter, laughter and Terpsichore,

Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles.
Exiles, similes, reviles.

Wholly, holly, signal, signing.
Thames, examining, combining

Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war, and far.

From "desire": desirable--admirable from "admire."
Lumber, plumber, bier, but brier.

Chatham, brougham, renown, but known.
Knowledge, done, but gone and tone,

One, anemone. Balmoral.
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel,

Gertrude, German, wind, and mind.
Scene, Melpomene, mankind,

Tortoise, turquoise, chamois-leather,
Reading, reading, heathen, heather.

This phonetic labyrinth
Gives moss, gross, brook, brooch, ninth, plinth.

Billet does not end like ballet;
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet;

Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.

Banquet is not nearly parquet,
Which is said to rime with "darky."

Viscous, Viscount, load, and broad.
Toward, to forward, to reward.

And your pronunciation's O.K.,
When you say correctly: croquet.

Rounded, wounded, grieve, and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive, and live,

Liberty, library, heave, and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven,

We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.

Mark the difference, moreover,
Between mover, plover, Dover,

Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police, and lice.

Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label,

Petal, penal, and canal,
Wait, surmise, plait, promise, pal.

Suit, suite, ruin, circuit, conduit,
Rime with "shirk it" and "beyond it."

But it is not hard to tell,
Why it's pall, mall, but Pall Mall.

Muscle, muscular, gaol, iron,
Timber, climber, bullion, lion,

Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, and chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor,

Ivy, privy, famous, clamour
And enamour rime with hammer.

Pussy, hussy, and possess,
Desert, but dessert, address.

Golf, wolf, countenance, lieutenants.
Hoist, in lieu of flags, left pennants.

River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.

Stranger does not rime with anger.
Neither does devour with clangour.

Soul, but foul and gaunt but aunt.
Font, front, won't, want, grand, and grant.

Shoes, goes, does. Now first say: finger.
And then: singer, ginger, linger,

Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, age.

Query does not rime with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.

Dost, lost, post; and doth, cloth, loth;
Job, Job; blossom, bosom, oath.

Though the difference seems little,
We say actual, but victual.

Seat, sweat; chaste, caste.; Leigh, eight, height;
Put, nut; granite, and unite.

Reefer does not rime with deafer,
Feoffer does, and zephyr, heifer.

Dull, bull, Geoffrey, George, ate, late,
Hint, pint, Senate, but sedate.

Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific,

Tour, but our and succour, four,
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.

Sea, idea, guinea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria,

Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean,
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.

Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion with battalion.

Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, key, quay.

Say aver, but ever, fever.
Neither, leisure, skein, receiver.

Never guess--it is not safe:
We say calves, valves, half, but Ralph.

Heron, granary, canary,
Crevice and device, and eyrie,

Face but preface, but efface,
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.

Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust, and scour, but scourging,

Ear but earn, and wear and bear
Do not rime with here, but ere.

Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew, Stephen,

Monkey, donkey, clerk, and jerk,
Asp, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.

Pronunciation--think of psyche--!
Is a paling, stout and spikey,

Won't it make you lose your wits,
Writing "groats" and saying "grits"?

It's a dark abyss or tunnel,
Strewn with stones, like rowlock, gunwale,

Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict, and indict!

Don't you think so, reader, rather,
Saying lather, bather, father?

Finally: which rimes with "enough"
Though, through, plough, cough, hough, or tough?

Hiccough has the sound of "cup."
My advice is--give it up!

Words - Part I - Entry for November 04, 2007

[sitting in my hotel room overlooking the alive Geary & Polk intersection, watching a love-scene on a movie for which I don't know the name]

words have so much power..
the way we pronounce them..
the way our lips move as the syllables fight for existence . . .
the impact they have upon delivery..
words are life

Words - Part I - Entry for November 04, 2007

[sitting in my hotel room overlooking the alive Geary & Polk intersection, watching a love-scene on a movie for which I don't know the name]

words have so much power..
the way we pronounce them..
the way our lips move as the syllables fight for existence . . .
the impact they have upon delivery..
words are life

Friday, August 10, 2007

Life is a drive

Every time I reflect upon the path that my life is taking, I see a lot of movement. Analogous to the freeways and roads I take every day now to work. There is too much traffic, missed exits, and as some of you know, a lot of cursing! (grins...I am becoming a Los Angelino driver) Sometimes I think that I made a mistake relocating to Los Angeles, and that I would have been better off if I had stayed in Bakersfield, but I know it's not true. I have a real life here. In the few weeks that I have been here, I feel better and more fulfilled. I am still adjusting to everything, and bad stuff has happened- crying and stress, but over all, things are going well. My job is fantastic. My sons are adapting. So I am still driving forward.

Enough analogies.

Monday, May 14, 2007

For Sale


The realtor drove up from Los Angeles and put the For Sale sign up today. It is such an exciting and frightening time for me. They went through my home, and I could see all the flaws. I am going to fix them as soon as I can. But overall, I am proud that I have been able to keep my home looking nice even though I am a mom and on my own.

On Saturday, I spent the day looking at houses and condos with the realtor and my cousin. It was very informative. It solidified my desire to move. My cousin and I had the realtor laughing the whole time. She and I are so good together. She was my best friend as a kid and I am going to love living near her.

What am I doing? I have no doubts that I want to move and that I need to sell my house, but there are moments when I am overwhelmed and overjoyed. What will life be like for me there? Will I make more friends, will I like my new job? WHAT the hell am I doing?

I have to make a lot of things work right now. I have to keep sending my resume out, get those reference letters, and make sure I land an awesome job.

I have confidence that I can do this, but the little voice in my head undermines me. This voice tells me that I cannot do a thing and that I am not good enough. But screw the voice....I am listening to my heart right now and everything in this heart of mine is screaming that this is the best thing for my children and I. My sons will be around family all the time and I will be among my loved ones. I am going to make sure they go to great schools.

I feel like yelling to the world: I AM GOING TO KICK ASS!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Garden - March 24, 2007

I have discussed my garden a bit, but I wanted to let everyone know that it is doing beautifully and holding up well in the heat. The picture above is of a Jubilee New Zealand Tea Tree. It has delicate, pink flowers. I have two in my garden.

I planted several ranunculuses, in different colors, and purple and Red Fox (Sun Yellow) osteospermums. I also have two Pink Princess Escallonias (or Escallonia x exoniensis "Fradesii"). The ground between these plants is pretty bare as they are still very young, but I hope that they will spread a bit and I can increase my garden to include other flowers. I have installed two trellises on two archways that are in the entryway to my home. I will buy some climbing vines to plant underneath the trellises.

There are some pictures in my albums called "Garden." I know it is not the most beautiful thing in the world, but it has brought me a lot of joy.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

And she scribbled madly - March 4, 2007

Writing can be such a laborious task for me. The inspiration to write comes at various times of the day. I can be watching a news cast on the television or a listening to the radio, and a rapid succession of thoughts hit my brain, and I think what a nice blog they would make. But I forget, or, more often than not, I think that perhaps I do not have enough knowledge in the subject to write a credible piece. What are left are journal entries about my thoughts and fears, and this, I believe, can become tiresome.

My need to feel authoritative on a subject is perhaps why I did so well on essays in school. I cannot be content writing on a subject unless I truly know it. So I would often get the required scholarly sources, but I would also read on the subject on my own from other "non-scholarly" sources to get a feel for the subject. It is easier to form an opinion on something once you get to see an event or subject from all angles and not just facts.

Another problem I find with writing is that despite the fact that I have read an incredible amount of books, they have become blurred in my mind. I do not remember characters, authors, or sometimes even the plots unless I take another scan of the book. Once my memory is jogged, I do okay. I get embarrassed and sometimes scared at this. It is like my brain unloads the memories as soon as they are not required. For this reason, I have kept my notes from my university classes, and reread the books I truly enjoy. There is a comfortable cloud of knowledge in my brain somewhere. It just travels around, and unless I am like Buffalo Bill and lasso this cloud as he did the tornado, it can be elusive.

All this notwithstanding, I do enjoy writing. I should do more of it. I could write a book about my life that would be quite depressing, but since I have lived a scant 24 years, I think I can wait a few more decades before I undertake an autobiography. Maybe there will be something more eventful and less sad. (I think I am a cheerful person over all.)

I used to carry around a notebook so I could write down my thoughts as they happen. I will buy a spiral notebook and begin the practice once more. All I need is time.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Maybe I'll Learn to Swim One Day Too - February 9, 2007

Life is all about growth and learning. When we learn new skills, we advance. This holds true for an infant learning how to crawl, then walk, and it holds true for adults. I want to grow. I want to be a strong and confident woman for my children. I want to provide more for them. Instead of sitting on my hands fretting, I have decided to do something about it. To this end, I have enrolled in school again, and the thought of applying myself to study is filling me with dread. This fear is inexplicable because I enjoy learning. I wish I could know more about . . . everything. (I've recently been teased because I like to learn on my own.) Despite this passion, the pressure of being graded again (and paying for it as well) is daunting.

There is also the common belief that an online degree is perhaps not the most reputable degree one can obtain. I think obtaining any degree right now would good enough. I have never been happy taking half-measures. Perhaps I can do it this once and take a chance. I have noticed that I plan to the point where I decide not to do something. I am not giving myself that opportunity.

Taking on a student loan is worrying me too. I am making ends meet right now. I hope that I am still in my position in two years and will be making enough money to cover monthly student loan payments. I have no reason to expect that I won't, but the thought is in the background. Will this degree be worth it? I hope so.

These are tumultuous times. I am sitting at my desk and looking around. This is still the same reality of last week, and the week before, but everything feels different. My equanimity is gone. I am fearful of the new changes, but without them I will stagnate. Someone told me, "You study, take tests, you read, what's there to worry about?" I worry about failing. I worry about not being good enough. I guess I am scared of changing things again when my life is finally starting to make sense. I am learning who I really am --outside of the "couple" I used to make with my ex-husband. But worrying leads to inactivity, so I have to stop myself right there.

On a more positive note, it is not all fear. I am excited about getting a better education. I will be interacting with other students, albeit virtually, and I genuinely enjoy learning. An advantage to getting an online degree is that I will be able to study at home. I will be able to take a class and then attend to my children if they need attention. I won't have to dress up and drive to school at all hours of the day and juggle a work schedule.

Classes start on February 21st. I am a little fluttery thinking about it. I can recall almost every first day of school since kindergarten. I always told myself that the new school year would bring new friends and experiences. It didn't always work out this way, and my current situation is hardly the same, but the little flutter is still there.

We will see.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Wash in Cold Water Please -- Discourse on Self - January 27, 2007

A lot of thought has been spent contemplating my essence. Who am I? More than one friend has asked me to define myself. In truth, I am not sure who I am. Can someone really be defined in a few words-- in a page? There are years of existence molding a character. How can you fairly define a person.

When I used to consider this problem, I invariably brought up the past. I think of my childhood, my siblings, my parents, and my ex-husband. They have molded the path of my life. But they cannot BE me. I do not want to dwell on my past any more. I do not want to be a slave to my memories.

There is a crutch to be found in memories. Memories can be vivid, painful, but they also can be beautiful too. I used to think that if my mother had just shown me more attention or shown me more kindness as a child, I could be so much more stronger and successful. The same thing is happening now with my ex-husband. I keep blaming him for not finishing school and for being afraid to love again. But he is not in my life any more. I can go back to school if I tried hard enough; I could find a way. There are so many resources out there that I have to find. No longer will I use him as an excuse for failing to act.


Thus far my entries in this blog have been a recounting of my past as though they are what I am. A lot of people have suffered in their life and they are strong and don't complain. I am sick of complaining. I no longer want pity. I want to be seen as strong. I do not want to be a cynic more than I have to.

I, Vanessa, am an artist, writer, poet, nerd, computer geek, singer, loving mother, mentor, helper, tutor, cook, programmer, giggler, smiler, lover, and fighter who's also passionate, compassionate, and empathetic.

I am going to put my new-found freedom to work for me. I will be strong and I will not throw pity parties for myself.

*breathes deeply*

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

a hobby that I can enjoy no matter where I go. - January 23, 2007

People who know me have heard me sing at one point or another. If they are really close to me (or just plain unlucky), they have heard me more times than they can count. That does not mean I have a bad voice. It is a really good voice (and no, it's not just because my mother told me so), it's just that I am always singing.

I sing for the pleasure it brings me. Of course, I want people to think I am good, but I have no aspirations for more. I will not be gallivanting around the country trying to become a star. It's not me and it's not what I want.

With that being said, I do so love to sing. I sing in my regular chat room, I sing in a music room, and I sing in the Yahoo Karaoke Club chat rooms. I sing at the top of my lungs in the car, I sing in the shower, I sing while cooking, I sing while thinking, I sing and sing and sing. It is a hobby that I can enjoy no matter where I go.

When my life has settled down a bit, I think I would enjoy singing in a community choir or perhaps at a night club. Not in this town, but places where they have blues and jazz clubs. That would be nice.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Visit with the Family/New Living Arrangements - January 14, 2007

Things are changing and evolving so rapidly. When was the fast-forward button hit on my life? I thought my growth would take on a slower pace. That I would stumble many times before I felt the kind of happiness I am experiencing right now.

Last week, I made the decision to invite my ex's sister to live with me. She is a young woman who was in a bad relationship and needed someone. In struck a chord with me. I have known her since she was 8 years old. I realized that I don't need my ex to approve her living with me. I could care less if he likes or dislikes his sister. I know she is going to work well in my household. She spent more than an hour with my guinea pigs, so I have given her my seal of approval.

When I went to pick her up, I spent time with the ex in-laws. They were kind and it was a nice get together. Then I drove down south for my cousin's birthday party. This too was a big thing for me. The Ex never wanted me to go to family gatherings. He would make me feel guilty or wrong for even wanting to go. I had so much fun! My family is this group of fun-loving, loving, caring, adventurous, humorous, gorgeous people. I enjoyed myself too much. That means I drank and got tipsy. But I was with family and I was not driving anywhere. After dancing till my legs could not support me, I sat talking with my cousin's friend. We were both tipsy and discussing Einstein and Isaac Newton. He went into a ramble about e=mc^2, and I was trying to discuss how Isaac Newton did not have the math available at the time to predict orbits because of how different celestial bodies pull on each other ....blah blah blah....

The next day I went to my aunt's furniture store. We even discussed the creation of a website for her business. I was happy that she was considering letting me do it. I have to start working on that and working on my sister's code too. (i didn't forget Ruby...mwah)

[Lessons learned: 1- My pacing technique really worked. Only one alcoholic drink every hour. 2 - I tend to get philosophical when drinking. 3- make sure victims of ramblings are just as interested in weird things
4 - Very nerdy but in a harmless way. *smile* ]

I took many pictures that I will have to post.

I feel happy and I love my family.