Sunday, December 30, 2012

Northwestern North Dakota

I haven't been posting as not much has been happening. Actually, a lot happened about a month ago but I neglected to write about it when it was fresh, so we'll see what happens when I try to tell the story from memory...

I had a perfect seeming short deployment contract to the smallest Ice station and everything was a go...except for the ticketing, which I was just waiting & waiting for...then in the blink of an eye the contract was yanked, I screeched into my driveway after hitting a few curbs on the way home during the phone call to Denver knowing the only thing I wanted was to drive like a madman to North Dakota. So I did. If I wasn't going to deploy and go through that glorious period of being shuttled and cosseted jet setter style halfway across the world on my employer's dime, then I was going to do something spur of the moment adventurous, half assedly planned but reckless enough to feel like an adventure, with a reunion with someone I really wanted to see.

There is nothing like that feeling of driving hundreds of miles across the country by oneself. Whole areas of memories emerge in great detail, and little pockets of trauma pop up and seem to resolve themselves purely by just driving with them. I had this feeling when I drove to Nebraska in 1987, as I was really running away from/to something then. I did this trip the same way: didn't have my car checked out beforehand (would have been too mature, made the trip seem less like a Springsteen song), didn't have tripleA, don't know how to change a tire...but I really wasn't worried about this because I was driving on highways and highways are always near services, and I had my cell phone and iPad.

I found out about my yanked contract at about 2:00 in the afternoon and went home to pack my car, get all my dog stuff together, and plot out my trip with my GPS, reserving my first night's hotel room in Bozeman. Mapqest said it was about a 10 hour drive - that sounded doable I thought, ignoring that little intuitive voice that remembered that it always took MUCH longer than the gps said. I was so excited to get up at 4:00am for my trip that I could barely sleep and ended up fitfully sleeping only a couple of hours and getting up at 3:30 and hitting the road by 4:00am. I didn't realize there was so much fog that early! Just getting out of Hillsboro through Portland was incredibly stressful with the fog, and intense traffic heading to the airport for the 6:00am the time the sun came up I had been gripping the steering wheel so tightly that my hands were almost frozen in that position. The daylight made the trip easy..and once I was over the Columbia River and into Washington state, I felt the drive was gonna be easy. I was in for a big surprise.

After my one & only rest area stop of the day outside Spokane, I noticed something odd looking in the atmosphere ahead. As I hurtled toward Spokane the cars heading the other direction were covered with snow. Cool! I thought - snow! It was cool for 10 minutes and then it was terrifying for eight more hours and two entire more days. I just happened to time my 3 days drive with a severe winter storm that iced over the roads and had blinking signs over the mountain passes about tire chains and winter conditions. As if seeing a foreign language, I ignored these signs and kept driving. I started to see less and less cars on the roads (certainly no ford fiestas) and worsening conditions. I saw that the road was icy, but doable at a very slow speed. I hadn't eaten and needed to pee, but kicked into survival mode & put stopping off the table and made getting to my hotel my only goal. Like a wired zombie I stared at the only part of the higway I could see: the yellow or white line or tiny sliver of road edge which became my only spec of comfort....I saw  rest areas along the way but the ramps to them were white and shiny and uphill-no way...I tried to follow the big rigs tail lights to see which way the road bended, but they drove too fast and I was alone again, going very slowly, driving almost blind, until I found another set of friendly tail lights to hug near. I got to my hotel and when I stood up out of my car I felt I was in some sort of stupor - I noticed it was very car said 5F degrees. I hoped my car would start the next morning. My little dog was too cold and wouldn't potty outside but I kept running him around until he went. I was NOT going to leave that hotel room until my big drive the next day. Feeling empowered that I had "made it", I felt good about the next days drive, which was twelve hours of clattering across ice and having to hold the steering wheel so tightly so the tiny toy sized wheel would not hit a patch of ice and pull the car off into the black forest or off a sheer cliffside. I accepted my driving fate - I had claw marks in my palms from my fingernails...I didn't stop for food, only ate whatever nuts, candy, donuts was within reach. When I made it to my hotel room my second night, in Billings, my zombie-stupor state was compounded by the number of hours spent in this state of extreme concentration while know I could die at any moment. There were several moments when I felt that I could just fade into the white and quietly disappear...but those were only when I had lost my tiny spot of road I could connect with or when the drifiting snow upon entering North Dakota brought on a new level of fear.

On my third day the roads were still solid ice - the hotels I stayed in were full of people smart enough not to drive, and looking at me like I was crazy when they saw what I was driving. There was a moment when there were no other cars on the road, I was about 6 hours from my destination, it was 0 degrees outside, I had no cell or 3G signal, and realized wiht a heavy heart that if my car broke down here me and Fergus would probably not survive the night. I felt all the emotions I think one might feel upon confronting this reality: shame at not being better prepared, foolish for not checking the weather before hand, self chastisemnet for risking my little dog's life too. Then I saw I sign that I wasn't sure I'd conjured or not. It said you needed to have survival gear in case of a breakdown out here in the middle of nowhere. Even in West Texas you see a truck every hour or so.....but it is WARM there - warm all the time. This was something I'd never dealt with outside of an environment where I was in a big tractor surrounded by mechanics and survival gear. So, I thought, as I was crossing in to ND with a straight shot to Watford City, that this could be it...I felt myself running out of hope and the Ice was thicker and I was having to drive slower and slower and now it was dead of night. Daniel called me every hour to check on me - I felt really supported in that, and when I finally parked in his restuarant parking lot in downtown Watford City I felt the burst of a second wind: I had made it! The place was so busy, so much snow, so many big rigs, so many men in carhartts. It felt like home! I wished I'd just moved here and not had an apt back in Portland...Portland ha! Now it made sense to me why I was so underwhelmed in Porltand. It was just another hipster the one I had live in for 30 years! This, North Dakota, was more like the wild west or McMurdo and just utterly different. A work camp! A city full of men! The reunion with D. was like melting into companionable entwined tigers needing their tribe of each other, my last reminder of my last season at McMurdo. I stayed three days, drove around ND a bit, checked it out for work. Got a call for an airport job back in Portland so drove back in perfect roads conditions to train as a ramp agent loading cargo planes at PDX.

Now I'm writing this last bit many weeks later and that trip seemed like it happened a zillion years ago - but the one thing I know is I need to do stuff like that. I need to do a spur of the moment long crazy road trip every once in a while to feel that part of me that feels really alive. When I was on Ice I felt alive the whole time, but now that I'm stateside I'm seeing I have to work really hard to give myself what I need. I don't want to make this post too long so I'll write about the job and other exciting things in the next one...

Monday, October 22, 2012

All This Useless Beauty

Twelve years later in Taos...the same view from the same window from the painting studio in the stupendously wonderful adobe lodge that butts up against the Taos Pueblo. And always a little washcloth, dry as a bone in the high desert air, hanging from a curiously placed clothesline. It only took  about 48 hours for the joy from our gathering to wear off. I changed my ticket to blow off my Austin trip to come back to Portland early, as I wanted to get to winter as soon as possible. It did not disappoint - we went straight from hot and sunny to pure winter. I had an even more difficult summer this year than last year - I have no air conditioning, and was even more depressed than I can ever remember being. I don't understand why I can't just roll with it - I'm looking to move to Alaska next summer, it seems to be the only reasonable option left.

I have not looked at facebook in a while as I don't want to see what I'm missing at McMurdo. No matter how many awesome things are going on right in front of me, I am still grief-stricken that I am not there. I keep trying to distract myself from the grief with a variety of activities and spectacular trips, and even grueling jobs help, but the hole in my soul is there, and I don't know what to do with it. Sometimes I feel very childish and embarrassed that I feel this way - I mean, aren't there a million other wonderful things I could be doing? A friend of mine who just found out I painted couldn't believe that I would rather be driving a loader in Antarctica than having art shows. How do I explain to him that going to the Ice was the fulfillment of every dream I ever had and some I didn't even know I had. Today, I went on a job interview at the airport regarding cargo and airplanes and it all sounded very exciting and with this cold weather even might be a little reminiscent of my old life, and while I was putting on my steel toed boot this morning, I looked over at my little dog, who was looking at me cuz he always wants to go with me, and I thought, I could just toss this eight pound shoe onto this 7 pound dog and could it all be over with  - but what kind of sociopath thinks that way? To be so relentlessly enmeshed with my memories of this place, to re-visit in my mind over and over again with euphoric recall the tiny details of deployment and redeployment, to remember running to the CDC with my luggage on that wobbly cart to dump all my ECW and be free again! And then to start the cycle over 6 months later. Do I love my Ice career more than my dog? Absolutely. But I still stick to the plan of taking care of him til he's gone.

What I miss most is that cycle: 6 months on, 6 months time to get into a rut, no time to get into a toxic relationship, everything has an end date, everything can be fresh, new and exciting again. I no longer thing anything is wrong with me when I feel this urgent need for excitement. I honor it. It is who I am. More Excitement Please.

I just read several stunningly good books in a row: Both of Cheryl Strayed's books, and Philip Roth's American Pastoral. Still reeling from all that good writing. There is so much talent in the world. So many beautiful things being gestured and created every moment - and at the same time dear friends losing beloved pets and parents, and the world keeps turning. Impersonal. Gracious. Full of mystery.

It is dawning on me that maybe it's time for a new dream. This idea just hit me today. It is terrifying in the sense that I already KNOW what is best for me...or do I?...I've been digging my heels in so bratty and tight-jawed, clinging to the past, that I haven't even considered that there could be anything else out there...could there? Could the universe be so full and bursting with fruit that something as wonderful, as the Ice could come into my life if I'd just consider it? Well I have to consider it - because I've had my tantrums long enough and I'm sick of myself. It is time to see the world with present day eyes and kick the king baby crybaby to the curb.

My friends in Taos kept seeing me sneak off to my room when I was supposed to be painting. I was sneaking off to knit...I approach knitting with the slobbering glee I used to approach the mirror piled with powdery goods...and I heard myself tell this friend "knitting solves everything"...and it felt really true. When I am engaged in it there is nothing else going on in the world and my brain is silenced. Knitting solves everything...and for some reason I took my first year's worth of knitting to Taos, and sold every bit of it.  That was really great!

There is another hole in my soul that is filled by my parents love. I was with them for 10 days and didn't have to make any decisions and we just ate packaged dinners and watch shows on a massive flatscreen. It doesn't sound like a big adventure, but being with them after moving so far away is really precious to me. A lot of my friends don't have parents anymore. I feel very grateful that I have mine.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Again With the Making Me Cry

The "Grey Thatch"
I awoke to an e-mail from a dear friend (who is probably the only subscriber to this pitifully neglected blog) whose title is also the title of this posting. This was followed by a giddy Skype session, and now my ego is puffed, as it sometimes is, from that rare occasion that these shameless ramblings may touch someone. Inspired enough to write another posting just one day later! I know at least one person is reading now, and many others who google "under the sea floats" And I'm re-using photos from previous postings...

The ecstasy of having no estrogen left in my body! My soul is singing at never having to use birth control again (why are we fertile for 30 freakin' years!). I always knew I would love the crone. I was yearning for the crone when I was a 21 year old punk. I was a "get offa my lawn" kind of gal when I was ripe with ova. I don't hate kids. I just never wanted any. And I really like it when I don't have to be around them very much. Those shortys behind me in the photo are emperor penguins, by the way.

Summer in Portland is only slightly less hellish than summer in Austin. At least in Austin I expect the weather to suck 10 months out of the year. But for 4 months without break here is is white hot sun and boiling temps. I can say it cools off at night here, which is a relief. But I am not doing another summer here-I've already decided that.

required Antarctic paragraph:

The thing about Home is it not always bliss. But people who've been through hell together report the same sorts of feelings I've felt on the Ice. A lot of id comes out on down there...I always tell people: whatever it is in you that you are hiding from, or think you can control and not act upon, or are not even aware of, that Thing will roar up and take over in that remote station bubble. I always am surprised which character defect will get activated, which ancient cathects will emerge, which uber inappropriate man I'll be attracted to. It's shocking, but I go with it.

For G, the only other person I know who grocs this dirty south thing the way I do: I love you!

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Ugh - I'm finally letting myself look at photos from my last season on Ice two years ago. I chose the shots that hurt my heart the most because I just had to let myself go there. I like the stormy, dark days of winfly and the overcast days in general, and the top photo is sentimental in too many ways to have to explain. I have an alternate contract, as I did last year, but I didn't get called up last year and may not this year. I still have the doggie to take care of, but I'd give anything for everything to line up in place and have a dog sitter so I could go back. This is the time of year that feels particularly sharp, as this in when the first batch of folks are about to deploy. There was talk of a winfly only deployment, which would have been perfect: I had a dog sitter for the six weeks and wouldn't have to move out of my apt - but I wasn't far enough along in my PQ process to be a contender. There is a chance I will get all the medical appts. done before last winfly flight, and the job that was being talked about would have been  (like everything having to do with the past 8 years and the Ice), like wow, like really, I get to do THAT.

Missing one season is hard. I've done it before and I feel like I'm missing out on so much. I am emotionally crippled stateside as I cannot recreate the social and tribe like intensity that exists there. I was just on one of the more fun trips I have every been on: tweaky busy travel to a different gorgeous Scandinavian port every day, and in the midst of this heady and uberfun time, I would lay in my private cozy stateroom watching the craggy coastline go by, thinking it doesn't get any better than this, but also aware of a deeper, more honest feeling hiding under the lid I have so tightly placed over it: it does get better than this. And not just better but edgier and weirder and so much more badass and wonderful and just more fun than I could have ever dreamed life could be. Somehow, a permission to be this realized, solid me just happens after my first day of station life. I have tried every way I know how to feel that me that is there, here, and I cannot do it. When those wheels of that cargo plane touch down on the Ice, the self that I'd been waiting all my life to meet blasts onto me with icy air. I am home. The Ice, and especially McMurdo, have given me everything. The only way I can pay her back is to just keep going and doing my best to do what is asked of me. I have and will continue to feel like an orphan until I can go back.

Looking at these photos has a profound impact on me...things had gotten better and better over the seasons and and sitting here next to me is the only reason I can't go back: a 15 year old dog who wants all of me all of the time. It is an odd situation to be in, and I guess my only option is to wait.

I have surrendered to the fact that I have to go back to be happy. I've tried everything to try and make myself feel otherwise. The pearl at any price has been found, and I won't ever let it go.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Visual Journey of Norway-Denmark-Scotland Trip

I love being on the ocean

Copenhagen - my favorite city so far


Sunset on the North Sea

Bergen Norway



Skjolden Norway


Alesund, Norway

top of Mt. Alesund

Geiranger - pics cannot do justice to this magnificent place

Mt. Dalsnibba

Lerwick, Shetland Islds



Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Harmony and Me

Hallo, I said hello-o-o...starts the song at the end of the Yellow Brick Road album. We (my sister and me) were so obsessed with Elton John in junior high that we spoke, dreamed and talked of nothing else. He was our god. As we begged for and received each new album we touched & treasured them (and played them compulsively) as if they were objects d'art  and centered our lives around this man's music. Even though a lot of the lyrics seem insipid today..I can still belt out every word to every song of his 70's oeuvre. Listening to his music provided me my first experiences of euphoria...I had not had any joy in my young life, and now it had arrived, and I yearned and pined to meet this man in the twisted and programmed belief that this inner intimacy I felt in communion with his music had something to do with some ideal of romantic love. My next Yellow Brick Road was Born to Run, then in 1979 I fell into the local new punk rock scene and the euphoria exploded upon the first notes of a song at the club and the endless river of booze. I loved drinking, punk rock and freedom. And I had all of that in 1979.

But the Harmony I intended to write about here was Harmony Korine. As I pack for a my first trip to Norway, I was looking for some films shot there to get some visual markers. Norway is not really on the American radar. But last night was I was surfing streaming Netflix (weird) I found a doco on the Black Metal scene in Norway. Score! Lots of cinema verite footage of Oslo and Bergen, but more interesting, the incredible intelligence and thoughtfulness of some of the musicians. I was enlighten to a whole genre of music I had previously written off and am now quite interested in. They have Bill Maher's political leanings and look like their wearing Halloween goth costumes, speak perfectly unaccented English, and have a soulfulness that has made me redirect how I am going to spend some of my time in Norway (less yarn, more metal).

As a film geek, I have always loved auteurs, but have problems with some of the really dark, dada and Dogme 95 stuff. Lars von Trier's work is beautiful and heavy (Dancer in the Dark, Breaking the Waves) but I thought Melancholia was uninspired crap. It reminded me of my least favorite female director, Sofia Coppola, whose stuff is so cold and characters so brain dead you hope they all kill themselves...contrary to the uber warmth and love I feel for someone like Miranda July. I should like Harmony Korine. He is a real artist and does not compromise his work, was part of Dogme 95 then wrote his own manifesto, and his films receive a lot of praise. I know a beautiful suburban housewife who watches "Gummo" as her Christmas Day ritual (!). I have never been able to sit through Gummo. I guess I have an un open-mindedness to some types of art - I feel Harmony will take me someplace (dark, white-trash, filthy) I can't come back from. I watched Julien Donkey-Boy with a whole tiny Antarctic Station and that was doable because I wasn't alone, which is how I usually view films (something about seeing this sort of film alone terrifies me)...but it was expectedly revolting, (starring Werner Herzog, who is a big fan) and I guess I need to be moved by art, not just repulsed. I have a strong reaction to fictionalized brutality towards humans and animals...and when it is forced upon me, I want to run. I don't feel Harmony is revealing anything interesting to me about life or humans or the universe.

So Harmony showed up in this doco I saw last night (Until the Light Takes Us) that was beautiful and touching and very well made. He loves this music and this black metal scene and grocs what is all about. The guys who started it were basically acting out in anger what intellectuals write about when they are writing about the tyrannical spread of Christianity (or any religion). People thought they were Satanists  -they burned down some churches, they were anarchists. But they truly felt major religion had killed the Viking soul, and decided to be a bit terroristic about it while plugging away at their art.

I want to examine my resistance to even sitting through an entire Harmony Korine film. I have disliked certain revered filmmakers before. I walked out of The Tin Drum, and flunked the test over it in college, but I just wasn't going to force myself to watch it. I sat through Effie Briest, and after that decide life is too short to sit through directors' mental masturbation movies. Maybe I'm a not a purist. I didn't like Tree of Life or Lost in Translation, but have watched Rumblefish 100 times. I always loved Woody Allen, especially after his "funny period" when he got serious and fans jettisoned. Crimes and Misdemeanors is a masterpiece. He is the greatest American auteur.

People keep asking me if I'm excited about my "vacation" as I start the journey to Norway/Denmark/Scotland. I say yes but don't say that I don't see this as a vacation in the traditional way people think about that sort of thing. I'm not vacating anything. I'm traveling, which is what I do now as sort of a part time gig. It's time to travel soul requires it...I worked hard to realize the childhood dream and now have to keep honoring it.

Finally, I remembered my point! I just read this, a quote by Harmony:  "to me, the most beautiful thing in the world is an abandoned parking lot and a soiled sofa on the edge… with a street lamp off to the side. America seems like a series of abandoned parking lots, streetlights and abandoned sofas."  Ahh, now I know why I love his aesthetic but not his finished artworks. To me, the most beautiful thing is a dark overcast sky over a dirty factory glittering at dusk, alit; pumping out black smoke, above dirty rumbling railcars littering a rail yard. And that: repulsive to most people I'm sure. The ugly underbelly of American, we both love it, Harmony and me. 

Monday, April 30, 2012

I haven't been blogging because I've been knitting in all my free time...and after a Portlandia episode I started watching Battlestar Gallactica so I've been really consumed with activities that do nothing to better the lives of others or contribute to the good of humanity in any way. I felt off balance and realized that my intellectual life was suffering. I had to cancel my New Yorker subscription on my kindle as I couldn't figure out how to knit and read...and I was starting to feel like one of those people I'd always judged harshly: spending lots of time sitting on my ass watching tv series after tv series on streaming Netflix while I maniacally knitted sweaters. I was possessed with my new craft - it filled the hole previously filled with painting, traveling and Antarctica. Being able to watch tv series a zillion episodes at a time is amazingly fun. I haven't had a tv in 20 years so the streaming deal has been an amazing bargain. And the knitting was so satisfying and deeply fulfilling that I couldn't say no to it, even though it's a hobby loaded with meaning that goes against  badass self that I had been growing. And I even started cooking - something I never thought I'd do. I became a vegan because, well, my new hobby is so sedentary that I can't eat sugar and meat and french fries. I went on a one month odyssey to Texas and New Mexico, and managed to crank out 4 fully knitted items. I actually can't wait to stop typing this so I can cast on a new project...

Living in a place that is cold is so good for my soul it is ridiculous. I have already had some mini panics over the springtime and longer days...but I have to remind myself that it is consistently 30 degrees cooler here than in Austin on any given day. I still think about the Ice and the wild times at McMurdo and it seems like that seven years happend in just the blink of an eye...time is really speeding up here now that I'm in my fifties. I am absolutely clueless about what kind of job I'd want here or if my heart could be in it. I haven't closed the door on the Ice, so I haven't completely embraced stateside life. What I have embraced and have fallen in love with is Oregon. Not necessary Portland, though it is a great city, but the whole state of Oregon...there's a lot of things that bug me about this place (super slow speed limit, pedestrian entitledness, fear of putting a receipt in a bag with purchases), but after visiting a few places in the state, I am just pleased as punch that I live someplace with so much natural beauty. Unlike Taos, every time I am on Mt. Hood I am filled with euphoria. I finally know the feeling of being in the "great outdoors." Mt. Hood is my takes my breath away to see the low hanging clouds and feel the super crisp air. Something happens to me on the quiet ski lift gliding to the top that never happens to me in Taos: the gleefulness I've always felt when in my climate happy spot. And that spot is getting more extreme. Over 60F makes me nervous now. I am looking at spending summers in Alaska, or once Fergus is gone, Reykjavik. I don't have to make a big deal out of if anymore and complain about the perpetual sun (that only I seem to observe) here in Portland...I'll just quietly keep looking for  my weather happy spot. In a month I'll be in Viking lands. I am really spoiled.

Monday, March 19, 2012

SouthBy 2012

Feeling homesick during the holidays I booked a trip to Texas during SXSW. I flew to Houston with my dog, dropped him off at my parents house & drove to Austin. As soon as I pulled into the city of my birth and saw the hot boiling streets  and nitemare traffic, I wanted to turn back around and go back to my cold and cozy house near Portland. I tried to do the deal as best I could but found myself mostly slogging around by myself, trudging through the masses on 6th street and SoCo, occasionally running into friends and hearing some great unexpected bands. There was magic: riding my scooter across the bridge with the large moon illuminating the water, while the glittering downtown pulled at me like it had 30 years ago, driving me into the dark places that my soul craved, but that were ultimatley destructive, looking for some phantom magic that I found in chemical euphoria. I love having all that behind me now and being the cranky old-timer squawking about how much my feet hurt, and who can feel euphoric by logging onto Ravelry.

Just being around Weird Austin is worth it's weight in gold. I love living in Portland, but that city has NOTHING on Austin as far as Weird. Austin is so much edgier and Out There, so much bolder and riskier and far out. The freaks less afraid of falling through the cracks, so much more daring and courageous and not afraid of looking like utter fools. The yuppie factor during this time is always startling. Expensive blonde highlighted ironed hair and fake tans while still trying to look like Austin hipsters. I feel like saying to these poseur Californians: no matter how hard you try we can tell you are not an Austinite so stop trying so hard. I can see your nose job scars from across the street. I was always feeling slightly off kilter here this week. My best day was when I got in my car and went north of the insanity of the festival and walked around the Drag and shopped at the Co-op. No more hippies and weirdos on the drag - it's clean and shiny now. UT is no longer for slacker students like me-I probably wouldn't even be able to get in now, but now that I've had a degree for almost 30 years, I am more astonished of this fact than ever, and have more UT and longhorn shirts and hats than I ever did when I was in school and lived here. Now that I am leaving tomorrow I am seeing all the good of this place again. Mostly these days, I just want to sit in a 60 degree room and are some images from the week:

I love being older, and the carefreeness that comes with that. I saw so many young girls who'd spent so much time perfecting their outfits and hair and felt such relief that I don't do that anymore. Some days I wore out what I'd slept in, my gigantic  new black Prada bi-focals the only indication that maybe I had been in some sort of scene at some point in my life. I can't totally disappear from this place: my identity is tied up in several different circles here and it really is "home" in so many ways. I guess I'm kind of a poseur too - I try to look cool, too, by dressing sloppy and having anti-fashion That Harley is not mine: I was just sitting
on it. But just like those pix from that German band seen here, this festival is all about having fun by sticking out. In a city with so many creative and uber unusual people doing so much exciting stuff, it's okay to try and look cool or weird or sexy or whatever you want. Back in the punk scene we were all real judgemental about "posers" or kids who wore "outfits" that looked punk rock. But we were doing the same thing - just the opposite, try real hard to look like we weren't trying at all. There were some real punks, but us college kids whose parents were paying their tuition were just enjoying rocking the lifestyle of it: we had apts. to go back to and books to study. I will leave glad I came, but can't wait to get back to Oregon. This festival always reminds me that people can do anything they want creatively, and that the fans are just as important as the artists, and that is is actually all right just to have a good time. It doesn't have to be any more complicated than that.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Double Headed F Monster

winter wonderland
After settling in to my new digs and job I am surprised at how content I am with my situation. I did go through an intense homesickness for McMurdo and even Texas during the holidays, but after a few weeks of struggling with my intense fight or flight (FOF) response to situational discomfort, I am happily plugging away in my outwardly conventional life. A good friend once told my I had an extreme case of "fomo": Fear Of Missing Out. She was right. During the week of Christmas and New Years I was sunk in a dark slot that wasn't really despression or despair, but more like Extreme Fomo Gone Wild. I was missing the Mactown Christmas Party! and Icestock! And all the creative and exciting projects people do on Ice. I sound like a five year old whose not getting what they want. During a period of fomo, I will often make decisions that feel very important and necessary: I'm done with Portland, I need to move back to Texas where I know more people and how to get around easier, and mostly, deliberately keep my eye on the prize and don't settle in to any situation that does not lead back to my seasonal lifestyle. This lasted about two weeks. After a flurry of e-mails was sent trying to secure different arrangements in a variety of cities, barely disguising the FOF mania, something happened that put a stop to this crazy cycle that has driven my as long as I've been alive: Winter. As my faithful readers know, weather seems to be the one factor that seriously affects my mood. I've been disappointed in general with Portland: too sunny in general, too warm in the summer, and really not  as cloudy as I'd hoped. But winter right now is wonderful...and as soon as it dipped below 35 and started snowing and raining, I've been very happy to be right here. I am still agog with knitting, and bestly, I went skiing for two days at Mt. Hood and had a blast. I knew I had to accept my situation (taking care of my dog until I can go back to the Ice), but I didn't really think I could thrive in it. All this quiet and solitude (I spend so much time alone and not talking to anyone compared to my life before) has made me see how the fomo and fof have worked together like hysterical screeching toddlers in my psyche to drive me to make rash decisions and sign up for a bunch of stuff that I don't go to, all because I don't want to be reminded of  the time in my life when I had no activities to choose from except sitting in a room by myself. Now I sit in a room by myself a lot and it's really fun because I'm working on all sorts of complicated knitting projects. And when I ignore the double headed F monster I see that I am really free. And despite what popular culture would have one believe, being a middle aged single woman is about the most rockin'est situation to be in. I love having no estrogen and not having to wear cute clothes. It saddens me that so many believe the lie that one has to have a family of one's own to be happy...there is so much freaking fun stuff to do out there!