Friday, 20 January 2017

The Knee Bone's Connected To The OW!

I am a person of routine.

Or, I am a person who has routines.  Whichever.

And, on top of that, I keep the lights off in the rooms I'm not in.  Which means, when it's bedtime, I turn off the living room lights, walk through the dark kitchen and into the dark (until I switch the lights on) bathroom. 

I've lived here long enough that I'm pretty decent with the spacing of my place and am generally able to make it to the hallway (via kitchen) by feel and the little bit of light that sneaks in the front door.  I kind of look up and half sideways with my hands out until I hit the doorway and then I turn left.

Except.

Last night I forgot that I was airing out the dishwasher (letting the water dry up kind of thing?) and so it was open... which meant that when I walked through the dark kitchen towards the doorway I walked full force into the open dishwasher door.

Ow.

Now I have lovely matching bruises on my shins! 

Whoops.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

I Forgot

So a week or so ago I recommended a book here and then I started re-reading it.

I remembered the tone of the book and that there was a sad thing, but I'd forgotten the details and, well, there was another sad thing I totally forgot about and when it happened I started crying and then I kept crying and crying and crying and man oh man.

And then the next day I started to explain to Jason why I was so sad and I got all upset and started crying all over again.

And then the next night the sad thing I had remembered happened, just a whole lot earlier than I'd thought and I cried and cried again!

Man... I feel so bad over things that only happened in someone else's imagination.

Sad.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Oh, The Irony!

I've been trying to get more consistent with my mindfulness/meditation.  As in... trying to do it every day again... it's been a while, and I know I found it helpful when I was doing it daily there.

So a couple of weeks ago, I was given a mindfulness CD and last week I got determined to finally sit down and give it a go.  (Yes, I have other programs and tracks that I know I like, but I wanted to try this one and it came highly recommended.)

I got myself ready and popped in the CD and my computer ate it.

Like, I don't use the CD drive all that much, but I know how it works and this time... nothing.  It didn't recognize the CD which meant I couldn't even eject it!  Because, no... the eject button had nothing to register.  And I couldn't find the old school "stick a pin into this" hole either so, already half frustrated and half amused that this was happening I set my computer to restart and decided to use the phone app my brother had recommended.

So while my computer was making itself feel better, I sat and... didn't think as much as usual, and then I started to get squirrely (as one does) so I checked the time on the app and the time was nearly up.  Great.

Except then instead of the nice, calm, "time to stop" noise I had chosen, the app went CHHHHHRRRRHHHHHHCCCHHKKKKKKK.

Oh dear.  I had broken the meditation app too.

But, no fear, I'd tried and I had an acupuncture appointment the next day and they always calm me down.  Except this time, as I was letting the needles do their thing, the CD she had put in started to skip.  (And yes, she was already out of the room!)  And it's not as if I could move to turn it off!  So I just focussed on not giggling too much until she came back.

So, yeah.  Apparently even if *I* want to relax, technology would prefer I didn't.

Or maybe I'm just supposed to stick with what I know works, eh?

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Woah

If you've ever heard a cat fight (or... um...doing "stuff" ) you know it can be quite a racket.

Well, I'm here to tell you that the sound of two raccoons fighting is probably a bazillion times scarier than that.

Like, seriously. 

I'm sure the sound of no two animals fighting is good.  Wait... that sentence is broken.... I'm sure there is never a time when animals fighting sounds good, but damn.  This terrified the living daylights out of me.  Uh... plus it happened at night, so my daylights had already become night...lights... I... am babbling, but yeah.

Super scary noise y'all!

Monday, 16 January 2017

Oh!

So the thing that concerned me the most when I was leaving at the end of my week at Burning Man this year (well, beyond the concern that the van might not start after sitting in the desert for a week!) was if I'd have enough gas to make it back from Black Rock Desert to the gas station. 

I talked before about how I'd taken down a jerry can but decided against filling it as I wasn't sure how comfortable I was with managing the can full of gas in the heat for the week.

Thinking about the van and the trip is something that unfortunately fills my mind when my mind wants to run with stress, most usually at night when I'm trying to fall asleep.  So the other night, I was trying to calm my upset worried mind about the trip and I was remembering the stress of not knowing about my gas situation (and how much less stressful that was than dealing with the noise of doom and the feeling that the van itself was falling apart under me) and then I had one of those "a ha" moments that I have no idea why I'd not thought of it at the time.

I could have filled the jerry can, and then instead of having it sit for the week, I could have poured it into the van as soon as I got there (or somewhere on the road there since I wouldn't want to risk accidentally dripping onto the environmentally sensitive playa) and not worried about it being in the plastic thing in the heat all week or stinking up the interior of my van.  DUDE!

Seriously.  It felt like this major breakthrough.  Why did I not think of this before?  Fill the can.  Put gas into tank once some has been used up, don't worry so much about running out of gas because HAVE MORE!!!!! 

Like, seriously! 

The whole reason I didn't fill the jerry can is that I didn't want to worry about it either being inside my sleeping area or being outside in the sun and heat!  I mean, I know that it probably would have been ok, Sarah kept a jerry can under her car most of the week last year and had no concerns.  I'd talked to her and she'd said it would be fine under shade but it was just one other thing I didn't want to add to my already massive list of things I wasn't sure about and was worried about so I just didn't do it.

But now?  If I go again in a vehicle where we are worried about gas?  Fill the can!  Fill it!  And top up the tank and not worry about the jerry can in the heat!  YAY!

I mean... it might not make ALL that much off a difference... but sometimes just that extra bit can help get you there without that anxiousness of running on fumes.

So yeah.  Night time brain had a smart!  Good job brain!

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Oh Dear

I just thought it was February, which... I'm not even sure why and no, it wasn't a 14th thing it was just a "it's February" thing.... Anyway....

So the last thing I made a note of to talk about from Burning Man this year was that I said no and I'm really proud of myself.

I have a hard time saying no, you see.  Not always, but in the moment, I tend to.  Like if someone asks me if I can do something or give them something I feel like I have to say yes and that's so overwhelming that I rarely even stop to think about if I want to or not or any of those things.

But this year, at Burning Man, I said no.  Just like that.  And the world didn't explode!

One of the times was when someone from my camp (area) who'd had their tent next to my van (and frustratingly would use the shade of my van from time to time, most often when I wanted to come home and sit quietly by myself for a while ugh!) came up to me one afternoon and said "Hey, Victoria, what are you up to tonight?"  I'd just gotten off a long day of (volunteer) work and so was pretty tired and so I said I was just going to take it easy.  "Oh, well, can Fred (or whatever his name was) borrow your bike then?  He didn't lock his and someone took it."  And I just said "No."

Because NO! 

It was the strangest feeling for me, and it's likely because I don't know them, they're not in my world or my life, they're not family or friends and I'll likely never see them again, but I didn't have that built-in sense of obligation and I didn't want to loan out my bike so I said no.

I followed it up with some mumbling about how she's "tricky" (which... she isn't, but it was still hard and guilt-inducing to say no) and they shrugged and as I said earlier, the world didn't implode or explode.

They left the next morning... not having a bike makes it hard to get around the MASSIVE expanse of the place... plus they'd partied pretty hard all week I think... plus, sometimes it's easier to beat the worst of the traffic... and I felt a little bit bad but I also am really glad I didn't loan out my bike.  (And am somewhat annoyed that they asked.  I've put a lot into that bike... she's been to four burns with me... I don't want a virtual stranger doing who knows what on her... especially since he'd lost his first one.  No!)

There were some times I didn't say no, mind you.  And I over-extended myself hanging out with a couple of the people I met.  (I just mean energy wise... it takes a certain amount and type of energy to be with strangers, for me... and I was with these two new-to-me people most of a day and then we met other new people and I was just... done...)  But I also said no to someone who wanted to cuddle (perhaps innocently, I didn't bother to ask) because I just didn't want to. 

It's not as easy (yet?) for me to do this with people in my day to day life, but I think it's something worth working on.

But I did say no at Burning Man and it was a really cool feeling.

Yay me!

Friday, 13 January 2017

Pea Soup, But Not Even

Dust storms happen at Burning Man.  Some you don't see coming, most you have a moment or two of warning (if you're alert) but they happen and you need to always be prepared to get through one of them.  To survive them, really...  When a big dust storm hits, you can't see.  And you'd best have your goggles and dust mask on as soon as you can.

There's other weather at Burning Man (and on that playa during the "off season" too) and while heat is one of the big ones, rain is another that you need to be aware, and wary of.

So Burn Night.  The Saturday that they burn the man.  It's a big party for many, but for me it's time for FIRE!!!! and then some quiet contemplation.  And this year was the first time I was headed out to watch the burn by myself.

I could have gone with some of the people I'd camped with, or with some of the friends I'd made, but I wanted to go by myself.  Partly because I needed some alone/introvert/down time and partly because this was my burn... my solo burn.  So at around that time (because I have no idea what time it was... 7?  7:30?  6:45?) I got myself and my gear ready and I started biking out through the city.  (Some people walk, I like to have my bike so I can get to a porta potty after that much faster!)  I was going pretty slow and taking in all the things going on around me when I noticed that the last few people I'd passed going the other way had all stopped and were pointing at something behind me.

Now, when this happens, it's usually a good idea to turn around and see what had caught their attention.  Some awesome art car or awesome outfit or who knows what!  So I stopped biking, turned around, and saw the most massive, dark storm cloud sitting on top of a wall of dust, I'd ever seen.  And it was heading our way.  Oh dear.

I got off my bike, and walked to a bean bag chair nearby (because that's Burning Man for you!) and pulled out my goggles and "serious" face mask (I have a professional one for major storms and a light scarf for regular ones) and I sat and watched while this wall of... oh crap... rain!  hit us.

Never before had I seen dust WITH rain.  This... was awesome.

But also bad.  Because people were likely out on playa without rain gear.  And... what was this going to do to the burn?  And what should I do?  When it rains on playa you can't really move.  You can walk.  (If you go barefoot, or put plastic bags on your shoes) But you can't drive or bike.  The playa plus water turns to this crazy mud like stuff that just sticks to everything and thickens layer by layer if you try to move in it.  And this was a doozy of a dust storm too.  Like, can't see across the street kind of storm.  Hmmm....

I also kind of had to pee a little by this point so I decided to turn around (I wasn't all that far from home) and head home quickly before the rain got much worse.  (Plus I needed to secure my area...)  So I biked home, folded up my chairs and mini table (they blow away or fall over if you leave them to the wind, and then they can hurt someone or something else) and I peed. 

And by the time I'd done all that the rain had stopped.  (Thank goodness!)  The dust hadn't.... but what was I going to do?  Sit in my van for hours and hope it cleared?  (Not likely)  Sit home for the night and not go to the burn because that was sensible and safer?  (Maybe)  But I decided to say screw it and got back on my bike and headed back out towards the playa.  The rainclouds had left (and apparently on the other side of town they had brought in a flight of dragonflies too!) and now it was just this thick, nasty dust storm.

I biked out, wanting to get to the spot my friend was going to be performing at, and I passed by some of my camp mates walking out.  I yelled happy burn to them and about half a minute after I saw them the dust storm got even thicker.  As in, I couldn't even see past my bike anymore.

Which becomes unsafe.

It's hard to describe but it's this combination of being darker than it should be for the amount of light that should be there for the time of day, and then the air being so full of dust you can't see beyond your immediate area (like, think of standing next to your bike seat and barely being able to see your front tire) and then your goggles cutting down another layer of whatever you might have hoped to be seeing, because you can't take them off because your eyes can't handle the stinging of dust getting blown into them.  Because there's wind too.  And the dust, while fine line talcum powder, frigging hurts when it's getting blown into you at who knows how many miles per hour.

So I stood there, adjusting my mask and goggles, not quite knowing what to do.  Because now there was no way to have a sense of direction via landmarks.  I knew, vaguely, that the city was behind me, and the man was "ahead" of me, but had no idea how to keep going.  I stood for a while, not scared or anything, but sort of... wary.  I had all my lights on on my bike so in theory no one would run into me.  In theory, art cars stop moving when the dust kicks up like that, so they wouldn't be driving into me.  I walked myself and my bike .... "forward" thinking how silly this was.. and that I could very well walk myself in circles for hours.  D'oh.

(I later heard a story from someone who was manning the 12:00 med station (new this year) who sent a girl off into the storm to find the on-site "hospital" (at 5:00) for treatment for a bladder infection (quite common with the Ph of the playa, take cranberry capsules ladies!) and who showed up an hour later asking if she was at 5:00.  She'd walked in a circle... it's not hard to do with no visibility and no markers.)

I chose to just keep walking slowly in the direction I'd been facing when I stopped, and hope for the best.  I knew, worst case, I had water and a protein bar on me, as well as a pee funnel and empty bottle, so I was fine and would physically survive on my own lost in a dust storm until it abated, but I kind of hoped that wouldn't be the case!

At some point I started to hear a vague thump, thump, thump and realized I'd probably gotten close to the outer circle of art cars that surround the edge of the man burn!

I'd made it!!!

The dust thinned out a little... either blocked by the art cars, or naturally, and I found an art piece to lock my bike to, and noted the light colours of the nearest art cars to that art piece and I headed in to the circle.

As it turns out, my sense of direction was pretty darn good and I managed to get pretty close to where I figured my friend was performing (and as it turned out later, I was actually exactly right, YAY!) and the burn was delayed for at least an hour while they waited for the dust to abate, and it did eventually, and then I think it actually stopped and then there was fire and yay and yeah.  That was the most intense burn night ever.  And by far the most intense dust storm I've ever been through out there.

So yeah... I survived the craziest, rain bearing, dark as night, can't see a thing, dust storm on burn night.

It was pretty epic.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Oh

Oh!  And then there was the pyro guy!

Which sounds way scarier than it is.  "Pyro" is the name for the team that sets up the man burn.

I won't give away too much for those of you who might go some day and have stayed away from videos of Burning Man (which you should because... they're just all curated and give a false sense of what it's like out there) but when it comes to time to burn the man structure they don't just walk up and throw a match on it. 

And so I guess it was Monday (?) when many folk had cleared out (and there was a shut down of exodus but that's not relevant!) and I was hanging out and chatting with the new friend I'd made.  A ways away from us was a camp that it turned out was the pyro folk.  One of them came over at some point (on his way to the porta potties I think) and we got to chatting (as one does) and I got to ask all sorts of questions about pyro crew and set up and it was awesome!

I confirmed a few things I'd thought I'd noticed and learned a few things and while I don't think I could handle the pressure of putting on a show that so many people would see, I do think it would be fun to watch them or learn how they do what they do.

Fire is cool.  But dangerous and scary.  Or, it can be.  And should be treated as such.  I know Burning Man "isn't what it used to be" but it's also not a couple thousand people anymore and so safety regulations have to be put into place.  And man, do they ever take their fire crowd safety seriously.  And impressively so.

Even if you only went to Burning Man to learn about how it was all run, it would still be fascinating. 

Really.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

What Else, Then?

There are lots of camps/tents at Burning Man and yes, they range from tent shelter sort of size to "wow, how big of a truck did it take and how many people how long to bring and build that?" size.  But yeah, there are tons of camps.  Of all sorts. 

One of the camps I'd known about but not visited until this year was a healing camp.  So people trained in massage or reiki or whatever other healing modality either camp there or offer their services to the community.

I decided that I would like to offer some reiki with this camp and messaged them before hand and they said sure, just come by and be a guest healer during our open hours.

So I did.

I can't remember what day it was, maybe Thursday, but I went and kind of shyly wandered in (Hi Burning Man, still pushing my buttons are you?  Ok.  Cool.) and offered to give reiki.

They had me sign up and you guys, I really didn't think I would have anyone who wanted any treatment from me.

So imagine my surprise when it turned out all my spots got filled!

And that everyone who came through really appreciated what I did for them!

It was really really nice.  One of those "pleasant surprise" occasions.

Burning Man can be a bit of a hodge podge at best, and I wasn't with the camp officially and they were out of space in the actual main area of their space so I staked out an area and snagged a couple of pillows so people could be comfy lying on the carpeted ground.  I was in the waiting sort of area so there were people all around just chilling out or napping or hanging out.  At one point, when one of my "sessions" ended, the guy next to me said "wow, that looks tiring" and I said "you know what?  It is and it isn't" because it is and it isn't.

Giving reiki isn't tiring the same way I imagine giving a massage would be or something like that but it's not entirely passive either.  If nothing else, you need to watch the time and hold positions and move around the person.  And I'm also paying attention to what I'm noticing.  Which may sound weird, but I do notice things with and from the person I'm working on. 

So yeah, that was a pretty neat experience... people wanting my "healing" and then being happy to have experienced it.  Also, giving without expectation of receiving anything in return.  That was pretty nice too.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Hmm

I could probably do some research and find out but hey, where's the fun in that, eh?

I was thinking about yesterday's post and how it's felt a lot lately as if they (the weather people) are missing the mark more than I remember in the past.

And then I started to wonder if maybe this is another symptom of changing climate.  Like maybe weather modelling systems (or whatever the scientific stuff is) hasn't been updated for the "new normal" (or not normal) and the predictions and forecasting would actually have been more accurate ten or twenty years ago.

I'm probably wrong... they probably update and refer to stats all the time but I am wondering why things have seemed "off" weather forecasting for a while.

Know what I mean, jellybean?

Monday, 9 January 2017

For Real Though

I am not handling the weather situation around here very well.  No, really.

I know a small amount about weather and weather forecasting so I know it is inaccurate.  I know this.  And I know I live near water.  And that things can change.  I know all this.  And I know that predictions are just guesses.  As accurate as possible guesses. I know all this. 

But for a few weeks now they've been saying it will snow and then it doesn't and then they change their predictions.

So up until yesterday morning, they were calling for snow yesterday (and the end of last week to be honest) and then snow on and off all week.  For a while they said it might be rain/snow mix and I always take that with caution, because that means the temperature is right on the edge and usually  means rain for us.  But for the weekend, the forecast was predicting snow.  Maybe not a lot, but snow.

I woke up Sunday morning to no snow at all and no snow anymore in the forecast.  And I was, and still am, legitimately upset and disappointed.  I love snow.  I love it.  It's so pretty.  And no, it's not awesome for getting around but I plan around that.  So when they say it's going to snow I get all excited for how pretty it will be and I get a little nervous and plan around what might have to change depending on how much snow there is.

And then I'm like a kid on Christmas morning... as soon as I'm half awake on a morning that they've called for snow I'm sliding out of bed to peek out and see and.... when there's nothing it's like Santa forgetting your house entirely.

I'm not even exaggerating.  I am actually, literally upset and sad that they said there would be snow and now there isn't going to be.

I know there's not really much I can do about it except what I already do (which is check multiple weather sites and only expect snow if they all agree) but still. 

It makes me sad and I would prefer not to have my hopes up than to have them crushed by the fickle nature of precipitation and the inaccuracy of meteorology.

Yours sadly,
Victoria

Friday, 6 January 2017

I, Uh

Saw Henry Rollins last night. 

Have a lot to think about and process.

Glad the weekend's here.  How's you?

Thursday, 5 January 2017

It Got Deaded

So in the cold snap a couple of weeks ago, my radiators just did not keep up and it got really cold in here.

I dealt with it, but apparently not everyone here did.  And by everyone, I mean the two plants I went to water the next week and all their leaves fell off!

Yeah, my indoor house plants got murdered by how cold it got in my place.  Go figure!

This cold snap (of right now) I didn't feel like just dealing with it, so I asked one of my neighbours if they were having radiator problems too and it turns out it wasn't just my place (which I figured...)  So we both messaged the building manager and she had the heating people come in.

And then they stopped working all together!  OH NO!

So they came back later that night and now my place probably won't kill any plants, yay!

I mean, it's not not in here, but I don't need the two hot water bottles and blanket and layers to be comfy. Heh.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Hmm

That's more of a "satisfied" hmm than a "curious" or "suspicious" one... just so you know.

I think I found something I like.  Or I like something and I think I like it enough to share it with you guys.

It's a program.  App.  Whatever.  Computer thingy.  And it adjusts the light tone of my laptop so that in the evening it, in theory, doesn't work against my sleep... brain. 

Um... maybe I'll just use their description... "f.lux is a computer program that adjusts a display's color temperature according to location and time of day. The program was designed to reduce eye strain during night-time use and reduce disruption of sleep patterns."

I first heard about it on a meditation forum and although I can't remember what the person was asking or answering about I liked the idea of it and have been trying it for a few days now.

I couldn't tell you for sure if it's making any difference in my sleep, but I really like the theory and I think my eyes like it better in the evening with the less-blue light.

You can also adjust it so that it doesn't change the screen temperature for certain programs (like photoshop or something) where correct colour is important and it is a bit odd and scrolling on a white based page can be a bit weird, but in general, I think I like it.

I know there's a fair amount of research talking about having your devices away an hour or two before bedtime and I'm not very good at that... although I do read in bed before I sleep so maybe that counts, but I do like the idea of giving my eyes and hopefully brain a bit of a rest and calming down before sleepy time.

So yeah... I think I like it.  Go figure.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Dark And Twisty

One of the things I did over the holiday break was binge (or do we politely call it "marathon"?) watch (re-watch actually) Grey's Anatomy.  From the start.

It's a show I know (heh, rhyme) but had/have forgotten the details of but I noticed a few things while watching it in this way.

1.  They press the stop button on elevators a lot.  Like, a lot a lot.  I've never done that but I feel like it would set of an alarm or something.  And that it would be more of a jerky stop not a smooth, hey, let me just press this so I can turn to you and say something meaningful kind of stop.

2.  Things happen REALLY REALLY fast when you're watching it in a marathon/binge kind of way.  Like, hey, you just met and now you're like, moving in together?  But, it's because I'm watching what would have been spread out over months on the regular airing over a day or so.  But still... it's all happening so fast!

3.  They all looked so young that first season.  Especially Meridith (the main character.)

4.  My music overlaps with the show a lot.  It's hard for me to know now if I own that song or know that artist because I first heard it on the show or if it's just co-incidence.  But since I know of an entire website devoted to finding music in tv shows, it seems likely that I found a good deal of the songs from the show.  (I used to do that with the OC too I think?)  It's not that I mind, it's just amusing when a song starts up in the background and my brain goes "ooh, I know that one" and starts singing along rather than paying attention to whatever drama it's meant to be highlighting.

5.  Major plot points can still cause you to bawl your eyes out when you forgot about them.  No spoilers but damn.  I forgot about that.

Oh, and in other, slightly related news, I don't seem to be able to knit for more than ten minutes right now without fairly severe wrist pain the next day.  So that sucks, boo!
Please don't steal stuff from here, it's not nice. But leave a comment, why don't cha? And drink more water. It's good for you.

P.S. If you think you know me? You probably don't. If you're sure you know me? Pretend you don't. I'll never admit I know what you're talking about anyway.

P.P.S. All this stuff is copyright from then til now (Like, 2006-2016 and then some.) Kay? Kay.