The cloud cover that envelops the Pacific Northwest is often blamed for quirks within the population. Pacific Northwesterners are often vitamin D deficient and medical professionals have linked the large portion of gray days along the Salish Sea to everything from depression, to Multiple Sclerosis, to increased sunglasses sales (you see, we use them so rarely, they are often lost and then replaced). However, there is more at work here than just medical conditions and sunglasses. The general mood on these cloudy days doesn’t evoke an over abundance of surliness — though, I often wonder if the higher rates of college graduates and those who continue to pursue education, literature and so on is due in part to the abundance of rainy days that just beg for a warm fire and a good book. That being said, I do believe that when the sun rises over the Cascades and the blue sky is dotted with an occasional cloud, when the absolute majestic beauty of the unique landscape that makes up the Pacific Northwest is viewable to its inhabitants a sense of hope and optimism becomes contagious. David Abram describes these days as a “delicious radiance that seems to come from the things themselves . . . when we step outside we taste it in the air and the way a few fluffed clouds rest, almost motionless, in the crystal lens of the sky. How far our vision travels on such days! (Abram, p. 142). This optimism spreads through the cities and towns almost the instant the light touches the earth. Windows open to the sound of laughter from passers-by on the street and the smell of cherry blossoms and hyacinth carried on the breeze. Tinkling glasses from restaurant patios and the smell of a spontaneous home barbeques fill the air. It’s as if we all understand, seize the day, take in the sunshine, leave work early, go to the lake, the mountains, the rainforest, the city, pick up the kids early, eat dinner al fresco, kiss the girl, lay on the grass and take this moment in. The people as a collective breath a sigh of contentment and enjoy the moment, knowing that it is fleeting. And they are right. Just as quickly as it came, the glorious sunshine, warming pavement and opening blossoms, is gone. The cloud cover sweeps in, bringing a few raindrops with it, then a few more. Picnic blankets are hastily gathered and brought inside. Children’s bicycles lay haphazardly on their side as their owners retreat inside for a sweatshirt and a snack. We don’t mind, really. These raindrops keep our little corner of the world green and fresh so that when the sun does come out, we are swathed in emerald. And when the sun comes out again — and eventually it will, I promise you; we buy a new pair of sunglasses and treat it like a holiday.
As my friends and I grow closer to the big 3-0 I am seeing many a finely tapered heel digging into the ground in obstinate refusal. It comes in many forms:
Denial. “I don’t look 30, anyway.”
Reassurance. “30 is the new 20.”
Humor. “I will just continue to celebrate my 29th birthday over and over again!”
I see women, beautiful women, withholding their age and therefore the wisdom that comes with it. Am I crazy to think that women are MORE beautiful as they age? Is it that unorthodox to welcome each passing year and the experience that it brings? Am I the only one around here that thinks that the confidence that comes with age only makes a woman more beautiful?
I will admit that my curves are more plentiful than they once were . . .let’s just say I could now rival the Pacific Coast Highway . . . but can’t they be just as beautiful as my modest 19-year-old curves? Can’t the softness of my body be a badge of honor, proof that I carried three beautiful children, rather than just a negative sign of aging?
Maybe I’m the crazy one. But if the time comes where I can trade my acquired intellect, confidence, experience and life memories for 50 pounds and some botox, count me out ~
These are my hands. They are rough in some spots and are beginning to wrinkle, but I love them, they are my own. They have held my children, scratched backs and kneaded dough. They have dug in the moist soil of my garden and written thousands of words. They have caressed a newborns cheek and settled on a lover’s chest. These are my hands.
These are my eyes. They are chocolate-brown, a color I despised as a child and love as a grown woman, they are my own. They have crow’s feet from hours of laughter and thousands of smiles. They have devoured volumes of literature and just as heartily consumed a cheap novel or two. They have witnessed the beautiful colors of a sunset and the changing leaves of fall. Taken in a new life with fervor and reluctantly said goodbye to those who have departed. They have looked into the hearts of many and the souls of a few. These are my eyes.
This is my mouth. When I was younger, it could get me into trouble, now it seems to get me out of it. I love my mouth, it is my own. It has kissed family, friends, children and lovers — even its fair share of boo-boos. It has formed words fueled by passion and reason; pain and intellect and has even swallowed down a sentence or two out of self-preservation. It has professed love and said things it couldn’t take back. But still, it is my mouth.
This is my body. Softer and rounder now that it has been before, it is my own and it has amazed me most of all. It has carried my beautiful children, becoming plump and swollen with graceful motherhood. It has pushed me into the arms of love with hopeless abandon and made me walk away with determination. It has made me persevere through my toughest times, forcing me to put one foot in front of the other, when I though I couldn’t. It has loved many, holding those steadfastly that needed it and allowing itself to be embraced when I couldn’t do it on my own, and for this I am grateful. This is my body.
I do not survey myself with worry or disdain; I do not fear each coming year and the marks it will leave upon me, for it is these indelible marks that make me beautiful. This is me.
I absolutely love this woman:
AIN’T I A WOMAN?
by Sojourner Truth
Delivered 1851 at the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio
Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that ‘twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what’s all this here talking about?
That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?
Then they talk about this thing in the head; what’s this they call it? [member of audience whispers, "intellect"] That’s it, honey. What’s that got to do with women’s rights or negroes’ rights? If my cup won’t hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn’t you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?
Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.
If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.
Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain’t got nothing more to say.
At first, I started out small. One little Sunday pass to PAX . . . just a little bit to try it out. I thought I could handle it. I went to panels, I got Wil Wheaton’s autograph, I chatted with Felicia Day . . . that’s when things started to slip from my grasp.
Then came geekgirlcon. Two days surrounded by my fellow geeky ladies, no big deal right? I went to a panel hosted by the authors of Whedonistas and saw lots of awesome cosplay . . . I swore I wasn’t addicted, that I was just using cons recreationally.
Then, I went to Steamcon last weekend and let me tell you this girl is addicted! Blogs? Screw blogs! I’m going to a panel about steampunking Harry Potter or making your own Storm Trooper outfit out of your old graduation gown and a bit of string! (Ok, if they really had that, that’d be awesome!) Anyway, here are some of my pictures from my recent convention adventures:
And now for the Steamcon gallery. I gotta tell you, the pictures are a small fraction of what I saw there, and they don’t do it justice. It was so amazing that I slapped my husband for going the last two years without me! Never again! Tickets are already bought for next year!
I recently shared my story at Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope. You can read it here:
There are so many heartbreaking stories on there, but they all have one common thread of hope. I am so happy I finally shared mine after a year of just reading. It’s nice to know these shared stories can help someone else going through pregnancy or infant loss.
I have written about my family’s loss previously:
Read them and if you or someone you know needs to talk to someone or a line of support you can always contact me or the lovely ladies at Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope.
So creepy I could only watch the trailer once by myself before I had to go be among others! This is definitely my kind of horror movie and kudos to Eva Halloween for introducing it to me!
I have recently been inspired by some great Halloween projects out there and wanted to get the ball rolling before I start school at the end of this month (Senior year, ya’ll! Woot!)
I really liked the painted Halloween jars done over at Crafts By Amanda and had wanted to do some sort of luminaries for Halloween. I also love cameos and Victorian silhouettes, I don’t know if it’s years of being a huge fan of Disney’s The Haunted Mansion, sorting through my mom’s old cameo jewelry or a complete fascination with the macabre, but I have always loved them and something about them screams Halloween to me.
Anyhow, I popped right over to The Graphics Fairy and found a variety of silhouettes to print out at an appropriate size for the front of my jars. (Side note: check out her “odd” section, I am using many of those images to spruce up this place for our Halloween party.) What images I didn’t find there, I did a google image search for. Then once my painted jars were dry I pasted the cut out silhouettes on using decoupage glue, creating some awesome displays for Halloween. Other than adding the cut-outs, I followed her directions to a ‘T’.
Here is how they turned out! I’m pretty happy with them, though I would have watered them down a bit if I had to do it again, because they don’t seem to be as transparent as the examples on Amanda’s blog. Other than that I’m really pleased!
The darker colors were definitely harder to work with, I had to go to a light green and brighten up the purple by adding white to it. Also, I have the batter powered luminaries in the jars (which you can buy a huge pack of at Costco for a decent price) but I have two in each one. I may switch to a string of lights, with a section put in each jar, I just have to see what works better on my walkway.
Anyway, I hope this was illuminating! Enjoy!