Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Nostalgia? I suppose, if you're romantic like that.

Let's clear something up.

When I say romantic I mean like medieval , or the Merriam Webster version -4 a: marked by the imaginative or emotional appeal of what is heroic, adventurous, remote, mysterious, or idealized.

Last night my room mate said something about me in a very off handed way. I mean to say that she wasn't being malicious by saying it, that there was no feeling behind it really, because she was saying it about me in reference to herself. Which made it hurt that much more - it was just a commonplace thought for her. I suppose I knew it, just never simplified into such a ... well, here.

She's going through this break up. She and I have entirely different approaches to relationships, and I've been trying to be supportive, but  I suppose I'm not really that good at it.
Anyway, in response to something I said, she says, "No, it's like I'm dating you, which is shitty. Because no one gets out alive."

Bam. Just like that, I am almost in tears. It's true. I mean, when it comes to relationships I'm pretty f***ing heartless. I don't really try to be, I just don't want anyone hanging their happiness on me.  I've been trying to approach that about myself, trying to find out if I really even want to change it.

I took it much too hard, because I did cry about it, when she wasn't around. I'm not angry about it, I'm just sad that it's true. It's like the occasional dark hairs I get on my neck (yeah, you get to read that about me). I can't really be mad that they're there, it's part of who I am. I can pluck them (and I do, I don't want to intimidate anybody) but they come back, and they probably always will. It sucks, but I have to live with it.

So in the midst of my tears I just really wanted to be up in the mountains somewhere, camping or in a cabin, looking out a window at the brisk night. I would be laying on my side in my sleeping bag or under a blanket, and maybe it would snow.
Which is awful. I hate snow. Let me say that again to reiterate. I HATE snow.
I'm not sure I've ever been in that situation, but I could see it clearly. In a bout of (possibly unwarranted) emotion, I was nostalgic for something that had never happened, and comforted by it.

Yep, that last paragraph was probably all I had to write to relate this post to the title. Really though, what would be the point in having a too-personal blog if I didn't alienate the audience?

Monday, April 28, 2014

Bad at Conclusions, or Mystery Bush of Butterfield Place

4/22
5 a.m. is sneaking past the curtain, making it just light enough for me to watch myself scratch at my side with all the delicacy of an ogre and think nothing of it.

Six hours later I'm out of the shower and my whole left flank is bright red and will later be described as "angry."

After what should have been a really embarrassing emotional snippet at a tutoring section I shuffle, fidget, scratch, and wiggle through three hours of class.

Standing outside Waldo Hall I make the mistake of looking up "scabies" on Google Images. Luckily for me, my torso doesn't look anything like that. It has now spread up my arm and to my right side.
In a moment of itch induced insanity I consider asking the professor if she knows anything about rashes. The blinding panic subsides, and I realize what a severe social mistake I have narrowly avoided.

Later, at home I subject my room mate to at least two hours of more Google searches;
Shingles.
Heat rash.
Ring worm.
A whole website called "What's This Rash?"

Nothing looks like what I have, but I've all ready slid down the slope.

I convince myself of two things; (a) stop looking on the internet and (b) this is a stress induced rash. I lay awake trying to reconstruct my recent past to find some hint to my current state. It's a rough night for sleeping.

4/23
I make an appointment with Student Health Services, call my dad, and withdraw from my biology class.
I procrastinate and worry about the possibility of hypochondria.

At 2 p.m. I am sitting in the lobby of the Student Health building, trying to catch my breath and get my wallet, keys, head phones, cell phone, backpack and helmet to coordinate with each other. I'm not winning at this game when the medical assistant calls me back.

By this point I have settled in to an ominous state of acceptance. I joke with the MA about my shingles/heat rash/worms and he jokes about throwing the blood pressure cuff away.

When the doctor calls me into his office I am still struggling with all of the things I've decided to hold instead of put in my backpack.
I lump them in a pile on the floor.

(Let me take a moment to tell you about the trouble I go through to not be partially naked in a locker room on campus. I mean I change in a stall - a toilet stall - with a towel wrapped around myself as much as possible while trying to change one handed.)

The doctor introduces himself, says something about itching and I say, "Look, this is going to be a lot easier with my shirt off," because I am tactful and patient.
He is not in the least bit phased, which is good because I don't have time to be embarrassed. Soon I will have scratched away what few social skills I have along with the top layer of my skin.

"Ah, that looks angry."
"Yeah, and it's jumped my bra line." Because it has - there's a suspicious patch of not itchy skin right under my not itchy arm pit. My bra is still on, by the way. The rash is only on my sides and the bottom of my left arm. It hasn't progressed since the day before.
"Urticaria." He doesn't even need to think about it. "These are the classic symptoms of contact dermatitis, a severe allergic reaction to something that's touched your skin. If it was something you ingested, it'd be all over, and the same with any lotions or creams you use - it'd be where you put them."  He prescribes a three day regimen of two antihistamines and Prednisone.

This is when I finally get embarrassed. Of course my mind would go to the most complicated and unlikely solution. It's not stress or shingles, you diva, it's allergies.
This is why I'm bad at math. If a train leaves a station going at 60 miles per hour and a second train leaves an hour later then there's probably a Russian spy on the second train who has just smuggled a suitcase full of illegally imported wormwood past the border and is planning on sabotaging the first train's induction into the Union Pacific museum. I mean I make things more complicated than they need to be.

Sure enough, after one dose of the prescriptions the itchiness subsides

4/25
A follow up appointment just reaffirms the doctor's diagnosis. I did not feel the need to pull my shirt off this time.
I have narrowed it down to a wool sweater and a bush that lived and died in our front yard.
A big dead bush I wrestled with on the 20th, in short sleeves and gloves.
A nasty bush which I managed to inadvertently get a piece of in my mouth somehow, because I distinctly remember thinking, "Oh, that is probably poisonous."
A stupid bush whose stupid dead branches worked their way under my shirt while I was trampling them into the yard debris cart, and probably left a few scrapes on my side and arm.
These are things I just don't even think of after so many scratches, pokes, dings and what have you. A few scrapes don't even register on the ow-meter, let alone the "huh, I may be severely allergic to this" meter. I don't even have that meter. It didn't come with the factory settings.
To be fair, this will be my first allergic reaction to anything (minus hay fever, of course).

4/28
And now it's Monday at about 1 in the morning, and I am writing too many personal details about an incident that is only slightly funny and/or ironic to me.

I feel like there's an awful metaphor in there somewhere.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Oh, sure. You and everyone else with their blog.

Here we are again.
More than a year down the road. I'm a student again, knee deep in archaeology classes and minoring in Ag Science. But who cares, really?
I guess this blog was really for me. A tribute to myself, "Look, me! Look how witty I am and how well I can write, and all the things I do!" Good lord. For all the private thoughts I have about a certain social networking site being an attention vacuum, I sure am capable of attempting to be a vacuum myself.
That's right. I'm a hypocrite. Also, my writing could use some improvement - or a lot. I know it.

The thing about this blog - nobody is going to see it.
And while I secretly hope that out there in the ether someone is reading these words with admiration and a smirk, I'm fairly certain no one is.
It's a little dangerous, a little head trip. I could write whatever I want! Isn't that the point? I'll admit it. I want someone to think I'm clever but not tell me about it, just moon.
Hey, I don't dictate your fantasies.

I'm just letting you know (and by you, I mean me, because I am probably the only one reading this), that I know what this is all about. This blog. I get it. I don't need your approval, me. Get off it.



Monday, December 31, 2012

It sure doesn't feel like two weeks Part Two... Because it wasn't

My trip down to Utah, as I had mentioned before, was for an archaeological survey.

10/14
We make it to Logan by 7ish, eat at Chili's, and head over to Ken's house. There is light talk and a beer or two. Ken expresses his concerns with the upcoming elections.
Oh goodness.

12/31
I have all but forgotten about this blog. So much happened between October and now that... I am not going to post it all here.

But! I am going to post a link referencing Podcastle, even though I don't think anyone has seen this blog.
 http://podcastle.org/ is a website with fictional "drive to work" length stories! Some are much better than others, but it has authors that are well and not-so well known.

I'm sure it will be mentioned again.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It sure doesn't feel like two weeks Part One

10/11
I leave Corvallis by 7:00 and hit Portland at about 9. Close to the boundary of town I see 2 hitch hikers with a dog. I'm going almost 60mph, and my thoughts are almost too slow to process. Stop, don't stop, stop!
On the side of the road, I start rearranging the things in the back of my car to accommodate. It's close to 38 degrees outside, and just before the rainy season.
The two walk up with day packs and a half breed pitbull. A girl, mid 20's - Egypt, and a fella in his late 20's - Cal. They were holding a sign I didn't see that said BOISE on it. Funny how these things work out.
Now for the most interesting 8 hour car ride I've ever had.
Cal and Egypt are both baccalaureates from Michigan state, and have been backpacking since about June. Besides this excursion across the country (relying on the kindness of people and restoring their faith in humanity) the pair have been to several other countries beside.
They claim that they haven't had a bad experience yet, and haven't had to turn down a car ride due to strangeness of any drivers. I drive them all the way to Boise, stopping occasionally at rest areas to nap and to fill the tank.
I ask questions. Many of them. They answer happily, and in great detail. We get to Boise, I buy them breakfast at Rockie's, and drop them at the Chevron station on I84. The seed for travel has been planted in my brain, and I can feel it taking root. I'm sad to have them leave my car.

10/12
After leaving Egypt and Cal, I stop by and visit BoiseDylan. He's an ex... something, and always a good friend, our relationship founded at Burning Man. But... I don't think his current live-in girlfriend knows about me or our past, and I duck out of there unscathed, unquestioned, and slightly bemused. I grab a coffee at the infamous Flying M, screw around for a bit downtown, balk at the concentration of hipsters, and head out to meet Erin.

Erin responded to my Couch Surfing request to stay in Boise, and works in the Black Cat Tattoo parlor.
She is phenomenal. Willing to put me up for more than one night and invite me to spend time with her friends. I'm sure that should she ever read this she'd roll her eyes at my silly praise, but as my first CS experience I am blown away.

When she gets off work we head to her house. A nice place tucked in a quiet neighborhood decorated with Erin's artwork, giving it a personality all its own.
On top of everything else, there's a whole bedroom to crash in.

Now, I'd lived in Boise before. Downtown there's a club called the Balcony which I'd never been to, but have heard all about. Erin and I have dinner, meet up with her friends at Old Chicago.
Then to the Balcony. I don't know what to expect. I've been in a club once, and generally avoid them at all possible costs. It's crazy - full of all types of people, with the loud pop/club music that's probably at every club in Idaho if not the country, and a raised dance platform on the floor.

This was by far the best night out I've had in a long time.

10/13
I roll out of bed at around noon. I think. I drive back up to BoiseDylan's place, and catch him before he heads off to work. Turns out there's a party in Nampa, and Ib (BoiseDylan's roommate and longtime Burner Buddy) is gong out shortly. I have brunch with Ib and a couple of his friends in town, and tentatively take the address this party is at. I'm not sure... Paul and I are leaving for Boise tomorrow and Erin's got a party thing in Boise tonight...

Turns out the party is on an organic farm that has an intentional community living on it. Bobby and Brandy are the ones hosting, and again, I set to asking questions. The farm so far has been successful for them, and there are more than I thought in the area. They sell their organic produce throughout the year, and trade with other farms in the area for things they want or need in a bargaining setting. This is highly encouraging. I want this. As Brandy is describing their way of living, I am tempted to remove all my belongings from Oregon, and  settle down temporarily on the farm to learn about how things work there. Another seed planted.

I leave temporarily to check on Erin's party, find her and the crew living it up, I stay for a bit drink a beer, and return to Nampa.

10/14
I don't sleep, and am in a weird frame of mind meeting up with Paul. He's pretty tolerant of my shenanigans though, and we chat all the way down to Ken's house.

**Let me back up a bit here. I met Paul in Texas at the Gault Site the summer of 2011. He was the director for the field school I was attending and also the person who referenced me to Utah State University Archaeological Services (USUAS). I look up to him as a teacher, future colleague, respected archaeologist, and well rounded person.
Ken is the boss at USUAS and lets use his spare rooms when we drive down from Boise.**

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cake and... Utah?

I love baking, but I don't own many cook books. I'm a cheater. I use the internet to tell me how to cook things instead of testing a multitude of recipes in antiquated home journals and pot luck specials. My favorite website to use is All Recipes. There's a recipe for dern near everything, and thousands of people read, review, and rate them. Yesterday I made David's Yellow Cake, and it turned out ridiculously well.

I found out yesterday that two of my friends' favorite type of cake is yellow with chocolate frosting. Even though it shouldn't, this boggles me. Of all the things I used to request when it was my birthday, or have cravings for, none were ever so simple as yellow cake. I wanted cheesecake, cinnamon rolls, cobbler, or almost any fruit pie. In fact, given the choice between cake and pie, I would never choose cake. But I was happy to make it, and I'll concede that sometimes simple is better.

Tomorrow I am leaving for a ten day archaeological survey in Tooele County, Utah. And I am pretty excited. Referred to USU from a post-grad colleague, having only an Associates in Anthropology, and probably being the youngest on the crew, I'd say that this is going to be some sweet-ass experience! This is for a land exchange. Though I know what that is, I'm not exactly sure what this will entail. It will be my first survey. I went on a dig earlier this summer with a similar crew near American Fork, and we found bits of pottery, a fractured mano, and evidence of a fire pit. Minimal, I know. But! Stuff nonetheless.

Thankfully, I can catch a ride from Boise to Utah, instead of driving all the way from Corvallis. Looks like it's gonna be a good month.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Flying M, past due.


"A short man, alone, with a fanny-pack, and some gold bracelets around his wrists, is sitting opposite me, farther from the door. He is small in stature, perhaps in his late sixties. The thin hair covering all of his head is white, though his face clean shaven and dawning a pair of thin rimmed glasses. He is in plain dress and eating a scone open mouthed, smacking his lips. Which he seems to do with or without food.
At the table directly across from this gentleman is a group of three - an older woman, a middle aged woman, and a man with his long hair separated into two buns on top of his head. The conversation is fluid, though it seems the women are mostly listening. He introduces the two, his voice deeper than you would expect, carrying a tone of assurance possessed only by the secure or those pretending to be so; the older a professor of photography at the university, the younger a blacksmith and marathon runner.
The table farthest from me is currently seating another older gentleman with very large reading glasses, a short beard and dark gray hair, receding and balding. His long sleeved collared flannel shirt is a solid dark burgundy, and the shirt beneath it a light yellow cream color. He is mouthing the words to the song Lollipop, by the Chordettes, and gazing into the screen of the laptop."

What seems like more than a year ago in a coffee shop - downtown Boise. What has happened between then and now feels like it could have stretched over 3 or 4 years.

It's all irrelevant now. 

The best thing about life is that every pointed progression sends the meaningless flotsam of the past into the depths of  Forget. 
The best thing about life is change.
The best thing about life is personal growth.

The best thing about life is having lived.