Write a haiku about something that drives you nuts.

14 Mar

DailyPost’s idea for today: Write a haiku about something that drives you nuts. So here’s mine:

Haikus are poems
With really specific rules.
They drive me insane.

I majored in English at university (if you missed that about me). During one of my poetry classes, we were required to write a sonnet. I wrote an entire 14-line poem, in iambic pentameter, with an ABAB CDCD EFEF GG rhyme scheme, about how much I hated writing sonnets.

My professor loved it.


“Home is where they have to take you in”

13 Mar

…has long been my father’s reassurance to Sister and me. Whatever is going on in our lives, no matter our age… if we need to, we can go home for a while and regroup.

As I type this, I’m sitting on a floor in Minnesota, across the room from half-empty bookshelves, a stack of stuffed plastic bins stashed in the closet. In a desert dwelling 1,824 miles away (according to Google), my father is reserving a U-Haul trailer and making road trip plans with his friend. Not far away from him, Sister, Brother-in-Law (BIL), and Nephew are clearing out a room, probably confusing the dogs in the process.

I’m going home.

Continue reading

Unapologetic Randomness

6 Mar

I know I’ve used the phrase “unapologetic randomness” at least once before here in The Refuge. It stems from an email exchange just over three years ago in which I said, “Sorry, this email seems to be a bit random,” and my friend wrote back, “Don’t apologize for randomness.” It’s quite a relief to be told something like that: “It’s okay. You can relax and be you, and I’ll still like that.”

Since then, “unapologetic randomness” has become one of my personal mottoes. Which explains a lot about this blog.

I know all the so-called blogging experts say that a blog should be focused on one particular subject. By their rules, you’re allowed to have a cooking blog or a health and humor blog or a psychology blog or a blog about the interesting shapes your dryer lint forms. I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone give “permission” for there to be a jumbled up, random blog.

I actually do have a second blog specifically for HousemateF’s and my crafting (knitting, crocheting, sewing). It started with the mission of documenting her steps in creating a CONvergence costume, but when we started needing a place to post patterns for submission to Ravelry, the blog morphed.

The problem, as I see it, is that I’ve never been very good at being one-dimensional. I will certainly obsess about one game, film, book, or subject for a long time, but then my attention will shift to the next obsession and the one after that. Right now, I’m juggling interest in psychology, hypnosis, knitting, film, gaming, and various other topics. If I had to maintain separate blogs for each of those…well, I shudder to think. I’d have six or a dozen blogs scattered across cyberspace, each only being updated once in a blue moon as the particular topic tickled me. And anyone who’s paid any attention to this blog will know that I have enough trouble posting regular updates to one.

So this is a potentially new species of blog: the Unapologetic Randomness blog. As you know from experience, dear readers who have been here at least once before, there will be psychology-related posts, I will talk about hypnosis quite a lot, I will occasionally rant about the state of politics (though I tend to keep those locked away in my Facebook), maybe talk about my cats…whatever strikes my fancy. Because that is who I am: a Jill of many trades, a woman of many passions.

You are welcome to ride the roller coaster with me. Just ignore the posts that don’t interest you; or don’t, and maybe learn something new.

Although given that I seem to have a constant audience of maybe 10, three of whom have commented more than once, I figure I’m mostly talking to myself and therefore free to natter on as I wish and just hope that someone somewhere is entertained, amused, or educated. I’m even okay with you being bemused. It’s far more important to me to be writing because I have something I want to say; if someone else also happens to read it… Hi. How are you? Hope you enjoyed. Feel free to comment. I don’t bite.

Going forward, I’m pondering the possibility of taking a couple of topics that have generated interest and making them more regular, just to bring a semblance of structure into the madness. Stay tuned.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadow

5 Mar

Another prompt from The Daily Post: Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadow.

I had to laugh when I saw this week’s photo challenge, because a bunch of my Twitter friends participate in what we call Sunday Pics. Every week, our fearless leader @wombat37 (or one of his Minions) names a theme, and then we tweet photos to align with that theme, hashtagged with #sundaypics.

The reason I’m laughing is that @jamerz3294 recently hosted the event with the theme “Me and My Shadow”. So if you’d like to see my tweeps’ shadowy images, go check them out. I’ll post mine here after the jump. Continue reading

Are the voices in my head bothering you?

4 Mar

“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” ~ E. L. Doctorow

I’ve long (semi-jokingly) maintained that all writers are at least mildly schizophrenic.

Let’s get the definition out of the way. Contrary to the confusion caused by many films and television, schizophrenia is not synonymous with Multiple Personality Disorder (or is it Dissociative Identity Disorder now? I’ve lost track). According to MayoClinic.com, schizophrenics “interpret reality abnormally” and may suffer “some combination of hallucinations, delusions and disordered thinking and behavior.” Some theorize that the reason Van Gogh famously cut off his ear was in an attempt to stop auditory hallucinations.

Beyond blogging, I haven’t done much of my own writing in quite a long time, but I can say with a straight face that the protagonist of my intended Young Adult book is still in the back of my mind, whispering to me. Continue reading

What is the smallest thing? (via The Daily Post at WordPress.com)

3 Mar
Claddagh ring

"When worn on the right ring finger with the heart pointing to the fingertip, the wearer is free of any attachment."

The smallest visible thing near me is on me; specifically, on my right ring finger. It’s the sterling silver Claddagh ring I never take off; the only times it leaves my hand are when I’m doing something where it might slip off irretrievably or get overly messy (e.g. swimming, baking).

I purchased the ring at the Scottish Heritage Shoppe near The Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, so long ago that I can’t remember exactly when I bought it. But I know I’ve had it since before January 1998, when Angel gave Buffy a similar ring. I remember at the time feeling a bit superior to all the girls who rushed out to buy one after that episode aired; unlike those wagon-jumpers, I’d known of the rings and their symbolism since before Buffy Summers got one from her undead boyfriend and then inadvertently turned him back into a soulless killing machine.

That symbolism is why I love the rings and why I hope to use Claddaghs as my future wedding rings. The heart stands for love, the hands for friendship, and the crown for loyalty; three of the most important qualities for any relationship, up to and including marriage. Wearing a Claddagh is also one of the ways I (literally) stay in touch with my heritage; genetically, I am connected to every country of the United Kingdom.

A particular oddity about my ring (which, by the way, is stamped “Made in Ireland” on the back of the heart) I noticed a few months ago is that the band is no longer a perfect circle; it’s flattened between the right hand and the middle of the band. Since I very rarely take it off, I wondered for a while how I could have hit my hand hard enough to flatten the ring without remembering doing so. On the other hand (pun not intended), the new shape fits my finger so well, I’ve now come to think that perhaps, over the last 13 or so years, the ring has just slowly morphed to match my finger…

I’m okay with that.

Topic #58 What is the smallest thing near you? Write a paragraph about it. Bonus: Use your imagination – are elements the smallest thing? atoms? quarks?  How do you feel about the fact we keep finding smaller and smaller things inside of things that are already quite small? … Read More

via The Daily Post at WordPress.com

How “Hunter’s Safety” had me frozen in fear

2 Mar

A message to all parents: Please – please – always be on time to pick up your children!

Last night, HousemateF and I were watching this week’s Castle. Without dropping a spoiler upon the wild wrath of the Internet, let’s just say that there was a very, very cold scene. So I turned to HF and asked her if I’d ever told her about the night my dad was late picking me up from Hunter’s Safety class.

When I was growing up in Wisconsin, my parents hunted: deer, pheasant, grouse, etc. There were shotguns and rifles kept in the house – safely locked up, with the ammunition in a separate, locked drawer. They weren’t hidden or mysterious or glamorous; we knew they were there and exactly what they were for. From a very young age, Sister and I were taught how to handle guns, shoot guns, and – most importantly – respect guns as deadly weapons. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of afternoons spent with Dad, helping him refill shotgun shells. It was also required that, as soon as we were old enough, Sister (not interested in hunting) and I (interested in bow hunting, but never actually went) both go through Hunter’s Safety to learn outdoor activity and gun safety.

By the time I was 12, I was already a crack shot with Dad’s .22 rifle; when my Hunter’s Safety class split in two to take turns at a local shooting range, I (metaphorically!) blew my instructors away with my neat shot cluster in the middle of the target. Meanwhile, my peers were sometimes hitting the middle of the paper, but more frequently scattering their shots from edge to edge and even hitting the wall. But I digress.

Hunter’s Safety was scheduled in the evening, so we kids had time to leave school and go home for dinner before class; and the first class after I turned 12 was, I think, late winter/early spring. On what I remember as a particularly cold evening, Dad was late picking me up. Mom was away, probably in Chicago at one of her Seminary classes; Sister was back living at home and commuting to her university.

As I waited outside a junior high I didn’t attend during the day, I watched all the other kids be retrieved one-by-one by their fathers, mothers, or licensed older siblings. Time passed, the crowd disappeared, and there I stood, shivering alone in a dark sporadically cleared by lampposts.

Remember, this was 20 years ago. Mobile phones were still a distant glimmer in some geek’s imagination, and there wasn’t a convenient pay phone to be seen outside the school, which was locked for the night. I didn’t know anyone who lived within walking distance of the school, and even if I hadn’t been carefully warned against knocking on strangers’ doors, I was convinced that Dad would show up the moment I left the usual pick-up point to find a phone or warmth.

Here’s the kicker: that was the night they’d shown us the film on how to recognize and prevent hypothermia. Continue reading

What can’t you say no to? (via The Daily Post at WordPress.com)

1 Mar

Free cookies.

Topic #60 Brought to you by Plinky.com: What can’t you say no to? What things are impossible for you to turn down, at work, at home, at play? … Read More

via The Daily Post at WordPress.com

When dreams and the waking world collide

1 Mar

One of the many interesting things about dreams is that we can, in our imagination, be miles or even galaxies or decades away from our beds, yet still have our external environment mess with things. We’re aware of our surroundings even as we’re fully absorbed in the story our unconscious has concocted.

The other night, I had an anxious dream just before waking. While working in some nondescript office, I was trying like mad to get the many printers and faxes working properly. Just as I thought I had one cleared of its imaginary jam (just as often happens in real life, the machine insisted there was a fault despite my inability to find it), another would start beeping annoyingly. So there I was, racing from machine to machine, trying to stop the noise.

Immediately upon waking, I realized there was a very easy way to stop the beeps. All I had to do was hit the snooze button on my cell phone’s alarm! The beeping ringtone the alarm clock app had chosen for its sound was the selfsame beep the machines in my dream were making.

When you think about it, this astounding ability to keep track of our surroundings even while asleep makes sense in evolutionary terms. If a predator could sneak up and devour us while we lay dreaming, completely oblivious to the outer world, we wouldn’t have lasted long as a species.

But mostly, the alarm clock so cleverly disguising itself in my unconscious as the complaints of malfunctioning office equipment just amused me. If you have a similar story of the real world invading a dream, I’d love to hear it in the comments! Continue reading

“Paranormality” news

28 Feb

Following on from my previous blog post spurred by Richard Wiseman’s upcoming latest book, thought I’d share the news I just received from Amazon.co.uk.

Paranormality has been named a “Deal of the Week” on the UK Amazon site, dropping the price to £5.84 (about $9.42), 55% off the cover price (known on Amazon UK as “RRP”)! So adding in shipping to the States, it’s now the same price as if you (if you’re American) ordered from the US site and didn’t have to pay shipping.

If you’re in the UK or a weird Yank like me, you’ll want to get on this, as I assume the price is only good this week.

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