Friday, October 29, 2010

Hair Today

Why Can't Middle-Aged Women Have Long Hair?

To some extent I know this pain (in the butt). Spent many years with hair at/past my shoulder blades. Sometimes I had to put my hair up to use the ladies room, it was crazy. Many friends who thought they were helping me with peer pressure to look more like them cut my hair, but it ended up being less kind and more obnoxious.

This spring I got my hair cut and layered out of hairstyle based boredom. Why not? It was still a longer mane, but shoulder length rather than butt length, and it was fun. Of course, a whole other group of friends freaked out about me cutting my epic mane. Some days you just can't win.

Srsly? This is a cosmetic feature. I understand these things can have a sneaky psychological effect on others. But if someone is going to ignore me or look down on me because I have luxuriously long locks, or some other superficial difference from the average person, I think it's more their loss than mine.

Not sure if I'm going back to get another layered haircut. It was cute, but difficult to braid and ended up in my eyes a lot.

A quick tip- putting long hair in a pony tail causes more breaks in the middle of the hair, braiding is better if you want to grow it long. At night, during the day, all the time.

Assuming your hair lets you. Some of my friends have super curly hair that will not concede to be braided. A person's relationship with their hair can be hard enough without outside interference, please keep this in mind if you like to interfere with other people's lives help others.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Nearing the End

The end point of my social experiment with Seven Weeks of Celibacy ends on Halloween this Sunday.


I am still mulling over where to go next. Not sure if I'm ready to adopt this as my official lifestyle, but the last few weeks have been unusually clear-minded for me. Aside from a week in September when everyone in NYC seemed to have SAD (or PMS?), the only bad weeks I've had corresponded with backslides into being boy crazy.

Taking this time to refocus, by taking a slash-and-burn approach to my (lack of a) sex life, gave me lots of time and energy to look back on the summer and identify individual aspects of my experience and filter out the ones I truly hated.

For example, hanging around at public events waiting to be noticed, by strangers or known entities? Yuck. I'm not sure what part of my brain fell dormant to think that was a good idea for me (although other people have fun with that, more power to 'em).

Doing unsolicited favors to ingratiate myself to attractive people? Double yuck. One day I'll wax long upon doormat syndrome, to help others avoid my dumb mistakes.

Staying out late in bars trying to be cute or impressive to people, and then being too tired to do things that were actually fun later in the week? Also super dumb. Maybe I temporarily became a pod person.

But not all of my reflections were negative! I seem to have fallen out of interest with fancy clothes and makeup (or just been lazy), but it's fun to dress up when going out with my lady friends to a ritzy place. Reading tarot and listening to people's romantic stories in bars can be fun! Focusing on the actually fun things I wanted to do gave me lots of time and energy to do them, as well as my daily routines. I'm still not against coupling, most apparent when I attended my friends' lovely (nerd!) wedding and was very happy for them :-)

Bottom line, I am not against mating, but I despise the Mating Game. Or a strange self-taught version of the Mating Game that makes me tired and sad. From these observations, I will make a new resolution for the rest of the year.

Now I need to find a new clever catchphrase for the next six to seven weeks of social experimentation :-)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Having a stronger effect on the less informed.

I almost titled this "Having a stronger effect on the weak minded," but I'm of the opinion that mindfulness can be learned, even if it doesn't seem to be someone's natural groove. And it just sounds mean.

Angry/negative people can be bad for your brain.

A TON of this relates to what I've studied with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and NLP. Unhappiness, anger, and anxiety can be contagious. A person can change the quality of emotions in a room/conversation by expressing more positive emotions in their own behavior. If they can accomplish that, their listener(s) respond more positively to arguments or suggestions.

I haven't read about mirror neurons before, but it fits my NLP studies. It also relates to another post I'm working on about creative projects and related social scenes (write, Sassy! WRITE!), will post later.

Furthermore, another possible view on sympathetic magic: "Be the change you want to see in the world." Yay, Ghandi!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Take Back Halloween!

Not a store, but a page of fun costume ideas and suggestions for people who are bored with pre-packaged spandex "sexy" costumes. Or those who miss the days of building a fun costume out of flannel bedsheets ;-)

OK, I'm actually wearing spandex for my Shadowcat costume this year, but it is normal everyday durable dancer spandex + some Salvation Army finds. And it goes with my boots!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Monstrous Manifesto

Latest magic just in from Strowlercon (et al), which I hope to attend next year. Sorry guys, my best friend called 10/10/10 for his wedding day long before this came up ;-)

If you are in the Strowlers path, I implore you to attend! Great music, literature, performance, art, and company await you there!

A Monstrous Manifesto
by Catherynne Valente

If you are a monster, stand up.
If you are a monster, a trickster, a fiend,
If you’ve built a steam-powered wishing machine
If you have a secret, a dark past, a scheme,
If you kidnap maidens or dabble in dreams
Come stand by me.

If you have been broken, stand up.
If you have been broken, abandoned, alone
If you have been starving, a creature of bone
If you live in a tower, a dungeon, a throne
If you weep for wanting, to be held, to be known,
Come stand by me.

If you are a savage, stand up.
If you are a witch, a dark queen, a black knight,
If you are a mummer, a pixie, a sprite,
If you are a pirate, a tomcat, a wright,
If you swear by the moon and you fight the hard fight,
Come stand by me.

If you are a devil, stand up.
If you are a villain, a madman, a beast,
If you are a strowler, a prowler, a priest,
If you are a dragon come sit at our feast,
For we all have stripes, and we all have horns,
We all have scales, tails, manes, claws and thorns
And here in the dark is where new worlds are born.
Come stand by me.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Happily Ever After!

Speaking of fairy tales, here's a favorite of mine...

Happily Ever After (The Paperbag Princess)
music by Marc Gunn, words by Marc Gunn & Nancy e. Pearsall

In days that have long since passed,
There lived a fair mahogany lass.
An unmarried and virtuous princess, alas,
She was brave, strong and bold.

Tra la di di hidey ho
Di hidey hey, di hidey ho
Tra la di di hidey ho
Happily ever after.

One morning while riding no guard around,
Armed with sword should trouble abound,
She heard the most horrible sound,
And her nose burned of sulfur.

The sky it darkened, gave her horse a fright.
A dragon swooped as black as night,
Grabbed the princess then out of sight.
Her horse ran frightened home.

The king cried, "All knights be sworn!
Kill the dragon with your swords.
Return me daughter for this reward,
That you may marry her."

The bravest knight in all the realm,
Young, handsome and vain as well
Declared the maid his holy grail
And rode off to rescue her.

The knight he climbed up rugged heights
Snagged a run in his pristine tights
At cavern's shaft, he saw no lights
And heard no sound inside.

The knight called the dragon out.
But only a lady's voice came back.
"I killed the dragon!," the lady shout.
And stepped into the sun.

The princess dressed in scraps of cloth,
Her mahogany hair was all burned off.
A muddy face, the vain knight scoffed,
"Can you clean be for we go?"

The princess still in clothes undone,
Told the knight, "I work alone."
The knight rode lone into the setting sun.
And the princess was happy thereafter.

Tra la di di hidey ho
Di hidey hey, di hidey ho
Tra la di di hidey ho
Happily ever after!

Here's a link to download the song, huzzah!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Week Five: Whups, Wrong Fairytale.

Things go well on Planet Spinster. Cutting back on sugar, packing more home made to-go meals, getting up earlier to arrive at work on time, daily life is made of win. The weather still has me a bit run down but it should pass.

Several improv-seeds that I gradually planted over the last few months sprouted all at once. It looked like too much for one Spinster to juggle. But then I realized, now that I'm going out less I have a lot more time for shows, practices, and planning sessions. I've decided to experiment with making this my social life, rather than the aimless cycle of putting on lipstick and hanging around in bars.

I've stopped using makeup due to sheer laziness. And my skin is a lot clearer than usual. But when I used to put it on before every outing, it was just mascara, eyeshadow, and lipstick, no foundation. Maybe this is just a coincidence. I'll be wearing some makeup for a show I'm in next Friday (so I don't look like a zombie under those dreadful lights), so I can double check that weekend.

A few friends have worried that they have made me uncomfortable in the past with their own boy-chasing habits and chat sessions. Certainly not! I tried it, and I'm glad my friends have fun with it, but it's just not for me. I'm a big supporter of "And it harm none, do what is fun ;-)"

Others have noted, "Once you stop looking for romance, it finds you." In my case this seems to not be true, and that is what keeps my experiment so happily uncomplicated.

The more cynical part of my brain tells me that this is merely a fairy tale. And then the more fanciful mythpunk side retorts that fairy tales are still the templates through which we live our lives. I just want to live in a different story than most other people, even if I'm not sure what that story is yet. Maybe I'm just making it up as I go along, in which case improv is a good skill to work on ;-)

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Luv the video! However, not all of us geek and gamer girls look/dress like this. And yet we are all still awesome. The More You Know...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What would Jerry do?

“Don’t be the best in the world at what you do; be the only one in the world who does what you do.”

-Jerry Garcia

I think this is my new mantra :-)

via Gaping Void

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Webcomic inspired question.

I like webcomics. I don't read as many as I used to, but Girls With Slingshots keeps bringing me back ;-)

This strip recently stood out to me:

Do guys actually talk about girls with other guys? Men have talked to me about their issues or experiences with women, but I am a woman. It would be interesting if men had similar kinds of gossipy, lovelorn scab picking sessions to women. Gay or straight.*

*Since moving to NYC, one of the biggest misconceptions I was shaken from is that gay men always act like women. This is really, REALLY not the case and I don't assume so anymore. Not that I'm a typical woman to begin with.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Bolivia, by Havi Brooks [link].

I am thirty three years old and have not once seriously considered moving to Bolivia.

It’s weird, because normally I wouldn’t even mention that.

But here we are. Most women do end up moving to Bolivia.

And by my age, you’re pretty much expected to have already moved there or at least you’re supposed to be trying really hard to get there.

To be clear: I have nothing against Bolivia. It seems like a lovely place. Just not one that pulls me. It has never called my name.

And even though I don’t talk about my relationship (or non-relationship) to Bolivia, we will talk about it today.

Because I have words that need to be said about loneliness, power and the extremely problematic word: “choice”.

To be honest, I have wondered about moving to Bolivia, but I have plenty of things to do here and now. There are plenty of remarkable and rewarding things I can do in my lifetime without going there.

Also, this metaph0r works for more than one "women's issue" subject to societal pressure. I'll bet it works on some for the menfolk as well :-)

Friday, October 8, 2010

October is Depression Awareness Month

Thanx to Scrangie for reminding me. She also has a very helpful blog post up, and if you want to fly the colors (green) she has a truckload of nail polishes to match ;-)

This is something I've wrestled with all my life, regardless of external circumstances, with varying degrees of success. There are good days and bad days and it's worth holding out for the good ones.

From the National Institute of Mental Health website (check them out for more info):

What Is Depression?

Everyone occasionally feels blue or sad, but these feelings are usually fleeting and pass within a couple of days. When a person has a depressive disorder, it interferes with daily life, normal functioning, and causes pain for both the person with the disorder and those who care about him or her. Depression is a common but serious illness, and most who experience it need treatment to get better.

Many people with a depressive illness never seek treatment. But the vast majority, even those with the most severe depression, can get better with treatment. Intensive research into the illness has resulted in the development of medications, psychotherapies, and other methods to treat people with this disabling disorder.

What are the signs and symptoms of depression?

People with depressive illnesses do not all experience the same symptoms. The severity, frequency and duration of symptoms will vary depending on the individual and his or her particular illness.

Symptoms include:

  • Persistent sad, anxious or "empty" feelings
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
  • Insomnia, early–morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Overeating, or appetite loss
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment

What causes depression?

There is no single known cause of depression. Rather, it likely results from a combination of genetic, biochemical, environmental, and psychological factors.

Research indicates that depressive illnesses are disorders of the brain. Brain-imaging technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), have shown that the brains of people who have depression look different than those of people without depression. The parts of the brain responsible for regulating mood, thinking, sleep, appetite and behavior appear to function abnormally. In addition, important neurotransmitters–chemicals that brain cells use to communicate–appear to be out of balance. But these images do not reveal why the depression has occurred.

Some types of depression tend to run in families, suggesting a genetic link. However, depression can occur in people without family histories of depression as well.9 Genetics research indicates that risk for depression results from the influence of multiple genes acting together with environmental or other factors.10

In addition, trauma, loss of a loved one, a difficult relationship, or any stressful situation may trigger a depressive episode. Subsequent depressive episodes may occur with or without an obvious trigger.

How can I help a friend or relative who is depressed?

If you know someone who is depressed, it affects you too. The first and most important thing you can do to help a friend or relative who has depression is to help him or her get an appropriate diagnosis and treatment. You may need to make an appointment on behalf of your friend or relative and go with him or her to see the doctor. Encourage him or her to stay in treatment, or to seek different treatment if no improvement occurs after six to eight weeks.

To help a friend or relative:
  • Offer emotional support, understanding, patience and encouragement.
  • Engage your friend or relative in conversation, and listen carefully.
  • Never disparage feelings your friend or relative expresses, but point out realities and offer hope.
  • Never ignore comments about suicide, and report them to your friend's or relative's therapist or doctor.
  • Invite your friend or relative out for walks, outings and other activities. Keep trying if he or she declines, but don't push him or her to take on too much too soon. Although diversions and company are needed, too many demands may increase feelings of failure.
  • Remind your friend or relative that with time and treatment, the depression will lift.

How can I help myself if I am depressed?

If you have depression, you may feel exhausted, helpless and hopeless. It may be extremely difficult to take any action to help yourself. But it is important to realize that these feelings are part of the depression and do not accurately reflect actual circumstances. As you begin to recognize your depression and begin treatment, negative thinking will fade.

To help yourself:
  • Engage in mild activity or exercise. Go to a movie, a ballgame, or another event or activity that you once enjoyed. Participate in religious, social or other activities.
  • Set realistic goals for yourself.
  • Break up large tasks into small ones, set some priorities and do what you can as you can.
  • Try to spend time with other people and confide in a trusted friend or relative. Try not to isolate yourself, and let others help you.
  • Expect your mood to improve gradually, not immediately. Do not expect to suddenly "snap out of" your depression. Often during treatment for depression, sleep and appetite will begin to improve before your depressed mood lifts.
  • Postpone important decisions, such as getting married or divorced or changing jobs, until you feel better. Discuss decisions with others who know you well and have a more objective view of your situation.
  • Remember that positive thinking will replace negative thoughts as your depression responds to treatment.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sugar, oh Honey, Honey...

Last month I payed closer attention to what I eat at lunchtime and how I feel after. It looks like sugary deserts cause my energy level and mood to crash like an X-wing on Dagobah. Most of the time I skip the fun sugar-rush part :-(

I'm pretty good at buying fewer processed foods at the grocery store, so my kitchen is already a bit less sugary. I usually don't bother with honey in my tea. Most of the sweet stuff I eat at home is the stuff I bake/freeze myself.

This season I also rediscovered apples, which I hadn't picked up in a while because they tend to go bad on me. Actually, they'd go bad while I was nomming other snacks, so with fewer sugary distractions its easier to remember I have them in the fridge. Also, super cheap in the autumn.

There is a social-trend building up to replace white sugar and HFCS with "healthy" alternatives, but I fall into the "sugar is sugar" camp. has info on a variety of sweeteners that are not necessarily as healthy as other sources believe. It is also tricky to replace processed sugar with substitutes in baking and frozen deserts because it adds a structural component. So why not just eat LESS of it?

Lunchtime is where I mess up. At work and far from home, if I don't remember to carry homemade snacks to work I will be tempted by the Crumbs of Starbucks up the block. Also, real world sad, need cupcake.

Now I keep a stash of dark chocolate in my desk for dessert. It has a stronger flavor than pastries and is easier to ration out. Chocolate used to be my go-to for a shock out of my sugar crashes, but then I ended up overcaffienating myself. (I cut all other forms of caffiene out of my diet almost six years ago, restructuring my dietary habits is not a new thing for me.)

When I go out for lunch, I stick to water instead of soda. I still drink de-caff sodas at bars, but late-night is when I can afford to crash. And I've been hanging out in bars a lot less since I began my latest social experiment.

Things seem to be working out thus far. No sudden sugar crashes during my afternoon. I still have sugar cravings, but I don't feel as exhausted as I would during a regular sugar crash. Yay, I'm awake!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The beast I used to be, WEEK FOUR!

This was definitely a good idea for me.

The first few weeks were rough due to mind-reprogramming. Plus allergies and SAD smacked me upside the head so I wasn't feeling so great about anything. But last week, despite continuing seasonal problems, things really stared coming together:

In the last month I've organized an improv practice group, joined and helped with another, and there is one other new improv project still in the "maybe" phase. WIN!

My new improv class is served with a side of EPICsauce.

Last week, I managed to pack a lunch for every day of the week. That is a LOT more focus than I can usually muster.

Mostly catching up with my sleep but the new work schedule is getting in my way.

Decreased libido, because clumsy attempts to satisfy it are no longer the central focus of my life.

This year's crop of grad students at the library are adorable, but I don't care as much as I used to.

I'm OK being home alone for many evenings, and don't feel like I'm missing out on some enormous social opportunity. Instead I catch up on Britcoms and Pandora.

More time for jewelry work, which I've finally pulled back out of the closet! Huzzah!

Makeup? What's that?

I did take strides to de-frump my wardrobe this summer, so I still look mostly presentable without trying very hard.

The physical trend towards hibernation is still a problem, so I might keep this going from Samhain until Yule to see what happens when I'm not so sleepy.

Working on more conventional romance-seeking methods really did make me stressed and unhappy (YMMV). Comedy practices and classes with my friends are generally more fun for me than bar hopping, so I will focus on that as my social outlets.

I'm really not missing out on anything due to this shift of focus. The only offers I've had all year have been "Hi, I'm rebounding! Can I use you?" back in the spring and, um, no thanks. I did make the dumb mistake on one of those cases but the rest were no problem to deflect. I like my self-respect a lot more, and now I'm getting it back :-)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


From the LJ community "Daily Rumi"

Be with those who help your being.
Don't sit with indifferent people, whose breath
comes cold out of their mouths.
Not these visible forms, your work is deeper.

A chunk of dirt thrown in the air breaks to pieces.
If you don't try to fly,
and so break yourself apart,
you will be broken open by death,
when it's too late for all you could become.

Leaves get yellow. The tree puts out fresh roots
and makes them green.
Why are you so content with a love that turns you yellow?

- Rumi; adapted by Coleman Barks

Monday, October 4, 2010


Yay, gardening. My co-op finished renovating my balcony and gave it back to me in late May. I brought my pots back, there was much rejoicing.

This summer's new project was adopting two tomato plants, in addition to my herbs.


July (plus basil)!


Sadly, it's October and I've only had a couple tomatoes reach the edible stage. When they started flowering it was too hot, and when they set fruit it got too cold, and the post summer hot flash was so rainy they started to split. Argh! Next year I need to start them much earlier in the season and prune those extra branches.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Perfection, and Its Cure

The Disease Called Perfection,


The CURE for "Perfection"

by Single Dad Laughing.

I don't think there's anything I can really say better, or to make it better, except "It's always OK to be you."