1.30.2009

A Non-Theist, Murder/Sucide and God; Learning to Grieve Without Faith

I checked my friend's Facebook account tonight. He has quite a few personal messages from other friends, remembering, some with words like stunned and shocked and others with words like sad and angry. Many left things saying "this isn't goodbye, Ill see you again" or, "I hope you're at peace wherever you are." And yet what struck me the most was that little text box at the top of his comments section. It said "write something...". I clicked my mouse in the entry field and typed "Isn't it funny that you can type something here, in this space, for someone who is no longer here? Everyone but the person for whom the message is intended will read it. That person who I'm 'writing something to' is gone. This is just a web page."

I didn't post the message. I deleted it. I thought about posting it, and I thought about posting something less wordy, just a "I'm sorry that your pain took your life", or "I'll remember you for what you were, not how you ended up". But really, there's no reason. I don't believe he's reading the posts from heaven, or hell. I just believe he's dead. And no longer capable of reading his Facebook page.

Most of you who are reading this blog right now are very aware that I'm a non-theist and feel strongly about it. But, it bears mentioning as I have traveled on a spiritual road these past two weeks, one where I had to revisit my beliefs and non-beliefs to process my grief. To find closure, and to cleanse my soul of their marriage, which I helped to facilitate, with my own words and my own hands. I reached that place where humanity and reason do not tread; where faith steps in. I was there, sick with an inbalace of soul and the desire for a spiritual answer, one that suggested that nothing is in our control. And that only made me angrier.

And I just can't let him off like that. I'm angry because of his selfishness. I'm livid because I watched a beautiful woman with two beautiful children die fighting for her life. I'm disgusted because I lost a friend two years ago to ice and Mother Nature before he even graduated high school. I'm pissed for the five other childhood friends who lost their lives to tragic accidents, and the few I knew of but did not know. For the mothers, fathers and babies I read about through online friends. They didn't get the choice. And he did. And that's on him; not his wife, his therapist, me, or God. He pulled the trigger twice. And he ended their lives, forever.

I can't leave messages on his Facebook profile. Because he won't get them. But I understand why people do, much better than I did before. The pain is something no one should feel.

Firemom posted a blog a few weeks ago containing this quote:

“It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others”
– John Kirinrich


And that's not the whole answer, but it's the idea.

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Saturday

David's friend from college came to visit on Friday, and we had a nice mini-visit with him and another friend. They were supposed to stay with us at our house, but after experiencing San Francisco, he decided to get a hotel in the city so there'd be no driving back and forth. He does a lot of traveling for work, and had a lot of reward points, so he got us a hotel room as well. We stayed at the nice Westin at Union Square, in a room with a great view.

San Francisco from the Westin at Union Square


Union Square from the Westin at Union Square

We had a nice night. I love staying in hotels!

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1.24.2009

Margot

Margo

I've got a lot of blog posts milling around in my head, but I just haven't been quite able to write them. The past two weeks have been full of firsts and change, good and bad, and I'm really just trying to experience everything happening in the healthiest way possible. I'll write a real post soon.

For now, here's Margot. She and I haven't gotten along so well. The night we returned from Christmas Vacation, she mistook my finger for a treat and took a chunk out. That's not usual for rats (especially ours) and it shook me. I realized that she needs more socialization than I've given her, because I think I took for granted that Agatha and Suzanne would usher her in to their personalities. She's much different, and needs some more attention. So we're working on it. She's a member of our family and I don't want to let her down without a fight.

I took this picture last night. I still can't stick my finger in the cage to pet her (Agatha and Suzi will lick your finger and then hold your hand with their little hand; Margot is unsure of fingers still and is likely to bite too hard. ) but she takes treats very nicely and carefully when she's out of the cage. She'll have to learn to follow the rules like her sisters, but I'm trying to be optimistic that we'll be friends soon. She's so young and full of speed.

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1.19.2009

Barack Obama and Thoughts of Finding New Hope: We, too, Have a Dream

Driving home today I caught the mid-end of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech playing on NPR. We've all heard it, and most likely know what it is within a few words, but today I let it play and continued on my drive, ingesting his words, his tone, his confidence in his people and his nation. I thought about the time at which the speech was delivered; August of 1963, when America was in the thick of racial suffrage and lurching in to political and social unrest. In only a few months, that America would lose their President; soon after they'd find themselves drafted in to a war that separated their nation for a decade and changed the path of democracy forever. That America was at a crossroads, much like the America of today.

Dr. King stood there, on Washington Mall, not untouched by the trials and tribulations of their time. He was no saint; but rather, a man with a dream and a vision of hope. He knew that the future didn't lie in his hands only, or the hands of his President or Government alone , but those of the hundreds of thousands of citizens before him. He shared his dream as only that: a dream; one that was extraordinary and awesome and incredible. He had the hope to believe that those people united could stand against the tests of their time and the injustice of their system to bring change from the bottom. He sought to inspire, to engage, and to light the match of creative ambition on every person of every color and every walk of life.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.


Every four years Dr. King's birthday is celebrated at the eve of a new American President. This year we observe on the precipice of change and history; a man of mixed race will take the Oath of Office. He is clamored as the Answer. But he alone is not. Tomorrow, January 20th, 2009, Barack Obama will become the 44th President of the United States. He will be nothing less, and nothing more. He will succeed and he will fail. His future is unwritten, or if you so believe, written, but unknown; only time and trial will create the President and man he'll become. But his message, his creed, rings together in harmony with those great words spoken by Dr. King. Hope. Change. Faith. Dream. Believe. Though the context is different, the meaning is the same.

I've seen the t-shirts, the stickers, buttons, minted coins and cakes. I've heard the praises sung and the books flying off the shelves. But what I've noticed the most are the smiles. The laughter. The giddy, childlike glee that is stuck to the world as we await this new President. The euphoria surrounding us as we wait is hope that this man is what we believe him to be, and the faith that he's the change we've been dreaming of. The leader we want and need so desperately. America is in love with hope, change, faith, dreams and belief.

And that love is contagious. Our neighbors and friends overseas have become twitterpated as well, finding hope that this man will finally close the door on the old and burst through the new. The world is in love with hope, change, faith, dreams and belief.

After the pain, anger and injustice of these past eight years, this country, this world stands with hands clasped in the waiting. And we know, in our heart of hearts, that the flight is just beginning. We know this man will lead us but he will not be without fault. But right here, right now, we're choosing to say we have a dream. A dream that one day, great words will mean great actions. That progressive action and democracy aren't just catch prases but outcomes. That change is possible and trust can exist between our selves and our leaders. That freedom and justice can be for all.

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.


So much pessimism has surfaced - most, as a result of the criminal acts of our current president, the untruthful promises of many before him. The pundits and talking heads say Barack Obama will let us all down and become just another in the long line of political hoo has. "This man is a celebrity, not a leader. He's a spectacle to be worn."

And to that I say, we have a dream. A dream that one day, great words will mean great actions. That progressive action and democracy aren't just catch prases but outcomes. That change is possible and trust can exist between our selves and our leaders. That freedom and justice can be for all.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

Because we refuse to believe that what was will always be. We refuse to accept the corrupt nature of times past. We refuse to fall victim to the pessimism, anger, indifference and inaction that has plagued the citizens of this country. We refuse to be silent and accept. We refuse to use violence and destruction in our journey.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

I have a dream that one day, our country will again be great in the eyes of the world, not for our material possessions, but for our integrity. That I can trust my President to make the best decisions for my safety and my happiness. That my children will grow up educated and stimulated and prepared for success. That hate, fear and intolerence will no longer be staples of the American Culture.

And I'm choosing to believe in hope with the optimism and giddiness of a child. And I'm not the only one.




Thank you, Barack Obama. And welcome to the jungle.

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Monday, January 19 2009 - At the Grocery Store

This is really at my grocery store.

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1.14.2009

Now

Some exciting news is that I've been featured in Dahlila Found's blog, Snowflower Street. She chose a few photos that she enjoys, and her support of my work is much appreciated. I should add that I met Dahlila on Twitter and she's a sweetheart.

I got a new job yesterday, that I interviewed for last week. It is a very small, part time job in the Piedmont district of Oakland that I love. The owner is bubbly, excited and sweet and there are literally two other people who work there. The hours are perfect and the day will end when I leave work. It is a very good development in a place where there are very few jobs. It's a happy, wonderful thing.

I am still confident that 2009 will be a good year.

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1.12.2009

No one.

Is it to early to post? Probably. I probably don't even feel the same right now as I'll feel tomorrow. And the day after that, it will be different as well. So I'll post now, maybe to remember how I feel right now, and maybe to get it out of my insides. I don't know.

I knew this guy. He was sort of a character, though never in a way you could really pinpoint. He was a lot of things to a lot of people, and to me, he was a work friend who was around my old company nearly since the beginning, like me, who I spent a few months carpooling with, who asked me to help him with something very special for he and his wife at their wedding. That part I can't talk about right now. We weren't the closest of friends, but got along well and his nature was so interesting that it was easy to find something to chat about, or something in common. He loved a lot of things and something we always connected on was music. When I told him that I loved the Cure and the Smiths, he was ecstatic. We talked about how Morrissey's work with the Smiths was far superior to his solo work. We agreed his solo work was useless. We agreed that Simon Gallup was quite possibly the best bassist in existence, and the Cure's melodies were really what made the band. Though I didn't share my band with many people at work, I played him "In Technicolor" once, after he pushed me and pushed me to show him my music. I don't know why I was so against it, but I was. He heard it in the car, while we were driving to work, stuck in traffic one day, like any other. When the song started and my lyrics came in, a second passed before he said, "Woah, is that YOU singing? You're fantastic. For a second I thought you were Gwen Stefani!" That might sound odd, and I don't really sound like Gwen Stefani, but I got what he was saying. It was a complement, and he wasn't the type to give them out like candy. Last winter, when it was impossible to find a Wii, he was magically offered one at Target by a little stock lady, and promptly accepted it because though he had one, he knew that I was hoping to find one. The next day, it sat on my desk chair waiting for me. Now it sits in my house, and I love it.

My old friend took his life last night, after taking the life of his wife. There's little else to say about it, because it was a pointless fucking tragedy. This gruesome reality of someone we knew, not just a somebody on the news who hit the edge and jumped to the point of no return. Sickangryconfusedpissedsickundecided. I don't feel now the way I felt earlier, and I'll feel different tomorrow. But right now I feel like no one should ever know what this feels like. No one. Ever. No one should read news articles where someone they know, or knew, or loved is reduced to a neighbor's description, a legal folder and a crime scene. A Monster. A murderer. No one should see people's pointless, ugly, uneducated comments on such articles. No one should have to imagine what happened. No one should have this. No one. Not one person on earth. Not his family, or her family, or his close friends, or her close friends, or his old friends, or her old friends, or their neighbors, or their acquaintences, or the grocery store clerk, or the mailman, or the random guy on the street, or him, her, she, he or me. No one. And now we all have. And that's where it is right now.

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If You're Quiet, You Might Hear Humility

I used to buy myself basically anything I wanted. Within reason of course; I didn't buy anything extraordinary, but if it was under a certain price, I didn't really think that much about it, because my job paid well enough that the money wasn't missed then. (It's missed now, and in the real world.) Now I don't have a job, because I quit my last job for this reason. I don't want money to buy myself everything because having that luxury made me a lazy and dull person and artist. And that sucked, and continues to suck while I try to fix things.

Now I'm selling. Basically everything. If it sits, it goes. It makes me a little depressed to sell things at a price much lower than the one I paid for them, but as I watch things move and the pile of cash grow, the depression fades a little.

I need a new lens. I don't need it because I want it, I need it because it is the next step on this path I'm on. It's what I need to get better at what I'm doing. And I promised myself that when that pile of cash on the fridge reached $300, the lens would be mine. And not until then.

I'm almost there. So I did what I didn't want to: I made these...

Glass Tile Pendants, Set 1

...in hopes of getting a few sales, and bringing some attention to the highly specialized necklaces and rings that I generally have in my Artfire store.

I'm only making two sets, and this is the first. Each can be purchased individually in my store.

It's not that I don't like glass pendants, I do. And I love the images in these. They just don't require the special attention that my large necklaces and rings do, and I'll continue to invest most of my time on the more specialized jewelery.

But I'm learning that sometimes, it's what you don't expect or bet on that works.

**UPDATE**
Thanks for the few of you who have snapped up all the glass pendants! There are only two left...get them while you still can.

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1.08.2009

Sectoral Heterochromia

Sectoral Heterochromia

I have a sectoral heterochromia in my left eye. It has been there ever since I was young. I just learned that term, sectoral heterochromia, two weeks ago when an advertisement for the (awful looking) movie "Unborn" prompted me to google search this particular condition. In the horrifying ad, the protagonist has a half colored eye, which in this particular movie, means that she is a Chimera. This made me excited. Could I be a Chimera, since I too have a half colored eye? Well, only one way to find out: Google. While I'll spare you the minute details, I found nothing that pointed to Chimera positively, but also a slew of other genetic disorders that could possibly be at fault for my strange half brown, half green eye.

From Wikipedia:

In anatomy, heterochromia refers to a difference in coloration, usually of the iris but also of hair or skin. Heterochromia is a result of the relative excess or lack of melanin (a pigment). It may be inherited, due to genetic mosaicism, or due to disease or injury.[1]

Eye color, specifically the color of the irises, is determined primarily by the concentration and distribution of melanin.[2][3][4] The affected eye may be hyperpigmented (hyperchromic) or hypopigmented (hypochromic).[5] In humans, usually, an excess of melanin indicates hyperplasia of the iris tissues, whereas a lack of melanin indicates hypoplasia.

Heterochromia of the eye (heterochromia iridis or heterochromia iridum) is of two kinds. In complete heterochromia, one iris is a different color from the other. In partial heterochromia or sectoral heterochromia, part of one iris is a different color from its remainder.

Partial or sectoral heterochromia is much less common than complete heterochromia and is typically found in autosomally inherited disorders such as Hirschsprung's disease and Waardenburg syndrome.



Eh, wha? I was trying to figure out if I had a resorbed twin, and instead I find out that I could have a genetic disorder. This wasn't a good discovery. Luckily, I found an even better possibility. Some bloggers and other researchers who have looked in to heterochromia suggest that it is a sign of royalty, because it's oft found in European roayls (including Alexander the Great), and the gene is passed through family DNA, and generally must be present on both sides of the pool. However, my parents know of no other people in our family who have ever had this condition, except, of course, me.

I don't really pass the criteria for those genetic disorders from the Wiki article, and well, maybe I'm some Scandinavian princess, which would be cool, but I was really pulling for a resorbed twin. I suppose there is no way for me to ever really find out unless I went through some heavy duty medical testing, which I don't really want to go through, so for now, I will dream about being a Chimera Princess.

::UPDATES::

It's been awhile since I made this post, and have been enjoying the comments coming in over time. Thanks for leaving your stories :D

I'm going to try and add additional resources here when I find them.


MORE SECTORAL HETEROCHROMIA RESOURCES

Yahoo! Answers: Heterochromia
Sectoral Heterochromia Flickr Group
Facebook Group for People with Sectoral Heterochromia




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