Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday again! Thank the Goddess that they come so quickly. Sweet drops of mercy on my head.

Tonight I have meditation. I haven't gone since last Wednesday's class and I can feel myself slipping a little. It will be nice to go and refresh, recharge, or whatever it is I do.

Boyfriend is the best ever!! He found us an apartment in our current complex on the very same floor. In other words, he saved our lives, and we don't have to have another strenuous move. I am very happy.

Next Friday is our two-year anniversary and I have figured out THE most perfect present in the entire world. I'd tell you but he reads this blog. I'm so excited!! Going to pick it up tomorrow.

So I've got Shakespeare coming out the ass... read four plays in like two weeks. I've been getting 100's on the assignments, but my professor told me yesterday I have to rewrite my paper. I guess it wasn't what she was looking for; she told me to make her see the play in a new way. I got all flustered and upset and boomed at Boyfriend, "I'M SUPPOSED TO COME UP WITH NEW REVELATIONS ABOUT SHAKESPEARE??" (Yes, I went a little crazy.) Today is better, she emailed me with more specific feedback and I am less psychotic. Let's just see what grade I come back with, though.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Why am I so happy lately? Is it the meditation? Even when I have funks, they are so short-lived. And when I am not having a funk, I am in an irresistibly good mood. I'm like the girl that has just fallen in love, all goofily happy and "I looove youuuu."

Am I falling in love with life?

This is too hippie-ish for me.

I restarted the book club but I don't have much faith in these people. They show interest but then no one responds to my emails. It's bad for my self esteem. I may be beating a dead horse on this one. At least the book kicks ass, so I am glad I am reading it even if no one else does.

Monday, June 25, 2007

How could it be Monday again so soon? Geez.

Last night I tried my hand at a healthy stuffed peppers recipe that came out well - yay! Boyfriend and I are trying to eat better in addition to exercising so I took some cookbooks out of the library, but most of those recipes were too complicated. The peppers weren't. Woot.

Tonight I have yoga and I am struggling with myself because I know I should go but I feel lazy and tired.

I miss meditation class. Was supposed to go last night but didn't want to spend time out of my weekend there since I had school work to do, and since Boyfriend and I will be apart for a good three weeks soon. Maybe I should have gone. Maybe I will go tomorrow or Friday. I love it.

I did listen to George Harrison's "All Things Must Pass" in the car this morning, though, so I got some chanting in that way. I'm pissed that I left disc 2 in New York. Argh!

Remember, it's satire, i.e. untrue


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Is anyone else tired of looking at Angelina Jolie holding her forehead in that new movie ad? I sure am.

I actually like Angelina (go figure) but this ad is everywhere and it's annoying me.

Want to know how strange I am? I entered a local newspaper contest to win passes to see both "A Mighty Heart" and "La Vie en Rose." I entered both Boyfriend and myself. I won "La Vie en Rose." Boyfriend won "A Mighty Heart." And we didn't go see either, because I work on impulse and I didn't feel like it. If that wasn't such a disturbing assessment of myself, I'd laugh.

Last night was meditation class numero due. Less people than the first time - six versus eleven - but it was great all the same. I enjoyed it. As soon as I walked in, took off my shoes and took a look around, I felt so peaceful and happy. I was extremely tempted to text Boyfriend and say, "I love this place," but thought that was unnecessarily hippie-ish.

This time we talked about the law of karma, and the fact that every action we take - in this life and in past lives - has a karmic reaction, good or bad. When we meditate, however, we begin to withdraw from the law of karma so that we don't build up any for the future, and we can even burn up what has already been created, just by reciting mantra. This is how you avoid being reborn, because nobody wants to keep coming back here for another round of suffering.

I was thinking last night about how I have become somewhat spiritually impressionable. Let me explain. As I listened to the yogi speak, I wasn't thinking, "Now I will believe everything he says, no matter what it is." That would be ridiculous. But I was giving his words a certain weight, allowing his ideas to resonate and really thinking about them. I think this is my way of making up for all the years when I was unable to do that. "Don't listen to other ideas! Don't believe them! They're wrong! They are of the Devil!" "But how do you know?" "Never mind! Anyone who believes different than us is going to hell!"

My parents never said that, but this was the attitude of the church we went to and consequently, of our family. Some people try to sugar coat it - "Jesus is the only way. But we love all people and should do our best to bring them to him so that they can be saved" - and others do not. Regardless, I feel so liberated to be able to go to a meditation class and think about karma and reincarnation. They are ideas like any others; why can't I think about them?

Now if only I were free enough to discuss these ideas with my parents. (As I espoused the doctrines to Boyfriend over burritos, he nodded and smiled and said, simply, "I want to be there when you explain these things to your mother.")

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Just when I think I have seen it all in fat woman abuse...

"Men's preference will never change."

My first instinct when I saw that picture, before reading any of the post, was, Wow, what a beautiful woman.

I refrain from commenting because this is inexcusable. Then men want to know why their girlfriends are all, "Do you think I'm fat? Do you think I'm pretty? Are you sure??"

*Cross-posted at the Feminist Pulse. They've taken me back, woot!
This looks cute!

Disney Nabs 'All About Adam'

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Yoga was hard yesterday, and quite painful, but I am glad that I did it and will go back. Boyfriend promised to do the next class with me.

The nutrition thing is what I have a hard time with. Exercise is all well and good, but how much can it really do when you have dinner immediately afterwards at a hamburger joint? I am working on it all the time ... what can I say? Just exercising regularly is more than I have done in a long time so I am trying not to beat myself up too much.

The meditation is working. Anyone who has been around me the last couple of days, as Boyfriend has, might not believe it, but I can feel a difference. Yes, I still have road rage and yes, my hormones are still a little off. My emotions fluctuate but it is not really my fault. I am also facing a few weeks in Austin alone when Boyfriend's parents visit the East coast and he goes to meet them while I stay at my stinky job (I kid, I kid), so I am both nervous and worried. But aside from all that, I feel more peaceful, more calm. Some things that normally set me off (the aforementioned ones notwithstanding) have not. I have taken upsetting things in stride and still felt peace. The mantras come back to me throughout the day, even when I am not meditating. Last night I changed it to "Shanti shanti shanti," or "Peace, peace, peace," which is exactly what I need in life. Peace. It is also at the end of T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land" which gives my meditation a literary feel. When I am more advanced I am going to add to it:

"Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata. Shantih shantih shanti."

I was thinking last night that I would love to go to the park with Boyfriend and lay in the grass and read "The Waste Land" to him. Doesn't that sound wonderful and summery? Only thing is it seems nicer in my head than it might actually be in the sweltering Texas sun.

"These fragments I have shored against my ruins..."

Monday, June 18, 2007

Isn't this beautiful? It came up on my iGoogle 'Oil Painting of the Day' gadget. I love Gauguin. It made me think of that Philip Roth story, "Goodbye Columbus," in which the guy works at the library and a young boy continually comes in and looks at a book of Gauguin paintings. The protagonist of the story who works at the library begins to hide the book from other patrons so that little boy can find it when he comes in. Precious.

These 'Google sucks at privacy' headlines are making me nervous because I practically worship Google.

First yoga class today after work. I'm going to get fit if it kills me.

Randomness: I have Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind" stuck in my head.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Great weekend folks. Yesterday Boyfriend and I went to a coffee house on the lake to meet up with some members of my book club. You see, I decided to attempt a revival, so I sent out a new call for members. Book Club Friend is willing to come back, which is great, and some new people expressed interest, so we decided to meet yesterday to get to know one another and choose a first book. Two people came - a guy and a girl - and we decided on a book and that was that.

Today Boyfriend and I went to the local arcade so I could play Dance Dance Revolution. I have only played it once in my life - six years ago, in high school, at a party - but I have always had fond memories. Amazing exercise, folks. After five minutes, you are DRIPPING with sweat. Thinking if I go and spend 50 cents a day after work, I can be skinny in about two weeks. (Hee!)

Meditation is going well, though I have trouble with the breathing one ("Gauranga"). I wind up out of breath. I don't know if I am doing it wrong or just not used to it. I am planning to go to class early on Wednesday to ask the instructor questions. I am also looking to learn how to pray the rosary. Ideally I would like to do both each day, maybe rosary in the morning and meditation in the evening, or whatever.

Oh yeah, and I want to switch my mantra to saying the names of goddesses instead of gods. Looking into it.

Last night and this morning I watched the Royal Shakespeare Company movie version of A Midsummer Night's Dream. I loved reading the play and wanted to watch the movie version, and I thought I had reserved the Calista Flockhart/Christian Bale/Kevin Kline version, but I was wrong. I don't care, though... this version was experimental and weird and colorful and absolutely fantastic. I would like to see their other productions as well.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Last night's meditation class was wonderful. I suppose I didn't know what to expect since I once went to a "class" that was really a bunch of experienced people sitting around meditating before passing out Oreos and green tea. I was assured by the woman who took my reservation, however, that it did not matter that I had never learned meditation before. It was a class for beginners.

Out of the ten people who participated, I was the first to arrive, 15 minutes early. An older Englishman, tall and thin, with white hair and glasses, scribbling on a clipboard, greeted me and asked me to take off my shoes and leave them on the shelf by the door. It was a nice feeling to be barefoot in there for two hours, actually. We talked as he asked me about myself and why I want to meditate, etc. and then people started arriving. At 7:30 p.m. we began. We went into another room with hardwood floors and pillows arranged in a circle. There were images of Krishna on the wall, and one of Jesus.

For the first hour or so we just talked. He explained the concept of individuality and spirit to us. He said that we are all "in illusion" because we identify with our bodies. If asked to describe ourselves, we say things like, "I'm a woman. I'm American. I'm tall." When in reality, *we* are none of these things. Bodies are matter and matter is dead; the only thing that animates the body is the spirit inside, or the "atma." That is the difference between a dead body and a live one. We wear these bodies like we wear a t-shirt; the t-shirt clothes us, but it is not us.

He then said that we can never be happy while in illusion because matter doesn't satisfy spirit. He said that "atma" is always blissful, you cannot separate the two just as you cannot separate water from wetness. It is a characteristic of spirit to be happy. We just look for happiness in the wrong place. He likened us to fishes in the ocean, in our spiritual element. If you take the fish out of the water and put it on the beach, on the hot sand, can it ever be happy? No. We need to get back into the ocean, and mantra gets us there. Sound vibrations. Connecting to the spiritual side within.

The first type of mantra meditation we did consisted of taking a deep inhale, and then upon exhaling, repeating four syllables. We repeated the word "Gauranga," which means "golden effulgence," which is the radiant glow that appears around light sources (God). We dragged it out, saying "Gaur ... Ra ... Ang ... Ga." At first, it was hard for me to drag out without running out of breath, but it became easier as I took in as much air as I possibly could. We did that for fifteen minutes and there was a really cool hum in the room from everyone doing it over each other's voices.

The next type that we did was a whole phrase. No breathing was involved; we were just supposed to say it over and over. He gave us each a string of brown wooden beads to count how many times we said it. It reminded me of a rosary, naturally, and I thought it was interesting how two religions that are so different can have the same method of repetition in prayer and praying on beads. We spent another 15 minutes saying, "Gopala Govinda Rama Madana Mohana." This was easier without worrying about breathing but you know how you trip up over tongue twisters? Every so often I muddled it.

The last thing we did was with a guitar, which was meant for a group. (The others aren't really.) He played and we chanted, "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare." He smiled and said, "If you're over fifty, you already know this song," and I recognized the words immediately from George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord," even though I'm not over fifty. But he played it in a different tune from that song. Boyfriend said that Hare means something like, "Oh great ____" so I guess we were worshipping Krishna and Rama. I wanted to know why we couldn't worship goddesses too, but you know how it goes.

After grabbing an organic, whole wheat, sugar-free cookie - MMM - I put my shoes back on and found Boyfriend waiting outside. He had come to walk me home.

I can't wait for next week! And to start my meditation practice at home, every day.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

15 If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, take the evidence of four (reliable) witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify, confine them to houses until death do claim them, or Allah ordain for them some (other) way.

16 If two men among you are guilty of lewdness, punish them both. If they repent and amend, leave them alone; for Allah is Oft-returning, Most Merciful.

Why is God only forgiving of men?


I have my very first meditation class tonight. Countless times I've signed up and then not gone, but this time will be different. I am very anxious to try it. Maybe it will bring me some peace and help me de-stress. Wouldn't that be great?

I started a low-carb diet yesterday and so far it is going well. No, it's not easy, but I'm not being as strict as actual Atkins. For example, I eat fruit, which is a definite no-no on that diet, and I have had a few veggie chips and so forth. But I can still feel it working, even though I've just begun. You know that feeling you get at night when you are on Weight Watchers or Atkins or whatever, the feeling that you are burning fuel because you are having less calories and crap than your poor body is used to? I've gotten that feeling each night, and it has always been a good sign in the past.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Has anyone else created a Google Reader at It's crazy, man. I'm in love. I've customized a page with New Yorker cartoons, writing tips, quotes from the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, the Quran and the I Ching, famous paintings, literary quotes, advice for working women, news headlines, weather... I mean EVERYTHING! Not to mention updates from my Gmail and Hotmail accounts.

Monday, June 11, 2007

I love this...

The weekend is over, and as it came to a close, so did the Sopranos (and the Tudors, but that will be back next year).


What can I say about the finale? I was terrified the whole way through, worried about what would happen. I was happy with it because I would have been flummoxed if anything had happened to that family, though Boyfriend thought it was too neat, that nothing happened to them, their adversary was caught, and all is well with the world. I dunno. The scene between Tony and Junior nearly led me to tears. I thought it was beautiful. I also thought it was going to end with just Tony and Carmela in the booth, with Journey playing, and that would have been nice for me. I didn't need the kids or anything else.

Other than that, we took Sister out for lunch, we went to the mall and did some shopping, and Boyfriend and I hit a museum. That's about it. It was a nice, relaxing weekend. The heat is making me irritable, though, which sucks because I will have to adjust this summer and not be a psycho bitch to Boyfriend.

Sister is leaving tomorrow, and for some reason, that made me cry last night. She didn't see me, thankfully; it was after we had all gone to bed. I don't know why I got so emotional. If she were to stay, she would get on my nerves. I just felt terribly lonely last night. I have felt like I don't have a family anymore for a long time now. If I could have her stay another month or so - even though the apartment is small, even though she is incredibly indecisive and won't agree to anything, and even though her stupid punk rock ringtones are both loud and obnoxious - I would jump at the chance.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Can I just ask... who brings a dozen donuts to an office? There are plenty more than twelve people working here and it's just a tease.

I am one of the first people to get here in the morning (this morning I got in at 7:52 am) because I like to leave early so I can, ahem, study. So I was one of the first to have a crack at the donuts. But I had just eaten a Hot Pocket so I figured I would wait. Lo and behold they are all gone.

It is a sad day in Sojourness's world.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

I overheard a conversation between an IT guy and a Dev guy earlier, both of whom constantly talk to and flirt with the Marketing intern who has only been here a couple of months but have rarely ever spoken to me in the nine months I've been here.

Dev Guy: *laughs* What can I say? Cute intern, not-cute intern. *laughs some more*

Considering we are the only interns at this company, I have a sneaking suspicion he was referring to me.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I just overheard a conversation by my cubicle that pissed me off. Maybe I shouldn't have been listening, but when I heard "women" and "church" I couldn't resist. My boss was listening to this other big guy at the company, a really sweet guy that I like a lot, talk about his church. I just learned that this guy was a pastor (Baptist? don't remember) a few months ago; he sent me an email to talk about my article in the newspaper on faith. Anyway, like I said, great guy, but here's how it went down:
"We are now allowing women to teach classes that men are in. We've never done that before. That's seen as fairly liberal. We are allowing women to have leadership roles now... the only thing is that a woman is not allowed to preach from the pulpit, and is not allowed to serve on the core executive committee."

He glanced at me, watching, trying to disguise my horror. This, according to him, is LIBERAL. This is PROGRESS. In 2007.

Lord, have mercy.
I have been doing some fun things lately, which is a change for me. Usually my life consists of going to work, coming home with the intention to study, eating dinner in front of Seinfeld of Jeopardy! or whatever, and then either going for a walk or getting sucked into the TV or actually doing some schoolwork. That's not a life, that's an existence, and a sad one at that.

But last weekend we went swimming, and last night Boyfriend and I went bowling and played pool. It felt so good to just unwind and have a little fun for once. Not that I can afford to do it every night, what with school and all, but still. Happy camper. Except for the sore thumbs.

Great news in the writing world, but I don't write about that here. If you know my full name (like, for real) then go to sojourness' to check out what has gotten me so chipper.

Sister is leaving next week and gosh darn it, I will miss her. The sisterly relationship is a strange one, I'll admit.

Monday, June 04, 2007

It's cool this morning. I know it won't last, but it is a refreshing break. Yesterday it was in the 90s or even 100; I burned my hands on the steering wheel. Then last night a storm came that flooded the streets. Lightning flashed, thunder crashed and torrents of water came in through the crack underneath our door. It was monstrous. Broke the heat, though, which is the important thing. Although I suspect that when I get out of the office today it will be just as bad as before. Maybe.

Sister has been difficult to entertain. She is a finicky eater, which means no barbecue or Tex-Mex for her. She is also not very adventurous or curious, which means she doesn't like any of the fun things I thought she certainly would. I know my sister and I are different, and I haven't been planning museum trips for her. But taking her to an enormous, beautiful natural pool on a sweltering day... somehow she still found a way to complain and take cheap shots at me. It's just her personality, I guess.

I love her, but sometimes it is hard to live with her. It looks like it will be another couple of weeks or so. At the end of June, the beau and I are going to San Antonio for a few days ... early anniversary celebration. In July we will be going back home because his parents are coming in from Indonesia. I don't know that I can be there as long as he'll be (3 weeks) because of my job, but we shall see what happens. I want to see my family as well, particularly the sisters.

The pool was beautiful. I bought myself a navy blue bathing suit with a hint of a skirt along the front, and a flopsy white hat that Boyfriend says makes me look like I'm on my way to the Kentucky derby. The water in the pool - the one in which Robert Redford first learned how to swim at age five, and the Native Americans formerly believed had healing properties - was freezing, but after you got past the initial shock, it was great. Although I did make the unfortunate discovery that I don't know how to swim as well as I thought I did. Or, at all? I haven't swam in years and I just flopped around with a significant amount of trouble. Boyfriend and I are probably going to go all summer and he is helping me relearn, or learn for the first time, depending on how you look at it :P

Friday, June 01, 2007

Today is Free Doughnut Day at Krispy Kreme. So, naturally, upon hearing this, I sent out an office-wide email complete with directions to the nearest one. When lunchtime came, I hightailed it there.

It was said that it was at 'participating' locations so I wasn't entirely sure that they would have it at this one. I figured if they didn't, I would just buy a doughnut, I'm not that cheap. But free things are nice too; they taste better.

I walked in to find a young man helping a woman with her two children. He put their doughnuts in a box, handed it to them with a smile, and watched them walk off. I stepped up in their place. "Can I help you?" he asked. I looked over the doughnuts indecisively and politely said, "In a minute." He began to walk away when I stopped him and asked, "Are you doing the free doughnut thing today?" He looked at me and leaned forward against the glass showcase of doughnuts. "That depends." "Depends on what?" I asked, and he grinned. "On what you say."

I didn't like where this was going.

"What does that mean?" I asked impatiently. He was making me angry. Not about the doughnuts - who gives a fuck - but about the way he was leering at me and holding doughnuts over my head like I was some kind of pastry whore. He was young, probably my own age, and at times he looked uncomfortable, as if he wasn't quite pulling this off the way he had wanted to. He didn't answer, so I asked, "Can I get a doughnut or not?" He said, "Yes," but made no move to get it. He just kept staring and smiling, leaning over the counter that way.

I wanted to punch him in the face.

He looked at me for at least 30 seconds while I shifted uncomfortably beneath his gaze, then I repeated angrily, "CAN I GET ONE OR NOT?" I don't know why I didn't just walk out, or ask to speak to someone else. I never think of these things when I'm in the moment, only afterwards. Finally he gave me the doughnut and I stormed out.

Okay, maybe you will think this was not a big deal, but I think it is a big deal. I don't like that certain men feel entitled to make women uncomfortable and nervous just because they're attractive or wearing a skirt or whatever. I doubt very many men are harassed by women in this way.

When I walked back to my car I had a knot in my stomach, and I was angry, and my mood was wrecked. That's not fair. There's no reason why this asshole should have made me feel that way. I remember being sexually harassed in an ice cream shop in Washington D.C. with a few of my friends a couple of years ago. I was angry then and I'm angry now.

It's all a fucking power trip and I'm sick of it.