Category Archives: nature

dying and living and sleeping and waking

i feel as if my soul is dying a slow painful death and taking my body down with it. or vice versa. either way, i’m dying a slow painful death, or at least it feels that way monday through friday, from approximately 8am to 430pm.

i remember about a year ago, i was so happy to have gotten this position with my current employer. this current position started out paying more than what i earned at the last library i worked at, plus i thought it would build on the foundation i had created at the other job.  and truthfully, in some ways it has. i have learned a lot at this job, especially in areas of web development, and the intricacies of interlibrary loan and copyright law. this knowledge is something i may be able to take with me wherever i go next. (and i am going, somewhere, but that will be the subject of another post.)

and yet, today my work consisted of comparing a printed out list with the contents of a database. basically, this is bullshit work, as far as i’m concerned. much of the work i do in this position is bullshit work. i spend most of my days moving bytes of ‘info’ from one computer to another, in an ‘industry’ i’m feeling less and less respect for with each day that goes by.

there is so much real work to be done in the world, and i’m feeling as though my soul and mind are wasting away. just today i finished reading derrick jensen’s dreams, which is an amazing, amazing book,  and has made one hell of an impression on my psyche. one thing this book has inadvertently done is made glaringly obvious to me all the ways in which my job, and current way of life, are 1. bullshit,  2. pointless, and 3. evil. yes, evil. the building i work in is located next to, and affiliated with, a vivisection lab. plus, there’s this whole morality, or lack of, in the medical-pharmaceutical industry, a morality that revolves around little more than making money. it seems the purpose of the medical-pharmaceutical industry is not to get people healthy, but to keep them sick yet somewhat functional, and dependent on the industry. sadly, the work i do in an academic medical library supports this paradigm.

meanwhile, this country is literally on the verge of financial collapse, and this planet is on the verge of a far worse collapse. if it isn’t too late, i want to do something about the latter, at least in my little corner of the world, but am not doing a damn thing, other than going to and from my little cubicle every day like a good little serf. other than the plants in my cubicle, the closest i am to nature most work days is the contact made with all the paper i waste (although we do recycle – what good little stewards of the planet we are), paper that used to be in a forest somewhere. as of now, i’m still contributing to the problem (if you could call the planet dying simply a ‘problem’), and i want to do something different from that. i want something where i’m giving back instead of calling myself environmentally conscious while working a job that is in conflict with my soul, just so i don’t have to worry so much about keeping a roof over my head and sallie mae off my back. dreams has touched off an awakening in me where i want to work towards what is important and real. and these are all things i’ve thought about before, but jensen’s book about intangibles has shown me what is real and necessary and urgent. i won’t go into all that now because i do plan to write a fitting review of dreams sometime in the next couple of weeks. for now,  i’ll just say that this book is something of a catalyst for me and the upcoming changes i’m planning to make in my life. yes, i’ve known all along that collapse is imminent, and even if it isn’t ‘imminent’, it is going to happen probably in my lifetime (which i guess would make it somewhat imminent), and sooner would be better than later. it’s helped me to realize that maybe now is the time for me to extricate myself from this system, which i am in the slow process of doing. (also, more thoughts on this extrication in future posts.)

are you happy with the work you do (whether it’s paid or unpaid)? are you contributing to the demise of this planet or to the demise of civilization? (those ideas are opposites, believe it or not.) whom do you serve, Life or Death?

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same shit different year?

what a difference a year makes, right? 52 weeks ago today i moved out of what had been a cute little house i had shared with someone who at one time had been one of my best friends. i was moving into a temporary situation where i was to sleep on my sister’s couch, with my cat who didn’t like other cats (of which my sister had three), working 15-20 hours a week at the b&n with the possibility of a second job on the horizon, but not certain. even if the second job came to pass (which it did), it was only seasonal work, and i had no idea what was going to happen once the season was over. my plan for spring/summer 2010 was to find a room rental that was month-to-month and would allow me to keep my cat. at the end of the season, if i didn’t have a ‘real’ job, i’d pack everything and go to new orleans and see what happened. fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how one looks at it), in a relatively short amount of time i got a ‘real’ job (with benefits and everything! please note the sarcasm attached…) with the state of kansas and was able to move back to kansas city.

so things have gone relatively well since my return to the city. i have a decent job in a medical academic library, and my current living situation i couldn’t have planned better if i tried. (actually, during a reading with my psychic last year shortly after my move, she told me that i had ‘created’ this ideal situation in my head, and made it happen, something she said i have a real ability to do. hmmm.)

on the surface, it all seems pretty sweet. i basically could work this current job until retirement (20-25 years!), after which i’d have a nice pension, and in the meantime, i could buy a cute little house in the volker neighborhood, and live happily ever after, maybe as part of a happy couple, maybe as a single old maid librarian-ish person with a bunch of plants and cats. point is, most people would look at my current situation and tell me i’m set. hell, if i were a normal person, i’d think i was set.

last weekend, talking on the phone with one of my best friends, i told her that i was thinking of doing all that, buying a house and settling down. her initial response was, ‘you want to spend the rest of your life in kansas city?’ when she put it that way, well, um, no. and that question and answer have been gnawing at me all this past week. i mean, it even kinda had before, but i had pushed my doubts under the rug. i figured i could buy a house here, and ‘bloom where i’m planted’, literally and figuratively. a cute little fixer-upper with a decent sized backyard would provide me with the space to do the urban farming thing, and i could work full-time to keep the roof over my head. never mind that i have hated the past two winters here, swearing that i needed to live somewhere warmer (new orleans?). never mind that while i do have friends here, finding freedom-loving sustainability-minded integrally-informed people with decent taste in music (no lady gaga allowed!) here in the nation’s breadbasket hasn’t been easy. never mind the fact that even though i have a good job, it has its pitfalls, namely that there are days where maybe i do 2 hours’ worth of work in an 8 hour day, and those two hours (or four or seven, but never eight) consist basically of my moving bytes of information from one computer to another. and i tell myself that i’m helping out society by giving current and future medical professionals the information they need to help people get healthy, but most of the information i’m moving about is nothing more than folks with a bunch of letters behind their names spouting conventional wisdom, and you can look in any doctor’s office waiting room, or even just take a look at people walking down the street, and you will see how far conventional wisdom has taken us. but i digress…

a couple of weekends ago, my roommate had a birthday party at which one of the guests included a professional psychic. after most of the guests had left, he gave readings for the few of us that remained. in my reading, i got several major arcana cards, which are the cards that indicate major life changes. (the 56 card tarot deck contains 22 major arcana cards. i drew six of them out of the ten cards contained in the celtic cross spread.) the cards i drew included the wheel of fortune, which the psychic told me indicated that something very good was about to ‘fall into my lap’; the magician, which he said indicated that my powers of manifesting were very strong, and i was good at getting what i wished for (which kinda backs up what my regular psychic said last year); justice, which he said indicated that i needed to take advantage of this upcoming opportunity because i passed it by in a previous lifetime; also, the hermit, the hierophant, and the lovers (reversed, which is just my luck) were pulled.

so, what does it all mean? even though i’m more settled down and things seem more stable this year, is it a case of same shit different year? maybe this current job is a temporary situation designed to get my feet firmly planted on the ground before making the next move. but what is that next move? i still want the little homestead where i’m raising veggies and chickens and making my own soap and knitting in front of the fireplace in the winter (some place where it’s not snowing every other day), and if i *must* work a regular job, it’s only for 20 hours a week, preferably in a library setting; otherwise i also make a little money writing about whatever it is i’m doing. i think some really bad shit is about to go down over the next few years, on a planetary scale, and there’s no reason to believe that the united states will be spared any of what might happen.  i don’t want to get all doom-and-gloom, but i think the ‘little homestead’, whether urban or rural, will be the best way to protect myself and whoever happens to be around it with me (because another piece of this puzzle is that i don’t want to do this alone). really, i’m not doing this for that reason, i genuinely love the idea of raising my own food and taking care of my own needs (whether by growing it myself or through barter/trade/etc. with others), and being more in tune with nature’s cycles, and more in tune with other people, and with reality. but there are definitely practical reasons why i’m interested in all this too. so we shall see. as i try to do with all matters, i put all this in the universe’s hands, and wait to see what happens next…

repost: of mice and woman

this is from another defunct blog that i used to be a part of, zaadz. zaadz turned into the gaia community, which was a part of gaiam, which is when i stopped writing so much there. although i like gaiam’s website and products, the whole thing smelled too corporate for me, so i went onto blogger. when i heard that zaadz/gaia was going away last year, i saved most (but not all) of the postings that i had left behind.

anyway, this particular posting is about my fear of rodents and how they are my ‘room 101’, and how my fear clashes of them with my feelings about the sanctity of all sentient beings. really, we’re all just trying to get by. it also kinda cracks me up, because of the way i handled this confrontation with a mouse who was already just about dead. one of my friends who originally read this had a creative idea on how to deal with that conflict: meditate ‘good thoughts’ to the mice, telling them that i loved them because they were a part of god’s creation but if they didn’t leave my home by a certain day, i was going to have to kill them. i did try it, after this particular event, and it worked, at least for that season. (the following year i had mice again, and actually don’t remember if i did this again or not.)

so far this fall season, no mice have been sighted, but i have an awesome little cat who will take care of it for me if they are. in the meantime, here’s hoping i don’t have a replay of the following scenario again…

of mice and woman

[originally posted on Sep 22nd, 2006 on zaadz.com]

i have a mouse problem.  yes, it’s that time of year when mice start coming in from the cold, hiding out in various nooks and crannies in apartments and homes, and that is certainly happening in my home at this point in time.  however, my mouse problem consists of questioning why mice and other rodents even have to exist.  what in the world was god thinking???

snakes and bugs don’t creep me out in the least.  i used to know this guy who had a female boa constrictor named floyd, and i had no problem letting floyd wrap herself around my arm.  i also used to live with a guy who would literally scream like a girl if a snake came within 20 feet of him, even an innocent little garden snake.  when our cat brought in a snake from the surrounding woods, it was me who ended up retrieving it.  however, because we lived in a rural area, we had a mouse problem, and whenever we trapped one, his bad idea of a joke was to chase me around the house with the dead animal, taunting me with it.  and because he considered himself to be egalitarian, he insisted that we take turns disposing of the dead mice, instead of being a gentleman and doing this one little thing for me that he knew i could barely stomach.

so anyway, over the last couple of weeks i have found two dead and one half dead mice in my apartment.  i’ve said something to the apartment management, and they just shrug their shoulders.  meanwhile, i continue to put out the de-con (and feeling guilty about it), use sonic rodent repellants (that don’t work), and sleep with a light on (which i am finally getting used to).  the other day i got home and the half dead mouse was in the middle of the floor, so i could not ignore it.  (how did i figure out it was not dead?  from throwing shoes at it from across the room and seeing that it jumped, but didn’t scurry off)  so that’s when i started crying…

…back when i was 21 years old, i was still living at home with my mother and her significant other.  they had gone to mississippi on vacation, which meant that i had the house to myself.  whoo hoo!  my bedroom was upstairs directly across from the attic/storage room, and the first evening they were gone, i heard a rustling noise across the hall.  i gingerly looked in, and saw a rat.  i ran downstairs, and after several attempts, managed to dial the number where they were staying.  sobbing hysterically, i told them they needed to come home immediately.  (for the record, my mother practically hung up on me.)  they, of course, did not return home, but i enlisted a friend to accompany me to my bedroom one last time so i could gather my clothes, etc., for the week that i’d be sleeping downstairs in the guest room, until they came back to deal with it….

…so this crying because of rodents is not a new thing to me.  and i knew i had to dispose of this mouse but there was no way i was going to go near it, on the off chance that it would suddenly decide to run up my arm and into my hair.  i had to kill it.  i truly do believe in the sanctitiy of all living creatures… except for rodents.  and that really isn’t the case, but, well you know how some people wonder why god made mosquitos?  i really wonder the same about mice, so that and the fact that it was on the way to dead anyway were justification enough for me to do what follows.

crying and apologizing aloud to the mouse the whole time, i sprayed it with about half a can of bug spray.  at first it started convulsing, but then, mercifully (for both of us), it stopped.  okay, it was dead, but now i was breathing in all these carcinogens with a shiny dead mouse on the floor.  i wanted to sweep it into a bucket and flush it down the toilet.  instead, i guess because of the angle the bucket was at, i kept sweeping the mouse under the bucket, and then somehow the bucket was squishing the mouse and then the mouse got wedged against the refrigerator and as it turned into a comedy of errors,  i started crying again, saying ‘oh why god, WHY is this happening to me?’  i finally had to use a dustpan to unwedge the little fella and sweep him into that so i could flush him down the toilet (hoping to god i didn’t trip on anything between the kitchen and the bathroom, knocking the dead mouse someplace much worse, like onto my bed).  i then proceeded to scrub down every surface in the kitchen.

i would like to think that i learned something from this experience, and that maybe my fear of rodents has lessened.  however, other than learning a new way to kill a mouse, i don’t think this is the case.  a part of me felt horrible for taking the life of another living creature, and i tried to imagine how i’d feel if this giant alien came down from the sky and sprayed me with a supersize can of raid.  still, if i gained anything from this, it’s that i can do the thing i think i can’t do.  and i also learned that it’s time for me to get another cat.

what’s new at trailside? me!

the other day i wrote this whole long ass post on my ipod touch about my new job at trailside café and bike shop in rocheport, missouri, and of course due to some techno-snafu, the post is now inaccessible and lost forever. but yes, i’m currently working at a bike shop, and liking it. not loving it, mind you, although i do love being outside and getting to talk with folks and work with several of my family members. the job will end in october, and if i haven’t found anything by then (as in a library job), i plan to load up the blazer and head to nola. (of course that plan could change, but it seems as feasible as anything else at the moment.)

anyway, as i was saying, i do love being outdoors. one of the perks of being at trailside is that when it’s slow, i have the opportunity to go for bike rides on the gorgeous katy trail. the really cool thing is that trailside is located at some of the most beautiful scenery to be seen along the entire 200+ mile trail. and there are moments when i’m riding along that i feel like i’m in the middle of some luscious 3-d landscape photograph, especially when there’s no one else around. i’ve posted here a few photos taken during a ride i took last week.