spectating participant

May 26, 2004

when life happens

Filed under: unlisted — suzanne henderson @ 9:55 pm

My posting has become sporadic. Finding a chance to sit down and reconnect with myself in that retrospective way has felt too obligatory. It seems that I can’t just sit down and pour out updated information for the masses (bwahaha) that read this site. And also, what is there to update, really?

I’ve been busy with life. Nothing fascinating really, just normal everyday life. Checking schedules to see who has which alex. Going to a [Gray Eye Glances] concert in Baltimore with everyone. Making dinner for the people working and playing in the yard cause I don’t feel like getting hot and sweaty outside. Going to dinner with friends. Being late for work to help tear down ceiling and plaster walls to examine termite damage (ick, it was raining termites). Taking both alex to megan’s house for swimming. Thrift store shopping for PDF. Browsing seeds and plants for the garden. Movie nights at home.

Yeah, life is happening and I’m too busy to really sit down and write about it. Plus, it’s that mundane type of stuff that doesn’t really dress up well anyways. But, for those who care, I am happy. Shaken down to the core happy, not just some passing fancy happiness. I’m discovering many things about myself and about others. And I’ve discovered that people in this world have feelings and emotions of all ranges and it is okay. Relationships have multifaceted dimensions and layers and interactions. I’ve realized I managed to have at least two (perhaps all three) long term relationships with people void of these basic emotional cycles. Cycles that I am always in the middle of, always pulled in circles with and left feeling that something is wrong with me. And no, emotions are a good thing, they need to be felt and expressed. And being surrounded with this new realization, in a supportive environment, is very inspiring and uplifting. So yes, I am happy.

PDF is this weekend. I’m still not excited about it. I’m kinda disappointed that Steph decided to go camping at Cacoctin (and she is taking [the alex] with her). I think I’ll also miss seeing her for the weekend. Okay, time to get to sleep or something like it.

note to self: [white horse of uffington]

May 21, 2004

pattern recognition

Filed under: unlisted — suzanne henderson @ 5:59 pm

I’ve always felt that of times of great change in my life, I notice patterns. When something is about happen, something from the ordinary will stick out just enough to get my attention.

I used to always been drawn to the presence of birds at times like these. Either them flying very close, singing too loud, or just catching my attention away from the task at hand. These moments are full of optimism and curiosity. I start seeking out what, in my life, needs more attention and care.

Today, I passed a young bird, covered wiht feathers too new to be useful, lying in the parking lot. I frowned and shuffled on into work, trying to figure out what the sudden presence of dead birds means. Must death be so forebrooding? So ugly, so hard to swallow? Hmm, I’m not too partial to the negative impression of death, but I am wondering, what is trying to get my attention, and why this way?

May 20, 2004

bye, bye birdie

Filed under: unlisted — suzanne henderson @ 12:14 am

I took 95 to Baltimore today, different than usual. I was stopping at the Community College of Baltimore County to take my last and only final for the semester. Rain started to fall just as I left 495, continuing North on 95.

I saw something on my hood, small and odd. I couldn’t quite figure out what it was but it didn’t look like anything I knew. ‘What if it’s a bird?’ ‘How on earth can you think that blob looks anything like a bird?’ I was perplexed. I scrutinized it, between changing lanes and waves of the wiper blade. Then the force of the air shifted it, and suddenly, I knew it had to be a dead, featherless, baby bird on the hood of my car. ‘No, it can’t be.’ ‘Yes it is, just look at it.’ ‘Yuck, I don’t want to, I don’t want to think about it, ohhhh. gross.’

I call Dave, trying to escape this sickening realization. I can’t stop thinking about how I am going to be staring at this undeveloped creature, plopped dead on my hood, all the way to Baltimore. Just as Dave answers the phone, I scream and it moved… or it moved and I scream — “Oh my god, it’s dead. –” dead baby bird slapped against the windshield — “Oh, no! Ahhhh –” then the windshield wipers waved — “Noooooo. Oh disgusting. Noooo” the head flies off and then the body follows — “oooh, nooo, eeew, nooo! ahhh!”

I eventually stop screaming. Dave mumbles something about a warning before calling and yelling into the phone. I try to calmly explain what happened, but I’m still having a hard time breathing. I think I mutter something, “baby bird on the hood -breath- wanted to call cause -breath- it was freaking me out -breath- then the wind came -breath- and there was the windshield -breath- then the wipers went -breath- decapitated it -breath- oh my god -breath- this is awful.” I finally mutter some form of apologies, put down the phone, and gawk out the window at the passing cars and the missing bird.

May 16, 2004

just black and white?

Filed under: unlisted — suzanne henderson @ 11:17 pm

Now, I don’t claim to be an amazing beauty. Sure don’t think I’m hard on the eyes either. However, I’ve come to notice, that I must not posses a beauty or attractiveness that is of this time. Seems the only comments and compliments I ever get about who I do or who I could look like are to some black-and-white movie star. It seems thats I’m trapped in the flat images of grayscale, no vividness or subtly of color to be found.

Tonight someone pointed out that I could easily don the looks of Louise Brooks. A wonderfully attractive woman, I agree, and full of the soft seductive charm that I cherish at times. But still, black and white. Prior to her, I’d been compared to Clara Bow. Again, I’m quite pleased with the comparison, but feel that maybe my palette is not so limited.

So, am I simply shades of light and dark. Or has the world lost that delicate alluring charm of understatement? Maybe it isn’t that I’m only as pretty as the past, perhaps the present has just morphed into something too sparkling, to styled, too flashy for my pace. Give me the deep eyes, defined pouty lips, and dark hair any day over the painted up expressions on magazine covers today.

May 11, 2004

and it started so nicely

Filed under: unlisted — suzanne henderson @ 4:12 pm

I had a new dress and a new slip to wear. I felt pretty, walking in sunlight. I got all sorts of compliments this morning, I felt giddy. I established a midday adventure with a friend, I felt excited. And, then plans fell through, no running off to the park with company. I was dissapointed and mad. But I still went, though it didn’t feel so refreshing.

Then I finally saw the details for the Gaian Mind Summer Festival 2004. And I rejoiced, so happy to finally have this information, I’d decided I would go for sure. I even decided I wouldn’t balk at missing the early registration and would pay another $25 to go. I was all prepared to let this at least make up for my day.

And then I saw, the date, not July like I expected, it was the end of June. The end of June when I already have time off. The time in June that Alex is out of school. The time in June that I reserved sites at Assateague. The time in June when my mother will be visiting. Sigh. No Gaian Mind for me this summer, sad sad sad I am. I wanted so much to go, I love the music and feel like I’ve never let myself explore it and the events around it. Through Sara, I’ve gotten hints of a another community that I would really enjoy.

I don’t regret that I have other obligations. I just wish something was on a different weekend. Sigh. Hmm, I wonder if my mom would do a long weekend in the woods at a large trance party. There is lots of dancing exersize to be had, dance dance dance some more. hehe, the thought alone made me smile at least.

May 10, 2004

short recap - haha

Filed under: unlisted — suzanne henderson @ 11:44 am

Normally, when I think an entry will be short, it ends up way too long.

Friday - I was completely out of it come Friday morning. I had a million things to do, or so it felt, and was just a repeat of the day before and the day before that. By one I was feeling worn out and wanted to curl up under my desk.

I got to have lunch a [Ding How], my favorite place in Fells Point. It’d been quite a while and I was happy to be there. I love any place that you can get great food, lots of it, and leftovers for a very good price. I got to catch up with [Rob|Rob Carlson] too. It seems like it’s been a great while since we had talked, so I was feeling good when we parted ways and went back to work.

Once I finished another dozen tasks, I was headed toward home and a Parent-Teacher conference. The conference went very well, in fact, I was very impressed with it. Seems Alex’s teacher was sympathetic to many of my issues and seemed to silently confirm that we’ve certainly taken several steps backwards in school quality. I’m not sure if it implied educational quality too, but at this point, I’m inclined to think so.

After that, was a quick jaunt home and some mental organizing before continuing the Friday Frenzy of activity. As I was running out the door to meet some new friends for drinks, Alex called to see if Alex could come over and work on Mother’s Day projects. So, both of us hopped in the car, dashed over to Dave and Steph’s, and then I was off to the [94th Aero Squadron Restaurant].

I was a bit run down at this point, wasn’t even really losing steam since I felt like all the water and heat had already faded away. I was grateful that I’d changed plans earlier in the week and wasn’t running to downtown DC, but still worried I wasn’t gonna be feel up being social and my typical charming self. But once I completed my 7 minute drive to the restaurant, I was already recollecting myself.

The evening drinks turned out to be quite uplifting and rewarding. The conversation was wonderful and it felt like the perfect conclusion to the fits of motion I’d been trudging through all week. Time slipped away quickly and I ended up staying out longer than I thought I would, which was fine. I left the restaurant feeling giddy from the change of pace and most importantly from getting along so well with some new people. There’s always that chance or possibility things won’t go well or will feel awkward, and there wasn’t an ounce of that present. Quite a nice time.

And just when I thought that Friday should be over, I stop back and Dave and Steph’s and find Dave also waiting on dinner plans. After a bit, he gets a call for us to go grab a table for 7 at [Mandalay], because the stop seating at 9:45 and it was 9:35 already. We arrive just in time, after a bit of friendly heckling, we (dave, steph, alex, mark, megan, ed, alex, and I) sit down and rattle off an order for food. Yum. I love their food and especially their mango salad. Dinner was fun and relaxed. I finally feel like I’ve really found my place with that group and can enjoy myself stress free.

After getting our fill, we headed to the cars and proceeded to say goodnights and goodbyes. And just when Mark though he knew what was going on and stopped paying attention to the conversation, Megan suddenly had agreed to the Alex-Alex request: sleepover at Meganís. Of course, Dave, Steph, and I did what any parents would do, we hurried into the car before anyone changed their mind. And eventually, after that long day, it was back under the sheets I woke up in, covered in feelings of happiness and love.

Saturday - Dave tries to get Steph and I up and around early enough to bike over to the Farmer’s Market with him. However, we both agree that laying in bed longer sounds better right then. Finally, we’re up much later, and Megan picks me up on her way home from class and takes me to gather the Alex’s.

Later, Dave meets up at the Meeting house, for some [Circle Dancing] and then potluck. Then, we get home with enough energy to work in the yard before it’s dark. We snack for dinner and retire to watching a movie, [Real Women Have Curves] from my Netflix queue. And then sleep.

Sunday - Alex and Alex have made a small breakfast buffet for Steph and I for Mother’s Day (Dave is allowed to have some too). I was very touched by this, it feels like the first time Alex has ever thought through a project that I would really enjoy. So we were able to get some food before heading to Meeting.

Meeting was hard for me because lots of people were really pressed with current events about the abuses that had been commented on and things on that level. I was feeling over sensitive and had a hard time keeping together and not running out of meeting early. I’m still struggling with the messages and my own thoughts. I feel so guilty that I chose to hide away from those realities. I feel bad that I’m not able to take in that information and move it to some kind of useful or productive response. Instead, it tears at my heart, constricts my lungs, and pulls pain through my stomach. I know these realities exists in life, but I’m not in an emotional state that I can handle them.

Sunday did perk up, though was filled with lots of emotionalness for a while. Lots of things that needed done were done (and done quite well heehee) and more yard work was completed. After dinner and a massage, Alex and I finally returned to our house. Alex (who owns the house) teased me, saying I’d been gone for so long, he thought I didn’t like it there any more. So he is now starting to think of things to do for me that will make me like the house more and be there more often. It nice being wanted even in a house that you feel so disconnected with.

so yes, there is the short recap. ha!

May 7, 2004

picky and choosey

Filed under: unlisted — suzanne henderson @ 9:47 am

So we live in a world where it’s take what you like and leave the rest. Blah, sometimes I want a take all or leave all approach, but until I’m dictator, I doubt that will happen.

Yesterday, I had to follow through on contracting with a trash vendor for [Playa del Fuego]. Great, exactly what I wanted to do, spend my time searching out ways for people to throw out the [leave no trace] ethic. The other PDF volunteers point out what would happen if we had no dumpsters and let themselves sinks down to that lowest common denominator of expect little and wish for the best. I guess I still believe that people will stay at whatever level of expectation you hold them to: provide dumpsters and they’ll provide lots of trash.

I’m not crazy for not wanting this; to me it is part of the community that I chose to immerse myself in. Yes, I understand that Townsend, Delaware is NOT the Black Rock Desert. Yes, I understand that there is life and shopping centers only a few miles away. I can’t change our location, but the location doesn’t change what I love about the [Burning Man] spirit. I dig the radical self-reliance, I am totally into the gift economy, and I support leave no trace to the point of pack it in and pack it out. It’s a package deal to me, not pick what you want and leave the rest.

I guess yesterday’s task was some cosmic slap in the face; a good dose of reality where I had to agree to a contract of almost a thousand dollars for us to ‘leave no trace’. Everyone tells me it starts with education and I am still interested in pursuing that path. I’ll work on my one-man education campaign to minimize trash; of course, it’s still feels useless to say “reduce refuse! But, if you can’t, please toss it in the 2,112 cubic feet of dumpster we’ve provided which can weigh up to 20,000 pounds without us paying extra.” Yeah, that sounds motivating.

Perhaps Iíve sunk down to the expecting too little. Maybe a little education is all everyone needs and by the next event we will only need half the dumpster space. Then someday we won’t need it at all. I wish I could get myself to believe that.

May 4, 2004

over and over again

Filed under: unlisted — suzanne henderson @ 5:50 pm

I typed up two entries yesterday. One was consumed by the accidental press of a mouse button, the second was surrendered to sleep. So, yesterday happened, there, you’ve been informed.

I had something to type about today, what was it…. oh yes, ranting. Hmmm, I’m not really in a ranting mood, but I’m still mad.

I’ve been trying to get in touch with Alex’s teacher cause I’m not happy with her school work or most anything about her school. Also, it’s time to work on getting alex moved up a grade too. I think if we’d stayed at Villa Cresta it wouldn’t have been as much a problem because they were more on top of academics there. However, I can’t let it slide at a school that seems to have little interest in the academic or emotional progress of their students. Sigh, I have issues with this school, great and numerous ones.

So, I’ve been trying to reach Alex’s teacher and I finally get a note back with a phone number and the days she is available. Assuming, since I’d already called the school to leave her a message, this was a home number I could reach her at, I make sure and wait till she would be home to call. Nope, it’s the school’s number (we haven’t been there long enough for me to recognize it). Damn I miss Villa Cresta where the teachers made sure to make themselves available and reachable for parents. So I am now waiting yet another day, till I can call her from work and hope that I get to make appointment and not just leave another message. Sigh.

Other news: the sun is shinning!

May 1, 2004

buggin’ out

Filed under: unlisted — suzanne henderson @ 9:23 pm

It’s started, the first mosquito of the season nipped me. Now he has gone and told the millions of others back in the hood, that there’s one fine tastin’ chick living in the house on the corner. And even better than that, she’s one of those outdoor loving chicks that is almost always outside, nose distracted in a book, and casually offering arms and bare feet for the bitin’. I’m safe now, at least until they realize I still live with my screenless windows open.

Today was uber productive. I got an amazing amount of stuff completed at work. To the point that, other than the never ending voice mails, I’m completely caught up. Wow, it feels so cool, Monday I will walk to my desk and it will be CLEAN CLEAN, and not just the mess moved into new piles and stacked a little neater, this is full on, new organizational filing system and a place for everything clean. Yay!

I finished the last essay in [An Anthropologist on Mars], “A Surgeon’s Life”. This one was on a man with [Tourette’s syndrome] who was also a surgeon. On the surface that is pretty amazing, but overall the essay was quite dull. It really seemed to focus on the awe that this man could do it, but without [Oliver Sacks]’ deeply analytical observations and comparisons I’ve come to expect.

However, the essay I read before that, “An Anthropologist on Mars” was one of the most interesting just in the parallels that I can draw in my own life. This was essay focusing on an person with high-achieving autism. She had Phd. and was quite distinguished in her field. However, again I was not so impressed with the general “wow, look at what she has achieved” air of the story. Instead, I found the way she processed information to be quite intriguing.

She is a visual thinker and commented on how she draws out, builds, and runs through entire processes visually in her mind. It’s not a string of words and sentences and statements, but pictures, drawings, and images. Sacks mentioned that visual thinking isn’t abnormal and that many non-autisitc people do that, include my favorite scientist [Nikola Tesla]. It reminded me of the nights of frantic thinking and imagining, where I would build art projects and costumes all through a visual process. I’d walk myself through the store buying everything, transporting it home, organizing it, working on it until it was complete and I was admiring it and showing it to others. So fascinating to find that other people use this mental process. So many times, I get stuck in conversations and with problems I want to discuss, but I can’t pull it out of image form and into words. If only we could just transmit images to each other, life would be so much easier.

Another interesting thing about this woman was her creation of a ’squeeze machine’. Being autistic, she found it overwhelming to be hugged by a person, but still found the physical pressure of a hug to be very calming. So she designed a machine that she could get into and give herself a mechanical hug. I strongly relate to this too. Instead of a squeeze machine, I retreat to small dark spaces, like closets, when I need to calm down or to relax a little. Often times the world gets very overwhelming for me, I get over stimulated, and I just need a break. I’ve been working on plans to build myself a box that I can crawl into and close the lid on. I feel that it would be much more relieving that a closet, which still has too much open space around me. Plus, I have no closets to run to where I am living now, a box would be a useful compromise.

In addition the visual thinking and squeeze machine, I could relate to her comments of being over-sensitive to sounds, touch, and smells. This week has been difficult since I’ve been extra or hyper sensitive to those different stimulants, and reading about someone who lives with it all the time with little relief, made my sensitivity seem a little more manageable.

“An Anthropologist on Mars” was a well written essay with so many opportunities to think about the processed of emotion and reaction. I don’t want to really go into it deeply, but I did find it fascinating that this woman was not able to see or recognize someone else’s jealousy by emotion or sensing. Instead, it was a mathematical or scientific process that she would compare the current situation to past situations to determine that someone was acting in an emotional way. Now, wether or not she could see this in the same way a non-autistic person could, doesn’t change the fact that she could see it. Perhaps, instead of autism removing the emotional or ’sense of self and others’, perhaps autism has just dulled or slowed the scientific process the rest of us go through. Maybe none of us react truly emotionally to anything, instead, the scientific process of comparing past events with current events is so developed that it happens naturally without thought to consideration and to the point that it seems like a ‘feeling’. Just a thought.

… oh all this brain thinking and philosophy of thought makes my mind hurt. it puts me back in my philosophy class, asking my professor “what does it mean when I don’t believe anything exists, not even myself?” For now, I will just consider the continued existence of the mosquito that has found my open window, guess the word got out sooner than I thought …