spectating participant

May 31, 2005

returned, rested, reply

Filed under: unlisted — suzanne henderson @ 9:12 am

We got home from Playa del Fuego dead tired yesterday. Arrived in the middle of a rain storm. Crawl out of the truck, dug out the tarp, and just covered the bed of the truck, went inside, showered, and crawled in bed. Looks like I’ll be doing the unpacking this afternoon, body is still feeling the pull of the weekend.

So, in response to the weekend:

Best summary for me is a conversation with Jill. She wandered by and asked, “Isn’t this the best PDF ever?” To which I smiled and said no. “Oh, I’m sorry your not having a good time,” she responded. Oh no, I was having a fabulous time, it was nice and chill, great vibe, laid back, splendid. Just, not the best one ever, and exactly what I needed that weekend. My response in no way implies that it was not a truly fabulous weekend, because it sure was, great indeed.

So, I had a great time, the hammocks were great. The color cubes worked out once my design got a little bit of support. I learned several things for doing this again next time, like mark and measure and build in supports. The burn barrel looked awesome and attracted visitors just like I wished.

The liquid nitrogen was a blast. The ice cream, the thai tea flavor, was far more delish than I imagined. While we were making it, I was telling Chris that I would have selected a flavor a little easier to make (and that, of course, chris would have selected a flavor difficult to make). The compressing of the tea gunk was a chore, but ooooooh!!! so worth it. And thanks for Oryx for stopping by and coming up with another recipe, And! going to the store for all the ingredients for the chai tea ice cream batch. It was a hit.

Sunday night, we were sitting around the burn barrel trying to come up with something fun for the rest of the liquid nitrogen. Our pyro tricks with the liquid ozygen we pulled out of the air were a major dissapointment. Finally, we got to freezing alcohol. So, it was great to walk around, offering up frozen vodka spread on chocolate. We also dished up frozen peach schnapps spread on crackers once the chocolate was gone, and for the really hard core people or the ones just fascinated with the concept of frozen vodka, frozen vodka spread on crackers (disgusting, btw).

Met some great new people, had a blast hanging out with the same people, and just a wonderful time in all. Alex had a great time, free rein most of the weekend since she was running around with the GPS/FRS raido. Was sweet to be able and poll her location to find out where she was at the moment. Also, amusing to check out her raid about mid weekend since it was tracking her path everywhere she went and it was almost black with crisscrosses and movement. She was moving nonstop all weekend it seemed. Finally got to wrangle her back in for burn night and keep her with me for a while. having Christian to hang out with was a major plus for all the parent. Made out leashes a little shorter as well. Hopefully I won’t hear any reports of anyone being terrorized (perhaps too much) by Alex over the weekend. Tried to get her running around with me during the day, but she was always off and running to something new with more energy than I could muster up in the hot sunlight. I’m glad that she had a blast and was diligent about applying the sunscreen, she sure is a great kid!

Already excited about bringing and doing more next time. I think organizing space and offering up services is a great way to go. Wonderful time, and I have some pictures online soon. Ones Chris took, since I only pulled out my camera to get the lit burn barrel pics.

May 25, 2005

grades are in, well almost

Filed under: unlisted — suzanne henderson @ 10:02 am

FMST 330 A-
EDHD 306 A
EDPL 210 A
EDPL 338 A
ANTH 360 ?

I really don’t like that whole +/- system, because it is still 4 points regardless of the little sign. Oh well, can’t be upset about all the A’s. Really want to know what my ANTH grade will be though. Back to packing/organizing/running around with my head cut off.

May 24, 2005

time to start flying

Filed under: unlisted — suzanne henderson @ 9:12 am

Well, I’ve taken small break from the whole [FlyLady] thing and it is time to get back into gear. The most useful part of the whole system is the rationalie of, get up and do something right now. Of course, I just opened this browser window and haven’t actually gotten up yet, but I’m heading there. You gotta get fully dressed to shoes and will need to go shine the sink just to know that there is something fully tackled within the first 15 minutes of action. Then it is menu planning time, menus for the weekend, for next week. And packing list compilations. I sure wish I’d done what Dave has, a spreadsheet for packing for burning man that can easily be adjusted for pdf. Maybe this is the year to start that so I don’t have to keep thinking of what to bring each time. Okay, enough with updating and time to get shaking. Woot!!

Oh yeah, today’s to-do list also includes picking up the liquid nitrogen for making ice cream at pdf. woot!

May 23, 2005


Filed under: unlisted — suzanne henderson @ 5:42 pm

My fire barrel is complete. I meant to take pictures of the process, but once I remembered to pick up my camera, everything was finished. Sigh, oh well, maybe next time. I’m not sure how it will look overall, hopefully not too bad. I have some more ideas for another barrel, but will need a brand new barrel to work on. The rust causes some frustrations and design complications. If I want to get more intricate, I’ll need to be able to slice through everything a little easier.

May 21, 2005

one down, next to go

Filed under: unlisted — suzanne henderson @ 6:19 pm

With the semester finished, I’m now in full-on PDF mode. I thought I’d get a little downtime between both projects, but today was too nice of a day to miss out on being productive. I’ve cut the wood for all the vertical struts for the color boxes. I really need names for my projects, I also need a name for the camp as well. But all I come up with is really lame star titles. But, seems like Stop Trying And Rest might work out, but yeah, that is pretty lame too.

Bah, I’m not a camp, it is just my camp with a whole lot of real estate. Oh well, maybe something will come to me, maybe not. Either way, progress just the same. I need to go pick up some grommets and a grommet too, some ____ screws–keep forgetting what Chris keeps calling them, and some office materials to store away all of the school stuff. If I leave know, I know that I’ll be stopping out for dinner as well. Hmmm, really should be spending money on production and not consumption.

May 19, 2005

loose ends and impossibilities

Filed under: unlisted — suzanne henderson @ 8:58 am

Well, my productive semester has really paid off and not really paid off. Today I will put the finishing touches on two papers due this afternoon. Then tomorrow, I will somehow do my best to write a 25 page paper on topics I know very little about, especially seeing as how I just got some books from the UMBC library yesterday to flush out some details. So, all As and one F or something like it. Argh, I keep trying to not let that last grade really upset me, but not sure what to do about it either. I should have started on this project way sooner, but still don’t really understand it. Oh well, I’ll get by I’m sure. But, even if I get an F, I’ll still have over a 3.0 this semester, but that isn’t much consolation because I will have to take the class again since it is for my major.

May 17, 2005

productive morning

Filed under: unlisted — suzanne henderson @ 9:39 am

So, by 9am this morning I had gone to College Park, taken a Family Studies exam (am sure I scored enough to get an A in the class), had an interview for a part-time job, and scheduled another interview, different company, for Thursday at 6am. I really like this early morning stuff.

So, i”ve been throwing around that job idea and thinking that I just might make this work. I applied at UPS, which is more along the lines of the type of job I want to deal with right now. Plus, they have lots of benefits to part-time employees like tuition assistance and medical insurance. That would cut down on my tuition bill and provide us with a little extra cash on hand and more in the bank. My car isn’t dying nor is she acting poorly, but the reality is that she is getting old. It is time to start making sure I have something else-on hand, not on wait-to help out if she starts falling apart on me. Also, this savings thing is pretty nice and I’ve been doing pretty good at it and want to see it continue. So, I hope I get a job at UPS, otherwise I’ll consider an offer from the first place. Well, maybe I’ll consider it, think I already don’t want it. It working at Curves and boy that place is loud…

May 13, 2005

night cap

Filed under: unlisted — suzanne henderson @ 11:21 pm

The semester is over, other than those pesky final exams and last papers to turn in. However, the sitting through classes is finished and I’m ready for it. I’m also looking at getting a job this summer, not really sure why I feel like doing so, just that I don’t want to be sitting around the house. Plus, might be nice to actually have some money to actually do things. yeah, that would most certainly be nice.

just got an invoice from alex’s summer camp. it seems that they are lacking record of the two payments that I’ve made, the work grant (which they acknowledge could be missing), and the grant from our monthly meeting. Guess I’ll deal with that next week. hope this gets straightened out since it adds up to $605 of what I owe.

May 11, 2005

news to me

Filed under: unlisted — suzanne henderson @ 3:42 pm

Man kills family and then self.

First, things like this shouldn’t happen, but I don’t find them quite so surprising when they do. Maybe because I’ve had family members hold so family secrets pretty tightly leaving all of us totally unaware until post death secrets are revealed.

Sexy smell

Ooh, a study showing physiopsychological differences between sexual scent responses in gay and strait men. Who’d a thunk? Ha.

Psychosis or heart failure, take your pick

[Chlorpromazine] had the brand name of [Thorazine], [haloperidol] is [Haldol], and [pimozide] is [Orap], each are anti-psychotic drugs. Not a flavor that I’d ever be taking, I tend to stick with [aripiprazole]/[Abilify] or [olanzapine]/[Zyprexa], drugs that are so new (in my opinion) that it is really just russian roulette with your brain since there hasn’t been enough time and enough patients using these drugs to really know what the long term effects or unexpected side effects will be. But hey, walkin-talkin without the world swallowing you whole or your thoughts dribbling out of your ears is better than nothing (until we know what nothing turns out to be).

Naked Women

Well, not so naked it seems. This is just a blog article I stumbled upon (I’m building up my blog reading list in anticipation of having time to do so soon) and just felt like sharing this. I’m amazed at how clothed women are in the locker room. And, there is the issue of modesty and development. Growing up, I never really saw a naked woman except in magazines. I thought that what was in those nude magazines and in popular magazine was what women looked like and somehow, something was wrong with me because I had hair in places others didn’t, my breasts didn’t look he same as other womens, my body didn’t match the only examples I could find. And still, it is hard to realize that bodies come in so many shapes and formats and all sorts of things are normal, they’re just typically air brushed out and not talked about in print. Women should get naked, together, more.

May 9, 2005

feeling verbose

Filed under: unlisted — suzanne henderson @ 9:13 pm

maybe I’m feeling verbose because I have pages of pages-to-be-written sitting in front of me, but my mind keeps wandering back to some thoughts from earlier. I went to dinner with chris at a little italian place and had below average fettucini alfredo and a frozen cannoli. Was quite nice to have dinner together cause this a busy week for him at work and he knew he wouldn’t be home before 10pm tonight. We touched on this topic a little bit and it fleshed out a few more things for me.

i’m thinking more about the stigma associated with mental illnesses and also the current climate of the prozac nation. i have a psychiatrist that I don’t really feel is all that great over all but he gets the job done in the medication management and listens to his clients. However, I feel he is on that trigger-happy bandwagon to throw a diagnosis to anyone who walks into his office. I meet some of these people at our group therapy meetings and can’t help wondering where he comes up with his diagnosis bases. Some of these kids are just that, kids who are adjusting to the adult world, adjusting to college, and are dealing with breakups and disappointments of life. Wait! Not all of them, some seem to have serious reasons for downing drugs every day, but it really puts me off when talking to those that keep getting in under this new idea that anything and everything is a mental disorder.

I know I come of sounding like a bit of a psycho snob, but in a way i feel like I am. I guess it is hard to feel much support from people who’s psychosis includes being sad for a week and then being hyper for a week (their words) and none of the other bipolar perks. When I’m manic, it is not just having more energy, it is not eating, rarely sleeping, and hallucinations, visual, auditory, sensory hallucinations. I guess I don’t expect someone to have hallucinations in order for me to think that something is really wrong, but it sure helps if there is a little more than “I was just very bouncy and happy and acting silly” or “well, I just felt bad last week and I wasn’t doing good in class and my boyfriend broke up with me.” I expect the days in bed, inability to actually drag yourself out of it, sleeping through life to make it go away, being convinced 100% that your friends don’t care about you and never did, hearing a non-stop beratement of all your incompetencies.

Now, sounding like a total bitch about the whole thing, comes the most frustrating part. We’re being spoon fed diagnosis’s through the television and magazines, prozac as a simple solution for feeling a little down from time to time, a medicinal escape from the reality of life. And the world sees this, they laugh at what america is becoming and the legitimacy of more serious cases of mental illness (and mine could be argued to not fit into that category at all, well at least till I’m sitting in the psych-ward admissions office) diminishes. Perhaps I’m one of the people I want to fight back against, feeling like the world has created an epidemic from nothing but freely handed pill bottles leading to public state of disbelief and feeling that its-all-in-our-head (just a bit ironic). Yes, there are people with serious need for medication and treatment and there is validity to depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, and others. I sincerely believe that and each time my meds back off and I realize that I will not be able to escape this, the seriousness of mental disorders and the reality of living with them hits me. I am sure that the majority of the people who are getting care do deserve it, but I see that there is also a push to make a diagnosis the cure all for others.

Most physical diseases are not treated this way. People don’t comment about having diabetes and have people question the validity of it. They deal with the same challenges of living with a disease that need constant monitoring and attention and treatment and don’t have to feel like the world thinks they are making it up. But hey, maybe the world doesn’t think that, maybe this is all in my head that they do, and the world really does think that mental illness is a serious and real condition, with a real risk of death in some caes. Now, if that was true, then maybe medical insurance would open their eyes and start providing some better coverage for these services.

As a slight tangent, Chris started a new job and we were looking over the medical insurance plan together for which one he should pick. I told him that my biggest concerns when checking out insurance are how much they cover for mental health, drugs, therapy, medication management appointments, and-most importantly-inpatient treatment services. That honest statement and realization that I have to have hospitalization coverage cause it is highly likely that I will need that service at some point in the future was a hard one to vocalize and internalize. But it kinds just part of the playing field, if I play my cards right, do as I’m supposed to, the risk is pretty low that I’ll need it. But, doctors do strange things (like take you off one drug and not replace it with anything for a couple weeks, against your requests/opinion) and sometimes the drugs just don’t work or your mind starts working against you and the drugs, and you need to know you’re covered for services like that.

Okay, no more tangents, no more fussing, no more broken thoughts and possibly somewhat irrational accusations against the world. I need to get back to developing a research proposal that is due later this week.

when drugs work and you don’t

Filed under: unlisted — suzanne henderson @ 5:29 pm

I’d typically write this up in another space, but feeling rather public at the moment. When someone has an illness and there are medications that treat the illness and make the person better, it makes sense to take it. Now, for some reason, this logic doesn’t always work for me. I have [bipolar disorder], nothing new about that and nothing spectacular either.

I’ve been on consistent meds for about a year now, going to bi-weekly therapy even longer, and have tried a variety of drugs that have worked with varying degrees of side effects. Now, in the past few months, I’ve decided that I was done with side effects and that I was going to eliminate and reduce my meds down to the bare minimum. Now, this has been working out quasi-okay since then, but I had a realization this weekend, I’m sure I’ve had it before, that has me wondering why I keep dropping meds. The meds work, they really do, life moves along without a hitch, no weeks of depression and no weeks or irresponsible spending either. More importantly, no short temper and enough patience to get by day to day.

And so, if they work, then why not just take them. I know I complain about the side effects and they do suck, but is it worth putting up with the uneasiness, the short temper, the always returning crankiness? Sigh. I’m frustrated. I hate taking the meds but I also hate yelling at my daughter over a stupid math problem. I’m finally realizing that this general undercurrent of crankiness isn’t just a bad mood, there are real reasons behind it and it could be solved with a little pill or two. Argh.

I have these hopes of not taking any drugs some day. I hold on to this hope so strongly, convinced that this isn’t a real illness, that I some how made it up when things weren’t going so well, and that I’ll eventually be fine. And then, I realize how much nicer life is when I’m not overly moody, not feeling insecure, not doing all of these things that are directly related to the bipolar and not just a crappy day. Maybe if it wasn’t one of those invisible illness with such a social stigma attached to it, maybe if it wasn’t one that feels completely invisible with treatment. And yes, I’m aware that other people have these issues with all sorts of illnesses, mental and physical. So, I’ll kick my meds back up again, rejoin the world of the less complicated, and let life do as is may for a while more. Though, I still have to wonder what on earth I’ll do when I decide to have another kid, a whole 9 months of stress or compromise on drugs that would affect the child? Too much to think about now and it doesn’t really matter right now either.

May 6, 2005

seek and find

Filed under: unlisted — suzanne henderson @ 9:53 am

Yesterday, I left campus after my second class, drove to laurel for lunch and wanted to find a place off-campus to study until my 4:15 class. I was driving back down Rt. 1 hoping to see some sign for a library. Finally, I decided to turn down a random street and see if that took me anywhere. To me, this street meant nothing, just your average residential street. And then, viola, a library appeared. I couldn’t stop laughing at the fact that I had actually found a library by chance.

I took over one of the private study rooms. It was the only space with an accessible outlet for the laptop, and pumped out 14 pages of information for a project due next week. Things are shaping up nicely. I think I’ll be prepared to turn in the projects that are all due next week and then work on that monster assignment for anth. Oh, and my edhd class already handed out the final that will be on the 16th. It is basically a critique of a research article and we have over a week to work on it. We can bring the article to the exam with us, with notes written on it, and a double sided page of notes that can be typed in as small a font as we want. The only rule is that we can’t write the review and then just copy it from the paper. But really, by being given this much information, it is a simple final. Which is good, I could use an A to feel better about my academic ability.

Other news: I have a really hard time with numbers. I fell behind on keeping up with budget numbers and managed to go over budget by more than $300 last month. This should be a major problem since my monthly budget is just a little over $400. But, somehow!, I still had $100 in my account at the end of the month. I’m sure that I’ve screwed something up somewhere, but I still have enough money to cover my budget until September, so I’m not too worried about it. Plus, I’m hoping to save as much as I can this month. Of course, I’m saying this right before [pdf|playa del fuego], so who knows how that will actually work out.

May 3, 2005

in a people house

Filed under: unlisted — suzanne henderson @ 11:51 am

Yep, I live in a people house for sure. There are 4 others (well, maybe 3.2 since the baby is only a couple weeks old) here . I’ve realized these past two weeks that I’m tired of living with people. It is not something I’ve ever really done, just had housemates of any kind, and perhaps not something I can deal with as well as I thought. I want the kitchen to stay as messy or as clean as it was when I left it. I want to be able to live in an organized/cleanish space and be able to expect everyone else to keep up. I want to feel like I actually belong to where I live.

I guess I’m not finding that here because I can expect the house to always be in various states of mess. The kitchen it the only thing I can feel has some organization, but that is a non stop battle when, at times, there are only two people consistently trying and others seem to be honestly blind to mess. I can’t enjoy walking through the house, which has so much potential to be a beautiful house inside and out, without being annoyed at the constantly accumulating piles of stuff. I would like to have some sort of social space available to me in this house, somewhere outside of my room, that I could go, comfortable sit, and enjoy the company of others.

I think I’m just really wanting my own house right now. I love this house in many ways, the location, my space in it, but feeling very trapped in it lately as well. Summer is coming and there will be way too much time here. I could decide to just deal with all the mess on my own, but I know that my personal limit stops at the kitchen. Never ending battles where I’d have to constantly make up the difference for people who don’t mind the mess, which there is nothing wrong with that approach-it just conflicts with my comfortable sense of space., would wear me out and make me even crankier. I want my own spaces to exist in.

So, I’ll just try to maintain the kitchen in a reasonably inviting place, do all my socialization there, and hide from the house the rest of the time. Not sure how that will work once summer gets here. Maybe I’ll take the approach I did as a child, all summer long you stay out of the house as much as possible. And, will remember that I’m trying to commit to living in one place for at least 2 years. Wow, that seems insanely long right at the moment, but I also realize that it is my nature to want to pack and run after a short amount of time in one place. Who knows what’ll happen. I wonder if buying my own place would provide an exemption for that 2 year goal… as if I could.

May 1, 2005

fire barrel art

Filed under: art — suzanne henderson @ 5:22 pm

I needed an [art] project for the spring [Playa del Fuego]. I thought that a [burn barrel] would be a good start. I’ve been seeing more people bringing their own burn barrels and ever since [Kathleen|Kathleen Ellis] made hers, I’ve been dying to make mine. And so, began the quest for my very own.

First, I need materials:

  • 1 steel 55-gallon drum
  • 1 plasma torch

Finding a barrel can be tricky. Ask around on local email lists, [burner] list, or [freecycle]. Also, check around your local industrial areas, sometimes they’ll set them out by the road to be taken away by those who want them. Keep in mind that you’ll gonna be putting a whole lot of flames on the inside and out, so pay attention to what it had in it. I lucked out and found one down by the workshop I could use. However, if you’ve got an extra $50-60, buy a brand new one, you’ll thank me when it comes time for cutting and it’ll last longer.

A friend up the street had a plasma torch I could borrow. An amazing thing, a plasma torch is. It just uses a little air and electricity (well, a lot of electricity) and cuts right through the metal. It takes a little while to get used to the way it handles, but it didn’t take long to complete the design–

oh yeah, design. Well, I made several and decided against them when I got over to Bill’s house. And then, once I got the plasma torch going, I realized that it was pointless planning too much detail and better to just go with the [air]flow. I wanted stars (what a surprise) and nature and the design just worked out in the end.

Process: use the plasma torch to cut your design. My barrel was covered in a fine layer of rust, so the cuts were not perfectly smooth. In the few areas that were rust free, the plasma torch slid through them effortlessly–a new barrel would make intricate designs easier. Pay careful attention to what you’re cutting, you don’t want to accidently cut the wrong part and end up with a giant hole. Make sure there is enough vents toward the bottom so that the fire gets enough oxygen. And, I learned that they provide convenient access to lighting the fire too.

Final suggestion: practice using the torch on scrap metal before cutting your barrel. also, understand your design and how the lines work, you really don’t want to cut across the wrong line and lose the entire thing.

Images show the barrel that was used, some of the finer detail lit with fire, and the two main designs with and without fire.

metal! electricity! sparks!

Filed under: unlisted — suzanne henderson @ 5:11 pm

I am madly and lustfully in love with a plasma cutter. These things are amazing! A little forced air and some electricity, and slice! right through metal. Went over to the neighbors house to say hi and just talk a bit about the cutter. He pulled it out, showed me how to use it (simple!) and let me play around on some small scrap pieces of metal. Oh so sweet! The very first thing I did was cut out a star (oh, so surprising, I know) and then messed around with lines and curves and stuff. The cut lines are a lot thinner than I expected them to be. I’m not sure how this will affect my overall design. I wanted a lot of plain line designs but might have to change that if I don’t think enough light will get through. Of course, it might actually do a wonderful job lighting the artistic part of it if the lines are that small. I can’t decide. For some reason, i feel like I’ve worked on another project where thin lines didn’t have the effect I wanted. Maybe it was a pumpkin or something. Anyway, I’m happy as can be. Can’t wait to get started now. And, I have some other metal projects in mind too that might be fun to play with. So.. instead of a white picket fence, maybe I could have an ornate metal fence? Whoohoo!