Feb 22, 2015

Time in and out of the Office

It's getting close to 10 pm and I find myself fixing the legs of my cord pants for tomorrow. This is one of those things when you are glad you know how to sew, and that your mom (or someoone else) taught you how to sew hems. It's a last minute fixing that you need to make things easier the next day. And it's Sunday, tomorrow is Monday, first day of work of the week, and I'm spending my already last hours of weekend preparing for work. Shall I say, already working?

This week has been quite some piece of work. From stressful meetings, and expectations, to some incredible procrastination about my own projects, it has all been upside down. I must make sure to get back on track this week, regarding both my studies as well as my tracking of my spending, and setting my files up to date. My letters are also starting to accumulate, so I have to find the time to fit those in my schedule as well. Sometimes it's all a matter of not being in the right mood to do things, but for some things, well, you don't need a "right mood", you just need to do things, and so I'll do my best to do things and get them going. Nothing better for the soul than a well working, oiled life machinery. Oh, how steampunkish of me!

The thing with life is that, sometimes, the different spheres of your life seem to collide. Not so much like your job gets into your social life or something, that your coworkers are also your friends or that your social life takes a toll on your family life or love life, but more like there's a part of your life that overwhelms you so much you can't let it go for a second and thus it starts affecting all other spheres of your life. This year I realized, among other things, that my work life consumes a great part of all the other spheres of my life. Thus, as a project (along with blogging more and trying to journal more), I decided to use my Witches' Datebook as a work-free journal of sorts. Not a journal like a diary, but maybe more like a calendar or almanac... I really have no idea how to properly name it, but it's my "record book", where week after week I write down the appointments I have that are not work related, or the plans I have about my friends, or exercise, studies. I don't write much about them, and make sure to use lots of colors to make it fun hand pretty. The point of it isn't to use it as a planner, but since I usually consult the datebook daily for all sorts of funny information (Pagan festivities, color correspondences, moon phases, astrological information, etc.), I also get to check a planner on daily basis that helps to remind me that my life is more than the hours I clock at the office.

Sometimes we are so sucked up by one sphere of our life, that we forget we are complex creatures, souls with many faces and many lives, and so, when things are hard in one sphere, it's not all of our life what pends on that one thread, because we still have many other spheres where we might be strong, that might remind us how great we are doing, how many blessings we have. Shall we remember that and keep that in mind? My Witches' Datebook is the one doing the soul magick for me.

Feb 13, 2015

Thinking of a New Planner

I love Filofax. I do. Filofax is like... everything that's good and beautiful in the world, made into a six ring planner. I've had regular planners before. I had one small ring planner back in the past millenium, when I was at the university, which was a cheap, Garfield planner I loved, and which I've got because what I really wanted was a filofax. Like any kid in those days, I had cheap but playful planners full of drawings and whatnots. Plain planners were dreadful, and sometimes those were the only ones you've got, but you always wanted something pretty for your school appointments, and actually never checked it. From the University I went to work and there I needed a planner even more. I was checking it more frequently, specially when I had to call clients or keep tabs on this or that. Then after sometime I went digital with a PDA. No, not "Public Display of Affection", but "Personal Digital Assistant". I had a Palm Pilot. I felt I need something that wouldn't take that much space in my bag, for by then I was using A5 PPD (pages per day) planners, and that only added to the bulk, not to mention that I couldn't fit them in all of my bags. A Palm was as small as the palm of my hand (and actual "palm"), and held in everything I needed.

The passing from paper to digital was interesting, exciting, full of new possibilities (wow! You no longer have to re-write all the birthdays every year! And you can make cyclic appointments and reminders with just a click, not to mention that it chimes to remind you of your appointments! You'll never again have to worry about forgetting to check your planner because the planner check up with you!), and their particular setbacks (no use of creative color codes, no fun lettering, no writing in different directions, no stickers, no drawings, no handmade maps, AND you must watch to make sure it has battery life, or all your records would get erased), but it was easy to settle in it and live with it. When my PDA died - because all electronics die at one point or the other - I think I went on with my phone's calendar, and then, at one point (2010, to be correct) for some reason a small, WO2P (week on two pages) paper planner got to my hand. I think I used that and had fun with it, but probably I was using my phone quite a lot too for my appointments. If I recall correctly, I was thorn because I wanted a new PDA but by then the PDA industry had died out, and you had your phone or nothing.

For 2012 I've got a beautiful planner with guilded pages. A friend of mine, who works at a bank, got it for me. It was an A5 PPD type. At first I was adamant about going to paper after having lead my life digitally, but once I've got back to it I realized I loved it. Of course, a PPD layout gave me loads of space for me to go crazy, and crazy I went. I noted everything on it. If I was considering going to the movies, I wrote down all the movies that interested me, all the hours and all the movie theathers where they were being shown. Thus I decided how, where and when would I see what. (I wasn't working at that time, and I love movies, so watching two to three movies in a day was absolutely normal for me.) If I went somewhere by train, I wrote down all the scheduled departings and arrivals of the trains I might need. When I blogged (and that year I blogged every day), I wrote the title of the post and the blog in which I blogged (yes, I have more than one blog, and the other one is in Hungarian, so...), if I made a purchase on Amazon or ordered something from a store, I wrote down every single detail of it. One year and I was hooked back on paper.

By October (or something like that) I knew I would need paper for the rest of my life, and so started the search for the ringed planner that would be my forever companion. It was a work of weeks and weeks comparing Day Planner, Frankling Covey and Filofax binders until I decided to stay with Filofax, and within it, finally, with a Personal sized Sketch in chocolate color. One of the first things I knew I wanted and needed from a planner was a size such that gave me room to ramble, but was small enough to fit in any of my bags (or most of them). I made a template of the sizes on a piece of paper and then tried them out with my bags. A5 was automatically ruled out because I knew that wouldn't fit. The Pocket size was too small, and so the decision fell on the Personal size. I loved that planner. Ordered more inserts that what I needed, got disappointed when I realized I can't really use the PPD inserts because it wouldn't fit in my planner along with all the rest that I wanted in it, so I had to make do with the WO2P it came with.

Before the year was over, however, the clasp of my planner broke, so I had to order my second planner, a Personal sized Identity planner. This one was love at first sight as I've got it. Unlike the Sketch, it has two elasticized penloops and the clasp is firmly attached to the back, so no chance of it ripping off. The planner itself feels thicker because of the cushiony characteristic of the cover, but it's still quite sturdy. It quickly got the lower corners bent, and now the lining is separating right above the rings. It did last two years so far, but I'm spending quite some money for something I expect to hold together for at least ten years if not... sixty. Sure I can and will glue back the lining, but that's not the point. Today is the lining, what if tomorrow something else goes wrong? So I've decided that the time has come to think on the real long term, and get myself a planner that will stay with me until the day I die. For that, I'll need a leather planner. And I mean leather as in real leather, like an animal had to be killed and the hide pulled off, treated, cut and made into a planner. I mean true, real, DNA tested leather. I need something that can take damage, that can get worn without getting destroyed, without the fake stuffing of cardboard and synthetic foams spilling out like in the case of a teddy bear murder.

The prices will go up and I'll have to give up my double elasticized penloops, but I think the time has come for me to make this step. For 2016, mind you. I'll have  perhaps eight months to research, compare, watch videos of the planners I select as candidates, and make my decision.

Feb 8, 2015

A Geek Weekend Out

This weekend my friends Carrie, Kate and I went to a hotel in town to, basically, enjoy a big-girl slumber party. I would say an "adult slumber party", but that would make you think we had sex, and that's not what happened: we spent from Friday night to Sunday noon holed up in our hotel room indulging in series and movies of our guilty pleasures :-D.

The idea came by the end of last year, but I can't tell you exactly how. We have spent quite some time together and have gone of one-day trips to places where you can go swimming (it's not a wellness place, but like a family, entertainment center), where all we did was watch series and movies on an iPad and talk about fanfics. Believe it or not, it was amazing, and we enjoyed ourselves very much. The idea somehow had stuck, that we should do this again, but staying a larger period of time, so we could actually watch more series and more movies. We have already talked about doing a trip to Salem sometime in the future (when we can afford it), but then we actually wanted to do something sooner, while the girls still had their vacation. Thus, in a somewhat unorganized way, we ended up booking a room for the three of us at a hotel close by with this sole purpose in mind: watch movies and series.

We considered going to the beach, but really, was it worth driving all the way to the beach (I don't mind driving, I love driving!) only to end up holed in the room watching series? Because in that case, why would we even waste time on the road, when we could be already watching a movie? There was no actual program or plan as to what we wanted to watch - get on track with Supernatural, maybe, and then some Hannibal, some Sleepy Hollow - and somehow, a passion of theirs, old passion of mine, also got into the mix. The yaoi.

Carrie packed up the old hits we loved watching back when we met, and then they showed me new shows of which I have never heard, which were nice, sweet, and even disturbing. For instance, there's this series about guys - some "Binan" something - that's like a Sailor Moon with guys... only terribly corny and girly. And somehow, even some parts just make you look away for it's too corny to endure, I think I like it.

Am I going back to animé and yaoi? No, I don't think so, and if so, I'll make sure to stop before I get as sucked up by this world as I once was. However, it's nice to indulge, nice to be silly a little, unplug from the normal world, and spend some time with your best friends being plain silly, happy, carefree, all day laying in bed and eating snacks, drinking sweet beverages and cocktails and laughing out loud with your friends. Come up with funny tasks, like each of us has to find and review a fanfic from a fandom that's not Teen Wolf (Carrie and I are slightly obsessed with Sterek fics, but then again, it's not our fault Kate had developed a distaste for this fandom, and rather indulge in Star Trek, which is her only fandom since... a couple of years now), or make plans to start watching more and more series, like... yeah, I'm not into it again that much, so I won't even attempt at going on with the Japanese names.

Whatever your life is, whatever your circumstances, truth is that you do need a little time out with your friends, a break to simply be silly, be carefree. It charges you up and makes you feel... amazing. ^_^

Feb 2, 2015

Blessed Imbolc

I'm trying to start this year a little more aware of my spirituality, however, Imbolc comes and I don't feel really like making circle or anything. I read what this year's witch datebook suggests, but it kinda doesn't resonate with what I feel or I need at the moment.

Imbolc is the awakening of the dormant new life, moment of birth and nursing, more than the beginning, the moment when the new life gets strong enough to start rising its head. What does that bring to my mind? Well, the idea of the plans we have made and how we have been putting them in motion. Isn't this a great moment to review our New Year Resolutions and see how are we going with them? I'm a little slow on the book reading front, have had some drawback with my finance watching, and nearly fell back with my blogging. I'm again lagging back with my penpalling, but this is still the beginning. Imbolc gives me chance to review and improve. Why our Christian calendar doesn't give us this moment of review as well? It's so curious also that our professional, "civil" live also neglects often this. We have a set goal and then a summarizing review at the end of it, but how often we have check ups along the way? To make sure we are keeping our direction, reviewing the availability of our goals, the reasonability of our expectations? Wouldn't it be better for all of us if he had this early check up point in our plans? So we can take a moment to think about what we have set before us, take a moment to straighten our direction or change it for something that's really closer to our chest?

If I may, I'd like to suggest a moment to think about your plans, whether they are really what you want, and how well are you doing in fulfilling them.

Feb 1, 2015

Let's make this a Rambling Journal Entry

Again I start writing without a title for my post. I have a couple of things I'd like to discuss, but then I stop thinking whether this or that is "proper" or wonder how can I drive this or that topic to convey in a clear message why it concerns me enough to write a post about it. Though granted, not everything that ends up in a post of mine concerns me so terribly. I may have a particular sense, sometimes, like some of the things about me or around me, or things I think or witness are "top secret" and I could be processed for divulging them. Yes, maybe I've been working for the Public Sector for too long.

On the front of the Book Swap, all is going quite well, except that one of the girls, Andy, hasn't gotten her present yet. This concerns me quite a lot, not only because I've been organizing this, but also because I've become quite fond of Andy. Dare I say, I love her very much. This also reminds me of a complicated situation that seems to have arrived, which is that I believe that Carrie doesn't like Andy very much, and it's sometimes difficult to lavish all my love and attention on darling Andy, and then noticing that Carrie might not be so delighted about that. I believe I have witnessed a few bouts of jealousy from Carrie - or maybe, not so much jealousy as, um, dislike that I might be making plans to spend time with Andy - with have been... peculiar to say the least.

About my friends - my girlfriends, in this particular case - recently a friend of mine, Tina, posted some pictures she made. Tina is an incredibly talented photographer. Her pictures got to me so much that I told her I would love to marry her pictures. She replied - in jest, of course - that I could marry her and the pictures. This made me really happy and I though "Yeah, sure, I'd marry her!". This then got me thinking how I'm so quick to propose to my girlfriends, and how I can actually imagine myself marrying a woman (yeah, it would hardly be a real marriage, but more like girlfriends living together, watching movies and going crazy at shopping, mind you), but if a friend, a guy-friend of mine were to make the same declaration, I would be running the other way. I've tried to press myself in this matter, get to the core of it, imagine a girl with clearly romantic and sexual intentions towards me, and a guy with nothing but friendly intentions towards me, both of them asking me to marry them, who would I marry? I would still marry the girl. But if the girl insist in having children while the guy is not interested in children... I would marry none.

Why am I so threatened by the idea of marrying a man?

I simply can't imagine the circumstances in which I would marry a guy. And yet, I can't kid myself, I know by now that sadly, I'm heterosexual. Yeah, I'm still whining about that. I refuse to believe I'm complicated, though often simply saying "I'm complicated" is the easiest way to end a conversation about me and my so-called weirder characteristics. Thanks Hyne I love them, all my quirks and crazy little things, but I still would like to uncover the mystery of some of the things I think and I feel.

Talking of marriage, getting married, as I try to think of the scenario where I would marry a man, I remember this weird dream I had back when I was a teen, maybe fifteen or sixteen years old. It was one of those confusing dreams with many weird parts, with something about me having a baby that was half a kanguroo (the left half, I believe), and half a baseball player. And the father was a classmate of mine I didn't really give much thought to then. Anyway, in the dream I was simultaneously pregnant with this baby, nursing him and watching pictures of him at different ages. Then, as I rushed out of this museum like building, I was wearing a wedding dress and ran out to a funeral. There was this classmate of mine, dead and his casket about to be lowered to the grave. In the dream I stopped the funeral, opened the casket, got into into it, and laid next to him. I remember holding his dead hand as the lid of the casket was closed on us and feeling the casket being lowered and then the dirt shoveled on it. I remember feeling so happy, so in peace that I would be forever with this guy. To this day, I think that's the one scenario were I would feel ok "marrying" a guy.

Jan 19, 2015

If The Shoe Fits...

A little while ago I had an unpleasant experience with someone over a social network. Yep, Facebook, where all the problems seem to be grandized by all the stupid "likes" and apps and whatnots. It wasn't like that big of a deal, but the person involved pretty much thought that her case should take the headlines and suppress all other news in the globe. Yes, a Drama Queen. To put you a little bit in context, this is the case of someone that might or may not suffer from a psychological disease. I say "may or may not", because she claims so and claims to be so "super sensitive", and in my experience, people with actual mental or psychological issues rarely mention them or aknowledge them. Sure, I'm not a psychologist, so she might be a crop of crazy I don't know yet, but be it as it may, she is... special.

I met her through a Community some of the girls and I have, in which we talk about books, and where every once in a while we organize a bookswap. She was presented like a friend of a friend, and she immediately added me to her friends. I friended her back at the moment, but after a little while I unfriended her. Why? Because I can. We are not that close friends, and some of the things she was sharing where, frankly, disturbing. Not in the "crazy" sense, but in the "overwhelming" sense. She was basically picking fights with people over either unknown reasons or rather meaningful reasons and then making way too drastic decisions and wailing about it on the net for days and days.

Anyway, this year, I organized the Christmas Book Swap, and she signed in, but from the begining she was coming up with all sorts of troubles, and all of them troubles where she made sure to flaunt her financial status, which was uncomfortable for girls who can't afford that kind of lifestyle. Not to mention she made it in a way, where she pretty much demanded people to have and commiserate with her first world problems, which was even more troublesome. Soon after, she started imposing on people, among them, on our common friend, so I decided to rather keep my distance. Having seen what I have seen on her profile, I noticed that no words are better than anywords, for she can't twist and turn a no-reply. As result, I started flying over her comments, and when she directed a question at me I either reply it with as scarse words as I could, or would wait for her to realize the answer. Like, she asked who was the person who had lended her the address for the book swap, and I had made sure to give to all of the participants a calendar and a list of all booklists and addresses.

Here I was, following the non confrontational path, when one day, out of the blue, she attacked me (yes, she mentioned me by name), saying that I had "just unfriended her" and since I don't "like her anymore", she would leave the community. By then she wasn't an FB friend for two months but didn't realize, and I wasn't going to clarify. Oh, she did a big humbug, waited around (after saying there was nothing else for her and she would leave right at that moment), collected a few sympathetic comments, wallowed on the silence her comment received, and then was gone. After the big drama, I felt compelled - given my very notorious role as Book Swap Organizer - to explain to the girls some of what had happened.

The group quickly went back to normal and the matter hasn't been mentioned again, in which sense I believe the Admins, and I managed to contain the case. It also helped that the rest of the group is very mature. However, one thing that can be rescued from the case is the kind of people we meet on social networks, the kind of people we also have around us and the rights we actually have.

Social Networks have become a minefield, where thought and action can no longer be so freely shared as it used to in the days before the Internet (Yes, I remember those days). When you meet people in person, you have the chance to ignore them, to let the connection die when you don't feel the chrmistry, or when you realize there's nothing in common. Your words are usually surrounded with a context of gestures, or even in snailmailing, by the context of the rest of the letter. Relationships are organic. Yes, they can be difficult, but social networks add an extra difficulty. The "friend" or "unfriend", the need to add likes, and using likes as a quantitative measure of love received, the interpretation and misinterpretation of a comment, and then the pier pressure and the stupid pressure where you can't unfriend someone or stop following them because "they might get mad", so you must keep tracking on things that tire you, offend you or even overwhelm you. Why do I owe this woman and explanation about why I unfriended her? I actually don't. Why does she get mad because I unfriended her? She shouldn't.

Social Networks have become a dangerous thing where whatever you read, you could believe it's about you, even if it isn't, where someone's personal decision could be interpreted as an attack towards yourself, when there might be nothing further from the truth. Yes, we spend a lot of time online, but have you considered the chance of unplugging a little, limiting your exposure, and particularly your exposure to social networks, and go back to the way life was way back in the begining of the eighties? When social networks were an organic, live thing, and internet was for research? Maybe it could do wonders for us, less kids would feel attacked, and we all would be happier.

Jan 18, 2015

Gables

The small one isn't a gable.
The one at the left is.
Ever since I went to Salem, Massachusetts (the clarifying is needed, since there's a Salem in Oregon and another in New Hampshire, and I went to the one in Massachusetts, which is the one where the witch trials were held in 1692-1693), I have become somewhat obsessed with gables. For those of you who don't know what a gable is (I didn't until I went to visit the House of Seven Gables), it's an architectural structure, where a roof seems to come out of  the side of another, but have the same high. Like their upper beam is on the same level. Pretty much all I know of gables comes from my visit to the House of Seven Gables in Salem, which used to belong to the Ingersol family, related to some degree to writer Nathaniel Hawthorne, who has also become a writer I've gone obsessed with, also after my visit to Salem.

The look of the gables is quite charming from the outside, as it gives a roof a lovely something, a thing to give it interest, not to mention the source of light and space it can add to a space that usually doesn't get used enough, or properly. Of course, this is mostly used on buildings with roofs that have a steep angle, so the idea of a gable doesn't seem likely for buildings with flatter roofs.

After several considerations about my future and where will it be spent, I decided that I'll end up living here, in Costa Rica, thus I'm finally on the road of buying my own house (yes, after so many years, but then again, up until a few years ago I planned on living in Hungary, so there was no point in looking for a house in Costa Rica). The choices are either buy a house or buy a small piece of land (I don't actually know how you call this in English, but it's an area with no building upon it, good to build a house on it), and build a house to my liking. Both options are so popular in here, that often housing development companies buy a large piece of land, segment it in several parcels and then sell them to clients with the option of building for them one of the houses they have previously designed, or just the parcel for the client to build on it whatever type of house they please.

Last year I went to check out a Home Expo, and have been paying more attention to houses available for buying, apartments and so. Though I keep checking, it pretty much looks to me like that's not a choice that would satisfy my needs. It's like you can't find a single house with just one bathroom. Nobody thinks about the inconvenience of having to clean two bathrooms? All options I've checked have tiny kitchens, tiny bedrooms, walk-in closets and two or more bathrooms, and that doesn't meet my requirements. I want a good sized kitchen where cooking and baking is actually possible, not one where the only "cooking" that can be done is reduced to microwaving and coffee making. I also need a room that can house my books, and that means a proper sized library. I don't need two bathrooms, and I definitively don't need a master bathroom or a master bedroom. If the house is all mine, why would I need extra privacy?

Anyway, in the light of all this - and the exorbitant prices of houses here (really, often much more expensive than larger houses in the U.S,) - I decided it would be better to buy a parcel and build on it a house. And this is when the idea of the gables got inside me even more. At first I was worried that it would be hard to get builders here that would understand the concept of a gable as I want it, but then I found buildings in the city that have gables (ever since I knew of gables, I can't help it but check the roofs of buildings, hoping to find one), so I took pictures so I can tell the builders (when the time comes) what kind of roof I want.

The following thing was to decide how to use these gables in my house plan. Evidently, I'll need a two story house, which I wasn't originally considering, but if I want gables - and I want gables - then I'll need a two story house. (No, I'm not going for a three story house, that's just too much.) I've already planned what I'll have in the lower level, and how I want it pretty much arranged, and have an idea what I want for the upper level, but the shape of the gables might be complicated. Basically, I can put a bedroom in one gable and in another put a bathroom and a storage room (divide a gable in two, so half of it is the bathroom and half of it is a storage room for towels, toiletries, cleaning supplies, bed linen and such). Of course, the idea like that is nice, but how would it look?

This is where I started checking out images of interior design using spaces in gables and angled roof attics. Some of the images I've found are these:

For a Bedroom occupying a whole Gable
An interesting idea for a bedroom in a gable. It's cozy and perfect, though it puts two windows when I'd like only one.

Again a cozy solution and only one window.
For a Bathroom occupying half a Gable
The window is  in the wrong side of the gable, and the distribution isn't of my liking, but I like how it fits.

The window is in the right side of the gable, and I love the colors and style, but not the separated shower and tub.
I see a toilet and a basin with a counter in place of the tub, or even on the side of the shower, take the shower away,
and put a corner shower or shower and simpler styled tub. After all, in my own house, I shall indulge in bubble baths.
Well, this is what occupies my thoughts currently. I'll be scouting for images on the net and in my tumblr (no, I don't have an instagram and though I've considered getting one over and over, I end up not doing it because of the data-sucking they do), but if any of you have ideas, or links to point me to more sources of inspiration regarding gables and interior decoration in gables, I'd love to get them!