Find yourself on my Friend Map!

I'm pretty excited about the Friend Map I've been working on. It's been an idea for years, then a piece of scratch paper floating around my apartment for months, and now hours worth of work on open source software.*

What is it, Andrea?

It is a visual catalog of the linear and a-linear relationships I draw between my friends and acquaintances. A connection can be anything from how a person looks, what their focus is on, or how I feel when I'm with them. I think most of that information is better kept private, anyhow.

I've also taken the time to show when I first met each of you. There's a handy timeline key at the bottom of the map. It's interesting to see where some of the relationships are drawn with people from a similar range of time, and others are years apart.

Clearly, this does not feature everyone I know, so if you're not featured, I hope you'll not have any hurt feelings. I guess it means that I put you in a class of your own? As connections surface in my mind, I try to update this thing. It's getting hairy in there, though :P

Considering how most of you don't know most of you, I suppose it's just esoteric whacking-off with which Andrea has been, yet again, pre-occupied. At very least, I hope you'll have fun finding your name, and then going on whatever psychological meanderings this may prompt.

Follow this link to the Friend Map:

Here's the list of all of you, sorted alphabetically by first names:
Collapse )

Thanks for playing with me :D


*Just a note: The software helps make it look pretty and stay relatively organized. But calculating the best place to put names to clearly and efficiently connect to appropriate names? That's all me. Lots of work!!

beach toys

So, let's say you have a couple young children.  [Some of you actually do, so that should be easy to imagine.]  Let's also say that you're at the beach, and you've brought along a couple paltry toys : some plastic cups and a bucket.  You've left them in the sand while you wade in the water.  When your kids want to build a sand castle, you find that some other children are using the toys.  What do you do?

Poll #1606844 beach toys

You --

ask the other children for your toys
use other toys that are laying around
other [explain in comments]

I'll follow this up with another post to explain after I get some poll responses.




I got home from therapy a little over an hour ago. It was a good session, or at least one in which I asserted myself quite a bit. There is some radiance around the grief of seeing how rare my [imaginary] partner is.

I am doing everything I can to improve my situation, to care for myself, to choose what seems best, and to "go with the flow". Other than that, the glaring solution to my sundry dis-eases is Unidentified Partner Man [UPM]. I criticize myself for this conclusion, that it is somehow codependent, escapist, or otherwise unhealthy of me to "obsess"... but to be fair, that's not what I'm doing. I'm loving myself... and my complement, even though he's absent.

I do not worship him or believe him to be some Messiah. I foresee there will be a great deal of mutual adjusting and learning and growing to do in the name of loving each other... but the faith I am cultivating is not unlike that of a religious devotee. I cannot prove to anyone that such a man as I desire exists, but I hold this profound desire for him, which matures daily. It is this desire which I know concretely, and yet also cannot fully transpose for anyone else's understanding.

I seem to write about UPM until I am sick of it, and certainly you, dear reader, are sick of it, too. I do hope sometimes that you will read it and be inspired, gladdened, that someone can still honour her desire without being able to sate it. Isn't it difficult for all of us to not hate our unmet desires? Is that not just another way to hate ourselves and, in some twisted way, an idiomatic hope of saving ourselves disappointment?

Dear friends, I CANNOT quelch this desire! My misadventures, my heartbreaks, my poverty, my strain, anguish, and fear do not seem to be able to expunge it either!

Have I constructed some immaculate demand on Fate that cannot possibly be satisfied, and thereby also constructed sure discontentment for myself? Is it a mere symptom whose clamor distracts from some odious pathology?! Perhaps, perhaps... but this yearning is here, and I will hold it as long as it needs to be held. Perhaps I am heart-strong, a cardiac superwoman, but I am doing nothing short of what comes naturally for me.

Until the solvent juncture, then, I shall do my best not to fill the square hole with round pegs, to not invite into my inner sanctum those who are not my UPM. This is the hardest part. In holding this desire, it is more real and vivid, and it aches more... I hope, however, that I have learned, or will learn very soon, that nothing, nothing will fulfill it except the real thing; and I know what that is, or will when it comes. I imagine it'll be a lot like when labor starts.

Does it hurt more to love a decoy than to be alone? If only it did...

I think one thing I'm learning the last few days is that loving and exploring, though not necessarily with my UPM is still somewhat beneficial. Also, this does not mar me, nor does it "get in the way" of me meeting the UPM. That will happen when it happens. As pressing as the desire has sometimes felt, and sometimes logistically is, I don't think it's something I would miss.

In closing, I will say this:
Dear UPM,
I want to use you to sire at least one more of my beautiful, remarkable babies.


Bad feelings in relationships

You may have bad feelings with or about your [potential] partner, or even feelings you are not comfortable having with/about someone in that position. This is completely normal and to be expected, even with the most compatible matches, since we are such complex creatures and feelings range the vast gamut that they do.

If you do not find a way to hold space for those feelings, in yourself, with a confidante, and/or with your [potential] partner, you may come to resent him/her, associating that suppression of yourself with the individual. Sometimes, a [potential] partner will genuinely be unable [either systemically or on certain issues] to hold space for your negative or unwanted feelings; other times, he/she may surprise you.

If you do not find space for your bad feelings in yourself, however, it will be quite difficult to build trust and intimacy with your [prospective] partner. Also, if you do not share your feelings with her/him, you will never know how she/he will receive them, and the opportunity for you to associate resentment and discomfort with her/him arises.


definitive conversation

I want to like someone very much
and for him to like me very much
and for us to get on well
and make something beautiful
why is that so hard to find?

that's a pretty tall order

but why?!!

honestly, you may wanna lower your expectations
I'm down around, "hang out, be low intensity, and low drama" these days

expectations I can change
profound desires enmeshed
within my metaphysical DNA?
I can't really change those

12 Feb 2010, 00:00ish


beaucoup trop

beaucoup trop = too much

There's too much going on, too many responsibilities and issues alurk.

I have a build up of laundry and dishes. I'll blame that partially on the 18 Nov Day w/Out Natural Gas. We're running out of clean undies and socks for Jasper. He's peed on (but not in) his trousers at school almost every day the last week or two. Apparently, Jasper's got some issues with aim while sitting on the potty.

These two tasks are literally growing around me, and I'm overwhelmed. Partly, don't want to do laundry because of the expense, though I went ahead and got change for $5 at Safeway tonight, in good faith that maybe I'd get some laundry done. The dish water has been drawn up countless times, but no dishes done. I cannot simply get the urge to do them.

Today, Jasper still had a fever from the night before, despite two doses of acetaminophen, at appropriate intervals, of course. So, I couldn't take Jasper to school. And, though I'd made tentative arrangements for back-up childcare with Uncle Allan, I was too exhausted from the night before to wake up in time to complete some community service hours (that I actually had some intrinsic interest in completing).

Then we got ready to leave for parenting class. I'd hoped it would be okay to have Jasper in childcare for the two hours the class would take, but we ended up getting turned away once we got there. I'm okay with that, though I really want to end this parenting class BS as soon as possible; now I'll have to return in ten weeks to complete Lesson Four.

We headed to the bus stop. When I saw it would take a good twenty minutes for the bus to arrive, I thought we'd try our hand at what appeared to be a food bank at the Salvation Army building behind us. We got some bread and bakery items, along with some bananas, apples, and a sack of lettuce.

I accidentally/incidentally missed Food Not Bombs yesterday, so this helps. I feel, however, like I got a lot of shit I don't really need. I mean, I don't need three boxes of scones and two of cookies. But, now that I have them, I'm going to eat them and stuff my cheeks with them like the stingy [read: genuinely afraid of not having enough to eat] little squirrel that I am. I feel so fat and strung out on refined sugar :/

I just ate two pieces of pumpkin pie.

Also, tmrrw is another gamble. If Jasper is still feverish, Clinton and I have decided it would be best to get Jasper to his doctor. This means, I'll have to call Clinton to fetch Jasper and/or make an appointment with Dr. Katie. I may or may not be able to put in my typical three hours of work. I would have to take Jasper with me to therapy. This would be okay, since I was considering doing it on Wednesday anyway, but I was really looking forward to at least one "real" session this week. I'd cancel Wednesday's session. I may or may not be able to go to the University District food bank like I was planning on.

If Jasper is well, it's business as usual... but I have to make all these decisions at 7am tmrrw. I'm feeling a little stressed.

Back to the community service, I'm freaking out b/c I'm supposed to get in these 25hrs by 5 Jan 2010 and I'm starting to genuinely doubt I'll be able to make the cut. I have very little availability. I can work from 9am-1pm on Thursdays. I could also put in time on Sundays, but I haven't found a place that wants hours then. There's a possibility for Fridays, though I really don't want to give up the one free day I have with Jasper, both for his sake and mine. Even if I could arrange childcare for Fridays, I'm not sure where I'd get hours in.

Did I mention I'm trying to do this all via bus? I have a minivan, but I cannot afford fuel for her, nevermind maintenance. I disregarded that when I drove to work on Saturday, and I nearly perished with fear and loathing. I've also spent more money on food this month than I can budgetarily afford, esp if I can't work tmrrw. I've spent around $50. My dad's been helping me for several months now, and I haven't gotten a check this month yet.

I'm stressing.

And stressing makes me feel like a failure.

And it feels like everyone else has more than me, either by having fewer issues or responsibilities or sensitivities and/or by having more friends, resources, love.

Feeling this way makes me feel like a whiny asshole.

Maybe it's just the sugar talking...


lift to release

I think I wish there were something word-wise I could say right now, but it's not surfacing. My mind feels like a changeling soup, as that from which Odo might have come. It's a little frustrating, b/c there's a lot of stuff to process lately and I want it done now... or do I?

In a way, I'm content with the amorphous ambiguity, though a little less tolerant of the uncomfortable/negative feelings/thoughts that arise. Satisfaction mingles with yearning, fatigue with zest, gaiety with mournfulness, hope with woe. My inner world pushes and pulls, further from and closer to ppl as the tide of thoughts ebbs and flows, though not respectively.

There are feelings of disgust, anger, loneliness, fear, exclusion, condemnation, failure that are coming up. While I don't know if I -enjoy- them, I think I'm sitting with them a little better. Friday was horrid, however. I could barely tolerate being in my own skin. My thoughts were so self-toxic, and I couldn't seem to escape them. I don't want to brush them aside completely, though, because I am still toying with the idea that (some of) the criticisms were valid, though harsh or exaggerated... and yet, I can't hold them. So, maybe they're not useful.

Everything is okay right now.

But then, I'll feel like everything is NOT okay right now!!

And I suppose both things are true.

For the time being, I'm ignoring two okcupid persons/conversations, which brings up lots of opportunities for guilt, etc. I'm trying to be gentle with myself, to acknowledge that if I'm not ready to handle them, likely offering closure to the conversations, then it's not time to do so. And while I don't aim to cause anyone harm, my intentions are to not do so and that counts for a great deal with me.

Otherwise, I'm feeling this at once healthy and light as well as heavy and unhealthy pull toward my friend Bryan. I am writing this somewhat as a way to make my feelings known to him... I like some of the yummy things I felt in spending time with him. While I am able to find fault with him, I'm fond of his particular scheme of attributes... I feel yucky when I feel him pull away, or offer less than I'd like of togetherness energy... Right now, I'm grappling with my own self-loathing (misdirected self-protection device) for feeling connected and sweet and sweaty about him, as well as feeling like he's pulled away, or that I want him closer/more often (is that even true??) and he wants me further/less often.


Sunday evening, I saw a glimpse of synergy with him. A mutual, dynamic conversation, with us equally potent... but it was just a glimpse... I'm wary of making too much of it, but likewise letting it slip away if there's more.

I've had several friends point out to me, as though I could not see it for myself, that I am wading through a lot of responsibilities and issues right now, and that perhaps seeking an intimate relationship is not the best idea, or that it's actually counter-productive. This makes me ache. I cannot seem to help but translate this to mean that I currently do not deserve a partner, though I know that is not what anyone is meaning or implying.

I keep feeling like what I really want is a partner. One friend pointed out how perhaps starting a relationship on unequal footing would create a permanent limp. I could see that happening, and yet part of me hopes for some currently inarticulable way in which a partner could come in, and slowly but surely offer the kind of dedicated intimacy that I want... without either of us feeling indebted or burdened by the other.

But maybe I don't want to be too close to anyone right now. I changed my okcupid and lovelab profiles, saying that, though single, I'm only looking for friends. ::shrug::

There are also my feelings and issues with Kheper, but they seem a little less focal. I think I attached too much at first to his acquaintance, and perhaps I do not truly see him. Also, it was while spending time with him that I came upon the toxic internal tide on Friday. Though not -his- -fault-, I feel the need to withdraw from him a little and get my footing. I think I was approaching him from an insecure/unhealthy stance.

There have been some opportunities for communal living sprouting around me... and I feel a general anxiety. I think I have been quite burned in the past by communal living situations. I have a hard time thinking they could actually serve and include me. And it just seems like a lot of work.

Okay, all of a sudden, I'm done.


high school

From Bryan:
High school; tell me about it.
You felt like an outcast, no?
Where did you channel your energy or creativity?
Why did you feel like an outcast?
Lack of popularity?
Why do you think you were unpopular?
Did you feel like becoming an adult left you fitting in better?
Do you still feel like an outcast?
What changed?
What didn't?
What do you want to change?
Why do you think it has not?
How do you feel about Jasper going to public school?
What do you intend to warn him about?


Yes, I felt like an outcast. Sometimes I felt like it was some intentional thing, that whenever I surfaced, people were repulsed or simply failed to get me. A lot of it, however, was feeling like I didn't surface, I was ignored, and was not interesting to anyone. I was not interested in the things that most kids my age appeared to be interested in. I wanted friends, but there just weren't available the kinds of people with whom I wanted to hang out.

In junior high I'd managed to pseudo-insert myself into a group or two of gals, but it was by my efforts, and I never felt the interest reciprocated. I think I knew I didn't identify with any of them very much, but they were relatively accepting and/or familiar. In high school, those groups had mostly disbanded and reconfigured, and while I think there might have been phases of people I'd sit with at breakfast or lunch, I never felt like I was a significant member of a group that anyone would miss. I was kind of weird and intense, it seemed, and no one resonated with me. I felt kind of objectified and isolated by virtue of who I was.

The dominant extracurricular theme was orchestra. I started playing viola in sixth grade, continued through junior high, and was section leader from my junior (sophomore?) year on in high school. I was also the orchestra vice president, and then president my senior year... at least I think; it was so bloody long ago! I put a lot of energy into this. I was very passionate and serious about music and about playing in an orchestra.

I was part of all the extra-extracurricular gigs and ensembles. I also played in the regional professional symphony my junior and senior years, though never making past the last chair, which was fine. At regional and statewide events, I still felt incredibly inferior to other violists and musicians in general. I was rather good, but not great, and memorizing sheet music, the next big step in my growth as a musician, proved a formidable opponent to me. I felt deflated and defeated.

My social interactions were almost exclusively generated through orchestra. There was a strong unit of buddies in the class ahead of me, though I never really could get my foot in the door with them. I lusted after their familiarity and inclusiveness with one another, even though I didn't always like them that much. I crushed on a couple guys really hard, but aside from one ill-fated letter, I never acted outwardly on them. My last year, I had several freshman in my section who were genial and looked up to me a bit, but that ended when class or rehearsal was over. I'd formed a decent bond with my director, whom I'd known through church and family prior to high school, but it wasn't a reliable source of attention and support.

My junior and senior years, I also began taking art at school. It was fun, though also limited, and I was rather good at it, but my classmates in those two or three classes were of absolutely little to no social value to me. I was me; this "weird" person who was really intellectual, formal, intense, goofy, and bizarre. Some of this picture of me was largely about being from a caucasian academic family, rather than the "normal" hispanic working-class one.

I think one of the strongest things that kept me from associating with my peers, beyond just not resonating with them, the kinds of people I'd wanted to associate with simply not extent, were some of the moral beliefs I held. Though they were largely influenced by my then devotion to Christianity, in my own personal, intense, and strange way, they were things that made sense to me, as me.

I was bent on being abstinent until I was married or really darn close to it. While I had sexual impulses, they were not overbearing, and my mind, my beliefs, and my upbringing left me kind of horrified of sex. I think I'd hoped it could be beautiful and intimate, but it seemed it was so often ugly and base. I felt polarized against a [Mexican-American border] culture which paid lip service to condemning sexual promiscuity, but more often condoned if not encouraged it.

Alcohol and drug use seemed to stir the same kind of shit.

Writing all of this, while I feel a little defensive about coming across as a prude, as per usual, I feel pride. I think I knew myself and what was right for me... and I was just lonely. I've always been more intense and sensitive than the average bear; my emotional, spiritual, and intellectual intelligences leaving me practically peerless. I had less than a handful of meaningful friendships, and did my very best to nurture them. High school was not the best environment for me, though I still survived and grew.

In a way living in Seattle, specifically when it comes to the other twenty-somethings, is not wholly dissimilar from high school. I want in, because I want to be accepted, appreciated, loved, but not necessarily with the people that are out there, partly because they just can't. I still meet new people, strike up conversations with people, do my best to be accessible and available, and generally extend and accept invitations to connect... but it's been rare to feel the kind of connection my soul is yearning for. It's been less and less rare, thankfully, but that isn't saying a whole lot.

I think I've grown a shit-ton, especially during this vast nadir in my life's narrative. I've come to love and accept myself a great deal, though I'm not at all done yet :) I'm more compassionate and more open; growth and attributes that I'm also proud of. I think those things help me to better find contentment wherever I am, with or without companions. This is not to say, however, that I am unresponsive or immune to loneliness, loss, or adversity. Fuck no.

I'm remember how, for so long, it's been very important to me to find a life partner. This was a desire extent and vibrant even in high school. I worry that there's something stagnant or even escapist about this central desire and the desires that radiate from it, such as those for children, hearth-space, etc. It's not, though, is it? It's me knowing myself, knowing my heart's desire. And my concept of a marriage or life-partnership has evolved and matured, and of that I am incredibly proud. I just need him to show up.

As for my son... Christ!

I think like any intentional parent, I go between wanting to completely hide him, protect him from the world, and also just love him, toss him into the water, and watch him make his way. I don't feel the need to make any decisions now about high school for him, and I presume that any advice I'll have for him will have a lot to do with the person he shows himself to be and the specific situation before him. Yay me for not being too rigid or prejudiced about that :)

That said, I'm terrified about what kind of social, sexual, and academic idioms he'll be exposed to, and how they'll affect him. Part of me still wants to strike down that heavy axe of Abstinence [chastity and sobriety], and try to keep him from sex, drugs, and rock & roll, I'll confess. I know I'll prolly encourage him to take his time and respect his own true needs and desires above anyone else's. I just hope that by the time we get to those issues, I'll be co-creating a meaningful relationship with him still and will know when to let go and when to intervene.

There's more to say, but this is all for now.


trying hard

It is raining outside right now. It rained a bit today at lunchtime, too. This morning, I woke up to grey-sky, as anticipated by the forecast. I got my bag packed for the day, Jasper and myself dressed, some oatmeal ready in a metal bowl, and the two of us out to the bus stop on time.

I dropped him off at school, then caught another bus downtown. From there, I caught another bus to Seattle's industrial district for work. Once there, I found Mr Blunt dozing, and then we started the day. It took a while to get situated, as he seems to enjoy rearranging everything while I'm away, but it was good. I introduced him to Bhangra music, which we blared over the speakers.

I mostly worked on sanding down the veneer/epoxy sheets with the orbital sander. There's a (forgive me if you know what this is formally called) pneumatic air gun, clean-up thing that I knew I was going to hate to love as soon as Mr Blunt showed it to me. I also helped him set up next set of veneer/epoxy sheets.

I then traipsed in my rain boots through the wet and gritty stretches of concrete, gravel, and railroad tracks to my bus stop, at which point I took another bus to Pioneer Square. It had one of the most entertaining bus drivers I've had in a long time. I arrived late to therapy, which seems to be par for the course.

After therapy, I walked to the bus stop in front of SAM, which a brief dalliance into the way-too-high-end shop across the street's closing sale. I saw some incredible grey leather boots, on sale for a very un-sexy $150. Oh well. I think I knew I was just looking, however optimistic. This dalliance caused me to almost miss my bus, which I nonetheless caught by running to the next stop. My rain boots, while lovely and entirely waterproof, are not conducive to running :/

Once home, I killed time waiting for Ryan to come pick me up for a hot date to the food bank. It was good to see him again; I can't remember the last time I saw him. I went into the affair rather pulled back, aloof, even. Ryan asked if I would DJ and navigate, which I reluctantly accepted. I took almost all of my extra WIC milk with us to donate at the food bank, which was weird. I felt guilty also being there for groceries, but relieved, too. It was weird having Ryan as a [6'4"] sidekick on my poverty-induced adventure. We walked back to his car/apt and ended up spending some time just sitting, basking in a little surprise sunshine, and talking a bit. I got some closure about what went on back in Feb/March earlier this year between us. And he gave me an orange :)

After I got home and put away groceries, I headed out on the mommycycle to fetch Jasper. I'm glad to have my bike, glad that the flat has been fixed (thx again btmspox), but there are still plenty of flaws/issues I'd love to have fixed. I still have to replace the tensioner on the brake cable, which has been somewhat daunting. Also, the adjustable handlebars continue to wiggle more frequently than I would like. Right now, I can just keep tightening it every other day and hopefully soon jerryrig a new spacer/washer thing. Maybe someday I'll take the advice of the bike mechanic and just get a fixed stem that I like.

In addition, Jasper continues to grow, his seat doesn't, but the need to have a better way to transport the tyke does. Third wheel might be my cheapest option (thanks maimerofhearts for the help), but I am not sure how safe, compatible with my frame, and truly quick-release it would be. As for the frame, it's a bike I was given and is better than the since-forsaken mountain bike I have. It doesn't actually fit me very well; I'd like something a little lighter and not so compact between the wheels. I'm cramped without Jasper's seat on there, nevermind with it!

But hey, the damn thing has cost me little to nothing to maintain and gets the job done. I also have no money to bandy about on anything else. The pipe dream of a scooter still echoes, but not so strongly, esp with the rain. My van, my dear Wendy, I don't know what will become of her. I'm having a hard time justifying paying her high monthly insurance, and I drive it as little as possible. I have a persistent mind-gremlin that all her workings are far more impaired than I know, something of a time bomb... ::sigh::

I'm hesitant to exhale right now. I feel mildly wary of the shift in seasons, chiefly the onset of winter. Ryan and I discussed a strategy to keep myself afloat, which gave me a little hope, but I'm just not sure how it will go this year. I don't know what's going on in terms of work or career for me right now. I enjoy my work with Mr Blunt, and with Fay on Saturdays, but it's not ultimately sustainable. I feel I lack the stamina, at least right now, to make anything else more sustainable happen. This then makes me feel like I'm a whiny, pathetic runt. Then I try to console myself that maybe this is just hard, I'm doing the damn near best I can do, and there's no need to emotionally self-harm. This, however, just sounds like more pathetic whining.

Auugghhh, fuck.

One thing I'm avoiding right now is replying to the series of "Subject: re: conflict" emails with btmspox. I know what's going on, but I've got no cartilage, no grace with which to divulge this information. In one way, it's all resolved, in another way, I feel like I have to make some unflattering-but-true offering of confession and apology. In the words of Ella Rose: "yucky, icky, ucky, yicky, pooey, blearghhh..." All in good time, I suppose.

In the meantime, I'm trying really hard...