So much goes on in my life, I've noticed, yet I don't feel an urge to chronicle it in my journal like I did when I was an undergraduate. I'm less lonely, I think, or maybe I'm less prone to self-reflections. I'm more focused on the immediate, and I'm trying to make a life for myself that is stable, meaningful, and impacting.
+ Last week I visited Dr. Mary Moss at her goat farm. She had three beautiful baby goats to play with and feed. It was the best kind of therapy for me to hold a fluffy newborn goat in my arms as it suckled from a bottle. Dr. Moss wants me to come more often, and I think I'll take her up on it. Her place is so very calming, and it isn't a horrible burden to get there-- it's only about 45 minutes up the road. I recorded her at the farm, and I'm going to do my next podcast on her. At first I thought it would just be about her goats, but the more that I went in, the more I was sold on the story behind the farm and Dr. Moss' mission to make it this safe haven for goats, for young idealists, and for herself. She's making no profit off her work-- not monetary profit, anyway.
+ I have another journalism assignment I'm working on. This one is for the local paper that pays its writers shit and produces close to the same thing, but one needs to build up a resume somehow. This'll be my 3rd piece for them, and I'm doing it on hydrobiking-- essentially it is what it sounds like, you bike on the water. I'm going to try to churn it out as quickly as I can in lieu of all the other things creeping into my life.....
+ The brewery will be open by the end of the month, so there's a lot to do..... However, not just yet. I still have to wait until final inspections and building stuff finishes up before I can begin to put up the gallery, the flags, the pictures, the glassware, etc. etc. etc. then there's all the event planning, coordinating, merchandising, blah blah blah.
+ My band played at a beer event last weekend, and it went very well. We played between two very well-established bands in Knoxville. After the show, we had so many people complimenting us. I even had some hipster girls try and buy my cardigan off me. It felt good, and we made a lot of money. Next we're playing at a huge street festival that's going to have almost a thousand people. We're even going to have belly dancers dance with some of our songs! Sunshine Station is definitely starting to hit its stride. I'm going to try and get us booked at some of the bigger venues now in the city. Ideally, I'd like us to do a Winter/Spring Tour and hit up a few places out of the city. Unfortunately, we have such a difficult scheduling conflict with all that-- none of us are young and unambitious. We have jobs and families. It makes it hard to travel. Also, we'd need a van or something to make it work.
+ I also sang at Walt's this weekend. Walt's is a homestead in the middle of nowhere which has a secret location no one is allowed to give out. It's by invite only. This was my 3rd year there, and I got along pretty well. There are a lot of show-boater musicians who need to learn better manners when it comes to jamming. One in particular managed to annoy nearly everyone in the campsite.
I wrote a song while I was there which is my second song I've ever written. I think it went over well. I sang about how, despite how much I try to be above petty things, I still get into arguments with people in my head.
See, I was standing on the platform by the shed that overlooked the river, and even in the midst of nature, I got a sour expression my face and couldn't help but get pissed off at some people. It made me realize I had a problem getting out of my head and separating myself from unintelligent behavior, so I wrote the song.
+ Jess came over to paint with me today. I'm getting close to my biggest painting project yet. It's a collage of sorts of all the various aspects of nature in the mountains that I like. A stream runs through the middle with lots of underwater fern branches, and there are tadpoles that escape the scene and swim into other parts of the painting like the Spring side, where I painted a thick old limb of a red bud tree with moss on it and small pale pink flowers. I painted a cold winter night when the sky is clear and you're looking up at the branches of trees with show stuck on them. I painted a knobby oak tree with vibrant orange mushrooms growing up it. I painted a tangled cluster of 'wine berries,' or 'wild raspberries' that grew in the woods of Virginia when I was a child. I painted little yellow wildflowers, and finally, a fat little crawdad clinging to a rock.
I hope it turns out good. Right now it's only halfway there.
My father once told me-- and he never much tells me much of anything, but this one time-- he told me that people are only your friends for as long as they find a use for you. It was a sad assessment, but given how he approaches his life, I'm not surprised he would make that claim. And perhaps, if you strip away everything in a human's relationship and examine both her reasons behind associating with someone and that someone's reasons as well, maybe it's true-- we only remain in each other's company as long as there is a use for it.
However, rather than see this as a cold, calculated thing or as something selfish to be reminded of to avoid taking things personally, I'd prefer to see it as a lesson in our journey through life. People enter into our lives to learn from us and to teach things to us. There are always exchanges being made. This does not mean that we aren't motivated by love, however, or that even at the end of a relationship we can't continue to love that person we shared a temporary bond with.
The Buddhists talk about 'detachment.' They say that attachment leads to suffering, so you must learn to cut yourself free from your earthly desires.
But I'm not a Buddhist. To attach yourself to something does cause suffering, but it also causes joy as well as many other illuminating emotions. Each emotion teaches us lessons about ourselves, and it causes us to continue to examine and search out meaning in our interactions. Without these attachments, how do we continue to grow?
The city of Asheville, North Carolina has way too many head shops. Drappy dresses, bad art, incense, and kitchen magnets were in most every front of its downtown stores. Not to mention there were rows and rows of cabinets full of glass blown pipes. I tugged Aaron into Skinny Beats Drum Shop, which sold African drums (the Djembe, the Congo, and Doumbek). We talked to Billy, who was one of the owners and had just returned from Africa, where he'd learned more about the musical art. "I don't eat cheese," he insisted to us as he tapped out a janty beat on one of his drums. "Being in Africa changed my entire dietary habits." Don't ask me how we got on the topic of cheese. I can't remember, honestly.
Wine and Beer stores were a must-stop-by for Aaron, so I ended up often in the midsts of obscure wines, looking up flavors and origins. I found out in one that one of the most popular German brands of wine is in danger of losing its flavor due to a ill-advised interstate construction project plowing through the countryside near its vineyards.
Aaron stuck to his beers everytime, obsessing over trying this IPA or that porter or this stout. We ended up trying two dozen types of beer, sampling many of the local brews from some of the pubs and bars like Jack of the Wood (the Green Man's Brown Porter, delicious!), Lab (American Pale Ale!), and Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company (Mmm, the Rocket Girl!).
But before all that.......The first thing we did when we arrived in Asheville was see the Highland Brewery. There was a live band there, frizbe golf, corn-hole, and ping-pong, so plenty to keep visitors entertained. The brewery itself was amazing. I talked to a couple of the employees, who showed me where their Mocha Stout was made (my favorite). Aaron and I tried their speciality beer, the 7 Sisters, which was way too cinnimon-y and tart for both our tastes.
We argued for probably the 10th time about children since there were many of them running around the brewery with their parents. He bought me some nachoes while we were there and they were delicious (they used this white cheese that was just great).
When we arrived downtown, the first place we went to eat and drink was the Bier Garden. I had read online that it had over 200 types of beer, many of them international. So we started out with a Honey Lager then branched off and tried a Stout and a really light IPA. Aaron, meanwhile, had slumped into a major sulky depression, not wanting to talk or move or eat. Since this has been my fourth encounter with this kind of behavior from him, I didn't react seriously to it. Just ordered a sandwhich, chatted when something came into my mind, and left him alone until he was more amiable. It took some major coxing, but what pulled him out was a game of air hockey, which I purposefully made him play with me. My theory is that it's next to impossible to be depressed for long when you're trying to play a competitive game. It worked, and he beat me. Barely. And was in high spirits ever since.
Afterwards got blurry, as we spent our Friday night checking out as many bars as we could. We went into the Thirsty Monk and tried some wines and beer. Aaron was on his eighth or ninth beverage by this point, and insisted on laying out on their couch downstairs, where I recieved some embarassement from one of their waiters, who witnessed my struggle to get him to get up and find a place to eat n'get sober.... We finally did end up at a bar that served chicken fingers. A band was there, playing the Eagles, which made Aaron very excited..... I remained surprisingly sober mostly, and drove us to a few more interesting looking places outside of the downtown area. We didn't get back to the hotel until 3:00 a.m. where Aaron passed out quickly as I prodded and poked him into getting to his side of the rather large King size bed. Originally he insisted on sprawling out right in the middle. Rude much?
The next day we ended up on a long mission to find some good BBQ food. Finally we found a place, which had its own sauces. I tried everyone, and loved all of them. I ended up splurging on a high gravity Imperial Stout drink that had 10% alcohol to it. This gave me a pretty decent buzz.
We ended up in a beautiful furnature shop at one point where everything was priced in the thousands, but so very, very gorgeous. I ended up in long flights of fantasy over the eventual purchasing on a large 3K opium bed....started thinking about how wonderful it would be to have an outdoor patio one day with a wooden Buddha head set in the middle of my rose bed. I saw myself happy with Aaron, in a small, sweet home 15 minutes from town. I would be a teacher and a writer, happy and social.... with two cats and a house full of original works of art.
We ended up later in an art gallery. We talked briefly with a woman from Maryville. Then we argued over the gender of a photographer, who had taken black and white photos of naked women in various "relaxed poses."
We spent a great deal at Jack in the Wood, by far the best pub in the city. We drank and played darts.... talked with one of the servers, who had a raven tattoo on her chest carrying a rune that meant "rebirth" in its claws.
The last day in Asheville we spent outdoors. First, however, we went to Bruis'n Ales, where we got a few beers we liked to take back home. We also tried the Duck-Rabbit Barleywine on tap, which was delicious beyond words. There was a puppy in there I liked to play with. There were dogs all over the city, in fact.
Then we stopped by Asheville Pizza and Brewing company for their pizza buffet and a small glass of their Lumbi on tap (it tastes like sparkling grape juice but has more alcohol in it than wine, yummy!)
Once we were out of the city, we headed straight for the Blue Ridge Parkway then to the Arboritum. We took some trails, saw the Azalea exhibit, walked through the gardens, and admired the river for a bit before heading out and having some really good Mexican food at a place called Papa's and Beer. Well, I had some food. Aaron just nibbled. All the beer and heavy food was making him fussy again.
The drive back hom was wonderful. I listened to a lot of his music, shared a few of my songs.... when we arrived home, Aaron stuck around and we played two games of chess, talked, cuddled then very, very reluctantly parted ways.
I went to bed shaky and exhausted, and passed out instantly. I didn't wake up again until my alarm went off at 7:00 a.m for my Jury Summons.
All day today I have been in a happy haze, enjoying the afterglow of being with Aaron, wishing to see him now. Aaah, love. I made a mistake, however, at work.... left my dial down too low, so ATC was muffled for about 10 minutes. Some people in their cars were probably dog cussing me on their way home from work, but I don't care.... I'm in love. :)
For tonight, I'm going to go see Sarah, or Ashley, or MJ.... or perhaps all three. I need some girlfriends to talk to 'cause I'm not going to be able to get through the next 24 hours without some social release. Mmm, this relationship is turning me into such a girl!
Muscle connects to the bone and bone to the ire and the marrow
I wish I had a gentle mind and a spine made of iron
Mouth connects to the teeth and teeth to the loves and curses
Honey, can you reach the spot anywhere and fix it?
H E L P
Help me, help me
H E L P
Help me, help me
Muscle connects to the bone and the bone to the iron marrow
So I pretend there aren't strings attached to all ten of my fingers
H E L P
Help me, help me
If you could only go somewhere else
H E L P, H E L P
H E L P, H E L P
This is not a cry you can hear at night
This is not somebody who's seen the light
It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah
- leonard cohen
I have quite the epicurean experience this weekend.... good wine, good food, good company, good sex... with even a bit of homo-eroticism throw into the mix! Could one ask for more? A shame I still have that nagging, negative voice whispering things to me even in the best of moments.
Aaron took me out to see his friends Christine and Michel. Their decor was hippie, their interests philosophical, their marriage? Borderline sterile. Especially since Michel has some serious homosexual tendencies that he needs to get out, explore, or at least acknowledge. Like, really: Oh-my-god, your "daddy issues" are becoming hysterical, stop hitting on my boy-toy-friend-love-whatever and take a trip to Carousel next weekend.
Speaking of boy-toy-friend-love-whatever.....Aaron and I have gotten closer now (changed my facebook status! Like, omg it's official now!), and so naturally, I'm starting to see some of his darker nature.... the attitude he gives when he's not being lovey-dovy and kind. I'm still okay with it, like I'm okay with his inability to comb his hair properly and wear shirts that have sleeves with the proper lengths.
To quote my mother, men are made for women to improve... the trick is to find a fix-er-upper that is manageable. Well, he is pretty manageable in my eyes. Plus, the sex is really becoming great (although he worried about my lack of having the 'big O;' I keep telling him getting former-Pentecostal girls to 'O' is like winning a marathon, you just can't rush it.... it'll come when its ready... to
cum come)! One would think that, growing up in a conservative household, I would have some qualms with certain acts we engage in, but no, I am quite the lusty-spitfire.... A good thing to know since this is the first guy I've ever seriously given myself over to.... (at least on lease for the spring with a possible chance for renewal).
Sarah stayed with me last night because she couldn't stand another night alone (she doesn't do well by herself). I didn't mind in the least, and we stayed up playing a marble game then watched an episode of Rome.... In the middle of the night I found myself instinctively reaching over to cuddle then realize halfway that no, this would not be a good thing! Heh, had me giggling to myself a bit as I turned over.
- - - - - -
Aaron and I went out on Saturday after he tied for second place in a regional chess tournament. Apparently all his competitors there were every stereotype of "geek" combined: bad acne, pallid skin, froggie voices, shapless clothes, and goggle-like glasses. I teasingly called him the "stud of the group," since he has no serious bulk to him. My "like" for him is the Athenian kind.....I fuck the brain then the body.... though I find his body a good treat, as well!
We went to a quarry and made out like dogs marking their territory in various places all around the lake. Then we went on a trail that followed a river, which we chucked rocks into once we were suitably high up above it. He tried to suggest we get get-it-on on a moss bed. I distracted him with a small pint of watermelon vodka I had tucked away in my bag and said.... No.
Sunday we did pretty much the same thing: went outdoors, watched some Canada Geese.... I got a boobie-massage, and we hiked up "House Mountain" to a view that overlooked the area of land-and-buildings where we were currently existing.
I think my brother Jeremiah (whom I live with right now unfortunately) is trying to usher in the apocalypse or something equally not-good for nonbelievers. He's been praying non-stop for a while now in his room. His prayers aren't the typical silent prays we give at night while tuck in our beddie-byes. No, his are the loud, stomping, hand-clapping, Jesus-chanting "hallelujah" kinds that sound suspiciously similar to having very rough sex (especially when he throws the clapping in there coupled with the "praise Jesus, yes, loord, yes, YES, GLOOORY!").
Slooow down, son. Slow down before you hurt yourself!
(Excuse me, I realize I'm blaspheming pretty badly right now!)
Anyway, today I have NO PLANS. This excites me very much. I don't know what to do first! Go into my room and make a stack of all my favorite books to read..... go find a plate of my favorite comfort foods.... drive off and go rent a bunch of terrible movies with no educational value to them, but omg-Brad-Pitt-is-so-hot-when-he.... smoke a cigarette and talk to Charla on the phone for 2 hours......
Technically I'm lying about having no plans.... There IS tutoring to go to, and I have taxes to file, e-mails to make, and job applications to go over..... But one hot bubble bath with extra suds won't keep me away from doing those for TOO long. :)
But wait, up there -- a star!
It's shines on you and I tonight
On the hill, in the dark,
So we know that we're not alone...
- Cue Conversation, Skybox
(To Listen: http://www.last.fm/music/Skybox/_/Cue+Conversation
Whew, last night was a trip! Sarah and I ended up doing our usual "drink a bottle each of wine" ordeal then went over to see her "cool Asian friend" Rebecca, who was indeed very cool and Asian. Her roommate was a sullen, simi-attractive guy named Lewis. He reminded me of the Regina Spektor song "Poor Little Rich Boy" because all of the people, including him, we met were in that comfortable income bracket of "respectability and money," who knew their place and where they were going. All the men were majoring in things like computer engineering or physics and the girls were naturally into things like event planning and public relations. Rebecca in particular had her PR skills down to a tee-- whirling around in a social frenzy, gabbing and laughing and striking poses.
I got into an argument with a conservative which made no sense whatsoever. Read tarot cards for a scientifically-minded guy with a Hawaii shirt on.... we made social calls to a young woman's apartment named Lindsey, who was very blonde, very tan, and had amazing bone-structure.
Unfortunately, Sarah had a bit of a crisis. She got very drunk and distraught with herself because she couldn't think of anything to say or how to be heard by the group. While she fit the image well-- modern, chic haircut and indie-alt. clothes, she couldn't match these people's attitudes, so she just got more and more nervous and depressed. Ended up leaving the party to go cry, which I was totally unaware of.... I'd been so sucked into the witty banter, trying to hold my own and "be cool," that I didn't see her leave....
In fact, she left completely! She got so upset that she straight got into her car, intoxicated and stumbling, and drove herself home! So later, I looked up from my table of conversations, didn't see her, and ended up in the parking lot with Rebecca searching for her car, fearful that she had ran off and got raped and killed somewhere.... I had to sleep in her bed, a woman I just met!
She and Lewis were fine with it, though I felt particularly awkward seeing him in his boxer shorts the next morning and watching them flirt and bicker as they made coffee, eggs, and toast.
Never in my life had I seen people so at ease with themselves. Free and crazy and just.... exactly what they needed to be. I envied them, their stable, comfortable lives.... That kind of self-assured way they got along. Two people who probably never knew hunger or worried about where their next paycheck was coming from.....
Not that that's not going to happen! They're both still college students. Everything is a game now, those few years you have to study, and play, and be yourself..... what golden treasures they are (and were
, for me)!
I had a dream last night where I found Sarah and took her up to this grassy glade, with a half-circle of rock formations around it. I touched her on the shoulder and asked her "So how does it feel, being in a dream?" A blissful, euphoric relief of being conscious in my dream-state started to wash over me as I looked around with her at the three suns setting, the lapping ocean, which looked like a monet painting, and the trees, clouds.... ah! It was beautiful. "I'm creating this," I told her in awe. Little houses started cropping up in the water and the suns disappeared..... "It's kind of hard," I admitted right before my subconscious took over again and everything became blurred.
Haha, and how's this for weird.... when I was in Rebecca's bed, she was drunk and in a pillow talking mood, so she told me about her life and her ambitions.... really cool stuff, and I laughed at her comment about being "a cameleon." But then she said, "Oh my god, you're like the first claim to fame I have! I can tell people I made out with the voice for All Things Considered!"
"What?" I asked, confused.
"Oops, well, not made out but..."
"Haha, I had all my lesbo experiences in high school, thanks," I lied, since technically my lesbo experiences were in college.
"Haha, yeah, me too," she said quickly.
This reads a bit like something from a self-help book, but it's actually from the Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff, a book that ties Winnie the Pooh to Taoist philosophy....It's a really easy read with a lot of great insights from Pooh Bear. Heh, I first ran into it in the Smoky Mountains while hanging out with a hippie boy for a night. We smoked some really good stuff then went out into the woods and threw rocks at a rock face over a river. Not very exciting sounding, but trust me, it was quite fun. The rocks would make sparks, and then we'd spend the rest of the time mid-throw talking about Taoism and the nature of being, etc. He showed me the book when we got back to his room.
This weekend I uncovered it in Aaron's room. I took it out and read some. He saw that I had left it on the couch and brought it over for me to borrow. So now I have it, and I'm about halfway through. It really is a fun read........
(Explaining "Inner Nature")
"As we have likely reconized by now, no two snowflakes, trees, or animals are alike. No two people are the same, either. Everything has its own Inner Nature. Unlike other forms of life, though, people are easily led away from what's right for them, because people have Brains, and Brains can be fooled. Inner Nature, when relied on cannot be fooled. But many people do not look at it or listen to it, and consequently do not understand themselves very much. Having little understanding of themselves, they have little respect for themselves, and are therefore easily influenced by others.
But rather than be carried along by circumstances and manipulated by those who can see the weaknesses and behavior tendencies that we ignore, we can work with our own characteristics and be in control of our own lives. The Way of Self-Reliance starts with recognizing who we are, what we've got to work with, and what works best for us."
"...and yes I have all of the usual objections to consumerism
to the commercialization of an ancient religion
to the Westernization to a dead Palestinian
press-ganged into selling playstations and beer
But I still really like it...."
Heh, kind of a fun song.
The reason he mentions white wine in the sun is 'cause he's Australia, fyi. Their Christmas is in the summertime.... So strange.
I recently read this quick Bernard Shaw book called "A Black Girl's Search for God,"
and I found it online..... You should totally check it out
. "I have seen worse kings" said the black girl; "so you need not blush. Well, let you be King Solomon and let me be Queen of Sheba, same as in the bible. I come to you and say that I love you. That means I have come to take possession of you. I come with the love of a lioness and eat you up and make you a part of myself. From this time you will have to think, not of what pleases you, but of what pleases me. I will stand between you and yourself, between you and God. Is not that a terrible tyranny? Love is a devouring thing. Can you imagine heaven with love in it?"
"In my heaven there is nothing else. What else is heaven but love?" said the conjurer, boldly but uncomfortably.
"It is glory. It is the home of God and of his thoughts: there is no billing and cooing there, no clinging to one another like a tick to a sheep. The missionary, my teacher, talks of love; but she has run away from all her lovers to do God's work. The whites turn their eyes away from me lest they should love me. There are companies of men and women who have devoted themselves to God's work; but though they call themselves brotherhoods and sisterhoods they do not speak to one another."
"So much the worse for them" said the conjurer.
"It is silly, of course" said the black girl. "We have to live with people and must make the best of them. But does it not shew that our souls need solitude as much as our bodies need love? We need the help of one another's bodies and the help of one another's minds; but our souls need to be alone with God; and when people come loving you and wanting your soul as well as your mind and body, your distance: I belong to myself, not to you.' This 'love one another' of yours is worse mockery to me who am in search of God than it is to the warrior who must fight against murder and slavery, or the hunter who must slay or see his children starve."
"Shall I then say This commandment I give unto you: that you kill one another'?" said the conjurer.
"It is only the other one turned inside out" said the black girl. "Neither is a rule to live by. I tell you these cure-all commandments of yours are like the pills the cheap jacks sell us: they are useful once in twenty times perhaps, but in the other nineteen they are no use. Besides, I am not seeking commandments. I am seeking God."
- Music:silly things that people say - arco iris