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lemur jo/e's Journal

18th January, 2012. 4:43 pm. SOPA/PIPA Letter to Congress

Here's the text of the note I sent to my Congressman and Senators today:

I am writing to ask you to please keep SOPA and PIPA from passing in the [House/Senate]. These bills are quintessentially un-American. America has always stood for freedom of truth and ideas; these bills stand against those ideals. I truly believe that the passing of those two bills will make America a poorer nation, both economically and ideologically.

Thank you for reading this,

Joanna K. Noakes

I am typically a pessimistic person -- I believe we're in the decline of the United States and of World civilization in general. Normally I would believe these bills would be passed no matter what the American people wanted. But all the blackouts and petitions and notes today seem to be having an effect. I just got word that two co-sponsors of the bills have backed out. I want to believe that these bills will be killed, not just zombiefied to be resurrected again when all this media has died down. I want to believe.

"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." -- Wendell Phillips, (1811-1884)

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21st August, 2011. 5:05 pm. Homesickness and not

"LA's fine, but it ain't home
New York's home, but it ain't mine no more"

- Neil Diamond, "I am, I said"

Last week I was listening to Pandora and in the mix it played "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" by U2. As I'm singing along with it, it's one of my favorite songs, I realized it's no longer one of the anthems of my life. By moving to Maryland and taking care of Mr. Peterson, I had completely inadvertently found what I have been looking for. How do I know this? My mom and I used to play a game -- "if you won the lottery, what would you do?" (A popular pastime for a lot of people.) My answers usually involved moving -- moving cities, moving into a new place, always being somewhere other than where I was right then. But I realized while singing the song, that if I played that game right then, I wouldn't change anything about my life. Oh, sure, I'd like to have more money, but I'd use it to make the life I have more secure, not different. No amount of money is going to make me happier than I am right now. The only thing money could add to my life, other than security, is the ability to go back to Texas to visit more frequently than the 'every other year' I'm looking at now. But I still wouldn't move back. I am coming to love Greenbelt and enjoy living here. And I know my place is seeing to Mr. Peterson's needs.

So why the quote from Neil Diamond? I am also coming to grips with the idea that Austin was my hometown. Even though I spent most of my time there wishing I was someplace else, usually San Francisco, I really love that town. I spent 20 years there, my entire adult life there until I moved here. I miss the food, the language, the culture, the heat -- okay, maybe not the last one *grin*. Greenbelt and Maryland are just too foreign to me to think I'll every be truly comfortable here. And yes, I'm finding you can be completely happy and still feel homesick. But I also know from my father's experience, the longer I'm here, the more Austin is going to change from what I remember. Thus the quote from Neil Diamond -- it says exactly how I feel. Greenbelt's fine, but it ain't home, Austin's home, but it ain't mine no more. Even if I visit three times a year, it's still just going to be visiting, not living there and it can't be mine if I don't live there. I will no longer know its in and outs, or move to its rhythms. I will eventually come to know these things about Greenbelt, to move my life around it's different rhythms, but I do not think they will ever feel natural to me, not like the Austin ones did.

So my week has been one of accepting both that I am very happy with where I am, and wouldn't change it if I could, and also that I will always be a little homesick.

I realize that someone reading this could ask why I haven't mentioned moving Mr. Peterson to Austin as my optimum answer. The reply is quite easy -- Mr. Peterson has lived almost his entire life not just in Greenbelt, but in the very house we currently reside in. If I'm experiencing this much homesickness and I come from a military family who was used to moving around, how much worse would the homesickness be for Mr. Peterson? It would be beyond selfish for me to even suggest it. I'm also pretty sure that a lot of my contentment comes from his, so moving him would in the end upset us both. No, I love my life here, I just also miss Austin, and that's a dichotomy I'll always live with.

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7th May, 2011. 7:35 pm. I'm back!

I stopped writing in this journal 4 years ago because of many reasons. My mom had just died and my whole world and world view was turned upside down. Partly, I associated this journal with hiding from my mom and with no longer needing to hide, I no longer had use for the journal. Partly, I was so overwhelmed by all the changes I had to make in my life I literally could not put into words what all was happening.

Since then, my dad died 2 years ago, I've learned how to manage 'on my own', and I've finally got to where I can start writing again -- about my life, fiction, and research papers.

more under hereCollapse )

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2nd April, 2008. 10:35 pm. Top Chef

I sent the following email to Bravo/NBC about their show Top Chef:

[start rant]

I have watched every season since this show started, and quite honestly I have to agree with Zoi's comment on tonight's episode (the movies with Roper) that if barely smoked salmon with white chocolate wasabi sauce is the winner, it's not any kind of cooking I want to be watching. I liked watching Top Chef because it gave me ideas about what I might like to try out side my usual box when I go out to eat, which I do a lot. But honestly, the judges on Top Chef have succumbed to the trend I see in most people who do food for a living -- their palates become so numb to food that it takes outrageous and, frankly, disgusting combinations to even get them interested and then they attempt to pass off this jadedness and loss of taste as some sort of elite super-palate. Bull****!

I don't go to four star restaurants to pay twenty dollars for two ounces of something I could scrape out of my garbage disposal, and I won't keep watching a show that holds that as the only way to be a 'top chef'. So, for now I'll stick to Gordan Ramsey and "Last Restaurant Standing" on BBCAmerica for my chef fixes, since they at least know at the end of the day it's the average customer's palate that keeps you working as chef.

[end rant]

Okay, I know I'm PMSing and it's a bit over the top, but after last week and then this week, I just had to let them know they're losing viewers, because I can't be the only person that's disgusted about how this season is going.

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6th December, 2007. 2:27 pm. I'm Legal

I finally did it!

Today I took and passed both parts of my driving test!!!

I had taken the written part as a teenager but thanks to meds and psychological problems, I was never able to even attempt the driving part of the test, until now!!

Now, I just have to get my van running and legal and all will be fun in the world.

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12th November, 2007. 1:57 am. Mom, Me, and a year

A year ago today, mom died right about where I'm sitting typing this. Her ashes are on the shelving behind me. My sister and I have still not decided on a container for them. We were planning on dividing up her ashes between us, but now I don't know if we still are.

It's only been a year and yet it seems a whole lifetime ago, a different life between then and now.

A year ago, we were looking for a place to put dad, my sister was looking for a buddhist monastery for me to go to, and my therapist I had just started with was looking for long term placement for me. [Read that as institution or group home situation.] No one thought I could take care of myself much less look after my dad and keep a house, do bills, etc. I didn't think I could do it. I didn't want to do it.

It took me two weeks to be able to ride the bus to visit the therapist and that was with me on the cell to her and clutching Franklin, my teddy bear, the whole way.

But there was paperwork to do, and we had just moved into a new place, and dad wasn't stable enough to be without me or my sister and she couldn't stay up here, she had a job and a kid and a husband who needed her as much as we did. So, I did what needed to be done, with lots of help, until the paperwork was finished. Then it was christmas, and we couldn't very well do anything drastic then even if any agencies had been open which they weren't. So, we waited until new year's. and somehow by new year's, we weren't talking that much about me going anywhere or dad being put someplace. And there was still paperwork to do, and I was getting the bills taken care of, and getting the rent paid on time, and all those other things, and with less help than before, although I was getting my dad to do his part which was a good thing.

And now we've come to the end of the year and I'm talking about getting my driver's license, and I've flown on a plane by myself for the first time, and I no longer have to carry Franklin with me in public so much anymore. [I still tend to take him with me to governmental offices, although I'm not sure they'll let me take him with me on the driving test. I wonder if they even have a code for that -- like instead of 'must wear glasses' it's 'must have teddy binky in passenger's seat'.] I also regularly take the bus places, and sort out my dad's medicine at the pharmacy. Two years ago I couldn't even talk to anyone at the pharmacy; a year ago I would whisper or write notes and not look at the person while trying to deal with them and get flustered if something went unexpectedly; and now, I know the pharmacy guys by name and they know me, and I have no trouble helping them figure out what the stupid insurance computers have done to my dad's insurance this week.

All of this probably sounds good. I mean isn't that what we all aspire to -- to live independently, be somewhat responsible for ourselves, make our own decisions? And yet, I have only achieved any of this from the necessity caused by my mom dying. I know deep in my heart that if she were still alive, I would still be her baby, unable to do anything without her doing it with me or for me. This is the conundrum I come back to no matter how I try to answer it: I am more fullfilled, even more happy in my life than I was in those last years with mom, even before she got sick; and yet I wouldn't have these changes in my life if she hadn't died.

I didn't want her to die, don't want her dead, and yet, what would my life be, how much more of it would I have missed, if she were still alive?

And yet, I know she wanted/wants me to be happy. She never meant for me to be unhappy with her, and I wasn't, I just wasn't as happy as I am now.

I can't spend the rest of my time on earth mourning her and wishing to be dead, but I am living out the rest of my life as someone she never knew because I couldn't be that person around her and she couldn't let me.

This be the Verse

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.

---Philip Larkin

I know she did the very best she could for me, I know she never meant for things to turn out the way they did. I needed her for lots and lots in my life and I'll never forget that. Or how she fought for me when others wanted to limit me even more than I was limited already. She gave me many of the tools that I use now to get around my disabilities to do things. I guess it was just easier for both of us to not challenge me to do them when she was there to do them for me.

Can you love someone and want them back so much, but not want things to return to how they were?

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23rd July, 2007. 11:26 pm. HP

I finished the book. I think I'm going to read it out loud to the stuffed animals, I mean they did get to hear the other books along with mom so they should hear this one too, right?

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11th June, 2007. 6:06 pm. Update: Art and Writing

Update on the past months

The May mural went well, but I still haven't had time to get the pictures developed. I didn't get the June mural done as I came home from San Francisco Wednesday night with a sore throat and I ended up sleeping all Thursday until well into the evening. I'm planning on having a mural for July, though.

I wasn't able to get the fabric pieces done that I wanted to in time to submit them for the juried show. But, I'm still working on them and my plan is to still have the beginnings of a portfolio by the end of the summer. I also have agreed to make a tux for a friend, so I get to brush up my fine tailoring skills.

I know that some people have suggested I concentrate on only my art or my writing, but I've come to realize that trying to do that is actually counter-productive in my case. I can keep the creative energy flowing better if I let it flow between them rather than trying to shove it all into one or the other. So, now my goal is to learn how to set aside and pick back up projects so I can complete larger pieces, whether those pieces are wall-sized hangings or novels.

To help in my writing plans, I lucked into an apprenticeship with an author I respect and who's work I enjoy and would like to write a bit like. (While keeping and strengthening my own voice, of course.) So, now I also get to practice balancing responsibilities with creative time.

I'll write about my trip and non-trip in another post.

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21st May, 2007. 9:49 pm. Love languages

The Five Love Languages

My primary love language is probably
Physical Touch
with a secondary love language being
Quality Time.

Complete set of results

Physical Touch: 11
Quality Time: 8
Words of Affirmation: 7
Acts of Service: 4
Receiving Gifts: 0


Unhappiness in relationships, according to Dr. Gary Chapman, is often due to the fact that we speak different love languages. Sometimes we don't understand our partner's requirements, or even our own. We all have a "love tank" that needs to be filled in order for us to express love to others, but there are different means by which our tank can be filled, and there are different ways that we can express love to others.

Take the quiz

This was completely out of the blue for me, as I am a very nontouchy-feely person. But I also know that's more out of fear of overdoing it, than of not wanting it. So ...

I knew buying me gifts wasn't going to be anything.

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30th April, 2007. 5:35 pm. Ooops!

I forgot to give details for the showing of the mural:

Thursday, May 3, before sunset until midnight
Bouldin Creek Coffee House
1501 S 1st St

If you're in Austin, come by and look.

Also, if you are willing to pick me, my step ladder, and the murals up, and/or drive me and the step ladder home a little after midnight, please, please let me know. That's what I'm worried about now. ;)

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