Shallow Roots


I was born and raised in a small town on the eastern shore of North Carolina. My family has lived in the same 100-mile radius since the 1700’s, and we’ve always been water folk – sailors and fishermen. Though I’m not from the beach, exactly, I am from – and of – the water. My town is situated on the banks of one of the many small waterways that snake in off of the Pamlico Sound, the largish body of water that separates mainland North Carolina from the fabled Outer Banks, the barrier islands that are our connection to the Atlantic Ocean. I am also a Scorpio, a water sign (though you’d think we’d be fire, or maybe earth). While that is more of a commentary on my emotional state and my potentially deadly passions, I also feel a certain kinship with water. The spirit of it reaches out to comfort me. I am home on the waves, even though I can’t swim.

I grew up surrounded by water of all kinds – the wide drainage ditches that separated my father’s property from that of our neighbors, where I fished for minnows as a child; the pond in the back yard that housed my prized catfish, Claude, and a bevy of trained geese; the swamp beyond our yard that occasionally filled the air with its own particular earthy smell; and of course Pantego Creek and the Pungo River, wider here than parts of the mighty Mississippi, home to jellyfish and crabs, sailboats and yachts, tubing and wake boarding, and in my case, several rounds of failed swimming lessons. The smell of salt water will always mean “home,” and I am filled with acute, gut-clenching nostalgia when I imagine a quiet night, only the sound of river waves lapping to keep me company. I try not to think of the ocean. It hurts too much. But maybe it’s all that water that keeps my roots so shallow, makes it so easy for me to get up and move when the mood hits.

It seems to me that I feel about the ocean the way many people talk about feeling for their families. I often hear people talk about how bereft they would feel if separated by a great distance from their family, meaning the parents who gave them life, the brothers and sisters who tormented them as children, but later became the most trusted and loyal of companions. This is not my experience. My loved ones are not my roots. Mental and emotional distance can far outpace physical separation. There are many things that I miss about my childhood in Eastern NC, but not even one thing that I can think of to make me want to move back, save for a few precious evenings spent staring out over the Atlantic.

I wonder if it’s because I love the ocean so much that I cannot bear to think of moving closer to it. Isn’t that a strange thought? But it’s true that I daydream in equal parts about moving to Maine and moving to Arizona. I want great expanses of sky and land, and not too many people. Also, it strikes me that in places with too much water, and in places with just enough, a certain power dwells. It is the great equaling out, personified. And in both places my roots would be shallow, but happy.

Along with being a water sign, Scorpio is only the only sign of the zodiac that has three symbols, showing our possible maturation (not everyone progresses beyond the scorpion, our base sign). If we work hard at it, we tiny scorpions can eventually become eagles. After that, we are reborn again as the phoenix. Perhaps I have trouble taking root because I know it is my destiny to take wing. But still, I imagine I’ll sleep tonight with the sound of the ocean crashing in my heart.

Dream Diary: Garnished With Garnets


Isn’t this the most gorgeous pendant you’ve ever seen? It’s not from my dream, but I ran across it in SilveryLake’s Etsy Shop, and fell in love. Check out her work – so many drool-worthy pieces!

I had the weirdest dream last night – or at least, the weirdest portion of a dream. I can’t remember most of it, other than having the impression that I was visiting my parents, who lived in a metropolitan area in another part of the United States. Maybe Portland? It felt hip, but also relaxed, with a little bit of a coastal vibe. (IRL, my family lives in rural North Carolina, so wherever my dream family lived, it was pretty much exactly opposite of where they are now.)

Some of my Chicago friends were there – I think Nate, John, and AJ? It was all guy friends, all people with whom I feel absolutely relaxed and loved. We went out shopping at some point, though that was a fleeting portion of the dream, just the impression of leaving a multistory apartment building to go shop for something vaguely artsy or architectural. When we came back from the trip, I had a new garnet necklace, a really big gem that I was very proud to show off.

Towards the end of the dream, it was revealed that my dad had another house guest coming to visit, but hadn’t wanted to tell me because he didn’t think I’d be pleased. The guest was my real life (and dream life, as it turns out) ex-boyfriend. I’ve had many ex-boyfriends over my years, but this is the one that I dated for the longest, whom I assumed I’d marry before things went awry and I realized it wasn’t going to work out. We’ve both moved on, and it sounds like he’s really happy with his new lady, which in turn makes me happy. I do miss our friendship, as I got the big freeze and he’s never spoken to me again, but to be fair, I knew that would happen, and that’s just how life goes. C’est la vie.

Anyway, in the dream, I felt betrayed that my dad would invite the ex and not let me know. My parents always loved him, though, so it didn’t surprise me in the dream (and honestly wouldn’t surprise me in real life). But I resolved to just go with the flow and be a gracious and hospitable hostess. It felt like my dad was far more excited to have the ex visiting than to have me visiting, which was annoying, but I played it off.

When the ex showed up, he was happy, and dressed more casually and fashionably than I’d formerly seen him dressing. It was obvious that his new relationship was letting him be happy and free, which in turn made me feel relieved and glad to see him (instead of stressed or anxious, as I was feeling towards the end of our IRL relationship). I decided to show him my awesome new necklace. My dad was also there, and since he’s never happier than playing one-up, he showed off his own new piece of garnet jewelry, a bolo tie or something similar. It was only then that I realized the ex was also wearing garnets – a LOT of them. He held out his hand, and I could see that every finger was adorned with a big, rough-cut garnet ring. That’s the last thing that I remember before waking up. Overall, the dream was on the positive side of neutral. I woke up feeling inquisitive, but not upset. It made me feel like the world was a little bit mended, if that makes any sense.

I looked up the dream meaning of garnets today, since this was such a specific symbol. I like garnets, but I don’t typically go for them in jewelry; the only ones in my collection are a pair of garnet earrings from when I was a kid. DreamMoods says that garnets symbolize “loyalty, vitality, and devotion” as well as “overcoming negative feelings.” says that:

“…dreaming about a garnet is indicative of your passionate and understanding nature. This crystal is symbolic of clarity and control so seeing one in your dreams conveys the notion of you feeling enlightened and in control of your life…Garnets represent strength and the power to overcome difficult situations at hand.” 

During my research, I also found out that garnets are sometimes called “Arizona rubies,” which is rather ironic, given my latest obsession with moving to the desert. But more than this, they are also associated with the root chakra, overcoming trauma, and grounding one’s dreams in reality (see more about them on Crystal Meanings & More). Looks like it’s time to go garnet shopping 🙂



Rent & Kitties

My landlord lives out of state, and is seldom in town. I love that aspect of our relationship. What I don’t love is that it’s time for me to renew my lease, and I’m terrified to ask him about renewal. Last year he raised my rent by $50. If he raises it by any amount this year, I can’t afford to live here – and I’ve been desperately searching for other places that are in my price range and fit my needs (basically bigger than a shoebox, in a neighborhood where I won’t get shot, and willing to accept three cats) for months. There’s nothing out there. Nothing. Nada. I’ve even tried looking where the students live. Not to mention that to even get an apartment, I’d need to have first and last month’s rent on hand, and that’s just laughable. If I’m broke enough to buy cruelty-added eggs from Dollar General, I’m definitely in no place to put down first and last month’s rent on an apartment. This is my best option at the moment, so I’ve got to make it work.

That being said, guess who should show up yesterday but the landlord, who has his own vacation condo downstairs from my place? So now I’m hiding out in my apartment, praying that my precarious situation doesn’t unravel. Because not only is a raise in my rent imminent, I’m also only supposed to have two cats, according to my lease. But Charlie came along, and how was I supposed to say no to that little face and his tiny leg cast? So I’m now harboring a feline fugitive. Eventually it’s all going to come out, but for now, my best approach is to just hide and cross my fingers until the landlord goes back home to Wisconsin.

On top of the living situation fiasco, I think Isabel has fleas, which means that Munky and Charlie probably have them, too. I just gave them flea treatment two weeks ago, but the doctor told me that Frontline wasn’t working that well on this year’s super fleas, and I chose to chance it, and now my baby girl is scratching her chin a little too vigorously. I guess it’s time to break out the emergency credit card, for what it’s worth. I guess paying for expensive flea medicine is still cheaper than getting everyone treated for fleas AND worms in the long run. Need to call the vet and find out when the earliest new dose can be safely given, too. I just hate that it’s Izzy that’s itchy; we’re so closely bonded that when she spends time scratching, I start to get itchy, too. And I think that the stress or an allergic reaction to the fleas might be bringing back her little rodent ulcer that she gets. Her lip is looking slightly swollen. Plus, she’s going to be 10 this year, and her body is ever-so-slightly more angular and delicate than it has been. Watching her stress out even the least bit hurts my heart.

Munky’s been feeling fine ever since everyone switched over to the new food, but he was acting so calm and happy when he was on kitty Xanax when he was sick, and now he’s just not the same. That he would have that reaction isn’t much of a surprise, of course, but it did show me how he might exhibiting low-key examples of being stressed on a regular basis. I need to up my game to get him a stress-free environment. Of course, moving to a larger apartment would be a great start, but that’s not happening right now. So I’ve been looking into getting him calming treats, since we tried the pheromone diffuser a few years back and it backfired completely and made him a homicidal maniac. He’s starting to make a lot sense to me now that he’s my middle child. I’ve never really bonded with him as much as with Isabel (and now Charlie). His neediness has always been such a turn off. But now that he’s got bookend siblings, the neediness seems more justified, and makes me more patient. It’s terrible, but true.

Charlie’s only real health issue is still an annoying one, for both of us. Like most cats here, he has a type of herpes that mostly affects his eyes. It’s nothing serious, basically a bout of pinkeye every now and then that does have a small chance of causing complications. The doctor basically told me to keep an eye on him, feed him well and keep his stress levels down, and if he starts acting like his eyesight is affected, or if I see his eyes looking goopy, to bring him in. He’s been fine, but the thing that keeps his eye issue front and center in my memory is that, because he’s a white cat, he has light brown tear stains. This is my first time with a white cat, and he’s so beautiful that the brown stains really bug the crap out of me. So I’m going to get L-Lysine treats (or powder, haven’t decided yet), which I’ve read will help boost everyone’s immunity, and some little tear washing pads to make my little man super handsome. *insert baby talk here*

So yeah. Evidently I’m not only hiding out from the landlord, I’m living in a plague house. Need to find a second job so I can pay for all these damn cats.

The Proust Questionnaire

I ran across the Proust Questionnaire a few years back, and have been meaning to fill it out ever since. Every time I sit down to fill out the answers, I get caught up in explaining myself perfectly, and always end up putting it off until later. Named after Marcel Proust, the French author who famously said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes,” the questionnaire is said to reveal a person’s true nature. So what am I afraid of – discovering my true nature, or showing it to others? Either way, might as well get it over with, right?

  1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    • Short answer: I don’t believe that perfect happiness is possible. The beauty of happiness is that it’s fleeting, at best, and therefore it can’t be perfect.
    • Long answer: Hiking down a trail, pack on back, a friend or two hiking along quietly nearby. The only sounds are natural and healing: the breeze in the tree branches above, the buzz of insects, flowing water from a nearby stream, lowing of the cows in a field somewhere out of eyeshot. I can feel the crunch of the dirt and rocks under my feet, smell the trees and dirt and morning dew, and I have the luxury of slowing down to appreciate every detail around me, knowing there’s nowhere to be besides here, now.
  2. Which living person do you most admire? 
    • I have a hard time with this question, because I don’t really believe in admiration, as much as respect. I respect many people for their choices and hard work in attaining their goals; these are mostly artist types, writers, and particularly talented actors. I will say that Stephen King is one of the people I’ve spent the most time respecting, and wishing to emulate in some small way. He has a marvelous imagination, and it means a great deal to me that he has found a way to make those dark places open and accessible to the entire world. I also love that on both personal and professional levels, he doesn’t take anyone’s shit. He has true grit, and a great sense of humor. Also, despite how some snooty lit critics would disparage him for making “airport reads,” I appreciate the fact that his books end up being deep, powerful, introspective, and fearless, while remaining appealing and available to a wide variety of people from all walks of life. That takes true skill.
  3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
    • Femininity, or lack thereof. I just don’t have it in me to truly care about things like hair, and makeup, and dressing up, and cleaning – all of the gender role bullshit. I try so hard to care, and still end up looking sloppy. But it’s been that way forever, even before I was able to look at it from behind feminist lenses and realize it was OK if I wasn’t the perfect 1950’s woman. Anyway, I still get really discouraged over not just not being able to do some of these defining things – like applying makeup skillfully, or doing my own hair, or vacuuming the couch, or dusting the house every day, whatever – but also I get discouraged over my complete disgust when I think of doing these things. I both want to be more ladylike, but at the same time I absolutely want to firebomb anyone who suggests that happen, including myself. It’s exhausting. It’s also discouraging to know that I will never amount to anything in comparison to a selection of women who do these things as second nature. Those girls who love to wear lingerie and lacy, pretty things (puke), and the ones who shave their legs daily (ha), or keep lotion in their desk drawer to make sure their hands stay moisturized and young. I’ll never be a trophy wife, that’s for damn sure, lol. Sometimes I feel like an outlier. I would have done a great job of being a frontier wife in the mid-19th century, when bathing was optional, there were only one or two dresses to choose from, and the floor was actually MADE of dirt. Maybe I was just born 150 years too late.
  4. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
    • Gregariousness/mass likability. It’s one thing to be friendly and kind, but I’ve met too many people who are selling an image of themselves and trying to be popular and lovable with everyone. What’s the point? Are you scared of the unlikeable parts of yourself? (That’s completely acceptable – you’ll have to work through it at some point, though – might as well start now.) Are you so concerned with having people not approve of you that you’re willing to hide behind a lie for your entire life? On one episode of Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, it is said: “Nobody truly interesting is universally liked.” AMEN.
  5. What do you dislike most about your appearance?
    • My face gets really round sometimes; it fluctuates, but sometimes when I’m bloated, I look like my dad, and it freaks me out.
  6. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
    • Straight toss up between the Atlantic Ocean and the BBC.
  7. When and where were you happiest?
    • So far, walking the Camino de Santiago in 2015. Before that, when I was maybe 11 or 12, in the summers I used to set up a tent on the back porch and read books all day. I loved that, for mostly the same reasons – quiet, introspection, no other pressing duties.
  8. Which talent would you most like to have?
    • I’d love to be able to draw the things I imagine. I can barely manage a respectable stick person, but I would love to be able to do pen and ink drawings of animals and architecture, or even just to sketch out my ideas so that a more talented artist could take over from there.
  9. What is your current state of mind?
    • Pensive, obviously. I’m filling out the Proust Questionnaire.
  10. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
    • I would be debt-free.
  11. If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
    • (Regarding my entire family, including the extended part.) They’d be well-traveled.
  12. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
    • Traveling the world (or at least a tiny portion of it). I plan to see a lot more before I’m through.
  13. If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be?
    • Am I required to come back? Because I really don’t want to. OK, maybe a giant squid, or something that lives very, very deep in the ocean, too far for humans to reach. Like one of those blind, glow-in-the-dark cave fish.
  14. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
    • Codependency/relationship addiction where you feel like you can’t survive without the other person, but you aren’t happy with them.
  15. What is the quality you most like in a man?
    • Emotional intelligence
  16. What is the quality you most like in a woman?
    • Same
  17. What do you most value in your friends?
    • Acceptance, and the ability to read between the lines and understand what I’m trying to say (even when I don’t quite know yet, myself).
  18. Who are your favorite writers?
    • This is constantly shifting. Right now, I’d say Jane Austen, Joan Didion, Lloyd Alexander, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Diana Norman, Deborah Harkness, Margery Kempe, Agnes Humbert, and Douglas Adams.
  19. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    • Elizabeth Bennet
  20. Who are your heroes in real life?
    • St. Francis of Assisi, Margery Kempe, Major Richard Winters, Various WWII Resistance Fighters, Edward Abbey
  21. What is it that you most dislike?
    • Insincerity
  22. How would you like to die?
    • Suddenly, and with a clean house, so my loved ones don’t have to be shocked and/or horrified by the piles of dirty dishes/underwear.
  23. What is your motto?
    • Lately I’ve been saying the NC state motto to myself a lot: “Esse quam videri,” which means “To be, rather than to seem.”

Queen of Denial

When I was a kid, one of my favorite songs was “Queen of Denial,” by Pam Tillis. When I saw that today’s Daily Post prompt was denial, it was the first thing that popped into my mind. As I listened to it again for the first time in years, I reflected on lessons learned in youth. I think that this song was responsible for me growing up to not take any shit from men – at least not of this particular variety.

I have a Grade A bullshit detector. I don’t trust easily, and being noticeably insincere makes me keep you on that “don’t trust” list forever. Seriously, be smarmy with me once and see if I ever respect you. It will take an act of God to get you onto my loyalty short list. Life’s too short to take chances with people who like to jerk your chain, so either be transparent or GTFO. That being said, I’ve usually winnowed out the shady guys in short order, and have overall been great at avoiding serious entanglements with guys I can’t trust. Can’t say that I’ve avoided all entanglements, but hey, life wouldn’t be fun without a little drama now and then, right?



Here are a few of my current thoughts:

Current Job Thought: My GM, Ops Manager, and Ops Supervisor are all moving on to new properties, and I’m feeling a little unmoored. I knew that the company encourages movement and promotion, and all of these people are excellent at their jobs, and moving up to great new positions, but it doesn’t help me to not feel a little bit lost and unsure about who my new bosses will be. On the positive side, I’ve used this opportunity to ask my Assistant GM for the chance to explore Ops a little more (knowing that I’m not a fan of Sales, and don’t see myself advancing on the Sales track). Also, I think I might have met the guy who’s going to be my new GM today, and he seems really nice.


Current Silly Crush: Robert Lonsdale, from Chewing Gum, on Channel 4. I love his character, Connor, and I was getting a vibe off of him on screen, but couldn’t find his birthday anywhere (just the year – 1983). Normally when I get this weird about a guy, it means he’s either a Scorpio or a strong partnering sign (Pisces or Cancer, typically, because I tend to really dislike Virgos, in general, even though we’re supposed to be great for each other). And what do you know, his birthday is November 2nd. Sigh. POISON. Like, slow acting poison that will take years to kill me since I’m ridiculously agreeable, but still. (Let’s just ignore the great, wide expanse of real life between this British star of stage and screen and myself, and go with the fantasy for a second – give me that, at least, lol.)

Current Esoteric Train of Thought: Linda Goodman was being way too positive in Love Signs, and even though I am typical, I am also atypical. It’s always been a bit to wrap my head around. I am a Scorpio, so I should be tempestuous and sexual and dramatic, at surface level, a raging sea that people are scared to be excited to throw themselves into. But instead, I’m still and flat. I’m a rip tide. I fool myself with how placid and easy I appear at all times. And to make it even more difficult, like 43% of the time, I actually AM still and flat. Every now and then I make eye contact with someone as they’re talking, and I can tell that I’ve unnerved them. I’m not sure what I’ve done – I’m just paying attention as I always do. And I’m so easy to get along with. I’m inviting and warm and loving; when I connect, I really connect. People think I’m the sweetest girl, because I am. But then sometimes I’m not. And just because you don’t know when I’m not doesn’t mean I was trying to get one over on you. I don’t know which way the wind is going to be blowing from day to day, either. I can somehow know myself so well, but then it turns out that I had no idea at all. I go to sleep happy with everyone, and wake up despairing of ever actually fitting in. And today, I’m feeling a little dramatic. So I’ll just pretend with the people I don’t know, and if they aren’t looking too hard, they’ll never know the difference. And for the rest of you, I just won’t talk until it’s over. That will save us all from heartache. But that’s all of me, so don’t expect any more concessions until we get to the other side, whenever and wherever that might be.


Current Real Life Miracle: I bought this little beauty tool a month or so ago that’s just blowing my mind with how useful it is. If you’re a guy, you probably don’t want to hear this, but girls have facial hair, and as we get older, we get more of it. I’ve been using Sallie Hansen hair removal cream on my upper lip since my second boyfriend pointed out my peach fuzz in 10th grade, but now that I’m in my 30’s, it just wasn’t working out as well as I wanted. Then I grew a few more weird hairs, and freaked myself out so much that I started pricing out electrolysis and laser therapy, which it turns out that I couldn’t actually afford. As a last-ditch effort before saving up for something drastic, I bought something I read about on Amazon, a little spring contraption called the Pixnor Portable Manual Facial Hair Remover, which basically yanks a whole bunch of your hairs out at once in the most basic way possible. I was sold once one of the reviews mentioned that you can do it while watching TV. There are more expensive models, ranging up to $20 or so, but I bought this model for $6, since all of the models are literally just a spring with handles. It’s been great so far; my face is so smooth, and it’s not nearly as painful as getting waxed. Plus, you really can just sit and watch TV and roll the spring over your face to rip out stray hairs. Win win.

Current Daydream: I’m thinking more and more about the desert, and the mountains, and hiking. I wake up and think about it, go to sleep and dream about it. It’s time for me to get out of New Orleans. But what’s weird (and maybe only I’ll understand this, or maybe it’s a human thing? I dunno) is that for me, the ocean and the desert are absolutely the same in my imagination. So I think that maybe when I dream about the ocean, I wake up and think that I’ve been dreaming about the desert, and vice versa. I’m taken with the idea of nature promising me a bigger, better forever than I currently feel like I have a grasp on. Dead jellyfish on the beach in winter, or asshole agave strewn along the path, both fill me with a sense of inevitability, of love as great as I have privately known, tucked deeply into a love affair between me and myself. Perhaps it shows serious damage to dream of the prickly, poisonous things as symbols of true love. But maybe I just yearn to fight my way through dangers untold, and hardships unnumbered, to the heart of the Goblin City. Do I think I’ll find anyone else there?

Current Laugh: Charlie caught a huge cockroach the other night, after I left the windows open too long following an ill-advised attempt to cook something (read: I burned everything, no one should let me cook, the stove and I are not friends). Anyway, since I was too cowardly to approach the bug to squish it, Charlie played catch and release for at least 45 minutes. Towards the end, I caught him crouched under the side table, growling, the still-live cockroach sticking out of his mouth, little legs wrigging. Charlie’s face and posture were so defensive that I immediately thought of Gollum, protecting his Precious. His eyes were fixed on some point in the distance. My sweet little tiger kitten has grown into a homicidal maniac. I was simultaneously horrified and tickled at the weirdness. Later, I found the cockroach discarded on the floor. Well, half of the cockroach. I’m trying not to think about where the other half went.

Current Happiness: I’m going to bed now. I really should have gone an hour or so ago, but oh well. Time to go curl up with Isabel, and endure Charlie’s ridiculous need to make biscuits on my biceps (Munky sleeps on the fridge, which is fine by me).

The Tiger Girl


A different Tiger Girl all together, and nothing like the one from my dreams, but I still loved this image of the 1960’s comic hero. Like it? You can download this as a wallpaper.

I keep dreaming about the Tiger Girl. Every night, the Tiger Girl. And every night the same.

The first night I dreamed of her, she was part of a particularly exciting lineup. There was a dream about being in college and getting back together with a bunch of kids I’d known in high school. There was a road trip dream. One of the dreams involved running through fields, and a snapshot of me looking good in jean shorts (which has never happened, even when I was thin and young, and my legs weren’t all veins and fat deposits). But in the middle of all that, there was just one flash that didn’t match up to any of the other things: the Tiger Girl.

She was humanoid, female, and dressed in some kind of mech suit (which looked a lot like this one). She was being lifted out of an industrial vat, and liquid dripped off of her. The suit seemed newly formed, glossy and perfect, airbrushed to perfectly resemble a tiger’s coat, down to the detail of each individual piece of fur. I could see that her body was rigid, like a doll, arms pinned to sides, legs straight, ankles together, only I couldn’t exactly see the ankles because the mech suit legs matched up almost seamlessly from knee to ground. In fact, I would have thought that she was a doll, except that as the camera zoomed to take in all of these details, the last shot was an extreme closeup of her perfect human face, pale as porcelain, settling at last on dewy brown eyes. She winked at me. I woke up in a panic.

Every night since, she’s in my dreams somewhere. I don’t remember seeing anything new; perhaps it’s just the same view, over and over. All I know is that I’m having trouble sleeping, and as soon as I wake, my mind blames the Tiger Girl. A few times I’ve been on the cusp of understanding what this is all about – is she a bad omen, or a good one? Does she mean something to me? Is she a story, waiting for me to write her? But nothing has wormed its way out of my psyche just yet.