Who is Sue and what is Suelandia?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I've decided to spend one more year in the MID forties...

Hey people.  It's my Birthday this week and I'll be 47, which I think can still technically be considered the MID forties.  Next year I'll merge into the *mid-to-late* forties.  Because you know what's awesome about getting older?  This--

When I was little, I got this book.  It became one of my very favorites.

It was about this kid who got whisked away by this magic bird for his birthday.  They had a fantastical day of hedonism.  It was BEYOND imagining.  Nothing, it seemed, was off the table.  This struck quite a chord in me, sort of stretched the boundaries of my expectations.  Even now as an adult, knowing what is and isn't possible (sort of), I still really enjoy daydreaming about the fantastical ideal, about over the top, and way too much being the perfect amount.
So welcome to the birthday of my imagining, where nothing is impossible or out of bounds.

First, I'll wake up in the morning and have magically sprouted long, shapely, and tanned legs, also my hair will have become unbelievably thick and shiny.  I know these are shallow things, but it is my birthday so ~tough noogies~.  Just go with it.  I now bear a remarkable resemblance to her:

Dan has spared no expense, and gotten me a magic outfit, that morphs into different variations depending on what I'm doing.  (I actually found this online, and told him this is what I wanted-- even in this fantasy, he'd need a bit of help picking out a gift for me.)  All I have to do is think of it, and ~bliing~---  This,

Becomes this.  I of course immediately tell all my friends about the amazing deal I found on this outfit and they all run out and get the same thing, but the outfits know to not change over into the exact same thing on every person, so we are always dressed in unique clothes that look a-m-a-z-i-n-g on us.

All my friends come over wearing fancy dresses and hats etc at first and we all strut around doing pony/ runway model walks and tell each other how fabulous we look for about ten minutes,

Then we get down to partying. 

After we lie around in the sun for a while laughing and telling funny stories and off-color jokes, a bunch of masseuses show up and rub us all thoroughly.  After that, a bunch of attractive waiters bring us drinks and treats, and make it clear by their facial expressions and mannerisms that they think we are all completely smokin' hot, and it would be so on, if they weren't all way too young to interest us.  They of course keep it professional though.  Hard as it must be for them.

There are over sixty kinds of chocolate cake to sample, and none of it is fattening at all.  There is some special ingredient in it that allows us to eat all we want of it, without getting that gross *too full* feeling.

After we've eaten and drank all we want, and have grown weary of all the hot waiters fawning over us, the animals begin to arrive.  Bushels of adorable puppies,

Kitties so cute you could honestly ~die~ of cuteosterone poisoning.

Even bunnies, some wearing little sundresses.  They all want to be cuddled and petted & played with.  Our clothes morph into ~play clothes~ and we romp around and roll on the ground and the super adorable animals snuggle all over us, but miraculously don't shed or poo or drool or do anything the least bit objectionable.  When we've had our fill of them, they all just curl up and go to sleep, and their keepers take them away to their happy homes.

Then we all hop on our sweet bikes and race off towards a big adventure.  We all feel pumped and excited and we ride like the wind, whooping and dinging out bells. 

We find a mysterious trail going into a beautiful woods.  There are no bugs and of course no snakes, because President Obama, in honor of my birthday, has outlawed snakes, and the national guard has erradicated them from the continental U.S. 

We find cool rock formations and caves to explore.  We don't get tired at all because we're having so much fun and it's all so exciting, plus, since it's my birthday, time has warped, so the day is as long as we want it to be.

After a while we get to this shallow river that flows through a gorgeous rocky canyon.  We ditch the bikes and hike through the pleasantly warm water.  Around every bend is a scene more beautiful than the one before, and we find cool rocky formations to climb around on and explore.

The canyon opens up to this amazing series of pools, fed by this waterfall, that you can walk around underneath.  The water feels great, and there are places along the rim of the canyon where you can climb up and jump into deep pools and be perfectly safe.  There are also these spongy, mossy areas along the sides where we can lounge around.

Some how our hair manages to look awesome, even with all the swimming and leaping from cliffs into lagoons etc.  Magically, the adoring hot waiters have found us, and resume serving us frosty drinks and heaps of chocolate cake, assorted pies, and whatever flavors we can think of, of homemade ice cream they cheerfully churn by hand for us.

At the end of the day, which has lasted about a week, we finish off with hiking and biking back, feeling refreshed, satisfied, and incredibly happy.

Aren't you guys glad I invited you?

In real life my sister is coming for a visit ON my birthday (the best gift ever) for two weeks, and the day before is the second ~ladies night~ event at the trail, which promises to be amazingly awesome, with free wine & snacks after our ride, and free massages.  Yep, life in Suelandia is pretty sweet.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Getting dirty

Hey people.  So this has been my mood for the last few days.  Yes, it's tin foil beanie time, where innocent citizens need to be protected from my toxic brain-waves of negativity.

Poor Dan.  The other night at about seven I said, "Gah-- I wish this day would just fricking GET OVER WITH!"  Then I went to bed to make that come true.  Knowing all this is caused by hormones doesn't, oddly, diminish the effects. 

Last night was an event I've been planning for a long time.  It was oddly reminiscent of my old *jumping around in front of people in revealing swimwear* phase also known as my brief stint as an aqua aerobics instructor.  My awesome uterus was being a total ass.  By the time I had to head to the trail to set-up, it felt like I had a giant Leggo contraption stuck in my guts & expanding itself.  I was in so much pain I could barely think & was shaking all over.

Here is what was on the flyer for the event:  (cute huh?)

I took massive amounts of Midol and Alieve and fortunately, by the time girls started showing up, I was semi-functional.

I felt horrible, and nervous, and, of course, fat--- sorry everyone this bugs but it was how I felt so... keepin' it real here--- but all the women who came were so excited to be trying mountain biking, many for the first time ever, it snapped me out of it a bit.  (It helps to focus on other people, helping them out.)  Plus the drugs kicked in finally.  ~Whew~

Almost 30 gals showed up.  We filled the woods with pink shirts and a few whoops and hollers of excitement.  The atmosphere was supportive and adventurous and awesome.  It made me so happy to see so many girls interested enough, and brave enough to try this for the first time.  I remember how scary it felt the first time I rode my bike down a hill over logs and rocks-- like stepping off a cliff.  Now it's the most fun I have-- riding that trail.

Hopefully some of these gals get real bikes and take this up.  From what I saw out there, many of them have the adventurous spirit and love of being outside that makes a mountain biker.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How is it almost June already?

Hey people.  Suddenly it's here-- spring!

I couldn't believe it when my mom pointed out it was going to be my birthday in a couple weeks.  How is it possible it's already nearly June?!  Our wardrobes will change.  Our eating will change.  In a few months we'll have tan-lines, and our patios and decks will become regularly used floorspace.  We'll become accustomed to wandering outside without even thinking about what we're wearing.

Much as I love summer, it's the shift that's really exciting.  If it was never winter, this change in lifestyle wouldn't seem nearly so magical.  Anyway.  I'm one happy camper right now.  :)

I started my classes for graphic art.  I wonder how I would have done in school if all classes were online.  I like that no one can hear me cursing, and that I can go back over sections as many times as I need to.  I could tell if I were in a real class, I would get snagged on something-- meanwhile, the teacher and the rest of the class would barrel ahead, and I'd soon be hopelessly lost (a familiar scenario from umpteen failed math attempts) (See?  *umpteen* is not a real number yet here I am using it.  That is how remote math is to me.)

I suspect if I'd taken high school online, I'd still not exactly have set the world on fire, because for me to learn something I have to actually be interested in it.  And the fact that I'm required to take a class does not compel me.  But this (computer graphics) IS something I'm interested in, so even though it is confusing I'm very determined to learn it.  I'm gonna learn it so hard you guys...  Just wait.

Here is the princess pic I began fooling with months ago.  I haven't had time to work on this stuff again until recently.  I had actually gotten much farther on her, just experimenting around blindly-- She had a bunch of stars in her hair, and her eyes had been re-done and were way more realistic, but that was before i knew about saving your work every time you turn around so it crashed once and erased all my progress.  The coloring was just something I was fooling with yesterday.  I don't get it yet, and am not satisfied with how it looks.  Learning = experimenting.

One thing I haven't figured out yet is how come the computer doesn't get where the color should stop.  See the left-most hair?  The color is stopping where my drawn lines end, instead of filling in all the negative space.  Oh well, this is all stuff I haven't gotten to yet in the classes.  I'm just trying to figure out what I can.  It's very engrossing.  I think about it when I'm not doing it, and even dream about it. 

In that way it reminds me of mountain biking.  I was really obsessed with learning everything I could about that over the last couple years.

I decided I'm going to get rid of all my stained glass stuff, if anyone is interested.  I have all kinds of glass, and chemicals, and leading.  It's going on craig's list, so, let me know if anyone out there wants it.  This is the kind of decision I've had to make about my art this year--- what realistically am I going to continue doing?  How is my time really best spent both from a creatively satisfying standpoint, as well as a financially reasonable one.  The glass stuff just didn't make the cut.

Last post I talked about how awesome my life is (barf-- I know), and how I feel like I control my time.  A couple friends have expressed frustration lately with feeling like their time is def NOT their own, that they feel a lot of pressure from outside and like they're almost suffocating-- really stressed-out.

I think making conscious choices about stuff like this is super important.  You can't say yes to everything.  There is a common analogy out there among young moms, that talks about "putting the oxygen mask on yourself first" in an airline emergency-- the message being-- "save yourself first, so you can be there to save the others."  This applies to everyone's life.

You have to decide, that you are going to come first.  This sounds horribly selfish to most people at first, and of course it can be taken to extremes and abused, but just listen.  I've had to figure a lot of this stuff out because of doing art, and even addiction recovery.  In art it's the old "take care of the goose that lays the golden eggs" thing, with addiction, it's an important choice-- to fight for yourself and the life you want.

Once you get that, you can divide your life into segments-- important ones, like the time you will put into relationships, helping others, working on your primary relationship/s (family/spouse), handling your career, playing.

All these areas I picture more on a line, divided by sliders.  (This was just the only graphic I could find)  YOU are the one who can adjust and set the sliders.  They are movable.  Sometimes a circumstance will require more of *you* for a time and rob the other areas of time/attention, but you have to watch that and readjust to balance stuff out when you are able.

It's not about your life being non-stop fun.  For me knowing that I've made taking care of myself a priority (so that a more healthy, whole me exists to be there for everyone else in my life) and feeling like I am the one who adjusts the sliders, makes even the *work* or harder parts of my life feel okay.  :)  Hope this makes sense and maybe helps someone.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Reporting in

Hey people.  Just checking in.  I feel like I don't have much to say, but everything is going fine.  I had a conversation with my mom on our Mother's Day outing about celebrations (I've never been very big on them).  She said, "Well, on your birthday, you should take a whole day and just do whatever you want," and smiled, like-- "Wouldn't that be wonderful?"

All I could do was smile back and say, "But that's pretty much every day for me."  I know-- I know, I know.  I can hear you all collectively barfing, but seriously-- I have such an awesome life, and I'm thankful every single day.  It's not like I'm super rich or anything, but I'm happy, and feel in charge of my time pretty much.

Is everything perfect?  Of course not.  Don't I have to work etc?  Sure, but I love the work I do.  Do I go around 24 hours a day being all blissed-out?  No, I'm not that evolved I guess.  I still get in bad moods, and feel insecure and lonely sometimes, but on the whole I'm very happy, and know how good I have it.  I guess I see myself as someone happy with a good life, and bad moods and glitches are the anomalies, instead of going, "Well, that figures," every time something isn't perfect.

About all that's going on right now is trying to catch-up on assigned artwork (commissions etc) so I can get busy on new pieces.  Oh-- and I'm starting online digital art classes.  I'm a bit freaked-out about this.  It's exciting to think about what I'll be able to do with this once I learn, but there is that niggling thought in the back of my head-- what if I suck?  It is very scary, but I'm trying to just walk through the fear part of it step by step.  I was never good a "regular school".   This accounts for a lot of my anxiety about this.

The only things I were good at were independent study classes, or things I choose to work on unassigned-- like classes I wasn't signed up for but attended anyway, (skipping the class I was supposed to be in-- not caring about a *grade*)  (I know, I wasn't cut out for normal school) or writing contests etc.
I don't think I'm stupid, but think I had some learning disabilities that never got fully addressed because of changing schools every year.  Anyway--- one foot in front of the other is my mode right now.

Ironically, I'm revisiting another "out of the box" mode from my past this month.  Once upon a time, I felt one way for me to break out of an isolating pattern I'd gotten into was to begin teaching aqua aerobics at the local gym.  Yep-- me, who always sucked at gym, and hated public speaking with near phobic intensity, and always felt I was "fat" and rather "hideous" & HATED to be seen in a swim suit, decided it would be "good for me" to jump around in front of a bunch of strangers doing jumping jacks with basically no clothes on.

I opted for a suit with legs, thinking it would be more modest for all the jumping around and look *sporty*, but as you can see from these pics from the 20's (which are exactly like the suit I picked out for myself, fashion icon that I am), these suits weirdly manage to make you look ever MORE naked somehow.
After much agonizing and reprogramming of myself, I got to be pretty decent at it, so I guess it was good for me after all.  It did a lot for my acceptance of my less than perfect (in other words human) body, and I made some good friends, and learned to project my voice even when completely out of breath.  It also brought me back to the compartmentalized "leader" aspect of my personality I'd abandoned when I left corporate life.

Now somehow I've found myself organizing this big mountain biking event for women, designed to get more chicks out on the trail.  It was my idea, but it's still somewhat surprising to me it's really happening.  Suddenly there are over 30 women signed-up, a bike shop is bringing tons of demo bikes, and a bunch of my trail-working buddies are volunteering to be bike techs and check over the attendees bikes etc, donating their own time & expertise.

Not only that, but it's looking pretty likely I'll wind-up doing at least some of the instructing.  This brings back some of the same old insecurities I had to overcome before--- negative self-talk, but it's also bringing back some of the positive things from that experience too.  I like organizing things, and being supportive of other people, and sharing knowledge of something I enjoy.  I really enjoy coming up with an idea and turning it into something successful in the actual world.  That is the coolest process ever.  Should be interesting.

Guess I had more to say than I thought.  :)