Friday, June 24, 2016

Thoughts for the week #5 - sexuality

I've decided to start casually inserting the fact that I am bisexual (synonymous with pansexual and queer to me, but I prefer bi) into relevant conversations. I don't really want the big "coming out" story and my hope is that someday people will be able to just toss their sexuality out there as a fact with it being completely not a big deal. "Got a crush on any girls in class, Timmy?" "Actually, I'm gay, but still no." "Maybe you'll find a cute boy at summer camp!" Or even better: "Got a crush on anyone in class?"

Realizing and accepting that this is my sexuality took a very long time. I only admitted it to myself last year. So Mara Wilson's story really rung a bell with me. There are plenty of reasons to be scared. I have mostly been consumed by the potential reaction of people who have defined my sexuality for me. I don't want to have to argue or defend who I am.

But here I am in a relatively safe position: married to a cis-man, appearing heteronormative, in a fairly liberal area and state. I don't want to contribute to the silence and taboo surrounding bisexuality anymore. I know I'm going to get obnoxious questions, but I think it'll be worth it.

So, to knock a few out of the way:

  • Being married to a man does not make me straight, just as gay people married to someone of a different gender are still gay.
  • Being bisexual does not mean I'm going to cheat on my husband. I am strictly monogamous. It just means that had my life not gone the way that it did, dating and marrying anyone who is not a man was an option. Well, that's assuming I came to terms with being bi a long time ago instead of a year ago.
  • Are you attracted to every person of your preferred gender that you see walking down the street? No, and neither am I.
  • If you're going to make some lesbian porn joke, just please stop talking.
Other than those, I suppose I'll entertain some questions if anybody has them.

And that turned into kind of a specific post instead of random thoughts for the week, but oh well!

GIF of the week
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Photo of the week

From my birthday! It was a good day.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Thoughts for the week #4

Yeap, I already missed a weekly installment.

  • Skyrim is getting re-mastered and all the fans are going, "...why? My mods already do this." Well, it's more for the console gamers (PS3, PS4, and Xbox One), who never got to use the mods that PC gamers could. This will open up that option to them through a Bethesda-managed console store, much like Fallout 4 has now. I think that's great since the game can be improved so much through all of the free mods out there, but my game already looks pretty great. I'll be checking it out regardless.
  • I don't even want to talk about the shooting in Orlando. It's horrifying. My heart goes out to the communities, families, and friends that were affected. We have to do something about the accessibility of guns in this country. We have to do something about the homophobia in this country. We have to do something about the Islamophobia in this country.
  • Cultivating self-esteem can be hard. I believe it's important to set a good example for kids by overtly treating ourselves with respect. It's easy to not think about it as we make off-hand comments about our bodies, but kids listen.
  • I think I need to read this: The Joy of Leaving Your Sh*t All Over the Place

Photo of the week

My recent character in Skyrim.
GIF of the week

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Thoughts for the week #3

  • It occurred to me this morning that as long as I keep these weekly posts going with no breaks, I'll know exactly how long I've been doing them. 52 editions later will be a year! We'll see about that.
  • It's June and I'm excited because -- My birthday is soon! In just two more payments, I'll be down to one student loan and that should be paid off sometime next year (if all goes according to plan). We have VIP tickets to see Motion City Soundtrack in less than two weeks!
  • I'm trying out for budgeting again, now that our credit union is compatible with their site. I have been having fun setting up virtual budgets so we can track our spending in some common overspending categories (restaurant/fast food, movies). I have lofty savings goals for this year and I'm hoping that this helps us make it.
  • I kind of want this swimsuit. Not having to slather my arms in sunscreen would be pretty awesome. I know you can get rash guard shirts (I have one), but this is all-in-one! I don't particularly care about getting tan lines either.
  • Look at this pretty fabric that I bought! I'm limiting my hobby-related purchases this month. I got two new feet for my sewing machine (walking & vertical overlock) and will get matching thread as well as some complementary fabric in a single color. I'm thinking either a dark blue or some kind of green (darker). I have no idea what I want to make with this fabric, but I bought 3 yards. I also have no idea why I'm suddenly really into these kind of tropical floral prints.

GIF of the week
Probably my most favorite GIF ever.
Photo of the week
I was trying to get a tattoo on Memorial Day... I didn't, but I did finish the outline for another Neko Atsume cross stitch.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Thoughts for the week #2

  • Elder Scrolls VI in 2019?!?! That's far too long from now. If they take what people loved from Skyrim, add things from popular mods, and learn from their mistakes with Fallout 4 (okay this has been a problem with Skyrim too, FO4 was arguably a bit better with this).. It could be amazing. In the meantime, I'm enjoying the heck out of modding Skyrim and may make a post about that. I may even try my hand at making mods! After I fix my broken game...which I broke from installing mods. Eh, maybe I'll just make a new character.
  • An Open Letter From Someone ‘Beyond Help’ - Trigger Warning: depression, suicide. "You don’t get to decide ... which of us are “beyond help.” You also don’t get to decide which of us deserve to live. You don’t get to decide who has a chance and who doesn’t.
  • OffbeatHome - Getting Older -  I'm kind of bummed that I'm even struggling with this concept. I'll be 28 next month, still quite young! Yet here I am with forehead wrinkles. I can see them watch over the course of photos from the last few years. I am sure the wrinkles are super normal for someone my age, but when you're surrounded by a society that against signs of aging, it can be discomforting. Since I've never been one for much make-up, I'm trying to learn to shrug it off. It's just my forehead.
  • Lookit the pretty fabric I bought! I started sewing again this week and already made a bra :D. This weekend's project will be underwear! I hope I don't run out of this too soon, patterned fabric (cotton/lycra blend) is not cheap.

GIF of the week

Photo of the week
Practicing stitches on my sewing machine to use the best one for stretch

Friday, May 20, 2016

Thoughts for the week #1

Instead of spamming Facebook with lots of posts, I guess I'll compile things here and see how that works out. This may be a regular Friday post.
  • I'm unstoppable/ I'm a Porsche with no brakes/ I'm invincible/ Yeah, I win every single game/ I'm so powerful/ I don't need batteries to play/ I'm so confident, yeah, I'm unstoppable today/ Unstoppable today, unstoppable today/ Unstoppable today, I'm unstoppable today/ Unstoppable today, unstoppable today/ Unstoppable today, I'm unstoppable today - from Sia's Unstoppable
  • Gaming travel rewards is a tempting process, but I don't think I have the dedication to make sure it doesn't destroy my credit. I do want to buy a house someday, after all.
  • I'm getting back into sewing and found Craftsy! It has online tutorials, with hours of instruction, for all kinds of projects. I'm going to check out this one for beginners. I've never had any formal instruction and most of my projects were refitting t-shirts, so I think this will be very helpful.

GIF of the week

Photo of the week

My newly organized sewing station. The fabric is my mom's scarf that I have needed to return for almost a year. The jewelry box holds some needles & current cross stitch projects/thread.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Summer camp aka. church camp

Between the ages of 11 and 14, I went to a summer camp for Orthodox Christian kids. Maybe it was 12 and 15 actually, I can't remember and I don't have the pictures anymore. Telling people about this is always kind of funny.

"I went to a summer camp when I was growing up too! It was a church camp."

I had never done a sleep-away camp before, or really camp of any kind. Fortunately, my sister went with me, so I was way less scared because I could always find her in a crowd for reassurance. For two weeks for a few summers, we went off and spent some time in the woods of southwest Pennsylvania with a bunch of other kids from all over the country. The session that we attended usually lined up with the same other church groups, so I saw some kids from Louisville, Kentucky for at least a couple of years. I learned that it's pronounced "loo-vull". We also went at the same time as two of our closest childhood friends, which is exactly why we picked those session dates!

The church part is not that weird, in my opinion, but I have an obvious bias since I grew up with all of that. The days were split up into different segments: slots of time where you could sign up for different activities like archery, running, arts & crafts, soccer, swimming, as well as slots of time that were dedicated for spending with your cabin mates and brother/sister cabin. Each cabin was paired up with a cabin of the opposite gender and same age. Those classes were about various Christian concepts, bible stuff, chanting (like singing in the church, chant? it's all about tones), trust exercises, I don't even remember what else. What it boiled down to for me was "here are all kinds of things that you can apply to your life to be a good person," which is really not a solely Christian concept! And that fun stuff.

Oh yeah, we also attended church twice a day. WHAT?! Yes. Mornings was orthros, which is just a 30 min service (before breakfast). Even was vespers, again a fairly short service before dinner. We also prayed before each meal. On Sundays, we had liturgy (like the Catholic mass) with communion and everything. That can run about 90 min to two hours.

Okay, you know what? This is sounding a lot weirder as I go along. I met a lot of cool people and enjoyed my time there, even though the last year was difficult for me. My depression was kind of starting at that point, I really missed my best friends from home, and I did not consider myself Christian anymore.

The things I remember most from camp

  • feeling scared, but meeting a lot of friendly campers that made it easy for me to be a little more outgoing than I normally would (super introverted over here)
  • feeling kinda cool because I knew some older kids there (my sister and two childhood friends, as well as a couple of their friends)
  • trying some new things, like archery and walking across a log that was (to my perspective) very high up in the air
  • getting a crush on a counselor
  • counselors covering up tattoos with bandages and campers covering up piercings with bandaids if they had more than one in an ear (boys weren't allowed any)
  • singing some Britney Spears song with my cabin at karaoke night, I think
  • Christmas in July, where we went around and serenaded other cabins with songs that we had written
  • trying to play pranks on our brother cabin (having to clean up the toilet paper after is really no fun)
  • snack time! where you could spend some money that your parents put in your camp account to buy two snacks (a drink and a candy bar, usually). I became a fan of Cherry Coke
  • looking through a care package from my friends and feeling really lonely
  • being comforted by someone in my sister's brother-cabin when he saw my crying at the last night of camp and he made me laugh
  • being identified as "Nika's sister" in the nicest way possible (instead of the annoying way, which is when teachers do it in school)
  • riding horses!
  • feeling pretty sad and witnessing a lot of crying on the last night/day of camp when we all said goodbye until the next year
And now I'm going to a sleep-away camp for adults!

It won't technically be in the summer because Camp Nerd Fitness occurs in September, but man I am SO excited.

Minus the religious stuff and hiding body modifications, I'm pretty much expecting to relive my camp experience and in even better ways. This time I'll have my partner-in-life/crime with me which is pretty fucking awesome. We won't have to share a room with anyone because we booked a hotel room on the camp site. I really want to do the ropes course and will conquer my fears of that blob thing.

But what should I dress up as for the costume night?! Gotta think of nerdy costume ideas, brb.

Friday, February 19, 2016

That's a thing, right?

Skincare. It's something I have pretty much never given much thought to. Over the past, I've come to a few realizations about my perceptions of my body:

1. My idea of how my body should function is kinda vague and I really didn't expect to feel like things were falling apart (several bouts of tendinitis back to back, aching joints, constipation etc.) until at least 30 years old. I'm currently 27.
2. My idea of how my skin should look is COMPLETELY based on various media representations. Celebs all have flawless skin because they use make-up and probably pay somebody to figure things out for them.
3. And that goes for wrinkles too. Are forehead wrinkles in your mid/late-20's normal? Well, they must be because I have them now.

I guess I should consider myself lucky (thanks for the genetics, Mama, no seriously they're great) since my acne only crops up in response to stress/certain foods and I certainly don't look older than I am. In fact, last October, a bunch of teenagers thought I was in the late-teens. Nope, I'm actually married and have about a decade on you guys. I guess that means my personality was very accessible for them? That's good, I think. Teens are tricky. I try to treat them like rational people and that seems to help, even though everybody knows teens are pretty irrational (it's a biological thing with adolescence) and even they are aware of it even if they deny it profusely.

Anyway, after a day or two of considering to use some expensive anti-wrinkle products to try and rejuvenate a face that really needs no rejuvenating, I decided to invest in some skincare products to help protect my skin, at the very least. I didn't do much in the ways of washing/moisturizing prior to this. My forehead gets super oily, the rest of my face is probably pretty dry. I just rinse my face in the shower, maybe wipe it with a wet wash cloth, and that's it. I rarely wear make-up and when I do, it's all around my eyes anyway. I'm lazy and just want to feel like I'm taking good care of my skin without much additional effort.

I came across Fat Face Skincare. Their products aren't that much more expensive than major name brand skincare products and I really like their ingredients. Tallow in a body butter? Some might say "ew", but I say "cool!" Not only does the tallow they use come from pasture-raised cows (a good life for them), but tallow carries all kinds of helpful nutrients for the human body. I'll let you browse the site for more info.

One of the things I bought is an oil cleansing blend. If you haven't heard of it before, it's basically using an oil or mix of oils to rub on your face and then wipe off. This particular oil blend is vegan (no animal products in it or used in the making of it). The cleansing oil picks up the oils on your skin and when you wipe it off, you skin is left with the clean and healing cleansing oil instead of the dirty oil that's been on your face all day.  Apparently this works very well for removing face make-up! I usually rub my Cleansing Oil onto my face when it's dry (often after a shower), then lay a hot wash cloth over my face for 30-60 seconds (I'm impatient) to let my pores open up. I wring the cloth out first so I don't burn myself, my tap water gets very hot! After that, I just wipe the oil off with the same cloth. When the last bit of water evaporates, I follow up with the Mrryhaculous Face Cream.

The name says it all, this stuff is really miraculous. If I'm having a small acne outbreak (why is it always on my chin??), I can rub a tiny amount of this on the blemish and it's usually gone in the morning! Before this, I'd use tea tree oil, which is very drying and didn't always seem to work. A little goes a long way with this product, the recommended "pea sized" amount is possibly too much for me. I get the tiniest bit on my finger tip and rub into one area of my face at a time (cheeks, chin, nose, bridge, and forehead/temples). I use this very sparingly on my forehead because it still gets pretty oily. The rest of my face feels even softer than it usually does and I really love the smell.

I think I'll try their Stank Stop next. I have a different deodorant that's oil/shea butter based that I use right now, but I'm not completely happy with it. My pits get really irritated if I use it for a couple of weeks at a time, but without the baking soda, my BO is frankly disgusting. Your welcome for that overshare. A slightly different formula may be better for me, who knows!

So why am I bothering with this if my skin is usually fine? I guess I want to prepare my face for the future. The better care I take with my skin now, by moisturizing and protecting it from the sun, the better it'll look as I get older. Though, again, thanks to my mom, I still think I'll look pretty good in another thirty years. :)