Thursday, July 31, 2014

In mourning

The title of this post is drawn from one of the pieces Rachael Wickham, known to most people as Rei, created for me at a very sorrowful time in my life.

She disappeared back in February, and I have heard nothing since. No attempts to contact her or find out what happened to her have been successful. The only likely conclusion is that she's passed on, in one way or another. She loved the internet too much to stop posting, and she was even able to contact me from inside a psych ward. I called the police in the town she was living in, and there are no arrest records.

I miss you, pretty girl. You had a good heart, and you were incredibly talented. I could talk to you about my illness and know that you understood. I will not forget you, and I hope Timothy (her son) and Rob (her fiancé) know how much you loved them. I also loved you, and I am proud to say I was your friend.

In memoriam, I give you several of Rei's most beautiful art pieces:

Fairy Queen
Escaping the Starlight
Sad Queen
In Mourning
Wonderland
Entombed
I leave you with one of her very favorite performances, Sakura Maichiru ano oka de by Kagrra. This is the last live show they ever performed before their lead singer died. The sakura petals begin falling around 7:00, but it's worth watching the entire piece. The audience is quite obviously rapt, and their emotion is palpable as they sing along with the band. Enjoy.




Rest in peace, dear girl, wherever you are.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Dress patches and miscellaneous stuff

As promised a while back, a picture of the patches I sewed on my dress to hide the blotchy bleach stain:


I know, it's rather like the nightgown aesthetic, but I liked how that looked, so I decided to continue on with this dress. I also had to reattach halter straps to it as the originals were lost at some point, and those work very well. No more sliding down! I'm thrilled I can keep wearing this dress, as it's a favorite of mine and I was sad at the thought of no longer being able to use it. I'll take a picture of me wearing it when I can get somewhere with a decent length mirror. The ones that cut you off at the hip are a wee bit useless when the patches are on the bottom half of the dress.

At some point I may experiment with patches done in my sort of signature artistic style, but this is not that time. I'm not feeling the creative spark lately, and I kind of need it to do stuff like that.

In other news, my shoulder is doing better. I'm still trying to be gentle with it, but I think the weekend of rest paid off. Now if only it will heal the rest of the way! I'm going back to dance this week. I was going to take a makeup ballet class on Monday, but my shoulder was paining me after doing a lot of work, so I decided to wait for next week to take the makeup. I will just have to be very careful in modern and be sure to not strain anything. Ballet should be fine.

Also, I have stopped crying all the damn time. YAY! I don't know what was going on with that, but it seems to have vanished. Maybe dance helped? 

And if you enjoy herbal blends (not teas, but sometimes called teas), you might like this delicious combination from Teavana: Raspberry Balsamico and Limeade Twist, mixed 1:1. It is awesome! I've had it both warm and cold, and while I generally prefer my tealike beverages to be warm, the cold was excellent as well. I've got to get some more myself, as I'm nearly out. Sad.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Lady of Shalott

In case someone who reads this blog has not yet come across the beauty that is Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem, here is The Lady of Shalott:

Part I.

On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And thro' the field the road runs by
           To many-tower'd Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
           The island of Shalott.

Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Thro' the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
           Flowing down to Camelot.
Four gray walls, and four gray towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
           The Lady of Shalott.

By the margin, willow-veil'd
Slide the heavy barges trail'd
By slow horses; and unhail'd
The shallop flitteth silken-sail'd
           Skimming down to Camelot:
But who hath seen her wave her hand?
Or at the casement seen her stand?
Or is she known in all the land,
           The Lady of Shalott?

Only reapers, reaping early
In among the bearded barley,
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly,
           Down to tower'd Camelot:
And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers "'Tis the fairy
           Lady of Shalott."

Part II.

There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
           To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
           The Lady of Shalott.

And moving thro' a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near
           Winding down to Camelot:
There the river eddy whirls,
And there the surly village-churls,
And the red cloaks of market girls,
           Pass onward from Shalott.

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepherd-lad,
Or long-hair'd page in crimson clad,
           Goes by to tower'd Camelot;
And sometimes thro' the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two:
She hath no loyal knight and true,
           The Lady of Shalott.

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror's magic sights,
For often thro' the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights
           And music, went to Camelot:
Or when the moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed;
"I am half-sick of shadows," said
           The Lady of Shalott.

Part III.

A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley-sheaves,
The sun came dazzling thro' the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
           Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A redcross knight for ever kneel'd
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
           Beside remote Shalott.

The gemmy bridle glitter'd free,
Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden Galaxy.
The bridle-bells rang merrily
           As he rode down to Camelot:
And from his blazon'd baldric slung
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And as he rode his armour rung,
           Beside remote Shalott.

All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewell'd shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burn'd like one burning flame together,
           As he rode down to Camelot.
As often thro' the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
           Moves over still Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glow'd;
On burnish'd hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow'd
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
           As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flash'd into the crystal mirror,
"Tirra lirra," by the river
           Sang Sir Lancelot.

She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces thro' the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
           She look'd down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack'd from side to side;
"The curse is come upon me," cried
           The Lady of Shalott.

Part IV.

In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale-yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining,
Heavily the low sky raining
           Over tower'd Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And round about the prow she wrote
           The Lady of Shalott.

And down the river's dim expanse –
Like some bold seër in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance –
With a glassy countenance
           Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
           The Lady of Shalott.

Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right –
The leaves upon her falling light –
Thro' the noises of the night
           She floated down to Camelot:
And as the boat-head wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her singing her last song,
           The Lady of Shalott.

Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darken'd wholly,
           Turn'd to tower'd Camelot;
For ere she reach'd upon the tide
The first house by the water-side,
Singing in her song she died,
           The Lady of Shalott.

Under tower and balcony,
By garden-wall and gallery,
A gleaming shape she floated by,
A corse between the houses high,
           Silent into Camelot.
Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and burgher, lord and dame,
And round the prow they read her name,
           The Lady of Shalott.

Who is this? and what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they cross'd themselves for fear,
           All the knights at Camelot:
But Lancelot mused a little space;
He said, "She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
           The Lady of Shalott."

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Shoulder issues

I've stayed home the past couple of days because of this shoulder injury. It doesn't seem like such a thing should keep one at home, but the issue is not the shoulder. It's the rest of my body on the other side that is making up for the right shoulder. 

This is very similar to when I had neck surgery. The right side of my neck couldn't take any pressure at all, what with the stitches and such, so the left side had to take over responsibility for everything, and dear lord did it cramp up. It almost hurt more than the surgery itself. 

In this case, I can't put any weight on my right side or reach my right arm behind myself as if to scratch my back without pain, so I just kind of keep it pinned to my side. I think the horrible left side cramping was from doing too much work on Monday involving stuff where my left side had to do most of the work, whether it seemed like it or not, so when I woke up on Tuesday I could barely stand for the cramps. 

Let me tell you, I am quite sick of this nonsense already. "I am half-sick of shadows," said the Lady of Shalott. Well, this isn't made of shadows, but I'm ready to be done with it and its crap. I sent my doctor an email about it, and if it doesn't heal itself up in another week or so I'm going to have to go in and get the thing looked at. 

I'm sure it's either a strain or a slightly torn rotator cuff, both of which are supposed to heal themselves if given sufficient time and NSAIDs, along with ice, elevation, etc. We put a frozen bag of corn on it last night until my skin was red and numb (despite the corn's being wrapped in a hand towel), and then Patrick, my hero, got to wash my hair in the shower as I couldn't do it myself. 

Sigh. 

I could not go to modern dance tonight as so much of it involves one's arms and upper body, but I think I will attend ballet tomorrow and do as much as I'm able (i.e. one-armed). Most of the stuff we are doing in ballet thus far is leg-centric, so I think it will be okay. I emailed them to see what they thought about it, since I don't wish to fall behind, and they said just doing what I could was preferable to not attending (I agree). Apparently they've had people take class despite wearing a cast. This is not that bad. I've just got to remember that I can't do the various arm positions with my right arm. Maybe I should put it in a sling so I remember? The worrisome thing is forgetting about my issue, doing stuff that aggravates it without remembering, and then it'll refuse to heal for even longer. NO, ME. BAD. 

In good news, it rained today! Gloriously, poundingly, beautifully. For hours. I loved every drop hitting the skylights and the leaves outside. Do it again tomorrow, weather! 

I dare you. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

I do not feel well. In all sorts of fun ways.

I have a cold. At least, I think I do. I'm constantly exhausted, I'm sniffly, occasionally have a cough, and my head hurts. Particularly in the sinus region. And I am that special brand of stupid that only comes with being congested.

Further, I have a giant bruise on my knee and a sore right shoulder, both from modern dance. The shoulder thing happened two classes ago, when we were doing pushups. I think my right shoulder was out of its socket for one of the pushups, as it hurt a lot as soon as I started putting weight on it. Normally I don't even notice when my shoulders pop out, as I'm very loose-jointed, but I am also not normally doing pushups, because they suck. It has continued to hurt through today, and it's painful to lean on it, use it for stuff, etc.

WAAAAAAH.

My knee is feeling better and the swelling has gone down. I think this was from repeatedly banging it on the wooden studio floor while we learned a different movement combination. I didn't notice at the time, but later that week, when I was in ballet, I happened to look down and see what looked like a big blotch of dust on my pink tights. When I changed after class, it was apparent that said blotch was indeed a lovely discolored bruise and not dirt after all. Nice.

I went to bed early last night and probably got something like 12-13 hours of sleep. I could go back to sleep right now, no problem, but I have work to do, so awake I shall stay. At least for now.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Angel flights, Memorial Day pictures, and other things that make me cry

I saw these on my dad's blog a while back, and I meant to reblog them, but then I forgot. So here, better late than never:




The Angel Flight song makes me cry every time I hear it. And there really are flares that are set off to create the angel shape behind the plane. The crying comes both from the beauty of the gesture as well as sadness for the fallen heroes the plane is carrying and what could have happened to the former soldiers in my family. Also what did happen to my grandfather, who was a POW during WWII and suffered through the Bataan Death March, only to end up in a horrible work camp. Miraculously, he made it through. I remember watching the tv during Desert Storm with Mom and my sister, staring at the anti-aircraft fire video taken with night vision (so all the rounds looked green), and terrified that we'd hear my dad had been killed.

Stevie Nicks put it well in her song Desert Angel:

So where is my father? 
Where has he gone?
Where is my husband?
And where is my son?
Where is my father?
Where has he gone?
What is it that happened here?
Is it real, this war?
This can't be happening.

I've been more susceptible than usual to emotionally charged topics. I'm not sure why. Maybe I'm depressed. It's been going on for weeks. I'm either crying or trying to avoid crying all the time, it seems. Anything at all can set me off. I'm not off my meds. I'm not suicidal. I'm not even engaging in self-harm. I'm just... trying to stay afloat in this endless ocean of sadness. Grief for myself, for other people, for things that happened and things that didn't. The only technique I've found to stave off the incessant cry-need is to bite the inside of my mouth hard enough to make it hurt, but not enough to draw blood. The pain takes my mind off the emotional stuff long enough for the crying urge to fade sufficiently.

I cried in the shower last night for a while, and although I got some temporary relief from my constantly traumatized mindset, it's back to its usual state today. Why is this happening? I'm supposed to be better with the drug cocktail I'm on, not worse. I guess it's better in that there's no suicidality or self-harming, but this deep, endless sorrow is wearing on me.

In case anyone is feeling this way, here is the necessary disclaimer: I am not saying that my emotional problems are in any way equal to the sadness and intense grief experienced by those who have lost a loved one or otherwise suffered something (or multiple somethings) incredibly traumatic. This is not intended to make any of those issues in any way less or even equal to what I am currently experiencing. I know this.

I have no good reason for my current mindset. I don't know why I am feeling this way. It is frustrating. Is this some sort of reversed Seasonal Affective Disorder? I never get the winter blues like a lot of people do. Instead I feel miserable and don't want to go outside during the summer months. The sun hurts my eyes, and everything is too bright and sharp and loud. The ground is hard and the air never smells like rain. Maybe that's why I cry. Because there is no water falling from the sky.

I miss the rain.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

La créativité

I have this black dress that I've owned for years. I forget when I even bought it. Anyway, it came with these halter straps that buttoned onto the top of the dress, and I of course lost a button and then lost the entire halter. Oh well.

SO! I tried it on again a couple days ago, and it mostly fits, except it's a bit loose now, so if I raise my arms it slides down over my bra. Not good. I didn't want to get rid of it, and I also didn't want to buy another one, since they don't even sell that style anymore and I don't particularly like any of the ones currently on offer.

I thought about it, and I decided to sew black ribbons to the front and back in order to make straps. It also has a sort of weird splotchy part on the front bottom left from when I wore it to work and somehow got bleach on it (I tried covering it with Sharpie; this does not work). It's darker than when it was just freshly bleached (bleach turns black orange for some reason), but it's still weird looking. I've cut up a bunch of little patches, drawn rats on a couple, and the word "sleep" on another, along with two hearts. I'm going to sort of scatter them on the blotch, and they should cover it almost completely. Plus I'll have a completely unique dress!

I wondered if having color (red and white) on a Little Black Dress sort of defeated the point, but then I thought that LBDs are generally worn only with other black stuff (shoes, etc), so a bit of red and white wouldn't really matter. I began sewing the patches on last night after deciding on a layout and pinning them, and I'll get the ribbon tonight either before or after dance class.

I shall post pictures when I'm done. If you hate it, don't tell me.