Sunday, September 28, 2014

It's my life

I'm 40 years old.  I'm divorced. I make a good life for my daughter and myself, even if it isn't the life I had intended it to be.  I've evolved over the years, becoming less conservative and more of a feminist.  I've realized that things I thought were black and white, aren't.  That there are shades of grey in life and even in the best people and institutions.  I've learned that good intentions aren't sufficient.  I've learned that it's really ok, and in fact it's GOOD to question.  I've learned that the best thing to do is not worry about the other people's sins, but just to love them.  I've learned that I don't like bigotry or sexism, and I've learned that many people don't want to acknowledge that these things exist. I've learned that if someone's actions don't cause harm, they are none of my business.  I've learned that people have some crazy ideas about what harm is.  Or isn't.

And here's the thing I'm still trying to learn.  I only need to let those people that I want in my life.  I am under no obligation to allow damaging people to be involved with me, whether they are damaging by intent or otherwise. And so, I am going to clean out my life.  If your views are denigrating to mine, you're out.  If you open conversation with me and then refuse to listen, you're out.  If you feel the need to pat me on my silly woman's head for having issues with the patriarchy, you're out.  If you want to tell me that sexism and bigotry and classism don't really exist anymore and it's just me falling prey to the lefty agenda, you're out.

If you don't want to follow the path I'm on, that is absolutely ok with me.  You choose your own path, but stop trying to drag me off of mine. Stop trying to convince me that I'm ill informed.  If you know me at all, you know that's false.  Stop trying to convince me that it's because I don't have enough faith.  What I don't have is blind obedience, but then, I'm not supposed to.

If you don't care for me the way I fundamentally am?  GO AWAY.  I've no intention of changing. I've arrived at this person that I am with a lot of effort, a lot of education, a lot of chasing knowledge and a lot of eye opening experiences.  I've still got a lot to learn, I acknowledge this.  I still have a lot of work to do, I'm aware.  But I really like who I've become and if you don't, I don't want you around me.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Opera

So, I work for an opera company, as a cutter/draper, which means it's my responsibility to make the patterns and cut out the costumes for the female characters in the shows.

It's a behind the scenes job, obviously, and unless an audience member really knows what they are looking at, my job doesn't often get noticed.  This is as it should be, because as a costumer, my work is not meant to be the focal point of a show, it is meant to support the overall spectacle and concept of the show.

However, once in a while, those of us who are backstage get to show off what we do in a more specific sense.

Right now, we are in the last couple of weeks of the build for Madame Butterfly, an extremely popular Puccini opera.  This show is being built completely new.  There are approximately 30 people in this particular cast, and with the multiple costumes on some characters, it equals out to around 40 costumes.  My particular responsibility includes about 100 pieces, kimonos, under kimonos and obis, as well as myriad smaller bits.

This has been a slightly more difficult build for me than some of the others, because, while I am well versed in period western women's wear, I am not so much in Japanese kimono.  This show has required rather more research than I generally have to do.  There is a lot of symbolism in kimono and obi, and when one is trying to portray things as accurately as possible (with obvious licence for theatre) one needs to be aware of this symbolism.  Not only that, but I know what proportions should be for western women's fashion, I know how much fullness and how much ease is needed or wanted, depending on the period of history I'm doing.  I don't have that automatic knowledge about Japanese clothing.

In addition to all of this, we didn't start the show with fabrics ready to cut.  Everything had to be painted and dyed before it could be made into kimono.  Our crafts technician is amazing and painting/dyeing is her forte.  We started with white silk and ended with the most vibrantly beautiful hand painted kimonos we've ever had.

And, as I was saying before, sometimes we get to be in front of the camera (literally and figuratively) to show people just what it is we do.  For some reason, this show has been particularly popular, publicity-wise and we have been interviewed by  Salt Lake Magazine, Fox 13 News and the Salt Lake Tribune.  It's been fun to show off a little, but I think we'll all be happy when we can get back to being backstage, working our magic.

In the meantime, here's a few pics of said magic.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cleaning out

Sometimes, you have to just clean out the crap that's dragging you down, whether it's people, or things.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Workin' hard

So, I've been thinking about what it will take to go back to school and get my nursing degree.  On the one hand, it seems like a really good idea.  Nursing, then possibly a midwife degree is a really stable career, especially here in Utah, and the pay and benefits are certainly better than what one can make in the arts.  I love the arts and it would be so hard to give that up, but raising a child alone isn't easy financially and it will only get more expensive.

On the other hand, when I consider how much work will be involved, it worries me.  I have a little daughter.  She needs me and my time.  Will going to school take too much time away from her?  Will I even be able to get into nursing school?  What if I don't?  I have a year's worth of pre-reqs to do before I can even apply for nursing school and that would mean quitting my job and taking out loans in order to do that, and then if I didn't get into nursing school after that?  Then what?  I would have a significant amount of money in loans and no way to pay them off.  I wouldn't have a job, I wouldn't have a way to support myself or my daughter.

It's scary, y'all.  I know I would be a good nurse, I know I would do well in school.  Even though my degree is in the arts, I've always had a penchant for science.  But, I'm not so young anymore.  I don't have any healthcare experience, I already have a degree and I graduated from college the first time nearly 20 years ago. What would possess them to accept me to nursing school?  It isn't easy to get in.

Do I dare risk my stable, albeit not well paying job to take out major loans for something that may not work out?  It was different when I was young and going to college the first time.  Then, I was young and unattached with no obligations except to myself.  And being young, I had a hell of a lot more energy than I do now.  I worked 2 jobs and went to school full time, paid for my schooling, had a scholarship and didn't take out any loans.  That won't be the case this time.  If I'm going to nursing school full time, I won't be able to work, because I will be in school all day and I need to be home with my wee lass at night.  Well, and I want to be home with her.  So, that means loans for tuition and loans for living expenses.

Now, I know how to be poor, I know how to live cheaply, but it isn't easy, and it's very stressful. And I'm looking at 3 years here, at the least, before I'm a nurse, and then two more years if I want to be a midwife.

I don't know.  It's discouraging.  On the one hand, I really want to do it.  It would be nice to have a well paying career, a very stable job, doing something I enjoy doing, helping others and getting paid to do it.  On the other hand, it's such a risk, and if it fails, I am screwed.  Ugh.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Relationships and Wherefores

I've had some interesting conversations with a few people lately about relationships and why they are or aren't important.  I think it just depends on one's viewpoint, really, about what makes something important, or why it might be important.

So, here's some perspectives.

I am the sort of person who cares about others, sometimes to my detriment.  I tend to forgo things that I want for myself, things I want to do, places I want to visit, etc, if someone needs me or needs what I have.   This is not always a good thing, because it often means I say yes to things I shouldn't, wind up with my plate far too full and unable to do my best at the things I should.  It also means I often don't get what I want or what I deserve.  And, human nature being what it is, people tend to take advantage of that.  But, I can't help it.  I care about people, I want to help if I can.  I need to help if I can.

I dated a man who also cares deeply for people.  His career is basically finding ways to make it easier to care for people (he studies Health Economics).  He is politically and socially active in caring for people.  He writes and researches and publishes new ways to make it easier and more efficient to care for people.

We share a lot in common, this way, caring for and about other people, in a way that takes up much of our time.  But, we differ greatly in one very specific way when it comes to this.

The way I care for people is on an individual basis.  I make the most difference that way.  I am invested in the relationships I have with people, because I care for people.  That is where I choose to spend my effort, on the individual.  So, relationships are important to me.

For him, the good of the many outweighs the good of the one.  He feels he makes the most difference being invested in the research and the projects and the publishing and teaching that he does.  And, he's likely right. But, what it means for him is that relationships aren't the important thing.  They take time away from the important thing.

But, I don't consider relationships important just because of the effect that I can have on others, they are important for me, as well.  I enjoy them, I like having friends, I enjoy having a significant other, I like the benefits I gain from them, and I'm willing to put a great deal of effort into those that I think will go somewhere, or be something.  It's vital to me to have these relationships, because of what they do for me. Of course, I think the benefit is mutual...

He considers relationships of this sort to be a luxury.  And perhaps he is right.  A real relationship requires time and effort and sacrifice.  Having a relationship like that means that time is taken from elsewhere to foster it, which means that some of the things that he does to try and help others wouldn't get done.  In order to have meaningful relationships, he would have to cut back on the other stuff that he does.

But, is it selfish?  I'm in many of the relationships/friendships that I am in because they are beneficial or enjoyable to ME.  If they stopped being that way, I would stop being in them.  I put out the effort that I do because the payoff for ME is very good, although it is for the other party as well, I think.

So, are relationships a luxury?  Are they selfish?  If they take one away from doing good on a grander scale, but they are more enjoyable, is that selfish?

Why are relationships important?

Sunday, September 7, 2014


My girl is home after being gone for three days with her dad.  I don't like it when she is gone, it feels terribly empty.
I waited out on the sidewalk when I heard the truck coming down the street.  She jumped out and ran to me, jumping into my arms to give me a giant hug and a kiss, with a "I had SO much fun, but I missed you, mamma!"
Yes, this is what happiness looks like.  How lucky I am that she is mine.

Saturday, September 6, 2014


Why does asking why make people decide that I must not believe in the Gospel or in God or prophets? Since when are we supposed to be blind sheeple?