Monday, February 21, 2011

#39--Year of the Rabbit

So today, I had a meeting with my boss, who, it turns out, is totally cool with the idea of me going to China! I can still work for him while I'm overseas making more money, and get double experience! I know that I will more than likely be extremely busy, but I am going to have sooo much fun and I'll get to take the hubby with me!

Back to my original train of thought: I had a meeting today with my boss and I decided to wear my rabbit shirt, which I got as a present from my youngest sister a couple of Christmases ago. After my meeting ended I met my dear hubby for lunch at Panda Express, where a sticker on the glass door informed me that 2011 is the year of the Rabbit. (For those of you who don't know, I was born in the year of the Rabbit, so this was kind of exciting to me). I also got a really good fortune which I cannot immediately remember (but it's upstairs on my dresser!).

So considering all my good fortune lately, I'm going to say that it is due to this being MY YEAR: The Year of the Rabbit. At the same time it sounds like a great story title. And a quick search results in not a whole lot under that or similar titles (mostly it is relating to the Chinese zodiac).

I also find it interesting that this opportunity for me to go overseas and teach in China coincides with it being a year represented by the same animal I was born under.

All of this has led me to some impromptu research on the Chinese zodiac.

The Rabbit symbolizes creativity, compassion, and sensitivity. They are friendly, outgoing and prefer the company of others. They also prefer to avoid conflict.

Rabbits believe strongly in friends and family and lacking such bonds can lead to emotional issues.

(There was a bit about not liking competitive situations, and for me at least, I would probably have to say that is not entirely true--I can be very competitive during card and board games).

Rabbits are also classy, sophisticated, expressive, well-mannered and stylish; enjoy learning about cultural issues and people from other countries (How appropriate--and true!), are articulate and good communicators, and friends and peers seek out their advice. Its also why Rabbits make excellent diplomats and politicians. Some other good careers for Rabbits include: writer (awesome!), publisher (yes!), actor, fashion designer, therapist, doctor, administrator, public relations, and teacher (woo!).

I might mention now that I've had interests in the other areas listed above: I am very intrigued by fashion, wanted to be an actress when I was little (and would often practice for the mirror and make so much noise that my mother would tell me to SHUSH!), I did contemplate going into the health field while I was in school with my main interest being in Psychology, I am very good at public relations, perform administrative tasks very well, and now, I will be teaching English in China! This is almost too cool to believe.

Apparently there are five elements that influence the Chinese zodiac signs, and those elements are Earth, Fire, Water, Wood, and Metal.

I was born in 1987, so that makes me a Fire Rabbit, which possesses the additional traits: "Fire adds spark to the Rabbit's personality and all that Fire Rabbits do. Fire compels Rabbits to seek new adventures. Prone to tantrums, Fire Rabbits prefer to avoid conflict."
I don't know about the tantrums part, but I'm sure my mom might have something different to say about that. ;-)

I feel that most of the information provided on this site (noted above) is accurate for myself, though I do not invest a lot of effort into heavily following any horoscope-type thing, though it is interesting to see how these things can be found in the people they are said to apply to.

I find it quite interesting to read about the other signs as well. It is not terribly difficult to deduce which sign is yours, or what element applies to your sign.

This is another compelling aspect of Chinese culture, and I have many more to discover before I am going on the adventure to China later this year.

There is so much to learn!

***Computer! Commence Absorption of Chinese Culture Sequence!***

Good careers for Rabbits include:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

#38: Bamboozled!

Well, life is sure something.

I've got curve balls coming in from all directions it feels like.

Mostly in the area of loans. I thought I had a lot, then I figured I had a lot less, then I discovered I had more than I thought I did the first time around. It sure is something. The phrase "hell on a cracker" comes to mind, and as I'm pretty sure I've never actually heard that spoken before, then I can't really say I've got any good examples for how to use it. Except now I'm hungry.

Today has got me thinking. A lot of things are a mystery. So much of life is based on "what we know," or "who we know." But what is knowledge really? Is it what we assume to be true? All those things we learn in elementary and high school are the basis of rudimentary knowledge, and everyone should have fair access. Yes I agree. Fair access. MMM-hmm.

Well then, why are we so focused on educating ourselves with information that is all based on assumptions, or on some STORY that someone once told to someone else?

Of course, this all makes perfect sense. In ancient Greece and Rome, philosophers debated things day in and day out. They never tired. Ideas then were so new, so fresh (so clean), that it must have been very confusing indeed to really find a way through all of the mental sludge.

They talked about politics and sex and government and democracy and what that means to a people; they talked about education and who was the better philosopher and they solved puzzles that never had a moral to them in the first place and yet they were "satisfied" on some level.

Does this mean they were not satisfied with some of their discussions? Sure. But they sat around and THOUGHT about what the meaning or implication of a certain thing was or what it could be. How convenient! To have nothing better to do with one's time than to think and to talk!

But they were in for a change I'm sure. And who's to say that Plato or Aristotle didn't hoe their fair share of dirt in their day? After all, the beauty of thought lies in that you can do it while completing some other task. For instance, right now I am thinking about 1.) how much I don't want to do the dishes, 2.) that student loans suck and how did I accrue so much to begin with, and 3.) this conversation about philosopher's that break a sweat.

If we take it one step further, we could say that all animals or organisms have "thought" on some level. They can think about what they need to do according to what nature has divined that they shall do. They can think about the pecking order in their pack or how much food they need to eat before winter or how to hide in the bushes to avoid their predators. The same creatures also have emotion, and can experience pain, sadness, loneliness, love, heartbreak, happyness and contentment.

I feel then, that it is fair to say that those same creatures as mentioned above do not think about the things that humans think about. They aren't concerned with democracy (though we might call them democratic in their actions and behaviors, that is only a projection of our understanding of things onto them as a species or group). They are not concerned with how to further GAIN knowledge. They have a certain knowledge yes, and have the capacities to learn MORE certainly, but they do not actively strive for "knowledge." They do not strive for power through knowledge, unless it was through some knowledge they already possessed. We have a curiosity, a THIRST, to know more than what our instincts are.

What then, separates us from these animals? Well, thought of course. We cannot claim to have language all to ourselves, though we might be able to claim that we have the most different TYPES of language per species (but I am not a scientist and cannot prove that, nor do I wish to assert that my claim here is entirely 100% "true").

As humans, we THINK. And with "thought" comes sophisticated things, such as the concept of wearing clothing. What other animal actively puts on a garment before associating with other animals of its own or of a different kind? None that I can think of. And sure, little monkeys might put a leaf on their head to protect them from the sun, but that is not a daily routine, and those leaves are not washed, dried and reused on a daily basis.

Something else that separates us from animals is RELIGION. So far as I know, there is not (or are not many; again, I am not a scientist) an animal or species outside of ourselves that actively worship any higher being which we have NEVER seen with our eyes. You may claim that you've had visions, or dreams, or seen pictures, or someone at some point in time DID see the diety, or the proof thereof. I am not meaning to sound like a skeptic here, or renounce my faith in any way, but I personally have not laid eyes upon the true God. I have spoken with him, or in some way communicated with him (speech wasn't really involved, it was way more internal than that, a THOUGHT) in the past, but have not witnessed any monkeys or koalas, lizards, donkeys or anything else actively building shrines and temples and churches and then congregating in their structures (or even in a holy place) for any action outside of eating, drinking, birthing, and dying. What spurs us to be so motivated to search for and believe in something that is SO truly unique to our species?

Religion cannot be limited to one or even a few human cultures. Every single human culture has had the following things: thought, language, religion, suicide, music and song, war, politics, scandal, murder, marriage, birth, and death. (I am not an anthropologist, so if I'm missing some utopian society by throwing in "suicide," "war," "scandal," and "murder," I apologize for my inaccuracy).

These are things in this life of which every person can be certain.

Again I ask you, why do we seek after these things which no other creature holds to be of any importance? Does that not mystify you? Of course it does. And if you feel you have an answer, please share it. I am open to all theories, this just happens to be mine.

I was reading an article today (I forget the title, the anthology, and the editor that put it all together), about fantasy fiction. The article discussed how we (in the royal sense) strive to discover that which is unknown to us, but that we also recognize that some things are better left undiscovered, unsaid. The question here is not how we differentiate or if we should, or whether or not one way is better than the other, but merely, WHY? Why do we have this YEARNING to know what is unknown? And better than that, WHY ARE WE SO SCARED OF IT?

Think about it!

What is one thing that is completely unknown to ANY and ALL humans?

What happens after death!

I mean, what does happen?


I know this has got to drive a lot of people crazy.

*back on track now, promise*

As I continued reading the article about curiosity and the known vs. the unknown and why we are so obsessed with it, it discussed in more detail how we (again with the royal) are not satisfied with not knowing, but if we did know, we STILL would not be satisfied!

Such a conundrum!

What a quandary!

And then there was a bit about something C.S. Lewis said, that I cannot remember exactly, about being "constricted to this earth," or something of that nature, dealing mostly around the word "constricted."

And then I thought to myself, how glorious! How marvelous and uncanny (also topics of the article)! To be set here, upon this earth; to have descended from who-knows-what (since we didn't have a written or very well structured oral language waaaaaay back in the day) and become what we are; to desire a thing called "knowledge," regardless of who bestowed it upon us or in what manner--

To think we are the only creatures we know of that are this way!


To think that, if we are so different from other creatures in life, then who can REALLY claim that we will be so similar to those same other creatures in death?

Upon death, will we cease to exist entirely? Will we go on to be with the Lord? Or will we find some other method of being released from this "constriction of life" as it were?

I think that this is enough mind-boggling for one afternoon, and now must see to the dishes that I mentioned earlier. ;-)

Monday, February 14, 2011

#37--Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!

I am now employed, and loving it so far! It is so exciting to be employed in my field, actually using the degree I went to school for, but its also very exciting to be employed after being out of work for so long. Okay, so it wasn't really THAT long, but it sure felt that way.

In the meantime, I've been working on some fictional writing of my own. I recently discovered a fiction contest, so I have been working on a piece for that. My limit is 2500 words, but when I counted them all, I have about 1100. So there is a lot of wiggle room for editing.

This last weekend the guys worked on a stop motion film that is pretty awesome. I'm not allowed to say a whole lot about it, but every part of it is going to be completely amazing. I really can't wait to see it when it is all finished.

Some goals I have for this year include:
- Finish writing my book and find a publisher (and hopefully get it printed!)
- Research and incorporate that research into the story about Jack Price.
- Finish Angela's story.
- Participate in NaNoWriMo AND SUCCEED!
- Conduct my own NaNo with my friend Grace
- Have my own home with my husband!

It sounds like a lot, but I think I can accomplish all of these things.

Well, here goes!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

#36--D&D Weekend

This last weekend was a weekend spent with friends, playing D&D. It was the second time I've ever played, and it was buckets of fun! I also have purchased my own dice, so that really helped me feel more connected as well.

Friday I had an interview and I am waiting to hear back from that. I have another one tomorrow at a different place, so I am hoping that goes well or proves to be something I am capable/want to do.

A writing contest has come to my attention, which has no entry fee, so I anticipate to be working on that soon in hopes to get something created in that way. I have also been working on the Rumplestiltskin story, and I'm becoming more wrapped up in it the more that I compose. Lately though, due to D&D weekend probably, I have been feeling creatively drained, and characters are bleeding from one into another, and becoming less distinguishable. So a brief break is in order it feels like. I'm hoping also that the editing process won't take terribly long, but who can tell at this point. In the meantime, I'm waiting to hear back from a potential publisher about whether or not they are able to accept international works (I'm assuming they are/will).

Also this weekend, I did a little dress "shopping" with Miss Kristen for her wedding, so really, I went along and gave feedback on the dresses she's tried on. It was a lot of fun, and she found (at least two, I think) that are viable options. :D

Outside of that I am feeling down still, but I am trying very hard not to let myself get discouraged about things. It is difficult to be positive when there's not much going on, and not a lot to do, and when getting out of the apartment (not counting dog walking) is a rare occurrence. I keep looking forward to the things we'll be able to accomplish soon, but all of it is pending upon employment.

There's not much else to report outside of this. Evan recently got jellyfish and they sit in our living room, providing entertainment for all. Sometimes they get stuck in the rocks on the bottom, and then they have to be pulled out from between them. The snow outside isn't melting fast enough I feel, and the weather is forecasting for more starting this afternoon and continuing all night long, with temps in the lower single digits all day tomorrow. Look at me, I feel like a weatherman. Ha. Either way, I'm tired of snow. I need some sunshine to warm myself up, and not only that, but to cheer me up too. I can't wait til I am able to go play tennis with the guys at our court at our apartment. We got all the stuff last year, but never had the opportunity to play. But this year, oh yes. Not to mention that I really want to be fit by summer, so I actually feel good in a swimsuit. I do not want to be overweight for the rest of my life. And for those of you that know me personally, and say that I don't need to lose weight, yes, yes I do. I don't intend to do this in an unhealthy manner by any means, but I can legitimately say I don't feel energized, or thin, and I don't fit in a lot of things that I want to fit in. It's pathetic, and I need to get on the ball. Which is why I'm going to finish this post right about now and turn on my Wii and workout with my Wii Active. So take that BMI! I'm coming after you, and you're going down.