Categotry Archives: journal

Journal posts for CaySwann

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Responding (or Not) to Body Shaming or Cat Calls

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Someone posted on a Facebook forum, describing a humiliating experience she went through today. While bicycling (and then locking up her bike), a gang of young men made increasingly aggressive cat calls and noises at her. She usually finds it easy to ignore them, but it disturbed her more today. She wrote to the group partially because we can empathize and maybe we might have advice on how she could have handled it differently.

My response apparently struck a chord, because just a few hours later, it now has DOZENS of “likes” on Facebook. I thought maybe some of you might like to consider this, too. Here’s what I wrote to her.

Here’s the thing: NONE OF THAT WAS YOUR FAULT. It’s not your fault they taunt women. It’s not your fault they taunt fat women. AND THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH ANY REACTION YOU CHOOSE. You get to choose what you do. Regardless whether you walk away or turn and face them or say something or not say something, YOUR CHOICE IS NEVER WRONG. We’re not to be blamed for walking away, or being silent, or speaking back, or speaking up — because the confrontation was never about us. **HUGS**

Remember, what matters most is that you get a chance to take back YOUR CHOICES from the pressure of society or family or friends or media or strangers. It’s entirely up to you if you want to smile, or if you want to exercise, or if you want to travel alone, or if you want to pursue a specific career or education, or if you want to be in an intimate relationship, or if you want to change relationship status, or if you prefer to be alone at this time, or if you want to eat this instead of that, or if you prefer to…. You see my point?

While there might be limitations in your life that are outside your control whether that’s a medical condition or a learning disability or a minority status that affects your very day-to-day existence, and others may have privilege that you don’t have access to, what you DO HAVE is personal autonomy. There are many decisions which are *entirely yours* to make.

And if you ever need an ally to support you, please feel free to consider asking me to be there. Because it’s very possible I would be honored to be there to support your right to make your own personal choices.

path_choose

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Word of the Year for 2016: Habits

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I am not a person who works on the schedule for “Resolutions” on January 1. Many of you know that my two rules in class are, “No Pressure, No Shame” and “This Body, This Day.” It’s about living honestly *here and now* as much as possible, and trying to be at peace with “what happens, happens.”

However, I have also selected words that characterize where I am headed into a calendar year. One year it was DANCE, the next was FOCUS, followed by CREATE, and I started 2015 thinking about MASTERY (with a sub theme of COLOR!). Not sure how much of my theme words shaped 2015, although my October craft theme was “Finish the UnFinished Objects.” And I feel good about how that turned out.

Now I look at 2016 and I have some ideas about the year, most notably the word HABITS. I see some specific plans for the habits I want to shape and adjust and encourage. Paired with my top two rules, I think that I am looking forward to 2016.

I just wanted to wish you all a wonderful evening, however you observe December 31. And I hope that I will see many of your throughout 2016… A habit of seeing friends and family in person, whenever I can. 💛💚💙💜❤💖

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Live Updates from Santa True and Mrs Claus

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I have the good fortune to have a Sweetie who is a professional Storyteller and now a professional Santa. This year, I posted some “live updates” on the road between several gigs, just to friends on Facebook. They were so well loved, I have collected them here in one blog post. Enjoy!

* * * * *

Sunday, December 20, 2015 – 7:03 AM

When Santa is facing a daunting day, gallavanting around the known world, and it is NOT an office day job kind of day, sometimes Mrs. Claus grabs the day and makes it hers. We have five gigs today, two with tight travel times. I’m up, showered, dressed, been organizing my gear, answering gig lead emails [decline, sorry, already booked] for Santa, and will be starting my first cup of coffee after these stripey socks are on. On Dasher, On Dancer! #MrsClausTacklesTheDay

From a working weekend at the Farmers' Market
From a working weekend at the Farmers’ Market

Sunday, 8:34 AM

So then I packed for the day…

Ready for my day: Spinning, Reading, Snacks, Blankie, Hat #MrsClausTacklesTheDay
Ready for my day: Spinning, Reading, Snacks, Blankie, Hat #MrsClausTacklesTheDay

Sunday, 11:05 AM

First Santa trip, arrived VERY early, parked briefly near beach to check messages and don the jacket on the Claus before delivering him to the door. Then off to Vons for free parking, bathroom break, and noms for the car. Answered another gig lead (sorry, decline, already booked), and texted next Appt to assure him we see him next. Back now to pick up the Big Red Man. 🎅

Sunday, 1:01 PM

Second gig: We got to town 90 minutes early so time for filling up the car with gas, finding a private bathroom for Santa, and enjoying a car picnic together before he suits up again. 💙⛄💙❄💙

Sunday, 1:36 PM

More fun for Mrs. Claus: Answering texts, emails from two inboxes, and messages on a FB page, while the correspondents on the other end are accidentally texting Santa instead of their Mom. *cue gentle laughter here* ….plus *lots of encouraging emojis* … Oh, and juggling two phones. 🙂

Sunday, 2:07 PM

What Mrs. Claus sees from a parked car outside a Santa appointment... #MrsClausTacklesTheDay
What Mrs. Claus sees from a parked car outside a Santa appointment… #MrsClausTacklesTheDay

Sunday, 3:33 PM

Third gig: On the way, we realize we have an extra hour to find a Santa-safe bathroom. We also realize we are driving past a friend’s house in 10 minutes. One phone call later, we are safely off to see a dear, trusted friend for 5 minutes, just for a pit stop. Yay friends! Now we have arrived 45 minutes early, found a shady space behind a school sports field to relax in the car, text the hostess, and post to Facebook. Also, breaking Santa’s heart because we can hear the “sonar ice cream truck” and we cannot go buy any soft serve cones. Poor Santa.

Sunday, 4:01 PM

About to go surprise a house full of kids 💖💖💖
About to go surprise a house full of kids 💖💖💖

Sunday, 6:21 PM

Fourth gig. Arrived in time to search out restrooms and dinner. Poor competent manager was training highly incompetent new guy. Order took 12 minutes to fill. *sigh* Back to site, perfect parking lot to prep Big Man in Red. Customer phoned as I picked up phone to text her. Fingers crossed there are a lot of happy rhythmic gymnasts and gymnastic parents, on the Armenian side of town.

Sunday, 8:16 PM

Arrived 30 minutes before fifth and final Santa gig tonight. Gated community (didn’t warn us) but we were able to piggy back in on the car ahead of us (yay). Houses had *lighted* house numbers (yay) but no sign of *our* assigned house (boo). Nice host answered texts immediately, gave us directions (yay), and met us at sidewalk (ah ha, it *was* a hidden house behind the last one, around the blind corner). Big Man in Red back into fancy duds, Jingle Bell bandolier, and walk back to the waiting new hosts (likely some family brothers or uncles). Now Mrs. Claus waits and prepares to whisk him back home again, jiggedy jig. #ActionSanta #MrsClausTacklesTheDay

Sunday,9:29 PM

Home from the final gig. Frozen things back in the freezer, cold things back in the fridge, furry velvet things soon to be on hangars. Details in spreadsheets to tally, tomorrow’s trip-tickets to print. But apparently the last family was filled with all the love and appreciation that gigs 3 & 4 were missing (because of wild, rambunctious behavior). Bonus for cross-cultural love: The Indian matriarchs in exquisite saris for photos with Santa. I cannot wait to see a pic or two from them, fingers crossed they may share them with us. 💖💙💖❄💙⛄🎅💖

Monday, December 21 – 7:55 AM

So. Sleepy. But, the handwashed Santa clothing was tossed in the dryer in the 4am hour, today’s trip-tickets were created and printed, showered and dressed in the 5am hour, dry shirt and gloves retrieved and put back for Santa, computer packed up, breakfast and coffee, the coffee fairies brought a fresh cup to Santa in bed, drive over the coastal valleys, sunrise view on the ocean, and now I am at the train station so I can relax for the last part of my commute. Santa has a long trip to San Diego and back today, and I can run errands on my lunch while holding down my day job. Spent part of my drive day dreaming about having a home with a washer/dryer inside. Oh, domesticity.

Tuesday, December 22 – 6:17 AM

The early-morning Mrs Claus fairy today fixed a button on the Big Man’s coat, updated an event printout with children’s names, found Big C’s reindeer umbrella, and sorted more email into folders. Lead Elf last night set up the trees at home so we have pretty lights now. 🎄🎄🎄

Thursday, December 24 – 3:15 PM

In the world of “Live Updates from Santa True and Mrs Claus,” today’s adventures are once again a five-gig day. Round One: Prep. Shower, nap, breakfast in bed (that was nice!), then laundry, computer work to finish up the trip tickets for the day. Santa braved the grocery store and packed the cooler of food snacks for our car picnics. Then a fresh bleaching of all the roots, and we have achieved SNOWY WHITE HAIR again. Pack the car, endure some small traffic, then up the windy roads near the Hollywood bowl, sorta. He’s in with children now, then we go back towards home for his 2-5.

Five minutes later

“Shower then nap” happens when you normally get up in the 4am hour and on a sleep in day you are wide awake at 6am so you shower early just because. Then you crawl back in bed and blissfully pass out until someone brings you coffee and breakfast in bed two hours later. 💛💛💛

Thursday, 3:57 PM

First gig a success, although funny thing afterwards. There was a round about down from the home, so I directed Santa to walk down the hill while I flipped the car around to pick him up. Suddenly the neighborhood was filled with people and cars. One Mom stopped to brag that her daughter gave up getting presents so she could buy presents for all the babies at the pre-natal ward. We stayed so they could take pictures with Santa. Then we had to wait for them to drive away so Santa could take off his coat and drive back down the hill.

The family at the first stop was lovely and very international. Santa and the Mom got to chat about Swedish Christmas traditions. Go international fun!

Thursday, 5:47 PM

There was a nice gap between gigs 1 and 2 today, so we were able to go home, heat up some sweet tamales, and have dinner before heading back out. Now we have arrived 20 min early before gig #2, and are patiently awaiting show time. Houses 2, 3, and 4 are back to back tonight, so it was nice to relax briefly indoors with food and coffee. #MrsClausTacklesTheDay

Thursday, 6:15 PM

How #crafty Mrs Claus spends the time in the car, waiting between gigs... Getting ready to ply these singles. #textiles #spinning
How #crafty Mrs Claus spends the time in the car, waiting between gigs… Getting ready to ply these singles. #textiles #spinning

Thursday, 7:09 PM

Gig #3, arrived 20 minutes early and the dad was happy to have Santa come in 15 minutes early. It is very odd to realize how working-class my Sweetie is, working hard as a single Dad, and we live so *adjacent* to SO MUCH wealth. This home is not only in a gated community with a guard who needed to see our ID plus have our names on the guest list, but this is HORSE country. Huge, sprawling estates, large roads with room for horses to be out on the paths, and coordinated home signs with the street addresses and the family names on each. Santa works hard for the money, and these people can afford him. I suppose that is a good match. I will continue plying my handspun yarn in the car, in the near dark, by the light of the moon (and the phone screen keyed up to our next gig already).

Thursday, 8:29 PM

Our house was between gigs 3 and 4 and we had an hour but only a 15 min drive. So we stopped at home, quick bio break in privacy, said hello to the Boyo, and headed back out. Arrived 20 minutes early, had time for a quick car selfie then he’s headed indoors. I am in the car, grateful fory blanket and shawl… The temps are rapidly dropping and the wind has kicked up. It’s now about 49°F outside, but feels more like 40°F.

Thursday, 8:42 PM

….And the Sheriff just stopped to check on the “suspicious lady sitting in the dark in a car.” I explained that “Santa is visiting a home two doors down, for 30 minutes. No, not friends of our, he’s a professional Santa. Yes, there are five children there, and he’s here for 30 minutes. (Brandishes official paperwork for gig.) No sir, we don’t live in this neighborhood but we do live in [neighborhood only 20 minutes from here]. Yes sir, Merry Christmas to you, too.” #MrsClausTacklesTheDay

Thursday, 9:05 PM

OMG the adorable nosy neighbors just came out to apologize and offer me a cup of coffee!!! Nice List for certain!!!

In a travel mug! Which they told me to keep!! 💖💖💖

Thursday, 10:04 PM

So house #4 absolutely adored Santa and sent him on his way with a Plate of cookies. Of course, I was able to say, “Would you like a sip of coffee with your cookies?”

House #5 was back again the other direction, past our house, so once again we were able to stop at home long enough for quick bio breaks, drop off the cookies and coffee (because, too many things to juggle in the car) and hit the road again. This last stop has a mom that has been *giddy* with excitement in her texts and emails. The dad met us out front (ostensibly out to go to the store) to sneak Santa in the back door. Then dad snuck back out to me (with the balance due plus a tip) and was headed back to go enjoy the Santa visit. He’s Jewish, so I am certain this whole evening has amused him greatly. I can only imagine what giddy-Mom is like. #ActionSanta #MrsClausTacklesTheDay

Thursday, 11:24 PM

Plying in the dark, in the car, while out as Mrs Claus #crafty #textiles #spinning #MrsClausTacklesTheDay
Plying in the dark, in the car, while out as Mrs Claus #crafty #textiles #spinning #MrsClausTacklesTheDay

Thursdsy, 11:33 PM

And… We are home. Gear is stowed, and everyone in the house needs to get to sleep… Because if we are awake, we know that Santa cannot come by to bring presents and fill our stockings. *wink*

Goodnight, my dear friends.

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Ideas about Organizing

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Jan2: Ideas about Organizing #Mastery - "Make it Easy, Make it Fun." If not Easy, then Simple. If not Fun, then Pretty. #Guidelines
Jan2: Ideas about Organizing #Mastery – “Make it Easy, Make it Fun.” If not Easy, then Simple. If not Fun, then Pretty. #Guidelines

My friend Sarah sent me a link to Time Management as an Art Project. At first glance, it was not just an article to skim. I wanted to really digest the material. How do I learn? I take notes.

So I grabbed a notebook and made bullet points as I was reading. When I got to the Chronodex image, I had to draw it myself twice to really understand what they were going for. Certainly, if the author is recommending I use this as an artistic and organizational tool, I should know what I’m drawing. And by learning to draw the item and examinging how people have been using it (as evidenced in their Flickr images), I immediately figured out that (a) that’s too cumbersome for me and (b) the core idea is to have a visual record that YOU enjoy. I love color. Heck, I love color-coding! But I have occasionally tried to bog myself down to extensive tracking systems (by hand) and recognized that *MY* preferred methods are much faster.

In fact, the biggest trick in my organizational systems over the past two decades has been to ditch the old paper techniques (oh noes!) in favor of better and faster digital methods. As cell phones and computers get closer and closer together, there’s just no reason for me to have a large paper planner anymore. (Sorry, Franklin Planner. We had many good years together. And your emails and displays in Staples still tempt me. But my digital life is faster.)

But digesting the article (into my handwritten notes because, still, I think through writing [or typing]) did help me hit on the crux of the issues. I finally jotted two Guidelines to help me with decision making and organization.

The Guidelines

My first list:

  • Make it Easy.
  • Make it Fun.

My revised list:

  • Make it Simple.
  • Make it Pretty.

Why did I need a revised list? Because not everything that is Simple is Easy. In fact, many things that are Simple in principle are not that Easy to accomplish. Consider fitness plans. Simple = “Exercise regularly.” Easy = Skipping the Exercise. It requires Discipline, might even be considered Difficult = Prioritizing your day so that Exercise happens. Or consider housework plans. Simple = Wash all the dishes before bed. Easy = Go to bed with a messy sink.

Although I’d like to make things easy, I think I can agree that I can make things simple.

So the second principle I wrote down reads “Make it fun.” But again, not everything is fun. So if I cannot make it fun (emptying the trash regularly), I can work off the principle that it makes things pretty (look! a clean trash can! yay!) Taking notes might not be fun. But if I use the right color post-it notes or colored pens, the notes could be pretty.

Make it Simple. Make it Pretty.

What are your guiding principles? Are the simple things easy?

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Word for 2015

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Several ideas have been rattling around my head this week. And distilling the notions down to one theme word for the year has been harder than usual.

At first, I pictured the notion “Tying a bow” on something. This more than just moving from UFOs (a common acronym among knitters and other Makers for “unfinished objects”) to Finished Objects. I want to capture the fine details. I want *CRAFTSMANSHIP* in my work. I want those, “And then a miracle occurred” moments to show loving care, preparedness, mastery. Mastery of fine stitches.

In garb, I want an attention to detail. Full kits. Beautiful seams. Perfect shoes.

In dance, I want regular drills and rehearsals. I want classes (in classrooms!) that enrich my students. I want a website with beautiful photos of me in costume. I want well-fitted, custom embroidered cholis.

I want project plans, thoughtful lists, steps to completion. I want cozy work spaces that have my tools.

I want enough sleep. I want clean laundry. I want to repair any holes in garments.

I want a fine colander or mesh screen that catches the details in my life and helps me put them away. I want books on shelves, in order. I want boxes cleansed and sorted and condensed. I want to be ready.

Craftsmanship. Thoroughness. Finesse. Adeptness. Artistry. Polish.

And usually my theme word is an action, a verb, an inspiration. Or a Call to Action. Possibly “Refine.” Or, somehow that moment when you take skills and “make them look effortless.”

And I never see my words as expired. I still love my words from the past years: Dance. Focus. Create. So, I am simply adding the next word in a series.

(And I think this year comes with a sub-theme, which I knew immediately is COLOR.)

But I think 2015 is the year to add to a pursuit of #Mastery. And that pursuit will always be a part of my life. And it’s my theme for 2015.

#Mastery

a moment in pursuit of #mastery of new skills and growing skills
a moment in pursuit of #mastery of new skills and growing skills

What are Your themes for 2015?

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