exhilaration: (impossible things)
21. Look back. Why did you choose this challenge? Do you think it says anything about you?

I chose this challenge because I was having trouble coming up with things to write about, and the writer's block prompts weren't doing it for me. I think it says I like to talk about myself (very true) and that I've been uninspired recently (and by recently I mean at least since January, because that's when I started this thing.)
exhilaration: (impossible things)
20. Again, pick a song that projects the mood of your week or day.

exhilaration: (impossible things)
19. If you could be anywhere in the world, but you had to be there for a certain cause, where would you be and why?

I'm not sure what "being there for a cause" really means. Does it mean being there for a purpose other than "just for fun" or does it mean a cause like helping people or fixing something or that kind of thing? If I could be anywhere in the world and serving some kind of purpose, maybe I would like to be back in China, maybe teaching English. Thing is, I wonder if I wouldn't feel the same about being in China since the people I was there to see are now HERE. Maybe it would just seem like being in a very foreign environment, and I would just find it stressful. Actually... I don't really want to be in China, much as I actually do. I wish I had been able to stay there longer and see more and do more and just, you know, absorb more... but I think I'd have terrible accessibility issues and I wouldn't actually be that happy there.

So, what's a cause that could use my contribution? Maybe... language preservation? Studying and documenting languages that are going extinct? I think that might count as a cause, preserving something for posterity. And that's something that's happening all over the world, so I could really go anywhere. So, ok. I'd stay here, in North America, but I'd travel the continent preserving language samples from Native Americans. So, there. That's my cause.
exhilaration: (me)
Oh she said you've changed; I said we're always changing

Sometimes I feel like LJ has really changed - like it's not the same as it was, and in a lot of ways it really has. But I've changed too. When I started writing in this journal it was like it was my best friend. I was very lonely, and I was very alone in my life. Now I have real people that I am very close to and this journal and I, we dont have the same relationship that we used to and I know it shows in my writing. If ever I needed to provide my final words, I would paraphrase the end of the book "The Perks Of Being A Wallflower" - the book is written as a series of letters sent to an unknown recipient, and at the end the writer thanks the reader for being there for him but says his life has changed and he doesnt need to write to him any longer. He wants the reader to know that if someday he stops hearing from him, he shouldnt assume that something bad has happened and worry about him or feel sad - instead he should believe that the writer is having such a full and wonderful life that he hasnt the time or the need to write anymore.

So if ever I stop writing in this journal and you wonder what happened, please believe that I am still here, and that I am busy living my wonderful life as full as I can,

1. And
2. I
3. Will
4. Always
5. Believe
6. The
7. Same
8. Thing
9. About
10. You

<3 Always, Lara Inside

DAY 1: 10 things about you
DAY 2: 10 things you love
DAY 3: 10 things you hate
DAY 4: 10 things you want to say to someone
DAY 5: 10 wishes
DAY 6: 10 items you can't live without
DAY 7: 10 important people
DAY 8: 10 of your favorite songs
DAY 9: 10 ways to win your heart
DAY 10: Final 10 words

Ok Wow

Jul. 29th, 2012 12:33 pm
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So, I have said numerous times that I don't like to talk to random strangers, because they always say exasperating things to me. I could give examples, but today I won't (maybe another day tho)

So today, I'm at the drugstore and I look up for a split second, and there is a guy walking in my direction. I don't really want to make eye contact. He's wearing sunglasses indoors (how cool...) and I can't see if he's making eye contact at me or what. I look at him briefly, and his expression does not change, so I assume he did NOT make eye contact with me and we are just going to civilly pass each other and be on our ways. Or, wait, no, he has that look like he's going to talk to me. Yep, we're not going to pass. He's coming right up to me. Oh man, what is it going to be this time? He's a guy, about my age, real slick dresser... he's not going to try to get my number or something is he? Like, follow me around and pest me and tell me "don't be shy" and all that shit? He's got the "question" look. He's about to ask me SOMETHING. I can tell.

"Excuse me," he says. I KNEW IT. He's asking me something. He holds his hand, cupped, right under my face. "Have you seen this?"



I look up at him, and he's shaking his head, looking disappointed. "Sorry," he says. "I was so sure I was going to get you with this, but nah." And he starts walking away, appearing to be considering himself a complete failure.


I tried to make sure he could hear me laughing. I don't want to ruin his day by not reacting to his fly. But, I mean, WHO DOES THAT? And WHY?

For the record, this is why I'm not a good driver. Normal people would be like OMG BUG! and scream or jump or at least gasp. Me? I'm like huh wait are you showing me something? OH. FLY!

To add to the bizarreness of my time in the drugstore, I had a pregnancy test in my lap. Cause I haven't had a period in a while. Last time I did, it was like a MONSTER period, but that was um... before Memorial Day. It's the end of July. I am usually very regular. I even remained regular when I had surgery last summer, and that's not really to be expected, usually if you do something horrible to yourself (like torture the most useful joints in your body - BOTH OF THEM) it would be reasonable to expect your period could stop, or become irregular at least. Nope. Not mine. I actually use counting as a form of birth control. (I'll save you the suspense right now - I am not pregnant) I only use a barrier half the time - the half that I am fertile. I don't use anything when I'm not, and I trust that method because I'm always so regular (and I never, ever wondered hmmm... oh, could I be pregnant???) and while it makes no difference to me, my boyfriend likes sex better without a condom and thinks it's awesome that I'm often like, yep, go ahead, don't bother with it, lets just get on with it.

So... I've missed two periods, which is not at all normal for me. And... my stomach looks pregnant. Yes it really does. I am not just saying that. It's not a "food baby" or whatever, either. It's all times of the day, from all angles. If I suck it in, it still looks pregnant. Not that I want to be pregnant (nor do I have any other signs of being pregnant - I am not out of breath abnormally, I am not getting mysterious headaches, I am not feeling sick in the mornings, craving weird foods, etc - yes I googled this - and - I also googled THIS - I don't think a baby is visible after just two months, even in a person with weak abdominals) but I'm not really thrilled with the conclusion that no, Lara, that's just what your body looks like.

But at least some random dude stuck a rubber fly in my face while I was trying to nonchalantly hold a pregnancy test...
exhilaration: (me)
Or, Everything You Always Wanted To Know About How To Date Lara

1. Tell me I'm pretty

2. Tell me I'm smart

3. Tell me you love me

That's really all it takes, oh flist mine. (Also, no more starting new memes without finishing the old ones!) I'm easy, and I don't aim high. I like to hear how pretty I am. If you tell me I'm pretty, I'll just agree with you, and it makes me feel good to know that you and I are on the same wavelength and your attractiveness meter is properly calibrated :) Same with being smart. I know I'm smart. I've always known. So if you also know, then perfect, we both have an understanding here. Bonus points if you are impressed - extra bonus points if you are smarter than I am.

Just those three things, peeps, and you can have me... I guess unless I'm already taken (which I am, so this is all kind of hypothetical, isn't it?). In that case, I don't think it would work out very well.

I don't know. I feel quite pathetic now. And a little weird about continuing to list things that would win my heart, or whatever. What does that even mean? Something that would strike my fancy? Intrigue me? Or does it mean an action someone could take, you know, to woo me, or try to "get" me, or whatever? I'm going with the first one, since for the second one, there really isn't anything more than the three things I just said. I was kind of kidding up above there, but kind of not. I've never had someone tell me they love me just to get me to sleep with them... but it would probably work. If someone says "I love you" to me, I might doubt that they really know their own feelings, but I would never assume they were saying it just to say it. And... they'd have me. I really am that easy. But for ten more things...

4. Admire my cleverness when I make extremely dorky references

I would really like that. I often get excited when I get to make a clever comment referencing something like a comic book or sci-fi show or something, but for the most part nobody even gets the references, let alone recognizes my cleverness. If a really dork-ish person were to admire my comments, I'd totally be into that.

5. Play music with me

I like this. If it makes it sound like I am falling for my friend Ashley, well... that's an entry of it's own (I'm not, but I really like having a musical friend) but Bevan does this as well, once in a while. I think he does it just because he knows I like it so much, not particularly because he has an overwhelming desire to make music, but I love it when we do. One day (years ago) we were upstairs at his dad's house, and there is a piano in the living room, and we sat down and played a bunch of sheet music together, one hand each. It was really awesome. I was pretty delighted at the time :)

6. Compliment my clothes (or shoes)

Some compliments make me really uncomfortable. Some don't. Complimenting what I'm wearing is always acceptable and welcome, cause as I have said many times, I didn't get to pick out what kind of features I'd like to have or what sort of body I want, but I do get to pick out my clothing, so those sort of compliments make much more sense to me.

7. Talk with me. Like talk and talk and talk and talk, for hours, and not AT me, and don't just LISTEN to me, actually talk WITH me.

Yeah. I really like to talk. Like really.

8. Don't think I'm a bad person when I say really mean or sarcastic things

I guess what I mean by this is, think the best of me. Don't assume the worst. Know and understand me well enough to know that I don't always mean what I say, and that sometimes my frustrations get the better of me and I come across as much more unkind/stuck up/self-centered than I actually am.

9. Be smart.

I know, I already put "bonus points if you are smarter than me." That would be really nice. But just any type of smart will fit the bill. Intelligence is very, very attractive to me.

10. To really win my heart... I mean, instead of me just saying, oh yeah, I like attention, and I like you, so this will work fine... I don't know. I guess you'd have to do something like... travel across the world with me, and then travel back to stay with me. And figure out how to make me believe that you'll never get tired of me, or decide me and my problems are too much to handle. And make me feel like I am something to you also... that it's not just that you like any attention you can get, that you really want me and only me.

Man, this one was hard. That's why I've been avoiding it I guess.

DAY 1: 10 things about you
DAY 2: 10 things you love
DAY 3: 10 things you hate
DAY 4: 10 things you want to say to someone
DAY 5: 10 wishes
DAY 6: 10 items you can't live without
DAY 7: 10 important people
DAY 8: 10 of your favorite songs
DAY 9: 10 ways to win your heart

DAY 10: Final 10 words
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Last night my friend Ashley and I performed at open mic night. We performed something we had prepared ahead of time and practiced quite a bit. I'd say it was a success.

Also - I have been feeling much better lately. I'm excited for school to start next month. For now I'm happy to enjoy my time off!
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1. School is fine. I'm taking the second part of my French class, also online.

2. My friend Matt and his gf stopped over for an (uninvited) visit this weekend, and I'm really glad he did. I was kinda irritated when he first arrived, because he didn't knock (of course) and I was dressed like a bum, my hair was a mess, and I was sitting in the bowl chair reading online (and therefor couldn't even get up to meet him at the door) and my kitchen was messy and I was just like, OMG WHO DOES THAT? WHO DOESNT EVEN KNOCK? But it was a nice visit, they really kinda coaxed me into some socialization, his gf just started talking to me about all kinds of stuff in her life, like as if she was my friend and she was just updating me on what was up with her, and she looked out my window and saw my flowerpots in my courtyard, and then we went outside to look at my garden (front yard and back yard) and she has a garden too so we talked about that, and then I brewed some delicious teavana tea to make some iced tea... Matt rummaged through my fridge to find my exotic one of a kind beers and drank some of them and pestered me to sit outside in the grass with him (I declined) and I also introduced his gf to coconut water.

All in all... I have been seriously lacking in social contact. A lot of people are on vacation right around now, so that is some of it, and I don't have school (it's one class and it's online) and some people I know from school are away for the summer anyway, but Matt and E live so close and I hardly make an effort to see them either. But it was a nice afternoon and I feel much better after seeing them.

3. I have so so many cherry tomatoes in my garden! I have a huge huge dill plant as well, so I am going to make a tomato-lemon-dill sauce and serve it with salmon and cucumbers. Don't you wish you ate at my house??
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In a large bowl, combine:

The juice of 2 lemons, being careful to remove all seeds
The zest of half a lemon
1/4 cup toasted fresh coriander seeds
2 diced shallots
3 diced jalopenos, seeds removed
1 crushed, peeled garlic bulb (not clove - the whole bulb)
Some water
Some white wine
Some honey
Some olive oil
3 sliced boneless skinless chicken breasts

Marinate for 3-4 hours

Remove chicken pieces from the marinade. Lightly salt with seasoned sea salt, then toss lightly in a few tablespoons of flour. Saute in butter and olive oil until browned and cooked through. Remove from pan. Add marinade to pan. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add back chicken and one bag of washed, chopped spinach. Toss with whole wheat shell pasta.

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And I Am Pathetically Non-Resiliant

So at the supermarket today this is what happened: the self-checkout terminal was malfunctioning. I like the self checkout area because the counter is down lower than the regular checkout, so I don't have to feel like I'm a little kid barely able to see over the counter, and also I prefer not to have to stand in line (because people push into me with their carts - honestly, I thought this was a normal thing, is it? [livejournal.com profile] zeegeek says NOBODY ever does that to him, but he lives in Seattle where everyone is nice. I live in Philadelphia where everyone is mean. East-coasters? West- coasters? Care to weigh in? Do people push at you with their shopping carts?) and I prefer not to have to interact with the cashier, in order to minimize stupid comments made by both the cashier and the other people in line.

Well. Foiled. The self-checkout terminal wasn't working properly. The touch screen was registering my touch about an inch up and to the right of where I was actually touching. Fine for most stuff, but when I was trying to key in my produce it was a disaster. I was trying repeatedly to hit "L" for "lemon" but it rang up as "organic golden delicious apples" because that was the key above the "L." So... after much contemplation, I finally gave in and hit the "attendant" button. Even though I reallyreally did not want to interact with the attendant. My screen blinked and gave me a message to remove everything from the scanner. I turned around, thinking the attendant had misunderstood, that the terminal was just jammed or something, and tried to make eye contact. No dice. So I touched the button again. He came over, and immediately grabbed the bag of lemons out of my hand and said, "here, do you need help?" and began keying in the code for lemons.

"No, it rang up as apples!" I said, reaching for my lemons back. He voided the apples off and disappeared immediately, leaving me, again, unable to select "L" for lemons because it wasn't registering my touch properly. This time I got cabbage. I pushed the attendant button again. Before he could snatch anything out of my hand, I said, "something is wrong with the screen. I don't want to use this terminal, it's not registering my touch right, the screen is off and it keeps selecting the wrong thing, can you just cancel this and I'll go wait in line?"

But... he's already taken the lemons out of my hands (again) and says, "I'll just do the rest of it for you." He keys in the lemons (which I guess he has the code for memorized, since he works there, and does not need to look it up alphabetically, which is the feature that is malfunctioning) and then keys in my jalopenos incorrectly as long hots (I don't care, if there was a price difference it couldn't have been more than 20 cents anyway, but it's just the principle of the thing - he snatched them out of my hand and then rung them in incorrectly anyway) and I (of course) had to point to the screen and show him that it had rung up "cabbage" instead of going to the "L" screen and please take off the cabbage. Then he scans my scannable items too, because of course I can't scan my own stuff, and presses all the payment buttons for me too.

On my way out I was FUMING but tried to say as politely as possible, "you need to go set that one as out of order, the lookup screen does not work, every button you hit it picks up the one above it, something is wrong with it."

I feel like I speak another language sometimes. Like I say "something's wrong with the terminal" and someone hears "I am not physically able to ring up my produce, do it for me."

And... I am turning into one of those bitter, mean disabled people who hates everyone and everything. If I stay away from the supermarket, will I turn back into myself? Or is that like the ultimate in giving in, and I really AM one of those people if I can't even handle something the self-checkout attendant says to me?
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I guess this is what I get for telling [livejournal.com profile] zeegeek that that other question was put there just for him, huh?

What am I holding onto in my life that I know I should let go of?

Lots of things.

What's getting in the way of doing so?

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[Error: unknown template qotd]

Allow them to make their own decisions.

For example:

Let your kid pick out his or her own clothes. I don't mean let your teenager wear whatever crazy thing all the other kids are wearing, backless rompers or stripper heels or whatever, or get piercings and tattoos and all the rest. I don't think there's anything wrong with those things, but a parent is within their rights to restrict their child's choices as to what they're allowed to wear. I don't think it's harmful to a kid growing up to have to learn to fit their preferences in clothing into "what's allowed," in fact, I think that's a valuable skill. BUT. Don't choose what they're wearing every morning. Don't get up with them, turn on their lights, get them out of bed, and pick out what they're going to wear. The result of this is a young adult who stares at a dresser full of clothes and has no idea what to do. Then that young adult turns into someone who freaks out whenever someone else touches her stuff, or tries to tell her what to do.

Yep. That's what happens. I remember it well.
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So... I planted cilantro in my garden. It grew into flowers, so I pulled off all the leaves and chopped them up and put them in a green curry sauce. Today I pulled off the berries that had baked into brown little balls in the summer heat, and then, not sure if I was supposed to wait until they dried on the stem or what, I picked about the same amount of green plump ones as well. Then, as instructed by google, I toasted them in the sauté pan and crushed them with a mortar and pestle. I was considering putting them in the coffee grinder, because oh well if my coffee tastes like coriander for a little while, but I didn't want my coriander tasting like coffee and I didn't have enough to spare whatever small amount was going to get stuck in the machine. And yes I DO have a mortar and pestle, not because I am that old-school of a chef or because I brew potions in a cauldron (also my wand does not have the ability to cast spells even thought it SAID Ollivander's on the box...) but because my boyfriend is a bartender and makes drinks for us at home that require muddling or spices and fruit and such. So technically it's HIS muddler, but if he can use all my hair stuff like it's his then I can use his bar stuff like it's mine. And into a big bowl the crushed toasted coriander went.

I also added the last of the dill-like cilantro leaves that were still green from the tops of my plant, and then the juice and zest of three lemons. Then I chopped three garlic cloves and added that. Then I squeezed a good amount of honey into the lemon juice and stirred that around, and then I chopped up a red chile pepper and added that as well, no seeds cause the texture is weird, but I added red pepper flakes for extra spice. Then I chopped up thin sliced chicken breast and stirred that around in the lemon and honey and spices, and covered it and stuck it in the fridge. I plan to spread this out on a baking sheet (because for some reason, when you cook chicken pieces and they touch each other, all the juice runs out of them, but if they're not touching, the juice stays in the meat. I have no idea what causes this, but it is def true) and bake them and serve them with wild rice cooked in coconut water and a green vegetable I don't have yet, like spinach or green beans. We shall see. I'll put pics of the results in my next post (and maybe some garden pics too!)

Note on marinades: marinating chicken for more than 2-3 hours makes no difference. Freezing chicken in a marinade makes a HUGE difference and for some reason seals in the juices. Marinating steak or fish for 24+ hours is good. Adding vinegar to a steak marinade makes it tastier. Adding it to fish or chicken marinade makes it taste like vinegar. Marinating fresh fish will extend its fridge life by a day or two, so for ex. buying flash-frozen fish fillets and sticking them, frozen, into the fridge in a marinade is a good idea if you know you aren't going to cook it the very next day. I have no knowledge about marinating vegetables. It's prob delicious.
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I Would Talk So Much My Food Would Overcook

I have used up my stash of 39-cent coconut milk (which, by the way, was of a higher quality than the $1 coconut milk, because it was milk and cream and made a much better sauce) so I think the once-a-week green curry days are coming to an end. I'm also almost out of green curry paste and entirely out of green bamboo rice. The remaining green curry paste might get stuffed under the skin of a roast chicken, because I am moving on to other dishes...

First, the Final Green Curry was fantastic, due to a surprise bag of restaurant food. My boyfriend works at a Japanese Restaurant - actually, he works at two different restaurants owned by the same family. I'll write more about this later, cause he's got some exciting stuff going on this summer/fall. But the one restaurant that he works at less frequently is like... a very fancy high quality restaurant (you know, there are fancy restaurants where the food is actually really crappy, but this particular place has very very high quality ingredients and an amazing chef - ergo really fantastic food) and the other night when he worked there someone ordered some take out and never picked up their food. He brought the food home with him saying it was all weird gross stuff that he didn't want to eat, and I re-purposed all of it into stuff he most certainly DID eat, lol.

There were two mushroom soups and some kind of mixed salad plate. The soup was assorted mushrooms in gingko broth with gingko nuts, and the salads were a seaweed salad, an edamame salad, and a squid salad - I'm almost out of rice, so all the salads went in the rice cooker with the last of my rice since five of us were eating this meal - more on that later too, my house is getting crowded! I have put edamame salad from the supermarket in with my rice before, figuring it was like rice and beans, right? but this salad was more deluxe than the one from the store, plus there was seaweed and squid with marinated vegetables and stuff. So that was just really a super nice rice bowl, seriously. The gingko broth I mixed with rice vinegar and used to marinate thinly chipped beef from the meat counter (not the frozen kind you make cheese steaks with) with a generous sprinkle of red pepper flakes.

Then I made curry sauce with fresh dill and basil, green beans, and the marinated chipped beef, and it was delicious, and I'm now entirely full! The assorted fancy mushrooms from the soup? Yeah... I ate those for breakfast/lunch with some spinach, like a salad :) Nobody loves mushrooms like I do, so I did not share those :)

Next up: I want to try eating this quinoa stuff that I keep hearing about. I looked up some info on cooking it on google and you can cook it in the rice maker. Sold. Expect quinoa recipes. Also, I want to cook my rice in coconut water sometime. I am really big on cooking my rice in a tasty beverage. I put my anise-mango tea in a tea ball and put THAT in my rice cooker with water and that was delicious. Also: I picked my coriander. My cilantro, leafless, has finished making flowers and moved on to seed pods, which have now turned brown. Those little balls are fresh coriander. So I expect to be cooking with coriander in the next few days.
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Already established facts:

1. I enjoy cooking and I am good at it and the people I live with love it

2. I do not eat dairy because it upsets my stomach

3. I am a caffeine fiend and my coffee machine is broken

4. I don't eat candy very often because I WEIGH TOO MUCH

With these things in mind:

1. I spend too much on fancy ingredients at the supermarket

2. My diet is seriously lacking in calcium, vitamin D, and protein

3. I've been experimenting with alternate energy beverages

4. I'm trying not to eat too many calories, cause that's really what weight loss/gain boils down to.

So here's my "Food And Drink With Lara" table of contents for today:

Things I Eat In My Garden, or, Everything I Know About Growing Food I Learned From Google )

Starbucks Lunchbox Vs. Lara's Lunchbox, or, Convenience Isn't Really More Expensive Even Though I Paid Five Bucks And Only Got Half An Apple )

I Drink The Life Fluid Of Baby Coconuts, or, Beverage Addictions Are Expensive Unless You Brew Them At Home )

I Accidentally Ate Something Blue And It Made Me Sick, or, Trust Your Instincts Even When They Don't Make Sense )

My finals are on Thursday and my next summer session starts after the holiday. I am going to try my DAMNDEST to enjoy this summer - I have only my online class next session, so if nothing else, I have LOTS of free time, so there MUST be a way to make this at least somewhat awesome.

Social WTF

Jun. 24th, 2012 11:07 am
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Erica* friended my boyfriend on Facebook. ...WAT THA HELL IS IN HER HEAD?

This is the kind of thing I would post as a status update on a Facebook of my own if I had one. It would get me in a shit ton of trouble because my status would be visible to everyone I know. Some of whom probably like Erica* and some of whom probably do not. The ones who do not would chime in with their own comments about how horrible she is in various terms and then I would have a long list of bad things about Erica* there on my Facebook when all I really intended to do was wonder what in the world she was thinking. Since some people (I think...) actually do like Erica* or at least talk to her about anything gossip-worthy, it would get back to her. Then she would attempt to contact me OR write bad things about me on HER Facebook which would not be visible to me because of course I would not list her as a friend... or would I? OMG THIS IS WHY I HAVE NO FACEBOOK!!!! DOESNT ANYONE ELSE ENJOY THE ANONYMITY OF THE INTERNET???

*Erica - friend who decided to move into my house because she wasn't getting along with her parents (but without asking me first - but I would've offered if I knew she wanted to. Still, this does not bode well for future interactions)

*Erica - friend who while she was living with me stole my pills - the ones that I can have only a limited amount of each month, and without which I will go into withdraw - and then denied it, said I was crazy, and then offered to replace them with something not equivalent

*Erica - the friend who disappeared, leaving all her stuff at my house and thereby leaving me to then deal with her stuff when summer came and it was time for me to rent out that house and go live in the other house

*Erica - the one who told everyone we work with that I hooked up with her ex at her birthday party (I certainly did not. I would have... possibly... but I didn't, due to her ex not initiating any sort of hook up with me, therefor this did not happen although it would have been fine if it did) and then told everyone she had to be nice to me anyway because if she wasn't I would try to kill myself because "Lara has problems like that."

Sometimes... its better to just cut people out of your life, don't you think? Awfully hard to do that when everyone is connected by a social networking site. SO GLAD I do not have a Facebook. You have no idea. And also... seriously, what was she thinking? She and Bevan are not friends, so wtf...
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16. What are you passionate about?

To be perfectly honest, I have a very hard time working up any kind of passion about anything these days. I know what I'm supposed to answer. I'm passionate about creativity, about music, about engaging stories and reinterpretation and visual art... those are the things Lara feels passion about.

But I'm not actually passionate about anything. It's kind of like being dead.
exhilaration: (impossible things)
15. What do you believe in? And not just God or atheism.

Well, I'm not sure what I believe about God or atheism. My dad (and his entire family) are atheists, and my mom was very very Christian. I learned from an early age that different people believe different things. I do believe strongly in the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do to you) but not so much in karma (what goes around comes around). I don't believe there is a Great Scorecard Of Life where all your deeds and misdeeds are added up to determine your fate in life OR in death - I don't believe your good deeds can grant you eternal life or your bad deeds can condemn you to eternal damnation, and I also don't believe that you get what you deserve in life according to how you live and the choices you make. Sometimes I rephrase it as "instead of what goes around comes around, things just go around and around and around and sometimes you get good stuff and sometimes you get bad stuff." I've given a lot of thought to the concept of "deserve" and eventually I decided that it's really irrelevant (I know, calling things irrelevant makes me sound like I hipster, doesn't it?) because it doesn't matter whether we deserve things or not. They happen or don't happen anyway.

I do try very hard to treat others the way I would want to be treated - I know I often say that it's all about me, or that I am my ultimate priority and that I am a very selfish person, and this is true. I would just prefer to live in a world where everyone treats each other fairly and with respect - it would be better for ME if that's the way the world worked. I can't control other people, but I'd like to think I can control myself, and I believe we're all responsible for doing our part to treat people the way we'd all prefer to be treated. Fate does not step in and even things out for us - we have to do that for ourselves. I believe that is the right way to live.

I believe it's wrong to hold on to anger and resentment - I believe it isn't healthy, and it hurts me in the end, and it doesn't follow what I just said. I wouldn't want someone to resent me forever for a poor choice I made, I would want them to forgive me and move past it. But there's one thing I thing I DO live by that I DON'T believe is right, because it goes against everything I just said I believe. I CANNOT get it out of my head, though. I don't believe in the concept of "deserve," I guess until it comes to this: I hope someday when you need help, someone decides to teach you a lesson instead.

I wish that. There are MANY people I wish that on. I want the people who have hurt me to feel the same hurt for themselves. I want them to slowly lose everything they hold dear, and when they reach out for help, I want them to be told clearly and self-righteously, oh yes, I could help you. It would be very easy, and cause me no inconvenience, but I'm not going to, because you need to learn your lesson, and maybe next time you won't need to ask for help.

And I believe it's wrong for me to want that.
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When I was a kid I used to joke that my dad was a spy. I mean, I knew it was a joke, but I would sometimes say it with exact seriousness, because often people would ask me what my dad did for a living and I would have to answer with something that wouldn't provoke more intrusive questions - "spy" usually fit the bill. I wonder sometimes how many people actually believed me - it may have been more than I thought, because they never reacted as if they thought I was lying, you know, saying, spy? A SPY? YEAH RIGHT LARA, WHAT DOES HE REALLY DO? And I think it could have been believable - it would explain why my dad was never around much but my mom was not a single parent, either. I don't really remember where I initially got that idea - I think it's linked to the fact that my dad speaks Russian. He can also read and write in Russian and would often write in Russian to keep other people from being able to read his stuff, since Russian uses a different alphabet. I think I remember him once telling me that he wasn't writing Russian in Russian, he was writing in Spanish but using Russian letters.

Guys, children are at least partially a product of their environments, okay? Clearly I was RAISED to be paranoid as shit. Not only is it in my blood, but I've had lessons in it for my entire childhood!

I was a little girl at the very tail end of the Cold War and I guess for a while after people generally did associate "speaks Russian" with "spy." The truth is entirely less glamorous - my dad learned Russian because he enjoyed Russian literature and wanted to be able to read classics like "Crime and Punishment" in the original language. Yes really. That is what super geniuses do. When the Cold War ended, there was a massive wave of Russian immigrants to the U.S. and many of the initial arrivals were science and technology people - I knew my dad wasn't a spy. I just told people that because I didn't know the name of his job. I am pretty sure it was actually "mad scientist." He did a lot of work with Russian scientists when I was very very little. That's why he had Russian stuff all over his lab. You know, his lab in our basement. That my sister and I (and my mom!) were not allowed in. Because he was a mad scientist.

Or because it was his darkroom, because, being a super genius, he also decided he was a photographer and had a photo lab in our basement, which of course is light sensitive so you can't just go randomly opening the door or everything is destroyed. There were robots in there also. He made them. They assisted him with developing photographs - or whatever else he did in there. He talked to them, so clearly they operated on voice control, which he clearly invented himself, because he is a super genius after all. They also talked to each other, even when he wasn't in there, so obviously they were also some form of AI. They were named Joan and Jackie - after Joan Benoit and Jackie Joyner - women's track stars. Yes really!

My favorite memory of my dad and I together is something that I re-remembered fairly recently. I was telling someone about how my parents were crazy and always disturbing my sleep as a kid, but they were two different kinds of crazy. My mom would get me out of bed, in the middle of the night, because the floor was dirty and I needed to clean it immediately. My dad... my dad would get me out of bed and take me outside with the big telescope, and show me stuff in the sky, like a meteor shower or a lunar eclipse or even traces of the very edge of the Northern Lights, or just a very very bright planet or the surface of the moon. I was never allowed to touch the telescope because every time I did I always managed to move it slightly. I thought it was amazing how he could find things in the sky, I mean, I could stare up at it and never find anything, but he could pinpoint all kinds of things and get them in the telescope to show me.

I don't remember the significance of all the stuff in the sky really. I am pretty good at finding planets and constellations now, but I also had planetarium class in school, so I didn't learn EVERYTHING I knew from my dad. I was probably too young to retain much of the information he was bombarding me with at the time, but by the time I was old enough for school I was AWESOME at absorbing interesting stuff. One thing I definitely remember, though, was the comet. You know, Haley's Comet. I don't remember what the comet looked like AT ALL. I might not have even been able to really see it. Sometimes my dad would get frustrated trying to show me things and I was just way too little to even know what I was supposed to be looking at in the first place. Haley's Comet, though, I remember because my dad explained to me how exciting this was, how it could only be seen once every 76 years, and how special it was for me because I'd be alive when it came back, too, and I'd get to see it twice in my lifetime. I asked him how old he'd be when it came back, and he told me he wouldn't be alive by then, that nobody lives to be that old, and that I was lucky to have been born when I was because not every generation could see the comet twice in their lifetimes.

I just recently remembered this (Haley's Comet was entirely unspectacular - I CLEARLY remember the Hale-Bop comet several years later, visible for months and with the naked eye and THAT was pretty freakin awesome) and it kind of just occurred to me that someday I'll have NO parents. That someday, if I live to be 78 and if I care at all to go looking for comets... I will be very, very alone. I won't even have my own kids or grandkids to share this with.

I think today I should call my dad and tell him that even though I was very little, I remember him showing me the comet. He's not very sentimental like that, but, I don't know. I think he would appreciate knowing that I DO remember the stuff he did with me when I was so so young and that, you know, it was great that he did all that.
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I had such strange dreams last night.

I woke up feeling like I'd had an awful night the night (or even day) before and had behaved badly and gotten myself in countless awkward situations that I'd rather just erase from my memory - and that wouldn't be unheard of. Sometimes I wake up feeling that way because the previous night or entire day really WAS awful, emotionally trying, and full of me just trying to get through it and not come apart or do anything I'd regret even more, and hoping people would just forget me or at least forgive me for whatever weird and unacceptable thing I'd done. I feel like this a lot when I wake up after getting drunk the night before.

Thing is - I DID drink last night. I didn't drink a whole lot, and I didn't do anything stupid or behave badly or even do anything embarrassingly awkward. It was an odd night - I went to a bar with sand on the floor - YES REALLY, this is not part of the strange dreams, there was a bar with a floor full of sand, and there were even plastic buckets and shovels around for digging in the sand! There was a fight at the bar involving blood and broken glass and we left before the police came. That was all real life.

My dreams )

In real life a really cute girl was flirting with me at a bar with sand on the floor. She kept pointing to her shirt and to my shirt - I thought she was crazy but actually I was wearing somebody else's shirt and it was the same print as her shirt, and I had momentarily forgotten that. I don't know if the people I went with knew her or if she was just very friendly or what, but all night she seemed to be singling me out and would wave at me and smile and make faces and beckon me to come out on the dance floor with her or even come right up to me and dance in front of me and... I just didn't know what to do. There was sand on the floor, and I didn't know who she was, and the bar was so loud I couldn't hear what anyone was saying.

I drank instant iced coffee made with coconut water instead of tap water this morning. My coffee machine is still broken and I still haven't replaced it. I might have preferred the coffee and coconut water separate though, it ended up a very strange flavor but definitely made me feel good. Maybe its because the instant coffee was lightly sweetened, and it clashed with the natural sweetness of the coconut water? I don't know. What a weird day already.


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Lara I.

October 2012

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