Reina tagged me.
I don't normally participate in these tagging games but this time I felt like I needed to. Not out of obligation but for my own benefit. I seriously thank Reina for sending it out there like this. I probably wouldn't have thought of doing this had it not been for her. It turned out to be just what I needed to lift my spirits.
My list ended up going to eleven. After all, don't all good
things go up to eleven?
Anyway, here they are in no particular order:
There is nothing that grounds me more than the non-human living creatures of this planet. There is something very awe inspiring about creatures that don't spend their lives trying to be something they are not. They just exist, do their thing, and are happy to be doing it. Many creatures feel the emotions of fear, anger, joy, happiness but they are not stuck on them, they blow it off and move on. Their innocence transcends the complexity of the human mind. Even though the human mind can give us tremendous understanding of our world, it can also be deceived, which creates needless suffering. Animals are not capable of inflicting suffering upon themselves as we humans do.
I mostly grew up with cats, dogs, horses and chickens. Although, I never allowed myself to develop any bonds with dogs and horses until my later years. I'm still working on birds though. Not sure how but I see myself finding that path through falconry. I don't know. We'll see.
Anyway, for some reason I have always easily bonded with cats. Every cat I have ever owned over the years developed a special bond with me as well. This bond was never shared with any other member of my family.
One special bonding moment came when I was around 12 years old. I woke up one Saturday morning to the sounds of little mews in my bedroom. But they weren't just in the room. They were in my bed. Right there leaning up against my back, as I was lying in my side, was my mother cat and her five newborn kittens. Rather than hiding away to have her litter as she had done in the past, she had them there with me. While I was sleeping, she had pressed her back up against mine, as she had done every other night to sleep, but this time rather than find a secluded place in the house, under the bed, closet etc, she felt it safe enough to stay where she was. I will never forget that. Nor will I forget my dried crusty bloody pajamas as I was tearing them loose from the crusted bloody bed sheet. Poor kitty she didn't like me leaving. I pushed the blanket up to her to fill the space I had vacated. She was content with that.
Naturally, because dressage involves riding horses! And I love riding horses, although, I haven't been doing it for very long. It took me awhile to rediscover the fascination I once had with horses growing up, a topic that needs a post of its own someday.
The neatest thing to me about dressage is that it's just as much about developing a strong, agile and athletic horse as it is about developing a strong, agile and athletic rider. And the gentle and subtle communication between horse and rider is another special bond that both fascinates and amazes me.
No matter how hard a day I've had at work that week, the moment I step into the stall or walk out to the paddock to retrieve my horse, I no longer care about the world. I'm fully present for this majestic, powerful, and gentle creature as we teach each other how to work as one.
I love music. I compose music. I have been composing music since I was 5 years old. At around age 12 my aunt gave me a few sheets of paper she had written on that showed me how to read music, how chords were constructed and how to transpose into different keys. Within months, I was now writing things down. By the time I entered high school, I had composed a huge body of work. My final semester of my senior year in high school, I was taking 5 music classes out of the 8 periods. I studied music during my first stint in college although I was never able to complete it. I toured for one summer with the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps. And during my second stint in college studying to be a Computer Engineer, I still kept my performance and composition skills alive by composing and performing with the percussion ensemble. A few years ago, my brother-in-law commissioned me to compose the soundtrack to one of his short films.
Needless to say, much of my life revolves around music. I'm always looking for new and interesting music that I've never heard before. Melodic and orchestrated works from modern or classical composers of jazz, heavy metal, folk, elevator, progressive rock, industrial, chill, Celtic, Andean, Latin, etc. The list goes on and on. Too many to mention. There are genres that I don't like but this post isn't about them. They are few anyway. On any given day at work, my iPod will be playing a mixture of an easy listening arrangement by Percy Faith followed by the hard pounding edge of the Dutch heavy metal band, Within Temptation, to be followed by a smooth cello concerto by Samuel Barber and so on. It's all good.
I don't drink it for the caffeine; I drink it for the flavor. So naturally, I'm always buying the pricier stuff. I was introduced to coffee at the tender age of 10 by my grandmother. It was the most awesomest thing evar!
Yes I'm going to say it. Sex, and all that sex can entail. And it can entail a lot! Kissing, cuddling, fetishes, BDSM, puppy play etc. and yes, it has to be the gay version. I have a different blog about this so I don't need to elaborate any more here. :)
Not just any beer, it has to be the dark malty kind. Yummy, malty smooth and malty! I don't drink beer or any alcoholic drinks to get drunk, I never get drunk. I drink beer for the flavor! I just wished it didn't have so many gash darn calories!
Ok, who DOESN'T love the internet? Those who are reading this blog I would expect at least like the internet. If you didn't like the internet, you mostly likely wouldn't be here. Right?
For me it's primarily an escape to distract me from the tedious and frustrating existence that I have living in this rural and socially foreign region of the US. Yeah, there is some bad to that but I'm going to focus on the good. The internet has accomplished for me the following:
Allowed me to stay in closer contact with family and friends. Provided a place for me to connect with other like minded people so that I can have a voice on topics that I would never have the opportunity to discuses otherwise. Find hook ups with people with like minded interests. Find dates with people with like minded interests. Look up crazy-ass things on Wikipedia, Google and lds.org. And most importantly, it was instrumental in allowing me to find a particular picture of a friend of mine, which triggered my coming out process that forever changed the course of my life for the better.
What would I have done without the internet?
8. Computers and Programming
Although, many might include this into internet, as it does require a computer to get on the internet, I think of it completely different. I have been programming computers since I was 12 years old, long before the internet existed. If I wasn't off tinkering on the piano or banging away on the drum set, I was on the computer, writing programs. Anywhere form silly little things that played songs or plotted pretty designs on the monitor to elaborate database programs that I used to keep track of my huge reel-to-reel tape collection.
Now, I use the computer for almost everything I do. It's the primary tool I use for my employment, to build my music compositions and recordings, write, blog, watch TV and otherwise communicate with the rest of the world. The computer is the only appliance in my life that I would want to have with me if I were stranded on a desert island. Assuming of course that there was a place to plug it in and I could get free Wi-Fi.
9. Walking and Nature
Granted they are two separate things but I'm combining them as they go hand in hand for me.
I walk a lot. When I go out walking, I average about 4 miles per trip. And depending on time, I may do several walks a day ranging from 3-10 miles. I have lost a lot of weight doing this. But the other reason I walk is to clear my head. It helps me work out the anxiousness that builds up from sitting in a windowless office all day or help me blow off anger and frustration at the world in general.
Even though there have been times I've walked on an indoor track with some friends, I prefer to only do my walking outside. Walking outside could mean anything from walking around the town or city to hiking in the park or woods. But ultimately, anything with a natural setting is ideal and preferred even if I have to drive a while to get there.
Since there are no mountains, I have to make do with the sandy beaches of my favorite place out here, the Chincoteague National Wildlife Preserve, which is mostly on Assategue Is. VA. On any given day of the year, and I've pretty much hit that place every month throughout the year since 2007, I have seen more varieties of wildlife in that short time than I ever did growing up in rural Utah. And watching these animals in their natural setting while I'm out communing with nature is a spiritual and profoundly grounding experience. (see Animals)
I love the idea of making art out of an instantaneous moment in time, to capture a glimpse of the real word for a split second. What would never be seen in that exact state ever again, is now captured forever. And out of that moment is born something new.
Images can capture beauty and emotion that transcend from the time they were taken. And for me, as I'm a very visually oriented thinker, such images draw me in, inspire, and stimulate me in ways that other art forms cannot. Not even sculpture or paintings. I hope to be featuring more of my photography in my blogs in the coming years.
Last but not least, my family. This could be an entire blog post of its own. In fact all of the things on here could be. But let me just say this, without my mom and dad and many of my siblings, I wouldn't have made it this far. I wouldn't be here to tell the tale of my life. They have been the only true friends I will ever have and I can't even begin to express how fortunate I am. I'm not even sure I can comprehend the magnitude of that fortune. I'm fully aware that many others don't have what I have when it comes to family. It breaks my heart. I wish they could have mine.
My parents have always had an open house to people over the years, many of them struggling in some why or other with their lives. By giving them a space to crash for a time demonstrates the amazing generosity they have that not even I have been capable of giving. I'm still the black sheep in this family, but this family is welcoming of the back sheep.
Truth be told, it wasn't always like that, but it changed. Back in the late 80's my mom found the courage, strength and open mindedness to drive her to find the path that would work when the life that was handed to her was failing miserably. She questioned and challenged the status quo, looked beyond the LDS church to find real answers, real solutions! By doing so, she brought the rest of us with her. Now, here we are today. From deep dysfunction grew strength, love and acceptance. It's not perfect but it's all that it needs to be.
The rules of this tagging game are that I am to tag 10 others. I'm not comfortable with doing that but if you feel inspired by my list, go for it, and let me know by posting a comment here.
UPDATE: What the hell! I realized there are a few people I really want to know better so I'm just going to go a head and risk it by tagging them, dammit! I don't know if they will ever see this but it's out there.
Laruen T. Hart
UPDATE AGAIN: looks like Quite Song already posted before I completed my tag list! LOL!
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