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Avoidence

Aug. 22nd, 2012 | 11:41 pm

I wonder why my auto-spell check thing doesn't work with livejournal. Hmph.

I am definitely avoiding the cleaning of my apartment that should be happening. My folks are coming into town Friday. They are staying with me for a few days. Unfortunately, I start school shortly after they arrive, significantly shortening my time spent with them.

California weather has finally calmed down. It's supposed to get into the 70s this weekend. Hallelujah!

I was thinking about season changes recently. A lot of people from the East Coast and Midwest comment on how they couldn't live in Southern California because the seasons never change. Well, that's not really true. Any time you're closer to the equator, you will live in overall warmer climates. However, that doesn't mean the seasons don't change here!

In the winter it gets rainy. In June we get a kind of cool, greyness. (Called "June Gloom.") In the late summer it gets hot. I mean, yes, the overall temperature doesn't go below, like 40 degrees even in the winter. But I just wanted to throw that out there. Not every person who chooses to live closer to the equator is missing out on changing seasons. Our seasons just change differently.

Here are some pics from the last few days:

winedateJason took me to a wine tasting for a date. It was so much fun!
DORKDylan has decided that our bicycle group should be called D.O.R.K. Otherwise known as Dynamite Outasight Radical Kids. Haha.
dorkride1Jason and I riding. My mom would be happy to see us ALL wearing helmets.
dorkride2Jason thought it was funny that I wore cowboy boots. (I was wearing shorts under my dress, btw.)

At one of the wedding events. Jason and I went and saw "Beasts of the Southern Wild." OH MY GOD. Go see this movie. It was fucking amazing.

I really should get going on this cleaning stuff. I sincerely hate cleaning. If I had the money, I would hire someone else to do it. Give someone a job. Make my life better. Until that day......

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These eyes of mine just won't shut

Aug. 19th, 2012 | 03:36 am

  In my exhausted state, I'm a bit worried this will turn into a ramble of sorts.

  Ok, here's a mouthful: My sister in law's sister got married today. Andrea is Erin's sister, Erin is married to my oldest brother. This probably doesn't matter to anyone at all. Moving on. Andrea got married today to some dude named Rex. Erin's family are all Mormon. Rex is morman. Their wedding took place in a traditional mormon temple. Sadly - or maybe not so sadly - no one in the Wilkerson gang was invited to ceremony. Including Erin (who is an outspoken atheist in her family). Even though Erin was the matron of honor. Pretty shitty. Regardless, we (Travis, Erin, Adva, Dylan, Bethany, Jason, my good friend Jon, and I) were all there for the reception. The reception was of course dry, as in no alcohol. Most of the other guests were mormon. So you might imagine the whole event was pretty mild. A lot of talk about "Our Heavenly Father" and so-on. The religious stuff doesn't really bother me; it's who they are. The moment when the Bishop talked about how marriage is between a man and woman as ordained by God...well admit I cringed and rolled my eyes. When Andrea read a poem to Rex it was slightly sad. The whole thing sounded like something from a Hallmark card, and Rex's response was equally unmoving. I suppose I am used to very different weddings. Dylan and Bethany's wedding was awesome, and completely unique - just like them. Live music, excessive drinking and dancing, lots of toasts and tears. Travis and Erin's wedding was also very cool and fun. They also had live music - a Balkan band - and lots of fun chaos. Today's wedding felt so...bland. I feel bad writing this. It's just what I've been thinking about. Love and marriage.

  I've been outspoken about my opinion on marriage. I've always felt that it was unnecessary, and that people who support LGBT marriage should boycott marriage until marriage equality is achieved. When I met Jason my opinion began to waver. and I feel guilty about criticizing my family for choosing to marry. Why was I so gun-ho for so many years?

  I think the answer is fairly obvious. I knew, at least subconsciously, that I didn't want to marry Shaun. As every anniversary passed, the thought of marriage would flutter through my mind and something inside of me told me not to marry Shaun. Instead of facing the fact that I didn't actually want to commit myself fully to this man, I rationalized these tendencies, going on and on about how marriage is unethical. I always told Shaun if we ever married, I would never take his name. I remember sitting outside of Travis' apartment talking to Bethany. Something you should know about Bethany is that after a few drinks, she doesn't hold back. This gets her into a lot of trouble. Well, we were sitting out there, and this was at a point in my relationship with Shaun that we barely ever spent time together, and I told Bethany that I felt that humans weren't meant to be monogamous. I said I would never marry. She looked at me and sadly said, "I can't help but feel you just haven't met the right person." I shrugged it off. I reassured myself that it wasn't my relationship with Shaun per se, my feelings were based on carefully thought out political reasoning.

  Why do I remember that night so vividly? It's clear that even then, even when I was more anti-marriage than ever, some where deep inside myself, I knew something wasn't right. I remember another time I was hanging out with my friend Jillian. Jillian is one of very few friends from high school that lives here in LA. I've always felt I can speak a little more candidly with Jillian, probably because she isn't directly tied to my family. I told her I felt torn about my relationship with Shaun, and my future with him. I told her that I want to have children, and at 27 I was at a place in my life where I needed to be with someone who wants the same thing. I said something along the lines of feeling like I was wasting my time.

  To elaborate a little on the whole wanting kids thing: in the seven years together, Shaun never once spoke of wanting children. He never commented on a cute baby. Nothing. Nada. So I've known for a long time that children is something he simply doesn't want. And that's fine. Great, actually. The last thing the world needs in an unwanted child. But I do want children. At least one. So you see, kind of a big problem. Looking back I can see that I never fully committed myself to Shaun.

  Being at that wedding today made me think about marriage, and how conflicted I am. I have always been an LGBT advocate, and I feel that marriage equality is very important. I still identify with my desire to boycott marriage until all people can marry. However, I will admit I fantasize about marriage. What a hypocrite I am! And it's not like marriage is expected in my family, and if I was to get pregnant unwed no one would care. Now that I'm in a very happy relationship I can see the appeal of marriage. Announcing to all your closest friends and family that you dedicate your self to someone forever is a powerful thing. As much as I would like to say that unwed, but fully committed couples don't "need no piece of paper from the city hall keeping us tied and true," to quote Joni Mitchell, I do think that an exit strategy is always there. The ability to leave is easier. That "piece of paper," in my opinion, holds you accountable. Trust me, I know. There wasn't a time in those seven years with Shaun that the idea of leaving him didn't enter my mind. It was always there, lurking.

  The funny thing is that I don't even know how Jason even feels about all this. I do know that I love him. And I know that I see myself with him indefinitely. My love for Jason has shaken my beliefs. And even though my thoughts on marriage have changed, my thoughts on marriage equality have not. I am left confused, but also happy to be with someone who causes me to challenge my beliefs. It's a good thing.

  The best thing about Jason is that he makes me want to be a better person.

xoxo
Caitlin

  

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A feminist quandry

Aug. 16th, 2012 | 08:41 pm

The other day while we were driving up to Aztec Falls a conversation erupted in regards to strip clubs. Now, let me preface this by saying that I consider myself a radical feminist. So why did I get so upset over the topic of sex work? This topic has always been tough for me. I find the idea of sex work degrading and oppressive, and yet I am still on the side of the women working. I can see how the feminist movement of the 60s was so divided over the topic.

  While driving, my SIL said she finds nothing wrong with strip clubs, and that she's been to a few in her life. I, on the other hand, have never been to a strip club, and I have made that a conscious choice. I know that for my brother's bachelor party they went to a strip club, as per usual. And it perplexes me as to how Bethany is not bothered by this, in the least. I went on to say that I cannot see how someone who considers them self a feminist, or a radical person in general, could visit a strip club.

  Jason and Dylan remained notably silent during this conversation, I should add.

  It got me thinking about a documentary I saw about how the strip clubs in San Francisco unionized, and how much I supported their effort while watching the film. Why do I support the workers, and not the men who frequent these establishments? I suppose that's not exactly a tough question. I believe that while the work itself is degrading and oppressive, the women themselves deserve protection. This got me to thinking about sex work in general. The history of sex work is vast and complicated, and I won't pretend to be well informed. I only know the basics: women have been doing sex work for a very long time, and sometimes it was by choice, and other times it was forced. When people say that being a sex worker is liberating, I can't help but cringe. This is mostly because I feel that sex is amazing, and very special when both people involved are having some sort of intimate connection - both physically and emotionally.

  As a 28 year old woman, I've had numerous sexual experiences, ranging from awful to amazing. The idea of performing sexual acts for money is not something I've ever experienced, or want to experience. I have had casual sex that was terrible, and casual sex that was great, but the best sex has always been with someone I truly love. And I guess it just perplexes me, and honestly makes me kind of sad, to think about someone who doesn't - or hasn't - had such an experience.

  I feel like this post is losing direction.

  Ok. I want to live in a world where women are valued for our minds. Where we are treated as true equals to men. And I can't help but feel that sex work has a direct relationship with patriarchy, and the mentality that women are valued based on their ability to satisfy a man.

  I also hate the whole concept of bachelor parties. One last night to get crazy with naked chicks before your tied down for life? Or some shit like that. Fuck that. I know that there are male strip clubs, and women may frequent them, but I find that living in a patriarchal society that treats women as second-class citizens kind of negates the validity to any argument relating to male sex strip clubs.

  Bethany got really defensive, saying that the strippers don't see the work as degrading. But the thing is, to me, that is irrelevant. I'm not critical of the women to begin with. Not to mention the fact that we often negotiate our beliefs and ethics based on our situations. And I can't help but wonder if these women would feel so empowered had they been raised in a truly equal society.

  And that is all I have for now.

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(no subject)

Aug. 15th, 2012 | 01:53 pm

<iframe src="https://embed.spotify.com/?uri=spotify:track:389R9arpxdfl0JA450Qn9m" width="300" height="380" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true"></iframe>

So, you should probably listen to this song.

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Fire

Aug. 14th, 2012 | 07:46 pm
music: Santigold - Disparate Youth

My apartment is so freaking hot. Ugh. I (obviously) don't have AC, and 90% of the time you don't need it in southern California; the weather is usually perfect. But this global warming shit is real. This heat is freaking intolerable. Jason and I dog-sat for a friend of his, and they have AC. So, we stayed there for a few days. Whew. I got spoiled! Now I'm back at home, sitting in my undies (sometimes in my birthday suit), with all the windows open, the ceiling fan and box fan going, and STILL miserable. Side note: While my windows are open, the blinds are closed. This way the neighbors don't see me laid out naked.

Ok, so my brother Dylan lives in this little courtyard of bungalows. Jason lives with him. And their neighbors, and our friends, are moving into a house they just bought. So...I'm thinking I should maybe apply to live there. My lease is up, and it would be nice to live right by both my brother and my boyfriend. There are some downsides, such as no parking. Jason said he would actually move in with me. Gah! Too many factors. I might be moving in the spring. I will have to think a little more about this.


                                                caitandpup

Look^^^, that there is Teddy. He is a Chihuahua puppy. He is soooo teeny! 

On Thursday my brother, his wife, Jason and I went to Aztec Falls. Wow. This place was beautiful! It's this place in the San Bernadina mountains. Getting to the actual falls was a bit of an...adventure. We knew the hike was going to be challenging, but man, that shit was intense! The last part you have to essentially scale a mountain. Ok, maybe not that bad, but seriously! I had to sit on my butt and grab branches and rocks to keep from tumbling down the mountain. When you finally get to the falls, you can either leap off a 15ft cliff into the water, or slide down a slippery and crazy rock formation. Well, we had our clothes on and we were carrying all kinds of crap, so we had to do the latter. When we finally got to the beach, I was so tired. Bethany - my sister-in-law - and I stripped and leaped into the water immediately. It felt to good! I then worked up the courage to climb the rocks so I could jump off the cliff. Bethany went first. I was pretty scared! I was shaking, and the only other people there were trying to tell us exactly where to jump because there is only a small area that is safe to jump into. Well, I did it! I counted to three and leaped. It was scary, but so much fun! Jason stood up there for about 30 minutes gathering the courage to jump, and he finally did. Dylan...decided he didn't want to jump.

The craziest part was getting back up the mountain. As I was about to climb the rocks, I saw a GIANT rattlesnake!!! I was so scared! And there was no way around it, so we had to carefully climb over it. By the time we got to the trail - and I  say that loosely, because that shit was steep - I was pretty shaken up. I had a moment. You know what I mean? A moment. I burst into tears saying I couldn't make it back up. My muscles were so sore, they got all wobbly and I felt like I couldn't take another step. But Jason is awesome. He took all of my bags and I eventually made it up. I'll tell you what though, I was in the most pain the following three days! I've never been that sore, ever!


caitkings
baba
caitjase
caitjase2

From top:
I became a LA Kings fan! And...they won The Stanley Cup!
My favorite pup ever!
Jason and I at Los Duggans reunion
Jason and I at a BBQ

I had other things I wanted to write about, but I can't remember them.
xoxo
Caitlin

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Hello

Aug. 5th, 2012 | 08:59 pm

Hello, to anyone who actually might read this thing. I've been gone for a very long time.

Life has happened. Still in school. Moved to Highland Park (CA), ended a 7 year relationship, began a new one, and trying to figure out my next step in life.

Ahhh, school. I've essentially completed 2+ years of undergrad for free. (Which is awesome) I'm at nearly 90 units, missing only two math classes. (I fucking hate math.) I've been at LA city college since 2007, and I am just so over it. I applied to UC Berkeley and UCLA last semester, hoping that my 3.8 gpa would override the missing math class. Well, I didn't get in to either Universities. I was really devastated at first; I had my heart set on Berkeley. I visited the campus, talked to peer advisers, and was told I would definitely get in. That obviously didn't happen.  After some research, it appears some 70,000 people applied last semester, and psychology is one of the most competitive programs. After the initial defeat set in, I decided that perhaps the universe was "telling" me something.  So, here I am. Still at community college. I'm taking algebra, film 101, science fiction literature, and....something else. In other words, I'm taking math and a bunch of snoozer classes. I have to be full-time to work. I work at school, which I am not sure I've mentioned in the past. Yes, I work as an English tutor in the writing center. Please don't mind my shitty grammar; I am not trying to sound articulate right now.

  At any rate, I am in the process of reapplying. This time I am going to apply to many more schools, and not limit myself so much. I don't know why I was so dead set on Berkeley. I am, of course, concerned about tuition costs. I hope that my good grades (high gpa, presidential honor list for many semesters, psychology honors society, etc.) will help me in getting a fair amount of financial aid. My brother, Dylan, is at UCLA as a transfer and got a full ride, with a lower gpa. Ok, back to my initial point, I am going to apply to private colleges, as well as out of states colleges. My mother told me, and I'll paraphrase,"If we [my mother and father] made all of our life choices based on wise financial decisions, we wouldn't have had such an amazing and fun life." My list of possible colleges has widened considerably.

  In terms of my love life, I broke up with Shaun. He and I were together just under seven years. Seven years. What happened? Well, it wasn't any one thing. He is an alcoholic, first of all. He was emotionally and verbally abusive. We had almost completely separate lives. We shared zero passions in life. You get the idea. Summer of 2011, I went back to MI for three weeks, and during that time I had an epiphany: I am happier without Shaun! I had such an amazing and fun summer, and when I came back to CA, I found myself angry and resentful towards Shaun. I don't particularly want to go into the details of how bad our relationship was, but needless to say, I wanted out.

  Wow, this thing is getting long. I guess when you don't write for like, years, life stuff builds up. Let's see if I can speed things up a bit. Met another man, knew that he was special, was scared I might miss out on a relationship that was truly amazing, broke up with Shaun, moved out, moved into (first!) place of my own, and began a wonderful relationship with Jason. Here we are:

jasoncaitlin

  He is everything I've ever wanted in a partner. He is kind, loyal, romantic, adventurous, funny, smart, loving...I could go on. He is a photojournalist, a Los Angeles native, and 37. And I love him. A lot. I also chopped my hair off. In this pic we were at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery screening of The Big Lebowski. It was really fun. 







  Jason and I have a lot of fun together. Here are some pics of our various adventures:

plane
caitandbaba
caitandjase
caitandjasekings
dodgergame
jandcfire

Gotta love instagram.

The rest of my family are doing well. Like I said, Dylan is at UCLA finishing his undergrad. He and his wife are trying to have a baby. (Yay!) Travis remarried, and he is teaching at a college in Pomona. Parents are doing well. I think life is pretty dang good.

caitcoco
cainesarcade
caitadva

caitanddyl
caitbaba

I imagine this is enough for one entry...perhaps several. I hope you all are doing well.

Xoxo
Caitlin



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Poetry

Aug. 7th, 2011 | 05:55 pm

Seamus Heaney  (1939-)


Digging


Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; as snug as a gun.

Under my window a clean rasping sound
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:
My father, digging. I look down

Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds
Bends low, comes up twenty years away
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills
Where he was digging.

The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.

By God, the old man could handle a spade,
Just like his old man.

My grandfather could cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner's bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, digging down and down
For the good turf. Digging.

The cold smell of potato mold, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I've no spade to follow men like them.

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I'll dig with it.


- from Death of a Naturalist (1966)

I love this poem. I did an explication of this poem in my English Literature class. Here is the introduction I wrote:

In a world of dying traditions, maintaining a sense of historical pride is challenging. Seamus Heaney’s poem “Digging” explores the speaker’s internal conflict regarding his desire to maintain a connection with his ancestral past. It is revealed immediately that the speaker is a writer. Throughout the course of the poem, the speaker recalls moments in his past and contemplates the rapid changes occurring amongst his people. Raised in a family of potato farmers, the speaker feels distanced from his father and grandfather and is unsure of how to relate his chosen field of work to that of hard laborers. The title, “Digging,” conjures multiple meanings, and the speaker reconciles his chosen work by using the pen as his tool.  The speaker is able to sustain his cultural identity by digging--not in the literal sense--but rather by unearthing his memories.

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Poetry

Aug. 4th, 2011 | 04:59 pm

THEME FOR ENGLISH B

By Langston Hughes

The instructor said,
Go home and write
a page tonight.
And let that page come out of you---
Then, it will be true.
I wonder if it's that simple?
I am twenty-two, colored, born in Winston-Salem.
I went to school there, then Durham, then here
to this college on the hill above Harlem.
I am the only colored student in my class.
The steps from the hill lead down into Harlem
through a park, then I cross St. Nicholas,
Eighth Avenue, Seventh, and I come to the Y,
the Harlem Branch Y, where I take the elevator
up to my room, sit down, and write this page:

It's not easy to know what is true for you or me
at twenty-two, my age. But I guess I'm what
I feel and see and hear, Harlem, I hear you:
hear you, hear me---we two---you, me, talk on this page.
(I hear New York too.) Me---who?
Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love.
I like to work, read, learn, and understand life.
I like a pipe for a Christmas present,
or records---Bessie, bop, or Bach.
I guess being colored doesn't make me NOT like
the same things other folks like who are other races.
So will my page be colored that I write?
Being me, it will not be white.
But it will be
a part of you, instructor.
You are white---
yet a part of me, as I am a part of you.
That's American.
Sometimes perhaps you don't want to be a part of me.
Nor do I often want to be a part of you.
But we are, that's true!
As I learn from you,
I guess you learn from me---
although you're older---and white---
and somewhat more free.

This is my page for English B.

1951

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Poetry

Aug. 3rd, 2011 | 02:55 pm


THE FLEA.
by John Donne


MARK but this flea, and mark in this,
How little that which thou deniest me is ;
It suck'd me first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled be.
Thou know'st that this cannot be said
A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead ;
    Yet this enjoys before it woo,
    And pamper'd swells with one blood made of two ;
    And this, alas ! is more than we would do.

O stay, three lives in one flea spare,
Where we almost, yea, more than married are.
This flea is you and I, and this
Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is.
Though parents grudge, and you, we're met,
And cloister'd in these living walls of jet.
    Though use make you apt to kill me,
    Let not to that self-murder added be,
    And sacrilege, three sins in killing three.

Cruel and sudden, hast thou since
Purpled thy nail in blood of innocence?
Wherein could this flea guilty be,
Except in that drop which it suck'd from thee?
Yet thou triumph'st, and say'st that thou
Find'st not thyself nor me the weaker now.
'Tis true ; then learn how false fears be ;
Just so much honour, when thou yield'st to me,
Will waste, as this flea's death took life from thee.




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Poetry

Aug. 2nd, 2011 | 05:53 pm

I have been absent for so very long. Hello to those who might read this! Instead of going into details about my mundane summer (its actually been quite nice) I thought I would share poetry. Not mine, that is for my eyes only. :)


The Hand That Signed the Paper

By Dylan Thomas
The hand that signed the paper felled a city;   
Five sovereign fingers taxed the breath,   
Doubled the globe of dead and halved a country;   
These five kings did a king to death.

The mighty hand leads to a sloping shoulder,   
The finger joints are cramped with chalk;   
A goose’s quill has put an end to murder   
That put an end to talk.

The hand that signed the treaty bred a fever,   
And famine grew, and locusts came;
Great is the hand that holds dominion over   
Man by a scribbled name.

The five kings count the dead but do not soften   
The crusted wound nor stroke the brow;   
A hand rules pity as a hand rules heaven;   
Hands have no tears to flow.

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