What's in the gallery?

We dissolve stuck and rewrite patterns. We apply radical playfulness to life (when we feel like it!), embarking on internal adventures (credo of Safety First). We have a fake band called Solved By Cake. We build invisible sanctuaries, invent words and worlds, breathe awe and wonder.

We are not impressed by monsters. Except when we are. We explore the connections between internal territories and surrounding environment to learn what marvelously supportive delicious space feels like, and how to take exquisite care of ourselves. We transform things.* We glow wild.**

* For example: Desire, fear, worry, pain-and-trauma, boundaries, that problematic word which rhymes with flaweductivity.

** Fair warning: Self-fluency has been known to lead to extremely subversive behavior, including treasuring yourself unconditionally, unapologetically taking up space, experiencing outrageously improbable levels of self-acceptance, and general rejoicing in aliveness.


Item! Lowering the bar makes it easier to reach your drink.

Fluent Self Item!A somewhat goofy mini-collection of stuff I’ve been reading, stuff I’ve been thinking about and oh, some completely random crap.

Basically the stuff that never gets mentioned here because I’m not the kind of person who can just make some teeny little point. Not into the whole brevity thing, as the Dude would say.

Actually, I’m under the strict compulsion to write ten pages about anything on my mind. So this is me. Practicing brevity.

Item! 2009 is practically over.

Which makes this the last Item — Item! — of 2009.

But my plan is to be around with unnecessary exclamation points and a duck on Wednesdays next year too. And to be here the rest of the time talking to monsters and giving biggification advice and stuff.

Also, the title today refers to my quote of the year (yes, I’m quoting myself), which will also have to become a post at some point.

Item! Post No. 47 in an ongoing almost-every-Wednesday series that continues to amuse me, and possibly other people but really mostly me.

Item! Havi’s Surprisingly Great Finds of the year.

So. Much. Great.

And no, I’m not including any bloggishness or related internettery in this list. Because there is too much and it’s impossible to remember which internet crush on whom started when.

But my biggest non-internet 2009 obsessions are, officially and as far as I can remember, which isn’t very:

Mr. B is @gentlemanrhymer on Twitter.

Item! Serious exclamation points!

So yes, I like to make fun of my self for how exclaim-ey I get on Wednesdays with all these Items. Item!

But here’s someone who works the exclamation point in a way that puts me to shame.

The blog is called Sodiapop and boy is it enthusiastic. It made me smile. So that’s a good thing.

The tagline is This Blog Is To Be Read Happily. And it appears to be written by a small doll. Really, what’s not to like?

“This is a big spider!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ottawa is fun!!!!!! “

Found this by way of Andi (love Andi!) who is @annaline_39 on Twitter.

Item! One thing leads to another.

I was reading Sodiapop (see above) and it brought me to this.

Item! All things in moderation. Including moderating. Possibly.

Moderating comments: it’s just something that needs to happen. Because it’s your space and you’re trying to make it a safe experience for your right people.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden pretty much shares all of my opinions.

On the idea that people would try to “create a set of guidelines to shape online discussion and debate”:

“Uh-huh. And I’m busy constructing a bamboo-and-wicker water gate that will hereafter govern the flow of the Mississippi River. “


“You can’t have a good online discussion without moderation. Every weblog out there that has good comment threads has a policy of moderating the discussion and kicking out the fuggheads.”

Agreed. I don’t moderate my own comments — I have people on the pirate crew who do that.

And when someone can’t play nice, I am willing to consciously engage if I don’t actually think they mean to be obnoxious. Or they’ll get deleted if it’s clear to all of us that they are.

But a policy? Or even a non-policy policy like the ones I have and described in the Blogging Therapy series? Absolutely.

She’ll even give you a certificate to tell off the “vexatious persons”. Awesome.

Got to this via our Caryn who also told me about Get Your Own Effing Blog, which totally made me laugh.

Teresa is @tnielsenhayden on Twitter. Caryn is @clr.

Item! Arachnophobia and other terrifying things

Loved this concise, simple, lovely post from Deanna about fear, creativity, vulnerability and spiders.

“What am I afraid of?

  • I will write and no one will read
  • I will write and everyone will read
  • Everyone will read and think I suck
  • Everyone will read and tell me I suck
  • I will believe everyone”

She’s @DeannaLohnes on Twitter.

Item! I’m not the only person who makes up rituals, you know.

Eileen does it too, beautifully.

“One of my current favorites is lighting candles before we sit down to dinner every night.

It originally started because we didn’t have power in our dining room during a homebrewed electrical project. But now it’s just the thing we do before we start dinner.

Where we say this, now.

(Although come to think of it we still don’t have power in the dining room.)”

Did you hear that? “Where we say this, now.

That is the grand summing up of ritual.

She’s @evalazza on Twitter.

Item! Oh, it hurts.

So true. This is Andrew’s sarcastic, wonderful list of how to make sure you fight at Christmas.

“Christmas is the perfect time to implement everything you’ve ever read about mindfulness, conflict resolution and being peaceful.”

Yes, I know Christmas is over (though I’m not sure that Zombie Yule is), but really this is all good advice all the time.

Also, thanks Casey for giving me this great idea about the “family aquarium tap” in the comments.

Andrew is @alightheart and Casey is @casey_cole on Twitter.

Item! Kelly’s 3-Years-In-Business Truthiness Address.

This is excellent.

“My past indicates I seem to be drawn to working with convicted felons, people in crisis, and puppets.”

You should read the whole thing.

She’s @copylicious on Twitter.

Item! Update from the land of the Peculiar & Hilarious Shivanauts!

The “peculiar and hilarious” thing comes from Melynda’s sweet bit about Butterfly Wishes.

Pearl wrote a lovely post called synapses, habits, soul.

And we had an awesome guest post on the Shiva Nata blog from Anna Barnett:

Something is clearly happening after my practices, during shavasana. There’s the swirly, buzzy, crunchy-peanut-buttery sensation. The weirdly addictive mental fatigue. I love it.

The thing is, it’s hard for me to put up with it.”

Her post is called The Flailing. And you should read it.

That’s @AnnaBarnett and @pearlmattenson on Twitter.

Item! Comments! Here’s what I want this time:

  • Things you’re thinking about.
  • Something inappropriate to do for Silvester — ideally something that doesn’t involve people. Or seeing any. Because I’m not good at that.

My commitment.
I am committed to giving time and thought to the things that people say. Even though asking for what I want still feels awkward for me, I’m just going to remind myself that this is a thing I’m practicing.

That is all.

Happy reading.

And happy Blustery Windsday.* And productive releasing whatever is done for 2009. And joyful incoming 2010. See you tomorrow.

*Someone (the charming @claireofttat) asked about changing it to Balmy Windsday due to the inclement weather. I would much prefer Balmy myself but I’m not sure if I can wish you a happy one, since it is most certainly Blustery here in Portland (Snowpocolypse!).

So I’ll wish for some Balm to make the Blustery better.

21 Responses to Item! Lowering the bar makes it easier to reach your drink.

  1. Pearl Mattenson
    Twitter: pearlmattenson

    Havi-thanks for making me an “item” and for introducing us to so many AWE INSPIRING (and funny) people.

    I went on a little word rant and decided that item is also:

    1) I-tem: I am time (latin:tem)
    2) I-tem: I am a temple or a spot marked for sacred purposed.

    I will leave the interpretations to others…
    .-= Pearl Mattenson´s last post … 12.30.09 =-.

  2. Hiro Boga
    Twitter: HiroBoga

    Something inappropriate to do for Silvester:

    Kayaking by moonlight… A midnight feast in bed… Old movies, olive-oil-and-rosemary popcorn, a sandalwood bath… Serenading Hoppy House with songs of your own making… Building a Silvester snow-angel… (I’m out of ideas, inappropriate or otherwise!) :-)

    Things I’m thinking about:

    Ebb and flow.

    Love, Hiro
    .-= Hiro Boga´s last post … Naming the Stars in the Sky =-.

  3. Inge
    Twitter: _i_n_g_e_

    So true, Deanna’s list of things to be afraid off.

    My inappropriate thing for Silvester is to have an overdose of television, until I’m sick of it. They’re broadcasting arbitrary lists and year overviews and the umpteenth rerun of trashy movies. At midnight, the TV will be shut down and I won’t watch it at all for a month or two. I did it last year for the month of January, but relapsed into watching every evening. I can’t watch in moderation, so it seems.

    What I’m actually doing is hiding from people that don’t know how to light fireworks safely (for people around them) but do so anyway. It’s so funny-ha-ha to throw stuff at unsuspecting passers by or aim arrows anyway but up. I do like some sparkly colourful fireworks at midnight to spook away the evil spirits, but not the stink and the loud bangy stuff from 10 AM until all is gone.

    I’m thinking about a game to play: what am I going to leave behind in 2009 and what gets to go with me in 2010.

    Happy calendar-year transistion for all of you!

  4. Something inappropriate to do for Silvester:

    * sneak up to a Klan meeting house and burn a Star of David on their lawn

    * walk into a WalMart and ask the butcher if the pork chops are kosher

    * put on a tutu and dance around in your yard (go on, you know you want to)

    * leave a note on the table asking the world to go away, please. Then curl up under a blanket in your wardrobe

    * party like its 5770

  5. Emily
    Twitter: emilyroots

    Yowza! Pearl is great. Thank you, Havi, for introducing us to Pearl. She has a way with words.
    Nick Cave? So in love. One of the top 5 shows I’ve ever been to (last year I think? After Dig Lazarus Dig was released), and I’ve been to….um, well, a lot of shows. (I’m married to a musician. Of course!)
    And “The Crane Wife”? I’ve never made it to the rest of that album, because every time I put it on, I just end up hitting repeat for the next hour…
    Thinking about…how I’ve now outed myself as a Star Trek: TNG fan. While wearing the geekiest sweater I’ve ever received as a present.
    I am reveling in my geekiness! Reveling!
    .-= Emily´s last post … It’s Almost Here. My Course Is Set. Crank Up the Warp Drive… =-.

  6. Lydia, Clueless Crafter
    Twitter: Art_Style

    I’m thinking about why I’m obsessed with Milan Kundera’s book “The Unbearable Lightness of Being.” It’s amazing in that weaves historical context (Communism, 1968, Eastern Europe) with philosophical meditations on Kitsch, Kant, Nietzsche and whether we suffer if our life is lived only once (lightness) or we suffer more knowing that it is lived only once (unbearable lightness of being).

    I’ve got my head in the sand thinking about this. I think it will take me right into the New Year if someone doesn’t talk to me about it!
    .-= Lydia, Clueless Crafter´s last post … On Continuity =-.

  7. Havi Brooks
    Twitter: havi


    @Emily – Reveling!

    @Hiro – mmmm, olive-oil-and-rosemary popcorn. That sounds kind of perfect.

    @Nathan – We need to sneak you out of Scotland to join the Portland Inappropriate Sylvester Festivities (Sylvestivities?) — also possibly to make the popcorn.

    Yay. Items! I adore you all!

  8. Romilly
    Twitter: deromilly

    Item! This Life of Pookah post reminded me of talking to monsters, although I don’t think one usually refers to small cats as monsters: this one is a Tasmanian devil in disguise. I’ve met her. :) http://lifeofpookah.com/?p=510

    @Nathan.. I’m having problems with the idea that putting on a tutu and dancing in the front yard is inappropriate… But then again, I’m a recovering ballerina… Nowadays, I sometimes put on a hipscarf, grab my sword or cane and dance around my front yard (my ceiling’s too low to practice in the living room with props… just WAIT until I get a pair of wings of Isis!). Is this better than a tutu? *grin* Note: I don’t wait for Silvester to do it…
    .-= Romilly´s last post … Universe is hitting me again! Help! =-.

  9. @Romilly: trust me, you don’t want to see my legs in tights. Or maybe you do… >:->

    @Havi: borrow Selma’s credit card and fly me out. I’ll even wear my kilt ;-)

  10. Kelly Parkinson
    Twitter: copylicious

    Thanks for the link and for making me look up Sylvester!

    I was planning on appropriating the angel refueling station idea except having the “fuel” be homemade eggnog. So, not like a party. More like a refueling station while you’re on your way somewhere else. You stop by, give a sock, take a sock, and at the end of the night, everyone has gone home with each other’s socks, and the party game, which really takes place afterward, is to figure out whose sock you have. Or you could make sock puppets.

    And in one of the socks there will be a bean. If you get the bean, you win a special prize, maybe a certificate for free chicken wings.

    Which brings me to the second inappropriate activity, which could be to print out little pieces of colored paper that say “free chicken wings” in Arial font and hand them out to people who are just going in to see a movie, telling them the snack bar is doing a special promotion today. So, all night long, people will keep asking for chicken wings, which no movie theater ever serves.

    We thought that one up while celebrating Jewmas at the movies, so I’m just passing it on.

    Lowering the bar every day….

  11. Holly says:

    Thanks for the list! And Pearl is truly awesome. You’ve got me inspired to do one of these for my blog now as well.
    .-= Holly´s last post … Presenting…The Cottage Copy Store! =-.

  12. Andrew Lightheart @alightheart
    Twitter: alightheart

    @Nathan – Mmmm blanket. Mmmm wardrobe.

    @Romilly – WINGS OF ISIS? Wow.

    @Havi Item!ed. Yay.


    This, now.

    *looks into middle distance and blows out lips*
    .-= Andrew Lightheart @alightheart´s last post … How to make sure you fight at Christmas =-.

  13. Chris Anthony
    Twitter: etherjammer

    @Pearl, you could also go with French: I-tem -> Je-tem -> je t’aime, “I love you”. I think it’s an appropriate meaning. :)

    Thing I am thinking about: listening to the Dance of Shiva DVD as I go to sleep, instead of Netflix or Hulu. I have found my DVD but not the time or space to practice in, so I figure subliminal Shiva Nata might be the next best thing.
    .-= Chris Anthony´s last post … Insufficiency =-.

  14. Amna (@Germinational)
    Twitter: Germinational

    Oh, I am a *big fan* of making your drink easier to reach. How very sensible!

    My inappropriate Sylvester markation for the last few years has been to observe silence. I did this a couple times at a Big Celebrity Yoga Studio, but at the end they wanted to ring in midnight with mispronounced hippie chanting and incense, while I just really wanted to go on observing silence.

    So last year I did it at home. It was AWESOME. No hippies glared at me for not playing right. Plus it forced my then-roommate to not talk to me for a few hours. And I got the bonus of feeling like I had done something Right For Me, which is introspect and meditate and love up creation.

    What is inappropriate about this? I’m not sure. Except whenever someone asked me what I was doing for New Year’s and I told them, they look at me like I was not right in the head. So I think it’s actually subversive to be quiet and stay home in NYC.

  15. Andi
    Twitter: annaline_39

    Hey I’m an Item! connector mouse!!!! :)

    And did you know the comment form won’t let you submit a blank comment? (hey, kombucha always gives me a little buzz)

    I can’t think of anything inappropriate for us to be doing tomorrow night. We always stay home, usually break out some wine, clink glasses at midnight, and stay up til about one. I still like watching Dick Clark, and remember watching Peter Jennings on that day back when we rolled over to 2000, he stayed up the whole day, welcoming in the new year in each time zone.

    Maybe we could do that, eh? :)
    .-= Andi´s last post … Alice and Friends =-.

  16. Andi
    Twitter: annaline_39

    Oh and ps, I drive my kids nuts by counting down with the stove timer on a regular basis and then yelling “Happy New Year”. Gets them every time. Though now Izzy does it with me. Start ’em young, I say ;)
    .-= Andi´s last post … Alice and Friends =-.

  17. Kathleen Avins @spiralsongkat
    Twitter: spiralsongkat

    And let there be no raising of the bar
    When I am all at sea…

    Today, I am thinking about my blog, and wishing I posted in it more often. The last time I felt that way, I blogged about it, which does seem to be a fairly sensible approach.

    Something inappropriate to do for Silvester: sleep through it. Roll over and open your eyes at around 4:30 the next morning and say, “Oh. Huh. Guess it’s a new year.” Then have breakfast. (First breakfast, at least.)
    .-= Kathleen Avins @spiralsongkat´s last post … If blogging can be therapy, can it also be triage? =-.

  18. Blue says:

    As I’ve mentioned before in these comments… I hate hate hate staying up late late late. :)

    So I’m very tempted to crawl into bed at 10:00 p.m. tomorrow and wake up at 5:45 like I usually do and celebrate the New Year by having a peaceful morning instead of a cranky tired one.

    And yet everyone is asking “why aren’t you doing anything for New Year’s??!!!” when I want to be all “yo, I’m the one who wants to be awake (and sober) on the first morning in 2010…”
    .-= Blue´s last post … Reading Group Follow-Up: A Better Analysis of No Impact Man =-.

  19. claire @claireofttat
    Twitter: claireofRA

    I kind of knew that’s what you were going to say about “blustery,” but it felt good to ask because it had gnawed on me a little the past 2 Windsdays.

    Here’s to Balms! (and asking and NVC)
    .-= claire @claireofttat´s last post … Vestigial lists =-.

  20. claire @claireofttat
    Twitter: claireofRA

    p.s. “olive-oil-and-rosemary popcorn” made me think of ThinkGeek’s bacon flavored popcorn, which oddly enough is vegetarian and kosher.
    .-= claire @claireofttat´s last post … Vestigial lists =-.

  21. Leocadia says:

    Something inappropriate to do for Silvester: decline every single invitation to parties or dinners, go to bed before midnight (even though sleeping through probably won’t work; my city turns into a fire-cracker-battlefield for endless hours), have herbal tea instead of sparkling wine or champagne.

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