Sunday, December 25, 2011

Oasis of the Seas

I just got home from a totally amazing week, aboard Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas with my grandmother, aunt, uncle, and two cousins. I plan to post day-by-day highlights, but first here are some overall stats for the ship:

(Note: this picture is from the website; I did not take it. There's never really a chance at this angle even when you aren't on the ship.)

She was built in Finland and her maiden voyage was December 5, 2009. In order to get out of the shipyard she had to go under a bridge that she was just a bit too tall for. In order to solve the problem they made her smokestacks retractable (just for this one bridge, they never need to retract again!) and went at the bridge full speed (just under 24 knots or 27.63 miles per hour), in order to get as low in the water as possible. They barely squeaked under!

She has props of a new design that can swivel/turn 360 degrees, so that she can literally turn in place!

She is one of the two largest cruise ships in the world (the other is her sister Oasis Class ship, Allure of the Seas [Allure is actually 2 inches longer, technically speaking...]) at 360 meters long (1,187 feet), 64 meters wide (208 feet), 65 meters above the waterline (213 feet), and a draft of about 9 meters (around 30 feet). She weighs in at 2225, 282 tons (out of water)!

She has 16 public decks and 2706 guest rooms which can hold up to 6300 guests. The staff hovers at around 2300 and during my cruise they represented 64 countries.

It has a zipline, 2 rock climbing walls, 2 flow-riders, 24 dining rooms, restaurants, et cetera, about 12,000 plants and trees including an onboard park, several theaters (live, movie, and aqua!), a boardwalk with a carousel, an ice skating rink (smaller than standard at 40 by 60 feet), a promenade, several pools and hot tubs... pretty much anything!

It was an absolutely amazing week!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sugar As Safety

I had an interesting realization last night, that in my brain I have an over-coupling involving safety and sugar. To me, eating sugary foods feels like physical safety. Some where along the way those two ideas got wired into the same circuits in my brain (that's basically what over-coupling means, in this case).

When I was a kid, sugar was kinda verboten in my house, so whenever I got my sneaky little hands on some, I would hide to eat it. I think that's where this over coupling came from: the warm, cozy feeling of my hiding spots got mixed in with the act of eating the sweets.

I had this realization kind of out of the blue yesterday. Last night rather than going for a sugary snack, I did other things that felt like safety to me. It was a mildly successful experiment that I intend to continue.


I'm in the middle of a conversation with a friend, about how I like to encourage people to be themselves because I truly do believe that we are who we are, and have the callings that we do, because we are genuinely needed in the world for some reason, and that our only real job is to show up in the world as who we genuinely are. But then I'm also a total hypocrite, because I don't think I show up as fully myself very often. I don't think I'm a very masked person, I don't think I'm inauthentic, but I don't think I'm radically authentic, either. I don't think I am me in a "let you colors fly, let the chips fall where they may" kind of way.

So in this conversation my friend asked "what do you hide? and I froze. Physically and mentally I just... froze... for a few moments. Because if I admit to believing I am certain things, and I already have confessed to believing we have a duty to the world and humanity to show up as our genuine selves... well then I'm kinda committed if I say I have traits I don't fully manifest, right?

Maybe. I suppose I could always use some excuse like "I'm not ready" or whatever... (see, that's my way of making this next part not quite so frightening)...
So here are some traits that I think I have that I don't fully manifest:
-sensing inauthenticity (maybe this is part of intuition; what I mean is, I have a knack for sensing and dismissing bullsh*t)
-mindfulness (especially but not only in regard to being fully rpesent with another person)

I think those are the big ones, in terms of the difference they could make in me and in the world.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Percolating: Pain and the Pheminine

(Sorry about the title, had to go for the alliteration)
Been a while since I wrote anything much on here, huh. I guess I've been in a percolating, consolidating sort of phase.

Remember over the summer when I had that crazy abdominal pain that never really got figured out? It came back, sometime around the middle of November. I've seen specialists again, had scans again, but no one can figure anything out, again. Currently I'm actively seeing a naturopath and an acupuncturist, and I have an appointment on January 10 to see an internist/hepatologist. Nothing seems to really be helping much. The pain is pretty constant, but not very intense. I'd say it hovers around a 3 on the 1-10 pain scale, give or take a point or two in either direction at any given time. More activity yields more pain, so I haven't been doing a whole lot, but I can get errands done, went to have dinner with my brother's family a few days ago, I do short walks around the block and all... I just try not to do too much (which is a kind of fluid goal).

Another thing I'm doing is working the psychological angle. I looked up lower abdomen/uterine pain (I'm pretty convinced it's either uterine or bladder, based on where the pain is, and the acupuncturist agrees) in Louse L. Hayes' book. She has a huge compilation of affirmations she recommends for all kinds of physical and mental ailments. The one I found was something about "I embrace my feminine energy." I thought "well cool, I can do... uhm... what exactly is feminine energy....?" So now I've embarked on a huge, three-pronged research mission; 1. defining feminine/female energy, 2. examining the feminine in history, and 3. look at how the feminine is expressed in current cultures (and of course, how does all of this relate to me). Along the way I'm doing a lot of reading, a lot of talking (especially but not strictly with women), and a lot of thinking. I feel like it's actually helpful to my physical pain levels when I am actively engaged in this project; maybe that's placebo and maybe not, but either way I'll take it. I'll also take any comments or thoughts or ideas anyone has!

I was watching this video on youtube today of a flash mob at Occupy San Francisco/Oakland. One cool thing was, it reminded me very much of Baha'i Youth Workshop dances from back in the day. But another thing that really struck me was a brief shot of a woman with the words "choose your story" written on tape across her shirt. What a powerful idea; the fact that we get to choose what we want our story to be, and then act it out....