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24 June 2020 @ 04:07 pm
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STATUS: Currently NOT accepting friend requests unless I have agreed to add you in a friending meme.

Potential new friends, please take note:

I am:

  • liberal

  • spiritually eclectic

  • mostly asexual and polyamorous

  • genderqueer (pronouns: she/her)

My journal may contain discussions of:

  • medical issues such as IBD, depression, anxiety, and dissociation (behind cuts when appropriate)

  • religion and spirituality

  • queer (QUILTBAG) experience/politics

Please note:

  • I do not apply the label "feminist" to myself, but I agree with the majority of feminist philosophy. You want to think of me as a feminist? Go for it! But please don't call me a feminist to my (virtual) face. No, I don't consider it an insult, but I get to choose ALL of my labels, not just the ones that apply to my gender, sexuality, or spirituality, ya feel me?

  • I do not appreciate attempts to convert me to or shame me into adopting your diet of choice, your religion of choice, or your specific political causes, philosophies, or beliefs. You do you, and I'll do me. Get pushy with me, and you're off my friends list.

  • This journal is ~My Space on the Internet.~ I may voice some unpopular opinions or say things that might be considered offensive. As my LJ friend, you will have to deal with this. I never assume that I am objectively correct when I say these things. In fact, I often know that I am wrong, but I still feel these things regardless. But my LJ is a place where I learn and grow and work things out. None of us are perfect human beings. No one changes overnight. But I am very, very sensitive to criticism. Sometimes I will disable comments on posts where I voice such opinions. Please understand that I am not trying to shut down the conversation or prevent people from educating me. Rather, I am protecting my unfortunately fragile emotional state. The friends I have who know how to talk to me in a way that is sensitive to my needs have ways to reach me outside of LJ, and are always welcome to discuss these delicate topics privately.

  • If you're not okay with any of the above and are incapable of having a respectful, rational discussion (with me, or my other LJ friends) possibly ending in an agreement to disagree, do not add me. I fully support your right to disagree, but I do not tolerate is intolerance, and you will be removed from my friends list.

If you've recently been added as my LJ friend, I encourage you to check out the following links:
Current Mood: calmcalm
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23 April 2015 @ 10:07 am
I did a small friends-cut this week. No hard feelings, I just wasn't clicking with y'all and I realized that I was starting to avoid LJ because of it. I wish you all the very best <3
26 July 2014 @ 08:57 pm
Looking at the goals I completed in Mission 101, most of them were one-shot deals. Go to a convention. Donate a bag of clothes to charity. Ask a doctor a question. Where I failed to complete a goal, it was either because I didn't care enough about the task, overestimated myself, or underestimated the difficulty of the task. One of those three was enough to make me fail to complete the task. Developing a consistent yoga/meditation routine, for example, is something I care very much about, but I underestimated how difficult it would be for me to do. On the other hand, if I set myself up for success by setting goals I know I can complete, most are likely to be of little real value to me. I am concerned about my ability to set goals that are both achievable and important/meaningful to me.

Anyway, my new, revised version is a set of 20 goals, to be completed by my 30th birthday. That's a little over four-and-a-half years, which works out to just over four goals- and just over four books- per year. They are all important to me and, I think, acheivable with some work. The house/vacation bits are unfortunately dependent on my income, but I think I can realistically expect to have completed at least one of those three goals by my 30th birthday.

Start date: Friday, August 1, 2014
End date: Monday, April 29, 2019
Bold items are in progress
Italicized items are completed

  1. Continue my religious studies

  2. Improve my German

  3. Gain a working understanding of nutrition

  4. Gain a basic understanding of how a car works

  5. Develop a yoga and meditation routine


  1. Get new glasses

  2. Finances permitting, take up an outside-the-home physical activity (some possibilities: martial arts, rock climbing, archery, yoga)

  3. Maintain my haircut, rather than letting it grow out just because it’s easier and cheaper

  4. Get a second hole pierced in each of my ears

  5. Improve my diet by:

    1. seeing a nutritionist,

    2. reducing my processed sugar intake

    3. taking my vitamins daily

    4. increasing my daily water consumption


  1. Watch at least half of the movies on this list.

  2. Read the following new authors:

    1. Thich Nhat Hanh

    2. Paulo Coelho

    3. Meghan Lindholm

    4. Nnedi Okorafor

    5. Arthur C. Clarke

    6. Philip K. Dick

    7. Robert H. Heinlein

    8. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

    9. Pema Chodron

    10. Octavia Butler

  3. Read the following books:

    1. Leaves of Grass, by Whitman

    2. Walden, by Thoreau

    3. Pride and Prejudice, by Austen

    4. A Tale of Two Cities, by Dickens

    5. Inferno, by Alighieri

    6. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, by Chabon

    7. The Art of War, by Sun Tzu

    8. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, by Weber

    9. The Prophet, by Gibran

    10. The Girl with All the Gifts, by Carey

  4. Vacation in another county

  5. Vacation in another state


  1. Get in the habit of having all Christmas shopping completed by December 1 by the end of the challenge period.

  2. Purchase a home

    1. Buy a bicycle

    2. Adopt a dog

    3. Start a herb and vegetable garden

    4. Create a meditation room

  3. Transition to a more minimalistic lifestyle

  4. Create more opportunities for photography

  5. Build a better wardrobe

16 July 2014 @ 11:25 pm
Two of my friends are participating in this lovely, very thorough survey, and I would like to follow suit, a few questions at a time.

1. Name. How important is it to you?

I've always had mixed feelings about my name. My first name is Alexandra. It means "defender of mankind." As a name, it has always felt clunky and awkward to me, rather than beautiful, so I prefer to be called Alex, but there are other names I straight up dislike much more than my own. I feel pretty neutral towards my own name. I have felt a lot of pressure over the years to live up to the meaning of my name. I have often felt that the name imbued me with a certain warrior spirit, but left me rather lacking in the defending-people department.

I have two middle names, which has made me feel both awkward and proud of my uniqueness over the years. I am named for my father's grandmother, and for my mother's mother.

Apparently I feel ambivalent about all my names, because that's how I'd describe my feelings about my last name, as well. "Hochstein" is German*. It means High Stone, but it is also the name of a place where you can go hiking, and I have been there and climbed the High Stone. It's a strong name, and I like it well enough. I would strongly prefer to keep it when I marry, rather than adopting Fiende's last name. But as I have grown closer to my mother and my German heritage, and more distant from my father and his family, I have increasingly seen my last name as "my father's name," and have very seriously thought about changing my last name to my mother's maiden name.

Hochstein. I have a photo of me standing here, but I have no clue where it is right now.

*My father is not German, confusingly; his family is Lithuanian/Russian, but given his surname, he obviously he has a German ancestor somewhere back in his ancestry. My father has always believed that his family was probably among a certain wave of Jews leaving Germany for Eastern Europe and essentially took up genealogy in an attempt to find this ancestor and thereby gain German citizenship, but so far that hasn't panned out and he seems to have given up on it as he passed on all the genealogy records to me over the last two years (and I promptly lost the CDs for the family tree builder computer program, oops).

2. Gender. Are you satisfied with being who you are?

I am satisfied with being who I am, yes. I have never really identified with any particular gender. I never really felt like a girl, but I didn't feel like a boy, either. When I was old enough to understand that gender was a spectrum and not a binary, I didn't identify with any of the other options I learned about, either. When Facebook added non-binary options I researched all of them that could possibly apply to me. None of them felt like they fit. I settled on genderqueer, but that doesn't feel right, either. I once heard "agnostic" as not just  a term to denote those who are unsure about whether or not there is a higher power, but as an umbrella term that encompassed both that worldview, and also those to whom the question of a deity's existence or non-existence is simply not important. I am gender-agnostic (no, agender doesn't seem to fit me right either). Gender seems utterly unimportant to me. I am not a man or a woman or any other gender. I am a person. End of story. I think identifying with gender labels is an awful idea. I have been mistaken for a boy on numerous occasions, and it doesn't bother me. I get embarrassed, sure, but that's because I don't want to deal with other people's reactions to me being mislabeled. No, I didn't think that being mislabeled was awkward until you decided not to stop talking about it for the past ten minutes, thanks.

I prefer the pronouns she/her but I have absolutely no qualms about you using any others, either deliberately or accidentally, to refer to me. I have a mostly feminine gender presentation, but I often like to appear more masculine, or androgynous. Ideally, I would like to be able to be read as either a man or a woman or androgynous, depending on how I choose to dress myself on a given day. This is part of the reason I love my new pixie cut so much. I've also tentatively begun exploring the men's sections in clothing stores again (I shopped the boy's section on the regular as a kid, before I went and grew boobs and boy's shirts started looking stupid on me) but haven't purchased anything (I did learn all about what's inside men's swimming trunks, though!)

3. Body. Are you satisfied with your physical appearance?

Bearing all of the above in mind, one of the terms did stick out for me during my research of Facebook's new gender options: neutrois. Ironically, I think this was the only word on the list that I'd never at least heard of before. In the most simplistic terms, neutrois is kind of like the androgynous equivalent of being trans. You can be MTN or or FTN, not just FTM or MTF. I don't experience gender dysphoria about not being read as androgynous, but I have often longed- very strongly, at times- to appear that way. I have very seriously considered getting a hysterectomy and breast reduction surgery. That said, I would never apply this label to myself. I simultaneously feel that it is the best label for me and worst.

Basically, Erika Linder is a perfect human being and everything I want to look like and be.

Gender presentation aside, I am satisfied with my physical appearance, yes, though I would like to be slightly taller and have smaller breasts just for the sake of practicality and, okay, I admit it, I absolutely hate my teeth. But the topic here is "body" and there is more to my body than my physical appearance. I am not satisfied with the inner workings of my body. But we will get to that later, it seems.

4. Abilities. What are you particularly good at?

I don't know. Truly I don't. I am pretty okay at writing poetry, sometimes, if my hormone levels are just right or something. I am also pretty okay at photography, but I got a lot better at it when I started using a certain photo editing app on my phone so I'm probably not really that great. I am a boss at reading, although I am absolutely The Worst at retaining what I read. I am good at parking cars. I am particularly good at seeing other people's viewpoints. I'm really good at cleaning at work, but not always so great at doing it quickly, because I'm really thorough unlike some of my coworkers... But my strongest skill is wasting my life away on the internet because I have no hobbies.

5. Mind. Do you feel OK about your intellectual ability?

I used to think I was smart. And I was. I was definitely smarter than my classmates when I was young. But, as tends to happen, they caught up with me and surpassed me. And as tends to happen with children who are told they are smart while growing up, as soon as other people started doing better than me and I started to not understand stuff (basically, as soon as I hit sixth grade math) I stopped thinking of myself as smart. But I'm smart. I've never had to study much to do well. Or maybe I just never challenged myself. The downside to this is that I never developed any good studying skills, and I have no idea how I learn best beyond knowing that I need to take notes with a pen and paper. I've always seen myself as good at abstract concepts, but anything that involves numbers in any way shape or form is pretty much beyond my ability to grasp. I am almost as bad at estimating a person's age or how many people are in a room as I am at calculus. And I failed calculus.

[The rest of the questions]

6. Age. Are you comfortable with the age you are now?
7. Birth. How do you feel about where you were born?
8. Culture(s). Where were you brought up? If you have moved between different cultures, what influences has this had?
9. People. Who influenced you most when growing up?
10. Mother. What is your opinion of your mother?
11. Father. What is your opinion of your father?
12. Siblings. What is your opinion of your brothers/sisters? If you have no brothers/sisters what influence has that had?
13. Education. What influence did your education have? What would you like to have achieved which you did not?
14. Employment. List the various jobs you have had, the people you remember associated with those jobs, and the overall influence of the work and the associated people.
15. Spouse. If you are married/in a relationship, how has your spouse influenced you?
16. Children. How have your children influenced you? If you wanted children and were unable to have them how has that influenced you?
17. Unmarried. If you are unmarried or have no partner what influence does that have?
18. Preferences. How do your sexual preferences influence you?
19. Values. What values do you have, and what influence do they exert? Have you taken them over from other people without thought?
20. Beliefs. What are your fundamental beliefs? How did you acquire them?
21. Religion. If you are religious, what influence does that exert? If you have no religion, what influence does that exert?
22. Experiences. What life experiences are significant for you, and why?
23. Health. How have any illnesses or accidents influenced you?
25. Relationships. What relationships in the past are you glad you had, and what relationships do you wish you never had?
26. Circumstances. What life circumstances, past or present, do you welcome and which do you regret?
27. Authority. Who represents authority for you, in the past and now? What influences do these authority figures exert on you?
28. Strengths. What are your major strengths, (and how might these influence your listening to clients?)
29. Weaknesses. What are you major weaknesses, (and how might these influence your listening to clients?)
30. Virtues. What do you consider to be your virtues? How do they influence your behaviour?
31. Vices. do you have any vices, and how do they influence your relationships?

19 June 2014 @ 05:17 pm
[The final ten]

#090 - Springtime

#091 - Ol' Blue Eyes

#092 & 093 - Fawn I & II

#094 - Brown Eyed Girls

#095 - Never Ending Light
#096 - Attention

#097 - The Widower

#099- Proud Parent

#100 - Upstate

Aaaand I am DONE with this challenge!  =D
30 April 2014 @ 02:58 pm
Well it turns out I had a lot more unposted photos than I thought. Look at that- I went from being one quarter finished to almost 90% finished in one day. Go me! Most of these are from last year. I'm dividing these into batches for those of you with crappy internet connection, because there are a SHIT TON. Thanks for looking, by the way.
1: Museum Statuary (4 photos)Collapse )2: Nature- Light (8 photos)Collapse )[3: Nature, dark (6 photos)]

#050- Sacrifices  |  #051- Unemployment
#052- Storm

#053- Takeoff |  #054- Flight
#055- Landing

[4: Nature, plus Ganesha (12 photos)]

#056- Up  |  #057- Solitary
#058- Armor  |  #059- Nightfall

#060- Tiny  |  #061- Forest Floor
#062- Green Cycle  |  #063- Red

#064- Perspective  |  #065- Swirling
#066- Spin  |  #067- Ganesha
[5: Misc. (8 photos)]
#068- Tall  |  #69- Party Cops
#070- Opeth  |  #071- King Dude

#072- Breakfast  |  #073 Boots
#074- Newly Wed  |  #75- Something White
[6: NYC collection (9 photos)]

#076- Just Married  |  #077- Tame
#078- Over the River  |  #079- Sailing

#080- NYC  |  #081- Garden
#082- Peking  |  #083- Skyline
#084- Ferry

[7: Animals (5 photos)]

#085- Wolfdog  |  #086- Mother
#087- White Flight  |  #088- Gull
#089- Beau

Current Music: David Darling - Minor Blue | Powered by
03 March 2014 @ 12:00 pm

Having a part-time and ever-changing work schedule is confusing to my brain, and I feel like it causes me to waste my days off, so I want to experiment with the idea of using a weekly schedule to keep myself accountable. Let's see if I can do that for the whole of March, and see how it works out:

[Week of March 2-8]

Week of March 2-8

Monday: OFF

  • Meditate: 20 minutes

  • Work on story: 1 hour

  • Update spirituality tumblr

  • Pay credit card bill

  • Clean the bathroom

  • Cook dinner (risotto)

  • Re-watch: True Detective ep.1

Tuesday: Work 8-5

  • Meditate: 10 minutes AM/ 10 minutes PM

  • Re-watch: True Detective ep.2

Wednesday: OFF

  • Meditate: 20 minutes

  • Work on story: 30 minutes

  • Put away laundry

  • Clean bathtub

  • Practice German

  • Try out tai chi DVD

  • Bike for 15 minutes

  • Re-watch: True Detective ep.3

  • Watch: Legit

Thursday: Work 7-4

  • Meditate: 10 minutes AM/ 10 minutes PM

  • Re-watch: True Detective ep.4

Friday: OFF

  • Meditate: 20 minutes

  • Work on story: 30 minutes

  • Bike for 15 minutes

  • Practice German

  • Cook dinner (potato-leek soup)

  • Re-watch: True Detective ep.5

  • Watch: Vikings

Saturday: Work 8-5

  • Meditate: 10 minutes AM/ 10 minutes PM

  • Re-watch: True Detective ep.6

  • Watch: Elementary

Sunday: OFF

  • Meditate: 20 minutes

  • Work on story: 30 minutes

  • Practice German

  • Bike for 15 minutes

  • Food shopping

  • Read Postsecret

  • Watch: SNL

  • Re-watch: True Detective ep.7

  • Watch True Detective finale ;_;

I like how, when I meditate, where my folded hands touch in my lap, what I feel is not hands but a center of energy- which is exactly what they really are. And I like how the depersonalization I experience during meditation is comforting and peaceful, not jarring like it is when it happens unexpectedly in day-to-day life. It's helpful and enjoyable to see my body as something separate from me, as a literal vehicle for my spirit that requires skill to operate, and care and maintenance to keep it running well. I need to work on making this view of my body more accessible in everyday life.

I think it's nice that Tumblr shows you your top nine "crushes" but I'd find it a lot more useful if there was a way to see which blogs I reblog from and like the least. I'm following far too many blogs and I need information like that in order to pare down. I've got to pare down on who I follow on Instagram, too. Speaking of which, I realized that I haven't posted any of my photos in a long time. Oops.

I'm not sure why the Governor declared a state of emergency for today. Yes, we were forecast to get 8-12 inches of snow last night and throughout today, but that forecast was from two days ago and the forecast has been changing since then. As of last night- well before the snow started falling- the forecast was down to 2-4 inches of snow, ending at 9:00 this morning. This does not call for a state of emergency. Hell, it stopped falling two hours ago and we got about 3/4 of an inch.

One of the things I miss most about working in an office (besides the pay and regular hours) is the clothes. I look at the websites for my favorite clothing stores and it makes me sad that I can't buy any of them, because I no longer have anywhere to wear them. But I suppose it's for the best since I can't afford them anymore, either.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this here before or not, but one of the most difficult things for me to deal with about having a chronic illness, especially a digestive disorder, is having to deal with the fact that what constitutes "healthy" for me is not what constitutes "healthy" for society at large. My diet centers heavily around processed grains, for example. Whole grains may contain more fiber and nutrients, but the additional fiber is exactly why I can't eat it. I've had people tell me that I'm full of shit for saying that white bread is healthier for me than whole grain bread. I get hungry quickly and easily so snack foods are really important to me, but there are hardly any I can eat. Granola bars used to be my go-to snack, but now almost all of them are either chock-full of nuts (which I can't eat) or stuffed to the brim with fiber because they're now used as meal-replacement bars or appetite-suppressing snacks that I can't eat them. Trail mix is out. It's very frustrating and difficult for me to eat nutritious foods while still eating healthy (for me.).

I don't know why I'm so chatty all of a sudden. Wtf.
Current Music: The Milk Carton Kids - Snake Eyes | Powered by
10 June 2013 @ 10:28 am
Originally posted by subluxate at Emergency--people stranded in Wyoming
From [personal profile] nonny:

[personal profile] louisadkins, [personal profile] omimouse, and Jade are stranded in a small town in Wyoming on the way back to their home in West Virginia. They headed out from our place Friday, made good time on the trip, but the minivan they are driving started flickering with a oil pressure light and then ... pretty much died on the road. They have been able to get AAA to take them to a hotel and the vehicle to a mechanic's shop, but... the sounds the vehicle was making lead them to believe it's an engine failure.

Which is $$$$. Which they don't have, and they have no way of getting back home otherwise. Louis's paypal is and anything anyone can spare, bumping the word, passing this around, is much appreciated as time is something they don't have (due to cost of hotels, food, etc).

TY guys so much.

10 April 2013 @ 11:58 am
All photos are from autumn and winter 2012, just before and after Hurricane Sandy.

#018 - Battered
#019 - Still Life
#020 - Before the Storm
#021 - Laid Low
#022 - Rise
#023 - The Preacher
Current Mood: blahblah
10 April 2013 @ 11:45 am
All photos are from summer 2012

#012 - Summer Night
#013 - Penguin March
#014 - Balance
#015 - Leap of Faith
#016 - Reject
#017 - Serenity

Current Mood: blahblah