Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sunday Scribblings: Hero

What does it take to be a hero? Daily courage, or just an extraordinary moment? Firemen are certainly heros, as are police officers, and our troops overeseas. Is it about risking life and limb? OR just going beyond what normal life would ask of you?

This weekend, I saw "Stranger than Fiction," an interesting film wherein Will Ferrell plays an ordinary man who seems mysteriously to be the central character in a book which will end with his death. An unlikely hero, Harold Chik is an IRS auditor, living a rather humdrum experience, ruled by numbers. However, when he overhears the Narrarator's voice in his head mention his untimely and impending doom, he leaps into action to find the hows and whys of his death, and see if it can be stopped (or at least postponed.)

I went to the movie seeking an entertaining story that would allow me escape from my own daily routine, but found instead a film that wouldn't let me stop thinking about it afterwards. Would I, like Harold, seek out the cause of my demise and fight it? Would I live those last few days as if I were "truly alive", fullfilling the wishes of myself and others? Could I dedicate myself for that time to eat a juicy and succulent life, and so at the end, feel that death, however untimely was neccessary and not in vain?

and if I could do that under those circumstances, why do I not do it now? Why am I not living each day fully and vibrantly? Why do I find myself forever postponing and timing things out..... "well, in two years, i'll be mostly out of debt. I can do what i love then..." How many years have I, have any of us, wasted in that process?

Hmmm, hold on.... There have been moments. I've not spent it ALL looking ahead or behind. I have had a dabbling here and there of being completely and totally present. Where I've been as alive as alive gets, and enjoyed the view. In 2003, I participated in APLA's Marathon Training program. For 7 months of my life, I ran and fundraised to help people in the Los Angeles area who are afflicted with HIV and/or AIDS. And in the end, I did something I'd long wanted to do. I finished a marathon.

Right now, my friend Amandarin is participating in that same project. And while I do not envy her "runner's knee", her aching hips, her heat exhaustion, her recent shoe-blow out, or her constant struggle to fundraise..... I do know that there's not a feeling in the world like running that marathon. Oh, not just the crossing of the finish line (which admittedly is pretty spectacular). No, I'm speaking of another moment, one unlike any I'd ever known.

December 14th, 2003- I was running mile late-teens/early twenties, huffing and pained and wondering if I'd make it when I passed a group on the sidelines. It was a large bunch of yellow-shirt wearing APLA supporters, cheering and hooting and beliving in me. They held signs of all natures. "You can do", and "You're a hero". I smiled and waved. Then I saw him. He was tall and gaunt, and didn't look as if he had much energy left to be standing, much less cheering and waving a sign. But he was giving it all he had. And in his hands was a simple piece of posterboard, which read "You are saving my life. Thank you." Tears streamed down my face, and my pace quickened just a bit, and in that moment, I felt just a little bit like a hero.

So Amandarin, I wish you that moment. That one and a hundred more as you face this monster ride called "training to run a marathon". It's HELLA not easy, but it's worth it.

And to anyone whose reading this.... if you're looking for a hero to support, check out this lady or the team she's running with Phat Girls Running. Or go directly to APLA, and read about the hundreds of heros they train regularly.

Or try the Lukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training The disease is different, but the love and caring and determination is the same.

Or Feed a hungry animal

Whatever it is that makes your heart weep and sing at the same time, go find it and support and be a hero for someone else. Cause I'm thinking THAT's what makes one heroic.... not JUST the courage or the passion.... but the ability to give and do that for someone else.

Here's to making the world a better place.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Fringe of Danger

A friend of mine, Ms. Scarlett, just came to me, trembling and crying and on the edge of a meltdown.

It seems that last Friday, she was held up at gunpoint, at an ATM less than a mile from where we work. The shock is just starting to wear off, and her conversation with the detective, in regards to identifying suspects in a line up, and the possible impending trial, pushed her over that cliff of emotion. I held her while she cried, and then sent her home ill. She was in no space to manage calendars or answer phones or in any way pretend that the world was fine and normal.

When I relayed the story to Amandarin she remarked that this was the second mugging she'd heard of this week.

Additionally, I just sent flowers to one co-worker for her sister's passing while another colleague is waiting by a phone at home, hoping for some good news regarding her grandmother's recent heart problems.

Laughably smaller, my radiator blew up two week's ago, and I'm just finishing a round of poison oak that I contracted around Halloween (during our pet funeral services).

So my question is... Hey Universe, what the hell is going on!?? October was a month full of deaths (for myself and others), and now November seems to be badly wired, waiting to short out and start a fire.

Is it too much to ask that we gently glide into a warm and uneventful Thanksgiving? I can't speak for the rest of the world, but we Angelinos could use a break!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Hot Cuppa Inspiration

On the side of today's tasty beverage, I found this:

"My father said being an artist was the shortest road to the poorhouse, claiming 'real' work is something you don't like. I ignored him through oppisitional behavior, later reasoning that only an idiot sets out to find the poorhouse, not to mention devote himself to something he doesn't love. Instead, I discovered an interesting back road to the unknown, and deliberately without a safety net.

-- Russell Chatham, painter lithographer, author, publisher and restaurateur"

I long for that backroad. I remind myself that I am an artist, and a dancer, and a writer, and whatever more I may wish to be today..... and I long to create without that safety net.

which reminds me.... I recently found out than an old acquaintance of mine is running a school for Aeiral Arts. I think it may be time for me to take that webwork class that I'd signed up for in college (the week before I tore all the ligaments in my right ankle and spent months on crutches). I long to fly, to spin, to be that girl on the flying trapeze.

What daring things will you do this holiday season??

Monday, November 06, 2006

Limes of Love

The ever-fabulous Amandarin, whose selfless actions brought Tag to my door in June, has once again worked with others to create a generous project of love and giving.

LIME PROJECT is a group of women who have come together to raise funds for a friend, currently fighting Hodgkins Lymphoma.

To quote the website:
We don't know who makes these decisions, but the support ribbon color for Hodgkin's Lymphoma is lime green. Conveniently, this is one of Heather's favorite colors."LimeSuckers" came about because well... pretty much everyone was suckered into it.

Most of us met on LiveJournal, a blogging / networking website, and this idea was hatched there, sprouting from the mind of Bronxelf (also known as Avril), for the group of us to produce and sell calendars to benefit Heather.

Not just any calendars..."naked" calendars. Tastefully done, of course, but still. Cheesecake sells.

That's right kids.... beautiful nekkid women, showing their goodies support for a friend in need.

So dig into your pockets. 2007 is coming, and you need a calendar! Not just one that tells you the days and dates, but one that supports a life AND has bold and beautiful pictures of women not afraid to bare it all to help a friend.

Pay It Forward.... Buy a Calendar!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Ebb & Flow

Change comes rapidly, like a swift Autumn wind. Faster than the seasons can shift, faster than I can keep up. As John Lennon sang: “Life is what happens to you when while you're busy making other plans.”

*pause, to catch my breath*

Although co-habitation can be challenging, Tag and I grow ever closer. However, sometimes it is for unfortunate reasons. Just last weekend, we shared the heartbreak of losing a pet. Brave Neo, who traveled with Tag from Chicago, died inexplicably, leaving the bulk of our Saturday mired in impromptu services in the nearby park. This, added to the sadness of my Grandmother’s passing, has left me pondering the “dark time” and all its hidden gifts.

Traditionally, Samhain is the festival that marks the “End of Summer”, or the time of the Harvest. One tradition states that you could harvest until sundown on Hallows Eve, but not a moment longer. Whatever was not cut by that sunset, you left in the field as an offering to the spirits. From that moment, you could only look forward to the next harvest season; making productive use of what had been brought in, and sowing the seeds for the following year.

During this last season or so, friends have fallen away, life has run at speeds both hectic and humdrum, and of course, love has come to play.

For each birth there has been a death. For each Spring blossom that bloomed, an Autumn leaf fell to ground. Sadness and loss weigh heavy right now, as the days grow shorter and darker. I’ve been battling moments of anger and despair. Last night, in dance class, I found myself weeping, in a dimly lit room pulsating with music and life. I felt like I was a great black hole of energy, absorbing joy and transmuting it into nothingness.

My mood is lighter today, although not completely recovered. My thoughts are scattered and this post is challenging to write. However, underneath it all, I still feel a smidgeon of hope bubbling up through the goop-- the ever-present idea that it does once again get better, that wounds heal, and lessons get learned and at the end of the day, as long as one can surround themselves with friends and loved ones…. it’s gonna be ok.