Monday, December 31, 2007

Toodles to Two-oh-oh-Seven

Amandarin has a yearly tradition of "the year in review" utilizing the following 40 questions. I like them and thus will gak them here, as a way to "wrap up" 2007 and send it on its way.

1) Was 2007 a good year for you?
It wasn’t all the ZIP, BAM, WOW that I was hoping for, but it had some great moments, and I think it laid some really good groundwork for 2008.

2) What was your favorite moment of the year?
There are many: Swimming with Sea Turtles in Honaunau; Watching the Pu’u O’o vent erupting against the night sky; Surrounding myself with the cats of the “Kitty Motel” at Best Friends.

3) What was your least favorite moment of the year?
Anxiety attacks; one of my BFF’s moving far away with hubby and baby; leaving Spuds at Best Friends that last cold morning.

4) Where were you when 2007 began?
Slack’s living room, trying to hold an inebriated Tag upright!

5) Who were you with?
Some of the coolest peeps in Hollywood blogdom.

6) Where will you be when 2007 ends?
Plans are to be at Slack & BetheBoy’s. I’ll probably be supporting Tag again too… if his plane lands as expected. *frets*

7) Who will you be with when 2007 ends?
See 5

8) Did you keep your New Year's resolution of 2007?
I don’t follow all the rules of “resolution”… but I do think that I followed through on plans and moved forward in several areas of my life.

9) Do you have a New Year's resolution for 2008?
FIND & FOLLOW MY BLISS

10) Did you fall in love in 2007?
Just a little bit more everyday

11) If yes, with whom?
Him (oh… and him)

12) If yes, do they know?
Yes

13) Are you still in love with them?
Madly

14) Do you regret it?
Nope

15) Did you breakup with anyone in 2007?
Not that I can think… but I will be ending one crappy relationship soon.

16) Did you make any new friends in 2007?
LOTS

17) Who are your favorite new friends?
Dancer, Charlotte, Mouse, Scooter, HoneyBear & all the beautiful souls at the Kitty Motel

18) What was your favorite month of 2007?
It's all one big blur

19) Did you travel outside of the US in 2007?
*sigh* nope

20) How many different states did you travel to in 2007?
5 (if you count my CA travels to Palm Springs and Monteray)

21) Did you lose anybody close to you in 2007?
No, I was blessed once again

22) Did you miss anybody in the past year?
Yes, several people who for one reason or another have left my life.

23) What was your favorite movie that you saw in 2007?
We really enjoyed “Surf’s Up” LOL! I also liked “Music & Lyrics”, “Pride”, “Eastern Promises” & “Ratatouille”. I have not seen, but am totally looking forward to “Sweeney Todd” and “The Water Horse

24) What was your favorite song from 2007?
um... I’m so bad at this sort of thing. This year, I fell in love with the song “Daughter” by Vienna Tang. (however, she released it in 2002)

25) What was your favorite record from 2007?
*draws a blank*

26) Did you see any concerts this year?
Um… I don’t think so. I’m not much of a concert girl. However, Tag may have dragged me to something (then again, that might have been 2006)

27) Did you have a favorite concert in 2007?
see above

28) Did you drink a lot of alcohol in 2007?
LOL… it would seem that way, since I can’t remember a damn thing!

29) Did you do a lot of drugs in 2007?
They all come in bottles with prescriptions on the front.

30) Did you hope for something you didn't get in 2007?
yes, but I’m still moving forward in pursuit of that goal

31) Did you do anything you are ashamed of this year?
Not all my moments were shiny and glorious, but I don’t think I’m ashamed of anything.

32) What was the biggest lie you told in 2007?
“No, I really enjoy working with you. Really”

33) What was the worst lie someone told you?
“I feel great. I’ve done all my work and I’m ready to move forward. There is definately going to be some changes around here."

34) Did you treat somebody badly in 2007?
I don’t think so, and certainly hope not.

35) Did somebody treat you badly in 2007?
Yes, and they will be sorry in about 3 weeks.

36) How much money did you spend in 2007?
BUNCHES. I was paying off a LOT of my debts.

37) What was your proudest moment of 2007?
I pulled off a lot of difficult feats at the office. Looking back, I’m proud of what I contributed to the special events at work.

38) What was your most embarrassing moment of 2007?
Crying like a 4 yr old having a tantrum, as I sat on the ice on the bunny hill, during my first ever day of snowboarding.

39) If you could go back in time to any moment of 2007 and change something, what would it be?
Can I please just be brilliant at snowboarding on the first try? That would be cool

40) What are your plans for 2008?
Big Changes. New Communications. Follow the bliss and get the f’k out of LA.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Rainy Beverage Spazebas

Last night, Slack and BetheBoy hosted a small Blogger gathering at Bar Lubitsch. Tag and I braved the rainy LA streets (and the hideous LA drivers) in hopes of stepping out and getting to know some fabu new folks. Mission Accomplished! Not only did we get to meet Randi, Mike, Leyla (and her honey), Annika and Rachel, but I also got the chance to taste my first absinthe.

Please understand that the night gets very hazy from that point.

I do have the unfortunate recollection of stopping at Del Taco sometime after midnight. If the smell of the car this morning is any indicator, we apparently ordered two overly ripe and really dead forest creatures who had recently frolicked through industrial waste. Oh, and a small Cherry Coke.

Gastrointestinal issues and wicked strange dreams aside, it was a lovely evening. Thank you to all who participated. I look forwards to the next eclectic gathering.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Another Year in the Body

Well, I popped on Blogger last Thursday, in a brief attempt to jot down words to immortalize the passing of yet another year. However, my birthday makes me annually cranky AND the massive company holiday party (of which I was in charge) was last Thursday night, so instead of fluid writing, I had halting moments of verbal constipation, interrupted by "urgent" requests from co-workers.

However, I awoke Friday morning with the Muse sitting on my bed. It's been a while since I arose with a poem building itself in my head, so I rushed for paper and a pen to scratch down the morning's first utterances.

What came out was unlike any of my previous poetry. Usually, I am a fan of free verse, unrhyming and arrhythmic. This piece stirs the memory of beat poetry, more appropriate to a poetry slam than an online reading. Its style is clearly inspired by some of the Sage Francis works that I have been listening to lately.

No matter how odd the phrasing may be for me, the feeling behind it is clearly one inspired by birthday blues. It gives voice to the fury of futile attempts to defy aging and keep up American society's flawed definition of beauty. Directionless rage, turned within, damaging body and soul.


Me Carve Pretty Someday

gotta pain buzzin’ underneath my skin
rage & slice, drag it out from within
Put it on show
Let everyone know
Fat ugly insides, jiggling round there

Television, magazine
Teaching me to purge
Fighting to be clean
Get it out, set it free
Stab into the real me
Flay & peel
Defy what’s real
Till I’m standing there
in nothing
but my BONES


then wrap my bones in skin
hold me up
call me thin
RAGE
at time, age and gods’ design
cut, pull, tuck & suck
tiny girls are good to fuck
spray adhesive just to hold it all in place
no lines allowed on my titties or my face
draggin’, pullin’, cutting, fightin’
still losing time’s cruel race
I’m so dry and tight
I’m wearing BEEF JERKY

looking in the mirror
still hating what I see
paintbrush and exact-o knife
create ‘the perfect me’
blood red, my color
bringin’ out my eyes
small cuts, band-aid hidden
distract me from my thighs

Screaming to the godless sky
Make me pretty or make me die

Screaming to the godless sky
Make me pretty or let me try

Screaming to the godless sky
Make me Pretty
Make me Pretty
Pretty
PRETTY
Please

Grab the frilly edge scissors and a dying hope
Like a 3rd graders’ snowflake
Gonna carve myself pretty
**DISCLAIMER: No folks, I'm not suicidal. I'm not even angry today... just OVER IT, ya know? Worry not, I'll be fine.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Obligation & the Last Few Weeks

Some time ago, I put on my side bar that small icon with the raven that says B.W.O. It stands for “blogging without obligation,” which I believe to be a great concept. Too often, I hear the tale of a blogger who began writing as an exploration of self, and continues as a need to please the reading audience. Blogs have a way of taking on a life of their own, morphing and becoming unrecognizable to the writer. I wanted to state my intention to not fall prey to that phenomenon.

However, I then signed up for NaBloPoMo , during which the goal is to post every day for a month. I signed up with the best of intentions, hoping that I would be inspired to communicate more frequently. Instead, I began to immediately feel the pressing weight of obligation. Quantity over quality seemed the result and I found myself resenting showing up at the blog. That was not my intention, and so I let myself off the hook and gave myself the permission to post as needed.

It didn’t hurt/help that November was a crazed month, filled with stress at work and then a wonderful vacation far away from computers. Hell, far away from cell phone reception or most of society. Tag and I spent the week of Thanksgiving volunteering at Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah.

If you’ve never been to Southern Utah, I highly recommend the trip. Zion and Bryce National Parks are some of the most beautiful places I’ve ever hiked. There is magic in their deep red rock formations, and a quiet thrum of vibrational energy that affects me body and soul. Not far north, there is both Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. 100 miles to the south is the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. In short, if you like being outside, awestruck by Mother Nature’s talent for architecture, Southern Utah is Paradise.

Angel Canyon and Kanab are in what is called the Golden Circle, a centrally located resting point between Zion, Bryce, North Rim and Lake Powell. Best Friends owns 3,800 acres in the canyon, and leases several more from the Bureau of Land Management. On this chunk of land, they run the largest no-kill animal sanctuary in the country. Housing literally thousands of dogs, cats, bunnies, horses, burros, pigs and birds, they are sure to tug at the heart strings of any animal lover. The volunteer program starts with a heart-warming video and orientation, wherein you set up your schedule for each day you are available. We chose to spend each morning session (8:15 – Noon) working with Dogs, starting with Puppy Socialization class for the first 30 min. Our afternoons were mostly spent working in Cat Town, except for Wednesday which was spent in the Triple R Rabbit Retreat.

Duties can range from dog walking, pet grooming, playing and petting, to kennel cleaning and poop scooping. As much as I love animals, I did wonder whether or not I could spend my day off covered in feces and dirt and still feel like I was on vacation. Answer: Hell yes, I can! So much so that I’ve applied for a job at Best Friends and am seriously considering moving myself to that tiny town.

Animals never cease to amaze me, with their ability to forgive and forget. Particularly these animals, so many of which have been abused or abandoned. Sure, there are a few like Filly and Tobie (rescues from Hurricane Katrina) who walk on leash as far from you as they can… but even they are learning to take food from their caregiver’s hands. The process of recovering trust can be slow going, but these sweet creatures have not given up completely.

Words fail me when I try to capture what I experienced there. I can only say that I was happy. Happier than I’ve been in a while. It felt like a part of me that has been missing for a few years now was able to make a fleeting appearance. Best Friends is not only healing for the animals. It’s healing for the people who spend time there too. And as a butterfly sends a wind around the world, so does that little bit of focused healing cause a shift in the energies of Earth and all her children. It is Best Friends' philosophy that kindness towards animals is one step towards healing our planet, and I agree. And if you are not, in some portion of your life, creating a more positive tomorrow…what are you doing?

The desk job weighs even more heavily on me now than it did before. My soul, which felt leaden, has now darkened to numb. Add to that the fact that office politics and fragile egos have stirred up a mess of drama which left me broken and sobbing last Thursday night. I wake each morning with that sense of dread, that heavy weight of obligation rattling like ball & chain around my ankle.

There is a line in Parenthood, in which Steve Martin’s character says, “My whole life is HAVE TO.” I don’t want to wake up one day and find that is my life. Or perhaps, I’ve already had that waking moment. This LA life does not feed my soul. Its cluttered streets and angry people tear at my already tattered edges. In the quiet of Angel Canyon, I found a lightness of being that I have not felt in a long while. Although there were tasks to do, some unpleasant and challenging, there was never that foreboding sense of “have to.” There was choice and there was joy and there was a vibration of healing in each soft muzzle. Each time this office job pulls me to tears, I open up these pictures and remind myself of the great souls that I have had the pleasure to meet and to love.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Letting the Cat Out- In Two Parts

Part 1- PSA

Lately, I have seen around my neighborhood a number of "Lost Cat" signs. My heart goes out to anyone who has lost a beloved pet. I know that sometimes they escape through the door as you bring in groceries, or they push their way out a screen and run loose. Animals are quirky creatures who love to be free. However, many times I find that the lost pet was left outside, to come and go at will, with little thought of protection or responsibility of ownership. I find this infuriating.

Look kids, the average life span of an outdoor cat is something like 4 - 6 years, while the lifespan of an indoor cat is more than twice that. Los Angeles is a huge city, crawling with cars, and wild creatures, and people who suck. When you let your domesticated pet outside unsupervised, you are tempting fate and should not be surprised if you find yourself one pet short very quickly. Traffic is a killer. And don't even get me started on the assholes who get kicks out of torturing, poisoning or otherwise brutalizing pets. There are those who will not think twice about leaving anti-freeze in a dog's water dish, lighting fire to a kitten's head, or shooting your puppy so full of b.b.'s that it bleeds slowly to death while you are at work. (and for the record: all of the atrocities that I just listed have happened to animals of people I know.)

Those of you that live outside of cities are not in the clear either. Coyotes regularly patrol for meals around dawn and dusk, as do other hunters. I've even had a woman I know lose a smaller cat to an owl or hawk. (We knew it was some bird of prey, because other of her larger cats had talon punctures.) Growing up in Florida, I can attest to the fact that gators and snakes will also do quite the number on your little furry friends.

To sum up, if you take the time to own a pet... take the responsibility to care for and protect its life. Tend to their illness and injuries like you would your own, and don't leave a domesticated animal outside to their own defences. Especially especially if you have children who are attached to them. Because some memories never completely fade, like sitting in your mother's arms, weeping over the body of what was 15 minutes and one car ago, a beloved family member.
**********************************************************
Part 2- Confessions
My parents are happily married, but will often tell you that one of the secrets to a life long commitment is the occasional separate vacation. Therefore, although my Father will not visit until next Spring... my Mother will be here tomorrow night.

I love my parents dearly, and I know that they love me. They have wonderful senses of humor and warm, loving hearts. However, we have differences of opinion on many things, not the least of which is "what is appropriate" or "smart" regarding my forms of self-expression. I like to put cute girly stickers on my car, which makes Dad a little crazy. I dress & behave in a way that has more than once made Mom question my values. This is not an uncommon rift between young women and their parents, and I'm in no way disparaging mine. That being said, it is time to let the cat out of the bag on a few items, so that Mom is forewarned, and Dad knows without having to hear the report from her later on.



1. I have new haircut. It's short and can actually be spiked up into what is called a "faux-hawk". I can also wear it down, accented with cute little clips. Either way, it is fairly cute.







2. I have a new tattoo.


3. I have a BIG new tattoo.


4. I have big new tattoo in a really obvious place.



So go ahead, roll your eyes. Take that moment to be horrified and wonder what the hell possessed me to do that. Get it out of your system now, while you're on the East coast... so that when you're here with me, you can be with me, as I am: your 35 yr old daughter with "boho fashion" sense and a predilection towards body modification and art. While we're at it, let's remember that although I teach 6 - 8 hours of dance a week, I still weigh more than you've ever seen me weigh before. I know it. You don't have to point it out, please and thank you.


Alrighty kids, I think that's all the dirty laundry I have to put out there today.


Happy Monday to you!


Thursday, November 08, 2007

Do you think they meant that?


Let me get this straight... This is a diner wherein I can only get breakfast and lunch? Is it safe to assume that they close too early for me to go in and purchase any sort of dinner?

Or could it be that this is a case of not proofreading that sign order closely enough?



P.S. They were closed up tight at 11:30am, so clearly breakfast wasn't an available option today. Which reduces their wares to lunch only. Hrmmm, that seems pretty boutique for a NoHo eatery.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Quick Update & a Good Chuckle

So, day 7 of NaBloPoMo. I've been having a bit of a dilemma, as the "post a day" requirement seems to be leading me towards quantity, not quality. Therefore, I've taken to spreading my posts around. If they are either entertaining or insightful (at least in my opinion), they go here. If they are whiny or fraught with neurosis, they get put into my livejournal. If they are simply "look- I posted," then I put them on my page on the NaBloPoMo site. This is in hopes of keeping tedium to a minimum here at CNR.

That being said, today's post is a link to a website that made me giggle most heartedly. I hope you will make with the clicky-clicky and give yourself a good chuckle.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Overheard at the Office

The Homecoming Queen is in her office, on the phone. Clearly it's a domestic call, becuase I just overheard:

"Oh shit Grandma, you're spending money like a crazy person."

It made me giggle.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Slam-packed Saturday

Yesterday was Day 3 of NaBloPoMo (that's National Blog Posting Month, for those not in the know). The only goal for the month- to post at least once every day. And yet, Day 3... no post.

I could just sigh and give up, having missed an entry so early on in the race. Or I could quickly ramble on with some justification/explanation. I have chosen the latter.

Saturday morning began as many of them do. My alarm went off early, so that I could head down to Redondo to teach at the studio. A quick stop at the 7-11 for my "Green Machine" Naked Juice, and I was on my way. Early Saturday and Sunday mornings are one of the few times that you can enjoy the LA freeways with little or no traffic, and thankfully yesterday was no exception. I made it to the studio approximately 20 min before my 10 a.m. class started.

4 hours and 2 classes later, I had to close up shop and rush to Venice for hair coloring supplies. Finding parking in Venice on a warm sunny Saturday is impossible, so I paid some nice fellow $5 for a parking spot I used for 10 minutes. 5 tubs of Manic Panic color later, I jumped back in the car and headed to the domicile of my BFF Dreamschool. She's in massage school and needs practice student. My overly stressed, anxiety-ridden body posed some interesting challenges. Or as she said, "Your muscles mock my Swedish relaxation technique." Still, I'm not one to say no to a free massage, and I definitely did appreciate 70 min of downtime.

Wow. This post is boring. Sorry.

5:15 and I had to jump off the table and head to my hair appt. Julie at Shampoo Lounge is a genius with color, and currently I'm lavender with a bright pink ring around the hairline. I've also got a sassy new super short cut. I asked for something new, and definitely got it. Now I just have to figure out how to style it on an everyday basis.

Bleaching, plus coloring, plus cut, dry and style takes a bit of time, and it was 10:15 before I headed out, to join Shazam for her birthday celebrations. I'd already missed her dinner, but figured that I might be able to make the 11 p.m. comedy show that she was attending, if I rushed north on the 405 AND met with no traffic. A laughable concept on a weekend night, but I guess the gods were with me, because I found myself in North Hollywood a remarkable 25 minutes later. I sidled up to Shazam in the seat she'd saved for me in the front row and chuckled my way through the late show.

However, by the time I got out, it was after midnight... and I'd missed the posting deadline for the day. I staggered home (which I'd not been to since 9 a.m.), fed my ravenous cats, checked out my questionable visage in the mirror, and then gave up the ghost and slept. Despite the fact that Tag is out of town, I slept long and deeply, not waking until nearly noon this afternoon. Then I got up, did the dishes, watched some movies, cuddled with the fur-children. In short, I actually had rest Sunday. Yay!

No great revelations for the weekend. But sometimes, in my crazy life, a quiet normal weekend is an unexpected gift. Hope yours was also pleasant!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Just a Quick Note...

... to wish my father a Very Happy 60th Birthday.


He claims to be feeling old. This from the man who hiked the Grand Canyon (for the FIRST time) in honor of his 50th birthday. A few years ago, he white water rafted into the canyon and then hiked out again. Needless to say, mine is a zesty family.


Hope you tip back a glass of good Romanian merlot, Dad. While I may have referred to you as "the grouchy old man" a time or two, the emphasis was NEVER on "old". *wink*

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Dark Times

November 1st. All Saints’ Day. Dios de los Muertos. A beautiful celebration of the life that we find, even in death. A time to remember those who have passed. To celebrate and honor those who came before.

Recognized as the Pagan New Year, Hallows (or Samhain) is the entrance into the Dark Time. “Caldron Time," I've heard some call it. When days grow shorter and nights grow longer, we are supposed to use that quiet night to drop deeper into ourselves, slow things down, and reflect. We are the seed under the snow, waiting for the return of the light to give us strength and energy to grow.

However, for me, it can also be a dark time in other ways. My cyclical depression raises its ugly head, and makes daily life challenging. I was diagnosed way back in the day (when I was 15), before it was a commonplace diagnosis. Chucked into therapy and eventually put on Prozac (which only made things MUCH worse), depression became the albatross around my neck.

For many years, I have fought it and worked with it. I have used yoga, meditation, herbs, spirituality and just plain stubbornness to win my life back from the condition. Most of the time, I do ok. But every few years, the situation goes beyond my ability to deal with, and I have to seek medical help. I don’t like the chemicals and the side effects, but the other option is just as unpleasant. The moods are starting to negatively affect the quality of my life. It’s getting past the point where I can function normally.

This most recent bout of numbness has also been fraught with anxiety. Panic attacks wake me in the middle of the night. Unreasonable fears assault me when I’m out in the open. The other night, I was celebrating the holiday with friends, when suddenly I thought I was going to throw up, right there in the park. My head was spinning. My heart was pounding. All I wanted to do was rage and scream and run home and hide. I continued to breathe, and slowly it passed… but the time it took to do so was oddly distorted, like watching a movie slightly out of focus, in which I am starring, but have no control over the action. It was terrifying.

Needless to say, living with someone like this is a laugh a minute riot, and poor Tag is struggling. This is a man who picks up on my PMS and gets moody with me. Therefore, you can only imagine how his sensitivity is reacting to the screaming banshee that is currently inhabiting his girlfriend. My decision to go back on meds is as much for him as it is for me. I’d like to better the quality of both our lives, bring a little peace and happiness back to our home.

It is scary to be lost like this, to feel the growing fear gnawing on me each day. It is how I would imagine it feels to be eaten slowly by a giant invisible monster. I shall take with me many tools into the belly of that beast, and hope it doesn’t all turn to crap on the other side.

And so the wheel turns.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Returning

Nobody wants to leave paradise. Adam and Eve were not known for any sort of celebratory march out of the gates. Milton didn’t write Paradise: Meh, I’ll get there again eventually. Generally, the point is to get INTO Paradise, not out of it… so you can imagine the sad sense of dread that filled my stomach as I heard the wheels of the plane thud onto the tarmac at LAX.

Hawai’i was, as always, gorgeous beyond words. The Big Island continuously amazed me with the many ways in which it is different from Oahu, or, really, any place I’d ever been before. I blossomed in its rain forests, shivered in the magnificence of its volcanoes, and gloried in its endless blue seas. I slept deeply, lulled by assorted calls of wildlife. I woke each morning pre-dawn and watched light creep across the skies through the branches of the giant monkeypod tree that umbrellas over the resort like a protective spirit. And I swam with dolphins and turtles and a 100 other colorful denizens of the deep… over and over again.

Needless to say, I’m still adjusting to being back. The desk is restrictive and not near any windows and my heart just isn’t back at the office. Tag and I had a few conversations during which we seriously considered what we would need to do, and how we would have to work, in order to permanently relocate. It would be some years down the road, but it would be extraordinarily worth it.

If ever you get the chance to travel to Hawaii, please don’t deny yourself the experience.

However, until that boat comes in… please feel free to enjoy some of the scenery.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Aloha

(as defined by answers.com)
aloha from Hawaiian

Hawaii's best-known export is not sugar, pineapples, or Kona coffee, but a word: aloha. It is much more than a greeting;
on the islands, it is a way of life. Hawaii's businesses include Aloha Fresh Flowers, Aloha Surfboards, Aloha Bicycle Tours, Aloha Quilts, Aloha Spirit Coffee, Aloha Candy and Card Company, and Aloha Beautiful Hawaii Weddings. There is an Aloha United Way, a football game called the Aloha Bowl, and a shirt and a day of the week dedicated to aloha. Summing up, one islander says aloha means "Hello, goodbye, love, compassion, welcome, good wishes. It means belonging to others with a common humanity. It's defined better as a feeling in the heart than by words."

How can you get the feeling? The "Live Aloha" website offers these practical suggestions:
  • Leave places better than you find them.
  • Hold the door. Hold the elevator.
  • Plant something.
  • Drive with courtesy. Let others in.
  • Get out and enjoy nature.

I intend to get my aloha on by flying to Kona with Tag, resting our souls in a treehouse bedroom, and in general, allowing myself 6 blissful days of not worrying about paperwork, politics or other random bullshit that has invaded my life as of late.

Take care of yourselves and I'll chat at you in a week.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

On Rats and Women

They say that loose lips sink ships, and that rats will leave a sinking vessel. Therefore, I am wondering if a loose-lipped rodent isn't really causing its own problems? Sort of a self-fulfilling prophesy of doom.

To which I'm sure you promptly replied, "huh?"

That's where my mind is today. Confused and dark. Reaching for sense of it all and coming up with some sort of scrambled goo, black and icky.
***************************************************************************
I recently received some information. In the sick world of telephone games, it is once removed from the origin. However, it is from an eyewitness and a credible source.

Someone I once trusted has (as of late) had some serious personality changes. (I've seen a few of them myself.) I fear that she too is traveling to a dark and scary place. However, instead of seeking help, she plays the victim and lashes out nastily at others.

Where once I had a case of 'hero worship', I now find myself facing the human. I don't want to let the fact that I idolized her be the source of my disappointment. Nor do I really want to look at the fact that she may not be a very nice person after all.

I want to come at the situation from a place of love. I don't want to be reactionary. However, I cannot help but feel foolish that I ever felt safe with her. I cannot escape the feelings of abuse and betrayal that I am now experiencing. I cannot (and will not) deny that I am both hurt and angry. This is my stuff... I get that. But "getting it" doesn't make processing it any more pleasant.

Some people say that I should wait. Stick it out. Hang in there. They long to believe that this is just a temporary phase, and soon, the situation will magically remedy itself.

However, history has a habit of repeating itself, and I've seen the pattern of behavior before. Both in her past and in mine. I want to believe that this will pass without incident. But my life experiences seem only to point otherwise.

Do I stand by and believe? Do I wait it out? And when the hit comes, and I am curled in a ball by the wall, crying with the ugly truth of it all... can I blame anyone but myself for still being within arms' reach?

When does it stop being "hope", and just become "denial"?

I tell my students to nurture others, but not at the cost of nurturing yourself. For what good can you provide if you are too weak, too sick, too wounded to do so? Yet here I stand, unhappy, trying to believe in better. Contemplating staying around to provide nurturing for her (and others), at the cost of my own health and happiness. I despise playing the martyr. I want to "walk my talk", but in this case, that seems to mean walking away. That prospect is equally unpleasant.

Rats leave a sinking ship... sometimes I wonder if I have that same survival instinct.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: Hi, My Name Is...

I stare in to the mirror and draw a blank. Before me, a woman drowing. I run so fast, I don't know where I am when standing still. Wear so many hats, I've lost touch of who is here hatless. Reality can't hit a moving target and denial makes a fantastic running partner.

Hi, my name is... Perpetual Motion.

The first day I sat in the office of my very first (and still my favorite) therapist, she said, "Tell me about yourself." Without thought or hestiation, I launched into a diatribe of attributes (physical and personality), giving the root foundation for each. "Mother's eyes, Father's nose.... Father's angry mumble and Mother's prediliction for clutter."

Years later, that shrink confided "I had never met anyone with so little sense of self." But they do affect us, don't they? The Nature and the Nurture. They all have their say. From gods to parents, from peers to societal norms- every level has a few more rules and guidelines. Everyone says "Don't." Everyone says "Shouldn't." Everyone defines "Appropriate" for you, until you come to this place: Jane Doe, living in AnyCity, USA... and those few simple definitions give you a whole rule book of "supposed to."

Hi, My Name is..... Boxed In

We each have fantasies and hopes. Dreams that we struggle to keep feeding, trapped in the shoebox, hidden in the closet. We sneak it bread crumbs and the brocolli we hid in our napkin. And for what? The having of a hope makes the keen edge of not realizing it even more painful to endure. Then again, what is the other option?

Hi, My Name is.... Despair?

Like a 13 year old, I sit glowering "if only you knew..."
- what I really want to do
- what I really CAN do- if only you'd let me. If only I'd let myself

Hoodies with skirts and knee-high fuzzy boots and BigDog comments "One of the many perks of having Teece in the office that you never know what you'll get with.... (*pause* searching for the word)

A co worker suggest, "her avant-guard style??"

BigDog continues, "... her adventurous take on fashion."

I smile. I shrug. I giggle. I search and hold tight to the compliment, trying to purge from my mind Mitzi, who defined my junior year with the wicked words, "You don't have money and you dress weird. Now go away, we don't need your opinon."

My other boss, she recently looked at my hair, now shades of lavender and said, "I like this one. It's.... (*pause* searching for the word) subtle." Something I have never been by nature. Again I smile. I thank her. I try not read the sneer on her lips.

Hi, My Name is... Unappreciated? Misunderstood? Weird.

Today, I have classes to teach. How can I tell those women to love their bodies, to embrace themselves just as they are if I can't leave these demons on the page? They say "We teach best what we most need to learn," but I haven't figured out how.

Bewildered
Frustrated
Angry, deep within.

I am a volcano ready to erupt
I am a villager, living the in fearful shadow of the volcano
I am the village dog, chained and unaware

Hi, My Name is... (*pause* searching for the word)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Avast! It snuck up on me...

... but thanks to that snazzy radio dj, I remembered that it was



I be wearin' my jolly roger shirt and wishin' y'all a fierce and fabulous day.

(hrmmmm... i bet pirates don't say "fabulous," do they? *oops*)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Intentional Drowning

"Your body is drowning."

"What?" I asked, somewhat startled.

The soft Asian face tilted up towards me, her look pensive as she sought for the words to explain. "Your body...it is... drowning. Too much fluid. Is holding.... um, retaining."

Oh, yes... that. I'm retaining water. I'm bloated. Twas a combo of PMS, stress, and bizarre temperatures. And apparently, unknown to me, a great deal of extra mucus in my lungs and sinuses. Through the miracles of acupuncture and herbal teas, I've been draining profusely ever since. Breathing is easier, but my nose is still recovering from the repeated blowings and tissue wipes.

But it is her words that still stay with me. Drowning. I am drowning. Never has a diagnosis felt so right on the money.

Working two jobs can be overwhelming. And the teaching, although it is wonderful to experience, is growing in hours and demanding on the voice and body. I often feel that my most fierce doggie-paddle just barely keeps my head above the surface.

More than that, as of late, dreams and signs are filled with underwater images and icons. My long time love for mermaids has grown into a nearly obsessive fascination. I hear the sirens call me towards the rocks anytime I see their images (and I'm currently reading a fascinating book on the subject as well.) Octopi (octopuses?) are everywhere. Painted graffiti on the street, Discovery shows that happen to be on when I turn on the TV, books and fliers that chance to come across my desk. Even my dearest love (& subject of my first 6th grade research paper) Nessie has returned to my consciousness, lurking in the corners of my mind and popping up in unrelated conversations.

Until lately, I'd complained about feeling frozen or numb. My coven sister speculates that this new drowning sensation is merely the effects of the ice thaw.

Could that be it? Could it be that I'm coming through the winter of this endlessly long transition? Something in me broke in 2005, and I've not felt whole since. The experience has been 2 years of highs and lows and general angst without resolution, and I'd love to think that phase is finally wrapping-up. But drowning is an odd sensation. Not one of relief, but neither is it one of suffocation or panic. We breathed and lived in liquid within the womb. Is it possible to find that skill again, amidst a sea of uncertainty?

Water is essential

Water is affected by thought & intention

Water is in all life, all things

Water is the connection

I am mostly water

My world is mostly water

Can I sink into that, and find the way to live?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Pissy from the Heat

Dearest Department of Water & Power,

I understand that I live in LA, a town fraught with self-indulgent people who do not listen to suggestions like "turn your AC up to 78 when you aren't at home" or "turn off lights you aren't using". So when our power shut down at 6pm on Friday, on the hottest weekend of the year, I tried to be understanding. We opened our windows (nearly useless without fans in them) and hoped for an errant breeze. We found our flashlights and sat in the darkened courtyard of our apartment building, sipping water and trying to think cool thoughts. It was challenging, but doable. Two hours later, when the power returned, we were most appreciative.

The fact this all repeated on Saturday was a little more annoying. Rumors of a blown transformer were whispered down the block, from one grassy courtyard to another. Still, two hours later in the steamy September evening, power returned, and fans could be restarted. Ice could be made in the freezer again. I longed to believe that you folks had some inkling of what you were doing, and I hoped that you, concerned about the overheated citizens of Los Feliz, were working towards preventing a repeat performance.

However, when we returned to our house on SUNDAY evening, to find the neighborhood once again dark and muggy, my patience began to wear thin. Even though the sun was gone, the temperature in the area was in the high 90s, with uncharacteristic humidity making it even more unbearable. I likely would have rained curses on your heads if my kind neighbor had not distracted me by pulling her laptop into the courtyard, and sharing downloaded episodes of "Californication" while we all drank luke-warm beer. My fury subsided as I watched David Duchovney do a lot of naughty things to half-dressed women.

At least it HAD, until I returned home last night (after teaching 2 hours of dance class) to a totally black and silent Los Feliz. Once again, some brilliant yahoo somewhere had blown something or improperly repaired a do-hickey. Theories ran wild amongst the overly-hot Angelenos as to the cause of the repeated outages, but the point for guessing why was passed for me. I just wanted it to end. Is that too much to ask, LA DWP?? That on the hottest weekend of the year, I have at least ONE day out of four during which I do not have to run a bath of cool water in which to sit!??

To add insult to injury, this last outage lasted from 8:30 last night until 7:30THIS MORNING!! We slept naked on sheet in the middle of the living room with the front door standing open, as it was the only way not to wake in our own personal puddles. The cats had bearly the energy to walk from one spot on the floor to another, before they collapsed in a furry heap. The ice bottle we put in the bunny's cage to help him regulate his temperature melted, and there's not more ice to replace it. And I won't even discuss the inside of my freezer, now a large lemony lake that used to be 4 "real juice" bars, because my blood pressure continues to rise each time I think about the massive cleaning/purging that now needs to be done in the refrigerator.

IN short, I really want to send you the thanks you deserve, because without your incompetence, I would never have been able to spend my Labor Day holiday IN HELL.

Many are the ways in which you suck!

With much loathing,
YummyT

Friday, August 24, 2007

If pictures are worth 1,000 words

...then this link to my flikr should help make up for the fact that I haven't had time to chat.

Aug 10 & 11, in a much needed escape, I drove myself up the coast of California. I want to be alone with my thoughts, away the stress, and back in touch with simple beauty.

a quote from my journal along the way:


At the edge of the Earth, thar may be dragons....
but thar's no cell phone reception!


and I like it that way.

Hope you enjoy the photos. I promise to write more once my big Mouse Project has passed.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Saving Grace

There are days when the office is just hideous, and the workload overwhelming, and you KNOW that you should put every single moment into the project you are working on, but your mind screams for a break...

and that's when the Universe is benevolent and shows you that flick has a brilliant "group" called Dogs in Pools

When I was younger, I had a dog. A beautiful old mutt of a dog, and she LOVED the pool.

These photos, and those memories, brought me the smile I needed today.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Long Live Love!!

wow.... i can tell that i'm swamped with work, becuase i nearly let this date get past me. It wasn't until i was writing August 8th on a report at 6:32pm that i realized....


HAPPY ANNIVERSARY MOM & DAD!


38 years (i think) of love
& all the laughter and challenges that come with it




Monday, August 06, 2007

Vanishing "ly"

As I was driving to work this morning, I was subjected to a moment that is(unfortunately) growing more frequent in number. A moment, an occurrence, a... thing that gnaws on my consciousness, works my last nerve and downright irritates me.

It was a missing "ly".

Two DJ's were having a conversation with someone (sorry, I can't remember who), during which that person commented, "I do that bad."

"LY!" I piped up. "You do that BADLY."

Poor Tag is subjected to my grammar corrections on a regular basis. However, unless I'm asked to proof-read a document or listen to a public speaker practice, I try not to burst out like a schoolmarm for the general populace. (To my defence, I come by it naturally. My mother was a grammar/literature teacher for the first 30+ years of my life, and I was drilled on the ability to articulate both clearly and properly.)

I willingly admit that my sentence structure is not always the best, and my spelling can be downright deplorable. Add to that the fact that I'm slightly dyslexic, and type too quickly for my own good... and I'm sure that you can find more than a handful of errors in the archives of this blog.

However comma I still retain the ability to tell an adjective from an adverb.

For example: the tea can be bad (ill-flavored); the dog can be bad (poorly behaved); the paper can be bad (not enjoyable for reading), but that's probably because it was written (<-VERB) badly.


*sigh* Sorry to rant so, but it hurts my head when I hear it spoken incorrectly.


Helpful links:

Adverbs: definition, adverbs in history and other useful links (including a quiz)


the brilliant lyrics to Tom Lehere's "L-Y"


or best yet, sing along with Lolly, Lolly, Lolly

If it's an adverb we have it at Lolly's!

Bring along your old adjectives too, like slow, soft and sure.

We'll fit them out with our "l-y" attachment

And make perfectly good adverbs out of them
!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Deathly Masqerade Teaching Hallows Bash Whirlwind of Activity

or in other words: Why YummyTeece has been MIA in the blogosphere

I'm so tired. Seriously, a body cannot keep up this pace for long, and I'm about at the end of my physical rope. So let me try to catch you up, before I fall into another fog.

LOJ 2007
The annual Labyrinth of Jareth was Friday & Saturday July 13 & 14th. Although I would have loved to go both nights, I simply couldn't prep separate outfits for each night for both Tag and myself. As it is, we only pulled things off as we did because Tag's brilliant assistant offered to make his furry pants (tail included).


I think we did pretty well.


More fairy-folk photo fun can be found here.







Work Party Fun Time
This summer, like last, I headed the committee to throw our annual Employee Bash. Think... you and 5 of your closest friends throw a free-for-all for about 700 people. Only you aren't working with your closest friends. You're hosting the event with the help of a few co-workers who are as bogged down as you are. After weeks of planning, and couple of days just running around like a mad chicken, the event came off without a hitch. The food was well received; we didn't run out of alcohol; the salsa lessons and picture spots were a hit. And after it was all cleaned up, and I had a few drinks with co-workers to chat and make new friends, I collapsed into a heap where I would have stayed for 2 days, if only I didn't have to be up 7 hours later to participate in....

Teaching
I arrive on Saturdays at 9:30, to set up and prep for the 10am class, and once that begins, I'm moving non-stop until 2pm. 4 hours straight of challenging muscle articulations as well as a constant narrative stream, trying to explain the correct posture and what muscles we are currently working. Tag takes the car and goes surfing (just 10 min down the street from the studio). He comes back refreshed and invigorated. I finish feeling renewed, but also like I was just hit by a Mack truck. Needless to say, I let him drive the hour back in traffic to our homestead...

Life at Home
...which by this point in the week, is usually DESPERATE for a cleaning. I begin to sweep and change litter boxes, while Tag may clean the bunny cage, or do dishes. He's also aces with the laundry. This week however, he used the time to forage for a much needed and long overdue AIR CONDITIONER!! Whoo hoo! He spent the rest of the afternoon installing it, while I continued to work on the pigsty we call home. However, once the cool air kicked in, and my legs finally gave out, I fwumped onto our couch and watched an endless supply of CSI.

In fact, it was only once dusk began to fall, and I was sprawled happily did I realize that ...

Deathly Hallows ABSENCE
*GASP* ... my copy of the new HP (with it's "release date delivery" guarantee) was NO WHERE to be found. Already my hard-core Harry Potter compatriots were emailing me with "Let me know when you finish the book. I want to discuss." I began to track furiously, searching Amazon and UPS's website for any details that might help me locate the missing tome. However, twas to no avail. And that's probably best, because it's not like I have anytime to read a 700 page book. *sigh*

Aquarium Member Surf Party
Tag and I are members of the Aquarium of the Pacific, and as such, were invited to their 21+ Adult Surf Party. Alcoholic drinks, a live band with surfy tunes and a gentle child-free stroll around the gorgeous aquarium grounds. Time to pet the bat rays in the touch pond without being interrupted by screaming, crying, or an ice cream being smushed into your side by sticky little fingers who have no attached attention span. Now as tired as I was, I had no urge to go all the way down to Long Beach, but the evening turned out to be well worth it. Peaceful and lovely.

Teece contemplates her margarita by moonlight.
Wrapping Up
With all that behind us now, life can almost return to a normal pace; fraught with work issues and overwhelming schedules. I've still not read Harry Potter. I was over at Amandarin's last night, caring for her cats, and she had left her copy out for me to start. I sat on her couch and opened it... and began dropping off to sleep as I read page 1. I couldn't retain a sentence moments after I'd finished reading it, so I set the book aside and tried not to drool in my semi-comatose state. I hope to begin again this evening and make it at least through the first chapter. However, before that happens I have to pick up dry cleaning and take it to the theatre (oh yes, I'm on 8 weeks of laundry duty for my theatre group. Because I guess had some extra time in my schedule!!! eeek!)



In short:
"please excuse Yummyteece from school/work/blogging/life today as she was tired and not feeling well. Thank you."

Friday, July 13, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: Hair

Ah hair, ever changing, ever growing. Hair allows us to metamorphose, like other creatures in the wild. My hair is the artist's brush with which I paint. Having a mood? Need to reinvent? Hair has a trendous gift of freedom, changing easily at a whim.

I remember helping my grandmother dye her incredibly long thick hair a deep rich brown. It was like a long flowing river of dark chocolate, mysterious and wonderously soft to the touch. I envied her hair, although I would NEVER have the patience to grow mine so long. I cannot committ to one hair style and color for such an extended period of time.

I began dying my hair in high school. People ask me what about my "natural color" and I tell them that I haven't seen it in so long, I can't tell you what it might look like. I point to the roots, coming out deep on my scalp and answer, "it would be something like that, I suppose."

I've been orange, brown, deep brown, red, hot red, auburn, "midnight cherry" and black. Most recently, I bleached it out and became a radient "cotten candy pink". This weekend, I will turn it electric green for the masked ball that I attend each year (don't worry Mom, it washes out.) Someday, I acutally long to shave it all off, and just start over fresh.

Hair is a canvas for expression. It is the easist way to change the girl in the mirror when I need a fresh perspective. Hair can be loud or soft, bright or muted. It can scream for attention, or whisper like gentle velvet in the dark of the night. Hair is sensual and sexy, messy and fun. Style it, spike it, do what you wish (as long as you properly condition and care for it's health). Hair can help you become a master of disguise and a mistress of intrigue. It holds in heat, shields out the sun, gives us a fringe to hide behind on the days we don't feel like meeting someone's eyes. It's touch can be smooth like silk, or bouncy with crisp curls. It seems a source of endless possibilities and sensory experiences.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Glimmer at the end of the day

After another long slog through corporate red-tape and hypocrisy, an email made me remember how good it feels to be apart of 'making a difference'.

Watch the video. Share the Hope. Be a part of the change you want to see in the world.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

All in a Day's Blog

It’s not always easy to come up with material for CNR. Life happens all around me, but it’s not all extraordinary or noteworthy. Still, it is my life, and sometimes I like to document its eccentricities.

  • Today I passed a VW Bug convertible, painted in the most gloriously loud color that can best be described as Barbie Pink. Now, when I was a kid, Barbie’s car of choice was a Corvette. But this is a Barbie of the now. A fun-loving, energetic Barbie, striking out on her own, with a car that says “I’m hip, I’m quirky… and I’m single.” How do I know the last one? The license plate: DUMT KEN *giggle*

  • In the world of counting ones blessings-- I stopped for lunch today at a Burger King nearby. I’ve been trying to stay away from the fast food, but I was in a hurry after my chiro appt, and I thought I’d try a salad or some such. I went inside, instead of drive through, because I’m tired of eating in my car… and more importantly, because I suddenly had to piss like a racehorse. However, the Universe knew that my need was not the greatest. I went into the restroom, only to hear the moaning and groaning of an unidentified woman. Figuring that she might need some privacy, I stepped out, ordered some food (all while doing that “I have to potty” dance), filled my beverage and sat at a booth near the bathroom. A few moments later, I peeked in again (if she wasn’t out, I was going to make a dash for the men’s room). She was emerging from the stall looking as if she was on death’s door. She walked to the sink and began soaking some tissues to press to her face and neck. I slipped in, took a quick pee, and emerged again. She was still at the sink. She was still fevered and sweaty and in her own world. I waited to wash my hands. She suddenly left the water running and bolted back into the stall. I washed and left as fast as humanly possible, all the while thinking “Thank you Universe, that in all my days I’ve never been face down in a semi-clean toilet at a Burger King in a questionable part of North Hollywood. No seriously…..Thank you!

  • And lastly, in the realm of unexplained & unnecessary drama… What is the spiritual point and purpose of ingrown hairs? Seriously, they are painful, unsightly, and annoyingly reoccurring. I’ve spent the money for a series for laser treatments for my lower legs, and the next time I find myself with a truckload of excess cash, I’m going to get myself a session for the bikini area. Don’t worry, I don’t intend to blaze off the “full fifi”. I mean, like it smooth and such, but being the 90 yr old with a constant Brazilian seems like the quickest way to a bad reputation as “Sunnyvale Rest Home’s Hoochie Mama of the Year.”

Monday, June 25, 2007

Women in Art

Three minutes of artistry that is so exquisite, it must be shared.

Friday, June 22, 2007

A Photo Anthology of Style and Pizazz

This week has been beyond busy, but sometimes we just need to do something silly, something self-indulgent, in order to keep ourselves invested and... well... awake at the desk.

So I just spent the past 20 minutes creating a retrospective look at the last 18 months of my hair's various colors and styles.




Thursday, June 14, 2007

Confession

There are tons of photos from our time in Palm Springs, and I hope to post them soon. However, i just haven't really been able to sit down and write a good happy vacation post. My mind is rumbling with doubts and issues and frustrations, and I've avoided the written word becuase I'm in no mood to face the grouchies.

I should know better.

A grouchy mind left unexpressed leaks out in dreams and mood swings and after crying the car last night, I had a sleep full of angsty imaginings and disturbing visions. So I'm tossing aside some image of the eternally perky pink-haired girl and just hashing some shit out.

I'm not very happy with me right now.

When I was young, I dreamed of being something more. I loved theatre, and like many young girls, wanted to be that beautiful startlet splashed across movie screens. I loved the fierce and feisty heroines who battled the odds and fought the status quo. Dark and edgy, or just sarcastic and bitter, I laughed at their witty barbs and idolized their passionate fights. When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would often say "Important."

I spent a few years trying to fit in and be "pretty", and when I realized that I didn't work well in that mold, I tried to create my own. I listened to dark, angry music and found release in the fury of dance floors. I felt alive when I was moving and lost when I had to "play along" with every day life. I chatted frequently with imaginary friends and invisible movie cameras that I felt documented my every move. I was always performing for an audience, and tried to make interesting choices.

I fought depression, and frequently lost. I sought out teachers and guides, and fell prey to manipulative and abusive imposters. I had tumultous and destructive love affairs, and although they hurt, I reminded myself that there was no gain without pain, and plunged somewhat melodramtically into the despair of the moment.

I'm sure I was quite tedious at times, but at least I felt original.

As time passed, I realized that life was not always a two-hour, well written saga that ended well as the credits ran. It's cliche, but "there's no one to save you except yourself," and once I embraced that (through years of therapy) I began to make better choices.... or at least I tried to.

I've done a lot of "inner work", and I believe that I am a much better person for it. However, as of late, I've begun to fear that "better" is not necessarily intersting. As of late, I find myself looking in the mirror, completely unimpressed with the person I've become. I wanted to be the femme-fatale, fierce and fiery. Instead, I see a chubby middle-aged woman, with an adequate job and an unremarkable life.

I find myself utterly ordinary... and that's really bothering me.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

It's the Little Things...

... that make me laugh; that get me through the day/week.

Tomorrow, I head out to Palm Springs with Tag. He's got a conference to attend at a spa/casino resort. I'll be resting by the pool if anyone needs me. *wink*

However, like many Americans with an over-zealoused office, I must PAY for my vacation in the fact that I must put 5 days of work into a 3 day week. As such, I've been maniacally crazed and overly stressed since the alarm clock went off Monday morning.

Today, that level of nutbar reached a peak when, in a fit of multi-tasking induced flighty-ness, I totally missed a "Breakfast with the Boss" meeting with my Senior Vice President. Yes, I stood up my boss's boss! The one who is a stickler for attendance and takes absences somewhat personally. *headdesk*


I might fall apart completely if it weren't for the little things.... like Annie's Bunny Pasta with Yummy Cheese.


Wait..... it gets even better.


Look at the side of the box.


*giggle*

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Better.... Stronger... Faster

Two things about me as a child:
1) I loved me some "Bionic Woman"
2) I was a blind as a bat

I still am quite visually-challenged. For me, it is just a way of life. A thing that has always been. I don't remember a time when I didn't wear glasses. I can look back at pre-school pictures and see that I don't have them. But I don't actually have the memory of not wearing my heavy coke-bottle lenses in cheesy plastic frames.

My optometrist put me in contacts at age 8. Sure, that doesn't sound so remarkable NOW, but remember, this was the late 70's, and back then, such drastic measures were unheard of. (Not to mention, they put me in hard lenses. Not today's "rigid gas permeable" which are so much kinder to the eye). The idea was that the firm lenses would provide some resistance for the cornea, and perhaps retard the speed at which my growing young eyes were deteriorating. However, putting hard lenses into an eye is not the most comfortable feeling, and I was a child. Needless to say, I was not terribly regular about care and cleaning for my lenses and thus I inflicted upon myself any number of corneal abrasions, infections, corneal neovascularization and (my favorite) corneal ulcers (like herpes cold sores in your eyes... so pretty and so much fun!)

In my teen years, vanity won out and I began to utilize and care for my contacts much more. They became a part of every day routine: Wake, stagger to bathroom, reach for case, rub lens with cleaner, rinse off thoroughly (they aren't kidding about that), then put tiny pieces of plastic in eye. Proceed with day.

As I learned the appropriate sterilization and storage techniques, the amount of bodily damage decreased. However, the lens body count continued to mount. One contact actually "popped" and split while in my eye. A few have slipped off the iris & wedged themselves behind the upper eyelid. One contact was knocked out by the draft caused by a Frisbee speeding by my face. My childhood best friend washed another down the drain. One plummeted onto disgusting carpet at Chuck E. Cheese. One oversexed lens leaped out of my eye and into the lap of the boy on whom I was sitting during a 'tween flirting session. Imagine his joy when in my panic, I began pawing his crotch fervently. I'm still not sure he believed me when I said, "No, I'm just looking for my contact"

Because of the state and situation of my eyes and continuously degenerating vision, soft contacts or extended wear are not an option. So I resigned myself for a very long time to the fact that this was the way my optical life operated.

And then the buzz around LASIK began. Science and technology promised to fix and replace that which was no longer useful. With just a few moments of precise laser incisions, and a wham-bam-thank-you-mam recovery time, one might see clearly again.

At first, I resisted... unsure of long term effects and a bit cynical of all this 'new fangled science'. But the more I thought about it over the last year, the more intrigued I became. Of course, it doesn't help that in the last 16 months, my eyes have deteriorated severely again, and the contacts I bought in late '05 (as well as the 'back up' glasses I purchased this time last year) no longer correct me to 20/20. Additionally, my night vision has grown dangerously bad. Halos and glare keep me from focusing on the road, and reading street signs is just plain impossible.

So with my hope and hat in hand, I made an appointment with the local laser eye center. 60 minutes later, after multiple exams and painfully bright pictures of my retina, I was told.... No Go. That's right kids, my prescription is too extreme and my cornea is simply too thin to withstand the surgery. *sigh*

There is one option that might be available. Intraocular lenses (IOL)are tiny bits of plastic placed directly into the eye. As the doctor helpfully explained, a flap in the cornea is cut open and peeled back. The IOL is then attached BY CLAWS to the mid peripheral iris. Doesn't that sound like fun?

The surgery is more intensive than LASIK, requiring a full surgical suite and on-call anesthesiologist. The lenses must be custom made, requiring a number of weeks prep time. The surgery itself takes longer than a LASIK procedure. Recovery time is longer as well, taking as much as 3 - 5 days for full vision to return. Because of this, they only do one eye at a time. So add in an additional 2 weeks between your surgeries, during which time one eye is healing and the other is as crappy as you started with. yay.

Did I mention the implant attaches "by CLAWS"!?!

Did I mention that your very own Steve Austin eye will cost you 2 - 3x more than LASIK?

*sigh*

I didn't realize how much I wanted LASIK until I was told it wasn't an option. I didn't realize how tired I am of not being able to see, until it once again became the only way to be. And I didn't realize how really scared I am of eventually ending up without any vision at all.... until now.

Tag recently bought me a beautiful little digital camera, and I find myself carrying it with me at all times right now. It's like I want to capture every image that moves me and burn it on to my memory's retina.... so that further down the road, I can, if needed, flip through the photo album in my mind.

Bionics remain, in my world at least, just a piece of science fiction, suitable for vintage TV.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Haiku for Tag

...who is currently on a businesstrip in San Antonio


It is hard to wake
Next to your empty pillow
Grey gloomy mourning

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Each little Slug here, cutting a rug here..


Ah, the joy of a holiday weekend. A rare occassion when, despite having two different jobs, I still manage to have at least a 2 days off IN A ROW.


Tag and I decided to go to the Long Beach "Aquarium of the Pacific" for one of those glorious days. Although it was slammed with folks who had the same idea, we still enjoyed every moment. From petting the sharks and rays in the touch tanks, to watching a touching 5 min movie on the majesty of whales...it all excited and amazed us.


I love the Ocean. I love water. I love the idea that there are wild and wonderful creatures down there, so strange and exotic. I love that there is still so much unexplored. So much of our living waters and their resident denizens remain a mystery, and I hope they continue to be so for many years to come.


This lemony beastie was one of my favorites.... look how he's acutally holding himself in place, between the rock and the coral. Like a tiny Samson, pushing at the pillars of the temple, save for that look of bored resignation on his face.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: Masks

The weekend has been busy and it's nearly 9:30 on Sunday night before I finally get a peek at the Sunday Scribbling prompt for the week.

Synchronicity being the funny thing that it is.... I notice this prompt as we are watching "Labyrinth", in preparation for "Labyrinth of Jareth", the annual masquerade ball which I attend each year.

Watching this movie when I was young, all I wanted to do was disappear inside of it. Travel its various terrains and meet its random denizens. How wonderful and amazing that someone else had a similar thought, so much so that they manifested the event. Of course, like all such celebrations, the labyrinth has morphed and become its own entity.

Costume is required (or at least formal wear with a mask.) "Elaborate costumes" are recommended. And believe me, it is very clear that some folks work on their outfits all year long and make quite the showing. While some creatures are straight out of the movie, others are a wide variety of goblins, pirates, and fairies.

In the room, packed full of masked beings and living fantasies, one can completely lose oneself. Drop into the dance, listen to the bands, watch the shows, and disappear into another world, unrealted to reality. Masks and costumes have a built-in freedom that releases us from the mundane and opens a door to what we wish would be.

For beautiful masks and other such artistry, be sure to check out the pictures from years past.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Oh you Clever Corporate Bastards

Is it not enough for you that I worship at the shrine of your beloved soda?

Now you invite me to the Coke Side of Life, and tempt me with your frivolous and arty "coke creator" program, sucking mindless moments from me as I design my very own Coke poster...


Wheeeeeeeeeee!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Morning After

Day 1 - Post Detox, wherein the world attempts to return back to "normal"


Our dietary journey has ended (although many of the healthy habits will be retained). It was both challenging and insightful. I was thrilled to imbibe in my first cup of coffee this morning, but didn't need my usual amount of sugar. Lunch was tofu chili, but there was freedom in it because I knew that if I'd wanted to, I could have had meat in there instead. A world of new culinary options has opened up to me, and while I will return to my omnivore ways... I intend to continue my love affair with our Jack LaLanne Power Juicer.

However, when it comes right down to the nitty gritty of it, one discovery leaps to mind as most important.

I am not an alcoholic.

I apologize if that comes off somewhat tongue in cheek, because it is not meant that way. It is in fact a very solid and relief-filled statement. Many a time in my life, my addictive personality has leaned towards one vice or another as a form of escape. I've shared the company of several alcoholics (recovering and otherwise) in both my romantic and platonic relationships, enough times to make me wonder at the "birds of a feather" phenomena. And there are definite periods of my life wherein my own behaviors and tendencies scared me (like the 10 months I kept a bottle of vodka under the driver's seat of the car, for lunch breaks.) Therefore, the concept of going 30 days without alcohol seemed absolutely daunting. In practice though, abstaining was surprisingly easy.

Sure, there were bad days, stressful situations, & maudlin moods, to which my first instinctive response was "If only I had a glass of wine..." But then I would remind myself that it wasn't an option, and the urge would pass.

Let me repeat that.... the urge would pass. It didn't haunt me. It didn't keep me up at night. It didn't keep me from going to work, or dealing with unpleasantness. It would just fade away, like most of the other cravings (and faster than some.)

We have a bottle of red in the house even as I type, but it never occurred to me to open it prematurely. It was bought for that celebratory glass at the end of the road, and that's what it is waiting for still. (T minus 5 hours, and counting)

And when that long awaited moment comes, I will toast to willpower, to strength I didn't know I had, and to a future of better health and wiser coping mechanisms.

I will also toast Tag, as I couldn't have done this without him. *mwah* Thanks babe!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Long Awaited

...wherein I reveal the joy I've had for the last 2 1/2 weeks.

I did it! I'd been wanting to for years, and I finally did it (corporate office be damned!)


It's just hard to be pouty when your mirror shows Pretty in Pink.

Note to Parents: Before you go off on what a ridiculous form of expression you may or may not believe this to be... please let me remind you that it is neither a new tattoo nor a new piercing.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Small Work Rant

Look, I am not a tiny or fragile girl. I have upper body strength, more than most women in my office (thank you pole climbing). However, there are those sturdier and more equipped than I. There are also MEN on this floor. In fact the lordgodking quarterback, Mr. Fitness (aka my boss) is prone to show off his "guns" or tell us what he can bench or lift.

So why is it that 4 out of every 5 days .... I am the ONLY ONE replacing the 5-gallon jug on the water cooler!?!?!

I see people take their cups up to the spout, and when nothing comes out, they look up, see the empty jug and walk away. These same people later come running like a cat who hears the can opener, when I make that recognizable glug-glug-glug of a new jug pouring into the resevoir.

Seriously people... it's not that hard.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: Second Chance

The jingle of the visitor bell was as stereotypical as the musty smell of the little curiosity shop. The thought humored Doreen as she entered the dimly lit store. Despite its cramped quarters, the shop felt like a safe haven from the haggard and hurried streets of the city. Furthermore, it was the sort of place where no one came looking for anything or anyone in particular, and as she was busy hiding from her wreck of a life, “Second Chance Curiosities” seemed a perfect place to spend an afternoon…. Or at least the next 15 minutes.

As she was wont to do, she dragged her hand along the surfaces of items nearby, feeling the rough covers of old books or the crisp synthetic quality of baby doll hair past its prime. The shelves were uncharacteristically dust-free, and she appreciated the care the owner showed in displaying his wares, however dismal they appeared. Leather cracked around the spine of what looked to be a weather-beaten journal, and Doreen longed to read the pages. Picking up the book, she closed her eyes and held it to her chest, breathing in the stale warm smell of old pages and imagining what treasures it might hold

“Memoirs of a Civil War Soldier,” a voice whispered.

Doreen looked around startled to be caught in such reverie, but found no one. She caught movement in the corner of her eye, and did a double take, only to see a small grey spider scurry across the edge of a wooden shelf.

“Hello?” No response came

After a moment of silence, when it seemed that she really was quite alone, she brushed off the disturbance and tried to go about her browsing. She set the book on the table without much more thought and continued down the row.

At the back of the shop, past a splendid display of rusty shields and ancient masks, Doreen stopped in awe at the vast array of snow globes spread along 3 tall bookcases. Everything else in the store had been dust-free and tidy, but these shelves and their inhabitants glowed as if they were polished hourly. In each miniature glass planet, a blizzard whirled around tiny monuments and their petite patrons. Some were recognizable, like the Eiffel Tower, or St. Basil’s. Others seemed tribal or aboriginal in nature. A small handful seemed celestial or downright alien. Despite this assortment, Doreen found herself drawn to one that was terribly mundane. In the swirling snow sat a figure alone. The tiny woman was brightly dressed against her colorless backdrop, and her posture and facial expression embodied a passionless calm.

“That one is called ‘Blank Slate’.”

Doreen almost dropped the glass orb at the sound of the voice. However, this time when she looked up, she found she was not eerily alone anymore. A small bespectacled man with slate grey hair and mustache had appeared at her side. Doreen was frightened and embarrassed to have not heard him approach and tried to cover this with a note of irritation.

“You shouldn’t sneak up on people so,” she stated. “At least not when they are holding glass.” She added a small laugh to soften her words, as she realized that she was being unnecessarily rude to someone who was, no doubt, the owner of the establishment in which she was currently a guest. The gentleman simply smiled.

An awkward moment of silence passed between them, making Doreen suddenly uncomfortable in these dimly lit cramped quarters. Still, she wasn’t ready to let go of the globe in her hands, so she fumbled over words until she managed to ask, “Is this for sale? I mean, how much is this? I want to buy it. I mean, I … might be willing to buy it… if the price is not too high.”

Again the grey haired man smiled. “They are very special to me,” he said, nodding his head towards the globes. “I’m not one to easily part with something so….” His pause was longer than needed and his eyes met hers with a jolt that chilled her. His smile grew larger. “But for a young lady who needs a ‘Blank Slate’, I can make a deal.”

He turned and shuffled towards an antique cash register. His legs were rickety, and his skin seemed tissue thin. Aging had taken its toll, but Doreen guessed that he wasn’t a very handsome man in his youth either. He had a bit of a greasy peddler feel to him, like an old time salesman, or the carney barker who calls you to the view the Freak tent. He seemed as much an old oddity as the items he sold, only he was in much more disrepair. Still, he was going to make her a deal (or so he said), and so Doreen put her disrespectful thoughts aside and followed him to the counter.

A bit of haggling and $20 later, Doreen found herself carrying home her new treasure, wrapped in paper and plastic. The globe drew her in, and she wanted very much to see it up close again. She waited until she was safely seated on the subway train before she began to unwrap it. Holding it in two hands, she was mesmerized by the tiny woman and all her vast possibilities.

“A blank slate…. A clean slate… a second chance,” Doreen murmured to herself as if the words would conjure such a state for herself. She locked eyes with the petite figure and wished with all her might that it might be her. 7 years ago, she’d moved to this city, desperate to run from her mistakes and shame. 7 years she’d spent fighting demons and stuffing regrets. 7 years, and all she had to show for it was a dismal job that barely covered rent on the one room apartment she’d spent 7 years hiding in. Her list of failures in love and life was overwhelmingly long, and she’d found it easier to wallow in mediocrity than it was to just forgive and move on. 7 years that brought her face to face with the fact that the old adage was true, “Wherever you go, there you are.” And here she was- on a subway, bleary-eyed with tears, wishing she were that calm little woman in the white-out world of her blank slate.

The subway was oddly quiet, and so Doreen didn’t notice when she missed her stop. She didn’t notice the people who got on or off. She was nearly invisible, in her back corner of the train, focused on her little glass world. She felt herself slipping away, imagining endlessly what she might do were she that woman in the globe. She pulled her thin sweater tighter around her, and snuggled tighter into a ball as she felt the temperature drop, but her gaze never waivered from the face in the snow. Harder and harder she wished and wanted. More and more she dropped into that place of possibility. Real life seemed to fade from her thoughts as she dreamed and hoped and desired and irrationally craved the life of that calm figure in the whirling snow. The glass grew foggy with her warm moist breath as the truth of the subway drifted further and further away. Her fevered prayers for a blank slate erased the hard lines of reality until everything else vanished. And then Doreen simply disappeared as well.

No one remembered the small girl on the subway that night. At least, they wouldn’t have if any one had asked. But when the conductor did a walk through at the end of his shift, and found the lone snow globe in the corner seat of the last row of the last car, he didn’t question. He merely assumed that someone had carelessly forgotten; their lives too full of other matters of consequence. He tucked it under one uniformed arm, and walked off to clock out.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The jingle of the bell as she opened the door was just like a spooky scene from a movie, Annie thought as she dipped into the tiny curiosity shop, and Annie loved movies. She loved all things having to do with escape. Her job was dreary and monotonous, the heat outside unbearable, and her lunch time walk had found her wandering in search of a midday vacation. She felt like a soul possessed by the singular urge to ‘get away from it all’, and that craving for something new had led her feet to the tiny store she’d not noticed before. A twinkle caught her eye as light reflected on some glass at the back of the store, and intrigued, Annie walked towards what seemed to be a shelf full of glass orbs.