Wednesday, November 26, 2008
As I walk across this campus, hood up in a weak fabric attempt to keep myself dry against the light Autumn rain, I can't help but think back to my early college days. As I was pass the Music building, I remember a 17 year old me, listening at practice room doors for my roomie, playing her clarinet scales and cursing loudly at mistakes. I remember nestling into the covers of my tiny twin bed, with a warm cup of cocoa, overflowing with mini marshmallows, listening to the Florida rainfall compete with loud hissing and clunks coming from an antique radiator. I remember the wet stillness that falls across Murphry Green when all the students are hidden away in rooms, or gathering in hallways.
I remember feeling so young, still stunned to already be in college... and yet feeling so old, mature and jaded to be out of high school. Laughably, that same conflicted arrogance is what can vex me so in my younger classmates. There are moments where I cannot tolerate it, and others where I jealously remember being so blissfully self-involved.
Course... here I am, blathering on about my life and my memories in my blog... as if anyone in the world could really possibly care. LOL. Self-involved is apparently a stage I haven't quite grown out of, if anyone really can.
In the library today, there is a warm silence that smells lightly of moist mulch and growing things. The rainy season in Southern California is also the time of growth, and I enjoy watching plants bud, or grass turning vibrantly green. The media/learning lab area is alive with keyboard clicks and IM pings. Laughter behind me as young women mock Myspace fotos and post with friends. Whereas only moments ago, I felt as if I were back at FSU, these new noises now make me feel as if MUCH has changed since I was in college. It was another decade... hell, another century. Wow... I'm crazy old.
I came to the library to work on my final project for Wildlife Education, while staying dry and warm. B.E. Projects were turned in today, and Diversity finals start next week (well, the first of 3 will be on Tuesday.) However, despite those pending assignments and anxieties, I sit fairly calm and composed, reflecting on college and the rain. It is a good day.
When I do find these moments to post, I have half an urge to ramble on about school: its woes, its dramas, and of course, the animals. Big rubber dairy boots and a shovel full of poop seems to all fade into the background with a 300+lb lioness watching you work. Her amber eyes entrance me and all manual labor seems easier when she's nearby. The coyote seems to trust me more than most others, and although I cannot work with her yet, I think about her often. This week, my assigned area of cleaning is Parrot Gardens. I'm admittedly not much of a bird person, but when a kookaburra breaks out into that long exotic call, even jaded ancient me can be impressed.
In short, school is school.... with all the good and bad that every college experience brings with it. But on rainy days full of memories, it is pleasant and playful and lovely to enjoy.
Wishing you all a great grey Wednesday, and may your Thanksgiving, however you experience it, be full of good friends and good food.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
And so, when the pre-presidential flurry began to spin, I tried to ignore it. ALthough I live with a man who has been working to support Obama since it was a grassroots campaign in Chicago, I tried to ignore it. I fought being won because in the end, it all comes down to one vivid and sometimes toxic emotion... hope.
Hope comes with strings attached. Strings of expectation. Expectations leave gaps and opportunities for disappointment, when they remain unmet. And so many times, they do.
Yet somehow, in all the chanting for change, a tiny seed of hope crept in. Small as it was, I did my best to avoid it, and not let it run any major decisions. I did however, find myself willing to vote, for the first time in a long time. Not only for the presidency, but for many state propositions that are important to me. I cast my ballot by mail, as I wasn't in the county during any open polling hours. And once the envelope was sealed, I didn't give it much thought. In fact, inundated with animals and education, I actually forgot several times that today was election day.
But as I killed time between evening classes, dining with a friend and seeing the first peek at the numbers, I felt an overwhelming stirring in my gut. I recognized it at once. The aching butterflies in my tummy were the twinges of hope, gnawed at by the fear of unmet expectations. Momentarily paralized, I did my best to push the news report and the quivering tingles aside, and focus on class.
Time passes, events roll forward whether you pay attention or not, and by the time I was in my car for the long ride home, McCain's concession speech was being aired. Driving east on the 118, tears rolled down my face. Me... my face... the face of a woman who until now has never much cared for election results, who avoids political discussions, and despises the bickering two-party system. Face to face with the fact that I was emotionally invested, I turned off my radio and came to terms with my unexpected reaction.
Can we? Really? Can we Change? Human beings are creatures of habit and radical turns of events have never been well embraced by society as a whole. The best of intentions can still be stymied by fillabustering and stalling. Worse yet, promises may not be kept.... best intentions might not be brought to the table. What then?
Hope. It terrifies me. But I cannot help but fill tonight with it. To let it float like smoke in the air, resonate like the final chord of a piano concerto. It hovers tangibly, waiting for expectations to be not only met, but embraced and bettered.
Yes We Can..... I certainly hope so.
Friday, October 03, 2008
It is a simple task that takes only a few moments and can do a world of good. So please, make with the clicky-clicky and help save a dog. :)
Many many thanks!
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
Of my 53 classmates, 52 of them are 10 years or more younger than me. That stings a bit. I mean, with all the demons I've been fighting the last few years, about being past my prime- too old, too fat, too.... well, being surrounded by skinny 20 somethings has definitely punched a few buttons. Then again, many of the conversations I've been privy to have proved to me that one really does learn and grow an AWFUL LOT between 24 - 36. There's just not enough money for me to go back to that time, and my years of experience have allowed me some leeway in staying above the flow of the drama.
Speaking of drama, it really is the worst part of the program. Sure, the hours are insanely long. Many days a week, I wake at 5am, to leave my house by 5:30. On Monday of this week, my alarm didn't go off, meaning that I was late... and thus docked points for the tardy. Still, that personal emergency, as emotionally taxing as it was, is nothing when compared to loves and betrayals and roommate tragedies that I have been made aware of. I remain confident in my decision to live away from other students, despite the long and tiring commute.
Some classes require public speaking and a taste for the theatrical. These are, of course, the easiest for me. Other classes require only that you attend, that you work hard while there, and that you are not ever even one minute late. Short of the "alarm clock incident", I have done well in those. Still other classes are heavy on science and memorization. They require studying and in some cases, comprehension (not just rhetoric). These are a little more difficult, although I've found some study buddies that are most helpful.
Until this week, I would have said that the class as a whole had not gelled. However, several times in the last few days, I have been doubled over with laughter as compatriots and I, delirious from fatigue, found humor and connection in our shared duties and hardships. As one new friend said recently, the early rising, the long hours, the filthy tasks, the stressful tests... they are stepping stones, not hurdles, for "we are exactly where we are meant to be."
As I sit here tonight, on a rare night without studying, and watch the movie "V for Vendetta", I reflect on its message, and remember how it moved me the night I first saw it in the theatre.
Frequently in Conservation class, as we watch another depressing video, I feel overwhelmed with sadness and despair that we as a people are doing so much damage to resources, to the creatures we share this planet with, to ourselves. It feels hopeless, most of the time. But the other night, there was a small stirring in my soul. I don't know why it was there, or how long it has been in there, residing quietly. But it was a part of me that believed in passion and purpose, integrity and making a difference, however small. It is the same part of me that cries a little each time I watch this movie. It is a part of me that urges me to be more, and that whispers to me, that whatever I may think, or even fear, the Universe has her grand design, and I am in fact "exactly where [I] am meant to be."
Sunday, August 10, 2008
I'm sitting here at the computer, with the Olympics playing in the background. Don't know if I've mentioned it before, but Tag was an Olympic hopeful (Gold Medalist in AAU Nationals.) As such, he has several friends on the American Tae Kwon Do team, and he fervantly cheers on other American competitors. Through his passion, I have been able to view the Olympics as I never have before, through new eyes, filled with hope and pride. It has been a moving experience. However, as thrilling as it may prove to be, it does not keep me from near jumping out of my skin because tomorrow.... school begins.
The road here has seemed so endless. As a young girl, I wanted to be a dolphin & whale trainer. However, the fact that it seemed to require a lot of marine biology scared me away. So I turned to less cerebral, more instinctive pursuits... namely Theatre. And don't get me wrong, Theatre is still one of my greatest loves. There is no feeling like being on stage. But she has proven an unfaithful mistress, sometimes embracing me tightly to her bosom, other times kicking me in the teeth. And I was just not made for the "Business" of Show Business, particularly not here in Los Angeles, where no one is allowed to age or eat. Too many nights, I have sat by the proverbial phone, waiting for the promised call, only to go to bed late, teary-eyed and alone.
Whenever Theatre (or the rest of my uneven love life) left me broken and alone, animals have always been a source of joy and comfort. Nikki, my dear soulmate, has saved my life more times than I count. Beaker is a great spirit clown who has taught me to laugh at the simplest things. And when all else failed, I have often treated myself to a soul-inspiring trip to the Zoo.
Therefore,it is no surprise that when in 2004 my best friend said "Make a list of the things that make you truly happy, and then create a job from that," "working with animals" topped the list (followed closely by "working outside.") However, simply making those discoveries does not place all the yellow bricks in the road. My research took me high and low, searching for the best training programs for zoo keeping, or in-field observation and rehabilitation. Eventually, through one recommendation and the next, I came across the EATM program. Now all I had to do was apply, play my odds with the lottery admissions, find the finances to pay for 2 years of life with school but no job, AND complete the intensive 22 month program. I applied in late 2004 for the 2005 admissions, only to find myself 15th on the waiting list, short on cash and mired in a lousy job.
Flash ahead 3 years. Years filled with further research, paying off debts, & finding a boyfriend who not only encouraged my passion but promised to help me with living expenses. Lady Luck granted me grace with the admissions process, and friends have been nothing but enthusiastically encouraging, reassuring me that they are proud of me, they are excited for me, and they respect the fact that I am following a too long surpressed dream. From the little girl who dreamed of training whales, to the 36 year old woman, nervously giving voice to her "back to school" jitters... I can hardly believe my journey, my luck, my future.
Keep your fingers crossed for me, and keep your internets tuned to this bat channel. I'll do my best to blog all the ups and downs, so that you too can take this facinating roller coaster ride with me. They tell me dreams come true. They tell me to believe. I've been waiting a long time for those promises to be made manifest. Tomorrow, I walk trhough a door untried.... and find out what wonders are on the other side.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Um... more kittens? More sleepless nights spent worrying about underweight, parasite infested little balls of fluff? More countless hours indulging favorite games like "Bite the hand that's feeding" and "Attack Mommie's Toes"? I'm totally IN!
And thus, I tagged along with Boy and his friend. Co-worker has known the kitty rescue woman for a bit of time now, and while she's well intentioned, she just doesn't have the resources and time to handle the amount of feline activity that crosses her path in her South Central neighborhood. So, although we went with the intention of only rescuing 2 black males, approximately 12 weeks old.... we ended up with 4 total. 3 blacks (all brothers) and one teeny ragdoll looking mess that was desperately in need of de-fleaing, de-worming, and all around recovery. I'm told the baby is 8 - 9 weeks old, but it is only as large as a healthy 5-week old, and the non-stop diarrhea hasn't helped. Welcome Kitty Boys to Chez Yummy.
Day 4 and I'm pleased to say that all are doing better. The big boys were standoffish at first, but now will gladly barrel you over with snuggles when you greet them in the morning. The little one is healing at a slower rate, but showing great progress. I'm working on photos, but it is challenging to get young cats to move slower than the speed of light.
Originally, the woman was calling one of the boys "Superman" although it hardly seemed appropriate, given his size and demeanor. He does however make an awesome "Clark Kent", and thus the comic hero theme was born. Two of the blacks have tiny spots of white, but one is completely dark. Dubbed the "Dark Knight", we lovingly refer to him as "Master Bruce". Last is the largest and most aggressive of the pack. His killer instincts, lethal claws and Hugh Jackman good looks have earned him the name "Logan." The baby remains unnamed for a number of reasons... but I affectionately call it "Little Bug" or "The Itty Bitty."
I'd love to write more, but I hear 4 plaintive voices begging for the next bowl of moist yummy goodness. So excuse me while I push off to tend to my charges. As always, the cats are being adopted out through the non-profit Milo's Sanctuary. If you have any interest in these kittens, or are just looking to make a tax-deductible donation, please don't hesitate to check this out.
Happy Tuesday to you. May all your dreams be purry, warm and wonderful.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Whoa! HEY! as I type, a bit of roof has fallen onto the kitchen stove (we have a vent in the ceiling for smoke and cooking heat to escape to... however, it's currently being used as an entrance for old tar and bird poop.) Yay. Scuze me, while I handle this...
OK, back now. Waxed paper duct taped onto the ceiling. Stove saved. However, the poor cats and herbivores are still bouncing around, alert and one step closer to cardiac arrest.
Speaking of herbivores... we have a new addition to the family. He's a teeny little ball of fur, a young male guinea pig colored deep cocoa brown and soft latte cream. His name is Bean, and he's decided that he's very much in love with Truffles. Purrs flirtatiously whenever Truffles comes over and cleans his ears. It's terribly cute.
Happy Late Independence Day. The 4th passed with little fanfare for us. We did use the opportunity for a brief road trip. Bless my 10 year old Honda, which still gets excellent gas mileage. We debated driving up the coast to the Monteray Aquarium, which Tag has never seen. However, the Big Sur fires have the coastal road closed, so that wasn't going to happen. Therefore we drove north only as far as Ragged Point, where we enjoyed a gorgeous sunset. The Point is one of my favorite places on the coast and I have long wanted to stay there. However, it's usually packed to the gills and very expensive. However, the fires have been negatively affecting their business, so we were able to get a greatly reduced price on one of the best rooms. King bed next to a fireplace, with a balcony that was right on the cliff's edge, with an outstanding view. We scored some fabulous local wine and slept to the sound of crashing surf. On the way home the next day, we lounged with the locals, tried to tour Hearst Castle (they were sold out), and generally enjoyed the sun and sea along the beautiful California coast.
Now I'm back at the desk (or dining room table, such as it is), trying to be productive, but like a little kid anxiously waiting for Christmas, I'm counting the days until school begins. The summer heat intensifies the angsty dread of anticipation, which can only be ended by that thrill of the first day. I haven't been this eager for August since grade school.
And still, the roof falls. *sigh* I didn't think anything could make this day seem longer, but counting the hours of loud crumbling noise lengthens each mundane moment.
Hope your July 8th is more productive.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
"Just because no one has been fortunate enough to realize what a gold mine you are, doesn't mean you shine any less. Just because no one has been smart enough to figure out that you can't be topped, doesn’t stop you from being the best. Just because no one has made the race worth while does not give you permission to stop! Just because no one has realized what a woman you are doesn’t mean they can affect your femininity. Just because no one has shown up to love you on your own level doesn’t mean you have to sink to theirs. Just because the Universe is still preparing your King, doesn’t mean you aren’t already a Queen!
Just because your situation isn’t progressing right now doesn’t mean you need to change a thing. Keep shining, keep running, keep hoping, keep praying, keep being exactly what you already are… COMPLETE & PERFECT.”
Friday, June 20, 2008
Blogging doesn't seem adequate to express how incredibly excited I am. So join with me in doing the happy dance
*does very silly happy dance*
No seriously, you can join in anytime. :)
Thursday, June 12, 2008
But seriously folks, we're going on day 5 of my not having a voice, and it's just not fun anymore. The first day, when you get that gravelly low sound (which my sound engineer friend calls my "Demi Moore" voice) it can be a bit sexy and fun. But once that short lived stage passes and you are sentenced to silence (or in my case a nagging, hacking cough) the sexiness has passed and it's just a crapshoot of lousy-ness.
One can only drink so much juice and herbal tea. The extreme tenacity of the coughing fits leads the convulsing bladder to want to leak a little bit, and that uncomfortable feeling is not helped by being overly-hydrated. But not taking in a constant flow of fluids leaves the throat dry and scratchy and adds to the hacking... so there's really an element of Catch-22 here.
Add that to the fact that my dear friend Dreamschool just had to put down her beloved companion of 14 years (Farewell Ione, till we see you at the Rainbow Bridge) and it has just not been a stellar week here at the house of Teece. (True, it's been an even worse one at the house of Dreamschool)
I've had so many thoughts for blogs lately, so many of them have to do with letting go. Saying the things that need to be said and released. You know the sort of thing... well, I don't know. Does this happen to anyone else but me? Example: I'm driving, and the road is full of traffic, or maybe it's wide open, but basically my mind, my conscious thought, has seemingly shut down and I am in the Zen of just operating the car when BAM, my face blushes and I find myself speaking out loud, "But see.. I didn't mean THAT." I come to and look around and realize that it's just me in the car, and no one else has relived that embarrassment from my past except me. But in that quiet moment, it was a real and vivid as the day it first occurred. I have a ton of those. Moments when the past sneaks up and I find myself flushed or furious, saddened or humiliated. I wish they'd quit haunting me, and I've been toying with the thought that perhaps typing them up and setting them free is the cure for such ghosts.
They say that coughing, and laryngitis are manifestations of when the body needs to express something, but for one reason or another, it has been silenced. It is a very intimate thing and I'm struggling with the idea of just putting my dirty laundry out there. Perhaps I am not as ready to release as I thought. Or perhaps, this is just a part of the process, and soon a series of posts will begin
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
To Sum Up:
- The Foster Kittens grow increasingly adorable with each day. They also grow increasingly demanding and require constant cleaning up. 3 out of 4 are pre-adopted (thank heavens) and I believe the 4th will have a promised home after this week, so it's only a matter of time before they all leave our happy nest. I will likely get teary and will definitely miss their endless pitter-patter. However, the Senior Cats are counting the days until their mid-day nap can go uninterrupted.
- The Seals & Sea Lions flipper their way deeper into my heart. Some graduate forward, to bigger pools and bottom feedings, eventually winning their release back to the ocean. Others sadly deteriorate in ways we can't stop, finally leaving this plane. Just last week, I was present at the demise of a small, soft harbor seal pup. His fur was plush and he seemed a child's toy, except for the fact that his body grew cold & unmoving under my touch. Until that moment, I wasn't sure how I would handle losing an animal. But in the moment, he was suffering so, I was relieved for him when that finally ended.
- Still no word on school. The endless anticipation of that "alternate/wait list" call continues to drag on.
- May 2008 marked the end of my 1001 days. The final update of my list of 101 things will be along shortly.
- Lastly, Bonus Points to you, dear May... for the rousing bout of tendinitis. Several days this month, the searing pain has rendered my right arm nearly useless. Which makes typing a blog, teaching pole work, & restraining 100lb animals more than a little challenging.
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
I'm avoiding myself again.
I'm in a time of transition. I have been for several years now. Usually, when I think of transition, I think of relatively short bursts of energy, pushing me forward, like a snake shedding its skin. However, this transition has been slower and more laborious. Like pregnancy, it creeps forward, seeming sometimes endless. And like pregnancy, one major transition is then followed by another, for after giving birth, it isn't' like Mom gets to go right back to her childless life... no, now a new phase of change and adaptation begins as she surrenders her life to the whims and needs of her spawn.
By the way, I am (for the record) NOT PREGNANT. I'm just using that as an example.
What I am is... confused. Heading down a path I've not yet labeled or recognized completely. I feel a little lost in this body, in this life. I still don't make money in anything related to animal work. I still don't have an answer on school (well, I sort of do. I'm on the wait/alternate list. I'm number 5 on this list, and that's good... but it's not a definite yes or no yet, and the limbo is making me nutz!)
NO... it is more than just school or work. It is my body. It is aging. Goddess Spirituality talks about the triad of Goddess: Maiden, Mother, Crone. For so long, I was an embodiment of Maiden energy. Sometimes Dark Maiden, with over-indulgences and self-destructive behaviors, but always there was a youthfulness to my step. Although my body was that of a mature woman, my spirit felt young, and beautiful.
Growing up, I was not the standard beauty. It long plagued me that I was awkward and brunette and more curvy than statuesque. So I worked like a bastard to make up for it, with a ton of personality and an overt sensuality/sexuality. As I grew up, and did more inner work, I began to actually look in the mirror and say, "That girl there, she's .... well she's attractive, and that's not bad." I felt that I was beginning to accept myself. More so, I was very nearly able to love myself, how I looked.
But then things began to change. Was it all the emotional butchering of 2005? Was it the physical traumas caused by the IUD in 2006? Was it all the health problems and chronic pain I've had lately? Was it settling into a real long term relationship, sharing my space, my every mood and bodily function with another human being? Dealing with intimacy in a way I'd never known before and finding that I wasn't as good at it as I'd hoped? Or was it the Chinese water torture of year after year of office politics and useless corporate posturing that just sucked the joy out of me? I don't know what the tipping point was, but the last 2 - 3 years have aged me. I look into the mirror and the Maiden is gone. My eyes just don't sparkle. I notice more wrinkles. I can pinch way more than an inch, pretty much everywhere.
Somewhere inside, there is a very startled little girl looking out my eyes and saying to my reflection, "What happened to you? You Got OLD!" And in this town, Old = Unattractive. Old = Invisible. Old = Done. And I don't want to be done... I'm 36 years old. I refuse to be done.
The 1/4 sleeve tattoo on my right arm is a reminder to me that I am not finished with my journey. Clearly, the head shaving is also an attempt to redefine, reconfigure.... reimagine what "grown up" looks like. Like adolescence, I find myself trying to compensate for not being "pretty". Like a youthful rebellion, I am acting out, refusing to conform (because deep down inside, I know that if I tried to conform, I still wouldn't fit. I still wouldn't be "good enough" for the standard.)
To go back to my earlier analogy, I believe that I have completed the birthing portion of this transformation. But I'm still struggling with the surrender concept: the idea that I must willing let go of the rope to which I cling, that previous image of self, and give myself completely to a fresh, reimagined fledgling spawn of the woman I am to become.
Dude... it has to be said. Sometimes this growing-up shit sucks eggs!
* I know this post has nothing to do with hurricanes. The Jimmy Buffett quote is just my way of saying that sometimes we try to make sense of things that are beyond our control. We wish to understand cosmic nature and all her destructive forces, and sometimes, that just doesn't do a damn bit of good. What is, just IS. Grab your beer, hold on to your trailer, and try to enjoy the ride.
Monday, April 21, 2008
- Finally got taxes done, April 14th. That is SO LATE for me. However, after going through business deductions and volunteer work, I do have a small amount coming to me from our friends at the Federal offices. Thank the gods, because we could use a little cash.
- Marine Mammals aplenty!! My hours at the center continue to accrue, and I've gotten pretty damn quick at being able to handle the elley seal pups as needed. However, I still stay away from sea lions, as they are quick and nasty tempered.
- Zoo Gnus! I've been working with Enrichment, creating required toys and tools for the animals health and enjoyment. In May, I've volunteered for Bear Medical team for the Bearnstine Bears event. Um... not to worry, those bears are stuffed. I'll be wearing scrubs, but I'll only be mending fabric and faux fur.
- Kitten Season! Helping out Milo's Sanctuary, I'm currently fostering 4 4-week old kittens. My every waking hour seems focused on preparing food, feeding, wiping bottoms, doing poopy laundry and washing bottles and dishes. I'm WORN OUT! I don't know how you Moms of human children do this for more than a few weeks. YIKES!
- Lastly- NEW HAIR... or the lack thereof. Yep, I did it... went bald. Now I just need to work out constantly and never eat again if I want to look like Demi in G. I. Jane.
Monday, March 31, 2008
Last week was vivacious, if not a little perilous. Wednesday, I had a dental appointment (oh joy), followed by driving a friend to LAX (more joy), which apparently had some unusual explosions around it later that night (not to worry, has not been determined to be terrorist.) Thursday, I pulled a double shift at the Marine Mammal Center. That is good for the little elephant seal pups, but bad for the tendinitis in my elbow. Friday I worked all day at the dance studio, then fought rush hour for 2 hours to go to dinner with some friends. Oddly enough, even hours of making herring milkshakes for pinnipeds has not tarnished my love of sushi. Late Friday, I picked up Tag from the airport (Burbank this time, which is far less likely to burst into flame.) Early Saturday, we reported to the Zoo for a full day of smiling volunteer goodness. I am proud to report that Tag has passed his LA Zoo Docent final exam, and next week will have graduation ceremonies. YAY!!
Can’t believe March is already ending! Out like a lamb indeed, slipping past the gates nearly unnoticed.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
I'm just finishing up Week 3 in Walking in this World. Now, I admit that I'm finding much of the book challenging. Transitioning from actress to animal behavioralist/trainer/keeper feels like walking away from creativity. However, the exercises remind me that life, lived to its purpose, is always creative. There is creation when a mathematician writes a proof, or a scientist searches for truth in a microscope. There is art in each human action, if only you let it exist. Therefore, I put my faith in the idea that my life still contains something anarchistic, untamed and alive, and I put together a collage art piece for speaking subconsciously with myself.
Holding a question/issue loosely in my mind, I spent nearly 2 hours pulling images that spoke to me. Some were as expected, animals or ocean. But others were surprising. Many were ripe berries and blooming flowers. Succulent fruits. Opulent pillows. Bold colors leapt forth in Blues, Reds and Purples.
Assembling the images into a message was the next part of the assignment, and oddly enough, I found they practically placed themselves. Even though I'd clipped out many words, only a few made it on the page. Most were simple. "Joy" & "Go. Do. Be." are the primary messages. However, the most unique picture and the most unusual words put themselves right at the heart of the piece. The visual is a stunning crystal formation, white & silver, pointing out in all directions, like a crystalline explosion.... or the tree topper in Superman's Fortress of Solitude holiday decorations. Under that, the words "God wants to see us happy."
Step 3: Write about what you have found. I sat there, pen in hand, overwhelmed by the message of my art (or my heart, as my fingers just Freudially typed). The piece is overwhelmingly about being ripe & ready for bloom. It speaks of joy, and expression. Unapologetic life, bursting forth with a center of divine guidance, inspiration and permission.
That's all well and good to look at and see... but to really GET that message was ... literally stunning. I sat motionless as tears rolled down my face. For you see, I never envisioned my life happy. Some girls put together dream proms or fantasy weddings. Others picture themselves ensconced in happy home lives, or pursing dream jobs. Me... I planned my suicide. Very elaborately, at the height of my fantasy career. Even in those frequently played movies in my head, I was not happy. Even then, I pictured myself emotionally alone in a sea of “friends.” I did not have love, although I had multiple affairs. I was tragic and under appreciated, like the “idols” I looked to at the time; Marilyn Monroe, Vincent Van Gogh, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin. Ask the people who knew me at 15 and they will tell you that I was a firm believer in “Live Fast. Die Young. Leave a good looking corpse.”
The more I thought back to my past, the more I realized that I never, NEVER thought I’d be happy. I never understood, or even imagined it was possible. I thought it was a good and positive goal to die before the world was ready for you to do so, like the old theatre adage “Leave them wanting more.” I thought "tragic martyr" was a fulfilling lifestyle choice.
No wonder my current situation seems so foreign to me. I wake up, and there’s not some feeling of overwhelming dread hanging over me. I’m not counting the hours until I’m dead. I get up in the morning and I have… hope. Previously, I would have thought this to be selfish, or childish, or both. I would have found the notion ridiculous, and would have scoffed shamefully at myself for even thinking it. But there it was… right in the damn middle of my piece. A clear affirmation that it is right and good to pursue what you love. The simple and loving statement that “God* wants to see us happy.”
I still don’t know exactly where I’m headed or what my life is going to look like in the future. But apparently, inside, I know that I am on the right path, getting riper each moment, preparing to blossom into happiness.
And as if to confirm it all for me, The Laughing Maiden opened her loving arms and with her soft breath, gave color back to the garden. Spring has sprung. No where was that more evident than at Pike's Public Market in downtown Seattle. I strolled through with a smile on my face and a blooming bit of hope in my heart. It is hard to be down when surrounded by hundreds of daffodils and tulips.
For more photos from our Pacific Northwest Adventures, be sure to check my flickr.
* GOD, for the purpose of this post and its various readers, may pleasantly stand for "Give Own Definition". I personally believe in a benevolent higher power, although I more frequently will call it Goddess or Universe. Whatever your specific definition, the point remains the same.
Friday, March 21, 2008
However, I find that the trip allotted me so much more than just precipitation. The flights themselves were fairly uneventful, often hovering over or barrelling through fluffy worlds of grey and white. Below me the land stretched out, a luscious green, rising and falling in large crinkly waves; emerald velvet discarded by some frivolous seamstress. Deep pools of black decorated the fabric of the landscape. Tract housing, with its circular patterns and identical roofs, reminded me of ringworm signs in flesh, and the irony of that was not lost on me. Urban sprawl is a parasite, leaching its way through virgin wildlife. Forehead pressed to the tiny window, I was simultaneously awed, inspired, saddened and disgusted. The more I study and work with conservation and rescue, the more I rage at the majority of American culture, with its need for instant gratification and its "Me First" attitude. And yet there I was, riding on a plane, for a recreational trip to another city, for no other reason than "Oooh, that would be cool."
Tag says that I worry too much. He's not the first to say something along those lines to me. But I can't stop my mind from spinning into a frenzy. I can't stop it long enough to sit still these days. My actual mental health scares me sometimes, as I feel that my long time depression is slowly transforming into something more bi-polar. I don't want to be sick, but the signs seem so inevitably obvious. Yet I don't want it to be true. I don't want to be on medication, not now... and certainly not forever.
I've read on various blogs the argument that if I had diabetes, I wouldn't hesitate to take insulin. Or if I had cancer, I wouldn't hesitate to treat it with radiation or chemo. But the simple fact is that I wouldn't want to. I would resist traditional therapies and would like to pursue other methods of healing. I don't care what the disease, I don't want to be on medication for the rest of my life. However, I fear that I am inherently lazy, and would not do all that needs to be done to treat the illness holistically. It is overwhelming to look down the barrel of that gun and feel so disempowered.
So runs the gamut of emotions that I experienced over the last three days. Awe at beauty, but fury at its demise. Impassioned about living, but despondent over where life is headed. Lucky, but unlucky. I am urged to take life by its proverbial horns and change the world, but discouraged by the feeling of being perpetually behind the 8-ball. Like the tiny ice crystals that form on plane windows, there are moments of small, unparalleled beauty, but they melt before your feet touch down.
Thinking never stops in my brain. I wake from dreams still pondering the questions that were asked of me during their neuron-dancing frenzy. And yet still, I wake without answers. Hanging in mid-air, the ground below is magical and enticing to the touch. I just need to find a way to bring that essence down, pluck it out of the wind like a butterfly or stray balloon, and let the floating freedom transform me. Because if I don't figure out how to manifest that transformation soon, I fear that I will remain this neurotic pill-popping people hater. And that is just one step closer to becoming part of the problem.
There is so much that needs transformation and healing. But tonight, I am overwhelmed and jet lagged, lost in thought that handicaps my desire for action. It is not the most comfortable seat on the plane.
Saturday, March 08, 2008
His name is Green Elley, Pen 6, but I just call him Big G. Sure, he has his flaws and quirks. He smells of fish. He's not potty-trained. He'll give the goo-goo love eyes to any sweet young thing that passes by with a bucket of herring. And the mucus... Yeesh, don't get me started on the elephant seal's amazing ability to generate and expel mucus.
Still, as I stood in Pen 7, in my chest-high waders, scrubbing seal poop off the concrete, I realized that I'd rather do that for free than deal with the office politics crap that I tolerated for 2 years at my last job.
If you too feel the pull of Big Green's dark & penetrating orbs, have I got a place for you! Imagine spending 4 - 5 hours listening to the varied barks and calls of California Sea Lions while blending up fish milkshakes. Picture yourself thawing and sorting endless amounts of fish while breathing deeply the scent of sea (and by scent of the sea, I mean copious amounts of pinniped guano.) Better yet, imagine that moment, where you collapse exhausted into your car seat, after hours of back-breaking work, and sit silently smiling, knowing that at least one abandoned Elephant Seal pup is still alive because of you and those around you.
If you live in the Southern California area, have a love for wildlife, and at least half a day of spare time a week... please think about joining the Volunteers at San Pedro's Marine Mammal Care Center at Fort MacArthur. We're heading into the "busy season", where we will soon be inundated with countless elley pups who have stopped nursing, but have not found the way to survive on fish alone. Summer can also bring algae blooms, which can lead to Domoic Acid Toxicity in Sea Lions, causing neurological damage in the animals. In short, this small but efficient rehabilitation center is about to way more animals than they have volunteer hands.
You can do it for that "good Samaritan" feeling. Or perhaps you want to do it as a write off on next year's taxes. Or maybe, you'll find yourself here just so you too can get a chance to look into Big G's amazing eyes. Whatever your reason, the experience can change your life. Trust me on that.
Marine Mammal Care Center at Fort MacArthur
3601 South Gaffey Street
San Pedro, CA 90731
Phone: (310) 548-5677
Thursday, February 21, 2008
I wish that after a 3- 4 week absence I could say something wildly insightful and deliciously moving... but alas, I find that the old adage is true. The hardest part of each endeavor is the beginning, and I have spent the last month feeling a bit overwhelmed with the whole "change my life" plan.
I am working with Walking in the World, the sequal to The Artist's Way. As such, I get up each morning and handwrite pages in my journal. I'm still working on the "weekly walk" part. I find that one of the arts that is really coming up for me right now is photography. I've always loved experimenting with it, but it has been years since I had a really good camera to play with. I'm trying to let myself explore colors and images... but one of my favorite joys is to take the camera to the zoo and see if I can capture a good shot of the animals.
I was accepted as a volunteer at the LA Zoo. Have gone through my training and can begin acquiring hours as soon as I get back a negative TB test result and have my fingerprints done. Additionally, I was included as part of a behind the scenes tour of the Long Beach Aquarium. Got to go above the tanks and feed the fish. But more excitedly, spoke with a gentleman who is charge of volunteer coordination, and will be in further touch with him in order to begin volunteering in the Animal Husbandry department down there. Next Monday, I'm going to an Orientation at the San Pedro Marine Mammal Care center. I still need to fill out my application paperwork in order to volunteer for Best Friend's local adoptions.
On Tuesdays, I spend my day at the Soultree Motion corporate offices, helping Dirt organize and update the "new direction" for the dance studio. Tuesday nights, I still teach my class. These activities are the only ones that bring in money, so far. The financial situation is survivable, but definately challenging and a wee bit stressful.
I heard back from school... My application materials were recieved and I have cleared the "5 pre-req" hurdle. YAY! I am now officially "in the running" for the 2008 class. There's informational meetings in March, and the list of those accepted will be released in May. Until then, I'm on pins and needles, and trying to get as many animal hours in with my various volunteering spots.
The ever-changing Southern California weather is driving my sinuses batty. The cats seem happier with someone home more of the time. Truffles is enjoying the nip in the air, and throws his jingling bunny-ball around in a one-man volleyball game most mornings around 7am. In short, life is continuing to move forward, although sometimes it is a maddeningly-slow pace.
I dream of sitting in the jungle, observing the great apes. I long to own a Nikon D-80, so that I might capture wild untamed life, abundant on savannah plains in Africa. I want to get SCUBA certified, so that I can dive at the aquarium.
So many plans, hopes, and dreams. It is hard to focus in all directions at once, pushing each a little bit. Like running with several kites behind me, waiting for the Universe to blow a swift wind under the "right" one.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Actually, it wasn't the flu in my case, but an over-achieving sinus infection, which got into my ears (causing pain there) and dripped down my throat (causing bronchial issues). After running a fever of 102 - 103 for THREE days straight, I finally made it to the doctor to see if anything could be done. I'm on horsepill antibiotics and even those took several days to get rid of the fever. IN short, I didn't really show up for my last week of work... and I'm just now starting to act and feel like a human again.
I did make a point of arriving at my desk for 3 hours on my last day of employment. I sat, bundled to the 9's, feverish and coughing, finishing up the expense reports and items that I promised would be done before I left. And in the end, when i had that last "wrap up" conversation with the Big Dog, he still made a point of saying how my inability to accept change in the personnel of the department caused my frustrations. NO JACKASS, it was YOU!! YOU caused my frustration, with your lack of spine and your double-talk. With your inability to understand human nature or communicate with any sort of clarity, YOU ARE THE PROBLEM. Now Fuck off! I am done with you.
Wow... does THAT feel good to type! Healing comes in many ways, I'm discovering.
I'm also discovering that life without rules is challenging for a work-a-holic like myself. I don't let myself sleep in terribly much, because I know that leads to depression for me. Amandarin suggested finding an early morning yoga class to go to, and I think that's a stellar idea. IN the meantime, I'm researching jobs online, and waiting to hear if I've been accepted to the LA Zoo Volunteer training class. (I interviewed on Saturday.) I sent in my application for school, and am doing reading and research on various job options out there. Trying to find my bliss, as it were.
It's a beautiful day outside. No rain. The wind smells fresh and the sun looks warm. I believe I'll head out for a day of errands and figure out the rest as I go.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
If you look at whiskey, aging of whiskey smoothes out rawness and greenness, it adds depth and complexity and smoothness, it adds flavors, it concentrates what's desirable. At the same time, there is the evaporation of what's less consequential and I think it's fairly easy to see analogies in human life with that process.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
The prospect of being unemployed is not one that fills me with a great deal of comfort. However, the actions of others around me (here at the office) have confirmed that my resignation was ABSOLUTELY the best choice for me to make. Alice in Wonderland once said, "I do not want to go amongst mad people," and believe me, I could not echo her sentiments more resolutely.
As the news of my departure leaks its way through the department, and then the company, many have approached to ask where my path is heading. I can give no answer other than, "I don't know... but sure as hell not here." An overwhelming abundance of choices are spread before me and I could pick any and do well.
However, some choices are not made with the mind, but with the heart, or the soul, or the very essence that drives you. I tell others that I don't know where I'm headed, but that's not entirely true. I know that my future must contain working with animals, and preferably working outside. Too long have I sat 10 - 12 hours at a time, in front of a computer, ignoring the fact that the sun rises and sets and I don't have a moment to get outdoors. Too long have I smiled and played "nice" within the snake pit of office politics. And for what? As Amandarin pointed out not long ago, "No one is ever going to reach their deathbed and find themselves wishing they'd spent more time at work." I'm pursing returning to school. I'm looking at nearby possibilities. And of course, I'm still reaching for my heart's mission.
One night, I was scouring the web, researching opportunities and I found myself weeping for all the lost years. I turned to Tag and said, "How did I get to be 36 without even KNOWING these jobs were out there?" To which he responded, "The good news is... you're only 36, and you know now."
Eleanor is right. This process takes an entire lifetime, and I'm not done yet. If I am truly in charge of shaping my life, then let me grab the sculptor's tools and create a reality I'm proud to call my own. Let me choose to be happy and fulfilled. Let me make the choices that make a difference.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Case in point, I was working on a blog post called “The Death in Deadlines.” Long have I bemoaned the corporate world, chained to a desk and other’s rules. I have been doing two different jobs, acting as both Exec Assistant and Special Events Coordinator. The first is my job on paper (which grows daily). The second, I’ve stepped up to because it is desperately needed (and far more entertaining than the first.) The pace has become unmanageable and the office drama has grown more emotionally draining by the month. Add to that the fact that I left my heart in Kanab, Utah, and what was once uncomfortable becomes unbearable. Thus over a month ago,“Operation Departure” was set in motion.
I notified my friends in IT that I would need to move my iTunes library off my work computer. This did require my buying a laptop of my very own, on which to relocate my tunage. Tag began budgeting, to find out how we might be able to live on a single income (in the interim, not as a full time solution.) I set up time with the President of the company, to establish why they needed a full time Events Coordinator, and also to name the candidate I thought best to fill that position. Lastly, I declared to those closest to me that I would not see February 1st in my current situation.
I am prone to staying in very bad situations for way too long. My inner codependent screams, “I can fix this,” and I repeatedly attempt to make silk from the sow’s ear. Therefore, by declaration, I enlisted my friends to be my reality check and my reinforced backbone. If, for some reason I did not give notice, they were all permitted to question my sanity and … harass me until I stood up for myself and left.
This week, each day, they would IM me encouraging words and a great deal of support. And each day this week, I considered backing out of my plan. Not because the work situation was getting any better, but because my masochistic self felt irrepressibly guilty for leaving a job for no better reason than my mental health.
“Death in Deadlines” was to speak to the fact that my friends were (rightly so) calling for me to honor my commitment, and to admit my fear and hesitation to honor myself. However, today (the day before I was to give notice) events came to pass that required my announcement to come one day early. It was time to just take a deep breath and speak up for myself. I did so, and while I kept it diplomatic, a small spark inside me ignited and I felt … I don’t know how to describe it. Hopeful, perhaps. Free, maybe.
Whatever the feeling, the point is… with a great deal of planning, but no clear idea of where I’m headed, I let go of what was, and jumped both feet into the ranks of the unemployed.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
It's been quite a while since I updated my 1001 list (which comes to a close this May, EEEEK!). Thought it might be best to check in and find out how I'm doing.
Several others in Progress
5 months to get my ass moving on the others. EEEP!
The Mission: Complete 101 pre-set tasks in a period of 1001 days.
The Criteria: Tasks must be specific (no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. Represent some amount of work on my part).
Start Date: Aug 13, 2005
Finish Date: Saturday, May 10, 2008
Below are my 101 tasks (grouped for easier reading)
April 07 Update: I realize that I gave myself an unattainable amount of travel, as well as setting goals that have changed due to circumstances. Therefore I am removing them, and replacing them with others.
Renew that Passport (working on this. Sent away for notarized copy of birth certificate. Will send that to LA passport office, once i get it)
Visit Rio De Janeiro REMOVED (postponed till after 08) Return to New Orleans for a sultry sensory experience REMOVED: Written before Katrina hit.... I do intend to get to NO again someday, but I'm letting her heal a bit before i go.
Hike Macchu Picchu
Visit Montana for no apparent reason, other than it’s on this list.
Get to NYC to shower all my peeps there with overdue love and attention
Spend at least a week in Hawaii on island other than OahuDONE. Oct 10- 15, 2007 on Big Island NEW- Visit 2 US states that I've never been to before DONE. I realized after I wrote this that my cross-country road trip with Tag (in October 06) had me spending time in Illinois, Missouri, & Kansas... all of which were new to me. See that GD park in Hong Kong! REMOVED (postponed till after 08) Attend Burning Man REMOVED (I may or maynot go, but it won't be before May 08)
NEW- Take Tag on a roadtrip to Northern Cali
Go back to Temple of Sekhmet in Nevada
Spend a day someplace tranquil. Tuesday, May 2, 2006 at the San Diego Zoo
Health & Fitness
Lose 30 lbs
Keep those 30 lbs off for at least 6 months
Go without drinking alcohol for a month (EEEK!) DONE. The Detox required this, and it was acutally easier to do than I ever thought it might be
Establish some sort of exercise schedule that includes 45 min aerobics 3x a week,and muscle toning 3 times a week (yoga, pilates, dance class all count for this one) I'm doing dance class 3 times a week now, so all I have to add is the aerobic
NEW- Participate in triathlon or another marathon
Tight Toned arms (such that you are never embarrassed to wear tank-tops or other sleeveless accoutrement)
Try Juicing for a month (meaning at least 2 – 3 times a week, replace a meal/supplement my craptastic diet with a multi juice beverage, freshly prepared.)DONE. Detox to the rescue again
Take a Martial Arts class
NEW- Take a boxing class
Fast for 10 days.
Keep food & water journal for a least a week DONE, but I'm working on doing this on a more regular basis.
Do the Damn Core Secrets video I bought months ago
Incorporate daily vegetable consumption into diet. (green things, every day, for at least a month)DONE during Detox Regular (at least 1x a month) massageDONE, now that best friend is CMT, and she needed someone to practice on during school. Regular (at least 1x a month) chiropractics Every other week, since Aug 2006 Get up-to date with all required “well-woman” DONE July 2006 Get dental check up (cleaning etc) Not only DONE, but I had my follow-up "6 month" check up in March 07 Buy new glasses,that have proper prescription and look good DONE
Attend 2 year EATM program, such that all Animal Jobs are possible REMOVED, for now: (even if I apply this year and am accepted, I won't start until August 08. So this will not be done in time. However, I've not walked away from this dream. Therefore, consider this item merely Postponed) Complete Teacher Training at S Factor Slight change here... Teacher training at Soultree Teach my first SoultreeClassDone! Been teaching about 8 months now.
Get cast in a Theatre show (for adults, with at least 2 week run)
Get VO demo done
Get VO Agent!
Finally reach 1000 hrs at USH REMOVED: Because of job and teacher training, I have left USH Investigate Dee’s class REMOVED: Just not interested in this anymore.
Start saving for retirement YAY! Started my 401K April07 Get a Day Job that doesn’t suck my soul dry, and still pays well Whoo hoo!
Have excess finances such that Travel is possible- working on this
Stop living Paycheck to Paycheck!- working on this
Have Finances available for EATM program (yes, student loans and grants count)
Find money for SoulTree Teacher Training Paying for teacher training by bartering hours at Soul Tree
Get 90K mile check up on Most Honorable Honda-San
Pay off the money I owe my parents!- in progress
Finish up loan payments with Auriton- in progress
NEW- Pay off other debts
Begin Energy work to clear blocks (particularly to body image & finances) I'm working with a healer on this now.
Make Meditation a
daily weekly practice Swim with Dolphins! DONE! *sigh* have I mentioned how much I looooooooove Hawaii??
Trance Dance at some sort of Festival
Experience lucid dreaming
Allow myself to get REALLY VERY ANGRY. Become OK with anger. Eek,I've been working on this one. It's a little scary
Manifestations of Material Goods
Find living space that feeds the soul but doesn’t rape the bank account Oddly enough, my own apartment is becoming this again. Yay!
Buy a dance pole!
I-pod (or equally fantastic MP3 player) With tax rebate, April 2006 New TV Oct 2005 (a gift from the Hottie) New Cell Phone Sept 2005
Buy DVD player
Get that Jack LaLane super juicer thing that I’ve been coveting on Infomercials for ever. DONE!! Tag and I look forward to christening it soon. Throw out dinosaur currently masquerading as home computer and get NEW one that works (and does what you need it to) DONE. Old computer gone, and I bought my first laptop just after Christmas 07.
Buy one of those GORGEOUS leather corsets I see at Faire each year.
Read all the books on my “borrowed from friends” pile
Find “The Vanishing Room” and give it back to M & B DONE
Rent/Watch “The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra”
Buy “LOTR” trilogy on DVD. DONE See “Sin City” Fall 2005 Write my own song to perform with band REMOVED: Sadly band is no longer around
Find and attend a rave (cause I’m craving one of those!)
Buy “Las Vegas” season 1 on DVD REMOVED: just not interested anymore Visit a Dungeon DONE
Learn to dance the Tango
Get rid of that damn ugly ass loveseat DONE DONE DONE While I’m at it, get rid of that horrible easy chair too DONE
Sort thru the boxes in the Guest Bedroom In Progress- Tag and I spent our holidays working on this
NEW- Re-do Guest Room into Tag's office space. We worked on this all holiday long, and it's coming along nicely
NEW- Paint bedroom
Finish and send in volunteer application for Wildlife Waystation!
NEW- Volunteer with Best Friends Sanctuary in Utah Done, and it was life changing. Go back to getting waxed (I hate shaving so very very much) Rio, Baby!! Treat myself to a day at the spa Done, June 07- Palm Springs Get my hair color re-done (roots aren’t pretty) Done
Catch up on your back filing at the house!
Properly garden An ongoing process, but the plants are doing well. Make a plate of cookies for Christina. I brought her flowers instead
Gather art from all various storage places and put it in all in one spot where I can find it.
Frame Muth doodle
Frame “Haunted Mansion” cat picture
Frame mermaid art Many of these pieces are now up (another Holiday project) Go thru the kitchen fridge and pantry and throw out all the stuff I am never going to eat (i.e. if it moved to this apartment with me 6 years ago and I haven’t eaten it… it can probably go) Prep for the detox made me toss old bad foods
Prepare “Emergency kit” (with non-perishable foods, change of clothes, food and water for cats)
Develop the rest of the film from my trip to Hawaii (in ’03)DONE
Sell figurines and other such collectibles I no longer want on E-bay.
Sell that old wedding dress that Sonny left on E-bay. OK, we didn't sell it, but we got it out of the damn house. Learn to hang up on Jackasses Better yet, design my life so i just don't hang out with them anymore. :)
Finish knitting my (I’m a super geek) Ravenclaw house scarf!
Submit at least one of those poems to a poetry contest
Call or email Dino and see how he is doing. DONE Send card to Brandy, check in on her. DONE, and I hope to visit her soon Send a card to my Grandparents Thankfully got this done before my Grandmother passed.
Put together and box up all old journals (in date order)
Finish writing this Damn List THANK YOU! completed Aug 15, 2005
NEW- Finish DOING this Damn List