Turbulence was so bad while rising to proper altitude that our plane took a monsterous dip, causing everyone on the plane to gasp–and one woman actually screamed. I can handle the bumps and shakes of a typical flight, but I have to admit my heart was racing when my body lifted off the seat momentarily (only to be pulled back down by the seatbelt). One old man joked, “People go to Disneyland and pay big bucks for this sort of thrill.” I thought my heart was going to fall out of my chest at that point. Luckily, the plane evened out and the rest of the trip was fairly uneventful.
Tue 27 Nov 2007
Mon 26 Nov 2007
1) I had the worst cappucino of my life the other day in Kansas City, Missouri (or as the locals so hipply call it: KC-MO). I should have known better since it was at a place that also sold hot dogs and fountain drinks but they had a fairly decent looking machine and I was desperate. I ordered a double 12 oz nonfat cap and the first thing the toothless woman asked was, “Is 2 percent ok?” They had no other milk choices so I said ’sure.’ My drink was 12 oz of flat burnt milk and burnt espresso without a trace of foam. I really wanted to ask her to remake it but Josh said it was a lost cause…that she would remake it exactly the same, (and ’spit in it’ as my sister-in-law so fondly reminds anyone when they express interest in sending things back).
2) I’ve been to three Dollar stores.
3) I’ve watched all three of the Indiana Jones movies. (The first one is classic, the third was is gold, AND WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED WITH THE SECOND ONE? I had no idea it was so crappy, considering it was too ’scary’ for me to watch as a kid).
4) My mother-in-law expressed concern when I said I was going on a walk. She didn’t want me walking by myself–in the bright sunshine, in a Grain Valley suburb, at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. “Are you serious, do you know what neighborhood I live in?” I thought she was joking. “Women are disappearing all over Kansas City!” She said and told me several tragic stories of teenage girls getting kidnapped right out of Target parking lot’s. I pointed out that I am not teenaged, attractively dressed or blond (typical targets in my book). “In fact,” I said “I usually go out of my way to look as unattractive as possible when I take a walk…” and I couldn’t help throwing in that I walk around my own neighborhood (at dusk!) all the time despite its rampant crime rate (to my credit I decided not to reveal that several people were shot down the street a year ago). I know she’s a worrier but I gently told her that I try not to buy into the culture of fear, and that all those newspaper articles about girls getting kidnapped discount all the millions of girls that go out every day and DON’T end up in a trunk. And then I made a joke when I returned about how all the barking dogs protecting their property were a greater threat on my walk then the people.
5) Visited a very cool museum about the Steamboat Arabia.
6) Trying to keep my eating under control since whenever we’re around, Josh’s parents fill the place with chocolate, ice cream, candy, and other treats. (What better time to redeem a dozen free donuts at the donut shop then when Josh, his sister, and I happen to be around!)
7) KC-MO continues to be one of the least vibrant cities I’ve ever visited (although Detroit trumps it, I suppose). Here is where the housing market has fallen in on itself with auction signs, for sale signs, and sub-prime loan signs on every corner. I still can’t get over the lack of trees, bushes, and general foliage. I am told this is due to the harsh winters and sizzling hot summers. Nobody can afford to water their lawn constantly so gardens do not thrive, flowers burn up, and the heat drowns most shrubs.
There is no recycling in Grain Valley…none. No recycling centers either–although I did point out a newspaper drop off site on the way back from church. At the risk of sounding like a pompous Seattlite it’s like nails on a chalkboard throwing away a glass bottle in the garbage can.
9) Despite the complaining, I’m generally enjoying myself…really.
Thu 22 Nov 2007
Heading out to Grain Valley, Missouri for Thanksgiving (celebrating it actually tomorrow). Stay tuned…
Mon 19 Nov 2007
And with the dawn of winter upon us, thus falls depression. Five years in Colorado gave me a taste of the sun and my vitamin D intake soared. Now I brace myself for another dark winter.
Things of late:
1) Mused on what to do for the holidays, it seems that they always sneak up so quickly. There I am, always looking for something stupid for that one family member or friend…what would they like? I can’t think…Lately, I’ve been making little lists over the year, writing down things that family members have mentioned wanting or needing.
2) My jewelry has consumed me as I wait and hope for another successful holiday. My new jewelry website hangs in a balance as I continue to add to it, plan, fine tune, etc. My fingers are laced with super-fine glitter, silicone glue pieces stick to my knuckles, my back aches from being hunched over for hours. I desperately try and take pictures for the site when I have light…setting up the tri-pod and staging shots as diligently as I can. However, it’s shocking how little light we have these days, with Seattle immediately plunging into darkness around four-thirty (alas, this will only get worse before it get’s better).
3) A new nalgene bottle sits at my side. I have returned to drinking my doctor required liter of water a day.
4) I continue to lift weights–but only my arms. This is the first year where I have actually followed up on one of my New Year’s Resolutions: Have Some Semblance of Triceps.
5) Counsel, console, and support my husband while he navigates his way through work, side projects, extra schooling, our house crumbling around us; he and I have seen very little of each other in the past month.
6) Walks continue through the neighborhood, the streets littered with stray garbage, leaves, and the occasional Lost Dog poster.
7) I realized recently that my protein intake must be lacking when, eating out at the Mexican restaurant down the street, I devoured multiple chicken dishes as if my life depended on it. It didn’t help that they served us the most enormous margaritas in the world–the size of a small fish bowl. (If you don’t specify they serve you the jumbo margarita on the rocks). In order to cut the sweetness we tossed in an extra shot of tequila into each of our fish bowls (they weren’t very strong). In order to pad our stomachs we ordered off the appetizer menu and feasted superbly for very little money. We drunkenly precessed to the liquor store down the street; so pleased we were by our state, we decided to stock up our liquor cabinet “for the winter.” Normally, we would both be a little nervous going to the corner of Rainier and 51st on a Friday night in the dark, but our light-headed tequila buzz gave us a wonderful sense of “Who the eff cares?” The cop hired to hang out at our neighborhood liquor store eyed us…after all we both looked out of place among the liquor store locals. Josh and I held it together, every little bottle prompting some sort of memory: “Aw, remember us and the Peach Shcnapps at the hotel room on Aurora?” “Remember drinking Maker’s Mark at Gorsuch’s place when it was snowing?” “Remember how much Jager I drank in Chris’ trailer at 12,000 feet above sea level? Remember how I thought I was on a roller coaster all night?” We snickered at the liqueurs and admired the display of scotches. We bought a jumbo size bottle of vodka and a high end bottle of bourbon for hot toddies. Then we stumbled up the muddy alley way that runs along the back of our block and behind our house, with our brown paper bag clinking merrily, the security dogs locked behind fences barking at us furiously until we reached our home and promptly fell asleep at the ridiculous hour of 8:30pm.
Sun 11 Nov 2007
Really excellent pictures (like this one) from the closing of “I Feel Fine” can be found on my Flickr page.
Thu 8 Nov 2007
I really love this Halloween costume one of my older students designed for me. I am really impressed with the accuracy of my hair and the spot on recognition of my personal style.
Wed 7 Nov 2007
I finally got around to visiting the whole “The Secret” phenomenon recently. I didn’t read the book, I went straight to the dvd. You know, this is the book that has suddenly (re)revealed the power of positive thinking and claims everything from finding a parking spot to wealth if you just ‘ask,’ ‘visualize,’ and ‘receive.’ There has been a lot of speculation about this latest self-help trend; The Stranger wrote about The Secret and hated it, Oprah (of course) loved it, and spiritual leaders are offended.
I so wish I could find the power of positive thinking. As it is, the idea of ramming nothing but positive thoughts into my my brain sounds exhausting. I’ve always told myself, “It could be worse.” And I say this often: My long commute? My hideous job? My rickety right knee? Well, it could be worse (it could be a longer commute, a service job, an amputated knee). Now, according to The Secret it could be a whole lot better–if I only put my mind to it. If I want to make $100,000 a year I need to write it on a piece of paper and affix it to my ceiling so that every morning I wake up and see it. If I want love in my life I have to exude nothing but loving energy (which believe me is WORK) all the time and I will ATTRACT love back.
OK, so the law of attraction has some merit. You know how you kinda have a hankering for something and it just sort of pops up? There have been times when a strange, unconscious desire has popped into my head and has been executed with an amazing ease. Taking a walk seven years ago in the mountains I decided that when I moved to Ft. Collins I wanted to be a modern dance teacher…and I was. With very little effort I visualized my life as a dance teacher and found the perfect job posting online a few months later. I wanted desperately to move to Seattle after Josh graduated, I visualized, prayed, exerted a ton of mental force on the idea that we might get out of CO. It was a hideous time, but here we are…in Seattle.
I’ve sort of categorized my thoughts as:
1) Worry (about life, money, my job, my career, etc) 2) Speculation on the future (“if I do this, we might be able to do this next month.”) 3) The past (“I really learned from that mistake, and yet, here I am getting angry about the same thing”) 4) Hopeful dreaming (one day I’m going to be a Writer, Actor, Dancer, Parent, etc.) and everything else in between. Continual musing on God is thrown into my thought process occasionally (“Are you there God? It’s me Mara…No really, are you THERE?) and extreme doom and gloom (“What would it be like if I got hit by a car today?”) All of this is neither here nor there…and most of it is probably not very Secret-esque. The secret to life is creating whatever you want, whenever you want it, simply by willing it into existence. But what if it just doesn’t happen? Aren’t you kind of setting yourself up?
Case in point: I REALLY wanted to travel with the Thalia cast to Amsterdam in January…they could only take four of us and I knew the odds were stacked against me. I thought about it, focused on it, prayed about it a little…and then realized I was getting obsessed. What good would it have been to put all this effort into ASSUMING I was going…and then not go? The CHANCE, the mere possibility of me going was almost impossible if we look at the science of it all, the statistics, the percentage of likelihood, etc. Sure, I had a greater chance of going to Amsterdam then winning the lottery, but again, the opportunity was slim and it did not present itself. (Although I suppose someone could always get sick, have an emergency, etc. and I could step into her place). Now a true Secret believer would have claimed that I did not want this opportunity badly enough…and this might be true. I could have hung around the theater more (never mind that I’m committed to a different theater currently and when I did show up I sprained my thumb onstage), begged (which I practically did), and focused on nothing but going (polishing my passport in eager awaiting). But what good is that when, really, it just ain’t gonna happen…and no amount of wishing or believing is going to cause it to happen. This lies one of the many flaws of The Secret.
In the meantime, maybe I am just too skeptical to fully believe, hence, I’m going to continue to live my mildly pessimistic, slightly neurotic, vainly hopeful existence.
Sun 4 Nov 2007
I was talking to a cast mate who was referring to her first impression of someone’s husband: “My first impression was, ‘wow,’ he look like a farm boy from Montana.” Now, the lad is from Montana but I doubt he’s ever farmed. Still, we all mutually agreed that we had had similar impressions. I asked her what her first impression of my own husband was, (because, you know, I was curious). She said, “Well, when I met him at the cast party I was pretty drunk; all I saw were earrings and tattoos…so I just figured he was THAT sort of guy.” I said, “Earrings? He doesn’t have any earrings…” She shrugged and said, “Well, that was my impression, that he had earrings…and he has tattoos right?” I said, “Well, yes…one, but it’s not visible….”
I laughed to myself that Josh still gives people the punk rock impression after all these years. You can take the man away from the music and put him in an IT job at Boeing but you can’t take the punk rock out of the man, I suppose.
Fri 2 Nov 2007
On Halloween I passed out candy for about an hour (I saw the cutest little boy dressed as a tiger–in one hand he carried a half eaten jolly rancher and in the other he carried a plastic sword–apparently this baby tiger was armed). Then we went to the Moore and saw the legendary Henry Rollins. Many of you know how much I dearly, dearly, admire Henry. Back in the old days, I used to listen to his spoken word religiously on cd. We sat way up in the balcony, (this woman with an enormous head of long frizzy hair sat next to Josh and her hair practically had its arm around him) and there we sat for two hours and forty-five minutes. I had no idea that Henry Rollins was going to speak for as long as he did. He talked for so long, we had to sneak out at 10:45pm before the parking garage closed. I was disappointed, but we had crampy little seats, The Hair was invading Josh’s space, and it was a school night after all. I had a feeling he might go for three hours–he is very passionate about our current political state.
In addition to some very poignant national security musings, memorable moments included Henry’s early interactions with Van Halen, interviewing Christopher Walkin (and finding NO difference between Walkin the character and Walkin the real person), and some really excellent banter regarding the defense of gay marriage. Henry also has his own radio show where he pulls out his old vinyl and plays it, (check it out here, it’s pretty great). The best story was Henry enlightening the audience about The Ruts, the british punk band who created one of the first ska/punk sounds in the late 70’s. They lost their lead singer to heroine before they could produce a second album and the band never reclaimed their initial path to stardom. The band’s guitarist, Paul Fox, was diagnosed with lung cancer over the summer (and sadly died a few weeks ago). The Ruts reuninited to create a benefit concert and Henry was asked to perform as the vocalist. He described the concert as containing one of the best moments of his life: singing onstage with many of his punk rock idols. I was really moved by his story and so, of course, I looked it up on youtube and found it amazing. Here is my favorite:
Thu 1 Nov 2007
I was walking around the neighborhood today and right in the middle of the sidewalk was a distraught young couple. They looked about 15, the girl had dirty white jeans on, the guy had an enormous coat. They were talking intently and seriously, standing very closely together. They stopped talking when they saw me coming and the girl coolly stepped aside a few inches to let me pass–it didn’t matter, the whole neighborhood new they were in terrible love. A few feet away from the couple lay a torn up letter. “Aha,” I thought to myself. “Love’s truth laid out in a note.” On my way back from my walk I found the couple gone but the letter still on the ground. The first page was torn into little biddy pieces, but the second page remained intact:
“So when your in tacoma don’t talk to no guys, or you will break our love and our love will die. I’ll do the same and not talk to women, so it’s just gonna be Mark-n-Fern to the end.”