Monthly Archives: June 2006

Crying dogs and sleeping cats

I got into Portland last night a little after midnight local time, smack dab in the middle of what is normally my period to be deep in REM sleep.  My mom my picked me up in my dad’s car, forgetting about the eight four-foot-long fluorescent tubes in the trunk.  They made for interesting luggage arrangements but I took them as a pleasant reminder of my parental quirks. 

I walked into the house and the dog unleased screams of joy and excitement, the most human noise she is capable of making.  Her happiness upon seeing me is one of my favorite things about returning home to Portland.  I was running on borrowed energy at that point, but wasn’t able to get to bed until I gave my mom the three handbags I had brought from my closet and the reading glasses I got for her at Loehmann’s. 

I climbed into the bed I slept in during my teens for the first time in almost two years, it having been occupied by my sister for my last three visits, and exhaled deeply.  It took me more than half an hour to calm my busy mind and travel-jangled body, but when I finally found my sleep, it enveloped me whole. 

I woke this morning to my sister’s cat on the pillow next to my head, a cool breeze coming off the deck and the promise of a quart of raspberries from the three bushes in the backyard.  It’s good to be home. 

Almost gone

The stark absence of a working, internet accessible computer in my apartment has put a distinct cramp in my blogging regularity.  The last couple of days I’ve gotten to work in the morning, with the intention of writing something to post, but the days pick up speed from the moment I put my butt in the chair and I run out of time.

There is good news on the computer front though.  The wonderful and talented Scott has managed to save my iBook’s ass once again, spending most of last Sunday pulling files off my mangled hard drive and onto his for safekeeping, until a new hard drive can be installed in my computer.

I head for Portland, OR tonight for a week and a half, the much anticipated vacation having finally arrived.  My mom called me yesterday afternoon to tell me that she had just been outside picking a bowl of raspberries to stash in the fridge, to make sure that there would still be some left for me.  My cousin Harlan and his family, including 2 1/2 year old Luke, whom I’ve never met, are coming in from Hawaii.  Jessica, my friend since the 5th grade, is driving down from Seattle with her new husband and their dog on July 1st.  I haven’t seen her in almost three years, so it will be a nice little mini-reunion.  There’s a Subud Congress to attend as well as requisite trips to the coast and Sauvie Island for blueberry picking.  It will be a full, active trip, and I can’t wait.

Storms without, quiet within

I spent Friday night at a retreat center in West Chester.  In the middle of the night I woke to the sounds made by throaty rumbles of thunder and demanding raindrops.  Each lightening strike filled my room with brightness, and seemed close enough that even in my through the fog of sleep, I figured it might be a good idea to unplug my cell phone’s charger from the wall.  I listened to the storm for a while, enjoying being so close to soil and water, while still safe and dry inside. 

This is how my life has been feeling like lately.  The world is filled with storms raging outside of me, but inside I am clear, peaceful, unscathed.  It’s a state to which I’m unaccustomed to, and I keep starting, thinking, “what’s missing?”  I do a self inventory, counting my fingers and toes, eyeballs and heart.  Everything necessary is accounted and I realize that what’s missing is the feeling of fear about the future.  It’s startling to let that worry go, and it has left a hole behind, but it’s one I’m eager to fill with other, more productive emotions. 

I’m not entirely certain when the fearfulness left, although having spent more than two years actively working to unseat it from it’s perch, I shouldn’t be surprised at it’s absence.  But I’ve come to realize that there was a part of me that wasn’t convinced that it would actual respond to the repeated eviction notices I handed it.  But it’s moved on and I am grateful (and a little stunned). 

Random Friday–Not Too Much of Any One Thing

My beloved iBook committed suicide last night, swallowing a handful of rocks and chewing them well before shouting, “Goodbye cruel world!” and going dark. I know my shiny white laptop would want me to move on, to love again and yet, I must mourn. So I bring you this Random Friday Ten with a heavy heart (and the admission that the contents of my hard drive are completely un-backed up).

For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, here are the Random Friday Rules once more. Set your pod or other, less aesthetically pleasing, digital music device to shuffle/random and report back the first ten songs it spits out. No skipping, omitting, obfuscating or justifying allowed, as you want to stay in the good graces of the Random Friday Gods (and they know all).

1. Amazing Grace, Ani DiFranco (Living in Clip)
2. Tropicalia, Beck (Mutations)
3. Mother, the Queen of My Heart, Mo Mack (Not Too Much of Any One Thing)
4. Turn Around, Nanci Griffin (Other Voices, Other Rooms)
5. I Found a New Friend, They Might Be Giants (Apollo 18)
6. Maceo’s Groove, Maceo Parker (Funk Overload)
7. Forever My Friend, Ray LaMontagne (XPN New Music Sampler)
8. Perfect, Alanis Morissette (Jagged Little Pill)
9. Town to Town, G. Love & Special Sauce (G. Love & Special Sauce)
10. Stay All Night (Stay a Little Longer), Willie Nelson (Willie Nelson*Songs)

Favorite Song: Forever My Friend by Ray LaMontagne. What can I say? Ray is an amazing singer and songwriter and seeing him in live at the Merriam last summer was one of my best concert going experiences in life. Second only to Polyphonic Spree at the TLA on Valentine’s Day 2005.

Favorite Album: Nanci Griffin’s Other Voices, Other Rooms. Her songs are stories (and my dad hammered an appreciate for that into my head from the time I could listen). When I was in college I listened to this CD so much that eventually it stopped playing. Thankfully I held on to it, and somehow, it worked just fine when I ripped it to my computer and so it was given a new lease on life.

Personal Connections: Mo Mack is my dad, and I always tickles me when he shows up on the Random Friday set.

Seen Live: Ani DiFranco (she is showing up far too often in the random set, it might be time to pull some of her music from the pod), Mo Mack (mostly in the living room while I was growing up), They Might Be Giants (who are playing the XPN Free at Noon concert next week), Ray LaMontagne and G. Love & Special Sauce.

Need another dose of the Friday Random Ten? Check out these folks:

Coffee Girl

The importance of listening to your cravings

I’m sitting at my computer right now, vibrating slightly from all the sugar in the cup of gelato I just ate. I am floored that it is already Thursday night, with less than 75 minutes to go until Friday.

I’ve been going non-stop for the last seven days, every crevice of my last full week before I go on vacation shoe-horned with family dinners, meals prepared by bloggers, coffee dates with friends in the Square and late night gelato encounters with my recently departed temporary roommate and her mother. I’m moments away from heading to bed, but first a story I’ve been meaning to tell for four days.

* * * * *

I spent all of Monday morning craving falafel. I don’t know what brought on the longing for fried balls of chickpea dough dressed with yogurt and tahini, but the desire was persistent and demanding enough that I put aside the lunch I had brought (a frozen chicken masala meal from Trader Joe’s) and walked a couple of blocks to Magic Carpet, the much-beloved vegetarian Penn food truck. I stood in line for 25 minutes, waiting for a turn in front of the grizzled aging hippie who stands in the south window. He handed me the bag with my falafel, and even almost smiled as he did it. I’ve found that there’s something about my face that makes even the most grizzled, grumpy ex-hippies crack a smile occasionally.

I walked up into the heart of campus, thinking I would find a bench in the shade to sit by myself and eat my lunch, when an internal tug made me look to my left. In front of the Fine Arts Library sat my friend Nikyia by herself, in the spot where our Unitarian girls lunch club meets on Tuesdays. I walked over to her, as if I knew she would be there waiting for me all along, and when she looked up, she didn’t seem at all surprised to see me. We discussed the wedding we had both been at the previous Saturday, talked about dating (or really the fact that neither of us are currently doing it) and had a lovely, impromptu lunch together.

It was treat of an experience.  (And the sandwich really hit the spot).

Surprise Wedding

Pictures of the engagement party cum surprise wedding are up. I’ve carved the 350+ I took down to a (mostly) manageable set of 128. Ellen has been uploading some of the shots I took, along with other pictures from friends and family here.

I haven’t yet had the opportunity to carve a couple paragraphs out of my heart/memories about what an amazing, loving, joyous and friend-filled wedding it was, but don’t despair, as they are coming soon.

Father's Day

Young MoWhile on the phone with my mom last Monday, in the middle of a normal conversation, her voice suddenly dropped and became slightly muffled.

“Ma, are you alright? You sound kind of odd.”

“I don’t want your dad to hear, because I’m about to remind you to send him a Father’s Day card.”

“Oh crap, that’s next Sunday, thanks for the reminder. You know I’m not so good when it comes to cards.”

She left it at that, hoping that I would remember to get the card in the mail. I put it off that night, but Tuesday evening I remembered and on a burst of energy, went rummaging throught the drawers of my desk, hoping that I’d find an appropriate card. I found one that I believe must have originally purchased by one of my grandparents many years back, but it was directly Father’s Day related, and so fit the bill. I wrote a nice note in the card, addressed it, stamped it and left it lying on the bar when I headed out Wednesday morning. I remembered it Thursday and popped into the box at the Main Post Office on my way to work. When I talked to my mom Saturday, she mentioned that it had arrived. Success! I finally managed to get a card to it’s recipient on time. Sadly, my father wasn’t in town last weekend, so the full effects of the mailing effort were lost, but I do get points for intention.

Last month, around Mother’s Day, I wrote a post about the things that I learned from my mom. I think it’s only right that my dad get similar treatment.

He taught me, starting at the age of three, how to hold a bat and swing at a whiffle ball when he rolled it along the ground to me. As I got older, we moved from sitting to standing, and he helped me learn how to hit that ball over the fence and into Mrs. Bobo’s yard. Next he taught me how to catch a fly ball and how not to throw like a girl. I have never played softball on an organized team, but every now and then, I have the opportunity to pull out these whiffle/softball/baseball skills and they always impress.

He taught me how to stuff a turkey and make more gravy than you could possibly need.

He taught me the same five guitar chords (G, D, F, C and A), every time I asked, never annoyed that I had forgotten.

He taught me how to pump gas, check my oil, hide a hid-a-key and the best way to apply a bumper sticker.

He taught me how to use a computer, shoot a picture and drive a car. To move furniture and make waffles. What good beer should taste like and how to use chopsticks.

Who Jimmy Rogers, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly and John Sebastian are.

To always run the threads of a screw through a little soap before attempting to apply it, in order to ease it’s way.

How to relax with yoga breathing, so that sleep comes easily.

And last, that you should never force anything because you’ll just end up breaking it.

Happy Father’s Day!

One hell of a good weekend

About ten minutes ago, I sat down in front of my computer, in the first pocket of total downtime I’ve had all weekend, thinking that I would be able to write a blog entry that would be able to do justice to any of the things I did.  I’m rapidly realizing that just ain’t gonna happen.

I was present to help celebrate both a graduation and a wedding.

I attended both a family brunch this morning and tonight a repeat of the barbeque I missed last night.

I snuck in an hour at the blogger meetup yesterday as well as a really great latihan and a nap today.  I’ve taken over 500 pictures, had almost as many conversations and eaten several pieces of cake.

I think it’s time for bed.

Random Friday–Hectic Weekend Ahead

It’s Friday once more, which means I skip out on posting anything substantial, and instead set my pod a’shufflin’. You know the rules, report back the first ten songs your pod/digital music devise spits out without omitting, skipping or rationalizing.

1. Cry Freedom, Dave Matthews Band (Crash)
2. End of the Summer, Dar Williams (Out There Live)
3. Stupid, Sarah McLachlan (Afterglow)
4. Christmas In Prison, John Prine (Great Days: Anthology)
5. Human, Josh Joplin (Useful Music)
6. Carnival, Amy Correia (Carnival Love)
7. Steal Your Love, Lucinda Williams (Essence)
8. A Case of You, k.d. lang (Hymns of the 49th Parallel)
9. Sweet Simple Love, Maria Muldaur (Meet Me At Midnight)
10. Foolish Love, Rufus Wainwright (Rufus Wainwright)

Favorite Song: k.d. lang’s version of A Case of You. I remember first falling in love with Joni Mitchell’s version of this song in college, playing “Blue” over and over again while studying in my dorm room. I discovered this album about a year ago, and found k.d. lang’s voice so intoxicating that I fell for this song all over again.

Favorite Album: John Prine’s Great Days: Anthology. I know I’ve waxed poetic about John Prine before. I love him. I love his blend of country folk. I love that his melodies are simple and that his words are clever, complex and perfect. I remember buying this CD when I was freshman in college, at the only independent music store in Walla Walla that was called Hot Poop. I was just listening to it yesterday, and thinking that I really got my money’s worth out of that particular purchase.

Least Favorite: Dave Matthews Crash. I’ve never actually gotten the whole Dave Matthews thing. I had friends in high school who would just swoon for him, and I was never all that impressed. I’m not entirely sure how this album got on my pod, but I don’t own it. I probably ripped it from someone, trying to give it one more chance. I think it’s time to dump it.

Seen Live: Dar Williams, Sarah McLachlan, John Prine and Rufus Wainwright. I actually really saw Rufus live last week, when I found myself standing about five feet away from him in the lobby of the Merriam Theater. My friend Shay and I were there to see the ballet 11:11, that is choreographed to his music, and apparently, he was there to see the show as well. I wouldn’t have recognized him if it wasn’t for Shay. She nearly peed her pants, she was so excited to be standing in his presence.

Need more Random Friday? Check out these folks:

Coffee Girl

Crossing Paths

Walking towards the Biello/Martin studio tonight to see a friend of my sister’s show, I found myself standing on the corner of 3rd and Arch. The light was not yet mine, but still I looked down Arch, as any good Philadelphian would do, gaging the cars as they sped towards me, trying to see if I could cross any sooner. For a moment, it looked like there would be a break in traffic, but as I started to step out into the street, a red Mini Cooper convertible came zooming down Arch. I could tell it was moving fast, and that I wouldn’t be able to safely make it across to the other corner before it crossed the street. I paused, choosing to postpone death until another day. I stood there, in the left lane of the street, waiting for this little red car to pass. As it got closer, I squinted my eyes, focusing on the driver, who was starting to look familiar. As the car passed, I found myself grinning broadly, shouting “hey!” and raising my hand in an enthusiastic greeting, while the driver did the same thing.

It was my friend Jim.

I know I’ve said this before, but I love random encounters such as this. In the moment, I feel absolutely in sync with the universe. I interpret it as a signal from the cosmos that I am in the right place at the right moment and in a broader sense, that I’m walking the correct path. I needed this reminder, because I’ve been playing a game of inner tug-of-war tonight, my feelings of insignificance battling with my knowledge of my inherent worth. But for the seconds that I was standing on that corner waving at a friend, those feels dissolved and made room for the reminder that the universe has a delightful sense of humor.