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morning pages

It’s cold in here. The furnace has been shut off (at least I think it has, because Tyler sent me a text telling me that he would shut it off because, well, it’s supposed to be summer shortly) but this morning it’s fucking cold in here, especially in my blanket skirt, because I just shlepped out of bed in my panties and my Grim “I’ve Come to Reap Your Immortal Soul” tank top and the blanket that I usually wrap around my ass should really just be replaced with a snuggie this morning because my arms and legs are cold.

Coffee is being made, because without coffee the neurons in my brain don’t fire nearly as well at this time of the morning. Seriously, what was I thinking, getting up this early? The cat woke me up at a little after five, and then I got up to pee and then I checked my phone and saw that I had a new Twitter follower and then I fell down the interwebz rabbit hole, all the way to James Franco (how the hell did I get here?!).

So, coffee. And the decision to do morning pages, because I miss Hollywood and California and staying at the Chateau even for a handful of weekends was like a little piece of dream, right there. I realize people are all just as skewed as I am, only in different ways. We all have a dream, and even when we find our way to it, it’s never what we think it is.

Which brings me around to desire. And my continuing saga of Desire Mapping. And.. but wait.. coffee…

Impossible blue sky. At least when it’s not smog filled. California. I ran away from it, tail between my legs. I failed at the one thing that I thought I would succeed at.

Ahhh… coffee (::sip, sip::)

I’m almost out (of coffee, I mean) – will have to walk across the street to Thrifty’s and get some more. Maybe I’ll even splurge and go next door to Starbucks instead because when the Nabob is going for almost ten bucks, seriously why bother with that when you can get a pound of Brezza Blend – that coffee is the shit? Except when you can’t because it’s almost double the cost of the Nabob.

Oh yeah… I was wondering why I’d gotten up so early. Must have been the post Chinese food induced early evening coma that knocked me out earlier than usual. That, and the cat and the bladder and James Franco. Man, I’m so out of the loop on the who’s-who… I’m going to have to run a search because I don’t even really know who he is, except that I read one of his blog posts and I like how he writes – at least how he wrote that one. And that I had some bungalow envy. Seriously – some of those cottages were bigger than the apartment we were renting in Irvine. I suppose if I could afford to regularly pay, per square foot, what I did for a weekend bungalow I’d’ve had a bigger place in Irvine, too.

Hey, I like my place here in PoMo though. It’s bigger, certs – room for all of my freakin’ books. Ahhh books. I seriously have issues. It’s a visual thing; a tactile thing; a sapiophile thing. But the rain… the rain undoes me. I don’t mind it occasionally but when people are dreading drought I silently, in my mind, give it a fist pump. Selfish. I know. How I survived 29 years of northeastern climate I haven’t a clue. Even then I dreamt of California. I remember. We were living in an upper floor triplex on Darveau and it must have been 1971-ish and I remember flipping through the pages of these geographical encyclopedias and looking at the demographics and climate and the GNP and determining that it was either Florida or California, or bust. Less Florida, because there was more humidity, weird critters and less Hollywood. Seriously. Hollywood was always a draw (even though I hadn’t a clue how I could possibly integrate into it whatever it produced-mostly produce, according to the books).

Now… I don’t like to think of it as an entity, Hollywood, at least not the part I’m interested in contributing to, but it probably is to some extent. When I consider what that feels like, I feel it slither through like something out of a Clive Barker novel.

Desire. Maps. Back to the topic. During our Spreecast meet yesterday, our little book group touched on dreams – at this point in the book the discussion touches on how we stifle, stuff and skew our desires, how there is almost a sense of embarrassment around enunciating them even to ourselves (well, the embarrassment is my own – but I don’t think I’m alone in this).

I’d mentioned that when I think about what I desire in my vision of a perfect life, some of the scenarios are so disparate that it would be difficult for them to coexist, or make sense that the same person is conceiving them both. For example: living off the grid, raising goats or alpacas or both (because YARN and CHEESE) and raising a few chickens and growing some veggies and learning how to can stuff and generally being self-sufficient… OR living in a beach house in Malibu or some other coastal (and possibly less prone to landslides) California property where I’d be free to write and create and collect Oscars for my efforts and BEACH.

They are not all that disparate though, since Kim could easily see how they related : freedom. Conveniently, I’d already written it down as one of my words, one of my core desired feeling words.

Freedom.

Of course I picked some other, more obscure words, because I’m a pompous ass, occasionally, and I can use Big Words even if you can’t. So, aside from freedom, they are:

Cohesion : Satiated : Vital : Cogent : Affluent

(I’ll probably change my mind, again, about these words and the ones that follow. I’m nothing if not consistent with my transience.)

The last one was ripped from Danielle’s list, because why not? Affluence brings freedom, even as it can take it away – I suppose it depends. The fluvial aspect of it, the allusion of flow, appeals to me. But perhaps ‘satiated’ covers just about everything, in a nutshell. I want enough, dammit, whatever enough is for me, even as it is prone to constant reassessment on what that might look like at any given time. Enough. MORE even.

I wonder where that comes from, that desire for enough? Weeeeeell… I know *where* it comes from, but examining the why and the how is my point now.

Fun, this, isn’t it? Seriously – I wear myself out sometimes. I’m nothing if not examined. All nooks and crannies get blinded by a flashlight beam, semi-regularly.

But still. (See that? I’ve started multiple sentences with a conjunction. Deal with it.)

I was surprised at the resistance I felt when airing, out loud, what I wanted. Even when I knew that the people I was airing them to would be supportive and uncritical.

Which leads me to…

Why is it that some people just adore going around with a pin just so they can burst people’s balloons? If people were empowered and supported throughout the building process, there isn’t much that they couldn’t accomplish, even their wildest notions. So what is it about those that feel compelled to tear down instead of build up? What is the appeal?

My mom was that person. She always told me to be realistic when I’d start tugging on the constraints of the small picture that she’d painted as my possibility. And the truth is, sometimes reality sucks. Also, though, while sheer escapism doesn’t liberate you from present circumstances, the ability to dream and imagine a more creative outcome, and a way to get there, requires the ability to step out of reality.

For a long time I’d all but lost that ability to step outside. I’m relieved to see that it’s coming back.

And now for some more coffee.

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My life is filled with simple pleasures these days. Knitting has become a fixture, and alternately is used as a relaxation/meditation (replacement) process and a source of visibly productive creativity. I enjoy the fact that I’m making things but not having to ponder the process itself – the pattern and the related elements are already figured out and all I need to do is show up. Hence my Gryffindor scarf in the making (tucked into the beautiful Lantern Moon project bag pictured here).

Another source of joy has been reading, and this evening I had the pleasure of attending a CBC broadcast of a book club radio show. Tonight’s featured author was Annabel Lyon who read from and went on to discuss her latest novel, The Sweet Girl, at some length. I haven’t read any of her work but look forward to doing so soon. As with most of these types of events, I always leave inspired and amped to stretch my own creative muscles, only to feel sadly inadequate at the results. I enjoyed hearing Annabel’s response to a question from an audience member on a how-to point (taking the time to scoff at the notion that creative writing is not a teachable skill): in order to produce good writing one must learn the tools that, combined with taking the time to write in whatever increments are available, will bring about the desired results. That, along with John Cleese’s video on creativity that is making the rounds on Facebook lately, there is no substitute for time in the seat.

I sometimes get this feeling of a pesky niggling just beyond my periphery with such little to go on that I’m not even sure what it is that I’m taking note of or why, but enough to know that I must do something with it. Kind of like (in Annabel’s case) Hellenic sippy cups and spiny “bubble wrap” plants (read The Sweet Girl to see what that means). So the Writers’ Festival happening next month seems like a good, short, foray into picking up some skills for someone (like me, lately) with a short attention span.

Breaking down to make whole

As I sit here this morning, sipping my coffee and staring down at my hot stone massage rocks, I’m thinking one of those would be most welcome. I’ve torn apart the living area and now have piles of things everywhere (though it really is much better than it was when I first started, as I’ve reshelved many books already).

This all started with my wanting to get rid of some magazines, progressed to having the shelving put up in the art closet, to of course culminate in the moving around of furniture and a massive reorganization of all of my currently visible possessions. The good news is that I now know (for the most part) which books are living in these three bookshelves.

Well… back to the coffee and the longing for a massage. As I unloaded shelves and pushed furniture around (because each time I’d try to budge it with books still in it, it would merely creak and sway-I could almost hear a “yeah right, lady”), I believe I’ve had my own little all day workout session. Moving can do that.

Well the point of all of this is not to share the physical challenges of my under muscled self, or of the supposed lack of space, but rather of the process through which order is created from chaos. It parallels the healing process, and healing is an ongoing process, is it not?

When I was younger (and sparser of possessions, no doubt) I would clear and organize my belongings regularly. Ordering them makes them useful, because without order you don’t know what tools and implements and RESOURCES you have to work with. You know… like buying the same jam each time you go to the grocery store because you like it so much but can’t remember whether you have any left only to get home to find (after digging through the cupboards) that you’d already gone through that exercise twice and now have three jars.

So I am happily going through and organizing… everything from the cupboard contents to my inner ones. I know that this doesn’t mean I won’t have to unload the bookshelves again in the future in order to move furniture around (in fact I am quite certain I will do so in the near future) but until then I know what I have to work with.

And with that I leave you with an interesting and inspiring video from Angi Sullins, who shares thoughts on the richness of the creative product that arises from ash. In the end we are our own burnt offerings, to our better and more arable future selves, and the cycle repeats itself like the balls going round and round in a perpetual motion machine.

Merry, merry… the end of another year

Another year has flown by. They appear to go by more quickly these days. An illusionist’s trick, it seems, since the days edge along, sometimes even creep so slowly that I feel I can’t bear another minute of it, and yet the year has gone and here I am, again looking back, from this vantage point, at the dizzying speed at which it elapsed.

To usher me out in grand style, the year has thoughtfully given me something to carry with me into the new year… a head cold. I was beginning to feel it’s grip on my on Friday morning at the office, and was relieved that they let us out earlier so that I could go home and rest up. I’ve been drinking lots of fluids and also a concoction of Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) drops stirred into orange juice… and garlic toast and hot herbal teas with the juice of a whole lemon and a big dollop of honey mixed in. I’m happy to announce that I’m on an upswing. And… Puffs brand tissues scented with Vicks mentholatum is da bomb!

Christmas was once again generous. Gabriel got a Guitar Hero 3 game from the Grands, while Steve gave me a lovely (oh how I coveted this necklace!) Tiffany lapis lazuli “bean” necklace. I’m embarrassed to admit that it is appropriately named a “choker” as it fits around my neck but only just, so I’ll either need to go on a diet and lose some of my neck’s girth, or have an extension added… more likely the latter. Steve went out on a limb and purchased a couple of bottles of scent for me… something that he hasn’t done… maybe ever? As most women, I am rather particular about perfumes, and since I don’t wear one daily, it’s pretty hard to figure out what my favorite brand is (assuming you are paying attention… and since this is not something Steve normally pays attention to, I was warmed by the effort made). Gabriel also got a very cool BMX bicycle, and many other goodies. Steve got a pair of new eyes, having had a lasik procedure done on the 21st, but had a few things under the tree to open as well… a nice set of headphones for this iPhone and/or iPod, and an iTunes gift card.

We were able to partake of our customary family holiday dinner together this year. Steve’s parents, brother Brian and sister-in-law Sheri joined us for our usual roast beast (well, TURkey, if I must be specific), with all the fixin’s. I was baking up a storm all the way to Christmas Day morning, which delayed putting the bird into the oven and hence, dinner. I was disappointed in how my baked goods turned out, for the most part, except for the Chewy Bars, which is a Family Recipe and was delish. The breads were either over baked (and hence, DRY) or underbaked (and hence, MOIST but not in a good way). I’ll have to try these again; this oven is difficult to guage as the heat fluctuates a fair a mount, and I’m guessing that even the location of the rack greatly affects the outcome. Love gas ovens, but they certainly are trickier than the electric kind.

Feeling better this afternoon, after a warm shower which cleared my head, I began work on my (overdue) “harvest colors” postcards for the color postcard swap that I have been hosting for the last year. I’ve had my challenges with staying on the monthly plan, but I still end up sending them out, albeit tardy. Not everyone has kept to the program, though, as several people have dropped off altogether and not sent their cards at all… which I’m sure vexes those who are tenacious and punctual. In any case, above is my batch of harvest colors in the making.

I wonder what good and wonderful things this next year will hold? I’ve long ago given up on “new year’s resolutions” but today I think I’ll send out some intentions into the universe, and see what transpires:

  • I wish to do my best, at all times, regardless of the endeavor, taking into account that my best will change from day-to-day
  • Take small steps to better every moment that I walk upon this earth
  • Be gentle, kind and loving with myself and others
  • Do little things each day that make my soul sing
  • Trust that all will work out exactly as it was meant to, and surrender the outcome

Happy New Year, One And All!

Happy New Year and all that…

Well, it’s been a while since my last post. Holiday mayhem ensued and I spent my time (and quite a bit of money at that) preparing for Christmas. I was bitten by the anti-Ebeneezer bug and the pleasure of giving far outweighed my budget sense. Hence, I did some “unshopping” this weekend and returned several of the “one for me” portion of the “one for you” holiday shopping spreeing.

I also upgraded my blog to Blogger’s new template, and am wrestling with my stat counter now… grrr… but it does have a few new added features that will simplify things.

Christmas was good to all (perhaps a little too good)… Gabriel got a guitar, a skateboard and other various and sundry items… Steve got an iPod (to replace the one that was lifted during the Jeremy McGrath Invitational, right from under our noses, in the press room, no less) and a wallet and other various and sundry items, and I should no longer be directionally challenged now that I have a Magellan Roadmate 2000. Which way to the bathroom???

The only down-side to the holidays is that Steve’s mom and dad were not able to join us for our December 25th constitutional. Steve’s mom still has not fully recovered from her heart valve surgery in May/June of last year and continues to ail. We drove over to Hemet on Christmas Eve for dinner with the intention of going to the candlelight mass afterward but mom didn’t even make it through the meal–she had to lay down. We skipped church and headed for home shortly after, not a single one of us particularly distraught at missing mass. They ended up not coming over for Christmas, mom instead heading for the hospital with what seemed to be gall bladder trouble. We’ve since gotten news that she’s much improved, though she is eleven pounds lighter.

         
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The few days off between here and there were a welcome respite and I am grateful for them, though I would have liked about twice as many as I got. Vacation time accumulates very slowly when you only get two weeks a year (and use them up as quickly).

To ring in the new year, I decided to host (yes, you read it right… the very thing that I *swore* I wouldn’t do, under threat of bodily harm) an on-going Color Postcard Swap. There are nine of us participating and the main criteria is that we stick to the monthly color themes as picked out monthly by the players and that all the art must be original (read: not a photocopy) works. I was so sick to death of getting color copies of stuff, or just layered bits of fluff-as-art that I am hoping the colors will speak to the players and make everyone produce some cool stuff.

The color theme for January is black and white. Fortunately (or not), I’ve never met a color I didn’t like… colors by their very nature seem to make concepts “pop” in my head… for example, with black and white, I’m already thinking: “newspapers… read between the lines”… “old b/w photos”… “b/w prints”… “mardi-gras & pierrots”… black lace & pearl buttons… wrought iron… see what I mean? I sketched a bit in my moleskine yesterday, prepping for more imaginative work this weekend. I plan to work on some thick watercolor paper and then cut them into eight pieces as well as create an accompanying piece the size of the uncut sheet and keep that one for myself.

I also got a phone call at work today from Pascale, one of my hometown friends, who confirmed that she and her two boys will be out for a visit shortly. I haven’t seen them since returning home for my mother’s funeral, which was three years ago this past September. Her older one, Simon, is now a strapping six foot one, while the other, Emile, is closer to Gabriel in both age and size.

This past Saturday was a superlatively cool day for me… Gabriel and Steve both left at around 9AM and I had the whole apartment to myself the whole day… I did just about nothing except pick up a bit, the dishes, and watch the Discovery Channel all day long. Quantum physics holds a great fascination to me, and I greatly regret not applying myself to mathematics early on… numbers (and equations) truly do hold the key to everything. I also didn’t know that there are satellites floating around in space taking x-ray images of our universe, and how different a picture it is when taken into that context. Utterly fascinating…

Well… after a fine dinner of garlicy toast, I think I’m ready to tackle the stat counter once more, and if I still can’t figure it out, I think I’ll retire to bed with a book.