Sunday, February 29, 2004

New Boy In Town

Journey to Peace received a comment by a new visitor recently.  He was smart enough to leave a link to his journal.  So I, being the powerblogger that I've been this weekend, rushed over to take a peek through his window.  It's the voyeur in me - I get promoted to stalker once I leave more than one comment.

Jeffcomedy has an incredible story to share [check his bio].  He's a member of HRC [Human Rights Campaign] and in his latest entry he posts a link for us to send an important message to our Senators and Congresspeople about our constitutional rights.  This is a man who's speaking for future generations, even though the subject of Same-Sex Marriage doesn't apply to him personally.  I now know love-at-first sight can exist based on the selfless deeds of a fellow human!

Oh, and he's a stand-up comedian!  How could I forget that?  Of course, with the life he's had, you just gotta laugh - or go crazy! [no offense Jeff].

Jeffcomedy's AOL-Journal

Jeffcomedy's HRC Webpage

All Caught Up

I did it!  I finally got through all of my bloglines subscriptions.  I know there are many more journals I haven't hit yet but that's because they're not in my trusty bloglines.  I'm not the best when it comes to organization - especially now with all the beta journals - so please, if you haven't seen me lately, send me a link to your journal. Even if you think I have it.  I will gladly add it to my bloglines and all will be well with Freeepeace and AOL-J.  But I think I got all of you - even you beta-folk!  'Cept for Gregg, of course!

No Gregg, I didn't forget you.  I skipped over yours - damn 25,000 characters!  [just kidding]  You know I was there. You saw me!  And I was hanging on your every last character!  LOL [hmm...courtesy laugh or actual laugh? You make the call.]

I had a half-caff coffee for an unexpected drive earlier this evening.  I imagine that's what sustained me for this blogathon!

Some common threads around AOL-J:

I noticed lots of Passion talk.  I learned the movie is subtitled, there are no trailers or ads before it starts, bring a box of tissues and friends to cling to.  And of course, it's bloody-violent [no news there].

Some journalers were just getting caught up on the drama from last week and there seems to be a nice resolve around the clique issue. Honestly, I'm disappointed in myself for even giving it a second thought.  Live and learn.

There are a lot of toddler-moms in AOL-J.  How do you women find the time and the energy to post?

A couple of anniversaries were celebrated.  I found out I'm a closet-sap as one of them got me all teary-eyed.  When did that happen?

Gearing up for the Oscars.  Some thoughts. Some predictions.

Robby's still MIA.  Am I the only one concerned at this point?  It's been two weeks.  Does anyone have any info?

And I really miss Popitart.  Hope she's well.

Past 3AM now.  Fading fast.  I just know I'm going to wake up and have to start this process all over again!  But hey, it's worth it! 

Goodnight ... err ... Good Morning All!  ~peace~

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Less is More

For those already deep in the world of beta  - Did you know, it limits your audience to AOL Members Only?  Beta journals can only be read within the AOL software.  So for those of us who read journals in Explorer, we're missing out on the full beta version and you're missing out on your full readership.

That's not so bad for me because I actually have AOL.  But if you have friends "on the outside" they just may be left there.  While you're making full use of your 25,000 characters, they'll be stuck in no-man's-land, waiting for the punchline.  Then again, they'll also be left with a lot more time on their hands!

I don't mind - but it takes me longer to get to your journals this way.  I do most of my "beta reading" at the same time because I do all other journal reading in Explorer, through bloglines. If I click on a link and the first thing I see is, "To read the full beta version, click here," I immediately "mark unread" and move on to the next journal.  Sorry, it's just more efficient that way.  I have 59 subscriptions in bloglines - and that's not even all of them. [note to self: update bloglines this weekend]

I never get through my list in one day.  Some of you know that because you haven't seen me in your journals for a while.  Now with the beta version, and ten times the character limits, it's taking me ten times as long to read!  This triggers my reading phobia.  The more I avoid it, the more new entries pile up, and the more overwhelming it feels.

I was telling Bridgett I feel like PeeWee Herman in PeeWee's Big Adventure. That scene where he's walking by a pet store that's caught on fire.  He rushes in to save all the animals and brings them out one group at a time.  Each time he goes in, he shivers as he avoids saving the snakes.  He saves every last animal until the only ones left are the snakes.  We think he's going to leave them for dead but next we see him running out of the petstore with a bouquet of snakes in each hand.  He passes out!

While you may think I've left your journal for dead, please know I will eventually get there and read every last word, but I just may pass out from my own terror!

Friday, February 27, 2004

Courtesy Laugh

I got nabbed via instant message by Pauly D.  You know, the dogpark-writer-guy, who, incidentally starts writing for an ABC reality TV show on Monday.  Go - congratulate him!  It's not his passion, but "reality tv pays the bills."

Anyway, we were chatting and he had some witty [and some not-so-witty-off-the-wall] comments.  To be expected - It was the middle of the night.  We were bound to get punchy. 

At one point I typed, "haha" to which he replied, "courtesy laugh."

Granted, we've all given the once-in-a-while courtesy laugh.  Come on, admit it.  Every time you type "LOL" are you really Laughing Out Loud?  Perhaps a ROTFLMAO gets a giggle out of you.  But every response?  Nobody laughs that much.  Not even Gregg!

But in this instance, I was actually laughing.  I was almost insulted by the accusation.  He still didn't believe me and wanted proof.  Here it is.

 

This is an actual laugh

 

This is a courtesy laugh

 

A courtesy laugh can vary, like so...

  

Don't be fooled.  In an actual instant message or email, they all look the same!  LOL

 

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Free Web Counter

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Movie Recommendations [pt 1]

I don't rent movies very often.  For one thing, they're expensive.  For another, I'm a little embarrassed to rent bulky videos as all the hip and groovy people are flipping through sleek DVDs.  But last weekend's rainstorm was perfect movie-watching weather.

I'm the last person who should be writing a movie review but I certainly can recommend the few movies I saw last week.  Just because I liked them.

THE GURU  Cheryl insisted we see this movie because - even though I give the overall quality of the film a less-than B-rating - Marisa Tomei's performance is priceless.  If you like Tomei you'll adore her in this movie.  We were rolling our eyes, slapping our foreheads and laughing silly.

SPELLBOUND  I loved this documentary about eight students' climb to the National Spelling Bee.  The preparation.  The sweat.  The tears.  I had no idea it's one of the most-watched events on ESPN.  As these kids and their families were being interviewed, I was surprised by the amount of ignorance that exists in our country, still today.  Shows my own ignorance, I guess.  One scene showed a local Hooters marquee, "Congradulations for winning the regional spelling bee" [Note the misspelling of 'congradulations' - Oh the irony!]  And don't get me started on Hooters!  Overall, it's a fascinating and well-made movie.  I watched it twice.  Visit their website and play hangman.  Get five in a row to add your initials to the national board.

Skateboarding [movies : pt 2]

SloMo mentioned something to me about my love of documentaries.  And honestly, I wasn't even aware of it, till I realized three of the four movies I'm writing about are documentaries. 

I don't know if you know this about me but I love everything about skateboarding.  The gear, the games, the riders, the action, the history.  I love the X-Games and the video games.  In my next life, I want to be a skateboarder-chick!

STOKED : THE RISE AND FALL OF GATOR  This is a powerful documentary about the life of famed 80s professional skateboarder, Mark "Gator" Rogowski, who is now serving 31 years to life in prison.  It starts of light and fun as he becomes number one in the skate-world.  But it takes a dark turn really fast.  Very well done.

DOGTOWN AND Z-BOYS  This is another great history-of-skateboarding documentary.  I didn't watch this one last week.  I've seen this a few times since its release almost two years ago.  And I'll see it again.  This is where it all started.  And it's right here, in Los Angeles.  Venice Beach and Santa Monica.  These guys were the pioneers of the sport.

MRI Results

I talked to my surgeon about the results of my MRI today.  I don't know if you remember but she's kinda witty and funny but a little cocky.  We definitely have more of a rapport but I've still got my skeptical-walls up.

She said, "Well, your results are in.  And yes, there is a tumor, right where we felt it.  It's a centimeter and a half - about the size of a small grape."  I asked if it was attached to anything and if it travels into my throat, as the original outpatient surgeon had wondered.  She said it's oval shaped in the parotid [salivary] gland "in and around normal tissue." 

I told her I couldn't make a decision right now and I had to discuss this with my family. She said, "Sure, it's been two years, get back to me when you're ready."  She again said surgery is the way to go.  "Can't chemo it. Can't laser it."  She wants to "go ahead and cut it out while it's still small."

This is not new information.  There are no surprises here.  But still, I was a little surprised.  I'd heard of people living with tumors in their bodies forever without knowing about them. I had also heard of people finding masses in their brains from having MRIs done for other reasons. And if it hadn't been for that chance-MRI, they might've died within the year. 

So I had to ask, "Is there anything else in my head?"

Her answer, "Nope.  It's pretty empty up there."

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Cookie anyone?

 

With all this negative talk of cliques lately, I have to say, I'm surprised.  But more than that, I'm really put off.  I didn't start a journal for any reason but to have an outlet for my inner musings.  What a treat to have met some incredible people here. I've been given amazing opportunities because of the connections. My mind and heart have expanded in ways that I never expected. My level of compassion and understanding have hit an all-time high. And that trickles down into my "outer" world. I'm grateful. AOL has always been a blessing.

I suppose as with any community, comes the opposite affect. The gossip. The fear. The competitiveness. And I'm not absolved from that. I'm probably one of the most competitive people on the planet. But I'm also one of the most compassionate and respectful. I'm willing to take responsibility for my actions.

The thing I don't have much compassion or tolerance for is manipulation.  The smell, the taste, the feel. It's rancid and toxic. And frankly, it takes too much energy to engage in the drama.  I go where the love is.  That's right - I'm spiritual, hear me Ommm!  Moreover, I'm human - imperfect - just like you!

I don't always have time to visit every journal every day. I'm lucky to get there every week. But when I do go there, you can be sure it's because I want to be there. And I hope that's the reason you're here.

We are all in this community for a common purpose - to be seen and heard.  We all have something of value to share.  In addition to that, we're blessed to be making friends. My life is richer because of this community. It's not the be-all-end-all of my world. But I'm humbled to the core by the friends that I've made.

Thank you, Bridgett, for this wonderful little book of wisdom.  A gift from an angel.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Ralph Don't Run

As you know, I'm not one for politics.  But this morning my inbox contained the following link and powerful message.  It's important to me because I didn't have information like this in 2000.  I was one of the few who tipped the election in Bush's favor by voting for Nader.

Please don't throw stones!  I've learned my lesson - the hardest way possible!  Now I owe it to my community [and myself] to speak out.  I'm not willing to sit back and let history repeat itself.  Are you?

VISIT RALPHDONTRUN.NET and get the facts.

Friday, February 20, 2004

rhetorical pondering

Self-worth ... How is it defined?
Is it by how much money I make?
How many friends I have?
What I do for a living?
Will I find it in the kind of car I drive or clothes I wear?
Is it in my skin; my face, my body?
My race, religion, gender, sexuality?
Is my worth defined by what I eat - or don't eat?
By what others think and say about me?
By how much I give?
Or take?

No matter how much I think I know the answer,
I always come back to the question:
What's my worth?

I am love.  Why am I love? And what does that mean?
I trust.  What do I trust?  And what does that mean?
I believe.  [this could go on forever ... and usually does]

While washing the piles of dishes left for dead in the kitchen, I was festering over a petty fictitious argument between me and my roommate.  As it happens every so often, I was struck by guilt.  I hate to even admit that.  Guilt is a wasted, useless emotion.  But it's multi-generational.  It lives and breathes in me, on its own.  It sneaks up on me ... like shame.  Ooh, shame.  A horrid dis-ease!  Guilt and shame go hand-in-hand.  Both are ingredients for a quick spiral down into the basins of my own private hell, where I am confronted with defining my self-worth.

Hell is not the place to ponder self-worth. It just isn't. And guilt is not the trip I want to be taking.

I guess it's important to be stripped down of all material possessions in order to return to love.  I've lived without 'stuff' for so long, I'm used to it.  I'm used to crunching and 'getting by' and living on the edge of death...the edge of poverty.

I may not have much money, but I'm not poor.
I may not have the medicine I want, but I am well.
I may be alone, but I'm not lonely.
So then, who am I?
What's my worth?

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

How will I know?

Eleven and a half years in this state, and I've never seen a real live black widow spider up close and personal.  I always wondered if I'd recognize one.  How will I know?  I know the distinguishing marking - the red hourglass.  But that's under her belly - what if she's crawling toward me?  I can't imagine I'd be able to get her to roll over for me.

There are so many black spiders.  What if I mistakenly identify her as one of the thousands of friendly, harmless garden spiders?  There are so many.  And they're all so beautiful.  Their webs are amazing.  I usually leave them alone, unless they're just a little too close to my bed.  Then I capture them and bring them outside, where they'll probably have a better life anyway.  I've lived with many spiders - high ceilings make them out of reach.  I'm not thrilled about the thought of them crawling on me, in the dark.  It's a little creepy.  But spiders in general are gorgeous creatures of the earth.

I've heard black widows tend to like dark places.  I've been warned to wear gloves when going through old cardboard boxes in a shed or garage.  I know not to stick my hand in places I can't see.  I know to wear shoes in a storage area.  But I never expected to see one sitting in the brightest spot, in the corner of the yoga studio's gift emporium.

I was about to turn out the lights when I was overcome by the shining beauty of a spider.  Mesmerized, I cautiously leaned in to get a closer look and no question about it - this was an undeniable, clearly marked black widow spider.  Belly up, her red hourglass was unmistakable.  Her strong, long, shiny black legs were enough for a human to envy!  My hand nearly grazed her web.  So thick and sturdy - like fishing wire.  Powerful medicine, this creature was.

But what was I to do?   Capture her?  Set her free - in the city?  She, and certainly I, were much safer with her nestled in her web overnight.  Upon calling one of the owner's of the studio, it was agreed to leave her.  All other options made me shiver.

When it comes to identifying a black widow spider, you won't find her true beauty in a picture or in a book or on TV.  It's like love, you'll just know.

Timing is Everything [1 of 2]

Timing is everything.  I have never felt so emotionally and physically prepared for any kind of medical visit as I did yesterday.  I thank all my friends who lined up to take care of me - My drop-off. My pick-up. My back-up.  Phone calls. Emails.  All my journal pals who support me all over the country.  I mean, literally, I feel held.  In your hands - the hands of Spirit.

I spent two hours yesterday morning, feeling immobilized by fear, unable to get out of bed.  A reassuring phone call from Cheryl finally gave me that extra oomph to get a move on.

The weather was mild - Spring-like - so I took Hunny for a longer morning walk than usual.  I think even she was surprised.  It did us both a world of good.

I went to get my legs waxed and Minu noticed something about me right away.  She said, "You look good. Your face. Your skin. Something's different. Did you cut your hair?"  I just liked hearing all that so I took it in.  Later I wondered if it was my glazed look of terror or the missing nosering.

As I was laying on the table, it suddenly occurred to me that I willingly get on her "examination table" as often as every month [when I can afford it] and volunteer for this excruciating pain!  It's a 20-minute process, sometimes longer.  Hot wax and ripping.  From toes to bikini.  Underarms.  Sometimes eyebrows!

I thought, why am I worried about a little one-time, split-second needle?  Seriously, that's what helped put it all into perspective for me.

Leaving the salon, driving down alley, I noticed a beautiful [possibly homeless] man carrying a large bag of bottles and cans.  He was searching through dumpsters.  I stopped and asked if he wanted my empty water bottle.  We locked eyes and smiled at each other as he took the bottle.  He started to turn away but instead called out, "Hey, you have nice...uhh...beautiful eyes."  I thanked him and told him to have a nice day.

Oh yeah, it was a good day.

Timing is Everything [2 of 2]

Little Wing picked me up early.  We checked in and the woman at the desk said I looked terrified.  On the phone she said, "Your four o'clock is here. No, the adult. Not the baby."  I joked that it was still to be determined. 

We laughed and talked in the waiting hall - it wasn't even a room.  Everyone was friendly and warm.  A nurse came out with a tiny pill to calm me down.  It was at that moment I started to feel queasy.  Once the pill kicked in though, everything felt just fine.

We found out I'd have to get a shot of dye in the middle of the MRI procedure.  Which  meant Little Wing wouldn't be with me.  But we figured by then, I'd be so high, it wouldn't matter.

The MRI technician was very nice.  She answered all my questions and explained everything, as she handed me earplugs and strapped my head into a small shell.  Because my ear was being examined, my whole body had to be in the tank? tube? machine? Whatever.  I endured a one-hour series of four- to five-minute tests.  I had just a few seconds in between each test to swallow and take a deep breath.  It was not very comfortable.  Panic came in waves.  But I thank my past experiences with breath, yoga and a few other hints and tricks, for getting me through the procedure.  And the shot of dye?  Piece of cake!  I just kept thinking about the waxing.

I was done early.  My ride hadn't even arrived yet.  Knowing I had someone coming to get me, the nurse allowed me to walk out of the hospital, on my own.  I didn't realize just how loopy I was till I got to the main hallway.  I laughed myself into the gift shop to buy some chocolate.  It was time for a treat.  I reached into my pocket for the my dollar bill and I saw it was only $1.

It suddenly occurred to me that I over-tipped Minu.  I thought I gave her $3.  Instead, I gave her two ones and a ten!  That's some generous tip!

So, I had to buy cheap chocolate.  A pack of Rolos and a bite-sized Nestle Crunch will do in a pinch.

I came home and crashed.  I had a wonderful conversation with a good friend.  And a heart-shaped package of chocolates arrived in the mail from the same friend.  Like I said, timing is everything!

Monday, February 16, 2004

MRI prep

Everything seemed to be just a little bit off today.  Preparing for tomorrow's MRI [3PM check-in. 4PM MRI]

An early morning phone call woke me from my NyQuil-induced slumber.  Later, one of my client's canceled at the last minute.  Another client neglected to tell me they'd be in New York for the week.  It was a waste of my time, going to that side of town.

I went to the bank. Closed.  I didn't even know it was a holiday.  Not to mention the ATM was "temporarily unavailable."

I was about to go get my legs waxed. But at the rate things were going, I thought I'd call to make sure Minu was available.  She's always available.  Except today.  I'll see her tomorrow morning.  It has to be done!  If I don't die from the anxiety over the MRI, I just might die of embarrassment if anyone sees my legs.

When I scheduled the MRI, they told me I would have to remove all metal - zippers, buttons, coins, jewelry.  Seems easy enough.  But I haven't removed my nosering since I had it replaced four years ago.

I spent the last three days using pliers, tweezers, a wrench, grips, fingernails - everything I could think of - trying to remove my nosering.  No luck.  I began to think I'd have to cut it off and buy a new one.  But I love this one.  It's mine.  It's been a part of me for so long now.  This became more of a stress than the anticipation of the actual MRI.

So today I went to my reputable, neighborhood tattoo and piercing place.  I explained to the beautiful boy behind the counter that I needed to remove my nosering and asked if he would show me how to do it.

He slapped on his rubber gloves, twisted the nosering in a coil and swooped it out of my nose. Just like that.  No grips. No pliers. No cutting. And I don't have to buy a new ring.   He even told me to come back if I have trouble putting it back in - he'll do it for me.  Pray the hole doesn't close.

Something I didn't expect - I left there feeling naked.  I wanted to hide my face.  My nosering has become such a part of me that I had forgotten what it feels like not to have it.

At this time tomorrow, it'll all be over!

Friday, February 13, 2004

A Working Writer

I met this guy at the dogpark today.  Well, first I met this guy's dog - then I met this guy.  As our dogs were playing [or I should say, as my dogs were bullying his dog] we got to talking.  He said he actually trained his young Yorkie to [get this] ring a bell at the back door, when he needs to pee.  His house has been 'accident free' for six months now!  This is a sign of intelligence - human intelligence - worthy of deeper conversation.

He mentioned he works at home.  Part of me was disappointed because let's face it, every new dog I meet is a potential client - unless the parent works at home!  So, after the dollar signs faded from my pupils, I asked what he does for work.  And he said he's a writer. 

::perk:: 

Ten-plus years in this town have taught me that could mean anything.  I mean hell, so am I!  I inquired further.  Lo and behold, he is indeed a writer.  An actual living, breathing, working, published writer.  Good for him!  Not only that, he's got a website and a blog!

Oh yeah, I'm linking him!

I asked him three times to tell me his name as I kept forgetting.  He was kind enough to make up name-associations for me.  I told him it was a lost cause, but I did remember his first name when I got to my car. [I'm that bad with names]

When I got home, there was an email from someone I didn't recognize.  I almost sent it to my spam folder till I saw the first name!  He had already been to my website and my journal. [obviously he doesn't have that same name-problem I have]  He was smart enough to leave a link to his website.

OK folks.  Here's where you come in. 

Visit Paul Davidson's website.  Read reviews and see what the critics have to say about his new book. And perhaps even buy the book!

Visit Paul Davidson's blog.  Be sure to leave a comment!  There's a photo of him but honestly, I don't think it captures his essence.  He's a cutie in person.  But sorry girls and boys, I believe he's taken.  If not by a partner, certainly by his beloved Yorkie!

Screenplay?

I made a comment in Andrea's journal about writing a screenplay and it perked her interest...

Everyone in Hollywood dabbles in screenwriting at one time or another.  Some actually make a decent living at it.  But many, like me, have scraps of bits and pieces of what I now refer to as the story of my life.

Ten years ago I collaborated with a friend on an amazing project - on her computer.  We developed and wrote a TV pilot.  It's witty, adventurous, unique and exciting.  But my friend and I had a falling out. Since then, we've tried to hash it out a couple of times but still can't seem to get it together.  Today, various drafts sit in a filebox, alongside my many journals.

Four years ago, Cheryl and I decided to write a screenplay together.  I didn't have a computer and she had an old word processor.  Neither one of us had any recent experience with formatting, structuring, etc. so I took a screenwriting course at Santa Monica College.  I had taken playwriting and scene study courses in my college days.  But I wanted a hands-on, interactive, nuts-n-bolts screenwriting class.  But this class wasn't that.  Just another frustrated writer passing the torch of despair on to hopeful youngsters.

I quit the course but not before I bought my first computer.  How did I ever think I could write and edit without access to my files?  I spent hours at Best Buy, trying to find the best buy.  Then I spent more hours at home trying to make the best of my best buy.  Instead I found AOL.

A few years ago my mom generously bought me scriptwriting software.  With it, I've attempted my own various projects; TV episode specs, screenplays, music videos. I even threaten to revisit that ten year-old project that still lingers in the back of my mind today.

But for now, I am enamored with all the fancies of AOL-J.  Maybe a distraction.  But I see it as a blessing.  A way to hone my craft, get immediate feedback and stay connected with people like me.  Who knows?  Perhaps a screenplay, a book, or a TV pilot will get written afterall!

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

cooped up

I canceled my day and stayed in bed.  Not that I really had a choice.  My body insisted!  I'm flat-out sick!  Cheryl brought me all the necessities - water, orange juice and tissues.  Unfortunately, my throat hurts too much to drink the juice.  Reza was kind enough to buy apple juice - which is still a little sketchy in the throat-department - but I'm getting it down.

With the exception of a few minutes taking SloMo's I.Q. Quiz, by way of Emode, I'd say I had a pretty uneventful day.  I did however, travel far and wide in some outrageous, NyQuil-fever-induced hallucinations.

It's about time for me to drift off again. Before I go, I'll leave you with this quiz I created just for you.  If I had more of my wits about me, I'd have come up with some clever questions.  But thankfully, Emode makes it easy enough with their suggestions!  Perfect for a sick day!

TAKE MY QUIZ and find out how well you know me.

CREATE YOUR OWN QUIZ

Vulnerability

Comments, emails, phone calls, check-ins.  I wanna say it doesn't matter. I wanna say it doesn't help.  But it does.  It gives me a lift, a boost.  It puts a smile on my face.  It helps replenish some 'lost' energy.

So does that take me out of my process?  Out of myself?  Perhaps it does.   Does that mean I'm not doing my work - my inner spiritual work?  Or is this part of finding the balance?

Yes Vivian, times like this, when I feel stripped of all external pleasures, can be very creative for me.  Sometimes they are silent and I spend hours staring out the window.  And sometimes in a rushing wave, I can hardly get myself to a pen and paper fast enough.  I practically have to tear open my guitar case or I knock it off its stand [careful now, it's the only guitar I have] before I can hear what my soul has to say.

It's like my brain shuts off and the light of God/Spirit shines down through the top of my head and pours out through my open heart.

I've been fighting a fever all day - scratchy throat and body aches, alternating between chills and sweats.  The patience I had yesterday must've flown out one of my open doors and windows.  I feel hyper-sensitive about everything.  I'm weepy and whiny.  Just vulnerable overall.

They say vulnerability is beautiful - it's not always comfortable.  But it's real.  And real is beautiful.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Doggone Shoes

Living in Southern California, I can't justify spending money on a raincoat for those two weeks out of the year we get rain.  But come those rainy days, I'm the first to whine and complain about how much gets dumped in one fell swoop.  Still, I cringe at the thought of shelling out my hard earned cash on ugly plastic protection.  I've been known to wear a Hefty trash bag in an emergency.

I feel the same way about my shoes. Even though I need them daily, I just can't seem to get myself to pay full price for my dogwalking shoes.  THIS is why!

BEFORE

 

AFTER

One of these pairs is two years old.  The other is less than a year old.  Can you tell the difference?

These were a gift from my friend Beth.  They retail at $65.00 a pair.  They are the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn.  I swear, I'm a walking ad campaign for Puma California Sneakers!  They even outrank my five year old Vans - the Wallys I thought I'd never replace!

Unfortunately, with comfort comes a higher price tag.  Therein lies my dilemma.  I have a hand-me-down income with retail taste!  It's not that I'm refusing to wear impostors, out of respect for my Pumas.  In all honesty, nothing comes close to the comfort of a Puma California.  Now if I could just find a way to keep them cleaner!  Any suggestions?

Choosing Ignorance

What do you think it says about a person who finds a missing load of laundry in the laundry room that she didn't realize was missing?

Honestly, I came home from my day and while checking my mail in the lobby, I happened to catch a glance of a pile of clothes on top of one of the dryers in the laundry room.  Something drew me in.  As I approached the pile, I was struck with the realization that they were my clothes

What strikes me even more is, they appear to be petrified - as if they dried inside the washing machine.  There's no telling how long they've been there.  I can't remember when I last used our laundry facilities.  I've been going to the laundry mat next door.  It's more efficient that way. [probably because I've only been doing a fraction of my laundry]  But sometimes I'll use our washers in a pinch.

Anyway ... I had groceries in one hand and Hunny's leash in the other, so naturally, I left the clothes behind.  I figure, what's a few more minutes?  But it's been more than a few minutes.  Truth is, I'm afraid to go get them.  I'm afraid to see the reality of the situation.  I've learned that lesson already today, when I looked out my window to see the workmen have barely put a dent in the drilling project.  It's 75 degrees outside and like a hundred in my apartment!  But I just might hurt someone if I keep my window open with that racket.

Monday, February 9, 2004

Ommmm

Well, today my clients remembered to pay me but they neglected to leave their back door unlocked.  So, my payment and the dogs were stuck inside, locked in a cage in the kitchen with the waterbowl just out of reach.  Like a horrible, tormenting "got water?" commercial.

Ommmm

Lucky for them, I was running late and my clients were able to unlock the door before I arrived. But when I got there, I noticed the backyard had been newly landscaped [rolled grass] and there was a note for me to keep the dogs off the lawn.  Don't even get me started!

Ommmm

While driving to the dogpark, one of the lanes was closed due to construction.  No biggie.  It's the city.  I expect delays.  But what I didn't expect was the total chaos from the approaching fire engine behind me.  The constant siren and horn blowing seemed to send everyone into a frenzy.  Suddenly, three lanes of traffic attempted to merge into the parking lane.  People were honking and waving for others to move over.  Some refused to move.  One construction worker stood in the way of traffic, referring to all drivers as idiots for not moving faster.  The biggest dog in my car started pacing in the back seat - probably dying of thirst - stomping on the other dogs.  And Hunny [with her sensitive ears] began her screeching/howling as the siren got closer.

Ommmm

I knew it would only get worse before it got better.  In one swift motion, I turned my radio down, smiled at the construction worker, wedged my car into a sliver of an opening in the parking lane, rubbed Hunny's ears and asked Sam to sit down.  And surprisingly, I was completely calm through the whole ordeal.

Ommmm

When the fire engine passed, I realized I needed to get to the far left lane to make a turn.  Again, staying calm, I drove across three lanes of unpiling traffic.  I considered coming dangerously close to the swearing construction worker, to show him just how fast my car can move.  But instead, I kept my smile, turned the radio up and sang my way across all three lanes, waving to each driver.

Ommmm

Sunday, February 8, 2004

Search for Balance

Thanks to fdtate313 I'm listening to Damien Rice online.  Perfect music for a day like today.  A day that seems no one really gets me - not even myself.  It's okay.  It's just the way it is.  Not a bad thing - just an observation. 

I'm at a spiritual crossroads.  Perhaps it's seasonal.  But it's about that time when I feel like running far-far away.  In the past, this has been one of the scariest places, but today I'm allowing myself to be here.  No judgment.  No shame.  No blame.  No reasons needed to justify any of it.  

I find myself trying to fill my inside with stuff from my outside - a temporary fix-me-up.  Not that I'm broken.  But I don't feel whole.  That's okay I suppose. I'm not whole.  I mean, I'm as whole as a person can be, but my spirit has been split.  Split and shared with the rest of the world. 

See, I spend half my time trying to fulfill my own needs - as a whole person.   And I spend the other half, reaching for others - as a shared spirit.  Sometimes I get lost in one or the other - A constant search for balance. 

I'm beyond ache.  Today I can but only breathe.  For that, I am grateful.

Saturday, February 7, 2004

Longing

I'm dreaming again.  It's been a while since I've experienced this level of prophetic dreaming.  Dreams have always been in important part of my life - ever since I could remember.  My dreams are vivid, colorful, wild, strange but always in tune with life.  As I learn more about how to work with them, I'm reminded of all the many dreams I have had in the past that have prepared me for today.  So far this week, every dream has had information for each day as I wake.

I'm in a place of longing today.  I suppose it's to be expected with all my recent coveting.  Just goes to show, it doesn't serve me to covet.  I feel that no matter what I do; the clothes I wear, the food I eat, the songs I play, I'm still not satisfied.  Nothing seems to satiate this hunger.  Hunger for what?

There's nothing missing from my life.  Everything is perfect.  If you know me, you understand I believe there's no right or wrong.  Everything is absolutely as it should be - even imperfection.  In this moment, I have breath, I have food, I have shelter, I have love.  I have everything I need.  So then, what is this longing?  This ache. This unconscious desire.  I feel as though I'm on the edge of my seat, waiting for something ... something to happen? ... something to come? ... something to manifest?  I don't know.

I'm sure it's all part of the ebb and flow of life.  I come to this place often enough.  Hormones. The weather. The day. Time of year. I'm affected by it all.

It was this time last year when I started to make some important changes.  Big changes.  Scary changes. Perhaps it's just that.  Looking back today, I am validated by my spirit's ability to carry me through some of the toughest moments in life.  I didn't know what was to come back then.  I just knew I had to walk through the unknowing - the unknown territory.  I wasn't blindfolded but I certainly couldn't see a moment in front of me.

As a creator, I have to be real careful and clear about what I'm longing for.  It's important to leave doors and windows open by not being too specific in my thoughts.  Because as all creation begins with a single thought, it will manifest.

Friday, February 6, 2004

Drilling on my Nerves

Welcome to the wonderful world of Freeepeace!  Today is the second day of head-drilling outside my bedroom window!  Even though I can see what they're doing, I'm still not sure of its purpose.  I would place bets that it has something to do with bugging me though!

So I'm headed out into Friday traffic to get away from the racket at home!  CLICK HERE to enjoy an audio/visual piece [and I don't mean 'peace'] of what I've been experiencing all day long!

Ommmm

Thursday, February 5, 2004

DVD Nation

I played nurse and Girl Friday for my friend Cheryl today.  Poor thing.  She's been sick all day with a horrible cold.

Part of my errands included renting videos so she could lounge on the couch and drift in and out of consciousness.

Her cable company did a clean sweep in her neighborhood recently thereby cutting off her service.  They've gone completely digital and jacked up their prices. So, instead of paying outrageous cable fees, she's renting videos and paying outrageous late fees.

Not only that, but she's purposely refusing to buy a DVD player.  She made a public announcement in Blockbuster one night, saying she's going to boycott their transition from VHS to DVD.  In the meantime, the movie we've all been waiting for has been released and while it was available for rent on DVD, both VHS copies were out of stock.

I was lucky to find a few episodes of Sex and the City on VHS.  I brought the artifacts to the counter for a thorough examination where it was confirmed they were indeed video tapes for viewing on a VCR! 

Everywhere I went, I was surrounded by DVD signs. Blockbuster, radio ads, billboards, even the drugstore!  Right there next to gum, chapstick and People magazine were three different brands of DVD players!  When did a DVD player become a last-minute checkout item?  An impulse purchase?  I swear, I considered putting down the box of tissues in exchange for the DVD player, just because of its location in the store!

When I arrived with her soup, tissues and videos she raised her head long enough to say she's thinking about getting a DVD player.  Fever.  She must've been running a fever.

Truth is, she'll probably get one - and love it!  As for me, I'm counting my pennies this weekend.  Covet no more.

Confessions of a Wishful Blogger

Forgive me Bloggers for I have sinned.  It's been three days since my last post ...

Yesterday I realized my favorite movie of 2003 was recently released on video and DVD.  Not only was Evan Rachel Wood nominated for a Golden Globe in the Best Actress category but Holly Hunter got an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.  And the DVD has some great enhanced features.  Oh Bloggers, how I covet thy DVD Player.

I finished a roll of film last weekend and keep forgetting to get it developed because apparently the moment is over.  I can't even remember what I took pictures of.  Oh Bloggers, how I covet thy digital camera.

I sleep on a futon on the floor - by choice - and lately I've been tossing and turning during restless nights.  Oh Bloggers, how I covet thy real bed!

My recording session was canceled this week due to heavy rain and I neglected to post it.  Forgive me.  Unfortunately Monday nights are the only nights MusicMan is available to work on my album.  For this I am grateful.  But Oh Bloggers, how I covet thy recording equipment so I can make music whenever the hell I want!

I silently cursed a client who neglected to leave a waterbowl for their two big dogs after conveniently forgetting to pay me for dogwalking services.  Oh Bloggers, how I covet thy baseball bat to knock some sense into my clients!  Fickers!

Disclaimer:  In order for any of this to hold water, one must first believe in the theory of sin and shame.  Lucky for me, neither of those apply. 

Monday, February 2, 2004

Alligator Wrestling

There are those who do well in structured atmospheres, knowing exactly what to expect each moment of each day.  They are content in knowing they go to work, they do their job, they get paid and they go home.  There's comfort in the feeling of security.

Then there are those who would rather wrestle alligators than have to punch a timeclock. I fall under this category. I thrive on the flexibility and the spontaneity of an inconsistent work schedule.

I like the idea that I can get a call at any moment to take a dog on a last-minute walk.  Or petsit for someone going out of town.  That's cash in my pocket.  There are incentives to being self-employed.  The more dogs I walk the more money I make.  Whereas, at a nine-to-five, the more paper I push, I still bring home the same amount of money.

When I first started dogwalking, my business exploded.  In the first year I was making double the money in half the time it took me as a full-time Administrative Assistant.  It was consistent.  I could go out to dinner, get my hair done, buy gifts and pay all my bills!

After five years of consistent dogwalking, I was ready for another change.  So in January 2001 I gave up my business to set forth on an adventure across country.  I returned six months later, refreshed and ready to walk dogs again.  I was stunned to find out the market was saturated with new [inexperienced] dogwalkers who were charging five and ten dollars more per walk.  A month later, we were hit with the tragic events of 9/11.  Many people lost their jobs and their dogwalkers were the first of the personal services to be let go.

For the past three years, in addition to dogwalking, I've been doing odd jobs, temping, house cleaning, running errands, anything to make ends meet.  And frankly, my ends couldn't be farther apart!  So, what does this mean?

I see dogwalkers every day.  None of them have less than six dogs at a time.  Many have more than ten.  Depending on the day, I have one to five.  Business is picking up.  The kicker is, I know I can make a full day's pay in two hours as a dogwalker.  That, and the fact that I love the work, is what keeps me wrestling with alligators.

 

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