Saturday, November 29, 2008

everybody's mom

growing up, my mom embodied all there was to being a mom. she was comfort, love, food, protection, intelligence, and money. as i grew, i figured out she had needs too--for me to behave in public, not swear, be modest, and basically act like a baptist. i didn't come to those realizations by force, i just would never want to embarrass my mom. mom never tried to embarrass me either, though it happened naturally sometimes as it does with all kids i guess. she taught me to be a good listener by never interrupting me, a quality i've adopted and value highly. she never made me responsible for her happiness, nor did i ever worry about her mental health. she can take care of herself, though i do have the power to make her sad or disappointed, i'm not the pillar of her self esteem.
this thanksgiving, i was not with my mom, but i had the chance to observe two of my dear friends with their moms. seeing what traits they've taken from their moms, and how their personalities were shaped by their interactions through the years shed light on the much discussed, often painful mother-child relationship. some moms allow wildness, but require emotional support; some moms don't let you get a word in unless you interrupt, some moms can hang out with your friends, and some would never want to. how my friends and i interact can be directly traced to how we were treated by our mothers.
today i thank my mother for being strong, solid, and true to her beliefs. even though our lifestyles are fairly divergent, i have the utmost respect for her and i hope i've inherited her integrity.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

what now?

how can the life i live be fair? i was born a privileged white female. my family is decidedly middle class, i never suffered hunger or cold or lack of education under my parent's care. the advantages i've had are unheard of to most of the world's population. and here i am, moving to hawai'i because i want to, because i chose to. being able to do this brings up lots of questions like what is a person supposed to do with their privilege? how can i make my freedom to travel a good thing for the world? am i just being selfish? the native hawaiians who are trying to re-establish their nation's sovereignty don't want me there, i'm just another cog in the wheel of colonial oppression. would i be a better person if i went somewhere i was actually wanted? who can say who belongs where?
as i shift my focus from my own disentanglements, the larger social constructs take the lead. i am happy to be out of the capitalist/consumerist mindset of numbness, and now i have to do something with it. with awareness comes responsibility.
i fly in one week. the most challenging part (i think) is over--freyja is all vaccinated and microchipped and ready to be hauled across the pacific. taking an animal to hawaii is not an easy task, and this challenge was the test to see how bad i wanted to go. the way this whole trip evolved is something i could not envision when i left denver. further proving that an unknown plan is operating behind the scenes, i am but a pawn.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

bus and baby

riding the greyhound through the cascade mountains, through the high desert of central washington, and into the pine tree forest that surrounds spokane, i'm taken back to one of my homes. i spent my time here years ago, before massage school, before i took my bartending career seriously, before i had any sign of wrinkles. my friends have just had a baby, and i'm here to introduce myself as "aunt" to a young one who's mother is an only child and who's father has only brothers. i am part of a network of women who are sisterless, and we fill in that role for each other.
the bus ride was the second long one i've taken in this meandering trip through my far-flung friendships, and as i've come to expect, it was incredibly interesting to see who was traveling with me. i met a mexican guy who was headed to atlanta georgia, another who was going to south carolina, and a couple who were headed to texas. all of them would be on a bus for days, and i wondered how they justified that. i've always figured it would cost me more to feed myself and go stir crazy for days than a plane ticket would set me back. maybe they're afraid of flying? maybe it is enough cheaper? maybe they're illegal, and couldn't produce the identification to fly? i didn't ask.
november has been easier than expected. i haven't even noticed the cold, though i am getting tired of wearing the same sweatshirt every day. i'm purchasing my plane ticket to hawaii's the final step that seals my fate. pele has something to tell me, and i'm so ready to settle in and listen. to have my own bed again, a job, a place to get to know, the past few months have tilled the soil (soul) and it's time to plant.
**any of my spokane friends who are reading this--if you want to hang out tomorrow, i'll be strolling about with shan and geo.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

obey the day

allowing the weather to dictate my days, yesterday the sun invited us to climb the mountain to the one old growth douglas fir, it's bark scarred from several fruitless blows of the axe and saw; this one blusters it's orders to stay indoors, write letters and organize.
i'm campaigning for the cause of handwritten letters. yes, i'm an old fashioned type who would rather ride a horse than drive a car, rather cook on cast iron than teflon, and believes a homemade pie is not a homemade pie without a homemade crust (duh). i also have a penchant for mystery and longing. both of which are quite at home in the land of letters. there is nothing so romantic as a piece of paper that has traveled across oceans, mountains, highways, and rivers to arrive in one's own mailbox. for those love-lorn souls who fancy a simple (but not easy) way into a heart from a by-gone era, there is no better way.
i've noticed i'm not the most lovable person face to face. i always seem to screw things up by getting weary of the person, or failing to love them good enough. this doesn't seem to be a problem when the one who loves me is thousands of miles away writing furiously from a cage. while i sometimes lament my singleness, i know that i am single because i haven't learned how to be coupled yet. this letter affair is a slow, torturous tutorial in how to articulate the terms of love, and how to build the framework of a relationship. enjoyable? yes. satisfying? not at all. it's all a tenuous balance on a high-wire surrounded by the abyss of folly. but i'd rather take my chances than stay home.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

c'mere world

today i begin to broaden the view of this blog, this mind, this life. i've spent the past year, and many other years in my life just getting out from under burdens, obligations, and debts; always managing to keep my head above water, but not much else. my friend sarah says that's very grown-up of me since many people have their parents bail them out, have money from an inheritance, or rely on someone else to pay their way much of their twenties. i feel like the price i paid for learning this self sufficiency was not learning my true calling, not knowing my special strengths. things other people learned while relying on their financial supporters, i never had a chance to. i've been assured it's not too late, i just switched the order of learning. many of my friends are just now learning how to completely financially support themselves, but i envy the fact that they know what they really want to do in life. getting free from oppressive debt was the first step to giving myself space to grow into the adult i want to be. now, that weight off my shoulders, i'm feeling a little lost, like all i've really learned in life was how to be a good worker bee. i want to be more than that now, but i don't know where to start. more advice from sarah says that one of my great strengths is curiosity and the ability to talk to all walks of life. my varied experiences give me ease in relating to the working class, yogis, college students, cowhands, drunks, dreamers, lawyers, bodyworkers, hobos, artists, thinkers, homeless and more. i wonder of what use that is, but i'm not going to let that discourage me. i'm going to make my hawaii adventure into an art project. i want to document my experience and share my perspective. i want to filter the seemingly random lessons i learn each day into something coherent and thought provoking. maybe i'll interview people i meet and take their picture, doing a series using the same questions, like "who are you?", and "what do you think about most?". maybe i'll do some naturalist studies, like what comprises the jungle floor, or how to identify different species of bananas, or what plants were native to hawaii and how they got there. it's infinite. i want to spend a nearly equal amount of time with people and without them. i want to work enough to feel financially stable, but not so much that i have no time to volunteer on something fascinating-- my own study or someone else's.
this is where the blog takes a turn. i've extricated my body and mind from the trappings of "normal" obligations. i'm a free agent. this is where the lens zooms out and i find my newly unstuck self in a bigger picture.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

more ny

i might love new york, ok? maybe it's just that my bf lives here, but it's been an eye-opening experience, and i realize i could live here. here in one of the largest cities there is, and i don't like cities. what's the deal with that? oh well, i'm open to surprising myself.
last night we got invited to an opening party for mike burbiglia, a comedien with a show off-broadway and complete with celebrities and free beer it delivered an authentic ny experience. tonight we are going to see "equus" on broadway, it's a show with live horses and daniel radcliffe, the star of the "harry potter" movies. i can't really afford it, but i also can't afford to pass it up since lord knows when i'll be in new york again. all this and i finally feel comfortable riding the subway, like i won't get lost just by going down the stairs.
i went to a yoga class today, and wouldn't you know it, i feel so much better about the trajectory of my life. funny that.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

i will be back

here in my best friend's renegade loft in harlem, i rediscover who i am, who i have been, and with great hope, who i will be.  funny how the deep lines of friendship ore get mined when we're together, precious things i forgot re-ignite passion for treasures i lost track of.  he renews my fervor for digging.  reminds me there are things we buried, things hidden just for this day to come back for.  and in the process, discover new wells of inspiration, new laughter mines, refreshing ourselves with each other.   gee whiz, why didn't i come sooner?!
yes, i know there were other plots to be tended, other lessons to be learned, other friends to combine with, but this one's my favorite!  i'm so happy being an adult doesn't mean i don't need a best friend anymore.  kids have best friends because they're awesome, and that doesn't necessarily change with age.  
i feel completed on the east coast.  ready to leave and fly west, where my home awaits.  i watched a western the other night and the scenery really got to me.  i love the way the light hits the weathered wood and sand.  i could smell the desert subtly beckoning, luring me back.  though i head to the jungle, the beach, and the ocean, i will be back, american west, of that you can be sure.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


i'm spending lots of time with russians. two in particular, but there are others on the outskirts. they have a certain something about them that is uniquely russian, something i am very fond of. these two are classic people with fashion tastes quite un-american, compelling, intriguing, my favorite. literature. cold nights and accepted agony. i'm sure they will laugh at this.
i made an instructional video with lea, the mountain jew, for it will make her some money and i had fun doing it. we rode bikes and hiked one of the many gorges in ithaca and she told me what she knew of geography and glacial dance moves. i could go on talking to her for hours.
i am wasting time waiting for inspiration. the block exists, i exist behind it. i don't really know what i'm doing. i feel stifled by needing to be kind.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

i'm going somewhere

first let me say that the british comedy "little britain" is dominating my life right now so everything is tinted with a bit of brit wit. that's a good thing since the weather is getting to me, the clouds, the cold, the lack of leaves on trees. my skin is flakey and hangnaily. this dose of winter is good for me, like a preventative medicine that will help me enjoy the coming health.
i'm going to see andrew in nyc this week and i can't help smiling when he's in my mind. only a few more city days before i land in the land of no cities. i might as well soak up the asphalt aroma, pay the tolls and enjoy access to everything one can buy. there will be much time, perhaps alota much time to kick back island style, so this week i'll pretend i belong here.
in one week i will fly to seattle.
in three weeks i will fly to hawaii, where i wanted to go all along. sometimes i should just listen to myself when i first think of something, not wait and hem and haw and make it so much more difficult.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

taking stock

sinking in slowly, the realizations pile up...i have to go back to pennsylvania to get my tooth fixed (again), i'm really broke but i still have lots to do before i get a job, i'm getting lonelier, i'm in love with him again. the balance of joy to problems is reasonable, but maybe i'm carrying the load wrong. i miss the van and the simplicity it afforded me. i was off on my own, and often melancholy, but i could deal with each situation case by case, now it's all jumbled up and stretches on forever intertwined with lovers, family, friends, history, and future. this is all leading up to me being alone in a strange place again and i suppose i'm going through it to make me happy to be able to catch my breath once i am there.
in the meantime, i'm helping joe and friends build their cottage/shed so he can live there for a while this winter. i encouraged him to make a go of it since it would afford him the ability to live rent-free (a specialty of mine) for a while this winter while he figures out life. i may be headed into a rent paying situation, but i will always vouch for the viability of the free life.
i'm spending an inordinate amount of time staring at this screen and i just don't know what to say. today i feel helpless, tomorrow i must begin again.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

halloween in ithaca

this place absorbed me like a drop of blood on a cotton ball. the old ways abound, and all hallow's eve is certainly cause for celebration. as the evening set in, we rode our bicycles to the commons and joined up for a costume crusted critical mass, a bicycle event wherein as many as can be gathered (in this case about 35) ride their bikes through town in a mass too large to be bullied by cars. taking our share of the streets to help raise the visibility of bicycling. lucky for me, this town is very bike friendly and people were clapping, cheering, hooting and generally raising a rukus for us as we passed. it felt like i was in a spontaneous parade, smiling and waving at the many colorful characters on the street.
when the sun went down, i became a unicorn and attended to the trick or treaters while dinner was made. i helped construct a costume for joe--a rainbow complete with clouds and a pink and purple wig. after all, what goes with a unicorn? a rainbow.
it was an unseasonably warm night, perfect for running around outside and several parties and later, we found ourselves standing in front of a bar drinking wine from my pocket and dancing with the madness. a procession with a giant squid puppet marched up the sidewalk, they had two leashed goats, a fire breathing frankenstein, several old crones and a destination--the graveyard. we joined them of course. entering the ancient graveyard, someone blew a rams horn, it's eerie howl capturing the scene appropriately. they hung a pinata and with one blow it burst into confetti of liquor bottles and candy. we tumbled around and played with the goats and suddenly our friends from 4 hours earlier walked up. they had come to the graveyard just to see what was happening.
it was pretty much the most fun halloween i've had in a long time. oh, and it was the second fun halloween i've had this week. why is it the less planning i do, the more perfect things are?