31 December 2006

Ciao Wisconsin!

It's been lovely, it's been nice, off I go to another paradise.

The decision was made a couple days ago that I'll be going back to New York City for New Year's Eve. I'll be with friends and we'll be rockin out, no doubt, at some house parties. Rob's driving me to the airport tomorrow morning and I'll be on my way to JFK, then Chelsea via Williamsburg.

I got a bit emotional today. I came to the conclusion that almost only out of desperation, I should undoubtedly move back to Minnesota. I'm nervous and scared about money, which I should and shouldn't be. I was talked out of a tree by the fine friend who I'll be ringing in the new year with. He asuaged my fears momentairly, but Susie is going to have to become a woman of some pretty serious action this week. I know I can do it, but fear of failure, lack of faith in the future and "why" are things that consistently prohibit progress for me.

I was thinking, the things I want to do, prevent spread of disease, hunger and ill planned disaster relief projects, perpetuate the very thing I think would alleviate so many of the world's issues: over population. That's a discussion for off the blogosphere, I suppose.

Rob took us on a lovely drive this afternoon, on which I got to do some thinking. We also saw a gorgeous American Bald Eagle and his/her baby (BIG baby) sitting in a tree which is really an amazing treat. I thought of some things that would make me very happy being in Minnesota. Roughly: 1) My folks 2) Kate (and her extended brand of folks) 3) Emma and Adam 4) The cabin 5) biking as my main form of transportation 6) my network of successful women (some men) who comprise my folk's friends who would talk to me til they're blue in the face about what I want to do and how to do it. 7) money 8) Knowing all the streets.

I started to think of all the things I'd miss about New York and I started to cry. I love it. It would take bits of my heart to leave it. I do know, though, please believe me, that my departure is a distinct possibility. I know I can be happy anywhere, but I want to be happy there...for a little while longer at least. Please?

Off to sleep, then to try to make it in New York on my terms. Thanks for loving me regardless of my philandering, Minnesota and Wisconsin. I appreciate your willingness to have me back.

Happy New Year near and dear!

Chinese Translation by M. Ward from "Post-War" (I highly recommend the whole album)

I sailed a wild, wild sea
climbed up a tall, tall mountain
I met a old, old man
beneath a weeping willow tree
He said now if you got some questions
go and lay them at my feet
but my time here is brief
so you'll have to pick just three

And I said
What do you do with the pieces of a broken heart
and how can a man like me remain in the light
and if life is really as short as they say
then why is the night so long
and then the sun went down
and he sang for me this song

See I once was a young fool like you
afraid to do the things
that I knew I had to do
So I played an escapade just like you
I played an escapade just like you
I sailed a wild, wild sea
climbed up a tall, tall mountain
I met an old, old man
he sat beneath a sapling tree
He said now if you got some questions
go and lay them at my feet
but my time here is brief
so you'll have to pick just three

And I said
What do you do with the pieces of a broken heart
and how can a man like me remain in the light
and if life is really as short as they say
then why is the night so long
and then the sun went down
and he played for me this song

Rollercoaster by M. Ward

Rollercoaster, can't find my friends on the ground
Just lift me up and send me spiralling down
Because you lift me up so high high high
It's the most unbelievable ride

Absolute Lyrics

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30 December 2006

Susie, What IS It That You Do At That Cabin For So Long?

I have wine. (I know you've seen this picture of me before, but I think it's my favorite ever. So I get to put it up as much as I want! WOO! Cause I can!! Hahahaha!)

I walk. Mostly with other people, here with my pops on the frozen lake, photo taken by expert photog, Margaret.

We look at Snowpeople (as my mother calls them).

Some more monochromatic than others...

Sometimes I have a go at making Snow Angels.

Sometimes they turn out really really crappy.

Oh well...It was a good Wisconsin try.

Bob and I pose for photos in front of the house on the frozen lake. You can't see him, but my brother is in the hot tub on the RHS of the deck up there. You MIGHT be able to spot his red beard.

Susie straightens out the Tibetan Prayer flags and looks like her hand is hanging on her shoulder instead of actually attached to her forearm...

Then we cook. Mostly large pieces of meat and experimental (for Susie) side dishes.

Or we discuss our feelings trying to using only the "Ten Universal Emotions". Sometimes it helps to have these laid out on the counter on flashcards...

In the summer there are parties. The most memorable last summer was the bachelorette party...

I think that's all for the mome...

Thanks for joining me on a tour of an incredibly average day at the lake...Well, tack on a hot tub or two and we're at average... Happy almost New Year!

I Hope I Remember to Read This Every Decade of My Life

On Turning Ten by Billy Collins

The whole idea of it makes me feel
like I'm coming down with something,
something worse than any stomach ache
or the headaches I get from reading in bad light--
a kind of measles of the spirit,
a mumps of the psyche,
a disfiguring chicken pox of the soul.

You tell me it is too early to be looking back,
but that is because you have forgotten
the perfect simplicity of being one
and the beautiful complexity introduced by two.
But I can lie on my bed and remember every digit.
At four I was an Arabian wizard.
I could make myself invisible
by drinking a glass of milk a certain way.
At seven I was a soldier, at nine a prince.

But now I am mostly at the window
watching the late afternoon light.
Back then it never fell so solemnly
against the side of my tree house,
and my bicycle never leaned against the garage
as it does today,
all the dark blue speed drained out of it.

This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself,
as I walk through the universe in my sneakers.
It is time to say good-bye to my imaginary friends,
time to turn the first big number.

It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I could shine.
But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life,
I skin my knees. I bleed.

28 December 2006

Some Days by Billy Collins (thanks to Mom for finding this for me)

Some Days by Billy Collins

Some days I put the people in their places at the table,
bend their legs at the knees,
if they come with that feature,
and fix them into the tiny wooden chairs.

All afternoon they face one another,
the man in the brown suit,
the woman in the blue dress,
perfectly motionless, perfectly behaved.

But other days, I am the one
who is lifted up by the ribs,
then lowered into the dining room of a dollhouse
to sit with the others at the long table.

Very funny,
but how would you like it
if you never knew from one day to the next
if you were going to spend it

striding around like a vivid god,
your shoulders in the clouds,
or sitting down there amidst the wallpaper,
staring straight ahead with your little plastic face?

Today Is the Greatest Day I've Ever Known

Not for any particular reason. But don't you find it more satisfying to live every day and believe every day is the greatest? It makes life so...great. Cause it's a choice, right? Every minute of every day, how you're going to do it, deal with it, love it or hate it. And hate is, in general, a waste of time. Sometimes a good mechanism for self defense, but mostly a severe waste of the prescious time we have here on this lil' planet that's slowly, but surely, melting away, only to freeze us back into an ice age we cannot even concieve of with the information we have in the history books so far. We have an idea, but no real idea. No first hand experience. Just fossils of things that were frozen in time. Which is what we, or our children, or our children's children and their domesticized animals will be.

It's not depressing, really. Just what is.

I'm in No. Wisconsin again and these are the things that cross my mind as I drive and see no snow on the fields. Or industrial (a.k.a. mass) farms along side the road. We know those aren't good for community's water systems. I believe it's not good to eat meat form them for a myriad of reasons. One of which is that you're eating fear. And fear, no matter what body it's in, is transfered from being to being. And no matter how indominable your spirit, no one single human being can absorb that. It's accumulated and whether it's from the chemicals the animals on whom we feed are fed or from the negative energy they harbor through their lives into their deaths, we get cancer. And we die painful, medicated deaths.

It's not really depressing. Just what is.

I think about this stuff a lot when I'm around my family. They've been with me on my vegetarian crusades (I'm not currently on one, but writing this reminds me why I might think I should be) and on my anti industrial farming bouts and pro community, local food campaigns (which I'm always on. I'm a true believer.).

I need to learn to farm. And do for myself and my family, because this system we're in, it's not going to last. It's unsustainable and our food stores in this country are inadeqate to sustain our nation's human population. Simply, the diversity of the food we farm is inadequate. Swaths of corn, potatoes; mega farms of pig, cow and chicken. Soy beans. The corn is fuel grade, not edible. If we come to dire straights, and we wll, we are screwed.

This is why I wanted to buy The Wilma in Missoula. But I can't do that. I don't have $5M to throw down. I would loooove to though. Love to foster a politicized community; have my own farm that sustains me and those close to me; be near fresh(er) water sources.


Today I had lunch with an old mentor. A woman who taught me in a program at Planned Parenthood for peer education, which I mentioned in a previous post. She really opened my mind up to some ideas I'd kind of shed as I got older, or to where I've come. It was really inspiring.

1. Peace Corps
2. World Health Organization
3. United Nations
4. Red Cross
5. "Think big. You've made this many rash decisions so far, don't go half assed."

Great advice, Jenny, thank you.

So I have a whole new revived energy for this...again. I love the idea of the Peace Corps. In Latin America. I come home bi-lingual, with credit going toward a graduate degree, sustained, on the ground professional and meaningful experience. A two year committment. What do you think of that? I'd come home, likely when I'm 29. 29 years old, friends. 29 years old.


Great books have been introduced to me. American Religious Poems compiled by Howard Bloom is the running favorite. And I started Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and was laughing out loud at a small U of MN bar today while I waited for Jenny (II). On page 10 and looking forward to more. Favorite bits so far (raions d'etre "reason for being" in French.):

-In context: little boy riding to the cemetary, presumably for his father's funeral, with his mother. "She was wearing the bracelet that I had made for her, and that made me feel like one hundred dollars. I love making jewelry for her, because it makes her happy, and making her happy is anohter one of my raisons d'etre."
-"because entomology is one of my raisons d'etre"
-"She was obviously mad at me, but I didn't know why. I hadn't done anything wrong. Or if I had, I didn't know what it was. And I definitely didn't mean to do it."
-"But I still couldn't figure out what it all meant. The more I found, the less I understood."


My mom loves Billy Collins. (I think it's hilarious that I just opened to "Victoria's Secret" which is the author's rendition of his experience flipping through a Vici Seci catalogue.) It's fun to read a poet who's living in the same times we are so the cultural references mean a little more. You're not stretching to understand; you're identifying.


My dad has several nicknames for me, some of which are not in use. All I can remember are listed below:

1. Bubbles
2. Noodle Person
3. Sooz a doodle
4. Schnookums
5. Bunny

That's all I can think of at the mome.


What else?


What not?


I tried to think of a haiku on my drive past my old house today.

It was in a room
hidden in the back of the
house I part of you

It came easier this time.


I do not actually know Roman Numerals.


I think this is the most appropriate Billy Collins poem, considering the title of this post:

The Only Day In Existence

The early sun is so pale and shadowy,
I could be looking up at a ghost
in the shape of a window,
a tall, rectangular spirit
looking down at me in bed,
about to demand that I avenge
the murder of my father.
But the morning light is only the first line
in the play of this day--
the only day in existence--
the opening chord of its long song,
or think of what is permeating
the thin bedroom curtains

as the beginning of a lecture
I will listen to until it is dark,
a curious student in a V-neck sweater,
angled into the wooden chair of his life,
ready with notebook and a chewed-up pencil,
quiet as a goldfish in winter,
serious as a compass at sea,
eager to absorb whatever lesson
this damp, overcast Tuesday
has to teach me,
here in the spacious classroom of the world
with its long walls of glass,
its heavy, low-hung ceiling.


Good night!

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25 December 2006


Poetry has been darting around this Christmas and some of it has caught my eye/ear/mind/heart.

Robert Frost

A Prayer in Spring

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

(I love this one)

Where had I heard this wind before
Change like this to a deeper roar?
What would it take my standing there for,
Holding open a restive door,
Looking down hill to a frothy shore?
Summer was past and day was past.
Somber clouds in the west were massed,
Out in the porch's sagging floor,
Leaves got up in a coil and hissed,
Blindly struck at my knee and missed.
Something sinister in the tone
Told me my secret must be known:
Word I was in the house alone
Somehow must have gotten abroad,
Word I was in my life alone,
Word I had no one left but God.

Love Song: I and Thou by Alan Dugan

Allen Ginsberg

Excerpt from Sunflower Sutra

Unhold battered old thing you were, my sunflower O my soul, I
loved you then!

Robert Pinsky

Excerpt from The Knight's Prayer

It was like the birth
Of an infant: the father, in sudden
Overthrow, turning from indifference
To absolute care, a ferocity
Of petition dwarfing desire,
All of life flowing at once
Toward the new, incompetent soul.

There'll be much much more of this to come... xoxo

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Is It Wrong That I Still Love Santa?

The answer, my dearest, is NO!

Had a great time with Peggy, Bob, Rob and Susan opening each other's gifts and gifts from Santa.

Pictures forthcoming. I apparently have adopted a practice of my mother's which is everything I get I try to put on my body. You'll see evidence of this shortly. Also, my brother walked into his room (where I went to hide and sleep at 7am when he wanted to put a fire in the fireplace in the living room...) handed me santa shorts and a hat and told me that I needed to wear these things.

The Beginning



Me with the addition of socks

Me with socks and tassle thing that Susan gave me (she says I'll understand it sooner or later...)

Rob and Susie (Mom needs a Christmas picture, no?) ...Adding red sweater, teal sweater around the neck...

Oy. Good times kids. Good times and GREAT new earrings!! Rob got me really pretty amethyst dangly earrings and my parents got me gorgeous pearls in Hong Kong earlier this year. My dad famously buys me great sweaters and did it again this year. My favorite presents I got other people are the wood circular holder/art piece I got Rob (I thought it would make a nice altar; he suggested fruit holder, which would be really pretty); got Susan a cool candle holder with lots of little mirrors which will be good for her winter solstice observation, a cool ornament that says "serenity is a moonlit garden" (she's a huge, wildly successful gardener) and "The Real Sex Kitten's Handbook" (she's cool like that ;); Mom a trip to Nordstrom to find a pair of earrings to replace some she lost in Idahoe at a wedding last summer; Dad and Rob "Freakonomics"; Dad a sweater Rob and I got him. I can't wait to have money and buy them plane tickets and stuff...one day :)

All in all, all good! Off to Hayward to Wildwood for another wild party!

24 December 2006

It Hath Arrived

Oh, what glorious days. We're up at the cabin in a flurry of activity: cooking, tree setting up, light hanging, music listening, sauce making, salmon smoking, oyster shucking, hot tub taking craziness. I prefer it, as you know, no other way.

This morning I woke up to my dad (Bob) summoning my brother (Rob) to come make us the pancakes he'd promised us the night before. "Pancake man! Where's the pancake man?" Then my mother joins in chorus...then I roll out of bed and want my damn pancakes, too. So, I join in. This, my friends, is what I consider fun.

Mom (Peggy/Margaret) enjoying said whole wheat pancakes; Pancake Man and Dad (bacon man) in the kitchen

The advent of my unemployment brought on the possibility of LOTS of time at the lake (a now mostly frozen lake). Christmas eve here with my folks, mom's sister, dad's brother and his wife, four of their five children, their partners and their children. We have kids, one a year from 14 to 3. Some of them aren't here this year, but the chaos is sure to ensue...Now they've all departed and I'm back with an update: it was a really really pleasant chaos. Last night we all went to dinner together and it kind of served as a rehearsal dinner. We all got to catch up a little, break the ice, remind the kids who I am, cause they really don't see me a lot at all. And today went really smoothly and was really, truly pleasant.

The dinner crowd: 13 adults and 7 kids under 15 years old in a photo I took...I cut off the people on the left (Dad and Michael...oops!)

We eat oyster stew, by my uncle Bill and tonight we had a romaine, spinach and strawberry salad. I don't eat either of these things (please don't tell Uncle Bill!). I eat APPETIZERS. Smoked salmon, shrimp cocktail (which my brother reminds me often the farming of which severly debilitates mangroves in South America), cocktail weiners and meatballs in BBQ sauce, crudites...I think that was it. But it's a LOT. Oh, and Summer Sausage and cheese...we are in Wisconsin after all.

OH! And oysters on the half shell. My cousin Bill(y) shucks them and...eats them :) HUGE Whitlock tradition here, folks. I had my first raw oyster when I was 12. I haven't had many since, but I hope to cultivate a taste for them someday.

Then for dessert, we eat homemade chocolate ice cream. Made by my gourmet dad...

My first cousin once removed, Ethan, son of Bill and Serena (Bill, who's my cuz) sampling the goods. The paddle stirs the chocolate (or strawberries or peaches or whatever Bob wants) and cream into a frozen piece of heaven.

Cleaning oyster shells out of the sink! Susie, cuz Bill, dad Bob, cuz Anne and brother Rob

What dinner really looked like...dim as the sun went down. The "icicle" holiday lights are up cause my mom likes them--actually, we all do.

And now, totally gratuitous cute child moment:

Rob and Reece; Reece with fire gloves on!

Reece with a mini billows (is that the right word? The thing to blow air on the fire for you).

Reece in BIGGER fire gloves giving his "I'm dead serious" look (which inevitably ends in a huge smile and cackle).

Reece totally hamming it up. He's carrying a log in the fire gloves. The gloves go above my dad's elbow and they CONSUME Reece. This child is HILARIOUS.

Reece two years ago at Wildwood.

We have two "gift games" we play with our larger family. The first, which we did tonight, is "self gifts". You buy yourself whatever you want, we all wrap it in the same paper (because my aunt Susan is like a magician with wrapping paper and it's a dead give away) and put the gifts in a pile. We pick numbers and start unwrapping. The fun part is that you have to guess who's bought what for themselves. Uncle Bill, a rain gague; Rob, a bike seat post; Peggy, a book of religious poems; Bob, a really nice chef's pan; Rob White, a plaid (surprise!) shirt; Anne, a table runner, etc. But we have to guess and it's a great window into a) what people want b) who people are. When you buy yourself something it's a great way to explain who you are to your family. It is ALWAYS a lot of fun, tonight was no exception.

Rob, Susie and Anne

Tomorrow night is "Dirty Santa". Everyone buys something under $15 (I splurged a little this year cause I found something I really liked), wraps it and after dinner tomorrow, we'll open them, orderly like. First person opens, then second. If the second person wants what the first person opened, they trade. You're only allowed to trade twice. It gets hilarious. Two years ago Bob Dylan's biography was the hottest ticket by far. Again, a great way to a) cut down on the number of gifts one must buy and b) see what people want.

Tomorrow morning is Santa's arrival with my immediate family, including my aunt Susan (for whom I am named). Then to Wildwood, which is my dad's brother's familys' lake place in Hayward. Then back here til Tuesday when I go to the dentist-back to the cabin Thurs through Sunday and down to Minneapolis for New Year's (probably, have to see what my brother wants to do).

Now, I'm listening to David Bryne, about to go to sleep on the couch upstairs (I was supposed to sleep downstairs but it's cold and I'm afraid of the mice that might be down there-so so lame). Being on the couch affords me a sleeping partner, though, who I don't get anywhere else. Orion. He's stretched across the Wisconsin winter sky, and there's nothing like stars. Especially the ones I've grown up with.

It all makes me think: today was such a great day. One of my most enjoyable family gatherings in years, it feels like. I connected with the kids in a way I haven't before, got to talk to some of my cousins who I haven't in a while...I know I have a home to come back to in Minnesota and as time goes on, I have a harder time thinking I may not come back. I love it here and I love my people here-I love my people everywhere, but my family here is so great.

Sophia "doing" my hair. Sophia is ten and in the fifth grade. One of the most fashionable ten year olds I know! She informed me my hair is "impossible to work with" and that I'm a "very bad client" because I wouldn't stop moving or stop talking! She's awesome.

The things it makes me think about: love, decisions I have to make and how I'm going to make them, the stars, the packed white snow. It makes me think of Ryan Robinson, Tom Johnstone. It makes me think of my grandfather; it makes me hope for better things for the world; the best things for my friends. It makes me remember how much I love living and how much I appreciate the blessings the universe has so so graciously showered me with. I feel so fortunate to feel such joy and fulfillment in my life.

I hope that your holy days are amazing, filled with family and provide room for you to relax, reflect and nurture yourself and the loves of your lives.

Happy Happy, Merry Merry.

And remember, Jesus is not the reason for the season ;)

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22 December 2006

Winter Solstice

Machu Picchu at winter solstice...just amazing

An email I sent out on Solstice...I forgot so many people. So I thought I'd post it :)

Happy Winter Solstice, my nearest and dearest!

Today, for those of us in the northern hemisphere, it is the shortest day and the longest night of the year. The precise moment of the 2006 solstice will be December 21, 2006 at 7:22 P.M. EST.

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune horoscopes:
Happy winter solstice, a celebration of the sun's journey into the domain of Capricorn. The weeks to come illuminate issues of status, follow chains of command and settle matters of respect. There's always hard, but honorable work to be done during the solar Capricorn transit.

More from Wikipedia:
Winter Solstice

And for what different cultures do to celebrate solstice, click here!

Gracita, Nicole, Ramiro y Delfina, This is my favorite in regards to you: When it's winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun is directly overhead at noon only along the Tropic of Capricorn, on which lie such places as Sao Paulo, Brazil, southern Madagascar, and areas north of Brisbane, Australia.

Enjoy the longest night and the shortest day. Enjoy the natural time for reflection and know that at least one person on this planet is thinking of you and wishing you well!

All my love,

20 December 2006

4 Days Away

18 December 2006

There's Something In The Air

I quit my job.

Things went down:
The past few weeks: I realized something was missing from this job
Monday: Went to a Planned Parenthood training on talking about abortion and the like. Was inspired.
Wednesday: Talked a lot with friends who encouraged my recent inspiration
Thursday: Put in notice; gave a month
Friday: Gave me an offer I could only refuse. Packed stuff, left work around 6:30.

This feels good. It's a little scary and surprising, but I had to do this for myself and my spirit. It's one of those things that I suspect each of you knows about: When you figure something life changing out, it's nearly impossible to wait around for a "good time" to do said action. It had to come out of my mouth. I couldn't hold it in, nor could I fake it. I'm not a good faker. If I was, I'd be an actress.

The offer they gave me for the next two weeks of work (which would consist of miserable NYE party ticket sales) would actually COST ME MORE than going to MN/WI for the holidays.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20). You have all the ingredients to invent a recipe for the lifestyle you've always wanted. So get cooking -- your life is calling. Sagittarius and Scorpio people are ideal kitchen assistants.

More later, bed now. xoxo

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13 December 2006

I Lost My Dress

A dress that doesn't quite fit for a James Bond party on Thursday
I found my lost deodorant
I'm finding myself
One day at a time
I always know I'm lucky
I love telling (my version) of my parents' story

I don't know if it's poetry
But it's all me.

11 December 2006

My Evening Thus Far

My evening thus far has been almost perfect. Let me tell you a little about it. (I told my brother Rob that I couldn't tell him about it because I was afraid I'd lose my juice to write...so this had better be good. Rob , I'll call you back in a bit :)

So, I was at work. I had a great email exchange with a very new, very favorite, friend of mine and also a great IM conversation with my friend Jake in LA. In the midst of all of this, I broke it off with a guy who I've been seeing for about two and a half months. I was never inspired to introduce him to my friends or really even make time for him...Plus in the aftermath of spending time with people who I love, and by whom I feel loved, it was clear he was not going to make the cut. Nice guy; not for me. So, that was liberating.

I'd received an email from Planned Parenthood New York about a training they do about once a month called "Talking About Abortion and Other Tricky Things". I looked at it once a while back and glossed over it. They sent a reminder email and I decided I should go. I'm so glad I did. I was a half hour late because my work is...work and they were cool. I can't explain to you---well, I don't have to because I know you're each passionate people about many different things---what it's like to be doing something that means so much to me. I loved it. It was just a training for "we the people," you know, simple stuff. But it felt so good to be doing it. I should be an educator or a therapist. My job mismatches are getting silly.

In high school I was part of the inagural group of kids at Planned Parenthood Minnesota who comprised a program called Reach One Teach One. My fabulous and amazing high school counselor (who put more than her share of time into me-I can't even begin to tell you how much I appreciate her and love her) put me onto it and it probably shaped my life more than I give it credit for...I'm feeling inspired in a million different ways and it feels really damn amazing.

It's been a while.

Moving on: my plan after the training was go see Michelle Collins who writes for MTV's Best Week Ever and also maintains, perhaps the funniest blog on the internet, You Can't Make It Up. I didn't go because my aforementioned new friend decided to stay home and put together his cat's (the sweetest cat ever-Boots, don't get me wrong, you'll always be my number one; Pandora my number two) new liter box. A noble and necessary activity, even though it put me on the subway home a couple hours ahead of schedule. Which was probably ultimately good for me, too.

I waited momentarily (I have incredible subway luck) for the train and she rolled in like a monster, as per usual. I started to get on one car and heard a saxaphone playing and wasn't really in the mood, so went up to the next car. Big mistake. Apparently my luck with trains only goes so far. We were blessed with an amature preacher. Oy God. I was trying to wish the man's trap shut (I'll listen to people about God any day-he just wasn't polished enough for New York subways. We have great performers. Gotta clean that up.) when the sax from the former train came in.

Much to my unbridled glee, he was a silly sax player. He had antennae - gold paper circles affixed to two springy things coming from his hippie hat. He put his sax to his lips and blew. Shut the preacher right up. The whole train was in on the hilarity, no jeering or anything, just a classic New York moment (that's why I stay, right?). After a short number, our friendly sax player informed us that, "my spaceship has CRASHED. I'm gonna need some of your earthling currency to get the parts I need to fix my spaceship. And when I fix my spaceship, I'm going to go back to my galaxy. And take George Bush with me." To that he got a more-than-audible "Get that mother fucker out of here!" from yours truly (of course). And of course I gave him a dollar. I may have even qualified for "cheap" considering the glee he bequeathed.

And when you have a performance that good, you're going to get money from me. I don't care what I have to pay for when I get street-side. If you have a good show, deliver it well, I will pay you for your troubles. Because panhandeling, like everything else, is an art unto itself. I am honored and sometimes annoyed my their skill :) The concept of "the hook" I am grateful to Utah Phillips for. He's inspired more parts of my life than I can probably count (one of my favorite inspirations from him: constant fun). I highly recommend Fellow Workers and, especially, The Past Didn't Go Anywhere. Thanks to cousin Nate for giving me the latter for a birthday (I believe it was part of a group of things: a dragonfly rubber stamp; beatles postcard; socks maybe? all wrapped in a black garbage bag). Where would I be...without you and Rob?

When I got home Cassie and her dude Gwyther (The Gwyth) were cooking dinner--quiche and salad. YUM. I came home on a good night!

Now I'm a sleepy cat ready for her nap. In my new red sheets, from my mama's loving arms. I'm a lucky girl, and you can see, why I'm so damn glad to be a part of this wee world.

In keeping with an activity my mother suggests to me often, I'm going to go ahead and list 5 things I'm grateful for. So the universe, and you as active participants in it, know what I'm loving on right now. I make gratefulness a part of my daily practice. It makes my life so much better.

What The Sooz (yup, that's my 3rd person persona's name) is grateful for tonight:

1) A heathly family
2) My new red (pink? salmon?) sheets (no, not satin, Madonna)
3) Time to myself
4) Remembering my history, past and how I got where I am
5) Love
6) People who listen
7) Fun strangers
8) Strangers who become friends
9) Trust
10) Friendship
11) Airplanes

Crap. I see where this is going...shutting my travel-bug-ridden eyes. Wishing the best for you and yours. And thinking of you.

Alls the love in the world for everyone!

This post is dedicated to my one and only bro. You are the bomb!

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Mind Heart Soul

"Take away all my physical abilities, you cannot touch my mind, you cannot touch my heart, you cannot touch my soul and those three things are gonna carry on forever. I thank you and God bless you all."

From a friend's mix

10 December 2006

Gender, PostSecret

Sara, this reminds me of the conversation we had about gender while I was on the bus Friday night:

Dude #1: Mike's always talking about how he has no gag reflex.
Dude #2: Would you let him blow you?
Dude #1: Fuck no, I'm not gay!
Dude #2: Blow jobs don't have a gender.

--Prospect Park, Brooklyn

From one of my favorites: Overheard in New York. It's OK to laugh at the offensive ones. As long as you weren't the asshole who said it!

Also, do you all know about my other favorite Sunday site? PostSecret

Every Sunday Frank posts new secrets of folks just like you and me. I love reading them. They feed my voyuerism and inspire me. I love every little thing that reminds me that I am, and none of us are, alone. There are no archives, so you have to get to them between Sunday and Saturday! To send them in (from the site):

You are invited to anonymously contribute your secrets to PostSecret. Each secret can be a regret, hope, funny experience, unseen kindness, fantasy, belief, fear, betrayal, erotic desire, feeling, confession, or childhood humiliation. Reveal anything - as long as it is true and you have never shared it with anyone before.

Create your 4-by-6-inch postcards out of any mailable material. If you want to share two or more secrets, use multiple postcards. Put your complete secret and image on one side of the postcard.

Be brief - the fewer words used the better.
Be legible - use big, clear and bold lettering.
Be creative - let the postcard be your canvas.

Mail your secrets, or other correspondence, to:

13345 Copper Ridge Road
Germantown, Maryland
USA 20874-3454

Please consider sharing a follow-up story about how mailing in a secret, or reading someone else's, made a difference in your life. (I apologize in advance for being unable to reply.)

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08 December 2006


Phone broke
Walking in Manhattan is like driving anywhere else
baggage carousels
Whitlock stop on the 6 train
Brazil in September
DC this weekend (via bus for all my fancy friends who ask me "which airport are you flying out of?")
Pura vida!

06 December 2006

Women Who Speak

A few days ago I got a comment from a seemingly random person (who found my blog through a rare, common music interest: Milosh) and I read her blog and this passage is from her Manifesto entry:

"Last night I was smoking a cigarette outside of a bar. I was leaning against a 6-inch thick, waist-high pole with one foot up against it. A homeless man literally crept toward me. He was finally towering over me, so close that I could almost feel his pulse. I want to be a woman who will say, "Before I give you anything, IF I give you anything, please back up, you're too close to me." Instead I fumbled for anything I could give him [with the exception of money] in order that he be appeased. It ended up being a cigarette that I lit for him in his mouth. A stranger who had been inside the club yelled to me from about 15 feet away, "You all done smoking? You wanna go back inside?" I had to be rescued. That was weak of me. I want to be the woman who speaks. The woman who stands up. The woman who is brave. The woman who tells my old-fashioned 60-year-old co-worker, Thelma, that I am a lesbian when she begins to gay-bash. Who, when asked, "Do you have a boyfriend?" says, "No. I have a girlfriend.'"

Chapter, Chapter

I know what she's saying. Kind of the Ani DiFranco "open your face up and sing" thing. Say what you want, when you want and when people call you "rude" or a "bitch" f em. A motto both my mother and I espouse: Those who mind do not matter; those who matter do not mind.

I had a great "f em" experience a few short weeks ago. A tale I've regaled many folks with, my mother being the least appreciative; Michelle being the most proud!

I live in a less grentrified part of Brooklyn because a) I'm poor b) I'm not into the "hipster" thing. I was walking home from the subway around 10pm about five weeks ago now. I split off from the woman who was walking in front of me because, ironically, I didn't want to make her feel uncomfortable. I walked around the vast fenced in area of the local school and up a 1/4 street (supershort, hidden by trees from Metropolitan and Roebling). I felt someone walking behind me, but I thought it was a woman, so it only half crossed my mind. All of the sudden I saw someone lunge in the shadows and I felt someone trying to rip my purse away from me. Without thinking, I ripped my bag back into my clear possession, and I screamed, "WHAT IN THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING? GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME!" I was in shock, he, apparently, was too, cause he spun and ran. Which he should have because I was PISSED.

Christina, my point is this: speaking up is a learned behavior. Practice makes perfect and soon you'll be yelling and people and wondering where in the fuck it came from. I can't wait to be 75 and saying (yelling?) exactly what I want when I want. Believe it or not, this is me, still restrained! I know you have it in you. We all do.

Thanks to Cole for introducing me to Hothead. Thanks to Hothead and Dianne DeMassa for being a one stop anger management class.

We are not prey. We choose what, and who, we are every moment of every day. Make a choice of which you are proud.

04 December 2006

Land of Sunless Wind Tunnels

I moved to New York two years ago after working on the Kerry campaign. We lost, my "boyfriend" at the time suggested I "hang out" for a while and see New York. Rich is a pretty dead serious guy and he advised me to watch the PBS 14 hour documentary on New York City. Now, I appreciate his interest in my edification about my new city (especially since I never planned nor aspired to live here), but I could only ever make it through one hour of the two hour episodes before I fell asleep like a little baby.

I learned a lot and I think of the documentary often when I'm walking through the city. Things like the original name for Manhattan: Mannahatta; where the sale and purchase of the island was made; the wonders and miracle of Central park and the grid city plan above 14th St. Then there's Boss Tweed, Cooper Union and all the other political history that's given structure to the national political landscape (especially Abe Lincoln's speech at Cooper Union, coming in as an unknown) as well as the continued corrupt political landscape of New York politics...

When plans for Manhattan were being discussed, there was one insightful soul who said that the proposed sky scrapers would make this land one of sunless wind tunnels. And that's my entire point. By 2pm the sun only hits the tops of 10 story buildings and the windchill going east is sometimes different than the windchill going north.

It begs the question: why do 8 million people stay? My only answer is that it's because it's a sunless wind tunnel.

Makes a TON of sense, right?