Sunday, October 10, 2010

Love (supposedly) happens.

I just watched a film tonight on a whim. It was called “Love Happens.” It was a good film in that it had a depth I didn’t expect and wasn’t the rote Hollywood love story. For me however, what was glaringly obvious was that in my life love doesn’t seem to happen.

In the end, what I saw was the lack of it in my life. In the past I have idly wondered about how people have love more than once in their lives. At the conclusion of this film I felt the frustration of the main character experiencing the potential for real love a second time while I can only long for it just once.

It’s hard not to think how much I must lack as a person to not ever have been very near it. Mostly, though, at the moment I feel envy for those who find it so easily. I even envy the potential pain – because I know that it is only possible to experience deep love if you risk greatly.

Perhaps that is the problem. I know the risk it takes. Therefore in the past when I’ve decided to trust, I dove in the deep end with an open, vulnerable heart – expectant and ready. Finding out after all that talk of oceans that they didn’t know how to swim, or at most only wanted ankle deep waters, made it hard to want to keep climbing that ladder to the high dive board.

But I would again. If someone would talk of oceans once more. It seems they no longer do. Not to me.

So do I see this as a reflection of how unworthy I am? Do I just keep moving forward, pretending-until-I-believe that life without love is still great? Do I give up the biggest portion of who I am to be someone who is more accessible in order to have it? Or do I keep hoping that someone I can be crazy about will cross my path who will love me – as I am? Because honestly, hope is exhausting, and quite frankly, after nearly 42 years, unfulfilling.

I know, I know – I’m not being very positive. I’m sure I’ll find that place of graceful patience again. But for tonight I’m childishly covetous of you who have love and am generally discontented with my life lived thus far without it. Just for tonight, while still trusting the journey, knowing love happens is a horrible reality rather than a wondrous possibility.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Timing is everything.

Hope. That’s what this is. I’d forgotten. Or at least, I’d forgotten the pleasant side of it. This last month, being out of touch, I have been discovering hope again… in the strangest of ways.

I suppose it had been building for a while, leading me to this place of feeling again. Then I had a couple weeks where suddenly I was feeling all the pain of the traumas of the last five years – all at once. It was nearly unbearable, but I knew that if I could feel this pain, if I could find a way to walk along with it, then I could again feel love and have passion and find… hope. I just didn’t want to be numb anymore, but until then didn’t have the tools – the pain and heartbreak – to be free of the anesthesia.

The thing about pain is that without feeling it we can’t feel anything. Not really. Certainly not deeply. Overwhelmed, I had flipped that switch to “off” in order to deal with the fallout of various extreme situations that I was bombarded with in rapid succession. However, by the time I wanted it turned on, I couldn’t reach it. I was so far from it wandering in that darkness, I couldn't even see it.

When I then all these years later unexpectedly backed into it, I was blinded by the light. It was incapacitating to experience so much emotional pain all at once. Now my heart has adjusted. (I’m so grateful.) And I find I have passion again… so much of it! Yet, now it it tempered with wisdom and experience, so it is a fuller and a more beautiful sort of passion.

I’m not saying everything’s perfect, and frankly I hope I never will say so – how boring that would be! I am saying I feel [internally] prepared for what may come. More, I am moving toward it with anticipation while still endeavoring to be present even in these duller moments.

As this hope builds, and more specifically as I complete my few remaining (time consuming) projects, I will be much more consistent with my blog entries… and I would imagine they will be getting more interesting as I enter into the flow of, well, my destiny.

Here’s hoping…

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What I found.

Over the last weeks while researching other things I've come across some pictures that made me laugh at...
the whimsy
the ironythe sweetness
the perpexity
the hilarity

...of life and us in it. Hope you laugh today!

Monday, August 16, 2010

The way here.

I’ve been going through a bit of a transformation lately. It’s been a few years in the process, but the chrysalis is opening, and the view is great!

I think the most recent revelation in this evolution has been in finding that I’m sincerely content to be where I am while at the same time looking forward to all the years yet to come. I’m actually excited for 50, though not wanting to miss a second of all the years in between.

This is in contrast to how I was living. Internally I felt that there just wasn’t time – everything had to be rushed and was eminent because life was in fast forward. While I always was one to “suck the marrow” from life, this frenetic, whirlwind living I think really started after September 11th. Time froze while at the same time I felt like it went into overdrive. I never got out of that gear – not really. Not internally. I was almost in a panic to do and see all that for which I hoped and planned. I knew my mortality and was putting all sorts of energy into racing against it.

Suddenly, though, I feel like I have time. I’m resting in knowing me; knowing I accomplish what I set out to do, so it will happen. In the mean time, I’m here. That’s kind of great. My mortality hasn’t changed, just my perspective on how to be with it.

There’s another level to this, too. It’s the whole thing about feeling and looking (and acting!) younger than I am... This has always been a fantastic thing in my book. (What woman doesn’t want to frequently be taken for 10 years younger than she is??) Now, however, I’m really quite proud and grateful to be my age. Because it took to here to be so grounded and solid in who I am. No thoughts of what others think or how my family might react. My perspectives and beliefs won’t be altered by other’s judgments... no matter how much I might love them.

Considering my world view is so far from my entire, very large and well loved, extended family as well as the community I was so vigorously involved in for my first 35 years of life – the only community I’ve known, in fact - that is an extreme statement. Their disagreements and judgments on my Weltanschauung won’t cause me to waiver from it. If I am very blessed, they might one day understand I haven’t left my faith – only expanded it. But I can’t concern myself with the reactions of others, positively or negatively, when it comes to this subject. I embrace and accept others where they are at... I don’t ask them to do it/think it/feel it my way. I try to meet them where they are at and hopefully I will grow by embracing and understanding them.

Now, to looking young... sure, it gets me in more places and gives me access to more people who wouldn’t normally talk to (or date!) someone my actual age, but I love what those extra years have brought me. Suffering.

Because it’s only when you come out on the other side of deep pain and loss, that engulfing kind of brokenness, that you know your true strength. You know how deep your courage runs. Your footing there is solid and unwavering. You know yourself utterly. And can rest in that.

When you get there, to that place of peace with the ever-present pain, you will find real joy and passion again (likely in fits and starts, but you will find it). In fact, it will be richer because of the freedom taming such a ferocious beast brings. You will be full.

What a miraculous place to be. Hooray for aging!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What they mean.

Words. I never realized how much I prize them. The look of them; the sound of them. Where they come from; how they came to be. Why they mean what they do. I love words.

Specific words. Elegance. Passion. Art. They hold pictures. Home. Family. Friends. They hold emotion. Adventure. Faith. Live. They hold hope. Explore. Connect. Create. They hold my soul. Love. It holds everything.

Even in my art, words are vital. I love having them around me. To look at. To consider. To embrace.

I guess this demonstrates what I value. A story. How it is told. The words it uses. A person. How she describes herself. What I see in her. What it communicated. And faith. Sharing hope, asking for help, expressing gratitude… all in words.

Perhaps because I am physically separate from all of my friends and most of my family, the depth of meaning that words take on is even greater when a hug cannot be had or a laugh cannot be heard. A word can be felt. They have texture. I feel them.

Verve. Vivacity. Vivid. They are favorites, and hopefully me.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Where we love.

My wonderful friend Courtney is getting married today to the love of her life, Rebecca. In the world I come from, this would not be okay… but I don’t think it’s okay that when two people find that rarest and most illusive of things, deep and abiding love, that anyone would ever take issue with their union. That they have to go out of state to legally make this bond is very sad, indeed. I am acutely grateful they have such grace as to embrace this forced journey rather than begrudge it.

I have had few friends in the course of my life who have given to me as much as Courtney has over the last few years. She has been a light. She has supported me in so many, and to me, miraculous, ways. In short, she has been a friend. But in truth, she has become a sister.

We have shared so much with each other during this time, but what was so beautiful to me as I got to know her was HOW she and Rebecca loved each other. It is protective and gentle, yet fierce and vibrant. It is both tactile and cerebral. It is comfortable and natural, yet intense and passionate. But most of all, it is true and enduring.

I am so thrilled that today they join together in this way; that they commit to each other openly and lastingly. How magnificent!

Deep joy, great peace, and lasting hope I wish for you both as you begin your journey together... you already have abiding love.

With all my heart.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ten on Tuesday.

It's been a while since I've done one of these. I sort of morphed questions from a couple different entries on the "official" list site into this one list because a lot of times the questions just didn't apply to me. Hope you enjoy this "get to know me" post - and I'd love to know the answers some of you all have to these as well!

1. What is your favorite summer television show?

Probably Psych. It never fails to make me laugh – usually hard. But after the last episode, Memphis Beat has caught my attention in a big way. Though not a comedy per se, I’m STILL laughing at parts of that one! And it has great music, too.

2. If it was raining so hard on a Saturday that you couldn’t leave your house, what would you spend the day doing?

It would never rain so hard that I couldn’t go play in it! (I’d jump in puddles, go for a run, maybe even go sliding in the mud, or simply taste it on my tongue. And yes, I've been out in a hurricane.) But my favorite thing to do after coming in from playing in it is to cozy up with a good book, a cup of cocoa or a really exquisite tea (depending on the book), and if I’m lucky a fire... and listen to the tattoo of the rain while I sink deeper into the comfy chair. (I neither have a comfy chair nor a working fireplace, so this really would be an indulgence!)

3. What was your favorite candy as a child?

I don’t remember, but I’m pretty certain it involved chocolate. Oddly, I remember my brother’s favorites, though. Oh! But my favorite thing to get with my “treat ticket” at the “snack shack” after a little league game was Chick-o-Stick. Soooooo fantastic!

4. Did you get an allowance? What was it based on? What did you do with it?

You know, I must have, but I honestly don’t remember it lasting long. I always had chores and responsibilities, though.

5. What is your favorite flower?

Peonies. Vibrant, sassy-yet-elegant, delightful, diverse... guess that sums me up as much as the flower!

6. Do you prefer time with family or time with friends?

Hmm. Most of my friends are very far away, so I covet that opportunity to spend time with them. I have a fantastic family with whom I love to hang out, but lately I’ve realized I’m not really that “in sync” with most of them both philosophically and because so many of them are married with families, so time with them is still good, but not what it was.

7. Looney Tunes, Tiny Toons, or Animaniacs?

Animaniacs – a gazillion percent. Enjoy all the original Looney Tunes, but never ever liked Tiny Toons.

8. Best daytime talk show: Oprah, Ellen, The Doctors, Tyra (ha!), Dr. Oz, or Dr. Phil?

I’ve never seen any save the first two, and of those I’d choose Ellen for sure... but honestly if I’m watching TV in the daytime for whatever reason, I’d rather watch a rerun or something I’ve tivoed or a video. Oh! Or Craig Ferguson on the computer! But Ellen is great, I must say.

9. Would you rather have the power of invisibility or the ability to fly?

Well if I were really to choose a superpower, it’d be teleportation... but of these two, I’d choose flying, hands down. The only thing being invisible is good for, it seems to me, is stealing things... or prank scaring people.

10. Name 1 thing you love about being an adult.

The experience gained. The ability to be so solid in who I am. To know what I know and what I don’t know without being embarrassed or intimidated by either. To be comfortable in my skin and content in the journey. That’s more than one. Sorry. Okay – the experience gained (and the perspective that gives).

Monday, August 9, 2010

Psyched out.

My last installment of USA Network original shows is most certainly not the least. Psych is in the midst of it’s fifth season and is going strong. It is a different breed from all the other shows I’ve talked about, more akin to Monk… but sillier. And funnier.

Shawn is a guy who was trained all his life by his cop dad to notice details, quizzed incessantly during his childhood, he was groomed to be a detective. Gus was his uptight best friend. But Shawn was too much of a screw off (likely because of his dad’s zealousness) and didn’t go the cop route. But with his skills he could solve crimes. One day he got blamed because he knew too much when he called in a tip, so thinking fast, he claimed to be psychic. Then he went and spent Gus’ money to create Psych Detective Agency.

Shawn and Gus are at the heart of the humor. There have been episodes where I couldn’t breathe for laughing so hard – where I had to go back and watch again because I missed what came next, but before I got there I was again laughing too hard and missed it again. The humor is a lot about pop culture, some about 80’s references since that was their childhood, and then just their general bizarre-best-friends humor. Admittedly there are times when I cringe for their being too ridiculous, but mostly I just laugh. Hard.

Their relationship, though, is something to behold. Dulé Hill (from West Wing) plays Gus, and he is the yang to James Roday’s slacker Shawn. It’s this ongoing battle with an intense bond going back years. The struggle and the tension meshed with the history and the camaraderie is what really makes this show work.

Corbin Bernsen (from L.A. Law) plays Shawn’s dad who often begrudgingly or unknowingly helps, when that’s the last thing he wants to do because he thinks his son is not taking anything seriously in life, etc. The detectives that regularly (have to) work alongside Shawn and Gus (as they have been contracted to work cases with the police) are hilarious, too.

There is so much about this show that is right. When the show The Mentalist stole the premise but made it more “legitimate” as a drama instead of a comedy, the characters of Psych even poked fun at it. This season they’ve even been poking fun at themselves; at how they have Shawn figure things out. I love it!

I’ve debated sharing one of my favorite scenes ever, but I don’t know how it would work without a little background of the characters and the start of that episode… you just can’t get how off-the-wall funny it is without having the scene set.So I’ll settle for this quote from a recent episode:

(Detective) Juliet: Who ever said work was supposed to be fun?

Shawn: Ron Jeremy for starters… but that’s beside the point.

It was just in the middle of nothing, and plenty of fine, upstanding folks won’t get it… but it slayed me.

If ever there was a show for ridiculous fun, it’s this one. If you’ve never tried it, give it a chance. It might be too low-brow for you, but you might just love it.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Looking good.

I discovered this amazing program when organizing my eBooks. It’s called Calibre. It’s free and amazingly works with all eReaders, including Kindle from what I understand. (So if you have one, you should check it out!)

It does all sorts of things, including converting files into whatever is best for your eReader. But most of all, it organizes… so therefore I’m in love with it. It’s like iTunes for books – only better!

One of the features it has is a book cover scroll through option, like album art in the afore mentioned iTunes. I really had a lot of fun when setting up my library choosing the coolest covers to use. I thought I’d show you some of the best.

I think this cover makes the book look
far more interesting that I understand it is.
Covers from the 1950's & 60's tell such great stories on their own.

I love everything about this. It's evoking.
It's at once vintage and modern - my favorite combination.

I wanted to read this before, but now
I'm dying to know what it's about!

This is very much my style.
I can't explain why except to say at once it is
simplistic and visually impacting. It holds emotion.

Oh my gosh! Completely irresistible!

Come on - this just interests me.
Fascinated to know how this cool art
relates to the story.

There is a whole set of these super-cool covers.
It was hard to select just one.

So graphic, it expresses so much...

This one is actually a picture of the book
with a reflection of the Guinness sign at a pub
in Ireland (author is Irish) - fabulous!

This was an early cover which is
apparently much sought after...
with good reason in my opinion.

It was really hard to keep it to only ten, I found so many interesting ones. Love to hear what you think of them!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

On a role.

In honor of my brother’s birthday (because he’s a fan), I’m talking about Burn Notice today.

Burn Notice has been around a few seasons so you may have caught an episode here or there. It was the first of these clean, fun shows with characters that are relatable because they grow and have emotional depth.

This one is about a spy, Michael Weston, who was wrongfully kicked out (burned) and is trying to make it right. To make money he works different jobs helping people in the kind of trouble the police can’t help with. There’s lots of explosions and cool “jobs” in this one. I love how with voiceovers they sort of explain the MacGyver way of getting it done as a spy, often with a touch of humor.

The show is clever in many ways, not the least of which is how they keep the audience coming back when Michael never actually gets what he most wants – to be back in. But the relationships he builds, often begrudgingly because he wants to be back out there again without ties, really makes this show something special.

For instance, they convey serious depth in the relationship with his mom who is played by Sharon Gless of “Cagney and Lacey” fame. There are so many nuances and adjustments on both sides – honestly it’s phenomenal writing as well as acting when it comes to their relationship and the perils it’s fraught with, yet how much they both fight for it.

Another great element relationally are his two “sidekicks.” First, Sam, an ex-spy who once turned on him has now become the person he can really rely on to get his back. He’s a lot of fun, but no less complex than the rest. And Fiona, an Irish ex-girlfriend who was a bomb maker and general roustabout for the IRA. Somehow with that resume, she still has a heart. They are ever in this love-hate struggle, and it is always engrossing. But she and Sam are his crew, the two people he can count on… his best friend and his girlfriend.

I’ve watched this in fits and spurts in recent seasons because it was too much into the jobs for the people in need and what compels me to keep watching is these relationships, but in the end I always get caught up. Because it’s worth it. And because it’s something other than hockey to talk to my brother about.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Reading revolution.

For some time I was contemplating, then researching like mad, the potential purchase of an eBook reader. Two weeks ago I finally did do so… and it wasn’t a Kindle.

I always thought I’d just never get into having a digital reader. I mean, I adore my personal (and quite large) library of books. It’s always been a dream to have a room in my home designated strictly for books and reading. (One day…)

However, as I continued to prepare for moving abroad I kept looking at my bulging shelves of to-read books puzzling over how to manage accessing them once there. Do I re-purchase? Do I ship – there and back? Because books are such an important part of my life, it was a frustrating dilemma.

Somewhere in the midst of that quandary, a digital book reader started to seem like a good option because even if I had to repurchase a book, it would likely be cheaper this way. When considering it a few years ago, it wouldn’t have been an affordable option, but now it seemed it might be.

So, as is my way, I looked into every kind of reader I could discover. I read up on each of them, finding the benefits and disadvantages of each. What I realized was it really is about your personal needs and likes.

I purchased a beautiful Sony Touch eReader. It’s gorgeous. And red. :D (No, being red is not why I got it, but it definitely tilted me in it’s favor!) For me this was ideal. The biggest selling point was that I can underline and write in the margins of each book, which is my common practice, even in novels. But further, it’s fantastic to turn the page with my finger sliding across the screen as it makes it somehow feel more like a real book.

The Kindle wasn’t at all ideal for two reasons beyond not having the options I just mentioned. First, in Europe where I'm planning to move, and elsewhere in the world, to download directly to the device without a computer costs considerably more. And I don’t mind using my computer anyway. Second, and much more vitally, because of Amazon’s proprietary system, you can’t download other forms of eBooks. There are hundreds of thousands of free books on Google Books that the Kindle doesn’t provide access to. To some that wouldn’t much matter, but I enjoy the classics and the majority of them are, in fact, in the public domain and therefore free.

There are other fun features that caused the eReader to outshine the others for me, including the ability to group books in collections, but I think I’ve gushed enough. I will say, when comparing it to a Kindle side-by-side today, the only thing the Kindle seems to score higher on is that it’s screen is ever-so-slightly less glary. I’ve a feeling that has to do with the eReader being a touch screen, because Sony has been making these devices far longer (and is an electronics company rather than a book seller as well) and is therefore quite a bit farther along in perfecting and debugging. Besides, the shine factor really wasn’t such a significant difference and the eReader wins, in my opinion, in every other way.

So for my lifestyle and future plans, the scales just about fell on top of my beloved Sony Touch eReader! As a side note, it’s really kind of great to think about how green this option is. Oh, plus it was on sale!

I never knew how powerful it would feel to carry around a library with me. I swear to you, it’s absurd I know, but I am nearing 800 books – all free one way or another - on the device (in my defense, three authors take up about a third of that number)… and I love that at any time I can access any one of them. Oh, and I’ve been able to find over half of the titles on my shelves for free as well, so I’m overjoyed!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Back in the game.

Wow! How did I get so far behind??

Next on the list of USA Network original shows is Royal Pains. The premise behind it is a top ER doctor from New York was wrongly blamed for a patient's death and lost his job. This led to him loosing his fiancée and his home. Enter his his little brother who takes him to the Hamptons, drags him to a party, and as a result he becomes a concierge doctor for the ultra-rich.

The background out of the way, the characters in the show are a lot of fun. I’ve always liked the lead actor Mark Feuerstein, but honestly, though good, he doesn’t keep me watching. It’s his character Hank's little brother Evan who keeps me coming back. Evan is one of those people who drives you nuts, yet you find yourself in his corner time and again. He’s endearing, sometimes hilarious, and often frustrating. But the fact that his character grows and evolves is, yet again, what makes this show worth watching.

I also find it refreshing to have a talented actress who is Indian playing the clever, compassionate physician’s assistant Divya. Not the most common casting. She is another character worth watching as she banters and manages her way through working with brothers.

I must mention that this show has some well know actors guesting, like Henry Winkler playing the brother's father, Campbell Scott is the patron, then also Andrew McCarthy and Marcia Gay Harden have each been in it a few times. It's always interesting to see faces you know (and for me in the case of Campbell Scott to see a face I love!) bring something fresh to an enjoyable show.

Again, though, what sets the show apart is how the characters have to deal with, well, life. They live and work in a kind of wonderland, but they have to face normal everyday life issues. Most of all, they have to face themselves, their past, and family. Yet somehow the show is still light and fun and worth relaxing to.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Three in a row.

Let’s not stop the writing trend now… more tv talk. Can you cope?

Covert Affairs is a new show with only the pilot and an episode under it’s wing, but it looks promising. A new, very green, spy is brought early from “the farm” to the agency. She is lead to believe it’s because of her linguistic abilities, but what she doesn’t know…

This is another original show by the USA Network that focuses on relationships and how to deal with them while extraordinary circumstances are happening all around. Piper Perabo, another favorite of mine, is the lead role. She lives in the cottage behind her sister’s house, and her family doesn’t know what she does (they think she works at the Smithsonian). Her relationship with them looks to be one of the things she struggles to balance as she moves forward in this new career.

But how she got to this point was a broken heart. And this broken heart turns out to be important because the man she loved was something more than what she thought. She doesn’t know this yet, but it is why she jumped the line, so to speak. With only two episodes aired, the reason behind why the agency wants her ex-boyfriend has not yet been exposed. However, she caught a glimpse of him when he saved her life, and now the wounds are open again.

Without the life-saving and the spy stuff, how many of us get that? A glimpse at someone who reminds us of the one who hurt us and the floodgates of questions and emotions arise. She can’t share this, and we usually know better after we’ve zapped our friends’ patience with it all enough times. But we still ache.

Beyond that, dealing with a new job, feeling a bit behind because training wasn’t quite complete, building friendships in the workplace… all normal stuff we face. The extreme nature of her job is obviously the part where we let go of our selves as we watch, but in the various relationships and working out the kinks of a new job, we connect. So far I’m having fun with this one. It's real life, but with the adrenaline rush (and calamity) of a spy adventure.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Try, try again.

As the writer's block continues, so to do the posts about television shows...

The background of the USA Network show White Collar is that of an art thief caught by and FBI agent who, because of a girl, escaped with just 4 months left on his sentence, essentially doubling his initial sentence when the same agent caught up with him. I like that start. I like that the art thief will do something utterly absurd for love. Okay and,as an artist and an ardent art admirer, I like that he cleverly steals art (this, by the way, is not what he was convicted of).

The premise of the show is that to work off his now extended sentence, the thief ends up assigned to help the very agent that caught him in order to solve other high end white collar crimes – while wearing an ankle tracker with a two mile radius, of course. But then, two miles in Manhattan can take you pretty far!

I really like the interplay between the agent and the thief as they try to find a trust level and become friends. Actually, with all the tugging of loyalties and complications of life, they end up trusting each other more than anyone else (save the agent’s wife) as they form a deep friendship. The the testing of this friendship, and the solving the mystery of the disappearing girlfriend, really drives this series. I enjoy the humor and the jobs the thief does “in the line of duty.”

It’s a fun show, but the key is (again) the depth of the characters. Of course the premise of the show is far-fetched, and the scenarios therefore aren’t exactly every day occurrences (which is why they are so fun), but with great characters stretching themselves a little at a time for the sake of friendship, growing along the way, and grappling to find trust through it all, we the audience find our connection - and have an adventure along the way.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

It's a start.

So since I have writer’s block, what with all the trauma that has been stirred up and me being sick AND having (family) company, I thought I’d write about television shows. Specifically, those on the USA Network. Yes, it's called avoidance.

I’m a fan of most of their original programs. Some I enjoy more than others, but they all have interesting relationships with emotional depth, regardless of the premise of the show. I like that they have some intensity yet are funny, and basically “clean.” Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind shows with some smut now and then or some cussing, provided they have a good story and involving characters and relationships, but in this case it’s nice to just sit down and know you won’t be bludgeoned with all that extraneous stuff.

The original series are: In Plain Sight, White Collar, Covert Affairs, Royal Pains, Burn Notice, and Psych. I chose to end the list with Psych because it is a show in it’s own category. The others follow a similar rhythm, even if they are wildly different in subject and style. Psych, however, is something wholly separate, and for me all the more fabulous for it.

But today I want to start with In Plain Sight. Mary McCormack (love her!) plays the lead character of Mary Shannon, a tough, hard-as-nails federal marshal who has had to basically provide and care for her sister and mother for many years, having to be the adult when the adults didn’t step up. Her job is in many ways her salvation, helping to keep people in witness protection safe. This is in large part because of her dishy partner Marshall Mann (yes, that’s Marshal Marshall Mann), played by Frederick Weller, who is her best friend and counterpoint, being more sensitive and compassionate.

The thing about Mary is that in all that cynicism and snarkiness, which is quite funny for the most part, she has a good heart. Marshall helps bring that out and reminds her that that’s okay now and then. The two of them together are a classic duo, though. There are lots of layers to their relationship, but it’s the kind of friendship that we’d all like to have… the kind with a knowing beyond words.

There is a lot of depth of character and the dynamics of the relationships are not easy and are very real. In this way the show rarely feels contrived, because no matter how silly some of the scenarios might be to real life, the characters are real. They are us. They deal with crap in their lives, with difficult-nearing-impossible family relationships, with messing up in romantic relationships, with getting things all wrong and still wanting to be justified, with having to admit they are wrong and trying to mend things. This is why I love this show, and why the shows on this network all appeal to me.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The separation.

Someone told me today how courageous I am. I had never thought of my decisions and actions recently as courageous until they said that.

I am a journeyer. In that, I see things differently than most. So, in the course of my experiencing God from the Christian perspective I was raised in and personally embraced, I continued the journey and found myself experiencing God beyond the limited ways and practices that are the habits of the church.

This is an amazing and exciting path. However, it is also very lonely. You see, in embracing the Sacred Mystery (God with open eyes) I effectively broke my deep bonds with the community I have always been a part of as well as with my entire family. So suddenly instead of walking alone but still solidly belonging, I walk alone because I am alone.

This is where courage was seen. In this act. It is not easy to be so disconnected. I am a person who thrives on and craves connections. It is so deeply ingrained in my being that it feels like it’s what I’m made for – to connect with others. The growth and understanding that comes from this is rich and true, but the love that exists in that acceptance is magnificent.

I seek connections where I can, but just right now, with the exception of a few (amazing) online girlfriends, I am so very alone. There is no going back now that I’ve reached higher and farther in faith than a box of religion will allow, but do I have the strength within me to continue to be courageous… and alone?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

What happened.

Have you ever been so down that you just can’t seem to function? In that place, even breathing is hard. I’ve been there lately.

This explains the downfall in posts, obviously. It’s hard to find a point of interest in your life when most things make you cry. I’m not vying for sympathy, but trying to explain how frustrating it can be.

Yes, there were catalysts to this level of stress, and there were a lot more things that were waiting to surface as well. So when the current difficulties occurred, the latent pain broke free of it’s container. This is a good thing in the long run if I can face it all, but everything at once is overwhelming.

So I apologize for my lack here on this blog, and I hope that you will stick with me. I’m working on moving forward, and this includes sharing my interests and opinions, as well as my heart here. Just scrounging for some hope. Thanks for understanding.

Monday, June 21, 2010


My computer had a freak out recently and left me all alone. No communication with friends, no sharing my thoughts, feelings, and opinions with you, no downloaded TV shows, no DVDs, not even mahjong or spider solitaire! Oh yes, and no online business or knowing where and how to get to my next agency job!

Usually when I disconnect for a time, it’s a wonderful reconnection with aspects of the world with which I was less engaged while computing. However, in this case it wasn’t at all like that. Because it wasn’t by choice, I was rather lost.

Is this dependence a good or a bad thing? Should I be appalled or pleased? I do have a ridiculous sort of love for this luscious laptop of mine. Possibly because I designed it’s specs myself… or perhaps because it’s red. ;)

Likely, though, most of all it’s because when I open it, I’m inviting in my friends. Sure there is a whole cyber universe to explore, but most of all it has given me, and kept me connected with, the most precious people in my life.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

How we met.

My good friend Elizabeth is taking part in an month long event celebrating Jane Austen. In honor of this event she asked if I would do a guest blog post for her outstanding blog Strange & Random Happenstance. I was thrilled and took the figurative pen in hand.

The whole process got me to thinking about friendship. I mean, they are so very vital to our lives. Jane Austen shows us this in her wonderful novels. Whether family or neighbors, friendships are at the heart of her stories. And, too, they are so very essential to having a good and happy life.

What I was thinking, though, was how Elizabeth and I connected. It’s so odd, and really rather wondrous, how these things can happen. It started, I suppose, because we both watched and liked a TV show called Gilmore Girls, but more specifically because we love reading. On a book and reading website called goodreads, we both were taking part in a group on the site called The Rory Gilmore Book Club. But stranger still, it wasn’t until a conversation or three about the 10th Doctor Who that we connected.

What’s amazing is how deeply we connected and in so many ways. How fantastic to make such a great friend in such an unusual and roundabout way! To be fair, I suppose it’s not all that unusual since this actually happened to me with one other person from that group on that site… Yet still, these two ladies are two of the most wonderful people I know!

As to Jane Austen, well, I encourage any one that hasn’t done to read one of her books straightaway. You won’t be disappointed! And who knows, maybe you’ll find a friend or two along the way.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Catching the fever.

Having lived abroad, I can honestly say there is nothing like the frenzied love of the sport we call “soccer,” but for which I will side with the rest of the world and call “football” from here on out. With the World Cup beginning today, I’m like a kid in a candy store with free samples – amped up and crazy excited!

When I was young, I played the sport for some time. Somewhere in the midst of all that, and while attending a San Jose Earthquakes game in which George Best played, I met the legendary Pelé. This man was something beyond the sport. He was exceptional, exciting, astounding to watch play, yet as a person he was kind, patient, and loved fun. And to him, that’s what it was all about, this sport of football: FUN. As a result he exuded exuberant joy even just kicking about.

When the World Cup was played here in California, there was a buzz everywhere. You didn’t even have to know or like the sport to get caught up in the excitement of this world event. In preparing to make the world at home, different towns and cities “adopted” the various countries participating. The players from and fans of those teams would celebrate and hang out in their country’s town. My home town of Los Gatos adopted Brazil who became the champions that year. That was some intense revelry! I’d say it was not to be forgotten, but I’m pretty sure that many did just that the next day…

However, it wasn’t until I lived in Italy that I UNDERSTOOD. This game played in about any other country in the world (excepting perhaps Asia) is not a game. Not really. The intensity, the passion is beyond what an American can comprehend. Imagine taking our love for American football, basketball, baseball, and hockey and polarizing them all into one sport. Add to this fervor a regional pride like you’ve never seen here with rivalries going back centuries starting with skirmishes long forgotten. Then times this by ten, and you might begin to get the feeling with which this sport is followed and played worldwide.

It’s a lifestyle one follows there. In Italy, where I have first hand knowledge of the fierceness of their club rivalries and the riots that occasionally ensue, they even have a name for their national team – Gli Azzurri. When Gli Azzurri are playing, it doesn’t matter if the man next to you in the pub is a fan of one’s fiercest club rival, the frenzy and vigor of their love for their national team is so extreme that they are embracing and kissing cheeks in their extravagant joy or defending one another’s opinions when the team is not performing as expected.

It’s a crazy, wonderful, strange, and magnificent thing, this rapture for the exhilarating sport of football. I hope a few of you will catch it!

USA versus England on Saturday – the expedition begins!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Like father like son.

I just now saw a lead in for a segment on a news show about a seven year old being taught to hate… they showed him holding a sign saying, “God hates fags.” The clip included the interviewer asking the parents the question, “What if he grows up and doesn’t agree with everything [you believe] anymore?” He’d be bounced out of the family – “that’s the Lord.”

After a moment of this sinking into not just my psyche but also my spirit, I wept. I wept deeply.

What this family is doing is horrifying on multiple levels. Employing a merciful and forgiving God (who IS love) to wield and spew hate is appalling and grievous. To indoctrinate their children into this hate-filled perspective is shocking and frightening. To believe one is righteous whilst judging others is above all angering and embittering.

I wanted to scream, yet could only weep. I wept for those whom with words they were wounding; I wept for their children who will have a difficult time of ever finding their own way and who might never know what unconditional love is like; I wept for how they were condemning themselves to a life, and (if one believes in such a thing) an afterlife, of misery and coldness; and without knowing it at the time, I wept for the children of a family I grew up with who suffered a similar, though in many ways more insidious, form of tyranny.

I wrote for several hours about this, detailing many things: My perspective spiritually, and how I feel they are so far from knowing who God really is. My feelings about their position on sexuality in the context of spirituality. My heartbreak at their absolutism versus, the beautiful alternative of love and understanding regardless of agreement. My feelings about their role as parents. But what it came down to was my perspective on freedom.

You see, the thing that makes it most difficult for me to decide how I feel about this is that I truly abhor how parenting is controlled by media and popular society. For instance, the public floggings of the parents whom have encouraged their kids to go for their dreams even in youth are appalling to me. To the father who climbed Mount Everest with his 13 year old son – I applaud him for nurturing those dreams and allowing his son to go for it, and not only that but doing it alongside him. It’s not like the boy didn’t have to work very hard to get there. Yes it’s dangerous, but everyday life can be dangerous – and how much better will he be for understanding the effort and preparation and exertion it takes to achieve, but also how worth it the endeavor is?

The same with the 16 year old girl circumnavigating the globe non-stop alone via a sailboat. Or the 7 year old girl in 1996 who became a pilot. (Yes, in attempting to cross the U.S. she, her father, and her flight instructor crashed and died, but she was already better educated than most college graduates, knew her mind and pursued her dream.) How dare the media, the masses, whomever, ridicule and condemn those parents because they didn’t choose to coddle and ignore their child’s dreams and potentials. They listened and gave them wings. Just because our modern society says that protection is the absolute, the most important thing, does not make it so.

Whatever we think about these hate-filled parents, why do we think we have a right to tell them how to raise their children? That above all else bothers me... because, I assure you that if we do, it won’t stop with them. So how can I, then, condemn these parents teaching hate as I so desperately want to? Within my heart I fiercely defend the freedoms we enjoy here in America. I know they are fragile, and come with a great weight of responsibility that we as a nation don’t always handle very well, but I believe it would be an insidious kind of enslavement to have my government tell me how to raise my children (or worse, to have the world do so via the UN). Such a thing frightens me beyond measure, and as a fearless optimist, that's saying something.

To that end, I find it irritating that this news program put the story of the 16 year old sailor, the 13 year old climber, and an 11 year old toreador in the same light as this story of the 7 year old hater, making it seem that these parents are all the same. This is, to me, more of the media tainting and manipulating our perspective.

How do we find our way free of this control while still trying to keep children away from actual abuse? Because I believe that parents of the sailor and the climber, at least, did something magnificent in fanning the flames of their child’s dreams and guiding them as they worked for it... then letting them go to achieve when the time came, knowing whatever the outcome that their child would be profoundly the better for the experience of trying.

I liked what the young climber said, “I encourage other kids to discover their own Everest and go for it.” Magnificent. Incandescent. May we all find that kind of perspective, whatever our age!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Living in the past.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of watching the British television series Life on Mars, you’ve missed out. It’s something that is hard to describe, but in a nutshell is a show where a modern day cop is hit by a car and he wakes up in 1973. In the past he’s a cop as well, but it’s a very different world to the one of forensics and procedures… and seatbelts. He’s just trying to figure out what’s happened so he can get back; is he in a coma, traveled in time, or has he gone crazy?

The show is so incredibly well done, with characters that you can’t get enough of. And realizing just how much things have changed – it’s astounding and quite funny, really, in the context of the show.

The defining character was Gene Hunt, the man in charge of the squad when Sam Tyler wakes up after being hit in 2003. He is a bit of an anti-hero with all his machismo and misogyny, but somehow you can’t help but delight in him. His comments are jewels to be admired, no matter how offensive they are. At his heart, he is a good man, but he’s a 1970’s man's-man, make no mistake. And much as I should writhe at his very character, I adore him.

There was a follow up series to Life on Mars called Ashes to Ashes. It gave us back Gene Hunt and some of the other characters we loved from Life on Mars, except now it’s 1981 and the person that showed up in Hunt’s world from the present is a female officer called Alex Drake. That lends to a whole new level of misogynistic issues that are quite fun to watch unfold. It also lends to a sexual tension that was in turn both intriguing and comical.

Ashes to Ashes was quite good, but didn’t quite capture the mystery and intrigue of Life on Mars. The final episode of the series ran this weekend, answering all the questions. For many that is most desirable. For me, however, it was a let down. I loved the mystery left to us at the end of Life on Mars. It was a frustrating sort of exhilaration that I’d take any day over neat-and-tidy, then forgotten.

I mean, I haven’t stopped raving about Life on Mars since I first saw it until now, but with Ashes to Ashes I guess I feel like it was fun and all, but didn’t rivet me in the same enthralling way. Don’t get me wrong, it is far and away better than the majority of shows out there, especially American shows, and indeed I’m sorry it’s over, but it’s answers, while interesting, weren’t all that engrossing. Mystery is my mate, intrigue my seducer, plain an simple.

P.S. Best car chases since Streets of San Francisco in these two series!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

What we know.

Memorizing. It’s not exactly a common past time any more, with the possible exception of stage actors. In our parent’s and grandparent’s generations it was valued as a way to share beautiful and important things. Now we just google and forget.

As for me, before I could read or write I had all the books of the bible memorized as well as a couple dozen scriptures. As a side note, this shows how deeply ingrained in my core faith is. However, as I grew, I got lazy. I did memorize scriptures now and then, but my mind was filled with all sorts of things: movies, television shows, school work… movies. In all that I lost the practiced habit of learning something by heart.

The other day I was working on yet another list diligently (yet somehow wondering if spending so much of my time on lists wasn’t wasteful) when I started to think about how I’d like to improve my spiritual life. I had chunked the sections of my life up to what I’d like to work on in larger sections, hoping that having a larger focus instead of the minutia of details would make it easier, and in truth more fun, to achieve. Regarding my self, there were the three areas of mind, body, and spirit for which I was considering how to improve. When it came to my spirit, memorizing came to mind.

As I processed this idea, I processed what was important to me spiritually. Though I cherish the Bible, I value more than it now, because my understanding of God is bigger than what it was in my youth. And, my spirit revels in words. So I started to think of the quotes from books I’ve read that have changed me, moved me so deeply that they changed how I lived. Those words, those wonderful thoughts, that’s what I’d like to have inside me to dwell on when I can’t sleep or when I’m struggling emotionally.

So I decided to start with one of my very favorite quotes, an excerpt from Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. In point of fact, the first two I want to keep trapped in my brain in order to seep into my spirit are both from that outstanding book. Here’s the first:

“I hate a Roman named Status Quo,” he said to me, “Stuff your eyes with wonder,” he said, “Live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal. And if there were, it would be related to the great sloth that hangs upside down in a tree all day every day, sleeping its life away. To hell with that,” he said, “shake the tree and knock the great sloth on his ass.”

I know that what inspires is very personal, and most of my friends I’ve shared this with liked the idea of it, but didn’t have the bonded sort of reaction that I did. I know my perspective is rather uncommon, and likely considered uncouth at times, but for me embracing this philosophy is to embrace my nature. My desire to purge and be free of stuff is tied into it. That’s me making sure I’m not so bound by things that I don’t have the energy to shake the tree.

The second quote is quite as vital to my being; to that for which my brain and heart longs.

We’ll just start walking today and see the world and the way the world walks around and talks, the way it really looks. I want to see everything now. And while none of it will be me when it goes in, after a while it’ll all gather together inside and it’ll be me. Look at the world out there, my God, my God, look at it out there, outside me, out there beyond my face and the only way to really touch it is to put it where it’s finally me, where it’s in the blood, where it pumps around a thousand times ten thousand a day. I'll get hold of it so it’ll never run off. I’ll hold onto the world tight some day. I’ve got one finger on it now; that’s a beginning.

It goes to my character and how I want to live my life. There are other quotes, many by the great authors of past generations, that speak to me. And I do hope that I find my way to memorizing them as well. It was likely unorthodox to memorize these two first… but then, that rather sums me up. I have great faith, but it is anything by orthodox. It’s vast and ever-expanding and with it comes a drive to understand and embrace the people and cultures of the world, and in doing that also growing from how they experience and honor God. This is my passion. To know not just these words, but the world - by heart.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Have my cake & eat it, too.

After (hilariously) making yet another list of books last week here on the blog, I dove in. It was like I suddenly gave myself permission to eat dessert first.

I’m not good at that. I come from a family of good Christian Midwestern farmers of mostly Danish stock. What that adds up to is the idea that life is toil and hardship – you work very hard and maybe at the end of the day if you have any energy left, you can do something you enjoy… although even if you do, you never have idle hands! Honestly, it’s slightly psychotic, or rather masochistic. Or a bit of both.

Ingrained in my brain is the story of how my grandfather said he became a success. It was the hour before dawn and hour after dusk that he worked in the fields when everyone else was sleeping or being with family when he made his money. The rest of the time was what barely allowed them to scrape by. And he did become a success, owning several farms, apartment complexes, and more. In fact, the people at the apartments thought he was the janitor because even into his seventies he’d always be the one to do all the work when things went wrong. That’s how I remember him… with that giant ring of keys, which weighed about as much as I did back then, in work gear heading out to one or the other of his sites again.

So when I was in college, I decided to study art. But my parents made it clear I needed an “academic” major as well. I obediently obliged them. The thing is, I would end up spending all my time on classes that were tedious rather than investing some of that time in my major classes because, well, I loved doing art. Classes I would have aced I struggled with at times as a result. And now I deeply regret not taking full advantage of the facilities the art department had because once I graduated (and had the time) I no longer had access.

This disposition carried over into my finding a job/career. I’d pursue things I was interested in, but never anything that brought me bliss. Mustn’t enjoy what I do, not deep down. That was somehow wrong. So my varied professions gave me great and diverse experiences (oh my goodness – the stories!), but not real joy. There was no true satisfaction that what I was doing was something to which I felt any sort of “calling.” Therefore, I’d work extremely hard, get very good at it, then get bored. There was no passion behind it. So I moved on.

This mentality I was brought up in (toil and suffering first, pleasure last), instead of helping me progress has held me back. Not just from reading the books I’m most looking forward to, but from doing the things I’m most passionate about. From living a joy-filled, complete life.

It’s a hard thing to break out of. Truly. I’ve known about this for quite a few years, and have attempted to extricate myself from it. But it’s so pervasive in all areas of my life. Obviously it’s worth the effort. And, too, this extreme pairing down I’m doing with my “stuff” invades my being enough that I’m stripping down and purging some of the non-productive internal processes and ways of thinking and being as well. But I do wish I could simply relax and enjoy without feeling antsy, guilty, or frustrated.

When it comes to the books I have, the permission I gave myself was to read exactly what I want… not to feel the need to have read books I feel are “important” but for which I know I will honestly hate reading. Those classics that show only the depravity of life, for instance, really needn’t be read – not by me. I, quite obviously, understand the hardships life can bring; the difficulties from which some souls never climb out. I chose to dwell on and read about those who perhaps struggle, but who find a level of grace they never expected.

In that revolutionary act of permission-giving, I find I again desire to read some of the books that felt rather obligatory only days before. Perhaps in the same way when I break out of this “toil” mentality, I can find a deep joy in the very things that wore on my soul previously. I hope so. I love dessert.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I believe.

So here I am, mid-game, with my Sharks jersey over my Sharks t-shirt with accenting Sharks jewelry and hidden beneath, a pair of Sharks thong undies. It’s silly, I know, but as I keep saying, I loves me my Sharkies… and I am eating up these playoffs!

In the Eastern Conference Finals you have the bottom two qualifying teams defying the odds, making for a gladiator-like match-up. That series is going to be about gumption, will, and most of all desire. Neither team has anything to loose and they leave it all out on the ice every game. That makes for amazing, no-holds-barred hockey. The Flyers and the Canadians will give hockey fans a great series.

In the Western Conference Finals, well, we have my Sharks. Okay, okay, and the Blackhawks. The two teams that finished first and second in the West. It’s all about power, skill, force, and flipping great goaltending. These two teams, coming off a week’s rest, are going to bowl each other over as much as they can. This is a hard-core match-up.

The thing about this post season is that there are so many things happening that haven’t happened in decades, if ever. It’s exciting and thrilling because you never know what’s going to happen; what the outcome will be. Stats are out the window, no matter how much the announcers like to throw them out there…

[Fast forward 30 minutes of game play] Well, the first game of the third round is in the books, and the Blackhawks came away with the win. I’m of course suffering for it, but it was a well-played game and the Sharks aren’t even close to out of it yet. They played strong, in truth for the most part they played a stronger game than the Blackhawks, and with so much hockey left to play, I BELIEVE.

You know, as a fan this match-up is rough for me. I have one team I love far-and-away above all others – obviously the Sharks. However, I have two other teams that come in (a distant) second. Because I lived in Washington, D.C. for several years (and because I’m a huge Ovechkin fan), I cheer for the Capitals in the East. Then, and here’s my dilemma, of the Original Six teams that formed the NHL back in the day, the Blackhawks are my team.

When they aren’t against the Sharks or battling the Sharks for position in the Conference, I cheer for them as well. In this post season, I have cheered against them every series because I knew that they would be the Sharks most difficult opponent; that they would be their greatest challenge. No matter how much I love intense, great match-ups, I want my team to make it to the Cup – and win – so I want the easiest path possible.

But here we are. Sharks versus Blackhawks. And even with this first loss, I’m excited! I guess it’s a good thing I have two pair of Sharks thong undies…

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Great expectations.

Indulgence. Why is that such a hard concept for me when it comes to reading? Up until a few years ago I mostly read by mood. I’m in the mood for a classic, I pick one and read it. I’m in the mood for fluff, so be it. I’m in the mood for a WW2 biography, bring it on!

Then I joined, and quickly was helping lead, an online book club. Suddenly I had a list. I was passionate about this list. No, to be honest it wasn’t so much passion as compulsion. I get that way about lists. So I collected all but 4 of the 118 books on the list I didn’t yet own, plus a few on the periphery group list as well. Sadly, I found two other lists to obsess about on top of the first. It wasn’t pretty. (I blame my ex – everything was his fault during that time!) After a while it kind of felt like a chore to read the books the group chose. I didn’t like that it felt that way, because often they were books I was really looking forward to and occasionally, it was even a title I had selected.

The other compulsion that occasionally overcomes me when selecting my next book is this feeling that I “ought to” read something. I think this comes a bit from being a literature major, as well as being someone who wants to continue to expand my brain and be “well-read.” It also comes from my upbringing in that you do the difficult and unenjoyable first, then if there is time you can do something pleasurable. (This didn’t serve me well in college because I loved my major so I’d always leave that work for last and things I would have aced I struggled with!) The trouble with the “ought to” mentality is that when I’m not into a book, I flounder.

I guess what I’m saying is that I need to read for joy. This means being excited, anticipating, and being in the mood to read it. Also, I need to quit selecting something because it’s on a list and I want to keep crossing books off. I need to read what interests me in the moment, and along the way, those books will get read because it will be the right timing and my mood will take me there.

So, the question becomes, what books in my to-read pile am I most looking forward to reading? What have I delayed reading for those “ought to’s” and list books? These are what I came up with:

  • The Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie
  • The Scapegoat by Daphne du Maurier
  • Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome
  • Ballad of the Whiskey Robber by Julian Rubinstein
  • American Gods and the other unread books by Neil Gaiman
  • The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
  • The Inkheart Trilogy by Cornelia Funke
  • All Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett titles I haven’t yet read
  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
  • North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
  • The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  • I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  • Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
  • Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Series by Douglas Adams

It’s a pretty eclectic list. Actually, there are quite a few more, but these seem to float to the surface most often when I’m looking at my library and wishing. Oh, and these are just from the books I already own (except for the complete canons of Gaiman, Chandler, & Hammett – still a few to fill in on each). Also, this list doesn't include recommended books I'm excited for either.

So, while I’m sure I’ll continue to intersperse some of the more educational and spiritual reads, I’m excited to start diving in to my joy and reading these. The trouble is choosing just one with which to begin!

Time to indulge…

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Dancing queen.

Oh. My. Gosh. I just attended a Mamma Mia! movie sing-along. It was THE party to be at, in my opinion. Sincerely, I haven’t had that much fun in ages! I MUST tell you about it! :)

Even though it was just around the corner (so to speak) from my house, I found out about the event last night via my favorite Meetup group. I jumped at it, of course… I mean, a chance to belt out those fun songs with a ton of other people? Tsh, ye-a-ah! Sadly, I didn’t have time to think about dressing for the event, though, which was disappointing because you KNOW I can vamp it up with the best of them!

But the event started when I walked into The Retro Dome. This facility was an old theatre (in the shape of a dome) that a couple purchased to do fun events like this. They have this great vision, and as I found out, a lot of spunk! The lobby has bright, colorful, funky seating to lounge in while waiting for friends, they have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for sale at concessions, and the girls bathroom is hot pink, has cool girlie vintage movie posters up, and a hip cartoon lady looking very "Breakfast at Tiffany’s" painted on the wall. I was smiling in the bathroom!

Then as I entered the theatre itself, I was handed a bag of “swag” by ABBA-style clad peeps. Big hair, glitzy, wild outfits, platform heels. Yeah. It rocked. I found my group, and snagged a seat in the crowded row and enjoyed getting to know some of them. But none of us had any idea just how interactive it all was to be.

First, there was meant to be a “singing” contest, but they didn’t get many entries. However, the “Grandma Mia’s” did a number that brought down the house. All bespangled and laméd and sequined out, they got on stage and did all sorts of ABBA moves as they lip-synced. It was such a kick! (One of them was 92 – and the life of the party! Think Betty White with moves.)

Then they had a Mamma Mia! trivia contest, taking volunteers. Two ladies were chosen, and not to be left out, I raised my hand as well as the lady’s hand next to me. We were chosen and not only that, we won! So now my new friend Bobbie and I get to go see Broadway San Jose perform the stage play of Mamma Mia! Woohoo!

Just before the main event, we were taught the dance moves from the film for “Dancing Queen.” Then the show began… and we were all belting it out as the lyrics were highlighted on the screen. When the songs would start the funky colored lights would come up a bit and they’d pull people from the crowd to dance in the aisles or hand the microphones to different people. The funniest was two guys, one with a red crinoline slip on and one with a huge feather boa, busting a move to "Dancing Queen." It doesn’t get much better than that!

In the swag bags, we all got a bit of play money, and when the song “Money, Money, Money” came on, we waved it around and threw it in the air. A few got flowers, and those people were our dancing entertainment for “Chiquitita.” Then on “Does Your Mother Know,” they handed out juice with umbrellas in dixie cups!

But in “Take a Chance on Me,” when I’m about to burst out of my seat for wanting to dance (again), I was handed the microphone. After a moment, I thought “screw this,” and went to the aisle and danced and sang the big finale! (The other person that had a mic jumped out in the aisle as soon as I did!) While streamers were blasted over the seats and the dressed up peeps ran down the aisles spraying the crowd with spray bottles of water when Aphrodite’s fountain burst, I was singing and dancing away. That’s me. The Dancing Queen.

“I’m a lone wolf… ar-rooooo!”