Monday, April 30, 2007

Not Dead, Just Busy

As the title suggests, it's been hectic schedulewise, emotionally, and intellectually. I just completed my second term at Mars Hill and am now looking at options to expand my plan of study to a possible three year-more-broadly-defined program to incoporate more theology, counseling and cultural engagement/arts kind of stuff. More on that once there's something worth saying. But I'll say this much, I'm starting Hebrew classes next week. Huzzah!

My mom just finished a four day visit. Hadn't seen her (or Dad for that matter) since I left their home in Arizona last August. When I landed in AZ end of last June, I was in a wheelchair and needed an oxygen tank on the plane. When I arrived in Seattle end of August, I was walking and talking, but the mere carrying of a guitar case had me wheezing like I'd run 20 laps. When mom arrived the other day, she commented on how briskly I was walking, and I realized it'd been quite awhile since I thought about pneumonia or really noticed latent effects. That was nice.

And finally, Intiman Theater is back up and running for the new season, and I finally have regular work again. I'm now the senior bartender, which is pretty wacky, but everyone else left, so I get to set up stuff my way. No problems there. At last, the closetted efficiency-expert in me can come out of hiding.

And, as always, the emerging of Spring weather sort of sends me into hibernation. Well, actually, my insides go crazy and I wish I could go hibernate, but instead I have to buck up and try to brave the onslaught of emotions and memories that spring breezes unsettle. It's a pretty painful season for me. Everything's blossoming and I want to run and hide. Lillacs are popping out everywhere, and I think of Bennington, and Kim especially. And that is nice. But still, the smell of spring flowers sends me into emotional anaphylactic shock. Wish I could really figure out why. I have my suspicions, but mostly, it's just that feeling of everything else coming alive, and me, feeling no change at all. I feel like I stick out- the only thing that isn't pleasantly pastel and chirping joyfully. hmm... (Oh, Kim took this beautiful spring picture- I stole it off the interweb).

Anyway, that's some of what's kept me away from the computer. Here's a quote to finish. As always, great quotes brought to me by my favorite ex-con existentialist dee-jay, Northern Exposure's Chris-in-the-Morning. He quoted this in a season four episode I watched today. God bless that TV show.

"A woman uses her intelligence to find reasons to support her intuition." -GK Chesterton

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Lanscape of Numbers

Some few of you may recall my March posting about Daniel Tammet, the high-functioning autistic savant who visualizes numbers by color and shape- and memoriezed Pi up to 22,514 digits. Well, at last, here is his water color rendering of how he sees the number Pi in his mind.

I hope my kids will paint numbers, instead of painting by numbers.

You can read more about Tammet on his blog in my Links section, and also read more about how I feel about him in my March post "The Color of Numbers"

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I'm Becoming One Of Those People Who Write Poems At Starbucks...

Sign Language

The dog wants her to pet him.
He jumps onto her lap, puts his face against hers,
tries to tuck his head under her hands.
But she’s trying to speak to the man across the table,
and she needs her hands to speak.
Sign language and a sunny day and a straw hat-
And I can watch them because I’m on the other side of a tinted window,
though only five feet away-
But I might as well be sitting at their table,
the eavesdropping would be the same.
Watching their hands- hearing nothing except maybe the dog’s whimpering for affection.
I don’t know what they’re talking about,
but they embrace and smile as they part
and I wish I too could speak with my hands,
Wish I had infinite languages in my hands-
So I’d never have to struggle for words.
I struggle for words
But more, I struggle for meaning
To know what I really want,
Want to say,
Want to be known,
Want to know.
Would it be easier with my hands?
Or would I still bark and whimper like the little dog-
Getting in people’s way as they try to communicate with one another-
and I try to be held-
“See me, see me
I’m here too.
I have no language like yours.”

Wednesday Night Haiku

Some things should not be
reduced to the size of min-
-iature poems.

Monday, April 16, 2007

At Last, My Pub Has Come Along

I woke up this morning after what was a good 8+ hours of sleep, and felt like I’d been pushing freight trains all night- or that I’d been run over by one. “Why so beat?” I wondered. And then I remembered- last week was one of the hardest, most full, challenging, encouraging, emotional, hopeful, disappointing, eye-opening, heart-stirring, enjoyable, sorrowful, happy, companioned, lonely weeks ever. It would be ridiculous not to feel that in my muscles, much less my brain and my heart. Hangover? More like hanging over a cliff- and sometimes it seems like I’m supposed to take a running leap over that edge and sometimes it feels like I need a thousand arms holding me from falling off it. But a cliff, no less, is right in front of me. Issues of surrender/submission and risk/endangerment surround this cliff jumping question, and the best I can do is wait up here till I feel the freedom to jump off or to run off in search of flat land. One of these options is good for me. Probably both. But as I sit in my exhaustion and dizziness, remembering how many places I’ve been taken to this past week, in my heart, in my head, in my past, in potential futures, what comes to mind is, what a vast amount of time I spent in bars this week. So I’m making a list.

Monday 9: 3-5 Edgewater Hotel, Happy Hour:
$4 Burger
Monday 9: 9-12:30 Park Pub:
4 glasses of water
Tuesday 10: 8:30-12:30 Park Pub:
$5 pizza and 3 Cokes
Wednesday 11: 4-5 Edgewater Hotel, Happy Hour:
$6 Sake/Vodka/cucumber/lime cocktail
Thursday 12: 11:30-12:30 Jabu’s:
4 glasses of water
Friday 13: 10-12 Greenlake Bar & Grill, Happy Hour:
$3.50 margarita, $2 ceasar salad, $2 mozzarella sticks
Saturday 14: 4-5:30 Belltown Bistro, Happy Hour:
$2 Corona, $4 garlic mashed potatoes
Saturday 14: 9-10:30 McMenamin’s:
$7 Burger, 3 Dr Peppers
Sunday 15: all day
Reflecting on what happened in/around/before/after/during/because of and in spite of this list.

With grateful acknowledgment to fellow pub-crawlers Sarah, Karen, Elizabeth, Erin, Justin, Jamie, Meredith, Smruti, Rachel, Brent, John, Cathy, Ben H, Kim, Mary, Ian, Ben O, Alisa and Cabe (who crawled to all but one of these).

Friday, April 13, 2007

Wednesday Night Haiku: Belated

I'll be consistent
and do my haiku tonight,
but not to shift gears.

I've thought about this
a lot, and it pours into
more than just this blog.

What does it mean to
say what you feel, when you're used
to being silenced?

The greatest gift is
your invitation that says
"I want to hear you."

You get used to not
hoping for things when your hope
has always been mocked.

Sometimes freedom is
weeping over who you've not
been allowed to be.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Response to an Anonymous Commenter on April 8 Post

"Anonymous said...
I saw this clip on the Today Show along with an interview of the family. The dad wanted to surprise his son. The media was tipped off. I don't believe the family had a hidden agenda; all they wanted to do was see each other once again. That boy is going to remember that moment for the rest of his life and the fact that it is captured on camera doesn't take anything away from the joy he felt.

Perhaps as a Christian you should stop being less judgmental and more accepting. Or hey, maybe you could even post something about Jesus' resurrection, after all Sunday was Easter.

Just a thought!"

Re: Anonymous

I must admit, I was quite shocked to see such a vehement reaction to my post regarding a private family moment. The fact that you read my words as somehow condemnatory of this family was definitely a disappointment. The very reason I posted this, was that seeing this moment between the father and son, brought up feelings for me personally that made me want to protect this family and their experience. I am asserting their worthiness, not laughing at them. I didn’t feel it was necessary to make assumptions about how the media had probably been tipped off, or how it must have been someone else’s idea to have the reunion happen at school and on camera, because this seemed like a given. I give the benefit of the doubt to the parents, that their first concern was about their son, not the media. And yes, this is a moment the son will remember forever, and he will have a taped document to re-watch, as he gets older. But my feelings in watching it was, if this had been my family, my husband, my son, my hope is that I would have embraced the right to keep my son home that day- so that we could be together as a family without the pressures and concerns of who is watching us- we would have time and space for all that needed to be said and felt, without the constant awareness of having an audience. At the end of the clip where we see the boy passing out cupcakes to his classmates and introducing his father to the class, in tears, I was just wishing that someone, be it newsperson, teacher or classmate, had said “Why don’t we leave them alone for a little bit- I don’t need a cupcake as much as they need to look into to each other’s eyes and hold each other. I’ll be happy to meet Bill tomorrow or the next day.” So many times in my life, when faced with tragedy or extreme emotion, I’ve ended up having to bypass what I really feel for the sake of meeting an expectation or playing a role- “take care of everyone else before you even know what you, yourself are feeling.” Seeing this little boy crying in front of his class while being asked to talk about his father, brought up those experiences in me, and that is a large part of why I felt it was important, on Easter Sunday, to post about something that has been sitting on my heart.
I’m curious about the accusatory tone you use at the end of your comment about seeing me as unaccepting, and questioning my faith because I wrote about this story instead of Jesus’ resurrection. A couple questions come to mind, and I hope you might respond to them. How do you know I’m a Christian? Do you know me? And if you know me, why have you written anonymously? I ask, because though I would love to think that somehow through my posts about Eugene Levy, Lethal Weapon and Haiku, that my faith in the incarnation and resurrection of Jesus, and the hope for all humankind to know the God of creation, would shine through, but since I can’t really think of a single place where I outwardly name myself as a Christian, I wonder how you were able to feel so assured in your condemnation of what to you experienced as non-Christian statements. Given what I believe is in fact, a shared faith between us in Jesus, who died and rose again so that all could be eternally reunited with a God who created us for relationship and exists as relationship Godself, I hope that you’ll ask yourself again whether or not I chose to write about the resurrection in my post. I saw a reunion marred and mangled by observers seeking to exploit the love of a father for a son, and that made me deeply sad in light of my own desire for love, relationship, and true reunion both with God, and my fellow human beings. I feel so often that our culture has given me the easy way out of resurrection and relationship. It’s been made so easy for me to “pass out cupcakes and make a speech” instead of saying “I’m going home now to be with my father whom I have cried over for seven months, and is now home. I want to sit in his lap, hear his voice, and tell him how I love him and have missed him.” The pressures to put my heart aside for the sake of what’s expected has made it so that until recently, I forgot what it was like to stand up on behalf of my heart, and align with love and relationship, instead of cultural expectations. This is what Easter has been about for me this year- a joyous welcoming of the risen Christ who says that my heart is worthy of reunion with him, and he will suffer death that I might no longer live in numb, heart-silenced death. That I will never have to be embarrassed to weep in my father’s arms.
I appreciate the information you shared about seeing the family interviewed, and I’m glad to know that they’re happy to have had the chance to share their story that has touched so many people. It certainly has touched me, and I would hope you could hear that this time in a way that had been unclear to you in my original post. But my hope still remains, that as more fathers come home, that more people would turn off their cameras, but instead, bow their heads in awe and wonder before the love of a father for a son and a son for his father. May we as a culture fight with righteous anger to protect those sacred things, where others would have them exploited for personal gain.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Turn Off Your Cameras, Please

I hesitate to post this clip, because I feel like I might be contributing to the very issue I'm against, but here it is. I ran across this story- it's been posted to a lot of blogs as an example of, I don't know, an emotional homecoming story? Instead, it makes me angry. There is a time to celebrate publicly, and there is time to be private. I'll comment after you watch the clip, but really- people- turn off your cameras please and let this moment happen in private, where it belongs.

Why was this reunion televised? (We all know the answer, can you count how many American flag images appeared in the clip?), but can you imagine being that little boy, having your father suddenly walk into the room after being separated for seven months- and not being able to cry in your dad's arms safe at home, away from your school classmates, much less the television crew and millions of TV viewers? Where is the space for reunion in this? Is it when the dad is holding his weeping son while giving commentary to the camera? Is it when the mom is falling apart in tears, making sure she mentions how proud she is of her husband? Is it when the boy runs, weeping to have his father hold him?

Turn off your cameras, please. Something Holy is trying to happen here, and your boom mic is in the way.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Quotes from the Counselor's Chair

"Fresh Air
and a Chair
some Facial Hair
and now you Bare
your soul."

-David Rice, 1st year Mars Hill MDiv Student,
said to me at the start of our counseling practicum triad.
(He has a beard)

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Haiku Afterthought

My heart fights my head,
straining, like a pink dress worn
on a cloudy day.

Wednesday Night Haiku: Captions without Context

(or early Thursday Haiku)

Today, part one. Gang
of Four. Subway. Roundtable.
Then Happy Hour.

Part Two. Metaphors.
Not going home after class.
Still kind of tipsy.

Three. Can I invite
myself over? Wednesday's the
new Friday, you know?

Then. Thanks for the ride
and for telling me I don't
need to protect them.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

If "Time Out New York" stopped me on the street...

...and asked me what movie I was most looking forward to, it would be this one.

I so secretly always wanted to get stopped by TONY for this very reason, but I knew they'd never stop me because my jeans were so obvioulsy from Old Navy, but just the same, I really wanted to answer the "what are you currently reading," "how much are you willing to pay for a haircut" and of course, the very important movie question. Sometimes, while walking to work, I would quiz myelf on the TONY questions so I'd be prepared in case they stopped me.

Basically it comes down to how much I love lists, interviews, and especially questionaires. Please, people, ask me questions. It's the only way I ever get to know what I'm thinking.

Oh, and please go see this movie with me.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

The Tribe of Levy

This Man

How do I love Eugene Levy-
Let me count the ways.

One, those bushy eyebrows.
Two, the fact that he's in probably 9 out of the 10 classic comedies of the past quarter century.
Three, his ridiculous, nasal, fake singing voice in Waiting for Guffman.
Four, his real, heartwarming, smooth, golden, sweethearted, actual singing voice in A Mighty Wind.
Five, a whole bunch of other stuff, like that his name is Eugene. How many people do you know named Eugene? Not many, I guarentee.

So, this song clip from the deleted scenes of A Mighty Wind, is one of my favorite songs. Period. It's a genius example of everything I love about parody and satire, in that it parodies something so well, that it actually just becomes a great example of the real thing, in this case, a 60's folk love ballad. I love its ridiculous list of things that happen "When You're Next to Me" which includes such delightful occurences as doves landing at your feet, and beggars dying (is this a good thing?). I had a favorite line which I realized a year ago, wasn't right. I thought they said "I see Hadrian's Wall, from the highest hill". I loved that in this stupendously adorable love song, they worked in the Roman conquest of the Celts. Now that's good satire song writing! But actually, they just say "I see hatred fall..." which I guess is okay.

Anyway, here's a poorly captured YouTube clip of it. When the song comes on my Ipod, I smile so so big. Can Eugene Levy please sing me to sleep every night with his bushy eyebrows and fake, gray hippy wig?