Monday, July 30, 2012

Birthday Week

This is the last full week I will be 36.

Birthdays have become harder and harder for me; since turning 35.

I am currently sitting at my desk working on a Safety Protocol for a clinic with whom my father does business.  It's kind of like Chinese, but I enjoy the challenge.  

I am listening to my John Prine Pandora station.  James Taylor's "Sweet Baby Jane" just came on.  I smiled because I remember being 16.  20 years ago my mom and dad purchased a stereo for me.  I was thrilled because it had the LATEST and GREATEST technology....a CD player.

The first two CDs I purchased were Phantom of the Opera and James Taylor.

Every night I would switch between the two as I sprawled out on the floor to do my homework.

It feels like yesterday.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bunheads

I have purposefully remained "mum" on the topic of Amy Sherman Palladino's new program, Bunheads.


Anyone who is remotely acquainted with me knows my deep, deep, deep love of Gilmore Girls, Amy Sherman Palladino's first creation.  As you can imagine I was ecstatic to learn the news she would be creating a new television program.  When I learned it would center around a ballet studio, dance, a thirty something-ish woman and four young teenage dancers...I nearly did a pirouette into a full on back flip!  Two of my favorite things....BALLET AND AMY SHERMAN PALLADINO!!!! (Or ASP as she is known to those "in the know.")

Anyone who also knows me and has dared enter into a Gilmore Girls discussion with me also knows that I beg you to reserve judgment until at LEAST Season 1, Episode 5.  It takes a while for a show to get it's groove and for one to "get" ASP's fast paced, pop-culture rich humor and vision.   So...I've given the show it's due diligence.  Today I watched the 6th episode and in the final scene...I was official "on board."  (More of that later.)

I have to admit, mixed into the ecstasy was a good amount of skepticism.  How could ASP possibly top my favorite program of all time?  The thing is...she can't.  Nor should she try.  Bunheads is a fresh program, unique to itself and it is unfair to compare apples to oranges.  Right?

As it turns out it is more like comparing Granny Smith apples to Red Delicious apples...no, Golden Delicious apples.  Same fruit, same color, slightly different taste.  

Don't get me wrong...I REALLY like the show.  There is just SO MUCH CROSS OVER I feel like I have hardly stepped out of Star's Hollow and into Paradise.  Most of the time I half expect to find Lorelai and Rory daring each other to show up for Strip Tease Dance Class, a recent addition to the slate of classes offered by Fanny Flowers (Kelly Bishop, aka Emily Gilmore) at her dance studio.

Granted, I would imagine .00000000001% of the population has seen every season, every episode of Gimore Girls as many times as I have, but I find that ASP is recycling some of her material.  It's still funny, still relevant, but still the same.  Michelle's (Sutton Foster) character might as well be called Lorelai 2.0.  They both go a mile a minute, have sassy mouths and even sassier attitudes and both stand in stark, toddler tantrum-like contrast to Kelly Bishop (who re-appears in Bunheads...but as the mother "in law" this time.)

Both shows take place in small, idyllic towns sprinkled with quirky characters functioning in wacky ways.  MANY of them were regulars on Gilmore Girls.  Some of them even have the same names as other characters on Gilmore Girls. (The name "Truly" seems a favorite with ASP.)  Furthermore, she has brought back THE GENIUS Sam Phillips to provide the rich musical backdrop that is so subtle and haunting you almost wish that when you walk the streets she isn't somewhere, following behind you, offering the soundtrack of your own life.

Here is where Bunheads is fresh.  The choreography is amazing....absolutely stunning and innovative.  The young ladies who play the dancers are beautifully, classically trained and they move with ease and grace I am rarely treated to save for The Nutcracker at Christmas time.  The depiction of young women 100% committed to dancing is relevant and, more importantly, REAL.  The ballet company archetypes are all represented: the girl who really wants it but her body wasn't made for it, the girls whose body is made for it but can't get excited over ballet anymore and the few that just enjoy it all the way through high school and may never seriously revisit it again (that would be me).  It's all there.  

I was 95% sold when one of the performances (Episode 2) was set to "Picture in a Frame" by Tom Waits.  I was 100% sold today (Episode 6) when the final scene was a literal interpretive performance relevant to her character set to "Istanbul" by They Might Be Giants.  In both performances, absolutely no words were required.  I adore that ASP was innovative enough, no, BRAVE ENOUGH to pull that off, ON TELEVISION, no less!  Bring on an artistic vestige of the past and the upper crust and make it real and relevant to the demographic frequenting ABC Family...one of the best channels on television today.

Overall...I am pleased with Bunheads...and like I said, it feels like a new, fresh extension of my old, tried and true, favorite show!  Mad finger crossing that this one sticks!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Paper Covers Rock: Breaking up is Hard to Do!

This one is rated "R"...little ears should not be in the room.

Source: Unknown

What belongs on a Post-It?  The answers are endless, really.  But NOT unlimited.  Post-It notes are like the bottom feeders of the paper world.  Their very size suggests they are meant for small lists, gentle reminders, a sweet note, a "note-to-self," etc, etc. They are easily stored.  You can grab one with the wave of your one un-employed hand.  You can scribble, be done, scrunch and toss without feeling much sense of loss.  Now...I KNOW there are stories about entire corporations being birthed on a Post-It note and I won't deny that they come in very handy when a brilliant idea strikes.  But, for the most part...a Post-It...is merely a Post-It and about as personal as my relationship to my mini-sewing kit and as long lasting as a fruit fly.

I can tell you what DOES NOT belong on a Post-It note:  A BREAKUP!


Nor does a break up belong on a computer screen or a voicemail, in an email, via text, Facebook or Twitter.  It does not belong over the phone (extreme circumstances notwithstanding).  Hell, unless this is 17th century England, and your mate is thousands, okay, hundreds of miles away, a break up does not belong on paper...at all!

A breakup belongs in the space between two people.  Period.  The words need to be said, be heard and hang in the tense air. And the words need to be the truth.  

I am no relationship expert.  In fact, one might consider me more of a "Failed Relationship Expert."  (What is it Thomas Edison said...."I haven't even failed once....I've just done things wrong 10,000 times.")  And I am just as guilty as the next person.  But I think our society has made one of the most difficult and painful conversations as arbitrary and perfunctory as taking your rubbish out to the curb.  In fact, getting broken up with in said manner feels somewhat akin to being considered rubbish.  

What I am is a human being and I try to abide by the golden rule.  Do unto others as you would have done unto you.  Again...I can think of two, VERY recent instances, where I found it so easy and safe to invoke the end of one casual and one much less casual relationship via email.  I am as much to blame as the next person.  The dust having settled, I am not proud of my behavior at all.  As they said, it was "poor form."  The thing is...in neither of those situations...did I receive push back.  Both were opened, accepted, responded to and likely tossed in the proverbial "trash" by tapping the "delete" button.  

Breakups are hard and painful.  But in the end, you have been IN A RELATIONSHIP with another person...you have loved them, laughed with them, cried with them, grown with them, created memories with them, become family to them...the VERY LEAST both people deserve is a face-to-face conversation...which may in the end even create a solution to the impasse.  

Source: Unknown

I realize people don't want to hurt others.  Unless you are a sociopath, it is easier to throw out the break up and slink away playing both defense and offense at the same time.  I also realize looking in someone's face, in someone's eyes makes creating the words nearly impossible.  But having been on the receiving end so many times...I can say that I would rather be "hurt with the truth, than comforted with a lie."  And silence leads to assumptions, erroneous ones at that, and in the end it all feels like a lie, anyhow.  And then living in the "why's" is just a living hell.  (Someone else's words...not mine.)

I love technology...obviously.  I adore blogs and posts that promote hope, love, laughter, joy, etc.  In that way I think technology has a positive global reach we could have never achieved otherwise!  But it can also rip people apart...and rip you apart at the same time.  The speed, the convenience, the anonymity...it's frightening.  I fear we are losing our human interaction, sensitivity and compassion one key stroke at a time.  I think we all need to take a giant leap back and consider how technology has changed our sensitivity at the cellular level.  (And no, I don't mean cellular phone level!)

Jesus' final dictate, "To love one another as I have loved you" is often very difficult when jealousy, insecurity, pride, hurt and anger can be transmitted within seconds disappearing from our eyes, and by extension, from our hearts and minds.  Do we even stop to consider the person on the other side of the screen, anymore?

This book is resting by my bedside chair (I have a chair rather than a bedside table).  It is called The Four Agreements.


On the inside cover are "The Four Agreements."


And while, admittedly, I have only read the first chapter...I think this is a terrific road map for difficult, painful conversations...like breakups.  If executed as suggested by Ruiz, the truth is hanging in between two people.  It has been given genuine thought and leaves little room for assumption.  Sure...it will feel terribly personal...for a while...but that, too, shall pass.

Like my mom always says, "We are all just trying to get through life."  Indeed, we are.  So let's challenge ourselves by giving a bit more thought before we press the "send" button....because it can really be an "end" button to something quite beautiful.  Once it is out there...it can never be taken back.

The truth trumps silence, common courtesy should dictate difficult conversations and paper covers rock.

And while I am 100% sure neither of those gentlemen dare read my blog....I do offer my sincerest (technological) apologies...but you both already know that.




Saturday, July 14, 2012

New Segment: How-To


This blog has NEVER been heavy on the "how-to."  Don't get me wrong, I know "how-to" do a lot of things.  Weak on the raw artistic ability, I have turned to paper crafting to satisfy my creative yearning.  In fact, I was once a consultant for Stampin' Up and I had to "how-to" a lot of people through creating cards that had a definite "craft" rather than "art" slant.  I found creating the cards and explaining the "how-to" perfunctory and, quite frankly, a little too crafty for my taste.  

I digress.  Since joining the San Antonio Bloggers FB group I feel pretty isolated in that I don't have a "how-to" section on ANYTHING in this blog.  

Here's the fix!

You will need one mirror and one Sharpie Marker (a la graffiti artist)!

Simply write notes to yourself on a mirror with your Sharpie Marker.  TAG AWAY!  It is EASILY removed with nail polish remover.

I am using my bathroom mirror as a vision board, of sorts.  I am keeping notes on an inner journey I am traveling, as well as a possibility I am creating.  The beauty of it is that I can SEE MYSELF in MY thoughts, dreams, plans and schemes.  (Dig on the rhyme, cat!  Snaps!) 

What follows is a terrible photo...but an example, nonetheless!


And that, Fete-ish-istas is our "how-to" lesson of the week!  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Smiling Eyes



Women in vintage lingerie.

Source: Unknown

Just a Closer Walk with Thee


This movie is about cancer. Colon cancer to be exact.

I randomly found it On-Demand and now it is gone.

The story takes place in New Orleans.  Kate Hudson plays a gal-about-town, hot, ad executive.  She begins to look ashen and lose weight.  After prompting from her friends she visits a physician played by Gael Garcia Bernal.  She learns she has cancer, a rather advanced stage and aggressive form of cancer.

I won't give away the rest, although from the start you have a very clear idea of where the story is headed.

What I will say is that the last scene is one of the loveliest celebrations I can imagine.

This movie had rotten tomatoes thrown at it from every angel.  I don't care.  Watch it anyhow.  I saw it over a week ago and it has stayed with me the entire time.  And probably will for some time to come.


  1. I am weak, but Thou art strong;
    Jesus, keep me from all wrong;
    I’ll be satisfied as long
    As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.
    • Just a closer walk with Thee,
      Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
      Daily walking close to Thee,
      Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.
  2. Through this world of toil and snares,
    If I falter, Lord, who cares?
    Who with me my burden shares?
    None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.
  3. When my feeble life is o’er,
    Time for me will be no more;
    Guide me gently, safely o’er
    To Thy kingdom shore, to Thy shore.
  4. -Anonymous

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Tell Me Why


Sometimes the last moments you spend with someone are the most meaningful.  This song IS the last meaningful moment I spent with someone.  We marveled at the writing.

For me it was the line about "Is it hard to make arrangements with yourself?"

For the other person it was, "I am lonely, but you can free me, all in the way that you smile."

Sadly, in that moment, I knew my smile was not the smile that person was thinking could free them. It hurt, but I held my head high in dignity, regardless.

We sat in silence at the poetry and the beauty of the lyrics.  The person I shared this with admitted this song had saved them through a very lonely period in life.  

I felt honored to know that.  I still feel honored to know this.

I never saw that person again.

Sailing heart-ships
through broken harbors
Out on the waves in the night.
Still the searcher
must ride the dark horse.
Racing alone in his fright.


Tell me why, tell me why
Is it hard to make
arrangements with yourself,
When you're old enough to repay
but young enough to sell?

Tell me lies later,
come and see me
I'll be around for a while.
I am lonely but you can free me
All in the way that you smile.


Tell me why, tell me why
Is it hard to make
arrangements with yourself,
When you're old enough to repay
but young enough to sell?

-Neil Young


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tangled Up in Blue


I've been giving a lot of thought to exits, lately.  

In France, the word "sortie" means "exit."  I figured that out on my own at the tender age of 21.  While visiting Paris (and Europe) for the first time in my life, I realized after following the word "sortie" time after time and reaching "an exit"...that it, in fact, meant "exit."  Isn't it a lovely word?  Say it a few times.  It sounds happy and lilting and French-y frothy cafe au lait, doesn't it.  I remember thinking, very silently (as I could not let the others know how un-cultured I was) that it might make a lovely little girls name.  Something about it made me think of bouncing, bubbling little girls in pig tails gigging into the wind.

Exits are necessary.  Were it not for exits...nothing would ever change, end, diverge, converge, etc.  For that matter, new beginnings would never come to conception if not for some exit immediately preceding it.

I've personally experienced some amazing exits (not the least of which were those "sorties" from the Parisian subway up to Parisian ground level).  My exit from Kindergarten was a PRETTY big deal as my mother and Mrs. Westerkom did NOT agree one bit on my promotion into first grade.  (Don't worry...I proved mean ol' Mrs. Westerkom all kinds of wrong in the first grade!)  My graduation from high school was thrilling as I was exiting childhood and entering academia.  Exiting my first apartment was bittersweet as now there would be a mortgage but it was nice to shut the door to #7208 and create a new beginning in my current home.

Most exits are necessary; although rather benign.  Last night I exited Broadway to get to my destination.  I exited Vance Jackson to arrive home.  I exited the garage to enter the house.  I exited the restroom to retire to bed.  We make entrances and exits all day, every day, giving it as much thought as we give to breathing in and breathing out.  Exits are a function of living.

In my case some exits are absent minded mistakes and usually make me 10 minutes later than the 10 minutes I am ALREADY late.  Or sometimes, I might make an exit without a crucial item like my laptop or car keys or umbrella (that can make a very ugly hair situation).

And then there are the exits that break your heart.  They come in different forms but usually involve another person.  People exiting peoples lives is simply un-natural, in my opinion.  Okay, well, let me back up.  People exit through death all the time.  And while death is often expected and an absolute certainty in life, it is the most traumatic exit one can experience.  Michael, my cousin, made his very unexpected exit from this world on March 23.  The best I can describe his exit is as a roller coaster of overwhelming sadness, mixed in with uproarious laughter, dotted with wonderful memories and various sorts of visitations he has blessed upon those who love him.  In his death; he still feels so alive.  What a beautiful testimony to a life well lived.  Nevertheless, his untimely exit has weighed so heavy on our hearts.  This exit feels selfish.  In our human-ness we want him here, we want him back.  Humans are selfish....but only because we have the capacity to love so deeply.  It's like the new (for me) Neil Young song I am currently obsessed with..."Yes, only love can break your heart."  Or there is the other, similar song, of my mother and aunt's generation that croons, "Only love can break a heart; only love can mend it again."

Sometimes a person chooses to exit your life.  When that happens you feel like you can't breathe.  I have had a number of people drop out of my life, willingly.  It really hurts.  It hurts in the middle of your chest like your heart wants to punch through your body, from the inside out.  I know that when said exits have occurred I have created a number of assumptions as to "why" said exits have occurred.  The thing is....they are MY stories.  They are complete assumptions and likely very erroneous.  The exits probably had less to do with me than I assumed they did.  But I have let those "stories" and "assumptions" get in the way of many viable relationships...further fueling exits.  It's like a viscous "exit cycle."  It's more like a round-about.  Ugh!

Some exits leave you empty and wondering if you can ever allow another entrance again, for fear of impending exits that might follow.

With each exit I have learned.  With each exit I have grown.  And with each exit time has proven the exit was completely the right move that needed to be made at the time.

Those exits have forced me to think about exits I have made from people's lives.  I certainly am not perfect.  I suppose my point is that when you need to make an exit, make it with as much grace and dignity as can be mustered in what can only be assumed to be a rough situation.  The truth is always the best way to go.  Sure, it will hurt.  But a truthful exit trumps a silent exit every time.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Mandala


This is my mandala.  It was created at a worksop primarily focused on intuition.  Running on emotional "empty" I joined my mom and her friend at Viva Books, anticipating a lecture on nurturing intuition (which at the time I was CLEARLY in desperate need of nurturing).  Instead I participated in cataphatic meditation.  Expecting nothing more than a nice 30 minute nap I was immediately invited into an inner journey like nothing I have experienced before.  At one point...I saw myself....rather...the back side of my naked self.  And I will leave the rest of that particular scenario out of this blog.  Oh!  Don't you wish you knew!  


After meditation we were encouraged to shut our eyes and let our hands move with the media we had before us.  Here is what I created.  And...it must be said...I DO NOT draw.


I recently had my mandala framed.  This strong woman sits next to my bed.  She is currently reminding me that one second I might know exactly what I want and refuse to apologize for it, while the next moment I might drop my head, toss up my arms and say, "I just don't know."  And she represents for me...the notion that those two particular polarities are OKAY!

It was magical.  

The word "mandala" is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit. Loosely translated to mean "circle," a mandala is far more than a simple shape. It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself--a cosmic diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds.

Describing both material and non-material realities, the mandala appears in all aspects of life: the celestial circles we call earth, sun, and moon, as well as conceptual circles of friends, family, and community.

Representing the universe itself, a mandala is both the microcosm and the macrocosm, and we are all part of its intricate design. The mandala is more than an image seen with our eyes; it is an actual moment in time. It can be can be used as a vehicle to explore art, science, religion and life itself. The mandala contains an encyclopedia of the finite and a road map to infinity.

Carl Jung said that a mandala symbolizes "a safe refuge of inner reconciliation and wholeness." It is "a synthesis of distinctive elements in a unified scheme representing the basic nature of existence." Jung used the mandala for his own personal growth and wrote about his experiences.


It is said by Tibetan Buddhists that a mandala consists of five "excellencies":

The teacher • The message • The audience • The site • The time

An audience or "viewer" is necessary to create a mandala. Where there is no you, there is no mandala. (from: You Are the Eyes of the World, by Longchenpa, translated by Lipman and Peterson).

And she takes just like a woman,
And she aches just like a woman,
And she wakes just like a woman,
Yeah, but she breaks just like a little girl.
-Bob Dylan