30 Dec 2008, 5:08pm
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arbitrary dates for self-reflection

in 2008, probably the best and worst year of my young life, i:

* held my dying cat kari, the heart of my heart, my companion of more than fifteen years, while she took her last breaths.

* visited friends and family in berkeley and san francisco.

* stage managed two shows for public playhouse (moonlight and magnolias and daughters), stage managed the “made in oregon” series and the promising playwrights at jaw this summer, and was on the backstage crew for a christmas carol at portland center stage.

* finally managed to sell my car, and lived off the proceeds for awhile.

* found a well of happiness within myself (somewhere in my belly).

* fell in love.

* biked over 230 miles in three days in april, from my doorstep in portland to my parents’ house in sammamish, washington.

* biked in provence with my dad and my brother.

* made plans to spend two months in india in the fall, which were later cancelled due to the angst mentioned below and other angst related to other bike vs. car collisions. it was a rough summer, what can i say?

* got hit by a pick-up truck while riding my bike, resulting in a broken collarbone, a busted knee, some post-traumatic anxiety crap, and a whole lot of angst.

* lived in the jungle in beautiful hippied-out puna, hawaii for a month, doing work-trade for my jungle-hut accommodations, swimming in the ocean, dancing, playing, and exploring.

* appreciated the hell out of my friends and family.

* read 35 novels, seven books of short stories, a couple dozen plays, four graphic novels, one biography, one book of poetry, two travel memoirs, four books that defy categorization, and nearly 70 zines of varying length and quality. i also started reading three books that i did not finish.

at the end of 2007, i answered the question “do you have any plans for 2008?” with simply this: “the future is full of possibilities!” 2009 approaches and, well, the future is still full of possibilities. just the way i like it.

here are my resolutions/revolutions/evolutions for 2009:

  • better my relationship with my dreams (the “dream big” kind and the actual subconscious kind)
  • read less; write, create, and act(ivism) more
  • pay more attention to the things i do read
  • devote (even) more energy to seeking and creating meaning in my life

    a. recently took these photos in goa:

    new happy your to you!

  • 30 Dec 2008, 2:35pm
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    healing

    this is what my collarbone looked like on june 12th:

    this is what my collarbone looks like as of this morning, when i had my (hopefully!) very last orthopedist appointment:

    my body did that all by itself! with just a little initial help from some fabric and straps. i am so impressed!

    this is what it looks like on the outside:

    28 Dec 2008, 1:39am
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    some of those infinite possibilities

    well, it seems to be the end of the portland “snowpocalypse” or “arctic blast” or whatever you’d like to call it. between leaving my house this morning and coming home tonight, the snow and ice mostly disappeared from the road. the sidewalks, on the other hand? still working on it. i don’t particularly like the slush. it’s dirty and wet and slippery, and it’s not safe to walk in the middle of the street anymore. the buses are on something resembling their regular schedule, at least–i still waited half an hour at one bus stop this morning, and over a half an hour at another one this evening. i could have taken another bus home, but i felt sure that as soon as i left the stop to walk to another one (further away from the theatre), the bus would come, and when i got to the other stop i’d have just missed that bus. of course. so i stood and wondered about the limits of my patience (if i’m feeling good about myself) or my laziness (if i’m not) and watched a little girl make a snow creature out of dirty chunks of melting ice. oh, that little girl was great. and the bus finally came and i’d scarcely been riding it for five minutes when who should sit down next to me but a dear friend newly arrived back in portland after a trip to see his family. dang, i love it when that happens.

    two christmas eves left tomorrow, and then that’s the end of a christmas carol. i’ll have a couple weeks off before rehearsals start for my next project. in between: my hopefully-very-last orthopedist appointment with regard to my collarbone, a new year’s eve party with friends, and i’m (as far as i know) teaching a paideia course–How To Not Get Hit By Cars (on your bike):
    Bikes are fuckin’ awesome, but until the day everyone else sees the light, we cyclists have to share the road with drunks and distracted nine-to-five-ers driving 3000-pound Hummers and talking on their cell phones. I got hit by a car and I don’t want it to happen to you. Come reap the benefits of my many hours of obsessing over how it could have gone differently. Topics of discussion may include basic bike safety and urban cycling skills, common collisions and how to avoid them, how to use bike infrastructure such as bike lanes safely, the helmet debate, and more. Come with questions and suggestions, or just stop by to pick up a nifty handout.

    oh, also, i am planning to go to a peace corps informational session. i’ve been thinking about the peace corps a lot lately. i’m not 100% sure i want to apply, but today during my break between shows i spent awhile coming up with a list of questions and concerns that i have for myself and that other people (my parents, for example) might have for me should i actually go for it. a lot of it’s practical stuff that’s not really relevant until i actually apply, but i thought my answers to two of the questions i came up with might be interesting even out of context. certainly in the “stuff i’ve been thinking about lately” category.

    1. the obvious: why?

    a partial answer:
    i want to explore life! i know that that can and should involve a lot more than literal physical exploration of the world, but right now, at this stage in my life, travel seems like the way to do it–the place to start, at any rate. but! i have done a lot of traveling, and i have done enough aimless place-to-place traveling. i want my travels to have some intent and meaning behind them. yes, there are ways to get that outside of the peace corps, but the peace corps also offers a “home” of sorts–one site for two years–a semi-permanent residence, a community, fulfilling work to do (ideally), etc etc. when i travel i long for home. when i’m home i long to roam!

    all that plus an opportunity to explore(!) foreign places and cultures and ideas and foods and probably even climates! also, you don’t end up with way, way less money that you started with.

    2. what about your burgeoning career in portland theatre?

    look, especially in this economy i am pretty happy to be making something resembling a living doing something i don’t hate. something i kinda like, even. certainly i love the people i work with in theatre, and i like the idea of theatre, but i am really just not super excited by theatre lately. okay, i have been excited by stuff at jaw. and occasionally some crazy artsy shorts and things that somebody probably lost money putting on. and sojourn theatre–good was pretty amazing. okay, maybe i am just not very excited by what i’m doing. i am looking down the path i’m on and it’s a lot of taking notes on other people’s art and making lists and then saying the same words and doing the same things in the same order night after night. there are things about stage managing and production work that i like a lot, yes–but i miss the feeling i used to get when i was directing in college. and if directing is down that path… it’s a long way off. no, of course i don’t need institutional support or money to get some of my amazing talented friends together to make some art… but it sure would make it a lot easier.

    yeah maybe i just need to make some of that art, by hook or by crook. maybe i need to shake up my life to make that happen. or maybe i need a chance to miss theatre. or to bring theatre in some aspect to a new audience. i don’t know.

    in any case, it’s not like i actually have a steady job. and i think that many of the contacts i’ve made would still be here when i got back, if i were interested in picking up where i left off. or it might be an opportunity to start again in a slightly or completely different direction.

    i don’t think that joining the peace corps (or whatever) is the only answer to this dilemma (or whatever it is), by any means. but it might be one answer. a pretty freakin’ exciting one. i am pretty happy with my life as it is right now, really. but i’ve got that itch to explore. you know?

    here’s some photos from the my happy life at the theatre–

    the green room:

    one of the costume guys has been getting everyone to make snowflakes and taping them up in the women’s quick-change area (actually the inside of the freight elevator). pretty awesome:

    26 Dec 2008, 2:37am
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    happy holidays

    (“a blessing” by james wright)

    love & joy come to you, et cetera.

    22 Dec 2008, 11:33pm
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    snow days

    i’m a bit late, but happy solstice. this day was a little longer than yesterday.

    the evening show yesterday was cancelled but even so it took me five or six (happy!) hours to get home. i bought some xmas presents for my family at powell’s books and then ran into a friend on the slow bus from downtown. on the east side of the river, we stomped through the snow together to his house for hot cocoa, magnetic poetry, and catching up. when i left, i stomped on south and called another friend when i was near his house. in this way i made my way home from one warm stepping-stone place to another.

    i walked down 41st ave in the middle of the street. the footsteps ahead of me were fresher than the car tracks they followed. i am loving this weather because it is so unusual and that unusualness means portland doesn’t have the infrastructure to “deal” with it–so snow covers all the pavement, even on main streets… and there are so very few cars on the road and everyone laughs together and how unusual it is and smiles at their neighbors and walks down the center of the street. it feels like a little glimpse of utopia.

    today, though, i gather the snow has pretty much done in even the buses, which had up ’til now been pretty good at getting one where one needed to get eventually, and camaraderie aside, it’s been a disaster for portland’s transportation budget, according to bikeportland.org.

    it was my day off anyway, and i have hardly left the house. just taking out the trash was in and of itself an adventure this morning–but i sorta regret the day. i like myself and the city and pretty much everything else much better when i get outside. this is one of those truths i’ve discovered about myself since i graduated from college. still, not a total loss. i made granola (i love this recipe) and watched doctor who with my housemates and my cat. and i did a whole lot of reading of peace corps journals.

    21 Dec 2008, 12:08am
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    surprise & delight

    awe infinitum… well, where else do you find it but at a bus stop in the snow?

    i did not expect to find it there. i did not expect the snow. in any case last sunday when i first woke to the snow i did not expect it to continue. i scarcely recognize this city and i am so thrilled by its capacity to surprise me! last night i wrote about traveling. tonight, i want to commit to this city. plant a garden, get a dog. i am more in love than ever. stomping in snowdrifts while i wait for the bus. a few years ago i saw a performance by the tania perez-salas compañia de danza when they came to portland. one of the dances they performed, “waters of forgetfulness,” featured a shallow pool of water that served in its way as dancer and musician. it is a beautiful, beautiful piece. tonight i thought of it: me and the snow and my laughter when i kicked it into the air and fell over on the snowy sidewalk–what a dance, oh my goodness.

    this is one of my very favorite poems–nights and days like this (”like this”! what is this?) always leave me softly reciting the last two lines to myself, over and over–

    MATINS

    Not the sun merely but the earth
    itself shines, white fire
    leaping from the showy mountains
    and the flat road
    shimmering in early morning: is this
    for us only, to induce
    response, or are you
    stirred also, helpless
    to control yourself
    in earth’s presence–I am ashamed
    at what I thought you were,
    distant from us, regarding us
    as an experiment: it is
    a bitter thing to be
    the disposable animal,
    a bitter thing. Dear friend,
    dear trembling partner, what
    surprises you most in what you feel,
    earth’s radiance or your own delight?
    For me, always
    the delight is the surprise.

    –Louise Gl├╝ck

    20 Dec 2008, 12:33am
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    winter

    the snow is still falling off and on here in portland. it’s like soft, cold confetti. standing under streetlights at night, tongue out, i feel silently celebrated.