Saturday, February 28, 2009

Calm Waters: Anonymous

“As we sail thru life, don't avoid rough waters, sail on because calm waters won't make a skillful sailor” ~ Anonymous

I must be a damn fine "life sailor" if this quote is anything to go by. I know that people say that you attract things into your life based on what you are looking for, but I don't necessarily subscribe to that idea. I believe that we attract things that we need to learn from and that is why chaos is constantly crushing down on me. I am supposed to learn how to manage in chaos.

This week, my boss asked me how I was and I said that my goal was to remain calm. It felt kind of sad to say that as it was TRULY my only goal for that day and really for the rest of the week. I felt so overwhelmed by things and so unable to control the flow of chaos. Change is hard for me (surprise, surprise) and so this constant flow of change just means that I have to maintain my composure and work through it. I know this is the lesson I am supposed to learn. The ante just keeps getting higher and higher and I sometimes wonder where the threshhold is...what will be the thing that I CAN'T handle? That worries me.

So, this week, my goal was to remain calm and I tried a number of things to help me through.

1. Tell people when I need help. I did this to great success this week. I hate hate hate asking for help, but I did it anyway. And everyone was great. I think it helped everyone to stay calm - if they know what I need to make it work, we all pitch in.

2. Eliminate the things that make calm impossible. This week, as I was driving, I turned off the political talk on the radio and put some music on. When the days got really hard, I put on the audio book of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows". Wow! Did that ever make a difference. I just needed something that would engage my brain and not allow me to focus on all the things that were making the week a challenge.

3. Remember to take my vitamins. :)

4. I tried to acknowledge when what I was doing was successful and I didn't try take on any extra stuff. I worked on prioritizing activities and postponing activities that could wait.

All in all, even though I was exhausted by the time I got home last night, I felt pretty good about the way the week went and where I ended up emotionally. Next week is another CRAZY week and I will be out of town for most of it. I'm still figuring out what I will need to do to maintain this little bit of equilibrium that I have right now. Wish me luck!

Friday, February 27, 2009

"Taken" Review: Spoiler Alert

First off, I want to just go on the record by saying that I love love love Liam Neeson.  I'm pretty sure that I have sung his praises here before, but if you have not seen him in "Schindler's List", you have never seen Liam Neeson.  He was BRILLIANT and magnetic and mesmerizing in that role.

So, I tend to see his movies.  I had heard that this was a good action movie.  I was good in that sense - lots of action, car chases, shoot outs, fights a la "Die Hard".  I was definitely entertained when I wasn't covering my eyes or ears to avoid the blood-shots. **WARNING**- I may  give away some parts of the plot you don't want to know about...

Here's my problem:  The premise is a dad who was in the spy biz retires to be near his daughter to try to make up for lost time.  He keeps a scrapbook of her birthday pictures and longs to have a stronger relationship with his 17 year old daughter who was played by Maggie Grace.  His ex-wife was played by Famke Janssen.  The daughter wants to go to Europe with a friend for the summer to follow U2's tour, but tells Dad she will be staying in an apartment in Paris to go to museums.  The ex-wife is in on the lie.  Ummm...HELLO?  Ask for trouble much?  The first second they girls are in Paris, they are scammed by a guy and the "friend" not only agrees to go to a party with the guy, but leads him to their apartment when they share a taxi and tells him that her friends are out of town and it is just the two lovely young American girls alone in the apartment.  Brilliant.  They are kidnapped within minutes.  The daughter sees her friend get kidnapped while she is on the phone with her dad.  The rest of the movie is the dad trying to find her before she is sold into the sex trade.

Problem #1.  The portrayal of the 17 year old daughter did not ring true to me.  When she ran up to her dad to hug him, she reminded me of Phoebe from "Friends" when Rachel first moved in with her and they went jogging together.  Rachel was so embarrassed by her running form - arms flailing, giant awkward steps, that she refused to go jogging with her anymore.  That is what this looked like.  It made me uncomfortable and it made her character seem that much more immature which made the parents (particularly the mother) look like complete morons for allowing such an underdeveloped child to go off to Europe without any supervision.

Problem #2:  The ex-wife character is without redeeming characteristics except that she is a mother who loves her daughter.  I could barely stand to watch her.  When you realize how bitchy she is, it almost makes you think, "Well, it serves you right for lying..."  Not good.  I decided I do not like this actress, either.  I have seen her in something else and she is just all hard-edges and I can't seem to find anything that attracts me or interests me.

Problem #3: The girls can't really be THAT stupid, can they?  I guess naive or trusting are probably better choices, but the way this is portrayed just made me think STUPID.

Problem #4:  The VERY end of the movie...I'm not gonna give it away here, but I HATED how things happened in the last 2-3 minutes of the film.  Annoying.

Given all that, you would think that I hated the movie - I didn't.  I just didn't feel sorry for anyone but the dad.  The one thing that ruins a good movie for me is when there are no sympathetic characters (remind me to talk about "The Fabulous Baker Boys").  This movie was lucky enough to have the dad...otherwise, I would not have liked it at all.

Anyway, those are my 10 cents (it was longer than 2 cents).

Thursday, February 26, 2009


The Quote of the day that shows up on my sidebar said this today:

"The more you know the less you need to say.
Jim Rohn more Famous Quotes"

How's that for timing? Or does the Famous Quotes thing grab catchwords and then insert quotes that are applicable to the page? Ooh, that would be freaky, wouldn't it. A crazy quote robotic thing.

I don't really like the idea of computers or machines "sensing" things that help it automate. Like microwaves - hitting the sensor. How does it know when to stop? Is it when enough steam comes out of the food? Is it when the pressure changes because there are bubbles developing in the liquid as it gets hotter? Are there little ghosty hands that touch to see if it is hot enough? Who knows? I don't like the idea of OnStar either...I mean, yes, in theory, it can save your life, but it also means that someone, somewhere knows where you are at any given moment when you are in your car.

And don't even get me started on the whole "cell phone as tracking device" a-la-"Enemy of the State" and other like movies. That scares the bejeezus out of me, to quote "Friends". I try not to think about it as I carry around all my little electronic devices. I'm sure they are all producing some kind of electronic energy that will give us all tumors or something anyway...I really do try not to think about it much. Cuz it would freak me out.

It's been a long week.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Just Be Quiet: Quotes I Need to Remember

“There are times when silence has the loudest voice”~Leroy Brownlow

“Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it's all over.”~Gloria Naylor

“Do not speak unless you can improve the silence”~Proverb 

“Silence is a source of great strength.”~Lao Tzu 

I'm taking a Vow of Meeting Silence.  This means only speak in meetings if spoken to directly.  If someone asks me a question, I will answer, but I am going to be experimenting with being quiet.  This is for my sanity.  

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Reading: Confucius

“No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.” ~Confucius  

Today did not prove to be that much better than yesterday except for my sincere appreciation for the people around me who, rather than letting me exhaust myself dog-paddling for shore, gently pulled me into their boat and rowed me to shore.   I had to just surrender into feeling overwhelmed and less-than-competent and just appreciate the kindness of others.  

As a result of said day, I choose to check in on my reading progress, which I do keep on the sidebar, but don't change regularly.  I have only missed 3 days of reading since my start in January.  I started out strongly, reading all four of the "Twilight" series books in January.    Then, the search for a book that would hold my interest...I think I have to rebuild my "reading patience" - knowing that a book doesn't necessarily grab you right away, but that I have to give it a chance.  I am a "slow to warm" person in real life and I think I am that way with characters in books - I don't want to be hurt by real people or fictional characters. Ha.  

I am nearing the end of "Walking in Circles Before Lying Down" which has been funnier than I thought.  I am also in the middle of Maya Angelou's "Letter to My Daughter", a book of beautiful essays.  You can't read them all at once - they have to be savored.  So, although I am behind in where I would like to be book-count wise and page-count wise, I am happy to be reading daily and enjoying the journey.  Book recommendations welcome here...                        

Monday, February 23, 2009

Human Touch: Buechner

“Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else's skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.” ~Frederick Buechner 

Today was a challenging day - not a bad day...I was mostly still able to smile by the end of almost 12 hours at work... One thing that was really sort of breathtaking and beautiful was that in the midst of this challenging day, no less than 4 people made an effort to show me in different ways that they SEE ME - not manager me, not looking for what I can do for them or give them, but they saw my effort not to give into feeling overwhelmed, saw the human need in me for someone to just say something kind, not ask for more, not say, "I know you're busy, but..."  It is really heartening.  

Sunday, February 22, 2009


It is funny how things converge to lead us to an idea, a thought, an experience, sometimes...Yesterday, I was in Barnes and Noble and as I was headed to purchase some books with my gift certificates (from the past 3 years...), I saw a copy of the novel the movie "Defiance" was adapted, so I bought it.  It had been on the list.

Today, I was with a friend and talked about "Defiance" and "The Reader" then on my way home, I turned the radio on and the talk show host was interviewing a playwright named Dan Gordon and he was discussing the play he had written titled, "Irena's Vow".  The play is either headed toward or is already on Broadway.  It got rave reviews when it was Off-Broadway.  The story is about a young Polish Catholic woman who hid 13 Jews in the house of a German officer during the war.  

I was really loathe to tear myself away from the interview except that nature called after I had been sitting in the driveway for about 15 minutes, just listening.

Apparently, after the war, the real Irena moved to the United States, got married, had a daughter and never spoke of what had happened to her during the war.  One day, a young man, who was working on his dissertation denying the Holocaust, called to ask her some questions in a random survey.  As he asked questions trying to lead her to denying the Holocaust, she grew more and more agitated before blurting out her story.  Her daughter was, I believe, 11 years old at the time (maybe older) and had never heard the story before.  

The playwright said that after that, Irena would tour public schools and talk to the high school students about hate and the Holocaust and tell them, "You are the last generation to hear this story from those who were witnesses.  You have a responsibility to remember and to tell other people."  She was said to have told people that even the biggest, most macho boys came to her afterwards to talk to her and she would hug them and say, "I love you, honey."  He said that to hear that from her was to hear the most sincere, most unconditional love come from a human being.

I was so moved, I came in the house to research the play, the playwright and whatever I could find.  The woman playing Irena in the play is Tovah Feldshuh.  When they first said her name, I knew it was familiar, but I couldn't place it.  When I googled her, I found that she played the Jessica Stein's mother in "Kissing Jessica Stein".  I loved her in that (I will talk about that movie some other time here).  I think she is mostly a New York/Broadway actress - she has done movies and television, but it seems like her fame has really come from Broadway.  The playwright RAVED about her and so did the talk show host.  They said she was the "Olympian" of acting.

If you are interested, there is a really in-depth interview with Tovah Feldshuh on the play's website. She is a great interview and has a lot of great things to say.  The video is quite long - 29 minutes.  It looks to be some kind of local tv program from New York, but it was worth watching. Follow this link:

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Art and the Soul: Beecher

"Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures." ~ Henry Ward Beecher

I'm having a moment here...what if this quote is true and that is why my photos turn out so horribly? Is my nature so unfocused and cluttered?   I know that sounds stupid, but I get SO FRUSTRATED that the "art" I could create in my head is never the art that I can produce with my hands.  I know that the quote is about something deeper, but stick with me in the shallows for a moment.

So, I believe that we are being sold a bill of goods by the digital photography revolution - "Anyone can be a brilliant photographer! Just buy this little gadget, take a bazillion photos and viola! you are a photographer." Please understand that I am fully aware that I have had this camera for less than 24 hours. It isn't even that I'm not happy with the photos I have taken, as I have taken like two. What is true is that I keep looking up "Digital photography for beginners" and "Photography for beginners" and I am looking at all these stunning photos people take and I know I will not be able to produce the kind of photos I want for a LONG TIME. I don't want to wait. I want to be good now. This is unrealistic and I know that, but I rememebered that this is why I sometimes don't try things. I want to be PERFECT even though I know that is impossible and silly.  And I hate that I keep buying into the idea that these stupid little gadgets will help us overcome whatever it is that makes the art less than the image we have in our heads...I KNOW that you have to work on any skill or craft.  I KNOW it, but there is some sneaky thought that is lurking that thinks, "Maybe this time, it will just come to me naturally."  That is the lie.  It WON'T and if it DID, it wouldn't really be a skill, would it?  If everyone could do it, it wouldn't be special, right?   

I need to take a class. Then, at least, I can keep trying. That is really the point, isn't it? To try things? To develop more skill and understanding of what it takes to take good photos, make good art, write well...Maybe photography won't be my thing, but I could at least get some photos of my friends and family. That's worth something. A lot, actually.

I have to read that famous book again - "Art and Fear". I read it a while ago, but I'm thinking I need it again.

The sad thing is that this doesn't only apply to applies to all art. I tried photography back when I was in middle school and a dab in high school, but I wasn't immediately good at it and I moved on. Sad, huh?   I gave up taking art classes because my sister was so much better (and older and more experienced) than I was and I knew that I could excel in writing.   This fear/perfection thing connects to writing, to drawing, to storytelling, even to interpreting shows. I guess I need to learn to have a little compassion for myself.

When I was in high school, I knew that I was developing voice for my writing -  I wanted to tell the stories I wanted to tell and I was less afraid - less set in my ways. I tried lots of new stuff, wrote daily and creatively. I wasn't as afraid to try things or to create imperfectly.   I stopped writing in college for a lot of reasons - Roby, time, etc., but really, I just felt like I was never going to get anywhere with it  and I was afraid of failing MYSELF. I have said here in the blog that this is really a way for me to get back to that - writing daily, maybe creatively, at some point.  This has been a big step for me.

Maybe I'm just tired? I woke up at 6:40am for NO GOOD REASON and have been up since. I think I'm going to go with that theory - tired and delirious. That must be the reason for this somewhat frantic rant.  Maybe I can revisit all this later in the day when I've had more time to filter...I mean, wake up.

Friday, February 20, 2009


That is two YAHOOS in one week...I usually never Yahoo! but it is nice to mark the end of a long week.

To celebrate my survival this week, I am going to purchase a digital camera - I have been wanting to buy one for the longest time and I finally decided to do it. I saw one I liked (not pink though - they are always too small for my hands) and I am going to go buy it right now.

Next time you come here, you will see some horribly framed photos that I took with my new camera. I am a terrible photographer, but maybe I will learn something over the weekend.

I have some very specific pictures I want to take, so I'm very excited about the prospect. Wish me luck!

On another topic, if you are feeling a sense of WHA??? due to the lack of actual content in these February posts, have no fear, so am I. As I mentioned, I have been kind of adrift since I didn't come up with a brilliant plan for the month. I definitely like having a plan and something ACTUAL to talk about. I am hoping to get to the turning point soon. Hope you will all keep coming back with the promise of more, soon.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bad Day

I just had one of those days that wouldn't stop, no matter how hard I tried to put on the breaks. Luckily, the people around me were gracious and kind and even though I couldn't stop it, the day got incrementally better so that I wasn't in a horrible mood by the time I got home.

I have added this video as it always makes me smile and was one of my faves when I was a kid. I learned the Preamble to the Constitution because of this Schoolhouse Rock PSA.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Smiling: Thich Nhat Hanh

"Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy." ~Thich Nhat Han

This quote really struck a note with me today. I got up this morning not really feeling well, but I just kept laughing at stuff today. Sometimes appropriately, sometimes unexpectedly...but it helped buoy my mood. Nothing was really wrong - I'm not sick, I'm not grumpy, just kind of out of sorts. Four day weeks give me hell sometimes - we try to cram 5 days worth of stuff into four and expect it to all work out.

I am still working on my 10 Defining Moments, 7 Critical Decisions, and 5 Important people (I can't remember the labels that were used, but you get the idea...), but I thought I could put the ones I KNOW already. I'm not sure I can stick to the numbers they gave, but I will give it a whirl.

Some of my 10 defining moments:

When Roby told me he had HIV
Roby's Death
My father's death
interpreting "Les Miserables" the first time

Some Critical Decisions:

Agreeing to keep Roby's HIV status secret
Entering the Interpreter training program
Saying "Yes" to interpret "Hot'l Baltimore"
Quitting my K-12 job

Most Important People:

Roby - shocking, I know
My mother

That's all I have right now. I could change my mind...who knows.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Just not getting into the Groove

Ah, a difficult month without structure and without a computer at home to write by...makes it hard to post.

I watched Dr. Phil yesterday - I was home, the computer was down and he was on. His topic was not that fascinating but he asked one of the guests to list their 10 Defining moments, their 7 Defining Decisions and the 5 critical people in their life. I liked the idea, so I am working on those things. I haven't completed the lists, but when I do, I will post.

For now, breathe deep and go listen to some good music or read a book. I shall return. I will be writing in a spiral notebook until I get my computer back.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Downed computer

My hard drive crashed at home. :(

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Yahoo!! "Yentl" on DVD

I have been waiting for the DVD version of "Yentl" to come out for SO LONG! I kept checking and then I finally signed up for the "Let me know if the DVD makers ever catch a clue and put this incredible movie on DVD" notification. I must have signed up for it 3-4 years ago...maybe longer. And then...last month, it email from "Your waiting is over. Come buy your copy of "Yentl" on DVD. I don't even know why, but when I first got the notification, I kind of brushed over it...a few days later, I realized what I had read. "Yentl" is FINALLY ON DVD!!  The movie was made in 1983 and it just came out on DVD February 3, 2009.  It was worth the wait.

I know most people haven't even seen this movie...I don't know why. It is another one of those labors of love, as "Schindler's List" is to Steven Spielberg, so "Yentl" is to Barbra Streisand. Perhaps it is the fact that it is a musical that causes people to turn away from it...but ask a Streisand fan if they have seen "Hello, Dolly!" and they will all say yes. This movie is such a masterpiece - she wrote it, directed it, starred in it, sang in it. Ahhh.

I don't think I have waxed poetic on this film in the blog before, but forgive me if I have.  It is one of my all time favorites and I just think everyone should see it.  There are so many reasons to see this film...

See Mandy Patinkin before he got too big for his britches.

The cinemetography is georgeous.  The film was done inPrague, New York and Liverpool.  The scenes in Prague are stunningly beautiful and capture that Eastern European flavor.

This is a great story for girls and women that illustrates how much our world has changed - from a time when the book vendors recommended "Picture books for women" and would not allow girls to study or learn to read.  Here is a quote from the movie:

Yentl: If we don't have to hide my studying from God, then why from the neighbors? 
Yentl's Father: Why? Because I trust God will understand. I'm not so sure about the neighbors.

There is the most stunning scene between Yentl (Barbra Streisand) and Avigdore (Mandy Patinkin) that I think is one of the most perfect love scenes ever filmed - she reveals herself to him as a woman and falls to her knees - the light is pouring in from the window and she looks up at him for this brief moment - perfection. 

The music- if for no other reason than the music..."Where is it Written?", "Papa Can You Hear Me?", "A Piece of Sky" doesn't get much better than this.  If you want to give a little listen, you can listen to pieces of the songs here.  People haven't really heard "Papa Can You Hear Me?" if they have never heard the movie version.  People started mocking it and doing parodies, but it is really a beautiful song and a beautifully realized piece of film.

Here are some clips to tempt you.  Meanwhile, I'm going to go watch it!

"Papa Can You Hear Me"

Original 1983 Trailer

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Meditation on Being Single on Valentine's Day

"You can explore the universe looking for somebody who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and you will not find that person anywhere." ~ Unknown 

First off, I changed the blog colors in honor of Valentine's Day.  I liked the brighter pink (as it is in the title of the blog), but I figured it would hurt everyone's eyes to read, so I decided to lighten it up a little.  I don't like the baby pink color - my apologies for not picking the easiest one to read...I just couldn't live with the color.

So, I just wanted to acknowledge the day in a positive way.  In the past, I would always be around single, bitter people on Valentine's Day and it rubs off.  I've never really cared about being single on Valentine's Day.  In my view (although it has changed a lot since then), it is still a kid's holiday.  Trading cards, getting your feelings hurt because someone gave you the ugly card in their box...When I was a kid, we made a little Valentine's Day card mailbox/folder/holder of some kind in preparation for the annual card giving.  The rule was that you had to give everyone a card if you were going to give them.  The irony (I suspect it has changed a bit by now) was that people found ways to insult or reward those they wanted to. Candy for the ones you liked, ugly cards for the ones you didn't like.  I was on the receiving end of both over the years.  I think now that they make Valentines in "theme" packs, they just make 2 of everything.  I don't think the "Harry Potter" Valentines or the "Shrek" Valentines have insult cards in them. I hope.

One of my friends used to buy sympathy cards and send them to their single friends for Valentine's Day.  Funny on the one hand, but I'm not so sure the recipient felt that way, especially if they were one of the sensitive Valentine people.

For me now, I love Valentine's Day because they have all kinds of PINK THINGS!! I love that.  I can find a reason to celebrate most things, really.  Pink candles, pink dishes, pink cookies, pink stuff.  Its all good.  And I still buy Valentine's cards every year...this year, I left them at work...unopened and unaddressed. Sigh.  I guess it's the thought that counts, right?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Loving Your Fool: Theodore Isacc Rubin

"I must learn to love the fool in me - the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries." ~Theodore Isacc Rubin

I think it is interesting how you can read a quote that will strike to the heart of you on a given day. I read lots of quotes from lots of different people - I have that little "Quote A Day" on the sidebar because I like having interesting quotes to think about. When I was trying to think about what I might want to write about today, I looked up some quotes and I couldn't come up with a topic. So I looked up "Quotes about life" and got the one above.

This is the perfect quote for me. I am always second-guessing what I say, what I do. My mother found a report card of mine a few months ago from my first grade teacher. In the comments section, the teacher had written, "Jean has high expectations of herself and others." Story of my life. Luckily, I have high expectations of myself - not JUST of others...people understand more if you expect more out of yourself than them...

Anyway, I love the idea of embracing the parts of me that make me chatter like one of those monkeys with cymbals when I'm nervous, or the part of me that says too much, or gets hurt too much or laughs too loud or cries easily. Those are the parts of myself that I have always tried to escape, but they are really what make me ME. Perfection is a distraction away from what is real. I'd rather be real. I know it is hard to give up the perfection thing - believe me, I KNOW, but I think it is admirable to try.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

February Blahs

What is up with me not being able to come up with anything to write??? I was all jazzed coming out of 3 months of writing daily and feeling really good about it...I had a specific plan in December and January and it helped me SO MUCH. Now I am back to "what I had for lunch" and lame explanations of how tired I am. I hate that.

I'm going to have to come up with a plan for the rest of February...I didn't like the theme WANT, but I haven't found a valid replacement theme...maybe I should just go with it?

And another thing...I have slumped back into so old and bad habits -i.e. working 12 hours a day and schlumping home to crash on the couch. I don't like that and I don't want to do it anymore. I have to just get out of the cycle and a three day weekend will do the trick. I should have asked for tomorrow off, but I didn't plan it well enough. By the time I thought of it, it was too late to ask for it off.

Anyway, I'm trying to get back on track.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Meditations on Technology

So, I "lost" my pager. I'm not sure where it is...I have a purse that doesn't close at the top...I'm afraid it fell out when I got out of my car...what if someone found it? I sent an AIM asking for the finder to contact me at work, but then I realized that they wouldn't be able to open it as the Sidekick has a lock feature. And the battery runs out after 24 hours...

Ugh. I didn't realize how stressful it is to wonder where it is, to drive at night and not have a cell phone "in case" something happens.


Update: Apparently, I left it on my desk. WHEW! I was stressed out going to my first job - what if I'm late? What if it cancels? I have no contact...Argh! and it was just on my desk...Sigh.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Kindness: Dalai Lama

"Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible." ~Dalai Lama
I was reminded today that a small, kind word or gesture can make a difference.  Obviously, I know this to be the case, both as a giver and a receiver, but every once in a while, it is good to be reminded...I followed my instincts today and I think it paid off for both of us.

I want so much to be a positive force in the world, in the lives of the people I touch, but sometimes it is so hard.  I get distracted by all the "stuff" that happens in a day, all the ways that I am pulled, the answers I don't have, the time and attention to everything and everyone...and I forget that it is all about people.
Anyway, I remember now.  I just keep on truckin', ya know?  Just keep allowing these little pokes to really help me wake up and move me to action.  I think I need to come up with a plan - what are some things I can DO daily to put my intentions into action?  I have to ponder this.  I think of things to do, to say, ways to show people, all the time, but then I get distracted, get busy, forget.  I have to start remembering more. 

Sunday, February 8, 2009


"We either make ourselves happy or miserable. The amount of work is the same."~Carlos Castaneda

I wouldn't say I was miserable...just not feeling happy today.

Yesterday, I realized that there is a situation in my life that I have no control over and no way to change anything but my reaction to it. Just having that hit me in the face PISSED ME OFF. I had to remove myself from the situation. I was gone all day and as soon as I came back home and a person asked me about it, I was PISSED OFF with equal intensity - as if I hadn't been gone at all, hadn't thought about it, hadn't come to a decision about my position on the whole thing.

So, in a nutshell, I spent the day thinking, analyzing, deciding, calming myself and it was all for nothing. And the same situation presents itself today. The only difference is my choice to refrain from comment. Refrain from participation. I refuse to waste another day on something I can't control.

So, what did I do yesterday? Well, early in the day, I went to a movie. The next thing starting was "He's Just Not That Into You" which is a difficult title to say when you aren't looking at the words printed out in front of you. I kind of liked it, but I found myself frustrated by a lot of the things that were portrayed about women. And at the same time, I think they were telling the truth, but it is still annoying. The main character, GiGi is desperate to find her soul-mate and spends an exhaustive amount of energy and time being desperate, stalking, whining and generally doing stupid crap and scaring off any potential person by her sheer desperation. It was almost painful to watch. Then, when she realizes that the guy who has been coaching her on how the guys just aren't that into her is ACTUALLy into her, all those whiny, lame, desperate behaviors are used to make her seem like the hero of the piece. I don't know. I guess I'm jaded.

My true favorite part of this movie was just seeing Jennifer Aniston in a movie again. I love her.I have been watching "Friends" again, on and off, and I miss them all. I liked Ben Affleck in this movie and Bradley Cooper (who I think is HOT HOT HOT).  I still don't care for Jennifer Connelly. She doesn't have any spark for me at all - not in her voice, in her look, in her eyes, in the roles she takes.  I haven't seen her in anything that I thought was particularly impressive - although I have not seen "The House of Sand and Fog".  I heard that was amazing (and it has Ben Kingsley who is good in ANYTHING, except maybe that terrible John Cusack movie "War, Inc" which I wanted to like but ultimately HATED).  I also like Justin Long (who I recognized but couldn't remember where I had seen him until halfway through the movie...for those of you who still don't remember, he was in "Live Free or Die Hard". Yes. I saw that movie. And I liked it.)

Once the movie was done, I spent some time reading, and a lot of time driving around with all kinds of crazy thoughts in my head just trying to figure out what to do about the whole thing.   My only answer yesterday was to disengage.  And then there is the spate of thoughts about all the things I am satisfied with and unsatisfied with in my life and trying to sort them into categories of things I can change quickly, things I have to work on, things I can't even think about right now and things that are what they are and no amount of grousing or angst is going to change them.  That takes a lot of energy, which resulted in today's headache.

Anyway, today, I choose not to be pissed off. That isn't the same as choosing to be happy, but it is the closest I can get for now. And I'm happy about that, at least.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Measure in Love anyone who is sick of me talking about "RENT" should just close the browser now. :) I'm sometimes sick of me talking about "RENT", but sometimes it just comes around.

So, this morning, I woke up early and I decided to put in the new DVD of the final performance and watch the Bonus Features. They had some stuff about the last week of the show on Broadway, The Wall people signed to express their feelings about the show, The Lottery, etc. So, I started with the featurette about the last week on Broadway and I kept crying...I know the show CLOSED...I have at least 50 different recordings, I have video clips, I have the movie on DVD, I have this new version...but I still teared up - especially when they showed Jonathan Larson's parents there in the audience - still loving the people who loved their son or loved him via his final work. How rewarding and heartbreaking it must be to watch the end of this show - the final thread of life from their son - so pivotal for him, for them.

Then I watched the final curtain call - many of the Original Broadway Cast came to the final performance and joined the cast onstage to sing "Seasons of Love" for the encore. I had seen this portion before (what was edited into the film), but in this version they panned out and showed audience reaction. That is really what prompted this post today. The camera panned out and I was so moved to watch the rapt attention, the utter joy and despair evident on the faces of so many people - and notably, the men. I was so struck by their absorption- eyes locked onstage, some had tears on their cheeks. It reminded me how much I admire men in the arts, men in theatre.

This may sound sexist- I don't mean it to be...I think women have traditionally had so much more permission to express their feelings, to truly love something and be enthusiastic about it. Listening to men sing, seeing them pour themselves into something as joyful as "RENT" is so moving. I wish I could explain what I mean. I just made my heart hurt in a good way. It made me wish that there was a way for us all to find that kind of rapture more of the time. Obviously, we aren't going to feel that way all the time, but more of the time would be good.

I started thinking about how easy it is for us to forget the lessons that "RENT" carries - "no day but today", "forget regret or life is yours to miss", "la vie boheme". I feel like I live such a divided life. My internal life is much more about joy and love and music and expression and I want to find a way to move my external life in that direction. Who doesn't, right? I know that is why I continue to interpret theatre. There is so much emotion when you pass these intense feelings through your body - whether you are interpreting or singing or acting.

Anyway, I guess it is a pretty good time to re-ignite my "RENT" passion since the show is coming back to town in June and I get to interpret.

If you are at all inclined, see this movie. It is beautifully filmed, the music is great, the show is brilliant (in my opinion). Enjoy. Feel the joy.

Here is a clip of "What You Own" with Adam Kantor as Mark and Will Chase as Roger.

Friday, February 6, 2009

"RENT" Final Performances on DVD - FINALLY!!!

The final performance of "RENT" was released on DVD this week and I didn't even know it was coming out!!

Here is an article about it:

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Structure vs. Free-Flow

So, like 4 days without a structure and I fall apart here. I was chomping at the bit to be done with last month, but I really liked having a bunch of possibilities to choose from rather than staring at the white computer screen...maybe I should put a bunch of topics in a hat and pull one out every day. :)

I knew when I saw that February's theme was WANT that I was not going to be writing much (if at all) about that. It isn't a topic that resonates with me, so I am searching for something else to write about.

A few notables:

I have only missed two days of reading since the beginning of the year - one was on January 1 and one was this past Tuesday - I was exhausted from my day with my presentation and driving for so many hours that I just fell asleep.

I am watching Buffy thru in order again (I can't even count how many times it has been). Am on Season 2 - just past Oz becoming a werewolf. Actually, I have been trying to watch that episode for 3 days now. Last night, I put it on and fell asleep. Then, I woke up at like 3:00am and I couldn't go back to sleep. I decided I would put the episode back on and I didn't even see a MINUTE of it before I was snoozing again. Weird that a vampire show would be comforting enough to let me go to sleep.

Speaking of vampires and werewolves, I have completed the Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer. After a rough first start, I thoroughly enjoyed the books. I saw the movie first with a friend and I thought it was interesting enough to make me want to read the was a little too painful in that awkward, teenagers mooning at each other, way...a few too many longing glances. When I started "Twilight", I found the beginning a little slow, but I think I was impacted by the fact that I had seen the movie, so I was waiting for Bella and Edward to meet. At work, all the women are reading them and have divided firmly into two teams: Team Edward and Team Jacob. I thought I was on Team Jacob, but after completing the final novel, I realized I like both of them and I think the series had it exactly right. (No spoilers here). If you like a good romance, a good vampire story or a combination of the two, you should read these books.

Now that I am done with those books, I am looking at a couple of others that I hope will hold my interest. Tonight I have picked up, "Letter to My Daughter" by Maya Angelou. My mother gave this book to me for Christmas, so I want to dig into that. The other book I'm intrigued by is "Hannah's Dream", which I have added to my list of books I am reading in my sidebar on the blog. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Last, but not least, I am hoping to see a movie or two this weekend. I want to see "The Reader" so badly but it is only playing in about 4 theatres around town...I also want to see "Taken" because I LOVE Liam Neeson. I haven't seen "Benjamin Button" but something holds me back on that one...I'm not sure what it is. Another on the list is "Slumdog Millionaire". Since I have such a love affair with India and want to learn more about Indian culture, etc., I think this is definitely a must-see.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

February Nablopomo - I couldn't resist

I decided to go ahead and do it. I like the accountability I feel when I am doing Nablopomo... I'm not necessarily going to write about the theme, but I may try. I thought I could probably pull off 28 days.

That's it for now - I'm off to watch American Idol.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Presenting is Good

As I approach my 20th anniversary as an interpreter, I am realizing how good it is to be comfortable in my skills, in my strengths, my knowledge.

Today, I presented on Theatrical interpreting at WOU and it went really well. The students were very engaged and asked insightful questions. I had a power point and a packet that I didn't need to use because I've been doing this for so freaking long, I don't need notes to talk about it. The process of developing the presentation helps me clear my thoughts and the drive down helps me pick the music that I want to use as examples.

This year, I used "Spring Awakening" as that is the show that has most resonated with me this year. I had the students interpret to "Away in a Manger" (the Christmas song) so that they would get the feel for interpreting something when you KNOW the words and "Mama Who Bore Me" from SA as an example of a song they didn't know. I didn't care about the interpretation so much as the FEELING of interpreting something they weren't familiar with. I hope it was fun for was certainly fun for me.

I love being 40-something. I love that I have been doing this job long enough that I know what I know and I know I need to learn more and I know where I need to improve. It felt really good. I loved introducing a topic that has brought so much joy to my life and has been the impetus for so much growth, both professionally and personally.

So, here is "Mama Who Bore Me" from "Spring Awakening" - for your enjoyment. :)

Here is my other favorite song from the show, "Left Behind". It has really beautiful lyrics - especially if you have ever known someone who died very young...This is Hunter Parrish (as Melchior)

And an acoustic version from Kyle Riabko...

Monday, February 2, 2009

Great Messaging from the AdCouncil

This is such a great ad, I had to look it up and post it here. I love the guy playing the dad! What a great message!

The Ad Council often has commercials/PSAs that are very well done. Usually, they are shown in the middle of the night, but apparently, the networks are showing a few during our waking hours, as well. :)

One of their great campaigns was about CyberBullying and another on Online Predators. Check them out. There is one on the radio right now about saving money called "Feed the Pig" with helpful hints about finances and savings, etc.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Jack Kerouac, U2, and Quotable Cards

"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars..." ~ Jack Kerouac

I love this quote...the first time I ever heard it was on a live recording of "Where the Streets Have No Name" by U2.  I loved the quote and it was several years before I actually found out the origin of it.  I found a version of the song the other day and I was hoping it was the live one I remembered, but it wasn't.  The quote has been bugging me for about a week now, because I couldn't remember it all...just the "burn, burn, burn" part and even Google can only do so much.  

After a bunch of different tries, I remembered that the quote was also on my FAVORITE brand of greeting cards called Quotables (discovered in Powell's and fed by Presents of Mind on Hawthorne).  Finally, success!

After a month of quotes, I am still in that mode, so I suspect it will continue for a while - but they aren't all about change anymore.  

So, for your listening pleasure, I give you U2, "Where the Streets Have No Name".  Enjoy!

This one is the original MTV Video. 


Blog Widget by LinkWithin