Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Day Five: Life's Purpose

"Life is just a chance to grow a soul." ~A. Powell Davies

I didn't take a lunch today. I meant to. I did. So I asked myself my questions on my drive home (not the same as focusing completely on the question, I know): "Am I becoming a person I respect? What are my successes? Where can I still grow?"

Today, all day, I had a sense that the "work" I was doing in the world was not what was important. That helped me focus on the part that felt important - the people. I felt like I took time with the people I spoke with today and tried to really focus in on them. I had a few interruptions and a few moments where I let myself get distracted from full engagement, but I stayed alert to them and tried to limit them and excuse myself when I couldn't. This is still an area of focus for me, but hopefully, the people I interacted with today could feel my attention and the genuine regard I had for them. I was trying really hard to put that out there.

One area of growth that I am working on is accepting compliments. I realized today that not only is it respectful to myself to accept a compliment, it is respectful to the person giving it. I got an email from a supervisor today thanking me for my leadership and congratulating me on a job well done. My first instinct was to deny that I had anything to do with it. Ultimately, I split the difference. I thanked them for the compliment and gave kudos to the other people who helped me earn it. It felt respectful to include the people involved, as long as I acknowledged the original intention of the compliment.

This soul-growing is hard work. I'm exhausted from paying so much attention. Isn't that funny?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Day Four: I Am Producing Myself

"Maturity includes the recognition that no one is going to see anything in us that we don't see in ourselves. Stop waiting for a producer. Produce yourself." ~Marianne Williamson

Wow. I'm so amazed at the metamorphasis of this project in just 4 days. Today, during my lunch I asked myself the question: Am I becoming a person I respect?  What are my successes?  Where do I still need work?

I find it fascinating the bundle of contradictions that we are as humans - so many of us can relate to the angel/devil on our shoulder.  Sometimes I just have to be conscious of which one gets my attention.  Intentionality is key - listen to the angel.

In a complete turnaround from the last couple of days when the demons took over my thoughts, today, I celebrated the fact that I am willing to change, that I am seeking refinement, improvement, perfection in the good sense (that things happen for a reason, that we can learn from all events and can create opportunities even from the worst of circumstances, that we are perfect as we are).  

I believe in abundance - of thought, of work (coming from a freelance interpreting context, abundance of work is GOOD), goodness, good things, happy outcomes.  I also believe that as long as I am continuing to learn, continuing to explore the parts of myself that need some attention, continuing to engage in conversation about self, about growth, about change, I am walking the right path.  

Some thoughts I found on my lunch-time path today:

  • I like that when I have a problem, I look it up and try to find books about the topic.  I am a seeker of knowledge.
  • I like that I am willing to be vulnerable with people - by doing this challenge, by showing up in the world in my truest form.  Some days, I want to reach for the armor, but I try to breathe through it.  If I manage to get the helmet on, I try to take it off as soon as I can. 
  • I like that I am learning to just accept my foibles (see I Am a Dork, In a Good Way).
  • I like that I see qualities in others that I want to emulate and try to learn.
  • I like that I see qualities in others that I DON'T want to emulate and I immediately engage in an analysis to find out if I have some work to do in that area.
  • I like that when I was thinking about this challenge, I had so many ideas.  I think most of them all revolve around this one, though.  Becoming a person I respect and recognizing those qualities that are already there.  

Life is good.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Day Three: Perfectionism

“We can always choose to perceive things differently. You can focus on what's wrong in your life, or you can focus on what's right.” ~Marianne Williamson

I have not had lunch yet. :)  But I woke up today thinking about perfectionism and how it has impacted my life.  I wrote about this a couple of days before the 37 Day Journey started, but since it is so present with me today, I decided to get a couple of things out of the way so that I could continue my day.

I started the day thinking, "How will I ever be able to finish this task?  Is it big enough? Is it small enough?  Will I do it?  Did I pick something that won't allow me maximum growth? Was I taking the easy way out?  Is it too hard?" "Why did you wait till the last minute to choose?"  Other thoughts creeped in, "Am I a different person in my personal life than in my work life?"  "If I am different, why?  What does it serve? Can I change it? Should I change it?"  "How does this relate to my chosen challenge anyway?"

I started worrying about what would happen if I wasn't able to complete the challenge or what would happen if it leads me down a different path...would I just throw up my hands and give up or would I continue on because I promised myself I would? (Carolynn wrote in yesterday and reminded me to add "Keeping my word" to the list of qualities I respect in people.  Keeping my word to myself is as important as keeping my word to anyone else. I am incorporating this into my journey.)

As all these thoughts swirled around me, I realized that this was that perfectionism thing rearing its ugly head again.  That started a whole round of other thoughts, "Perfectionism is really self-centered...why can't you think about other people?  You don't expect perfection from other people..." and other unhelpful ways of thinking.  

I decided to look up "perfectionism" on Google and let my findings lead me. I finally landed on the quote above from Marianne Williamson and I realized what I needed to add to this journey/project/challenge.  Somewhere in my head, when I read the question, "Am I becoming the kind of person I respect?" I hear, "What are all the ways you are not a person worthy of respect."  Even though I was able to come up with a list of qualities I respect, even though I KNOW I embody some of those qualities, I was still focused on all the ways I have failed to become a person I respect. Growth is not just from looking at all the things I haven't done, but acknowledging the road I have already travelled. 

I had to refocus my question:  "Am I becoming a person I respect?  What were my successes today?  Where do I still need focus?" 

Silly!  I realized that perhaps what I chose to focus on for these 37 Days is much bigger than I ever dreamed.  

If none of this makes sense at all, that's all right.  It makes sense to me. 


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Day Two: Settling In

“Anyone who has lost track of time when using a computer knows the propensity to dream, the urge to make dreams come true and the tendency to miss lunch.”~Tim Berners-Lee

Today, my lunch time was spent thinking about the question "Am I becoming a  person I can respect?"  This is day two of the 37 Day Challenge and I think I am pleased with my general direction.

First of all, today I had lunch.  In my world, this is a feat in itself.  I think perhaps that I cheated when I chose this activity because it actually involves two small things (that could lead to big changes) at the same time.  The challenge I chose was to take 37 Days of lunches to figure out if I am becoming the person I want to be - a person worthy of my respect.  Step one - take a lunch.  Step two - think about this concept, write about it. Explore the meaning, the necessary actions and the outcome.

I had a difficult week this week - just a lot to do, a lot to think about and I felt the pressure of it all weighing in on me, in addition to the fact that I was not doing any of the things that really bring joy into my life.  

Today, during lunch, I was thinking about listening to people.  In my job, I have to listen to people a lot.  Sometimes, I multitask while I am listening - especially during meetings.  I don't do it to be disrespectful - I do it to be efficient.  I realized that this becomes a habit and it bleeds into my personal life, as well.  I am not a person who is constantly checking their blackberry (sidekick in this case), but I do get distracted sometimes.

For this week, while I am at work, I commit to being fully engaged when someone is talking to me.  To help me do that, the only activity other than listening that I will be doing while someone is talking to me is to take notes occasionally about the conversation I am engaged in.  This way, I will be able to remember our conversation more accurately, I have addressed the need to do something with my hands (is this a kinesthetic thing?) and at the same time, the person I am talking with knows they have my full attention.  If the person is in my office, I will let them know that I may jot down a note or two from the conversation so that they don't wonder what I am doing.

Respect means paying attention when someone is talking to you.

Friday, March 27, 2009

37 Days Challenge, Day One: Socrates

"Let him that would move the world first move himself." ~Socrates

So, here's the deal:  Patti Digh has set up a 37 Days Challenge and I am struggling with zero hours of actual daylight left...Read about the challenge here:  37Days.

I think it is indicitive of the space that I am in that I am feeling all kinds of resistance and indecision about what thing I will choose to do.  I thought about many different things, but I found some reason why they wouldn't work or why I couldn't do THAT one.  My first dilemma was that all items fell into one of two categories:  Things for others (which I was leanining towards) or things for self (which I think I should be doing). 

Things for others:

Write a letter to someone each day telling them what I appreciate about them

Surprise someone each day with something nice

Make an effort every day to make someone smile, even for just a moment

Reach out to a friend every day

Things for Self:

Drink my 8 glasses of water daily

Take 30 minutes a day to listen to music

Take 30 minutes a day for any personal activity (not reading as that is covered in another activity). This activity must be purposeful (listen to music, read the paper, color, walk around the block, call a friend, go to a movie).  NOT my usual routine.

Write a gratitude journal every evening

Do a 10 minute writing exercise daily

Do one of the 37 Days Challenges from "Life is a Verb"

Create a piece of art every day

Walk for 30 minutes a day

Take a photo every day that represents something of the day

I am frustrated by my indecision and inaction.  It is almost the close of Day One and I'm behind.  Why am I able to commit to others and not to myself?  Why can't I just say that it is ok to do something for myself and not feel like I'm being selfish?  What is that about?  Intellectually, I know that many of the things on my "Things for Self" list are VERY important.  

Really, the bottom line is that I don't even have to write about the experience here if I don't want to.  I'm going to, however, because I know that the accountability is here.  If I say I will do it and then I fall down or stop but I haven't told anyone, I won't feel the same pull that I feel when I have told someone I will do something.

I have to think some more...I will do it today.  I just have to reframe my thoughts a little.  Back soon.

Note:  I am back.  I took some time to peruse "Life is a Verb" for some inspiration.  I decided to choose an activity that sparked in me when I read it.

From page 107 an activity from the chapter "Integrity: Speak Up", which, if you have read my blog lately, you may have noticed some inklings about this topic.

For the next 36 Days(today is Day One), I will be asking myself the question, "Am I becoming someone I respect? "

As lunch time has long passed today, I choose to use today as the Action portion and will be doing an activity from the book on the same page.  The action is a focused free write about feeling like an imposter in our lives.  I may or may not post it here, but I will come back to discuss my findings. 

**Second note:  Day One activities.  In my free write, I found a few qualities that I think are important in becoming a person I think is worthy of respect.  These will be some of the qualities I will be focusing on during my lunchtime meditations.  

Qualties I respect and expect of myself:

Listens to others

Treats people with fairness

Does the right thing

Holds herself accountable

Kind to others

Good boundaries

Faces difficult conversations head on

Respects others

Tells the truth

Learns from mistakes

**Carolynn had a great addition to the list in her comment - Keeping my word (to self and others).  I'm adding it today. 3/28/09

I Am a Dork - In a good way

After I showered this morning, I was gathering my clothes and getting dressed.  I grabbed the black pants, but somewhere along the line, changed my mind and put on teal pants.  This did not register with me as I continued in my getting-ready routine.

When I was upstairs, I started to put on my daily black shoes when I spotted my pink converse tennis shoes and I thought, "Those shoes would make me happy today" and proceeded to put them on.  All the while, thinking in my head that I was wearing the black pants.

I drove to work.  I got a call from one of my bosses and when I hung up, I looked down, saw the teal pants and thought, "Oh...I thought I wore black pants today..OH! I THOUGHT I WORE BLACK PANTS!!"  I could see those big, bright pink shoes on my feet with the teal pants.  I frantically thought about going home, but I was literally about 10 minutes from work (I have an hour commute).  I thought about stopping at Fred Meyer to buy some tennis shoes that might go with teal.  But suddenly, I was just laughing.  

How tired must I have been to not remember what color pants I was wearing and to NOT LOOK when I was putting on pink shoes.    I laughed and laughed and decided that the shoes would just make me laugh all day, so I wore them to work and told people that if they were in the mood for a little funny story to come to my office.  We laughed quite a bit yesterday. It was a pretty good day.

[Image to come]

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Forgiveness: Arendt

"Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom."~Hannah Arendt

I think it is fascinating that I am willing to forgive most people for most things but I rarely forgive myself for even the smallest offenses. When I read the quote from Hanna Arendt above on the sidebar of my blog, it really struck a chord in me.

My sense of responsibility for myself, my work, my speech, my thoughts, my actions, everything...it has always been so strong. Sometimes it is overwhelming. If I were a more studious student of psychology, I think I would put it all down to having an overdeveloped SuperEgo. Before I was a manager - when I was only responsible for myself and my own life and actions, I think I had this whole tendency *slightly* more under control than I do now. Being a manager heightens my awareness - suddenly, I am responsible for things I never even knew about, in addition to all the things I am actually, ultimately responsible for.

I realized that this switch of responsbility cannot be turned on or off at will. I can't walk out the door of my office and suddenly feel carefree. I can't just relinquish thoughts that I needed to get this done or that done or that I didn't do something perfectly or that that one person didn't understand my directions so therefore... I wish there WAS a switch. The responsibility switch. I need it.

So, for today, I forgive myself for not being perfect. I *KNOW* perfection is IMPOSSIBLE. I KNOW IT. But I can't get the expectation out of my head. Today, I am not perfect in ANY WAY, but that's ok. My imperfections make me who I am. Right?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I Don't Wanna Talk about it - Indigo Girls (photo is of Tom Hanks from "Philadelphia").

Just a music day. Something a little melancholy but beautiful.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Jim Dale and Comfort

Lately, the news of the economic crisis, AIG's bonus program, politicians sniping, the flood in Fargo, the "octomom" and all the other crap flying at us every day, has simply become too much for me. I am working on "Wicked" right now, so mostly, I have to listen to that, but I needed a break from that the last couple of days. I don't like to mix music in because it just moves it around in my head...I like to keep it pure. This time, however, I just needed a break.

In desperation last week, I clicked on disc 6 in my car CD player and hoped for the best. The 16th of 17 discs of the last Harry Potter book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" came on. Even if you have not read the book, you can just tell from the fact that it was disc 16 out of 17 that it was a critical point in the book (but I haven't listened to it in more than 8-10 months)...but I listened to the whole thing because Jim Dale's voice, the actor reading the book, is SO SOOTHING. So I promptly went into the house and got the rest of the CDs. I will be loading them onto my iPod sometime soon so that I can have an alternative to music sometimes.

What a great escape! The story is engrossing and interesting enough to keep my attention, I haven't read it in a long time so there are still some surprises I have forgotten and when I get to work or home from work, I am much more relaxed than I would have been.

I highly recommend all the Harry Potter books on tape as Jim Dale reads them all. He is GREAT!! (He was the voice of the narrator on "Pushing Daisies" on ABC.)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Pleasure and Spontaneity: Greer

"The essence of pleasure is spontaneity."~Germaine Greer

I have never heard this quote before, but I read it on my "Quote a Day" on the sidebar of my blog and I decided it was what I wanted to talk about today. When I read it, a spark struck for me - I had a conversation about spontaneity and fun recently.

I am experiencing all these "cliches" about aging that I never expected to experience - things like being an adult and missing the fun I had as a young person, the generation gap, facing mortality, etc. As a young woman, I faced mortality regularly because of Roby's situation. I embraced a level of "letting go" because I knew that we had such a limited time together - I had to step out of my comfort zone in order to fully experience our life together. Spontaneity was not natural to me - I had to build it up to keep up with him. Eventually, though, I became the more spontaneous of the two. I miss that.

We used to just drive off to the beach without a thought - now I think, what are the roads like? I have to work tomorrow. What if we can't get a hotel? How much will it cost? I don't feel like driving...blah blah blah. We used to go to the movies ANYTIME or plan some crazy trip or just drive around. Now, everything requires planning - when are you free? Oh, I have to get up early the next morning, I have a show, I have rehearsal/work/sleep blah blah blah.

One of my fondest memories was a beach trip to Pacific City with some friends. We just decided to go at the last minute. We brought some alcohol (ok, a lot), some coloring books and went to stay at a friend's cabin. We drank and colored for like 5 hours the first night and it was a BLAST. We wandered the beach at midnight and even went into the water. The coloring was so cathartic and the drinking was too. I don't drink anymore, so I'm not missing that - just the idea that suddenly, I could go and have a good time.

Now, as I look at my calendar, I see meetings, rehearsals, responsibilities and commitments instead of possibilities for joy and pleasure.

I'm gonna look for a little spontaneity in the next couple of weeks. I think it could do me some good.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Unconditional Love: Jackson

My best doggie friend, Jackson, died last Sunday. He had been ill for some time and I got to be with him for a short time on his last day on earth. It was very heartbreaking and reminded me again that life is short.

When we had his burial, my friend asked me if I had learned anything from him and I said, "I learned always to smile when you are happy to see someone." Jackson, from the day he came home with them, always smiled so big and wagged his tail so hard when I came over. He barked at the sound of my car, the mention of my name. I always knew that he was happy to see me. That feels good, even from a dog.

Farewell, Jackson. I was always happy to see you, too.

Jackson Burns

October 13 1996 - March 15 2009

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Losing my Marbles

So, recently, I have gone through a spate of losing things. I don't usually lose things - maybe misplace, occasionally. But my pink phone has been missing, I thought I had left my iPod on the airplane coming back from a trip a couple of weeks ago, etc. The pink phone was found tonight - in a completely strange place...I'm not sure I would have ever found it except that I was looking for something else. Isn't that the way?

I had a very unproductive day of reading, trying to figure out the VisualLibrary on Facebook (it is a failure), loading cds onto iTunes and watching "Bolt" (which was cute, but my favorite part was listening to John Travolta sing in the credits). As I was loading music onto iTunes, I realized I had long ago crossed the "stuck in a decade of music" era of my life. Basically, I don't have much new music past about 1993. The only newer stuff is either Broadway shows or stuff from singers on American Idol. And I have a lot of CDs that are still in the plastic. What is that about? I have not been listening to much music this year, but have been working on changing that with my iPod. Mostly, it is for work - being able to have all my shows on one small device is GREAT, but really, it is a lot of work. Load the songs on, wait for them, sync up the iPod to the computer, etc. It isn't hard, but sticking the CD into the disc player isn't hard either. It's weird what we get used to. Anyway, I'm an music fuddy-duddy. I look at the list of artists who have number one songs and I only recognize one or two names and I can't really sing their songs or even name them.

Anyway, today wasn't bad for a Saturday, but I wish I had done something a little productive. I'm off to work on "Wicked", so I guess that counts. :)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday's are good

I stayed super-late at work today but I got a chance to clean my office some (not nearly enough - not the way I would like). I got home at 10pm and I have a feeling I will be crashing soon.

Long week.

I'm still working on translations for "Wicked" and hoping that I can take a day or two off soon. Just need a chance to recharge a little and not have to worry about stuff.

Listening to some music before I go to bed. I need to do this more often. Very relaxing.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Real Post Today

This week has been incredibly difficult for a variety of reasons which I cannot discuss on the internet, but it was bad enough that I just left work early saying, "I need to leave before I hurt something."

So, I left.  I had a little lunch and an ice cream cone.  Then I came home - during DAYLIGHT- and I decided to take a couple of pictures...I am still learning about my digital camera and eternally frustrated at my lack of skill.  

BUT  I found a little treasure on Amazon.com and I have been wanting to get some good pics so that I can use it in my blog header...but the photos aren't good enough yet.  I will be reading up on how to manage the flash and the focus on a digital camera so that I can get better...it always LOOKS like it will be a good photo, but then the camera focuses on something else and it is all fuzzy.  I have to learn what the settings all mean...

Anyway, for your enjoyment and my entertainment, here are some more crappy photos...and meet Max.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Reading Update

March is not reading-friendly for me this year.  I have been so exhausted...I read last weekend, but this week has not been fruitful.  I guess I should expect some bumps, but my goal of a book a week is shot. 

I will get back on track soon.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Watching "Wicked" was GOOD

I went to see the show tonight - for myself, for pleasure.  I didn't bring my script and I tried not to think about which character I was interpreting and what each line means.

The first night we saw the show, the actress playing Elphaba was the understudy.  She was quite good - the whole show seemed lacking in energy a little bit (I can't remember what day we went..a Wednesday?).

Last night, the energy was there.  The woman who played Elphaba was AMAZING.  She gave me head to toe chills in her first song.    Click here for to read a bit of the Oregonian review.  

I love this show because it is about appearances, about politics, loyalty, friendship, diversity and self-esteem.  Lofty topics for a Broadway show, but hell, we loved Les Miserables, so this should be cake.

Monday, March 16, 2009

iPod-o-phobia and the Fate of Music

I watched an American Masters episode on PBS this weekend called "Pete Seeger: The Power of Song".  I have never really paid much attention to Pete Seeger as a performing artist, but I know that he is responsible for many of the folk songs I loved so much as a child.  

Coming up in the early 1970s (or becoming concious of music in 1972 to be more specific), there was still a wild array of music converging from the Vietnam protests, R&B, popular music, country, rock, etc.  I feel lucky to have been exposed to so many types of music, so many singers, so many songs.  My parents had an 8-track player with a copy of Kenny Rogers and the First Edition's Greatest Hits (one of the greatest albums of all time), a reel-to-reel with a variety of Charley Pride, Charlie Rich, Tanya Tucker, Kenny Rogers, some musicals...all the music my parents loved, and we had the radio - in the car, in the house, in the back yard.

I think the idea of iPods are great - I have one...I love the idea of having the whole season of shows in a portable device so that if I lose the CDs during the year, I still have the music in a location I can find.  HOWEVER - the fact that we can just download 4,000 songs onto our iPods removes the power and exposure of radio and the ability of parents to pass down their music to the next generation in many ways. 

Obviously, each generation has their own music - I'm not disputing this, but I think it is healthy for people to listen to music together, to sing together, to enjoy debates about artists, albums and songs they are listening to together.  iPods are another way of isolating ourselves from others - in a different way than cd players/walkmen.  The iPod can keep you busy for DAYS without coming up for air - not good for the ears or for the psyche.

One of the things that I related to in the "Power of Song" program on PBS was the conversation about participation - most folk music involves the performer involving the audience as participants.  It brings an audience together when they sing together, love a song together.  Are we going to come to a place where we don't really even share songs in common across ages, genders, ethnicities?  Did we ever really do that or am I just romanticizing the past and being old-farty?

I'm not a great singer, but I love to sing.  About 10 years ago (maybe longer), I was invited to a concert by a local group called Motherlode.  Four women who have been singing together for years.  It was during the Measure 9 campaign to legalize discrimination against people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, etc. - an extremely difficult time for us all in the NW.  Anyway, I went to the concert, not knowing any of their music and at one point, they sang a song called "Everything Possible" and EVERY PERSON in the audience knew the song except for me.  They all sang it to the rooftops and it was one of the most moving experiences I have ever had in a concert - to be in the space when everyone connects on that level and to hear the passion, the love, the heart coming from all those people singing. Amazing.  I guess I just hope we aren't giving up experiences like that so that we can listen to our iPod in solitude.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Down a Rabbit Hole...

“Alice: It would be so nice if something made sense for a change.” From the 1951 movie version “Alice In Wonderland”

I entered the strange and confusing world of Facebook about two weeks ago and more and more I understand the generation gap. Blogs are almost old fashioned compared to the almost ADD movement of Facebook.

Don't get me wrong - I think it is fascinating in an anthropological way...I feel like Indiana Jones in the most recent movie – rolling down the mountain while clutching the valuable artifact isn’t as easy as it was 20 years ago…so goes the navigation of the social networking site that I can’t really comprehend.

The up-sides are numerous – you can keep in touch with people without having to log into your email account – you can contact many people at the same time. But the downsides are numerous, too. I don’t need/want to read EVERY COMMENT that every person made about EVERYONE ELSE’S comments.

I just don’t get it. I spent too many hours trying to figure out how to add a “Books” section to the stupid profile. While looking for that, I found a Discography one, but I couldn’t figure out how to install? Attach? Activate? That on my profile/page/?? And I suspect that my old computer doesn’t get it either – every time I log in, the computer comes to a standstill loading and moving from page to page. It is trying to tell me something and I haven’t been listening.

I’m not going to close my account, but I’m not going to spend hours on Easter Eggs and Poking (?) and all that stuff. Who has time? I spend my whole day at a computer screen, I don’t really want my leisure world to be ONLY that…I still have the whole reading thing going on, so I’m going to go off and do that today. Oh, and also, I have this blog. That’s important to me, too. The other stuff is just a distraction which I may need occasionally, but I think it will be less than I think.

Anyway, I will still be on Facebook…and I respect those of you who are nimble of mind and able to negotiate through it. Perhaps a tutorial someday?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Keeping My Word

So, as I said I would, here are the first of many truly awful pictures taken by me and my new digital camera.  I have started on inanimate objects because they will not be mad when I take a horrible picture of them. :)  

I am not a good photographer because I see something in my mind's eye and I have NO IDEA how to execute it in real life.  It is frustrating for me and I prefer to do everything PERFECTLY (when am I going to get over that - I don't do ANYTHING perfectly - I don't know why I think/expect that something new will be perfect...It's annoying that I know this intellectually, but emotionally, it keeps rearing its ugly head).  

Anyway, here ya go:

This is the dashboard of my happy Yellow car. I love that it has yellow INSIDE so I can enjoy it.

This is the pink kitty clock that my co-workers gave me last year for my birthday. I love PINK and Kitties, so it was the perfect thing!

Last two pics are of classic pooh stuff I have at home from over the years. It's a Roby and Jean thing.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Themes and Planning

Here we are again - I'm in the middle of a theme without a clear plan and I sit and stare at the blank post trying to think of something to write about.  Then I pull out a quote, but it is so random in nature, I can't bear to use it.

I MUST plan better...I found the themes that I did plan for much easier to follow through on.

So, officially,  in accordance with the theme of the month - GIVING or Giving UP:  I am giving up blogging without purpose.  I think it is less fulfilling for the reader and it is certainly more frustrating for the writer.  Some days I can write about some topic I am thinking about, but other days, like today when I am bone tired, all I can think of to say is how tired I am and how happy I am that I am finally at the weekend where I can spend two days recuperating only to go back and do it all again next week.

I hate how ordinary my life has become.  I'm such an ADULT.  I guess that is a good thing in so many ways, but it is also a little bit depressing.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dragging and Dilemma

I am exhausted and I just found a flier for the movie "Audism Unveiled" and a panel discussion afterwards.  I REALLY want to see the movie and go to an event and see people, and at the same time, I am so freaking tired...

The movie is tomorrow night...Friday night is not the best time for me...I am always tired at the end of the week.  

I'm pretty sure I'm going to go...I know there are interpreted performances tonight, too, but I'm definitely not going to any of them...I just barely have it in me to see the movie.  I want to support my community and not just be one of those interpreters who gets a good job and never does another community event.  I have been away too long already.

**Update:  I didn't go. I suck.  I was working on a project and before I knew it, too late to go. I'm disappointed because I really wanted to see the movie and panel discussion.  Dang it.  Poor time management.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"Wicked" Appearances

I went to see the show tonight for our rehearsal purposes. The energy was definitely Wednesday evening energy. There were a couple of understudies which is not always a bad thing. The Elphaba understudy had an excellent range in her voice - I liked the deeper, meatier notes.

Seeing the show only served to make me nervous again. I wonder how much of my anxiety comes from the fact that I don't interpret all day every day anymore. I miss the work - I miss the brain activity. It is so different from processing paperwork and reading a million emails a day.

Things are coming along in the translation department - lots of ideas marinating in my brain (Thanks, Todd!). I hope I can do the show justice.

I love the whole idea a la "Into the Woods" of nice and good not always being the same thing. We are so fooled by appearances and assumptions. If someone looks a certain way, they must fit into this personality category. I hate that. It boxes people up and doesn't allow for us to be individuals who are complex and different in so many beautiful ways. I also understand the moment of epiphany when you realize that the only thing you can really control is your own behavior and response and that others are going to do whatever they are going to do, whether we manipulate or grab or try to change their minds. That is such a freeing moment - the moment we discover how small we are in relation to everything and how big we are in relationship to ourselves.

I'm going to stop babbling. I'm tired now. Going to bed.

Defy Gravity.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Step One: The Perfect Tool

So, I went to the bookstore at my local community college today (I was there...) and bought a magenta sharpie.  It was the color I was thinking of to use in my new adventure in Life is a Verb...when I first approached the Sharpie display, there were purple, pink, blue, red, brown...no magenta.  I found some poor substitutes, and dejectedly walked towards the front of the store and LO!  there was a second Sharpie display and a MAGENTA marker!!

Just what I wanted.  I thought about it all day and now it is probably too late for me to do anything tonight...I'm tired from staying up too late last night.  But I am ready for marginalia.  I am ready to dive into my book.  And I'm still thinking about DEFYING GRAVITY.  Life is good.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Defying Gravity - Interpreting for "Wicked"

I am rehearsing for the interpreted performance of "Wicked", a show that I love dearly.  The only problem is that it is quite complicated and I am struggling with translations that will equal the brilliance of the show...

Right now, I am focused on the pièce de résistance- "Defying Gravity".  I feel inadequately prepared for this song...ironically, I have interpreted the show before and I didn't feel that my translation lived up to the hype.  I went onto YouTube and looked up "Wicked" ASL performances and found a plethora of students...ahem..."interpreting" the songs, but I am still worrying over the song.

I'm posting the song here and welcome any ideas regarding imagery that you get when you hear the song - doesn't have to be from an interpreter - can be from anyone who is inspired to help a desperate person or who loves the show. :)  I understand the meaning of the song, but I just need to open my mind to some of the imagery and some of the possibilities of the song that I haven't even wrapped my mind around at this point...This is a truncated version of the song since the only legal copy available is from the Tony awards. 

Thanks in advance!

The interpreted performance is on Thursday, April 2, 2009 at 7:30pm at the Keller Auditorium.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Giving Love in the Form of a Book

I just now had an epiphany of sorts, so, of course, I hurried here to tell myself all about it. :)

As many of you may know, I have been engaged in a love affair with 37Days this year. When Patti Digh's book, Life is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful and Live Intentionally came out, I set about buying copies for all the important people in my life and giving them out for Christmas, Birthdays, and Just Because. I gave a copy away in my Blogaversary giveaway (which I finally sent!! I'm sorry it took so long!) This week, I gave a copy to a woman I admire but barely know in physical, chronological time. It felt risky but I knew it was the right thing to do.

Today, I was catching up with Patti's blog and I finally watched the video about marginalia and I realized I am afraid of writing in books. I NEVER write in books. Sometimes, I have a hard time writing in a pretty journal! That's CRAZY! I watched the video interview with a woman from Saluda, North Carolina, who had beautiful and bold marginalia in her copy of LIAV. I felt a longing for that freedom and I went back and reread the blog entry.

I have given this book to people that I love and yet, I have not loved myself enough to soak this book in for myself the way I imagine my friends soaking it in. This gift is a gift of love and I must accept that gift for myself, as well.

Starting today, I am committed to allowing myself to fully and completely and messily enjoy Life is a Verb. The worst thing that could happen is that I freak out about a written-in, well-loved book and run out to buy a pristine copy...just means I will have another copy to give away!

Why are these lessons so hard to come by? I'm happy, at least, that they come. I know lessons come when we are ready for them. I stand at the ready.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Name Game Meme

From Rachel :

1. YOUR REAL NAME: Jean Miller

2. WITNESS PROTECTION NAME (father and mother's middle names): Frederick Jean

3. NASCAR NAME (first name of your father's dad; mother's dad): Charles Charles

4. STAR WARS NAME (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first name): Milje

5. DETECTIVE NAME (favorite color, favorite animal): Pink Giraffe

6. SOAP OPERA NAME (middle name, town where you were born): Ann Aurora

7. SUPERHERO NAME (second fav color, fav drink, add 'the' to the beginning): The Purple Screwdriver

8. FLY NAME (first two letters of your first name, last two letters of your last name): Jeer

9. ROCK STAR NAME (current pet's name, current street name): Zero 198

10. PORN NAME (first pet, street you grew up on): Cindy Park

11. GANGSTA NAME (first three letters of your real name, plus izzle): Jeaizzle

12. GOTH NAME (black, and the name of one of your pets): Black Poppy

13. STRIPPER NAME (favorite perfume, favorite candy): Eternity Bliss

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Favorite "Friends" Episodes

This is a meme of my own...I have been watching some "Friends" episodes in recent months and I decided to find out the names of some of my favorites...Just a little thing to help me remember.

The One Where Ross Finds Out Season Two - I love how he looks when he is watching Rachel and he thinks that no one is looking...

The One with the Prom Video Season Two - ditto comments above. I think David Schwimmer is highly underrated.

The One Where No One's Ready Season Three- all my favorites in one episode - "You were going to drink the fat!", "Hi, I'm Chandler...Could I BE wearing any more clothes?", "That is so not the opposite of taking someone's underwear...", "I'm not going commando in another man's pants."  Brilliant.

The One Where Ross and Rachel Take a Break Season Three - this is just the lead up to the next episode that showcases some fine acting on the part of Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer...plus, there is the whole U.N. Interpreter storyline.

The One the Morning After Season Three - This is one of those episodes that was a turning point for the show and great example of how the whole show was best when they were all just together in the apartment.

The One with Chandler in a Box Season Four

The One with the Embryos Season Four

The One with all the Kissing  Season Five

The One Where Everybody Finds Out Season Five

The One with the Ring Season Six

The One with the Proposal parts I and II Season Six

The Final One Season Ten - What can I say? I'm a sucker for a happy ending.  I thought they ended it as perfectly as any sitcom has ever ended. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Unfortunately, Jean

Since things are a little crazy right now, I thought I would leave you some fun little memes.

This one is from Shannon and Rachel.

Basically, you go to Google and type in "unfortunately" and your name and then report back on the results.  If you are funny, you can add wise-cracks as Shannon and Rachel did.

Unfortunately, Jean's marriage to Scott took a turn for the worse, as Scott worried that Jean would turn evil.  (little did he know that she already WAS evil.  )

Unfortunately, Jean's right knee went through the snow/ice bank at the side of the rode. The knee stopped but she didn't! (Um, why wasn't this sent immediately to America's funniest home videos?  It might have been worth $100,000...)

Unfortunately, Jean's attorney missed the barely concealed scorn in the poem, the guilt-ridden and sado-masochistic connotations. (no comment)

Unfortunately, Jean lives out her fantasies through her coterie of highly suggestible girls. (ok, this one has to be identified - "Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, people!)

Unfortunately, Jean died suddenly before he could return to the Canadian Rockies and attempt to climb its second highest peak. (why DO people climb mountains, anyway?)

Unfortunately, Jean's quiet existence was shattered at age ten, when her powers manifested. (and nothing has been the same since...)

***Unfortunately, Jean is not able to fulfill autograph requests at this time.*** (nuff said)

Unfortunately, Jean will be leaving Hopkinton soon to join her relocated family in Tucson, Arizona. (whom she has never met...)

Unfortunately, Jean never made it to the major leagues, but she fulfilled her biggest dream with the publication of "The Girl Who Struck Out Babe Ruth". (I got nothing.)


Tuesday, March 3, 2009


So, I saw on MSN that Madonna's "Like a Prayer" video came out on March 3, 1989.  I thought that was a great thing to celebrate because I love Madonna (at least, vintage Madonna) and I love that song.  Unfortunately, I could not find a good version of the video...then I saw "Dress You Up" from one of the Madonna concert videos...I LOVE this song...It is still one of my favorites, so enjoy. I have to go pack...

Monday, March 2, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!!

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!! The first book I ever read on my own was "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish". I have an ancient copy of "Horton Hears a Who" and I love "The Lorax" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas". I have read "Oh, the Places You'll Go" as an adult, love "Green Eggs and Ham" and use it in my interpreting process classes. In fact, one of the only times that I laughed so hard I had to stop class was reading "Green Eggs and Ham" outloud to the class while they were interpreting it into ASL. It was HILARIOUS! One of my other favorites is "Fox in Socks" for all the tongue-twisting fun.

Here is some information from Wikipedia about the writing of "The Cat in the Hat" and the beginning of the Dr. Seuss revolution - bringing reading skills to young children:

"Theodor Geisel, writing as Dr. Seuss., created The Cat in the Hat in response to the May 24, 1954 Life magazine article by John Hersey, titled "Why Do Students Bog Down on First R? A Local Committee Sheds Light on a National Problem: Reading." In the article, Hersey was critical of school primers:

In the classroom boys and girls are confronted with books that have insipid illustrations depicting the slicked-up lives of other children. [Existing primers] feature abnormally courteous, unnaturally clean boys and girls. . . . In bookstores, anyone can buy brighter, livelier books featuring strange and wonderful animals and children who behave naturally, i.e., sometimes misbehave. Given incentive from school boards, publishers could do as well with primers. It was also later discovered that David Baker of Woodstock, CT was a key player in the development of Dr. Seuss creations.

Hersey’s arguments were enumerated over ten pages of Magazine, which was the leading periodical during that time. After detailing many issues contributing to the dilemma connected with student reading levels, Hersey asked toward the end of the article:

Why should [school primers] not have pictures that widen rather than narrow the associative richness the children give to the words they illustrate — drawings like those of the wonderfully imaginative geniuses among children’s illustrators, Tenniel, Howard Pyle, "Theodor S. Geisel".

Dr. Seuss responded to this "challenge," and began work. His publisher supplied him with a list of 400 words, ones that the publisher thought children would be learning in school. His publisher told him to cut the list in half and to try and write an interesting enough book for children. Nine months later Dr. Seuss finished The Cat In The Hat, which used 223 words from the list plus 13 words that did not appear on the list.

The story is 1626 words in length and uses a vocabulary of only 236 distinct words, of which 54 occur once and 33 twice. Only a single word – another – has three syllables, while 14 have two and the remaining 221 are monosyllabic. The longest words are something and playthings." (click on the Wikipedia link to read more)

So, celebrate Dr. Seuss by doing something to honor his memory - maybe donate a couple of his books to a local school or shelter.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

"The Reader" and "Push": Reviews to come

I will write a review later...too tired right now.  Had a friend in town this weekend.  Saw "The Reader" and "Push".  We wanted to see "Milk" but it hasn't worked out so far.  More later.

And I'm doing March Nablopomo - the theme is "Giving" or "Giving Up".  I imagine I can manage to write about one of those topics or the other. :)


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