Friday, August 24, 2007

Pretty please, with raindrops on top

A Friday, with rain. Happily I watch the drops hit the coffee shop window. We got a little last night as well, but I'm always glad to see rain. ('Course, I'm glad even if I'm not seeing rain.)

I thinned out my collection a bit & got $26.25 from a local used book store. There are still books I am willing to release into the world, so that will be nice.

I am back from the beach, obviously, but have yet to completely put away everything I took there. I also have yet to write a to-be-creatively-delivered letter to Bill, although I did come up with a concept that involves lots of sand. Maybe I should just write a regular old stuff-it-in-an-envelope letter, as the to-be-creatively-delivered part is slowing me up even more than my less-than-fabulous history of corresponding warrants. (I guess today is my overuse-of-hyphens day.) (Plus parentheses.) (As per usual.)

I've been writing more, walking less, painting less and meditating more than usual. Reading more. Talking on the phone a little bit more. Watching dvds more. Blogging less. Seems like a good balance. I'm guessing the blogging will pick up again. And the walking!

Have a couple of top-secret projects going on. I'd post them here, but then I'd have to track all of you down and ask you pretty please not to tell anyone and I am definitely NOT computer savvy enough to do that. (Track you down, I mean. I've got pretty please completely mastered.)

I wonder what the thunder is applauding so enthusiastically.

Blog alternative:
78. Go through your books & take a few (or a flurry) to a used book store.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I am a [fill-in-the-blank] & other myths

I am at the beach. Nag's Head, North Carolina. Last night I walked in the ocean with Cathy & this morning I walked in the ocean by myself, Cathy not being a morning girl. I should say Cathy's not being morning girls rather, as I think of my 2 roommates, both sound asleep at 9:57 a.m. This is a big house on the beach, because there are many families & all ages. (The youngest is a year old.) I was going to be on one of the couches downstairs, but Cathy & Cathy took a look at their bed & we decided I could just stay with them. So it was a Laurie sandwich. Plenty of room for the 3 of us.

I was tired, having popped up 3 or 4 times in the middle of the night before last to write. Words & phrases were buzzing in my mind, & they were too good to let go. So I got up & wrote & then went back to bed & the words kept at it so I got up again. A couple times. It was great. However, add that to a 7-hour drive to the beach &, well, I was tired.

But the beach this morning called me. Not being much of a sunbunny, I wore a long skirt over my bikini bottoms, & a shirt rather than my bikini top. Plus another shirt over that, with sleeves. Also a floppy hat once worn on a trip to Australia. When I was walking in the edge of the waves however, I did tuck my skirt all the way up so it wouldn't get wet.

I picked up some shells & stones. It wasn't until I was looking for pockets that I noticed I had my outside shirt on inside out. (Say that phrase fast 3 times!) It made think about how we sometimes live, which is outside out & never mind the inside, because no one can see that. Increasingly I'm trying to live by my innards rather than my outards. (Outards? What do you mean, outards is not a word. It is now. Grin.)

Before I went out, one of the women was commenting on the heat, as she headed out into the screened porch to smoke. "I don't like the heat," she said, clearly preferring to stay in where it was airconditioned, "but I'm a smoker."

That made me think about how we define ourselves. There's a difference between saying I am a smoker & I smoke sometimes. I don't care how many packs a day you smoke--there are times when you aren't. I believe--I don't know for sure, but I bet I'm right--that saying I smoke sometimes gives the cigarettes less power than saying I'm a smoker or even than saying I smoke. If you add that sometimes, it can't help but remind you of all the times you don't smoke during the day.

I was thinking about all the other things we say we are, too. What's my litany? I am a writer. I am an artist. I am a healer. I am a mom. Aside from I am a mom, none of things are what I am all the time. They are things I do sometimes. I think I'm going to experiment with just being whoever it is I am, & not defining myself with the things I do sometimes. It will be interesting to see how it feels to not introduce myself without saying "I am a writer."

Oh, the sand & the shells & the little fishes & the hopeful surfers lurking & waves retreating & advancing, flirting with my feet. Crab exoskeletons. Abandoned sand castles. Sun & wind & the geometry of piers. Shore birds skittering. Laptop battery power down to 21 percent--oops, time to post & visit with the Cathy's, who are now arisen. Also going to try sudoku with one of the little boys, who is a math whiz.

Blog alternative:
77. Live inside-out for a day. To remind you, put on some item of clothing the wrong way. (Today I'm saying it's the right way.)

Thursday, August 9, 2007

And joyfully, we danced on the roof of the truck!

On Tuesday
my executive assistant & I came to the coffee shop to do email & such on our way to see her new apartment, which isn't far from mine. She's looking for a car, so I called my car-boy Zach & he told us to check & while she was doing that & I was re-reading The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, we got sucked into watching 2 back-to-back episodes of Law & Order. (I'm SO glad my tv isn't hooked up to anything but the dvd player...) It was really fun, like a movie night out, & we were happy to have done it & happy we don't choose to do it more often. But, the big benefit is that it kept us at the coffee shop until 8 p.m.
on our way to her apartment, Elizabeth noticed the sun, so we turned right around & parked her truck in a parking lot & leapt out to appreciate it, so round & orange. We danced & shouted our love out & just had a fab time. We got back in the truck & then this little dark nibblet of cloud began to pass just over the bottom of the sun, like a slow wave, so we got back out to appreciate it some more
& then the show began in earnest!
These well-defined shapes began their dance across the sun's face. Another wave. Then a figure bending down & rising up & a hand reaching out from the other side. Then the clouds conspired to make an orange-gold question mark. Then a bird--a dove!--& more beautiful shapes.
The best part of all this, though, was as the trees rose--for we will be astronomically accurate & recognize that we are in fact turning, rather than the sun sinking--we needed to be higher up. Elizabeth whipped the tailgate down & we got up in the truck bed to admire the show from there. The earth continued to turn, as it will, so we climbed up on the roof of the truck--Elizabeth with long legs & alacrity & I with short legs & a short dress & help from Elizabeth--& watched until the trees & clouds covered it completely.
So beautiful.
So unusual.
As if it were appreciating our appreciating & speaking to us personally.

Wifi has been a little weird this week, hence the lag between posts. I went to Best Buy again & stood in their toxic air-conditioning & got some help & got some stuff that turned out to be all wrong when I got it home & had extricated it from its little plastic outerwear & I was hot & dismayed about the stuff & I stuck it in a bag & got in the car to go back & realized I was not in a positive state of mind, so I went around the block & went right back home to meditate & find true inner peace (not so hard, when you're really looking for it & expecting to find it) & watched a dvd (The Secret Behind the Secret) & got all bright & glowy again. Yay me.

Blog alternative:
76. Find a moment when you're not so very positive & get out of it. (email me if you want tips on how to do so)

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Never trust a pickled genie & other bottled stories

Suddenly, without warning, I find myself transported to a desert island, my only companion an empty whiskey bottle. No, not empty. Inside are curled pages with a familiar script. Damn you, Bill, I think. Not again!

This time, it began at the post office. I had returned from my trip to Virginia, having seen the delightful premiere of Stardust, having reconnected with old friends Charles & Karen, & made new friends of their other old friends. (None of us being particularly old, I might add, except Charles' mother, who was one day shy of 80-something.) On my way back to my habitation, I thought I should perhaps check my box at the P.O., for I was expecting a package from the Amazons, a magical program to turn mere words into moving pictures. I was therefore not surprised to see a small key inside my box, along with several envelopes. I inserted the key into box #27 & found not one but TWO packages.

The first, smaller package, was indeed the magical program from the Amazons. The second--I should have been suspicious, for it was exactly the size to hold a whiskey bottle ensconced in bubble wrap, with several sheets of crumpled heavy paper to further keep it from breaking. But did I suspect? No. I was lulled by my pleasant drive through the mountains & I began at that moment to open the box.

When my fingers met the cold glass, I was transported in a whirling vortex to this accursed desert island, & thus you find me.

Herein lies the dilemma: I cannot extract the letter without breaking the bottle. What to do, for in the wholeness of that bottle lies my only hope of rescue. If I can write a letter detailing my situation, using a pen from my pocket protector & the pad of paper in my back pocket, kept there for itemizing expenditures & jotting down the odd idea, I can launch my S.O.S. However, I dare not place such a missive in the bottle without first removing Bill's words, which may instruct the reader to disregard whatever is written because this is all a joke, ha ha.

I pace the perimeter of the island, which does not take long, it being approximately the size of a California King mattress, thinking madly, which is the only way I can think. Seven trips around the island cool my thoughts. Aha, I think, the cocktail fork in my left pocket. (I always carry one, in case I come into the possession of a can of kipper snacks or some such delicacy)

I try to twist the delicate tines of the cocktail fork in the edge of the pages as if they were spaghetti, but the smooth metal has no purchase. Again & again I try, until, frustrated, I jam my right hand into my right pocket. My fingers come into contact with a small lump of--eeww, what is it? Almost afraid to look, I extract my hand & began doing the joy dance, for in my hand is my salvation, a lump of Handi-Tak, The Reusable Ahesive Replacing Tape, Pushpins, and Tacks. Great for Posters & Memos. Non-Toxic. Acid-Free. Lignin-Free. (As always on encountering the stuff, I wonder what lignins are, but push that thought to the back of my mind.) When last I wore these shorts, I was posting memos throughout my abode. (And never you mind what they said!)

I affix the little yellow lump to the tines of the cocktail fork & commence twisting. Yes! I am able to finesse the first page out of the neck of the bottle. I repeat for pages two & three.

The letter is not what I expected. Bill had indeed been planning to send me a bottle of whiskey, but when the postal clerk asked if there was anything hazardous, liquid, fragile or perishable within, he had to slink out of line, hide behind the bushes, drink the entire bottle of whiskey & write me a letter. Never have I seen such increasingly egregious handwriting. (But done with a fine Namiki retractable fountain pen, I will give him that.)

So, I send this out to you, whoever you are. Please, please post the contents at My password is &^(%#)(*

Bill, if you are the recipient, I beg of you, send help. Or another empty whiskey bottle, that I might post my reply to your letter, for I still have several blank pages left to respond more specifically to what I think you were saying, although some of the words were confusing. (But then they say only Nixon could go to China. What? Also that thing about the bees smoking?--& the caterpillar ranch?) On second thought, leave me a few swallows of whiskey, because I believe the bottle would still float adequately. Oh, & if you can manage, could you also send a raft full of kipper snacks.

Until then, I will remain fit. By using my stride as a measure, I shall determine how many laps around a California King is a mile; I pledge at least two miles a day. I shall keep the cocktail fork polished & ready for the kipper snacks, or, should it be necessary, use it defend myself from pirates or the odd shark.


Blog alternative:
75. Send someone a letter in unconventional form. (Be afraid, Bill, be very afraid. Bwaa haaa haaa haaa.)

Friday, August 3, 2007

Pardon me: Do you have an umbrella big enough to cover the pool?

Comfort Inn parking lot. I'm sitting at a picnic table in my swimming suit in the shade. (Still a Minnesotan at the epidermal level. Grin. Actually, being a Norwegian, German, Scottish chick, I was epidermally-aligned with Minnesota at birth.) Just ate gooey leftover chocolate cake & drank tea with cream & sugar.

This evening I'll go hang out with Karen & Charles & whoever else they have around. In the intervening 3-4 hours I'll dip back into the pool & write a little & paint a little. Maybe go to the festival, but not sure, since I just Bele Chered. Might be festivaled out.

I checked the tracking on Final Draft. It has arrived at my P.O.Box. Which means I'll get it Monday, for I have no intention of racing back Saturday morning to present my little you got something too big for your box slip before the counter closes.

My friend Cathy in Seattle (do I mention her every blog? nearly) is going rollerskating tonight. As a child she went 4 times a week or so & was really good at it. Inline skates hurt her feet, so she was ecstatic to discover that roller skates are back in & she can rent them!

I on the other hand lived in a place where pavement was hard to come by. That & the fact that I was differently-coordinated & had weak ankles meant roller skates are not a thing of joy for me. The few times I went to roller rinks I mostly clutched the wall. Our idea of ice skating was to dig out skates that didn't fit well (I have very wide, short feet with a high arch & high instep--structurally sound, but not made for hand-me-down skates) after the water system overflowed down the hill & froze. There were downhill icy patches between the rocks & wild rose bushes & pine trees.

So, I will celebrate skating through Cathy.

This leads me to--

Blog alternative:
74. Dust off some beloved childhood pastime. Rollerskating. Ice skating. Jacks. Hopscotch. Hula hoops. (I'm not going to recommend that you consult your physician first, but don't blame me if that hula hoop hip action does something to your spinal column that it didn't do when you were a kid.)

Thursday, August 2, 2007

What to get the universe that has everything...

My friend Cathy called me from Seattle & told me about the bridge collapse in Minneapolis. She was on her way home from work & planning to watch the news coverage to find out what had happened. No, I said. Go home & send out love & light & peace, rather than focusing on disaster. They call it breaking news, but it's really broken news, a broken record of speculation & footage of mayhem.

I'm not saying we shouldn't know about disaster. We find out, somehow or other. A friend calls us. We pass a newspaper stand & a headline leaps at us. We overhear strangers in a coffee shop talking. Hey how about that bridge collapse? Tragic, huh.

I'm just saying that it does more good to focus your attention on what you can do, which is make your own life better, your own heart stronger & clearer & purer. Yes, there is tragedy. People die. Bridges collapse. Our friends get divorces or their houses burn or their children get sick.

Some people feel guilty feeling joy when there are so many people feeling pain. It's as if the message is Wipe that smile off your face, there are people suffering in India!

So what?

Will you refusing your joy give them less pain? No. In fact, you refusing your joy actually--I believe--increases the pain quotient in the universe. I don't do it any more. If anyone wants to know, I don't feel your pain, whatever it is. I have no intention of it. I'm working on my joy, so I have more to spread around--& omigod, do I have plenty to spread. Showers of it. Fountains of it. Redwood forests & daisy meadows & mermaid pools & amusement parks. (I'm trying to expand the metaphorest, in case any of you out there have a nature phobia. How about industrial parks? Suburbs? The suburbs of joy. I kind of like that. Oh, I live in the Joyburbs, you know, on the edge of complete happiness, but the parking is better.)

Although I've heard from a bunch of my Twin Cities friends that they are in fact all right, I was feeling peaceful before I knew that was the case, reasoning, correctly, that me getting upset wouldn't help anyone who'd already bit the big one. Here is my peace for you all, because people did die. My love. My compassion. My joy.

Things from the last week or so:
  • baby's first acupuncture treatment! very cool. I loved it & am planning to do it again.
  • my sister's house is on the market. she & her hubby found a new one they'd like to get, contingent on the sale of theirs. so if anyone's looking for a cool house just outside Red Lodge, Montana, let me know.
Things from today:
  • Stardust. let it fall all over you. go see this movie. I just got back to the hotel from the prescreening. we all applauded!
  • at Greenlife Co-op, they were having this nifty thing where a non-profit was letting people trade incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescents. CFLs last up to seven years & save loads of electricity, which is good for the pocketbook & the planet. I can't remember exactly what the number was, but something like if every household in the U.S. replaced one incandescent lightbulb with a compact fluorescent lightbulb it would be like taking 300 million cars off the road... (forgive me if my statistics are mis-remembered; it's still great savings.) (I didn't get there before they ran out, but I have a bunch of CFLs already.)
Blog alternative:
73. Give a gift or two to the universe. (I suggest a compact fluorescent bulb & a heaping helping of your own joy, although fingerpainting--with a side of peace--is lovely as well.)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

But I still don't own a comb...

Okay, people who know me will laugh.

Sheepish drum roll: I bought a television. A 20-inch Sharp LCD flatscreen, on sale. Sigh.

I haven't had television since May 2003, & have been dang proud of it. But, the occasional dvd might be cool. (Oh, & I bought a dvd player too. $29.99)

Most of the time it's going to live on some sort of cart behind my bedroom door, so I can roll it to the end of the bed & watch movies. Or take it into the living room if I have company.

Enough of the media news. It's still not going to be a major part of my life. Writing (especially when my screenplay software arrives) & painting & meditating & doing healing stuff & walking & furniture/stuff design. (Gotta figure out how to turn that last into a lucrative venture--I have tons of good ideas flowing into me these days.)

Tomorrow I'm going to Abingdon for a prescreening of Stardust & a visit with my friends Karen & Charles. Should be a blast.

Blog alternative:
72. Think about the things you've chosen to acquire in your life. Do they still all serve you? Then think about the things you've chosen not to acquire. Is that working?