Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hot Link Wednesday

And we're back. Viva USA! Viva Mexico! Viva England!

Here's an article about the lack of comment on the referee's call in the US/Slovenia game. I have a love/hate relationship with FIFA's refusal to use instant replay - on one hand, it keeps the game's old-school roots, but on the other, it really blows when the ref obviously makes the wrong call. Thanks Sister for the links.

In Lee Wochner's blog, he writes about the so-called Millenial Generation, which I am in just under the wire (*"lucky me," she writes sarcastically*) - those born from 1981-2002.

DM Graphics has a new website (I wrote the About Us section, which features a pic of Bear)! Also please become a fan on Facebook. I'm trying to introduce my dad's company into this millenium (and only 10 years late).

That's it for now, but I reserve the right to come back and add more links throughout the day. Happy hump day, and happy World Cup!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Lots of things have happened...

...since I last posted. I have quite a bit of fodder for blogging, but I'm afraid I'm still too close to it. However, I did want to share the words my Aunt Laura read at my grandma's burial. She wrote this herself and I love it:

"A mother is like the sun, her children are the planets. She is the eternal light that radiates warmth, love and energy for her children. She nurtures her children equally at all times. She maintains and distributes harmony and joy among all. When she slumbers, the moon and stars shower and honor her in brilliant luminosity. She is the center of the center of the universe."

Although the circumstances were not ideal, I feel very blessed that the other "planet" (my sister) and I were able to be there for my mother and for each other through the darkness of losing my abuelita. I am proud of all of us for staying strong and helping each other through it. And I am grateful for my family in general.

It's been a tough few weeks, but I've proven a lot to myself about my own strength and the strength of my bond with my family.

Monday, June 14, 2010

PSA for Bibliofiles and Movie-o-philes

There's been a lot of emotions (quoting "Fantastic Mr. Fox") on this blog lately, so here's some useful info for those who live in or near North Hollywood. The branch library on Tujunga has movie days! Here's the schedule for the rest of June (with links to IMDB pages):

Thursday June 17: North by Northwest, 2 pm
Friday June 18: Everybody's Fine, 3:30 pm
Saturday June 19: Double Indemnity, 2 pm
Thursday June 24: Sherlock Holmes (the new one I think), 2 pm
Friday June 25: The Young Victoria, 3:30 pm
Saturday June 26: The Spy Next Door, 2 pm

I can't make most of them, but it seems like they have a good mix of old and new movies, and I think everything is pretty kid friendly.

Here's a link to the website, and here's a link to the North Hollywood branch, where they post their schedule of events.

Also - if you were not aware of this you should be - you can reserve books at the library to be picked up at a branch of your choice. It's like Netflix for books except it's free (well, and it doesn't come to your door. But it's more like Netflix than Blockbuster because you have a "hold queue"). And something many people don't know about the library - you can return books at any branch, it doesn't have to be the branch from which you checked them out. (As long as it's still in the LAPL system - Santa Monica has its own libraries).

To quote a funny (and sadly now deceased) friend from college, Phil Pentel - "Books - Check 'Em Out!" (I know he didn't originate the quote, but he said it all. the. time.)

Random Poetry Monday

I wrote a poem on the way to work this morning (don't worry, I wasn't driving). In honor of Father's Day, I guess.

A Daughter's Work

We play hardball
With spongy nerf toys
Ribbons in our hair
We want no one to see us cry.

We spout facts and figures
Keeping emotions out of it
Voices steady
Heads held high.

We practice in front of mirrors
Wear talismans and worry stones
Fingers clutched under table tops
Bugs squashed with stiletto heels.

We try harder
But harder isn't good enough
We keep laughing
Hoping to make you crack a smile,
We try harder still.

Friday, June 11, 2010

sad poems make me cry.

Elegia Para Tu Ausencia - Eugenio Florit

Te fuiste aquel minuto para toda la muerte
a navegar en hondos oceanos de silencio
con un largo camino de pupilas dormidas
y un bando de palomas prendido a tus ensueños.

Ya estaras por ausentes claridades de luna,
mas tuyo que en las flechas de tu reloj de oro,
donde contabas tanto minuto sin orillas
para la sed de alas que quemaba tus hombros.

Y habras saltado mares que la inquietud miraba,
abismos en la timida soledad de tu ausencia;
y en la noche habras sido tenue brisa caliente
junto a aquel pedacito de tu amorosa tierra.

Largo abrazo de alientos sobre las amapolas
y una risa, y un canto sin palabras ni musica;
y un aquí estoy gozoso de pasados insomnios,
y un para siempre calido en la fria llanura.

Como partiste en brazos del silencio apretado,
resonara mas viva la luz de tus palabras;
y en cada estrofa de aire se enredara un acento,
y en cada mariposa te naceran mas alas.

Gozo de estar ya vivo para el eterno dia,
de saberte en el agua, y en el sol, y en la hierba.
Haras entre las nubes Nacimientos de plata
y encontraras tu nido en un arbol de estrellas.

here's the english version:

Elegy for Your Absence
H.R. Hays

In that moment you sailed for all of death
Into profound oceans of silence
With long hours of sleeping pupils,
And a flock of doves caught in your dreams.

Now you are already in distant moonlight,
More yourself than in the arrows of your golden clock
Where you reckoned such a shoreless moment
For the thirst of wings that was burning on your shoulders.

You shall have vaulted seas stared at by inquietude,
Abysses in the timid solitude of your absence;
And in the night you shall have been delicate warm breeze
Close to that crumb of our amorous earth.

Long embrace of breath over the poppies
And a laugh and a song without words or music;
With a “Here I am,” glad of past wakefulness,
And a “forever” warm in the cool plain.

As you leave pressed in the arms of silence
The light of our words shall echo more clearly
And in each stanza of air an accent shall be entangled
And in each butterfly more wings shall be born to you.

Gladness of being alive for that eternal day,
Knowing yourself in the water, in the sun, and in the grass.
Among the clouds you shall make nativities of silver
And you shall discover your nest in a tree of stars.

This one, and the last one I posted, are going in the program. Which I have been putting together, which surprisingly helps me keep my mind off things. Interesting.

Also, the dress in the photo? Now hanging in my closet...until I can get to a dressmaker. Anyone know a good seamstress in the Valley?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Things I've Learned About Death and Dying This Week

When dealing with the death of your grandma, here are some helpful tips I've learned this week.

1) It's not okay to be mean to strangers just because your grandma is dying. They don't know that. Try being overly nice instead so you can get rid of them faster.

2) If you live next to someone who is dying and she didn't like you when she was conscious, she probably doesn't like you when she's unconscious. Stop coming over. Send flowers or a card instead.

3) It's ok to cry.

4) It's not comfortable to be crying all the time, so try to set some time aside for just that, and then you can get some stuff done too. Including eating. Don't forget to eat food, or you might die too. (that's what I learned from Noodle.)

5) It feels really awful to plan a funeral when the person's still alive, but you kind of have to. I'm lucky I'm a stage manager.

6) Never underestimate the power of singing to the sick...or in your car for yourself.

7) If your grandma's dying, your mom gets to be more upset about it than you do. You'll probably get your turn eventually and then you might wish you had been nicer at this time.

8) Smiling helps. Even if you don't want to at all. It actually makes you feel better to smile and be kind than to frown and be mean.

9) Don't forget why you're there. I mean that on many levels - you're there because you love them, but you're also there to be helpful. Etcetera.

10) You don't have to wear makeup (unless you want to).

(The photo was taken about a month ago.)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Not-So-Hot Link Wednesday

My grandma's dying. This helped:

June 8, 2010 Daily Encouragement from President Ikeda:

President Toda often said that the final four or five years of one's life are decisive. No matter how good the preceding years may have been, one's life ends in defeat and sadness if the final few years are miserable. On the other hand, someone whose last four or five years are happy and filled with joy can be described a winner in life. No matter what happens, even if we should fall sick, we must never grow discouraged or allow ourselves to be defeated. This is vital. As long as our spirits are undefeated, we are victors.

If you'd like more quotes like that, go here.

I also buried a cat yesterday - the grey one, Noodle. I pasted in a picture of her little "tombstone" (a stepping stone from Home Depot). The plant is a white bird of paradise.

So yeah, no other links today. It's being a rough week. But here's a poem that I read when I buried Noodle yesterday, and that I'll probably be reading again at a funeral within the next week or so.
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I do not die.
(Mary Elizabeth Frye)

That also helps.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Stuck in the Middle with You

On a recent trip to Mammoth, I got stuck in an elevator with my dad. Now, if you've met my dad, or even if you've heard me talk about him, you know this is not an ideal situation.

After we established that the elevator was, indeed, not going to move, we pressed the call button. The operator suggested that we try to open the doors. I went over to the doors and tried to pull them open, as instructed. My dad yelled at me to stop, so I stopped, and got my fingers crushed in the doors. As I was jumping up and down, yelping in pain, and cradling my fingers, my dad was shouting at me and trying to get me to hold his Blackberry - which I promptly grabbed in my palms and threw on the ground (I tend toward the dramatic).

I then got a lecture on how I am "too impulsive," and he hopes I learned a lesson (not to follow the instructions of the elevator tech guy?). I shouted at him to "shut up, shut up, would you please just shut your mouth?" He did. And then I tried to break the tension by asking if he had ever been stuck in an elevator before. His response? "Don't change the subject." It went on like that for about twenty minutes, and then all of a sudden something shifted. I don't even remember how, but we wound up sitting next to each other on the floor of the elevator looking at the pictures he's taken on his phone (we're both amateur photographers). Thinking back on it, it makes me tear up a little, because I think that's a memory of time with my father that I'll have in the back of my mind forever.

A friend of mine posted a quote on Facebook from his father - "There are three sides to every story. My side, your side and the truth. And no one's lying." And I'm sure if you asked my dad what happened in that elevator, he would tell you a different version of events.

I later said that Mammoth must hate me - last time I went up there, my car broke down, and this time, I got trapped in an elevator and lost my turquoise sunglasses.

But I don't think that Mammoth hates me. I think that Mammoth forces me to assess my relationship with people and things. I also think that the 45 minutes that I was stuck in the elevator with Dad was worth at least two therapy sessions.

And the condo found my glasses and mailed them back to me. :)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hot Link Wednesday

Two posts in one day? Wha...but...ok. But don't get used to it.

Hot links, hot links, getcher hot links here!

Hyperbole and a Half - I know I've linked to it before. It's that good. My favorite line from this most recent post: "I would have shanked an infant for juice."

Evidence that the apocalypse is nigh - click if you dare.

What's bad? LuAnn from Real Housewives singing her "new 'hit' single."

What's (arguably) worse? Ramona from Real Housewives' "model walk."

Saw this band The Hollabacks on Monday night, they were super good. Kind of Ben Folds-y if Ben Folds were a hilarious gay fella. (not sure if that link is going to work, just search for them on the Facebook)

Also, feel free to follow me on Twitter! I am nohojax.

Happy Hump Day Humans!

Make New Friends...

Sorry I got that song stuck in your head. What song, you say? "Make new friends, but keep the is silver and the other gold." That one. You're welcome.

For some reason this past year I've been making a lot of new friends. Many from my Buddhist practice, some from theater stuff, a few from improv stuff, a handful from random life stuff. I remember having a conversation with my improv buddy Joe when he was a new friend, sometime last year, about how it's a lot different making friends when you're 28 vs. when you're 8. When you're 8, the "getting to know you" conversation consists of about three questions - where do you live, what school do you go to, how many Barbies do you have.

Now there's a whole history behind us when we meet people. And that, combined with my short-term memory problems, means I ask a lot of the same questions and can never remember which stories I told to whom (I really don't want to be that girl that tells the same story over and over...but I fear I might be that girl). It also means I have to pick and choose what's important to talk about, how much is over-sharing, how much is too much.

I recently went on a friend date with Libby (that's her blog I linked to up there about the Barbies) . Before we even went into the restaurant, we sat in her car and downloaded each other on past relationships, where we grew up, school and theater stuff, more stuff about past relationships...

During dinner, we found the things we have in common (about a million), talked about current and future writing projects (and made plans to collaborate), talked more about past relationships... Ok it was mostly her talking about past relationships, I don't have much to offer in that arena.

At one point we talked about how making new friends is kind of like dating. You're tentative, you don't want to seem too eager, sometimes you feel like your new friend is out of your "league," you hope they like you, you think it's going well but you're not sure. I even sent her a text the next day saying "i had so much fun! this is the official post-date text."

We've had two more friend-dates since then, and our friend-tionship seems to be going very well. In fact, we had a 3 am phone conversation last night when I was suffering from an evil recurring nightmare. It was nice to have someone to talk to about it, and it was nice to get off the phone with an "I love you, I'll talk to you tomorrow." We're still in the honeymoon phase. :)

Actually, that's the one thing that hasn't changed from 8 to 28. I love my friends, and I tell them so. I have a few friends who I always tell I love them when we get off the phone - no matter how long it's been since I've talked to them, no matter how often we talk, no matter if it was a five-minute conversation about logistics or a two-hour ramble about life. So I guess with some friendships, the honeymoon phase never ends. And that's why it's nice to keep making new friends. (hey, I'm a poet!)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tornado Warning

Growing up, one of my absolute favorite movies was Twister. I wanted to be Helen Hunt's character - a cool, independent woman who drives around the Midwest chasing tornadoes and trying to drop little robot-looking things inside of them.

On occasion, that movie would make me tear up a little at some of her lines - something like "the tornado skipped that house, and skipped that house, and took mine." If I remember correctly, the tornado killed her parents and that's why she was so close to Aunt Meg.

The reason that Helen Hunt is trying to drop little robot-looking things inside of a tornado is to improve the tornado warning system. At one point Jami Gertz's character, the stupid fish-out-of-water girlfriend of Hunt's character's soon-to-be-ex-husband who comes along for the ride (hijinks ensue), asks "but aren't there already tornado warnings?" and Hunt's character explains that they're not good enough, they're not nearly good enough.

I had a manic episode last week (or the week before? the weeks tend to blend into each other during such times) but luckily caught it before it got really bad. (Or did I?) I mean, it was still bad - paranoia, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, emotional rollercoaster, inappropriateness, and lack of judgement. (In positive news, I lost 4 lbs.)

The nice thing is - I've been able to catch it so much earlier. I'd say since I got back from Italy I've probably had 4-5 severe manic episodes (two of which resulted in job loss, one of which was a full psychotic break). The signs have always been there, but I've had to hone my skill of reading them and reacting. It can be fun to have a certain level of mania, but then the world drops out from under you and it's no fun anymore. And for a long time, because of the fun of mania, I've been resistant to calling my doctor right away. I'd say, even this time, I called him a little too late. But at least I called him.

The other difference with this time is that the past 3-4 episodes were my fault because I went off my meds. (Not intentionally. Bipolar people have one of the lowest rates of successfully staying on our medication. Some of this is because people feel better and don't want to deal with the side effects. In my case, it's an issue of forgetfulness.) This time I did not go off my meds - I think I've only missed two doses since my last psychotic break. I did everything exactly how I'm supposed to. And I still started to lose my mind.

This is scary for a few reasons, but thank god I'm getting better at recognizing the signs. And I know as I continue on the crooked path of my life, I'll keep working at it. So maybe after all these years, I did wind up a little like Helen Hunt pushing robot-looking things in the middle of tornadoes.