Random Confessions

Life continues simply. I mean, I think of a thousand things that I can write, then I read some YA fiction and realize that half of what I would write would sound like some of the more abysmal work in that genre. So, I have thus decided to post a random set of confessions:

– #1: I do really love Young Adult Fiction.

Yes, my dear readers it is true. I actively read such work even though I am probably well past the age where it should appeal to me. For many people, this is not really an earth shattering confession. After all, lots of people read these books who are not of the target audience. However, I contend that while many will take in a YA novel once its been popularized in film, or because they want to pre read for the sake of offspring/students, the bunch that I fly with actively seek out such books purely because they enjoy the genre. I grew up devouring all sorts of books, but that secretly immediate world of the YA novel (mainly fantasy based) was my most favored of the tomes. I confess, they are still among my top choices when searching for things to read.

– #2: I am extremely judgmental.

Again, not much of a confession right? Well…it’s really pointed judgement. Like, unchecked, unrestrained, and utterly without mercy judgement. Try balancing that with an overabundance of empathy and you have an arrogance that practically makes me gag at myself. I meet a person and within thirty seconds I have already decided whether they deserve to be alive or not and how I will maintain a deeper understanding of their flaws as a whole human being because I am so abundantly blessed with insight and discernment. Yeah…the double use of ellipses in this paragraph should clue you into how much I find this aspect about myself utterly ridiculous (and gag-worthy, the judgement, not the empathy). Being a hypocrite also comes with this trait. I happily judge others, but I freak out and cry when it’s returned on me. Again, Ridiculous, thy name is (author of this blog).

-#3: I have an almost obsessive need for routine.

This coming from the girl who moved three times within the last three years? It’s true. There are certain routines that I crave and will protect with a vengeance. The most consistent? My morning routine. I develop a variation of morning rituals everywhere I go, but they become a mediation that soothes me almost as much as a hug. When I have a morning appointment, the anxiety of my interrupted morning will screw with my sleep the night before. I’ve managed to not allow a screwy morning to make me a grump all day, but I have explicitly disobeyed rules and regulations for the sake of keeping my tea and yoga intact in the morning. It’s a control thing and I am fully aware of that fact.

My final confession is that I just felt a desire to share some random things tonight. I’ve grown to really enjoy the small, but lovely audience that gives this blog a look-through on occasion. I wanted to share with you and so I did. I hope you found this post to be something other than repulsive and I give you a big thank you for keeping up with these words for this long.

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Health and Life

I am a very thankful person. I feel the healthiest that I have felt..well…really….ever. I have never been in truly bad health (save a random crazy virus when I was in 2nd grade, but I am still here and not blind thus the worst did not happen), but I guess I never realized the potential for truly excellent well-being. You always hear “eat right, exercise” blah blah blah, yeah okay, thank you propaganda of the moment. However, I am blessed that my health is holistically really great right now and only improving. Let me break it down for you (if you would permit me)

-Physically I am feeling like my body is just now showing me its vast potential. I found the exercise that keeps me feeling challenged and fully engaged. I mean, I guess I “found” yoga a while ago, but lately I have been consistently engaging as never before. You ever find that place where your body just seems to flow into something? As if you could hear every muscle and joint singing to you the notes of what needs to be plucked next? If you haven’t, tis a rather glorious song. There are four things that make me feel like that: ballroom/swing dancing, swimming, rock climbing, and yoga. In yoga, I can hear hums, whistles, clicks and the deep thrums of what my body desires. Add to that something that is going to make some people cringe; the addition of smoothies. Yup, it’s happened people. Handsome and I acquired a NutriBullet and I could not be more excited. This gizmo is super low maintenance and the mixtures are an excellent way to increase my spinach intake without choking down another salad every day. The smoothies often look a lot like raw sewage, but they taste like ice cream on a crispy autumn evening. Without going into too much detail, these smoothies have played a huge role in helping me wean off a medication that I’ve taken for the last ten years. The med was meant to help me maintain some painful symptoms of a common female condition (cough cough), but that drug was starting to screw around with my hormones. Now, I can control the symptoms by adjusting things in my diet and I could not be more thrilled. I am grateful to the medication for the help it gave me, but I am so glad to find a way to relieve pain without upsetting the balance of my body’s chemicals.

-Emotionally and Spiritually I feel like I am flying in a peaceful current of a roiling ocean. Life is never free of things that wish to cause me anxiety. However, I am finding myself in an emotionally secure place that is allowing me to respond to situations much more calmly than I would have a year ago. Obviously the better diet is huge contributing factor, but I am also participating in things and surrounding myself with people that bolster this excellent state. First, I have a partner who is a rich well-spring of support. He has been encouraging me in every venue from the food to the search for a summer job and he gives me reason to laugh and smile every day. Secondly, I have a spiritual community that has been absent since I left college. I had a good interim community in my dad’s wonderful congregation in Jersey, but here has the taste of a more permanent structure. There are courageous and beautiful women in the Bible study I attend and then there is the church Handsome and I have finally found. Indeed, ladies and gentle-figs, rejoice with me. The church hunt is over! We have found a place of simplicity and grace that I hope and pray continues to be a place of refuge and growth for us. I can tell my spirit is well because I am inspired to pursue Truth, Love, and Life as I have not felt inspired to since…perhaps I will tell that story some time. Suffice it to say there was an event in my experience with the church that has made it difficult for me to trust in community, but I am learning to forgive. And I am daring to trust. I am not good at it, but may haps He can teach me yet.

I am healthy and alive. I will take full advantage of that state of being.

Winter Love

Is anyone else tired of hearing about the weather? Seems like every time I look at social media, there is another status about the cold, or the snow, or the wind chill….

That complaining done, I too am going to talk about the weather. My not-so-secret secret is that I  actually enjoy the cold. I understand that part of my enjoyment comes from the fact that I have a warm home to retreat to in times of bitter weather, but I recognize that and count it as a blessing. That understanding aside, I love walking out bundled in all my knits. The moment I open the outer door I feel an instant and overwhelming urgency to live. Cold infuses a deep passion in me to walk further, open my eyes wider, and breathe more deeply. Extreme cold shocks my nerves into remembrance that I am made of fire, light, and bright things. In comparison, extreme heat just makes me feel like a gelatinous blob of water that should probably just stay still and continue to melt (and be horrendously miserable). 

Winter is a time of precision. The branches of the trees tracing ink lines in the sky drawing the eye upward to the crisp motion of birds and, when the sky is not a sheet of slate gray dullness, the early moonrise. Snow falling is the most holy of silences, with flakes falling in delicate spirals of delicious force. The world feels so vulnerable and the bitterness biting my face sings of my own vulnerability. Nature can still level and stun me. I am barely capable of surviving it outside of the comfort of my own home, but this does not cause me fear. This knowledge causes me to grit my teeth and remember my brightness. For stars still gleam on frozen nights and the tiny sparks of Spring are just waiting for the moment when they can come forth and dance. Winter is for patience and dancing in one’s  vulnerability in the midst of the vast forces of this beautiful place.

What a lovely weekend

This weekend has been one of those rare times where every day has been beautiful in its simplicity and surprises. Back when I was working at the Park, I wrote more about the simpler aspects of my life and I think I should get back to doing some of that. Here is my awesome weekend at home.

Friday was the surprise beginning. Due to situations beyond our control, the Guru and I decided to head out early and just rearrange our hours in the coming week. Thus, I had a half day on Friday. Handsome and I decided to go out for dinner and we happened to be craving Mexican. I had heard of a spot called Alto Cinco, so we headed for there. Aside from the stupidly long wait due to their tiny dining area (supposedly they are expanding soon) the food was completely worth the wait. The dishes were executed with simplicity and truly incredible flavor. Plus the beer selection found Handsome and myself quite happy. I then closed the night with a long overdue phone chat with the lovely Persephone which often puts me in good spirits.

The morning started off with another wondrous surprise. If you read the previous post, you know that I just recently finished a scenic design for a show. Well, Saturday morning, I opened my facebook to a message from someone I did not know. The message came with a link and a simple “thought you would want to read this.” Turns out the link was to a review of the show in DCMetro Theatre Arts and that review happened to have a whole paragraph of positive words about my set!!!! This is my first review and to have my work so clearly understood and celebrated nearly made me cry. Upon reading the entire piece I was also happy to see that the writer was very balanced in her opinions. She did not inflate everything with flattery, nor did she tear the production apart with nastiness. She dealt with the production fairly and with intelligence. I am deeply moved that she found my work effective.

Armed with that star of warmth, Handsome and I went off to run errands. Errands are excellent fun when they include the Army Surplus Store (yay new work drab and a Mussette bag to replace my broken backpack), the farmers market (delicious and cost effective), and Target (new shoes for both). The day was kind of icky, so I convinced Handsome to go see Disney’s Frozen. Although I did not think the music was as stellar as usual, the animation was absolutely stunning and the story heart warming. The theater was in a huge mall and upon our exit Handsome suggested we go into the Apple Store. I was hesitant at first, because although I’m in the market for a new computer, I have not saved up quite enough. Such a state can make me grumpy in the Apple Store because I just want my new stuff now!! Still, Handsome cajoled, persuading me that looking at machines now rather than later would help me do a better cost analysis. Upon entering, I was greeted by a fellow coworker from the Stage. I knew he worked at the Store, but I did not know he would be working that day. Turns out I gathered a lot of excellent information from both him and the lovely young lady he was training. I am a person who uses her technology into the ground. Thus, good information about a future purchase (especially when that information is about excellent discounts) is as precious to me as the item itself. We ended that day with an egg and lemon soup that was surprisingly delicious and a light compliment to the previous evening’s gorging.

Today, a simple and productive day. Went to another church (cross your fingers, we’re gonna try it a few more times) and spent the rest of the day cleaning and restoring the apartment to pre-Christmas look. Do you want to know the best part of the day? Handsome and I cuddling under a blanket and dozing on and off for a few hours. In fact, this weekend was mainly wonderful because Handsome and I got so much time together after a long stint of being separated/only being together for a day or two/seeing each other in between craziness etc. I love him, I love living with him, and this weekend was everything and more because we got it completely to ourselves.

Tired but Exhilarated (oh, and go see a show)

I am bushed.

I spent most of my break from my “regular” job running about Baltimore attempting to make a design a reality. I did the scenic design for a show called Where the Whangdoodle Sings and it is being presented by a local (to Baltimore) theatre company called Generous Company. A number of my good friends are in the company and having heard the script at a reading, I was extremely excited to be invited into the process. The script is new to the scene and I was profoundly affected by the piece when I first heard it read two years ago. The piece has definitely shifted since I first heard it, but the core energy of the work is preserved with an honesty that I often find lacking in modern pieces. As a designer, the script gave me plenty of tasty puzzles that mapped a landscape of strength and simplicity. My aesthetic is well suited to such a landscape.

The elements of lights, set, costumes, and props are things that the audience doesn’t often consider. The production team is meeting and collaborating long before the actors set foot in rehearsal. The director presents the vision and then we fly.  As the great Eleanor Fuchs says, each play is a tiny planet with its own rules, climate, passage of time etc.  That planet is born anew with every new production. The design is where our understanding of the planet begins to breathe. As a set designer, I offer the actors a world to play within and I offer an audience an invitation to come join them. The other designers sculpt their own invitations and together we create a collaborative effort that looks effortless once the actors give our elements life.

Whangdoodle was not easy to realize. There were definite limitations that characterized our work and ,ultimately, made it our own by blood and fire. Perhaps I sound melodramatic, but over the course of the eight days I was in Baltimore, I saw and experienced every possible emotion such a process can inspire. What overwhelms me most is my feeling of bone deep  gratitude. So deep is my gratitude that, if you would humor me, I would like to raise a figurative glass and give some toasts:

To the Alchemist and  the BrightLady!  (for housing myself and Handsome for the week, hauling my butt around on so many shopping trips and trips to the theatre, and glorious conversation)

To Herculine! (for stepping up and putting my dreams together into physical structures)

To Strong-Woman! (for helping me complete effects that would never have been finished without her assistance)

To Handsome! (for joining me for New Years and then offering copious love and support in the brief moments we could spend together)

To Wonder Woman! (who ran such a tight ship in the midst of stormy waters)

To Jesus Christ! (for keeping me together and keeping my focus outside of myself)

This show is good. The team that put this together is a fine group of people who are all dedicated to telling this story with honesty and love. If you are in the Baltimore area in the next two weeks, take an evening and go see Where the Whangdoodle Sings at the Baltimore Theatre Project (dates and times can be found by clicking the link preceding these parentheses). Tis a piece worth experiencing.

Moon and Stars

I find myself constantly thinking “This time last year I was…” Though that thought has ended in a number of ways, most amount to a single truth; this time last year I was very unhappy. I do remember the bright points, mainly friends who gave me reasons to smile (especially ZeldaStark who made sure I had a family to share Christmas with) in the midst of the dark.  Still, I was utterly miserable last year. I hated my job. I hated my location. I missed my man. I missed my family and other friends.  I was facing the fact that I was going to be unemployed in the next month and I didn’t even have a Christmas Eve service with candles lit to lift my spirits. Twas a gloomy time.

But even then I knew I was lucky. I am lucky because I did have good people in my life. Many of them were fellow employees at that job I hated. Despite the fact that I was going to be unemployed soon, I had a strong support system that I could rely upon until I regained the ground I needed. Though I missed my man, he had been making many an effort to come see me the whole year, thus allowing a long-distance relationship to succeed. The Lord scattered stars through my dark sky, and His moon was never far from my gloom. He told me that I should not stay where I was. He urged me to leave, trusting Him to give me what I needed . Trust is not easy. Hope is not necessarily second nature. However, I knew that my choices were limited. Trust would give me focus, and hope could dispel the anxiety that would dog me otherwise.

This year, I am in New Jersey at the moment with my parents. The house looks beautiful and I am about to go to a Christmas Eve service (candles definitely included). My current job is a wonderful place where I can grow in my craft and yet I am allowed to be a human rather than just another body doing work. I have forged a good relationship with my boss and I have burgeoning friendships outside of the workplace. I love the location despite the challenges of constant snow. I am living with my wonderful man and our sweet little feline in an apartment that is perfect for this time in our lives. I grow. I love. I live. The stars grow brighter and His moon grows fuller. For now, I dance in the light.

Merry Christmas, wherever you may be this year. If it is a place where there is darkness, remember to look even harder for the stars.

Outtakes ( A Merry Christmas to All!)

I have to credit myself on not going completely decoration crazy….at least not this year. I know that everyone insists on posting pictures of all the same things (trees, lights, tacky trinkets), but mine bring me particular joy and cheer along with the rest of the decorating crowd. Last year, I had but a couple things on my table to remind me of the holiday. This year, I had the works.

Our fine little tree. Although artificial, I have to admit that it doesn't look half bad.

Our fine little tree. Although artificial, I have to admit that it doesn’t look half bad.

Our kitty (who looks rather grumpy in that photo) and a fine angel top our tree

Our kitty (who looks rather grumpy in that photo) and a fine angel top our tree

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A parade of ornaments.

A parade of ornaments.

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My hutch display

My hutch display

The santa band is as old as I am and is one of my favorite Christmas things. Plays a bajillion carols and is annoying as a flustered chiguagua. I love it with  all my heart.

The santa band is as old as I am and is one of my favorite Christmas things. Plays a bajillion carols and is annoying as a flustered chiguagua. I love it with all my heart.

Mickey and Mischief the donkey looking sharp.

Mickey and Mischief the donkey looking sharp.

 

 

One of the few good things about working Christmas Town last year was that I taught myself how to make rather decent bows.

One of the few good things about working Christmas Town last year was that I taught myself how to make rather decent bows.

Merry Christmas my fine feathered readers, may peace and most festive colors follow you!