Friday, October 26, 2007

The Here and Now

I don't think it really occurred to me how much I would long for this place. On arrival, landing softly from the sky, I realized I wanted back in. Sat in traffic, I wistfully wondered (madly texting back home) why we ever left here. Of course I know why, but the overcast sky and the wildly exciting feeling of anticipation seem to mellow each other out and cloud my memory.
"This place" is New York City.
It's no surprise. I think I've clearly stated my case for the big apple over and over. Maybe I've dipped into the comparison convo and San Francisco seemed to come out pretty darn well....but, in the back of my mind, I keep the knowledge. I know what I know, but I live in the here and now.
It makes it all the stranger that when I come here, I stay in my old apartment. I hang out with my old friends. We sit around my old kitchen table. Literally, my old table. And then funny little things happen: Last night when I walked up to the first floor (or ground floor, depending on where you grew up) I saw an old school desk outside the apartment. A little later, S. (who lives here now) asked what I thought about the old desk.
"Well, I used to have the same exact one."
"That's funny," she said, "I picked it up off the sidewalk just outside."
"Yeah, about eight years ago, I did the same exact thing. A high school closed down the street and this thing kept moving around the street until it finally made it's way down here to just outside the apartment. I figured it was determined to make it, so who am I to refuse? and I brought it inside."
It felt like some strange circular karma.
We are so very lucky that S. has stayed on in this apartment. It feels like it's stayed in the family.

The energy here is palpable. It's unstoppable. For some, that is a scary, overwhelming feeling. For me, it just feels like home. Got to hang out with Michele at both the shop and her amazing, incredibly inspiring apartment. Such a great way to start the evening. Earlier in the day, spent some great kickback time at Kelly's studio and walked out with three new hats (only one for me!)courtesy of our good friend John. Felt like old times.

Tonight, as I lay me down to sleep, I listen to the traffic zoom by, the rain pound down and feel the train rumble under the floor....surprisingly, I drift off to sweet dreams, knowing I'll wake up tomorrow morning, walk down to coffee at cafe henri and pretend I live here for just the here and now.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

How Can I Keep From Singing?

This coming Saturday I'll be singing in my really, really good friend's wedding. I emphasize the really good part because no one, including me, can believe I'm standing up before 150 or so people and belting out a tune. I'm actually getting a little nervous just writing about it.

The last time I sang in front of a ton of people, I was 18 years old and it was my H.S. graduation. And it wasn't just me, but this really good friend who's getting married and another friend of ours. At 18, I had so much adrenaline running through me, I don't think nerves were a factor. And, at that time, there was probably nothing I wanted more than to sing in front of hundreds of people, especially my classmates.

I was never known as a singer. Hence, many of my friend's reactions when I told them I was singing at this wedding: "It's not that I doubt you can sing, it's just that I had no idea you were a singer." And, really, I'm not. Sure, I like a good tune, and if I'm feeling sorta loose, I might even sing along with my own melody and a set of made up words. But, I'm surely not a "soloist" (as the woman at the church referred to me during my one-hour rehearsal this week).

So, I'm trying to think of anything I can (mind over matter) to calm my nerves before the big moment and look at this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (trust me, in my next 40 or so years of life, I don't think anyone will ask me to sing in a church, let alone at their wedding, again). But I am excited to belt out this awesome tune, with no mic in front of me and a beautiful sounding piano accompanying me and I'm determined to have fun with it. Get my Aretha Franklin on. 'Cuz I've only got this once!

I don't know why, but this video made me feel really good and I'm thinking I want to hang on to the image of it's playful, casual but practiced, vibe as I go into my big debut this weekend. Wish me luck!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Magic 8 Ball

This has been a month (and will continue to be the month) of non-stop GO. In fact, as I write this, I should be packing for our weekend away. But, after all this exhausting go, go, go-ness, I thought a good joke could be just the remedy to what ails. This joke comes courtesy of a friend who just visited for a few days from canada (and we had a blast tooting all over this grand city, during the beautiful sunny days we just had); We were in my studio (which is covered in my collection of 8's) and she very slyly said,

What did the zero say to the eight?
I don't know, what did the zero say to the eight?!
"Nice Belt!"

Maybe it says multitudes about me, but it cracked me up. Think about it. You can use it too. And don't be surprised if you hear me pull that out at a party soon.

(above photo from last May Open Studios: these two cuties got hold of my 8's and saw them as masks, of course!)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

May they all find peace

(thanks to Jennifer's blog, where I watched this video today)

One of the best little kids that's come thru my public school teaching experience just found out he was being transferred to a different school. It came up right when I sat down next to Emily. She turned to me and said, "My cousin is being transferred to a different school", while her arm was outstretched, pointing towards Edward. But I'd known these kids for two years. We had them during last year's residency, when they were just wee kindergartners. And now, they're big old first graders. And they remembered us so well from last year. It was my first real experience in 'returning'. So, there Edward sat, across the circle from us, totally unaware that Emily was opening Pandora's box. Taylor overheard our conversation, or maybe he heard me screech,"Edward is your COUSIN?" As in, why didn't I know that?, either way, he overheard me and walked up to us and said, "My cousin is in jail." Cue: big, huge, brown eyes and a little bowl haircut staring down at me. The first thing that came out of my mouth (and I'm not saying it was right!) was, "Really? Do you know why?" He shrugged and said, "I don't know..maybe it's cuz she didn't show up to court yesterday." Hmmm, maybe.
After all this revealing, Edward and I make eye contact and I mouth, "You're leaving?" and he nods, so solemnly I wanted to weep.
Class begins and he's really into the story drama we're doing and we're all playing it to the hilt. He's so involved. And I'm aware, so aware, that this is a final impact moment. This could be one of those days that a person remembers, years later, when they're retelling some memory, some recall, from first grade. Damn, I hope it was good.
At the end of class, the kids lined up for recess and started making their way out. Edward was at the back of the line and I leaned over and hugged him and told him how wonderful it was having him in class and what a difference he'd made on all of us these last two years. I didn't expect it, and yet, I guess part of me expected no less, but Edward sobbed and sobbed and sobbed into my shoulder. I just kept repeating, like a mantra: you are a fantastic person, you make a difference, you are a smart, sensitive, important person. I wanted to tattoo it across his forehead: I AM IMPORTANT.
I know, kids transfer schools. It happens. They're forced to. They want to. They have to. But there was something about loosing Edward that seemed almost tragic to me.
So, I've sobbed into my own shoulder and hoped for the very best for him.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Irony & Wine

My friend Danica came over a couple nights ago and we sat around and drank wine and laughed and cried and screamed at similarities and nuances, strengths and insecurities. Then we headed down to this gig--which was an awesome good time. Thanks, T.
We saw a lot of crafters and bloggers and lots of people we didn't know, mixed with some incredibly talented women I was just meeting (the world of blogs, I'm tellin' ya, brings great things to my little world!): Ashley & Molly. Well, technically, Molly and I had met before, and in fact I spent an hour or two at her shop today, messing with her stuff! But, meeting Ashley for the first time was awesome. Especially since she showed up with one of her felt pieces that was to die for! So, for the second time that night, I was with the girls, sitting around drinking wine and laughing, crying and screeching about all the things that came up!
It was a great night and I hope for many more like that...

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Written one day at a time

A very interesting, adventurous and really fun friend that I met when I first moved to SF sent a "here's the latest" email to me today (she moved to ny soon after we moved here) and ended it with this poem by Stanley Kunitz that closes:

Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.

(all images from my most recent trip to LA la land: Birdcage at Big Daddy, LA sky, Big Daddy, Driving in LA)