raybear: (Default)
Tom Skilling, the WGN meterologist for decades, just said during his segment, regarding the upcoming forecast, that "it is all good.....as some of my interns around here say."
raybear: (Default)
insert #1

I have a new technique for cleaning the cast iron skillet. I scrape the remnants out manually, rinse it with the hottest faucet water a few times, leaving a generous swirl behind, then add about 6-8 tbsps of kosher salt and scrub the pan with my fingers. No sponge, no scouring pad, just fingertips and salt. It works brilliantly to grind bits off while also soak up the fats and moistures, leaving the seasoned coating intact. A few more hot water rinses and the pan is gleaming jet black, inviting me to heat it up and toss something in. I love the look of a clean empty cast iron skillet sitting on the stove, like a kitchen in a doll house with empty pots and pans intentionally placed to indicate an air of lived-in.

Now I find myself washing other delicate things by hand as well. Today was the top of a green ceramic jar, brought back from my childhood, by way of my road trip to Atlanta a few weeks ago, visiting my hometown and my parents for the first time in 8 years. I managed to drive back with merely a giant plastic tub of items plus an electronic keyboard and stand. For nearly a month this tub has sat waiting for me to parse through it, to find a reason and purpose, or at least a slot on a shelf for each strange item from the mélange of nostalgia. A plastic magic trick, lost from a larger set that my current friend owns. I’m pleased I can help complete the set, it is a way of bringing my past forward to the present. A lego set that I’ve already put together and it sits on the mantel at the home of another friend who is a lego aficionado. There are a few fragile items wrapped in tissue paper, tucked in among the books and viewmaster slides, a clay bowl from kindergarten arts class and this sage colored ceramic jar I remember as sitting on my dresser but not the concrete details of when in childhood it appeared (middle school?) or the source (birthday gift from a friend?). There are items inside and I open expecting to find cheap jewelry but instead it’s rocks. A collection of different quartzes and…varietals? What is the word for “kinds of rocks”? Is ‘kinds’ the technical term in lieu of something Latinate-esque -- species or breed or strains? So anyway, it is rocks, a small rock collection. I turn around and look at the altar in my house now, and see on the left, a pile of rocks, ones I have been collecting for my adult life, starting in college. I thought it was something I invented for myself, a ritual I created spontaneously and borne out of the wisdom of reaching said adulthood, but no, my spirit has been attracted to the hard elements and rock for awhile. I crave it, even, the sensation of my skin to mineral, it is a cold electricity that warms gently over time and remains even longer. My collection is small, sometimes they get lost, more often I pass them along as gifts to others for their shelves, and I don’t collect rocks from every single place I travel, it is something that arises in a moment, they will be nearby and I will feel them talking out, emitting low hums of conversation and so I walk near them, glancing down, my heart on the lookout for the one who is looking for me. I pick up a few contenders, they are not right, I apologize for interrupting and cast them back to the fray. I walk and poke and skim and walk and then one will find me and I hold it as a test, putting my hand in my pocket, the weight pressed into palms, my fingertips examining the surface edges and texture. It stays. I carry it home in a suitcase and when I unpack, I place it on the altar, onto the pile I stare at now while holding this ceramic jar of rocks from a rock shop gift pack (See Rock City?), examples of the potential of rock variety that is out in the world, in the ground, ready for me to find it and dig it up. So I wash off the lid with my fingertips, rubbing off the collected dust of a decade or more, then find a place in the shelves above the altar for part of my origin.

Like whoa.

Apr. 18th, 2009 11:26 am
raybear: (turntable)
If you like/love hip-hop, go to The Rub and download some of their history of hip-hop mixes. They are a 3 hour long mp3s and they play enough of the song to satisfy, before transitioning to the next one. I got so excited by the track lists, I could barely get past the 90s before needing to catch my breath.
raybear: (Default)
The hysteria around "Somail pirates" has never sat well with me, but I never knew concretely why. Luckily, [livejournal.com profile] fightingwords is on my friends page and posts things to help clarify.
raybear: (Default)
thoughts from this morning, collected from various started-and-stopped lj entries:

"Take your face off, if I'm going to eat this thing!"
~ Kathie Lee, to a fish on a breakfast plate, on the Today show this morning.

Listening to Sufjan Stevens's early albums makes me think he's one of those christians who smokes pot, like Mary Kate Olsen.

I just suddenly remembered that in my dream last night, me owning a tamborine was very critical to completing some sort of competitive musical task, and I felt so pumped that I had one on hand.

For breakast, I ate the most perfectly medium rare steak, so much so that I actually shuddered in an orgasmic way and realized that word is not just used metaphorically.

This morning I woke up and felt like "I'm back!", like I'm emerging from the shell shock of all the events of 2009 so far, because oh yeah, sometimes I forget I was laid off, and oh yeah, sometimes I forget that I just made this intensely emotional psychologically transformative road trip to home, and maybe that's why I'm feeling offkilter and ungrounded. I kept worrying it was maybe Depression, based on hours of being horizontal and intense sugar craving/eatings, except I was so damn happy, which didn't seem to fit. I think instead it was just a type of "recovering". And the tide is now maybe turning and I'm feeling more active and balanced, or at least approaching it. I'm craving movement, not fearing it the moment I open my eyes from sleep.

I need to do some karaoke really soon. I wish I could do it with [livejournal.com profile] vfc.

I also am realizing that making a career change (versus just a lateral job hunt) is expansive (as far as prepping all my documents and references) and expensive, when it comes to ordering transcripts. Also, I really miss having laser printer/copier/scanner/fax on hand for free.
raybear: (Default)
So I started a being an afternoon manny to Ida X three days a week. Its a pretty awesome job for the following reasons, in descending order.

#1 I'm her uncle.
(tie) She's a pretty awesome baby.
#3 I really like hanging out with kids in lowkey ways (i.e. individual or small group babysitting, not necessarily managing a large group of them in a classroom or camp or playground).
#4 CP and NX have cable so I can watch project runway marathon in the background (which is sort of the perfect show to come in and out of, there's no need to really pay that close attention, but I'm always mesmerized when I am).

The first day she was little fussy or just perplexed, mostly because I think we were feeling each other out, getting used to the other one. Yesterday, nary a tear was shed, we had a good time together and she even napped for awhile. The key was possibly that I unlocked years of my repressed urges for having physical tics. I didn't fully realize it until about 45 minutes into being there and I had been been fidgeting the entire time, bouncing her up and down, or swaying back and forth while standing, or both. I had to start being more conscientious in my movements, as certain body parts would cramp. I get this from my father, which I'd forgotten about until spending time with him, he still does his hand shaking thing, his pacing around thing, he rarely looks 100% comfortable when sitting still, but the fidgeting makes him seem nervous. Between my years of piano recitals and choirs, theater and speeches, I have trained most of my tendencies out of my body. But still sometimes while sitting, my heel will get to bouncing. It is not really a sign of agitation or nervousness, if anything it make me feel less so, but still I control it because I know how it looks from the outside. So it felt nice to just sort of let loose, and for an entire hour she bounced on my lap while feeding and zoning out, then fully passed out for half an hour, my leg still going the whole time while I watched Heidi Klum. (And took our picture.)

Also, even though I have thousands of songs stored in the recesses of my brain, for some reason I always totally blank out when I'm actually holding her and trying to think of a song to sing to entertain/soothe her. So I inevitably made up a songs based on whatever is happening in the immediate surroundings, without any actual refrain or rhyming, and a couple times it turned into an R. Kelly Trapped in the Closet type operatic song that lasted for 10-15 minutes. And for some reason, the melody I keep using for my improvised opus is Isobel Campbell's Johnny Come Home. (there's a sample of the song on the page)

I hope they never get a nanny cam.
raybear: (Default)
Dear Angie Harmon,

No one is saying (or thinking) that you are a racist because you speak out against Obama. We are saying and thinking that you speak out against Obama because you are a republican. (You spoke at the 2004 GOP convention, if you recall.)

Although actually, scratch that, no one is saying or thinking about you at all (I, in fact, have to remind myself that Angie Harmon is NOT the former Police Woman, that's Angie Dickinson), at least we weren't before you asserted the unsupported claim in a FOX News interview.
raybear: (Default)
Sometimes when I'm walking through the apartment late at night with all the lights off and my laptop in hand, I will open it and face it outwards and pretend I'm in some Discovery Channel show using a night-vision camera to investigate a haunted house. And then I freak myself out and shut the laptop really fast.

I have not showered since Sunday. I have, however, taken 3 baths. That is not my usual proportion of things, and I feel a bit indulgent using so much water.

Today has been filled with surreal daydreams, intensified by an afternoon nap and quasi-lucid dreaming involving a familiar stranger and an old friend and a home and a passionate affair, those dreams that bring bliss in quantities dreams usually reserve for terror and panic. It was so hard to wake up, even more so because, really, I had nothing to wake up for, I had the day to myself and could sleep it away if it brought me pleasure, but it seemed like a bad sign, the symptom of depression, and I got ticked off that I ended my reverie because of medication commercial warning signs blaring through my head. So I've poked around the rest of the day, enjoying myself still almost because of the longing and the occasional moment of closing my eyes and slipping back into the sensations of that otherworld, remembering minute details likes the fabric on the couch, the smell of the room, and focusing to make out the details of faces. I am horrible with faces of real-life people, I can often remember names and conversations and hair and outfit and the circle of the face is a flesh-colored blur, like an anonymous whistleblower being interviewed on the news. However, this time I could do it with such perfect clarity, I felt almost the pleasure a sculptor might, in so perfectly capturing the proportions of a face that you can run your (imaginary) hand over and around and feel your success. Keep touching and get hairs tangled up between your fingers, its quite real, for a split second, before I nod off and muscles jerk, splashing the bathwater and waking me up from not-quite-asleep. I close my eyes and do it again.

Synthetic happiness is possibly superior to so-called natural spontaneous happiness, its longer lasting, so perhaps this moment in the tub of remembering a memory of an imaginary event serves an even better purpose than 'authentic nostalgia'. The imaginary sort of longing in stories can be worked and worked and worked over until a proper resolution is found.
raybear: (Default)
I had a moment earlier when I was considering the fact that today is Friday and I had no plans tonight, and what I might want to do about that, and considering who I haven't seen in awhile and who might be free, but then it occurred to me: last Friday night I had dinner with [livejournal.com profile] blondestallion then we went to a comedy show, afterwards I popped by on drinks with Jet and [livejournal.com profile] broqued; on Saturday morning I had brunch with WOWS club, then an afternoon meeting that led into the spring sangha day potluck at temple; on Sunday night, we went over to M&E's house for dinner; on Monday night, I went to [livejournal.com profile] jethead & K's to watch RuPaul's Drag Race finale; on Tuesday night, I had ribs with J-Hud and [livejournal.com profile] dommeyourass; on Wednesday night, we went to meditation sitting, then to watch a bad gay movie at [livejournal.com profile] jethead's house (again...I'm there a lot...in addition to having great people who live there, its also 3 blocks from my own house); on last night, I went up to [livejournal.com profile] broqued's house to chat and eat snacks and build legos.

After that amazing week of socializing, I'm actually not burnt out on people even, at least not those who are my friends (I think being home alone all day probably contributes), but I am also quite content with spending the next 24 hours alone and not feeling some sort of strange obligation to the cultural concept of "Friday night". Why is that even still around in my brain? I'm not 19 and haven't been for awhile. I prefer the version of me in 1983 who was excited about Friday night because it meant Diff'rent Strokes and Webster were going to be on tv and I could stay up later to read in bed.

Its too bad I can't get a job as a professional friend. I could even travel to you and make weekend visits. [livejournal.com profile] anjiyama and [livejournal.com profile] downmiles can vouch for my character and skills in hanging out, even if we've never done it in-person before.
raybear: (Default)
Dear tech-savvy people:

I have a macbook, running OS 10.5.6. To perform some work for an attorney, I was given the software for WordPerfect....for windows. What steps are required for me to get WordPerfect on my computer? Is there some sort of emulator? Do I need to actually run Windows too? Will I probably just need to find the older WordPerfect for Macs (though that seems likely to just mess up all the formatting when I send the document back to a PC)?

Keep in mind, I'm willing to put forth some geekery effort to get it up and running, but nothing to wild, program and installation-wise.

Thank you internetz.
raybear: (Default)
I'm sad about Natasha Richardson. I liked her as an actress, I've always had a soft spot for those traditional brit styles of drama and theater, plus she was married to Liam Neeson for a dozen years and that is enviable to me. I mean, lessons about the fragility of life are all around, at all times, and this is the one that's getting me today. Human bodies can sustain amazing amounts of trauma and damage and survive, but in the other direction, it can be a minor bump that starts a chain reaction of shutdown. It's unnerving of a story, whether she was famous or not, I guess.
raybear: (chik-fil-a)
I'm sitting on [livejournal.com profile] anjiyama's couch, wrapped in quilts made by her mom. Its overcast this morning and I'm cold, but that's also because I'm not really wearing any clothes, short of boxers and an a-frame. After a warm shower and getting dressed, I will be fine, the sun will come out, I'm going for a walk. I'm on the third trip in two months: first was Miami, then the road trip to Atlanta, and now the southern California leg. One project I'm going to work on while here is transcribing the digital audio notes I made along the way (including some bits of conversations with my father while we drove around the old neighborhoods), start culling and editing footage, and also start writing out the essay I want to make about the experience. All of these final products will find there way here in some form, I'm sure, but in the meantime, I will report that the trip was really, really great. Parts of it were weird or hard or sad or strange, but even those moments I approached most often with curiosity, nothing was painful. And all of the amazing good things outweighed it anyway: seeing old friends and meeting their awesome kids (who are so much like their parent), eating favorite foods, driving all over town and revisiting places and feelings, and lots of small amazing moments of clarity during my interactions with people, about myself and about my history. The trip was exactly what I wanted and even more than I possibly hoped for. And my parents. My parents. They are exactly the same. We were exactly the same. Which is both strange, to have an 8 year gap and we never directly addressed the how/why of that, but also familiar and good, to just have interactions to show, ok, we are all the same people, we have in some ways had this same struggle all along, in that my way of seeing the world doesn't exactly fit into their way of seeing the world. No grand epiphanies happened, just more the elements of my life were brought into sharper focus, and now that I'm away from the trip, there is still pain and sadness in my heart about it at times, but for the most part, I feel ready to sort of close the door on this chapter, to call a truce of sorts. It is hard to remain angry after facing in person the pain and sadness of it all, I can't sustain anger at people who are so at a loss for what to do. But also, I will not suddenly become someone who is close to their parents, who calls and visits them all the time. They will not suddenly 'get' my life and the choices I've made. They are not the family/parents I desire, I am not the child they desired, but we are all who we are and I feel ready to just accept the reality of that, along with the reality of wanting to still participate in each others' lives in some way, there is still love present in all of its awkward desires. I will make the trip again, it won't be 8 years. It might even be almost every year, in the spring. And on the way home, I will stop in places like Louisville and Nashville where my other family is, people who make me sandwiches for the road and stay up until 1 am talking, who tell me they love me so freely that I blush when I hear it.

So that is the general summary. Concrete stories to follow in some form, at some time. For now, I'm going to enjoy southern California (and my family here) before I return home to begin the process of finding a job teaching writing.

Oh, and I ate Chick-fil-a three and a half times. The half is because I brought home 3 sandwiches, two for [livejournal.com profile] dommeyourass and one I ate for breakfast the morning after getting home.
raybear: (Default)
Hi, I'm back from a long and story-filled semi-transformative trip down South. But first, an unrelated story.

A couple weeks ago, we had this beautiful unexpected spring day, sunny and high of 60 degrees. It was February and this is unheard of in Chicago. This was the day I washed my bike, as seen in the short movie I posted. So, in the morning, I wrapped up a couple last unemployment related matters, including printing out the form to defer my student loans. I put it in an envelope with a stamp, shoved it into the front kangaroo pocket of my pullover hoodie. Then I hopped on my bike to ride to the gym. Halfway there, I saw a mailbox on the corner at the light and slowed down to drop it in. I reached into my pocket and....nothing was there. Because I was hunched over riding, my legs pushed it out. I paused, shrugged. Continued my day. It was mildly annoying to have to print out the form again and it was a wasted stamp, but I wasn't going to let it ruin my sunny day. On the way back home, I kinda kept an eye on the road in case I did spy it in the gutter. But then I had a feeling it was going to get mailed anyway. I've found dropped stamped letters on the ground before and put them in mailboxes. I live in a very neighborhoodie neighborhood.

Then I forgot about it. In my mind, I'd crossed off "mail student loan form" off the list and didn't re-add it. Until today, I'm handling some bill-paying type business while I'm home for two days before southern California, and that includes calling unemployment, a credit card form, and then I thought oh yeah, that student loan form. I should do that today too. Let me eat breakfast first.

I just checked my e-mail and got a message from National Education, verifying my deferment. Sometimes it is the tiny things that revive my faith in people.
raybear: (Default)
It is pouring down cold rain, with buckets thrown against the windows in lively bursts. The thunder rattles the walls of the house and your ribcage. It makes the dog nervous, she sits closer to me, follows even more so around the house. Luckily she doesn't whine or whimper, just always wants reassurance close by. I am glad for this weather, we've needed some hard rain to clean up the sidewalks and gutters and flowerbeds that were still gunked up from the snow melt. The rain is then supposed to turn to snow later tonight, so we cover it all up again. I wonder if it will then stay clean. Like my plan to keep bedsheets perpetually clean by always showering every night before going to bed. (I've never actually performed this experiment.)

I've been numb for most of this week, numbing myself out some, but mostly its even unintentional, I'm just absorbing the news in small waves. I leave on Sunday, after meditation service, I'll pick up the rental car and pack up some things and drive down south to Louisville. I'll get to Atlanta on Monday and will see my parents, my dad will go with me on Tuesday to drive around some of the old places. I will probably stay Tuesday night unless things go awry, which, while possible, I think would be highly unlikely. I am approaching it with curiosity as much as possible, but I've also been training myself a little, on how to remain myself in the interactions and not to get overwhelmed by my 13 year old self which will inevitably make an appearance, triggered by seeing them. I don't mean to make it sound like I'm steeling myself to be tough for them, but more that I am trying to ground myself as much as possible so I will stay relaxed and be myself and suffer any consequences of acting as such, because what to I have to lose this time? Pretty much nothing left. So anything that will possibly be built, might as will be with the most genuine everyday version of my self as much as I can be.

There are so many things I'm looking forward to as well, not the least of which includes eating Chick-Fil-A, Waffle House, bbq.
raybear: (Default)

orange dawn
Originally uploaded by raybear
I don't mean to rub it in, but there are some pictures of tropical locations on my flickr that I took last week. You can click on the tag "miami" to see them all easily. This one is from the sunrise on the last day.
raybear: (tattoo)
I left a message on my father's cell phone today to tell them I'm coming to Atlanta. I sent a follow-up e-mail. He just called me and left an exuberant message about my visit, not only wanting to see me, but also to have me stay there, AND to join me on touring around parts of 'the old neighborhood'. I couldn't even finish listening to it, I saved it and will listen to it tomorrow morning.

Stunned is an understatement.
raybear: (Default)
These people's passion for "begging the question" supercedes mine for educating the world on the use/misuse of factoid. I am in love!
raybear: (Default)
I'm sitting on the same couch in the same condo in South Beach as I did almost exactly a year ago. I'm enjoying the familiarity of the once-a-year novelty. Its not quite as warm this year, but I think its getting there -- yesterday it was around 70, today should get up to about 75 and tomorrow its 80. Mostly sunny, of course. (Sorry, Chicago people.)

The weekend before we left for Miami, I had three really long days in a row, and didn't sleep very much or very deeply, but they were all awesome days.
I am actually using a cut, because it got quite long )
raybear: (portrait by Amy Garlick)
Today is too lovely to be denied. I slept in (though that's relative given that I went to bed at 2 am, so I still got the usual 6.5 hours of rest), then spent the morning taking care of some lagging Unemployment To-Do list items I'd been avoiding. I washed dishes for awhile, then, inspired by a chat with [livejournal.com profile] crafting_change, I gave my bike a sponge bath. I had been thinking about getting the tune-up soon, to beat the spring rush, but today is sunny and breezy and 60, so I decided I would wipe down the bike, ride to the gym and lift, ride to the library, then the bike shop and drop it off. Except when I started to roll up on Boulevard Bikes, my heart did not want to be separated from my love. We rode home joyous together. Now I'm recuperating in my dark cave office, eating a sandwich and pears and smoky bacon & cheddar potato crisps. Again I'm playing hooky from revising because I want to be outside again on my bike. Maybe with my new camcorder too.

In Other News, not only did I answer the phone today, I also made a call. And I'm typing this while sitting on the couch on my office that is not cluttered with piles of clean laundry or papers. So far, my new year's resolutions are going swimmingly.

May 2010

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