if its not yummy, then we better make it funny.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

American Soil!

Whew! I am back on American soil!
I’m at LAX awaiting a flight to Seattle. Its been 20 hours of travelling and Ill have 11 more before I get where I am going, which is San Juan Island. It is great to be with my own countrymen. I can tell I’m here because there are people with obscenely large Starbucks cups and there is such a variety of 'looks' here. I’ve seen two different kinds of Jewish sects already: One with big hats and one with little hats. They had loads of kids who didn’t seem any different from the average modern kids in dress though, huh? The American public is more inclined to talk with strangers, and have a laugh that spreads around a little. I never noticed that until I lived in the well behaved and reserved land of New Zealand. Here in the states, sometimes people (strangers) even touch each other, just as a gesture to urge you on in a line or some insignificant part of a conversation. Its refreshing to me.
I had an interesting experience that colored the flight from Tahiti to LA which is an overnight 8 hour flight. By some stoke of luck or karma I got an entire center row to myself. I have never been able to sleep on planes and I find the long flights quite agonizing, especially because I usually have a couple of kids to fend for. They pass out in some splay of a position and I watch them enviously as the slumber in the sky. This time I have no kids and four glorious seats to completely spread out on. I anticipate someone could ask me to share my luxurious row of seats and am a little conflicted about what I might say if asked. Sure enough, a woman about my age, yet with a skinnier, more professional look, asked me if she could have some of the seats. I hesitated. (This is where she was to take the cue that no, they were mine) God had given them to me because I am on a travel marathon here. I had won the seating jackpot; it was my payoff for sitting underneath and next to all those kids and strangers and my sleeping husband for so many trips. I might get some sleep, myself! I wavered there for five minutes inside of ten seconds and agreed to share the seats with her. I was immediately mad at myself for not having the courage to take what I needed, at the risk of looking (and being) selfish. Also, something in the way she asks bugged me, she is guilt tripping me, she kept saying “so I can sleep, so I can lie down” “It’s only fair” I at least told her to let me know when she wanted to sleep and I would move my legs at that time. I had heard her say she was hungry and I figured she could stay in her seat long enough to eat her meal and I could at least revel in my seats for an hour or so.
Now I have a well practiced pattern of serving the needs of others first. I was taught that credo as a child and years of being a restaurateur and chef has further ingrained it in me. If someone wants something, give it to them, without question, and without delay. Well, it isn’t always a winning way to go. Sometimes it’s a good idea to think of yourself first. My mother in law, Linda, once told me about how she was using the airplane breathing mask instructions when her son was a hungry bear cub and wanted food NOW. She, however, fed herself first and then helped ‘put the mask on’ or feed her child. It caught me off guard at first when she told me that, hadn’t she heard of the selfless mother oath we are supposed to take as we give birth? Wait… not everyone took that oath of unconditional martyrdom?! Oh heck

Having heavily hydrated myself at the Tahiti layover, I finally went to the toilet on the plane. When I came back she was all spread out on the seats. I told her I thought she might do that. She said, smugly, like I used to hear from pampered girls in high school “well, that’s what we agreed on” She was right, I had. I wish I hadn’t though, and it started to bug me. I tried to explain that I was hoping to spread out until after the meal, that I had already been travelling for a long while (she had gotten on in Tahiti) and even that two seats aren’t really much better than one, since there is the tension of falling asleep and falling off or onto someone else’s precariously placed body. I wanted to renegotiate. She got more entitled and snotty with me and when I pointed out that she had an attitude she denied any tension between us or any attitude and again said it was only fair. I asked her if she always shared her good fortune when she got it. Well OF COURSE she did! At this point I was agitated beyond sleeping or eating and I actually told her I had changed my mind! Wow! That is so not me! I usually would stew and brew with the festering splinter of victim hood. I had taken action, stuck up for myself. She said she hadn’t changed her mind! She said softly, “hey, we are both small.” (Nice try, honey) I asked if she would be willing to lay sardine like so we could both stretch out. That is what I wanted, not to be curled up. At this she said “You know, I’m not going to do this” She collected herself up and with a stony stare went across the isle from whence she came. She noted that I was very rude. Yes, I know I haven’t been graceful, but I’m learning. . She also said simply “Karma” I told her I thought that was what brought me the seats in the first place! Next time I’d say, “Sorry, I’m on a very long travel and I’m taking these seats for myself” Or I may say: “look, Ill take them for half the flight and you can have them for the other half”, then we’ll both get an opportunity to really stretch out. Actually next time Id offer them to someone who is warm and sincere, someone Id like to sit by. I don’t want to be manipulated into it, though. I’m sure she’s writing up her version on her blog right this minute. Pardon me for my laundering of social soils in front of god and everyone. I’m not really sure God reads my blog, I hope so.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What are you reading?

Someone recently asked me what I was reading and I lied. I picked one book. In my most annoying approval seeking way I told them the book I thought they would appreciate the most. What I should have said is "Hey let me get some comfortable furniture for you to sit in and some big steaming hot drinks for us to blow on and I will tell you what I am reading right now." There is that comfortable? OK

First of all I'm reading about 10 books
Its not that good of a strategy, really, but that is what's happened.
The first book Ill share is the one that calls to me every day. Its called Knowledge of Freedom Time to change and it's by Tarthang Tulku. It seems extremely pertinent and helpful with my quandaries about what we as a race and I as a person can do to evolve past the fear driven living as a entity looking at everything outside myself as separate. Its a readable and captivating book but oddly I can not sum up what it's about. The first third of the book has been a overview of the cosmic (as in cosmos) realm and the formulation of our world, moving into more anthropological and pshcho social observations. It has a salve for a soul who regularly hears the starting gun of the rat race, and even competes in it. I look forward to the future chapters where specific suggestions for changing our competition based existence are offered. OK it's not pulp fiction... I read most of it in the early morning dark, while riding the commuter bus, somehow it seemed the perfect reading then, harder to read by the light of day, though. I read it out loud to Jordan who speaks highly of it and doesn't start snoring, usually.
The next book, some fiction, is by Mary Wesley (she published her first novel at 70 and followed it up with 9 more bestsellers in the next 11 years.) is called Jumping the Queue It's a story about a widow who plans to have a final picnic before she takes some pills and swims out to sea once and for all, only her plan is inadvertently foiled by some carefree teens. It does give the chance to meet and become curious about a matricidal criminal and well thats as far as Ive gotten. It is set in England. It is sparky and concise and I like the writing.
It would not be fair to leave out the Massey Extramural study guide for my creative writing course, which is half poetry and half short story based. It is good reading but I have to read it into a voice recorder because my mind checks out and I cant follow it while reading it. I hang the laundry and do the dishes to to the lectures and they seem to get into my brain better. I suppose that means I'm a kinetic learner. I am enjoying the poetry, and still look forward to the short stories. In June, our dead of winter, there is a contact course where I will meet some of the other correspondence students on a 3 day retreat.
My Grandma Kelly (of the salty oatmeal cookie fame) once told me that she learned that if a person could get control of time, they could master plenty. I thought of her when I found a book at some garage sale called Getting a Grip on Time. It is by Robyn Parsons. The book is wholesome and welcoming and reassuring on such a fast spinning globe. It turns out that she lives in Glen Innes, my neighborhood. She recently had an evening speaking engagement at the local library. I cried when I couldn't find childcare (but not for long). I pick up the book a lot but not many pages have been read. As soon as I cheat and don't do an exercise I lose interest. Oh well.
Im studiing rituals for school and I have a couple of books going with that; one is Celebrating the Southern Seasons which is written by an Auckland based writer psychotherapist/artist/teacher (whew) named Juliet Batten. It is chock full of great celebrations and rituals to confirm the seasons and what they may represent. The other ritual study book is a glossy slick Atlas of Sacred and Spiritual Sites. It is got everything from famous places of worship, sites of pilgrimage, isolation and meditation sites to stone circles and megaliths. I love leafing through and reading a new one when it grabs me.
I bought a book of stories by Salmon Rushdie called East, West The stories are good. This is my first time reading this Indian author. The libraries in Auckland sell discarded books for 3 for a dollar and this one was an excellent buy.
One of my co reads with Jordan is the book Blink: The power of thinking without thinking by Malcom Gladwell. Read at bedtime, truly fascinating, but usually the eyelids win. Its about our quick intelligence that happens right away when we confront a situation. Perhaps intuitive impulse might be a good way to put it.
One day as I was showing Desmond the other Desmond Alexanders of the world on Google images when he asked me to look up the images for "Joe". I did and something caught my eye, a site for Joe Vitale. He is a marketing whizz and a sort of life coach. I flitted around the internet and found he had discovered a Hawaiian based "system" that I found interesting. I looked it up in the Library and ended up ordering two books by the guy. One called Hypnotic Writing and the other one called Zero Limits (the Hawaiian one). These two books are sadly sitting in the bag awaiting their turn counting the 21 days skeptically.
The last story is one by New Zealander Rob Hewitt with help from Aaron Smale. It is a story of Rob's 75 hours in the sea off the coast of North island NZ. He was lost, having gotten separated from his diving party. Just think of that! While he was making up rhymes to keep his mind alert and focusable police were searching for his dead body! Its a good reality check, this book.

Thats about it! How about you? What are you reading? Tell me please on the comments part of this blog. It always interesting to here what people have chosen to read, plus, I need some suggestions for when I get these read!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Life (temporarily) without Jordan

Today is Monday. It is a dreary day here in Auckland. After a very sunny and dry Autumn we finally are getting some rain. This morning started at 4 AM when Jordan got up. He thought it was 5 AM because we haven't changed our cell phone (alarm) to "falling back" time yet. He has a computer science conference that he is attending in Christchurch this week. He flew out a few hours ago.
Last night I was very tired and went to bed at about 7:00. I had swam in a race simulation the day before and I have the ocean flea problem again, polka dot-pocking my midsection. The swim was only 2.8 K but the sun wasn't out and I got a little cold. That is the last ocean swim I'll do for the season. I have really enjoyed the weekly clinics and the races I entered. Anyway, Jordan was extremely energetic with the children in the evening after I turned in. They thundered up and down the hall and laughed hysterically about God knows what. This morning the room was rearranged and there was a big floor puzzle put together. I guess he was getting in some power parenting before he took off. I let Desmond stay home, today, rather than take him in late. We went to the library and got some great books, movies and cd's to revel in while the wind chases the rain around outside. We have a deal about tomorrow, though- business as usual! It's a little sad, the idea that Jordan wont come home from work today and greet each of us all with his own signature hello. I suppose this is what helps marriages last. Appreciation.

We looked at a cute little cottage in charming little Laingholm yesterday. The house was a tidy, cozy house on the right slope to get the sun in the foothills of the Waitakere range. The family selling it has moved up north and taken up sheep farming on 50 acres. We looked at the paperwork for the house and it was interesting, noting everything from its inexpensive beginnings to its lack of proof of a permit due to a council records fire. It would be a nice little place to call home, but no real "Got to have it!" flood of feelings came rushing in like the other place we are interested in.

Its now extremely quiet and I must see why....

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

This Quarter is about making spaces

This Evergreen School quarter is a Fine Arts/ Anthropology combination. I am incorporating the installations that I'm making with events which could happen inside them. This could be a meditation or a cathartic ritual or any kind of ritual you would want. I will be studying the history of rituals and whats going on in rituals today. Here is the third environment I have designed, it is just the basic structure, ready for its beautification. It's nice to give a focus to this unusual artwork that has been looming in my mind for a couple of decades. This one is about 5 feet across. The larger one I'm making is 10 feet across and is made out of a French silk cargo parachute. Im hoping to have several to show together within the next few months. Its not 'paint by numbers', that's for sure!

househunting with Lil

I was looking at a house the other day with Lillian. Jordan had a strange swollen foot and Desmond was glued to something on the dvd player. The house was a strange place. It was all torn apart with no gib on the walls or ceilings. It was in a very private hollow of bush. The road to get there was a hairpin single lane that clung to the steep terrain. The place had been left unlocked for us. Lillian immediately wanted to get out. the hanging cobwebs and dark afternoon lighting was a little eery. It was a large "L" shape. I knew the driveway was bad when I went down it, very steep. I didn't worry too much about it, though. Heading out I couldn't make it up the drive. I had to inch downward and was quite close to the edge. Lilian was amused by my intensity and determination to escape without injury. After three tries we squealed and lurched out into the not very spacious road where, luckily, nothing else was approaching. I looked back and saw a cloud of smoke, YIKES! I think the writing was on the bulging vein walls, the answer was "no thanks"

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Wishes are fishes and Im hungry

Jordan and I have been looking at property to buy for our home in New Zealand. We have looked at raw land and at shacky shanties and dreadfully boring suburban boxes. We are smitten with a house on a piece of property out west of Auckland. It is 11 acres with a house and a studio on it. It has an orchard, chicken house, waterfall, gardens, and is at the end of a long rustic downhill road. It is financially ambitious , to say the least. This has motivated other changes. I will be returning to fix up our Friday Harbor house and prepare it for sale at the end of this month. There are so many ideas we have that could be implemented up there on that coastal mountain ridge. I find myself in some emotional jeopardy from my desire for it.

Are we allowed to have something so wonderful? Can we generate the $3900 monthly mortgage? If not, can I find an investment partner to share it with? I know risk offers reward, but where is the line I shouldn't cross? Am I missing the point of where we humans need to be focused all together? If we are to have a life sustaining planet for our children should we forget about securing ourselves future comfort and think about the greater whole instead? Perhaps if I pledge to help others with the land, share it, I can have it. Ive been at the table with god before, offering promises for outcomes I want. Usually it is about my children's safety or some dire situation. I'm sorry that I call meetings with God for such needful times. I think God knows she's/he's always invited for all the times, plain and grandiose ,though. How did we get to God, anyway??

I look forward to seeing Nina, my daughter, and to visit and philosophize with Cate Mckee and tell Nancy about my exploration of Devonport on my recent week of working there. Ill see Natalia's baby and eat Tims pastrami and have roving walks with Barbara, where we really let out our reflections and true secret opinions. Ill hopefully get to cook with Laurie and maybe do some ritual magic with my women friends who meet on certain moons. Ill catch up with Beth. Chinmayo and I will sing and laugh. Larry will be his lovely jovial self, neighbor Jim will greet us from his patch. Serene Sue will have coffee in the thermos and Bill will give me that Scooby doo smile. Debra will undoubtedly show up to say hi at the perfect time and Ill get to see her domain's progress. Annie will have a few new masterpieces done. It will be something of a closure, I suspect. I look forward to the lilies poking up and the tulips unwitting cheer in my front yard. Ill feed the strawberries and tell them goodbye. Ill lay down on the stone terrace I built and soak in it's heat. I'm coming home, for the last time.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Here it is! The thrilling finish line, complete with naked white elfins. I added some drama to the Rangitoto/St. Heliers swim by waiting too long to register and it wasnt clear if there was going to be room on the ferry to Rangi'. As it turns out there was a smaller vessel that got hired for the first 40 late registrees, and I was one, so alas I swam!

Sometimes, like when I am about to do something on the edge of my usual behavior , such as swim a few miles with hundreds of other people, I consult my cards. I pulled out my goddess cards and got Coventina, who lends purification and Irene who is all offers peace as her message. So since I didnt get the Goddess of the shark kingdom, I followed my footsteps, which pretended like they were going to the swim all along. I will articulate the swim for you in the very next blog entry, very soon. I am temp cheffing this week between school quarters in Devonport, which is quite nice and a lovely ferry /bus commute!