Sunday, July 31, 2005
Thursday, July 28, 2005
sunspots and afternoon showers
I am starting to appreciate how my life starts over at 5 o'clock every day. Leave work and suddenly it is a new day full of unrealized potential. Yesterday's second day took an unexpected turn when I started to drink sangria and listen to the Yeah Yeah Yeah's. This rapidly evolved into unrestrained dancing, which then segued nicely into my new favorite show of all time "So you think you can dance?" In the progressive/indie/intellectual world I vaguely inhabit, I often feel like I am supposed to be ashamed of watching reality TV. But I no longer give a damn, because that show fills me with giddy, wiggly goodness. Gaiety and glee. And I'm a big fan of glee. I start rearranging my life while I am watching. Quixotically creating caricatures of the future. "What dance classes can I take? Should I audition? How good could I get in a year? Okay, if I started to take 1-2 dance classes a day..." and so on and so forth. No, I am not a ten-year-old girl, but damn, sometimes it feels good to act like one.
I finished the bottle of sangria. This, combined with the giddiness from the show, resulted in some ecstatic couch rolling. New soft couch. Big pillows. Blue pillows. Burying and unburying my self. Somewhere in there I convinced Natalie to go to Spiderhouse with me, where we could drink more sangria, only this time outside under christmas lights - an environment better suited to sangria consumption. I lured her with the possibility of a thunderstorm. A well timed roll of thunder, and we were rapidly on our way, out the door, down the street.
I talked with the barista about sunspots. He wanted to be an astronomer when he was growing up. Apparently we are at a low point in sunspot activity. They run in 11-year cycles.
It was surprisingly quiet on the patio, probably because they had the music turned off. No raucous laughter. People studying and talking quietly. Occasional lightning. After about twenty minutes it started to rain. I watched as everyone made their decisions - stay outside or head for cover. Undecided. A fellow sitting next to us mentioned how it rains every afternoon in Maui. People will be sitting outside eating, it will start to rain, and everyone continues on unperturbed. Drops collect on their eyelashes, unbatted. After fifteen minutes the rain is gone and by the end of the meal they are dry, eyelashes and all.
It would be nice to live somewhere where it rains every evening.
We eventually moved under a tree where the drops were less troubling. And there we sat, talking and drinking sangria in the rain.
Sometimes Natalie covered her glass with her hand to keep the rain out.
There was more to the evening - more sangria, more wild dancing to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, more time on the couch. But I prefer to stay under the tree in the rain.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Just had an overwhelming surge of jealousy about Chris. It is really quite fascinating how powerful and irrational an emotion jealousy is - strong and almost uncontrollable. While I was trying to get to the heart of my feelings, I came across this fabulous article articulating a Buddhist view of jealousy.
My favorite quote, although not directly related to jealousy is, "Every human being relates to his or her own existence. Existence is God. In that relationship you're totally alone. In that you have no company. That is what it is to be a human -- relating alone and reflectively to your own existence"
And then we get to, "Jealousy is basically, fundamentally, a spiritual problem." Great. As if I wasn't feeling overwhelmed already. Now it's a spiritual problem.
I kind-of wish I didn't believe that, even though I would be lying to myself.
I think I am still unsure how I feel about the spiritual direction my life is taking.
Sunday, July 24, 2005
Last night we had a surprise party for Laura’s last shift as a houseparent. I was dorkily gleeful about the actual act of surprising her and kept trying to come up with a plan. Should we hide behind the furniture, upstairs, around the corner? Nobody cared. I was forced to forge fearlessly forwards unimpeded by the oppressive apathy that weighed down others, a veritable pioneer in the field of flabbergastment and bushwhackery. I had everyone hide in the darkened dining room, where I proceeded to jump up and down with the aforementioned dorky glee. She was surprised.
Other highlights of the night included dancing to hip-hop wonders from the 80’s and early 90’s, including such classics as “Jump Around” and “Baby got Back.” I was outside smoking a cigarette when I actually uttered the phrase “Ohmigod they’re playing ‘Push It,’ I gotta go dance,” throwing down my cigarette and racing upstairs with reckless abandon. “Can’t you hear the music’s pushin’ hard like I wish you would? Now push it.” I remember roller-skating to the song when I was ten. How could I restrain myself?
By the end of the night everyone ended up downstairs, where I rapidly became hypnotized by Dance Dance Revolution. I am not sure how I managed to avoid this game for so long, but I am now completely addicted. Whenever anyone else was playing, I just stared longingly at the TV, a la a kid in a candystore, waiting anxiously for my chance to dazzle everyone with my mad skills. Sharing and taking turns sucks. Hmm. Would it be crazy for me to buy a Playstation just for Dance Dance Revolution?
Friday, July 22, 2005
The Texas sky in summer. I don't know how it happens, but it gets bigger. It can hold more. More clouds. Big ones. Not those wimpy, wispy cirrus bastards that make you think of morning and the ocean. Cumulus clouds. Brobdingnagian ones. Somehow the sky can hold an ever-expanding number of clouds while still showing boundaryless blueness blueness. Ceaselessly, simultaneously, stormy and stormless.
And the whole time it is a bright, sunny 95 degrees.
I miss Emily. She loved the sky. We became friends in the summer.
Uneasy sleep. Kept imagining past and future Wendys were trying to tell me something.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
crisp and alert vs blurry and dreamy
I have a new game that I play. I got LASIK about a month ago and now my right eye is about 15/20 and my left eye is about 25/20. I take turns looking at the world through one eye and then the other. The world through the right eye is sharp, crisp, detailed, and I feel quite alert. The world through the left eye is blurry, dreamy, comfortable, making me feel oddly safe. I go back and forth between the two worlds. Crisp and alert. Blurry and dreamy. Crisp and alert. Blurry and dreamy. Crisp and alert. Blurry and dreamy.
I think I like the right eye world more.
I will miss taking off my glasses when I look at Christmas lights. Christmas lights should live in the left eye world.
Labels: how I roll
calm and delighted by the world
I spent yesterday with Kim, Zak, Violet and others in Bailey Park, mostly playing with Violet and talking while people played volleyball. Violet is amazing. At 9 months old she already has so many qualities that I am working toward achieving. She is happy, mellow, interested in the world around her and prone to big smiles. I started calling her PFS baby, because she always seems to have a perpetual faint smile. Faint smile while playing with my bracelets, faint smile while looking at dogs, and big smiles when interacting with adults. It was great to spend time with her. I wish I could be so calm and delighted by the world.
It started to rain lightly while we were there and most of the volleyball players high-tailed it to their cars to wait out the shower. But the CM crew stayed out in the rain. It was fabulous. I love how green everything looks when it is raining. The trees were vibrant, crisp and alive against the stormy sky. I just hung out with everyone, Violet in my lap. Playing with a happy baby in a park in the rain. Dare I say it – life is good.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
bodymind theorists - I love them so
I am in the middle of Candace Pert's The Molecules of Emotion and I am starting to feel vibratory and excited, almost joyful. I often feel this way when I am reading or hearing something that not only explains some of my world view, but gives me more information about what the hell is going on. Bodymind theorists - I love them so. The book is great for me becuase it synthesizes a lot of material that I have either already been interested in or have wanted to know more about: proteins, cells, (un)consciousness, state-dependent learning, emotions, information theory, and quantum physics. Whenever I skip ahead a little to see what else she writes about, the excitement increases. I can't wait to finish it.
Currently she is discussing the fact that the cells in the nervous system, endocrine system, and immune sytem all have receptors for and can produce the same peptides. She calls these peptides the molecules of emotion (since they are found and produced in abundance in the areas of the brain traditionally associated with emotions) or information substances. The implications of this, confirmed by studies, is that all of these systems affect one another - your state of mind affects your ability to heal, your hormones affect your state of mind, your immune system affects your hormones, and so on. Instead of all of these systems working independently of one another, each with it's own little master (brain, spleen, hypothalamus and pituitary gland), they are all swimming in the same informational juices and respond to them in their own way. These informational juices (peptides) co-ordinate the actions of these systems that were thought to act independently. We experience this as emotions, states, drives, and desires. So, simply put, our emotions coordinate our biological systems.
Think about that for a minute.
Did you know that your immune system can be conditioned in the same way that Pavlov conditioned dogs to salivate at the sound of a metronome? I didn't.
How can you not feel vibratory and excited?
Another thing that she has briefly touched on, and I hope she will talk about more, is the importance of emotions in learning and memory. One of the main purposes of the coordination of our biological systems by emotions is to help us remember and learn. Emotions, in effect, tell the bodymind how to respond to its experiences, to remember them, and to learn from them. She also talks about how emotions in themselves are not good or bad, whether they are "negative" emotions, like fear, anger and sadness, or "positive" emotions, like happiness, love, and joy. "Negative" emotions help us learn and remember just as well as "positive" emotions do.
From a scientific standpoint I think the link between emotions, memory and learning sounds ground-breaking, but I think a lot of us understand this in a fundamental way in everyday life. The thing is, for me at least, I forget that I know that. I get so caught up in the emotion, so identified with it, give it so much weight, that I lose track of everything else. Reminding myself that emotions are tools to help us remember what is happening to us and learn from our experiences helps create a space where I can experience life instead of getting totally consumed by what I am feeling. I do still have problems with the fact that emotions disappear, that they are so temporary, but I think I will leave that discussion for another day.