Sunday, November 30, 2008

a time for being

what I am about to say is not original, but I am going to say it anyway. all-too-oft, holidays miss the point. what was (hopefully) created to bring loved ones together -- to enjoy the glow of winter fires and the warmth of each others hearts -- has been turned into a stress fest, a chaotic gathering of frazzled families and friends. shoulders sagging from the malls, heads throbbing from the decision making. how many rolls of wrapping paper will these gifts need? how many bottles of wine will it take to survive grandma's questioning? but wait, did you even get a chance to enjoy it? or were you too busy stuffing the turkey? too busy straightening the house? screw the gifts, give yourself.

this thanksgiving ranks among the best of all time. it was simply delightful (keyword being simply). no frazzled messes were made. just a leisurely day of hanging around drinking mimosas, watching john hughes flicks, and somehow managing to make a delicious dinner for six. we sat down and ate and drank wine and talked and talked and talked. we sat at the table for four hours before we thought to get up for the pumpkin pie (which my mom threw together last minute with a few simple ingredients - and which was astounding in its deliciousness). my point is that I could have easily stressed myself out. four guests in our little house, a big meal made in our tiny kitchen. but no, I told myself to just enjoy the company and see what happens. and that is what I did, and what happened was magical. we sat around sharing stories and laughing and realizing that the holidays are not a time for doing but a time for being. simply being in the moment, together.

taking a photo op

jG francis took this picture. I like it a lot. that's all I wanted to say.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

chunky jazz hands

life's full of firsts. first step, first word, first kiss (mine being an extraction of vital tonsil tissue - a process so unpleasant, so "un-hot" that I vowed never to repeat it). tonight I experienced a new first. a first spray of vomit. chunky jazz hands shooting out of the mouth of a babe. my man, jg, who first took a sip of alcohol at the age of 33, took a new step into intoxicated adulthood tonight - highway to the danger zone, the one-too-many punch. we walked home from margarita madness. bobbing and weaving. I turned around to witness the beauty of expelled excess - my friends, it was beautiful. the violent spray of intoxication backlit by city traffic, the splatter of a bad idea bouncing off the front lawn of strangers. poetry in motion. congratulations. you. are. drunk.

I was torn. my love was in distress. but I was transfixed. mesmerized by the making of history. in the midst of the the last liquid burst, his shaking hands held out the peace sign. I knew he was okay. he was better than okay. he too knew, something special had taken place - the awkward or the extraordinary - our firsts are as important as our lasts. I felt lucky to have been a part of something bigger than us. the process of discovering.

Monday, November 17, 2008

the big tree

photo by nat hansen

this weekend I took the train from LA to santa barbara. I forgot my camera. you'll just have to believe me. it was awesome. the backsides of buildings, the bent backs of workers, the stretch of the ocean, the smoke of the fires, the drama of the windblown trees. it was awesome. why have I not done this before? I will do this again.

when you get off at santa barbara, you are met by a hundred-and-some-year-old fig tree that will make you ponder the power of patience. this thing is mindblowing in its expanse, its shade, its root system. huge is a word that comes to mind, though there are many others, like incredible, life-affirming, awe inspiring, calming, so on and so forth - as goes the beauty of trees.

anyway, I was in santa barbara, not only to eat entirely too much pork abodabo, but also to mix an album with the as-yet-to-be-named band I play in. let me say this: making music is relatively easy - you close your eyes and you sing or you strum an instrument or you pluck some keys. but making an album - as far as I can tell - is the furthest thing from easy. if it weren't for the persistence and obsession of mr. benjamin pringle, it probably wouldn't have happened. but, it did, and four million tracks later, we found ourselves sitting and listening to the magic of mixing as it transforms all the hard work into beautiful music. it's exciting, getting to this point. polishing the marble structure you've been chipping away at for weeks or months or even years. seeing its shape that you have reveled, stripping away the excess. taking a step back to see what was at one time the stone slab of an idea now having been completely transformed into a work of art.

we sat there holding the shiny disc with our callused finger tips. we put it in the cd player and let our voices fill the car as we drove home. we listened, we smiled - at ourselves and at each other - and when all the songs had played, we sat quietly looking out the windows at the passing night. and then, we started thinking about all the new songs we could write.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

whistling scorpion

the first sign is that I've been whistling scorpion's winds of change a lot lately. that met with the gale force winds of change that swept the dark clouds out of the sky and let the sun shine down once more on this nation when this country blew its own mind and elected obama. change is all around us. from the political scene to the trees outside. which brings me to my next point - trees. on my recent road trip I thought a lot about trees, seeing as there were, well, a lot of trees. trees are lovely, necessary. they remind me of the change that is not only natural but expected in life. trees grow, bend, shed life and live again. so it seems only logical that humans should do the same. which brings me to my next point, I want to make like the trees and leave. I am ready for a new view. I am ready for a place where the tap water tastes sweet. I would like to live somewhere where people are more eager to exchange ideas than business cards. there has been a collections of "signs" for my bohemian soul. one of which I would like to share: blue highways by william least heat-moon. so far it seems a book that should be required reading. a journey through the heart of this country - history, humanity, trials, tribulations, realizations, glory on the open road. somehow I have forgetten that this country has more than two polar cities worth inhabiting. lately, the U.S. map has become like the night sky, the further I get from LA, the more stars I see.

don't get me wrong, I'm not about to get all new york on LA's ass and start talking some ignorant nonsense about how LA sucks just because I've seen a few movies or visited the sunset strip. LA is a magical place, for better or worse. the palm trees and burritos alone make me think I could never leave. it is beautiful and grotesque and shallow and real as hell all at once. it is home to so many different dreams that don't have reality shows. it has been my happy home for over 3 years (which is a record). it, like any place, has so many things to offer. take what you want and leave the rest. my recent thoughts of distant landscapes is not born out of a dissatisfaction with the here, but with an excitement for the there. for the where? which always brings about the how? and more importantly, the why? those questions I want to always be asking myself. it's not that I'm not happy here, it's just that I think maybe it's time to start nurishing these roots with some new soil.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes, We Can

This is our moment. This is our time — to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:
Yes, we can.

~The New American President, Barack Obama

the shedding of tears is part of our long, and oftentimes, painful history. countless tears have been shed out of struggle and loss, heartache and hopelessness. but last night, for the first time in my lifetime I was witness to a different type of tears shed by a nation. tears of joy and pride and hope. tears that were not hot on our cheeks but cleansing to our eyes - we could see more clearly the future we have been hoping for. in front of us stood a man who stood for us as a promise of change; as a symbol of difference finally united. people who had given up, began again. people who doubted, believed.

what a gift. "barack" is a semitic word meaning "to bless" or "blessing". we are blessed to have such a leader at this time in our history. and when I say "we", I do not only mean the united states of america, but the entire world. kenya is declaring tomorrow a national holiday in honor of barack. today, the vatican is filled with prayer that obama will finally be the leader that helps bring about peace in the world. smiles could be seen across the globe; hands of all color holding up two fingers in a V. not since we landed on the moon, has the world been so committed to our cause, or so joined in our celebration. for the first time in too long the world is reminded that, as barack said so beautifully, "...Our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared."

what an amazing time in history - our history. what an opportunity to be a part of such profound transformation. but as barack said last night, "This victory alone is not the change we seek — it is only the chance for us to make that change." so now is the part in our history where we decide how much we can give and how much we can change. while the nation did not let race sway their vote, california voters passed proposition 8 banning gay marriage. while one victory against discrimination was won, another was lost. this is just the beginning. as obama said, "The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep." so will we continue to climb? the real challenge we face is keeping this hope alive. the real struggle is taking the flame of last night and letting it be the light that guides us down the long road. we cannot forget.

it is the responsibility of our hands to build the future we deserve. it is the tireless service of our hearts and the choices of our minds that will direct the course of our history. it is our voices that will first shout, yes, we can! and yes, we will! and finally, yes, we did!