My Jog

(Composed in my head while jogging and walking around Lake Union last night.)

My buds blow bass in my ear,
Tickling my drums,
Tinny tunes help my body,
Find the rhythm.

They say women don’t sweat,
We glow,

We have glands,
Producing salty beads,
Cooling our strong curves.
Soaking each layer of wicking-wear.

Cleansing us.

Feet hit pavement.
Shocks find their way through joints,
We push forward.

Dancing in inertia.

i have... (my predicate poem)

cheesy carbohydrates
gray corduroy
public art
urban mindset
playful tendencies
cozy mornings
sparkling wine
communal adventures
implanted incisors
realistic optimism
loving logic
comfortable shoes
Some walk through these hallways with familiar nods,
Gestures rooted in expectation,
But she shines through walls,
and beyond closed doors,
Her openness a welcome invitation.

If she ever invites you for dinner.
Say yes.
She may cook for you.
She may offer you a glass of wine,
Just don't make plans after.

Take time.

Be her guest.
In her home.
Let traditions unfold.
Be ready to discuss:
Life, death, love, friendship, hobbies, art, passions,
Your own life philosophy.

Be ready to tell your story.
But truly listen to hers.

She's a little motherly.
Very friendly.
Beyond another acquaintance.
She fully embraces,
The people in her life.
She radiates warmth.
She speaks truth.
She is not afraid.

When I grow up, I want to be like her.
Even an inkling in the general direction of the love and hospitality she embodies.
But the beauty of it is,
I don't have to wait.
I can be her friend now.
Be in her life.
There's little I know for certain,
But her presence in my life is no mistake.
I used to dig my arms deeply into the dirt.
Stretching out, curling my fingers, twisting my arms.
It was dark. Cold. Slow. Damp. Difficult.
I spread myself thickly.
Grasping and growing.
Creeping. Crawling.
Snarling. Gnarling.
I knew nothing beyond this existence.
I survived.

One day, strong hands released me.
I was leveraged out of the life I knew,
They reached and pulled and cut me back.
They lifted me up.

On that day I was unearthed.

I was surrounded by light and laughter and friends.
They took me to a party where everyone ate and drank and laughed more.
They took care of me.
Wrapped me up in bright colors.
I go to parades and parties and festivals.

They’ve adorned me.
They’ve adored me.
I include.
I live.
As art.

Happy May Day!

In May of 2004 (wow... 6 years ago!) I went out with a couple roommates, Lauren and Mel, on a simple little adventure.  At the time, we all lived together in a big house on Queen Anne.  So, being May 1st, we decided to go buy some flowers and pass them out to strangers along Queen Anne Ave.

We loved the experience, and did it again the following year. 

Though we haven't quite made it an annual tradition, when I saw May 1st fell on a Saturday this year, Mel and I committed to passing out flowers again this year.  Jenny joined us this year.

Mel and I took the streetcar to the market.  It was her first time riding it.


We went to the market and decided to buy tulips.  We found a vendor where you got 30 (beautiful) tulips for about $20. 


We each bought a bouquet.




We left the market and headed towards Westlake Park.  Obviously, a Saturday downtown had many more people than upper Queen Anne had several years before.  We proceeded to hand out flowers to strangers.  A simple, "Happy May day!" 


A few people reacted in a confused manor.  There are some who turned us down.  But for the most part, people smiled and said thank you.  And that was that.

Yesterday was a busy day at Westlake Park.  There were some very aggressive and judgemental evangelicals, some anti-war protesters, a marijuana-legalization march, and people were gathering for an immigration rally. 

On a busy day like this, it was refreshing to be out there with no agenda, other than to make people smile.   To wake someone up, for just a brief moment, from their routine.  To give freely, without expectation.

TEDx Seattle - Beginning to process...

I was excited to be part of the audience at Friday's TEDx Seattle talks at the Pacific Science Center.  I feel like I have lots of thoughts and ideas to process.  My initial ones being how I process.

Keep in mind that these talks were brought to us, in part, by the Master of Communication in Digital Media program at the University of Washington.  And so, inherently, there was an element of attachment to digital media.  And anyone who knows me knows that I engage in digital media.  I've been blogging, in some capacity for years.  I am an active Facebook user.  I have Twitter.  I manage several Facebook pages and profiles and a couple groups.  I text.  I read about trends on the topic and was more than familiar with references throughout the day to things like chatroulette and, of course, icanhascheezburger.

On Friday I brought my purse.  Inside my purse, besides the usual contents, I tucked my moleskine and a pen.

When I showed up, I immediately noticed laptops, ipads, iphones, droids - if you could connect to the internet, tweet or liveblog - it was there.  And it was out.  And audience members engaged with their glowing devices for the entire day.

The entire day.

There were some absolutely amazing speakers on stage.  And, as an occasional person who speaks or reads in public, I know how the energy and level of engagement of an audience is so important.  You feed off of that energy.  I couldn't help but find myself distracted by the tapping of keys all around me.  The light from the screens.

My friend Amanda sat next to me.  She does not have a smart phone.  She also took notes the old fashioned way - with a pen and paper.  I took notes.  I wrote at least one thing during each talk.  Something, that I hope, will help trigger my thoughts as I continue to process the amazing things going on around me.  In Seattle.  In this world.

But I couldn't help but wonder how differently those around me were processing the event.  With the constant tweets and Facebook updates and liveblogging?  I participate, actively in these media, but I also think there's a time and a place to put it down.  To disengage from the distractions of our devices and engage in person.  Human to human.  Eye contact.  In real life.

I wrote about this subject in December.  It's a subject I bring up frequently.  I think it's an important thing to process this cultural shift we are all experiencing.  Various topics around information and technology  were brought up today.  Are we living in a culture of too much information?  Do those who ignore the latest technology get left behind?  The technology divide - the lack of access to information on a global level - were hot topics of the day.

I just know this:  when I'm talking to, let's say, my Mom on the phone, and I decide to, oh, I dunno, go over to my computer to check my email.... She knows.  She can tell I'm doing something other than talking to her.  I know I can't really do these two things at once.  I can't carry on a (quality) conversation with her and check email at the same time.

Can I have her on the phone and have a half-assed conversation?  Sure.  Can I be talking to her and type a few words in an email?  Sure.  But I'm not talking about the quantifiable multi-tasking I can do.  I'm talking about the quality of the human interactions I have.

When I was sitting there, I was looking each speaker in the eye.  (I'm sure they couldn't see me, due to lighting, but I'm still sure they still had a sense of their audience.)  I was hanging on every word.  From 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, I listened.  Intently.  I focused and reflected and felt.  I allowed myself that time to take it all in.  To be present in the words that were being shared.

I'm sure there was a level of conversation happening around me that I missed.  Quotes being tweeted.  Hashtags and retweets and links and photos being shared in real time.  But I felt like my attention was exactly where I needed it to be.


This is what it's all about.

What do you do once you've found nirvana?
How does one appropriately embody zen?
When everything has aligned itself, and bliss prevails,
How do you tell anyone where you've been?

I've found it. Lost in smiles and eyes gazes,
I've found the one, the place.
I cry tears of joy and breathe it all in,
Surrendering to the comforting embrace.

It trumps every experience I've had,
It relinquishes every doubt.
It shines blindingly brightly,
I now know that this is what the hokey pokey is really all about.

Paradise Lost and Gathering Storm

I love being in close proximity to the arts.  It's one of the main reasons I choose to live where I do.  Walking distance to plays, galleries and museums.  There's always something going on, it's just a matter of figuring out what to do.  What to do.

On Friday, I attended Intiman Theatre's production of Paradise Lost.  I absolutely loved it.  The cast was wonderful.  The set design was interesting.  The walls were translucent and ephemeral.  To me, showing the illusive nature of the structures we live in.  Perhaps it's what happens within those walls, and not the walls themselves that matter.

For a script written in 1935, its themes hold strong to today's audience.  History repeats itself and humans do as humans do.  The run time of two and a half hours flew by.  I highly recommend checking it out. 

On Saturday, I had the wonderful opportunity of hearing my neighbor, Wendy Simons, on her 4th tour as a docent at the Seattle Art Museum.  She is currently giving tours of the African and Aboriginal sections of the permanent collection.  We got there a little late, so only saw the Australian art - and honestly, that was enough to take in.

I was really struck by Lin Onus' Gathering Storm.  Wendy spoke about his time observing eucalyptus groves in the Barmah Forest.  In a culture that overuses cliché words related to the environment, she spoke of the possible intention of sustaining the dreaming.  The dreaming is a fascinating view of creation.  It was a nice twist on environmentalism that resonated with me.

It's a blessing to be surrounded by creative people.  I've been to SAM many times, but hearing Wendy talk about art with such passion helped me connect with what I was seeing.  I'm excited to go back and glean more insight from her at the museum.  Looking forward to Warhol and Picasso.

Homeless Sun Dancer

Walking across a plaza, between big buildings.  Your typical suits with briefcases: taking late lunches and toting their laptops.

And there she is.  Frizzy, curly hair.  Worn clothes.  Worn face.  Arms flaring and pointing to the sky.  Guttural, tonal songs emitting from her mouth.

In the context of corporate America surrounding her, she appears crazy.  Insane.  Off her meds.  Imbalanced.  Lost.

And then I notice she is gesturing towards and singing to the sun.

In that moment of realization, without hesitation, I am envious of her ability to express something so raw.  So pure.  So natural.

So human.

May we all experience moments so real.
May we all do our own sun dances.


Okay.  I've been feeling the writing bug and just experienced the trifecta effect.  You know how things come in 3s?  Well sometimes, for me, these are experiences and thought patterns and once I reach three, I'm completely overwhelmed and HAVE TO WRITE.

So here we go.

Flaws are beautiful.

Vanity and perfection are relative.

I was thinking the other day about when I busted my face.  May 2006.  Almost 4 years ago.  I was leaving a Mariner's Game with my friend Annika.  We were trying to figure out which bus to take home.  I was checking the time on my phone in one pocket.  And reaching for bus fare in the other.  And then we saw our bus.  So, hands in pockets, I got a little excited and my toe caught on the pavement.

The next thing I knew, I was face down on the concrete.  Face was first point of impact.  Mouth slightly open.  Teeth through bottom lip.  Blood everywhere.  No one stopping to help.  I freak the fuck out.  Call 911.  Oh my God my face is broken.  Etc.

Annika, being, you know, not in shock, suggests we take a cab to the ER.  So we go.  I get stitches.  I get some pain relief.  My folks come and take me to their home. 

In a nutshell, I broke both of my front teeth.  After my lip finally healed enough to let my dentist into my mouth, we realized I needed to get an implant.  It took almost another year to realize I needed one on the other tooth as well.  They rip both teeth out.  Drill titanium screws into my jaw.  I wear a flipper on each side. 

I was a hillbilly for Halloween for one of them.  Just took the tooth out for the night.  Put on a wife-beater and overalls.  People were impressed with my ability to make it look real.  I'm like, well - it is real.  I run my tongue through the gap.

I have front teeth now.  They're fake.  They're attached to screws that my bones have sealed inside them.  Awesome technology.  Weird if you overthink it.

All this is background for those first, fleeting, hazy yet unforgettable moments after I fell.  Where I was convinced I was ugly.  Where I was convinced I'd lost my entire face.  Where my face was broken.  And my beauty was lost.

And vanity surfaced.

I am a fairly level-headed, grounded person.  I'm very low-maintenance.  I am a fan of natural beauty.  So to experience this was confusing.  As confident as I am in my own beauty, this fall scared the shit out of me.

My insurance covered a part of my recovery.  I had to front a lot of it as well though, because, ultimately, getting my teeth back in place was cosmetic.

My friend Stacey commented, when I was between procedures and had one temporary cap next to a chipped tooth, that I should stay that way.  I looked a little like Madonna. 

I was tempted.

Fuck perfection.  Fuck perfect teeth.

But I still went through the procedures and spent the money to have my smile back.  My gumline is less than "perfect," but hidden by my lips.  I'm confident in my smile and do so often.

Last night, I watched America the Beautiful.  I'm not about to recap the entire film for you.  Did it tell me anything I didn't know?  No.  Was it a perfect film?  No.  But did it weave together the incredibly sad power the commercialization of beauty has over our culture?  Both male and female?  Absolutely.  It's on Netflix.  And it's even streaming on Netflix.  Add it to your queue.  Watch it.  Discuss it.  Think about it.  It leaves you pondering the deeper, wonderful, amazing truths of beauty.
This isn't part of the trifecta.  And these are something many of you have probably seen.  But, while we're at it, let's look at them, for context's sake:

(in case you can't see embedded video.)
Oh yeah, and this one too:

(link out)

The whole Dove Real Women, Real Curves campaign is coming up on 5 years old.  I'll still never forget relating to Seth Stevenson's review of it on Slate though.  It's a nice idea, but I have two big gripes. 

1) When will it not be news to have a plus-sized model doing something?  When can she just be a model?  When can she just be beautifully herself?

2)  You're still trying to sell us a fucking product that's supposed to fix something.  Fix our wrinkles.  Fix our cellulite.  Fix our discoloration.  Fix our graying hairs.  Fix our undefined eyelashes.  Fix our natural lips and lipline.  Fix these things are uniquely and beautifully who we are.

My friend Barb just posted this on Facebook today.  Good stuff as well.

Breaking over the edge of resistance.

I leave for my very brief walk to work this morning and take note of the heavy, gray sky.  But I'm listening to good music, and I'm feeling well rested and well fed.  I'm happy and I look up and there's sun breaking through the clouds.

Now whether or not the sun succeeds today is irrelevant.  I'm experiencing a moment that I think we're constantly seeking as humans.  That moment of transition.  That moment of change.  That breaking moment.

The moment the sun breaks through clouds.

The moment the sun sets behind the mountains.

The moment the sun turns into beams of light in the morning.

These moments of pure realization.

The moment pleasure turns into total ecstasy.

The moment when you're running and you no longer want to stop.

The moment in a song where you wait for it, wait for it, wait for it and then... boom.

Something changes.  Something hits you.  And you feel it.  You ride it.

When you hear good things and your cheeks flush and you want to jump.

These moments where we break over the edge of resistance and we experience something pure and delightful.

I'm dwelling on these moments.

Let the paradoxes sit, as I juxtapose myself.

I've heard yogis talk about our bodies being pulled in opposing directions.  Stretching out our limbs in opposing directions.  Pulling our heads up as our feet firmly plant in the ground as we lengthen our spines.

I'm not a big horoscope reader, but S got me hooked on this Free Will astrology guy.  I think what I like about his writings is they're not trying to predict your future.  But they usually contain some fairly meaningful advice on how to reflect and proceed in life. 

I love mine this week.  It's so easy to get caught up in self-reflecting and labeling and pigeon-holing and classifying.  So easy to try to define exactly who we are and what our purpose is and how we relate to the people in our lives.  Right?

I spend a lot of time thinking.  I process outloud constantly.  And, whatever we do in life, we're constantly telling our own stories.  And trying to figure out what that story should look like.  Molding our choicies into the expectations we've created about these stories.  Defining our own leading character.

So what better advice than this:
Usually I overflow with advice about how to access your soul's code. I love to help you express the unique blueprint that sets you apart from everyone else. Every now and then, though, it's a healing balm to take a sabbatical from exploring the intricacies of your core truths. This is one of those times. For the next ten days, I invite you to enjoy the privilege of being absolutely nobody. Revel in the pure emptiness of having no clue about your deep identity. If anyone asks you, "Who are you?", relish the bubbly freedom that comes from cheerfully saying, "I have no freaking idea!"
I have no freaking idea who I am.

It's hard sometimes for my brain to wrap around the idea that opposing truths can coexist.  Opposing descriptions.  Opposing ways I relate to my world and those in it.  Opposing emotions.  Opposing actions.

A great example of this is my shyness.  Do you know that I'm shy?  I am.  Even though I "overcame" it enough to talk to strangers and am known as a social butterfly, I'm still shy.  It's there.  It will likely always be there.  I have to remind myself that it is there.  (Why am I nervous about this interaction?  Why don't I want to answer the phone or go to this party?)  I can mute it, but I can't delete it.

People ask big, impossible questions like, "Is there a moment that changed your life?"  And I always hate those questions.  Not one moment changes your life.  Every moment does.  Every choice.  But some effect us more than others. 

Switching out of private school and starting public school in 8th grade was a pretty big deal for me.  All I knew was that small school.  But this new junior high opened and we felt it was time for the change.  Cedar Heights Junior High.  The two closest junior highs fed into it.  Everyone from one school thought I went to the other.  And vice versa. 

It was a transitional year.  It had its highs and lows.  But in a profound moment, a friend who rode the same bus home as me encouraged me to run for class office.  She told me she would vote for me.  A few other people on our bus said they would too.  I thought, "Why not?"

I read a poem as part of my speech.  I was totally that teenage girl who carried her journal around and wrote angsty poetry.  Who let her hormones spill onto pages of scribbled notes and rhyme schemes.  Who am I kidding?  I am still very much her, just the adult version.

But to share what I'd written in front of my entire class?  That was a pretty big deal!  It terrified me.  I remember looking at my hands shaking in front of me.  I'm sure it didn't all come out right. 

I won that election.  And started doing a lot more things that took me way outside my comfort zone.  And I still do.  Regularly. 

As comforting as comfort is, I also feel comfort in feeling uncomfortable.

Fast forward a decade and a half.  I'm nearly 30 and feel at home interacting with strangers and in front of crowds.  But I still feel that rush of shyness, the creeping red cheeks, the flurry in my tummy - when asked to speak in front of a new group of people.

I clowned for 5 years, and still got nervous before every single event.

So, opposing forces coexist within me.  I am shyly bold, self-consciously confident, apprehensively socialable.

This is one example.  I'm sure there are many more to explore.  But this is me relishing in NOT knowing who I am.  So we'll let the paradoxes sit, as I juxtapose myself.

Tingle in My Toes

That tingle in my toes
now finds its way
freely all the way
up my legs
up my spine
and comes out my breath
and my gaze
and my laugh
and my dreams.

My dreams are so close and clear I can touch them,
Read in them,
Do math problems in them.

I'm walking in a blissed out haze of sleep
And sleeping in a chilled out maze of music

That tingle in my toes
Curls them
Stretches out my legs
Arches my spine
And evokes my breath
and my gaze
and my laugh
and my dreams

That tingle in my toes awakens me
From deep complacency
Deeply sedentary
That tingle in my toes frees me
From quiet apathy.
Confined reality.

My toes tap with constant anticipation
The tingle is a sweet realization
I'm awake.

Ode to Gray.

You may never see
quite what I see
in him.

But he is my beliefs
and how I see the world.
I chose him as my favorite years ago.
He is often unseen. 

He lurks in quiet shadows. 
Creating depth in contrast.

He shields me from blinding sun:
a calm blanket over the city.

He's the ground I stand on. 
The sidewalks I tread.
He's the stones I throw.
The stances I take.
The ways I relate.

He's hot breath on cold wintry nights.
The fading blue of water disappearing in twilight.

He's the city scape.
Yet strong.  And bold.

He's the sign of aging.
The cool of raging.

Melting perfectly into everything around him.
Within his shades, you'll find me.