Thursday, August 30, 2007

Don't read this title.

Did I really just post a blog post about what lame-ass thing I cooked for dinner? I'm sorry. To redeem myself, I offer these:

a) Walk Score. See how walkable your neighborhood is. Got this one from Neon Specs - thanks!

b) Index card art. Some I like are here and this one and that one.

I reaaaaaally want to go to the LA County Fair - wanna go with?? And maybe even the West Hollywood Book Fair, which is September 30th. What time should I pick you up?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What, me cook?!

Yeah yeah, you all got stuck on that "I cooked dinner" line in Monday's post. The thing is: I did, in fact, cook dinner. When I was in Boston, I stayed with some friends (abnormally good cooks, as it happens) who went to the fishmonger's, bought some scallops, and made them for dinner the night I stayed with them. They were soooooo good and it looked soooooo easy! So at the supermarket the other day, I thought, I could do that: and I did. Well, sort of. I did buy some fish, and I did cook it and eat it for dinner. I won't say it was, you know, good or anything, but it was at least... edible.

I cooked dinner AGAIN tonight, you'll be shocked to learn. It actually was really delicious, too, you'll be even more shocked to learn. Of course, it was a lot easier than fish; it was pasta. It's hard to screw up pasta. BUT, it was whole-wheat pasta, and I had this great sundried-tomato-and-olive tomato sauce and I added in a bag of frozen okra/tomatoes/onions/peppers, and I added in turkey meatballs, and this may sound like lame-o faux-cooking to you, but this is big news for me. It was GOOD! And I didn't eat the whole thing at once, either, which is always a danger when I cook.

Good thing, too: I used the *whole* box of pasta and the *whole* bag of veggies and the *whole* can of sauce and the *whole* box of turkey, so added up that's 2520 calories and 51 grams of fat. Two or three meals for sure, but am I really supposed to eat this for FIVE or SIX meals?

God, is this exactly the sort of post NO ONE WANTS TO READ? Is this a post of the "I got up and turned off my alarm and brushed my teeth. Then I deliberated: the red shirt or the blue shirt? In the end I settled on the green..." sort?? Sheesh.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Ideal Day. The Idle Day? The Idyll... with an idol?

If you spend any amount of time in my brain, you know that I devote large portions of it to the question of How To Live My Life, and what that really means is How To Spend My Time, which is to say... scheduling. God I spend a lot of time on scheduling.

There are a number of good reasons for this (and that number is: zero. I always, always want to say that when I hear someone use the phrase "there are a number of x"... what a dumb phrase.) There are a number of good reasons for this, chief among them that I have four jobs and if I didn't devote some mental cycles to scheduling, I'd never be in the right place at the right time with the right equipment and I'd soon no longer have four jobs. Another reason is that my Ideal Day is the Idle Day, meaning that without a schedule (and often, a task list), I'd kind of never do anything... aside from, you know: read, sleep, and eat. Mmmmm....

But there are millions of things I want to do (aka "everything") and so I spend lots of time thinking about how to spend my time. Yes, probably I should spend less time thinking/planning/preparing and more time doing, but that doesn't come naturally to me. I'm good at the part of scheduling that requires juggling jobs and writing things down on calendars and Outlook. What I'm always thinking about is how to spend the rest of my time, my so-called "free" time. For example: a few of the things I most want to do when I'm not working are 0) write 1) learn Hebrew 2) do yoga / run / work out / take dance classes and 3)correspond more with people, like write letters, send birthday cards, make phone calls.

We interrupt this blog post to stick out our tongue at everyone who has something to say on the subject of our inability to make phone calls. THPPFFT! as Bill the Cat would say.
We now return you to our regularly scheduled self-absorbed out-loud musings.

So last year I had a lot of unstructured time, and I wondered constantly about the best way to fit those things into my life. Should I spend 10:00-11:00 writing, and then 11:00-12:00 on letters and phone calls and then 1:00-2:00 on Hebrew, every "free" day? Or should it be more like this: Mondays - write. Tuesdays - Hebrew. Wednesdays - correspondence. Always I come up with possibilities like this; always Life comes along and gets in the way, and instead of writing at 10am, I sleep in, and then instead of doing whatever at 12, I go for a walk and read my book in the sun, and then at 2 so-and-so calls me up and I go over to her house to hang out, and in the end I'm up very late at night, having done none or nearly none of what I planned, and before going to sleep I resolve that the next day will be different.

How many times can one resolve that Tomorrow Will Be Different? Ha!

Now honestly, I don't mind all that much, if I have indeed spent a day sleeping in, going for a walk and reading my book in the sun, and then hanging out with a friend. That's a damn good day. It's more the time I spend doing nothing, or somehow putzing around, or refreshing facebook 80 times a minute... how do I spend so much time doing... nothing? I don't know.

Because I am very good at always being where I'm "supposed" to be when "supposed to" includes the world outside of my head, I use that as often as possible. I see that I never just sit down with my Hebrew books and get my learning on, so I sign up for (and pre-pay for - always a strong motivator for me) Hebrew classes in some adult-ed program, and then I *have* to go and I do go. I don't always spend enough out-of-class time studying, I don't always do my homework in a timely fashion, but at the very least I show up to class. So I'm usually in good shape with a particular activity if I can basically move it from the "free time" category to the "structured time" category, if I can stick it in Outlook and label it recurring. Part of the success of that is that other people are, if not depending on me, then at last expecting me. Another part is, as I've said, the fear of losing money that I've already paid. So that strategy works for certain kinds of things, like studying Hebrew. How do you do that for returning-email-time??

Wow, I've gone far afield today from the topic about which I intended to write. This has gone on entirely too long. What I really meant to say was this: I had a good day, if not an altogether exciting or inspirational one.
I got up early, and was out the door a little after 7am. (ungodly early, in my opinion, but I'm still on EST so it wasn't too painful) (I needed to be Somewhere Important at 8, and I was. I'm rarely late for job-related events.)

After the job-related portion of the day ended, I ran a number (and that number is...) of errands that I had planned to do: I got my car washed, I went to the post office, I got my eyebrows waxed. (TMI? Ha!)

Then a friend *did* call and invite me to come over for dinner, and I accepted, even though it meant throwing over my plans to go to the gym, cook dinner, and do more prep work for the rest of this week.

Here's where it gets crazy: a few minutes later, I called back and said I'd changed my mind. Instead of going over there, I WENT TO THE GYM, COOKED DINNER, AND DID MORE PREP WORK FOR THIS WEEK.

Well, and spent entirely too long on this entirely-too-long post.

Does it feel good to have had that sort of a day? It does, though it's lonelier than having seen my friends, and it's getting late at night and because I have spent this long writing, I haven't done nearly as much work as I could have / should have done. But still: perhaps this should be the Plan for Mondays...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Home Sweet Home: summary style

Well, a whirlwind of East Coast experiences behind me once again. Spent ten days; saw about a zillion old friends. Visited old locales that haunt my memories (Levittown!) checked out some places I'd never been before (Coney Island!). Met a great many babies and babies-to-be. In close proximity, got to dip my nose into the lives of so many people living their lives differently from one another... these just bought a 200-acre farm in New Hampshire; these are spending their free time canning fruit and freezing vegetables so they can live on only locally-grown food all year long even though they live in cold cold Boston; this one is going back to school as an undergrad at age 34; this one is younger than I am and is a successful lawyer who also happens to have a artistic/creative outlet in dancing, the output of which alone would be a successful career for someone employed in dance. These have grown or growing kids and 9-to-5 jobs and spend their free time fixing up their houses and enjoying the American dream, each in their own special way. This one is eight months pregnant, that one had a little boy two weeks ago, these just had their daughter on their son's first birthday.

And then there's me, constantly absorbed in the question of How To Live. And meanwhile, living.

And as always, wanting.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

NY state of mind

A quickie - I'm in New York and Boston for the next ten days, visiting everyone I've ever known. Do we have plans yet? I'm not bringing my laptop (ouch!!) but I should have occasional access to computers so... look for east coast updates when I can, or big bunch o' stories when I get back.

thanks for reading! seriously.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The tagline of Tatsu is "fly at the speed of fear".

So, if you're following along at home, you know that I'm at camp, the summer's almost over, and that I'm somehow really into trying new things. So the day after the horseback ride was Magic Mountain/earthquake day, and the day after that I went on my first-ever mountain biking ride. It wasn't too intense of a ride, but it was reallllllly fun and I got to go to new places in camp that I hadn't seen before (i.e. the breathtakingly unexciting and disappointing old well) and I really enjoyed it. The craziest part was the downhill way-back (as opposed to the huff-and-puff uphill way-there) and going uncontrollably fast over a former creek bed which is now all rocks. All I could do was hold on for dear life and hope I kept going on the trail and didn't fall off - gritted teeth, slotted eyes, held breath... love it! Why? Why do we love this, and roller coasters, and fear-as-fun?

Reinhold Messner, the world's most accomplished mountain climber, gave an interview in the November 2006 National Geographic. “Without the possibility of death,” says Messner, “adventure is not possible.”

Think that's it?

(On the last bit of the bike ride, I did something else for the first time ever, something I've sort of been trying to do for weeks: I rode with no hands! Well, I still technically had hands, but I didn't use them to hold on while I rode. It was really easy on the camp's mountain bike, even though I hadn't been able to do it at all on my own bike. I'm kinda thinking maybe it's time to upgrade from my $30 Target special. Whatcha think? And if I am gonna spend a little more for a Real Bike, what kind? How much? From where? Help!)

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Coasters and other earth-shaking news

What if you were riding a roller coaster, and there was an earthquake while you were on it, like at some crazy high scary moment??

I know, this is a crazy question and would be a crazy coincidence if it happened, what are the chances, etc. Except... well, I live in California now, and I went to Six Flags Magic Mountain last night and went on SUPERAMAZINGSCARYAWESOME roller coasters, and then there was an earthquake.


First of all: last night was definitely in keeping with the do-what-you're-afraid-of theme, because while I like roller coasters, I'm no crazy fearless do-em-all kind. But I was with a whole bunch of people, and we were all having a really great time, and I had a buddy to hold my hand, and... well, check it out: Colossus (great classic wooden one to getcha started...clickclickclick on the incline....) and then Scream (oh, I did indeed. This one was great.) and then Batman (um, kind of sucked. Skip it.) And then... WOW: I rode GOLIATH. Wow. And then.

And then.
And then roller coastering changed for me forever. I rode Tatsu and let me tell you, it is a new genre of roller coaster. The website says this is "the tallest, fastest and longest flying coaster on Earth." You gotta try this shit. You will never come closer to actually flying than this thing. It's unbelievable. It's amazing. I almost cried.

And if the park weren't closed by that time, I would have ridden it again. And again. Wow.

So, yeah, and then I got back to camp and was checking my email and there was an earthquake. And apparently, although it was absolutely the first real earthquake I ever felt in my entire life, it was only a minor aftershock of a quake in Chatsworth. (Wow: just added the link above to the reuters article about the quake, and it totally mentions my favorite thing about the Valley, as documented here previously. Love it!)

What a day.

Hope all my bookcases are home are still standing.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Practice what you preach, Or, why Scared Is Ok.

I have a lot to say on the subject of doing stuff you're afraid of. The bottom line is: I believe in it. I think being scared is good and healthy, and going ahead and doing stuff even though you're afraid of it is also (often) good and healthy. Being scared is only not ok if it stops you from doing stuff, from living, from trying new things. Camp always makes me think about this, and inspires me a little, because I spend a lot of time encouraging kids to try new activities or to do things they are scared of. I think I never say, "Don't be afraid." I just say, "It's ok to be afraid, but do it anyway." And then someone asks me if I want to climb the tower or go on a horseback ride, and what can I do but accept?

The result: my butt is going to be very sore, and I've seen yet more bits of our amazing 3,000-acre property that I never saw before. Love it.

Hooray for camp.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, waistoids, dweebies, dickheads...

a) I know, I've been falling behind on the posting. Ten days to go until I'm outta camp, yeah!! Deep thoughts to come.

b) I know, you've already read this, because I'm the one out of the loop. But in case you haven't, this article about class distinctions as mirrored by Myspace and Facebook is pretty interesting.

c) I played "trading lessons" again on Tuesday; I taught the Lion a dance and he gave me an army-style workout... so now I can't move and everything hurts. Ouch! Also got into the batting cage again and hit some slightly faster balls. Love it!! Really want to spend more time in there and see how fast I can hit. Doubly inspired after reading Shoeless Joe last weekend on the plane ride to and from New York.