Monday, August 29, 2005

The unsinkable human spirit?

I've walked by them for at least three weeks now. They have staked claim to a serious piece of sidewalk across the street from McPherson Square Park, directly under two looming trees. In the beginning, they would dismantle their "home" each morning, but as they acquired more odds and ends (and even people), the ability to pack it up and transport it became impossible. They are now a fixture on this plot of sidewalk. Each day I discover something new about them through the spying I do. I am intrigued, and each day they haunt my mind for longer periods of time. Last week I discovered the books among their possessions, a couple cracked open and resting on the sidewalk. There is no Janet Evanovich or Da Vinci Code among their collection, only weightier tombs and serious works. They also smell nice (the people, not the books). Homeless people don't usually come with a pleasant aroma, but these folks do (the woman at least). I've also noticed she takes care to change clothes periodically and keeps her hair and appearance neat. Also not common among the homeless. In the past few days, I've noticed the woman talking to passersby. The snippets I catch sound important, full of purpose. What I really want to do is talk to hear their story. I feel like I'd probably be the one enriched. I'll keep on walking...keep on staring until one day it will be too late.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Dodging stray sprinklers

Tonight I had to dodge who knows how many random sprinklers on my walk
home. As luck would have it I got a little wet. Life is full of stray
sprinklers, and lately I've been dodging more than my fair share. At
times I've tried to think of ways of getting back at the sprinklers, but
it's really a no win situation. You just have to suck it up, get a
little wet, and hope someone makes a move to remedy the situation. The
sprinklers in my life are being reconfigured, so hopefully they bring
greenery without being wet blankets to passers by. I guess this means,
if I hold out hope, things will eventually get better.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Social disfunction is not for me

I'm a shy person. I know it doesn't seem like it given I air my
business all over the Internet, but I hate meeting new people, am prone
to panic attacks in crowds, and sweat profusely when nervous. However,
I don't think I'm as bad as some of the people I have seen on the metro
and at the Barn. These are the people who shuffle when they walk, won't
meet anyone's eye, and look like their training to be the next big
serial kiler. Don't get me wrong, sometimes I feel like how they look
like they feel (I see these same people every day), but every now and
then I can fake it pretty well. I can act like comfortable. I just
don't want it to ever get so bad that society and I feel like we
coexist. These people help keep me in check.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The re-education of Serena music re-education that is. Evidently, sometime within the past 7-10 years, I've fallen out of touch with the music scene. Now the only songs I know the words to are the one that debuted in the '90s (or older). I'm becoming officially retro...ha! To be honest, I had a falling out with music sometime during the late '80s, early '90s. I remember getting my first "boom box" for my birthday in 4th grade and my first cd player (6-disk cd changer) for Christmas 9th grade. I remember a few years between 4-7th grades where I'd listen to the radio (KIXY-FM) every morning as I got ready for school and loved hearing Manic Monday by the Bangles on Monday mornings. For a span of like 2 months, I would win the morning radio contest 2-3 times a week, so much that they had to change the rules to where the same person could only win once a week. My fast fingers scored me numerous free tapes (yes, I'm old).

Anyway, somewhere along the way music got phased out of my life. We reached near total obliteration once I moved to the DC-area. My cds/cd player was stolen. I stopped listening to the radio. I was never home. I could come up with numerous excuses, but truthfully, I have no idea why I kicked it to the curb. All of that is moot now because is music is making a gradual reappearance in my life...thanks to numerous mixed cds made by friends (got tired of me asking 'who's that' all the time), a car with a cd player, the need to block out bloody conversation at work, and just a general interest in having a soundtrack to accompany my current life ( am I ever going to have an "our song" again if I don't listen to music?). Anyway, big hug and thanks to all who are helping in my re-education.


Yesterday morning in sunday school (which I NOT want to go to) we talked
about boundaries. Specifically, the importance of setting boundaries in
many areas of our, family, relationships, etc. At the
outset of the lesson, Angelisa (the teacher) relayed a story to us about
a very frazzled woman with many commitments and very little time for
herself. The point of the story was that this woman needs to set
boundaries in her life.

The boundary discussion really hit home because I began to think about
whether I set reasonable boundaries and if I stuck to them. In general
(especially at work), I have a hard time setting boundaries. I
definitely try to set value-based boundaries, which I try to live by
(example of conflicting values between me and Barnes & Noble from
saturday...for another post). I do think it's hard to draw that line
and not let a boundary become a wall.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Reader's Advantage...a promo

I had more fun tonight than I've had in a long time. Laughing and being
creative are two of my favorite things. Stir in Steven, Scarlet, and a
video camera and you get the latest film noir spy flick. Intrigue,
drama, and a plot to destroy the nation's capital feature prominently in
the latest from Hummingbird Productions. Wait'll you see these two
stars in action. I laughed until I snorted, almost peed when gelling
Steven's hair, and could not stop laughing in my only scene with
Scarlet. We even had a wrap party for the cast. I've decided that
making "movies" is much more fun than making documentaries. While
definitely a low budget production, we are proud enough to think you'll
enjoy. Reader's Advantage will premiere on this site and on limited
release dvd within the next two weeks.*

*Please forgive the dorkiness, but I had too much fun to tone it down.

Friday, August 19, 2005

A little bit of psychotic

Why do we all have a little bit of crazy in us? I started thinking
about this last night and was hard-pressed to come up with anyone I knew
in which I hadn't seen moments of crazy flicker in their eyes. I am
probably not talking the medical definition of crazy, so don't start
thinking I live next door to a mental institution. I'm talking about
those moments where that mental toughness we've built up tears ever so
slightly. A desperate gleam may be seen in our eyes, a silent tear for
no reason at all. I'm referring to moments like I had last Friday when
I felt the world was against me and my grip on me slipping. It's those
near panic attacks, the bouts of depression that seemingly appear out of
nowhere, the desire to jump when crossing a bridge. I've seen all of
these and more in people I know. But why? Personally, I think it's all
normal. Even an organ as strong as the mind needs a break every now and
then. All I know is that I'm glad I don't live in an earlier time when
even complaining of headaches too often would get you tossed in the
loony bin.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Gettin' wiggy with it

I think I mentioned earlier this week that my friend Scarlet and I
purchased wigs over the weekend and had a fabulous time parading about
in them. Since then I have carted my wig (longer, bedroom-messy black
hair with chunky bangs) a couple of different places and can't help but
write about the liberating effects of playing dress-up. When I put on
the wig, I felt a little bolder, a little saucier (at least with
strangers). It was interesting to see the skepticism and confusion
coming across people who know me. I could see a lack of comprehension
lingering behind their eyes and pasted on smiles of the few women I know
who spotted me. That is...until they slipped on the wig for
themselves. These skeptics suddenly found themselves posing and vamping
it up for the camera like any Betty Page wannabe.

It was the wig! Playing dress-up, whether it's slipping on a wig or
that ball gown you only get to wear on occassion, allows us the
creativity to express ourselves in a different way. Maybe it's the
feeling that we can hide from that insecure part of ourselves that may
keep us from taking that leap.

So my advice? Get wiggy with it every once in awhile. Slip on that
thing or hang out with that friend that allows you to comfortably
explore other aspects of your personality.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

It's all about me

I started this last night but fell asleep before I could finish it. I'm not big on surveys, but that's about all I feel up to right now. I stole this from Amanda over at Orchestrated Happenstance.

10 years ago today (19): First year in college and spending all of my time with Jason. By now I was feeling all of the ramifications of being in love and skipping class. Shortly after this, we will break up, leaving me heartbroken and vowing never to give my heart away again. Ten years later, and I'm all grown up. I'm healed enough to let someone else take a go at it but haven't found the right person to do it.

5 years ago today (24): I had already been in DC for a couple of years and well on my way to a career in PR. Unfortunately, this is also around the time I began to get burned out with the for-profit world and feeling like I had to sell my soul and values for $$. I had already secured a leave of absence andwas probably getting ready to leave for Nashville and the Gore campaign.

1 year ago today (28): I was probably reveling in the purchase of my new car and working my tail off at two jobs to pay for it. Daydreaming of summer and an upcoming work trip to Taiwan.

Yesterday: American Rivers in the morning and a closing shift at the Barn. I used the evening to play around with my new digital camcorder and get some tips from HOW magazine.

Tomorrow: A full day at AR and something relaxing at night. I had originally planned to go to bible study, but I would really like to shoot some video.

5 snacks I enjoy:
1) fries with honey mustard from friday's
2) chocolate twizzlers
3) any chocolate
4) chips and salsa
5) baby carrots

5 bands that I know the lyrics to most of their songs: This is so not a fair question. Let's just say these are bands whose lyrics I know better than any other bands out there.
1) Smashing Pumpkins
2) Dave Matthews Band (old stuff)
3) Bon Jovi (don't laugh)
4) Red Hot Chili Peppers
5) Beastie Boys

5 things I would do with $100,000,000:
1) $50,000,000 to start a foundation
2) $10,000,000 to my family
3) $15,000,000 specifically to my brother
4) buy a house
5) pay off my bills

5 locations I would like to run away to:
1) South Africa
2) Paris
3) Missoula
4) San Francisco
5) Mexico

5 bad habits I have: Not sharing...some are obvious : )

Ok...I have to stop this survey because it is way too long.

Monday, August 15, 2005

L is for the way you look at me

Thought I'd post some pictures from our lovely trip to DC.

Steven was inspired to do a little tagging...

He got better as the evening progressed (not).

Steven's a little worn out from all of his creative work...

...and is trying to figure out how to read Scarlet's mind.

Evidently he was successful!

(just because I like it)

Sunday, August 14, 2005

30 things you should know or have by 30

I love lists. Last night I was thumbing through the latest issue of
Glamour, when I came across a list of "30 Things You Should Have or Know
by 30".* An scintillating prospect for a list-lover just shy of her
30th birthday. Anyway, one of the "should knows" on the list was
whether or not I want to have kids...something I don't actually know,
know the answer to. The majority of the time I actually feel like kids
aren't something I'm meant to have. I am not wired with that chip that
makes me yearn for children that I birthed. I also know that I'm such a
worry wart that I don't want something else to add to my list of
lifelong worries (a younger brother is enough...he can attest to the
fact that I've mothered him for all of his life). That said, there are
small moments where I entertain the possibility...I get a little inner
tug at the sight of a baby or the thought of raising a child. So...I
suppose the long and short of it is that this is something I'm still not
sure of the answer to, but I do know that kids aren't in my future I
will be just fine.

*Ok...I didn't actually just 'come across' the list. A friend mentioned
the list, so I went out and purchased it specifically for that reason.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Where do you find God?

I was thumbing through a copy of Freesurf Magazine and came across an article entitled 'Closer to God'. A thoughtful article on the spirituality of surfing and the large number of surfers who believe in God, be it Christian or some other religion. Like the author, I found it intriguing that a counter culture that typically exists well outside the constructs of traditional society embraces religion so readily. I kept reading and of course reached that big 'duh' moment. Surfers witness God's power every time they paddle out. Surfer Bobby Schultz phrased it well when he said, "God's an amazing and creative artist. When you see perfect waves, sunsets, and super-sic scenery, it makes you wonder if God is out there. He is." Reading the article reminded me that I have met God in some pretty non-traditional places. I've found him both on a whitewater paddling trip and in the bathroom stall at work when I just needed a break from a rough day. And on a 4th of July hike when that turquoise bug flitted along the path in front of me and when a pregnant homeless girl looked me in the eye and thanked me by name. I've found him when that cop didn't pull me over for having expired tags and in the right kind of kiss with the right kind of person.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

All's fair, or is it?

I am emotionally tired. One friend, in particular, has been occupying a
lot of my emotional thought life, and I'm nearly at the end of my rope.
Yes, I have seen this coming and have been fighting it like a pack of
rabid dogs but really felt the negative effects tonight when I found myself start to get exasperated at even the thought of another friend in a bad
mood. That's really uncalled for on my part. I can't let my concern
for one friend corner the market on my ability to be there for other
friends or even myself. My friend tonight happened to be okay, but what
if she wasn't?
Having said all of this, I do realize that this could be the wacked out
desire to 'fix' people (previous post) rearing its head in the form of
(1) becoming too emotionally vested in other people's problems and (2)
thinking that would want my help or concern even if something was
wrong. You have to cut me some slack though, since I only recently
discovered my "problem" through Internet self-diagnosis. Either
way...something is going to eventually give and right now I'm just
trying to hold it all together.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

I wanna dance with somebody...

This post is less about wanting the 'somebody' and more about wanting to
dance! I want to twirl and groove and bump...take the rhythm and
release it. I know, for those of you who know me, that this creates a
ridiculous image. But, it seems to me that if you want something bad
enough and feel it living inside you, then there's bound to be some
rhythm there somewhere. (We're not talking professional dancing
here...just a little fun.) Anyway, the moral of this post (or at least
the point) is that I'm going to sign up for some of the dance classes at
Joy of Motion. Gotta live...gotta seize life and all that crap.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

5 things you (probably) didn't know about me

Thinking about PostSecret and having no better ideas put me in the mood for a list...

1. I took ballet for 5 years and quit right before I was to move to toe shoes.
2. I cry at commercials, especially during the holidays.
3. I always manage to check out a guy's package. I can't help eyes just naturally drift there.
4. My mom has cirrhosis but never drank. I drink to make up for her getting it just because.
5. I fear being left behind.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Snuppy freaks me out

Just when I was all excited to write about happy subjects like dancing, I turn to the Washington Post on my lunch break only to be visually affronted by a picture of the first ever cloned dog, Snuppy. Evidently, researchers at the Seoul National University in South Korea accomplished this feat. According to the Post, one of the first groups to congratulate the team was a company in California known as Genetic Savings & Clone. I'm not making this shit it yourself.

This bothers me on so many different levels.

1) Cloned mammals (and potentially babies, if we continue on this path) are not the same. They don't have the same personalities or disposition as the thing being cloned.
2) If people are allowed to replace a beloved pet (and, again, potentially a child), won't this forever disturb the grieving process?
3) What are the implications for procreation? Can cloned animals give birth? Will they be able to in the future?
4) How advanced is this if they still have to use living dogs to extract DNA from, harvest eggs, and eventually carry these freakazoids to term?
5) I think this takes the term "playing God" to a whole new level. I know people have argued about the advancements this can lead to in treating certain diseases and the potential to be able to grow organs, but these organs are going to be attached to human beings. All you have to do is turn on the TV or go see the latest movie to see Hollywood framing the debate for us. Let's face it, what we once called sci-fi is now our reality, so who is to say what we shriek at now onscreen won't happen?
6) Any group of people who name animals things like 'Snuppy' or businesses 'Genetic Savings & Clone' shouldn't be allowed to operate heavy machinery.