Archive for January, 2009|Monthly archive page
January 26, Leo: The stars are on your side today! Don’t be afraid to try something new, because good things are going to come your way.
You know the feeling – you don’t put stock in horoscopes as a matter of course, you don’t even read them. But your superstitious co-worker left them out on the break-room table, and you looked for no reason in particular, and you forgot. Five hours later, you step outside into the most beautiful evening you’ve ever seen, and the sky is a mixture of blues and pinks, or a bird is sending his call into the air, not waiting for a response, or someone walks by with their toddler and she’s wearing one of those knit hats with the ears, or an old man smiles at you and it hits you like a ton of bricks – today is your day. Lady luck is with you and there’s a world of possibilities in front of you. You let it wash over you, fill you up, until it feels like every organ in your body is glowing and you have to do something with them or you’re going to burst.
You stop to think of somewhere to go, some undiscovered country to discover, and the realization that your mind is a blank washes away the euphoria that owned you a second ago. You know the when: now. But the who, what, where, remain unanswered, so before you lose the energy, before you can’t smell the freshness in the air, before your fingers stop tingling, you call the only person you can think of and try her for ideas. She answers, mouth full of microwaved pesto, and laughs when you tell her what you need. Your horoscope? Are you going all new-agey on me? Hey, will I see you tomorrow at the book club?
Your hope deflates and withers, you can feel it draining out of you, the sky loses its magic and looks like any other sky, the toddler drops her candy and starts to wail when her mother yanks her by the hand to go home, the old man argues with a businessman that didn’t bother to hold open the door. The world is suddenly mocking your elation, and you feel like a fool. Your life is a joke. What kind of person has to call someone to ask for suggestions for something new to do? Are the tracks you’ve worn in your life so deep that there’s no way to derail? And instead of exploring a new frontier and leaping into unknown waters, you realize that what you’re doing now is what you’ll be doing forever, suddenly life doesn’t seem so long. Your future is visible and finite and it’s flat and colorless, like the sound of a muffled bell. In the movies, people accidentally go to seminars that force them to change against their will, or their long-lost thrill-seeking cousin shows up in town and drags them to a rave and makes them an accomplice to petty theft, and these things free them from the tedium of their life. But you don’t have any cousins and you know that self-help conferences are money pits that feed off of the persistent, misguided belief of the quick fix. You’re smarter than that, but your smarts can’t inspire you, they can’t generate art or create vision or make the world magical when it’s not. All of your critical thinking skills metamorphose into a blunt instrument, and trying to reason your way out of this is like carving a flute with an axe.
You go home to your apartment but now even your daily routine, in harsh contrast to those three minutes this afternoon, is woefully inadequate. As you fry potstickers for dinner, you realize that you park at the back of the parking lot when you get groceries because it takes up more time in your day.
When you were in school, life had structure, and you mistook that structure for meaning. You almost laugh at yourself for having been so naive, but what else can you do when you’re 22? Your laughter is a bitter disguise for the fact that you wish you could be like that again.
In bed, you stare at the ceiling, still trying to fashion fine instruments with a lumberjack’s tool. What other choice do you have? All the advice you’ve heard over the years seems insipid when faced with the reality of the problem, like all advice does. Yes, this has to be a silent battle, for your ken only; not friends, not family, not a counselor, no one. If the glow dies when it touches things, don’t let it touch anything, keep it inside and fan it quietly while the world bustles in ignorance. To keep it alive so it can help you live, you keep it secret. Then, the one thing that drives you is the one thing that you can’t share with anyone, that you can’t explain, can’t analyze, can’t consider or measure or control – your lifeblood, your impetus, is too dynamic, variable, complex and incorporeal to describe with language, even to yourself. It comes between you and everything, an unreliable but essential psychic furnace.
You know the feeling – that was the day you learned what it means to be a grown-up.
It is too late to be posting a blog entry. I am defying my body’s need for rest for the sake of getting myself up to date on my photo journey. Today: a brief and hardly thorough tour of Shoreline, WA.
First stop: Soon-to-be-not-under-construction Richmond Beach.
Distant mountain range and ferries not included due to a not cool camera
Next up: my trip back, I pass Hillwood Park, consisting of an open field, wooded play area, and plenty of places for Shoreline teens to drink and smoke, because they are obviously bad ass.
Hillwood, where soccer moms and misunderstood teenagers come together
The reason I include this is because I barked with laughter – I really did – when I looked at the sign up close. Parting is such sweet sorrow, Shoreline.
Do you know who has to clean that up? Dagnabit kids.
And, finally, I come back to my house greeted by this team of miscreants:
I had to wait while she settled to get this picture, because mere human presence is apparently exciting
You snore and whine and bark, but you are cute you little bastards. I will miss you!
I will now include an incomplete list of important things I accomplished while in Seattle.
- Lived life all on my own
- Got the flu for the first time since elementary school
- Learned to slackline
- Bought a complete set of renaissance garb ($250)
- Lost my virginity
- Made cakes
- Hiked through temperate rain forest
- Became disillusioned with the “real world”
Not a bad start.
I recently saw a bad independent film that was loosely based on the idea that “geography is destiny.” Why is this mind-blowing? Am I missing something important? If you live in Minneapolis, you’re not going to have every day contact with people in Tacoma, which makes it less likely you’re going to fulfill your destiny with a Washingtonian. Besides, if you believe in destiny, isn’t where you live already determined?
I have two distinct aspects of my personality that seem to co-exist, if not always successfully: the romantic part that throws passion into the idea of true love, the purity of nature, the existence of magic, soul mates, and uniqueness (hence my college fascination with Romantic literature) – and the other, realistic part, that knows living things suffer and die alone in nature every day, relationships involve work and compromise, and existence is a crapshoot that you have to learn to digest well enough to keep going. The clincher here is that the realistic part of myself is not pessimistic; it still finds the fact of existence fascinating, even if it’s not possible to flick your fingers and start a fire with the force of your mind.
That’s what comic books are for.
On a different note, I have bypassed my defunct video card, with the result that I missed out on the majority of my 2-week free trial of “City of Heroes,” but I can now look at my monitor long enough to update with some pictures.
So here it is… my victually obsessed mid-January Seattle rundown.
We begin at Central Market. I didn’t intend to buy anything, but their produce section blows my mind with its bountiful-ness.
Fields of green
Rows of tubers
100,000 bowls of guacamole
The coolest little melons I’ve ever seen
As we leave our produce odyssey, we improve our situation greatly by gorging on Ethiopian food at Enat.
Spicy red lentils, yellow lentils, salad, potatoes and carrots, spinach, cabbage, and vinegary yummy salad
The next evening, after a bit of necessary fasting, we hit up Cedar’s in the U-District, making a full circle from my first meal in Seattle.
I am full of baigan bartha, tikka masala, tandoori chicken, royal biryani, aloo gobi, navratan korma, and garlic naan with cilantro and tamarind chutney. Oh, and chai of course.
That weekend, I was compelled to indulge in a raspberry-glazed old-fashioned doughnut and black coffee at my post-yoga haunt, Top Pot in Wedgwood.
I’ll now endeavor to take pictures of things that don’t have to do with food. It will be difficult.
On yet another note, I was wandering at The Happiness Project today, and read this quote which I stole to present to you:
“Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvelous, intoxicating.”
Another reason to let my realistic bent trump my romantic one – better returns.
Although, Starbucks (boo, hiss) might be offering Top Pot doughnuts nationwide. (I’ll have to check in Michigan.) So, while it loses some of its local Seattle charm, I’ll still have access to the lovely, glazed goodness that I constantly crave.
Monitor is still pink, so pictures are on hiatus.
My computer’s display is magenta. I installed some new RAM today, and when I put everything back together, my white was pink and my green was gone.
This is no good.
But, I have no idea how to fix it. So picture uploading will be halted for the time being, because I can’t look at my monitor without getting mad. (I don’t know if it’s the color or the frustration of technical problems.) And here I was, having a pretty produce tryptich to catch up on my daily photos. I’m also anticipating the frustration of moving to Michigan and having only (gasp) dial-up.
Even though I’ve made my decision to leave Seattle, and I’m going to stick to it, I’m still questioning my sanity. Starting over from scratch is always quite a lot of work.
Go see Slumdog Millionaire. And, if you’re in Seattle, ingest some corporate caffeine while you’re at it.
Today I am making CDs for the 2009 Fowler Odyssey, since KEXP will run out fairly quickly. One day, I will have a music snob friend who can point me in the right direction for some harmonious sounds, and not have to rely on NPR yearly recaps.
I’m hesitating on starting to pack, since I have the rest of the month and I don’t like living in a half-assembled room if I can help it. Aside from one chair, my worldly furniture is distributed; and I got nifty vacuum bags to smush up all of my bedding and sweaters. Maybe I’ll have lunch instead.
In honor of my last month in Seattle, I will present a new picture from the city of moss and rocks until my cross-country odyssey in February, when I will have to get creative because I’ll be driving through South Dakota.
Some things I will miss about Seattle:
- Pho (and hoisin sauce)
- Sunshine Espresso
- Puget Sound
- Farmer’s Markets
- The Ballinger kids
- The Goodwill on 145th
- Tillamook yogurt
- The Pacific Northwest aesthetic
- The summer
- Recycling & the green obsession
- The Crest
- Mac & Jacks
Today’s picture: my local food haunt, Fred Meyer. Thank you, Fred Meyer, for introducing me to Ben & Jerry’s Mint Chocolate Cookie. (To: guy with the hat — I don’t know who you are, but now you are an internet celebrity. Congratulations!)
Hulu, why do you suck me into movies like “St. Elmo’s Fire”? Maybe you thought I didn’t have enough experience with be-mulletted Rob Lowe, or maybe you thought I could glean wisdom about life after college from the 80’s brat pack. Well, either way, I’m enlightened.
Yesterday’s photo du jour: Nancie’s black bear chainsaw sculpture. I can’t believe it took me this long to realize what a treasure trove of goodies her yard is.
I apologize for the inept photography – I’m just now learning about aperture settings and shutter speeds. And all along, I thought Aperture was just a scientific facility that had been taken over by a calculating, polite computer system with promises of confectionary goodness.
…and putting virtual pen to paper. Also, I am starting a project a la epic fu.
I know, I know, it’s not the first of the year. But, flying in the face of fiscal responsibility, I finally own a digital camera as of yesterday.
Today’s photo love: Elsa the Cat.
I’m moving from Seattle back to Michigan. In other news, I have taken leave of my senses.