Thanks to the Stars

This is a temporary title.

It’s what came to mind an hour ago when I first sat down to write this post. Then a number of events occurred, too boring to detail, which delayed my actually putting fingers to keyboard. But here we are now. So let’s see if we can recall anything that would lead us to answer the question, “Why in the world did I think that ‘Thanks to the Stars’ would be a great title for my first blog post in an eon?”.

We could start with the obvious – tomorrow’s Thanksgiving here. (See photo.) (I guess now that I’ve been back in the States for three years, I can drop the ‘here’ and just say tomorrow’s Thanksgiving, eh?) I’m thankful to have made it through another year. Even if it was the suckiest year of all. I’m still thankful.

I write (or, more accurately, have written) a lot about gratitude. This theme seems to be the go-to motivator for a lot of my written words, both those I publish and those I keep to myself. (For what it’s worth, this post is being typed right into the WordPress template, which for me means it’s a bit of a blended format – stream-of-consciousness that will go out largely unedited, which is to say, it may or may not have a cohesive theme – and yes, with a healthy dose of self-consciousness along for the ride.)

On Thanksgivings past, I’ve sat in many different settings and shared with you my list of thanks — I’m inclined to do that again, right now, but along the way, I also wanted to share a few of my thoughts about, well, me.

I think a fair bit about me. I’m sure others do too — think about themselves, that is. I acknowledge that, for better or worse, I have more time on my hands to think about me – my past, my future, my present, how they’re tied together, that sort of thing – than many, maybe most, other people I know. Thankfully, I do have a few responsibilities and interests that keep me busy enough so that I’m not just thinking about me! I really am thankful to be able to care for my small family, which — thankfully — includes no small children at this time. I’m thankful that I can offer my time and energy and yes, even knowledge, to the organization that currently provides me with gainful employment, and that I have other interests that I turn to when I have the time.

Those interests are many, and the one thing I’ve realized in this time of COVID, when others seem to have so much time on their hands for extra-curricular activities – nay, some complain of boredom, seek out Netflix recommendations, take on new hobbies, travel to areas just beyond home (or farther, if they dare). Even without small children underfoot, I seem to have very little time in my days for doing any of the things I’d love to do.

Art is probably the most important interest/outlet for me, and the one to which I give the least amount of time. This type of writing is part of that — and as evidenced by the date of my last blog post (I haven’t even looked, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s been a year), it’s taken me a while to sneak back up on it. I’m thankful for this unexpected day off of work – Erev Thanksgiving, if you will – which has provided today’s time to write. (And has reminded me that I need to take more days off from work.)

I’ve been thinking a lot about my love of performance, how far back in my life it goes, and how much joy I feel in my heart when I perform and receive the gift back from an audience. There is nothing like that feeling in the world, and I am thankful to have felt it. I’d like more of that.

From time to time, this being the latter of the two, I think – and am sure I’ve written – about my love of, and longing for, this part of myself. Performance for me is mostly about acting and singing, and also about playing an instrument or two with just enough proficiency to back up my singing – though playing well would be a lovely thing too – it just takes practice, which takes time!

I used to act, fairly well I was told, and then I didn’t any more. But over the past few years I have again on occasion, if only for my own private audiences. There’s nothing I’ve loved more of late than dressing up at work for Halloween or other themed events. It’s beyond delightful to crack up my coworkers by transforming into another person. Over the past two years, I’ve been a pirate, a rock-n-roll photographer, a cowboy, and an old lady. I’m pretty sure, based on comments, that if my team gave out awards, I’d be in the running for “Outstanding Commitment to Character.” I’d love to find more outlets for that side of me.

One of my favorite “hobbies” of the past decade was singing in community choirs. I really got into it in Vancouver – I figured it was a way to meet people while doing something I loved. The social aspect took a long time to click, but happily I found my tribe over my last few years there with the “Wednesday Night Singing Group” that met at either Elizabeth’s or Barb’s house each week. I’d show up after dinner, kibbitz a little with the gals, and have a cup o’ before squeezing onto a couch with the other “basses.” I was one of the youngest among them, and one of the strongest singers, which was a boost for my self-confidence. I loved all of it (even the “culturally misappropriate” songs, I’ll admit)…. singing together with that gang was just good old fun, and I miss those Wednesday nights. I know I’ll get back to harmonizing one day, but meanwhile, I sound pretty damn good in the shower, if I do say so myself.

Also meanwhile, I could use more music around me – simply said, it makes me feel good, so I’m making more of an effort to listen to my own collection (mostly downloaded from the hundreds and hundreds of CDs I used to own), and am also aiming to make more time to practice playing my bass guitar. I really want to get going on that so I can start jamming! I took the amp out of the closet and found it a nice spot in my bedroom, tucked away yet still functional, and started a few online lessons last weekend, so I’m on my way.

There’s more to be thankful for – but it’s time to end this writing session and to shift into the “regularly scheduled” part of my day, when I get to hang out with my beautiful mom and have a delicious meal and talk about our days and all that we’re thankful for. So much.

Maybe there’s more where these words came from, maybe soon. We’ll see. If not, at least I wrote something to share with you – and THAT makes me the happiest of all… that we had this time together. (Granted, we pretty much just talked about me, but then again, it IS my blog, right?)

It’s not even Thanksgiving, and my cup already runneth over.

PS – I just scrolled up and saw the title I wrote at the start. Sure, why not… let’s go with it.

Jiminy Cricket, It’s 2018

THIS PAST Wednesday afternoon, while walking in LA (let it not be said that nobody does it), I saw a house that I would love to own, in the area just north of Burbank and just east of White Oak. Here it is:
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(That’s my future self avatar washing my future car too, for good measure.)

So right on time for the New Year, there was one of my 2018 intentions/visualizations, which I choose to believe I can transform one day into manifestations… or as I used to say, there’s a dream that I want to come true.

And hey, it’s a Super Moon tonight, so it’s a good time to set your intentions, right? Or wait, it’s a good time to get your hair cut? Or am I just supposed to wish upon a lucky star? I forget.

“When you wish upon a staaaaaaaar…. Makes no difference who you aaaaaaaare. When you wish upon a star, your dreeeeeams come truuuuuuuue…”  Continue reading

A Nod to Namaste

Namaste.  My highest self greets your highest self.

Photo: Kalyan Kanuri

Photo credit: Kalyan Kanuri

A few weeks ago, as I settled into my yoga class taught by a substitute, a soft-spoken tattooed transgendered person named Raven, I had to admit I was having one of those “How Totally Vancouver” moments.  It was a great class.  My shoulders went places I never knew they could (and probably shouldn’t), and I left feeling very “grounded,” as I do every time I walk off the mat.

Though technically I think my first yoga classes were at my gym in LA in the early 1990’s, I started going to yoga classes in earnest in the late 90’s with my friend Norene, when we were both working for a social venture start up in San Francisco called Education Partners.  Our office was in the KQED building in a funny part of the city, wedged between Potrero Hill and the Mission, but with no real neighborhood identity of its own (at least at the time).  Norene was going once or twice a week to a yoga class just down the block and I decided to give it a try too. Continue reading

Post Post 9-11: Frowing Up

With all of the coverage over the last week leading up to yesterday’s 10-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States, the world probably doesn’t need one more blog about the impact of this shattering event on one life, even one as fascinating as mine.  So rather than recalling where I was when I first heard what had happened a decade ago yesterday (waking up to get ready for my second day of business school) or musing about how it felt to be an American in Canada yesterday (like a wolf without her pack), or pondering the tears that welled up as I sat in the park late in the day and read the names of those whose lives were lost… rather than any of that, I think I’ll write about my adventures last week on the high seas. Continue reading

My First Tweetup

Yesterday afternoon, I went to a Tweetup.  A what?  You heard me.  A Tweetup… an organized  gathering of people who use Twitter… that is, a ‘meet up’ of people who ‘tweet’ using Twitter.

I don’t tweet.  I signed up for a Twitter account last summer, for what purpose I cannot fathom at this moment, but have never really used the thing. So I was more of an observer at this event than a participant.  It was fascinating. Continue reading

Read Naked Much?

Reading out loud is such a delight.  I’d almost forgotten how much I love the spoken word until Thursday night, when AB and I went to Beaumont Studios to hear four women read a selection of writings on the subject of “Heaven and Hell.”  Truthfully, I can’t say how much of my pleasure derived from hearing them bring the words alive from the page, and how much came from staring at their completely unclothed bodies while they did so. Continue reading

Technical Difficulties

I knew it was too good to be true.  Just last night, thanks to the course I’m taking at Emily Carr University called “The Art of Blogging,” I learned all sorts of new fancy  WordPress tricks… did you see how I moved the sidebar from the right to the left? And added that “email subscription” button?  I know, I know, my technical savvy is overwhelming.  I got some lovely feedback on my post from the other night on “The Royal Jewels,” and then, BOOM, all of sudden tonight, the photos in the post all disappeared! Continue reading

Lessons from Erica Strange

At some point along the way this summer, I told someone out loud that I was a writer.  I remember the moment well, and probably commented on it in this blog at the time.  I was dropping something off at an office downtown when I ran into an acquaintance of mine who works there.  She politely asked me what I was doing these days, and I blurted out,  “I’m a writer,” shocking myself as I said it. Continue reading