Thursday, February 25, 2010

loyal friend

Last night I visited with an old friend. I'm not quite sure if she's aware of the role she's played in my life, but I was reminded of how extremely valuable she is (and was) to me after spending an hour with her. She's one of those individuals that is extremely reflective--her brain probably never shuts up. She's quite self-obsessed, but I realized that her self-obsession is what gives her the ability to do what she does, and being so has helped her change history. I watched her move, I watched her hands, her mouth...she's got the same mannerisms she had when we first met. The only thing that's different is her energy. It doesn't have that crack-like, non-stop electricity. It's still there, but just comes through in waves. It's been 15 years tho--who doesn't slow down a little in that time?

Listening to her made me realize the impact she had on my development as a woman. I was reminded of the strength she embedded in me at her poetry pulled me into a new world of self-definition and understanding. I didn't have to be a pretty little girl who would marry someone from my hometown and start popping out babies at 23. That's what most women around me did, but I knew I wanted something more. She made me realize I could be more, because she was more.

She's a go-getter. She started following her dream at 14 and has created her own empire based upon the work she started as a teenager. How many people have that kind of follow through these days? It reminds me of the immigrants who came over at the turn of the last century--"we had nothing but a dream and we worked and worked and worked until that dream became a reality." And the reality that she has built is beautiful. It's complex. It probably has a few loop holes. But the foundation and core of her working reality is an undeniable balance to an industry that has sold women out on surface appeal. And this balanced work has longevity. I stood beside sweaty teenagers last night, college girls who (in unison forgot to wear deodorant) have just discovered her. I watched how the girls watched her and felt like I was peering into a mirror image of me at 19. I watched them stare at her, yearn to be her, fantasize of being in bed with her, yearn to make their mark like her. She is crossing over into a new generation. I witnessed this and was in awe.

Like she has so many, many times, she spoke to me last night. She gently reminded me that the world is a damn beautiful place, and even the shitty, ugliness of people can be a beautiful thing. She helped me fall back in love with my life, back in love with the complexity of what it means to love, back in love with understanding the nature of people and the personal strings we let them pull.

Ani DiFranco. I may not connect to her the way I did years ago, but I can tap into the history of that connection in an instant while in her presence. I am a loyal fan. Somehow, though we have never truly met, I believe in and love her like a loyal friend.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

where there is loss, there is gain

I had a very inspiring conversation around midnight last night. Normally, my body and brain would be exhausted and ready to shut down and be asleep by ten, but lately I'm compelled to stay awake, connecting with people dear to me, reading, and/or writing....things that I've come to realize are essential to my well being and growth. The conversation started off with honest, from-the-gut laughter which erupted simply by the greeting we gave to one another. I could have had the worst day of my life and the first 3 minutes of the conversation would have saved it from being so. But it was what came in the next hour of the conversation that really got my wheels turning.

We talked about our days, we talked about dating, we talked about music, book ideas, website ideas, yoga, healing, our breakups. And almost simultaneously, we had a striking realization. What dawned on us was this: the loss of something dear to us is what brought us if the universe itself said, "I'm taking something away from you, but I'm giving you this...and you will find that only through such a loss will you realize how much more you needed and how much more you have gained." The funny thing about this realization is that it had been building in both of us for days and suddenly the magic of a deeply rooted conversation opened our eyes to the gifts we have been given. We are redefining ourselves, we are reconnecting with the strength and dreams within us, we are rediscovering the power of female bonding and friendship, and we are building hope in ourselves and in each other. Who would have thought that an experience of loss would open the flood gates to such gain?

A year ago, this midnight conversation would never have been possible for me and it's these conversations, these human connections, these intimate moments of honesty and sharing that are my life force--they are my fuel as an artist, my fuel as a passionate individual, my fuel as a friend, lover, daughter, sister, Aunt, singer, teacher, dancer, risk-taker, runner, traveler, dreamer....and all the many, many other things I am and/or want to be.

The universe has so much to offer me. I am on a quest to keep all my doors open to the gifts it brings, be it through loss, be it through pain...there is much to be gained.

Monday, February 22, 2010

New Camera!

Im a little geeked up about my latest gift. I have been researching cameras for quite a while now and finally took the leap. I had considered a number of different cameras-Nikon, Sony, Casio, Olympus. I even considered DSLR's in these brands. But when it came down to it, I really prefer the ease of a little camera that I can carry in my back pocket. So, after much deliberation and a spontaneous AND lovely sale of the week at Target, I now own a Canon Power Shot SD780 IS Digital Elph. I almost went with the higher model, but the size and feel of this baby in my hand was love at first feel. She's smooth, compact, and I'm digging all her options. The pics above are little sampling of our first dates!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Times Like These, Foo Fighters

"I am a new day rising
I'm a brand new sky
To hang the stars upon tonight
I am a little divided
Do I stay or run away
And leave it all behind?

It's times like these you learn to live again
It's times like these you give and give again
It's times like these you learn to love again
It's times like these time and time again"

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

ashes, forehead, hands, hope

I sat with my father tonight and showed him photos from his wedding that he hasn't seen in over 50 years. I brought my laptop to the nursing home and placed it in front of him and said I had a surprise for him. He was a bit baffled by my mac and rambled with questions about how much something like this costs and how often do I use it and what do I use it for. I knew modern technology was impressive, but I knew what was about to unfold was far more impressive. I turned off the tv, slid my chair beside him, and popped open the screen. There before him was a striking photo of my mother staring at herself in a mirror--beautiful red hair, porcelain pale skin, gorgeous white wedding dress.

I asked, "do you remember this woman? Do you remember this day?"

All I can say is that the smile that took over his face took over my heart. I saw the "in love" glow that radiated in his face in those photos from 54 years ago. He gazed at the screen, at my mother, at the woman whom he affectionately *calls to this day* his BW: beautiful wife.

"I know her and I do remember this day."

I could honestly go on for hours about how beautiful this interaction was with him...but it was the observations that I made of him and he made of the photos that are most noteworthy. I showed him how to use the arrow key to move on to the next picture, and I watched his finger rest for minutes on the key before he pressed and moved from photo to photo. As he took in each photograph, it was as though he was taking in the moment itself.

"Maura, half of the people in these photos are dead...your mother is the most beautiful woman I know...look at my father, and my mother and my brothers...I had hair back then...look at your Aunt as a platinum blonde...only my one brother and I are left....I won't be around much longer, Maura...God bless you for showing me these..."

I am in awe of the love my father feels for my mother. After all that they have been through, his eyes have only seen her, his lips have only known her lips, his heart has only loved her. Nothing got in the way of that love but some hard bumps of life and when those smoothed out, they found how to love each other in the most pure, honest way possible. 56 years of loving the same person, without fail.

My father gave me hope this evening...hope that if I can see a love this deep, I may also experience it someday within my own heart.

After I packed up my mac, I kissed his forehead and almost smudged the ashes that mark his faith. He grabbed my hand. He didn't say anything, nor did I. But I could feel everything in his hand.

Hope is a damn powerful thing.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


How I love reading you before I fall asleep. You center me and ease me into dreams of flight and peace. Thank you, Rumi. Centuries have passed since you wrote down these words...did you ever imagine healing a 21st century woman as she drifts into her dreams?

“Oh soul,
you worry too much.
You have seen your own strength.
You have seen your own beauty.
You have seen your golden wings.
Of anything less,
why do you worry?
You are in truth
the soul, of the soul, of the soul.”

*and for the patient lover in me*:

"The way you make love is the way
God will be with you."

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I Redefine you, Valentine!

I woke up this morning truly excited about it being Valentine's Day, which is a bit peculiar considering I'm single and freshly burned from love. But when it comes down to it, LOVE is so much bigger than a "single special someone" and I've not only learned to recognize that today, but to recognize and celebrate it more often than ever as of late.

So I'm going to make this a platform for all the Valentines I hold dear to my heart. If I was in second grade, I would drop a cute little CareBear card into your Valentine shoebox, all decked out with hearts and candy and love graffati!

Happy Valentine's Day Mama: You are my favorite Valentine, mostly because you are the most amazing woman I know and you were born on Valentine's Day! You have taught me unconditional love and I aspire to relate to others the way you do, reaching out only with love, regardless of the situation.

Happy Valentine's Day Papa: I feel your love more than ever now, and almost losing you made us all realize how deep our love for you goes. Thank you for all the plays you took me to and all the traveling adventures we took-they taught me the art of living and the art of loving.

Happy Valentine's Day Sisters: You are my female blood buddies and I have a hunch one of you may save my life in the next few years. Each one of you has taught me what it means to love my body, love my spirit, and love family in a purely giving fashion. You come to my shows more than anyone and that means the world to me.

Happy Valentine's Day Brothers: You teased me, broke me, beat me, and yelled a lot at me. And now you hold me in your home, hold me in conversations, and hold me at my most weakest moments. You have taught me what it means to provide for the ones we love and the importance of balance in doing so.

Happy Valentine's Day Nieces and Nephews: You are my life force. In so many ways, you are the babies I never had. I have fed you, changed you, sang you to sleep, teased you, played dress up with you, made forts with you, driven up mountains with you, watched you blossom into young adults, into parents, into amazing people living life to the fullest. You teach me about how deep love runs for someone when it starts from their first day of life.

Happy Valentine's Day Old Friends: My golden girls! I love that weeks and months go by, yet when we get together we can giggle and gab like we are back in fifth grade. I have turned out so different from all of you, yet I feel so rooted in your company. Thank you for loving me through all my changes and believing in me through all the ups and downs.

Happy Valentine's Day My Dearest Lauren: You are the queen bee of my honey comb. I am grateful for how you helped me discover who I truly am and how you continue to get me unlike any human being I know. Thank you for the music, the movies, the books, the poetry, the conversations--everything you share with me makes me a better human being.

Happy Valentine's Day Daily New&Old Friends: *Kate, Alec, Heidi, Staci, Stephanie, Mikki, Laura, Angelisa, Robyn, Kristine, Arndt, Mike, Bob, Christina, Courtney, Hillary, Jimmy, Jeff* You are my daily laughter, my daily insights, my daily inspiration, my daily dinner dates, my daily phone calls that last an hour, my daily hugs, my daily crush when I need to crush, my daily source of support when I'm feeling my world tumble, my daily bridge to making my dreams come true. Thank you for listening, for keeping my faith alive, for helping me to believe more in my dreams, for drinking wine with me and not taking advantage of me even though you easily could!

Happy Valentine's Day Ex's: I learned a lot about love and myself from you. You have a place on my list, cause you have a place in my heart.

Happy Valentine's Day Fans: A new Valentine for sure. But last night I realized, without you, my dream wouldn't really get that far.

And this is why Valentine's Day is so flipping exciting! I have a lot of love to celebrate! AMEN!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Tom Robbins is Genius

“When we're incomplete, we're always searching for somebody to complete us. When, after a few years or a few months of a relationship, we find that we're still unfulfilled, we blame our partners and take up with somebody more promising. This can go on and on--series polygamy--until we admit that while a partner can add sweet dimensions to our lives, we, each of us, are responsible for our own fulfillment. Nobody else can provide it for us, and to believe otherwise is to delude ourselves dangerously and to program for eventual failure every relationship we enter.” -Tom Robbins from Still Life with Woodpecker