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Tonight in TV land

It’s too late for you east coast folks, but if any of youse guys are sitting home tonight surfing teh internets and watching the boob tube, switch over to Comedy Central to watch my friend’s brother do a half hour of stand-up. Midnight in Denver. 11 PM on West Coast.

I’ve seen him before and, yes, he’s funny. He bills himself as Britain’s only Iranian stand up comedian. If anybody can get people laughing about terrorism and the conflicts between the US and the Muslim world, it’s him. And, hell, we all could use a good laugh in that area.

I Saw You

Dear life, I saw you today when you thought I wasn’t looking. You were on the corner of 30th and Colorado, waiting for the light to change, when you shook your wild mop of curls to fully greet the wind. You rode, hanging out the window of the SUV, tongue flapping in the breeze, a grand hello to all you passed. Your petals strained toward the evening sun, nearly flopping over in ecstasy like a dog having reached the ultimate, carnal itch. You didn’t know it, but–right there–you made me fall in love with you all over again. Shake your hair that way once more and I’m yours for eternity.

Summer Home!

I’ve just rented a cottage in downtown Salida for the month of July! For those that don’t know this little gem of the Rockies, it sits in Colorado’s “Banana Belt”, a large valley, ringed by natural hot springs and 14,000 foot mountains. It gets about 350 sunny days a year and summertime temps hang in the 70’s. The Arkansas River flows right through it, making it a mecca for whitewater rafters and nature lovers. Entertainment includes hanging out on the deck of Bongo Billy’s coffee house watching kayakers capsize. Christo and Jeanne-Claude are doing their next project there. The town ranked in the top 100 small art towns in the US for all of its little galleries and local artists.

I especially cherish it because whenever I hit the north end of the county, I’m washed in unexpected awe. There’s just something about the way the mountains are arranged there, just far enough apart to create a liberating feeling of emptiness and just close enough for me to feel hugged within their magnetism.

I imagine moving there someday. (But I’m not ready to be single AND live in a small, rural town just yet.) And since I’ve got the time but not the freedom to travel far, it’s the perfect opportunity for me to gradually start putting down some roots there. My pooch and cat will come with, and I’ll have high speed internet so that I can continuously make you jealous of my wonderful retreat and daily trips to the hot springs. 🙂 Plus, the place belongs to a professional nature writer who is vacating for a couple months, so the energy, I’m sure, will be conducive to lots of reflection and appreciation of beauty and, of course, blogging!

In My Secret Life

Monday came and pushed out the sunshine. Echoes of the weekend’s intimacy faded into weekday anomie, and, by nightfall, I was lonely once more.

It was past the hour for a proper meal. I had queried every flavor in the pantry and none had stood up and danced for me. Resigned to the discontent that travels in the wake of unlimited choice, I pecked at fresh fruit and cheese and flipped on the TV. My dog, seeing no potential for scrumptious handouts, gave up completely and called it an early night. And, after a couple episodes of “Six Feet Under” and a dose of righteous melancholy, I too succumbed to the barometric pressure and headed for bed.

Shucking off my clothes, I shoved my hand into my jeans pockets and found an engraved, silver heart–a memento left there to remind me that I’m loved, even if only by an unseen force. I smiled and rubbed its smooth edges and measured its small heft in my palm, fascinated by how some things can be so real and yet so intangible.

Still, the bed felt too big and the empty spaces too confining, crowding me with insecurities on all sides. And, by the time I woke, my beloved had visited and slipped off again. Teetering on the edge of morning consciousness, between the worlds of the sacred and the profane, I tried to stitch together the opposites of my life and, like so many mornings before, my thoughts unraveled into confusion. Yet, standing later at the kitchen counter, stirring the breakfast bowl, I was struck by an image of myself as a character on a movie screen, frozen in time, listening forever intently, as if for her own wistful soundtrack, hoping that the camera won’t pan away just yet because it is this one pose, this one peculiar mood that links her pigtails and ribbons, her worn-out shoes, her mothballed prom dresses, her passport stamps, her degrees on the wall, her proud, grey hairs, and every well-meaning act of generosity scattered amongst friends and family to the thing that’s about to happen.

In the background, Leonard Cohen sings

I saw you this morning.
You were moving so fast.
Can’t seem to loosen my grip
On the past.
And I miss you so much.
There’s no one in sight.
And we’re still making love
In my secret life.


It was a weekend for lovers and my secret paramour (life itself) stole into town under the cover of grey skies. After a drink Friday night and long discussions of old friends, Jung, and the nature of the soul, we fell exhausted into each others’ arms, our hearts full and our eyes drooping with jewels of possibility. Saturday morning, we lingered in bed, sipping poetry and snacking on sunlight. And on a long walk through town, we held hands and remarked on the novelties of the season. At the end of the path, where the mountains allow only the lonely to pass, the Universe gently touched my shoulder and said, “Look there,” motioning towards the heavens. The sky was so blue that I felt I could fall forever upwards into it. As if just by tilting my head back and uncurling my toes, I would tumble, weightless,  elbows over ears over shoelaces into the blue beyond the blue, all of my defenses spooling out behind me like pink petals from a wind-blown crab apple tree. That night, again sweet surprises–the Universe offered to make dinner but he overcooked the vegetables and I spilled the beer–faults quickly forgotten when he began singing melancholy tunes of tragedy and triumph and I became soft and sentimental, despite myself. Secretly, I vowed to stop being so coy and thank him for all of the ways he opens my heart but, that night, I fell asleep before I reached the end of the list. Sunday morning, no words were spoken. None were needed. We gazed out the window, occasionally glancing contentedly into each other’s eyes, wanting neither to break the spell nor to get ahead of ourselves. As I shrugged into a new shirt of delicate design (bought just to please him), I felt suddenly younger and prettier, as if the color blue were made just for me and kisses invented simply for my amusement. After noon, we parted ways for a time–him to make some phone calls, me to take out the recycling and give the dog a bath. Alone but with a full heart, I worked to massage warm water, shampoo, and every bit of love I have been given into my aging dog’s body, hoping that he could know like I do that, in the end, everything will be all right .

Much love to you my friends. I hope spring brings you many wonderful things.

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A small victory

I finally got my taxes done.

It’s not rocket science (or “rocket sugery” as Bush might say). I don’t have complicated finances. It really doesn’t take that long. And TurboTax (note to self: put on list of things to be thankful for) demotes the nightmare into a mere annoyance. So, I feel like I should (you gotta know I’m about to undermine myself whenever I use that word) be able to just whip them off. I mean, I’m not the brightest crayon in the box, but I’m no “asparagus”. And yet somehow I always get overwhelmed by all of the details involved. I worry that I’m not reading something right. I worry that I’m forgetting something. I worry that if I don’t do it exactly right, T-Men are going to come to my house and strip it down to the studs. It all seems way more complicated than it actually is and it takes every bit of my willpower and concentration to slog my way through.

It’s the same thing with my bills. If it weren’t for automatic bill payment, they’d never get paid on time. Back in the old days, I had a “bill buddy”. Once a month, we’d pick a time, call each other on the phone to give each other a pep talk, and then agree to go pay our bills and balance our check books and call each other back in an hour.

I used to feel really down on myself about what a challenge this is for me. I’d call myself lazy. I’d call myself a procrastinator. I’d call myself careless. But I think I’ve come to accept that it’s just my natural disposition that little detail-oriented stuff that seems to satisfy no great sense of meaning will always just require concerted effort for me to get done and I just have to plan time to accommodate that.

If you speak Meyers-Briggs lingo, I’m an “Intuitive Type”. My energy naturally flows to ideas and theories, especially those that show all-encompassing promise. My ideal vacation includes a sunny day and a pile of books. Thinking about up grand theories comes easily and is quite enjoyable to me. But that means that my weak side is my “Sensing Function”. The ability to deal with practical, “just the facts” kind of data lives largely within some realm of my psyche that I don’t seem to have much conscious influence over. It takes a great deal of energy to unearth it and using it usually seems to invoke anxiety. It’s not that I can’t deal with profane nitty gritty; it’s just that it’s so unpleasant to me that it requires lots of effort and self-encouragement to do it.

In college, I got stuck in math for this reason. I loved Calculus. I loved the brilliant insight required to have thought up the theories and how everything “just worked”. But when I got to the 3rd semester, I really started wondering what the point was. I mean, the ideas were cool but what were they useful for? How did they get applied? Without simultaneous learning in physics or economics, the calculations got reduced to a meaningless task and I lost my way.

It’s amusing to me to look back at my life every so often and see the common threads that bring me into my present day incarnation. (I know, I know, only an “intuitive type” would really find such sport entertaining.) But when I remember how random everything felt at the time, I really have to laugh at myself. At least I’m learning how to stop fighting against myself and to co-operate with my limitations. Finally. I hope.