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Monday, January 31, 2005


Cranky idealist

I'm feeling cranky today. In thinking about my crankiness I'm reminded of an article I read while I was away that I wanted to post here. It was in the New York Times on 1/20, inauguration day - an op-ed by Daniel Gilbert called "Four More Years of Happiness."

I just looked it up nytimes.com and of course now I have to pay if I want to access the full piece, so I'll just link to the abstract. The basic premise was that we as human beings are trained to manufacture happiness, but that throughout history, great moral leaders have often been people who can't quite master this trick -- Martin Luther King, Jr. (who apparently spent more days depressive than cheerful), and Mahatma Ghandi (I believe the article referred to how often he "stewed in his own juices" - so to speak).

The author makes the point that after the election, most Democrats sort of shook off their depression and anger - and he encourages us to rekindle it, and to use it, ostensibly so that we can lead the country towards positive change. If we're going to be the change we wish to see in the world, as Ghandi would have encouraged, then we need to keep seeing the world we wish for, instead of convincing ourselves that things are just fine the way they are. Of course the essential ingredient Gilbert doesn't mention is: idealism. If you're dissatisfied with the world but you don't believe it could be any better, or any different, then your mental state is probably no more productive than manufactured happiness.

(I remember a class I took in college, the "Literature of Community," in which our professor required us to take a position on the topic of discussion. If you agreed, for example, that the main character in the story we read last night was a bigot, then you sat by the window; if you disagreed, you sat by the door. You could change your position as many times as you liked. My professor strongly discouraged sitting in the middle, reminding us that throughout history, terrible things had occurred as a result of people not taking a position - for example, in Nazi Germany. I remember we talked a lot about idealism versus pragmatism in that class. I think it was the first time I understood that idealism was a position of strength, rather than naivete.)

Sunday, January 30, 2005


I'm baaaack

Back from Sundance, and finally readjusting to life-as-usual. It's quite a high to come down from, plus we'd really adjusted to Utah time, so all week I've been uncharacteristically wired at night and completely unable to get out of bed in the morning. I've also been off my writing routine and am looking forward to slipping back into my usual rhythms - though as I type that, I also think how nice it would be to have both routine and newness as part of daily life....routines to anchor you, newness to keep you stimulated and alive.

I saw some wonderful films -- most notably Ryan, an animated short in which the characters' emotions and psychoses are physically embodied, and Brothers, a Danish feature film about, among other things, post-traumatic stress disorder in soldiers and how it impacts families and, in turn, nations. But what was most wonderful was just to luxuriate in the experience of seeing films. My husband and I used to go to movies all the time - there were a couple of years in college when it seemed a new, interesting independent film was out every week - but in the past few years we've gotten increasingly picky, less about what we rent (especially now that he's caught the Netflix bug), more about what we'll actually venture out to a theater and plunk down $9 to see. In part it's because of the cost, and in part because there are less compelling independent movies playing in local theaters, but also, we'd just forgotten how much fun it can be to try something, and enjoy the experience regardless of whether the film joins the ranks of our top 10 lists.

The festival also renewed my appreciation for the passion of the artists who make films, and for the passion of independent film lovers - what a joy to sit in a crowded theater full of people who've trekked from all over the country to come watch films together hour after hour, day after day. It's like finding Tranquil Space or Washington Improv Theater here in D.C. - when you find a corner of the world occupied by people who seek what you seek, or are lit up by what lights you up, there is a feeling of belonging and excitement that has to be one of the best things in the world.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005



There is a fire in the fireplace. The flames are like long tendrils, flickering and racing up the chimney. The fire sounds like oil sizzling in a hot pan. It is pitch black outside the windows of our cabin - only a moment ago I could see pine trees and snow and a patch of mountain in the distance.

I was reading an article earlier by a woman who said she liked to travel constantly, since new places were always fresh and therefore inspired her to pay attention. Her yoga teacher encouraged her to pretend she was on vacation in her everyday life, and suddenly the details of her immediate environment began to nourish her as though she were in some exotic new locale. I understand the value of that mentality, but I'm not sure I accept that every place rewards your attention in the same way. The author lives in Boulder, Colorado with a view of the mountains from her house; from my apartment, I see another apartment building, and the rush of traffic and car alarms provide a steady stream of background noise. That's not to say there isn't beauty in D.C., or that the quality of my daily life isn't elevated by noticing the details (trees losing their leaves, the way the view of the National Cathedral from our dog park changes with the seasons and the weather), but there are few spaces in D.C. that truly inspire me.

That's what it comes down to - the importance of spaces that inspire. Spaces of harmony where you feel the external matches what your internal craves, where you can hear your voice and feel it growing stronger. Maybe that's why I love to travel - out of a hope that each trip will show me a glimpse of the space I crave, and of the world I want.

Monday, January 17, 2005



In the Washington Post Magazine yesterday, there was an article about "Red" (Republican) America. In addition to the fact that I don't believe in the notion of Red States versus Blue States (see my thoughts on this subject here - relevant info at the end of the post), the article was pretty much a letdown...the author included himself in the story, but didn't share his reactions to what the people he interviewed said -- and some of what they said, about George Bush seeming more moral and honest than John Kerry, required a little follow-up (um, what about Iraq? I'd personally bring up at least a dozen other examples, but Iraq is certainly the most obvious one). Either include yourself in the story or don't - don't go halfway. Don't just tell us you live in D.C., but grew up in the midwest - that actually tells us nothing about the extent to which you understand "Red State" versus "Blue State" mentality. And don't just tell us what Democrats and Republicans you know think about the election - tell us what you think, what prompted you to take this journey. That's much more interesting than your impressions of the midwestern landscape. Put your cards on the table.

But I digress.

What I wanted to say, is there was this photograph featured in the article that just really caught my attention. It was taken in Abilene, Kansas - in the foreground looms a huge roadside billboard that says,

Jesus Heals
and Restores.
Pornography Destroys

Then, in the background, a second billboard, which reads,


I looked at that picture and I said, "That's America, right there." A predominantly Christian country in which you can't show a breast on television, yet porn is a multibillion-dollar business. (According to Frontline, some analysts say major hotel chains like Marriott, Westin and Hilton generate more revenue from in-room sex movies than from the hotels' mini-bars. I don't know about Westin and Hilton, but isn't Marriott run by Mormons?)

If you want to read the full Post article, it's here.


Up above, down below

I am in the mountains. There is snow on the ground and pine trees, and the lodge where I'm staying has high ceilings with wood beams. There's a gas fireplace and big oversized mugs with 'meese' (moose - plural) and bears on them from which to drink my coffee, which is from a packet and not very good, but I don't care. There is a river rushing directly outside, yes directly outside our room, and the sound of rushing water is like the ocean and therefore I am at peace.

Driving in last night in the dark we came through a canyon; snow-covered mountains loomed on either side, and we pressed our faces to the windows of the car, and the word that came to mind was: awe-inspiring. The car climbed up the mountain, up, up, and my husband said, "we don't even have this altitude at home." Only an hour before, coming in on the plane, we saw mountains mingled with clouds and a snowy city that looked like the inside of a computer, and he said, "it's hard to believe someone designed that from ground-level." How different the world seems from up above.

Saturday, January 15, 2005


"The revolution will be improvised"

The organization I take improv classes from is Washington Improv Theater, or WIT. Last night I saw their new show, "The Job," which is loosely about whether our jobs define us (um, hello, could a theme be closer to my heart?). The "program" was fashioned like a corporate hand-out...the first page was a memo from WIT to the audience, their "resume" was attached, the cast list took the form of an invoice...very smart and fun. I have to say, the show didn't get into the theme it advertised as much as I hoped - the characters' occupations ended up being more of a launching pad than a subject - but still, what a fun way to spend an hour on a Friday night. I really believe in the group's mission statement:

Washington Improv Theater is dedicated to advancing spontaneous theater as an art form that unleashes creative genius. Through performances and a comprehensive training program, WIT aims to foster the creativity lying dormant or repressed in every Washingtonian. In everything WIT does, it strives to inject some much-needed spontaneity into D.C.'s overly scripted culture.

The revolution will be improvised.


(Note: I'll be out of town for a week, starting tomorrow. I expect to have some level of internet access, so hopefully this won't lie completely dormant, but I won't be able to post as often as usual. What's that - the sound of heartbreak? Seriously, though, a few people have told me they check this thing regularly, so I just wanted to let you know. :))

Friday, January 14, 2005


Letting go of A+

I am a recovering perfectionist. About a year ago I realized with horror that the education system in this country had conditioned me to permanently seek the proverbial A; I've made a lot of progress since then, but there are still times I just can't let go of things. I guess that makes me human.

Case in point: this week at work I emailed someone and was more specific than I needed to be in describing why they weren't a good fit for a particular project. I could have just said "you weren't a good fit." But I didn't, out of a compulsion to be completely honest about everything (in case you hadn't figured that out about me just yet :)). This haunted me for days afterwards -- I felt like I'd unnecessarily (and unintentionally) hurt the person's feelings, like I was naive in my compulsion to explain things fully, like I needed to learn how to operate in the business world (though even typing those words makes me gag - if I can't be myself in the business world, then I'm in the wrong world). Meanwhile I knew that obsessing wasn't going to undo the email...I tried to tell myself, "you aren't perfect, you make mistakes, you learn from them." But still my mind returned to it over and over again.

This Emerson quote hangs by my computer as a reminder to let things go:

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."

I think one day, when I have a house, I'm going to wallpaper an entire room with quotes like this, as a kind of sanctuary - a reminder that people have been struggling with the same issues for a long, long time.

Thursday, January 13, 2005


Improv lessons

"It doesn't matter what decision you make - it just matters that you make a decision."
--my improv teacher

He was saying this in reference to an improv game we were playing in class, but it was also one of those "improv lesson as life lesson" moments. Certainly, it matters whether you decide to kill a man, but generally speaking, I take his point; I think of all the times my husband and I have hemmed and hawed about whether to move to another city, whether to pursue this occupation and lifestyle or that one, whether to buy a house, and it seems like finally the answer is: Life is short. Make a decision and go with it. You can always make another decision. Or, as JFK said, don't ask why - ask why not. Why not try something. Won't your life be that much richer, that much more interesting, for all the things you try, rather than all the things you think about maybe one day trying if the weather is just right and you get permission from five important people?

Tuesday, January 11, 2005



Sometimes I feel inspiration inside me like a bubble - like the way you know when you're about to sneeze, or before a big cry. I feel it. In the past the only time I wrote was when I felt this way - I'd go for months at a time without a word, and then I'd be walking down the street and a poem would start forming in my head, and I'd go home and write. I could remember the exact phrases for hours if that was how long I had to wait. Then I'd write and it was like giving birth.

I recently found a scrap of paper from the Marina Inn in San Francisco - something I wrote on an airplane in a moment of inspiration like what I describe above. It reads:

on airplane after reading memories of the day john lennon was shot + killed

There is art inside me.
And beauty.
By beauty I mean - the feeling of ocean, of sky, of (my husband's) delight in dew-covered spider webs, of artist's passion and of sincere activism, of purity, of chai tea in clay mugs, of sunlight in the trees outside our window. of kindness...all of this, distilled into a point of buzzing inside of me.
And by art - by art I mean this urge, this drive, to affect the world with an image of beauty, a vision of staggering, transcendental impact...the feeling of discovering a new city and returning safely home, all at once.

And all this, beyond words
Beyond journals
As big as the sky
Yes - just like air

When I found this a few months ago it was like my younger self was talking to me. I keep it on my fridge.

These days I practice daily writing. It's less romantic - more spiritual. In Right to Write Julia Cameron says how important it is to write even when you don't feel like it - the idea being that the practice of writing is more important than any specific output. And that's the difference - in the past I only allowed myself to write when I felt something specific gestating inside me; now I have faith in the power of the writing process itself...its power to not only give me the kind of life I want, but also to help me find my way to the beautiful phrase, the interesting idea, the well-developed character, etc. Transcendance through ritual.


Say "here"

In my profile I suggest I have stories to tell. But the thing is, writing this blog makes me terribly self-conscious. It's not ultimately personal writing - I save that for my journal, and there are entire categories of things I'm not comfortable sharing in this form. Maybe in fleshed out personal essays (or poetry, or even a screenplay) but not in daily postings that are supposed to be spontaneous. Yet I'm not blogging about politics or music or culture - the subject is me. So I'm writing about me but holding back. Which is probably the worst kind of writing there is.

Which is probably why the voice I'm hearing on these pages is too often not one that sounds authentically mine. I'm thinking maybe over the next few weeks I'll publish some things I've worked on prior to starting this blog... maybe that will help me figure out how to retool the format and approach of this thing to make it into a vehicle for expression I'm proud of, rather than this half-diary.

{I wonder, is anyone reading this other than friends and family? I'm guessing not. But if you're reading this and you don't know me, please say "here." I changed the comments feature so you can post anonymously...}

Monday, January 10, 2005


A play in three acts.

Act I
In the dog park this morning there was a little dog like the end of a mop, only its hair was finer than that, and it ran around in circles, so anxious for the other dogs to play with it, but they just munched grass. So it rolled around in the wet leaves. I feel like that sometimes.

Act II
This morning I woke up and felt the absence of the ocean like a loss of oxygen. I realized it's because enough time has passed (a week+) that it's gone from being an impression (live, raw, visceral, on my skin, in my gut) to being a memory (conjured in my head, a vision). The ocean is a block away, the ocean is a block away - it stops working after a while. I crave the presence of nature in every fiber of my being - a sky full of stars, a deep forest, a tall mountain, something to anchor me and remind me that the world is vast. In nature's presence I touch something bigger than a single day can usually hold.

{I am so sick of office politics. The way they drag you down. Why are people so small.}

{I wrote about twice as much as I posted about Hotel Rwanda, but I deleted it...I was developing a whole thesis about how art can inspire outrage, which can inspire people to hold their governments accountable, and to create more art that inspires more outrage...but it wasn't saying what I meant, and it was 9:30 on a Saturday night, and my husband had waited patiently, and it was time to go before Saturday night was just typing on my laptop.}

Drinking tea, my dog curled up at my feet, purple chenille blanket, the hum and hiss of the heater. It should be enough. I should feel the abundance of my life. But gratitude can be elusive. Some days you're in it and some days you're outside, and I'm starting to think there's nothing you can do about it, other than accept that moods come and go, like the tide.

Saturday, January 08, 2005


Moral outrage.

I saw Hotel Rwanda last night. One of the first things I thought of afterwards was this blog. How small it suddenly seemed - my silly concerns, the intense scrutiny, all so inwardly focused. How I was just setting off to college in 1994 and obsessed with first love while across the world 800,000 people were dying in a span of 100 days. 800,000 people in 100 days. When the lights came up and I met the gaze of others in the theater I was embarassed, exposed - it had felt like such a private experience. In the lobby voices seemed louder than they were - some guy ordering a cherry Coke and candy felt like someone flicking the edge of my reality. Outside the crowd waiting in line, cell phone chatter, small talk, and my husband and I walked in silence, grasping each other's hands, strangers on the same blocks we'd walked lightly only a couple hours before.

And then, what to say? Nothing was the right first thing - nothing was honorable enough. We walked to Kramerbooks, though food and drink felt indulgent. And our solemnness itself was dishonorable - what, foregoing a meal would pay a debt? In the movie Don Cheadle as Paul Rusesabagina urges those staying at the Hotel des Mille Collines to call their influential friends abroad and to say goodbye like they were reaching their hand through the phone, to shame their friends into not letting go - into doing something.

That is what more journalism needs to do, to reach people like a hand outstretched urgently, so you can feel the horror of what's happening around the world - not a cold statistic but a horrible, vivid truth to which we are all connected, all inextricably connected.

Thursday, January 06, 2005


Michael Moore

Michael Moore can be obnoxious, but he shines a light on some important issues - for example, voting fraud in Ohio. Learn more here about irregularities in the Ohio vote and vote count.

(Confession: I fell asleep during Fahrenheit 911. We went on a weeknight, right after it came out, and someone had pulled the fire alarm inside the theater, so we had to wait outside for what felt like forever, until they finally let us in...and me in a dark room after 9pm on a weeknight = sleep. I ended up seeing about half the film, and I remember feeling like he completely exploited the mother of the solider in Iraq; I wished that Jon Stewart and Frontline had been the producers, so it would have had the same powerful message, and levity, but also credibility....but I suppose Michael Moore's theatricality helped generate a lot of attention.)

Also important: preventing the appointment of Alberto Gonzalez as Attorney General. The Web site for the People For the American Way describes the problems with Gonzalez succinctly:

"At the time the President announced this nomination, People For the American Way raised serious concerns about Alberto Gonzales’ fitness for the post of Attorney General of the United States, but reserved judgment pending a complete review of his record. Unfortunately, as more of that record becomes clear, what PFAW’s review reveals is a lawyer who too often allows his legal judgment to be driven by his close relationship with the President rather than adherence to the law or the Constitution. The risk that such lack of independence poses for his ability as Attorney General to be the lawyer for all of the people of this country is simply too great to warrant his confirmation. Therefore, People For the American Way must oppose the confirmation of Alberto Gonzales to be the 80th Attorney General of the United States.

Specifically, as White House Counsel, Gonzales has been a central architect of some of the most controversial elements of the Administration’s war on terror; he participated in a dramatic weakening of U.S. commitments to the Geneva Conventions and against torture; he has led the Administration’s effort to pack the federal appellate courts with right-wing judges and to crusade for unprecedented Executive Branch secrecy; and he has failed to recuse himself from decisions and investigations pertaining to former clients and his former firm. Additionally, as Counsel to then-Texas Governor George W. Bush, and advisor to the Governor on death penalty clemency decisions, he showed a callous disregard for due process and fairness. The Attorney General is not the lawyer for any particular President or Administration, but is the lawyer for all the people of the United States. Throughout his work for President Bush on all these matters, Gonzales’s single-minded efforts to advance the goals of his superiors, to the exclusion of legal and constitutional authority to the contrary, demonstrate his inability to serve as the nation’s chief lawyer and enforcer of all Americans’ rights."
Read more of the People For the American Way's analysis of Gonzalez. If you agree with me that his appointment would be severely deterimental to American democracy, then contribute to the MoveOn.org campaign to air a television ad about Gonzalez.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005


Once upon a time.

Once upon a time I left college because I didn't know why I was there. I was a straight-A student; this was not expected. At home I felt like a hamster - take me off my treadmill and I have no idea what to do with myself. That was when I discovered the satisfaction and sorrow that come from stepping outside the normal motion of things. When I went back to school, I was there on my terms. I did things like ask to write plays instead of standard essays in a class about the English Mystery Plays; my modern-day Noah chose a bullying God over his devoted wife, and Joseph raged at Mary for cheating on him (how else could she be pregnant) - Mary raged at God for giving her a child she didn't choose. I proposed a course for freshmen asking them to think - and write - about what they wanted to get out of college. I wrote angry guest columns in the student paper, admonishing my fellow undergrads to recognize the responsibility that came with their degree - the responsibility to lead meaningful lives, and to give something back. I graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and it meant so much to me, because it felt like a recognition of my independent - rather than compliant - intellect.

I left my first job after college because they misled me during the interview process. They described themselves as a publishing house/think tank/consulting firm, the perfect fit for the intellectual college grad who wasn't quite sure what she wanted to be when she grew up. When I got there they mentioned that oh, by the way, there were these things called productivity points, and I needed to earn five of them each week; if I didn't, my manager would give me a talk about time management. People there thought they were adults because they wore Ann Taylor suits. I wrote angry poetry about the executive lingo - "let's double-click on that idea" (vomit). I was quickly losing faith in the possibility of finding meaningful work.

My parents gave me Zen and the Art of Making a Living (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is one of my favorite books ever); my dad's inscription: "no one said it would be easy." I began to think about the difference between an occupation and a job. Years later I came across the quote (I'm paraphrasing), "don't ask what the world needs - ask what makes you come alive - because what the world needs is more people who have come alive." I have spent the past 7+ years trying to figure out what makes me come alive. I have the Ranier Marie Rilke quote on my fridge, about having patience with unanswered questions... I have no patience. I want answers now. I know it's unrealistic, I know life's a journey, but I want to know my journey's purpose, before it's over and reduced to photographs in an album with little notes scribbled on the side: "Niagara Falls, 1980." I want advance notice.

You'll notice I haven't told you what I do for a living. I'm being deliberately - and uncharacteristically - cagey. I'm not quite ready to talk about that. On good days my job was made for me. On bad days it's like an abusive relationship - you stay because they say nice things, and you figure it's the best you'll ever have, but meanwhile it's steadily destroying you. I'm afraid to say much more because if anyone who works with me finds out about this... if my feelings about my job are on display, it will be not only incredibly embarassing but also career-limiting. So my lips are sealed for now, but I'm going to have to figure out a way to talk about this, because it's what I think about most of the time (unless I'm successful at crowding it out of my thoughts, which is unfortunately rare).

* * * *
I was feeling like this blog was self-obsessed, but then I came across this passage of The Right to Write:

"Valuing our experience is not narcissism. It is not endless self-involvement. It is, rather, the act of paying active witness to ourselves and to our world. Such witness is an act of dignity, an act that recognizes that life is essentially a sacred transaction of which we know only the shadow, not the shape."

It may sound like rationalization, but it's the best description I've found of why I write.


Monday, January 03, 2005


Really deep thoughts.

It's late. I miss the ocean. I read Brave on the Rocks and it left me - jealous? I am still trying to figure out the point of all this. Why am I writing this? There's a quote in this book I'm reading, The Right to Write by Julia Cameron, about how it's hard enough to write, let alone write and try to be impressive at the same time. Am I trying to impress you? Am I trying to impress myself? Why do I need an audience? Why isn't it enough to scribble quietly in my journal? Shouldn't a published writer have something to say, something more than "I went to a ballgame" or "I eat white beans"? Why would you possibly be interested in these details? Why would I possibly share them?

I want to live by the sea. I have wanted this for a long time. I also want to live in San Francisco, and take a road trip down the coast of California, and spend months in Hawaii like Lauren and Gregg, and see Alaska, and backpack around Europe, and get to know my grandparents, who are all dead. I want to know what my parents were like as children. I want to know what it's like to have a childhood without homework and manners, to be a fucked up teenager who roams and tests and tries. I want to be someone who makes a lot of mistakes and learns from them, someone wise, someone interesting, something important - someone who helps other people, someone who is patient, someone who is vast. I want to remember what it feels like to play soccer on a Saturday afternoon, age 10. Pigtails and sticky lemonade. I want to know what it feels like to be punk, to be glamorous, to be musical, to be... I want to know what it feels like to have a house of your own to move around in, a yard for your dog, a porch for writing and wine-sipping and moon-gazing. A grill for your husband, who is in a band. A life of art and service and rest and good company. I don't know how to get there.

Am I performing for you even now? Is that what this is? Or am I communing? More of my friends and family members know about this now; I feel like I'm coming out. Am I so lonely that I need you to talk to? Why is it so much easier to say things here that are real and true than to say these things in conversation? Which version of me is more real, the version here or the version in person?

Now I am sounding self-conscious - to quote Tori Amos, I'm sounding like a "girl who thinks really deep thoughts." Why am I always simultaneously judgmental of and inspired by female song-writers and journalers? Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan, Ani DiFranco, Alanis Morrisette, Sabrina Ward Harrison, Sark - I admire these women artists because they count, because they are honest, because they express something that I relate to somewhere inside in a way I can't control...and yet I try to distance myself from them, because they can be precious/hackneyed/embarassingly simple.....just like me.

(I was a chatty toddler. Favorite activities: playing with stuffed animals, talking to mom. At one point my mom established 30 minutes of quiet time each day. I'd ask, "Can I talk yet?" "Not yet, honey." These days I mostly want to be left alone. But then you get me started with this blog, and I can't shut up....)



Happy New Year. I've been away in Florida, hence the lack of posts... one day I started up my laptop to work on my screenplay ,and it started connecting to a local network and I quickly disabled it - I missed my blog, but had to insist on being disconnected. And it worked: I feel refreshed, renewed... the rhythm of the ocean is still with me (I'm pretending it's still a block a way - so far, nothing's burst my bubble). On the beach I wrote, "the ocean is the heartbeat of the world." That's how I've always felt; I thought it was obvious. My husband says it's not, so I'm sharing it here. I worry it sounds pretentious but what the hell, maybe it's profound, or beautiful, or at least slightly interesting.

Yesterday we went to a Wizards game. I love Juan Dixon! I should clarify that I am not an avid sports fan... or even a sports fan, period. And I happened to marry the one man I know with zero (truly - zero) interest in sports. But I used to watch basketball with my dad growing up (I remember watching a playoff game between the Lakers and the Celtics - Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabar, Larry Bird, Kevin McHale - sp?), and while I never seek it out on my own, when a game's on I become quickly engrossed. My parents had extra tickets to yesterday's game, so we went, and I had a blast. The other game I'll watch is soccer - but mostly because it makes me nostalgic for my childhood... watching other people play gets boring fast. Football's a mystery, baseball makes me snooze - although I'm not completely immune to the emotion of the game: I was sucked into watching the last World Series, and developed a temporary passion for the Red Sox... it's the part of me that's a sucker for a good season finale; even if I don't watch the show, if I see an enticing promo for the last episode (inevitably a wedding or a birth), I'm in. (Well, I rarely actually tune in - but I think about it :)).

The only show I actually watch regularly these days is Arrested Development, on Fox. It is HILARIOUS. I haven't thought a show was this good since the Sopranos.

A quick list of things I want to share before I sign off (I need to leave for work in 23 minutes):

1. One morning in Florida we woke up at 6:54am and the moon was shining as bright as a naked lightbulb through the porthole in our cottage. It was so dark out for that hour. At night we could see the stars stretching for miles around.

2. One afternoon we rented bikes and it was perfect - a smooth, paved bike path, stopping off at little beaches along the way, pedaling past palm trees and trees draped with Spanish moss, bright blue sky, crisp air, hot sun...the word that came to mind was "vivid." One of those days that just gets imprinted on your heart like a thumbprint in wet clay.

3. New year's resolution: volunteer.

4. We read so much while we were away. (I know, my earlier claim to be a finicky reader is ringing false, right?? But I promise: I haven't read this much in ages. I'm just on a roll with books that are holding my interest.) I read Random Family by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, all about a group of people living (and dying) in the Bronx.... the culture of poverty. Talk about vivid - it was heartbreaking and depressing and maddening, and reinforced my growing need to give something back for all that I have. I highly recommend it.

Last night I picked up Brave on the Rocks, by Sabrina Ward, a Christmas gift from my wish list. I am so intrigued by it - by the idea of actually publishing a private journal (I still don't feel like that's what I'm doing here), by how familiar her fears and worries are, by the lush beauty of the artwork, again familiar in how it reminds me of the collages I used to make in my high school art journal...maybe she's right that more ordinary people need to be published. Anyway, I wanted to leave you with a quote she references, which I've seen before and love:

"God calls you to the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."
-Frederick Buechner

And with that, I'm off to work.

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