LiFe

Links and Other Electronic Jazz

Here it is, December 16. There will be no well thought out entry this time, just a bit of rambling about the links I added to my blog and, who knows, possibly anything else I may decide to go on about.

If you haven’t glanced over to the right hand side of my blog page, you’ve missed out. I’ve included links to some of my favorite things in Portland, as well as some other “stuff” I find interesting and/or entertaining. I’m sure I’ll add more as I go along. After all, Stumptown is a great place, with many great things in it. I’m almost positive some more of it will find it’s way here.

As for other news. I have been trying to figure out how some of the features on my new laptop work. I’m doing all the things you’re supposed to do. You know, play around with it until you either figure it out or get frustrated enough to actually dive into the manual. My latest project has been trying to develop a slide show, adding pictures and music, and then burning it to a dvd disc. What fun. It’s gone well so far. I’m now to the point of burning the disc. We’ll see how that goes.

I was commenting to my friend Ted recently that computers are great, as long as they work. One day, everything will be working fine, and the next… disaster strikes. The weird thing is, nothing has changed. Not the settings I was using, or the procedure I used to get there. I do everything exactly the same as the day before, but now, today, it’s a mess. It’s at those moments, after the mess strikes, I have to say… doesn’t technology make our lives easier. And then… I laugh. Because really, what’s a girl to do? I’m a slave to it as much as the next person. I mean, come on, I’m typing this on a computer and I’m going to post it on the net. I have a computer at work, one at home, and now a laptop to carry around with me. I have a cell phone, a pager, and a palm. I’m connected, plugged in, a part of the larger technical world. Most of us are. It’s the way of things.

Looking outside right now though, I see the Columbia River, and a flock of birds landing. They are out there, in a mass on the river. It’s the time of day, that only happens in the winter, when the sun just starts to think about going down. The light is beautiful. And there they are, this big flock of birds. Looking at that, who needs all this technology. Just set me out by the river, or at the beach, or on a mountain, and let me look at all that’s beautiful in the world. There’s so much of it… and nothing on a computer screen, no matter how realistic it may seem, or on a tv, can compare.

Oh, there’s my phone… I had best pick it up. Ha! Looks like another moment of enlightenment has come, and gone. It’s back to the hustle and bustle, and all that electronic jazz, for me.

Essays

The Best Friends I’ve Never Met

I have a question… am I the only one who, while watching some television program or listening to a radio broadcast, sees or hears a person and thinks… you know, if I met that person, I just know we’d become fast friends. I’ll be watching and I start thinking, wow, that person is pretty great. I bet if I met them, they would really love me. This just happened to me tonight. Karen and I were watching a program on the home and garden channel, I think it was called small spaces, big design… or some such thing, and there was this couple from Houston. They were both artists and they lived in this funky little house. I sat, watching them interact with each other and their space, and totally dug them. They laughed often, were playful, and you could tell they totally loved each other. Simply, they were cool. Then I started thinking… they would be great to know. I turned to Karen after seeing them and thinking all of this and told her I really loved them and was sure, if they got to know us, they would love us too. She just nodded and responded like, uh, yeah, they would love us. I feel she might have been a tad skeptical, but then, this was my fantasy, not hers. I can see how anyone outside my head might not share my enthusiasm for this imagined connection.

Then I realized, with a laugh, what my problem is. I’ve just never met a whole lot of people I just know I would become friends with… if they only knew me. It’s the same way I felt as a kid about some musicians and actors, and later about some poets and writers. If they only knew me, if we somehow just ran into each other, they would instinctively know I understand them. There would be, at the moment of meeting, a little glimmer of deep recognition in their eyes. It would be as if they had finally been found. Finally really been seen…by me. And right from that deep and meaningful first meeting, we would skip happily into the rest of our lives, picking daisies, sharing inside jokes, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and being there for each other in a way the rest of the world would be totally jealous of, and never really able to understand.

What this all means is that I’ve been walking around missing all the life I could have and should be experiencing now. There are people out there missing me, and they don’t even know it. Which, if you think about it, must be sad for them. An ache they can’t explain, a sadness coming over them, occasionally, they don’t understand. A longing for something they can’t put their finger on. The thing I’ve just now figured out they need… me.

If people would allow themselves to run with this line of thinking, the possibilities for living a magical life are endless. For instance… not only are there friends I know out there waiting to be found by me, but there’s also money I’ve yet to spend. I just know I have some rich relative whom I don’t know (so I wouldn’t be emotionally saddened by their loss) who is going to leave me millions of dollars so I can, as I’ve always dreamed of, pay off my mom’s house, travel for months at a time, and buy the freedom a person can’t have when one has to work. In fact, a more likely scenario is that the people I’ve yet to meet, are themselves rich, and after meeting me decide to give me all the money I could ever need. Letting me live in a manner to which I know I could easily become accustom.

I’m sure this is how the sci-fi writers started the whole parallel universe idea. One or more of them was sitting around thinking these exact same things. Out there is the perfect life, the other existence, the better and more fashionable me. Because in that mysterious out there, somewhere, is the life the other me is living, right this moment. That magical other life… the one in which I am never grumpy, or angry, or sad. The life where I get to sleep in every day, meet fun and interesting people, eat whatever I want without gaining weight, get to travel when and where I want on a whim, and have endless supplies of all my favorite food in the refrigerator, my favorite cds on the shelf, and my favorite movies at my finger tips.

I’m sure, like the couple in Houston, that in my other life, all these fabulous and interesting people, who never have problems or attitudes or bad days, are my life long friends. We have met and hang together constantly, looking at the art they’ve created, eating their exotic cooking, complimenting each other, supporting each other, and always, without question, have fascinating conversations.

After the show was over, the TV turned off, the laugh had by Karen and myself about my little epiphany, I quietly snuggled in ready to sleep and really thought about it. And you know what? I had another epiphany. All those people I don’t know, all the places I haven’t gone, and all the inconveniences of every day life I experience now, are what add the spice to life. Those very things, like all the other stuff in life I haven’t yet done, are what bring the magic to the life I’m living now. It’s not so bad not being friends with Mr. and Mrs. Houston, because what they represent is the future, the possibility that some day, I may meet them, or someone like them. They represent my excitement and hope about tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day after that. So, although I know, if we did happen to cross paths, that we would become instant pals, I also know I’m content waiting… for the meeting, the doing, and all the living that’s coming my way.

Essays

I Do

My friend Ted got married a week ago. It was planned, sort of. He and his lady have been together for something like three years and they’ve been talking about doing the wedding thing for a while now. So, what did they do? They contacted a former Judge, got a few close friends together, lit up the sailboat Ted lives on with some lanterns, and both said I do. I wasn’t there, but as it was told to me I imagined it to be a beautiful thing. I’m sure it was.

My Karen and I went to Hawaii a couple of years ago, sat on a beach in Maui, shared a Hawaiian sand ceremony, said some words to each other, and considered ourselves married. In fact, I’ve felt very married ever since. Though, we aren’t legally married, sanctioned by the state or whomever, we are married, in our hearts. As Karen’s daughter, Mary, put it… life partners.

This got me thinking… as many things do.

There’s a lot of love going around. I know, personally, several duos that have
coupled up in the last two years. And I’m not talking a casual coupling up, I’m saying people who’ve coupled up permanently, or are at least thinking being together for the rest of their lives might be a real possibility.

With all the stuff we see on the news every day, it’s nice to hear about people in love. People who care for each other so much, they are willing to make the big commitment. To look at each other and say, I want to see your face, hear your voice, and hold your hand for the rest of my life.

It’s hard to remember how much love is going around when there’s so much grief, horror, and pain shown to us every day. The television news displays it, the radio reports it, newspapers peddle it, and the Internet flashes it in our faces. It’s always there. Fear. There are bad people everywhere doing bad things to each other and if we aren’t careful, these bad people will do something to us too. Eat the right things, or else. Exercise the right way, or else. Watch the right programs on TV, wear the right shoes, live in the right neighborhoods, drink the right soft drinks, drive the right car, choose the right sports equipment, and use the right prescription drugs. If we don’t, we’re really in trouble. Something terrible will happen.

We are hardly ever exposed to anything positive in the media. It happens, but usually when it does, it’s something simple-minded and cute. Don’t get me wrong, cute and simple-minded are good, sometimes, but they aren’t a great representation of all that’s good in the world. Slapstick humor, though light hearted, is also, at times, unintelligent. Which, I know, is the point, but we need more than that, we should expect more, and we all deserve more. So here we are, watching or listening or looking at screens with pain or ridiculousness. Where is the real humanity? Where’s the meaning? Where’s the love? Not celebrity love, or reality-show love, or cute love. No… I’m talking real love. The love Ted has for his lady, the love I have for mine. Imagine what it would be like to wake up in the morning, turn on the news, and see representations of what is good in the world. People sacrificing for each other, putting others before themselves, people loving and living positively.

Ok, I know we’ve seen some of this, but think about it. We usually see it when it’s connected to something terrible. It is heart warming to see acts of bravery and kindness after a natural disaster. It’s a great thing to see how much people are willing to give of themselves and their resources when faced with something so overwhelming and terrible. And we, the persons distant and unaffected, sit quietly and can’t even begin to imagine how horrible it must be to be the people on the front lines working with the victims of the disaster. To us it looks heroic, as it should. We sit mesmerized and thankful for what we have. Scenes of do-gooders doing good make us reflect on our own lives, leading to relief and appreciation. So, in those circumstances, it’s there… people caring for people.

Don’t get me wrong, all of that is fine and well. Seeing scenes and hearing stories about caring and humans being human is necessary when hour after hour of television and radio coverage during a natural disaster, a terrible act of brutality, or a horrific accident bring us scenes of anguish and sorrow. But, what about the normal average everyday day, nothing major happening… just the usual… robberies, fires, accidents, and crimes of a violent nature. On those days we could use a little love… a little bit of nice. We could use some happiness and hope. But, since there’s no big disaster, we don’t get stories of bravery or of humans helping humans. We get bombarded with stories telling us, over and over to be afraid, be very afraid. And… we are.

So, where was I when I started this? I guess I’m coming full circle now, and will say this… hearing about Ted getting married, quietly with much sincerity and love; I am heartened and filled with hope. I am bolstered by his simple act of love, as I know every single one of us is when we hear about people loving people. I want to yell out to the world, see… here it is. Here is what life is all about. Not pain, though it’s part of it, not sorrow, because that certainly is as well, but love… happiness, passion, and devotion.

I guess the daily news, and media in general, doesn’t see the right kind of marketing angle in promoting love. I imagine they think it wouldn’t get people tuning in as much as they do for the tabloid style news. But honestly, I think we’d all make a commitment to I do, if they could just, for a moment or two, put some importance on love, like Ted did, like I did, and like so many of my friends and family have. When a person looks at life from that angle, there’s nothing better, nothing more fulfilling, nothing more important, and nothing more life affirming, than I do. It’s a choice we can all make. Everyday. We just have to be open and willing to brave the land where two words sit waiting… and say I do, to life.