Tuesday, April 25, 2006

yes but everywhere you're beautiful

She looked at him as he walked past. And though she must have looked at him a million times before, this time she saw him and thought, I would do anything for this man. I would move, I would marry, I would betray my past to follow his future.

...He didn't speak at all; he just laughed. Laughter is light. But words have weight and can be grounded and made accountable. They can be written down or imprinted in memory. Words are intractable. Even when you apologize. Apologies don't erase what has already been uttered. They are just an addendum, hoping to be acknowledged. Laughter though, that blows away and has the freedom to be careless.

...They were lying down staring at each other. His eyes were blue-gray, like a stormy sea you could get lost in if you weren't careful. Or even if you were. Her eyes were brown with pinpricks of pain. The kind the soul endures so they only show through pupils, if you look hard enough. Even if you don't.


That was about an unsettling dream I had last night. I woke up and laid in the thick of it for another hour before I got up.

Today, I experienced a day within a day. Ever have those? When a period of time feels completely disparate from the rest of the day that encapsulates it? My sense of time has gotten jumblier since moving to Alaska.

Remember that mean teacher? Well, she seems to be as knowledgeable as she is snippy. Which sucks because I was really looking forward to proving her wrong today, if only in my own head, but she was right on every count. Damnit.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

more randomness

I started my chaperoning for SERRC Career Connections today. Which basically means that instead of sleeping in my dirty ass, rat-infested, beer bottle-littered house, I'm crashing in a huge clean hostel with wireless internet, eating free pizza and popcorn, and getting paid 360 clams for the exchange. This week, it's special ed kids from Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, and Kotzebue, and they're training on independent living skills and shadowing people with jobs in their field of interest. Every retreat for which I've facilitated so far makes me wish all adults could participate in them. I know a Joe Schmoe or Debbie Downer that could use refreshers on Healthy Relationships, conflict resolution, or how to wash your dishes after you've dirtied them. Speaking of which, my new roommates just got in, and this teacher is ridiculously bitchy and keeps threatening to beat one of her students.

Student: It's a little warm in here.
Teacher: Stop whining before I put my foot in your ass.
Teacher: (turning to me) Oh hi, who are you? I'm Sandra, and this is Ashley, the whiner.
Me: Uhh.
Student: So what do we have to do tomorrow?
Teacher: You have to keep your mouth shut or I'll beat you. Your grandmother said I could.
(Turning to me) Her grandma said I could.
Me: Oookay.

So now I got my own room. Not because I specifically asked to move, but probably because I was eyeing the private room longingly so the front desk guy said what the hell.

Last night, I had the odd and slightly surreal experience of getting randomly caressed by a middle-aged woman on a dance floor. She was standing in front of me and a friend with her back toward us and talking to some people, which is normal enough. I wouldn't have even noticed her if it weren't for her hands suddenly snaking behind her and stroking my knee--and my friend's thigh simultaneously--which is definitely not normal enough. I was way too shocked to even react, and she didn't turn around to catch our eyes or say anything. Now, we're at The Viking mind you, where STDs come in bundles like party favors. You walk in a bill of health and come out bewildered with a herpes-gonorrhea combo package wondering who you can pawn that shit off to. But it was just so weird because there was no prelude, no explanation or meaningful look, nothing. Just a drive-by rubbing.

Finished my last two books. Reading The Wee Free Men, another Terry Pratchett book, and The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion, her outlet after the deaths of her husband and only child. My reading philosophy is, you gotta juggle the heavy, depressing stuff with whimsical literature.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

non sequiturs

It surprises me when other people are surprised by insight. It disappoints me when they are turned off by it.
Someone who walks away and someone who doesn’t.
He dismisses her because she isn’t talking about him. It fails to hold his interest and irritates him.
She lives her life as a series of betrayals.

"Does everyone around here pretend they don't like sex? she said & I nodded. O, she said, then we should probably not get to be friends, because I'm going to have to move soon." -Storypeople
We constantly demand honesty but are scared shitless to get the real thing. And then suddenly we're aghast at this horrible truth just standing there all awkward and naked and turning its feet together because it knows it's unwanted, and you want to tell it to go back in the room and change into something more palatable, quick, before the guests get scared away.
We don't compliment each other enough.

Scary Truth #1: I don't feel ready to leave Juneau.

Scary Truth #2: It still only takes, "If I could, I wouldn't ever let you go."

Scary Truth #3: Yes, everyone craps. Your parents/the love of your life/Dakota Fanning. Get over it.

Scary Truth #4: ...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Bowl for Kids Sake

I'm smiling so big because I just drank 3 Red Bulls and 2 coffees (I worked over a 12 hour shift.)

Our team was called The "Big" Wigs because all of us are Bigs (or pending), and we were supposed to be wearing wigs too, but obviously, I am the only one who wanted to bring it back to 1966.


Friday, April 14, 2006

poetic memory and a motif of beauty

Got back from Anchorage Wednesday night. I had a great time. I have been nonstop doing catch-up work and preparing for our Bowl for Kids Sake event tomorrow so for now, this is all I've got:

Our dessert at the Glacier Brewhouse...

a flourless chocolate torte with espresso infused Ghirardelli sauce, Baileys anglaise, vanilla ice cream sprinkled with pistachio crumbles resting on a super thin candied wafer

I miss gourmet food. I don't miss gourmet prices.

I've also been devouring The Unbearable Lightness of Being. It is amazing and now one of my favorite books.

"Tomas did not realize at the time that metaphors are dangerous. Metaphors are not to be trifled with. A single metaphor can give birth to love."
"...Love begins with a metaphor. Which is to say, love begins at the point when a woman enters her first word into our poetic memory."

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Sunday, April 09, 2006

there is birth

A friend from Paris sent me this photo of a new baby kitten, Crevette.

And another thing he shared, from a post on his motorcycle forum, which made me grin: "Life is all about a$$. You're either covering it, laughing it off, kicking it, kissing it, busting it, trying to get a piece of it, behaving like one, or living with one."

My neighbor also cracked me up the other night when he did an impression of Juneau:
(curling up in fetal position) "I'm Juneau. Don't touch me with your roads! Bad touch!"
Not that I'm for the road. But it was really funny anyway.

My sister & I talked on the phone for two hours yesterday. One thing we talked about was the newly revealed, Gospel of Judas. Anyone else completely intrigued by this?? It seems like the media barely glanced at this, but from a devoutly Catholic family, it has turned me upside down. My sister railed, "What are you, hopping onto the Judas Bandwagon all of a sudden?" It's not that I'm totally believing all of it; it's that despite questioning automatic faith as a youth (i.e. voluntarily not getting confirmed after 6 years of Sunday school), it had never occurred to me to wonder about Judas's role as the betrayer. It's ingrained so deeply how atrociously self-serving he was. It's not the possibility that he may not have been after all that has me taken aback (I'm not going to be so hasty as to embrace Gnostic faith), but the realization that I, like virtually everyone else for the past thousand+ years, haven't even slightly thought, ever, of giving him the benefit of the doubt. Are we so eager to believe in the worst of someone? Do we need uber villains? How can we desire such black and white two-dimensional pigeonholes for people when I'm sure we come to realize that very, very few things in life lack hidden layers and unspoken reasons and secrets.

So the president of the caving club gave me a card and a scanned copy of one of the larger cave maps I'd drawn for him (with a personal editorial I'd drawn in last minute of him doing all the work while his 4 co-cavers were napping and exchanging caving tales lies. I'd also been transcribing memoirs of a commercial fisherman from his tape recorder. The different ways we make connections with each other really take me by pleasant surprise sometimes.

New books for my business trip to Anchorage April 10-12:
The Unbearable Lightness of Being ~Milan Kundera
A Hat Full of Sky ~Terry Pratchett

Thursday, April 06, 2006

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

These days, my boss hates me because I missed the Youth Summit and made him and BBBS look terrible. He hasn't said one word to me since I got back to work yesterday. Not his angry silence, not the threat of termination, not the promise of free cookies and Doritos on my desk have motivated me to become engaged in work lately.

But if there IS one thing that's gonna pull me up from being sprawled out on the living room floor sobbing my heart out during my lunch break, it's a Sexual Assault Awareness Rally.

I'd initially stood way to the side of the Capitol steps, but they motioned my friends and I closer to the podium. Luckily, I'm blurred in that shot that published in the paper. They probably had to Photoshop it on purpose, you know with the hand icon that I always thought was for smudging out zits. My eyes were red and puffy and my makeup was oh so attractively tear-stained. I'm doing a whole screw-you-my-grandmother's-dead chic lately.

So I found out Alaska has ranked in the top 5 states with the highest sex-related crimes for the past 22 YEARS. It's got 21x the national average for sexual offenders per capita. This is insane. Sexual abuse and sexual assault makes me want to vomit blood when I hear about them; the reaction for me is so much more visceral than other violent crimes. So the legislature passed two bills upping the sentence to 25 years for assault against a minor, 20 years for assault against an adult, and requiring parolees to have periodic polygraph tests.

What else is cool is that a legislator gave me the sexual assault awareness pin from his own lapel because I didn't have one. Sure there are like hundreds of them at my friend's office, and they're probably in baskets all over town or something, but I thought it was awesome anyway. You don't get that face-to-face with politicians in big cities. Here, I pass by them on the street, stand in line behind them at Alaskan & Proud grocery store, sign them in at the stripclub gym, read their angry diatribes in the local opinion section of the paper, and now, get pins fresh off their own coat. In Cincinnati, my only brush with politicians was with Roxanne Qualls and that was just because I was specifically working on her campaign for mayor, and she lost to Steve Chabot anyway. And she had lipstick stains on her teeth one time while we canvassed neighborhoods, but I was 16 and too scared to tell her about it.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

"Oh say, say, say
Wait, they don't love you like I love you"
~Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

a lot can happen in 5 weeks

My grandmother died last Wednesday. I don't handle loss bravely. I wish I could say I carried it like an inner strength, with grace. But instead, I soaked it in wine and slept for 6 days. I went to the Shrine, I went to the historic cemetery, and still, I can't find closure.

My older sister wrote a tribute for her memorial service that captures my feelings too:

"There is no way to fully express what Lola Polly means to me. She is my foundation and is with me always. Though she is physically gone, her love and the lessons she taught me thru words and by example, stay with me. During her life, I have strived to make her proud of me, not only because I love and respect her, but mostly because I admire her above all others. To me, she is always strong, always loving, always hard-working and always loyal. No one's approval meant more. Now that Lola Polly is gone, I hope to honor her memory by living my life in a way that reflects all that she has given to us. I am so very proud to be part of her legacy. She told me once how proud and happy she was of what we, her grandchildren had accomplished, and that "You all have a good life." Then she asked me, "Can you believe all of you came from a simple girl that lived on a small island?" Yes Lola, I can."