Monday, June 30, 2008

tornado weather.

I've been thinking about and writing about tornadoes. The way they rip through towns, families, walls, and destroy things in their paths. They rip up fences and tear down dollhouses, uproot gardens and smash bedrooms, kill pets and wound children and crush long-built American Dreams.

And now I'm thinking about the more subtle tornadoes, the ones that simmer and build over time, get under our skin and deep into our hearts, and before we know it we're left with debris, wreckage, pure destruction. We're left with overturned lamps, slashed sofas, shattered mirrors. It's hard to walk and find our way back to the doorways, to someone's warm and safe hands. I feel like these tornadoes are the ones to look out for -- who knew we were stitching up disaster with each kiss, each touch, each trusting thought and idea given to someone, all along not aware they held those emotional knives behind their backs? And, maybe scariest of all, is when the tornado settles, and you see the knife, and then you realize the mirror wasn't shattered after all -- you're staring right into it. Those other shadows are nothing compared to the power in your own hands.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


something i've gotten better at lately

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

mood of the day.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ma Buck & the Vampire Gang

Here's the new video for the group Kleveland. It was filmed in part -- I'm not kidding -- in the home on San Raphael that Mom just finished remodeling. The exterior shots and inside staircase and hallway are ALL about Janice Adele. The guy in the video playing bass is Allen, Mom's next door neighbor, and the guy getting eaten by the vampires is named Nathaniel. Oh, and the punk-haired vamp is named Malice in real life.

Enjoy this love story -- Kleveland's "You're Not Sorry":

mood of the moment.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Stephanie Treece II

....Been thinking about my last blog post, and how in some ways Stephanie reminds me of Laurie Strode. For the uninitiated, Laurie Strode is the heroine in John Carpenter's Halloween, definitely one of the best horror films of all time. Laurie was full of intelligence and compassion, big fuzzy sweaters and pumpkin-carving abilities. Think Felicity -- but wielding a butcher knife to ward off psycho maniacs. She protected Tommy and Lindsey from Michael Myers -- The Boogeyman, The Shape -- and because of when Halloween was released (1978) and when I first saw it (early to mid '80s) I can't help but see Stephanie & Laurie in scratchy film reels, scraping autumn leaf imagery, haunted and nostalgic soundtracks. I remember walking back to school, with my other students and nun/teacher, and Stephanie had been at the laundromat, and was carrying this plastic bin of clothes next to me as she bopped and smiled -- so reminiscent of Laurie in her first scene of Halloween, when she's holding a pumpkin, chatting and laughing and spooking with Tommy past the old, decrepit Myers home. Stephanie worked at a Slushy/Slurpee shop, played hide-and-seek with Jordan, Aaron, and me, gave my mom hugs when Mom told her about the divorce.

Stephanie Treece -- I hope you're well. Maybe you're still living in Lemont, Illinois? Maybe you're married with a new last name, with children who -- gosh! -- probably have their own babysitter now! I send you love and gratitude, and the warmest of wishes, always.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Stephanie Treece

Last night I dreamt Mom, B. Rugone, and I went to a political rally in some half indoor, half outdoor artsy, funky shopping mall that reminded me of a Pike's Market and Gurnee Mills lovechild. We split up at one point, wandered around, and when Mom found me she yelled, "I just saw Stephanie Treece! She's here! She looks great!"

Stephanie Treece was my brothers and my babysitter when we were kids -- she was always fun, sweet, cute, and full of energy. She had lots of love for our family: we got my cat Spot from her; she'd go with us to Michigan sometimes and "babysit" while my parents had nights out on the town in Saugatuck; during the divorce, she was there for us through and through. Earlier this week, I'd told William a touch about Stephanie -- we were having a we-love-our-pets-here's-their-history discussion -- and I'm sure Stephanie got snuggled in a spot in my subconscious, and she'd been there for a couple days now.

In my dream, I ended up finding Stephanie, and she even recognized me first, and we hugged as she pushing her shopping cart out of the way. She wore an adorable sweater, and a cute hat that would make Debbie Gibson proud. And then....turns out she was one singer of many for the political "intermission" and she busted a move onto the stage in front of everyone! I'd describe her performance as very Imogen Heap-esque....she had that same raspy, electronic voice....she used two keyboards, her red hair was flying, and yes, there were Tori elements to her performance. Still, there was just something very "Stephanie" about the whole thing -- like my Dream State took some artists I loved and took my memories of Stephanie and combined them into a unique, powerful experience. I wish I could remember the song she played; I swear, it was an original Dream Song! Afterwards, Mom and I went to the right of the stage, where there were all these dolls in those big cardboard boxes with the plastic see-through fronts so you could see which doll you want. They were Band Dolls of all the performers; we found Stephanie's and looked at all the cool writing and artwork on the sides of the boxes and smiled.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Flavors of Entanglement, Enlightenment of Flavors, and Favoring this 13th Friday

Alanis Morissette's new album has been filling me up with joy and release, power and anger and venting strategies. From the moment I hit "play" on my Walkman on Tuesday, I've been in awe of what may be my favorite album of hers to date. It's like Alanis has taken the strong points of all her previous albums and combined them into one 46 minute cathartic rush of energy & emotion. I'm impressed. And addicted. And obsessed with it.

I went on a power-walk yesterday, and near Killingsworth & 33rd I decided to cross through the park and up by where the old school was torn down a few months ago. There's a patchy field of sad trees, blotchy grass, open space....During Alanis' "In Praise of the Vulnerable Man", I just started dancing in the field! It was one of those moments where the world felt right and I felt like everyone could hear the music playing as our lovely global soundtrack. I just danced and jumped and writhed and watched a plane shoot by overhead, watched the half moon as it hovered in the blue, uncloudy sky. Watched my shadow pump its fists and sway its hips and bop its head. Then I headed home, and right as I started up the steps, I looked behind me and saw a family of four -- two young parents, their young son and daughter, probably around three years old. The girl held open her arms and ran toward her brother, stopped on the sidewalk, her hair swinging in front of her face. The brother ran up to her -- and knocked too hard into her and she fell down on the sidewalk and grabbed her knee and started crying....The mom and dad started reprimanding their son -- I happened to be pulling off my headphones so I could head inside -- and they helped their daughter up off the ground. I got snapped back, another coil of truth etching some kind of emotional lightening. And then though the girl was crying, and the boy was apologizing, there was in that moment the same kind of raw Life Pulse that I experienced as I danced in the field.

Settled in for the night with Ollie and Luna on the couch, and some new experimentation with ice cream. Yes, it's finally happened -- I bought mint chocolate chip. For whatever reason, I've never been a big fan (sorry, Kevin!), but the sun was out and my body felt warm and summer had creeped in mid-day with a lovely vengeance. Mint chocolate chip was just screaming my name for a refreshing change of pace. I'm glad I listened.

Grandma Lilly passed away two weeks ago at age 99. She was my last living grandparent, and in some ways her death has hit me the hardest -- even though, in some ways, I'd found peace with our more distant relationship of the past several years. Spoke with Chris, my father, a couple times, the last of those times being this past Monday night. I wanted to check in with him, make sure he was doing okay after the wake and funeral. He'd offered to fly my brothers and me out for the service, but as a unit we decided to honor Grandma in our own ways, our own spiritualities, our own homes. It would have been hard for us to be around many of the relatives, their judgments. Chris asked if we could visit sometime soon; I could fly to Detroit or Chicago, or he could fly out here. I told him that -- while we never know what the future holds, emotionally, and while my perspectives and feelings and forgivenesses have deepened over the past few years -- I don't feel a need at this point in my life to spend time with him. That I wish him well, wish him health and kindness, but I don't want to see him.

Grandma Lilly....Dad....finishing teaching at AiPD for many other things....My mind is swirling, so much of it with with strength and power and love, and Life so often feels like we're dancing in fields either literally or figuratively, and sometimes we're alone, and sometimes we have someone to dance with, and sometimes it's okay to be awkward and vulnerable as strangers walk by and look and probably think, "Is he trippin'?"

Happy Friday the 13th. I'll be celebrating the holiday this evening by going to see M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening. Gosh. I can't wait! And I dedicate this day to Mom and our saging of San Raphael, and I also dedicate it to Dawn, who has the sexiest grace on the planet, and who knows what it's like to strip away barbwire from one's heart.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Unicorns ARE real, people!

Check it out:

shadow chalk drawings.

Was walking to the Concordia Coffeehouse yesterday to grade papers, and I paused at this square metal newspaper stand hovering next to a bike rack -- someone had taken blue chalk (on a previous, sunny day) and etched drawings/outlines where their shadows had fallen, probably near dusk. It seemed haunting and fitting at the moment to observe the chalk drawings under a gray, overcast sky, and to still "get" where they came from, and to appreciate the quirky, oddball beauty of it all.

"Hey Liv? I know we star together in 'The Strangers', and you're beautiful and all, but Nathan's on his way over. Do you mind moving over?"

beautiful tidbits.

Excerpts from Rob Brezny's Pronoia:

"With every dawn, when first light penetrates the sea, many seahorse
colonies perform a dance to the sun."

"Each of the 50 trillion cells in your body can be considered a sentient
being in its own right, and they all act together as a community,
performing an ongoing act of prodigious collaboration."

"....biologists have proved that with each breath, you take
into your body 10 sextillion atoms, and—owing to the wind's ceaseless
circulation—over a year's time you have intimate relations with oxygen
molecules that have been exhaled by everyone who has ever lived,
including Joan of Arc, Gengis Khan, Cleopatra, and Malcolm X."

Saturday, June 07, 2008

beautiful music video.

Check out Charlotte Martin's cover of Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town. The ending is the best part: