Sunday, May 31, 2009

Full Life, Full Cup

How dare I even complain? I haven't even enough worry to fill a thimble, when you compare to all that I am given.

Sparkly, shiny Shavuot! How you pull at my heart. What a blessing to find you, hidden here amongst the holidays, celebrations and fasts. Ticking of time and passing of signs... I always did miss you. Maybe I wasn't ready. Like the newly-freed slaves weren't ready.

I woke up this morning hearing Cantor Bortnick's voice in my head, from the Shirei Shabbat on Friday night. I wasn't planning on going, having just been there in the morning for Shavuot services. But I had had enough of work and bolted at quarter after five. "Heal us and we shall be healed. Save us and we shall be saved." The first lines of the prayer for -- you guessed it -- healing, of body and mind. It's one I stutteringly recorded months ago for a friend in Hebrew. I've been saying it a lot recently over my ankle. In English and in the Cantor's unique timbre it sounds even better.

I had decided on Friday that I'd check out a different synagogue on Saturday morning. Having just heard the Women of the Bible concert with the four Reform Cantors (all female) from the area, I had a little more information in my pocket about where to go. I intended to go to Cantor Boxt's Temple Emanuel, but they weren't having services. So I went to Northern Virginia (I know, crossing the river!) to Rodef Shalom. I still don't know what Rodef means. Yikes! I looked at the root which points to being chased or pursued. WTF?

Anyway, the building was magnificent, really. With a sort of woodsy, of the earth feel... lots of giant wood beams and plenty of glass. They have a gift shop that makes WHC's look like an airport kiosk. Their library looks very municipal, but they've got videos and it looks like much cooler stuff in it. (Why did I not know Frida Kahlo was Jewish?) Big reception hall with the requisite dude setting up tables. A small group was meeting in the library before services, clearly a Torah study group which wasn't advertised on the website. They also use the NEW Reform prayerbook which frankly is reason enough for me to go. I'd really like to get more familiar with that. They were more casual than WHC in some ways, and more formal in others. I can see that they'd be a big competitor, if that's possible... and I'm sure it is. One of the largest congregations with a female Senior Rabbi. Excellent Cantor, but Bortnick has the voice that sounds like home.

Plenty of "wow" moments as I looked around this synagogue. A handful of ho-hums, and at least one "huh?" moment. Overall I just really enjoy sampling other congregations, seeing how they do things.

Okay so that's morning. Afternoon I putz around at home... I eat at home not out, because I know later I'll be going out to see Terminator and money will surely be spent then. I nap. I wake, and putz and drive and greet and roll some dice then we get on our way. Movie -- ticket issues and minor anxiousness but we settle down front long before the actual movie starts. Totally excellent ride, this movie. Had me shrieking like the girly girl I am. Big explosions. Wicked machines. What more could you want from the big screen, when you don't really want to think too hard?

Spontaneous dinner at a nearby bizarre Asian buffet: shellfish galore, weird desserty things, California rolls, and everything else you can think of.

You know? It's just one good thing after another. My cup, surely, overflows.

And yet, wisps of sadness cloud my eyes. Why? Who knows. Projecting, probably. Investigating, this hole in my ankle, and elsewhere. Tiny missing parts. I wonder about the Source of Hole Fullfillment and I wonder.

I know, I know my lot is full of grace. Let me not pretend that this life is not truly easy, even with its complications. Life must have texture, yes? Careful not to slice yourself on it.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Did You Hear It?

Okay, so it's a weird little esoteric holiday. I can dig that. If you wanna put it to the side and say, "Weird little esoteric, I'll wink at you and keep walking" that's no problem for me. Honestly I usually miss it. I'm usually in some sort of state of major fluxx right now, wondering which way is up. This year I was resolute in wanting to observe Shavuot. It was the red-headed step-child of Jewish holidays, always forgotten.

I planned on going to the Adas Israel synogogue, where Tikkun Leil Shabbat (TLS) and Adas (and I don't know who else) were going to do the all-night study session. It started at 9 and I shut my eyes at 7, wanting to catch a cat-nap before the long hours. Four hours later I woke up. Nice. I do that. Should've known better.

Okay, fine. I've done holidays solo before. Gives me the time and space to really bury my head in texts, and think and think and think.

I woke up to a thunderstorm. Gentle thunder, not frightening. I read just a moment ago of a mystical tradition that says the skies open up during this night for a brief instant and at that very moment G-d will favorably answer any prayer. Then I thought, crap, I missed it.

Then I laughed.

I wonder if it makes a difference to anyone else out there to know that for all my seriousness, for all my potentially apparent religious devotion, there is a mental divide where I can reflect on the mysticism with cynicism. I am the shrugging new high priest, letting the people make a Golden Calf while Moses is off communing with G-d.

Then I get all devout and shit again.

I will do and I will listen. Then I'll question and pull it apart and buck Your authority. I'll get my heart crushed and I'll shake my fist at the sky and scream "WHY?" I might get mad and walk away, but I'll be back. That's pretty much how it works with me and You. It's what makes it real, and not just me going through the motions, either on the devout end or on the questioning end.

Know what I mean?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Totally too late to make any sense but...

She wonders, what kind of crackery are we? We who won't bow and scrape? We who won't accomodate?

What kind of lackluster performance is this? For whom do you play at penitence?

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Friday, May 15, 2009

want wanting wanted

Oh I try, I do. I try not to want. I try not to give in to the delicious wanting of skin, of lips. I try not to want attention. Alas! I should better try not to breathe.

I try to direct my desires, to those for whom it is appropriate, warrented, motivated. These rules narrow my options significantly. Again, I fail at self control, wanting what I cannot have, wishing for what will never be, for what shouldn't be. Shouldn't. It shouldn't work and indeed it shall not.

Over, done, end of story, yes? Then stop, by G-d, stop yourself. Change your mind, for once for good and get on with it! Get on with living with life... yes yes yes, it's not so interesting over here where all the people are made of wood and going through the motions like an Old Navy mannequin. That won't help you with your looking on and such.

No, first do your homework. Like work there's an inbox full of names you don't know and links leading you through the process with your hands firmly tied behind your back. This guided communication provides safety in anonymity, because as we all know, I am much more comfortable being naked and exposed online above all. No, this way they don't know the extent of oddness peering back at them through the screen. And they won't remember me at all when I close the match, saying "distance too great", "I don't feel chemistry" or quite simply "other". I won't think less of them as they line up to tell me: no, no, no.

Oh! That's it! This is a lesson in No. Must be the year for NOT getting what I want. Perhaps I've had it easy up until now, unappreciative of how easily a wanton woman falls into my lap and writhes so rigorously. I'm a big fan of the rigor, but only when not accompanied by necrosis. Stiffening, in general, denoting an excitement, a presence, a towering "hello! I'm here" and green flag waving.

I don't consider the baggage, because of my own activities it is less clear. I have forgotten already the crazed, cuisine-laced relapse that follows a fine fucking. I missed the opportunity to truly examine this behavior before. I almost forgot the wincing pinch, the pressing down and subtle force required to get me where I need to go. I forgot I was ashamed. I forgot I was twisted and broken and in need of repair.

What shall I do if I should find a fair face to fall in love with? Shall I unplug my psyche and pretend that it works? Shall I uncover the lumps and bumps beneath the super-hero cape? Somewhere inbetween all-important and essentially ignorable I'll sit, a seven-year-old in a white t-shirt tank top not knowing male from female but knowing force and fear.

I can take my history with me, carry it like a cross and let it sink me to the bottom of the river. I could let it sink, to settle in the muck, but I'll have to remember this bend of the river and point to it on my way. Remember to forget the name of Amalek. Never forget how you were hurt. Now forget about it so that it won't keep you down.

I am the superbowl quarterback who must have a short memory. I am the historian who knows how it played out before. All the knowledge. None of the fear. May this be Your will.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My Life the Radio Show, on the Internet.

I had this thought on the way home, as I often do. Driving and thinking like I do. The thought was this: I've been effing broadcasting myself my whole flippin' life.

I have. Radio in college, at KDIC: the most phallic call letters on the planet and they were mine. I was relentless with Wimmin's Music and Fun Dyke Tunes. It was awesome fun. Theater in high school. Cheesy little publication we did in middle school. Now I tweet. I am a content generator for Facebook. I cannot stop.

I slow down, sure. I have instituted periods of enforced quietness. Problem is, eventually I do have something to say. Problem? For nay-sayers, for folks who feel like I put too much out there, for folks who just wish I'd be a little bit different, in this one little way.

Everyone's got an opinion. Sometimes it's hard for me to form one. Sometimes it's coming out of my mouth before the whole story is told. A little bit of age and a couple of lovely people giving honest feedback, and I know that I need to shut up and listen from time to time. I practice. I fear that I err too much on the side of "make yourself small"... and I can only shrink myself for so long. Eventually the real me will bust out in some expletive explosion or just a burp and that'll be the end of the honeymoon.

Please reference my doormat-asshole dial for a visual understanding of my dilemma.

Balance balance. That bitch always comes back.

Dear Blog, I miss you when I'm gone. I know it's me. I know it's in my head. I've got so frickin' much to say, but it comes at me in clumps and lumps and then I get distracted. There's this life thing, you know, the one that keeps generating all this content, and trying to wrap my arms around that. Well... life is hard, but it's all the same.

Let's remind each other to remind each other that bitching is fine, as long as we can look up sometimes too.

I have talked a lot in the past, to anyone who'll listen, about finding comfort, even divinity, in the small things. Water running over fingers. Birds singing their hearts out. An amazing sky, like a fiery divine canvas.

I gotta tell you. I'm ready for some effing large scale happiness. I'm not trying to be Miss Too Big for Her Britches. I'm just saying. If I can thread this needle, then I should be able to stitch this together. I think I'm gonna need help. I'm pretty sure that's the title of the next lesson coming up: How to Ask for Help from Others.

God I SUCK at this lesson. What is this, the fourth time through? Muther. At least.

I'm ready for the big picture. I'm ready to try this out. I'll be honest and an asshole and loving all at the same time. Respect. Give respect. Focus. Be real. Be yourself, whatever the fuck that is at the moment. Steel yourself, then relax.

Upright? Yes. Steady as she goes then, love.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


I'm listening to my cat, Milkshake, make a cat call. It really is like a telephone call. Definitely a question, 'cause it goes up in tone at the end. She's looking, intently, but not like some "I want to eat that" noise. "Meow? ... Meow? ... Meow?" She cocks her ear. Wonder if anybody picked up.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Really I just want to go to bed. Like an hour ago. But I had to finish the super freaky SVU with Swoosie Kurtz playing this nutzo judge. And reminding us all that there's no shame in growing old, because facelifts alter our countenance and make it impossible to properly enunciate. Lips should be able to come together. Just sayin'.

For weeks I've been thinking about you, Blog. Thinking about how I've neglected you. Sure, I crashed my bike. Sure, I've lived the last four weeks with at least one leg elevated. I've been busy. Work has been kicking my ass. Kicking. My ass. And when I get up to get going it lays me out again. And I get up. And boom, again. Seriously. It's been weeks since I've gone without a major fuckup. You know, I'm resilient, but this? Fuck. Fuck me, man. Fuck me? Fuck you!

And that's pretty much where I'm at now: Fuck you. I'm out of steam and have two more days to pull through. I'm behind STILL at work, and not working at this moment right now, as I should be. My body is... being mortal and shit. Fucking irritating. I know, I know, it's doing what it can. I should be nice to my body, since I treated it like shit for decades. My love life consists of an online, overly-chaperoned quiz application and excessive visual hunting ("damn, she's gorgeous, ring check... married. fuck.") Like I would actually speak to anyone.

Mother's day is coming up, and I don't want to harsh anyone's potential happiness on that day so I'll say this here and now: Dear Mom: You were supposed to help, not hurt. Fuck you.

Okay so I can check that off my list of things to do.

One year, when I was in junior high, or high school maybe, I bought the recently released in paperback "Mommie Dearest" for her for mother's day. I had no idea what the book was about. I was getting a gift because she said she'd take my birthday present back if I didn't get her something. Maybe reading the back of the book would've alerted me to the fact that this was not an appropriate, dutiful gift. I was stupidly bold and daring... without meaning to be. Her reaction? An astonishing muted retreat. What was she gonna do anyway, beat me? HA! Awesomeness.

Bold. Bold and brash. And stupid.

Not much has changed really. I get by on luck and love, and I have had plenty of both. I love and luck comes to me. And when I'm lucky, I get love. I'm extra bold and brash at this moment because I have been SUPREMELY energized and fortified by the word knitting of the best poet I know. To me, for me, beautiful delicacies of syllables images blessings, wrapped up in love. I am momentarily invincible. As a result I can say anything.

I consider the Blog, the open letter to anyone who'll read it. It's a shouting in the darkness, to be sure. One sits on this side, tippity-typing and never really knowing. It's a love letter, sometimes. Multidirectional. I consider much of my writing as a conversation with G-d, you know, giving the low-down, taking stock of what's what and where, and putting in a couple of requests for this or that. I don't ask for much or very often. When I do, it's often in writing.

I count the number of sentences that start with "I" and I wonder what Gramma would do to fix that. She always just left it off and started the sentence like normal. You would assume the "I" was there. Not sure it would work here. Thinking it'll sound a lot like Tweetering or status updating. No, no. I should put myself in the picture. After all, if I am not for myself, who will be?

No, yes, I will put myself in the picture. I will not hide and I will not be hidden. I won't hide myself from you, as I've done recently. My brain bubbles over with ideas and thoughts and then I arrive at work and can't capture it. It was in the deep winter that I tossed away any concern and spent hours at work not working but writing. I was wide open and pouring it out. That changes. And changes again. You may wonder how it is that I could ever hide, an elephant behind a birch. And of course, here, on the screen, in pixels first then letters, I am all brash and bold. Naked always. Exposed, but only in pieces.

I know. I know it's not about me but about the connections, person to person. We crave it and shun simultaneously. Welcome to the wire; balance well.

Now I am tired. Tired of wobbling back and forth, unable to maintain balance. Falling off of writing, falling into the brain-suck of TV. Falling off Facebook, unable to keep up. Dropping balls like rain. Some juggler I am. Weary, I am. But I just got this safe place to curl up in, sent to me in pixels and letters. Fortify, regenerate, rest, she said, safely. No harm will come to me here. Thumb pillow, here I come.