Mar. 25th, 2009 | 06:46 pm
...or, the power of now
Monday I took the 33 to work. I like taking the 33 bus because I get to pass through the Castro (my little gay Disneyland) and into the Haight. From Clayton and Haight I take a walk past the Panhandle and to work. I love smelling the eucyluptus leaves and seeing the green grass of the Panhandle.
Along the 33, I try to look at the shapes and colors that frame these little mental Poloroids of the city in my head. But it all gets a little too much and then I have to think about what I will do next when I get off the bus, or what I'll accomplish at work. Sometimes, I'll get too anxious and then, I'll start thinking about what happened just a while ago--how that stupid person sat with a grocery bag nudged up against my side.
--of course, no one is stupid, but part of me is labeling it as such. Part of me calls people stupid and is so negative. But there's this real part of me that does nothing like that. It is even and fair--
At any rate, there is too much thought innundating this head of mind. Thinking overwhelms me and so I just said to myself:
Try to just think about this moment. Be here in this time and space. Of course I laugh at myself. I protest, "I can't" and then I start thinking about yesterday. I pull myself back to now: "okay, the house is pretty, what a lovely building." I think.
"No, that's not it. The house is not pretty, there should be no placing a word on it. Just say: the house is white and it contrasts against the blue sky in such a way that everything is bright." That made it pretty really. But the trick was not to color it pretty or say it was good--or bad. or stupid. Just divorcing myself from labels is the thing I am trying to get away from.
And, putting myself in this state of mind brought tears to my face. Yes, on the freaking bus. (There I go labeling things again.)
It was too much to hold. Maybe like that scene (monolouge) in "American Beauty," where the boy is videotaping a flying grocery bag? I experience that too much. Grocery bags. (Yep, they are still around even though San Francisco has placed an ordinance against them). Little things I see are too much. Make me wanna cry because I guess because life is too overwhelming sometimes.
I've been frequently told: focus on the now, forget about the past, don't fret too far into the future. But I say now that the past is very familiar and I'm not afraid of it. The future I like thinking about. It gives me hope. It makes me want for things. Wanting for things are okay--and I don't care if it goes against a lot of principles of Buddhism. To want creates suffering, I've experienced and read. But sometimes it's not so. There is balance to all this.
As futile as it was, just trying to be present in the moment allowed me to be too aware. I felt afraid, angry, hopeless and happy all at the same time in now. So, to avert this--because I couldn't take it--I read letters on signs. I read numbers and letters off of license plates: 6FED*92, or 3K8*77, 5V*E436...if a car hit the bus, I'd be able to remember the license plate number.
This was all I could do. Staying in the now in this was doable.
But, this whole business of now is too powerful--maybe a little overrated. It's great for people who are ready for it, but for a person like me, now is not the time.
Mar. 17th, 2009 | 02:57 pm
...and where in the world did these other fans come from???
Besides going with Eileen, Sarah and Bill (who are the best people to go to a concert with) I was faced with consternation as I witnessed a sampling of Chrissie Hynde's fan base: A man with a long soul patch (the kind you'd see in the 90s); these two women (one was a tall Amazon-ish with Sarah Palin hair) who cut in front of a bunch of people at the last minute (of course), a muscle man with long curly hair and receding hairline, a man (about 6'2" standing in front of everyone) with a polo shirt fit for a 65 year old, and yet another buff guy who dances with his arms up--and does the spirit fingers, and lastly, a man with a sideshow circus mustache who wore a black, faded polo with crumbs and oil stains on it.
-- And yes, even in the dark, my astute eyes noticed the crumbs and oil stains on his faded polo shirt. ---
Maybe this is all I really need to report on this entry? Oh, and the annoying, “WE LOVE YOU CHRISSIE!!!” I heard. I mean, it’s really nice to hear that they love her and all, but I didn’t think these people really were sincere about it. Which is why I think I was annoyed.
Since it was the last night of her tour, I recommend you see her when she tours again. You’ll never see such a rock star. She’s got ultra stage presence and she sounds just like them CDs we got of her. Wooo wee! Karen O has nothing on her. Especially the cool boots she wore. Her new bassist and guitarist do good and of course Martin Chambers is as mutton chopped as ever (but now with gray mutton chops…) Was it really him?
Random stuff: My boss’ mom were pals in high school; she went to Café Gratitude that Sunday which is right around the block from where I live (should have popped in); lives back in Ohio.
Here were some songs they played: Day After Day, Talk of the Town, Message of Love, Stop Your Sobbing, Precious, Brass in Pocket, Chain Gang, Mystery Achievement and some others I forgot the names of...…lastly: when I said out loud to myself, “God, she has great legs!” This man in front of me turned to me and said, “Oh hell yeahh.”
Jan. 22nd, 2009 | 07:24 pm
I just "discovered" this by reading the paper. Would you believe it?
I was reading up on the peanut butter/salmonella recalls and along came the URL to follow in the article. Just for your reference it was: tinyurl.com/8s3mwr which is a searchable database of recalled peanut products. Check it out.
Jan. 8th, 2009 | 11:30 am
Listening to: Nothing.
Drinking: I need to drink some water
Wearing: God, I need a new wardrobe
I got an e-mail from my father and in his last sentence he wrote, "a pencil would be no good if it didn't have an eraser on it." I'm still trying to understand what he meant, but earlier in the note, he talked about being allowed to have bad thoughts. Okay, this I get. So, getting back to the pencil comment, what I am thinking is that the eraser erases mistakes (edits). And the pencil writes and says whatever it needs to say on paper. And, what good is being able to say whatever you want to say without a little editing (or checking)?
Something for me to ponder.
Anyhow, I've cleaned up the letter (omitting our e-mail addresses and such) and right below my response to his e-mail (which is below mine):
Sent: Thursday, January 8th, 2009 11:45 AM
How are you and Mommy doing?
So, what I think you're saying is that a person should be allowed to have bad thoughts. Got it! And, not all thoughts of people are good. Then I think you ask, "Why does the world have to know your bad thoughts--and why is it their business that we think?" Good to remember, Dad. Are you channeling my worries about what other people think of me? You must be psychic. Because (lately) I sometimes worry about whether people like me or think bad of me...
But I will always remember this phrase: "A pencil would be no good if it didn't have a eraser on it." I don't know why I giggled so much reading that, but thank you for making my day.
Sent: Saturday, January 03, 2009 9:39 PM
Subject: That is what rong
> A person should be aloid to Have bad thoughts not all the thougth of people are good wayn does the world Have to know your Bad thoughts and way is it there bissness what we think A pencel would be know good if it did not have a eraser on it.
Dec. 8th, 2008 | 09:09 pm
...little did I know that there'd be a loop-back to my little blog entry, but here it is: http://www.mydreamisdeadbutimnot.com/blo
Ha! And there is me trying to read without my glasses in the dark with sunglasses on. No wonder my eyebrows are furrowed. But, a lovely event. Everyone I know should have gone.
Dec. 6th, 2008 | 07:03 pm
The Chapel of Chimes was cool and serene when I walked in. Around the front door I noticed a friend of Mary's setting up a table with the funeral program and some other items. A few men were walking around and I barely knew anyone there.
I sat in a corner with palm fronds around me and thus created a sort of backdrop. It's hard for me to look like I'm engaged in something when really I'm not. Just like it's hard to just sit there and do nothing. Society asks somehow that you do something when alone. Which in turn prompted me to play "Mysterious Funeral Parlour Lady" with a costume replete with a smart black skirt with small flourish of ruffles, a blousy turtleneck sweater with a scarf over head and giant, black owl-rimmed sunglasses to top it off. Well, some black, leather Isotoner gloves would have been perfect (for my frozen fingers) but...
I had been meaning to buy Mary's book because Eileen read an edit version of it and we don't have it on our bookshelf. There I sat: reading the first three chapters of the book in the chapel as people got together and hob-nobbed. I couldn't read what I was reading because I'm severely near-sighted (and the sunglasses got in the way) so I held the book up close to my nose. I hope I didn't look like a prop for I was actually reading it--taking everything in. Which is why I'm squinting:
Photo by Abeer Hoque
The one page that got my attention was this dialogue Mary has with her sister and they are talking about her horoscope and it says something to the liking of "write 'fini' to what's not working," on page 16. Hmm. Say goodbye to what's not working and you got Mary's funeral. She was even a subcriber to Fini Magazine before this funeral.
A thing like "Family Plots: Love, Death and Tax Evasion," is far better than the trade paperback crap that's out there. I come across several books that stink from the first sentence on. What were these publishers thinking?
Come to think, what was any publisher thinking about rejecting Alex Haley's "Roots?" It got rejected 200 times. I somehow remember that the most when the officiant gave her sermon/eulogy and I think I'll remember that each time I feel rejected: you just have to keep trying--in a different way. It's like when astronauts scrub a mission. They pull everything off of schedule and start all over again. They learn from their failed missions and think of new strategy. If they didn't, there'd possibly be a disaster.
Dec. 3rd, 2008 | 11:11 am
Okay, this picture was taken a couple of weeks ago. It's a picture (it's so blurry because my cell camera sucks) of a woman demurely posing--and was gracious enough to have her picture taken--who later talked about her work briefly. My little street in the Mission is filled with small wonders from the arrangement of trash that is left on the street, to the locals who look too terribly cool and to this little mural (the topic of today) I see on the side of a building not too far from where I live. It's almost like a public billboard outside of some apartment units. Such a private yet "public canvas" speaks volumes about our community--even though I don't think we have one given that there are not a lot of neighbors besides buildings under construction and art studios with not a lot of foot traffic save for Art Walk.
I managed to break out of my shyness and seize the opportunity to tell the artist of this mural how awesome she was to have that space and to use it for good use. The mural before the one you see now was (what I thought as) brilliant. From what I interpreted it conveyed (as this one does) how vulnerable immigrant children are and how they can fall into the wrong hands of the Immigration Department.
I haven't taken a current picture of her finished project but on the bottom of the new mural it says, "Don't be a snitch," and argues for sanctuary. I think a lot of Americans take their citizenship for granted because they are not forced to seek safety in another country due to harsh economic conditions, war, etc. Yes, we can go to Canada but no one would really bother us there. I also think we fail to see the human condition and come from this place of "right, wrong, illegal." And it should not be about legality or illegality, children need universal protection no matter what their citizenship is.
I won't disclose the artists' name. But, I will send her a link of this entry today. (Now, I'm only hoping that I can swing by to get her completed work).
Nov. 11th, 2008 | 09:49 am
...an imaginary conversation:
As you may all know, president elect Barak Obama visited the White House along with his "good wife" Michelle with a bewildered George Bush at the door.
George looked at the Obamas with graciousness and pride as he said to himself: "you're not supposed to move in yet!"
Obama then gave a hard pat on Bush's back as he led him back in.
Obama: "Mr. President, I can see that you haven't got the slightest clue as to why I am here today."
Bush: "You're tellin' me. Say, you ain't due for another two months or so."
Obama: "That's why I am here. Just so we're clear on things, I want to let you know that you're still the president and you still have a lot of work to do. I mean, we're still at war, people are still in prison in Guantanamo, and the auto industry is in great need of help. This all can't wait any longer. These matters can't wait 'till January."
Bush: "There's not a whole lot I can do. You see, I'm 'sposed to have a lame duck presidency. It's my presidential right. Now's the time for me to coast into the mists of history so that one day, I may be seen as highly as president Reagan."
Obama: "He wasn't such a hot president, Sir."
Bush: "The Gipper? Gawd, he was my hero."
Obama: "Heroes aside, I think we both can agree that even though he was a very partisan president, he did pave the way for some legislation that was inclusive of the Democratic Party."
Bush: "I'll say. What did he do again?"
Obama: "Didn't you graduate with a degree in History from Harvard? You should know--"
Bush: "Ol' Harvard. They do produce good presidents, don't they?"
Obama (muttering): "Some."
Obama: "Oh, you wouldn't understand. Anyhow, getting down to business--"
Bush: "Ain't you gonna move your mother-in-law in the upper White House attic? I mean, she'd be comfortable there."
They talked about Mr. Obama's mother-in-law and mother-in-laws in general for quite some time, until...
Obama: "How did we get on topic about Mrs. Robinson--oh, nevermind! Anyhow, you have a impressive office."
Bush: "Yep. And that's where yer buddy Ol' Bill, well, you know. The stain is still there. Removed it as best we could, but them infrared lights pick it up, if you know what I mean. Even with the new wall paper and stuff."
They also talked about Bush's Oval Office treasures and how Obama might get him some (how Bush pronounced) "memorabillya" of his own. Which then--at some point, Mr. Obama--looking at his watch:
Obama (to himself): I need a cigarette...
Obama: "President Bush--may I call you George?"
Bush: "You can call me Dubbaya."
Obama: "Okay, Mr. Bush, let's just say that I'm here to make this transition work and domestic stuff aside, I'm here to work with you on a few things so that I can take over the reins a bit smoother."
Bush: "That's another thing. You and that ol' lady of yours--and yer kids--gotta come over Crawford for some horseback ridin'."
Obama: "Sure, we'll put in on the calander for February 2010. Hopefully, the world won't go to hell in a handbasket."
Bush: "It already has."
The White House usher interrupts the meeting...
Usher: "Pardon me gentlemen, the women would like to join you for some tea."
Bush: "It woulda been a beer but it's a bit early in the day. I'll have some cookies, Rochon."
Obama: "Tea is fine."
Bush: "We'll good buddy. You got a big job ahead of you. But as for your presidency? Yer on your own."
Obama: "I suspected as much. 'Your on your own' seems to be the mantra of some Republicans."
Bush: "I take that back. If you ever need some consultin' on where to go when things get a little rough, there's an underground tunnel that leads to Narnia...kiddin'. You'll do fine."
Obama: "Thanks, Mr. President. It means a great deal. Now remember what we have ahead: two months of some solid work. I'm here to roll up my sleeves and get this ball rolling."
Bush: "Good thing you're going to work at this. I gotta a headache jus' thinkin' about it."
And this is where the conversation officially stopped for a little over an hour both men smiled at each other. Michelle greeted President Bush and Laura nodded quietly to her husband George. We can only wonder what went on after the Obamas left.
Nov. 6th, 2008 | 12:07 pm
I am thinking it in turn helped me run to the gym and hop on the treadmill even though I wore flip flops...
Later, as I got home to take out the dog I came back to read about it on the Internet. And, then--resolute in how little I could do--I wrote the following letter to the editor of the San Francisco Chronicle:
I've gone from calling my same-sex domestic partner to wife and I say it as openly and publicly as possible. I think I say it because I want everyone to know I'm a lesbian and that it's socially acceptable to be married. I have not cowered back into saying "my partner," in fear of upsetting my conservative friends and family.
When I volunteered for No on Prop 8 I knew I wasted time calling supporters for No. Instead, there could have been excessive ads in conservative areas to brainwash them or more rallies and protests at Mormon churches. Something far more radical. There could have even more ridiculous things like another measure on the ballot to confuse voters. Let‘s call it, "The Right of Marriage Act for Heterosexual Couples to Maintain Their Marriage Status," ensuring opposite sex couples inalienable, state constitution rights to marry---and, for gays to "sort of marry" but not give them a marriage license. It’s a keep us silent, keep us down initiative.
I acknowledge that homophobia is world wide and permeates socio-economically. I accept that my family (who have supported my marriage and orientation) would vote yes on it. I don’t have the energy anymore to pour money and time into campaigning for gay rights. There's too much opposition. There's not enough critical mass state-wide to create this sort of change. Not while people are threatened by homosexuality. There is small, incremental change though. The courageous thing I can do is be out as possible. Visibility means power and there's no going back now.
In defense of same-sex marriage,
Oct. 18th, 2008 | 08:01 pm
So, what would you self-score yourself as of today? I gave me a 70.
"The Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) is a numeric scale (0 through 100) used by mental health clinicians and doctors to rate the social, occupational and psychological functioning of adults. The scale is presented and described in the DSM-IV-TR on page 32. Children and adolescents under the age of 18 are evaluated on the Children’s Global Assessment Scale, or C-GAS."
91-100 Superior functioning in a wide range of activities, life's problems never seem to get out of hand, is sought out by others because of his or her many qualities. No symptoms.
81-90 Absent or minimal symptoms, good functioning in all areas, interested and involved in a wide range of activities, socially effective, generally satisfied with life, no more than everyday problems or concerns.
71-80 If symptoms are present they are transient and expectable reactions to psychosocial stresses; no more than slight impairment in social, occupational, or school functioning.
61-70 Some mild symptoms OR some difficulty in social, occupational, or school functioning, but generally functioning pretty well, has some meaningful interpersonal relationships.
51-60 Moderate symptoms OR any moderate difficulty in social, occupational, or school functioning.
41-50 Serious symptoms OR any serious impairment in social, occupational, or school functioning.
31-40 Some impairment in reality testing or communication OR major impairment in several areas, such as work or school, family relations, judgment, thinking, or mood.
21-30 Behavior is considerably influenced by delusions or hallucinations OR serious impairment in communications or judgment OR inability to function in all areas.
11-20 Some danger of hurting self or others OR occasionally fails to maintain minimal personal hygiene OR gross impairment in communication.
1-10 Persistent danger of severely hurting self or others OR persistent inability to maintain minimum personal hygiene OR serious suicidal act with clear expectation of death.
0 Not enough information available to provide GAF."