Wednesday, January 27, 2010

They say that one of the Mars rovers is stuck in the sand now, two wheels broken, digging itself in deeper each time it tries to heave itself out. From down here on Earth the people in charge are going to try to rock the poor stationary thing into a better position for getting sun into its solar panels, and then it will hibernate. If they can wake it back up again come summer it might tell us whether Mars is filled with iron or puppies or if it sloshes while it orbits, but until then it will sit there stranded and motionless on what sounds like a relatively hostile patch of sand. In the meantime its twin will continue to trundle across the land on the other side of the planet.

Late one of these nights, lit only by streetlights or the glow in a dim bar or the brief flashes of passing cars, I might tell you the story about how the stranded Mars rover met the spacebat, how the bat rested its tired leather hands on the sleeping metal shell and how, come summer, they both found a friend.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Unsurprisingly, I talked myself into making a list. Here are a whole mess of things that I want to do, off the top of my head. Let's get to work on some of these. Because you know? I do some pretty fun things, but it feels like bragging to talk about it. Not bragging if it's part of the list, though.

1. Tango in Argentia | 2. Eat brains | 3. Feed a baby giraffe | 4. Buy a dresser that doesn't require assembly | 5. Take a trapeze lesson | 6. Swim with bioluminescent plankton in Puerto Rico | 7. See the Galapagos | 8. Have a bulldog | 9. Spend a month in Tuscany | 10. Learn how to make small talk | 11. Know enough French to have a conversation in France | 12. See hot lava | 13. Visit the Zeus Cave on Crete | 14. See the Sedlec Ossuary in the Czech Republic | 15. Visit all 50 states (31/50, so far) | 16. Go to Mexico | 17. Dig clams on a coast | 18. Learn to whistle | 19. Get married | 20. Have a family | 21. Own a lake house or someplace in the country for vacations | 22. Have a portrait taken | 23. Get another apple tree so Herbie will be able to produce fruit | 24. Go zip lining | 25. Make baby blankets for pregnant friends | 26. Have a date for New Years Eve | 27. Eat lobster from Maine in Maine | 28. Perfect a signature dish for dinner parties | 29. Finish the last four books of "In Search of Lost Time" | 30. Switch my lightbulbs to CFLs | 31. Clean out the filing cabinet | 32. Stick packets of flower seeds in the pockets of clothes in stores | 33. Learn to take compliments gracefully | 34. Visit Spain | 35. Find a job that lets me travel and help people | 36. Look at space through a very big telescope | 37. Skinny dip near a waterfall | 38. Throw another surprise party | 39. Have a picnic at Point No Point | 40. Go fishing | 41. Learn to drive a stick shift | 42. Visit City Lights bookstore | 43. Ride a hot air balloon | 44. See a moose not in a zoo | 45. Make more of my wardrobe than I buy | 46. Ride a camel not in a zoo | 47. Get a drink from a swim up bar | 48. Have a fancy day at a spa | 49. Ride a donkey at the Grand Canyon | 50. Finish grad school | 51. Find a pair of jeans that fit perfectly, and then buy several of them | 52. Visit the Smithsonian | 53. See the noble rhinoceros not in a zoo | 54. Visit Yosemite | 55. Compliment more people sincerely and specifically | 56. Stop biting my nails | 57. Have a whole room just for books | 58. Learn to make my own stationary | 59. Send someone to college who otherwise wouldn't be able to go | 60. Drink champagne in France | 61. Go to Lake Vanda in Antarctica | 62. Get my worm box back in working order | 63. Eat at Tilth | 64. Learn how to alter clothes | 65. Learn to play the pedal steel | 66. Visit Thailand | 67. Sit in a hot spring | 68. Start volunteering again | 69. Go in a cave | 70. Get up the first time my alarm goes off consistently | 71. Be able to do at least one pull up | 72. Write love notes | 73. Ride the Orient Express | 74. Visit Mongolia | 75. Play tambourine in a band | 76. Make cheese | 77. Grow enough tomatoes to be able to can some | 78. Pay off student loans | 79. See a reindeer in Iceland | 80. Create a recipe box or binder | 81. Discover a song that I can actually karaoke well | 82. Ride the Trans-Siberian express | 83. Learn to re-wire a lamp | 84. Have a romantic weekend at Treehouse Point | 85. Become a better public speaker | 86. Hold a pygmy marmoset | 87. Eat fresh crab on the Dungeness Spit | 88. Grow more edible flowers | 89. Make all my own cleaning products | 90. Saber off the top of a champagne bottle | 91. Learn to juggle | 92. Visit the Hermitage | 93. Sleep in a castle | 94. Go to the ballet at least once a year | 95. Not feel guilty spending bits of my savings on adventures | 96. Pick up a Sleepy Lizard in Australia | 97. Meet a pangolin. Tell it that its name is Nicodemus | 98. Be able to lift my carry-on over my head (aka, No More Sad Noodle Arms) | 99. High five some manner of non-human primate | 100. Go on an archaeological dig | 101. Learn to fold a fitted sheet | 102. Make a ship in a bottle without a kit | 103. Have one of granddad's old fishing maps framed. | 104. Visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine | 105. Live in Paris

Friday, January 22, 2010

Last summer, science told us that our bodies glow in the dark, shining out visible light that is 1,000 times less than what our eyes are equipped to see. But we already knew that, didn't we, that the spaces between our eyes and our brains are too large to see the things that might matter most. And here we are, moving through space, glowing without realizing it, wondering why plants are always flowering around us and why we have trouble getting to sleep at night.

I have been thinking about life lists, about making one, and looking at lists that other people have made. I'm pretty big on just doing things because they sound like fun, and it's encouraging to see that some of the adventures that I have had are things that appear on peoples' lists. I feel like I'm doing an ok job at life--I've taken a cross-country road trip, traveled in Italy alone and in China with friends, eaten a whole lot of escargot, learned how to sew--but maybe I should make a list. I like lists. (Here's a thing: sometime soon, once we get our scheduling together, I am going to take a trapeze class. This scares the bejeezus out of me, which is obviously why it has to be done.) There are a ton of things left to be done: tango in Argentina, eat brains (not human, you zombies), feed a baby giraffe, buy a dresser I don't have to assemble myself. Maybe a list is the thing.

There was a list, once. I made it in approximately high school and carried it around in my wallet until it fell apart. I don't remember what was on it...something about learning the violin, I think, and probably learning to draw. A bunch of things, written on lined notebook paper and folded three times. In college I typed up the fading list in a teensy font and carried that around for a while. It's probably somewhere. Not the most useful of lists.

I think about this a lot, is all, the ways we all spend the time between now and the end. All of us passing each other, shining softly, trying our best not to get swallowed up by all of this time we have left, hammering together stories out of scraps and wisps of moments and glances and adrenaline. Trying to fill the space between our eyes and brains with whatever we have at hand.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Lately I dream of natural disasters, of drowning, and while it would be nice to say that this is because I think too much about the people of Haiti, that's not really why. Tangible tragedy only haunts me when I'm awake--these are things that I can help with in tiny tiny ways, and sometimes all movement counts.

It's the rest of it that pulls in the tides. Everyone surrounded by palm trees and white sand, most of them miserable or dying or both, and nothing I can do about any of it.

I just wonder, is all. About the other people looking tired in the airport, sitting quietly with their expressions facing inward and shoulders heavy. About all of the things that are broken and drowning and lost, and when it becomes possible again to muster the effort to push everything up one more time. Just before coming home I always feel like a very small rabbit staring down something too large and bright to even have a form.

Back home and off the plane, the first breath outside feels like the first breath after holding the last one walking past a graveyard. Safe again, and a little dizzy from the close call.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I'm heading to Florida tonight, to hang out with my mom and look at my grandmothers and maybe make some animal noises with various children of various cousins. Luckily, the weather seems to have quit freezing the fruit trees and gone back to being half the reason to go to Florida in the winter, and I went into homework lockdown recently and got almost everything for next week's classes done, so I plan to relax a lot and stuff my face with things that don't exist in Seattle. (See: Chick-fil-A, my favorite sandwich, fresh orange ice cream. Alligator tails that I will wrest off with my bare hands. The usual.)

Next month I'm going to San Francisco, which I am unreasonably excited about because I have always wanted to go down there, but all of my previous trips have fallen through. I'm going with friends and have friends down there, so I'm sure the whole weekend will be crammed with hilarity and shenanigans. But I've spent all this time wanting to go to SF and not any time at all figuring out what I want to do while I get down there. So I guess I have some research to do.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Here is a list of places that are helping in Haiti.

Haiti is a poor, poor country, its buildings are collapsed, and thousands of people could be dead already. The living could definitely use some help.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The other day someone asked me, "What would make you happiest?"

I answered, "
Um. A bucket full of puppies?

Man, I don't know. True love and high adventure? I'm pretty happy as it is. Maybe what would make me happiest would be for life to keep going just as it is only even more--more traveling, an awesome fella to have adventures with, a job where I am more involved in the mission. Or maybe that's greedy, and I just want to keep getting to have a good time with some of the smartest, most creative people ever.

Also, I would like to be about nine inches taller and about two times hotter. And, world peace."

I've been thinking about that ever since--I would have to be someone else if my brains weren't constantly chattering at me about something--because it didn't seem quite right. Could that actually be true? When did life live along to the point where it was so awesome that I no longer need something different, but instead more of the same? Shouldn't there have been a memo or something? I mean, missing an awesome fella, a closer proximity to outer space, and someone else's face (ok, and world peace) is the same thing as not missing anything at all. All the more parts are things I can and have plans to do myself.

Thing is, it feels true. Which is...a bit of a surprise, although it shouldn't be, since it's what I've been aiming at. I'd give myself a high five if I hadn't already tried that and so wasn't already aware of how silly it looks. I guess now I really need to get to work on finding that bucket of puppies.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I was playing cat's cradle with our stories, weaving them around and through my fingers, plucking here and maneuvering there, and ending up with a tangle. I'm almost as bad with my hands as with my feet. Although the fact is that my heart is still the clumsiest of them all.

We ran like children through the dark, all forehead and elbows, dodging streetlamps and raindrops and tiny tiny comets, stumbling on loose paving stones and catching ourselves at the last moment. Streaking light through our own skies, lungs burning with laughter.

If all rectangles were squares it would take the same amount of time to get back to each of our corners. If all rectangles were squares, secrets and memories would be equal distances apart, and easier to comb into friendlier patterns. Easier to untangle.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

So this friend of mine started fashion school a little while ago, and one of her assignments was to interview someone with a different style than her own. (She's got that whole sexy tomboy thing going on.) She sent it to me recently, and I wondered, "what am I supposed to do with this?" until I remember that this is practically what the internet was invented for. So ok, let's talk about fashion. Or ok, let's copy and paste about fashion. (For authenticity, imagine that I am answering these while waving my hands around, because man am I a hand talker.)

You almost never wear pants. What's the deal with that, anyway?
(laughs) It's a couple of things, I guess. I realized a couple of years ago that dresses were more comfortable, and that I thought a lot less about what might be wrong with my body when I felt comfortable in my clothes. Pants are so binding And then it turned out that I liked the act of dressing deliberately, and there are a lot more options when half of your outfit isn't jeans.

How would you describe your style?
I'm actually really boring. But I guess by default you'd have to call my style "girly", what with all the dresses and heels. Plus I love lace and satin and jewelery and sparkly things.

What are some of your favorite pieces?
I made a locket with pictures of my maternal grandparents in it a while ago, and it makes me feel safe every time I wear it. A couple of months ago I bought some really great ankle boots (these ones) and I wear them everywhere all the time and people always compliment them. And colored tights--this fall and winter I've been wearing a lot of different shades of gray and also this pair that is a dusty rose.

What are you never seen without?
A very confused look, a ring that my grandfather had made for me and another from the gumball machine at the bar down my street. It used to have plastic eggs with a ring, a condom, and a fortune in them, which I found hilarious. Now it's just a fortune and a tampon, which seems less optimistic.

I'm also usually wearing some sort of jewel-tone color. Seattle's a pretty gray city, and I figure that with my red hair I'm already going to be visible from space, so there's no reason not to. Plus, my skin is so fair that softer colors don't look as good. I like the idea of brightening things up.

Do you buy new or vintage?
Ummmm, both. Vintage often fits better, but I don't usually have the patience for vintage shopping. A lot of my jewelery is vintage. I'm pretty hard on clothes and shoes, what with all of the walking and falling down, so I tend to buy less expensive things that won't matter so much when I rip them.

And of course, some of my clothes I make myself, when I have time.

What's your favorite thing about fashion?
I love that it can be art that you take everywhere with you, and how it's possible to completely transform your mood just by changing your outfit. Wait, that's two things, isn't it? Hell.

What's your least favorite thing about fashion?
I don't like that people don't dress for events anymore--I used to volunteer at the ballet, and it drove me crazy to see people there in things like jeans and flipflops. I know I'm old fashioned, but I don't like that comfort has taken the place of showing respect for the people around us. Also, I don't like most of the Spring 2010 Louboutin collection.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Yesterday was the perihelion, but the sun and I are old pros at this by now. I tossed up a rope and the sun hooked it over an extra loop of plasma, and we set up a message bucket easy as pie.

I told the sun about plans, about travels and hijinks and schemes, about how I intend to start smiling at people instead of looking at my feet so much. I told it about how my elbows are always wearing holes in my sweaters and how my hats always come apart at the seams, how I managed to dance in heels all night on a floor covered in confetti and not fall once. I told it about the specific feeling of sliding on to a smooth bench in a familiar place, of a soft wind ruffling my hair just before stepping in to a cab. Of late nights and hands in my hair, and the specific muscles that ache from laughing and nothing else.

I told it about a little yellow frog in Panama that waves at all the other frogs, friendly little golden frogs that can't be heard over the rushing of the water that they live near and had to adapt with gestures. Except that they're not in Panama anymore, not outside, because all the frogs were dying from a fungus and the scientists had to choose between taking them away or letting them die altogether. And now those riverbanks are unbroken green and no gold. About the dangers of breathing through your skin and seeing through your eyes.

The rest of the bucket I filled up with a rainbow, an atlas, and three funny jokes, and a sandwich and thermos of coffee and a blanket for the long trip back around. I hear it gets cold out there in space, even if you are the sun.

(You guys, I can't resist new things. It's troubling.)

Saturday, January 02, 2010


When you arrived last night I was just starting to break a sweat in a dance party, wearing an adorable dress and with pretty awesome hair, and my first kiss for the year was at least a straight boy for once, if one that is also just a pal. Some things happened that I didn't like, but there was also a hilarious romantic goose chase trying to corral a boy for a friend that ended up crashing an after party that was maybe not so happy to see us. I started you off for real well-rested and not hung over and eventually watching Robert Downey Jr. be stupidly hot, and then eating one of my favorite sandwiches in Seattle, so we'll call all of that a good start.

2010, I am suspicious of you because everyone keeps crowing about all of the good feelings they have about you. By now I know better than to tempt you like that. But I'm still hopeful, I guess. I have done a lot of failing, but I have tried hard the last few years to do more good things than bad ones, so I kind of hope that I'm always getting closer to a year where ok is not a triumph. Maybe we can try for actually sincerely good? Or more good than bad and less bad and more alright?

Anyway, let's talk about this. We have a whole year to get it right.