A Passage

photo (87)

My grandpa bookmarked this page in Hal Borland’s Book of Days.

From December 26:

“We have come into a spell of clear, cold weather, with a bright sun and the midday temperature getting up to the low twenties, then dropping at night close to zero.  Without wind, such weather is almost enjoyable.  We have gone for a walk, up the road, not across the snow-covered pastures, almost every evening the past week.  The moon has passed its full, now rises late, but the stars are magnificent.  They seem to have the deep fireglow of eternity, and though I admire the mathematics, I almost resent being told that some of those stars I am seeing have been dead and without a glimmer of luminescence for a thousand or two thousand years.  The light I see, I am told, and no doubt with ample reason, is simply light that was cast this way by those stars before they died.

Even so, to walk abroad now is to walk in the midst of infinity.  There are no limits to either time or distance, except as man himself may make them.  I have only to touch the wind to know these things, for the wind itself is full of starlight, even as the frozen earth underfoot, starlight and endless time and exalted wonder.

I look at the red-gold star we call Arcturus, and even as the ancients I strain for a closer look, through this peephole, this spark-burn in the blanket of night, hoping for the slightest glimpse of Beyond.  I turn to a star, even redder than Arcturus, and I have to accept the factual truth of the astronomers, and yet wonder if that is all, the whole, the ultimate truth.

Time, and distance, and wonder – we walk up this valley in the midst of eternity.”

My grandpa passed away on December 26.  A noble mind, a man of nature and classical learning.  A renaissance man.

photo (88)


Seeking: Comfort and Joy

photo (83)

I don’t know what to write.  I feel a little dizzy from everything that’s happened and everything that’s happening.

I know it’s Christmas, but I feel a little like I’m floating.

There’s a lot of beauty and a lot of pain and a lot of time rushing by quickly, blurry.  I’ve been moving endlessly, and the few moments of peace I want to savor and clasp onto like trinkets.

A week ago I got back from a five day trip from Georgia to Tennessee to North Carolina and back to Georgia.  It was beautiful and sweet and fast and so Southern and foreign to me, Northern girl that I am.  But spending time with Chris’s family was a hoot.  When we went to Andy’s (Chris’s brother) MBA graduation at University of Tennessee, we also took a little sojourn to the classroom where Papa Joe and Mama Joan met.  Where he asked her all those years ago if he could read along with her because he forgot her book, and she said, “Only if you’ll dance at my wedding.”  To which he said, “Not only will I dance, I’ll be the groom.”  They’ve been married for 51 years.  We took a photo of them at the door of the classroom.

Other memories:  Mama Joan, giddy on red wine (picture it with a fabulous Tennessee accent: “Gotta have some wiiiine”) and forgetting the rules to poker again and again.  Papa Joe showing me his world map in the basement stairwell, with little flags for his sons, for me and my family, for Obama out in the Pacific Ocean (“out in left field”…Fox news, y’all), and for all the Ebola outbreaks.  And crazy great live music wherever we went in Knoxville on Saturday night, including a band in Santa hats singing The Band, Bob Dylan, Springsteen (did they know I was coming???  and who were you?  you were incredible).

photo (84)

Then it was back to California for two long hard days of house cleaning work and then my birthday on Wednesday.  28.  I’ve hardly had a moment to reflect on it.  Another time.  But I know we had green juices and shepherd’s pie and a fruit tart and Birdman and it was wonderful and quiet.

Then Thursday I flew to Milwaukee and slept at my brother’s apartment where he and his roommate keep 90% of their clothes on their bedroom floors, and where, when you move a certain tupperware container on their kitchen counter, approximately 17 small flies swarm up.  Bongs and Cheetos galore.  Three flatscreen TVs with no explanation and two microwaves so they can nuke their food simultaneously. But, hey, it was walking distance to Beans and Barley, so how could I complain?

photo (86)

And now here I am at home in Neenah, wondering what I should say, or shouldn’t, about what’s going on.  Everything is up in the air.

So here it is: My grandfather (my mom’s father) is in the last days of his life.  He’s dying.

I said it.  There.

We don’t know what’s going to happen any given day.  He’s been up and down, active at times, and at other moments curled up like he could pass at any moment.

It’s been happening for months.  Hospice has been there for a couple weeks.

We’re leaving tomorrow for Michigan to stay with him and my grandma indefinitely.  My mom has been coming and going for weeks.  When he passes, we’ll take my grandma home with us.

I don’t know.  How many details really matter?

He matters.  His life details matter.  But now is not the time.

I can’t say anything well or accurate about it now.  It feels too sensitive and too raw and unsolved.

It’s hard.  I’m afraid of seeing him, but I also want to bring him kindness and peace by being near him.  I want to play him Christmas songs on the piano.

It’s hard.  My dad passed away almost six years ago now.  I’ve been through this.  But it’s different.  My dad passed so quickly from cancer.  He was 53.  It was so different.  My grandpa rises and falls.  He is 86.  Hospice doesn’t really know what to think of it.  He might make it to Christmas or he may not make it through tonight.

Life is blurry.  My mom and I meandered through the mall today, exhausted, picking up last minute gifts and food to bring my grandparents, my mom endlessly rattling off To Dos, her mind scattered and frantic.

I don’t know.  The good moments are precious and sweet when they come, so you try to enjoy them.  South Park and New Girl with my brother.  Buying donut holes at Festival Foods with my mom and eating them in the car.   Beautiful snowy Finn.  Sitting in my family room right now with a fire going and a small Christmas tree glittering.  Going out to celebrate our birthdays tonight as a family of four that used to be five.  Always, those numbers in my head.  Five to four.

Here we go.  This entry was rambling.  It’s what I have.  A blurry mind, searching for joy in the corners.

photo (85)

Simple Pleasures – Time Away from the Noise

“Dear God, teach me to be careless.”

-Hanif Kureishi, “Intimacy”

photo (74)

So I just made great, quick decision – I’m traveling without my laptop for the next five days (!!!).  First – let’s acknowledge just how appalling it is that that’s an uncomfortable thing for me to do in our day and age, but it’s where my work gets done.  Where dreaming happens.  Everything.

It just didn’t make sense to bring it.  We’re heading down to Georgia to see Chris’ parents and we’ll be traveling the whole time – up to Knoxville (his original home) for his brother’s graduation, then over to Asheville (ohmygoshican’twait), then down to Georgia again for his mom’s Christmas concert (she’s a church organist).  So why on earth would I need a laptop?  I have work to do – I always do.  But I’ll have no time to do it.

So….that’s some breathing space.  I’m excited.

Clear mind.  Yes.

Granted, I’ll still be instagraming, but a lot of – really most – of the general noise will be cut out.

Which is really how I like it anyway.

Step away.  Smell some (stolen…) evergreen.  Have what my grandma calls a “toad in the hole.”  Ride along in the back seat and look out the window.

photo (81)

photo (79)

Goals, Clarity: Here’s to not feeling shitty/Here’s to feeling amazing

[caption id="attachment_966" align="aligncenter" width="461"]Selfie with an angel sprouting from my head. Selfie with an angel sprouting from my head.[/caption]

So I’m thinking about goals for 2015.

First:  my god, can it really be 2015 so soon?  Doesn’t that sound like the future?  Didn’t 1998, like, just happen?  I think I heard something on the radio the other day, maybe a science fiction author, saying, “You notice that no one talks about the 22nd century with excitement about the future.”  We’re already there.

That’s another discussion.  Technology is hard on people.  I have a hard time with it.  It gives me headaches.  But it also gives me access to inspiration.  But sometimes I really wish we just lived in the 50s/60s of Bob Dylan or earlier like Salinger where we really we didn’t consume so much (the consumerism was all just beginning!) and there was only one telephone and people had those solid square classic suitcases and typewriters – you know, the fifties! Except for all that female oppression and racism that we’ve evolved out of.

Oh, wait.

Anyway.  Goals.

So I’ve been in a beautiful Desire Map group now for several weeks now (Desire Map – check it out, it’s wonderful, I’ll write about it sometime) and we’re now at the very end where we talk about our goals.  We’re supposed to narrow them down so we only have several big ones to work with during the year….which, for me, is kind of crazy.

Because I am the person who makes PAGES of goals.  I make goals all the time, every day, every week, after beginning of the month, every middle of the month…

I love planning things out.  Seeing it all inked out on paper, neatly in lists, gives me a buzz.

I wish I was kidding.

And, honestly, I’ve created some of the best things in my life using goals, but I’ve also really really warped myself and my confidence by over-planning, by gripping onto goals, and by feeling like a failure on a regular basis.

And that’s just a horrible way to go about life.

It’s inspiration-mania then panic and then burnout and deep disappointment, over and over again on repeat.

So this year, I’m getting much clearer on what I want.  I’ve narrowed it down and refined the essence of what would make this year fucking amazing.

[caption id="attachment_967" align="aligncenter" width="461"]photo (69) One of the best days of 2014 – shooting the wedding reception scene from June.[/caption]


And it’s taken a while.  A couple weeks.  Because I stopped and started a lot.  I have a lot of residue stuck to my brain about what I’m supposed to do and supposed to want.

Especially when it comes to my body.  And books I’ve read.  And plays or pieces I’ve written.

And the failing numbers in those areas have really screwed me up and hurt me for days on end.  But I still automatically want to set up a reading program for myself – classic literature, one book a month, go.  Or exercise rules – 4 workouts a week that make me sweat – but what about this week where I feel really run down and can only do light yoga and walk a little before my head starts to throb?  Or guitar – play every day, one hour.  Well, yeah, if I wasn’t editing a movie/auditioning/writing/trying to read/cook healthy meals/survive on 3 day jobs/work out every day too, then I could make that promise.

No.  There’s so much I want to do.  But I can’t do it all.

So then comes the subject of pain.  As in:

What caused me the most pain in these last several years?  What was I most envious of?  What did I resent?  What did I long for?

And with those thoughts, I got very very clear.

So, here are my Goals for 2015, as I see it now:

1) Self-Support – So that means clarity and organization in two areas – money and home.  Because I have felt like a complete mess in both those areas for…a while now.  And nothing has caused more overall pain (read: constantly broke/terrified/unable to do anything) or more general every day gnawing pain (read: I cannot think straight in this damn apartment).

2) Finish June and send it out into the world – Ha!  It will be just that easy.  No – I know that  this is going to be my passion project of 2015.  We made it in 2014 (hell, I finished writing it, pre-production, and production in 2014) and in this next year I have to edit it, find music, raise more money, get sound and picture post work done, market it (as in, find a better title, make a better poster, fix up the website), and send it out.  It’s gonna be HUGE.

3) Go Pro in Acting and Writing – I mean, just look in my last post for the acting business.  I have so much to learn and do, where I do even begin?  And then writing – I’m actually simplifying.  Write a blog a week and write a solid screenplay to send out to competitions this year.  That’s all that’s required.  If further inspiration occurs (and I know it will), then I’ll follow it.  But I’m not setting myself up for disappointment.

And then I have two I guess what I’d call “intentions”:

Adventure – As in, I need to explore LA.  I need to have fun here, go to new cafes, live music, more theatre and film events, galleries.  And I also desperately need time away from here – day trips, big hikes, weekends away.  Maybe even finally try rock climbing or surfing.  This past year I spent a hell of a lot of time with my nose to the grindstone and this year I want to have fun.  Granted, this winter and spring will be computer heavy with the movie, but I will be ready to break out come May – and before that in little pockets.  It’s gotta be a priority or I might go insane.

Music and Expression – As in, I gotta play guitar and sing or I’m going to regret it forever.  Every year that goes by that I don’t work on this is increasingly more painful.  I desperately want to make music and understand it and I have an amazing bluegrass/rock musician boyfriend, so get on it already.  That said, I’m not making a schedule, I’m just checking in every week and seeing if I feel good about it or not.

Whew.  Okay there.  Goals, boys and girls.

With that, I’m pretty tired.

photo (70)