Saturday, October 30, 2004

Dim Sum

Today was Dim Sum...not just because I went and ate dim sum with a good friend, but because it was very much a dim sum day--a day of this and that.
I started it with a run. The morning air filled my lungs with the kind of cleansing coolness that only exists in the Fall, early in the morning. As I exhaled the first few times, my breath was suspended in front of me in a warm cloud. I love mornings like this. I pounded the pavement in my white running shoes, long sleeved shirt sporting a purple Intel bunnyman and grey shorts. Through my ears and into my head rang the tunes of The Who. Running is rythmic and almost meditative. Nothing gets me going better in the morning.
"Teenage wasteland." Breath. "Teenage wasteland." Breath. "Teenage wasteland." Breath.
I got back to the house just in time to get ready and meet my friend, Sushi, at the conference center for an Indian Jewelry Show. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it sounded like a nice diversion.
I back out of the driveway, windows down, sunroof open, and Hawaiian pop music playing on my stereo. I took a deep breath....ah. In my head, a snapshot from our visit to Kauai. And, I am off toward the freeway.
At the Jewelry show, we made a concerted effort not to buy anything, but there are so many beautiful things, we couldn't resist. I walked away with a turquoise bracelet and a lovely amethyst necklace. We all sat around a table sharing the treasures we found. Oohing and ahhing.
I should step back a second...two of Sushi's friends were also at the show. I must have looked odd among my company. All of them old enough to be my mother, but such great company. They all have such wonderful stories and wisdom.
We decide that we want to go out for lunch...all of us famished. We go to C-Fu Gourmet...a restaurant famous for its dim sum.
Dim sum is a great thing; such a communal way to eat. As ladies walked by with carts, we glanced over curiously to see if there was anything we wanted to try. Black bean buns with their sweet, rich brown paste inside...a sweet treat. Tempura shrimp and seaweed rolls. Spring rolls with cabbage and mushroom fillings. Barbeque pork in a red only found in asian cooking. Everything is tempting and tasty.
As we snatch up crunchy, savory and sweet foods with our wooden chopsticks we chat about the things that are going on in our lives. I can't help but smile at this moment. I feel very honored to be allowed to be spend time with three friends who can pick up wherever they have left off, no matter how long it has been since they have seen each other. It made me ache a little for my best friend. It also made my heart swell because I had found a kindred spirit in Sushi.
Life can be like dim pick and choose those things you do, say and experience. We savor some, others we aren't as pleased with what we find. Along the way, as we taste and sample, our friends and family are right there helping you enjoy everything.
If you have never had dim sum, I highly recommend it. It is a meal to share with those you love and those you want to discover. It lends itself well to deep conversation, but also laughter and fun.
Now, I look forward to the remainder of my day...studying, reflecting, reading, writing and celebrating Halloween.
One more parents added to our family today. They adopted a new little puppy, what my fiancee calls a "dorky" because the puppy is a dachsund/yorky mix. We are in the process of naming him...our contribution was Yahtzee. I will dedicate my blog to my parents today...they have taken something off the dim sum cart that will add to their lives.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


As I stood in the backyard, wind whipping through my hair, windchimes tinkling out a harmony and palm leaves swaying, I realized how connected everything is. The same wind that was blowing my hair off of my face was the same wind that made a beautiful song with my windchimes.
I looked up to the sky and watched with wonder the eclipse...another connection. All of the planets and moons in our universe are connected. On the face of the moon, I was watching the shadow of the earth make it a blood red. The sight was scary, beautiful, eerie and wonderful all at the same time. It brought to mind what an eclipse must have meant to people many many years ago. What was it? An omen of something bad to come? A time for sacrifice? How times have changed. An eclipse once would be a huge event in the lives of a community. Now, although it is mentioned during the weather, an ecelipse may be an unnoticed event.
Connection. Everyday, every moment is filled with connection. Connection with others, connection with our past, and even connection with a glimpsed-at future. Connections make all of us who we are...the people to whom we talk, the authors with whom we are associated, the movies we watch. One connection I am most proud is that which I share with my family. I count myself lucky to have such a close connection with my parents and my sister. We all share so much together. No matter where we are, we always stay in touch. Their love and support has made me the person I am today.
Not only do I share a connection with my biological family, but I have a strong connection with the family that I have around who may not be connected by blood. We are connected by philosophy, love, friendship and kinship. These are people who also have shaped who I am.
We cannot escape connection. We are all connected. Connected through the biology of our bodies, the oxygen we breath, the stars we seek and everything around us. Perhaps this is just the mad ravings of existentialism. Or, perhaps this is one of those rare moments where I have actually gotten a glimpse at the person I am.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

All About the Weather

Did you ever have a day that was reflected perfectly in the state of the weather? Today started out cool and wise and life wise. It was beautiful and perfect. Flawless. I could breathe in and breathe out. Things were going on a smooth track and the rythmn of my day was bringing a smile to my face. I really felt like this would help the rest of my week lead into a dreamy weekend.
Things were still looking up when I left work to eat lunch with a friend and colleague. It was a lovely lunch where we smiled and laughed as we exchanged anecdotes. Outside, the wind was blowing and the sky was turning dark. Rain was on its way.
As I walked to the valet stand to get my car, sprinkles of water began to fall on my head. I drove to work with the rain getting heavier with each mile.
I arrived at work and missed the downpour as I got into the front door. The first meeting after lunch was our department meeting, uneventful, but everyone was tired and few were slightly grumpy. We escaped unscathed and emotions in-tact. If this had been a movie, a clap of thunder would have foreshadowed the next meeting and the doom it held.
The meeting among departments started off well enough, but obviously people had agendas or the weather was reeking havoc on their constitutions. The hostility in the one room could have created enough energy for several city blocks. I walked out feeling disgusted with the negative attitude people insist on taking. I had thought we were all working toward the same cause, but I guess I was mistaken. We all talked after the meeting, attempting to make heads or tails of the environment we had just walked away from.
The rain and wind continued outside. We were then told of a terrible accident on the freeways. Traffic was backed up badly. It was time to leave and no one was looking forward to the traffice waiting for us.
I left and decided to just take it mile by mile. I took some side roads that I thought would get me home fastest and safest. I talked to a friend on the phone (with my hands-free kit) to lighten my spirit. At the halfway point, I spied a rainbow stretching above the freeway. It was a sign to me of hope. The hope that God had promised me...things would get better. I was reminded that I could make a difference with my attitude. Stay positve. Don't get mired down.
I arrived home an hour later. It was nice to be home to my parents (visiting for the week) and a meal of chicken soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.
Often rain makes me thoughtful and slightly melancholy...a feeling that I enjoy once in a while because things slow down. I feel calm and solemn in my sould. I rest to read a book and drink a favorite glass of wine. But, tonight, after such a day, I appreciated having people I loved around me. I could feel at peace at once, as soon as my mum hugged me at the door.
Sometimes, it is all about the weather; all about the pattern we take. But, other times, when we are smart, we can stand outside and look at the weather and the patterns that are going on around us. Who said we have to be the rain? We can just learn from it and maybe get a little wet.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Music - Door to the Soul

As I was singing loudly in my car, both windows down and my mouth open wind enough to be a bug garage, pronouncing each word with emphasis, I realized there is nothing that makes more happy than music. It is a door to my soul.
I could live without a television, but be without some way to listen to music--I think I would die. I love listening to music. I love how each tone, rythmn and note can speak to me differently. One day a friend and I talked about the different music we listened to depending on our moods. For example, a rainy day calls for Billie Holiday, Harry Connick Jr., Etta James or Mozart.
Feeling a little down and you want to stay melancholy? A bath and Sarah McLachlan can do it.
When I want to sing, sing my heart out...any kind of Broadway musical is a must. The Beatles, Toby Keith and Martina McBride are some of my other favorites.
When I am feeling exotic and want to lounge around the house, I listen to Paris Combo, Paolo Conte or maybe some lounge music inspired by India.
While studying, it is great to listen to Clint Black, Nick Drake, Boy Drawn Badly or Talking Heads.
I could go on and on with the moods and music. With a prolific CD collection and access to music online, I can satisfy my craving for music all the time. I can never get enough. I think it may actually be an addiction, but don't tell anyone.
I truly believe that my heart and soul have been touched by music more times than a movie or even a human being. I have listened to some amazingly beautiful music...The Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun," Queen's "Barcelona" or "Show Must Go On," Etta James singing "At Last" many. Cecelia Bartoli's perfect voice can make my heart literally ping with pain and love. A long drawn violin, a slip on the string of a guitar, a softly played piano, a crescendo of string instruments...deep inside they touch me and my chest feels as if it is opening up to greet sun with happiness.
Music is a key to the soul. Outside of writing, it is one of the most powerful ways to communicate with the people we loathe, love, despise, envy and secretly admire. I love music.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Agreeing Not to Agree

You ever notice how no matter how close you are to someone, no matter how much you appreciate them and know them, it doesn't mean you will not find yourself disagreeing with them. Those are the times when it is best to agree not to agree. Friendships and loves are never worth the sacrifice of winning a debate.
Agree to disagree is even easier if you look at a debate/disagreement not as a way to win your way, but as a way to discuss the topic at hand, and perhaps you will actually learn something you never learned before. Other people are wise.
I like to engage people in discussion. I am completely drawn to people and their passions. I love hearing them talk about those things they feel so strongly about. There aren't too many things I can say I feel that way about. Their passion makes me envious. Why don't I have more conviction? Maybe I am just too unsure? Maybe I want to get the opportunity to hear their point?
Tonight, I pointed and counterpointed with a friend and saw an entirely different side of this person. A side that made me respect them all the more. They had an experience that made them feel a certain way and so did I. We talked about it, it got heated, but then we finally just ended on the note that we were just that way. Both sides were based on very personal and in-your-face experiences in our lives. We wouldn't let down. But, we recognized it. We saw that we were coming to an impasse.
I think that because of this experience, more often I will enter a disagreement wanting to hear more about the other's opinion. Wanting to see how much I can learn from them, rather than just assuming that my defenses are more worthy.
I also learned that I need to have more confidence in my personal convictions. I need to stand up on my own two feet more often and be proud of the strong voice I am putting out into the crowd. I want my voice to be heard. I want it to make an impact. This is something that I will use to enrich my writing....a confident, strong, knowing voice.
Thank you, my friend, for teaching this to me. This is something we can both agree on.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Asking for Autumn to Appear

Today, as I walked on campus in shorts and a t-shirt, I said a prayer. I asked that Autumn comes soon. Already she is late in coming. We are getting cooler weather, but nothing that says it is time for Fall. The sun was warm, but it is beginning to have that orangey Autumn glow. The breezes are blowing leaves and blossoms across the toe of my shoe, but there is still a heat to the air.
I must admit, I have been using my air conditioner less than usual, but it is just not cooling down to the usual temperatures. It is for the Autumn and Winter that desert dwellers endure the sweltering heat of the Summer. The first truly Fall day, there is a resounding "ah, this is why I love living here."
Autumn brings to many other things besides a break from hot weather. It brings family. The Fall season and its family get-togethers are my favorite--the golden top of a pumpkin pie, the roasted turkey, the orange of a carved out jack o' lantern. Smiles on faces even seem to be brighter in the harvest glow of the sun. I just love the Autumn. It is most certainly my favorite time of year.
There always seems to be a crisp clean smell in the air. The trees are dressed in their brightest colors. And, people seem to be more calmed during this season.
My fondest memories of the Fall have always been my birthday and of course, Halloween. Halloween is certainly one of my favorite holidays. Ghosts and ghouls roam the streets in search of treats. It is probably the only time I am able to talk to my neighbors and see happy childrens' faces.
Halloween in New Jersey, as a child, was the most magical time for me. I would don a costume and wander the streets until late in the evening with my mum. The wind would blow. Leaves would fall from the sky like raindrops. The trees would bend down toward the street, seeming to reach for my candy. There is no fall like the fall in a place where there are truly seasons.
In Utah, I spent two Halloweens. What a beautiful place in the Autumn. The pumpkins seemed to be more orange. The white mountain tops looming over the city of Salt Lake cast an eerie aura over the evening of trick-or-treaters.
My birthday is in the Autumn. Almost inevitably I would have a Halloween theme for my parties. There was always something so great about black spiders, witches, vampires and mummies. For years, my favorite pair of earrings were a pair of black metal spiders that were, many times, taken to be real.
It is Autumn, but not officially yet. I am still waiting for Her to cool down the weather, reach down and blow my hair with her cool wind, and allow for a season of pumpkins, yellow chrysanthemums, and candlelit evenings where classical music fits the mood and the weather.
Hurry, Autumn, hurry! I'm waiting. I am asking. I am begging. Hurry!