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Insight To Chaos

Adventures Through La La Land…

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Oct '10

Full Count.

When I was 12, I was awarded the “Most Determined” trophy on my little league baseball team. It was my last year in little league, and my first year in upper division.

I had spent 4 years playing gender politics with all the dads and coaches who didn’t understand why a girl wanted to play baseball and all season proving to my coach that I deserved a chance at being taken off the right-field-bench he cornered me in. He recruited me because I could hit, it took him all season to realize I could play the rest of the game just as well.

I was a good hitter. Not afraid to swing. Consistently able to connect and follow through. I had this thing though… almost every time I came up to bat, I’d be two strikes down before getting the hit. It was like I had to make the stakes as high as possible before hitting the ball into fair play. I hadn’t even realized it until my coach called me out on it with a trophy. He remarked how suspenseful it would be, watching me at the plate, the count going higher, wondering if that third strike would come. But it wouldn’t. I was always more determined to get the hit.

I don’t think he knew just how provident it was, ending my time in little league baseball by giving me the most determined award.


As it happens, I was able to figure out why it would always take me three swings to hit the ball. My swing was too fast. When I missed, it was because I was ahead of the pitch. It took those two strikes to slow me down. It’s all in the timing…

Just keep swinging.

Sep '10

Of Late…

Vivid dreams and adventures abound. Hard labor, creative expression, convalescence, bruises and scratches. By day, it’s tackling one project, one mess at a time. By night, my subconscious keeps me entertained with features of my life in a dream state. I’m optimistic and hopeful…as ever.

Let’s see what’s ahead, shall we?

Aug '10

What Makes You Smile?

Random acts of kindness, silliness & mischief…among so many other things.

How about you?

Jun '10


May '10


A friend of mine posted this on another site and I had to share.  I completely agree.  Definitions and labels can more often serve to limit and confuse.  Clarity comes in one’s own perception – what something/someone is to you, how you see it all.  Anyway, here it is, more wise word:

Words, no matter whether they are vocalized and made into sounds or remain unspoken as thoughts, can cast an almost hypnotic spell upon you.  You easily lose yourself in them, become hypnotized into implicitly believing that when you have attached a word to something, you know what it is. The fact is: You don’t know what it is. You have only covered up the mystery with a label.  Everything, a bird, a tree, even a simple stone, and certainly a human being, is ultimately unknowable. This is because it has unfathomable depth. All we can perceive, experience, think about, is the surface layer of reality, less than the tip of an iceberg.
-Eckhart Tolle
May '10

Haunted Howe?

Something struck me as I was getting in my car this morning, but I didn’t know what.  I looked over at my mom and said, “There’s something about today…” She just looked at me. I looked at the little calendar on my dash. May 11th. “Today is Jimi’s birthday, maybe that’s it?”  That wasn’t it…

A few days ago, out of what felt like nowhere, a song popped in my head and would not leave.  The Israel Kamakawiwo’ole version of Somewhere Over The Rainbow.  That song always reminds me of David. It was one of the songs played at his funeral, and though I’ve heard it in a number of places since, that link is still the most prominent.  He still crosses my mind from time to time – even after 5 years, missing him hasn’t gotten any easier.  It just seemed kind of random to have that song start playing in my head.

Then this evening, while I was straightening up around the house, I went to my nightstand to put my glasses away, jarred open the drawer and some old pictures slid forward.  The only picture of the two of us was on top.  I picked it up thinking of how long it had been since I actually looked at that photo.  I smiled at us smiling back at me.  Then it hit me.  We started dating in early May.  I thought, what were the odds that today was…no, no way.  Then I counted back 5 years.  May 11th was the anniversary of us.  I sat there astounded, feeling somewhat haunted.

I never knew completely what to do with him – he just had this remarkable way about him that totally caught me off guard.  But before I could figure any of it out, he was gone.

He’s been one of very few that really, really got to me.  I hate that he’s gone.  I wish I could talk to him.  It’s funny how different memories come up, the different sensory triggers that incite remembrance.  I really never knew we started dating on the 11th, just that it was early May.  And yet, somehow, there was just something about today…

May '10

If You Put Me To The Test, If You Let Me Try…

I’m not your first choice. Rather, I’m not your obvious choice. In most things.  Maybe all things.  And that’s okay with me, really.  I am acutely aware that I don’t make sense right off the bat.

I am often at odds with myself over whether or not I have some sort of subconscious control over the situations in which I put myself, where I deliberately make things harder than necessary.  Do I go looking for the long shot, the out of the ordinary situation, the unlikely friendship?  Or, is it flat out a solidarity in believing that absolutely anything is possible, and thus improbable situations are more commonplace?  Maybe a little of both.  The proverbial book is always more that its cover suggests – I do appreciate the truth in that statement habitually.

First impressions are crap.  Yet, what else is there with which to start?  I’m not the best with words, at least not when it really counts.  Talking about who I am and what I can do starts to feel separate from actually being who I am.  I rarely know what to say past any declaration of my ability, primarily because I feel like my actually doing it will be far more proof than a wordy elaboration.  Besides, if there isn’t already a hunch of my being worth any further time or energy, I don’t know that words alone can change that.

I am certain that I can accomplish the things I set out to do.  I just don’t always know how to persuade such certainty from others.  As such, I find myself hyper-aware when I am given a chance that would not normally be the easiest or most obvious fit.  And I am appreciative and industrious.

I am currently playing a 1980’s southern ex-debutante.  …I am hardly such a picture of well-trained refinement.  Yet, the whole of the character is far more than just her lady-like poise.  She discovers her self worth through a series of extraordinary events and as such, finds everything that she was looking for is right in front of her.

I auditioned for this part to three different directors.  Turns out, even this third time, I wasn’t the director’s immediate choice.  I was the final choice though – today was our third show and I am really looking forward to our next two weekends.  I am sincerely obliged at the opportunity.  Mine is perhaps an alternative, yet hopefully still believable perspective of a really fantastic part.

More than anything though, regardless of circumstance, it really is nice just to be given the chance.

May '10

The Becoming…

I flew.  From 13,000 feet in the air, I jumped out of an airplane and zoomed toward the ground at 110 miles per hour.  It was a free falling, mind blowing, breath taking, fear free suspension of…well, everything.  Everything, but the horizon.  One minute later, the parachute opened, and we were thrust upward until the wind eased us back into lucidity.  And there I was, completely astonished, and soaring.  I always thought jumping would be the hardest part, and falling the scariest.  But, those things only existed in the anticipation.  True to form, amidst my very focused attempts at keeping calm during our ascent, I had one song lyric stuck on repeat in my head.  Because I am a dork and because it is so very true:  “It’s time to trust my instincts, close my eyes and leap.”  And I did, only I kept my eyes open…


Last August, I came across an audition for a play that I had never heard of.  I researched the story and the characters – a comedy about being misunderstood.  The more I read, the more I wanted to take part in the play.  I got the audition, but I did not do well.  It happens…unfortunate, but true. But then in January, this play was being produced again, at another local theatre.  A chance at redemption?  Maybe just another chance – I like chances.  I got the audition and this time I did well, but I was not what they were looking for.  This also happens…also unfortunate, still true.  Two months later, I saw a third production notice for this same play that I had only just heard of months before.  My thoughts:  the universe wants me to keep trying.  This time, the audition went well, I was what they were looking for and I got the part.  Starting this Friday, and going until May 23rd, I’ll be playing Catherine in Larry Shue’s “The Foreigner.”  If you are interested, you should come see it – I know I would love to see you there (more info here:  www.thesteppingstoneplayers.com/tickets.html).   I am elated…and I am nervous, but the good kind of nervous.  I am excited to be on stage again and thankful to have been given the chance.  It is a great cast and I am having a fabulous time.  I definitely missed being on stage.


April began with an answer to a question I have pondered since I was a child.  I was tested for learning disabilities and discovered I have a deficiency in the speed at which I process certain information.  Essentially, under certain circumstances like testing or learning math for instance, my mind receives the information at the speed it is given, but sorts everything out at three-quarters of that pace.  In tests, each question floods my brain with all possible answers and methods given the various contexts – basically, I think of the right answer AND all of the wrong answers at once.

I often wondered over the years if there could be a problem, considering certain factors or symptoms.  But I frequently convinced myself that I scored low on tests because I didn’t try hard enough, study hard enough – I just needed to be a better student.  Finally knowing is enlightening, and to a point even relieving, but struggling is as it has always been – frustrating.  It is important to me not to allow myself a crutch or excuse that might hold me back.  However, it is even more important that I know and understand my weaknesses as well as my strengths, so that I am able to use all of me to my best advantage.  It certainly explains the life-long discrepancy between my passion for learning and my consistently inadequate test results.  The woman who tested me said the results indicate that I am of above-average intelligence, but I test in the (very) average range.  She sympathized that naturally I would be frustrated by this, then she suggested that I ease up on myself. Heh…


I got another tattoo!  About three weeks ago now.  It’s been ten years since my last one, primarily because it has taken me this long to decide on another design.  I’m okay with one every decade though – I like the notion that each one represents a different era in my life.  The image itself generally has to mean something to me, and this does – from the design to the designer. I am witness to and in pursuit of harmony.  A journey that is close to my heart, both figuratively and now literally.


The last six weeks have been a sheer torrent of possibility; for learning, growing, becoming.  Further proof to myself that the experience itself is never as scary and always so much more excellent that its anticipatory counterpart.  But it has been hard too.  More and more, I look around me and I see what I have and what I am capable of, and I am grateful and nearly content.  But I see what is missing too, what lingers unfulfilled.  Alas, I keep moving forward, doing what I can where I can.  Letting things be as they are, letting them change and evolve as they will.  With patience, hope and understanding:  all things, in time…

Apr '10


Seriously, it’s good stuff…

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’99

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience…

I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh nevermind; you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded. But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked….

You’re not as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing everyday that scares you.


Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours. Floss. Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind…the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself. Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements.


Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium.

Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children,maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary…what ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s. Enjoy your body, use it every way you can…don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them. Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future. Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few, you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.


Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you’re 40, it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen…

— Baz Luhrmann

Continue reading "Sunscreen." »

Mar '10


There was a kid in my fourth-grade class who completely flipped out one day. Like running, screaming, desk-flipping, tree branch wielding crazy. As things like this go, nobody saw it coming or knew how to respond to the madness during or afterward.

I remember it was during a free hour where we were all working on different things and our teacher was going around the class for one-on-one help. Naturally, the classroom was noisy – a sort of contained din of unruly chatter. Then, out of nowhere, this kid started yelling. He stood up and flipped his desk over. Took the bottom foot from a chair leg and threw it at the window. The teacher tried to approach him to calm him down and he cleared the teacher’s desk. Then he grabbed the fire extinguisher and bolted outside. We were all told to stay in our seats as our teacher followed after him, and I think one of us called down to the office to alert them to what was happening. We were all, of course, as obedient as any group of confused 9-year-olds would be without an adult, so we stood up and inched closer to the windows to watch what was happening outside. From my vantage point I could see this kid emptying the fire extinguisher in every direction he could to keep a safe distance from the now three adults trying to approach and subdue him. When the extinguisher was empty, he threw it and ran. The next time he appeared through our windows he was running the other direction, wielding a small tree branch. He disappeared from sight completely, then so did everyone pursuing him. Then nothing.

Imagine thirty 9-year-olds sitting quietly in an unattended classroom, anxious over what might come next. Eerie.

I’m not sure how much time passed between everyone disappearing from our view and our teacher returning to check on us. When he did, he informed us that this kid had been stopped and was being dealt with in the Principle’s office. Just a little while after that, the Principal came into our classroom. Together with my teacher, they tried to explain to all of us what exactly had happened…and why.

We were told to imagine a busy, noise filled place. So noisy that we couldn’t hear our own thoughts and so busy that we couldn’t move from the spot where we stood. Then, we were asked to take all that chaos around us and spin it around us as fast as possible – just like those first few moments after getting off a merry-go-round where your body’s still but your eyes are still circling. Once it was clear that everybody was imagining the same thing, our teacher asked us to take all of that scary, dizzying mess and stick it in our heads, right on top of all of our thoughts. The Principal asked how all of that made us feel: Scared. Crazy. Sad. Dumb. Lost. Angry. Confused.

Our Principal told us that everything we had just imagined and described was exactly what happened with our classmate just a little while before. She told us nobody could be blamed, but that this young man was extra sensitive to the busy noise stuff and our free hour overwhelmed him. She said he was very sorry for causing so much trouble, but more so he was scared. She asked us all to remember what it felt like in our imaginations and then she asked that we go easy on him when he returned to class.

We did.

To this day, whenever I – or somebody I care about – start feeling especially overwhelmed by a situation or place, I think back to that day. What it must have been like for that little boy with all of that chaos in his head, flailing about in fright. The image of him running around with extinguishers and branches is still so clear in my memory. And the Principal’s spinning, noisy chaos example – I definitely get it. I think what has always struck me most though, and perhaps what keeps the correlation constant today, was/is the appeal for compassion – for our classmate as well as for ourselves.

The truth is we all have times where we get a little bat shit crazy.

I think the trick is, whether we’re the ones watching or wielding branches, to always try to remember: when the dust settles, try to go easy on each other.