Mother Blue

I photo. I take day trips. I lightsaber battle. I analyze the stuffing out of myself.

Category: Courage

Pathos

Wired Intersection (cell phone pic)

Wired Intersection (cell phone pic)

My inner monologue was spastically riffing…

They shut off my water this morning. My hands feel so incredibly dirty. Germal colonies are setting up camp on my palms. I have spent the day Lysol-ing all the present and future surfaces I have or may touch. I need disposable gloves and a nap.

I can’t concentrate without water. I can’t help but obsess over the notion of anything being removed from my life or my general convenience. This whole thing began with a gas leak in February. Three months later my street still lacks infrastructure and functioning sidewalks. Each local gas company has to repair their own lines, every water company has to follow suit. New construction type vehicles arrive biweekly. What started out as a patch job has now become days filled with gas fume hallucinations, vibrating furniture from the constant jackhammering, and gravelled sidewalks by the same result.

My inner voice is that of a middle-aged man. I am not really sure why.

Water Rations. (cell phone pics)

Water Rations. (cell phone pics)

• • •

Pathos: Pathetic lump of emotions

The stockpile of words I use in my everyday life is staggeringly limited. PATHOS is one of those words I once learned a very long time ago, probably for some English lit exam, but then I carelessly shoved it into the recesses of my brain once it outlived my 16-year-old self’s usefulness. I have been obsessing over this word as of late, much like I am obsessing over my disgusting hands. I am typing this entry with the tip of my fingernail, just to keep the molecules of degenerate filth at bay.

I came across this gorgeous sentence: “oddball art-house flights of fancy, verite sex scenes and lump-in-throat moments of pathos. It’s funny almost as an after-thought.

My newfound obsession with pathos came after watching this.

It made me stop. Simple words of unrequited love delivered by an everyman. This show wasn’t what I expected at all: If you haven’t seen this show and you love cinema and great storytelling and humanity, I urge you to watch “Louie”. Check out this scene as well.

But there it was. Pathos. The revelation of that word was like lightning rod of everything for me. The road that I have been traveling for so long, my weirdness, my quirkiness, my obsessions, my neurosis all of a sudden made sense. I have been journeying so long and so far trying to figure out just who the heck I am in waves of enlightenment, comparisons to other individuals, and epic inner narratives. If I could be something intangible I would probably be pathos. I long for pathos. I lust for pathos. Pathos is my life projection through color televisions with emotive filters. At its very best, it appeals to a selected audience’s emotions; at its very worst, it can meander in rhetoric and pathetic inclinations. For me, it simply means the raw, unmuddied yet abridged version of the emotion in a moment. It’s like a capturing a photograph.

• • •

Bird on a Wire (cell phone pic)

Bird on a Wire (cell phone pic)

I love documentaries. My digital movie queue is filled with at least 50 of them, just waiting to be watched. Just Like Being There was at the top of the list. Focused on the artists behind the “gig poster scene,” this doc was a feast of illustrative screen printed gorgeousness set to an indie music soundtrack. Very inspiring watch, but I found myself wondering in my head and then later aloud, “does the type of music we listen to determine or predict our intellect or intellectual capacity?” The artists represented in the doc were not just emotive beings, they were what I would call skilled technicians whose thinking lies on a different intellectual plane. I love music, but my musical tastes merely skim the surfaces of most genres. I listen intently to what is laid out before me, but I always find that when left to my own devices my choices are uncomplicated. I want an emotional journey filled with crescendos. I found myself wondering if the way I think is too simple, too mainstream, too surface, too rooted in emotion, or in the consumptive nature of the masses.

Maybe I am mostly comprised of emotion. My mother was a die hard “someday my prince will come” romantic  realist. She was wrapped up in the cinematic notion of life and love; the polar opposite of her actual, real world existence. As much I pride myself in my realism, I probably am a pretty similar person. I see everyday people like actors on a screen. I imagine everyday conversations like poetry, even if they are just talking about Cheetos. I imagine the back stories of the people in the supermarket check out lines. I go on my walks and I am suddenly transported to a scene in a film. I imagine the camera angles. I photograph the everyday because the position of everything literally whispers some sort of story to me. It fills me with emotions. It’s the only way I can relate to the world. Sometimes Motown sings in the background, punctuating the mood of the moment in just the right way…

• • •

A musician once transposed the noted positions of birds on telephone wires. I think of that story often when I go on my walks. My hidden monologues, back stories of strangers, and overheard conversations make me think of how so many of us are like those birds. Unassuming notes on a make shift bar staff. Part of a larger hidden song.

Morning walk (cell phone pic)

Morning walk (cell phone pic)

Maybe I am just screenplaying everything so I have some sense of control. Sometimes I write things down. Other times I repeat moments in my brain over and over again in order to commit them to memory. Sometimes the words and moments float away like ether. In most circumstances, I can’t tell if I am writing myself as a hero or anti-hero. In first or third person. Victim or survivor.

I sat on my porch last night and attempted to read. I was mulling over a lot and feeling particularly melancholy about things I felt had no simple resolution. I whispered the word “mommy” to myself. I don’t know why. My pathetic cry for help. My 39-year-old self knows it won’t make a difference. It was one of those “you can either crumble or pull yourself up by your bootstraps” moments, but I needed vulnerable for a second. And in those vulnerable moments sometimes it only feels right to be just as vulnerable as the moment dictates. Either way, it was my own version of Mayday and my own way to reboot. A large black butterfly with blue spots landed next to me, flying wildly in my face, harassing me. It would fly very close to my shoulder and then sputter away into the trees. Seconds later, it would come back. Three times it did this, then it flew away for good. I sat in quiet for the first time in a long time. It had been a long time  since I had seen a butterfly. A long time since one tried to get my attention. One appeared to me on the subway shortly after my mother had died. One landed on my windshield when I was particularly broke and lost. Maybe this one was there because I just needed to feel less alone.

End scene.

image

Telephone Wires (cellphone pic)

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Requiem for 11 & an Opening for 12

Underwater Surface

There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in… do not dwell on what is passed away or what is yet to be. — Leonard Cohen

•  •  •

MOVEMENT

I have never been what you would call graceful.

I used to practice dance routines in my bedroom, trying to find ways to feel graceful, and to gain control of my defiant body. I closed my eyes and imagined I knew exactly what those complicated steps felt like to seasoned dancers. I would watch Gregory Hines and practice my version of the Shuffle, Ball Change. I made up whole routines. I spent weeks mastering my interpretation of Janet Jackson’s “Miss You Much” in order to audition for a dance part in my high school musical. I channeled my best Liza/Mein Heir/Fosse Style chair dance. Sadly, I chickened out, only mustering enough courage to audition for the speaking, singing roles. To this day, I still remember most of the steps…

My thoughts have been drifting back and forth towards my perceived and actual lack of agility. I end up reminiscing about the two weeks worth of swimming lessons Jack took over the summer. He went farther and was more graceful than I ever was. He swam underwater, without fear, without question. I envy that type of confidence.

Growing up, I never learned to swim or ride a bike, properly. It was all either self-taught or husband aided. At this point, I think I could only swim enough to save my life.

My lack of education was not based on fear. More based on the sheer will of one caring yet over protective parent and the lethargic complacency of the other. I should have fought more for lessons, the same way I begged them to teach me how to drive.

Sinking

I almost drowned in a pool once. The experience was not how I imagined it; that frantic whirlwind of  arms and legs flailing about as it is often portrayed in the movies. At least it was not that way for me.

I was 11. Our family was on a whirlwind journey down the east coast. I forget what hotel we stayed in — it may have been Seven Springs. I had never been to an indoor, in-ground pool before. My dad rushed off down the long, tackily carpeted hotel corridor in order to make it to the pool before anyone else. He was a competitive swimmer/diver in his younger life.

I don’t remember how most of it happened, but I must have not paid any attention to which side was the deep end and which side was shallow. I simply walked in without a thought.

I remember feeling as if I had sunk to the bottom. Sound was muffled. All I could see were the flourescent lights from the ceiling reflecting off the surface of the water. The pool might as well have been an ocean due to how completely small and insignificant I felt. Instead of flailing about, I felt an unbelievable calm. I am not really sure why. My sister said she observed an awkward struggle, but all I remember is gazing above in wonderment.

The lifeguard pulled me out a few seconds later. I was dazed by the whole thing. My mother wrapped her arms around me and took me back to the hotel room. I remember that blur, that haze, that calm before the storm where I was released and pulled out into the air… I became stunted by fear at 11. But it wasn’t my fear. I had adopted hers.

•  •  •

SOLITARY MOURNING

I never expected this past year to have such a profound effect on the landscape of my life. That landscape has evolved both subtly and significantly. 2011 left me gasping, dazed, mesmerized, and longing in much the same way that serenely harrowing pool experience did.

Solitary Mourning

Of course, it was fitting that this past year had one final funeral to complete the bookend in a very long, death filled year. It was even more fitting it was for this particular person. Well, not fitting in the sense that it was the demise of this human being, but more in regards to what he represented. To the casual observer, this man was a rough and tumble person. He was old school, conservative, filled with piss and vinegar, and gruff in voice and nature. But underneath it all were these subtle shades from a man who dealt mostly in blacks and whites. A self-made man; a father figure to most that knew him (including my husband); someone who traversed adversity to a the other side.

I was numb to the feeling of funeral homes at this point in this year. My numbness may have come across almost overly social so I had to dial it back a bit, so instead of really joining in, I sat back and listened a lot to everyone’s chatter. Through all the crotchety stories, the one phrase that seemed to summarized this person’s existence was he was “a tough son of a bitch, but he was always fair” or some variation of that. Perfection. As I sat on the couch and continued to listen to the merging of words, my inner voice began to run through this end of year checklist, this dialogue that spoke to me like an end of the movie monologue. I began typing them in on my iPad simply so I could remember:

MY LESSONS/MY YEAR IN REVIEW/MY SHOUTING INNER VOICE/MY “WHATEVERS” (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER)

• I’ve said goodbye to more people, places, and things than I was ever prepared for. I’ve welcomed new folks and lamented over the severing of old ties to things that were simply not relevant anymore.

• I’ve learned better usage and application of the word NO.

• I’ve learned to migrate towards the people who have my best interests at heart.

• I’ve learned that some people are just incapable of giving others what I need no matter how badly they or I would like them to.

• I’ve learned that choosing, wanting and needing are sometimes mutually exclusive. At others, they are all perfectly in sync with each other. I have yet to find that trifecta.

• I’ve soul searched and found insight through unexpected channels on how to be a better mother, a better wife, and a better friend.

• An epiphany = nervous breakdown (metaphorically speaking). I don’t mean to make light of NBs, nor do I know the feeling first hand, but I would like to imagine that moment of clarity when you come through to the other side of both experiences may or may not render the same effects on your psyche.

• I just heard someone mutter the phrase “disadvantage is just advantage turned on its ear.” I have never heard that phrase before, but I feel motivated in this moment to make those words ring true when the time or place is right for the seizing.

• I’ve learned that my inner dialogue REALLY can ramble with unending, exhaustive, narcissistic monologues. 

• I’ve gotten to hear so many people talk about so many other people and see so many others people from a new-found, and sometimes skewed, perspective.

• I’ve gotten to appreciate my husband more and have watched him constantly strive to be the best version of himself for no other reason than that deep down, that is who he is, and everything else is who he striving to be.

• I’ve learned that if you don’t spray your coat with Febreeze after every funeral, the next time you put on your coat and for many weeks afterwards,  you will be inundated with a very weird, pungent combination of perfumes, carnations, and lilies.

Roof fixer on the drive home

•  •  •

REQUIEMS, CRESCENDOS, AND $8 EPIPHANIES

I appreciate requiems. They really put a period on the end of a sentence with all the pomp, circumstance, and all the crescendos a moment deserves. Anyone who knows me well, knows just how much I love crescendos; I am a sucker for them in ANYTHING. I thump my chest like Celine Dion when I hear that manufactured, musical fortissimo in all its over the top glory. This love for elevated endings was definitely honed while performing as the “cymbal girl” in my high school marching band. Carrying around 20 pound cymbals for hours at a time makes you really appreciate the crash that comes at the end of a large swell.

Last year was my crescendo, one manufactured by me and heavily influenced by the course of events that transpired. A year of a series of slow and steady rises and falls to the precipice of something. I have been left more empty and more filled by this past year than most any other. I felt such raw emotion as if I just traversed something all too hard to comprehend. The I am still waiting for the final curtain call, for the conductor to close his palms and bow.

Crescendo between our houses

I saw a movie with my family the day before New Year’s Eve. After the morning funeral, we wanted a quiet family afternoon with a little, nondescript, innocuous family film. One that we expected to watch and then forget about. I did not expect it to affect me so deeply. (Damn you Cameron Crowe and that stupid zoo you bought!)

All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage…

The movie was formulaic and sweet at the outset, but as it gathered momentum, there were many moments of “something.” And then there was a moment — a moment that summed up my entire year. A year I felt isolated by and isolated inside of. A year where I felt my struggles were my own and foolishly kept my laments primarily to myself.

After their long and arduous process of trying to build this zoo and all the movie drama that entails, the main character and his son (who of course were at odds during most of the film) have the proverbial blow out to release all the tension they have been building for the last two hours. After some reflections, their relationship slowly saunters it way into the realm of getting back on track. The day before the zoo is set to launch its grand reopening, father and son sit in front the animal cages and talk. Without the benefit of You Tube, I can’t remember exactly how it went, but it was a conversation designed to be a vehicle to get the two of them really communicating again. The father suggests that the two of them say something they have always wanted to say to the other one, simultaneously, on the count of three.

I can’t for the life of me remember the exact words so the impact of this may not be as potent as it is in my head. “I know you did your best, dad,” or some suggestion of that notion was uttered in that simultaneous exchange. It was really a small moment that before I had a kid wouldn’t have even noticed. In a sappy moment that only Mr. Crowe can manipulatively and poignantly deliver, my body just couldn’t stop itself. I felt the tears roll down my face and all that exhaustion at trying my very hardest at everything came to a head. Then I heard the sniffling on the other side of Jack. I looked over at my husband, saw his glassy eyes, and I realized after all this time he was silently experiencing all the same things I thought I only knew the darks spaces of; the same worries, the same self-doubt, the same need to be and do the best for this little person we created who means everything. I realized he was feeling everything, but that I had been taking it for granted that he wasn’t. For some reason it just didn’t cross my mind.

I held Dave’s hand and I understood everything. The hurt, the worry, the unsureness he never shows but somehow a few moments within a beautifully corny film revealed. All this undue pressure to strive to be better for Jack is a hard thing to live up to. We are looking to live this life a different way, a better way, a less exhausting way, but up to and including this point we are not sure how. He is not sure how.

Waiting for the film

On the car ride home, I reached across to the driver’s seat, lovingly grabbed the back of Dave’s neck and asked. “What’s our adventure?” He looked over with tears in his eyes and quietly said, “I dunno.” His honesty was both comforting and complex. He turned off the car, smiled, and the three of us walked hand in hand into the grocery store, putting notions of life changing exploits on the sidelines for the moment. We ran at full speed across the parking lot, Jack holding both our hands as he begged us to swing him onto the sidewalk. We obliged.

Our $8/Junior Mints and popcorn epiphany: we needed our adventure to begin and we were ready for it now more than ever. Maybe we ignored the call long ago. We had both lost parents at the dawn of our adulthoods and losing your parents at that stage in your life makes you forge your life’s path in one of two ways, carefree and without a net, or it makes you wary of all other risks. For me, all my safety nets were taken away and up until this point, I hadn’t realized I was spending my time trying to feel safe again. Moreover, in that desire for safety, I was cheating myself of everything else. I spent most of my adulthood being an ADULT because I was so afraid not to. I was afraid of letting the phantom version of my mother down. That realization hit me like a sucker punch.

But then I thought, maybe this search for safety and its subsequent realization process was how it had to be in order to become fully formed to this point. Life was waiting for us to be ready, and now it is almost time.

Parking Lot Dance

•  •  •

WISHES AND PROMISES

This day started out very cynical and ended up being scared, a little sad, doubtful, and hopeful. I am sure life will chip away again, But I had more resolve than ever to somehow keep the momentum going.

Still waterlogged by our evening film, Jack turned to me and said, “I have never seen a real ocean before and I really want to.” I promised him that we would somehow make that happen this year.

Prior to Jack’s ocean wish, I had spent the day engulfed in negativity, reading negativity, and hearing negativity wrapped in cleverness. But this simple wish and the catharsis of mine and Dave’s emotional moment inspired me to dive headfirst into an art project I have had rattling around in my head for quite some time: one that incorporates the choice we make and the dreams we have. I am convinced, now more than ever, that our dreams are important, our choices are imperative, and that we all start living this adventure instead of working so hard to muddle through.

I promised Jack that if he stuck with swimming and actually swam underwater, I would take lessons as well. I will make good on my promise this year. One step closer to grace.

A blurry walk into the parking lot

•  •  •

SLEDDING

A few weeks later, the three of us went sled riding. Another thing I had never attempted until now. I was afraid but excited. Jack was nervous as well. There was something special about experiencing this for the first time together if for no other reason, we really understood what the other one was going through.

I went downhill with Jack. We started on the small hill and worked our way to the top. He sat behind me, held onto my neck, and screamed with delight. We took it the whole event slow until we eventually sled down the hill from the very top.

I asked if I could head down the hill with Dave. Jack said he would follow behind. I took my seat behind Dave and held on as we started sliding down the hill. I kept trying to dig my heels into the ground on the way down as to slow our pace. Dave lifted my heels and wrapped his arms around my shins to keep them elevated. He knew I needed to let go. I spent the rest of the ride thinking of nothing except that hill, that leap forward, that slide into the parking lot. It was a spiritual moment, blurry, uncertain, scary, exhilarating — our metaphor for the next — a plunge we took together. He seems to have a knack of finding subtle ways to show me bravery without even realizing it. I got up from the descent, laughed, thanked him, straightened out my cheap, end of the supermarket aisle kiosk hat, and trudged up the hill, family in tow.

•  •  •

EPILOGUE ON 11

I realize our “photograph” is still being developed. As much as we want to forge and force destiny, we kind of have to ride things out a bit organically as well. We all wanna to be Kerouac or at least the jazzy, eloquent idea of him. We all want to be graceful like Fosse and fearless like every pioneer who has come before us. Knowing how to traverse our newest adventure is gonna take time to decipher. I want to become less awkward and more sure when I finally reach my destiny. But for now I will still dance awkwardly in supermarkets while singing under my breath, and continue to move past “11.”

Our first sled ride (cell phone pic)

Theater Light

Inside the theater

All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned from Jim Henson… and a few others…

My Path, South Park

Emptiness and rebirth. There is a lot of empty and rebirth going around… (My husband will actually be writing about something similar in his blog this week, as well… funny how great minds think alike.) A few weeks ago, I decided to sit down with my family and watch the original Muppet Movie. There was no particular reason behind this other than that it was my birthday weekend and I wanted to share a memory of something I loved with my husband and son. I hadn’t watched this film in about 15 years, so I was curious if my memories of the greatness of this film truly held up.

This movie marked the first time I fell in love, although (at the time) I did not know I was falling in love. I fell in love with an idea much bigger than myself. My young brain was too immature to process that idea, so I simply collected Kermits and various other Muppet memorabilia throughout my childhood as a make shift shrine to this thing I admired yet didn’t understand. In fact, I still have my commemorative Muppet Movie glasses that McDonald’s handed out in the 1970s when the movie first came out.

To my delight, the perfection of this film from my memories remained in tact. The one liners, the subtlety, the heart, it was still there. Steve Martin in Lederhosen was there. Crazy German Mel Brooks was there. My family listened to my deep-seated Muppet geek references and my general gushing. We all had a great time watching, laughing and analyzing the sheer brilliance of the film.

But I was struck by something I had forgotten. I always, always, always cringed at the film’s ending. If you have not seen it before, here it is:

 

This ending nearly sent my optimistic childhood brain into shock.

How the hell could they end it like this!? All that work. All that struggle. All that, all that to make their dreams come true: the bad guys, the kidnapping, the Instagrow™ pills, the frog legs, etc. After all that, they finally get to Hollywood to make their dream a reality and whoosh, the studio gets destroyed by carelessness and freak accidents. I was devastated. Even the rainbow at the end seemed senseless. It was a true moment among many truths in that movie. A level of unfairness my adolescence had not (as of yet) encountered.

I have spent this past year focusing on my limitations and trying to better the person I am. When I began this journey, I felt I had a limited knowledge of who I really am and what made me tick. I took the dangerous approach of self exploration without a net, or at least without a licensed psychologist.

I suppose I should have made a list of what I considered limitations within, but instead I began to explore my roots, my genetics and how all of that comes into play with shaping who a person is, but more importantly, discovering what happiness IS when you really want it.

After a year of analyzing, kneading, and expelling, I realized something rather horrifying. I have spent my whole lifetime over analyzing my limitations. I have been so busy getting to the heart of my flaws, that I had forgotten how to nurture the seeds that had been planted by my family, my teachers, my friends, my experiences and myself from so long ago until this very moment. And worse, I lacked the foresight then, as I do now on how make them blossom.

Henson was always my teacher. And like the best teachers, I had no idea I was being taught. I was just organically (and sometimes inorganically) learning. He became a father figure to me when I needed some emotional guidance. He taught me straight forward humor and the ability to laugh at myself. He taught me the beauty of imperfection. He taught me to follow my dreams with what is (in my opinion) the single greatest buddy film ever created using these few simple words:

 

They believed in the dream…

Lately I feel as if I have let down my surrogate father of my possible and impossible dreams by traipsing through regret and not bounding gleefully towards the future as much as I really should.

I have been reflecting on these thoughts for some time now, and then Steve Jobs’ passed. And something happened…

Something was set in motion. I was left empty and I did not expect it, but there it was, drifting into my life like a message in a bottle.

Another teacher forging his own path. Another risk taker showing me how following your bliss is the only thing that makes sense in this life. Risk takers have this foresight or at least are able to weigh the risks enough to know what is a “win”. That is a skill set of intuition I am so envious of.

I have a confession. I have squandered bliss from time to time for the sake of responsibility. Don’t get me wrong, I have tried to live the life I was meant to live, but compromise for the greater good sometimes took precedence over happiness. I think that happens when your parents leave you young, you either become super reckless or super responsible. I chose the latter.

Upon hearing the news of Jobs’ death, these thoughts came rushing through my brain, both fast and furious:

I need pushed. I need my dreams to not be in vain. My plea is desperate and my soul craves something. 

The restless has been stirring for a long time. I have been stuck in these waters for too long.

I love my family and my art, but I have been treating my life as temporary, as some sort of transitional period for far too long. What I need to do is transition them (and myself) into the “next”.

There are so many quotables from my heroes, but how can you translate that rhetoric into solid life experience and success?

I have been under a false notion, listening to the dissenters for far too long, saying your too old for this, too late for that…

All this clarity happened so abruptly to the point where I can barely type these words out. When I heard the news of Jobs’ death, I wanted to change everything. I wanted to grab the scissors and cut my hair, cash in and/or sell everything and fly off to Berlin, do something, anything. Light a fire and begin living.

So how do you change the world? I guess the better question for me is, how do I change myself and leave the world different? I guess I need to start by changing the way I perceive myself. I need the change the way I perceive my limitations. All my heroes believed they could leave the world a little bit better than the way they found it. They found ways to enhance our way of communicating with each other. One on an emotional level and the other on a technological level.

My first computer was an Apple. I bought it (used) at a time when everyone was buying PC’s. That simple purchase changed everything for me. I began drawing with the Mac Paint program and doing simply desktop publishing very early on. I was curious about layout and design all the while trudging through my journalism degree. I saw fonts and illustrations differently and began nurturing possibilities. I began taking classes in the early Photoshop programs; I began taking desktop publishing courses; I began shaping the person I was searching to become.

My mother bought me that computer. She shaped so much for me in our short time together. We both thought about driving to NYC to attend Jim Henson’s funeral. We never did go for one reason or another, but she understood why I so desperately wanted to attend. My brother and I sang this song at her funeral:

 

___

My solidification of unabashed change came today when I heard of the passing of someone who I attended college with. I did not know him well, but the whole college community knew of him. He was one of those folks you would call a life force. He was musical, both in vocational choice and in the fact he was constantly singing, his voice burst through the halls of our dormitory in a joyous noise. He sounded like Stevie Wonder and wore rollers in his hair. He took in all the “misfits” and made them feel like family. They called him “Mama.” In his short time on earth, he touched so many. I have not seen him in 20 years. I admired him from afar while standing next to him when he serenaded the masses in our tiny ramshackle dormitory elevators:

Monte Smock: Amazing Grace (video courtesy of Gretchen Schock)

Life should not end at 39.

I walked into Starbucks (as I normally do most days). I was thinking about all my friends who were grieving over Monte. The school hallways constantly echoed with his singing; he was always singing. Lost in my thoughts of his voice and my friends’ sadness, the Starbucks workers spontaneously burst into song, the same song, laughing, giggling, having a good time. Everyone in the coffee shop began to smile. I am there everyday (literally) and I have never seen any one of them do that. Normally it is pretty silent and stoic. I was moved to tears. I told them that their impromptu concert made my day and urged them to keep on singing. Monte was special and he served his purpose on this earth. Again, even for me, someone who only got to observe his loveliness from the rafters… or within earshot.

Teachers really do “show up” when you least expect it.

To that end, I have spent the whole day reading the FB memories of someone I wish I would have gotten to know better in life. The lessons I have learned this week are more than I can bear.

My hope still is to leave the world a bit better than when I got here. — Jim Henson

Upon this last viewing of the Muppet Movie, I began to understand the film’s ending on a much deeper level. I did not cringe this time. I watched with the knowledge only age and maturity could provide. I realize that your dreams can come true but sometimes they can still be taken away. That your dream doesn’t always turn out the way you had hoped it would, but if you do it right, if you believe in something, if you are truly yourself, that you will be surrounded by folks who stand up for your dream. Jim Henson was a great teacher and he was smart not to candy coat life, even if it was only a movie.

I think we all go through life wanting to be remembered, wanting to leave an impact. It takes hard work, perseverance, etc. But the dirty little secret to success is not just success itself but combining that success with a life well lived.

Life is not for the faint of heart. It is work to find out who you are. I am envious of those who have killer instincts and trust in themselves implicitly. The rhetoric means nothing without a change in perspective. I am still crawling through my path of self discovery. But I think I may be cashing a few things in and starting a new adventure. I owe it to my surrogates, my art, my loyal and gracious family. I owe it to myself.

Rearview