Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Oh my, I can't believe my luck. Today, I went to the post office and after a particulary difficult interaction with the workers and a quick trip to the bank, I was finally awarded two packages! Thank you thank you thank gramma for the cookies and Aunt Deb for the sunscreen and goodies. Oh my goodness. I had to open the packages in front of the customs officers and I started bawling right then and there. This country has me on an emotional roller coaster. Anyway, a white woman was standing next to me and came over and put her arm around me. I turned into the hug and clung to her for a couple of minutes. She introduced herself and gave me her card. We chatted a bit and I found out that she has been here for five years and is a seminary teacher near where I stay. She told me to call her mom and I ended up driving around town with her. She brought me to her house and fed me salad and homemade christmas cookies and now I am typing this post in an air conditioned office on a computer that runs faster then a snail! I am so thankful that I have met her and her husband. She is the breath of support that I need. I think I can learn a lot from this couple about how to manage in Ghana. They have been all over the country and are going to South Africa next week. Oh yes, an American who works at the women's center of the orphanage might be going to Mole National Park where the animals roam next week. I am trying to see if I can go along with her. She has been in Ghana for a year and half. This Christmas has been, I don't know, amazing in a way! If I learn one thing in Ghana that I can pass on when I get back, it is to be more generous and giving. I have been much too selfish in my life and a want to promise myself to look for opportunities to give on a simple plane, like some of the people I have encountered here like paying a bus fair or giving an extra penny here and there or taking someone home for dinner and being more compassionate. I need to be less penny pinching and self-involved. I have given far less then I have taken in this country and for that matter the history of my life. And if you want to send something for the school, letters seem to be a bit more reliable and stickers are a great thing that would fit in an envelope. Packages take too long and are too expensive. This little piece of advise from the semanary teacher.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Time is an amazing phenominon. Seconds seem to pass so quickly, hours drag on and daylight fades into another night. When I look back on the past eight weeks, I wonder where all the time went. I can barely recall all that has happened. The memories are distant and I feel like I've been in Ghana for years. But then my mind snaps and it's as iff yesterday I was first slapped in the face by Ghana's heat. And even though it seems like ages before I board the plane to take me back to rainy Seattle, the time will pass and I will marvel at how quickly it fettered away.

I fell into a comfortable routine while teaching at the school. Wake up at 5:oo am, listen to the sounds of morning and doze until 6:00, read untill 6:30, drink tea and get ready untill 7:30, write in my journal and play the guitar untill 7:50, walk to school with Dan, teach untill, 10:00, break until 10:20, teach, lunch with Gloria while she serves the kids rice and stew or beans and rice until 1:30, teach until 3:00, walk to Adenta (20 min) or Madina (1 hr), walk home, eat dinner, and sleep by 9:00.

Of course, something new happens everyday, so I don't ever get too cozy. Dec 12, I attended an engagement of class one teacher, Millicent. In Ghana, the ceremony start three hours late, the microphone cuts out, the engagees don't smile and the couple is considered married. Even thought the man is the only one who gives a ring. What's called an engagement in Ghana is essentially the act of marrying. However, some Ghanaians have a separate wedding ceremony where both exchange rings in a church on the same day or even years later. The engagement, taking place outdoors, is ceremony enough, with the man's family presenting the woman's family with a dowry payment (schnappy, suitcases, money...), dancing, prayer, speeches, and refreshments. In Northern Ghana, marriages are patrilinear and the woman's father administers the engagement but in the south, the marriages are matrilinear and the maternal uncle administers. Millicent's uncle, chairman of the ceremony, declared his undying love for me and was quite persistant despite the fact that I told him I was engaged and even so, not ready to get married. He assured me he would wait five or six years for me. I was his lifelong dream come true. An obruni, alive and in person! During the ceremony, he was giving a winded speech and twi and I was therefore, off in outerspace. Suddenly, I felt eyes boring into me and the women behind me were jostling me out of my chair. Clinton was talking at me in Enlish saying that I was to share the opening dance with Millicent's uncle, alone. Looking back on the experience, it makes quite a story but truthfully, I was embarassed and uncomfortable.

At school, I planned an art project. I fee the their creative side is not simulated enough. I saved 500 ml water sachets and and bought dried beans and string. I had the kids fill the sachets with beans and blow air into the remaining space and seal the sachets with string. The crude rattles proved to be a success but they also revealed the children's poor grasp of rhythm. Eventually, we lapsed into a talen show with the kids crawling over eachother to sing or tell a story. The rattles were forgotton. The otherday, I taught them hangman. I also began pen pal program with some kids from Florence, Montana. I took individual pictures and they all wrote letters.
Dear American Students,
My name is Kwame/Mercy/Berther. I am 5/8/10 years old. I have 11/2/4 siblings. I like to play ampe/football. When I grow up, I want to be a soldier/manger/nurse/teacher/pilote. What is your favorite subject?
Yours faithfully, Felix/Priscilla/Emmanuel.
The 17th was, as the kids say, OUR DAY. I was met by kids in their Sunday best instead of their white and green plaid uniforms. They mundhed on biscuts, toffees and soda. We gathered in the nursury for their talent show. KG performed wonderfully and class 6 had a great native drum/dance sequence. Then they feasted. They came to school with picnic baskets full of spaghetti, rice and stew and biscuts and minerals. Gloria cooked Jollof rice for the teachers and we ate in solomn silence while the kids screached and danced outside.

The headmaster, Clinton, has become bit of a guide for me. He offered to take me to his hometown, Dodowa, to see the 1000 year old forest and his 4 day old baby son. Dodow is the mango capital of Ghana. To my dismay but not my surprise, the forest guards were away and we couldn't enter. His son was adorable, small and quiet. He was bundled in a blanket, sweating in the stuffy ghetto heat. Clinton just sat, dumb, in the room. He didn't even introduce his son's mother to me. I felt very weird in this silent room with a woman nursing her child and me not having anywhere elso to look. Finally, a couple of neighbors burst in, tickling and cooing at the baby. I asked Clinton why he didn't hold his son and the neighbors whisked the baby into his arms. That was the first time he'd ever held his child. Then I got a turn and we checked for the appropriate number of fingers, toes and you know what's. When we left Clinton said he needed a name for his son and he wanted to use my father's name. So Nicholas he is.

Clinton also accompanied me to Kiddafest 2004 in Accra. It was a day full of events for and by kids. The main performance was three hours of drumming, dancing and sketches from Nigeria and Ghana. My favorite was a satyrical sketch/dance with drums and overexaggerated movements and gestures. I laughed and laughed over a huge wad of sugarcane hanging out of the market women's mouths. I loved everything I saw including a rasta dance to a Michael Jackson medley. They encorporated traditional african moves with Michael Jackson staples. I also made it to the semi finals of a dance contest. I still can't believe I was on stage shimmying and doing rubber knees in front of a hundred or so black kids. Though I didn't win first, I was definately the most memorable and spent the rest of the days fielding complements and mockeries. I can easily say this has been the best cultural experience. Instead of championing the western culture, they were honoring their own traditions!

The second day of the festival was canceled (surprise, surprise) so I explored Mokola Market which was the spitting image of every other market in Ghana. I walked from central Accra to Osu neighborhood. Their are only a few street signs and even then it is ambiguous as to which street belongs wo which side. So my trek was a bit hairy at times. However, I did discover the fairly monumentous Independence Square with an arch and the Sports Complex with rowdy Nigerian football fans horsing around outside. Osu is the "white neighborhood" if you could even call it that. It has a supermarket and a bookstore and an airconditioned icecream/pasteries shop. In the grocery store while I was drooling over 6 dollar boxes of cereal and 4 dollar boxes of herbal tea the instumental of my favorite song from Jesus Christ Superstar came on. And as if I wasn't already making the cornflakes soggy with tears, Imagine came on immediately after.

However, nastalgia aside, I am constantly humbled by the generousity of the Ghanaians. Clinton, barely making 300,000 c/$25 a month, insists on paying my bus fare, a lady selling roasted plantains in arguably the richest neighborhood of town insists on giving me two for the price of one, the women who I chatted with in the market once shoves onions into my bag, Valerie cooks a full dinner for me even though she doesn't know me, Florence, a complete stranger on the tro-tro pays my fare and the taxi driver asks for food and then offers to drive me as he was going that way anyway and I see a Ghanaian women hand a blind begger 2000c.

Ghanaian cuitsine has little variety outside of the staple foods. Rice or foo or yam and oily stew or soup with chicken , dried fish or goat is the most common. Soups include peanutbutter, light, okra, eggplant, and fish. Fermented corn rols called kenke or banku with salso or soup is also popular. My favorites include red red(plaintains and spiced beans) and jollof rice ( spiced rice with cabbage, corn and tomatoes) and mpotam potam, a thick yam stew. Though Ghanaians doen't really have salad, Cecilia keeps cabbage, carrots, cucumbers and weird mayonnaise dressing on hand. I eat pineapple for breakfast but most Ghanaians eat rice water, omelettes, kooko porridge or any of the above listed foods. I completely died when I tred a drink called Forah. It is made from gineaflour, ginger, pepper and hot peppers. It is better then chai. I am going to learn how to prepare it but guinea flour might be tough to get my hands on in the states. Overall, eating meat has not been as tramatic as I had feared and most days I dont even have the option. I am decidedly not a fan of anything goaty.

I have been spending my vacation at a nearby orphanage. It is run by a Spaniard named Mama Lisa. The orphanage has around 50 to 60 kids from a couple months old to 24. Ghanaians don't really move out until they get married. Much to my surprise, the the orphanage is really clean, well staffed, and equipped. Mama Lisa, it seems has raised and trained her staff well. I can't really explain how amazing the children are. Just at a point when I felt quite directionless, I find toddlers joyfully playing hide and go seek and girls teaching me how to play their games or crochet. The younger boys crowd around me and listen to me read or arm wrestle with me. I am constantly searching for the boy with my hanky, glasses or watch. Today, I finished reading a watered down version of Tom Sawyer to them. Mama Lisa asked me to help with the toddlers especially King who is mentally ill and Peter who was locked in a closet for three months and only says ma and banana. They are a handfully and destroy most everything they touch. On xmas eve, I was preparing to leave around 5:00 when Mama Lisa insisted then I join them at a carol service. She sent me to her house to bath and pick out one of her african print dress. She sat next to me while I ate Jollof rice and they all clapped when I appeared at the dinner table. The carols wer nice but the most monumentous thing was the declaration of several young boys that I was there mother. Since then, we have been most insperable. They hold my hand, hug my legs, lead me around, tickle my hands, take piggy back rides and read to me. After the service, Mama Lisa had one of the older boys take me to my doorstep. On xmas day, Cecilia killed two chickens. The orphanage killed a goat. I don't like goat. I spent the morning playing hide and go seek with the toddlers and desperatly trying to keep my sarong up while they tugged on it. Everyone recieved presents. Mama Lisa gave me the dress I had worn the night before. The toddlers got soft stuffed animals, the small boys, magic tricks, the girls jump ropes and teh older boys CDs and traditonal shirts. We played sports in the afternoon and had iced kenke and meatpies. I learned how to play ampe and a game similar to rock, paper, scissors. I stayed for dinner, fried rice and goat. I don't like goat. I danced with the older boys and and the little babies. Doreen, a teeage girl, very shy and negative even danced with me a bit. I try to get her to tell me something positive every day. Joseph, a 21 year old film student, is teaching me to be rasta woman. After the toddlers went to bed and baby abigail had fallen asleep on my sholder, I told Mama Lisa that I had come to help but she had given me so much more then I could ever give. Jo saw me home and I sat outside and stared at the moon before going to bed. I marvel at this country and my changing attitudes towards it. I can't believe the journey I've made from idly planting trees to teaching to making friends with kids that hug me and hold my hand and honestly feel comfortable with me.

I recieved a two letters from Gramma Pat and have just received word that two packages are at the post office for me. One of the letteres took 10 days to arrive. We'll have to see if there is anything left in the packages. Horray!!!

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday. Happy New Year or Afishyapa, as the Ghanaians say!

Friday, December 17, 2004

Oh, I'm late, I know. That's the problem with developing a routine. I wrote a little something for this post but as I read it, I am thinking it is not the kind of thing I would like to post. I really don't know what to say but that this uphill battle is halfway overwith as of today and I can't wait to get home. The school kids vacated today with quite a party and talent show. They bring biskests (good lord, how do you spell that word) and minerals and fancy food from home and eat themselves sick and dance and dance. I brought string and made friendship bracelets. I taught some of them how to do it themselves. They are demanding little things. No manners. I also snapped individual pictures of the kids in class one. They wrote letters to kids that my Aunt teaches in Montana. They are really excited about talking to American kids. I am very nervous that the postal system will fail them and they will never get letters from the US. I sent out the letters and pictures yesterday. So, I have vacation for 18 long days. I am trying to psych myself up to go to the north and explore the towns there. I am not altogether excited about this prospect as I am sure it will be more of the same. But I must do something with my time or I will go crazy.
I am thinking of keeping a marriage offer count. I think I'm around 50 or so. I was at an engagement the other day and Millicent's (teacher getting engaged) uncle, an old man. was so persistant about marrying me. He even said he would wait 5 or 6 years. I told him I was married but that didn't stop him. I was zoning out during his speech suddenly found that all eyes were on me. The ladies were pushing me out of the chair and babbling in nonesense. Well, some poor soul finally translated and said that the uncle wanted to share a first dance with me, ALONE. Well, I danced and was embarassed but I guess now, I have a story to tell you!

Julie, your email was such a light in the dark. I can't imagine sleeping on the ground in that kind of environment. Please keep up the emails. They save me every week. I do write a lot in my own journal but, I get frustrated because it never comes out right.

Phone's down again :(

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

I was at my wit's end this weeekend. School didn't meet on Friday because of Farmer's Day and it seemed as though I couldn't waiste time fast enought. You would think that Africa would be teeming with diversity and culture and in some ways it is. However, the constant struggle with poverty leaves little time or money for extra flourishes like parks, libraries, cultural centers or museums for tourists like me. In my free time(which I have a lot of) I have braved the horendous traffic, heat, and should of Obruni and ventured to several villages. Needless to say, if you've seen one, you've seen them all. Crooked shacks housing salons, stationary shops, chop bars, curio shops, taylors and convience goods line the streets. Every village has a market and taxi/tro tro station and besides tightly packed laundry strewn neighborhoods, there is nothing else. I guess the refreshing thing about this is that there is not a commercialized coffee shop on every corner. America should follow Ghana's example of establishing small private businesses.
The idea of starting my own business has been swimming around in my mind for some time and Saturday, I decided to give it a go in Ghana. The main income source in the villages comes from selling chop(food) on the roadside and armed with plastic bags, a serated knife, groundnut paste, bananas, brown bread, and paper signs declaring my wares, I set out to join the venders. My main challange was finding an empty table that I could set up on. But finally a man named Sam running a lotto booth at a popular road junction in Adenta(about 20 min walk from where I stay) let me use and empty table in front of him. I drew quite a crowd as I set up my signs and started making a peanut butter and banana sandwich. Several Ghanaians caught on to the foreign concept of sandwich and started calling out to passerbyers to try my American sandwich. Finally, a brave soul in the crowd bought a sandwich and I soon finished my one loaf of bread. I decided to continue selling so I packed up( I didn't want to leave my things set up while shopping for more supplies) and went in search of more bread and groundnun paste(across the street and down a bit). There was a banana table right next to my table. My main clientel seemed to be young men mainly interested in marrying my, but some older women were brave enought to try the new chop. Most people walked by staring and once past, broke into laughter. At the end of the day (3:00) I had sold 21 sandwiches at 2000c each. My profits: 21000c or 2.50 dollars. As I walked home, I felt strangly satisfied but even more mystified by how thse people survive. The average Ghanaian makes about 330 dollars a year. Granted my fellow sellers were selling staple foods and for a much longer period druing the day, so hopefully make more but the comme center to my left and the banana table on my right did less business than I did.
This brings me to Melinda, the level one teacher in my school. She is 25 and has a 7 month old daughter. She assures me that they have everything they need in their school. I am amazed at this assertion. However, I guess that we have so much in our schools in America that we are blinded by our excess. I have been thinking about some of your offers to send supplies or money. I think it would be best to send money to my mother and she will deposite it in my account. Then I can buy supplies here. A pack of crayons costs about 25 cents and a note book around 16 cents. Also if you have any fun games or songs that don't take a lot of suggestions could you pass them on. I have taught them the hokey pokey and the ants go marching and bingo and the itsy bitsy spider. Any suggestion would be welcome. My mom's address is Stacey Miller 2252 Westfield Court Missoula Montana 59801.

Dan's cellphone is working again!

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Thank goodness for Blogger! My hotmail saga continues. Today, I could only read the lovely emails you sent. I couldn't reply or compose a new email. Frustrating!
So Stacey:
Thank you for writing the check. I hope remember to withdraw the amount from my account. Did you find anything out about insurance? Do you know why muscles twitch? My quad won't stop twiching. Dan's phone is still broken and the other one is lost. Xmas when I get back sounds weird but not unthinkable. I really only miss my blanket and we can't lose that in the mail ;)
Hillary: Thank you for the lovely message. I didn't get a rabies shot either. Thank you for the package. It has not yet arrived but I have hope. If you send in the future, send it to the address on this site. I am so very excited you are on your way to Honduras!
Sarita: Thank you for the J house update and the mail update. Stupid SCCC. Go SCA! I will be sleeping on the floor for awhile in Feb, I suppose. I'll work something out;) My address is in the comments on this site or KAUFMAN, RACHEL C/O AT Amanor PO Box 0602 Osu, Accra, Ghana.
Cynthia: If you are reading, I miss you and my mom sent the check. I hope you are readjusting well.
Gramma: I have not received any packages. I am waiting with baited breath. I love you tons and tons thank you for the emails. is the correct one.
Chris: It took awhile for the good vibes to get here but apparantly, they travel faster then mail. Thanks

"Good afternoon. How are you?"
"Fine thank you. How are you?"
That is how I start my mornings now. My co-volunteer, Cynthia and I decided not to plant trees anymore for various reasons including my hip and the seeminly pointless nature of the daily work. I was unsure of how my remaining time would unfold but my host brother, Dan, introduced me to the headmaster at a nearby school and he said he would be happy to have me help in the class rooms. I started at the school last Friday in the Kindergarten class. They call me Auntie Ra-hell and they start at me with huge white eyes like I was a giant chocolat brownie.
The school is a slap in the face. If I thought I was fortunate to live in America before, it is now painfully clear to me that I am more than fortunate. I now realize why there are so many kids on the street selling water or gum during school hours. Many kids can't afford to pay the 20 dollar fee. Nor can they afford to pay for their uniforms or books and paper. The parents don't take an interest in their children either. As for the kids who do stay in school they face barren walls, bookless shelves and earsplitting noise from the classes in the same room. It makes me very sad that my program fee has been wasted with the Save the Earth Network instead of paying for crayons or books or paper for these school children. Despite their lack of supplies and tools and books and a teacher who spends all her time nursing her 8 month old baby, the children of the KG continue to impress me with what they know. For example, they can recite numerous bible verses and sing any number of songs. They know thier ABCs and numbers. Most can spell and do addition and recite the months and days of the week. They are also rehearsing for a fairly extensive Christmas program. They sing "the list has been done" instead of "felize navidad." The headmaster said I will be able to help in all the grades (up to 6) and I am anxious to see if their first years of school were at all affective.
On another note, the teachers swat at the kids with sticks if they are misbehaving. I was appalled. But still, the kids smile and hold my hand or stroke my straight hair. I taught them the Hokey Pokey, a hand clapping game, high fiving and a hand trick. It makes me sad that I can't take them all and give them crayons and construction paper and scissors but I hope that my presense will make them more worldly. If anything, I am learning more from them!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving all!
Here is my Ghanaian Thanksgiving poem:


I hope I remember the smell of spongy
sweet coconut simmering in sugar,
crisp clean clothing drying on a line
in the dead equatorial heat and the warm
fruity breeze of over-ripe paw paw, mango and banana.

I hope I remember the easy raggae
beat behind swinging saxophone melodies,
the unpolished harmonies of morning prayer
and the rare pounding of sleeting rain
on powdery red earth.

I want to remember the feel of tightly
curled hair capping flat African heads
and the refreshingly luke-warm water
sliding down my sticky neck and arms.

I hope I remember the icy taste of grapefruit
juice; bittersweet caresse on my tongue,
candy-like pineapple, Lipton tea
that brings beads of sweat to my upper
lip and the starchy dryness of grilled
plantains and salted groundnuts.

I hope I remember bright white teeth
behind genuine smiles, the fragile balance
of people, goats, chickens and tro-tros
on the pocked roads and the topsy-turvy
moon hanging in perpetual twilight,
reflecting light from my eyes to yours,
sharing our senses and knitting us together
for a suspended universal moment.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

So I thought I would write a bit on my daily routine, if there is such a thing.

Up with the roosters around four o'clock am and my sleep is very broken from then on. The dogs bark, people turn on radios, birds chirp, hoo ho hoo hoo hoo and my host family prays. Laud, Edgar, Cecilia and Amano and Dan are my family members, each precious in their own right. I get up and get dressed. I brush my teeth and spit in the sink in the hallway. The pipe runs straight down into a bucket beneath the sink. There is no running water. I drink water from small plastic pouches or from water bottles in the fridge. They are dodgy though as they came from a pipe. The toilet is in a small room and the tank is filled with water from the bucket under the sink. I only flush after I have pooped and toilet paper goes in the garbage can. It took me some time to figure this out and I felt horribly guilty about flushing the toilet every time I used it. The amount of water a tank holds is exhorbant. I take a bucket in the shower room. Green soap and a washcloth. I use a smaller bucket to pour water over my body and the cool water is so nice in the hot weather. My towel smells funny, but so does most things. It smells like mildew or sweat or fish or dirt or poop or burning. I hope I remember the cooking coconut smell when I return and not the other smells. I am never completely dry. My towel is never completely dry. Nothing is every completely dry. My vitamins are dissolving.
Cecilia or Dan bring me breakfast on a tray. There is a tea bay in my cup, a bowel of sugar, a thermos of hot water, a tin of milky cream, several slices of bread with ground nut paste, an omlette and a bowel of pineapple. I have no appetite and my stomach is upset anyway so I eat the pineapple and bag the bread for lunch. The lipton tea is a savoir even though it is too hot to drink such things. Sometimes Cecilia gives me cake or canned pickled macaroni stuff for breakfast. I drink a lot of water, around five to six litres a day. I feel bad about drinking so much. Water is such a hassle to haul and buy.
At six thirty Dan and I head to Madina by tro tro, not a bus and not a taxi but transportation just the same. We have never gotton to Madina the same way twice so I am still confused about how to get to this village. There are no set scheduals in Ghana and sometimes a tro tro comes and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes we get to Kingsley's house by seven and sometimes we don't arrive until eight thirty. Tro tros cost around 1000 to 2000 cedis. A man called a mate operates the door and takes money. I am an aspiring mate. A mate yells out the destination as the tro tro hurtles down the road. The mate is painfully hard to understand and Accra sounds like acracracracracra and Madina sounds like markemarkemarke.
We all meet at Kingsley's, sometimes Alex, Prince, Charlie or Eben are there. We hang around and rarely leave the house before ten. We catch a tro tro back towards Frafraha to Adomrobe. The ride is long but I savor it because the wind blows through the open window and cools me off and I am left to my thoughts. There are few stops on the way and the road is ungodly bumpy.
At the site, past volunteers have already filled lots of "rubber bags" with "sand" We are doing the same thing soon to be planted with Lycenae trees. The days are hot, the nights are hot. I am always hot. We work slowly if at all and after at least two hours we head home. The commute is long and we walk at least forty minutes both ways.
Kingsley shops at the market on the way back home and we help him prepare a three or four oclock lunch as it were. Eventually, Dan and I head home and end up walking half the way because tro tros are dodgy and taxies are too expensive. I fall into bed exhaused from heat and read or listin to music. I practice my guitar or talk with Cecilia. It is dark around six but the noise continues well into the night. On days when we don't work and I don't go to cape coast and get horribly sick, I sit at home and read or knit or play the guitar.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Hello from oh so hot Ghana!
I made it, I made it, I made it!
Already, after two weeks, I have had an interesting if not fun time. First of all, the heat makes moving absolutely unbearable but the sun goes down at six and things start to cool off. My host family is very gracious and they still instist on filling my bucket for my showers and refilling the toilet tank after I flush, which by the way is only after pooping.
Food has been a challange, partly because I have no appetite in this heat and partly because I've seen what the meat looks like before it goes into the pot. It's been sitting out in the heat of the day rotting. I did eat a crab leg. My favorite is red red or fried plantain and beans.
I bused down to Cape Coast with my volunteer partener, Cynthia. THe bus ride was a painful 4 hours long. But the trip was worth it. Cape Coast has two forts and one castle rich with history of the Gold Coast and slave trade. We also went to Kokum national park and walked on rope bridges high above the jungle canopy.
Perhaps the most exciting thing to happen though is that I got severe dehydration from eating too little and especially not enough salt and had to be carried to a clinic not far from the American Embassy in Accra. I was very out of it and too weak to stand up but Cynthia was amazing she got me to the clinic and paid for my visit because I didn't have any more money. They gave me two bags of salene solution through and IV and antibiotics. My tongue was dark black. I thought I was going to die. I honestly did. But I'm ok and it's not malaria or cholera or anything scary. I just have to be more carefull about salt consumption. You really wouldn't believe the heat. It is unbearable.
I love you and miss you.
oh yes, my gmail account is not supported in Ghana so email me at

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

As this is my last post from the United States of America, I should say something striking, or at least intuitive. But I've got nothing folks. My brain is saturated with basic Twi (thank you Sarah), itineraries, images of who will pick me up at the airport, getting to the airport, and finalizing any number of loose ends. This fabric just keep fraying!

I have nothing brilliant to pass on except what my friend Jules told me the other day: There is nothing in this world worth getting upset over.
Think about that one for a while. I can agree with this on certain levels. I think the abbess that told Jules this meant it is not worth it to get upset over spilt milk or Washington state residency or financial aid or school or rent or money or love or lost items. It's not worth it. Let it go and get upset over murders and social injustice and politics and thieves.

Peace and love and other things sweet,
Imaginer(with tears in her eyes)

Monday, October 25, 2004

Is it right to know it and feel it with all your heart but not share your knowledge and feelings? Or is it right to work for their endurance in yourself and others, fight for what you know and feel? Is knowing enough? Is feeling enough? If everyone knew and felt then it would be enough...
PEACE, Rachel

Thursday, October 21, 2004

I'm tired and uninspired and my feet are wet. (good alliteration in that sentence. Do I hear a poem?) I did just make a great curry and got a lot of stupid errands done today. I think I'm going to go play the guitar and not pack right now. Yea, that sounds good!

I'm tired and uninspired,
with wet feet and smelly socks.
I ran beside and skipped down
the drizzling streets and sidewalks.
My hair is a stringy mess,
masking my brain's scatteredness.
Forgot my way in the rain,
lost my soul in the gutters.

Oh yea, if you want to see real live pictures of Ghana, Sarah has some pictures on her site. Click here to see them. Sarah went to Ghana with Habitat for Humanity for three weeks last December.
Other than being absolutely amazing, she has calf muscles like rocks. Check them out in picture number one. I'm writhing in jealousy. She could crush an aluminum can with those suckers : )

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

A couple things first:
1. I can't see the floor of my room, and I'm ok with that.
2. I am writing on this journal and baking cookies instead of working on school applications, making hotel arrangements, sewing a sleeping bag, and shopping.
3. I have a really annoying pimple right at the corner of my mouth. Aren't I past the pimple age?
4. I just heard a rap song about Leonard Nemoy.
5. The KGBA DJ doesn't know what songs she's playing, therefore, I don't know what songs she's playing.
6. My new hair cut is cute but I have about 1/4 inch of blond hair at my roots.

Now, I am going to tell you a story, the moral of which I have not yet discerned.

One day, a capable, able, beautiful, smart, princess named Roxanne decided to make a batch of Namaste vegan fat free brownies. She delicately poured soy milk into the round metal bowl. The milk was silky white and tasted sweet and vanilly. She opened the package of brownie mix carefully in order to reduce the flying brownie dust. The mix was light brown and smelled of cinnamon and baker's chocolate. She used her mother's golden heirloom mixer encrusted with diamonds to swirl the wet and dry ingredients together. Soon the precious mixer was straining under the pressure from the thick batter and Roxanne cranked up the speed and pressed the power boost button. The dough crawled up the stem of the beater and smeared on the body of the mixer. The beaters began to grind to a stop and the smell of rubber mingled with chocolate.
Roxanne, oblivious to her mother's mixers complaints, spooned the batter into her mother's crystal brownie casserole pan. The pan had been in the family for years and it was rumored that one could see their future in it's clear crystal form. She placed the pan in the preheated oven and set the timer for 30 min. She subsequently pulled on her golden running slippers and took a 25 min run around the block. Then she did her daily push ups and sit ups in order to maintain her princessly figure.
After 30 min she pulled the brownies out of the oven and did a test cut in the center of the pan. They smelled heavenly but the knife came out hopelessly gooey. She put the pan back in the oven for 10 min and then repeated the knife test. Again, the knife came out gooey but, oh, was it good. Wanted to have light fluffy non gooey brownies, Roxanne placed the brownies back in the oven for 10 min. She repeated this procedure several times until she realized that the brownies were never going to solidify. She set them on the fridge to cool and waited for her mother, the queen to come home from work to show her the day's handy work.
Queen Ruby came home later that evening and when Roxanne eagerly showed her mother the brownies she was dismayed to find them rock hard and petrified to the pan. In desperation, she cut slices of apple and laid them on top of the wood like brownies. She sprinkled them with water and hoped with all her innocent heart that they would soften up in time to serve them to her mother's court.
Fortunately after several nights with the apples, the top layer of the brownies softened up enough to scrape it off. Roxanne used a knife to vigorously dislodge the rest of the brownie. Unfortunately she was so strong from her daily pushups that she shoved the knife right through the heirloom pan. In dismay, she picked up the broken pieces of the 9 by 13 inch masterpiece and consoled herself with the fact that her brownies were not burnt just crispy and edible. However, they were not suitable for the court so she began making the motions to make oatmeal apple cookies instead. Much to Roxanne's dismay, the mixer failed to rotate the beaters. She had tried to use it too long while mixing the brownies and striped the gears in the diamond encrusted machine. How could she forgive herself for breaking her mother's heirloom mixer and pan. And to top it all off, they couldn't really even enjoy the comforting gooeyness of her brownies.
Roxanne finished the oatmeal cookies by hand and saddled up her horse for a trip to the store to find inferior replacements for the equipment she had so carelessly broke. That evening her mother returned and found the damage done but Roxanne was prepared with cookies and an apology and new mixer and pan. The new mixer was encrusted with rubies and the pan was burn proof. The mother and daughter laughed as they munched on crispy brownies and delicious moist oatmeal cookies.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Hello hello,
Oh my, I'm starting to get a bit nervous for my expedition to Ghana! Truthfully, I don't really feel like I'm going away. But the reality is, I ship out of here in 12 days. It seems like I have a lot of loose ends I need to tie up before I go.

I am going to have a really hard time leaving my friends and family behind, if only for the selfish reason that I am afraid they will forget me while I'm away. Not only that, I only got to see some good Montana friends briefly and I haven't seen other friends in too long. (My fault, I didn't drag myself to their doorstep like I should have). I did get to spend a lot of time with my family including my great aunt and uncle from far away Martinsdale. I feel like my Seattle crowd is whizzing forward to new peaks of friendships without me and my family is getting more and more distant as I grow up. Soon, I will have to knock on my parents door before I come in. This being independent and homeless(or should I say, having too many homes) thing can be wearing sometimes. I mean, I don't know what direction I'm facing most of the time, and don't even ask me what I'm doing tomorrow, much less next year or where I'm from. I think there must be name for what I'm suffering from.

I'm ruining my chances at becoming a WA state resident by going to Ghana and therefore making it oh too expensive to go to UW, which wont except me anyway. My other option, flying under the residency radar at SCCC, seems ok, but a bit, oh, I don't know, deceiving. I could go to UM. No! I could do the WHICy program, which allows me to go to certain state schools in Washington for Montana tuition and a half but UW doesn't participate in that. So that leaves me with Bellingham, hmm, maybe, Ellensburg, not so hot on that part of the state, Pullman, closer to home and friends nearby, but not Seattle, and Cheney, again, why it it so flat? Sigh, I am just going to turn into a homeless, uneducated bum in Texas. Yes, I think I think I will go to Texas. The weather is mild enough that I can sleep outside year round.

I didn't mean for this to turn into a gripe fest, but sometimes, that is what the void is for. So take that void. Bad energy, begone!

Monday, October 11, 2004

My newest music discoveries:

1. Plant is actually saying words in his songs. The Ocean, The Battle of Evermore and Misty Mountain Hop are particularity good lyricwise. Before I started reading their lyrics I really just loved Plant's screeching and the guitar/drums breakdown. But by god if they aren't poets as well!

2. The Silos! Of course, music is always more enchanting live, but I think these guys are good.

3. I may not be as adverse to country as I originally thought. I'm not going to admit to liking it but Jaala's sound bites of Big and Rich and Cowboy Troy rapping were pretty amusing!

4. The Counting Crow have a song in the sound track of Shrek 2 and it took me forever to figure out it was Adam. I guess the whining should have tipped me off but it didn't.

5. Heart does an excellent version of Led Zeppelin's Rock and Roll.

6. This is the deal with the symbols on Led Zeppelin's fourth album. They each decided choose a metaphysical type of symbol which somehow represented each of them individually.

John Paul Jones' symbol (circle over three interlocking ovals) was found in a book of runes and purportedly represents a person who is both confident and competent.

Bonham's symbol (three interlocking circles) came from the same book, and Bonham just liked it.

Plant's symbol (circle around a feather) features the feather of Ma'at, the Egyptian goddess of justice and fairness.

Page designed his own symbol (Zoso). Though it resembles the alchemical symbol for mercury, its meaning remains a mystery. The most recent fandom theory is that it symbolizes a near-death or Tantric sex experience to unify the worlds of the living and the dead, and thus to reveal the secrets of the universe.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

This is third hand knowledge so I don't know how accurate what I'm about to relate is.

There is a philosopher who believes that there are many different worlds with many different levels of goodness or holiness. Earth is fairly low on the scale. This philosopher believes that there is a world where there is no spoken language. Instead, the beings automatically know what the other being is thinking. I don't know if this telepathy is within a certain range of distance or if one can tune into a desired being, or if one hears the thoughts of every being in its vicinity and must filter undesired thoughts out of perception. However, no matter the method or limitations of their ability, it remains that if you had a secret, it wouldn't be one for long and if you had nasty thoughts, everyone would know them. The luxury of having privates thoughts is completely null. The theory is, these beings are so good and pure that they don't have nasty, bad, murderous, adulterous or mean thoughts. While I value my private thoughts, I can see how wonderful it would be to have someone who knew exactly what I was thinking. There would be fewer misunderstandings and zero deception. You just absolutely couldn't think-lie. If something was on your mind, like an annoying room mate or a crush or relationship problems, you couldn't bottle it up. Out the discussion/think would come and you would resolve your issues right then and there. Think about it, evil impossible and truth all the time

If I'm not back again this time tomorrow, carry on, carry on...nothing really matters...

Monday, October 04, 2004

I think it is very important to set goals and stick with them. The time has come to set some new goals and rediscover my old ones. Two years ago, during my Freshman year at SU, I typed up one short term and two long term goals. I posted them on my mirror, above my bed, over my desk and on my laptop. Those goals were:

1. I will act on Broadway or something similar
2. I will serve with the Peace Corps or something similar
3. I will not consume caffeine

I will soon acheive number two and number three is too absolute. In other words, I don't consume caffeine unless it's in tea or chocolat or I really want a diet coke. I consider number three checked off.

So here is my new list:
1. I will pursue a career in acting
2. I will floss and brush my teeth daily and wear my retainer three to four times a week.
3. I will become fluent in French or another language
Yep I'm super ambitious...
4. I will conquer the guitar

I don't expect to get all these in a year or even two, but if I remember that I have something I want more than anything and I remind yourself now and then, I can make them a reality, i.e. number two! I would love to hear your goals and then, someday in the distant future when we meet again, we can remind each other to pursue those things that really matter to us.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

I was sitting at my gramma's kitchen table with a bowl of cheerios. I poured heated water over my cheerios and watched them rise up the rim of the bowl. I sat and persistently stirred them, trying to get them to soften but they remained rock hard. They wouldn't even crumble between the bowl and my spoon. In despair, I thought the water into milk and instantly, the cheerios disintegrated into a lump of grainy meal. While I was swirling the cheerio paste with my spoon, my gramma came home from church. Without even acknowledging me, she ran to the sink and looked out the window over the sink into the living room. The TV was on, Judge Lochner. I didn't turn it on. The living room was dark but the sound was so loud. My gramma frantically started to chop vegetables in the sink. The chopped pieces of vegetables clogged the drain and gramma panicked, desperately trying to chop and clear the drain at the same time. Suddenly, the dishwasher was in the middle of the kitchen and my gramma couldn't get past because my mom's shoes were in the way. Oh, the problems that life presents us. Mom, restless, sleeps and then goes to work.

I'm in a playground, dressed in a tattered prom dress. The kids scream and chase each other around me but the sound is distant. All I can see is a group of teenagers in front of me. The man doesn't have a date but he knows who he wants. So he wades through the kids to a dress sitting on the slide and declares that if he wears a dress he will get the date he wants. I follow as the group goes shopping at the mall. The decor has changed since I was there last and I felt in a daze. My head loomed above my body.

The man is swinging. I am pushing him from behind and his friends show up with a skirt and several tops. It was all they could find. The skirt is cute and he looks good in it but the tops are hideous. But I am on the swing, pulling on a purple sleepless tube top. It looks better on than off. I pull it off and put on a shirt with only a square of silver fabric on the front and plastic wires around my shoulders to hold it on. The shirt flaps in the breeze from the swing.

GS has a cigar and drinks. Another woman is trying to get the shirt off the man. I am suddenly ten years younger and get off the swings. Two girls from my past are swimming in a maze of a turtle wading pool. Beth peeks over the turtle and Jess swims in a circle. I say, "want to be friends?" We swim around the pool while the sun moves from North to South.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Where Heaven Should Be

If I could unfold the harvest sky,
and peel away the stippled black
weave, stretch my fingers between
the warped steely dimensions of dark,
I would cup a torn piece of its pulsing
tapestry in my sugar-high hands.

I would walk through the fraying fabric,
each foot heavy with green Venusian
dust, turn around and slowly stare.
My eye, a web, netting in the fire
flies and cramped solar winds, would
free the Taurusian bull to stampede in
full-moon fields, fenceless.

Behind me, outside, my side…
a stair of silken rock, marked by sifted
carnes, hugs mirages of stone and lace,
cascades between molting orange larches
and liquid blue falls. Small and thin,
a line of dust through a forest of gods,
the trail erodes with only paw prints
and fallen snags for company.

A constellation, safe in the sky, I would quit
the Twins and Crab and endless rings
of ice and moonstones, wrap up the harvest
sky again, creases gently ironed flat,
and spend my days with you, a torn piece
of September’s frost-embroidered tapestry.

Monday, September 27, 2004

What a roller coaster past two weeks!

I have spent the majority of my days searching the internet for volunteer information, airline fares and visa forms. My head is spinning and my butt has never been so sore. My stamina to hike far outweights my internet stamina, so it would seem.

This weekend's hike started brillantly with a gradual uphill climb along a gabbling creek and across talis slopes that skyrocketed into terrace after terrace of folded rock. I cooled my feet off about 6 miles in at a trecherous ford and bushwacked to the lake. Wow, the lake was surrounded by jutting rock wall laced with water falls and iced with orange larches. The contrast of orange against the brillant blue sky was almost too much.

Dinner was reconstituted dehydrated veggies with some mystery asian stirfry mix followed by instant butterscotch pudding and hot cocoa.

I woke up around 1 am and couldn't figure out why the sun was up. I became conscience enough to realize it was the brillantly bright moon, even though I couldn't find it in the sky.

I got a horrible sugar high and than a low from the processed instant oatmeal and peaches and apparantly my body chemistry couldn't handle it. I had tunnle vision, felt dizzy and my legs and hands wouldn't stop shaking. I felt like I was vibrating. I had to stop hiking and eat some asiago bagel. Eventually,this weird sensation passed and I was able to hike the rest of the way with only a few stumbles. I did get stuck on a log for a hilariously long time and was clothes lined by a low tree branch and my backpack. Hah!

Now, I am nursing a sore hip. I'm not sure how I hiked the whole summer without so much as a blister and now my hip joint aches so much I can hardly walk. I took a pain killer, sadly, and was able to run two miles with my dogs, ah to have dogs again.

I made curry tonight with my currant ward, her parents are in Moab. Tomorrow we are going to attempt to cook samosas. I am about to dive into the complex world of West African cooking with the help of a West African cook book I checked out a recipe book from the library along with about 10 other books on Africa and Ghana and African folk tales.

I'm beat...

Friday, September 24, 2004

No creative ramblings this time around. I’m getting straight to the point. I can’t even think of a song to describe my feelings.

I’M GOING TO GHANA, AFRICA for three months beginning in November. Three months! I am going to live with a Ghanaian family and volunteer at a local nursery outside of Accra-central. The planning of this adventure has been quite a roller coaster. My original plan was to go to Morocco and volunteer but that morphed its way into India, Nepal, Ecuador, Uganda, Thailand and finally Ghana. The point isn’t where I go; the point is that I am going. If any one has any tips for traveling or volunteering in a foreign country, I’d love to hear them. Right now, I really need advice about finding cheap airfare, travel insurance and mental preparation.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Like the pupil in the eyes
The lord resides inside
Ignorant do not know this fact
They search him outside

I recently had an in-depth discussion with Saralita on religion, faith, god(s) and love. Our feelings on these subjects are confused and different but I think we were both coming from the same fundamental idea, god is love. This quote, perhaps, pinpoints something which I have been trying to articulate to myself and I would like to pass on. What do you think?

Thursday, September 16, 2004

I wrote this poem earlier in the year. I guess I'm glad I waited to post because now it carries a whole new meaning. Aren't words amazing? I could listen to songs all day and listen to poetry all night (with some exceptions, no country or incoherent rap).

Going West, Going East

The spasm of darkness, the core
of my heart, the lining of velvet
beneath my skin, yearning for the
East, the right, the opposite side,
counter the moon, sun, stars and you.
Skin crawls and throat burns with thirst
like addictions to gambling, cigarettes,
sleepless nights or Solitaire.

Like a storm cluttered with electricity,
like a balloon quivering with air,
like a kiss whose echo burns
in the flesh, the West calls you forth
to its cool salty sea, pillowy pine
forests where particles, paisleyed
and coarse, curve across the sky.

With a glance, a tear, a burden
of lust, toasting our minds with near
intimacy, we repel like a magnet,
separate like Italian dressing. Electricity
pulses in the East and positive
potential waits in the West while we pull
taunt the strings and softly sing solo
arias on the moonless path.

I just can't explain how weird this poem is for me. I wrote it for a different time and place and here it is, making sense on a different dimension.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

God, I wish I wasn't leaving but I know these feelings will soon pass as I endeavor towards foreign lands.

Leavin' Song Summer came
And days grew long
Lilacs bloomed 'round
Meulfront pond
First place I ever held his hand
timeless walks and breathless nights
Went rushing past like peace in flight
I was prayin' it was never gonna end
Then the autumn leaves were blazin'
Like the fireworks in July
For a fleeting moment
That flame was in his eyes
But as quickly as the colors came
They burned out of the sky Goodbye Adios
See you later I gotta go I've been holding on too long
This is my leaving song I'll take one last look around
Pull up roots that I put down
Drive across that Hastings County line
Trade a part of who I was
For a future I'm not certain of
But I'll keep the best of what
I leave behind
Oh I'll miss those Sunday mornings
And those Friday football games
A peace that comes from knowing
Some places never change
That's the reason that I'll miss it
And the reason
I can't stay Goodbye Adios
See you later I gotta go
I've been holding on too long
This is my leaving song
This is my leaving song

-The Wilkinsons

Thursday, September 09, 2004

I am hovering in limbo, at home in Seattle and planning to be home in Missoula. It is a weird feeling, like I am being slowly covered with cream cheese frosting. Just when Skykomish and rangering started to feel right and the routine was set and the wilderness was my oyster, the summer ended, the huckleberries fell of their branches, the leaves turned golden and snow dusted my campsite. Though the question of what next has been lingering over my head since I moved to Seattle in February, it is slamming my funny bone and knuckling my sternum now. What next? I promised myself that I would be in school in the Spring. I even pinky shook on it. But what now? What in between? I have six months to do something amazing. Once I start school again, I probably won't have six months of uncommitted time in a row for a very very long time. My intent to travel and volunteer abroad still stands ,though my summer isolation made it difficult to research or make any concrete plans. However, there is no time like the present and as soon as I go to a Mariners game with my Uncle, see the Van Gogh exhibit, dye my hair black, eat Naples food, sell my clothing and drink mango daiquiris, I will journey to Montana where I can focus soley on school applications (again, ugh) and travel plans (scary and oh so exciting). My Seattlites, I will miss you, my Missoulians, I can't wait to see you and anyone in between these two points, well, I have been missing you and will continue to do so.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Band Aid

Crossed threads of light and cream
fell apart in my hands like brown
sugar, like sweet dinner rolls,
like caked mud on my calf.
When loneliness wells out of my
lacerated skin and warmly
hugs the rough, wounded
edges before crawling
with gravity's steady pull,
I clutch for the crumbles
of inspiration. I need them
to grit in my eyes and pinch
at my thighs and dampen
my tongue. That powder,
that cream, it was me and you.
It was an itch and a scratch,
a partnership of muses,
making hours slide like freshly
hatched minnows in the dry,
dark night and words
and poetry dance with
flashing stars.
No dim glimmer
or thread of light.
No healing touch or
thought. No help.
Fall long, fall hard, fall away.
I have a two day pass to Bumbershoot! I am finally going to see the much anticipated performance of Pedro the Lion...and Saralita all at once. I know some of you are going as well but am not sure of the days. If you are planning on going Saturday 4, I want to meet up with you so call my cell right after 4:30 (when I get back from the BC) and perhaps we can arrange a meet up. (I feel like I'm arranging a drug or ransom drop) I haven't decided between Sun and Mon for the other days. Perhaps you can help me... I will be crashing Sarita for those couple of days so call or visit the Jefferson house if you get a chance.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Yesterday, while listening to the chatter on radio channel 4 for the Skykomish Ranger station, I overheard Northwest Youth Corps checking in from Lost Creek.

The voice was such that I felt compelled to imagine his facial features, his height, his hair color and finally his entire life story extended to his parents, ex girlfriend and why he doesn't want to work for Bernie, his brother in law, as a construction worker over the winter. Jude is in his mid to late twenties. He is tall and dark-haired with an oblong face and round glasses. His nose is freckled and his eyes are hazel. By all accounts, he should play the guitar but doesn't. He did try to write songs but could never find his tune, which is odd, because his parents were folk singers. This probably accounts for the fact that he is a roamer and can't settle into a life, a major, a job or a city. In fact, that is why his girl friend broke up with him. She wanted to settle down, have a house, have a garden, have some kids. Jude wanted to travel, couldn't settle down and was rubber necking. All in all he enjoys his job with the NYC and has a secret crush on one of the corps members. Unbeknownst to him, she has a crush on him as well.

I hope all fairs well for Jude. I think it will. He has a strong will and a sensitive heart. I hope that someday, I can meet the voice on the other end of the radio and give him a giant hug. We both need one.

Monday, August 16, 2004

My friends, my foes, my enemies, my loves,

I am in a weird mood, but am full of stir fried curry and instant pudding with soy milk and very happy. My weekend in Seattle is coming to a close and was as lovely as ever thanks to Sarita, Tovin, Tovin's cookies, Heidi, Meg and Chris. I am looking forward to burrito night and GORP with candied ginger and miles and miles of lonely trail and sleepless nights and cold lakes and toilet holes, oh toilet holes!
I just purchased a poetry book and would like to share the first poem I read.


Him that I love I wish to be

Free as the bare top twigs of tree,
Pushed up out of the fight
Of branches, struggling for the light,
Clear of the darkening pall,
Where shadows fall-
Of sky;

Free as a gull
Alone upon a single shaft of air,
Invisible there,
No man can touch,
No shout can reach,
No stare;

Free as a spear
Of grass,
Lost in the green
Of a thousand seen
Piercing, row on row;
The crust of earth,
With mirth,
Through to the blue,
Sharing the sun
Circled, each one,
In his cool sphere
Of dew.

Him that I love, I wish to be
Even from me.

-Anne Morrow Lindebergh


Off to Skykomish I go!

Monday, August 09, 2004

-You never know how good instant JELLO oreo pudding is until you and your three trail crew buddies mix it up with powdered milk at the end of a five day backpacking trip that covered over 50 miles, 7 lakes, 3 peaks, 4 passes, 20 lbs of garbage (including a cast-iron skillet), 1 toilette hole, and 10 inches of rain.

-My fingernails are blue because I paint them that way, my eyes are green because I was born that way, my hands are yellow because I like carrots and my mouth is blue because the huckleberries are ripe and fresh and abounding!

-When I can't sleep at night, I think of you. I can't sleep at night because I'm thinking of you. If I do sleep at night, I'm dreaming of you.

Monday, July 26, 2004

I really only have time and energy to say that I am still alive. My days have been strings of ups and downs and today happens to be a down that I just can't shake so I'm going to skip the whining or whatever and treat everyone to Rufus Wainwright. (It's a bit abridged but this is the essence of the song)

Oh What A World
Men reading fashion magazines
Oh what a world
It seems we live in
Straight man
Oh what a world
We live in

Why am I always on a plane or a fast train
Oh what a world my parents gave me
Travelin' but not in love
Still I think I'm doin' fine

Wouldn't it be a lovely headline
Life is
Beautiful on a New York Times

Oh what a world my parents gave me
Travelin' but not in love
Still I think I'm doin' fine

Wouldn't it be a lovely headline
Life is

Friday, July 09, 2004


Not long before the coiling shouts
shuffled out the hidden screen door
with tails tucked tightly ‘tween
their legs, I cracked an egg
in the rough burlap cuff
of my aged kilt and basted
it in a neat sunny-side-up.

Not long after the runny yolk
popped and slithered ‘round my ankles
like discarded underwear or lonely
tabby cats, the pounding door screened
with a shadow darker than ink, darker
than rock sand or slick, oiled hair.

Not too soon, it blasted stealthily past
the mossy rock wall and narrowly slid
its head into my knee, vicariously
lapping my toes into tingly pins
and pricks.

Too long, it shined the yellow cell
away with a downy adjustment
and an iron fork worked beneath
my skin and peeled it up like a tent,
my golden skin taught ‘neath the prying tines.

Not long now, and the germinating
canvas, watered down like over-iced
lemonade, will snare the gauzy tide
and rip the over-sexed sky into thirds
like a banana peel, taking the screen
but leaving me the door and the shadow’s
ice-bitten shadow.

(I'm stuck with this poem, anyone care to critique or edit it?)

Thursday, July 08, 2004

I hate computers! I just wrote a great witty post with all the nitty gritty dirt of my entire life and the entire lives of several other people including your own, probably, and it's gone! GONE!!! I can't believe the evilness of this mechanical horror. And the last time I was on, a couldn't post any of my amazing skinny dipping pictures. The world is a much worse place because of these electronic abominations.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Time is flying on the dark side of the mountains. Wars have been won and lost, lives have began and ended and I sit in a timeless void where the library is only open 3 days a week and the only hugs I receive are from trees. So return the hug I'm sending the void and you and post me a comment because I miss you.

Home (sick)

Tonight this poem is for the stars
unsheathing themselves from hazy
ten o’clock milk of magnesia sky
and laying, back down, spread-eagle,
cradling head in woven finger
baskets. It is for smoke clinging
to breezes and thoughts that slide
under stringy witch's hair draping
on branch-like old-growth cedar
tongues that lick up stringent clouds
like pillowy marshmallows.

This poem dreams of rolling rapids
and horizontal roller-coaster rivers
that twist through rocks
and toss rafts, paddles and water
into velvet constellations.

This is a poem about bedding down
like a young fawn to watch ancient
Mesopotamian and Greek myths play
across the sky like the Illustrated Man's
tattoos. I can tee Taurus guarding
the Pleiades from great hunter Orion
and the rafts, paddles and water
and the scorching hot veldt ranged
by lions' prides, but I don't see you.

This poem remembers nature, drifting
night skies, weekends on the water,
icy dips in frigid alpine lakes
and pelting hard rain on tent flies,
but the ink curves around you
like sun blinks through forest canopies.

This poem wanted to immortalize
the stars and nature's charisma
but it has left that to more focused
poets with finesse and skill.

Today, you can have this poem
and lounge in flowery prose
and tear apart similes and gauzy
metaphors that guard thoughts of you.

Today, you can have this poem's
hollow images and feeble attempts
to evade you. But tomorrow, its words
and stanzas will melt into the Skykomish
and ebb into the Sound.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

I am about to kiss Seattle and the Jefferson House goodbye for the summer. Saralita pulled out earlier today and Rena will be following my footsteps out the door tomorrow. Our quartet was quite a reckoning force and I am sad to see the end of this era, the age of estrogen, as I like to say. I think what I told Saralita when she left this afternoon about sums it up, "we can't all be cowboys, some of us are clowns."

I would love to be pen pals with anyone who cares to hand write a letter. My address is PO Box 305
74920 NE Stevens Pass Highway
Skykomish WA 98288

4 months in passing:Employment with Mad Market
Habitat for Humanity Church Build with Saralita
Bike trip to Arboretum with Saralita and Chris
obtain Washington State ID
Visit Patricks in Port Orchard and watch Cabaret
St. Patrick's Day celebrations complete with green cookies
Hike Mount Si
Making bread with Sarita
Biking on Whidbey Island with Sarita
Backpacking to Baker Lake with Sarita
Tiger Mountain and the Issaquah Alps
Vegetarian Fest
Dinner Parties with Turkey, Kaluah Cakes, sushi etc.
Visits from Taylor
Full Moon Dancing with Chris, Aaron and saralita
Exploding the Volcano with Chris, Rena, Sarita and Saralita
Easter egg hunt with Katy
JCS with Chris
Late night abs with Sarita and company
Early morning running with Sarita
Pinochle with Chris, Hillary, Saralita and Aaron
Mr Spot's Chai House with Katy
Rock Climbing with Saralita and Aaron
Acting Class
Co-Rec soccer
Jason Webley Concert with Saralita, Chris and Craig
Ender's Game
35 mile bike rides
Poetry Slams
Banana Bread
Crepe pot lucks
Backpacking with Saralita
Parking tickets
Late night chats
Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Plays at SPU
Urinetown with Katy, Taylor and Ryan
One Flew Over the Cockoo's Nest with Saralita
Shopping for 30 days worth of food
Visit Moscow and Missoula-see previous posts
Hauling rocks up the stairs
Momma and baby bird play acting
Endless laughing fits
Dancing in the rain
Dance parties

Thursday, June 10, 2004

In a sad but exciting way, another page of my life is being turned. I am drawing my Missoulahome road trip to a close and will soon be diving into the life of a seasoned, calloused trail crew intern. I think I will be grossly out of shape but the callouses I have. Moscow and home have been a whirlwind of fun. My new appendage, Chris, has been wonderfully easy going and doesn't mind being dragged along to meet my entire family and enterage of friends. He is now in the category with only my mom, dad and Saralita. These are the people who have spent a week or more in solitary confinement with me and survived. Hats off to all! The latest highlights of this trip:

Tons and tons of hugs from family and friends.
Missoula rush hour traffic.
Lunching at the Good Food Store and chatting with former coworkers and customers.
Playing with my dogs and cats.
Riding a mule backwards for at least an hour.
Climbing trees while the wind blows extra hard.
Holding my sister's hand, reading Where the Wild Things Are and tickling.
Shish Kabobs and Bahama mamma's.
Hot tubing by myself at night while Purple Haze plays on the radio.
Early morning chai with Whitney, Jo, mom and Chris at Break.
Thai Spicy with Grandparents and not passing out from an air bubble causing intense chest pain.
Thrift store and second hand book store shopping.
The third Harry Potter movie with Whitney, mom and Jaala!
Making mom her hummus, it's a ritual.
Letting Colleen teach me how to make garlic bread and cook pasta.
Looking at old pictures.
Teen Girl Squad!
Finding the Beattle's Let it Be record.
Waking up at 6:30am to take my car for a tune up.
Having Tipu's chai at Bernice's with Dad.
Meeting friends for Out To Lunch at Caras Park
Tipu's Curry!
Running into tons and tons of old acquaintances.
Watching the boys and their foot sack.
Riding Midnight Rose on the carousel, paying 1.50, grabbing and dropping the brass ring but still winning a free token.
Record hunting at Ear Candy and Rockin' Rudy's.
Finding out my car has serious problems, like the axel is wobbling, and that it won't be ready in time for a Glacier trip.
Meeting my Aunt at a bar, playing darts and pool, swing dancing, pouring water down mom's pants.
Getting the Break Expresso chai recipe from Eli in the form of a bag full of the spices
Participating but mostly watching an acoustic music gathering at Quarter Moon Books with more friends.
Doin' it in the road.
Liquid Planet and Bubble up.
Sleeping in my old bed!

Monday, June 07, 2004

Not much time to chat but the long of the short of it is: I love road tripping, Moscow, my parents, Missoula, Chai, garage sales, small towns, rain, hot springs, cold rivers, Bahama Momma's and pinochle. More to come while in Missoula. Hopefully, a hike up the M, Tipu's Tiger, Finnigan's, Costco, horseback riding, Break Expresso, Bernice's, hot tubing, playing with my cats, time with family and a big salad bar!

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Maybe BLOG is not best place to do this but must vent somewhere.
Have not slept like should in v. long time. Frustrating at the least. Get very cranky, jealous, contemptuous, pent up, unhappy when am sleepy or kept awake. Hasn't been problem for v. long time. Ex-rommie was last real protagonist. New reasons seem to outcrop:
1. Raucous laughter coming from kitchen, living room, outside at all hours of night
2. General bedtime of house around 1 or 2 am.
3. Bladder needing to be emptied during witching hour
4. Unexplainably waking up during witching hour
5. Friends visiting and sleeping over
6. Not even trying to sleep in first place
7. General inability to nap or sleep in past 9:30 am
8. EBay items that close during night

Am leaving for Moscow and Montana soon and will be rid of items 1, 2, 5, 8. Not sure will be able to sleep before 1 or 2 am but option will be there. Looking forward to sunrise maybe. Who am I kidding? Watching sunrise right now and slept like crap last night.

Monday, May 31, 2004

Saralita and I finally found Surprise Lake under an intense layer of snow this Memorial Day Weekend.

Friday, May 28, 2004

What did you sense today?
1. Seeing Green Eggs and Ham at SPU and afterwards meeting Katy's current boyfriend, Ryan, and sipping caramel sugar free Italian sodas with Jody at on the top of Queen Anne at Cafe dibble.
2. Getting lost in random on the way to pick up Taylor at the airport. Ike really does exist for you Fight Club fans out there.
3. Picking up Taylor and um, his beta.
4. Making sushi and began hotdogs and Boca burgers at my apartment with the roommies, Taylor and Katy.
5. Katy, Taylor, Sarah, Sarah and I doing abs and subsequently falling into an uncontrollable laugh fest.
6. Watching Kill Bill. I may have a soft/hard spot for anime.
6.5 Bubble tea and the Mix ice cream in the pouring rain over on the AVE in the U District.
7. Cramming 5 people into mine and Saralita's room for the night. None of us snored either!
8. Urinetown, the musical after dinner at Jack in the Box on Broadway. I've never been so entertained in my life. I highly recommend listening to the sound track to this musical. Better yet, buy a ticket and watch it. Taylor and I laughed so hard.
9. Watching Jesus Christ Superstar, staying up all night, backrubs. yummmm..
9.5 Dropping Taylor off at the airport at 5:15 am, braving 8:30 traffic back into town, dropping Katy and Ryan off at SPA and Aaron in Ballard. Never been so stressed in my life. I lapsed into a fit of Tourette's.
10. Laundry, finally. Still have to make my bed. Mmmm bed!
11. Frolicking in the pouring rain with the Sarah's in nothing, and I mean nothing, but a skirt and a tank top. Getting soaking wet in the fountain on campus and trekking back through the dorm and dog piling a dry studying Rena back home.
11. Buying polypro pants at 20% off at REI with Saralita.
12. Volunteer ushering at Theater Schmeater and seeing One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for free. It was the best play I've seen done my a small theater.
13. Talking with Chris in a very incoherent state while cooking tomato soup and impersonating the Beattles. I still haven't slept for 32 hours.
14. Reading an email from my future co-trail crew worker, Zack. He's my new favorite person.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.
-John 3:8

The wind, sometimes it's cool, other times it is like the hot air rushing out of an oven while you poke at a batch of cookies. I want to be in the middle of a field in Montana, feeling the Timothy whip around my legs and breathing sharp, heavy air, while the wind whirs through my hair and makes my clothes tight against my body. I want to feel like I can soar away on a gust if I only run fast enough. I want to fly until I find the beginning, the end, its creator, its source. I want to fear the looming black clouds and smell the electric lightening whose jagged scar frightens and energizes me. I need the wind to blow me from stagnancy, to blow me towards love, towards home and towards my fears. I entreat you, forces of nature, my arms are spread and I'm wearing loose clothing. My arms are spread and I am ready to fly, I am ready to go.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

imagine, imagination, imagine, imaginer, imagine, imagination, imagine all the people living life in peace, imagine, imagination, imagine, imaginer, imagine, imagination, imagine, imaginer, imagine all the people living for today, imagine, imaginer, imagine, imagination, imagine, imagination, imagine, imaginer, imagine, imagination, imagine, imaginer, imagine all the people sharing all the word, imagine, imaginer, imagination, imagine, imaginer, imagine, imagination, imagine, imagination, imaginer, imagine, imagination, imagine, imaginer, imagine, imagine all the people living life in peace, imagine, imagination, imagine, imaginer, imagine, imagination, imagine, imaginer, imagine all the people living for today, imagine, imaginer, imagine, imagination, imagine, imagination, imagine, imaginer, imagine, imagination, imagine, imaginer, imagine all the people sharing all the word, imagine, imaginer, imagination, imagine, imaginer, imagine, imagination

Thursday, May 20, 2004

This poem needs to be read aloud. It sounds odd when I read it in my head, it's flat. So figure out how you can relate to this poem and just vent or call me and I'll recite it for you.

Last Time
I ran away again. I didn’t want
to know you. I didn’t want to hurt
you, be hurt by you, know you.
I might complain, might cry
might write this poem to avoid
you. I percolate, I ponder, I pulsate
on why I want you so, why it hurts
to know you, hurts the micro fibers
below my brain. They twist, twirl
around the thought of you and they
contract, contradict.

I ran away again. I didn’t want
you to know me. I didn’t want
you to find out I’m a hypocrite,
that I’m jealous, that I lie, I am
selfish. I want you to think I always
have a song suck in my head, stars
on my temple, that I laugh until
no sound comes out, and that I
look at the sky because it
means something.

I ran away again. It’s better
here loving myself, hating myself,
thinking of you, knowing you
without you here. I am safe from
myself, safe from combat, conflict,
carelessness. I didn’t want to
know you, care about you,
love you.

Monday, May 17, 2004

If you know me or think you do and want to add a little something to my previous post that may be pertinent, missed, omitted or forgotten, feel free.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

I don't want to be all hoity toity about this but I think that more people are looking at my blog than my anonymous visitor and I. So I am going to post a little introduction to myself. I really should get someone to forward me the 50 questions that just keep cycling about and about.

1. What time is it? 20:05
2. Name as it appears on you Birth Certificate? Uh uh, not on the internet.
3. Any nicknames? R, R Star, R2K, Rach, Turtle Dove, Lehcar, Kawate
4. Parent's names? Nick and Stacey
5. Candles on your last cake: 19
6. Date that you regularly blow them out? August 27, go Virgos
7. Visual: 6 feet, blond, green eyes
8. Home: Seattle, Washington with an emphasis on Missoula, Montana
9. Word: Flummed
10. Food: Ethnic, Indian especially, vegetarian, raw
11. Family: Mom, Dad, 2 Aunts, 1 uncle, 2 grammas, Grandpa, Great Aunt and Uncle, Half sister
12. Future Career: Actress, translator, outdoor enthusiast, guide, business owner.
13. Personality: Extrovert with dashes of introvert tendencies, random in thoughts action and speech, impulsive in play but tediously not in work, messy, chaotic, positive, assertive, selfish, risk taker, easy going, adventuresome, bossy, self-conscience, boisterous, contemplative, fluctuating.
14. Interests: Travel, theater, French, backpacking, biking, skiing, rock climbing, reading non-fiction, writing, conversation, drawing, music-rock jazz folk alternative musicals, singing, boating, cooking, kyaking, raw foods, poetry, work, gardening and so on and so forth. Just omit meat, country music, coffee and the unmentionable store.
15. Passions: Read my previous post on passions for that one.
16. Fears: Spiders, being forgotten, relationships, not zeroing out my till, needles, blood, wearing my retainer, gaining weight, getting sick, meat substitutes, having my dad forget me, school and not going back to school, getting addicted to this damn blog.
17. Wishes: To fly, to make and keep a friend for the rest of my life, play in Peter Pan, live somewhere like Belize, Nepal, Calcutta, Morocco, Thailand or Ecuador for three months this fall, play the guitar perfectly, run a mile in under six minutes, know the name and singer of every song I hear, hike the Wonderland Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail, climb Everest without dying, fall in love, see and reconnect with my best friends of yesterday, halt the production of paper and plastic bags, bike across the US, grow two inches, go to high school prom one more time, be age six, be invisible, move at the speed of light and go to a Rolling Stones Concert for under 100 dollars.
18. Pets? Billbo the wonder hobbit/cat, KC and Tunes (both cats) Tabasco Joe, fondly known as TJ (Brittany spaniel), Oakley the pond dog, and Custer, our mule.
19. Tattoos? I were star stickers on my temples and write ZERO on my thumb every morning with permanent marker.
20. How much do you love your job? I hate it! I loath it and I spit on the ground it walks on. Customer service can kiss my ass.
21. Favorite vacation spot? New Orleans was awesome but NYC was amazing. I can’t forget Hawaii and Europe. Of all the places that I’ve been, Hawaii is the only one I am seriously planning on visiting again.
22. Ever been in a car accident? I have. I backed my open car door into the side of the garage door as I backed out of the garage. I also ran into a parked van after I had stopped the car and had my foot on the break. I was looking for my mailbox key and my foot let up pressure on the break, damn automatics.
19. Favorite Pie? Vegan pumpkin pie, Grasshopper pie or cherry cheesecake with gram cracker crust
20. Favorite Number? 27
21. Favorite Movies? Moulin Rouge, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Romeo and Juliet, 5th Element, Princess Bride, Indiana Jones, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jesus Christ Superstar, Jurassic Park, Fight Club, Aladdin, Peter Pan with Mary Martin, Hook, Conspiracy Theory, Office Space, Almost Famous, Hair.
22. Favorite Color? Green
23. Favorite TV show? Wishbone, Scrubs, Zoom, Keeping Up Appearances, Ed, Bill Nye the Science Guy
24. Most recently read book? Ender’s Game Series
25. Perfume/Cologne? sweat and blood, man, I can barely get myself to shower much less put on smelly stuff.
26. Favorite smell? Before or after a heavy windy storm, fresh cut grass, carrots
27. What do you do to relax? yoga, read, imagine, recite The Cremation of Sam McGee, listen to music
28. When was your last hospital visit? Mid February. I was eating out at a spicy restaurant, had intense pain in my chest, hyperventilated, passed out, woke up on the ground with a circle of people hovering over me. Diagnosis: Bubble of air in my chest that caused an intense pain leading to a loss of consciousness. In other words, I'm a wimp.
29. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? (ironic that this question number is my age 10 years from now) Ten years? How about 10 months? 10 days? Montana! Okay, in ten years, I will be living in Ecuador, Nepal or Peru with my boyfriend of two to three years leading trekking expeditions for the none-rich.
30. What do you do when you are bored? Write poetry, read, do crosswords, bike ride, sleep, call friends, write in this damn blog, cook, eat.
31. Music? Classic Rock, contemporary musicals, techno, folk, jazz, alternative, emo, 80s more and more, light and hard rock, punk. Not country, not incoherent rap.
32. Books? Anne McCaffery’s Dragon Riders of Pern, Ray Bradbury, Piers Anthony especially the Incarnations of Immortality, Crystal Cave series, Da Vinci Code, John Grisham, Shakespeare, TH White, Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game series, Hatchet.
33. Musicals? Jesus Christ Superstar, Hair, Full Monty, Urinetown, Tick Tick Boom, Rent, Rocky Horror Show, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Phantom of the Opera, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream coat, Chorus Line, Jekyll and Hyde, Sweeny Todd, Starlight Express, Bombay Dreams, Little Shop of Horrors, God spell, Batboy, Lion King, Aida, Miss Saigon, Man of La Mancha, Into the Woods, Anything Goes, Chess.
34. Strengths? Personality, laugh, easy going, smart, funny to myself at least, active, variable, adaptable, enthusiastic, easily pleased, responsible, mature.
35. Weaknesses? Afraid of relationships, selfish, self-conscience, street dumb, procrastinator, low energy, anti-planning.
36. Pet peeves? Gum popping, stupid people who shop at the Madison Market, snoring, people who take up two parking spots, drivers who stop to let me illegally cross the street, lurkers, stupid bikers, stupid drivers.
37. Simple joys? Chai in the morning, laughing over nothing until it hurts, running early in the morning, getting email, mail or a comment, hugging, bad jokes and puns, quotes, carrots, finding people from Missoula and Montana, finishing a crossword, finishing a poem, complimenting someone, doing something scary.

Friday, May 14, 2004

This poem is for Sarah, memories, music, travel and New Orleans, last year's Spring Break trip. In our hearts, we never really left.

The Big Easy
The war is starting and sticky air breaths on our faces,
arms and stomach. Snaking brown river laps our feet,
curling over each toe like sifted powdered sugar
and every breath we take fills our lungs with hot pungent
Cajun spice. We blithely chase our fears with sips of mango
and spilt plastic cups of New Orleans’ cheapest brew.

Night falls slowly in a lazy southern city and street bands
play for old men, young girls, witch doctors, palm readers,
accountants, homeless and wonder lust teenagers alike. Dance
in the moonlight, swing our arms like monkeys and skip
around, through and under while jazz strums and girls yelp
and raucous laughter spills under the moon’s streaming beams.

Catch the rainbow beads dripping from the torrid sky,
wring the strands from our hair and watch the dripping
puddles form on the cool, cement floor while piano players
tap out an easy pace and children scramble like sharks over
yellow and red and blue metal. We call it life and let it slip
away into peyote smoke. We call it home and never leave.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Happy Mother's Day, Stacey!
Mom, I love you so much and am confounded by the fact that your love for me doubles that of mine for you. Your compassion for and devotion to me are astonishing. You stuck with me through my smelly/tantrum/baby/toddler phase, my obstinate/smelly/confused/aloof/ teenage phase and my lingering refusal-to-answer-with-more-than-one-word-phase. If I were you, I would have thrown the towel in a long time ago. I would not have been able to make the sacrifices you made, giving up a lifetime of freedom and independence in order to take care of a bratty inappreciative little girl. I guess you could argue that I gave you more joy than heartache but I am still in awe of your sacrifice and I thank you so much for being a loving, caring mother and even more importantly, my friend. You are my best friend and I miss you.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

I am covered in white cat fur from a shedding-in-the-spring cat named Marco who lives at Twice Told Tales on Broadway. I stopped in to look for Ender's Game, the first book in a sci-fi series that I am addicted to, and found Xenocide, the third book in the series and the one I am currently reading. So I sat down to read just a little, because I can stop whenever I want,I don't have a problem, and was promptly sat on by a giant white cat with black spots and yellow-green eyes. He was very insistent and despite my black coat and shirt, I just had to pet him and he rolled over on his back and stretched out his little cat paws and purred like there was no tomorrow. I hate to say it, but that cat gave me more attention then I've had in a very long time. Marco even gave me a back massage. Take that humans, I don't need your love, not when I have Marco's undying devotion.

Monday, May 03, 2004

My house-mates and I kicked butt in the Bloomsday race. I have to say I am especially proud of my roomies for stepping up to the plate on this one. In the month prior to the race, they initiated a running/training regime and all of use managed to run at least three consecutive miles before the 7.5 mile race. The road trip to Spokane was littered with rock and roll, pit stops, frisbee tossing, gymnastics, lake wading, shirtless driving and tortilla chips with sweet onion/peach salsa (thank you Chris!). We dined with my Coeur D'Alene gang, scoured Fred Meyer for sunglasses and little boys undershirts and carted about 50 pounds of food away from my gramma's house, including more corn chips and chocolate cake.

Race day began at 7 am, yikes. The day was beautiful, and after walking approximately half the race's distance from our car to the start, we milled/hopped around with the crowd. I managed to spot several people from Missoula and let them know I was from the same town. I swear, Missoula is the Kevin Bacon of cities. It's related to everyone and everything in some form or another. But I digress... We did the mandatory "hit the beach ball in the air" thing and even tossed about some flying tortillas.

The two Bloomsday veterans, Rena and I, and the Sarahs, running neophytes who have never plodded more than three consecutive miles, took off at approximately 9:04 am, in a straight line. Our shirts declared ourselves the BURNINATORS, themed after a popular internet cartoon of a dragon named Trogdor, who burns peasants and the countryside and, in our case, Bloomsday. I must say we were quite imposing in our matching shirts and received many comments from fellow Trogdor enthusiasts.

The entertainment during the race was exceptional. The Red Hot Mammas in their clown suits dancing to I Will Survive made my day. I collected Mardi Gras beads from a quasi country/rock band and high fived the vulture at the top of Dooms Day hill, while talking to a reporter from NBC. I was on TV, take that Gwenyth and Mel. The Burninators split up around mile three, despite our best efforts, and Saralita and I went on to run the entire race, no walking. We gave high fives to the on-lookers, hooted and hollered for all the entertainment, yelled our battle cry at every mile marker, frolicked in the sprinklers and sprinted the last block of the race, finishing in under 90 min.

We reunited after the race and made our way back to Rena's Gramma's house for showers and picnic sandwiches. The ride back was short, thanks to Rena's superb driving prowess, and crowed but lively, thanks to the Aaron's company. Our trip was quite a success and I am looking forward to burninating many more Bloomsday courses with my roomies and any others who may want to join us, hint, hint.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

I have always admired people with passions, definite passions that they live and breath. I have known people who are soccer-obsessed and they have posters and gear and friends who play. They spend all their free time practicing, playing or watching others play. They know about the famous players, the best soccer equipment and who won the World Cup. I know people who have passions for music, rock climbing, medieval literature, Myst, yoga, cooking, jewelry making, biking, traveling, redecorating, and writing, and they know their craft inside and out and wallow in every new development in the area. It is what they do when they have nothing else to do and what they think about doing when they are doing something else. I would like to know what it is like to be intensely focused and informed on one singular activity or subject. I feel like a dabbler of sorts who lives vicariously through other people's passions and sifts off the surface layer of knowledge but doesn't delve into deeper tissues or really get involved. I would say my passions are acting (which I am currently running away from), backpacking, yoga, traveling, language, cooking, music, writing, poetry, dancing, bicycling, rock climbing, beading, sewing, building, art galleries, junk stores, stars/astrology, drendrology, people watching, holistic living, animals, and reading. In fact, I think this list could just go on and on, because these are things I like to do, am interested in or would like to know more about. I didn't have a specific goal for this post but I have just arrived at an interesting conclusion; my passion is for learning and experiencing as much as possible. I don't want to focus on one solitary activity, I want to do something new everyday, feel something uncomfortable, learn from other's passionate exuberance. I have a passion for experiencing other people's passions.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

This song, this song explains it all...

The Ballad of John and Yoko
John Lennon

Standing on the dock at Southampton
Trying to get to Holland or France
The man in the Mac
Said, "You've gotta go back"
You know, they didn't even give us a chance

Christ, you know it ain't easy
You know how hard it can be
The way things are going
They're gonna crucify me

Finally made the plane into Paris
Honeymooning down by the Seine
Peter Brown called to say
"You can make it okay
"You can get married in Gibraltar, near Spain"

Christ, you know it ain't easy
You know how hard it can be
The way things are going
They're gonna crucify me

Drove from Paris to the Amsterdam Hilton
Talking in our beds for a week
The newspeople said
"Say, what're you doing in bed?"
I said, "we're only trying to get us some peace"

Christ, you know it ain't easy
You know how hard it can be
The way things are going
They're gonna crucify me

Made a lightning trip to Vienna
Eating chocolate cakes in a bag
The newspapers said
"She's gone to his head
"They look just like two gurus in drag"

Christ, you know it ain't easy
You know how hard it can be
The way things are going
They're gonna crucify me

Caught the early plane back to London
Fifty acrons tied in a sack
The men from the press
Said, "we wish you success
"It's good to have the both of you back"

Christ, you know it ain't easy
You know how hard it can be
The way things are going
They're gonna crucify me
The way things are going
They're gonna crucify me
The way things are going
They're gonna crucify me
Life is one constant fluctuation. Last Monday, I was nervous and worried about getting a summer job. I had called the Washington Conservation Corps only to discover that all the crews had been hired and had been working for the past two weeks, at least. My only hope along this avenue was a single opening with the Rainier crew. In my mind, this was my last possibility; my Student Conservation Association application had only been sent to Death Valley and while the prospect of learning about desert life is appealing, my heart really wasn't 't in that job. So I spent the morning trying to figure out how to get housing or work out a commute to Mount Rainier so I could be on a trail crew.

Things took a turn at the end of the day and I learned that my application had indeed been sent to two places in the Skykomish Ranger District. I breathed a bit easier that evening.

Unfortunately, work at the Mad Market got worse. I received an ultimatum from the Front End Coordinator. Since I began working there, my till has been over the 2.99 limit five times. According to Mondia, a Front End Manager, me, should be able to maintain an accurate till. She gave me seven days to prove that I could keep my till in line. I spent the entire day on pins and needles. A group of middle schoolers came through my line at lunch time and they all paid with moist, crinkly, folded bills. I about died. Do these kids want me to get demoted? I survived day one and two but on the third day, I ended up 20 dollars over. Now, I don't know if I will actually be demoted because there are many pressing items that demand Mondia's attention and the pay cut may not kick into effect until I actually quite at the Mad Market anyway, so I'm not too broken up. I guess as you read in my previous post, it's the principle of the thing and management informed me of my final three transgressions all at once so I didn't even realize I was off track.
But again, this even was tempered with the awesome interview I had at the REI job fair. I was even invited back for a second interview with the front end supervisor.
I received an email telling me that my acting class was canceled. Apparently, not enough people signed up for the class and it had to be canceled. Now I signed up for soccer, yoga and acting and finally dropped the yoga class because I thought two classes would suffice. I also had my choice of five or six acting classes. I guess I just chose to drop the wrong class and take the wrong acting class.

I was hired by the Skykomish Ranger District to work on their trail and wilderness patrol crew over the summer. I am really excited and I went to REI and bought a pair of boots which I shouldn't have and will now have to return.

I was able to register for another acting class on Wednesday nights, which theoretically, I already have off. I had to do some juggling for this Wednesday but the acting is back in business.

Sometimes I get frustrated with the flux of my life and long for the steady even routine of Missoula. But I am realizing more and more that I enjoy the downs. I just need to look at them as challenges, life experiences, that make my life richer and make the wonderful things that happen in my life all the more sweet. I would not be nearly as thankful for my Skykomish job if I hadn't been convinced that my only option was spending the entire summer indoors at Death Valley. I hope that I can continue to look at these disappointments as more of a learning opportunity because that is really, in essence, what they are. I am living life, and life's not easy.