a little bit about a lot of me
I live in France.
I don't use capital letters when I write emails.
I do use capital letters in my blogs.
I turned 33 in October 2002.
I believe in God.
I am my own worst critic.
I have 11 piercings and 5 tattoos.
Sometimes I am very clever. Sometimes I am very stupid. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference.
I love my friends and make sure they know it.
My pirate name is Captain Mary Vane.
I read music before words.
I conduct a polyphonic choir.
I am the grammar police.
I can turn catty when I don't get my way.
Spiders are my greatest fear. Worse than dying at the hands of terrorists. Worse than being guillotined or thrown into a vat of boiling oil or forced to watch Manos, the Hands of Fate six hundred times in a row with my eyes taped open.
I too often forget to pardon those who trespass against me.
I am lazy. And I love pasta. You do the math.
I have never ever ever been blonde. Orange, once. Serious chemical error.
I wear my scars proudly sometimes, but usually I hide them in my sleeves.
I love getting email.
- A woman wearing a patchwork dress made of squares of fake-patchwork fabric.
- Four 40ish women dressed like four different kinds of hos.
- Three people having an involved discussion in sign language.
- The guy who is what happens when Hugh Grant meets the Society for Creative Anachronism.
- Two guys carrying large blue plastic milk crates filled with house plants, along with a floury baguette and a cat.
- A 50ish couple wearing matching lizard-patterned Hawaiian shirts.
- My friends, all wearing vests like me.
Friday, August 08, 2003 Just Another Chat With Mom ...
PPABC123: how have you been?
Romaryka: working like a maniac
PPABC123: a good maniac?
Romaryka: no, an annoyed all-you-british-people-who-drive-abroad-without-a-spare-tire-are-STUPIDSTUPIDSTUPID-and-should-be-forbidden-to-breed exhausted maniac.
PPABC123: ah. that kind.
Playing Patricia's Game.
So I'm randomly reading blogs, and come across Patricia's "unconscious mutterings" game. For want of anything of my own to post this morning, I'll go ahead and thank the very gracious miss Pea for her input and play.
The rules are, there are no rules. (And I quote.) But the procedure is, you read Pea's words and then enter the first words that come to your mind afterwards. So here goes.
Lately I've been having a fling with a ghost. It's very hush-hush. We move around each other like boxers, delicately testing the field between, raising our curled fists to see how the other will react.
I can hear his voice.
Sometimes we dance, slowly, moving into each other's shapes. We are opposites. Where he is hard I am pliant. Where I am sharp he is blunt. He is a shard of ice and when I touch him I am trapped, frozen to the place I touched recklessly, while he laughs. He is Thabor; I am Gethsemani. I am a filament of fire with a core he can't touch, and he reaches in and burns his hands and turns cold, trying to smother the flame, my voice.
And still sometimes he caresses me, his heavy hands gone comforting, smoothing my rough edges back until I am the shape he wants.
We go at it night after night and only sometimes does he let me sleep.
He is my Angel, the one who tests my faith, my strength. I beg him for blessings and he remains silent. In the morning he is gone, leaving only confusing brightness in my bed. Perhaps he goes out through the window, open to the sun and sky and memories.
Wednesday, August 06, 2003 Romy's Favorite People (First Edition)
There are a few people on the planet who make life worth smiling about even when it (in my friend Mark's words) blows goats. Even mountain goats. So today's feature post will be about one of those people.
Val and I met in the summer of 1982, at Arrowbear Music Camp. Val played the saxophone and was terrifically charming, sensitive and funny. He still does and still is. I played the piano and violin and was terrifically geeky and rude, to cover the geekiness. (I still do and, I'm ashamed to admit, still am.) Somehow, even with huge gaps in time and geography between us, even with all the stupidities my life has had to offer and all the reasons I've given him to the contrary, Val has stayed friends with me over the years.
There was a time, back in the 1980s, when I called out to Val needing a friend. He didn't question my need; he answered, held my hand through a long dark time, let me just be sad, let me be the me I was then. There was another time, in college and a bit afterward, when all I wanted from my past was distance. Some people intruded and made themselves thorough nuisances, insinuating I should feel guilty for wanting my space, or that I didn't really know what I was doing or what was best for me.
Val backed off. He didn't insist. This doesn't make him a saint; it wasn't all about me, I know. He was busy with his life as I was with mine. We kept in touch vaguely, through mutual friends. We each got married; we didn't go to each other's weddings. We each went to graduate school; we didn't talk about coursework or professors or feeling like an impostor or not being sure that what we had chosen to do, the callings we had chosen to follow, would actually bring light and vitality into someone else's universe.
Looking back, I think those were maybe one-sided issues, on my part. Val has always been at the forefront of bringing life to others, even when his own vitality was threatened or compromised. I mean, even back in junior high, he was the one doing the robot-dance in public (okay, yeah, at dances) and laughing along with the so-called "cool guys" when they looked at him funny. He taught me, back then before I knew I was being taught something, that there's nothing so cool as not being afraid to laugh at yourself. He had a calling to music and education a long time ago, and he has dedicated his life to answering that call, to "getting there," reaching the place where he can give music like a gift and receive lessons from his students. Val has never had a hang-up about letting the students be his teacher (at least, not perceptibly). He knows love, like music, is not so much a two-way street as a whirlpool, and every turn around the loops makes it wheel larger and return more and envelope more people in its wake.
Val got his master's degree in conducting about two years ago now. In the meantime he struggled with serious health issues, and came out alive and joyful. In fact, if I had to choose one word for Val, it would be "joyful." Okay, not to sound too much like the Steve Martin Christmas Wish comedy thing (or the Spanish Inquisition), but that one word would be two words, and they would be "joyful," and "inspiring."
At the tail end of the dark time back in the 1980s, I watched Val, aged 20 or so, climb onto the cement platform at the base of Arrowbear's flagpole and launch the shout that would become a rallying cry for generations of campers:
I am (campers repeat: I am!)
a special (a special!)
and important (and important!)
And I (and I!)
the very (the very!)
The whole camp resounded with first Val's voice, then the voices of the hundred-and-some campers bellowing out after his example. I don't know if he shouts much in class (I doubt it), but I have no doubt he inspires the same kind of appreciation, the same kind of anti-teenage-angst energy, the same dedication, as he did that first morning at the flagpole.
Somewhere in the back of my heart, a place I travel more and more frequently as I try to understand faith and love and artistry, things that seemed to come so easily and so early to my friend, Val remains a 13-year-old guy, too knowledgeable perhaps for his age, too smart to be cool and too cool to be a nerd, the one who sat on a rock in the sun one summer afternoon and taught me the song "Barges," and when I said I was afraid to be myself said, simply, "Why?"
Val is a special and important person, and he deserves the very best.
Good: the pink t-shirt my sister left.
Bad: an annoyed email from the X.
Good: waking up to the Red Hot Chili Peppers ("Can't Stop").
Bad: that being followed by Moby.
Even worse: anything by Moby.
Good: butterfly-shaped Post-It notes.
Bad: butterfly-shaped Post-It notes rendered useless by the 45° furnace* my apartment turns into during the afternoon and which has melted all their cute how-do-they-do-it stickiness.
Good: Maker of Saints by Thulani Davis.
Bad: A Bend in the Road by Nicholas Sparks.
Good: the cute computers guy at work did not leave Friday's party with the gorgeous Dutch girl.
Even better: the gorgeous Dutch girl left the party with some gorgeous South African man, and they are now apparently an item.