Monday, June 30, 2008

Gimme Yer Feet, I Have A Fear To Get Over

When my friend Winifred got married some years back, she and all us bridesmaids went to a mani/pedi place, so our fingers and toes could be painted the requisite Bride Approved color (not that it mattered, since she made us wear hose during the wedding. HOSE! IN OPEN TOED SANDALS! IN ALABAMA IN JULY! She hated us THAT MUCH! Ha ha ha.)

It was actually my first time at a mani/pedi place, as I consider that kind of thing a cost that takes away from the important things like rent, gas, and alcohol. So I had no idea that a foot and calf rub was also included with the price of admission. I promptly caught a fit of the Uncomfortables, which I covered with a gigglathon, and no, we can’t take Amy The Writer anywhere.

But yeah, I found it uncomfortable, that someone was kneeling in front of me, in a subservient pose, washing my feet. Dunno why. Guess I couldn’t handle the authority position of it all, like this issue of Cosmo and the article “15 Things To Turn Your Man On” is my royal scepter, and I’m saying Sand those toenails down, you servant! Sand ‘em DOWN!

So when my church announced about a month ago that they were gonna be staffing a footwashing booth for a Homeless Expo Day, I knew I had to do it.

It was Hollywood’s “Project Y!MBY Connect Day.” This essentially is an event for the homeless population of Los Angeles, held at the Music Box Theater in Hollywood. The homeless can get social services and referrals, everything from groceries to driver’s licenses, to getting your feet washed via my church’s booth. The idea of footwashing ANYONE’s feet, much less a homeless person's, filled me with the heebie jeebies, so of course I have to challenge my fear and go for it.

And yet, if it really was God putting a bug in my ear, there sure were a lot of obstacles to overcome to get there. For one thing, the event was being held on a Thursday, from 7am to 2pm. During work hours, and I can’t take off work yet, I haven’t accrued any vacation time. So the most I could do would be to get there at 6am and help them set up, then leave at 8am and hope that enough homeless people came through to where I could sufficiently challenge my fear and see what came out of it.

So I do. I showed up at 6am, and I was the very first person there from my church. I helped set up the booth, and I cut towels. I cut towels for close to an hour, resizing big body towels down to hand towels, just right for drying feet.

They’re expecting maybe 200 to 300 people, but something close to twice that are already lining the block outside the theater. And that’s just at the opening.

When they finally let the doors open, the homeless population is going to the more useful booth, like the social security one, where they can get social security cards. So by the time I have to leave at 8am, there’s exactly one homeless person at our footwashing booth, and she’s already been pounced on by something like five volunteers Footwashing!? Footwashing!? I’ll wash yer feet!

So I got pictures instead.

I cut towels. I feel like Baby in “Dirty Dancing. “I carried a watermelon.” Maybe next year. Maybe.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I needed to smile, this did it

Remember Matt The Dancing Guy?

He's at it again. And just just when I was thinking, "Eh, it's okay," and "I like the other song better" we hit 51 seconds into this clip.

And I love Matt The Dancing Guy all over again. Such a simply brilliant idea. I can't get over it. It makes me smile.

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Staircase

So I don’t really bother with the questions of “Why God would allow this to happen.” I moved on from asking questions you’ll never get sufficient answers to a long time ago.

Why God would allow a child to be born, live for three years, and spend his ending moment in severe pain is not a question I’m going to ask, there will never be a sufficient answer. I know a lot of well meaning Christians would point out meaningfully that said child brought a lot of joy to his parents, his sister and inspired a lot of people. Is that worth the pain he went through? Not a question I’m going to ask, there will never be a sufficient answer.

I’m thinking the older you get, the less you’ll ever get sufficient answers to the Why questions you have. Why did that happen to Hudson? Why didn’t my script sell? Why is it triple digit temperatures?

On Wednesday night, in between the few tears I shed, I found myself not asking Why questions, but thinking about Dalton instead. There was a conversation I had with Dalton a few months before he passed. It sounded like a rehearsed moment that he had prepped and ready to go anytime someone asked him how was his treatment going, but I didn’t mind if he didn’t mind repeating it for the umpteenth time.

And here’s the part where my memory gets all weird, and I even called Tricia to try and confirm some details, and she was rightfully all like, “Huh?” But basically, what I remember is Dalton saying something like how he knew he was supposed to be gracious in his suffering, but he was still thinking, “Um, really would rather not.” Tricia rightly says she doubts Dalton would have thought he was supposed to be gracious in his suffering. Nobody thinks they’re supposed to be gracious in their suffering. Except me, in my dealings with Roomie Jekyll and Roomie Heckle. Heh.

The point being is that I know I heard Dalton say “Um, really would rather not” and it was a joking response to a typical Christianese theme of how we should bear our burdens and not complain about them, and it made both of us laugh, because we were both sarcastic people that had the same response to Happy Chipper Christians a lot of the time.

Then a more recent memory dropped in my head, back to this past New Year’s Eve. There were a few events that I hopscotched around to, and one of them was to Tricia’s house, where she was hosting a party. We all laughed, drank, walked down the street to look at the Rose Bowl Parade floats. And at a certain moment, I was sitting on the couch with Simon, the best dog ever, and Tricia had broken the news to little Iain that it was bedtime. Little Iain didn’t wanna go to bed, it wasn’t even midnight, there were still more Patron shots to do, but Tricia wouldn’t hear any of it, and marched him up the stairs.

To Iain’s credit, he didn’t pitch a fit, but trudged up the stairs, with Tricia behind him, and said, “But Momma, I’m not tired” over and over again in a voice that sounded exactly like Michael Darling in Disney’s Peter Pan: Momma, the buried treasure.

“But Momma, I’m not tired.” Iain says, as he climbs the stairs. “I know, honey,” Tricia says, climbing up after him, “I know.”

I feel like that all the time. I think we all do.

But God, I don’t wanna do this. I know, honey, I know. But God, I don’t wanna do this. I know, honey, I know. But God, I don’t wanna do this. I know, honey, I know.

And we keep going up the stairs, God right behind us. Always there, always following as we march on to do things we don’t wanna do. The calm quiet presence behind us.

Like my favorite line from C.S. Lewis’ “A Grief Observed” “When I lay these questions before God I get no answer. But a rather special sort of ‘No answer.’ It is not the locked door. It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate gaze. As though He shook His head not in refusal but waiving the question. Like, ‘Peace, child; you don’t understand.’”

Your answer is no answer. And still up we climb.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Oh fuck

Hudson's gone.

Please pray for his family: Jamie, Oliver, his sister Abella. They don't really know me, and I only met them once, they wouldn't remember me, and who cares what else I say now.

Sorry, it's a little hard to swallow. Literally.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

A break for Nature.

This time of year brings out the Japanese Irises in full force. It's amazing how quick they come out, too. Thursday night, they weren't out, the next day, the whole fleet burst open to say hi.

They don't last too long either, and Roomie Jekyll takes particular pleasure in flicking off the dead buds, but the gestation period is about three weeks or so.

I can tell I'm getting older, because I'm noticing and appreciating Old People stuff more. Like the texture of petals. They way they look, the way they feel.

I'm off to go shotgun a beer now. I'm YOUNG, dammit!

Monday, June 09, 2008

I Am The Walrus (no wait, The Signpost!)

Right before Memorial Day I tried donating blood again for little Hudson with the brain tumor. He’s having an extremely rough go of it, and I wanted to help. It’s highly amusing to me that I get so jazzed about the possibility of needles, considering my dread fear of them. It’s not as though I’d be sticking needles in my arm for no reason. I’d only do it if it could help somebody.

So I sent out the email to my circle of friends asking for iron enriched well wishes, ate as big of a lunch as my stomach could muster, even including PROCESSED SUGAR, which is something I’ve been skipping lately and toodled off to Children’s Hospital. “Oh, Hudson needs blood again?” The nurse asks me as she’s looking at my paperwork. “He always needs blood is my understanding.” I say.

And off I go to face down the Red Machine O’ Hemoglobin DOOM, confident that if little Hudson is in dire need, than God’s gonna PUMP (clap) me up full o’ iron so I can bleed for the little guy.

And the machine comes back at 10.6. 12.5 is passing. Sigh. “Can we do it again?” I ask the technician, explaining that normally, it’s better to stick my arm rather than my fingers, as last time, we discovered something happens in my veins between the elbow and the fingers that waters the blood down. I’d like to think the forearm veins are doing tequila shots 24/7, ho ho ho.

So the techie sticks my arm and runs it through. 9.9. We’re going DOWN? We’re going the wrong way! We’re going the wrong way at the wrong point on the arm! The fingers are the ones having the party! No fair!

The techie runs another sample through the other machine. Now it’s 9.6. “That can’t be right,” I say, “Wouldn’t I be dead with those numbers?”

No, apparently I can walk and talk and be bitter with those numbers, but I can’t give blood. Sigh. They still give me the cookies and the orange juice, despite my protests that I don’t deserve them. “But you tried!” they tell me, “And you really wanted to do it! We don’t see a lot of that here.”

It’s very rare that you get rewarded for trying AND failing. But Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles will give you a cookie. They will even give you two, but I only took one.

So I grumble my way home and send out an update to my circle saying I’m an iron loser, whatever.

And then I get an email from Nadine. Nadine thinks it’s really cool that I give specifically for someone. Nadine has that very desirable blood type of O negative, and she wants to give blood to Hudson, even though she’s never met him.

So a few weeks later, Nadine is off to Children’s Hospital, where not only does she beat the Red Machine O’ Hemoglobin DOOM with flying colors, she skips the bloodletting and goes directly to the apheresis machine and does the TWO HOUR platelets process! I’m so jealous! I’ve been working up the nerve to do that one, but I’m a chickenshit, and don’t think I could handle the needle being in my arm for two hours.

But Nadine is a rock star, and did platelets for Hudson, a little boy she doesn’t even know. She gives me all the credit for introducing her to the concept of direct donations, and to Hudson in particular. But I give her credit for doing all that for someone she doesn’t even know.

I haven’t understood why my body has decided to turn down this Iron Depleted Route, which it’s basically done since last year, when there’s an actual need for me to give. You could form the argument that maybe I wasn’t supposed to give, I was supposed to be the signpost for OTHER people to give. Sure, that sounds like something a good little Christian would say.

I’ve never liked being an example. I’ve never liked people looking at me like I was some kind of superstar whatever. Those of you who know me know I can’t stand compliments. At least, not to my face. You can email them to me all the time, ha ha ha.

I guess the reason why is that if everyone thinks you’re great, you’re just gonna disappoint them the next time you f up. Which for me is every other minute, HA!

If everyone thinks I’m great, then I don’t get to be cranky. Maybe that’s what it is. I LIVE by my crankiness, people. Don’t make me give it up.

Anyhow, Nadine, who I’ve never known to be cranky, is a rock star.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

12 in 12

Hey, is anyone else getting as sick of my Bible chronicling adventures as I am? Those blog entries aren’t really food for thought, nor are they particularly well written.

Methinks we need a break. And since I finally have a new camera to replace the one that was stolen by a yahoo Floridian tourist, I shall celebrate by doing one of those 12 in 12 thingies I have vaguely read about on other people’s blogs. The idea is that you take 12 pictures in 12 hours, one each hour, to document your day. This is how my Saturday went: (Warning! The spacing is all wonky! Resize your computer screen as much as possible and it will still be wonky! But you get the general idea!)

8:00am hour – I wake up to Spike. I either wake up to Spike or to the ceiling. I much prefer Spike.

9:00am hour – I see these flowers when I walk to and from the gym. I dig them because of the variety of colors. Check out that detail using the macro function! My camera’s better than I thought.

10am hour – Just another scintillating daily devotional, this time from Ezekiel 27: 1 – 25. Talking about all of Tyre’s glory as a trading country. I am bored. I don’t care if all Scripture is God breathed, and we need to understand how great a nation Tyre was to appreciate its upcoming destruction by God. I’m bored, and I want to get to the New Testament already, which, at this pace, won’t be happening for another two months.

11am hour – The devotional has so thoroughly bored me that I go back to bed. Well, that, and the fact that the Step and Sculpt teacher at the gym was merciless this morning. Me achey already.

12pm hour – The tiny sushi place on La Brea that I like also features strange smoothies.

1pm hour – watching George Romero’s Diary Of The Dead. I give Blair Witch Project a pass. I give Cloverfield a pass. But here, when you’ve got TWO film school students “filming” their desperate attempt to survive a zombie apocalypse, you do NOT get a pass to stand there and film your friend impaling a zombie with an IV pole, PUT THE CAMERA DOWN AND HELP HIM, FOR F’S SAKE! What an idiotic movie, puffy with laughable self importance.

2pm hour – oh, okay, fine, NOW I’m settling down to write. I handwrite my script revisions, and it can get messy, but it all makes sense to me.

3pm hour – When I need small breaks from brainstorming, I play Trouble, my guitar. I knew from the beginning that the first song I ever learned to play would probably be the only one I’d ever remember. Which is true. So if you ever need a chick to kinda play > Freedy Johnston’s “Bad Reputation,” I’m your chickadee.

4pm hour – Surprisingly, generic cereal is rather tasty (and less expensive!)

5pm hour – reading for a break. The Sookie Stackhouse series isn’t really well written, and it’s a little ridiculous how every vampire, werewhatever, and other assorted supernatural folk that Sookie comes into contact with is breathtakingly beautiful and always falls for Sookie, but whatever. Interestingly enough, I don’t have a problem that she’s a telepath, but could there EVER be a vampire she finds attractive who doesn’t like her?

6pm hour – driving to do box office for my theater company’s show. Wow, this camera doesn’t miss a thing, huh. Check out all that dust. Who has time to clean their car, right?

7pm hour – the coffeehouse only looks empty. But they make a tasty vanilla chai latte. I LURVE vanilla chai lattes.

8pm hour – While the show is going on upstairs, I guard the lobby, work some more on my script, and this is my view.

Not terribly exciting, I know. But better than summarizing Ezekiel. Because I am NOT doing that.