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the word of the month. from the nikki mcclure 2009 calendar.  the thing i look forward to the most the last day of the month: flipping the page.

um, generate?  hmmm….

1. to procreate. (not in the near future cards. or far future for that matter)

2. to be the cause of….to produce…..to originate

how will november, perhaps, be the month in which i produce something that is the cause of something greater? or maybe i will be recipeient of someone else’s leg work generating…

generate suspense. generate wonder. generate collaboration. generate direction. generate disaster. generate dissonance. generate silence.

generate joy.

which raises the question to me as well: is it better to be active or passive in regards to generate? because it seems noble, ambitious even, to start, to see progress, to see the seed of something that has the potential to grow because its hope for the greater. it’s also quite satisfying to stamp your name on the tangible product. it connotes action, which is so appealing when sitting idle has become tiresome…

but the passive role. is waiting for someone else to do something. and being the recipient is a gift (unless confusion is being generated).  but its hard, sometimes even quite painful to wait.

unless i generate someone to generate something for me so i can generate further…does that even work, in reality or grammatically?

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dancing was not a part of most children in small town rural, mennonite nebraska.  but one school teacher (non-native) ran a dance studio out of her basement and more forward parents allowed their daughters classes in tap, jazz, ballet.

i was not one of these fortunate daughters.

every spring was the big dance recital.  and the following day in school the few dancing girls in my class would preform a re-enactment show-n-tell.  my elementary best friend, andrea, was the ring leader of these dances. they would put on their matching outfits, the loose fitting lime green top with sequence around the neck and arms with an attached black swimsuit-like bottom, nude tights, jazz shoes, a silver sequence hair piece

and dance to ‘wooly bully’

i was mesmerized. and jealous.  envious. the closest i ever got to organized dance was a choreographed routine my cousin and i made to ‘jesus is still alright with me’ by d.c. talk. i should really use the word ‘choreograph’ loosely.

some girls owned paula abdul’s ‘shut up and dance,’ i owned a recording of a dance special which i kept in my room and whenever i was the only one home, i would put in the vhs tape and practice my ‘tootsie roll.’

somewhere inside of me is a secret ballerina. or maybe she’s a hip hop dancer. or maybe contemporary.  whoever she is, she exists and some have seen her exhibitions.

its no wonder than, that i am mildly obsessed with ‘so you think you can dance.’ i mean, i’m a bit giddy that the summer season was closely followed with a fall season.  so much dance. so much goodness. and yes most of the time i wish it were me with moves that could make mary murphy scream ‘hot tamale’

it happened again yesterday; one of the few reasons in the plus side column of riding the bus. it started in chicago when i would ride the El and it was always etienne, i guy i used to work with at my first starbucks in the windy city.
i would be waiting for a train or sitting in a car and there he was.
and it was always so delightful to see him.

and i think of all the trains running through the entire city of chicago, every 15 minutes.  all the routes, especially through down town, the brown, red, blue, purple. of all the coincidences that have to happen to pick that route, that cab, that seat. i don’t always think its by chance.

one of my favorites was last winter. i was back in chicago to visit catherine and had wanted to spend the afternoon at the modern art museum which was closed. so i decided that the best neighborhood to waste time in before my flight: bucktown. so from the brown, i transferred underground to the blue, to a rather full cab. and sat down. i happened to look at the girl next to me, intently reading. something familiar about her profile. looking at what she was reading, language theory, yes, no mistake, it was

“jenny moul?”

and it was. she was heading home because her class was canceled. and i suddenly had company to bucktown. to the earwax cafe for coffee. and carrot cake. and the most wonderful words were exchanged that both of us needed to hear.

and my flight to seattle was that much better.

i think its why i’m always looking for a familiar face in the airport. because it does happen. even when i’m not paying attention because my earphones are in, someone grabs my hand and pulls me into a seat. a friend that i were thinking about, missing time together and i run into her

on the 66 bus to downtown. and the questions of how are you doing, are answered.

but mostly it’s nice to be reminded that the world is small and some of these meetings are by chance. but also for reason. for joy.

‘whenever you plan for the future, you automatically take yourself out of the present’ kate said as we stared at the rainy dark sky friday night, making up for lost conversation from our wine trip the weekend before. sometimes it’s nice to receive permission for the funk.

the girls had an orientation of proper use of the library and library etiquette and somehow i stopped listening when the words Dewey decimal system were uttered. and i had visions of the gold carpet from my elementary library and the desk that ella and shirley (the librarians) sat behind. and the card catalog. i mean, really, having a play library now would be so boring, because pretending to scan something is exciting for only .009 seconds.  but making your own catalog system…author, title, subject, hours upon hours of fun. maybe just for book lovers and those who love writing things down with no real purpose.

in other news, i’m receiving a series of emails and phone messages from those who only yesterday were singing my curses, now proclaiming their extreme graditude, blah blah blah.

yesterday, if you recall was also the first day of the faith, film and justice film festival.  a documentary on tapologo …a communtiy caring for people in a shantytown with HIV/AIDS…home-based care givers…what i did in nigeria…

million dollar question of the hour: how will i live in a world in which i cannot make everything right?

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.

i need some mary oliver on a day like today. on a day where i am being questioned, undermined. sometimes the most refreshing bath, is words that reach beyond the ordinary, sending me into a place where beauty can once again

dance. reminding me of my own breath.

peeling apples reminds me of the countless, and i mean countless number of apples we picked, peeled, cored, stored from the small orchard around l’abri. it set the scene, though, for many instrumental and memorable conversations…the first time i heard k’s rave of oscar wilde’s ‘picture of dorian gray’ was at the picnic table, slicing with fingers wrinkled from grabbing peeled apples out of a pot of water. oh and the infamous garden of eden re-enactment in which k was adam and i was eve…i wonder how close our ending was as we exited….me flipping ‘adam’ off as he called me an unmentionable name and b. cast as God, walking off with a dog.

i also over exhausted my creativity with apple desserts which lasted into the winter months. students at l’abri live off of bread and apples both frozen and stored in the ice chest solely devoted to these morsels.

it was in the kitchen of chalet bellevue that i understood the practicality of seasonal foods…the body craves the produce in season, for not only its flavor but for what it offers in nutrients. i literally cannot stand the idea of eating an apple in the spring when the strawberries are so red and in abundance. apples seem so mundane
however, the instant the leaves change and the hoodie is reinstated as my daily uniform, the apple becomes such a delicacy, taste to be desired.

i just pulled out of the oven a dutch apple crisp. for tomorrow night. despite how disconnected i am, i keep baking, cooking. and maybe that’s what i need to keep me present to being here. there is something so familiar of me

in the kitchen.

Apple Crisp with Creme Fraise

9 apples (feel free to mix and match…i used mostly granny smith with a few jonigolds)
1/4 c sugar
1 t cinnamon
good pinch of salt
3 T butter
1/2 c creme fraise
topping: 1 1/4 c flour, 1/3 c sugar, 1/3 c brown sugar, 1 T cornmeal, 7 T melted butter

peel and chop 9 apples.  toss with sugar, cinnamon and.  heat butter in large pot (or dutch oven if you have one) then throw in the apples. cover and stir until broken down.  at this point you were to drain the apples but i couldn’t be bothered.  so i threw in a generous 1/2 c of creme fraise.  spread the apples in 9″ pan (or keep in dutch oven). for the topping, mix dry ingredients in a bowl and slowly stir in 7 T melted butter to form little balls.  spread on top of apples and bake at 450 for 10ish minutes (until brown).

off to see if this is even any good (ok this WINS friends many times over).  cheers.

children at the gate by edward wallant tells the story of a crazy hospital orderly, sammy, actually he was a bit insane…he was taking care of dying patients telling them bizarre stories and slipping them extra morphine.  eventually he is ratted out by angelo, who only when sammy “crucifies” himself, understands the bizarre christlike behavior of sammy…angelo’s only release is fits of hysterical laughter.

a few years ago i saw the play “how i learned to drive” by paula vogel…the story of li’l bit, an adolescent from the south, and her mixed up family…the play was full of wit and humor but the darkness of the story was the end when li’l bit named the ghost in her family closet: the uncle who molested her while taking her out on driving lessons.

i stayed for the panel discussion and only remember a statement from the director…that humor is necessary as a gateway for acceptance of deeper emotion…laughter allows the audience to find appeal in the characters, join the story…once part of the story, the audience cannot but be a part of the tragedy; her sadness becomes their own.

laughter from the gut is such a release…maybe that’s when i know i’m really laughing-releasing all that is inside me and yes, that laugh

is loud.  large.  distinct.

yesterday i was feeling the weight of unprotected children trafficked for sex. a friend’s son, who had been in NICU since his birth in january, pass away. foster girls prostituting themselves for money for drugs. and after tears running down my face,

i told a story about catching clients deviating, who went on being 5 hours late from pass and managed to get the bus driver from the 358 (renowned for being the seediest bus in seattle) to sign their verification form. yes, its a funny story, but for  some reason, it made me laugh extra hard.

it was an excuse to laugh

ps. children at the gate is out of print…its hard to find online for under $30..just an FYI

after a conversation with nedra yesterday i was convinced to switch to wordpress. yes, you are right, there is something more visually stimulating. however, i’m not very bright when it comes to html and graphic whirly dos.

its kind of like how i felt at the bike shop when i delivered the road bike i was given to be fixed (which ends up its worth more in pieces than as a bike). the bike shop boy started commenting on different components slash features to which i shrugged my shoulders and stated ‘not really familiar’ (must i remind him i wear a shiny pink bike helmet?)

because really, who has time?  ok i know thats a bullshit reponse. we have time for that which we deem worthy of our oh so precious time and attention. because somewhere and somehow i am paying attention

i am taking notes. it may have something to do with the 20 blogs i have on my toolbar which i check frequently throughout the day. or my growing list of holds at the library. love of underground fashion. need to always be reading reviews.

so i have time to learn html. if i cared. or more about bikes if i wanted to be more impressive

but i’m more interested in the creation i’m wearing in my hair right now. a polka dotted scarf with a big flower pin given to me years ago.

because really i should be kicking myself off the blog and dealing with adolescent girls in prostitution.  you agree with me; you also would rather think about what polka dots you could sport tomorrow.

i walked out of church into the perfect fall weather, the weather that makes me nostalgic for the anticipation of change and acclimating to a new normal.

whether it the beginning of another school year, a new home, adapting to a new community

fall always means settling after the change. makes me the most restless. or rather the need for walks becomes more apparent.

i was briefly browsing other books by julia cameron (the artist’s way author)…in skimming a sequel she wrote to AW, i noticed she kept the same principles: morning pages and weekly artist dates

her adition: a weekly LONG walk.

because walks are therapy for a full brain.            

    (and cheap therapy i might add)

    the fall is when i start walking and can’t stop. its a combination: beautiful trees, sweaters, bright sun, crisp air, the blue sky (which is darker and brighter than the summer one), leaves on the ground, especially red ones

    in fact i wonder if shaun tan was inspired to write

    the red tree

    because after a really long day, that he couldn’t remember who he was

    or what he was doing

    and seemed that he was waiting for something, without sense or reason

    and so

    he walked and kept walking and every so often

    a beautiful red leaf would be quietly lying on the path, restoring belief

    that beauty constantly exists in all the dark places; amongst chaos of life.

    fall. such a simple, appropriate word for the season.

    the leaves letting go of the branches

    our eyes lowering from the busyness of summer, preparing our bodies for the winter, a more introspective time.

    fall induces long walks. and somehow each walk is reminiscent to chicago, central city, huemoz, jackson, seattle, henderson.

    this is when all the places of my life, share something in common.