Thursday, May 31, 2012

The lion's purr.

Yesterday I got back from an amazing, too-short trip with my mom, sisters, and sister in law in celebration of my mom's 60th birthday--which isn't until July, technically, but one's actual birthdate should never prevent one from initiating a wanted celebration. We converged in ABQ and drove up to Santa Fe and then to Ojo Caliente, where we took the waters, drank margaritas, laughed our asses off, and experienced many an accidental mountain road detour.

I hope I'll blog about that more in a day or two, but what I really want to do right now is write about what I've been doing since I got home: mainly, re-reading my friend Turquoise's blog archives and all of the reminiscences about her on her facebook page, which turned into a memorial page when she died yesterday morning.

Turquoise (aka Violet) was the first friend in the computer that I met in person, when she and her then-boyfriend passed through Minneapolis about four years ago. We had one of those four-hour lunches that you can have with hilarious kindred spirits, even those you've never seen in the real world. She is also one of the first people I ever read, since we both started out on diaryland, and I always feel kinship with the former (and current) diarylanders, like we all survived the early days of blogging together.

I don't really know what to say about it all. She was brilliant and hilarious and talented and lovely and stylish. She also suffered a lot. She got her cancer diagnosis in the midst of a lot of other serious personal turmoil, and spent the last two years dealing with the aftermath of all of it. She blogged about it at Still Life With Idiots. Before that, she blogged at Sea Room. And I first found her at Spark and Foam, which is probably the best place to get a sense of how beautifully and irreverently she wrote (then there's beautiful and irreverent simultaneously). There are billions of potential entries to link; those are just a few I landed on.

On top of all that, she was in a couple of horror movies and sang in a band. Sometimes she raced boats, and sometimes she painted. She loved Murder, She Wrote, Jonathan Richman, Absolut Greyhounds, ludicrous shoes, and foxes (she wanted to bring back the word "foxy," which I will try to do in her honor). And she wrote captions for Anne Taintor. This is one of hers:

Because of her presence online, echoes of her are just going to stay here in the etherweb for as long as blogger or wordpress or d-land or flickr or whatever will keep them up. Isn't that so strange? There's a whole huge archive of certain ways that she chose to reveal her personality or her life, and that archive is staying available to all of us because she left it open. Right now I'm glad about that, because I can immerse myself in her writing, and the reminiscences of those who knew her, and mourn while feeling connected to her.

Here's something she wrote last year, in March:
I think there is unconditional love. In my mind, it is available from Aslan, the talking Jesus lion from the Narnia books. My fondest wish, and I say this without sarcasm, is that when I die, Aslan the talking Jesus lion will greet me in a wide, beautiful field of flowers, and let me curl up against his fur and sleep until I feel whole. We will have long conversations, and I will be comforted by his compassion and his wisdom, and even when we discuss my flaws and sins, he will not judge me, but instead talk me through my bad decisions, and forgive me when I confess.
 Love you, girl.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

April wrap-up, APPARENTLY.

My last post, lo these many days ago, was actually trolled by some anti-choice wank who did a drive-by comment that I obviously deleted. I really felt like I'd arrived as a blogger and activist, you know, getting an ad hominem attack that had nothing to do with the post and everything to do with my support for reproductive justice. As a result of that lone event I've had to block anonymous comments--sorry, for any among you still here who would rather not register for stuff in order to comment on it.

How was your April? I think mine was good! but it's hard to tell, since I didn't keep track of anything here. I had some performances, which was really nice. One of them was all 17th century Italian music, which is so not my normal milieu, but it was good to branch out and connect to what's truly a different musical community than the one I usually work in. Then last week I did a premiere, which I always like--just a huge new song, something I hope I can take around with me and perform elsewhere. This is the text (the first poem on the page) I got to sing, and when I first got the music I was like, did you target me personally with this poem, woman? It's pretty great. And intense.

There are a handful of musical events (and one audition I should be practicing for right this minute) in the month of May and in early June, and then I'm going off to teach at a music festival/academy from the end of June until the end of July. I have to get my poop in a group for that whole thing--I'm teaching a class for which I received the curriculum today, and it appears I have to do a lot of review/prep before then, lordy. It will be an adjustment to do classroom teaching again, but a welcome adjustment.

One thing I did in April was buy a NiceRide membership. NiceRide is the Twin Cities' bike sharing program, and though I'm not the ideal customer because I pretty much always have my bike at moments I want a bike, I really support the program and wanted to make use of it. Also, my bike was in the shop for a tune-up and that seemed like a good time to try out some other ride. My first day with my NiceRide key, I had a very multi-modal experience: I took the bus to work, hopped off the bus when it became clear that the accident blocking traffic wasn't going to let us move, walked two blocks to the nearest bike kiosk, checked out a bike, and rode across campus to the kiosk nearest my office. It was slick. On days that I drive to work for whatever reason, I have to park far away from campus in order to park for free (it's an art/science/compulsion). Normally I don't mind the long walk, but my two parking spots happen to be by bike kiosks, so I've been checking out a bike and shortening the last leg of my journey. The bikes are like very slow tanks, so it's a very different experience than riding my sweet beast, but it's been fun trying this whole thing out. It's a good addition to the public transportation options in this metro, especially since many kiosks are by bus or rail stops.

Um, I also watched 4 seasons of Gossip Girl during April. Don't judge. I finished Felicity and one of my friends admitted that she was hooked on Gossip Girl and I merely followed suit. I have watched a lot of eps while taking epic baths and drinking a beer. It's a rough life, obviously.

Also in April: paid off my student loan, the end. I just did my net worth for the month of April and it felt really awesome to put a zero in that line. Next month, officially, I'll be worth more alive than dead, if we're talking strictly dollars and not, like, value as a member of the human family. That will be a nice feeling too, and it took under 5 years to get there.

My car got towed in April, thanks to goddamn street cleaning/insufficient signage/etc.

In April, I got to love on a LOT of cats and babies.

I'm house and catsitting right now, loving on Ace and Momo morning and evening while the Brit's traveling. It's both strange and not strange to be in the house I no longer live in, but I've done it several times since I moved out, and each time the new normal gets a little more normal.

Henry turned 10. TEN. Remember this baby?

Henry and my hair.

(Remember that HAIR? Holy crap.)

This baby is 10. Here he is on his birthday, having an important conversation with Itty Bitty Kitty:


Henry is a budding foodie and he made and decorated his birthday cake himself. It was seriously off the chain. It weighed about 15 pounds (not really, but it was heavy) and was a chocolate layer cake with some kind of whipped cream center and sliced strawberries, plus chocolate buttercream and lots of it.

The cake Henry made.

Also, the guitar on top was molded out of rice krispie treat stuff and the frets are black licorice. And this was a perfect adornment for the cake because he got an electric guitar as his big present. And he immediately sat down and started playing and singing actual songs.

So yeah, April's been good. Everything's blooming way too early, but I'm not complaining.