Going with the flow

This week marksFamily the annual family weekend. In the past we’ve gone to Lanesboro, Red Wing (twice actually), Lanesboro, LaCrosse and last year we stayed at my sister’s place so we could do a dry run of camping with the nephew. This year we were all set to revisit Lanesboro until tragedy struck. Or, to be more specific, lightning. The place we were suppose to stay was struck earlier this week and will be without power this weekend. So, as we do, we’re improvising and just rolling with the punches. Instead My sister’s family will come down here and we’ll do more of a ‘stay-cation’ with a day spent in Des Moines. All that matters is that the 7 of us will be together. As an added bonus I don’t have to board Watson so he gets to stay with the family for the weekend, win-win. I’ll tell you all about the visit next week.

Until next time
~ Q

stuck in my head

Last night I was walking the hound when all of a sudden words popped into my head. Ever since I have had oddly poem-esq lurking in the back of my mind. I figured I would post it to see if anyone knows what the real words are:

You are you and I am me
the two of us could be a perfect we.

I would be yours and you would be mine
our lives and love forever entwined.

But in the end you are you and I am me
and the distance between us is far indeed.

The writing bug has bitten me again so I’ll be back soon.

Until next time
~ Q

I Got My Wish

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear Jamie,
Happy Birthday to you!
Uh-oh. It’s time to blow out the candles – I don’t have a wish!!
What to wish for? Nothing is coming. Come on brain think of something.
No, nothing? NOW you choose to be quite?
What about at three o’clock in the morning, huh? Not then? Good Grief.
Oh, love? Love is what you’re giving me now? That’s a silly wish.
I don’t really want to wish for that. Seriously, stop being so helpful.
Ah geez, I can’t stall any longer, the family is waiting.
Fine, you win brain. Remind me to fire you next year. I can’t believe this…
I wish for ‘love’.

My birthday is June 1st and this year I had easily one of the best in recent memory. Or semi-recent, after all, you only get one birthday a year. For the last three months I have been engrossed in a musical. Every year the local theater troupe (which I am a member) produces a show for the town festival. This year we produced Little Shop of Horrors. It was an amazing process/project/endeavor and I am so proud that I was a part of it. I mention the production now because it took up 99% of my free time.

My birthday occurred in the final days before opening, so I knew meeting up with my family to celebrate was going to be tricky. Luckily we had afternoon rehearsal the day before my actual birthday so I was able to head to my parents’ place that night to celebrate. Arriving an hour later than I intended I was graced with a relaxed evening with my mom, dad, sister and dog (can’t forget that guy). I enjoy going home, especially on nice late-spring evenings. We had pizza from my favorite place and sat around the table sharing anecdotes of the last few weeks.

After supper they sang to me, and it was as they we were singing the final notes of the birthday song that I remembered I was suppose to make a wish. As they hit ‘happy birthday dear Jamie‘ my mind went blank. I fear that may mean I am too unimaginative to think of more for my life. I, however, prefer to think of that I have everything I need. Either road I made my wish – it was a simple wish. Perhaps a throw away, seeing as how I like being independent. But who growing up on Disney wouldn’t wish for love? Truth be told, I didn’t really have my heart in it. We had the special order chocolate cake, opened presents and then went outside to watch my sister play fetch with Watson. She may be a dog whisperer. Animals just respond to her, which is great for her, not for me. Watson listens about 65% of the time but I digress. I concluded my evening with my family and headed home to get as much sleep as possible. I knew I would be getting little sleep for the rest of the week after all (I ended that week with about 30 hours).

I woke up on Monday morning and was thankful I had so much to look forward to on a Monday. Seriously, those are just so rough. I went to work where my coworkers all wished me a happy birthday. At noon we all circled up and ordered lunch. I wore the obligatory birthday crown while enjoying time with my work family. One of the things I love most about my job is that I work with like-minded individuals. We all are hard workers, have complimentary personalities and can balance work and whimsy. I am beyond grateful that when I leave for work everyday it isn’t with dread. Yes, it’s still work, but when you’re in the foxhole with such great people it’s hard to hate it.

That night I headed to rehearsal not expecting anything. We were knee deep in tech and had dress rehearsals to focus on. Much to my surprise when I arrived the director said, “your party is upstairs”. Thinking she was joking I smiled and thanked her. “No, seriously,” she continued, “there are 4 dozen cupcakes.” She wasn’t kidding and in fact she and I (with the help of the sound designer) managed to decimate nearly a dozen during the night while we frantically finished last minute projects. At intermission the cast and crew took a break to enjoy the treats and sing me happy birthday. Let me tell you something, having thirty-ish theater people harmonize ‘happy birthday’ is something to behold. If you can swing it, everyone should experience it.

Flowers

My bestie sent me flowers for the occasion.

Just when I thought the night would end I got a text from my buddy asking if I could meet up with him and some more friends after rehearsal. I knew cast members wanted to do something too so it seemed perfect. We met up at the bar where they had baked a cake for me. There was another rousing round of happy birthday and I am pretty sure I had a permanent smile on my face as I sat and chatted with my friends. As I looked around the table that night I realized I had gotten my wish. So often people think of love as being something that has all these strings of romance attached to it. But I have found that love takes countless forms. Sure, it was emphasized because it was my birthday, but it was clear none the less. I am lucky enough to have countless people in my life. I care for them, they care for me, and that’s really all I wanted. So although I had scoffed at my juvenile wish for love, I opened my eyes to the more mature reminder that I already had it. So not such a silly thing after all. After all, who doesn’t like having their wishes come true?

Semi-sleepless Night

I woke up at three and have yet to fall back to sleep. So far I have done some laundry, released a zombie horde and daydreamed (or would it be nightdreamed) scenarios all in attempt to tire/trick/lull myself back to sleep. All to no avail.

What steals my sleep tonight? Not entirely sure. True I keep playing my botched audition for the local musical. Thankfully the directors have saved me from myself and did not cast me. I had already agreed to assistant direct and be in charge of publicity, I didn’t really need anymore responsibility with this show. I’m excited to AD, although really I’m just shadowing the director to learn her process. Perhaps in the future I can build the skills to direct (thats the collective hope).

Perhaps my subconscious is being reminded of the fact that I leave for vacation in 17 days! I had discussed with my friend Allie that our trip would become ‘real for me’ once auditions were over. Well, here I am, eight hours after auditions, and now I need to plan my trip! For the third spring running my buddy Allie and I are heading out on vacation. Out first year we went to Texas to visit our dear Cheryl. Last year we headed out to California to experience a little of San Francisco. This year we are crossing the Atlantic and visiting Northern Ireland and Ireland. We’ll be gone for about 10 days and there is still much to prepare. I need to contact my clients at work (might just be easiest to update my e-mail signature). We need to book hostels and finalize some of our travel plans but I cannot wait. Its been warm this weekend (only 10-15 degrees cooler than it will be in Ireland) so I was able to test drive some outfits. I don’t know what it is about spring that brings the dresses out of my closet but research was necessary to see if I would be too cold. Survey says no.

Could the night noises be keeping me awake? Not likely. Earlier I thought I heard a mewling but it was so indistinct I can’t decide if I imagined it or not. To keep myself from continuing to hear them I listened to The Legend Sleepy Hollow (yet again). As much as I would enjoy theorizing more causes to my wakefulness, i am being happily attack with onslaughts of yawns. If I play my cards right I can get another hour of sleep before I need to wake up for my work out.

Although I hope you got a full nights sleep, I am curious, what do you do when you cant sleep?

Until next time
~ Q

Unforeseen Attack by Darth Raccoon

As I’ve mentioned before as an adult I’ve developed a wariness of raccoons. Last night the little bandits struck again, this time in my dreams.

Let's call him "Roger"

Let’s call him “Roger”

By the end of the story it's name is Emily

By the end of the story it’s name is Emily

Imagine, if you will, a raccoon. He’s a jovial fellow, clearly not the normal creature that roams the night knocking over garbage cans and looking for shiny objects. Instead this guy can talk to you and you two are even friends – crazy right? Then imagine that, for whatever reason, he has a stuffed animal that he always lugs around with him Calvin & Hobbs style. The two go on all kinds of adventures and cause all manner of hijinks and shenanigans. Easy enough? Now we’ll enter our story:

You’re walking around your room, picking up books and clothes that are scattered about the room. After a little while you hear a knock at the door and head to the hallway. From there you go down the stairs to let in your friend Roger. Per usual Roger is dragging his stuffed animal behind him, despite the fact he is an adult. It doesn’t phase you though, you almost admire the fact he still has such a vivid imagination. The three of you head upstairs to chill. Roger places the animal in it’s tiny chair that he brought over years ago. Once situated he takes off his bag and hands you his new album. After you two have listen to it a few times through the lights oddly flicker. Shrugging it off you head downstairs to grab a snack. You gently walk up the stairs balancing two cups in one hand and a box of crackers with a plate of cheese in the other. Approaching your door you hear a small voice you’ve never heard before. Toeing the door open you walk in to see the stuffed animal moving. Shocked, you drop all the snacks. The animal turns to look at you and as soon as your eyes meet its glass ones your head is filled with a name…Emily. Creeped out beyond belief, you break the stare and drop down to clean up the mess.  Placing the ruined snack on your desk *you carefully approach the two raccoons who have started to fight. You watch as Emily folds herself up out of the chair and escalate the battle to a physical one. She slaps Roger and they seem oblivious to you watching. After awhile Roger notices and pushes Emily away from him. Slowly he backs away and raises his hands, that’s when Emily switches targets and lunges towards you. As she reaches your face you feel furry pressure on your cheek and bolt awake. That’s when you find Vader (your cat) picking the worst possible time to start snuggling.

Doesn’t that sounds like a brilliant way to wake up? I didn’t need more convincing to get out of bed at four this morning to let him out. I sometimes wonder if animals have secret powers, how else would Vader now to hit me in the face at that exact time?

Until next time
~Q

*Full disclosure part of this story is made up. I can’t remember how the two raccoons came to be in the room, but the bits after the asterisks are an honest account of the what I remember from the dream. I figured I could create a bit of context for the last half. I also do remember that the stuffed animal was somehow possessed by the spirit of a little girl named Emily. How do I know this? Why would I dream these things? Not sure, but that’s what happened.

I am not bilingual

Ever since I was a little girl I have been fascinated by language. You would think this might translate to me having an excellent grasp on my own, but no cigar. I remember walking through the J section of the library straight back to the language section. I would pull book after book off the shelf and the wander to the checkout. Once home I would sit and pour over the pictures. Occasionally trying to pronounce unfathomable words with characters I had never seen before. When I grew out of the J section I started checking out audiotapes (yes, actual tapes, although eventually CDs) of various languages: Arabic, Russian, Italian, Hebrew, Japaneses, etc. The world was my oyster and I wanted to hear it all.

In primary & secondary school I began my more formal study of a second language in the form of Spanish. During my first years of study we mainly learned the basics ie vocab: colors, numbers, animals and themed units (travel, rainforest etc). Why so basic? Well for the first two years we only met once every 6 school days and the following two years we only had it for about seven weeks of the school  year (exploratory class). To this day I’ll still say ‘caballo caballo caballo‘ in the same manner our Argentinian teacher would. She had this toy horse that would ‘gallop’ as she repeated the phrase. Once translated it seems mad that I do this. Who walks around saying ‘horse horse horse’. Oh well, c’est la vie.

I survived my first years of training and eventually hit high school. Spanish was no longer required but languages still were a fascination so I signed up. I also had some vague notion that colleges wanted you to have some sort of experience and if you didn’t have it going in then you’d have it by the time you left. College language courses would be about 1000x harder. Prepping in high school was an obvious choice. Then there was the fact that in our third year we take a week long field trip to Spain. I wasn’t going to miss that.

Here is where it really started getting tricky. In case you didn’t know, the English language makes little to no sense. Especially when compared to other languages. It’s a hodge-podge of several languages all shoved together to make a whole. Apparently no one took a leaf from Doctor Frankenstein’s book. If they had, they’d remember grabbing bits and pieces and throwing them together does not a man make. Now I know this is taking the argument towards the ridiculous, but I’m a creative, I’m using my license. Also, hyperbole.

The more I look at other languages the more I see that comparatively English can be quite tricky. For starters the word order is different. Please note, this isn’t applied to every language in the world – just the ones that I’ve perused on a deeper level than passive listening. In Latin based languages (italian, french, spanish etc) the word order is Verb – Subject – Object. Adjectives follow the noun, verbs are conjugated as a whole to agree with the subject. So many differences! However, they all follow a set or marginally followed rules. You can claim that English does too, but the ‘i before e except after c’ rule is broken more than it’s followed. Weird right?

Once I graduated high school I didn’t have much reason to keep up my limited Spanish. Although I kept the theories and general rules in my head (there are 6 verb forms, adjectives swap their ending to be gender specific, start sentences with verbs and go from there, etc) I forgot the many of the specifics (leer ‘to read’ or libro ‘book’). This partial reset both helped and hurt when it came time to learn Italian for my semester abroad. I was at an advantage because the theory still existed, all I had to do was load new verb endings and learn different vocab. However, as I said, it was a partial reset. Every now and then a Spanish word would creep in and I wouldn’t catch that it was wrong. Fun times. Italian eventually became dominate of the two. I remember I even had a dream in Italian while I was away, that was a magical experience.

Now, years later, if I’m called to recall either it’s a hot mess. At work last summer there was a Hispanic couple who were trying to find the right words for what they wanted. Eventually my mind came up with an option but by that time we had figured it out through gestures etc. Good thing too. After the fact I was talking to one of my sisters and as I recounted the tale I used my words. She is a certified Spanish teacher although she teaches social studies. As I was talking she just started shaking her head. Oh I’d come up with the correct word alright. Only it was in Italian and I couldn’t tell the difference.

Since then I’ve put aside any thoughts of having casual conversations without a refresher in vocab. I still have my fascination with languages though. However I keep it to myself a bit more. As I fall asleep at night I now have added two books into my rotation of options. Now, along side of Merlin and the Dragons and The Legend of Sleep Hollow, is The House of Usher (in Italian) and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (in Russian). Truly my world is an odd one.

Funnily enough last week I was listening to a Spanish radio station. It was in the middle of the news section. The announcer was talking fast. At first I tried translating words individually. Then I remembered that was stupid. For starters in any translation its not a straight word-for-word swap. Secondly I don’t actually understand much Spanish. However, pushing that defeatist attitude aside I started listening to sentences as a whole. Not as individual pieces. A narrative began to unfold. She kept mentioning ’90’, ‘not permitted’ and ‘California’ (those last two more than once). In the end I decided she was talking about the measles uprising. Like I said, I am not bilingual…but its fun to pretend.

Enough rambling for now. Until next time
~ Q

Apparently the word of the day is….

I’ve come to expect a certain amount of randomness in my life. Too much data with no discernible outlet. Today ‘random’ hit bylodging a word in my brain for no apparent reason. What was the word? Dickensian. I didn’t even know the definition of the word. That didn’t matter. It would not move to the side and be ignored until I looked it up.

Dick·en·si·an (diˈkenzēən) adjective
adjective: Dickensian
  1. of or reminiscent of the novels of Charles Dickens, especially in suggesting the poor social conditions or comically repulsive characters that they portray.

Now I’ve never actually read Dickens. I know. Shocking. Especially considering how much I like to read. Although my family did watch A Muppet’s Christmas Carol over Christmas. I hardly think that is the same thing. Why, or more importantly how, this word was jammed in my brain I cannot say, but today I learned something. So that alone makes it a good day.

Until next time
~ Q

Importance of the random: keep brushing up against people, books, experiences we don’t yet know what to do with.”
― Alain de Botton