Sunday, September 28, 2008

Healing Species, Columbia and the International Festival

Gonna keep it short. 3:00 Saturday morning I rolled in from a two-day trip to Orangeburg, SC for the Healing Species training. I am so excited to bring this program to Spartanburg. In a nutshell, it is compassion education...assisted by a rescue dog, instructors go into elementary and middle schools to teach that being hurt is not ok, that every one of us has the power within to change the world, and that giving respect and love brings happiness and true success.

Pamela and I were in a panic the night before the trip since our transportation plans had fallen through. But at the last minute, our very kind, gracious and trusting friend Bill lent us his Lincoln Town Car. That single act has changed the course of our lives. (ack Heroes is rubbing off on me...) The Healing Species is instilling values that, if soaked into the consciousness of a generation, would radically reshape the future of mankind.

I will cover this in more detail in a lovely piece I'm writing that you will hopefully soon be reading in a local publication.

On Friday night we decided to take a detour in Columbia...thought we'd have a bit of an adventure and got a bit more than we bargained for. It started out well, wandering aimlessly through the city, stumbling across large historic buildings and memorial parks we knew nothing about...but then we got hungry. There's a nice little "bites and sights" guide and I got it into my head I wanted to try a tapas bar. As we wandered past a Marriott, I had a nice chat with the doorman, who suggested "blue." as a good pick for a "college budget." 90 minutes of trying to find parking, trying to find the tapas bar, and we finally follow the blue lights, discover they offer free valet parking, and that they are for 21 and up. I was mad. Then we drive around for another hour or so and finally settle on a McDonalds.

I was so exhausted by the end of it all. It was my intention to sleep late into the afternoon, but my dad had other plans and woke me at 11 for brunch. Mom and I then went to the International Fair, which was fantastic as gets bigger and better every year. Ate some great food and bought a few choice international treasures. My favorite booth belonged to Nisha Dias...gorgeous Indian jewelry, clothing, and "paper-free paper" gifts. She did henna on several of my friends too. I love Indian adornments.

I got home a little after 5:00, crashed, and didn't wake up again till this morning. Thing is, I'm still exhausted. Think I'm going to bed now.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

sick and tired

Last night I kept waking up, in half-dreams imagining I had a great mechanical mask on my face, something like a Borg appliance. It's this dratted cold and it's been getting worse every day since Thursday.

Thursday morning I awoke hardly able to swallow. Surmising I was sick and realizing this would account for the past few days' sneezing and coughing, I treated it to my usual remedy: vitamin C and E and a whole lot of sleep. I woke up again at 12:45 and realized I had to deal with the guy whose truck I dented the night before. Other than that, I don't recall accomplishing anything. Oh well, I told myself, today will be my Saturday. That night, against my better judgment, I went out with my friend Bryant to catch Peelander Z at Ground Zero.

Peelander Red's beautiful dreadlocks are gone! oh mourn the day.

"My Heart will Go On"

Peelander Yellow with Bryant (to whom photo credits belong)

Sure it was a lot of fun, and I didn't scream nearly as much as last time, but there's no way dancing around in a smoke-filled bar to music so loud the hair on my neck vibrated can be what a sick body needs.

On Friday I got up at 11, but the fog was thicker and I really can't recall doing much of anything except sometime late in the afternoon going out into the woods with my Bible, God Calling and a lawn chair, and being captivated by the brilliance of the sunlight shafting across leaves and rotting wood. Two colors were highlighted in various shades, creating a palette any designer would be wont to snatch. There was a rich, chestnutty light brown in the foamy, flaky fallen pines, a variant of which glowed like fire on twigs where the sun caught. And then there were the greens - the glow-in-the-dark, plush greens of moss and lichen, and a more vibrant version in the leaves overhead. I couldn't keep the song of praise and wonder from pouring out my mouth. God is an artist.

Yesterday, Bryant and I went to PJ Teague's house to jam again. We did some Beatles stuff, Who Loves the Sun by Velvet Underground, (which, apparently, is also a favorite Tally Hall likes to cover...who knew?) and Fly Me To the Moon. He gave us homemade eggrolls too - they were delicious. Despite my constant sneezing and out-of-its-prime voice, we had a really good time. In fact, we had such a good time that we lost track of time and Bryant had to drop me straight off at babysitting so I'd be there in time. There, armed with a generous supply of antibacterial hand soap, the magic "five minute warning," and a toaster oven, I survived the evening.

Today, the fog was so thick I could hardly stand up without feeling dizzy and weak. I slept so much I'm ashamed of myself. I'm glad it wasn't tonight I had to babysit 'cuz I am definitely not equal to that task. I did manage to cut Dad's hair and I made it through Bards practice, but now I think my evening has ended. I'm going to lay down again. (Funny, blogging takes effort but it's all I've wanted to do all day.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

2 days ago, I caught my first wafty whiff of autumn. Today it came to me in full. What is it about that whiff that always brings with it thoughts of pumpkins, new clothes, candles in sparkling amber sconces, family photos, Renaissance outings and other joyful things? Is it a scent, the temperature, barometric pressure, wind speed, humidity...? I donno, but that whiff always makes my head heavy with a deluge of memories and my heart light at the prospect of more in kind.

I got hit today. By a truck. It was my fault, he was in my blind spot and I pulled in front of him. His bumper sustained a nasty dent while I just had a few paint flecks knocked off. It was minor but it shook me up. There goes my "safe driver" insurance discount.

Tonight I discovered Asthmatic Kitty Radio. AK is like my favorite record label of all time so this is big news. If you're new to AK, make sure to check out Half-Handed Cloud, in addition to the ever-popular Sufjan Stevens. I don't want to go to bed because that means taking the earphones off.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Last night, I told the Lord that I was His servant, that I would do His bidding. Today, I waited for His bidding. Half and hour ago, He bid me wash the dishes. So I washed the dished.

In other news, Craig's photos of the jam are up. I am so excited, they are marvelous pictures. Here's my favorite:

There are more on his wonderful photoblog, and many more on his Zenfolio! Thanks Craig!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hub-Bubbly Mood

Woo! I had so much fun swing dancing at the Hub-Bub last night. (Jonas Criscoe is a born dancer. Wow.) Two fabulous bands. Christabel and Sarah were even kind enough to stop by the jam beforehand - I got to chat with them - they're pretty cool folks.

The jam was amazing. They just seem to be getting better and better. Bryan Teague (aka chAng) came and brought a slew of friends - Allison (jazz flute, way cool!) Maneesh on the drums, and Donny with a case full of harmonicas. Davin came, whom I know from swing dancing. A guy named Frank found us from amazing banjo player, taught us a few sweet tunes. Craig from 4pPhotoblog came and brought his family. I'm looking forward to seeing his pictures.

I get to go swing dancing again on Wednesday! (Info)

Lost in the Trees is playing Friday. (info) I probably won't make it 'cuz I've got Bible study, but they're definitely worth seeing. Check out this funky little video I found:

Oh and the AIRS are going to be hanging out at the Seay House for a week. I've never been there, so I'll probably check it out either Saturday or Sunday. (info) Two more fun things coming up: Spark 'n Boil on Tuesday and the Soapbox Open Mic next Wednesday. That'll be interesting, it's gonna be at the Nu-Way just like they had it back before Hub-Bub had a building.

No, Hub-Bub did not pay me to post this blog, I swear!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Art Mart and the Philharmonic

Today was a good day. I've been working on that song of my friend's and I think I've got a decent tune. In the afternoon I stopped by Creative Tastes/the Hub-Bub Art Mart. Sarah and Ellie are too cool. They sold tutus and moustache-on-a-stick's (moustaches-on-sticks?)

This Tuesday they are starting an "adult playtime" called Spark n' Boil. (more info here. ignore the "21" it's actually for 18 and up.) Sounds like a barrel of monkeys. I'm so there.

It was blasted hot so after helping set up for a bit Bryant and I fled to Taco Bell for a Frutista Freeze (those things are so good) and then to PJ's house to jam. He's got this music room full of instruments - we rocked out, it was awesome. He even put a new spin on one of my old songs and made it sound pretty good. And I found out that Rock Band, unlike most video games, is not a complete waste of time. Bryant plays drums on there all the time and now he kicks butt on the real thing.

By the time we left it was considerably cooler outside so I went back to the Art Mart. There was some really fine work there. I felt bad about not buying anything (can't wait to get my own place to fill up with art) but placated myself with the thought of spreading the news about some really cool local artists and artisans.
Here's a sampling.

All Aboutcha - Jewelry by sister team Kristen and Trina - I know these ladies! Speaking of whom...Swing Dancing at the Hub-Bub September 17th! Woot woot! Be there.

Pottery by Kate - Beautiful rustic pottery designs at reasonable prices.

White Wolf - Hand-hammered silver and copper jewlry in Native American tradition.

McRose Designs - "Jewelry with an Artisan Spirit"

I'm really annoyed. I misplaced the cards of my top pick two artists (and they had to be the coolest cards too - one was a tiny print and the other was a recycled retail tag) but I will let you know when I find them.

...Actually, I found one of them on Google:

the Green Wardrobe - I just love the aesthetic of this artist. She had these great "upcycled" journals made from old hardbound books and various bits of stuff- including comics, feathers and Happy Meal bags. Very cool.

Oh and I was also reminded of a cool upcoming event: "A Taste of Africa" - it's going to be at the Memorial Auditorium on the 20th. It's sponsored by the Cross Cultural Institute. I've really got to check that place out some time.

Then to top off the evening, Lucas Patterson (editor of Root) gave me free tickets to the season opening concert of the Spartanburg Philharmonic so I took my dad. It was at Twitchell Auditorium at Converse so it was like a mini-reunion with a lot of Converse buddies. I even played usher while one of my music major friends took a pit stop. The music was of course spectacular. Violinist Lara St. John was the special guest and boy did she know how to put on a show. After intermission, they played this piece written by a guy who was sick with unrequited love and so he wrote this symphony about a crazy pipe-dream where he killed his beloved out of frustration and was sent to hell. Just by listening I would have never guessed - except for the final movement ("the Witches Sabbath") it sounded like your typical Romantic-era symphony. At least to me.

Yep, so it's been a pretty good day. I've got to wake up for church in 7 hours. Darn it.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A Realization and Lots of Photographs

I figured out why I can't write good lyrics. While writing about Missy Higgins for the Spark, (yes Steve, another plug. I now know it's going to pop straight into your much for name-dropping behind your back...) I read a lot of interviews talking about the process of songwriting. There was also a 14-yr-old girl in there somewhere who said something about the reason she writes songs is because she just can't express how she feels any other way. I've never had any trouble stating my feelings in prose, so perhaps I'll never be able to muster that emotional thrust necessary to write a song. Maybe I'm destined to become Hugh Grant in Music & Lyrics.

Today I met with a friend who has a few lyrics that need tunes. We'll see how the theory pans out.

I found the photos from my graduation weekend. It was so hard to choose just a few...every time I look at these my heart just floods with joy and I had to share it with someone.
Ecstatic at the airport, the night before graduation. This was the first time my dad had met baby Shakti.

At the reception after graduation. That's my sister next to me, and Aunt Mary Beth hiding coyly behind the flowers :) She's usually behind the camera.

It was the first and last chance I'd get to enjoy the Converse campus with my whole family.

Back at home. Mom never passes up a chance to display her storytelling skillz.

Aaron and me jamming on the piano.

It's a family thing.

Mom is a first-class kazooist.

Shakti gets in on the action.

My father really took to the whole grandpa thing.

Mom prefers to be known as "J-Ma."

At Five Spices for a last meal before their trip home. If you've never had lunch at Five Spices, you've got to try it - such the best.

Little heartbreaker.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

thoughts on blogging + ADHD + veggiemobile

I'm sitting here strumming on the guitar, spinning this expansive melody and getting totally frustrated because I have no words for it. I don't know why it's so dang difficult for me to write lyrics.

I'm also frustrated because something about this new blog isn't sitting right. I was archiving my old xanga blog and rereading some old posts. My thoughtfulness surprised me. It seemed, while not much was going in my outside life there was a lot more going on inside my head. The reason I started blogging was because I had this impulse to journal, but there just didn't seem to be a point to writing something nobody would ever read. The idea of an audience, even the nebulous notion of some possible readership somewhere in the world, was enough to get me writing. And yet, I realized ("don't expect" about 1/2way down the page) that I wasn't really writing for anyone but myself, so I didn't really censor or edit myself. I didn't think "if I write this, they will think I am that kind of person" or "that will bore people" or even "they might not get my reference here I should explain it." Looking back, I find that me-person more interesting than the me-person that's here so far.

There it was more like I was a bodiless mind floating in a great expanse populated by other minds that may or may not drift near enough to pick up some brainwaves. From the start, here, it feels like I am standing in front of a roomful of people, particularly Spartanburg people, talking to them, trying to be interesting enough so they won't walk out. I'm overly aware of an audience and it's giving me something like stage fright. I've been reading other people's blogs too, which are fascinating to me as a reader but crippling as a writer. All of the sudden I'm weighed down by all these expectations which may or may not even exist.

Shake it off, Lydia.

Today, I locked my wallet and keys in the car, because I was late to work, because I slept too long. After work, even after psyching myself up to work on this new article for the Spark, I ended up sleeping most of the afternoon. Then, when I finally did wake up and get on the computer, everything else came rushing's amazing how much work you can get done while avoiding the work you're supposed to be doing. Generally, I allow myself a little leeway on matters like this - might as well do it while the doing's good. I know from experience that ignoring the impulse and trying to force my concentration on the task at hand usually results in unproductive, frustrated hours, then, when I go back to the thing I'd wanted to do earlier, I find I am so exhausted from trying to ignore it I no longer have any energy for it. But at least today I eventually got around to the article and got a good hour or two on it. If only I hadn't slept...I could have run out of other things to do much earlier in the day and had more actual work time.

I've been reading a lot about adult ADHD lately. It's interesting how in the medical community, there's a lot of "without proper medication, this disorder will likely cause significant problems in your life." And then there are people who say that it isn't a disorder at all, it's just something unique about you that you learn to work with, playing on your strengths and accounting for weaknesses. Sometimes I contemplate would be great to stop unintentionally tuning people out and having to get them to repeat themselves three times. It would also be great to finish more of what I start, not interrupt people or finish their sentences, not fidget, be able to focus in a noisy room, etc... But I have this fear that it might take away my motivation or lessen my creativity or my ability to come up with non-linear solutions to problems. It might be messing around with who I am - and I'm generally pretty happy with me.

I'm learning how to arrange my life so that I function best. Sometimes, I adapt my environment, sometimes I adapt myself. Homeschooling and college synched nicely with my modus operandi - lots of choice, innovation welcomed rather than stigmatized. I'm wondering (and a little anxious) how it will be different in the work world. A lot of bosses have little patience for employees doing things their own way.

Hmm. I really didnt expect to be writing about that tonight. Oh! but I just thought of a story I read somewhere, about a little girl who was doing poorly in school. Her parents were very concerned - she was always fidgeting and having trouble focusing in class, and her grades were suffering, so they took her to a doctor. They thought she might have some kind of disorder. The doctor talked to her and her parents for a while and then said to the girl "We're going to have a private word in the other room. Please stay here." As he left the room he turned on the radio. He took her parents to a one-way glass window and they watched her. Less than a minute passed before she was on her feet, moving to the music. The doctor turned to the parents and said "She's fine. She does not have a disorder. She's a dancer."
They enrolled her in dance lessons, and not only did she begin to flourish, she grew to become one of the most renowned dancers and choreographers of her time - Gillian Lynne, choreographer of Cats and Phantom of the Opera. You can't help but wonder what would have happened if they'd decided she was ADD and put her on Ritalin.

Oh! I just figured out where I heard about her! Sir Ken Robinson's TED talk. Go watch it, it's good.

And now, presenting this week's Really Awesome Idea:

The Veggiemobile.

Yesterday, Chang discovered his brilliant idea had already been set in motion.
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