Tuesday, September 29, 2009

pretend for real

sitting in the office, wallowing in the consistency of phones ringing, radios clashing, heels clicking and paper shuffling, i am suddenly struck with a very vivid memory:

i am six years old in the basement playroom of my friends house, in the back corner where her dad's workspace is. we've adorned our tiny fingers with too-big lee press-on nails in bright red and are playing office. i'm standing at the filing cabinet, reveling in the clack clack sound of my nails on files, the whoosh and creak of the drawers opening, and my friend's nails tic tic tic tic-ing on the computer keyboard. i feel a thrill of importance as i answer an imaginary phone call, becoming the modest office hero as i calmly appease a disgruntled client. we write nonsense orders on scratch paper and watch excitedly as they build a tower in our inbox. we are six years old, foreshadowing our future selves in action, but polar in emotion.

children live with joy and abandon; what is it in age that dulls that? can we get it back? maybe it's the burden of responsibilities - of bills to pay and a career to build. maybe it's the coma of routine. maybe it's that the learning curve has slowed; children are constantly experiencing things for the first time & as we age, new experiences become more seldom. we have to put in some extra effort to find new things & keep routines fresh.

today at the office, i'm going to try to love what's here. i'm enjoying the press of the keys under my fingertips and the nice clattery sound they make as i type this. the swoosh of my skirt around my knees kind of tickles, and the tap of my heels on tile makes me feel a little like i'm playing dress-up.

both images via we heart it

today, quiet down the groaning, stressed out adult & listen to your inner six year old. how can he or she guide you to appreciate what's in your life today, right now, just a little bit more?

today i am so happy & grateful for:
~ a new perspective
~ the smell of coffee
~ "playing" office

xo! n.

Monday, September 28, 2009

starting the countdown...

image via we heart it

that's going to be my view in only 20 days.  i'm getting nervous.  just checked my bank accounts & i'm doing fine (sigh of relief) and re-acquainted myself with my backpack (it really is quite a useful device) and i've invested in a good pair of walking sandals and a very nice pair of sunglasses to keep those equatorial rays in check (yes, mom, i kept my promise).

i keep having nightmares that i have to leave for my flight & i've forgotten to pack.   i woke up last night sweating and terrified, jumped out of bed, opened my dresser drawer - to grab the things i'd forgotten? - and then realized i'd been dreaming.  i would prefer that this doesn't become a habit.  oh my.

this weekend was my roommates birthday & our third annual field day competition (yes, that's field day as in "our third grade class had field day today & we did the three legged race and the egg toss and..." you get the picture), so we spent the weekend debauched.  fun, fun, fun.  it really is a testament to my life here that i'm going to australia for two months & i keep thinking - but aww i'm gonna miss sooo much in LA!!  what a thing to lament.

today i am grateful & happy for:
~ a great weekend with a perfect birthday celebration
~ sleep!
~ despite my nerves, knowing everything's going to work out so i have a great trip

xo! n.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

"From the floorboards to the flys/Here I was fated to reside..."

...can the ties of the heart ever be completely severed? can we cut all connections like a sharp pair of scissors on taut yarn, or will our efforts always be a dull knife scratching through thick cable, fiber by fiber? even when we've let go, when we are relieved & happy that person is out of our lives, when they've hurt us unforgivably - if we had, at one time, truly let them into our heart, isn't there still even the tiniest thread connecting to them? the thread of memory - that smile, that strength, that thing you fell in love with... it may not be strong enough to pull us back or even make us notice it more than a pinch when it's being tugged, but isn't it there? are we all walking around in a spiderweb of past loves?

the photos above are from "Heartstring," one of my two original pieces in Side Work.  it's always hard for still images to do live theatre justice, but i'm really proud of this piece; i can't tell you how many people came up to me after with tears in their eyes, saying how much they related to it.

God, it felt good to be onstage again.  to ride the energy of the audience and to be overwhelmed by the tear-inducing joy of a standing ovation.  to know that you have moved someone, and created something that they'll be thinking about for a while.  i was meant for the stage.

today i am so grateful and happy for:
~ brilliant artistic friends
~ inspiration
~ the thrill of performance

xo! n.

missing autumn

photo from we heart it

i step out of work today knowing i will step into the dry, opressive heat of a southern california september -- but still, in my mind i imagine it's the lovely moody wet and green misty rainy fall of the east coast. i imagine a little home with a fireplace, happy dogs (mavis and walter, i've already named them) greeting me & licking raindrops off my feet, a hardcover book and a glass of red wine.

i love my life, but sometimes it's nice to slip into a fantasy so real you can smell the rain.

if you could step out your door today into somewhere new, where would it be?

today i am so happy and grateful for:
~ imagination
~ the way rain always makes colors more vibrant

xo! n.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


i'm so happy.

maybe it's the fun size bag of peanut m&ms i just ate, or maybe it's the fun size snickers, or maybe it's the coffee talking, but despite getting 4 hours of sleep last night, i am dancing around the office today.

it's tech week for the show that's been my baby for 6 months, and everything is coming together. i swear, there isn't an obstacle that the seven of us can't overcome; talents keep bashfully stepping into view, new skills are learned, old skills are dusted off, and this show is living up to all of its potential.

i'm buzzing with joy. and caffeine.

can life get much better than this? i'm collaborating with a like-minded group of artists that are not only my collegues, but that i'm proud to call my friends. i'm spending hours upon hours in a theatre again (i've missed you, wings & grid & booth!), and working on something that i believe in wholeheartedly. and on top of all that, i'm getting ready for a huge australian adventure next month! it's unbelievable.

we're making it happen. today i am just so grateful and happy!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sea Lions and Dolphins and Kelp, oh my!

Dava and me after our first day of ocean diving!
i have now dived 3 ocean dives - and survived! got up at 4:45am yesterday morning to catch a sunfish full of fabulous gay men (and a few women) at the Channel Islands marina in Ventura County, CA at 6:30am. i was so nervous, i couldn't eat my luna bar, and i was so scared of being late that i didn't have any coffee. i wasn't late, and seeing my scuba buddy Dava and our instructor Buck made me a little calmer so i could choke down a few sips of coffee. unfortunately, the waves were crazy on the way out to Anacapa Island, and weeeell... i got a bit seasick. i didn't expect it at all! Dava loaned me her accupressure wristbands, i sat outside & stared at the horizon, and i felt better. got my wetsuit on, we dropped anchor, and whoops - i threw up. the divemaster gave me some ginger & that helped settle my stomach; i know it was mostly nerves and only partially angry waves, but still, i'll keep ginger & accupressure in mind for future...

ready or not, it was time for our first dive. we descended along the anchor line & i had some trouble with my buoyancy; i couldn't get myself to descend & kept hitting my head on the boat. Buck had to help pull me down, but once i got to the bottom, i was surprised that i had successfully equalized my ears & felt ok. overwhelmed but ok. we were on a sandy bottom, with small sections of reef and a few tall kelp strands around us, and to the side, we could see a big group of sea lions diving down & playing with some of the other divers. there was so much to see and to remember to do! even though i'd been fine in the pool, my brain suddenly realized i was breathing underwater & kind of freaked out like, this isn't supposed to be happening! but i stayed calm and did my skills tests and then we started swimming over the reefs and through the kelp. i kept bumping the bottom so i thought my buoyancy wasn't quite right - i saw d. put some air in her BCD (the vest you wear) and i thought oh - good idea! bad idea. apparently my buoyancy was fine, and the little bit of air i added took me high enough that it started to expand & then expand more, and before i knew it i was shooting up to the surface. shit! thank God we were only in 30ft of water! once i surfaced, my ears were hurting from not taking the time to equalize, and i couldn't get myself back down; again, buck had to pull me down. as we were descending, my left ear refused to equalize and we had to cut the dive short & swim back to the boat.

starfish on the reef (pic by one of the other divers)

i felt so bad for making such a stupid mistake - i know better than that! i kept apologizing to buck & d. but they both said it was ok; d. even said she'd been getting kind of freaked out so was ok with ending the dive. buck said it's a common mistake & it's no big deal. he gave me a sudafed for my left ear & as the boat pulled around for our next dive, d. & i both sat in silence, feeling sicker than before (if that's even possible), both secretly wondering if maybe we're not cut out to be divers after all...
but i'm no quitter, and when we anchored at the second dive site, i told myself you're doing this. stepped off the boat into the cold water. this time, i managed to control my breathing enough to descend without help, and i paused every minute to equalize and my ears were fine. yay! we did our skills tests & weirdly enough, i had trouble with the mask clear - i kept trying to breathe through my nose & then i kept burping - note to self: maybe diet coke isn't the best beverage choice before a dive. but i cleared my mask successfully & buck said from that point on i didn't stop smiling. i don't know how he could tell, but he was right...

the second dive was INCREDIBLE. i felt comfortable, kept an eye on my buoyancy, and there was so much to see that at every turn someone was pointing out something amazing. we saw all kinds of foliage on the reef - purple spiny things & pink flowery things - and big rectangular half grey & half pink sheephead fish, and little schools of colored fish, and little translucent fish with big black eyes peeking out of the rocks. we saw so many starfish - bright orange/red starfish on the rocks and light yellow starfish hiding & moving in the sand. it was beautiful. then the sea lions joined us! a few of them loop-de-looped down around us playfully, and one of them got so close to me i could've touched it. she was swimming right next to me; she wanted to play. it was amazing. we watched one go down to the bottom & it looked like he was performing for us - rolling in the sand and swirling back up to the surface - i felt like i was watching a disney movie, but it was real & i was really there, breathing underwater. beautiful.

my sea lion friend (pic by one of the other divers)

after that dive, d. & i were in high spirits. our fear & worry from before had vanished and we were both practically giddy from what we'd just experienced. we ate - finally - and couldn't stop talking about what we'd seen as the boat pulled into place for our third dive. the more experienced divers said they were impressed with us; there was a bit of a current during our second dive & apparently we handled it well.
time for dive number three - i was tired but still feeling good. i descended like a pro - i'm actually proud of myself because the anchor line cut right through a "tree" of kelp so as we descended we got a little tangled in the kelp, but i stayed calm & made it to the bottom (49 ft - our deepest dive!) with no problem. this terrain was different, and it scared me a little - the ocean floor was rocky with large purple leaves waving from every crevice, and we were in the middle of a kelp forest with stalks reaching 50 ft to the surface & "branches" entwined. also, there was more of a current than on the last dive, and visibility wasn't very good, so i struggled a little to navigate over the rocks & around the kelp. and for some reason, my mask decided it was going to start leaking suddenly, and despite buck trying to tighten it for me, i just kept having to expend air & energy clearing it. thank God we practiced that so i wasn't freaked out by it. i'm also proud of myself for controlling my buoyancy - we kept swimming over rocks (shallower) and then into valleys (deeper) and as we went shallower, the air in my bcd would expand & i would feel myself floating so i'd sit still & exhale deflate my bcd & sink back down into the valley - i did that over and over. i'm sure as i get more experienced, i'll be able to control that more with my breath & less with my bcd, but i'm proud that i got the hang of it enough to keep myself in the dive. with all of that going on, i missed out on a bit of the scenery, but i did notice some BIG bright yellow/orange fish, one big scary grey fish with super sharp-looking teeth, and some fat green slug-looking things on the bottom. the kelp forest really was beautiful; i'd like to go back and dive it again when i'm more experienced so i can appreciate it more.

L to R: Buck, Dava & I, practicing "kelp crawl"
i was exhausted after that last dive, and i had a calf cramp, but luckily it was our last dive of the day. rinsed off, dried off, took our gear apart, and relaxed with a beer to chat with our new diver friends. as we were cruising back to the marina, there were three schools of dolphins swimming toward the side of the boat - they were jumping out of the water & doing flips! they followed our wake for a little while; it was so amazing. i looked at d. and said, "i love my life," and we cheers'd.

we did it. i survived & i loved it. just one more dive and i'm a PADI certified diver! more pictures to come soon...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Oy my aching back!

I spent the whole weekend learning how to scuba dive in an 8ft deep pool. It was fun but man, that gear is a lot heavier than I thought & there are a lot more things you have to take into consideration than I ever knew.

I. Am. Sore.

But its all good bc I passed my final PADI exam (only got 2 wrong!) and the teacher said my buddy & I are the only ones ready for an open water dive next weekend. So I'll be boat diving Saturday & then I'm just one dive away from certification!

I can't wait to see the Great Barrier Reef!

Today I am so grateful & happy for:
~ a sense of adventure
~ being a quick learner
~ sleep

Xo! n.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Utah, here we come!

as most of you know - since all my followers at this point know me very well (and by saying "most" i'm allowing for a random person that may stumble across my blog) - my roommates & friends & i just wrapped filming a short written by my roommate, and it's been in the editing process for about a month now. well, as of last night, it's officially finished!

we're going to have a private, world-premier screening for cast & crew in a few weeks and there will be a public screening in october - probably while i'm in aussie, but i'll try to keep y'all posted.

and it's going to Sundance. Monday is the deadline for submissions & we've made it with a few days to spare. we're submitting it to Sundance, and it's going to be an 'Official Selection of the Sundance Film Festival' and it's going to be a critic's choice, and when i get back from australia in december, i'm going to have to unpack my summer clothes & pack up some ski gear because we'll be headed to Utah to watch our film at Sundance. it will be glorious.

just putting that out there.

i'm really proud of my roommate, M; she wrote the film, produced it & starred in it - it's her baby - and she's put so much blood sweat and tears into it. i'm proud to be a part of it & i know it's only going to open the door to more projects for myself & my friends.

today i am so grateful & happy for:
~ Pivot is ready for Sundance!
~ talented, creative friends
~ being aware of our power & possibilities

xo! n.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

set it and forget it

gosh, i just love it when something so serendipitous happens that it just about stops your heart and you think, did that really just work out so incredibly perfectly? someone pinch me please...

during the last third of my aussie trip, i'm planning on going to queensland & seeing the great barrier reef. i really want to dive the reef, first because it's a "must see" on any trip to australia, second because i snorkeled for the first time when i was in grand cayman & it made me really want to learn how to dive, and third because (not to be cynical but) with the way we've been treating our earth, unless we collectively clean up our act real soon, there may not be much of the reef ecosystem left in 20 years, so i want to see it as thoroughly as possible now.

the only kink in the plans is that getting scuba certified is a 4 day process & it's expensive. i thought about doing it in australia, but those 4 days of training would be my whole time in cairns. i looked into doing it in LA and the price was pretty steep - its tough, $400 = 4 days in australia, but those $400 invested in scuba could make my time in aussie more enjoyable... i went back & forth.

i came to the final verdict - i want to scuba dive. i'm not sure how it's going to happen or where the money's going to come from, but i'm not going to worry about it now. and i put it away in the back of my brain with the very secure feeling that all will be well. somehow.

weeks went by. and then, out of the blue...

a friend on facebook posted, as her status, that she had an extra pass to get scuba certified this weekend & who would like to join her?

uh, say wha?

turns out she'd won two scuba certification courses, including equipment, at a silent auction for $100. that. price. is. ridiculous. and she had already called a bunch of people who all turned her down, before posting it on facebook while i just happened to be online to see it. so of course, heart pounding, i wrote to her immediately, terrified that i was hallucinating & this incredibly perfect deal wasn't real, and typed "ME ME ME!!" like the overzealous kid in school with her hand raised so energetically to get the teacher's attention that she's bouncing in her chair.

i got her attention. :)

so, this weekend and next, i will be learning how to scuba dive for $50 plus the cost of gas & a boat ride out to catalina. by the time i get to australia, i will be PADI certified, confident with an air tank & flippers, and armed with an underwater camera. pretty awesome. (smirk) i knew it all along, i just let the universe work out the details for me...

today i am so grateful and happy for:
~ trusting & good things coming to fruition
~ generous friends
~ feeling productive
~ exciting plans

xo! n.
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