Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Back After a Long, Hard Winter

Many of you have written me, asking about my family which is, miraculously, quite fine. Dad's had a complete recovery, Garland's heart is less the worse for wear, my young nephew does not have cancer, my owie wasn't a melanoma, my heart is now fine, my digestive system is healing and my cat didn't die.

Though, barely, on that cat front.

What I learned for certain in the last 12 months is how very powerful I truly am. Though my business needed to be ramped slightly down to give me the freedom to be where I needed to be, I kept it going and am on the home stretch run towards my Master's in business (with highest distinction, thus far).

It's not the things that can stop us. Kids, there were plenty of things out there that can fit that bill. It was who-I-said-I-was-going-to-be in the face of each and every thing that happened since March, '07 that means anything--that and whether I lived up to who I really am at each turn. I remember yet another doctor coming to tell me that Dad's case was hopeless and me saying "I'm taking my father out of here on his way to being whole, healthy and well and he'll be cared for by people who love or are predisposed to love him." One doctor just stared at me, telling me that I wasn't being realistic. I suggested he find another patient because he was the one who didn't get it. Later that week, that doctor kissed me on my cheek in the quiet of the ICU. Just a little human contact in that dim hallway that enriched my life. I think he could see his daughter in me, battling for her own father's life. There was so much love in that hospital those weeks there and even more in the rehab center where Dad lived for the next two months before I took him home to live on his own.

He's working out three times a week now, bragging that he's got a "two pack."

I amazed myself and when I think back on it I want to cry for the times I didn't know if I had it in me---particularly when busses weren't falling out of the sky. When I didn't think I knew enough to start my business all those years ago, or get into graduate school, or land that client...

We are--every one of us--more than we know or can suspect.

Enjoy this piece from Bobby McFerrin--essentially a love song to Mary. He and his music are just plain beautiful.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Just Had a College Flashback

This revelation hurt almost as badly as learning several months ago that the inventor of Ramen noodles had passed away:

All Things Considered, March 4, 2008 · Imagine a mournful horn echoing across thousands of fantasy worlds: E. Gary Gygax, the co-creator of the role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons, died Wednesday morning. He was 69.

Listen Now to the NPR report.

I remember holing up in the Off Campus Student lounge at Purdue on Sunday evenings with a character, some dice and several people--many of whom I wouldn't recognize in daylight.

I'll miss you, Gary G. What an incredible contribution to collaboration and imagination.

Been Watching Dunkin Donuts?

I have and they're eating Starbuck's lunch. Now, aside from the "Doing Things is What I Like to Do" commercial that it'll take a jackhammer to uproot from my noggin, there's this one:

This is exactly what I've been thinking when I've had to go to Starbucks: "What the hell language is this and why are the barristas so insistent that I use it when all I want is a small cup of tea?" I laughed like a goon!

What Movie Most Inspired Me?

"The Rocky Horror Picture Show" changed my life. When I went off to college, I was a very shy bookish girl from semi-rural Indiana. Late one Friday night, a dorm-mate suggested I go to the movie with her. I said "yes" and she got out spray bottles and started making toast!

This movie broke ground in a way none before had. It was the earliest winner in the midnight movie market and included incest, cannibalism, homosexuality and a host of other previously taboo topics that got people talking in college campuses around the nation. Though it was roundly panned by critics everywhere, in its 30+ years post release, it's still going strong and has made more than 100 times the initial investment. The movie helped launch the careers of Academy Award Winner Susan Sarandon, actor Barry Bostwick (played the mayor in Spin City), singer / actor Tim Curry (now in Spamalot) and made the singer Meat Loaf a household name (“Paradise by the Dashboard Lights”). Recently, it was recently included for preservation in the National Film Registry, a collection of only 475 films (as of 2007) by the Librarian of Congress.

What really got me thinking that first year in college was how the movie portrayed people who were pretty OK with themselves—they dressed and acted how they liked and weren’t held hostage by convention (or, um, normality). As a result, I loosened up quite a bit, started having fun with my fashion sense and choices in music and began enjoying my life while completing my degree.

I thank the makers of the movie and the stage play on which it derived, who were themselves mavericks. Because of my experience with this movie, I was able to consider interracial dating, refused to dye my hair when it started turning prematurely white (at age 25) and grew my hair into beautiful, thin, waist-length dreadlocks. I left a successful career and started a business 12 years ago to the tune of “you’ll never make it”…I’m still going strong.

I became a force of nature rather than someone who people just had to deal with (or not).

The movie was fun and freeing and made no sense. That, I think, was its power. That and being able to lob toast at a movie screen.