7.26.2010

writing prompt #20

I got nothin' --there's not a whole lot to say today. Had I brought my camera with me yesterday, I'd have some sweet-ass pictures of wake-surfing on a 60' yacht and Paul Allen's suite at the Seattle Sounders game. But I didn't think ahead, so my epic day is left to words when pictures would be so much better.

So, today I figured I'd leave you with a (not so perfect) poem inspired by another Moleskine writing prompt.  Prompt #20: Write a poem including these phrases: "empty soda cans," "aging rock stars," and "crusts of bread." (I modified "crusts of bread" to be "crumbs") Here's the final-ish product.

Inside damp pockets: crumbs, nickle, string.
It is 2 a.m. Home is away, lost.
It is the rain, the alley, the music, the wandering
Together, mixing into the grey--unknown. It is a dream
Broken.

Aging rock stars, boys now male, pass through
Wetness, darkness, leaving blinking neon and
Glass rings--empty. Blackness mixes with
Wet, a cracked mirror of promise.

Grey-silver, they reflect the asphalt water--open and soiled--
Empty soda cans left beside swollen cigarettes. Rain
Drips silently in the shadows. It is all a 
Memory.



7.23.2010

Mediocre Melodies


Me: I'm trying to listen to cleaner music, so I tried listening to the Christian radio station.


Friend: How's that going for you?


Me: I made it through two songs.           

a hiking we will go

In my head, I don't really enjoy hiking. It seems cumbersome and long. There are rocks, and ticks, dirt, mud, mosquitoes, and overgrown vegetation. But when he is able to get me out of my head and through the door, we have a fantastic time hiking. Really.

This summer we've been on some amazing hikes and they double as perfect photo ops. A few weeks ago we went driving toward Olympic National Park and Hurricane Ridge, which allowed me to really soak in the beauty of the Northwest and capture my state in the beginnings of summer. I also acquired a sunburn along the way, which are quite hard for me to come by these days.

Last weekend we stayed a little more local and hiked Mt. Si. It was my second time up the big guy, so I took fewer pictures and hiked much faster. I also had a much better attitude and was in much better shape than time #1 so that probably helped as well. I was apparently in such a great mood, I found it reasonable to try some push-ups toward the end of the 8 miles.

Pictures of the trip can be found by clicking here. As a bonus, here's a video taken on my way down Mt. Angeles, demonstrating how graceful I am.

video

7.19.2010

best friends forever, or until I reach my max

He and I were recently talking about friends over breakfast (gluten free pancakes and a vegan scramble). I mentioned how I'd like to be a better friend and I'm inspired to be more intentional (and kind). "Frankly, I need more friends," is what I concluded. We talked about Facebook friends and what it would mean to get to know each person well, so well, in fact, that these people could be on your real life friend list. He then informed me that current research suggests that people can only have up to a certain number of friends. (I thought he was kidding). And even then, it's only the experienced friend-getters who actually reach this higher number. People like me can probably handle around 20 good friends. (Depressing). According to a Sunday Times article, "What you might not know is that there is an evolutionary limit to the number of friends we can meaningfully have, whether in Facebook or in real life." In fact, according to Robin Dunbar, we can have approximately 150 friends. So, it's a little true. He's right.

At first I was little sad. I want as many friends as possible, and 150 doesn't seem like enough. Plus, I think my siblings count in the final tally, so that's 144 open friend spots. Then there's him and my group of childhood friends--openings are now at 138....then co-workers and maybe my tattoo artist...(just kidding, no tattoos)...that's 134... On the other hand, I have a hard time keeping up with all the people I already know and maintaining even something remotely close to a working friendship. Maybe 150 is too many.

The Sunday Times article goes on to state:
Do humans actually have social groups of 150? Well, yes, as it happens. What was the size of English villages at the time of the Domesday Book? 150. And Neolithic communities from the Middle East? Again, 150. The basic military unit of the Roman army during the Republic? Around 130. Pre-industrial tribal groupings tend to be bigger — 500 to 2,500 — but within tribes, there are usually smaller groupings such as clans, whose number is, once more, 150. Even now that many of us live in cities of many millions, the number keeps popping up again. For example, Dunbar suggests that 150 is a normal number of people to send Christmas cards to[.]

Friends and non-friends, this is interesting stuff. I'd still like to work on being a better and more intentional friend--like someone who remembers birthdays (before they arrive) and knows the favorite flowers, foods, and music of my closest peeps. It takes work, effort, and a whole lotta listening to be a good friend. So, I'm starting with who I've got, and we can go from there. If worst comes to worst, people can be waitlisted.

7.15.2010

HELLO, my name isn't...

Yesterday I realized I'd been calling someone the wrong name for two months. This is someone who I have introduced to people--with the wrong name. Did I mention this person was listed in my phone--under the wrong name? "Oops" doesn't seem to cover this mistake. Something like, "oh shit!" seems slightly more appropriate. But it's all okay now, and it is funny--embarrassing, but funny. In the end, it makes me laugh and smile out loud.

So, all this has me thinking about names and what we call ourselves and what we call other people. And I'm pondering how Kristie is a tough name in a loud place. It turns into Krissy or Kristine, or even Kristina for extra flair. (It once became Kelly, but I think that person was drunk.) If we meet one day, but I'll never see you again, and you ask me more than once if I'm called one of these names, I'll eventually say, "Sure," so we can move things along. We'll probably have a pleasant time talking. But you won't know my real name, so we can't even be Facebook-stalker friends. And what kind of relationship is that?

Names help us feel connected, if people use them correctly. They show people remember us--that they were interested enough to file our name in their neatly kept brain box. When they pull out our name, we sense they know us a little better the next time; we become less of a stranger. Names are a part of how we see and identify ourselves. They're also a tiny piece of us that we let others have when they ask (or take attendance).

It all starts with our parents--as most things do-- who usually love us enough to give us something bearable with which to live. They give us a name--a bit of themselves, their religion, their ideology-- and then we modify, change or embrace it. As we live and people meet us and know of us, we're given nicknames. Sometimes it's because people are simply too lazy to pronounce our name or they're mean and shallow and give us a nickname that doesn't really truly fit. Or there are those who forget our names so they call us something dreadfully unclever. But sometimes we share slightly more with someone, so we get a name that becomes shorthand for something once true or symbolic of a piece of us. These names usually tell some type of story-- a story of fun, familiarity, love, hurt, envy, life and hilariousness.

For instance, there are approximately five people in this world that call me Kris. Four of which have known me since we were tiny girls, surviving on graham crackers in a Baptist church nursery. Kris carries stories of childhood--of time and memories and slumber parties. It's shorthand for Kristie: The One Who Got Everyone Else Into Trouble... We all remember that it was my idea to read Alison's sister's diary. And I poured baby powder all over Michelle's room so it looked like snow. Liz has a scar because I convinced her to get the markers from the top shelf of the closet, and I was a brat to Jenn until one day I wasn't. The fifth person who calls me Kris is my brother-in-law who's simply a nickname person. He pushes familiarity, which is uncomfortable for me, but some days I think it might be good. He started with Kris before I even thought he was good enough to date my sister. I didn't really have a say in the matter. Today, it's familiar, and nice, and appropriate.

So, I love names and nicknames because they show you know something--even if it's just a little bit--about someone's story. You have the identity of the main character of someone's life. So, even if you screw it up for two months, it's still a story and a person. And since being human is about relationships and getting to know each other and ourselves, it's at least a good place to start.


7.14.2010

I want to run, damn it!

PhotobucketI was going to go running today. I'm doing much better with it these days--haven't died yet. It was gorgeous outside, albeit a little late in the day (9pm), but I was determined. I got home from a late meeting, ran inside, got ready, and went for my shoes. Oh, right. They're gone. I left both pairs of my running shoes in a car, which is a half hour away at a poker game.

So instead of running around in the gorgeous Seattle air, I chose to do laundry and pout on the floor of my condo--rubbing a stain stick across grass stains and dirt. Now, while I'm letting the laundry soak and expel filth from its aura, I'm complaining on the blogosphere. In addition to my lack of exercise, I also have this pent up energy that I was conserving for a late night run. It's currently sitting around getting bored and frustrated with my laundry and my inability to find a topic for a more interesting post.

So, I'm going to put on my fraying jeans and green Vans and go for a walk. Maybe I'll have something more creative to say when I get back.

7.12.2010

once upon a time, on july 9th...

Photobucket

Due to some very personal reasons, today sucked. I was recently offered a writing prompt in a new red Moleskine, so today seemed like a great day to get something on paper...and then computer.
Prompt: What makes your heart sing?
- music!
- warm shade and chocolate hemp ice cream
- feeling sexy outside and beautiful inside
- a long run on a warm day with a great soundtrack
- chocolate—of any variety
- an enveloping bath robe
- spending time with myself—listening and soaking up the world
- dark theaters with good popcorn and a lively audience
- tremendous friends mixed with wine and summer evenings
- movies on a rainy day
- bookstores!
- new leather journals that already feel like home
- well-deserved high fives
- beautiful and profound sentences with excellent punctuation
- writing that flows from beyond me
- an epiphany realized and smile suddenly felt
- my own dance party in front of a mirror
- an amazing pen of ink
- recognizing an old friend
- body-aching, eye-watering laughter
- a girl’s night out that never quite ends
- special and regular hugs
- inside jokes with people I love
- gulf-coast beaches with white sand and coquina races
- beautiful buildings with interesting stories and alive cities
- watching colorful people enjoy themselves
- surprises and funny cards
- driving with the windows down and radio on
- a new perspective in art
- real letters in my mailbox
- witty dialogue and great quotes
- the sound of waves through my window on a dark night
- standing on a park bench, instead of sitting, while enjoying the view
- black nail polish
- being me and feeling known

7.08.2010

this post is a time suck

no need to read this if you have better things to do. wait until you're bored. i just needed to write and ramble, and as the keeper of this blog, i'm afforded that privilege. since you have free will, i'm holding you responsible if you read this and your IQ drops by 2 points.

it is nice and toasty here in seattle. apparently, this city does not do sunshine half-ass. as one of my friends noted, there's been a 35 degree difference in just 3 days.  it also makes falling asleep a little more tricky, especially after a 3.5 hour nap that began at 6pm. oops. i'm also insanely hungry, but need to go grocery shopping. i suppose i can make myself some pancakes or defrost some chicken. you can see why i need groceries.

i have the day off tomorrow and am, thus, less motivated by an early morning call time. maybe i'll stay up until 3am--that's my body's real bedtime. i humor myself by going to bed at 10pm like a responsible adult, but the true can't-stay-awake feeling comes in the single digit hours of the morning. on occasion, i might even call in reinforcements and get together with my night-shift friend when she doesn't have to work. however, she's abandoned me this week for the humid South, so i'm left to my own devices.

might go away for a long weekend, so maybe i can start packing?

pancakes anyone?

under construction

Change isn't necessarily bad. It just is.

I'm sorry to say, but my blog needs a name change. While "Enamorse de" is a lovely title with a lovely meaning, most of my friends and family cannot remember the name (or struggle with pronunciation). The conversation with many of you goes something like this: "Oh, I read your blog, um, enam, uh?" To which I reply, "Enamorse de?" rushing in for a quick save. The title doesn't roll off the tongue and it's not familiar for many.  I didn't consider buying the url for enamorsede.com, because it's just too darn complicated. It looks funny all lowercase and squished together.

So, as you can see, it's time for a change, although I haven't thought of any names I love, love. I'm considering "Kristie Colon Was Here" and pairing it with some cool pics. With this name, you'll need to know that Colón is pronounced "cologne" (notice the accent on the second 'o'). You should also know where my "Colón" comes from. Let me try to make this simple: it was the first part of the name with which I was born. My first real name was Kristie Lynn Colón-Culpepper. It's the whole Latin double surname tradition (paternal-maternal). Wikepedia it for more info.

When I was 15, my mom remarried after my dad's death, and I was legally adopted, receiving my second real name: Kristie Lynn Lewellyn. I went from a double surname to a Welsh last name. Needless to say, my name has a legacy of confusion. Kristie with a 'k' and 'ie' also has its own troubles. But I do LOVE it--for real.

My married name, Kristie Lynn Price, is pretty much as good as it's going to get. However, KristiePrice.com and Kristie.com are already someone else's web addresses (probably Kristie's I'm assuming), so I went back to my roots, back to childhood, with Kristie Colón as this blog's url. Thoughts on the potential name or suggestions for another one? 



As you can tell, I'm also playing around with formatting the layout, among other things.

7.05.2010

Hangin' in Shanghai

Stream of Plane Consciousness
I'm trying to stay awake. Willing my eyes open so jet lag is better tomorrow and the next day and the days after that. I've been wearing my earbuds plugged into my iPod for longer than is generally recommended, but I need my brain awake. There's a child crying, sobbing, nearby. My earbuds disguise the distance. Another reason they are necessary. 

It's 1:44am in Shanghai. It is 10:44am in my condo in Seattle. The tough stretch of awake-ness is upon me. Must. Fight. Sleep. The cabin lights are finally bright. The temptation of a dark cabin is sleep, which I tried during the appropriate US time. That time has passed. I napped slightly, listlessly, uncomfortably. I am definitely in economy class.

++++
When I was really awake in Shanghai, I took a few pictures. Check out the photos by clicking this link: Shanghai Photo Album



7.03.2010

July 4, 1956

Searching Columbia University's Health Sciences Library Archives & Special Collections, I came upon this for "Juan Colon-Linares": Died in January 1994. He trained in obstetrics and gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine before opening his practice in Bradenton, FL, where we was on the staff of Manatee Memorial Hospital.


If my dad were still with us, tomorrow he would be 54. I assume he'd also be slightly graying.

7.01.2010

That One Night of Karaoke


We walk into the dimly lit bar and see them at a booth. They're in the middle of a card game--gin rummy--with their own deck. I suppose that's what one does on a Sunday night in Seattle. You do it because you have to—because you have Monday off, which means Sunday night deserves some effort. Sometimes a card game with the guys is as good as it gets. The neon sign outside buzzes a static red, letting people know the bar is open--open and empty. I introduce myself, "Hi, I’m Kristie. This is Dave and Kelly," I gesture to the couple standing next to me, my best friend and her new boyfriend. We exchange handshakes and buy ourselves some drinks. I excuse myself to the restroom. I notice the women's bathroom has a toilet seat sitting in the trash can. I wash my hands, curiously looking at the forsaken seat. Well, at least the stall doors latch. I walk out the bathroom door to see the bar staff staring intently into space, elbows resting on their wooden counter. It's glorious. Sunday night means no people, free pool, electronic darks, half off double shot drinks, and a karaoke machine.

A karaoke machine. Karaoke. Even the word looks funny. I don't get karaoke. I mean, I truly don't understand it. I've never gotten it. From my previous experience as a karaoke observer, I concluded you did it with a group of people, presumably not sober, and talent had no bearing on your love for the sport. However, I am soon corrected by my gin rummy friend, "No, I'd do it sober. You do it if you want to make an ass out of yourself." Simple enough. I thought it was solely about the community of drunken people who had forgotten about social norms and embraced idiocracy. But, apparently, you do it to make an ass out of yourself. We'll see who's up for that tonight.

We pass the time, playing pool, drinking beer, talking sports:  dodgeball, basketball, pool. I hit the winning shot of the first game, sinking the abused eight ball into its corner pocket. We drink some more. Kelly and I brag about our amazing pool skills. We lose the second game.

Now that we've all had time to process the inevitable, it's time for karaoke. Kelly and I are the official spectators. We'll be supportive and slightly judgmental; we're not ready to sing. I remind everyone that this is my second time at a karaoke bar, which excuses me from participation--at least this time.

Someone grabs the black notebook with pages containing every imaginable song. From these papers, people select their song of choice, flipping through the organized lists that are guarded by sturdy page protectors. (They can't keep a toilet seat on, but they've managed to get their karaoke selections encased. I think I'm falling in love with this place). This notebook is their Bible—the Torah of music. It contains close to a bazillion songs I decide--obviously two drinks in. Even the bad sappy stuff you don't want anyone to sing in public or admit to singing in private---“God Must have Spent a Little More Time on You” or “I Just Called to Say I Love You” --are in this 3-ring binder. Wait. There are two black binders? Yes, a bazillion songs is the official count, I conclude.

The guys prepare for the karaoke challenge. One person decides on the songs, signing everyone up for their solo debut, delicately picking songs for everyone's entertainment—songs I vaguely know despite the few years I did time as a homeschooler. We submit their names and song choices, while watching a group of women sing and dance to "Livin' on a Prayer." The ladies form a line facing us, putting their hands into the prayer position, fingers reaching toward the sky. For three minutes the music blares and they're breathing, singing, feeling Bon Jovi. Take my hand we’ll make it—I swear. Ohhhhhhh, oh, livin’ on a prayer! Yep, this is their song.

Once they finish, someone from our group is called. Our representative grabs the mike with gusto, waiting for the words to appear on the screen, committing every ounce of passion and breath to whatever song was chosen for him. The screen flashes: Backstreet Boys, “Larger than Life.”

 All you people can't you see, can't you see how your love's affecting our reality? His clenched fist rises into the air—Every time we're down, you can make it right. He finishes the chorus--And that makes you larger than life. He lowers down into a lunge, one arm outstretched, palm up, reaching toward our table Looking at the crowd and I see your body sway, c'mon. He gasps for breath, Wishin' I could thank you in a different way, c'mon, cuz all of your time spent keeps us alive. Slightly off key, he’s committed to the final words; there’s no turning back: Yeah, every time we're down, yeah, you can make it right, yeah, and that's whaaaat makes yoooou lar-ger than life! Our table cheers. It's high-fives all around. This is the type of passion you see in movies—or in my home, while I’m cleaning my house, broom in hand and iPod blaring. I'm starting to understand this secret society.

Other people take their turns: blonde guy with scarf, awkwardly passionate girl with dreads, young interpretive dancer (complete with black leggings and black tunic shirt), and frizzy blonde with pale jeans. We clap and cheer after each song, making friends amidst the musical connections. We nod in approval at the courageous showing while laughing at the varying expression of people's creativity--all with the unspoken permission of kindred spirits.

It's our turn again. We send out Dave, the nicest guy from Ohio I've ever met. He's a Midwestern blonde with no aversion to karaoke. He's completely sober. He waits for his song to be revealed: “The Fresh Prince of Bel-air.” He magically performs the theme song from one of the few '90s sitcoms I was allowed to watch. Our entire table joins in paying homage to Will Smith yelling at Dave from our seats, I looked at my kingdom I was finally there to sit on my throne as the prince of Bel-air! I want to cry I'm laughing so hard--my cheeks hurt from smiling. Again, it’s more cheering, high-fives, and a solid pat on the back. So, this is karaoke. 

After “Baby Got Back,” “Sweet Caroline,” and “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” (which is accompanied by a rousing bump and grind dance courtesy of Guy with Scarf and Random Brunette) a few of us finally leave. It feels too soon. Half the group stays at the bar as the other half ventures back into the quiet world. It's Monday morning. 

We get into the car, Dave at the wheel, and I turn to Kelly, "I think I get it now, at least a little bit. That was really fun. I might actually be able to do that someday. Maybe." I pause to check my phone, "Hey, how do you spell karaoke?" Dave and Kelly discuss out loud, "Uh, K-a-e-o...I'm not sure. It's weird. I know there's no 'i' in it."

"I'll google it on my Blackberry," I say, trying to send a text to the guys back at the bar letting them know about my newfound appreciation for k-a-r-a-o-k-e. Got it. Message sent. My phone vibrates with an incoming text: "That guy with the scarf just pulled one of us in for a dance during sonny and cher, i got you babe."

And all of a sudden, I get it. That's what this is about. It's about pulling someone in, sharing music; grabbing at your insides no matter how reluctant you are. The black notebook has at least one song you would sing to yourself in the car, in your room, in your head. We all sing someplace--even if we think we are no good. We make a place for music in our worlds. It's part of being human. Karaoke lets us bring that into the open, replacing our hairbrushes and brooms with real microphones, and our mirrors with crazy, wonderful Seattleites who go out on deserted Sunday nights. Sure, we make asses out of ourselves, but at least we do it together. And that, my friends, is why I like karaoke.