Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hang Out Song Break #2

While I sit here praying for my land lord to turn on the heat (for the love of God), I thought I'd share with you my favorite jams of the week.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hang Out Type: Solo

When the hang out blog was first birthed I wondered if I could pull it off because honestly I don't hang out all that much in comparison to other folks I know.  However, I do know how to chill and succumbed to being some sort of expert in hanging.  This post is about hanging out and being ALONE. Alone not lonely- loneliness hits me rarely but I quickly suck it up (literally because I am probably smoking a cigarette) and get on with it because I'll remember something out of some Buddhist book I read about how accepting how we are truly alone is the shit and I kinda agree with them.  I like to spend time being Alone Gloria, a phrase coined recently by an associate to describe times he noticed I just genuinely have no desire to be around a single soul.  Hanging out can certainly happen alone, because hanging out is not about social-ness per se but intentionality in an activity or time spent.  Being Alone Gloria has been put aside for a minute now between house guests, trips, birthdays, not weddings/weddings, random events, general spirit questing and my need to check in with a set list of friends who reside here in the city on a more or less bi weekly basis (to make sure everything is running by some internal standard of peace and order). Also, I intentionally avoid feeling lonely like I avoid feeling love sick because I believe those feelings will inevitably lead to trying to fill up a perceived empty space with any random bobo* or just unfulfilling individual.  With bobos comes boboness and really who has time for that shit? Even more of a reason for solo time to have intention in spending time with yourself as opposed to a reaction against others or the world in general.

Last night five mile walked it on a very chilly but lovely night over the Brooklyn Bridge (finally) zig zagging all the way up to 42nd trying to show my friend Joe (first timer to the city) my favorite aspects of the Manhattan skyline and scenic avenues. Jaunts through Manhattan always make me fall in love again with New York.  This city has made me mature in a new way, my life here forcing me to be in a state of solitude at school, in work, and at home.  Having come of age in several small town tight knit punk scenes, this transition into adulthood over the last few years on my own in academia were a little tough.  Here in this city of millions you have to turn lonely to alone or you won't quite pull through.   This shit is about survival and once you're surviving here you realize you have it in you and you've had it in you all along.  Much of my first intentional alone time here in NYC has been long walks (mostly through my old beautiful hood of Washington Heights) because there is just so much to see.  Asides from long walks I will throw in the occasional movie, museum visit or class (took a First Aid class in January that was hilariously entertaining for me).  You get to interact with other people, strangers as momentary friends, but not within the context of a pre-existing relationship but just as yourself.  Too much time with others makes my alone time about being too depleted and exhausted to do much of anything but stare at a screen.  As much as I enjoy catching up on Walking Dead I'd rather be being slightly more productive with some letter writing, drawing, or physical activity.  So it is important to schedule those alone hang outs just as much as it is to schedule time for your family and friends.   In the end being comfortable hanging out with yourself is inherent to hanging out with others.  Strength in self is what is the base for positively fostering any dynamic between yourself and another human.

What do you like to do alone?

*Bobo-in Spanish silly/stupid/foolish.  In Southern Glorianese-kinda someone who is all of those things but maybe also a selfish ass.

New black and white photos courtesy of my friend Tate.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Nomadic Bug

Just a brief nod to my obsession ( and everyone else's?) with nomadic culture.  I mentioned it briefly in the last post.  It is when I am still that life seems unreliable. I feel like I am spinning and am waiting for an arm to reach out and grab me. It is in a "nomadic" life things seem more basic ("nomadic" because let's be real, my life while fluid does not entail the genius of an entire mobile self sustaining community) . Your goals for the day are much simpler, figuring how to get from point A to point B, finding something to eat, and eventually finding somewhere to sleep.  In between all of that life kind of just happens more organically.  Not that there are never any worries or problems-once I downed several Advil and went to sleep shivering from a feverish flu while sleeping behind a gas station with my travel partner.  And there is the occasional run in with folks who don't really want you around be they cops or just regular townspeople ("We don't want your kind around here"-mid Montana) or the occasional argument with your travel partner over misreading a map (mid-Washington state). Either way a friend last night reminded me, while she helped me logistically map out future travel plans, how lucky I am ideas like this can even whirl around in my head and then actually come true.  I hope to make it to the above nomadic place at some point, land of the blue sky. 

This upcoming week... Florida Not Wedding part 2, house guests, and a lovely spring New York run around hang out with my buddy Dawn Frasch. 

Life side note: Boss approves of my departure from New York in the fall and also of my return in the Winter. A token of love, when a person accepts you as is and always welcomes you in their life. OR ask and you shall receive.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Florida Not Wedding Part 1

Returned from Florida feeling inexplicably and overwhelmingly bummed.  Certainly not from what I experienced down there. The not wedding of two of my closest friends was profoundly touching.  Particularly because of their effort to include all their family and friends in the importance of their/our connections.  Standing shin deep in Fish Eating Creek with babies, punks,hippies, anarchists, regular ass folks, and old folks, the couple invited everyone to proclaim what they were committed to.  Statements of commitments to each other as chosen family, living our lives as we want unapologetically and the defense of wild spaces was met with tears and nodding heads.

Location of the ceremony part of the not wedding (stolen pic, will have ones from my time there soon)
Weekends spent bonding with friends I consider family, I always hope will provide me some sort of emo-fuel to sustain myself but it usually has the opposite effect where I wonder how the fuck I get through my day to day without each and every one of them.  Sadness overwhelmed me as I slipped off my back pack and plopped on my couch to begin scouring work emails. After 2 1/2 years I am scheming to leave New York and for anyone who knows me 2 1/2 years is quite the run.  I really really was hoping that NYC, which I fell so hard for would be the space that would keep me grounded and comfortable.  But alas I have been flying out a lot in the last few months and it would seem the only thing that keeps me content is motion.  By foot, bike, car, bus, plane the feeling of perpetual forward motion is my high. These next few months of planning my escape will provide me high levels of dopamine, possibly inducing mouth drooling from excitement. The only time my heart feels completely at ease is with the pull of a pack against my shoulders, and everything I could possibly need resting against my back.  Also freedom in motion allows me to see who I want when I want, which has recently gained prominent importance to me once again. Seems likely that at some point I hope to join up with a nomadic crew where moving is always an option.  The only thing about this that concerns me is a doubt of what I am building.  Am I running away or towards? Who am I and what is my community? My best friend, will often ask me,"What the hell is wrong with us?" because her life also entails of dreaming what her next location will be.  I don't think there is anything wrong with us, this was just our destined path.  And when you are standing in the middle of a creek in a swamp with at least twenty people you have been friends with for nearly fourteen years, evidence doesn't suggest you should be too concerned about lacking community and your ability to build something lasting and real.

Please visit the Save Our Creeks website, if anything to see more pictures of the amazing place I got to spend my time this past weekend.  The organization is dedicated to preserving small water ways in South Florida.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hang Out Type: Marathon

Evening stroll on the farm.  All pictures from the upstate birthday excursion described below.

  Marathon Hang-When your life planning has resulted in back to back hang outs.  I wrapped up a  marathon hang this past weekend which began at 7PM Friday and officially ended at 7PM Sunday.  I am a fan of the marathon hang because of the endurance required to pull it off is a reminder to yourself that you most certainly are not dead but very much alive.

7PM - Met two friends for dinner and catching up.  Ate burgers and mac and cheese which was deliciously fucked up.  Ended this portion of the evening with a stretching session, which my buddy Files is adamant about and regularly gets on me about doing in order to prevent jogging injuries.
Mexican pit stop in Poughkeepsie , mole sauce throw down
9:30 PM- The stretching helped with the walk I had to take to meet up with friends to catch the Mehanata Gypsy Bus for the first birthday celebration of the weekend, that of my good friend Amy. Mehanata is a Bulgarian bar located in the Lower East Side.  I had never been there but it has been a standing favorite with a few of my friends here in NYC for a bit.  Mehanata charters a bus where you and 30 of your closest friends will be driven around for an hour, where you can bring your own alcohol and they provide you a DJ eventually ending up at the club to dance the night away. Like all the punks I was with I was largely skeptical of the Gypsy Bus because you know, we are too cool.  What was this bus and what exactly were we going to be doing on it driving around for an hour?  What we do most the time for an hour , we drank our asses off.  Despite the DJ playing Push It twice and some momentary drama I successfully meditated myself out of delving into, the bus kinda fuckng rules.  An additional highlight was experiencing what the club promotes as the Ice Cage. A room full of bottles of vodka, where you drink as many shots as possible in two minutes out of ice sculpted shot glasses. Since my punk lineage consists of a long line of drunks I went into that "cage" determined to do them proud.  My method was steady and focused making it up to five shots fairly quickly and right when I was contemplating the sixth shot the door guy called us out. I felt somewhat grateful even if slightly unaccomplished.  But damn those five shots were good enough to get me through the night!  Me and two of my closest and oldest literally danced for hours straight.  The key to pulling this sort of evening off I believe is prior resting and chillness before joining the party but most importantly a commitment to having fun.  Nights like this are not for when you want to be in your own head and dwell on your petty  petty problems.  Nights like this are for celebrating and remembering life.

The crew walking down through the farm to the yurt
4AM Got home, slept, woke up at 7AM to get ready for an upstate trip with three old friends. We had all been hanging out a week earlier and had hatched this hair brain scheme of taking a trip upstate together for our friend Mona's birthday.  We were tired and tipsy when the idea was born so who the fuck knew it would actually happen?! The upstate trip was perfect, combining elements of road trip (gas station snacks),  group hang (meals and group discussions), one-on-one hang (sleepy conversations, drifting off to sleep with the bunk mate), and even solo hanging (short strolls alone around the farm to check out the plant life).  We had deep discussions and reached spiritual planes we did not think possible.  These type of conversations were required, we were in a yurt!  Waking up the next morning hearing everyones subtle breathing  and bodies shifting, I knew what I missed about my previous days of living in communal houses.  The creative energy, the intimate exchanges, the human sounds and tenderness.  I just have to decide if all those things are worth the price of a perpetually sloppy bathroom.  While I often promote the idea of hanging out with those who you are not comfortable with to push your boundaries a little, nothing beats hanging out with folks where old bonds exist.  Our crew matched up perfectly, each individual playing a needed role, synchronizing into a seamless weekend of hanging hard.  Adding to the pleasantness was the owner of the property who was very kind, had beautiful large black dogs and I am pretty sure was stoned.  My favorite moment with our host was when it was pointed out to him that the water cooler in the kitchen was leaking.  He briefly looked at it, just huffed, said "I can't deal" and walked out.  I thought to myself,  "I am with you dude, me neither" and am considering changing my motto for this year from "The year of living dangerously" to "I can't deal".
Our home for the night

5ishPM Return from trip and headed over to the house of the dude I bought my bike from to trouble shoot some problems on the new bike and for some unexpected hanging out.  He gave me a glass of water in an old mason jar so I knew we were
compatriots and I kicked it with him and his wife for a couple of hours talking about old hard core fests, how we hate yuppies, adjusting to New York and living our dreams. I think the three of us were pretending we were back to living in some small punk town were we sat outside and fixed bikes all day. White Bike is now riding like a dream!

End Scene.

I wish I lived in a lil place like this

Marathon hanging had reached it's peak by Monday eve where I had committed myself to yet another hang out and my fraying began to show.  My poor companions noticed and asked me if I was sad but I was not.  We had ended up trying to get food in the neighborhood surrounding NYU, which is an area that fills my soul with such darkness that I wish the entire human race would expire.  Starting specifically in Washington Square Park and radiating out in concentric circles to eliminate all douchery from the planet.  Therefore, Rule #2 of hanging out -know when to call it quits, before you desire a complete blood bath of all humanity.

More adventures to come because I am often blessed with complete solitude and then conversely blessed with an endless amount of socializing.  I am not sure if I can handle it but I will dammit-because I am the Queen of Hanging Out!  This weekend, camping in the Everglades for a not wedding.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Rules of Hanging Out #1

Artist recreation of actual event, Rainbow Gathering 2005

#1 Always do things you would have never thought of doing, especially if you have an in

Since I brought it up, I thought I'd tell the story of my trip to the Rainbow Gathering (the very brief version).  I know, I know you are dying to know if people were on acid and naked, the answer is "duhhh" but surprisingly not as many as you think. I will not lie to you and pretend that I was not having fantasies before I arrived of becoming somehow liberated beyond my wildest dreams, running through fields naked, falling in love with some hot hippie boy all while random people dressed as animals put sugar cubes of acid in my mouth.  As usual with my fantasies, none of that occured because I was working.  The reason I was there was because I was in herb school and one of the "requirements" of the school was that we attend the Rainbow Gathering and volunteer at one of the clinics that serve the many members of the Rainbow Family.  Me and my fellow students had anticipated the trip our many months in school and it finally came.  This particular year (2005) the national gathering was in West Virginia.  The location of the gathering was bucolic and fantastic, full of bubbling creeks, wild flowers and fields of milkweed. As we hiked into the camp site we began to be greeted with the "Welcome Home" 's that I would learn is customary for the gathering. It made me feel super uncomfortable and I wasn't the only one.  Me and my punk classmates nervously laughed a little and wondered out loud how we should respond ("Umm thanks","Ditto"). There we were three punks at the hippiest gathering any of us had ever encountered.  It was a little overwhelming at first and by mid afternoon we felt the need to hide out.  So we found ourselves a little enclave under some pine and sprawled out on the soft forest floor that was covered with pine needles and moss.  We were already feeling pretty content out in these woods and were nestled with each other looking up into the sky.  Despite this feeling of content our snarky punkness was running rampant and two hours into our stay we were already full of critiques but then we collectively sighed and made a very important pact.  We came to terms with the fact that we were going to be here for several days no matter what. So then why hate every moment of it?  The pact was that we were not allowed to complain for the duration of our stay , not one word.  And If we wanted to hippie shit talk on the whole ride home then so be it but right then, right now we were just going to chill and take it in.  We had a fucking blast. We spent the next few days mending some twisted ankles, tending spider bites, settling upset stomachs and soothing drunken crusties.  But we had a lot of free time and it gave us a chance to run around this alternate world  and then report back to each other what we had seen by evening time.  The first evening we hiked through shin deep mud to reach the Fairy Camp and hang out with a bunch of generous and lovely drag queens and queers in the middle of the woods.  I mean seriously, that alone blew my mind, I would have gone home much satisfied with the whole Rainbow experience but I had many more inspiring moments over the days to come.

By the end of our stay I was actually sad to leave. I was going to miss waking up in the morning rested and breathing in the fresh air of the woods.  I was going to miss my hippie neighbor who I sneered at my first day when he asked if I needed help with my tent.  I had begun to look forward to his good mornings and another story from him about his twenty years of living within the Rainbow Gathering.  I was going to miss the purposefulness of tending after folks' minor wounds.  I was going to miss how gently the days ended and attending what ever random ass entertainment those crazy hippies had orchestrated for the evening. I was going to miss most importantly the food given freely and generously.  How the hell does that happen in the middle of the woods (sushi, calzones, deep fried snickers)?  The point is my in was I was required to be there for school but the in really was having two friends who were willing to make a pact to give something a chance that we would have never even thought of setting foot in a year before.   "Always do things you never thought of doing especially if you have an in", is taking up an opportunity that is there and is easy and then enjoying that chance to be somewhere different and be someone different.  

This upcoming weekend..... adventures on the Mehanata Gypsy Party Bus and a trip to a yurt on a horse farm. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hang Out Type: The Parental Hang

As I was drifting off last night as my parents were watching Airplane because my mom felt our movie for the evening Ghost Dog was too dramatic and she needed to decompress, my dad teases me , "Don't worry we're almost gone".  I smiled a little but my agitation is clear to my dear folks who I feel a little guilty have spent their time and energy to come up to visit their grumpy daughter for the weekend.  Remember that post where I said I like to hang out because I love people, I was straight lying reader and I will do my best to be more honest with you in the future.  The art of hanging out is not about loving people all the time per se but rather of knowing how to find a balance between yourself, others and a lust for life.  I am trying to be more social these days but having two house guests who at the end of the day are a couple was a challenge as I am slowly pulling out of this period of reclusiveness.  I had to pause them a few times and remind them that I had not chosen to be in a relationship with them and therefore did not agree to hear conversations about who or who did not forget to pack dental floss.  And then there were those couple moments when they would do things for each other like get a glass of water, to remind me once again that I am not on a "team" but on my fucking own.  Despite my current mood which I am sure has to do with some planet or something, the type of mood when someone looks at me and says "I love you" I feel the urge to reply "Do ya?" instead of saying something nice back.  Despite this we had some good moments and just hung out.  I got to cook for them several times and they always enjoy my food and we always have fun joking about what I am going to do with them when they are old ("I'm looking for a nursing home in Central Florida off some crappy highway that has barbed wire fencing").  Also always in our time together I try to be as transparent as possible and drop not so settle reminders that I am an aspiring fringe member of society despite these incredible social skills G_d has blessed me with. As I looked at my parents with a smile on my face excitedly talking about the new book I bought about Sufi based meditations and they looked at me with a mix of interest and exasperation, I was reminded of when I was at the Rainbow Gathering once (another story for another day) and I said to my friend Amy looking out on a field of hippies, "Ya know what I see here? A bunch of disappointed parents."

Big sculpture, Little Mom
Parental hangs can be tough.  These are the crazy people who birthed you and raised you and have possibly instilled 95% of the insecurities and hang ups you have been spending a good part of your adult life trying to rid yourself of.  So no matter how much of a rad successful young adult you may be these fools can show up and dismantle all positive visions of yourself with a sentence.  Sigh. But what you have to do is smile through your teeth and say "So you do want to go to the Guggenheim today, si o no?" then remind yourself that they have their own baggage and probably hang ups related to you too that they are dealing with.  Do your best to avoid those topics you know there is no way in hell you are going to agree on and just try to find those cross over interests where you can find common ground.  My mom and I had a great afternoon looking at art work and a sweet little lunch with my buddy Mel. And who doesn't love a sunny afternoon traversing Prospect Park?  In the end you love each other and you are trying to just find that space where you can spend time and grasp on to those few moments of life you are sharing but also appreciate each other's individual paths that you are moving down on your own.  Like licking icing off your plate after that piece of cake, you're enjoying a remnant of something bigger and more substantial you once had but it's time to move on and put that dish in the sink and that's okay too.