I had this long involved dream, not sure if I was in a movie or if it was supposed to be real. I was with this group of people, one of whom was Mr. Pitt. We were all joshing and watching tv and hanging out. But I had to leave to pack and catch a plane. I said good-bye to all, hugs all around, felt a bit awkward about hugging Brad Pitt because, well, he was Brad Pitt. So I'm walking down the sidewalk and he's riding a bike, following me, laughing and chatting and then gets off the bike to say goodbye again, this time giving me a kiss. My heart is racing and I realize that this is going to turn into a real kiss. He wants to keep holding me and kissing me, ME!, oh my god is he opening his mouth slightly? Is this really going to hap--WE INTERRUPT THIS DREAM TO ANNOUNCE THAT THE CAT LYING ON THE BED IS PREPARING TO THROW UP!!! Then (in real life) Kurt starts wildly flailing his feet, trying to find the cat to push her off the bed so at least her barf will be on the floor, not on the comforter. This actually made me laugh because he couldn't find her and got more agitated. Finally the cat was on the floor, but Brad was long gone.
UPDATE: I just told this whole thing to Kurt and he started laughing too and said, "Total cockblock."
I've been fussing with design (you might have noticed) and adding things to the site, buttons and widgets and links, etc. I'm trying to organize my blog to connect to all the things I'm involved with. Easier for me to know where to click when I get confused. So look for a few more things in the sidebars in the coming days along with explanations and links.
Funny how I change my hair color more often than I change my blog design. Look for that too, in coming weeks.
Been blogging a lot lately. Figuring out how best to keep it all going as well as make it work for me in the long run.
I've been enjoying the snot out of Safety Graphic Fun. I have some regular commenters and people are still sending me images from time to time. Plus I am amazed to find safety graphics all the time too. Often I'll be driving and see some large industrial vehicle parked on the side of the road and it's all I can do not to slam on the breaks, leap out and start taking photos. I see them/look for/find them everywhere. I found one on the bottom of the window blinds at Dot's house. Traffic to the site has slowed since it got onto Neatorama, but I am working on keeping the fans interested on Facebook as well as deciding which other of my online savvy friends I can take to lunch to pick their brains.
I updated the book blog, though it had been months so if that one got taken off your bookmarks, I don't blame you one tiny bit.
There are photos taken for my next "one thing a day" blog, but I haven't had a chance to really shape that one yet. That one is an LA themed item. Plus another blog idea I'm toying with but haven't really fleshed that one out yet...you'll hear about it all if I do it.
Facebook has been fun, catching up with Seabury peeps and people I worked with back in the analog/optical days at Boss Film Studio. I'm not a complete facebook nut. I mean I have 3 blogs of my own, so I use FB just for the occasional note to an old/new friend and to keep up with what others are doing. I was really pleased to see them rethink their terms of service after the major outcry the other day.
I signed up with PhotoJojo to come up with fun new photography ideas and inspiration. I am doing the photo 365 project - you take a photo every day and put it in a flickr set and share. I have a set going, but it's only 2 days old so I'll post a link later when there is much more to see.
Mostly I'm finding my voice, being more open, less afraid to say anything that might annoy people. Time to stop worrying about all that.
Facebook has become the defacto Seabury alumni website for me lately. Especially with Sarah Bott (class of 80) and Courtney (my classmate in 85) doing up a list of high school memories, and then other Seabury alum chiming in on the comments about their memories.
Seabury was so small that if you went there all six years (7th through 12th grade when I was there, now there is a middle school and high school, but still very small), you got to know and become friends with people who were five years older and five years younger than you. If you had siblings also attending, your circle was that much wider. Sarah A. and I are bestest friends now, but she was Jen's best friend back then in the class of 80. They knew each other years before I started which means I knew Sarah A. from when I was about 10 or so. Dude.
But it wasn't just the small size, lunch used to be assigned seating so you really got to know everyone. When I started my 7th grade year in the fall of 1979, Seabury had about 180 students. When I graduated in spring of 1985, there were about 220 students. My class had 33 people in it. Lunch was served family style and you sat at an assigned table for two weeks, then you would switch tables. Teachers were heads of each table (and remained constant.) Each table you went to was a mix of grades, if you ended up sitting with a friend, it was a bonus. There were 10 people per table (including the teacher) so each day of that two weeks, one person was the "waiter" and you went to the kitchen to get the tray of food in family style serving bowls. If a bowl was empty you got up and got more. When lunch was done and people were gone, you cleaned the table. It was awesome. One lunch table assignment stands out. I think was in 8th or 9th grade and was assigned to Joe Brocoli's table. When we all sat down that first day, he announced to the nine of us that the last table he had ate nine serving bowls of peas at one lunch sitting and he knew we could beat that record! So we collectively ate 10 bowls of peas! There was no prize other than the joy that Joe had presented us with a challange and we met it.
Sometime around junior year, I think, they switched to buffet style lunch and you could sit anywhere. I think some part of the Seabury family feeling was lost with that switch.
And the noon-announcements! Ha! Almost forgot about those. There was a pad of paper in the front hall of Cooper House (the school sits on what used to be a private estate with the old mansion (Cooper house) as the main building) and you could write up anything on that pad that you needed to convey to the whole school. It was kind of a daily newspaper, as Lance Anderson pointed out in one of our english classes. Meetings, lost items, birthday wishes, announcements of any kind were written on that pad then xeroxed directly for each table and delivered at lunch. Everyone took turns reading the mishmash of hand writing and info. If there was something that needed announcing last minute, you could stand up with Roger Melrose (the headmaster), or whoever was giving the prayer that day, at the front of the room (near the trash for some reason) and speak into the little microphone/speaker deal he had. Usually it was a last minute meeting, but often it was to announce in public someone's special birthday or if someone had won an award, often that person came to the front and were given leis and lots of applause. New students were welcomed and occasionally sad news of someone's parent's death were told. (There was at least one death every year I was there.)
There is a hazy memory of someone (Matt Kresser I think) getting a dip slip for bending forks during the "don't bend forks" announcement. I only really remember it because that dip slip was published in the yearbook for that year. (Too lazy to go dig out the yearbook.)
With a school that small, school plays were filled with a mix of students (again you became friends with people of all ages), sports teams were well mixed in ages and then there was Winterim. Oh thank the gods for Charlotte Melrose! YOU ONLY GET OUT OF IT WHAT YOU PUT INTO IT! Words to live by, my friends.
Winterim happened every February for a week. Instead of regular classes you had a week of "outside the box/outside the classroom" education. Each year had a theme and the groups you signed up to be in were specific to that theme. 7th grade was Hawaiiana and I learned how to make leis. (I'm old school, still say "leis" not "lei" like they do now...) Jen (Senior) took Hula, there was canoe paddling and hawaiian history and hawaiian cooking and things like that. Again you signed up for the top three activities and you got assigned with a mix of people. Charlotte and the other organizers made sure you weren't just in a group of your own friends. 8th grade I learned how to silkscreen. 9th=Volcano, 10th=astronomy (which is amazing in hawaii where the night sky is DARK) and 11th=touring military bases (I got to fly a huge hydraulic ride-type helicopter simulator!). Senior year I went to Kauai and it was really a great trip, thanks mostly to Mr. Moragne for being an amazing tour guide. Generally you bonded with your group and at the end of the week there was an assembly and each group had to do a skit about what their experience was like. Songs were written and performed, props were used, hilarity generally ensued. Teachers were also part of each group so you got to know them outside of the classroom too and that made you respect and appreciate them as human beings, not just as "Teachers".
But Seabury was already different in how you related to teachers. Most lived on campus (Seabury was a day school and boarding school) and so you got to know their kids and pets and parents. Most teachers were called by their first names, though Mr. Melrose was always Mr. Melrose and Fred Rawe was usually always Mr. Rawe. (Until he became Dr. Rawe.) I'm not sure why (Maybe because I was so square--student body prez after all!) but this never seemed to take away the distinction between teachers and students. It was relaxed, but still a college prep school after all and we were all expected to do well.
I loved all of the teachers I knew at Seabury. Okay wait, I did get bored to death by Cliff Oje in Pre-Calc, but maybe that was because I hated Pre-Calc...hmmm. Sorry Cliff. I have stayed in touch with a few teachers over the years and have occasionally googled and emailed others out of the blue to say hi and we catch up for a short bit.
Some people are gone now. Bruce Wilson (my class), Karen (Jai) Roberts ('84), David Melrose (my biology teacher), Mr. Melrose and Snooker. Oh man I cried my eyes out about Snooker.
It was a special place and I amaze my friends now when I say, sincerely, honestly, I loved high school. Was I happy all the time? Uh, hell no. But I got to have experiences that so few people get to do --- repel off waterfalls, ropes courses through trees, forming human chains of 200 people and walk all over campus holding hands, a school wide water fight! I hope someday my kids can have something similar.
I know that all the grief I have not yet expressed is stored in my body, just waiting. Sometimes it gets forced out, like when I'm at the chiropractor and she's working on the tight muscles/tendons in my right leg. She finds the magic "Tears Now!" button and out they come. She's used to it with me and always has a kleenex handy, not to mention kind words and support. I've been seeing an acupuncturist lately too and all she has to do is ask how the emotional side of things are and somehow she's found the "Tears Now!" button without even touching me. These are not surprising places or people with which to share my grief or at least let some of it out. More surprising places are at AAA when I'm getting the title switched on Dot's car into our name. I had to fill out other paperwork that I didn't expect. Nothing hard, no big deal. Then why did I want to burst into tears? I held off until I got into the car driving home. Music will do it, of course. I mentioned feeling melancholy after listening to Carole King, specifically "So Far Away" -- just cried my eyes out during that whole song. Just thinking about it all now makes me teary. The grief isn't going anywhere and I know that, but there is still this adjustment period, the rearranging of your insides to make room for it. I know that the adjustment will never actually "end". It will be an adjustment for the rest of my whole frickin' life and today that makes me really mad.
Plus I get mad at Jen for not being here. I was really annoyed about something the other day (can't remember what is is now). The only person who I wanted to call and vent with was Jen. The one thing I knew for sure I could always do is call her and say "Hi, I'm annoyed, can I vent please!?!?!" and she would always say "Yes, what is it?" then I would share and we would commiserate and then I would feel better and we would yak about other things. She would do the same thing in my direction too. So I was driving around the other day, peeved, trying to figure out who to call, running down the list of people who might actually be available, who might actually answer their phone, who might sort of get that "I just need to vent" thing. I know any one of my amazing friends would be there for me if I needed it, but this suddenly seemed too trivial to bother someone at work or where ever they might be.
Speaking of being mad, one of the last conversations we had was Jen being mad at me for things I said over one of my last visits a few months before she died. She was mad, told me all these things she thought and felt and did because of a few comments I had made when we were shopping. (I had no idea about it at the time of the comments.) I was surprised and apologized and tried to explain myself and we moved on. I'm glad she had called to tell me that. I don't regret for a second that it was one of the last conversations we had because it was one of the very few times Jen was actually forthcoming, honest and out there with her feelings. She hid a lot. (A LOT.) All the while she was telling me how mad she was, part of me was thinking, thank you Jen, thank you for finally being honest about these things. I was hoping this was just the beginning of her being to really talk about what was going on inside. It inspired me to make sure that I would be more honest with her too. I hoped.
It reminded me of when my dad started going down the Alzheimer's hill. In 1997 (or 98?) it was starting to become clear that dad was having serious problems with dementia. It wasn't long after that he was really gone. Part of what really bummed me out was that I was finally finding my voice with my dad, I was finally able to talk to him without pretending how I felt. I wasn't scared of him or intimidated by him anymore, he was just a guy after all. I felt like I had one brief, tiny window of opportunity to be myself with him, then he left.
I live in Los Angeles. In the summer of 2006 I worked in Mexico City. Instead of sending out giant emails full of photos to friends and families, I started this blog. The summer turned out to be a crazy one and this blog and my camera kept me sane. I didn't want to stop observing and writing when I got home to LA, so I kept the blog going.