I'm working the Your Turn Challenge and today is Day 6. Here is my post to answer the question: Tell us about a time when you surprised yourself. (I have written about this climb previously on this blog.)
I am not and never have been a climber. But I climbed a mountain once. Not just “hey let’s do that three hour hike to the top of this hill” kind of climb. An actual all day, clip into a safety cable, use your hands and feet to climb, scare the crap out of yourself, climb.
It was 1992 in Cortina D’ampezo. I was backpacking around Europe and went to visit work colleagues one weekend who were working on the movie Cliffhanger. The friend I was staying with said, “Hey we are going to climb a mountain tomorrow, you have to come with us.” I knew she and the other friend were not climbers and were not necessarily any more fit than I was. She also said, “It’s a climb for beginners, anyone can do it. I’ll loan you come cold weather clothes.” Since I had come to visit her, I figured okay, we’ll go hiking. The scenery is awesome (in the true sense of the word) so if nothing else, I would enjoy the views.
This is the mountain we climbed: The Col Rosa. (This is a view from the climb - image from the link.)
About three hours in/up of regular hiking through forests, we arrived at the via ferrata - the safety cable that you clip onto to actually climb. About ten minutes into this climbing part, t I was terrified. Terrified for two reasons. 1) it was scary to actually be climbing a high mountain almost straight up! 2) I didn’t think I could do it, I thought it was too hard.
Clipped on and not too far up, I considered backing out and saying, “Hey, I’ll meet you back at the parking lot” and hiking back the way we had come. I think I might have even said out loud that I didn’t think I could do this. My friends told me I could do it and that I couldn’t just quit now. I didn’t take it as a “don’t pussy out” kind of challenge. My personal insecurities ran to the “don’t be inconvenient, don’t make it harder for them” place. So I stayed and I climbed.
I am so glad I did. I was terrified all the way up that cable (that part took about 2 hours), but one small step, one small handhold at a time, I did it, we did it. We bagged that peak.
When we finally got back to the car, I was exhausted and exhilarated and so glad I didn’t quit. I really surprised myself that day.
And now whenever I think something is too hard or scary because I’ve never done it before, I look at this picture of me that my friend took on our climb. I can see the fear and uncertainty, but I also remember the utter joy of having gotten to the top.
I'm working the Your Turn Challenge and today is Day 2. Here is my post to answer the question: Tell us something that is important to you.
In 1992 I was working on a major motion picture at a visual effects company. I had been on the job since the previous January. My goal, about 1/3 of the way into the job, was to save money and go backpacking in Europe again. (I’d been with three friends right after college graduation three years before.) I had told my new work bestie that I was going to do this trip. Actually, I think I told everyone, non stop.
Then came the day I bought my plane ticket. These were the days when you actually had to go and buy a paper ticket. Over lunch hour one fine day, months before the project was over, months before departure day, I went to the nearest United Airlines office and got my ticket to London. As soon as I got back I raced to my work bestie’s office and showed her. She looked me up and down and said, “Oh. You are actually going to go.” I looked at her like “Uh, duh?” She then explained her slight surprise:
“You are someone who actually does what they say they are going to do.”
It was the second biggest compliment I’d gotten in my young life. (The first is another story for another time).
And it really made an impression on me. From then on I worked hard to walk my talk. I (mostly) didn’t make grand pronouncements about things I was going to do unless I was actually going to follow through.
The downside was (is?) that I might dream of something I want to do but not say it because I’m afraid of it or I don’t think I can actually do it.
When I meet new people, learning if they walk their talk is incredibly important to me. If I find they don’t, then I don’t tend to keep them in my life. I’m here to manifest and want to surround myself with like-minded people.
Now it’s time to focus on letting go of the fear. There. I said it.
Continuing the questions from this article on getting to know someone better:
6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you choose?
I would have to go with mind. My dad had Alzheimer's and boy oh boy, that was awful. I can keep exercising and see almost immediate results (note to self: keep f****** exercising!). And apparently exercising helps you retain a strong brain/mental capacity, but it's harder to know how your brain chemsitry is working on a day to day basis.
7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
Hunch? Not so much. Fear? Yes. I worry that since my dad had Alzheimer's, I will too. Not much I can do about it, so I don't really think that much about it. And even though I just turned 48 and am on the downhill side of middle-age (this concept is still mind-boggling to me, btw), I don't really think about dying that much. I think having a young child helps in this department!
8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.
Kurt and I are "on-time-if-not-early" people. (Thanks the gods for that! One really grating thing to me in the world is people who are consistently late. I will not adjust my arrival time somewhere even when I know the person I'm meeting is going to be 10 minutes late. I will not.) Kurt and I have the same level of un-tidiness around the house. (The chair in our bedroom has an equal number of our clothes draped on it.) We are both pretty chilled out people. It takes A LOT to ruffle our feathers. (I tend to ruffle sooner than Kurt, but still.)
9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
There are so many things I'm grateful for, hard to narrow it down to "the most." Being born into my family in Hawaii (and therefore the United States) makes me incredibly lucky. And all the advantages I have had from those two things have given me everything else that I am grateful for: good health, great education (not just institutional) good attitude.
Is that too general of an answer? More specifically I'm grateful that Harper is a sleeper and that she is a pretty chill kid. Not a lot of tantrums, she is calm most of the time, listens most of the time, likes to do things. I can't wait to take her traveling! (See below)
10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
Ooooh, this is tough because the way I was raised has made me the person I am today and I like, nay love, 99% of the person I am today. The only thing I can really think of is "I wish we could have traveled more" (Hawaii is quite an isolated place, see #2 of this list.) But then again, if we had traveled more would I be as obsessed about traveling as I am today? Maybe, maybe not.
Also, I had a very good upbringing with a lot of advantages. Did I mention Hawaii? (When do I not mention Hawaii?) So there isn't much to complain about. My dad was an alcoholic so that was not great, but again, I was lucky because my parents divorced when I was five and I lived with my mom. And while I don't recommend anyone have alcoholic parents, there are things I used to cope with it that actually make me a better producer.
I guess I wouldn't change a thing.
Before texting and social media there was email. Remember email? Remember those email questionaires that used to go around? The fun questions you would send to friends that now get posted soemtimes on your FB wall? I liked those questions. They were interesting ways to find out more about people you knew. Now the quesitons were not terribly deep, more just fun.
But I like answering questions and recently I was pointed to a set of 36 questions to really help you get to know another person. (Hat tip to Sean Bonner for the link.) I read the first few and realized they would make for a good, spontaneous blog session so I stopped reading them and won't until I copy/paste/answer them here.
I won't answer them all in this post, I'll scatter them around. I am curious to see what the questions will be when I get there. Technically I'm more curious to what the answers will be.
Why not answer them yourself? Let's get to know each other better, answer in the comments or on your own blog. I'll start with the first five. Here we go:
1) Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
Oooh, tough one right off the bat. So many choices. Plus, maybe it needs a few qualifiers. Anyone living in the world: Bill Clinton popped into my head, so I'll put that down. Historical: Laura Ingalls Wilder or Ben Franklin. Fictional Character: At this very moment it has to be Doctor Who. But ask me again in two days.
2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
Yes. As someone who does good things for others.
3. Before making a phone call, do you ever rehearse what you're going to say? Why?
Only very rarely when I'm hoping to pitch something personal or speaking to someone about my creative projects and need their help.
4. What would constitute a perfect day for you?
Living somewhere in Italy, spending they day playing with Kurt and Harper, writing more pages on whatever project I'm into and cooking a great dinner. (The Italy part is not critical, but it sure will be nice some day soon.)
5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
I sing to myself all the time. I was just singing "Every Day is a Winding Road" this afternoon, out loud to myself. I sing to Harper every night before bed. It is the Good Night song that my dad used to sing to me. She sings along with me sometimes and that just melts my heart.
And speaking of Harper, I have to go get her now. Back tomorrow for more questions!
Who would have thought that I would acquire two new pen pals in this day and age? One of them is even of the "write an actual letter, put a stamp on it and send via US Mail" type. And I love it.
The first new pen pal is of the modern variety - email. She is the wife of a dear old friend and classmate from Seabury. They had their first baby this year and reached out to me to ask questions and get ideas. I had a blast answering a list of "what is really important for new babies?" email. Way better than a Buzzfeed quiz, let me tell you. (BTW the answer is really: "not much!") Since their baby was born we have email pictures and notes back and forth almost weekly. And not just "hey here's a cute baby pic" but actual paragraphs of news and updates and getting-to-know-you type stuff. It took me a while to recognize what I had: A New Pen Pal. Well, a virtual pen pal, an email pal? An EPal? (Sounds like a dotcom that went bust in 2000.) Anyway, a new friend. (They live in NYC.)
The more recent pen pal is a friend I've known from blog life for about eight years. He is the most modern of communications people that I know, an early adopter of e things, but mainly social media. I learn a lot from him and consult often about how to approach things online. Smart guy. Recently he decided to try writing actual letters to people instead of just emailing or tweeting back. My understanding is he wanted to have the focused experience of communicating with one person at a time in a manner that requires time and effort. He bought a manual typewriter to accomplish just that and posted his PO Box address for anyone who wanted to write. Well, you know me. This just started in November and will take a bit longer to get rolling. I sent the first note, he responded with one typed letter and I've written back. I imagine his PO box will be full for a while and he'll be busy strengthening his typing muscles, responding to those. The funniest part? He lives in LA. I think I've seen him IRL about five times.
The arrival of the mail carrier is now more exciting than before. Will I get an actual letter today? (The holidays are good for this kind of thing, but with the advent of "Holiday cards untouched by human hands" it's lost its magic. Just email me a picture if you aren't going to write anything on the damn card! Bah humbug.) Even my email inbox has gotten dull -- mostly newsletters and blog post updates. Hardly any personal stuff any more. Facebook has slowed that down a lot, people just post a thought and hope you see it. I hardly see it.
New Pen Pals in 2014. Who'd have thought? I'm pleased as punch and must rush out and buy more stationery...
PS The image of the stamped letter from 1898 is to a person whose name is alarmingly similar to my family name from a few generations ago and I grew up in Spreckelsville on Maui. Must research into Mr. Lowrie a bit today.
I love pop culture. I LOVE IT!
I don't have religion, I have the movies and tv. Sunday morning movies are the best. 10am popcorn? Yes please! Trailers that last for fifteen minutes before the movie? Why not twenty? I could watch two hours of trailers. And these days with Television? OMG don't get me started on the amazing stories being told out there.
NERD! Total Nerd
So I'm a Nerd. I always have been. Is it a birth-order thing? I don't feel like any of my siblings were nerds. Dor might have gotten close, she introduced me to Monty Python after all, but skewed more toward msuic. She was a Yes-head. Is that a musical nerd? (I don't know anything about music. It is the one part of pop-culture I'm pretty clueless about. As proof to this I will tell you that I've heard OF the song "All About The Bass" but I have not actually heard the song. But if you want to talk about Serial Podcast, I'M IN!)
Where was I? oh yes, Nerd. I love joining up with the Who Universe to feel connected, to be part of a larger group. I think I had a bit of disconnect from the "larger group" when I was a kid and am always looking for it. I was the youngest and my next oldest sibling was five years older. We did plenty of stuff together, but there was also lots of earlier bedtimes and "maybe when you are older."
And growing up haole in Hawaii creates an intense disconnect. It's challenging as I feel 100% connected to Hawaii, yet at the same time could never quite fit in. In my K-8 elementary school, I was one of about 15 haoles out of 650 students. I had friends, but they were just school friends as I got on a bus every day to go home. And on that bus I read.
I was a reader from an early age and my mom indulged me with books all the time. (Yay Mom! I do and will continue to do the same with Harper.) Someone gave me the first two Little House books when I was eight and I got HOOKED. Here was a story about a girl my age and her family in a world that was totally alien to me. Prairie? Snow? Churning butter? I didn't know anyone else who had read these books. Or who was obsessed with the way I was.
I asked mom to make me a sunbonnet. And she did. AND I WORE IT! I didn't wear it on my head. No no. I wore it hanging down my back, as Laura had. Haven't you read the books?? (and yes, I still have it.) I was a community of one, and I let my freak flag fly, even though I'm sure 100% of the people who saw me were like "what is that thing around your neck?"
Side note: prairie fashions were IN in the early 80's. I wore an outfit regularly that was not dissimilar to this one, complete with the sunbonnet accessory. I loved my denim skirt. Mom also made me a petticoat to go with it. LOVED LOVED LOVED.
Where was I? Oh yes, dearth of Laura fans on Maui. Now you can connect with other Laura Fans, read more about her life, see pictures of her and even visit some of the little houses. Or you can have a Doctor Who ring tone on your phone (guilty!), or a tiny tardis necklace and people will nod and smile, knowingly. Or they'll argue with you about Russel T Davis vs. Steven Moffat. (or Tennant vs. Smith). It's wonderful to make those tiny yet meaningful connections in any group. We are a community!
I'm not a church goer but I made a pilgrimage in 1998 to worship at the Church of Laura. I have stood in line to receive the good word of Obi Wan Kenobi multiple times (before and after the re releases). I've gotten to live long enough to be obsessed with BOTH versions of Battlestar Galactica and have loved them equally.
Curiouser and Curiouser
Curiosity makes all the difference. Learning about new things, new ideas, new characters, history, art, language, that is all amazing to me. I've always loved reading and writing stories. If you are open to new things, willing to give something a try (not just one episode, come on!) then the world will always be rich and full. People might say pop-culture is just junk. But oh I disagree. There can be so much commentary, so much reflection on the bigger things in the world, all hidden within that "junk." When our BSG heroes landed on New Caprica, rebuilt their lives, then (spoilers) the Cylons came and took over, there was a lot of excellent commentary on the Iraq war. They made you really look at both sides of a conflict and sympathize with those you might think are the bad guys. Powerful stuff.
And when things are well written, well created, there can be such delightful surprises. You watch a show thinking, Oh this and that will happen and NOTHING CLOSE to it happens. The Good Wife is excellent at this. So is Justified. (OMG Justified, you guys, please watch that show it's amazeballs.) Did you read Gone Girl? That point in the middle where it all went in a TOTALLY different direction? Awesome. I aspire to write that well. I aspire every day and mostly fail, but dammit, I keep trying.
Why did I start this conversation? Because I'm a newly minted Whovian at age 47 and I'm wearing my fandom on my sleeve. I want a Tardis in my backyard. (Or in my house were the house big enough.) In a weird way I'm proud of myself for diving into something new and going whole hog. I always want to try new things. I hope I'm bingeing on something cool when I'm 87.
I'm a goner, people, do you understand? Done. I have fully succumbed to Doctor Who and can't wait to see where it goes from here.
You might have zero interest in pop-culture. Fine. But go out and be curious! Read, travel, explore, taste, try! And don't be afraid to let it show.
I have become a Whovian. Well... most true Whovians might say I'm a Julia-come-lately and that I'm not a true Who Fan because I only started with the 9th Doctor, not the entire show from the 60's. That's fair. But I had to start somewhere!
Honestly, I couldn't stand not knowing what all the wacky references were on the internets. I kept seeing things about Daleks (costumes, birthday cakes, silly hats, people saying "exterminate!" in funny voices) but didn't know what they meant. Same for the Tardis. And Sonic Screwdrivers and Weeping Angels and Cassandra. And on and on. I thought I knew a thing or two about some pop culture sci-fi stuff, but I had missed this whole side of the world and felt it was time to get on board. Thanks to Netflix, it was easy to drink the kool-aid and step into the Tardis.
And now I'm hooked!
Bingeing Vs. Real Time
In the precious few moments between Harper going to bed and me going to bed (it's a very small window as I'm such an early to be/early to rise kind of person) I like to watch a bit of mindless tv. And Doctor Who has filled that bill for me over the last few months. I understood going in that there is a giant machine of fandom behind this show and that I couldn't hope to grasp it all in just a few weeks or months. I also understood that Doctor Who is mainly a show for a younger audience. It's on during family time on Saturday nights. It's a bit goofy. It can be scary but not bloody or violent. I think it's wonderful.
The hard part about bingeing a show like this (or any show that really strikes your fancy I guess) is twofold:
1) Once you catch up to where the actual show is in real time, you have to WAIT for more episodes! (or sadly if it is a show with no more episodes, it ENDS!!!) I just finished the last episode of Matt Smith's era. I have all the new episodes waiting on my DVR, but I can't bring myself to start them yet. I need a bit of mourning for the loss of that bow-tied goof. And I don't want this binge ride to end. Of course it's not like the show is over, I will just have to wait like everyone else for the next season. (Christmas Special notwithstanding.)
2) With bingeing you don't get that deep investment of time that comes with "from the start" fandom. I love Star Wars and I had to wait YEARS! before I got to see what happened to our intrepid rebels after they (spoilers) blew up the Death Star and Darth Vader got away. Then I had to wait MORE YEARS to see what happened to Han when he got frozen in carbonite! (I love you. I know.)
(And when you are such a deep fan of something, words like carbonite are so much a part of you that when I typed it just now, I wasn't sure if it was the right word because it is a real word to me. "Kurt, can you pick more carbonite at Trader Joe's?"))
Oh and the kids today! They can just watch all the movies at once if they like. (I'm not really talking about the prequels, mmmmkay?) Don't even get me started on Harry Potter and again, waiting YEARS before the next book came out. The anticipation was fantastic! (And yes, I was in my 30s, waiting with bated breath for the next book to come, always rereading the previous book just before the new one was published so that I was PRIMED! I think I read the last two almost straight through...)
Yes, there are new books and movies and series coming out now that people are huge fans of and they do get the experience of the waiting, the anticipation. These are good things. The waiting is what creates the deep fan experience. But with bingeing, there is the loss of that experience. Or it is squeezed into days (or hours in some cases) and can't, therefore, be as rich.
When you watch something from the start, there is time to talk/argue/reflect/defend while waiting for the next. The next episode, The next season, the next Doctor. But maybe that is a plus for bingeing -- not so much argument. I have Whovian friends who go RABID when discussing Matt Smith and Steven Moffat. I loved David Tennant but was frankly ready for something new when he was done. (Though I would have happily had another year of him and Donna together and I will argue that while she got married and got rich, she should have gotten to remember all she had done and experienced so that she knew what an incredible person she really was.)
The beauty of today, 2014, is that a) we can binge on shows and b) there is so much to read out there online. While I don't have the years of investment in Who that others have, I can certainly read and watch and enjoy all kinds of Who related things and feel a part of this community right away. There will be those in the community who might think me a Doctor Who Dilettante (A Wholettante?) but that's okay, there are always those kinds... I have enough respect for the show, the world of Doctore Who to at least not be this.
In Part Two, I will explore the curiosity factor and how it should never stop being a part of your life. Oh and Nerds. And also letting your freak flag fly!
When I say I want to be pen pals with Chris Hardwick, I mean it. I want to be actual old school, write-real-letters, put-a-stamp-on-the-envelope-and-mail-it type pen pals. Why so Y2K? With the 700 different ways to communicate today, creating a relationship with a stranger is almost harder. Emails/tweets/FB posts/texts happen so fast there is no time to do anything between communications. When you write actual letters, actual time goes by. So the letters can be long and full of getting-to-know-you content as well as what-I-did-these-last-few-weeks info. When you get a letter in the mail, there isn't the same pressure to sit down and respond right that second. You can take your time. (Clearly I need to write a whole blog post about what it means to be pen pals.)
The other reason I want to be actual-write-a-letter pen-pals is that I like Mr. Hardwick. I don't want to stalk him, I don't want to be his girlfriend, I don't want to hang out at his house or have coffee with him every week. (well okay, once would be cool, but that would be after lots of writing.) As mentioned, with the internets and all, one could really try to bombard a guy with requests and end up being annoying and just another buzzing fly. That's not my style. I'm a well brought up person with manners and respect. I just want to be friends, pals, pen pals.
But why in the world would he want to be pen pals with me?
I'm a nerd, ask anyone! We bought Star Wars art for Harper's room. I had the last Harry Potter books delivered on the release dates and read them almost straight through. We got a "Stormpooper" hat as a baby gift and Harper actually wore it often, not just for a photo op. In high school I had a major life epiphany ("I can work in the movies!") while watching Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. (Double nerd points-I was dressed in khakis, and wore a gun belt and fedora. Thank you 80's Banana Republic!) I saw Jeff Goldblum at the Cinerama Dome in the 90's and told him I loved Tenspeed and Brownshoe.
Here's where I go over the top with girl-nerd cred:
I had my mom sew me a sun bonnet so I could wear it while reading my Little House On The Prairie books. (THE TV SHOW IS NOT THE SAME!) And I still have that bonnet, btw.
Okay, I'll admit I'm not the nerdiest of nerds, especially these days. I'm more nerd/dork (Nerk? Dord?). I did play D&D in high school, but I never go into comic books. I've seen Blade Runner once about ten years ago and didn't really get why people go ape-shit for it. (I guess I missed that window.) When I imagine going to Comic-Con, I can only picture myself dressing up as Super Martian Robot Girl because we watch way too much Gabba at our house.
But I'm a huge fan of Chris Hardwick, self styled Nerdist himself, so that makes me a huge nerd again and I love it. I have enjoyed his stand up and his shows for a while now, loving "Talking Dead", though I missed "Talking Bad" because we were so far behind on Breaking Bad. I'm a huge @Midnight fan. Huge.
And my nerd crush for Mr. Hardwick was solidified on one episode of @Midnight when he referenced the Godzilla cartoon from the 70s/80s, specifically mentioning Godzuki, then sang the theme song!! OMG. Mad mad crush.
So now I want to be pen pals with Mr. Hardwick. If only I had the guts to ask him when I met him a few weeks ago at a Walking Dead event. He was so kind to laugh when I gushed about his Godzuki comments and even kinder to take a photo. (OMG, I totally forgot to tell him I worked on the 1998 Godzilla! Wait, maybe that would be a deal breaker...)
I would like to know more about him. How did he end up staying so nice in a world (entertainment) of often not-nice? I admire his incredible work ethic and drive, how does he keep that going? He inspires me to work harder and to follow my dreams. We could talk a bit about grief as he's recently had a death in the family. I know a bit about that. We probably have more in common than it seems at first glance. (Well, don't we all?)
Chris Hardwick seems like a hail-fellow-well-met and I would not let him down in our pen-palship.
So I was making green beans for dinner last night and while tossing the hot beans with butter I suddenly flashed on dinner at my GrandmaJane's house when I was a kid. She and Grandpa O lived in Makawao and I always loved going to the big ranch house for dinner. I especially loved her green beans. Her secret?
(For a certain few of you out there, you are now singing the tv jingle and will have it stuck in your head all day. Sorry!)
Look at that label: "Pure Monosodium Glutamate" MMMMmmmmm good!
Seriously, you just used to shake it on food like salt. Awesome.
I have so much to catch up on, blog-wise, but had to get this out first.