October 30, 2012 § Leave a Comment
July 4, 2012 § 2 Comments
without your watch
or your phone.
to a fan.
ask profound questions
and don’t forget the peanuts.
ask a friend to help
seek great fortune
jump at the chance.
in their mind.
construct cloud concepts
learn something new
eat for color
perhaps to sea
it all down.
January 20, 2012 § 2 Comments
Juliet is my coffee-house name.
It stated as such a little thing. A sleep deprived Sunday game, one of a thousand my fiancé and I invent and play without seeking agreement from each other, or setting terms and conditions, fully expecting the other to simply comply with the one improv rule, “Yes, And.” If I respond, “Josephine,” to cup-name-writing-barista, my fiancé replies, “Napoleon.” (Famous pairs. Go.)
If he responds Ben, I respond Jerry, straight-faced, no matter what, no matter who, without telltale side-long acknowledging glance, or post-celebratory 3rd grade sniggering. (007 meets Sponge Bob. Check.)
And so the game continued: Popeye/Oliveoil, Laurel/Hardy, Joanie/Chachi, Larry/Sergey, Zeus/Heres (getting more obscure, and tricky because one of us would forget about it and catch the other unprepared – but we’re game, “Yes, And,” to pick-up the challenge.) But one day our invisibility cracked, our anonymity failed, the con was over, the game folded, and the music stopped on Juliet.
“Good morning Juliet. Chai tea today?” One of our baristas asked.
But no one mentioned Romeo. Just the Juliet.
And it wouldn’t be so bad, but, sometimes I go in without my accomplice, and it’s been — a while now.
Once I produced a long string of names in rapid succession in an attempt to elicit a playful and confusing detraction and an opening to get back to my original name, “Katherine Elizabeth Juliet Hadley Von Housen,” is the way it spilled out — to which she responded, “Juliet. Right.”
Once I paid with my Visa and clearly raised there in plastic fraudulence was an alias I had never used before, but she calmly returned my card and thanked Juliet.
When people learn your brand (something, something, something, starts with Juliet) it’s really hard to change, or even steer slightly to one side. Once I very slowly and clearly said, “Jul-i-a” and my red Sharpie penned pseudonym still read Jul-i-e-t. People desensitize so quickly, even to agreeable, pretty morning faces (and I suppose I should be grateful that Bambi or Barnum didn’t stimulate a neurotransmitter bridge to long-term memory.)
So what was to be done?
Should I do the halting Hugh Grant mea culpa, “Look, my, fiancé and I, we meant no harm, but, in short, if I may summarize, in brief, we are idiots, and we’ll happily commit suicide after finishing this delicious beverage, which you make exceptionally well by the way, perfect, temperature, and fffoammm…”
I can’t go on forever with a deceit that grows larger with friendship and familiarity with people who have now become neighbors? People who remark on my little things: hair cut, vacation tan, remember my preferences — it’s exhausting. As all lies are. And I’ve also slightly spoiled my tea with this tempest of foolishness and growing guilt. It had to end.
“Look. It’s Denise,” I said.
“I know,” my barista said to my surprise.
“You know?” I asked. “How do you know?”
“I know,” she smiled. (Mental-chattering, pre-caffeinated public. Go.)
“Look, my, fiancé and I, we meant no harm, but, in short, if I may summarize, in brief, we are idiots, and we’ll happily commit suicide after finishing this delicious beverage, which you make exceptionally well by the way, perfect, temperature, and fffoammm…” I said.
“It’s ok, I get it,” she nodded. (Complete lack of schadenfreude, attempt at lighthearted Hugh Grant humor. Check.)
“So, we’re good.”
“Yessss,” she whispered, smiling as she wrote my name.
I collected my warm, sweet-smelling chai and on the side of my cup was the familiar scribble of red Sharpie — Juliet.
October 7, 2011 § 1 Comment
Steve your photograph popped into my Safari window today and our eyes locked. I studied over-long the accompanying dates hanging there in the white space struggling to understand:
1955 “are you enclosed” – “within these years?” 2011
And as if waiting for you to confirm via ding!, or text, or voice, or music, or video, or film, my tears knew before I did, that somehow, I was a little more on my own than a moment before. It felt very personal although I did not know you.
But I did grow-up on this peninsula, in this valley, lived in the same city and have had my fair share of brushes with greatness with you (thank you for being the control group for my thesis research, thank you for being an inspirational competitor, thank you for being a client, thank you for the introductions) and I take you with me wherever I go and you make things safer, abundantly clear, simple to use, beautifully designed, and user-friendly in a world that sometimes is not.
I know you’ve grown larger and larger over the years: genius, inventor, mogul, icon, but Steve you accomplished what others have only dreamed of doing, you grew smaller. You grew personal to all of us. You became a modern-day anchor, an archetypal (and lovingly “foolish”) protector, a personal (St. Croix, black mock turtleneck wearing) star in whose light we work and play every day.
Before anyone else in the valley, you openly valued beauty, spoke for beauty, treasured beauty, and reinstated beauty to its rightful elevation despite peers railing against your superficial frivolity, because you understood beauty’s substance, organization and significance; its simplicity and its science. You thought differently and the status quo fell before you.
Sure you were tough, sure you were a competitor, but you chose to invent your success rather than employ mimicry and greed. You bravely chose self-direction over dogma. You embraced, instead of despaired over your different vision. You laughed at yourself. You esteemed your inner voice and stuck by yourself when the world did not. And you challenged and empowered us to do the same because you knew on a very personal level that is why we are here. You tenaciously followed your heart and made that feel doable for the rest of us.
We trusted you. We championed you. We loved you.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.”
“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.”
“Click. Boom. Amazing!”
~ Steve Jobs
August 26, 2011 § 2 Comments
Every August 12th, in honor of your birthday, we took you to In-N-Out Burger where you and your 200 million scent receptors whined, shook, and hyperventilated yourself into a frenzied, near-doggie-coronary trying to hold on a little longer for ‘girls-giving-you-food’ through our car window. Because, well, it was: HAMBURGER + GIRLS GIVING YOU FOOD after all, things for which, year after year, 14 in all, you never seemed to adjust, or regard as common in the slightest way. And your enthusiasm was infectious. And our annual burgers — awe-inspiring!
You were such a kind, funny, and fabulous little spirit and a constant reminder that waking-up with anything but love and happiness in your heart is simply too dull for life. We will always remember how you did that. And we will always feel irreverent for slipping into self-pity or over-burden when there are such things as grass to be run through and balls to be caught. How could anyone be so tipped over with such fine things as these in the world?
When you were just a puppy, a squirmy, squiggy-faced little ball of fluff we thought it would be funny to teach you to talk. And that night that you put your paws on G’s chest, looked deeply into his eyes and delivered your endless sermon, “Arr arr rah rah arrow roo ree rih ruw ru rarra ra…,” I gasp with utter disbelief, and the horror and full understanding that we were teaching you something that you would never be able to fully accomplish! And how disrespectful that was. And we are forever grateful for all of your many, “Rar-rahs,” and, “Ri ruv rus,” trying to please us. And the many, many times you came to tell us that, “Timmy was in the well! Again!” And the valuable lessons of appreciating loved ones, situations, and things for what, and as, and who they are.
You’ve only been gone three weeks and it’s hard missing you, and I think it will be that way for a long time. I wanted you to know that 2 weeks ago we celebrated your 15th, and we cried the whole time, even though the burgers were amazing. The most incredible things we’ve ever tasted. And I wanted to thank you Max for all of your love. We will forever remember and cherish your life lived so very well, and so very high, and for raising-up our understanding of being human.
Ri ruv ru.
July 21, 2011 § 1 Comment
Ok news, I’m on to you now and turning you –off–
I know that you want ALL of us to be freaked-out ALL the time and focused on you with lazar acuity — but you know what, I think you’re trying to pull one over on us. That’s right. Just to sell more ___________ to satisfy your sponsors/ contributors/ investors/ et al, and it’s starting to sound desperate and look evermore transparent — and paying such close attention to you is burning out my rods and cones and hurting my ears.
So while you rant 24/7 and have the rest of the world treading water like panicked wildebeest crossing a croc filled river in the Serengeti, I’ll be keeping my head above water my way, saying arrivederci, and raising my pulse without you, somewhere else, somewhere delicious.
Strangely, I credit you, Rupert, and your agendas and METHODS (you belong in jail) for giving me back more of my summer. So, thanks in advance.
July 16, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Have you ever been tagged to escort Flat Stanley?
If so, you’ve had the chance to spend an entire day playing virtual tour guide for a child who lives in another part of the world by snapping photos of their colored-in Flat Stanley paper-doll against local landmarks while speed-dating your city.
It’s an odd, delightful, silly, exhausting process of hunting photo-ops and parking places, hovering while clicking, clicking while apologizing, because, “Others are trying to GET somewhere!” and simultaneously bonding with past Flat Stanley tour guide victims who’ve, before you, circled blocks ad infinitum, and for us, zigzagged our way across SF’s 7×7.
Here my honey and I are preventing Stanley from flying across the bay to Alcatraz, or Angela Island, or hitching a ride on the Red and White Ferry (that you MAY be able to see in the background at the lower right of the island, and would have seen better if I’d managed to arrange more quickly the complicated finger hold against a moderate to fresh breeze on the Beaufort Scale. And here with nice picture indicators to match-up to the Stanley waves.)
And although I’ll spare you the entire sequence of crooked, fuzzy, hurriedly composed Flat Stanley shots (sadly we missed by a smidge The Palace of Fine Arts fountain geysering out of the top of my head) I did want to mention it makes children very happy, a bit more informed about their world, and feel special and supported — and afterwards you can have large quantities of alcohol at a really great restaurant, laugh off the day, and reaffirm that, “Getting somewhere!” at the expense of being courteous, really, isn’t.
What’s that quote? Ah good, it’s googlable: Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true. ~Robert Brault