beautiful, outstanding, ecstatic--

My heart was stolen when I was 18. I fell in love hard. She is everything person strives to be- beautiful, outstanding, ecstatic, hilarious, loyal, intelligent, emotional, determined, fierce, gorgeous, witty, disastrous, balanced, talented, tumultuous, self-reliant, a walking firecracker. She reminds me of the seasons changing: reliable yet surprising, beautiful, always changing yet dependable. Even though we're approximately 2, 4641.4 miles apart, I'm still in love with her. And somehow, for some reason, she loves me back. She is my best friend. I'm sorry for sentimentality. I payed a lot of money to go to school to learn how to write without sentimentality, but fuck it! Lisa is turning 25, she whirled around this planet for a quarter of a century, and if that doesn't deserve a little emotional tribute than I don't know what does.
Lisa is a graphic designer, and many other things, for 5ultimate. She studied international relations and Element Ultimate Frisbee for 5 years at UW, half of which time she was on playing field across American and the other half she was holed up at Zoka Cafe writing papers on displaced people and diaspora. Lisa is on her second year as a semi-pro ultimate player on Riot, one of the top women's ultimate teams in the world. She is from Ballard. She's been all over the globe, visiting her parents who are traveling around the world on their boat. She studied in Nepal and India. She's a superstar. She's a heart breaker. And I miss her, a lot. Sometimes I feel her pulling me back to Seattle, a force as elemental as the tidals being yanked inward the celestial bodies.


I have been hella sick since returning from Chile 5 months ago. The highlight reel of this sickness includes losing 15 pounds in 4 days and being imprisoned in a Cleveland, TN hospital on Easter Sunday! The latter is not an exaggeration- they really did lock me in and put security outside my door. I have been denied treatment, witnessed a doctor ripping up my prescriptions in front of me, had blood work results lost and both arms turn blue after 11 needle sticks to try and get an IV in. It's been an astoundingly revealing foray into the invasive labyrinth of Western medicine. Needless to say, I'm done with it. I've choked on it and spit it out. This summer I've been pursuing 'alternative' forms of medicine such as natureopathy, homeopathy, nutrition and visualization. (Although, I don't think that 'alternative' is an accurate label for any of those.)

Growing up, I wasn't exposed to any of the alternative forms of healing (and for the record I don't think that 'alternative' is an accurate label for them.) Ergo, it's all brand new to me. I'm taking the investigative journalist approach to it: every appointment is research. I am now selecting from the services offered from Bastyr teaching clinic with the same vigor with which I used to approach the New China Buffet in Ballard, before it burned down in '03.

Western medicine has its place, and so do drugs. Until now, if you add up all my ER visits you could easily label me as an MD-junkie. I've been stitched up, examined, injected, palpated, IVed, burned shut and whirl-pool therapied. In short, and put through all the misery of check-ups and ER visits that we all go through if we are lucky enough to have access, money, and insurance. I've taken pills for sore muscles, anxiety, depression, migraines, skin stuff (still not quite sure one-time dermatologist is a known train wreck in Seattle....should have caught on when she had EVERY appointment time was available in a three week time-span). I've taken pills to kill infections, induce sleep, dull random pain, mend kidneys, destroy ulcers, reduce inflammation, prevent gangrene and lower my heart rate. And all of them were prescribed by a doctor.

As a whole, they succeeded to: prevent pain, lift my out of depression, dull my emotions, save my life, temporarily destroy my skin (during a visit to my then-boyfriend's family's house for Christmas...damn you, Dr. Feinstein!!) drain my bank account (600$ for SIX migraine pills) put me to sleep in 16 seconds, tore up my stomach lining, induced headaches, gained weight, lost weight, provided the relief that I was desperate for, knocked me out, made me crazy, prevented gangrene, and lowered my heart rate.

To name a few.

It's just too hectic.

Anyway, from now on, prevention, nutrition and natureopathy will reign unless an emergency arises. And this would not be possible if Bastyr Teaching Clinic in Wallingford did not operate on a sliding scale payment plan.

Man, are you still reading?? Good on you! The whole point of this was to introduce to you an extremely beneficial yoga pose I learned yesterday, but I think I'll make that its own post. If you've got any thoughts on western medicine vs. alternative, leave them here!

I don't think the people at the add agency knew much about kayaking

If you've missed the first two posts about my audition for a Tampax television commercial, you can catch up here and here.

I step into the audition room, on the heels of the large and the Lana Veekner of Lana Veekner Talent Agency in Portland, Oregon. She is large, cheerful and draped in an oversized brown, belted tunic. This took me by surprise as I had been preparing for a svelte, chain-smoking lady holding a cup of coffee that was as black as her outfit. She would call me'dahling.' She would be surrounded by a posse of equally cool younger men, also black-clad; one would have a scarf, one would be gay, one would be strict and unsmiling, probably with sunglasses.

Instead it was just Lana, the tunic-ed Lana, telling me nicely to sit in a chair and hold a broomstick as if it were a paddle. There were video cameras surrounding me 360 degrees. Now, I have spent a little time rotating in front of the trick mirrors at clothes shops and New York City bathrooms -the ones where your reflection seems to go on forever- so thankfully this didn't phase me. (One more salute to vanity.)

She snapped on the armory of cameras and asked me to talk about my kayaking experience. "Great!" Said Lana. "Now, the rapids they'll be having you run will be really big, so that the effect really comes across. Maybe even a waterfall."

My stomach tightens but I keep my face smooth. "Oh, now, that's fantastic. I just love big rapids, and I've done some great waterfalls." (Lie, not a lie.)

"Now, due to your experience, would you be interested in shooting the action, but not delivering the lines? They may decide to go that route if they can't find the right person."

Then I sat down on the chair and picked up my paddle-broom. Lana popped out from behind the cameras and placed a messenger bag across my chest so that it rested on my side. Inside was a box of Tampax pearls. "Now, when you reference the product, turn and take out the box from the bag. You'll be wearing this bag during the shoot. "

Back up the train- when I'm braving the aforementioned 'really big rapids maybe a waterfall' I'lll be wearing a backpack???

Oh no.

Don't Hate, Investigate! Question 1

If you're struggling your way through the rough tunnels of guilt, pain, regret, heartbreak and all those unfortunate things, well....c'est terrible. And you're right, no one envies you. But on the other hand.....welcome to the club! The club of we've all been there. Once you've clawed your way through something truly rotten, you get instant VIP membership.

One of the most potent elements of negative emotions is that they create a facade of isolation, like you're walking around with one of those fish-bowl space helmet on. You are separated, no longer included in the world around you. This exclusion is something only you can perceive, but that makes it all the worse. If no one is aware of your internal isolation, then no one is going to reach on in there and yank you out. You are 100% alone in your heartbreak/anger/depression/guilt/you-name-it.
The tumultuous, lonely rapids of isolated suffering

As it turns out, you are never alone in your experience. Everybody goes through it. That's everybody- no exceptions. You can choose to battle the rapids of suffering all by your lonesome- but be aware, they're be steep, and studded with undercuts. Far better to pull the cork off, open up, and hop on the raft of human connection. It's still going to be a bumpy ride, but you are guaranteed safe arrival to the tranquil shores of resolution. Best of all, at the end of it, you'll find yourself with a gift to take home for keeps- the sweet fruit of empathy.
Arriving victorious at the island of resolution of happiness

The one pitfall is that we're programmed not to talk about it. This is a problem. It prevents people from being able to help you. It prevents you from being able to help yourself. Worst of all it renders all the empathy in the world useless, because you're not making it known that you're in great need of some.

My goal is to chisel through that isolation- not easy in a place as icy-cool as Seattle. If Seattlites had their way, they'd have you thinking they were flawless, tech-savvy, yoga-lated (that's yoga + pilates) subhumans that survive on shade-grown, fair-trade, organic espresso and probiotics and have never had a pit-stain.

This, ladies and gentleman, is a lie. They are liars. Though well dressed (in that casual way) and wealthy enough to have the townhouse and the prius, they are nevertheless confined to their own prison created by years of slight (never admitted) personal failures, social and sexual repression, sun-deficiency and the long ago but still lingering moments of great embarrassment they've never been able to get over because they won't talk about it.

And today, I am going to help bust them out.

I decided to start light. I thought of an issue that has been eating at me since I first went to boarding school at 15.

Then I went to the mother-ship of all the shade grown yoga tech-masters: Zoka cafe in Seattle's ever gentrified Greenlake neighborhood. I asked this question to everyone who walked in the door between the hours of 10 am- 1pm.

Have you ever secretly eaten your roomate's food, and then proceeded to lie about it?

The results: a whole lot of people.

Only a few nos and a few other I've never had a roomate. Then there was the hard-to-tally I've never had a roomate but I've stolen everyone else's food. Loved the answer, I'm going to give it an honorary 'yes' vote.

Best of all, I heard some good stories: office luncheons raped, morning meeting danish pillaged, chinese buffets riding home concealed in plastic bags hidden in the purse or breifcase, entire birthday cakes devoured before the birthday-person was even aware of their own celebration.

The results were so astounding that I felt a palpable throb of connection pulsating through the cafe. And now, of course, I'd like to extend the question to you. Less a question, and more an invitation to join me. To join us.

Have you ever secretly eaten your roomate's food, and then proceeded to lie about it?

Answer. Free yourself.

Ice cream: $4.00
Abercrombie shirt: $42.00 (free for Tino, he was a model)
The Human Connection: Priceless