Thursday, June 28, 2012

Operation LTLYL & WYA

Last week was the most incredible week so far this year.... and certainly one of the most incredible of my entire life.
Some of you already heard me tell of the discovery I made at  work about a month ago when I realized that the father of one of my bosses is none other than John Irving...... one of America's most brilliant writers AND MY FAVORITE AUTHOR! 
Brief backstory: My senior year English teacher had us read 'A Prayer for Owen Meany'. I had always been an avid reader, but this was the first book that ever made me actually laugh out loud (the Christmas pageant manger scene) and cry uncontrollably. After reading that final sentence, " O God - please give him back! I shall keep asking You." I cried on and off for the next two days.
I've devoured just about everything else he's ever written, save maybe 3 books.
I literally started sweating and screaming and giggling like a goddamn child when those 2s added up to 4. My poor co worker, Adam, probably thought I was having a stroke or complete lapse into retardation.
Cut to last Monday as that very boss pulls up a chair to my desk and begins to whisper,
My Boss: " Sooo my dad is....
(at this point, my face immediately flushes and distorts into the most ginormous and grotesque 'grin' exposing ALL my teeth.... and yes, more sweating)....
is coming into town to do a reading on Thursday. (I'm already nervously giggling and he's looking at me like I'm an insane clown)  I know it's kind of short ....
Me:  (as I cut him off) YES!!!! Oh my gawd, yes!
My Boss: (laughing).....notice... Well, I've already put your name on the list. It's at the Aero Theatre and there's reception beforehand at 7, then the reading is at 8.

..... MY NAME?!?!? ON A LIST???...... TO MEET JOHN IRVING?!?!?!?

Cut to:  the next day - Tuesday .... I'm checking my email and see what I assume is another Submission rejection letter.  "While we very much enjoyed reading your submission, unfortunately it does not meet our publication's needs at this time. Please don't take this as a reflection on your work, and best of luck." 
BUT, lo and behold twas not a rejecton but an acceptance letter!! I'm sorry.... WHAT?!!? BEST WEEK EVAAHHH, and it was only Tuesday!
Here's the accepted poem:

Last Call

Licking lesions with a coarse tongue, salty with sound bites
There is safety in this dark and heavy handed silence,
drowning the ghosts of last call in danceable beats of fortitude bordering on self-righteousness
while detached feet trace names and diagrams of change in the dust.

Cut to: Thursday 7:00pm on the dot....sitting in my car trying to stop the hyperventilating... and again with the goddamn sweating. I'm frantically reaching around in the backseat to find my gym towel to attempt to slow the profuse perspiration before it
A) ruins my new Betsey Johnson top
2) makes me look like a bigger idiot than already anticipated

I walk straight up to the door, give them my name and stumble in very uncooly. I purposely avoid looking for my boss or any of my other co-workers in order to try and stop myself from visibly shaking! I buy his new book (pre-signed), get a glass of wine and proceed to expertly hold up the back wall. Finally, I decide to kill some more time ... and YES, deal with the effing sweating by going to the bathroom. With my nerves feeling steadier, I reemerge only to practically run into John as he walks past with his agent, manager, handler, whoever, to the 'green room'. Yep you guessed it, the flood gates opened yet again and the shaking resumed....sigh.
I book it downstairs to finally find the rest of the group, and my boss spots me. He's laughing and thoroughly enjoying my complete lack of control over my childlike excitement and the absence of my usual but never to be seen again, at least for the rest of the night, cool as a cucumber poise.
My Boss: " So are you finally ready to meet my dad? .... because here he comes!" ...
Me: Wait, what?! I'm not ready!!!!
My Boss: "Dad, I want you to meet my friend Courtney. She works for me and is a pretty big fan"
John EFFING Irving: Hi there, nice to meet you.
Me: Oh my gawd sir, it is such a pleasure to meet you. You have no idea! This is one of the greatest moments of my life. (all of this is completely incoherent because my ear to ear grin is garbling my speech) I'm really going to try and not geek out on you too much, but....
My Boss: (laughing) Hold it together Courtney...
John graciously smiles, then gets pulled away by other fans.
I then turn in a slow circle around myself desperately trying to hold in the tears threatening to start and never stop. You'd think it was 1964 and the Beatles just walked off the plane in New York. Seriously, I was mere seconds from being THAT girl. I know this all sounds a smidge extreme, he's just an author you might be saying, but I respect and admire this man soooooo much! I've looked at his picture in the back of his novels a million times, wondering what he was like and how he got so damn brilliant!  I can't think of any actors I would be that excited about meeting. Now, musicians as you all might surmise is a different story.....So John Irving and certain musicians can instantaneously turn me into a blubbering goober. Apparently, it's pretty entertaining.

THEN my boss says, "I don't know if you have plans after this, but Dad wanted to take us all to dinner..."
I literally felt my knees buckle.
"Have you eaten already? Do you want to join us?"
Me: "Are you serious?! No, I haven't eaten... Are you kidding? I was too nervous to eat.  And ummm, YES I would love to!"

I won't continue to bore you with the minutiae of how I continued to slobber over myself throughout the reading and dinner. I will say though that the whole experience was like winning the lottery, especially when he signed and personalized my well worn copy of 'A Prayer for Owen Meany.' I'm getting all verklempt just reliving it. This once in a lifetime gift makes the fact that I was virtually silent save for the steady crazed grin and occasional nervous laugh because my brain was completely void of having anything articulate to add to the conversation more acceptable. 
In addition to being staggeringly brilliant and hilarious, John Irving is equally lovely and gracious. I know he must've been thinking the whole time, "Who IS this freak that my son brought?!" ... And I'm okay with that. 

If you ever have the opportunity to meet one of your idols, I highly recommend it. You will be forever humbled and changed. What a FABULOUS  prologue to my 32nd year!

Many may be breathing a sigh of relief, whether you realize it or not, as Venus Retrograde came to an end yesterday. Visit this page if you want to go deeper into it, but basically it’s a time where old friends and lovers may make a cameo appearance or current friends/lovers temporarily (or permanently, depending on what you choose) bow out as a way of resolving karmic crap and/or shedding light on our relationship to love in general and our subsequent behavioral patterns.
Venus’s ‘backward motion’ is not as common as the infamous Mercury Retro-fuck, it only occurs every 20 months and last for 6 weeks at a time.

I chose to take advantage of the opportunities the planets were presenting; to re-evaluate and ‘clean house’.  I fully embraced my Cancerian shell like a kid staying up too late to read with a flashlight under the covers. That’s not to say I never went out but when I did, it was only with my immediate entourage – no dates, no lovers, nada! The majority of my time was spent at home in the evenings alone cooking, writing and working on art. There was something about this month that took more effort than *normal to be social and available, even with said inner circle. (*Over the years, I’ve become very adept at being outgoing and social, and have learned to really enjoy that side of me but it is not my inherent nature by any stretch of the imagination.) My self imposed quarantine has been delicious! I’ve been blessed with any number of eye and heart opening realizations, one of them being that I really need to re-incorporate more ‘off the grid’ time, meaning from time to time even the fancy fruit phone is going MIA! I know, crazy right?! I can feel a few of you freaking out at the very thought of it.  Most people are so used to me being ‘Super Available Girl’, ready to respond within miliseconds…and when my phone is on I feel a responsibility to constantly check in and be that to everyone. It used to drive Mr. Berlin nuts! And it used to drive me nuts that he wasn’t equally available, but I understand it and respect it so much more now. You were and are right ODB! But until I can train myself to have it with me and NOT check it constantly and respond immediately, I am warning ya’ll now there will be times when I’m just gonna have to power that mother down. One of my many discoveries was a brilliant statement of pure common sense, (isn’t is usually?)  “What you allow is what will continue.” There have been times when I’ve gotten very overwhelmed at so many texts coming in at once, and my insane need to respond a novel to each and every one. Then I stepped back, looked at my annoyance and reminded myself, “I alone have allowed this and thus it will continue until I make a different choice.” I applied it to just about everything in my life…
I even stepped back and looked at a few names in my phone, and thought about the circumstances and experiences surrounding that person and our relationship. When I realized I didn’t want whatever that story represented and brought to the table, I deleted them. Not that this will surprise any of you, I tend to be a deleter. It’s not as cruel as it sounds, but this month emphasized my truth that if someone or something in my life isn’t serving my highest good then I don’t have room for it or them.  Who’s wondering right now if it was them?  Don’t worry, these people don’t even know I have a blog probably, and if they did they wouldn’t read it anyway. So if you’re reading this, you’re probably safe. Muuwahahaha…
With my knee back in good form, I re-committed to biking to work, hiking and yoga. I cleaned up my diet even more than normal, and parred the booze waaay down. And when I did imbibe I got my fill much faster.... clarity and awareness awake on all levels. There was a lot more that came up for me in terms of what I want and where I want my focus to be over the next few years ... a non-plan plan, if you will (thx ODB) but those I will share in time as they start to unfold. Chelle just came back from Colorado with a shirt for me that says, "Live the life you love." That and the 'What you allow..' statement are my mottos for the year......
Operation LTLYL & WYA commence!

I always do a self-inventory before my birthday, but I went deeeep this year and it paid off enormously! There are still things I do not want to continue this 'next trip around the sun' as my mama always says, and I'm trying to figure out how not to allow those.....but on the whole I do feel like I'm right on track and am quite pleased with where I am and who I am. In general, I am completely enamored with my thirties. Sure I have some pounds I'd love to lose, more cellulite, more blemishes, more grays, more left eye smile lines than I'd like, but truth be told I've never felt sexier or more at home in my skin.
Even though the month is not officially over, the end of Venus Retrograde felt like the appropriate time to reemerge from my shell. And even more appropriately, my fast was broken by something (someone) juicy, delicious, sincere, familiar and full of integrity. What you allow............ :-)
I love the idea of allowing even more juiciness, deliciousness, sincerity, and integrity into my life. 

So the partaaay starts NOW! 


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hippie Speak (astrological goodies, a plane crash dream, and other fine gems)

My cup runneth over with thoughts and things to say.... 
so settle in, you're gonna be here awhile...
    Firstly, I have to acknowledge and honor the fact (and I know I've said this before, but it begs repeating) that my life is blessed with the most incredible men (my dad of course!), whatever their title may be; friend, co worker, ex, former lover, current lover, crush, etc... For all the crap I've received over the years for being mysterious, elusive, and/or closed off somehow these men have been able to cut through all that or just see past it and see ME! I received a souvenir yesterday from a co-worker's latest business trip; a beautiful piece of limestone as big as my palm that looks like hardened lace still wet with the water and sand of Barbados. I thanked him in the moment, but took time later to send him a proper thank you email:  
"Just had to tell you how much I love that piece of limestone!! I didn't want to embarrass you by gushing too much in person, even though I wanted to.... In addition to being spectacularly thoughtful you must also be remarkably perceptive to know that such a souvenir is perfect for a dork like me who's favorite shelves at home are full of rocks (and bones, but that just makes me a creepy dork so we'll stick with the rocks) Or maybe it was a complete afterthought.... Either way, you totally made my day! Thank you!" To which he replied, "Yeah, total afterthought... I stubbed my toe and and thought of you! C'mon CT I know your coven would appreciate that little artifact! (yr welcome)"
It just again reminded me that THIS is the kind of man my life is full of...
     I can already hear Kevin's voice, who's about to say "You know they're just trying to sleep with you right?!" So let me stop you and just say that yes I realize not all men are pillars of piety, but I stand firm in my truth that most if not all of these men would come to my 'rescue' if need be even without any hope of sex....because several of them already have!
So Thank You to Andrew, Reid, Steve, Mr. Berlin, Rob, Adam, CJ, Jeff, Kevin, KevinD, Greg, Gilbert, Markus O, Riccardo, Eddie, Raj, Prajunna and Prassana... for truly seeing and understanding me in all my faults and beauty,  thereby making me feel loved! 
** To all the fabulous women in my life, you know I love you to the moon and back and am not overlooking your fabulously unconditional love by any means.... this one just needed to go out to all the men :-)
Moving on ....... 
“Untangling the Curls”
This week is a pretty powerful one astrologically. Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse yesterday and Venus Transit across the sun today! Yea, but what the fuck does that mean you ask? Lucky for you I have highlighted the most pertinent pieces of the puzzle, although I would recommend reading the whole thing I know most of you won't.
Overview: The month of June 2012 is bustling with activity. We jump-start the month with a Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius at 14 degrees on June 4th, 2012 is the second of the pair of the eclipses. It is a time where we close a symbolic door and contribute to an ending of a chapter in our lives.
A Lunar Eclipse happens at the time of this Full Moon. Tides within the emotional level may run high and low. It is wise to ‘cleanse’ and re-balance now. Eclipse energy tends to symbolically “quicken” issues, situations and event as well as propels people towards the next step. With the Lunar Eclipse it involves ‘ illuminating endings’ combined with Full Moon which is ‘culmination’ we have potent energy to “let go.” And this wave can continue from the day of the Lunar Eclipse for up to six months afterwards.
The Sun (in Gemini) and the Moon (in Sagittarius) are in a ‘opposition’ to one another. This represents we must come to terms with a conflict or something that we are in the midst of a ‘tug of war’ with. It begins within the mind and a single perception can help move energy.
A rare delight that happens right after the Lunar Eclipse on June 5th/ 6th, 2012. It is the ‘Venus Transit’ where Venus conjuncts the Sun and crosses the face of it. This type of ‘Venus Transit’ occurred back in 2004 in the sign of Gemini and will not happen again until 2117. Keep in mind that all Venusian themes; love, relationships, values, intimacy, giving/receiving, finances/money, self-worth, creativity and such will be prominent as the they will be symbolically lit up and heated up by the Sun’s solar light. Since we are still under a Venus is Retrograde phase, we may be reflecting, revising, reviewing and restructuring. It is time to seek ‘balance and harmony’ with the Venusian themes.
At the time of the Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse; there is a mutable T-square’ aspect that involves Sun/Moon, Venus retrograde and Mars in Virgo. This symbolism suggests high-strung energy that is driving each to let go and move on. It is possible for major bickering, emotional upsets, irritations and arguments to break out over misunderstandings now.
Some relationships or situations may abruptly come to an end for others, it is the final closure. It is important to be with someone who values you and make choices now that are loving towards yourself. Do your best to be forthright and honest in communication rather than sugar-coating the new or information. For some, information that is disclosed could bring major relationship upsets. This is not the best time to be a control freak or over analyze things as it will only increase stress and agitation.
The potential is to be flexible towards letting go of perceptions and false beliefs that generate inner tension and frustrations. How do you let go of disappointments and unrealistic expectations? Realize you are responsible for your processing, perception and emotions about the issue or situation.
Reclaim your power by getting centered and realigned with your Wisdom Self/Soul. Meditation, yoga, taking a walk in Nature can all be helpful now. Relax and let go. Accept and move forward. Forgive and Heal. Allow the Lunar Eclipse to help ‘wash away the past.’
Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius on Monday, June 4th, 2012, at 7:12 AM EDT.

On Monday morning, a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse occurs. Lunar Eclipses are about relationships and polarities. With the Gemini-Sagittarius axis involved, this Lunar Eclipse presses us to look more closely at our needs, lacks, and wants in our lives concerning the balance between Gemini-ruled and Sagittarius ruled areas of life. The Gemini-Sagittarius polarity is a mental axis, where Gemini represents the "lower mind" and Sagittarius represents the "higher mind". The Gemini Sun encourages us to think logically, while the Sagittarius Moon persuades us to intuit, and to think in a broader manner. Sagittarius symbolizes the quest for meaning and ideas that expand upon the "here and now". Gemini is quite comfortable in his or her immediate environment or neighborhood, while Sagittarius stimulates us to venture beyond it. Neglecting either end of the axis will surely backfire on us. Ideally, a balance should be found between the two energies, and this is what the Lunar Eclipse invites us to do. This eclipse is about communication, attitude, and our sense of adventure. Something has been building inside of us, and now is the time when the energy of the cosmos fairly demands that we let it out. Over the coming weeks, we will discover what this means for us. For now, we can't sit on our feelings. We need to express them.
Some sort of crisis (which can be a crisis of consciousness) or sudden awareness of a lack in our lives provides us with a golden opportunity to explore our emotional needs within the context of the house polarity where the eclipse occurs in our natal charts. Relationships may be challenged, broken, or strengthened dramatically at this time. Our discovery is emotionally charged and dramatic. Epiphanies are likely at this time as we become acutely aware of our lack. This understanding can propel us into positive action, although there can be some level of chaos initially.
     For me and several people I know this explains so much of what we've been feeling and experiencing. I felt very drawn to honor the full moon last night, so I took myself to the beach for sunset, moon tide admiration, a little journaling and a little card reading.... and yes that would be tarot card, animal tarot card to be exact. I drew 2 cards from The Shapeshifters; Butterfly and Daddy Longlegs ... both more or less having to do with metamorphosis, creation, deepening of relationships, etc. The sentence from the last highlighted section, "Something has been building inside of us..." explains exactly where I'm at right now, that and the 'cleansing and re-balancing'.
I recently had a dream, right before the start of the new month that I was in a plane crash.....
I actually felt the impact of the plane hitting the water, and in the morning my knuckles felt bruised from the brace position we had to take. While everyone was screaming the closer we got to the water, I had a slight smile on my face and thought "I'm totally ok with dying." Then we hit and even though my heart was pounding I was surprisingly calm and just kept watching out the window.
In the end, the plane actually drove itself back out of the water...

Basically, to quote myself (and be completely obnoxious by doing so) ... "my stripes ripple beneath the blades of my wings..." And my wings are getting restless...

THEN I see that Karen reposted this blog on Facebook via Paulo Coelho ( The Alchemist)
When you stop walking…
by Paulo Coelho on June 5, 2012

In one of my books (The Zahir), I try to understand why people are so afraid of changing. When I was right in the middle of writing the text, I came across an odd interview with a woman who had just written a book on – guess what? – love.
The journalist asks whether the only way a human being can become happy is to find their beloved. The woman says no:
“Love changes, and nobody understands that. The idea that love leads to happiness is a modern invention, dating from the late 17th century. From that time on, people have learned to believe that love should last for ever and that marriage is the best way to exercise love. In the past there was not so much optimism about the longevity of passion.
“Romeo and Juliet isn’t a happy story, it’s a tragedy. In the last few decades, expectation has grown a lot regarding marriage being the path towards personal accomplishment. Disappointment and dissatisfaction have also grown at the same time.”
According to the magical practices of the witchdoctors in the North of Mexico, there is always an event in our lives that is responsible for our having stopped making progress. A trauma, a particularly bitter defeat, disappointment in love, even a victory that we fail to quite understand, ends up making us act cowardly and incapable of moving ahead. The witchdoctor finds and gets rid of this “accommodating point”. To do so, he has to review our life and discover where this point lies.
Because, according to the story that we were told, at a certain moment in our lives “we reach our limit”. There are no more changes to be made. We won’t grow any more. Both professionally and in love, we have reached the ideal point, and it’s best to leave things as they are. But the truth is that we can always go further. Love more, live more, risk more.
Immobility is never the best solution. Because everything around us changes (including love) and we must accompany that rhythm.
I have been married to the same person for 33 years, but metaphorically speaking, the same marriage contains several “new marriages” during our relationship. Our bodies and souls changed, and we are still together. If we wanted to keep on as we were in 1979, I don’t think we would have come so far.

 THEN while reading, Pandora played this song.....


So this is the end of the story
Everything we had, everything we did
Is buried in dust
And this dust is all that's left of us
And only a few ever worried

While the signs will clear

They have no idea
You just get used to living in fear
Or give up
When you can't even picture your future

We walk the plank with our eyes wide open

We walk the plank with our eyes wide open we

(walk the plank with our eyes wide open)
Yeah we walk the plank with our eyes wide open we
(walk the plank with our eyes wide open we)

Some people offered up answers

We made out like we heard
They were only words
They didn't add up
To a change in the way we were living
And the saddest thing
Is all of it could have been avoided

But it was like to stop consuming's

to stop being human
And why'd I make a change if you won't?
We're all in the same boat
Staying afloat for the moment

We walk the plank with our eyes wide open we

(walk the plank with our eyes wide open we)
And we walk the plank with our eyes wide open we
(walk the plank with our eyes wide open we) (x2)

With our eyes wide open we

We walk the plank, we walk the plank (x3)

With our eyes wide open we...

So that is the end of the story 

SEE?! ... like I said, it's a powerful and an interesting time....
A month to re-examine and play witchdoctor to ourselves to find our 'accommodating point' and begin to 'walk the plank with our eyes wide open'

be mindful, stay open!!