Friday, June 26, 2015

Dream Log: 6/26 early AM

My entire family was visiting me in Boston, more specifically Cambridge.  For some reason I lived there, rather than in Allston, which I could actually afford.  But Cambridge wasn't as it actually is.  My dream included Harvard, which for the most part looked as it does in reality.  But everything else was changed.  Areas appeared in circles rather than linear streets, but that wasn't apparent until you got to driving and realized that you couldn't get to where you wanted to go.

My family and I wanted to get to Back Bay, which is usually rather simple from Cambridge, even if it does take a while. It was me, my parents, my siblings, and Nana and Papa. Yes, Papa was there, too. It was him as I remember him when I was a little girl: tall, tan, able to run around, and a little feisty, too.  We all piled in the van; I was driving. I told everyone I knew the way and that we would be in Back Bay in 15 minutes. I went the normal route and it took me somewhere unexpected - some kind of dead-end that wasn't necessarily ugly or deserted, just not where that road was supposed to take me.

I asked someone I saw there which way to go, and when their answer sounded strange I decided to just use my GPS.  Following its instructions, I ended up driving into an underground street that was actually part of some concert venue.  Rock/avant-garde concert, not classical concert.  I saw a friend from Boston and he told me that I might as well stay and play, but I told him that I had to get my family to Back Bay.

I turned around and Nina was there, so I asked her for directions. She said it's simple: turn left at the end of the street (going back the way I came) and I'll be on the road that will take me to Back Bay. The only problem with this route was that there was a $345 toll. At first I heard her wrong, "$3.45 is a weird number." But then I learned better.

I thanked her and asked my GPS to take me that way but to try to avoid that toll road. Possible, it said. I would just make a quick right and then square back around, somehow avoiding this toll which had never been there before.  Driving down the appropriate street, I kept looking for the road to the right. I saw all of these possibilities between buildings, but when I looked I realized that each was blocked by a brick wall.  As I neared the end of the road, where I'd make that rather expensive left turn, I as shocked to see that there was a 'ONE WAY' sign, and it was pointing to the right...I couldn't even turn left on that road.

That's when I realized that Papa wasn't with us and we pulled over to wait. He came running and jumped in the van.


That's when I woke up.

I feel that the symbolism in this dream is more straight-forward than others I've had.  A sense of being lost probably comes from feeling a bit uprooted, considering the move and the search for a new job and direction.

I wonder if all of the unexpected turns and diverges have to do with this path to my true success not being what I expected, not being what others have done in the past, hence their directions never ringing true.

In my dream I thought I knew how to get to where I was going, but I gave up after one try.  Otherwise I folloed the advice of others, or of our technological gadgets that are supposed to help us.  Perhaps if I had tried of my own intuition one more time I would have taken the family to where they were needed to go, thereby earning success in their eyes as well as my own.

I do feel like they're watching me try to figure out how to get to my true success.  In particular, I know Papa is aware of all of these things.

I hope I get there one day, to the symbolic "Back Bay" of this dream; perhaps what I'm supposed to see is that only I know the way, but that doesn't mean I'll get to it on the first try.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Last Night's Dream

Last night my dream was so vivid that I must record it here.


I was with my family (parents, brother, sister and brother-in-law, and husband) at my childhood home, where my parents still live.  My bedroom was as it is now, complete with French doors that open to a balcony.  Here's where things get weird.

When I walked up to my room I noticed there were many animals on the balcony. One was Loo, my cat in real life. With her were her 6 kittens that she gave birth to last October, in addition three little birds. (Yeah, no idea.) The birds were all mustard yellow in color.

In the yard below, visible to me from the balcony's vantage point, was a massive female gorilla.  She, too, wanted to come inside, but this made me fearful, for obvious reasons.  I wanted to think she would be able to sit with me, discuss things (in sign language, of course), but I was ultimately scared that I would accidentally do something upsetting to her, resulting in harm to me and my family.

Fast forward a few minutes and we are all in the kitchen, scared of the gorilla outside. My mom insists on opening the garage door to move the car in - why, I have no idea.  The gorilla had moved to that part of the house, posed to run inside were the door to raise.  We managed to raise and lower the garage door quickly enough to keep her from getting in, but all this time I had the urge to protect my family yet comfort the gorilla and let her know that I couldn't let her in not because I was afraid of her, but because I didn't know how to treat her in a way that would be good for her.

Moments later, I woke up.


After looking up some of the loose symbolism associated with these animals, colors, places, and people, I'm taking this dream as a sign of the beginning of healing that I've needed to do for myself for quite some time.
When I muster the courage I will write about that particularly needs healing, but for now I'm finding comfort in this dream, as strange as it was.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015


The me I am considers herself spiritual-
The me I want to be is enlightened.

The me I am trusts her own spirit-
The me I want to be stops judging it.

The me I am guilts herself far too much-
The me I want to be recognizes when that guilt is and is not deserved.

The me I am is indebted-
The me I want to be stops judging it.

The me I am manslaughters plants (plantslaughters??)-
The me I want to be nurses orchids.

The me I am seems to not have green thumbs-
The me I want to be stops judging it.

The me I am thrives in sun and heat-
The me I want to be thrives in any time and place.

The me I am despises winter as early as mid-January-
The me I want to be stops judging it.

The me I am has a beer to unwind-
The me I want to be drinks hot tea.

The me I am enjoys having a beer to unwind-
The me I want to be stops judging it.

The me I am doesn't like running-
The me I want to be runs half-marathons.

The me I am prefers stretching over cardio-
The me I want to be stops judging it.

The me I am finds confidence in body image-
The me I want to be finds confidence in my soul's image.

The me I am needs to look good, else all is futile-
The me I want to be stops judging it.

The me I am seeks positive reinforcement-
The me I want to be realizes I don't need it.

The me I am feels unsure often-
The me I want to be stops judging it.

The me I am doesn't quite understand the "professional" obsession-
The me I want to be is herself without debate.

The me I am somehow enjoys feeling "professional"-
The me I want to be stops judging it.

The me I am (I'll just say it) loves to eat cookie dough-
The me I want to be has more self control than that.

The me I am wants to quit [almost] eating her feelings-
The me I want to be stops judging it.

The me I am critiques every situation-
The me I want to be accepts every moment.

The me I am defines all terms-
The me I want to be stops judging [me].

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Forgotten Love

For the first time in a really, really long time, I sat at home last night and watched some movies. It was Friday night and husband is out of town. Conditions were perfect.

As I sat there, spending about 20 minutes trying to figure out what to watch, I remembered the time in my life when Blockbuster (wow, that sentence could end there, couldn't it?) had the 3 for $5 deal of "movies in the middle" - aka: all the movies you would rather watch than the most recent Hollywood monstrosity. I loved finding some movie I'd never heard of with a small cast of actors I'd also never heard of and just holing up for an evening to watch them. Such a simple pleasure, and what a nice gift to myself.

Last night I watched two movies, both independently produced: Liberal Arts and In Your Eyes. Let me throw out a disclaimer: they were both more romantic-leaning than anything else, but they also were made of small casts, were not romantic comedies, and had absolutely nothing to do with Jennifer Aniston.

The main actor, Josh Radnor, in Liberal Arts also wrote and directed the film. It's about two people of different ages finding growth together. But! They don't grow into each other as so many cheesy films do; they  rely on each other to grow apart, yet more into themselves. It was actually really lovely.  Elizabeth Olsen plays Zibby, a 19-year old college sophomore who is (at least in contrast to Radnor's Jesse) unafraid of life and experience. He buries himself in books; she buries herself in saying "yes." I will excitedly look for other movies with Olsen, as I really enjoyed her energy and effortlessness.

You can watch the trailer by clicking on the title above.

The other movie I watched, again with actors unknown (but somehow recognized...odd) was In Your Eyes.  This film relied on mainly two actors who only had one scene together, and it came at the very end of the story. Characters Rebecca and Dylan are connected by telekinesis; even though they've spent years experiencing each other's lives, it isn't until they're in their late 20's that they actually figure out what's happening. Of course, they spend much time together this way, speaking for hours each day even though they live on opposite sides of the country.

The story has the classic scenario of man-rescues-woman-from-other-man (and herself?), but since it's within the framework of this incredibly unique and sensitive dynamic it doesn't bother me. Usually it's very cliche, the "man on the white horse," thing. But, since Dylan is an ex-con who steals a car to get to her, it's a little different.

Some might say this film is part of the Supernatural Romance genre. I suppose so. But I don't think the point of the film is to investigate the romantic prowess of telekinesis.

I found myself thinking about the yearning we have to search for someone to jump into the abyss of ourselves with us. We don't want someone to diagnose what we are or what we do, but we want them to understand us. We want the questions about ourselves to be answered before we're made aware of them, and we want someone to know us so well that they can sense when to save us from the world and when to save us from ourselves.

There's a certain beauty in finding another human that can want to see what you see, and perhaps that's the allegory of the film. See me and you will find me. And I'll see you and we'll feel complete because we understand. Even if we understand nothing else.

Live on this separate plane with me, and don't ask me to come down.

- -

It gets hard to think about music this way.  It's my passion, my career, and my science.  I must understand its pieces, analyze its motives.  I'm not surprised by it anymore.  Compositions are soliloquies and monologues more than wishes and other worlds. How do I find that magic again? Why can I experience such depth from silly films on Netflix but not from the pieces I spend hours working on? Are those that claim to find it in them... lying? Or did I somewhere make a wrong turn?

Did I somehow miss the moment that I started to wonder about formulas more than heartfelt, heart-wrenching questions? Or am I not finding the right music?  I wonder if I subconsciously choose to forget I love plays and films because then I don't have to feel these lamentations. One doesn't have to be better than the other, I know, but I hope it's ok to wonder from time to time.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Casey's Birthday Risotto

There are only a few things I'm willing to improvise in the kitchen: one is curry, the other is risotto.  My dear friend Jeremy served me the first risotto I've ever tasted, and as he said then, "It's all about the butter and cheese."  

I've stuck with that, and it seems to work. 

Other things about risotto: it takes a long time, you must stir, and NEVER add too much water at once.

Casey loves risotto, so that's what I made him for his birthday. I've tried to write down the recipe because it was such a unique flavor profile, but since my measuring methods consist of "big clumps" and "a couple of squirts of Sriracha" it's kind of hard to write down...

Birthday Risotto

Stuffs ya need:
3 or 4 T Earth Balance vegan butter (yes, regular butter works)
half of a red onion, diced
half of a white onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic (I think...just go for a bunch)
Not Chick'n bouillon cube
almost 2C arborio rice
4 -5 C water, heated in pan
dried marjoram
chili powder
black pepper
almost 1C Romano cheese 
green onion (for garnish)

1. Before you start any burners, chop everything you need.
2. Heat the water in a pan to boiling, then add the bouillon cube and reduce to warm.  meanwhile.....
3. In a large, flat-bottom pan, warm the butter on medium heat until it's runny, then add the garlic and onions. Stir 'em around until they've reduced a little bit. Add some black pepper for good measure. 
4. Sneeze.
5. Add the arborio rice with about a half cup of water. Stir so each grain is soaking through, changing from opaque to translucent. 
6. Once the water is absorbed, add a little more and stir/sit/stir until it evaporates. Continue doing this until you've one addition of water left.

How do you know how much water? Well, it's going to take a lot. You can try the rice - if it's too crunchy, it needs more water and needs to cook longer. SCIENCE.

7. Time for the yummies: add almost one teaspoon of chili powder, a good dash of marjoram, a good dash of cumin, and a couple of decent squirts of Sriracha. We like our food spicy, so this amount is a matter of personal taste.
8. Add the last addition of water; once it's absorbed, add the cheese (as much as you like). 
9. When it's ready so serve, chop some green onions to sprinkle on top. 
10. Pair with dry red wine for a delicious complement. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Splitting Fear and Doubt

I've been talking about doing this since before Thanksgiving.

This post was originally written in early December...I'm just now FINALLY deciding to do what it's talking about...

This time last year I worked through a book called The Artist's Way. It's a workbook (and now an online course) devoted to finding or rediscovering your own creativity. Whether it's doubt, criticism, or fear - or, let's be honest, all three - we artists tend to block ourselves from our own expression.  The book was really helpful, and was honestly something I encountered in grad school a few years ago. I fully intend on working my way through it again.

Something I learned about myself from that experience was how much physical exercise affects my mental clarity.  This is something I've always known, but tend to forget.  When faced with the choice of practice or exercise, I tend to practice, as it feels like a much more urgent need.  We're told constantly how important exercise is, and since much of my practice is rather strenuous I tend to excuse myself.  But, this last week I've tried to revive a modest exercise/stretching regimen.  Unlike in the past, I didn't set unrealistic goals or judge myself if my cardio time was cut short, and as a result I've felt more confident in my practice sessions.  This was a bit unexpected.  More energy? Sure.  More body confidence? Yep. But more confident in my playing abilities? This was new for me.  A lovely surprise and something I want to continue.

Thinking along the ideas of "unlocking" the artist within, I've decided to take an indirect approach inspired by this recent experience.

I want to be able to do the splits again.


I was a gymnast as a kid, and the splits were a normal, everyday occurrence. Now, not so much.

I found a super casual and at times laughable article online that spells out weekly stretches and exercises to be able to do the splits at the end of 6 weeks. You can find it here.

We carry tension in our hip muscles.  We feel threatened and we tighten the muscles that support our bodies: back and hips (and probably the neck, too).  I wondered: what if I work on opening those large, supportive, and fear-holding muscles?  Will it affect how I view myself as a player? the decisions I make? the way I play my pieces?

So, I'm starting an experiment.  I'm going to take myself through this 6-week splits course, cataloging my progress here.  I'll share my discoveries and surprises, and maybe post embarrassing and hilarious photos of each week's attempts.

I would post a laughable photo from Day 1, but instead I'll just post this glorious reaction to what the photo would have been...