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Last night a crowd of crazy cat ladies (and men) descended upon the Memphis Brooks Museum for the Internet Cat Video Festival.
While a DJ blasted tunes like The Siamese Cat Song and The Meow Mix Song, attendees prowled around the lobby in leopard print skirts and cat ear headbands. We purred happily over sparkly feline baubles as we lapped at our ”furballs” - a pink concoction involving rum, coconut milk, cranberry juice, and whip cream.
Then came the main attraction: internet cat videos.
Internet cat video aficionados (Yes, aficionados. I get to use my fancy words because we were at a museum) had already viewed many of these videos at home (or at work). But gathering together to watch these videos in a theatre packed with like-minded individuals lended the whole affair a certain je ne sai quoi in terms of public image. It was validating. High brow even!
It took me back to my belly dancing days on a Costa Rican mountain top when we danced to the beat of thunder pounding on the roof of our pagoda. (That is a true story I have always wanted to tell in an affected British accent at a cocktail party. It would make me sound so much more interesting than I actually am. Sadly, I have never been invited to said cocktail party to tell it. But that’s ok because I’m way too busy at home watching fancy internet cat videos to attend your silly cocktail parties anyway.) One day during my Costa Rica adventure, I sat in a room with 60 other belly dancer women and participated in a three minute laughing meditation. If you have never participated in a group laughing meditation, let me tell you, the first time is incredibly weird. You will be instructed to basically fake it ’til you make it. That’s right – just fake laugh nonstop with everyone else until the silliness of it all carries you into complete hysterics. It’s quite a catharsis really.
At any rate, sitting in the dark laughing for 15 minutes nonstop with crazy cat ladies was just like that but weirder and even more wonderful because there was no fake laughing involved. I watched grown men laugh until they cried over cat antics. And then I laughed until I cried. We all laughed and cried and it was this amazingly beautiful communal experience. It was!
And so I will leave you with a few of my favorite videos from the evening. For best results, make them big screen and gather a few friends (or strangers) to watch. Enjoy!
Double Rainbow! Oh My God! Oh My God!
–Yosemitebear Mountain Giant
Color is joy. One does not think joy. One is carried by it.
– Ernst Haas
Yesterday’s drive to Mason, Tennessee featured squirrely roads and plowed up corn fields. We arrived at Castlerocks Backyard Market just as a warm, light rain began to fall. The farm was gorgeous — ducks and geese everywhere, fruit trees, and berry bushes.
A light mist followed the rain and a rainbow appeared.
Under this iridescent skyscape the mistress of the market generously shared her time and knowledge. Then we received our new girl for the coop. We christened her P. Recious Rainbow.
And this morning our girl left a gift. The first egg.
And today, a second rainbow peeked out of the rain clouds. A double rainbow, faint in this picture just above the brighter bow…
What an abundance of joy to be found in the simplest of things.
Dear Readers, may you never miss a rainbow because you were looking down.
I leave you with the voice of Yosemite Mountain Giant, the man knocked to his knees by rainbow rays…
You never know what fascinating sights you’ll see when roadtrippin’ through Arkansas. Both the backroads and interstate hold an array of surprises. From I-40 you’ll spy roadkill, rice paddies, and religious signs reminding you to beat the children with a stick.
In Central Arkansas you can hop off the interstate, do a little wine tasting and stock up on your favorite vintage at the wineries.
Wiederkehr Village (population of 42) has more grapes than residents.
At one point in our journey, an emergency coffee attack required a pitstop to a Love’s Travel Shop. As The Devil was pulling in to a parking spot right beside a fella fiddling with stuff under the hood of his SUV, a 96% naked lady jumped out of the backseat of the fella’s vehicle. I was so astounded by the scene that lay before me that I forgot the camera entirely. You’ll have to settle for the picture I paint in words. The 96% naked lady was wearing a little bitty bikini with a tiny see-through crocheted skirt. Her backside was emblazoned with a tattoo of a bull’s head. Its horns rose menacingly out the top of her bikini bottoms. And, she looked ANGRY! She said a buncha words I didn’t understand partly due to the southern twang that shaped them, partly due to the shock of seeing an angry 96% naked lady unexpectedly jump out of a vehicle, and partly due to the music that was blaring from the speakers of their opened door: ”We’re from the country and we like it that way.”
It was all so very much to process.
The man under the hood looked up long enough to glance at her, register us and our agape expressions, and chuckle to himself before returning back to his tinkering. The 96% naked lady walked this way and then that, continuing to make a fuss over something before finally settling back into the backseat and closing the door.
By that time, The Devil had returned and we were on our way.
The backroads and small towns of Arkansas are also great fun. There are interesting places to eat. For example, in Springdale there’s a giant waffle sign in the sky that announces a Waffle Hut. If that doesn’t suit your taste you can try the Mexican-Middle Eastern Restaurant.
Around one bend in the road we spied a natural swimming hole.
Several fireworks stands were set up along the road. One stand had a sign that read “Fireworks. Help Christians Serve.” Another sign said, well, see for yourself…
Good times. I will really miss this state when it’s time to dismantle this particular life.
For more sights and scenes from my Arkansas travels, see:
Yesterday a group of belly dancers represented Memphis in Shimmy Mob, an international flashmob event designed to raise funds for women’s and children’s shelters in local communities. It was an honor to dance with this group of ladies.
Many thanks to Debra Parmley for organizing the event, to Jasmine of Dance with Jasmine for leading choreography practices, and to the folks at Singleton Community Center and the Buckman Performing and Fine Arts Center for donating practice space!
And of course, a big thank you to the YWCA of Greater Memphis for the work they do in our community.
Thanks also to Liz London of Memphis Raqs who donated the proceeds of her show last night to the shelter.
“You love me. Real or not real?”
Every single weekend for the last month I have been consumed by The Hunger Games. Four weeks ago the movie came out and I bought the book. I devoured it that Saturday before going to see the movie the next day. The following Saturday I read the second book. The Saturday after that I finished the third book of the series. With that, I thought my obsession was over and I could get on with my life.
This past weekend I inadvertently found myself in Asheville, North Carolina, where much of the movie was filmed. We were road tripping our way to a conference in Raleigh, when my own hunger struck. I consulted Yelp, (a must-have app for roadtrips), read a few reviews, and decided on Rezaz in Asheville for lunch. The odds were oddly in my favor. The seven vegetable couscous was a different flavor in every bite: here a chickpea, there the sharp crunch of fresh ginger, and everywhere the ruffley texture of grilled kale intermingling with couscous and cilantro. It was a real Capitol meal. The Devil had a pizza that rivaled his own devious creations. The pizza alone warranted another visit to the restaurant on the return road trip: a crisp cracker crust, lightly grilled and topped with marinaded mushrooms that finished with a hint of pepper. Creamy gellato for dessert – chocolate for her, vanilla for him, each topped with a flakey sugar cookie. Hunger games, indeed.
I thoroughly enjoyed the books. I’ve started, abandoned, restarted, and reabandoned an embarrasing number of books the past several months. Nothing has been able to compete with the flying colors of life experienced moment-to-moment in its bold and beautiful unfurling. Until this. What a pleasure to finally find a series to keep me captivated and wanting more.
Across from Rezaz sits the Grand Bohemian Hotel. It was filled with interesting things – a stuffed boar wearing a fishing hat, for instance, and other dead things surrounded by unusual lighting. The decor was overwhelmingly antlered. There are fine lines to be drawn between rustic and classy and creepy. The hotel decorators played hopscotch with those lines.
There were all sorts of fancy people milling about in the lobby doing all sorts of fancy things like sitting around in their fancy hair and shoes drinking fancy drinks while having fancy conversations. What a strange scene to take in against the backdrop of skulls and skins, hides and horns.
The hotel I learned offers a Hunger Games package for a few hundred dollars. Apparently trips to the setting are all the rage.
I enjoyed my brief adventure and I definitely want to go back to explore.
I need a remedy for what is ailin’ me!
Wake me when the day breaks. Show me how the sun shines.
Let your love light shine.
–Christopher & Rich Robinson
It’s been a bumpy ride the last couple of weeks.
But my remedy came in the sunshine and wind…
It was a good day for a roadtrip.
The more I scoot around Arkansas, the more I fall in love with the Natural State and all her secrets.
In Rosebud, a one-light town with a population of 429, there lives a medicine man who sells remedies…
It’s a magical place…
…and the medicine man is a busy fella.
And there was much to consider about the energy of the sea and the power that is harnessed at Greers Ferry Lake dam.
Mountain View is a place where you can find music around every bend.
At Mountain View Music, they’ll trade ya a banjo for a puppy. It was a tempting offer….
Even The Devil gets in on the music action…sorta…
And now a visual interlude to show off a happy puppy….
….and a few other interesting sights around AR, like Redneck Pride….
….and the setting sun’s silver reflection on the lake.
…or at least that’s what I was instructed to do when Dana nominated me for the Kreativ Blogger Award in her blog.
In reality I think my adoring crowd consists of just Dana. But Dana, I am smiling and waving at you!
The “Rules” for this particular award are:
1. Thank the blogger who presented you with the award. Thanks Dana!!
2. Post a photo of the award.
3. Share ten things about yourself readers don’t know.
3-1. I don’t have a TV, but I am maniacally tearing through two shows via Netflix. The first is Legend of the Seeker. Everything and everybody is just so pretty on this show. And the sword fights are like dances. It makes me giddy.
The second is Big Bang Theory, a show that is funny and that features smart people who use big words. Being a scientist has never been so sexy. Thank you Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady!
3-2. I briefly entertained the idea of going to Cancun/Tulum/Chichen Itza for spring break because the “2012 end of the Mayan calendar” seemed like THE time to go. Then I decided I was being cliché and that maybe I should just stay home, read a book and and plant a garden instead.
3-3. Speaking of books, these are the ones I’m concurrently reading: The Lost Art of Compassion, 2012 The Return of Quetzalcoatl, Born to Talk, The Geography of Bliss.
3-4. I went to Tulsa last weekend, mostly to eat.
3-5. I ate cupcakes with eggs in Tulsa – the first violation of my dietary restriction in months. The Devil made me do it (as usual). He said he wouldn’t tell anyone, but there’s no point denying it happened.
3.6 While in Tulsa I also drank Irish hot chocolate. Two cups in fact.
3.7 Following this imbibement, I drunk-texted my yogini support group for an emergency intervention. With their help I managed to resist ordering a hamburger from the restaurant that serves the best hamburgers I’ve ever had anywhere. Ever. (Thank you yogini’s for talking me down off that ledge!)
3.8 Then I apparently took some drunken pictures of Tulsa…
3.9 Tulsa is one of my favorite cities. On this trip we visited a spot I didn’t know existed until recently. It’s known as “The Center of the Universe.” It appears to be an ordinary place in downtown Tulsa bordered by buildings and a parking garage. However, ordinary it is not. There is a certain place that has very odd (and unintentional) acoustic properties. If you walk up and stand at the center of a circle of bricks and speak, your voice will h ave an odd distorted quality. If your partner stands right outside the circle and you are in the circle listening to yourself talk with this weird voice, he will not hear anything odd about your voice. If your partner stands in the circle while you stand in the circle and you both talk you both will hear the weird distortion. If you both stand in the circle in the cold trying out a variety of weird voices to see how they will sound you will be delighted at the effect; however, other people passing by outside the circle may look at you quite strangely and wonder if you’re crazy. At any rate, from what I’ve read the archeticture of a nearby concrete planter has a parabolic reflectivity that creates the acoustic effect.
3-10 One last weird thing about Tulsa — the sky seems unusually high. There is just so much of it and it is so far away.
4. Choose six people to present this award to.
4-1 Amy - because your blogs are creative, but they don’t come nearly enough.
4-2 The Good Greatsby – because you’ve made smoking jackets cool again.
4-3 Tori Nelson - because letting readers plan your wedding is creative and fun and…brave.
4-4 Rene – because Life in the Boomer Lane makes me giggle on a regular basis.
4-5 Plum Bananas – because you promote good health and keep two blogs and reading your blog makes me feel less neurotic.
4-6 Progress on the Prairie – because your blog inspired me to grow arugula and I have to respect a woman willing to kill for herself a life she consumes.
Distant car horns echoing off buildings, trains rumbling by with the accompanying ding of crossing gates, sirens blaring warnings, electronic things beeping all around, buses accelerating bassily then coming to a stop in a WHOOSH of air brakes, and everyone around vibrating with nervous energy or ambition – it all began blending into a constant stream of sound that bombarded the system. Day three began with the need to escape the unending drone of the big city.
Off to Batiquitos Lagoon…
…where rustling leaves, grass, and birdsong could be heard
…where a mix of sage, liquorice, salt, and sea perfumed the breeze.
…where green things freshen up the air
…where the world looks like one may spot a prehistoric creature around the bend
…where a girl can sit in a tree
…where there are few straight lines and harsh angles