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September 21, 2005

what are you doing this weekend?

someone asked me that this week. it greatly amused me to answer oh-so-casually, "oh, well, just getting married."

the families are arriving, the last-minute tasks are being done by a few cheerful and invaluable friends, and the dress just came back from the cleaners. our celebrant tells me he has been practicing the ceremony out loud in commuter traffic with the car windows down and Southern California seems to approve. i've packed up the home i've lived in for the longest continual amount of time (5 years, my gosh!) and my belongings are all mixed in with the boxes of wedding gifts in the new house garage.
so please, i hope you'll excuse the fact that HadashiWorld is going to be somewhat silent for a little while... i've got plans for the weekend.

thank you, all of you, for your love, support, and excitement going into this. it's going to be a blast.

Posted by hadashi at 10:26 PM | Comments (1)

September 15, 2005

T minus 10 days

at this point, all the things in my brain are sort of spinning around really fast and going all Technicolor and wacky. they don't talk about this high velocity insanity in those glossy Bride Crapola magazines, now do they? everywhere i go, i'm carrying a little notebook with lists and lists of things i have to remember or do or both. i'm tasking myself into distraction. in fact, a few days ago when the girl in the Trader Joe's parking lot reversed her car into mine, my first thought was "wow, and i thought i was the one who'd be crashing into somebody!" (no one was hurt; the casualties were only the bumper, a taillight, and my nerves.)

i told my soon-to-be-former-roommate (sob, sob) that i feel like i'm logging time in my own bed, and unfortunately, it hasn't been enough these days. i keep catching myself thinking "this is the last time i will (fill in the blank) as a single girl." i've taken care of myself, thank you very much, for so long now, that it puts me in a daze to think that this will soon no longer be completely true. in addition, i still have to pack up my apartment, and it's a bit paralysing considering that so far, this is the longest i've lived at one address continually. and of course i'm still whacking away at wedding details liked the semi-crazed woman i am. i bet all you been-there-done-that women out there are snickering at my angst, thinking, HA! just you wait till you actually get married/have children, Ms. Smartypants Hadashi! then you'll truly know stress!
fine. i believe you. go ahead, snicker away. be glad this part is over for you.

by the way, i'd like to know what the origin of the phrase "T minus (unit of time)" is, but i honestly don't have the time to Google anything right now. must prioritise tasks!
well, if that was really true, i should probably go take a long hot bath... but maybe i'll just go log some extra precious minutes in my very own all-to-myself-not-much-longer bed.

i swear i'm still excited though. really, i am. yeah! excited! woo!

Posted by hadashi at 1:10 AM | Comments (4)

September 7, 2005

musical cacti

cactus.jpg
a participating cactus from the installation's website, shown early in the experiment

on certain Saturdays the city of Long Beach does this great thing called ArtWalk, where whole streets are blocked off and people sell things like glass bead jewelry and funky oil paintings on mini canvases. art galleries are wide open and have big food tables with yummy cookies and hummus and interesting cheeses. the atmosphere is bright and warm and community and just fun. we like to stroll around, people watch, enjoy the live jazz, and generally be amused. oh yes, and of course eat the yummy cookies and interesting cheeses.

during this most recent one a few weeks ago, i stumbled upon a humble little installation art piece entitled "Mozart Effect Transplanted." four cute diminutive cacti, each with a ruler planted next to it, were lined up on the floor inside a bookstore, in front of the big storefront window. three were wearing headphones over their pots; the fourth, the "control," had none. coming through the headphones in a continuous loop, and apparently going into the soil, was various music pieces. one cactus was listening to Mozart's Sonata For Two Pianos in D, K448. the next was grooving to 50 Cent's "Just a Lil' Bit." and the third had a praise song, "Holy is the Lord" sung by worship leader Chris Tomlin blessing its little spines. the accompanying text explained:

Metaphorically (and certainly not scientifically), the test among the four cacti pits nature (the control plant) against the following forms of nurture: human aggression (50 Cent), Christian praise for God (Chris Tomlin), and science or mathematical accuracy (Mozart).

now, at this point, i fully expected the Mozart plant to be doing the best -- i mean, the so-called "Mozart effect" has been proven over & over. i was so wrong.
the control plant was the smallest in all ways: the shortest, and least healthy looking. probably it was just bored. the worship song plant was a little taller, but it was alarmingly skinny. the Mozart one was the brightest-colored, but it was no match for the enormousness of -- you guessed it -- the Fiddy Cent cactus. my gosh, that thing was flippin' huge. it was easily the fattest, tallest, most robust of the four. all that theorizing about classical music's splendid properties, and what i've seen firsthand concerning the healing power of worship was not working out with these little spiky green fellows. though vaguely disturbed, i had to laugh. the "I get it crunk in the club/ I'm off the chain" cactus looked positively menacing compared to the wee little "anthem of the Lord's renown" cactus. i thought of all the parents who make their tiny children watch that "Baby Mozart" series seeing this installation, going home and chucking out their videotapes & immediately programming their TiVo for "MTV Jams." it was funny that this simple experiment was clearly not turning out according to expectation.

so yesterday, when i decided to pick up a nice iced chai latte for myself, i realised the coffeeshop was across the street from the Cactus Bookstore (which is what i now call the place). i wandered over, and upon first glace, it appeared that the results i reported were still correct. Control Cactus was still very bored. Mozart Cactus was looking good, but wasn't the biggest. Gangsta Cactus was still ridiculously enormous. Worship Cactus was still the thinnest. i set my iced chai on the pavement and got down on my hands and knees for a closer look. oooh, the amusement!

sure, Gangsta Cactus might be the biggest, fattest, strongest-looking plant -- but at its base, there's a full 2 inches of grey rot. a big hole, which couldn't be seen from the inside of the store, is clearly visible when looking in the window from the outside. so sure, it wins for sheer size, but it's already started to die.
the skinny Worship Cactus doesn't look so anemic anymore. all the cacti have started to bloom by now with fiery red flowers, and the cactus with the most blossoms -- the most potential for fruit -- is the Holy is the Lord one.
and the prize for Overall Healthiest goes to Mozart Cactus -- it's not the biggest or the fruitiest, but it's the brightest-colored, strongest one.

so what does this prove? mmmmm, you can make that call -- this is, after all, art. scientifically, it proves absolutely nothing, but from an experiential and opinionated point of view, i'd say it proves that:
1. it's better to listen to something than nothing at all
2. you can find amusement in just about anything if you make the effort
3. cacti are really fun plants.

i do, however, think that if a lucky desert plant got to listen to local NPR affiliates KCRW or KPCC all day, it would quickly become the alpha cactus...

Posted by hadashi at 10:58 PM | Comments (2)

September 1, 2005

blue blankets, blue walls

many years ago, when i was in middle school, my father bought the family electric blankets: a blue queen-size one for him & my mother, and beige twin-size ones for me & my sister. getting a new blanket was nice, but i was somewhat disappointed: i wished mine was also that light blue; my favorite color. i thought i'd hidden my response behind a cheery "thank you Daddy!" but he could tell. the next day it mysteriously disappeared. when my father came home later, he had a blue twin-size electric blanket with him: he'd gone out of his way and to considerable trouble to exchange it for the one he knew would make me happy.

he's forgotten this incident completely. however, not only do i remember it vividly, but it's become somewhat of a iconic story in my mind & heart. how did i know my Dad loves me? look at the blue blanket. and it became quite the yardstick: what is genuine kindness? when you get a blue blanket without being asked. what sort of man would i want to marry? one with blue blanket character...etc. etc.

tonight i went over to our new place, where T.T. has been feverishly painting, all by himself, for the last several days (i've been working). he's done an amazing job; the rooms are completely transformed. it's actually looking like a real home. the only thing i would've changed is one wall of the bedroom, but to mask it off and repaint it would take way too much effort and energy, so i didn't even think about asking.
i was surprised he was still there; it was late and i'd thought he would've already been finished. he looked exhausted.
"didn't you finish the living room?" i asked.
"i did."
"then what have you been doing the last few hours?" i was curious.
"painting."
"i thought you finished the living room, the last room to be done."
"i did."
he was smiling now.
"i don't get it." i was becoming very puzzled.
"i was painting our bedroom."

i walked into the room, and there it was, the wall i'd wished could be changed. it was freshly painted in a glorious, beautiful shade of yes -- blue. i haven't consciously thought about that blue blanket for years, but suddenly, that's what i saw, instead of the still-wet blue wall.
he knows, i thought. he knows the principle of the blue blanket. i guess if i needed any last-minute confirmation that i'm marrying the right man, here it was in front of me.

"ah, are you crying because you're happy?" he asked.

Posted by hadashi at 11:27 PM | Comments (6)