Tuesday, March 21, 2006


I think I think too much. I also think that if I weren't me, I'd find me annoying.

What separates being mentally ill from NOT being mentally ill? Apparently, there is a verrrry fine line between the two. I don't think it's a very straight line either. I think it curves is some areas, and is blurry in others - more like a smudge. And try as I may to walk down the center of it, it's darn near impossible.

Depression and mental illness run rampant through my Dad's side of the family. Probably Mom's too, but Dad's actively sought treatment. They all spent their fair share of time in psychiatric hospitals, and each had a revolving cocktail of meds. I wonder what it felt like inside their heads? I mean, we all have ups and downs -- sometimes the downs last longer than the ups. But when do you cross the line?

For a while now, I've had this theory that "depression" is the soul's way of telling you you're not in the right place in your life. But with all the options available to us; and with all of society's pressures that we put on ourselves, how the hell do we know where (or who) we're truly supposed to be?

Who are the "Happy People"? Are they the ones who really know who they are? Or are they just people who are so distracted by the everyday things in life - work, kids, money - that they're too busy to sit around thinking about this shit? My brother J, for instance. He and his wife work so damn hard. They have a house that they bust their asses over; a 3 year-old son and one on the way; they even have the frigging Golden Retriever. They're about as All-American as they come. And they truly seem happy to me.

But I don't get it. 'Cause I don't think that having all that shit would make me happy -- it would just keep me busy.

I dunno... I think that for a long time in my life, I was one of them. Able to get caught up in the surroundings and just BE. But somewhere along the way, I became an overthinker, and have since been 'defiled'.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Monday, March 13, 2006


Today I went to my local Asian nail salon for my bi-weekly fills*. Whilst sitting there inhaling acrylic dust, I noticed the shrine again.

I am assuming my Korean(?) manicurists are Buddhist and that the assemblage on the floor near the sink - which consists of an elaborate statue and a bunch of bowls and flowers and stuff - is indeed a shrine of sorts. And, as in times before, I noticed that there was food laid out in front of the statue - offerings.

Today this particular Buddha received a cup of Starbucks coffee and a scone.

I don't know much about Buddhism, aside from what little I picked up in the Religion & Culture elective I took in grad school. So I Googled Buddhist offerings (and then scones... and then offerings+to+Buddha+scones) I learned that offerings to Buddha are known as "puja", and that they can sometimes be of food (although no sites specifically mentioned scones).

I would really like to know more about all of this, but I feel strange asking my Asian manicurists. I don't want them to think I'm stupider than they already do. Ever seen the Seinfeld episode where Elaine is paranoid that her Asian manicurists are making fun of her in a foreign language? Been there.

So I dunno. Perhaps it's hard to find milk-rice and lotus blossoms at the nearby ShopRite. And let's face it -- scones be some damn tasty puja.

* I am probably the most NON-high-maintenance woman on the planet, but I recently got the nails cause my own just will not grow. At all. So this is my one vain indulgence. Truly.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


You know it's been too long since your last blog post when you forget your password to login.

What a great few days it's been. Had a busy week - two performances with my kids. The first was Wednesday night at my school - our annual Jazz Cafe. Excellent event -- featured my jazz band and a bunch of soloists and small ensembles, along with a gigantic coffee cambro, courtesy of the ECE. It was the first time HE had been to my school and seen me "in action". I was proud of my kids and really happy that HE was there. Friday night's performance was brief, and involved just a handful of my students playing at a fundraiser at the high school.

Saturday I woke up early and went out for my first longer-type run in a while - the weather was AMAZING -- I am so ready for spring. I worked about 6 hours at ECE and spent a fine evening at HIS place with take-out Chinese and three TiVo'ed episodes of "American Idol". I'm rooting for Taylor Hicks. He reminds me of a cross between Ray Charles and Robert DeNiro... with autism.

But today was the best day by far. We drove down to visit HIS family - first stopping at this incredible place for breakfast, before heading to HIS brother's place for a visit. Afterwards, we wandered around scenic Bordentown, NJ -- it was a little like stepping into a Colonial timewarp. Very cool. And then we went to HIS folks' for an amazing dinner.

I really hope HE realizes how lucky HE is to have such wonderful parents. They are the kind of people that radiate warmth and just scream to be hugged. More than anything, they are just very real, genuine, good people. If I could choose parents, they'd be way up there. Right with Mike and Carol.

Friday, March 03, 2006

PAMIR - A Haiku.

Belly full of food
Norange Palaw and cheap wine
The burps remind me

Thursday, March 02, 2006


At least I can admit that. I get pissed when the blogs I love to read aren't updated regularly, and here I am being a hypocrite (and a cocky one at that - assuming anyone actually READS this blog). So yeah, it's been nearly two weeks since my last post. I wish I could say I was doing something amazing - like riding a bicycle 244 miles from Prague to Budapest (no wait, that's happening this summer!) - or maybe being held as a POW on some third-world island nation (hopefully NOT happening this summer) - but really I've not been doing much of anything.

Last week was Mid-Winter Recess. It was glorious. I slept in almost every morning unless I made plans, which was rare. On Wednesday I went into the city with P.McQ and D. We had gotten cheap tickets to see "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" so we did lunch and stuff. Was a nice time. I'm not a huge fan of Broadway though, and - true to form - I did doze off during the first act. Fucking siestas are to blame.

Friday I drove down to the annual NJMEA conference (aka: Giant Convention for Dorky Music Teachers). And like every year, it was basically a big reunion of the people that I went to college with. I went with my friend L, whose school district is nice enough to pick up her registration fee AND a hotel room. After we went to dinner at Makeda, I really just wanted to go back to the room. So I did. And fell asleep by like 10:30. Woo hoo. Meanwhile, L stayed down in the hotel sportsbar and drank her face off. When she (and some friends) stumbled back to the room at 3:30, I was less than pleased. I'm becoming such an old fart.

Then the snoring began. And even through my noise-canceling headphones - which are able to drown out the sound of a 747 jet engine - the snoring was audible. So around 4:00AM, I decided I had slept enough, packed my shit and drove home. That was NJMEA 2006. Although I did go to a couple cool workshops including one on the Alexander Technique and one which taught me about my new favorite program, Garage Band 3. All was not lost.

Last night I went to a NJ Devils vs. Philadelphia Flyers game. P.McQ got cheap tickets (did I mention she is Queen of Cheap Tickets? I think she may have a mob connection ... or maybe she just puts out) and that was kinda fun. I'm not a huge sports fan or anything, but hockey is definitely exciting. It moves really fast and there are grown men wearing ridiculous amounts of padding, sliding around the ice and bashing each other. What's not to like?

During the second period, a fan-fight broke out in the stands. Mixing Jersey and Philly is never a good idea. Throw in alcohol and face paints and chaos is sure to ensue. It was actually more entertaining to watch the fan-fight than the game. It made me think that they should sell weapons at sporting events -- right next to the beer kiosks. Not guns or knives or anything, more like medieval weapons - like flails and maces. Just food for thought.

Anyway, so that's where I've been. Sorry if I disappointed you. If it makes you feel any better, I'll tell you I'm on my way to Iraq to be a human shield.