Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Walks with Ozzie: Spotting the Segway Couple

For a while during our walks, Oscar and I kept seeing the same couple. It was an older couple. They have probably been in love for years. They didn't just take leisurely strolls together like many old couples, they took adventurous Segway rolls together. Wherever we went, Oscar and I saw the Segway couple. It didn't matter if we went at 7 am, noon, or 7 pm. There they were dashing past us on their wheels. It didn't matter if we went North, West, East or South. We'd inevitably see the Segway couple zoom by. Eventually we got in the habit of smiling and waving. Maybe when they went home together they said, isn't it weird that wherever we roll and whenever we roll on our Segway we see that same woman and scruffy dog? Do they just spend their entire day walking?

They would be half right. During the summer, when we first saw the Segway couple, Oscar and I really did spend a lot of time walking! We see lots of interesting sights and Ozzie smells lots of interesting scents on our walks together. But the Segway couple was one of the most interesting! (sights at least, you would have to ask Oscar if the Segway couple also smelled interesting.) Because I saw them everywhere, I did feel like the four of us were a bit of unrecognized kindred spirits... out in the neighborhood, exploring and enjoying the sunshine.

Then, one day, we stopped seeing them. It has been a while now since Oscar and I saw our Segway friends. Maybe they are rolling around some other town now. Maybe they stay in a spot for a couple of months before putting on back packs and rolling down lonesome roads to a different spot to explore. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Quarter-Life Poem: Traveling South

Traveling South

He liked to leave his life to chance
so, on a yellow dash in the middle
of a road, glistening with frost
he spun an empty bottle
letting it decide which direction
he would travel next.

After one crooked twirl
the bottle stopped
pointing exactly South.
The man sighed with relief.
He was tired of North, West and East
He was tired of looking out his window
and seeing nothing
except bare branches
long and black like scratch marks
against the blank gray sky.
He was tired of blankets and jackets
and stiff frozen muscles

He wanted to
wave goodbye to Winter
and follow the birds.

He had no one to say good bye to
so he said good bye to the day
watching the sun sink past the tips
of snow covered trees.
When the last bits of pink and orange
disperses into the dark
he got into the car
and drove South.

The beams of his headlights
swooped across the cracked highway.

Inside the warm and humming car
he played the music his parents use to listen to
the jingling breaths and raspy voice
filling the silence

But he could not stop thinking of birds,
of feathers and flight
and the strangeness of hollow bones.

As a child
he found the remains of a bird
all that was left were decaying feathers
and the most delicate little bones.

He thought about birds and bones
until just before dawn
when he saw an empty amusement park
on the side of the road.
A dark sign advertised fun
and pointed eagerly
toward the entrance.

All the rides were motionless
except for the Ferris wheel.
Hundreds of colorful lights
shone blazingly in the dark
while the Ferris wheel moved
through the crisp air
in lonely little circles. 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Spotting an Artist in Action!

My friend and I went to go see the Yayoi Kusama infinity room exhibit at the SAM a couple of months ago. My phone ran out of batteries so I do not have any pictures of it, but it was really beautiful and amazing. I had to wait in quite a bit of lines, but it was worth it!

While at the SAM, we also wandered around and looked at all the other art on display. In the room that plays videos, there was a video playing called 'Dragging a Painting' by the artist Margie Livingston.  I was super excited because not only was it by a local artist, but this video was created right by my work! My works building is even in a shot. It is kind of strange to think that the sad alley you have walked down hundreds of times to get to work is featured in a work of art in a legitimate museum!

Then, several months later, something even more exciting happened! I saw the artist in action! I hollered to my friend/coworker that we were witnessing a true-blue respected artist int he process of making her art! She was wearing the same black garb that she wore in the video and she was dragging a canvas, just as she did in the video, but the one she was dragging when I spotted her was much smaller. I took some pictures and considered saying hello, but she seems the serious sort that would rather not be interrupted by onlookers. Plus, I am shy. But it was definitely exciting!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Oscar and the Big Orange Ball

One of Oscars favorite toys is the same size as his big Oscar head. Oscar likes his big orange ball. We kick it for him and he goes bounding after it with jaunty enthusiasm.

He shows of his grace and agility while chasing his ball. Look at him! Leaping like an elegant ribbon dancer.

Oscar learns the true art of concentration when chasing his ball. He is like a lion, herding a lonely zebra.

When he sees the ball soar into the air, it makes him think of all his hopes and dreams.

The best part for Ozzie is he knows he can catch those dreams and catch that ball!

And if he can't catch it, the joy of the chase is enough for him!

This little goobers lust for life and joy is what we should all strive for. 

Monday, March 12, 2018

Quarter-Life Poetry: The Trumpet Player

When I was in my mid-twenties, I wrote a lot of poetry that I have just kept on the computer, wedged in notebooks, or stacked in old suitcases I use for saving things. I recently collected all of the together, made some edits and illustrated pictures for all of them, all of which I will be sharing here. Her is the first one!

The Trumpet Player

Part One: The City

On a balcony, empty
except for a basil plant and
a rusting music stand
the trumpet player
plays to an almost sleeping city.

The gentle warble and moan
of his trumpet
sends descending sound waves
to lonely ears

1 AM, and the night security guard starts his shift
his vision murky with
the remains of interrupted sleep
the trumpet player plays
a song to liven
the bleary thoughts and slouched shoulders
of the security guard, living in a reversed world
night is day, the sunrise his sunset
The fried egg breakfast his wife carefully cooks
is his last meal before
falling into dreams.

2 AM, and the merriment seekers stumble from bars
laughing and shouting, they teeter
down the grimy streets
past closed restaurants and
apartment buildings with propped up windows
the only sound the gurgling rush of summer fans
pushing thick air in circles
until the trumpet player plays
an unsteady melody matching the
rhythm and wobbled movements
of giddy steps

3 AM, the neighbors pound on the walls
the most direct way to beg for silence
but the trumpet player hears nothing, except
gentle thumps between
the deep inhale of breath and
the exhaled brassy whine
swirling listlessly through the muffled night

Part Two: The Circus

The trumpet player leaves the city
to join a circus, or maybe it was not just a circus
but 'the' circus. The only circus left.

With three other musicians
the trumpet player plays for the dancing bear

a sturdy bear with vacant eyes
he is dressed in a tutu
a giant pink bow sags from his neck
he totters and twirls
to the same song over and over agian
with each twirl, the bear heaves
a great and disappointed sigh

and even though the trumpet player never
heard the neighbors pounding on the walls
he hears the bear
and sometimes he ignores the scripted music
instead makes his trumpet match
the sound of the bears sigh
'A Flat' he thinks when he hears the sigh
or on some days, 'E Minor.'

and when the circus lights are off
everything that glimmered in the spotlight
looks dull
and sticky with ancient residue

so the trumpet player runs away from the circus
and brings the dancing bear with him.

They move to a new city
and on a new balcony with a different basil plant
the trumpet player plays songs to the night
while the bear lies naked in the open air
watching the slow shimmer and swirl
of the slightly sleeping city
he decides to forget the circus
and he lets his thoughts loosen
so he can spend his time
wondering, wondering, wondering. 

Friday, March 9, 2018

Vac Shop Creatures

On the edge of Georgetown in Seattle is a vacuum shop with both artistic and religious flair. They offer free bibles inside and remind passerbyers that Jesus loves them. On the outside of the shop you are greeted by an array of kooky and charming vacuum creatures. I've admired this shop may times while in the car or on the bus, but finally I passed it on foot with a camera in tow. 

Based on the Jesus signs and the fanciful vacuum characters, I knew there must be a story! I decided to do a bit of an Internet search to see if I could dig anything up. It was a very fruitful internet search! I found this amazing video about the Vac Shop: Vac Shop. The owners of the Vac Shop seem like admirable people who put a lot of care into both their job repairing vacuums and their moral duty helping people in need.

I love the little creatures and think that the elephant with it's big eye lashed eyes is my favorite.

The Vac Shop also represents a Seattle that is slowly disappearing- the creative and the quirky, the blue collar, the historical. The Seattle that isn't shiny new developments. There is a whole website dedicated to chronicling Vanishing Seattle.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Stoic Bird Vs. The Zealous Crows

A stoic bird graced the street lamp outside my work recently. He came swooping in with crows bickering and bridling behind him. After he landed, the crows still darted and dashed around the intruder.

I am not sure if the stoic bird was a falcon or a hawk, but he was definitely a bird of prey. The crows prayed for him to leave, more than that they insisted he leave. They didn't trust his shifty eyes or his loner mentality. The crows have things to protect. They have nests with eggs or hungry children. They have garbage cans full of delicious treasures to scavenge. They have perching spots that they look forward to sitting upon bothered by other birds.

The bird of prey knows his own strength though. He knows he is mighty. Five crows, a dozen crows, fifty-seven flying, flapping, attacking crows can't diminish and cannot compete with his strength. His livelihood is preying on the weak. His greatest source of success is his own strength. He can't ever let himself question this about himself.

In the end, the stoic bird did fly away, not out of fear but out of irritation. The cawing, black feathered creatures created a racket he need not endure. He didn't desire the crows eggs, or food or approval. He just needed a quiet place to take in the blue sky. But the sky is grand and expansive and he could find this in some other corner.