Monday, May 10, 2010

My Birthday, so we go outside: Dinner, getting naked, picnic, shooting range

Please continue to remember Cheryl, who can now sing Nina Simone songs no problem. She really is down with it, and any cards or postcards to:

Cheryl (c/o Elizabeth McClung)
P.O. Box 2560
Port Angeles, WA
98362

She’s all by herself over there and the immune system gets boosted from being cheered up (um….sure, I have science articles that say that!), so please send her a card.

Okay, two things: my Birthday is coming up and My collective Challenges.

My parents didn’t believe in keeping birthdays because, in short, we were in a cult. I could however celebrate a death day. I passed. So, my birthdays have kinda sucked. And last few years, I am usually doing something where I almost die on them (if you don’t almost die, you probably aren’t doing the sex right!). Lets just say I was born on a defining day for me: Kent State. Who would I be, I wondered growing up doing those ‘When you were born’ things. The ones saying, “I was just obeying orders” or the ones shot down for the right to speak. Ironic, I was threatened with arrest for assaulting a police officer just Friday! I must be doing something right.

So, my challenge is this: somewhere on May 14-17th, it would be very cool for you to go out. You know, plan to go somewhere new, or if you are ill like me, plan to go out and have dinner, have lunch, have a cup of hot chocolate on your porch (depends on your income). The idea is what I tried to explain before – we ALL go out, me included, then you come back to the blog and tell us how it went. And if you have pictures you can send them to me, or if you want to blog about it, I will make a blog on the 18/19th about all the places people went and what they did, and pictures. Go OUTSIDE!
Now I realize that going outside is somewhat scary for us who are inside a lot, as there are some dangers, particularly for those of us who are slow moving. The other thing is in going out, or going somewhere new, there is a rule of thirds: one third of the time it will be grand, one third of the time it will be ‘okay’ and one third of the time….disaster. Look, we have all had those ‘bad times’ when you go to camp and arrive at ‘weapons’ class with your AK-47, and no, your daddy didn’t give you a scope and you forgot your extra clip.No? Not your experience? Well, I guess if you went to MY summer camps you had those experiences (in all seriousness, it was just handguns, rifles and shotguns: we were like 15 okay!), oh those survivalist cult days! Sorry, back to going out - No risk, no glorious time. The disasters and the fantastic go hand in hand (unless you never plan, don’t put gas in your tank, have a lot of nails on your road, don’t take money or credit cards to a resturant with you and insult large men when you drink) you get one sometimes, the other sometimes.

Now I know that there are the pleasures, almost orgasmic, of staying inside too. But for my birthday I would like us to go OUTSIDE. Sorry, it is a magic word for us 'indoor' bound - and with the heat of summer to keep me indoors soon too, I have a small amount of season where I CAN enjoy the outside.

And THEN on the 21-24 of May, I would like us to do something OUTDOORS. You know, a Picnic. Of course, it doesn’t HAVE to be a picnic. You could commune with nature. Like a hike, or you know, getting NAKED and swimming or getting bitten by bugs. I used to get naked when I ran, well pretty much naked, commando and no top, running at high speed for 10K in the dark around the Rose Bowl. I got MUCH faster times when groups of coyotes would howl, getting closer and closer. Also the time the police car followed me for 2 miles. What? An APB on near naked joggers at 12:-2:00 am?

Have fun. That is the point, to go out and do what you want to do, whether that is water, hills, forests, or just meadow and flowers. Enjoy and have a bite to eat. The outdoors is calling and I hope we all get a lot of great pictures. And I will do another blog on the 25/26th and use your pictures and stories (remember to email me your links please). Just go out and feel the freedom out there, whatever that is for you. If I could, this would be me (I was always fond of capes and flying feeling I got from them).

And, because no plan ever works perfectly, the 28th-31st is our spare ‘let’s try that again’ time for the picnic that got flooded. Or the resturant that was closed, or the trip to the woods that had a cougar infestation, or someone got sick, or the disease said, “not today”, or you ran out of spoons. The point is to have fun, not, as my friend would say in P.E. class during ‘field day’ training, the ‘Bataan Death March’ (where those who fell out were left behind – didn’t help the smog was so thick we couldn’t see the end of the block and it was a full alert warning and hurt to breath – P.E. teacher: “God will protect your lungs, keep running!”). Not the point to do that. That’s why there is an extra day.

Okay, what do I want for my birthday? Um, actually there is something I’ve wanted for a LONG time now, and I suppose the AA-12 is as close as you can get (a recoilless fully auto shotgun at 300 rounds a minute). The one I wanted was the one the Italians created to use against the Mafia, which not only was an automatic shotgun but had a one shot grenade launcher underneath (an urban intense weapon). I am not sure how strong a person would have to be to stand up with it, but the gas recoilless now make it a powerful gun (however in the video demonstrating it, our instructor would have been mortified if we had that kind of poor aim). Yup, just another school day in LA, at the cult compound. No, I’m not a gun geek, or a gun babe, nor do I want to visit that place bachelor parties go to in Las Vegas to shoot different guns, I just figured, being in LA and all, if I WAS going to have a gun, have one that was completely over the top. Then I became a pacifist and found that was FAR more powerful (my entire body and the word "No" became the weapon).

I hope first to be able to go out, to have some fun, maybe Linda will convince me to leave the gas mask at home this time (hey, you never know when a riot may break out). No secret, I like books, that is what is one my wishlist which includes everything from Fire Inspector Nanase, (oh the dreams I have had where I run into fires – and imagine getting PAID to do that) and the award winning book Loups-Garous from the multi-award winning author (about a society where all communication is monitored and only in school is there face to face talking. So when a serial killer of school children can’t be stopped and revolves around three teenage Japanese schoolgirls, there is far more that meets the eye).

There are lots of other series there that I love. New ones, like the Korean ‘Can’t Lose You’ (why is there only one copy left of the six volumes?), to Otomen and the releases still to come. I used to dream about being left alone at night in the library, how it would be fabulous – particuarly the old library of Pasadena with the lions and dark wood. I remember the Twilight Zone episode about the guy who survive the bomb and could read in peace…only to break his glasses. Bit of meanies, those Twilight zone writers!

I dreamed once of what the afterlife was and remember it still: it was a four story library. In there was Borges, Calvino, and all the other writers who had died, and they wrote every day, all the books ever written to inspire them, and each floor I went up, from the floor of symphonies and composers, to the closed fourth floor, it seemed a paradise. Then the bell tolled. And all the writers/artists/composers lined up, their pages in hand, and put them in the barrel, and they were burned. They told me, that was the cost of staying. I guess to me that is my vision of heaven and hell both: endless inspiration, and yet a static life, never to be allowed to create. No wonder women were so desperate wanted that room of their own.

I think birthdays should be celebrated with friends and that is what I want to do: a dinner, a day out somewhere outside! And with my health, separating them a week apart is a prudent thing to do. And I promise that I will wheel about the house naked at least one of those days!

13 comments:

wendryn said...

Sounds like fun! I'm glad you have two sets of plans to look forward to!

Dawn Allenbach said...

I dropped a card for Cheryl and a card for you in the mailbox on Friday -- or rather my mom did since I can't lift my arms that high to reach the box.

I'll see what I can do about the 14th-17th. Maybe my friend Jonikka can come get me and we can go to the tea shop. The next weekend I'm hoping to go to the new Scottish Games and Celtic festival. Men in kilts -- HOORAY! The following weekend is Memorial Day here, so there may be a trip to the cemetery where my sister and brother are buried.

FridaWrites said...

What did a police officer think you did?!

Sounds like fun! We will aim for outdoors, even if it means breakfast--let's hope the weekend weather stays clear for all of us!

Bonnie said...

Yes! wheel around the house naked!

Linda McClung said...

Beth,
I really enjoyed reading your blog today - great pictures and humourous commentary to go with. You know, I never really thought how odd it was to go to a religious summer camp and learn to shoot rifles and shotguns, and use bows and arrows. Looking back it seemed like a dangerous thing to teach kids who were scared when they saw the northern lights because they thought God was talking to them.

I can imaging you enjoying every minute during an overnight stay at a library. The picture you have looks so inviting.

Yes, let's go out and have some fun the next two weekends. We will have to do some plotting and planning with multiple options. Visiting the farmers market for the first time this year is a good possibility. No gas mask required for that excursion.

Every time you recount stories of your school I am dumbfounded by how sadistic your PE teachers were. An naive to think running in the worst smog would have no effect on young lungs.

Hmmm... I'm off to ponder a birthday gift.

Lorna, Bob and Liam said...

Just a quick note for now... hate to ruin a surprise, but to forestall duplicates from other folks, I've ordered the Fire Inspector book for you. Happy Birthday!

Lorna

SharonMV said...

Have plan, will go! The first outing at least - I have a couple of ideas for that - involving books or plants or chocolate. Maybe all three? Can a day be that good? Or perhaps there will be a chocolate disaster. Food for the imagination.

Sharon

Tom P. said...

The 40th anniversary of Kent State just passed on May 4th. One of the victims (Jeff Miller, the one lying face down dead in the street in the famous photo) was from my home town. Beth's school has a memorial to him. I remember that day very well even though I was just 12. My brother had been drafted and was scheduled to go to Vietnam that fall. He spent a year there, a year that changed him.

I'll be sure to take Michel out. She could use the change.

Baba Yaga said...

That weekend could be interesting - I already seem to be required to be in two places at once. But certainly shall endeavour to find something which qualifies as celebrate-ish. It might be in the 'hot chocolate on the porch' category, but if so, it must be the best hot chocolate for Beth's birthday. (Come to think of it, there's a cafe in Stirling which sells *real* hot chocolate...)

Lene Andersen said...

What an awesome idea! A huge birthday party, just in different locations. Will report on shenanigans.

Love the images - just radiating fun.

Elizabeth McClung said...

If course, if it works better, you can DO something this weekend and go out next weekend, it is sort of a 'whatever works for you' but lets do something together and share it.

Wendryn: I hope you come out with us, that would be fun! I am still trying to figure out where to go, any suggestions, our mexican food place in town closed. Maybe Chinese?

Dawn: Thanks, I know both Cheryl and I will appreciate that. I send something to you, or rather Linda did since I haven't been able to leave the apartment in a while (but soon! soon!).

The next weekend sounds great, and the tea shop sounds great too. Oh, I had forgotten about memorial day. Yeah, I would go visit my grandmother and grandfather except I think they are still under my parents bed last I heard. I will go to the cemetery and remember instead.

Frida: I hope the weather does, and breakfast is good! Or a sack lunch outside even. I sent you some details on my police interactions.

Bonnie: Feel free to choose a naked day yourself in celebration if you wish!

Linda: Yes, we were always looking for God talking to us, thankfully that didn't happen when I was shooting the shotgun.

Yes, I have some hello kitty Japanese 'sick masks' coming over from Japan, I don't know if they will actually help me avoid getting sick but they might look interesting. Farmers market sounds like a good start.

I was surprised when I read about you thinking the PE teacher were sadistic about that - of course God would make us immune, and besides since we are never getting older than 25 before then end of the world, what does it matter, right?

Lorna: That's cool, thank you - as it happens, I have ordered a small set I think I might have mentioned but I think you will all enjoy the manga set - it has a name I can't pronounce though, but is about gaming and online and such (not Hack/) You can read the Fire Inspector one too if you want.

Sharon: I am glad you have a plan, very glad. and if things go wrong, well that is the rule of 1/3 right, and you have the third weekend to adjust the plan and try again. That's what I end up doing. Maybe there will be clear skies for star watching in a week or two?

Tom P: I just read up all about Kent State and Jeff Miller. They were the first university to have a conflict resolution degree due to Kent state. The internet changed everything - I had looked up the news papers and the way they talked about it, I thought kend State had just happened or happened the day before. Now I realize they were still talking about it weeks later. Like the Detroit 67 riots I guess. So I was WAY off. But I learned a lot about Kent State.

Thanks, it will be good for both of us to get outside I think.

Baba Yaga: well you could always switch the 'go outside' weekend and the 'go out and eat' weekend and maybe that would solve your commitment issue?

That cafe in Stirling sounds like a place I should visit, a real Montazuma (sic) drink - isn't that what he had every day, a full drink of pure chocolate.

Lene: I am glad you like the images, and I hope you have some shenanigans that can be told about in public! No getting arrest this time. Oh wait, I guess that goes for me too.

Vanessa said...

We've planned some things to do this weekend to share with you and then we have the Renisance Fair next week. Get ready for pictures! :D We might even pick something up for the fair birthday lady. ;D

Robin said...

We went to the Virginia Renaissance Festival. I am going to email you a picture - as soon as I have one - I'll send one of both Vincent and I. Ended up keeping an eye on several of the cast members who also have disabilities.

Not sure if I'll manage much this weekend, but next weekend, I'll be at the Georgia Renaissance Faire. More pictures to follow I hope!