Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Thursday 13: The Good and Bad: The Ying and Yang

This week I'm thinking about experiences and events that are neither all good or all bad, but some of each. There have been times when I think I'm too serious in my blog and others when I'm afraid I make life sound too sing-song easy. So this week I'm listing 13 things that have a ying and then a yang.

1. We start with Mohegan Sun. I love this casino: it is artistically beautiful in every aspect. But it's the slot machines that call my name. I start with the quarter slots and if I'm half-way lucky, I make it to the dollar slots before I lose all my money and have to go home. Once I won $ 250 and it might as well have been $2,500. Any time I leave with the same amount I came with, to me I won. I know it's magical thinking, and I feel badly when I lose, but I love the ying and yang thrill of it.

2. Next, blogging: my family thinks it's a cult. My friends show obvious facial boredom when I talk about it. My partner complains I spend too much time in a virtual universe. That's the ying. But I know and you know the yang is wonderful. As a writer, what could be better than the privilege of interesting intelligent people from everywhere reading and commenting and sharing back? My daughter had the good humor to wrap my Christmas presents in "I blog" paper. Then she gave me an "I blog" magnet for my refrigerator. It's true: I blog. And I'm grateful and happy about it.

3. (I know Ces: I forget to rotate the photo and then it's too late. ) I bought this bureau for $ 60 on a sad lonely birthday. I still remember how depressed and discouraged I felt at the time. But today: I also look back and remember I bought myself a nice present on a bad day. Good for me.

4. I don't like snow. I live in a valley that has alot of it. Ok, I admit it's beautiful. I admit I love a giant snowstorm when there's plenty of food in the house and the fireplace is roaring. Just don't ask me to live in a snowy climate forever.

5. This is a shot of my trip to Italy with jb. What could be wrong with that, you ask? Well, three weeks before the flight, I had emergency back surgery. I wasn't sure I'd recover in time. I wasn't sure I'd be agile and fun to be with. But I did and I was. Sometimes you just have to show up, wait it out, and let the universe take it from there.

6. For a month or more I was consumed with taking self-portraits. I got the idea from the blogs and liked it because I wanted to know what I looked like and who I had become. My family nagged me about this as badly as they do about blogging. But I persevered. My point in including this photo is that I think my eyes confirm that I can't lie very well. I am willing and I try to lie to spare someone hurt feelings, but I'm bad at it. So this is about the ying and yang of lying. That's all.

7. Here's an old picture of my dad and me. I could say that helping my father die at home was a tragic horrible experience, but if I did that I would be leaving out the fact that it was also moving and meaningful. I look back on it and I am very proud of myself from start to finish. Plus I'm no longer afraid of death or dying--at least not in the same way.

8. In the best and worse category, meet Ms. Ellie. She is a street performer in Provincetown. She sings the same song, off-key, over and over and over. She is also in her late 70's with legs to die for (well, ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit). Ms. Ellie makes it to this ying and yang Thursday 13 on spunk alone.

9. New Orleans. My two weeks with the Red Cross will always be one of the best and one of the worse experiences of my life. I saw so much tragedy and sorrow. And I also saw so much courage and kindness.

10. My mom is now 91 years old. She's lost a big chunk of her memory but not a fragment of her enthusiasm. The Ying is she is still trying to take care of me. The yang is I am quietly trying to take care of her. And she plays those quarter slot machines right along side me.

11. I'm forever grateful to have this unique wonderful human being as my dearest friend, but I hate that she is so far away. I'll be the first one to sign up for time travel if it means we can sometimes have morning coffee together.

12. This is the entrance to my favorite beach. I hate walking in the sand to get there. But it's so worth it.

13. The last lacks a picture: Tomato City. After years of plotting and planning and dreaming and designing, jb and I opened a restaurant. It was successful from the first day and it was a disaster from the first day. When we closed it down, we were not sure we would ever talk to one another again. jb's sister sent us a check and begged us to go on vacation together. That was a good thing. Now when I look back, I am so glad we tried. There were awesome moments. And I'm so glad we found our way out.

That's it.......


  1. Wonderful Yings and Yangs ! :-)

  2. I thought Ying and Yang were Siamese twins...

    Oh that's right they were Eng and Chang...OK.

    Nice post and photographs. I love the photo of the snowy white and grey background and that fence - OOOF! just smacks with color. I did not know a fence could be so desirable and pretty.

    I actually read every word.

    She Who Is Temporarily Nameless

  3. A brilliant post - thank you so much. I love that whole idea - and endorse it - of the two sides to everything. You have put it so naturally along with photos and descriptions of your experiences. I also really enjoyed and appreciated my tour around Provincetown - I think I may have seen a movie which featured it ... what a beautiful place. I hope you get to go back there occasionally for visits.

  4. You have/had an endlessly fascinating life, kj, and the best ones are full of both yin and yang. Thanks for the glimpses. They are always delightful.

  5. fantastic and real... like life. great post, really - really great.

    i work at mohegan sun, and i'm always pleased to hear people talk about it in terms of fun, excitement, and beauty. so, thank you for the kind words. i hope that the right machine and the right moment combine to send you home with another reason to blog.

  6. I totally agree with your #2 - my family doesn't understand my enthusiasm of the ciber-world either. (I don't understand how they DON'T spend time on line...)I need a magnet like yours:)
    I'm glad to learn I'm not the only blog-junkie out there...

    And just a TAN about your #8 - I came across a street performer (in NYC) that handed me a card with her blog on it! ( ). So, just as you blogged about that singer, you never know - she might have blogged about you, too... ;)

  7. sidney, thank you very much. i am honored by your visits.

    temporarily nameless friend, so you are actually reading my blog. that is very good. i am going to slip in a surprise word or notion one of these days and see if you catch it....

    jess: hahaha

    chief, thanks a million!i like keeping up with your travels too.

    andrea, ah, balance. but once or twice a year i just want exhilerating ying. or yang. but not both. :)

    cannibal, welcome and thank you for visiting my blog. i LOVE mohegan sun--every aspect of it. i walk around and look at every artistic design, from the "trees" in the lobby to the colors and majesty of it all. i am waiting for the day i win thousands.....

  8. We have an "All You Can Eat Yin and Yang" Restaurant here. Do you have one where you live? You may want to move down here. We have many families with the surnames Yin and Yang. Also When although they spell it Nguyen.

  9. I always love your Thursday 13s kj. It always leaves a good feeling after reading it.

    That is such a beautiful picture of the tree in the snow. I don't do well in cold weather too but I love the snow and I enjoy dressing for winter.

    The one about your father really touched me. It is something I cannot stand to think about yet.

  10. So do you still have snow on the ground?

    Today our friend told us that his mother went to the casino in New Orleans where she played the nickel slots. She put $3.00 worth of nickels at one time and she won the $20,750.00 jackpot. Then after the jackpot she won another $700.00. Now what about that for LUCK? That would be her Yang or is it the Yin? I really don't know which is which. I like the Hindu Karma instead.

    I once won 1,500 nickels from the slots in Reno. We were in a hurry to leave and the queues to exchange the coins were so long, I had to take the nickels as they were! I never thought $75.00 was so heavy. When we came back to town after a week in Oregon and California, I used the same nickels to play again.

  11. Ms. Ellie's legs look better in knee-high boots than mine do.

    How come I never find beautiful pieces of furniture for $60?

    I've also never won a dime on slots. I think I need to rub elbows with you, KJ.

  12. Hey thanks for your visit to my blog, but you flatter me far too much! Love the photo of you and Ces in this post. And Provincetown looks like a great place, Cape Cod, I read about that somewhere, but cannot remember where and in what context. I like then Yin Yan concept of the post. It is like the paradox of chatting, blogging, you still find people who claim the internet is a vice, addictive, killer of human interaction and face2face conversation. Now I don't agree with the latter. People come up to me all the time to tell me that they enjoyed a certain photo or post. In the real world people approach me to get advice on photography, badminton, whatever. So my internet use is a medium to get in to real life contact with others.
    About the gambling: I spent a couple of days in Las Vegas some years ago, even celebrated my birthday there. But I didn't gamble a dime, it just doesn't interest me and I know the odds are against me.

  13. Nice way to put Yin and Yang. It is always the balance that counts for everything. You're in balance, KJ. Very much. By the way: I am for time travel too! Then I would invite Ces and you for a nice Dutch morningcoffee over here with 'zelfgebakken appeltaart'(homemade applepie).

  14. I envy your way with words, your persistance and the way you deal with life.
    By the way, my husband and I will be spending two weeks in Italie this summer. I can't wait.

  15. Anonymous #1--thanks for your comments. i wish i knew who you are.

    menchie, thanks. i never thought i would be able to lose my father. i miss him everyday and i still talk to him. at least you never lose the love.

    Anonymous # 2, oooh, i want to know where you live...

    ces, i know too well how heavy those nickels were.

    liz, yes, let's rub elbows...!

    bearette, hello!

    pieterbie, i completely agree about blog connections. it is such a pleasure that you have visited me. thank you.

    wieneke, you are so sweet. yes, i really hope we will have 'zelfgebakken appeltaart'someday. i am tenaciously working on it..... :)

    marloes, italy. lucky you. thank you for such kind words. i enjoy your visits.

  16. I love these photos -- especially the bureau and remembering our stay in your guest room! I'm working on getting the play onto the computer (it's still in my retreat journal) and then I'll post it. I hope you like it! :)

  17. Great concept to write your T-13 in the yin-yang perspective ! And thanks for sharing, a lot of items are very recognizable.
    Magnificent poem you wrote about the Best Friend Tree.
    And keep thinking about the applepie project ;-)

  18. melissa, we had such a good time with you all!

    hildegarde, "the applepie project". ok--that is the official name. please think about it too. i will officially begin to visualize the four of us having coffee.

  19. It made me laugh when you said your family thinks blogging is a cult! Har! I am so grateful for blogging, I feel that blogging is one of the greater inventions for artists, writers, photographers, journalists, journaling, diary writers, and I think you get my drift. It' a way people can catalog their work, look at it objectively and provide others with a view of themselves. It inspires and educates! Thank goodness for blogging and google and so many internet activities. When I would get jobs I used to have to drive 30-45 minutes to a library, bookstore, etc for reference than spend hours looking up my subject and the like. Now I literally type in a word and up comes all the reference I could wish for at the tip of my fingers! Shazam!!! You gotta love that! I also love these posts with the pix and stories, so cool and wonderful!valgalart