Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Presenting my son and his warped sense of humor: Dante's Stupido

What would you write if you were a high school male who hates to write papers and were a sophomore reading Dante's Inferno and your Language Arts teacher asked you to write your own version of the nine levels of hell?

Presenting my son and his warped sense of humor:

Dante's Stupido

In tribute to Dante, I created a version of Hell in his style. My Hell is based on the severity of ones stupidity. In Stupidity Hell the protagonist is guided by Charles Darwin. I chose Darwin because he represents the weeding out of stupid people from the gene pool, mainly because of the book series in his name, The Darwin Awards. When they reach the gates of Hell, they are met by none other than Dr. Phil. He is the judiciary figure. When a sinner/idiot gets to hell Dr. Phil berates them and then tells them their sentence. He is the judge because, if you have seen his show, he hates stupid people and does everything he can to knock some sense into them. Albeit he sometimes hurts some feelings but, who cares of the feelings of the damned.

In the first Circle of Hell we find those who managed not to hurt anyone with their stupidity. Such examples are: people who follow the pop magazines and really care what happens between Brad and Jen, people like the "Lizard Man" who tattoo and disfigure themselves to the point that they are barely recognizable as human, people who buy ripped, stressed, or paint covered clothing, and people who insist in talking out loud in AIM or L33T-speak. Those last have a particularly fitting punishment. They are forced to listen to an English grammar textbook read aloud by a stuffy professor from the 1800's while simultaneously watching n00bs play Counterstrike and World of Warcraft.

The second Circle of Hell is populated by those who hurt animals with their stupidity. One example is a group of Japanese scientists who for some reason need bile and so rather that synthesizing it in a lab (which is fairly easy), choose to painfully extract it from live bears. Another is Peter Meyer who as part of his "art" show allowed visitors to pass goldfish through food processors. There are Chinese people who as part of superstitious and outdated beliefs, consume unspeakable animal parts to increase their virility. Another of these is that of the elderly unnamed woman who, after bathing her poodle, attempts to dry her in the new microwave oven in which the dog promptly explodes. Her punishment is quite the opposite of her pet. She is put into a decompression chamber in which pressure is extremely high and then brought down suddenly. There she experiences sensations quite similar to those of her puppy, but hers are brought on by an outward force pulling out rather than an inner force pushing out.

In the third Circle of Hell live those who's stupidity has brought harm to themselves. Participants include: all winners of Darwin Awards, the college kids who decide to have "Hurricane Parties" during a hurricane, professional athletes who use steroids and then complain when they get cancer, and smokers. Smokers enjoy the wondrous experience of being burned alive while constantly choking on the black tarry smoke of their own burning flesh.

In the fourth Circle of Hell we have those who have hurt friends with idiocy. The friends we hope to never have, who are guests of the Jerry Springer show. Pippin is here, from Lord of the Rings, who carelessly or inadvertently becomes an enemy informant when he looks into the seeing stone. In attendance is Brutus, who stupidly betrayed his greatest ally. Not only did he lose all influence he had in the city but eventually his life after he helped instigate the revolution against the man who was his most loyal friend, Caesar. The last person is Odysseus, who foolishly ransacked the Temple of Poseidon before he was to make a long sea voyage. (Real Smart). Odysseus must endure the punishment of "Waterboarding" in which he is tied upside down to a vertical plank of wood and water is continuously poured over his feet to rush down over his body and face, eternally simulating the sensation of drowning.

In the fifth Circle of Hell are those whose stupidity harmed their families. We have religious fanatics who do not believe in modern medicine and refuse to let their families benefit from life saving technology. We also see here the upper echelon of Catholic priesthood who ignore or even protect pedophile priests, as well as Martha Stewart who promoted an unobtainable ideal for homemakers. In their own greasy corner we have such luminaries as Ray Croc, the founder of McDonald's who helped brainwash families that a "happy meal" was a healthy choice. Ray gets repeatedly julienned and deep-fried in his own version of McHell.

In the sixth Circle of Hell we find those fools whose ignorance has harmed other races. Columbus and the other European explorers who discovered new lands but did not respect the new races they discovered as well. Mel Gibson and his famous drunken honesty, Samuel Bowers and David Duke - two of the most famous white supremacists of modern times and last but not least, Borat Sagdiyev. Borat not only managed to insult the people of Kazakhstan, but also took the world opinion of America and it's culture down another notch. He is trapped in a room of his own fans and forced to listen through eternity to them doing bad imitations of him while he naked wrestles with his "producer".

The seventh Circle of Hell is populated by people who have harmed an entire nation. The first of which is Kruschev and his circle of USSR premiers who ran their country into the ground and have left their mess to be cleaned up by their heirs. Next find in the seventh circle the corrupt African leaders who not only confiscate foreign aid packages, but also refuse to acknowledge the truth about AIDS and they don't educate their population on the ways to not spread the disease. Also here is Emperor Hirohito of Japan, who initiated the attack on Pearl Harbor that started the chain of events that led to the Atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Lastly is Kim Jung Il. He has completely alienated his country from the outside world and has condemned them with his foolhardy nuclear aggression. It is well known that he is very fond of his tech toys, many of which are American made. iPods, fast cars and all the materialism that communism protests against are some of his guilty pleasures that he often uses as rewards for support. For his sins, he will live in a total void, in a sensory deprivation tank in the middle of a white padded cell with his only stimulation being the theme song of his mock character in Team America: World Police singing "I'm so ronery" over and over and over.

The eighth Circle of Hell are those whose stupidity has harmed on a global level. The first of which is Pandora, whose need to satisfy her curiosity cost the world. Next is our favorite President, George W. Bush, tipping the scales with his bold move not to sign the Kyoto Treaty. Third are the officers of 3M and other chemical companies who give us ScotchGuard so that we can clean stained couches and carpets more easily, but saturate the planet with potentially toxic Clouroflourocarbons that will be much more difficult to clean up. Henry Ford may have given us the assembly line and the affordable automobile, but at what cost? The need for gasoline to run our cars has had disastrous effects on our environment, not to mention the pollution of burning all those petro-chemicals. Mr. Ford, for his sins to the environment will endure the Chinese water torture, with a twist: drop by drop will fall on his forehead - drop by drop of acid rain.

The ninth Circle of Hell are those whose stupidity has harmed on a cosmic level. Zaphod Beeblebrox, president of the galaxy ... enough said. The American and Russian space programs who have been the biggest cosmic litterbugs are also in the ninth circle. Here you will also find all the past presidents and vice presidents of NBC, ABC, CBS and all other television and radio stations because their constant radio signals going out into the universe might destroy entire civilizations on other galaxies. Finally we find in his own lovely theater, Ronald Reagan, who sent WMD's into orbit and allowed radioactive waste to be jettisoned into space. "Ronnie" is forced to watch the new Star Wars movies (Episodes I, II & III) over and over with liberal Star Wars fanatics that only cease their incessant harping about his politics to make snide comments about the movies.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Better than a Life Coach

O.K. maybe that is an exaggeration, but I am loving my personal work motivator.

This little gadget helps me be more productive when doing tasks, especially the dreaded declutter duties. I just set it for a 5 or 10 minute countdown and it beeps when the time is up. I hit it twice more and it resets for the same amount of time. Why is this so great?

The first reason is that I can get so much done if I make it a contest of sorts. I do what I call the "5 minute Pick Up" I set my timer and rush around seeing how much I can clean one room in 5 minutes. When the timer beeps, it is time to move to the next room.

The second reason is this. Put me to a domestic task and I develop a different form of A.D.D. - I call it Domestic Attention Disorder or D.A.D. for short. I have a problem with procrastination and I also have a problem with digression. I put things off, but then when it is last minute pressure to do whatever it is, I get started and then get bogged down in the details.

Do you ever decide to clean out a desk drawer or closet and you lose yourself in the "shiny"? You know, a messy drawer and you start to pick, pick, pick through the clutter - A box of new pencils, KEEP. A post-it note pad, KEEP. Three wrinkled grundgy post-its that are no longer attached, TOSS. A mint out of its wrapper, HMMM-toss or eat?-TOSS. And then you see something shiny, maybe a button that was on a baby coat and you take a mental reunion moment that turns into more than a minute. Or the button belongs to a current coat so you decide to go sew it back on and you go into the laundry room to grab your sewing kit, but you see a shoe that goes in your son's closet so you put down the button and pick up the shoe to take to his room. You head to his room with the shoe, but then turn around to see if there is anything else that goes to his room. So you see a basket of clean clothes that you should fold first and you put down the shoe and start to fold the clothes, but decide they should go back in the dryer for a bit. You want to add a dryer sheet, but the box is empty, so you head to the kitchen to write "dryer sheets" on your grocery list and so you head to the kitchen and there isn't a pen next to the grocery list. So you go to get a pen, but the first two you try are dried up and don't write. You take the dead pens to the trash and notice a crayon mark on the trash can and put down the dead pens to go grab the kitchen cleanser ..... two hours later you have made 7 round trips through your house but still haven't finished the drawer and can't think of a thing you actually got done.

D.A.D. has struck once again.

Then I found this timer and I hang it around my neck and let it aurally zap me every five minutes to stay on task. So far, it has been really helpful. Maybe not as helpful as a life coach, but it is a lot cheaper! I got my Polder 898-95 Clock, Timer and Stopwatch at and it is the best $15.00 I have spent in a loooong time.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Forty-One Roses: Endings and Beginnings - Part 3

This is what I asked Amber if she would help me with....

It is forty-one roses that we went and picked out at our favorite wholesale flower market. We picked them for their colors and what those colors represent. The darker red roses are actually black roses, they just photographed a deep red and then the flash made them even lighter. The other roses were a true red and white. We also added rosemary from my garden and lavender from Amber's garden. All of our choices had symbolic reasons, and we made the wreath with deliberate intent. For love and remembrance, for dealing with the past, for forgivenes and for letting go.

I first was going to place it on my grandmother's grave. But as I worked on it I realized that I needed to place it in a different location. It needed to go on my dad's grave. So that is what I did. And now I have said some of the things, out loud, that I have waited to say.

And I don't feel the least bit impolite.

Endings and Beginnings -- Part 2

As I said in my previous post, my grandmother's death was more painful than I expected. She was a vital woman, in the best sense of that word. She loved life, lived her life with an enthusiastic YES! at almost every opportunity and challenge. She lived a long life as well. She died leaving a large family who loved her. Children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren were at her funeral and her life was celebrated as well as mourned.

I decided to miss the visitation the night before the funeral so I could stay in Austin to be with our son who was leaving shortly to fly back to San Francisco. It wasn't an easy decision, but I thought if I could have asked her what she would want, I think she would have said, "Celebrate the living before mourning the dead." So that is what I did.

I also asked my oldest daughter, Amber if she would help me do something. I was a bit embarrassed asking, because it might seem weird what I wanted to do, but I am not going to let hesitation stop me any longer from doing what seems true for me. I needed to find some way to let go of my past. I had done all sort of intellectual work on my childhood. All sorts of psychological work and mental acrobatics to try and understand on my own why people had behaved how they behaved. And yet, there was still a sad curiosity I have never been able to shake. A feeling like I was holding out my empty hands asking for more but never receiving anything of weight.

I think that maybe this was because I have always tried to find a way to explain away their actions. To rationalize it. To justify it. But the bottom, the base reality I never acknowledged at a deep level was that I felt wronged and betrayed by the people I trusted the most. I needed to acknowledge that part of me was angry and hurt and that it was wrong what had been done to six year old me. Then I needed to find a way to really forgive it (since you can't forgive what you don't acknowledge) and then finally, hopefully, move on.

Endings and Beginnings -- Part 1

Our son Matt and his lovely girlfriend, Nhu, came home for the Thanksgiving break. We planned not one, but TWO feasts for the time he was scheduled to be here and then, the day before they arrived, we got a phone call that my grandmother had died. They decided to delay the funeral until the weekend after Thanksgiving, but it still didn't give some family members the time to get home as all flights the weekend after Thanksgiving are booked solid.

I took my grandmother's death very hard. This was surprising as I wasn't particularly close with my grandmother. She was my father's mom and when I was six years old, my parents divorced. My dad, for whatever reasons, didn't make seeing me and my sister the priority that it should have been. Since he didn't pick us up on his weekends, and seldom had more contact than around Christmas - we very rarely saw that side of our family. They just sort of faded into the background. I missed them as we had been a very tight knit group who spent a lot of time together and I thought of my male cousins the way most folks think of siblings. For a long time I felt the empty space and wondered what was wrong with me that they didn't make a point of including me more often.

In later years we reconnected and I was surprised to find how much I was like my grandmother. We had so many of the same personality quirks and attitudes about things. We both delighted in conversation and a full house of company. We loved to feed everyone and never wanted to waste time washing up when company was still there to chat with. We loved some of the same weird foods and had the same circadian rhythms. We had the same profile and the same mother lion piercing gaze when our family was vunerable to anything. Family was THE steadfast priority.

Most of the family was her steadfast priority. And that unfinished business is why her death was difficult for me. My father died when I was 16 and I never got to ask him why I was ignored, postponed, abandoned.

I didn't have the courage to ever ask. It seemed somehow impolite and I didn't have the words. I kept meaning to have that conversation with my grandmother - ask her the difficult questions - but it was so much easier and more fun to laugh with her and enjoy what little time I made to see her in my busy adult life. I regret not having the hard conversation. I just never could find the words.

Sneezes and Wheezes and Coughs -- Oh My!

Life has been tough lately. But life is also wonderful even when awful. Isin't it?

The fall of 2006 will go down as the worst season in memory for family illness. Everyone has been sick. Viral and bacterial ridden coughing, hacking, nose blowing, exhausting, nauseating, lethargic, headachy, muscle crampy, nastiness. Keep your fingers crossed for all of us that the winter season is a vast improvement on the health front.

Friday, November 03, 2006


I am slightly overwhelmed with life these days.

That is all.

Monday, October 16, 2006

"He wears the world like a loose garmet." (Quote of the Day)

"He wears the world like a loose garmet."
--Kris Kristoferson describing Willie Nelson's unflappable nature.

I really want to be like this. I know I worry too much -- even though I know fretting and emotional teeth gnashing are a waste of energy, I still do it. I yearn for the zen acceptance that Willie Nelson wears like a loose (and comfortable) garmet.

I have always been a fan of Mr. Nelson's, but the past year I have really come to appreciate to a much deeper level his music, his life philosophies, his activism, his way of being in the world and the myriad and complex aspects that make up his uniqueness. I like the way he fits into his life and I love the way he accepts whatever comes his way.

Do you think there is a place I can get a "What would Willie do" t-shirt?

If not, I can at least check out his new songs and ask to be a new friend at his myspace....

Monday, October 02, 2006

I am a Lush

They say a photo is worth a thousand words, so for those of you asking to see the photo that made the Lush Times ---- here it is.


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Edward Lawrence Albert

Edward Albert, the actor probably best know for his work in the movie "Butterflys are Free" died recently. He was only 55 years old and I was quite shocked to hear the sad news. I always enjoyed seeing him in movies and on television, but I also respected deeply who he was in his private life. He was an intelligent and gracious man who put his family and the causes he believed in first in his life.

Here is something he said after 9/11 that I have read many times.

"You don't have to be dead to be a hero..." (G.S. Patton)

"In the year 2000, Americans voted plain-speaking Gen. George S. Patton their favorite general...over everyone from George Washington to Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, et al.

In 1969, at the age of 19, I was lucky enough to work with George C. Scott in the definitive portrayal of his career over a period of many months and several countries on the definitive film version of Patton's WWII career. Having survived a few revolutions and coup d'etats myself, I am profoundly aware of the value and contributions of the unsung heroes, the everyday heroes, the quiet men and women who step up every single day. You, you, and you. We see them now, every hour of every day on every channel. Faces on the faceless...the plumber with his tools waiting patiently until his abilities are needed. The housewife or househusband taking the children to school then passing out water to the thirsty. The singer in the cathedral lifting all our voices, all our hearts, all our hopes. Even those who do nothing but care in their hearts and wish they had some contribution to make. The simple act of caring is heroic. Some days it is a heroic act just to refuse the paralysis of fear and straighten up and step into another day. My 95-year-old father pulled 'his' Marines out of the water at Tarawa under a withering triple crossfire, having four boats shot out from under him, refusing a direct order to retreat, and returning again and again and again and again until he had every single man back to the hospital ship. Yet that heroism pales in the face of his ferocious optimism as he battles to maintain his dignity while I button his shirt today. In times of life crisis, whether wild fires or smoldering stress, the first thing I do is go back to I eating right, am I getting enough sleep, am I getting some physical and mental exercise everyday. Sometimes you have to be selfish to be selfless. Then I start looking into my fears. Courage is just fear, plus prayers, plus understanding. Fear is the only true enemy, born of ignorance and the parent of anger and hate. On a level of simple personal survival, understanding and forgiveness are crucial...whether in an intimate personal relationship or on a global level. As a lifelong warrior, I still remember my first lesson in combat...get your opponent angry, and he will defeat himself. Let us begin by doing our best to do our best, every single time, no matter what, forever. That is a truly heroic goal. Yesterday, someone wrote 'God Bless the Everyday Hero' in the dust of my car' s rear window. Like a kiss from one beloved, it will wear off before I wash it off. God bless us everyone."

Mr. Albert spent the lions share of the past decade taking care of his father, Eddie Albert. Both of them were in my view giants among men. They both are sorely missed.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

QUOTE OF THE DAY-- Epictetus

First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to

-- Epictetus (55-135 AD) Greek Philosopher

Love and Hugs

Who says the internet is causing us to become more distant and isolated from the real world? I mean, I can see their point - points, but at the same time, I disagree in part. I just read my cousin's wonderful blog and afterward I had a nice warm glow as if we had just talked on the phone. Two days ago my niece e-mailed me, just to say she loved me and had been thinking about me. When I read her note, same nice warm glow of affection and joy.

Although virtual hugs are not quite as great as the real world thing, I think that virtual love is pretty damn wonderful.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Optical Inch

This ---> BODY SHAVER campaign has had me laughing for the better part of the past half hour. I am not sure if it is a real advertising campaign or an in-house joke, but it is definately original for American ad campaigns! Make sure you hover your cursor over the razor and then check out each link --- especially the music video!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Because I just did it for a forum - 20 Things about Me.

On a forum, I was asked to list "20 Things About Me"
This is what I thought of - off the top of my head.

  1. When I was little, I thought someday a medicine man would give me a potion to make all my freckles spread out and merge until I had the most beautiful permanent tan.
  2. I was the first girl in almost 50 years on my father's side of the family, so nobody knew what to do with me - even though I was a tomboy.
  3. I have a LOT of nicknames.
  4. I have had a LOT of pets, including a cat that was half Bobcat.
  5. One of my dogs saved my oldest daughter's life.
  6. I had the nickname "Speedy" as a kid because I ran everywhere, and usually made any routine trip a race with myself.
  7. When I was about 10, I talked my 8 year old sister and 4 year old cousin into climbing up a ladder onto the roof with me. Once I got them up there, I scrambled down and took away the ladder so I didn't have them tagging along. 30 years later, I still get grief about it. :^)
  8. I was a jock (basketball, vollyball, track) and a cheerleader in high school, now I can barely move.
  9. I was also a brainac who tried to play slightly dumber - I would deliberately miss test questions so as not to ruin the curve for friends (insert idiot icon here).
  10. I had the nickname "Nurse" as a kid because I was always administering first aid to drunks and animals.
  11. We have a lot of parties at our home and so I still adminster first aid to drunks and "animals".
  12. I have an innocent heart murmer. Some docs act like it is not so innocent.
  13. I had the nickname "Pick", because I was so skinny as a child.
  14. In middle school I had this freak ability to jump straight up and won district in "vertical" broad jump --- by 10" more than the next contestant! Our team didn't go on to regionals, so I don't know how far I might have gone.
  15. My coach gave me the nickname "Ribbit" because of my mad jumping skills.
  16. I had the nickname "Mouth" in Highschool. Because I was talkative and a good kisser. ;-)
  17. I still have a problem with talking too much. ;-)
  18. I also have the nickname, "Time Warp" because time seems to shrink around me. Friends say that 30 minutes seems like 10 around me - so I must warp time.
  19. I am also notoriously late by 5 minutes almost everywhere I go.
  20. I was voted Senior Class "Favorite" in high school butI still worry and wonder if people like me.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Look Who is Four!!!!

Last but not least in the August Birthday Series...


If you want to make a 4 year happy?
Then get them a bouncy ball as a gift.

Way to go Great-Grandmom Barbara!

Soap Opera

I belong to a certain forum on the internet. Lately, every time I log onto this forum it seems that several of the top posts are all this teeth gnashing, emotional hair pulling drama. Now that might make sense if it was a political forum maybe, or one about religion or some really volatile topic. I mean, I could see putting on my "emotional keplar" if I belonged to a mine field area of the web. But in this case, the ticking bombs are not topics but a sub-set of the forum population. Most of the folks on there are truly wonderful caring people. I even like almost all of the ticking-bomb people. My frustration is that this is a forum about bath products!

I seem lately to tilt my head like a puzzled dog at least once a week to the passionate vitriol that occurs over there. I log on for a virtual soak and to learn more about my favorite hedonistic indulgence. Instead, I get drama and see people I have come to care for fighting on different sides of an issue. The original controversy spills over into other topics and so deciding to just not read the dramatic threads is not a fool proof plan. Curiosity gets the better of me and so I pop in for a quick scan to see just what is going on. (Sort of like glancing over when you pass a car accident.) What starts as a difference of opinion turns into personal attacks and opposing camps. There doesn't seem to be any middle ground where there can be a respectful disagreement that occurs with polite and civilized discourse for the most part.

I just shake my head and move on and do NOT add my two cents there. The first reason I don't post is so as not to "bump" the thread back to the top. It is my way of helping the tow truck get there quicker. The second reason I don't post is that I feel a "why bother" sort of apathy. No matter how well I said what I was feeling, no matter how intelligent my opinion or eloquent my words, it would still be drowned out by all the virtual shouting. Someone really wise needs to start studying this phenomenom and figure out how to change the energy. I mean, trite as it may seem, if we can't have peace on a bubble forum, what hope do we have in the Middle East?

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Happy 1st Birthday Shaun!

OK, I am late with this one too .... just pretend the postdate is August 17th?

Amber's baby is no longer a baby. He is now ONE YEAR OLD. Amber is a little sad, so if you know her, give her a hug!

Opening Gifts:

Just before Cake:

During Cake:

Friday, August 18, 2006

A George Gray Mood

You know how some people talk about being blue or having the red meanies or being in a black funk? Well, sometimes I feel a "restlessness and vague desire" that I can only think of as a George Gray Mood. If you have never read Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters, pick up a copy and turn to the poem George Gray. If you click on the title of this post, it will take you to a copy of it online.

Lately this feeling I am talking about has changed slightly and I think I like the change.

I feel like a seedling
yearning to push
past the tension and weight of the soil.

I feel like a seedling
yearning for air.

I feel like a seedling
ready to shed
the brown earth for blue sky sunlight.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Losing a Mountain

The person who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.

-- Chinese proverb

I need to lose weight. I need to lose a LOT of weight. The quote above I found today and it is going to be my new mantra. Little steps, lots of little steps can take me long distances. Right?

One of my secret dreams is to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, but until I get in much much better shape, that is not possible. So starting today, I am going to attempt again to lose a mountain of weight and as a reward I will treat myself to one of the trips of my dreams. Don't you think there is a wonderful symmetry to this goal and reward?

I have been dreaming about this for several years. I started thinking about it after seeing the wonderful documentary, Kilimanjaro - To the Roof of Africa. I have even picked the company I will probably use - Tusker Trails.

I have done almost everything except the actual work of losing the weight and getting in shape. Wishing for it won't get me there. Dreaming of it won't get me there. Praying about it won't get me there. It is time I take to heart the African prayer, "Pray with your feet."

The glacier at the top of Kili is getting smaller every year and so I need to act now. I feel a new urgency - for the glacier and for me as well. I feel the weight of time lately. I feel more of a pressing need to act. Life flies by us at such accelerated speed these days and I can't procrastinate any longer. I need to do the hard work now, because I deserve a healthier and lighter life! The time is now to pray with my feet.

Feet get a' movin'!

Happy 6th Birthday Kennedy!

I am a baaaaaaaaaaaaad grandmom. Well, not really. I am just a very busy grandmom these days. My oldest grandchild had her 6th Birthday on the 10th of August! I was so busy shopping and getting the house ready for an August group birthday party, that I didn't take the time to come on here and publicly wish her a very very happy day.

Happy (belated) Birthday Kennedy!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Quiet after Happy Noise

I should be in bed sleeping. I have a full day tomorrow and I had a full day today and the practical sliver of me says I should be in bed. I have put everyone else who is here in bed, all tucked in and kissed. So why don't I drag my tired at 2 a.m. carcass to bed as well? Maybe because I like this sleepy empty space that I exist in right at this moment.

I love the quiet after happy noise.

Have you ever heard those wonderful Tibetan bowls that sing? If you have, do you remember the moment when the bowl stops singing, but you think you still hear it in the silence? That is the place I am in now.

Yawn. Hummmmm. Good Night.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


I won't be on the internet much the next several days as our middle son is home for a visit and I am going to spend every moment I can in family bliss. We have five birthdays this month, so this Saturday we are having an "August" family birthday party. The guest list is already over 50 family members.

I love it when we all get together. There is nothing better, to my way of thinking, than when I have all five of my kiddoes and their significant others all under my roof. If I can get them to stand still long enough, and I can get their permission - get ready for a photo!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Horizontally Challenged

I am a hygenic person, but I am not a "tidy" person. I collect things that have sentimental value. I am very sentimental and so I have a lot of stuff. Abundance is everywhere and in every aspect of my life. I love that for the most part. I don't know what I would do if I didn't have a full-to-bursting at the seams existence.

In my youth I embraced the idea that "Anything worth doing is worth overdoing." Well I have a bit more wisdom now and so I don't feel that way so much anymore. But I still am not one of the "Less is more" advocates. To me -"More is More"! That works ok for some things, but where it is a huge personal challenge is when it comes to housekeeping. I clean, I organize, I tidy, I pick up, I put up, I purge - and yet the clutter continues to reproduce and if I am not in constant vigil, tables and counters and even the pool table become overrun with clutter!

My dear TIDY husband loves me in spite of this. Years ago he accepted the sad fact I am missing the neat gene. He once said, "You would be the perfect housekeeper if a home didn't have horizontal surfaces."

So does that mean I can be classified as Horizontally Challenged?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

American Fiesta

Friday night we went to see the play American Fiesta, written and performed by Steven Tomlinson. If you have the opportunity, please go see it. Number one, it is very good. Number two, our theatre productions in town really need the support.

My sister got four tickets for us to go and see it as part of my birthday. I was delighted! Bob-o and I have gotten out of the habit of a real social life the past few years. It seems most of our social engagements fall in one of three categories: Children, Work, or Charities We Support. So, I was going to have a great time, even if the play was not wonderful. I collect Fiesta Dinnerware and so it seemed that the themes he would weave into a monologue would be right up my alley.

They were.

I am not a "review" kind of person. I can give a report, but that is not what I really want to do. I have been thinking I should come on here and talk about this play, but I dragged my heels probably in part because I don't want to try and Ebert anything. So what I share with you now, please don't think of as a review.

The play started in perfect darkness and then slowly a single light began to highlight a brilliant red bowl. It was almost a holy moment, deliberate I am sure. A man came out and started to share what feels to be his authentic story. He talked of so many things that I identified with and could relate to my own life.

The play had many diverse themes and yet he skillfully brought them together, like a wonderful stew you could never imagine the ingredients mixing in such a delicious way. He talked about opposites attracting and repelling in relationships. He talked about e-Bay. He talked of the need for approval and understanding from our family. He talked about neurobiology being used in advertising, such as the successful manipulation of neurotransmitters to win political elections. He talked about the popularity of vintage Fiesta being an interesting way to self medicate in times of stress - that it harkens back to childhood memories of grandmom's kitchen and at the same time excites us in the thrill of the hunt for those rare and elusive pieces. He talked about gay marriage and rural Oklahoma. He talked about using "the good dishes" and not putting them up to just admire. He talked about our society being more polarized and the trend of less interaction and tolerance between people having opposing viewpoints. He talked about striving for perfection and the perfection of appreciating the flawed.

I was touched by a lot of what he said and I was sad when the show ended. I don't know if the show really was autobiographical, but I hope it was. Because I want that character to really exist in my world. I liked him. I wished I could invite him over for a home cooked meal.

I would even get down the Fiesta I keep up high and never use.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Thread the Needle

Just a few minutes ago I was driving back home from taking my 16 year old and two of his friends to camp and traffic was typical weekday morning traffic. At one point I had to cross one lane right and then immediately merge right to be able to take my exit. There was only a very short space to do so and it was going to be a tight gap to navigate without causing others to need to brake. I was just a tiny bit uneasy about it as it is a new car and it doesn't yet feel yet like an extension of my body and I could cause a wreck if I mis-gauged my speed or the size of my car. I took a quick breath and then slipped into the narrow gap and as I was slipping between cars, I thought to myself -- Thread the Needle.

Metaphorically, how many times do we need to "thread the needle" in our daily life? How often is it important to have a precision in situations with potential danger? When we avoid saying something because we want to say it "just so". When we want to ask for that raise or take that job. When we want to demand more respect or care from a significant other. When we want to learn something new and possibly embarrasing like learning to play the saxaphone or taking a dance class. When we put ourselves out there by posting our private and maybe not-so-cool thoughts on the internet.

How often do we take the risk and thread the needle?

How often do we just wait for the next exit?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Out with the old, In with the new.

The photo below is of us leaving in the van to go pick up the new car. My daughter was very sad as this was the only car she has ever known me to drive. It is weird how when you live your life in or around material things, they take on more meaning. We have spent a lot of time in this van and although we will enjoy the new car, Old Blue is going to be missed.

OK, I know - crazy as a mad hatter - but I parked the new car in front of Old Blue, grinned when I got out and thought, "Old Master, teach the new student how to love and take care of our family."

Now, don't worry, I don't believe that cars have literal souls. But I do believe in residual energy and I very much believe in directed intention. By allowing myself to have some sappy if strange sentimentality, it helped me to honor a life passage for our family.

Another silly bit, I was sad to lose our stickers, but more about that in a different post possibly.

Life from an Easy Chair

Wouldn't it be great if sitting in an Easy Chair actually made our lives easier? Sitting in mine just seems to make my butt bigger.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Yes, this turtle does have a tail. Terrapin - Part Four:

And this leads to the last bit of this story. We went and bought a new car and sold our old one. While I was waiting, I pulled out my Moleskin purse journal - which is my lo-tech pda - and jotted down the following thoughts:

Aloha Terrapin 7/29/06

Syd Barrett spins and floats and loops and bobs between my ears. Round and round my brain. Terrapin tune, crystal blue. Dear sad Barrett, I miss you ~

Last night - uninvited but not unwelcome - a visitor, a traveler, a totem, a sage - a SYMBOL of so much. I named him Pilgrim Atlas. A terrapin turtle over twelve inches long - scuffed up - broken back - years of life unbowed - but out of his territory. Did he leave the low water to travel closer to the stars? Turtle - symbol of so much. Beginnings and Endings - Animistic Atlas - the lesson of patient STEADY progress amid hellos and good byes. You must leave one life to find the next one. Turtle - a Moon deity with a year of moons upon its back. Turtle - longevity, Tenacity - long life and determined nature. Terrapin - of moon and water. In Feng Sui a turtle in your back yard means blessings on your home: long life, abundance, protection from negativity. All things I need. And what an auspicious time! It is time for me to bid farewell to my old mobile shell and welcome my new one. Pilgrim Atlas came to tell me yes to change. Time to move from some of the low waters of my life and strive for the stars. ~

Terrapins - Part Three

For some reason I call the turtle Pilgrim. Well, I insist on bringing him into the house and cooling him down just a bit as his shell was almost too hot to touch! (It was one of those over 100 degree days here in lovely central Texas.) I bring Pilgrim in and put him on my pool table cover. Get him a saucer of water and a dripping wet hand towel which I take and tenderly try and wash down his shell. I see he has a 2 inch crack on one side and several places where it almost looks like someone went at him with a belt sander. This fella! The tales he could tell! I start to feel happy and lighter while I am working with this animal. All my blue funk just gets lighter and happier. The turtle warms up to me pretty quickly and Pilgrim loves for some weird reason to hear me laugh and to hear me talking on the phone. When I do these two things he will crane his neck up as far as he can from his shell. This must be a very curious turtle! I know I probably imagined it being real communication, but when I would bob my head up and down at him, he would do the same kind of bobble head back at me! And if I tilted my head right, he would tilt his left. I think my husband was worried a bit that I had gone off the deep end with how I was playing with this turtle! I know he was worried that I was going to beg to keep Pilgrim. He was correct there. I did ask, but only half heartedly as I assumed he would be better back with his own kind. So I called our local WildLife Rescue and made an appt to take Pilgrim in the next day. Then I put him in a sturdy box with another dish of water and with the wet towel in the corner.

I started wondering at what meanings there might be for this critter entering our lives as he did. I know that some folks believe that everything is random and coincidence, and there might be truth to that. I just find life more interesting if I entertain the possibility that there are no accidents and so I got on line and looked up turtle meanings and symbolism. The bottom line for me was that Turtles have a lot in common with me. I am the Astrological symbol Cancer and Turtles have very crab-like similarities. Then there is the whole Atlas Mythology associated with them! How cool is that? Pilgrim Atlas! I wonder if maybe, just maybe my Native American ancestors were Turtle People! What I think was the lesson to learn here was let go of some things to be able to reach for the next one. Some how, finding Pilgrim helped me to be ok with saying goodbye to my old car and also helped me to say goodbye to my Terrapin singer, Syd Barrett. And also maybe just maybe it is helping me say goodbye to other bits I need to bid farewell.

... of Brain Worms and Terrapins - Part Two:

Ok, so Syd Barrett and me feeling and listening to him a lot, which listening to his solo work is sometimes enough in itself to create a depressive episode and one of my old fav's I just cannot get out of my head - Terrapin. I listen to it on my iPod and computer and hear it in my head when it isn't on somewhere else. I keep trying to get the brain worm to go away but no luck.

Now, a side trail. I drive a 12 year old van. Big honkin' navy blue customized to obscenity mother of a van. But it is old and gets really bad gas mileage and my husband wants me to get a new car. Has been pushing hard since the lady turned 10 - but there just hasn't been anything I want. I WANT a Prius that gets 100 mpg and I can haul around a dozen people, but they just don't make that one yet. See my dilema? We have been looking off and on for over a year and the car that is Bob-o's and the kids' favorite is the Toyota Sienna. I like it ok, but not enough to "abandon" my van. (So silly I know but I end up personifying my cars and projecting personalities and pet like affection on them.) Bob-o wants me to jump, but I just keep climbing back down the stairs of the diving board.(metaphorically speaking)

So I am sad about Syd, thinking about endings and how his ending took 30 years and was just so incredibly sad and listening to Terrapin and other of his songs and not really getting much done that I need to do. I seemed to be moving in molasses. Working and striving to accomplish stuff, but just slow motion efficiency. Then my husband comes home from work and is excited and says, "Come LOOK! You are never gonna believe what is in our back yard!" Now, we live on top of a hill in an area that is sort of part of North West Hills and sort of part of an area called Cat Mountain. Not mountains to most folks, but for Texans, I live on the top ridge of a mountain. Nice views, but a bit less grounding that I would prefer, but my goodness do we have wonderful thunderstorms up here!

Anyway, I digress. I go out and there is a Turtle! A Red Eared Slider, which is a water loving semi-aquatic creature. He had to walk at least a mile uphill to my yard! And how did he get here? He is over a foot long, which means he is probably over a decade old and he looks it - scuffed and scarred and road hardened.

... of Brain Worms and Terrapins and casting off shells

Melancholy hit me recently when Syd Barrett died. Most folks reading this are probably too young to even know who that is, but he was one of the original key members of Pink Floyd and also one of my first childhood crushes. He was so beautiful and smart and sexy and seemed calmy kind when not spotlight beacon brilliant - how could I not have a crush? He overdid the psychotropics and lost his way.

His personal descent into madness and recent death have affected me deeper than I am comfortable. Does this ever happen to you? It is like emotional cling film. When this happens to me, I start to look for something to change the energy and usually I find something. You know how sometimes the universe appers to be more than coincidence? Well bear with me in part two of this long rabbit trail, because it does have a point, I promise.

Plastic Jesus

Ever have a brain worm? I can't stop hearing Paul Newman singing Plastic Jesus from Cool Hand Luke

The Lyrics?

I don't care if it rains or freezes
as long as I got a plastic jesus
sitting on the dashboard of my car
comes in colors pink and pleasant
glows in the dark cause its iridescent
take it with you when you travel far.

Get yourself a sweet Madonna
dressed in rhinestones sitting on a
pedestal of abalone shell
going 90 I ain't scary
cause I got the Virgin Mary
assuring me that I won't go to hell...

Atlas Winks

Atlas Winks - because sometimes the overburdened and the overwhelmed actually get the joke.