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.