Because all experiences are valuable.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Walking On A Wave She Came

Was talking about my blog tonight and said how I pay attention each day for a recurring theme, or just one thing that jumps out as really memorable, and then I know what to write about. Guy has been gone off traveling most of the summer, and Reid is exhausted from Drumline, so not too many philosophical conversations with them to spark me lately. Today I washed my hair. That's it, post finished...
Giggle, not really. I noticed my hair is getting really long again. Which made me think about all the years my hair was extremely long. "The Mermaid Years." Out of the shower, I heard on the TV about some show where the guy searches for things like Yetis and stuff. He was saying, "If there's a mermaid in there, I'll find it..." Walked upstairs to file papers and look for Guy's AP Psych score report (lost), put on CD of ELO's greatest hits. Three of which are quintessential "me" songs. "Can't Get it Out of My Head" came on.....the Ocean's daughter.

Which reminded me of a poem I wrote in college in modern poetry class that had a good start but fizzled. My professor said keep the parts that are good, just snippets and stanzas, sometimes you will use them later or incorporate them, or see how to improve them, but now I think maybe this one was better just that one stanza:

Charleston sings her songs to the Sea,
Keeping him bound, though he's imminently free,
Circe, Oh Circe, she must be your daughter.
Take me back home, then, I die out of water.               

I wrote that about 1988. I still miss Charleston. They say when you grow up on the tidal plain, you never forget the rhythm of the tide going in and out literally underneath you. Charleston floats on the tide between the Ashley and Cooper Rivers. It's a very complex ecosystem.

Which made me think of when, during the mermaid years that I delivered singing telegrams and worked Cons (gaming or fan conventions) as a mermaid, I attended my friend Sherry's party in my mermaid costume. I'd been looking for this picture for her since the same topic came up a few months back on Facebook. Sherry is just about my oldest and dearest friend, and a wonderful person. Yes, I still have the tail and shells in a box...

And I started thinking what it all meant, all this mermadia today. Just this maybe...

I read recently that water covers about 73% of the Earth, almost exactly the same percentage as the human body is water. So, get in the water whenever you can. Take your shoes off and stick your feet in. Go swimming if you're invited, and don't care how perfect you look in a swimsuit. Spray someone unexpectedly with a garden hose. Take a shower with your sweetheart. Run through sprinklers, walk on the beach, and toss pebbles in puddles after a rainstorm. These things are good for us. Water is life.

This poem is recent. Posted on Fb Feb 10, 2010.

I Was 
I was a Mermaid.
Sad silence gathers around me in absent waves,
the frequency lowering like
Blue Whale song.

Dischord thins me, lashes me, rocks upon me, shells
no inner ear hears.

Is it my remains you seek,
or the Song I sang to you?
My brittle tail draped heavenly masterpiece green,
How can I serve in this condition?
What would you have of me...

Bring the wine, I am dry and would offer you
a siren song yet.
Plastered in the rain from under the shadow of
an arching manta ray.

The others have died.
I am alone, the last, all that survives of what you knew
I swim here... my hair of salt and seaweed flowers
behind me.

I was a Mermaid.

The sentiment kinda went with my slightly melancholy day. Maybe I'll go to Charleston...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Listen to every song...One at a time

I'm making a pot of Stash Hazelnut Chocolate Decaf tea. I'm reading blogs that I follow. I hope once my classes start back I Will still be able to keep up with the blogs I like. I think I will make a chart of a few for each day, and spend time each day reading the last weeks posts for just those few. Most don't post every day, so I figure I can follow four a day, so maybe 25 should be my maximum. We shall see how it goes. The coffee maker is drippy bubbling. I use a dedicated coffee maker to make tea. Make actual coffee just once, and I will taste it forever.

So I was reading the blog In Search of Whales, which is zombiehaven,blogspot.com. (no zombies, though. It is inspirational) I enjoyed the post titled Integrigratuitous. Which is ear-catching isn't it? Oh, I wish you could smell this tea. Zombie's post got me thinking a lot, because I have been married twice. I don't think I broke my oaths to either husband. Far from perfect was I. In some ways, though, I am perfectly me, which I kind of mean like...you're actually getting me as advertised. I guess I do feel like they both broke their oaths to me, but let me say I am so far down the road of forgiveness that I am only speaking philosophically here. And to add honestly, I don't necessarily even think oath breaking is or should be enough to end a marriage. In the midst of all the good, great, memorable things in my relationships- all toss-saladed up with the dismal and horrible and heartbreaking, I think what threw the plates to the floor and ended the party was lies. Both times. I can be tempestuous, sometimes demanding, and sometimes mercurially moody. My kids say when I lie (like to their schools if I want to take them to lunch or something) that I tell the most ridiculously convoluted lies (I think this means I am not a very good liar. Good liars keep it simple. I am, however, a good actress.)

I don't know what it was that made them lie to me, repeatedly.I don't know why they couldn't just stop doing what they were lying about or get some freaking therapy and put it to use. It is an odd experience to have someone place these things before you on their list. These things must have happened for a reason, though. I would not be where I am now, with Reid on this killer Drumline and me starting school again, in my own little weirdly laid out rental house, much like an upside-down cake. Without leaving Jeff, I wouldn't have had Reid. Life without both Guy and Reid...wow. That's just not right.And what about Reid's dad's (Jason) influence on Guy's life? And the addition of Dylan and Will, Guy's step-brothers to his and Reid's lives? These are good things. Tonight, one of Reid's best friends started his own blog (good writing, kiddo! yay!) in which he talks so kindly and with praise for the influence of Reid and myself now in his life. Surely none of this follows the rules of marriage as we have always deemed proper and best. I'm just exploring thoughts here, not saying I don't believe in monogamy and marriage.

Someone commented on Zombie's blog that they will never break their oath to his wife of 7 years. I so support that way of thinking; it is admirable. But I have to wonder...things people think at 7 years of marriage- things that happen that you would never expect or anticipate. In the end it may not be "you" at all, and the marriage might still end.

Life is like a good album. You listen to every song...one at a time.

This song was playing on Looking for Whales blog when I was there and I thought, oh, I forgot that song, I like that. So I youtubed it to see if anyone had done a good video. Lord knows Google (don't they own youtube now) has ruined Youtube for the video maker. I thought this one fit well with this blog.

And I close with a picture taken at Ground Zero of my son Guy, about age 16 then.
Moment of silence...and hugs to all.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Feeling Blessed and Having Fun

Do you ever feel like you have mental housecleaning to do? Little ticky things that need to be done on the brain to mouth, or maybe brain to hand level. Like typing stuff. Mental sticky notes of ideas that need fleshing out, thank yous to voice, possible blog posts that don't seem quite enough for a whole topic.

Here's one. If I type it and share it then I don't have to keep thinking if it will develop into a line of thought..."You can't get a pearl from a clam." This is supposed to be a variation of you can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear (though believe me, if anyone could, I could- I'm a fabric genius.) But I was thinking about what we most often call pearls in the mental way...pearls of wisdom. Also, what we think of as a clam. Someone who won't talk or communicate. So, I give that phrase a different meaning...you can't get pearls of wisdom from someone who won't communicate. Which couldn't be any truer, eh? Whew! now I don't have to carry that around in there anymore.

Second, I wanted to say Hi! to all my followers on BlogFrog and Networked Blogs, and the ones who've chosen to follow privately. I can't see you, but I'm happy you're there. So, Hi!

Next, OMG, many of you do not know how crazy I am for Hello Kitty. Just the Kitty, not the whole shebang. I adore the fact that she has no mouth. The way they can convey her expression solely through body language, head tilt, and accessorization, is just a win. There, now you know. I have nothing to hide.
I'm pretty sure her 50th birthday is this year, so before you consign her to the toy bin for teens, remember- my generation had her first.

Look, it's me and Hello Kitty. I say Yes!

Yeah, so I stole the artwork off the Hello Kitty Online site. Which is super cute. And I had never seen before. Wow.

Anyway, moving along...

I'm so impressed with the Flash of Crimson Marching Band kids. It has been ungodly hot with a heat index of 105 some days. They had pre-camp last week and Full Band Camp this week. They are out there learning their show in the blazing sun. I'm either in the shade with the first aid bag and cool cloths, or prepping food in the kitchen, but I haven't heard one kid complain about the heat or how hard they are working. They've even thanked us moms for what we are doing. These are some awesome kids.

I'm glad people come to visit me at my house. That's the only time I sweep. I keep my place neat and my kitchen clean, and dishes out of all the rooms, laundry folded and put up, etc. But I almost never sweep. I have some kind of broom phobia or something. Maybe all those silly mop commercials. So, my wood floors are likely a resource for stray leaf bits, dropped cheerios, and the odd pretzel M&M. Oh! maybe because I used to have a dog. She never left a food bit, no matter how small. Oh this is so sad, and devolving. Hahaha

Skye, Frank, Reid, Ike, Me, Guy, at Mad Italian from April 2010. Di must have been taking the picture.

Will, Reid, Dylan, Guy, Cheyenne

Me and Frank, bowling at Stars and strikes.

Dylan and Will are Guy's step-brothers on his Dad's side. Their mom, Michelle is really awesome. She is having some major foot complications after a melanoma surgery, so I'm praying for her to get better soon. I like her a whole lot. She makes my ex a better person. Smile.

Okay, last item, and such a good one, too.

Andrew "Drew" Green, a local artist, comic author, and really talented guy, who has a cool blog where he showcases his characters at drew-green.blogspot.com, and will be hugely successful one day, so catch on now, made me a caricature of Sylace (who says yes). It is so darn cute. I have been told I'm a cartoon, so now officially so! Thanks so much, Drew.

I am so blessed to have so many wonderful people and experiences in my life. Love you all!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Looking for the God Particle, In France, and in Me

Maybe the moon is having its way with me again.
Last night I said let's see what the full moon brings. All day, I was thinking, well, doesn't seem like much. Duh...the Moon rises at night. (roughly, I know, don't argue)

So the evening got more impactful and deep as it wore on. I had important and serious conversation. It made me wonder what the effects of the Aquarius Moon are supposed to be. I'm not up on my Moon meanings. Here is a cut and paste of the most succinct thing I found:
This Full Moon in Aquarius will occur at 9:36pm EST, July 25
Now is a time when, in the clear light of the Full Moon, you are able to distinguish what may be holding you back and what you need to break free of before you can move forward.

This Full Moon in humanitarian Aquarius is a time to tie up loose ends and see just how you can make a difference in the bigger worldly picture. Other Aquarius Full Moon themes include a breaking free of the status quo, visionary ideas, worldly knowledge, and unexpected breakthroughs.

My more traditional readers will likely be saying, "What is this claptrap?" That's okay. And I'm planning to talk of particle physics later, so hang in there. For me, who had no idea of what the Aquarius Moon was supposed to deliver, I find that it has been "all it's cracked up to be." Unexpected breakthroughs...yes. Needing to break free of things so I can move forward...yes.

I feel, joy. I feel, really happy for the first time in a few weeks. Certainly, yes, my brain is all better from its little mishap. That helps. But this is different. I feel emotionally satisfied. I'm breaking free of the status quo that was my own emotional bomb suit to protect me in the middle of a lifetime landmine field laid by myself and many others. I'm not declaring victory prematurely, but I'm satisfied with my progress. I had conversations that needed to be had. I reversed decisions and made new ones. I was true to myself this time. I didn't overreact to anything. Not because I was being "non-resistant", but because I felt no urge to resist anything anyway. If this is what it feels like to be grown up, I hope I can hang on to it. New goal till the next full moon? Apologize more, take offense less.
photo: F. Bragan

Tomorrow at The International Conference on High Energy Physics (ICHEP), in Paris, a report will be given on recent findings and news from the LHC, the Large Hadron Collider. They are making exciting progress toward verifying their creation of  the "top quark" which will pave the way on their continuing search for the Higgs boson particle. I'm so glad to hear this. Remember when people honestly were crying out in fear that the LHC would rip a hole in the space-time continuum or something and we'd all be sucked off the planet? I'm also really happy that this competition/cooperation may breathe new life into Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois. It had looked like the LHC would be the slow elegant fade into retirement for Fermilab's Tevatron Accelerator.

I have a soft spot for Fermilab. I used to live in Aurora, Il., and work in Batavia. It was just invigorating living and working right there, so close to such a groundbreaking "hall of science." I'm glad they get the chance to keep looking, and maybe be the first to find the Higgs bosun particle. Apparently, the LHC is still several years from detecting the particle, and Fermilab has been given until 2014 to keep looking.

On the huge, international, mindblowing scientific scale, huge strides are being taken. Massive leaps, even.
On the small, domestic, personal scale, huge strides are being taken (massive leaps even).
So this is Moon in Aquarius? COOL.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Saturday night! Woo Hoo!

It's Saturday night. Connor is over visiting Reid. We are watching Man on Fire and eating peanut butter chocolate cookies. Okay...for those of you who didn't take to the chocolate cobbler....let's see what you think of these.
These are, like, the easiest things to make in the world. Not like peanut butter cookies are difficult.
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup white sugar (but hey, brown is fine if that's what you have)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla (I like to add a half teaspoon of cinnamon, but you don't have to)
also need 3 hershey bars, milk or dark
......mix ingredients together except for the chocolate bars. spread with fingers onto a baking sheet into a
rough rectangle shape. Bake at 350 for about 10-12 minutes. Top will slightly puff, and look dry/cooked.
Let cool on the counter for about two minutes. break the hershey bars into small squares and arrange on top of the cookies. They will melt in just a couple of minutes but retain their Hershey shape. Spread chocolate out with a spatula or knife. Eat warm, eat cool, try to get some before they all get eaten...hahaha. Pop in fridge if you need the chocolate to harden so you can cut and stack them. If you need them to be even prettier, put Reeses pieces in the melty chocolate. Or whatever you like!! Fun!

So Connor is on the Drumline with Reid. He plays the drumset. He reads this blog! So that goes to show that you can make the blog if you're lucky.  He's even going to get a picture!

At Connor's feet is Aero. (the other kid is Reid, you noticed, huh?)
Aero is a full blood-ed Caanan. She's a desert dog, and very smart. I'm really used to dumb dogs, or dogs smart enough to act dumb all the time so nothing is expected of them. I know soooo many people like that. Aero has her head on his foot, isn't that cute?
     So, one funny story. I have this doorstop that is black cast iron. It is in the shape of a scottie dog. Because it fits against the door, it is flat on one side. When Reid was maybe two and a half he decided to take a closer look at this doorstop he'd been seeing all his little life. He pulled it out and looked at the back and exclaimed, "hey, it's only half a dog!" This was really cute from a two year old. We still refer to it as the "half-dog."

Aero took a look at this doorstop and started growling. She was very unnerved by its presence. Aero clearly recognized it as a "dog." And that is pretty darn smart, because dogs generally don't recognize some silly half-caste (joke) terrier that smells like nothing but dust as a fellow dog. Having a dog around for a few days is a real treat. Goes well with the cookies!

Hey, full moon tomorrow. Let's see if anything unexpected happens.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Aloha, Pretty Girl!

today I'm thinking of my sister Brynda... these are just a quick couple of pictures I had on my laptop already. The first was taken in Hawaii where she was stationed at Pearl Harbor. We went out dancing in Waikiki. Lord knows, you can tell it was the 80's. Haha those shoulderpads.  The bottom one was taken in 1990 at my apartment. It's funny that in both pictures she is wearing my clothes.  She passed away in 1993. Seventeen years ago. I'm thinking of you, Sis, and I will never forget you.            Aloha!  

Next time, Check first

Sometimes you just have one of those "worthy of a bad teen comedy" moments.

And I'm willing to embarrass myself, because this made me laugh.

I was running between two different important gatherings last night, and hadn't eaten dinner...and who knows when lunch was. I had fifteen minutes to drive from Chamblee to lower Roswell, Upper Sandy Springs area, but I wanted to stop at McDonalds. Rush rush rush.

Pull into McDs, run out of car...and I have to pee. Run over to the restroom. So, you know, like a girl...enter stall, hang tiny purse on back of door, unfasten cute jean shorts, etc etc. Notice there is no toilet paper (before peeing, like a smart girl. Okay sorta smart, I should have checked sooner.)

Standing up, I was clearly in too much of a hurry to refasten my shorts and left them flopping. Rushing out of stall to choose another, hopefully one with paper, my hanging beltloop catches the door handle, rapidly arresting my forward progress like the tailhook on a fighter jet.

This causes the door, still caught on my beltloop to hit me in the ass, knocking me teeth first into the stall frame. My purse falls off the door, sending lipstick tubes and pens and wallet rolling in all directions. Meanwhile as my face hits the frame, the keys in my hand go flying into the next stall and land behind the not so bad but still skanky toilet.

After corralling the contents of my purse, into the next stall I go, down onto the ole knees to reach behind the "commode" for my key chain. In this lovely position, I realize I never fastened my shorts, which are still hanging down.

And I still have to pee. At least there is paper.

Wash keys and key chain. Clean off contents of purse, wash hands thoroughly. All this happened in the span of about two minutes.

I rushed out of the restroom, took my two kid-size hamburgers apart, combining the two top buns with the condiments and the two patties into one. Wrapped it back up, and off I went.

Which really cracked me up because I didn't tell this funny story to anyone. Now you can all hear it together. HaHaHaHa. And we actually made it to Sandy Springs on time.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Guarding the Georgia Taxpayers,... yeah right

I didn't post last night, and I'm not feeling very well. I rarely take any sort of medicine at all, and I'm taking some that is strong for an infection, so it is affecting me a great deal.

Guy and I are currently engaged in a battle with the State of Ga Board of Regents to get Guy in-state tuition. How many documents can these people possibly require. Uh-oh, I think I feel a rant.

Okay! so, Guy's dad is a National Guard recruiter. He is from Georgia, born n raised as they say. In the military, you have a "home State of Record." Meaning, where you designate as the state you are a resident of no matter where you are stationed. Guy's dad's home state of record has never changed from Georgia in the roughly twenty years he has been in in the military. His tax return...his federal 1040 and his Georgia 500...both list his full time employer as The National Guard. Military regulations require that you file state taxes in your home state of record. He filed in Ga, I provided this. Guy showed his military dependent ID. We got a copy of his dad's orders to be stationed here as a recruiter.


You cannot believe the documentation that we are being forced to provide to "prove" that Guy's dad LIVES and WORKS in the State of GA. Three days down already in the pursuit of this.

Our government knows EVERYTHING about us. They certainly know everything about members of the military! Item 'J' of the valid reasons for an in-state tuition waiver states- written by the Board of Regents, no less- that all members of the Georgia National Guard and their dependents will be granted in-state tuition.

Tell me, explain to me pleeeease, how how how they can say that all the documentation I have provided, and that they KNOW he is in the GA National Guard, is not enough?

I am having to provide six, yes six, further documents to prove what is beyond obvious to the most casual observer. Look at my kid's military dependent ID
(to be fair, that one doesn't specifically say Georgia), look at the darn Military Orders!! Look at your own rules and regulations!

Oy vey. Not much else to say. You know me, all experiences valuable. I think Guy is learning some lessons here about what it takes to deal with the government. John Madden used to say, "Pay no attention if the horse is blind, just keep loading the cart." I actually get that. I'm going to keep loading the cart with a blizzard of documentation. They can just keep on being blind. If I have to go around front and pull the damn cart myself, that's what I will do.

Oh, and actually the admissions officer at GSC is doing her absolute best to help, calling back promptly and shares my frustration to some extent. She didn't make these myopic rules, and is doing her job well.

Back at it tomorrow, and hopefully I can report success!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Falling Back Again

"Surprising and interesting, insightful, tiring and a wee bit strange."-
Variety Magazine Insider calls Sylace's day today an "overall winner!"

If only we got headlines and sparkling reviews for our lives, eh? Today I got a small hint of my near future, spending all day in Gainesville at two colleges and several banks...having lunch, talking to Guy and his dad and their friend, John. Meeting a fellow Agnes Scottie disguised as Guy's college admissions officer was a highlight and seems like a helpful thing, too, as we are behind in our document filing. If I used the acronym OAC a while back (outrageous and climbing), I think our efforts at getting all Guy's forms properly filed might be termed PAF (pathetic and falling).
I jest; I think we will get it all done by the skin of our teeth.

Skin of our teeth? That's a strange one. I like to research and understand the origins of some of our unusual sayings, but that one is too weird even for me. Moving on!

I know I've mentioned my dad several times. I think sometime I should share some of the darker episodes in my history with Dad, but today I was thinking about when I was very little. My father was a professor of Foreign Languages at the Citadel in Charleston, SC until I was about 8 years old. Fall was an intensely exciting season. Time for the Cadets to return and the Plebes to arrive. My sisters and I always spent a lot of time on the Citadel Campus in the summer, running around the azalea gardens, statues, and cannons, but come fall, my beloved playground became the province of the big boys once again. Away went the "play clothes" of summer, back came the dresses, hair ribbons, and leather shoes for private school.

One of the best memories was the return to the parade grounds of the Corps of Cadets. I still love the Citadel uniform above all others...and the iconic South Carolina state flag- the Palmetto State. Saturdays, we would perch at the top of the stands and watch the Parade in Review, and when we got bored, my sisters and I would sneak off down under the stands to play silly games and peek through visitors feet when something exciting seemed to be happening. Then Dad would take us to the battery to look at the harbor and Rainbow Row, and sometimes we might get a praline. (Usually it was McDonald's sundaes, though, on the way home) It was generally Mom's day to go grocery shopping or run errands W.U.G. Without Us Girls.
Three girls under the age of four. I'm sure that wasn't uncommon back then, but we were pretty darn smart and more than that, all incredibly strong-willed and strong-minded.

My Dad had a routine. He was, after all, a military man, Army Air Corps then regular Army, then South Carolina Militia and Citadel Captain. I think he would have been a Major if we had stayed, but Mom didn't really take to military life, especially the strictured and judgmental Charleston way. We would eat Shakey's Pizza almost every Friday night, and Kentucky Fried Chicken almost every Sunday afternoon. Those were Mom's time off from making meals. Shakey's had the glass inset doors that looked like multi-colored bottle bottom rings, and the diamond-paned windows. I loved Friday night, and Dad would laugh, and Mom would smile. There wasn't quite enough of that to go around for the whole week, but, as childhoods go, I think I had everything. More than anything, I can't tell you how much my parents loved me. A whole lot.

Fall, getting ready for college, watching the Drumline and Band take the marching field again, keeping a small sweater in my bag because I get cold easily, the smell of textbooks and markers...it all approaches so stealthily, and then, snap, it is there. This fall is shaping up to be OAC for sure. I'm excited.

And I think of my friends, who didn't have the kind of love and support, even in the midst of the emotional chaos I grew up in, that I had. He didn't go to Shakey's, he lined up chairs so he could walk across them with the pot to make mac and cheese to eat alone, she had a mother who told her that her father was the Devil and kept her from seeing him, another got terrorized for leaving rubber bands on the floor, another shamed into catatonic silence for missing a math problem on a test. Others inappropriately touched, or downright neglected.

Here's what I want to tell them...that you can share my fall, we can make our own fantastic memories, and that I love you all, a whole lot.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Few, The Proud- Percussionists

I can't believe that Percussion Camp starts back tomorrow. Reid will be there 9-5 this week, then next week starts full Band Camp, 8:30 -5. The Color Guard practices an incredible number of hours, maybe more than the Drumline...or maybe the same, I'm not sure, but their dedication shows. The Guard is stunning and moving to watch, especially in the indoor competitive season. WGI Indoor Drumline defies explanation, you just have to see it.

As I write this, Reid is practicing.

He can't really know just how dedicated and talented he is. He can't really know just how impressed I am with his work, and work ethic, even as I tumble him out of bed telling him that if he doesn't do as well as he wants, then he has no one to blame but himself. That is a mom's job. Encourage, cajole,harass if necessary, but keep the perspective and reality clear- that his gift is a gift from God that he alone can manage.

Reid prides himself on his individuality, but I'm not sure he even knows how different he is. He told me a story about last Thursday night's Drumline practice, and I hope he is not upset that I relate it. I gather the instructors were not pleased with the condition and skills of the percussionists after their time off this summer. They were slack in their timing, flabby and weak in the ways of percussion, if not physically. Mentally unfit for duty in the singularly focused, myopic way that Drumline demands. Their director went around the room and said he could guarantee he could point to each person and tell them how much they had practiced during the break. He went around and said basically, "a little," or "none" to each in turn. You must realize that there is no way a student would speak up and defend him self or herself- to argue with the Percussion Teacher is tantamount to treason. Reid was labeled as a "none." He did not flinch, nor signify disagreement, although I have heard him practice this summer, although he lives drumming and plays his drum set. Because in his mind, compared to what he should have practiced, compared to the hours a day consuming thing that percussion is, he had indeed achieved a "none." I am sure that entire Drumline, labeled nones and littles, had practiced as well, but they were doubtless all of the same mindset as Reid.

You would have to understand that this experience is so eerily akin to BootCamp that it is startling. I was married to a Marine Recruiter. I remember well the DEP process, and then the Basic Training experience. The Marine Corps is a pinnacle example of breaking a "man" down, and re-forming him into a Marine instead. This is what the Drumline does. They break you down, so as to reform you as a Flash Of Crimson Percussionist. To get where they are, 11th in World WGI standings last year, this is a necessary process. I understand that. Sometimes I just wonder at times if it is the right thing for my child, my teenager, my son.

After labeling the littles and nones, the percussion Director asked the group if anyone came into this practice session with a firm belief that their "spot" was established on a particular instrument or position. No one raised their hand except for Reid, even knowing he had just been identified as a none. Realize that no one was supposed to raise their hand. They were to display proper humility. They were to show their understanding that their lack of discipline over the summer had lead to a guarantee of nothing. This is no commentary on all the kids who did not raise their hands, because they were doing exactly the right thing. They are all talented, and many probably had earned the right, as upperclassmen, to feel they had indeed earned their spot.

So what happened? The Director looked at Reid and said, "Well, at least he is honest." I mean, these Directors aren't Tyrants. Mr. Tucker has exceptional skill at making these kids into what they need to be to compete at this level. But I hope he appreciates Reid's determination to stand firm in his own individuality sometimes. Occasionally. Because Drumline isn't about individuality. There are other times when Reid has stood alone for some internal principle at percussion practice. That can be a sign of a natural leader. We shall see on that front.

Where we moved from in Arkansas, every new school Reid went to would initially resist his individuality, and then give in under his relentless onslaught of charm and achievement... Spelling Bee champ, Quiz Bowl Captain, Comic Genius of talent shows, Outstanding Percussionist of the year twice, Lead role and runaway star of local theater production...I'm saying this because Oh MY God was he trouble in a lot of ways for his teachers. The talking, the drumming, the joking, the flirting, the challenges he repeatedly presented to their viewpoints and even teaching methods. His disdain for you if you were not up to his standards for a teacher. I'm not saying this is a good thing. I'm telling you that this is who Reid has been from the moment he was born, and all his parents have managed to do is provide some shaping, smoothing, and refinement. And I back him up, 100%. Name me a great achievement made by someone who went along with all the rules. Tell me of the invention that changed things that was made by someone who never took chances...who didn't think for himself....

I am inordinately proud of him. He is nothing but himself. And he cares deeply for others- an intensely loyal and generous friend.

I just don't know what this BootCamp experience is going to do to him. I know what it can do FOR him, make him a far far better percussionist, make him a team member and maybe even a leader. I just have to believe that nothing can shake the Viking from his ship. And maybe only he will get that reference. Go for it, Reid Eriksson Cole. Give it everything you've got, and take everything it has to give.

ps, your mom loves you.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Sometimes I just shake my head. I pull my eyes out like an alien and attach them to the tips of my fingers and look at myself from all the other angles I possibly can.

I am so imperfect. No one knows this better than me. I just don't know anyone who tries harder than me. Some may try as hard, but I don't know who tries harder.

Today I have been told that I "look awful," and that, I "look so sick." Added to that is the fact that this person is disappointed with me. Written in their own words. I have no desire to belabor this point or out this person. And for 99% of you it is no one you know. But I can't express how much it hurts. Am I too thin? I suppose that's the implication. I seem to recall when this person went through a very tough time and virtually stopped eating...and I never said those things to her. But I am older and supposed to be the mature one, so I will try to be what I am supposed to be.

Maybe that is my biggest issue remaining. I'm still working on myself all the time, and I'm sure you're tired of hearing me whine about it. I spend so much time, really the biggest thing I have to give, trying to be what others want. Once my time is given, that huge piece of me...well, it's not like I can ever get that back, you know? Time is infinite in theory, and in spirit...but here on this world, now, it is often in short supply. If the people who ask the most of me aren't giving something back, really I don't require that much, oh, never mind. Really. This is such a common lament from the "givers" of the world, it is tedious.

I am told that no one asked me to do the things I do. I am told no one expects anything. I think people who primarily know "taking" as a way of surviving, indeed, as an acceptable way of interacting with and even communicating with others their connection, literally have no idea what they convey that they expect. And when one stops doing all those things that they expect, that they think they don't, these folks are mighty unhappy.

But nothing exists in a vacuum. I do not exist in a sterile, error-free bubble of my own dutiful deeds. But if, just if, I am who I am and am being the best me I know how to be, and that me is, at her core, a "giver," maybe it is the ultimate "taking" to take that from me, by forcing me to be something other than I am to protect myself.

It is an awful Catch-22. Not so bad as the one Joseph Heller envisioned. Not half as bad as other people's out there. But mine. Maybe sometimes you feel the same way...

Gettin all Aretha Franklin with the spiders

Tonight I went out with "the girls" to see Eclipse for the second time. I actually caught a couple of things I didn't catch the first time around. And I decided once and for all I am definitely Team Edward. I finally decided that Edward's family is just way cooler and more interesting than Jacob's shirtless pack with all their telepathic wolf psycho-drama.

After a couple of margaritas, here I am writing, so random stuff tonight.
Spiders, for instance. I've been thinking about spiders for a couple of days, because I have one living in my shower, and Reid has one in his shower, as well. Reid despises spiders. I tend to think they are cute, necessary, and incredibly talented in fulfilling their role in our ecosystem. But watching Mr. Spider glare at me every day when I shower is getting annoying, so I may have to escort him outside.

"They" say that one is never more than six feet from a spider at any time in their entire life. I can believe it. Unless maybe you are an astronaut or a deep sea diver. The things scientists and physicists learn from spiders about tensile strength and structural design have lead to really fascinating advances. Now why does that remind me of that awful Superman movie...the one where they make that dreadful Sun powered villain out of the DNA of Superman's hair. God, that was the worst. Anyway, just think of all the millions and millions of bugs, flies, and crawlies that spiders dispose of for us, and dew covered spiderwebs in the morning are so stunning. Nature's jewelry, I have heard it said.

So why is this shower spider bothering me? I think it is his attitude. Like HE is paying the rent or something! Like I'm disturbing his peaceful pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. Honestly, I don't get many other insects in my shower, so isn't this a rather dead-end piece of real estate for him? Did he lose a bet?

I've decided I like spiders that show proper respect for my general tallness and homeownership. If they cower, shake and run to hide, they receive my noblesse oblige and a commission to continue on in their duties. But the ones that challenge me..they look at me with their bunch 'o freaky spider eyes as if to say, "Whatcha gonna do about it?" they bother me. You know, buddy, you're awfully small and squishy to be taking that tone with me. I not only possess a multitude of shoes and rolled up magazines, but a variety of flyswatters, brooms and chemical sprays as well. God gave you all those legs so you could tread carefully. Take this as a warning, because as much as I loved archie the cockroach who wrote poems (by Don Marquis) with no capital letters as he hopped from one key to the next on the typewriter, and as much as we all love Charlotte with the whole "some pig" thing,
I say in all seriousness, they weren't in my shower.

Likely you will be finding yourself looking for work outside tomorrow, but until then, genuflect when you see me and you will be okay.

Signing off from Margaritaville....hahahahahahahaha

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I Dare You to Move

You can probably tell by now that I'm a huge movie fan. I still consider it a pretty good bargain at roughly five dollars an hour. I'm not sure I can name anything I'd rather pay five dollars an hour to watch, especially including the whole theater experience. The cushy seats, the weird people to watch, standing in line to buy tickets, and the previews! I love , love the previews. I'm really disappointed if I miss them...though I wouldn't let it ruin my enjoyment of the movie. Sometimes, no, often, I get so involved in the previews that I forget what movie I came to watch once it starts.

A couple of my favorite movies have a common theme, The Truman Show, and Pleasantville. Pleasantville...my second favorite Reece Witherspoon Movie, a movie in which Paul Walker actually acts well and isn't racing any cars...ah, William H Macy and Joan Allen...and remember when JT Walsh explodes at Tobey MacGuire and his face finally turns color? I miss JT Walsh. He was a fabulous actor. Last Thanksgiving when Reid and I were driving a U-haul truck to Georgia, to move some things into our new home, he watched The Truman Show on his laptop. I will forever remember that drive from Arkansas, and listening to that movie. Ultimately, these movies are about taking what is comfortable and "pleasant," and deciding if it is enough. If nice, but limited, is more desirable in its safety than striking out to discover something wholly new to oneself. There is a sense of uncertainty that I crave; it feeds me, in the way that security feeds others. It doesn't have to be all the time; I've had enough chaos to last a long time. Just...often enough to keep my blood running high.

I love the song linked at the top, by Switchfoot. I am so enamored of the fact that there is more than one way to interpret these lyrics than the standard Christian message the band intended. But I also think they realized this, as well. Seeing it paired with scenes from The Truman Show inspired me to pass it along tonight.

I could say that I dare you to move, like today never happened. It goes well with the earlier post of "if you're in hell, keep moving." It doesn't matter how bad today was, I dare you to keep moving like your mistakes never existed, like your flaws are insignificant, like most of the things you worry about will never happen- because they won't. I don't mean hurt others and just ignore it- I mean it like the song means it, personally, just move on.

When I get really ramped up, really anxiously agitated, I use the "F" word. I hardly ever curse except for that. If the situation warrants, I can use it repeatedly in a variety of novel ways. There is just something so powerful about that word when sparingly applied. Which doesn't seem to fit with this post, except that I find I hardly use it at all anymore. Which must mean I am agitated less and less all the time. And that tells me my path to adventure is feeding me better things.

My boyfriend inspires me a lot. If you knew what he has lived through- enough to rival me, for sure- if you knew the challenges he has and the stories of his childhood, the places he has been both high and low, you would understand why I enjoy his company so much. I wrote this poem for him a while back, but this post made me think of it, so I will share it. It was on Facebook, so you might have read it before.

What is lived in the Life without eccentricity, spontenaiety, surprise and madness?
Quiet cocoons of comfortable stability enrobe the cautious in concrete,
Monuments to proper choices and lesson books left unread on the library steps.

Venturers stride over the threshhold and seize them by their spines,
Smelling the papyrus, parchment and pigmented pages in
Blinding binding glue frenzies, bowing their necks as they tear the experiences
Violently from print to program to progress of their minds.

Worlds of card catalog Dewey decimal microfiche and film in disarray,
Search engines heatedly seared into unuseability with microwaves and mystical
Emissions of a brain on fire, fascinated by rays through the leaded panes
That light their library of a life marked with passion and presence, to Be Present
In their flesh,
And to Know.

TSD 2009
Like Truman says: Good Morning! And in case I don't see ya, Good afternoon, Good evening, and Goodnight!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A shallow pan and Deep thoughts

My life is a series of vacillations between the shallow and the deep. I like it that way. I could say- it's a balance of work and play. When I look at the friends I have who seem happy with their lives, they seem to have that in common, balance, I mean. Believe me I know I'm not introducing you to rocket science here.

It seems though, that those sorts of delineations between shallow and deep, or work and play, tend to take the joy out of work, and the inspirational out of play. Sort of brings on that "working for the weekend" mentality, in which five days of the week are mostly drudgery. Maybe you think about these things like I do sometimes. Right now I'm baking a chocolate cobbler, thinking thoughts, and writing to you.

One of my favorite things to do is, well, pay attention. Focus in on things. I enjoy the mental sensation of looking for the deep, or the joyous when I am doing something shallow and menial, like laundry, for instance. I think about how the clothes feel, the different fabrics, thickness, softness, etc. I think about the person who threaded the monster industrial loom that made the fabric, or the Chinese girl that sewed the seams. I'm not saying I always manage to do this, but when I do, I really enjoy it. It makes everything seem more interconnected, and more important somehow. Even when I am having raucous fun, you may notice me get oddly distracted or solemn for a moment, and then back into the moment, because something has struck me. Like the depth of the human beauty of a friend's hands as she gestures, or the sudden realization that this very moment will never happen again. It doesn't usually last long, but I like it. It gives me the feeling that I am actually living my life.

I have been talking about the non-resistance in Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth. I have his book The Power of Now, but I haven't read it. Too much of one line of thought is...too much at once for me. I need to read something trashy now. I even like teen novels. I will read absolutely anything, if it catches my interest. I don't know if the kind of thoughts I'm talking of are an example of "being present, " or something else. I just know my life is calmer, happier, and a kinder experience for me, when I look for the universal truths/inspirations/archetypes no matter what I am doing. If you see me gaze off for a moment when you are speaking to me, I sincerely doubt you have lost my interest. I am probably just recording for posterity the exact way your mouth moves when you say "margarita," or the way the tear at the inner corner of your eye makes you look like the Madonna in a Pieta.

In 1963, Dr. Richard Feynman, Nobel laureate in Physics for his work in Quantum Electrodynamics, gave a series of lectures in which he spoke his internal thoughts about religion, science, politics, and the human condition.At the time, this was unheard of for a scientist to do. He said so many brilliant things, I will probably quote him often. For today, this,"...it is almost impossible for me to convey in a lecture this important aspect, this exciting part, the real reason for science. And without understanding this you miss the whole point. You cannot understand science and its relation to anything else unless you understand and appreciate the great adventure of our time. You do not live in your time unless you understand that this is a tremendous adventure and a wild and exciting thing."

I feel blessed in a thousand ways, that I think like a scientist, and feel like a poet. It makes me weird, sometimes it makes me miserable, but it does make me alive. I wish you were all here to share the cobbler, and laugh with me that I didn't read the directions and mixed all the ingredients together, and had to toss it and start over. That's life.

Chocolate Cobbler
1 c self-rising flour
1/2 c sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 c milk
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 c packed brown sugar, mixed with
    1/4 c cocoa powder
1 3/4 c hot water

Mix flour, white sugar and 2 tbsp cocoa. Stir in milk and oil until smooth. Pour or spread in small greased baking pan. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over the top. Pour hot water over all, and do not stir. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes.
The cake will rise and the water and cocoa mix will form a fudge sauce in the bottom of the pan.  Especially easy and fun for kids to make- they are always surprised by what happens!
Of course, ice cream is a great addition. But none for me!

Monday, July 12, 2010

What would you do for a klon DI & Ike bar?

Good Monday! I survived the klondike bar incident. Saturday at Di and Ike's house, the Ranch, Reid had two Reeses Klondike bars. I tasted one. It was...tasty. I had some in the freezer for him. Last night I ate part of one. I am allergic to butter fat, which is what ice cream is. Enough said there.

So, Di...
I wish you all knew her. Everyone who knows her is better off.
Here's an anecdote I want to relate.
Di and Ike are big Rock Band fans. You're right Drew, that is indeed the Beatles Rock Band set for Wii. (Reid and Guy are Nintendo stockholders, is this some sort of conflict of interest here?)

I'm not sure I had ever heard Reid do the singing part of Rock Band. Maybe once. He is a drummer after all. Plays all on expert. Punk.
I am a singer, so I almost always sing, and occasionally drum, but it drives Reid nuts, justifiably. I can play the bass some, but I had never tried to play the guitar parts...as Salieri said...too many notes.

So there we were, in Di and Ike's special Rock Band Room, ready to go. Di has an excellent voice (she used to do some amazing scat, wonder if she still does that?). I started on bass, Reid on drums, Ike on Guitar.
After three songs, Di said, okay, rotate. Pause...look at Di....she says- rotate! Much like a volleyball game, we all did. Reid now on guitar, myself on drums, Ike singing, Di on bass. At this point I will just say that Di and Ike are equally, highly competent on all the instruments, which is so cool. They may not play expert on drums, but being good on everything is neat. (Actually, Reid is good on everything, but he is a teenager, so he doesn't count. I digress.)

I bumbled my way through easy on drums, ignoring Reid's wincing face. I had FUN. After three songs, Di says...rotate! This put me on guitar, which I have never touched, and Reid on microphone, same deal. Di said...oh come on! You'll do fine. Which we both did, surprisingly enough to ourselves. All the time you are trying this "new thing," Di is right there telling you how great you are doing.

Di says she is Ike's cheerleader at his political stuff. I've never been to any of Ike's political stuff. It was cool to see him on TV a lot being interviewed about the census. Cheerleader or no, I think what Di is is the ultimate coach. She calls the plays, and you follow her unquestioningly. (Rotate!) You try things for her that you've resisted before. You follow her advice when you've pshawed similar advice from others. You never want to have to come back to Di and tell her that you're still failing at the same crap you were failing at before, because you want her to be proud of you. Funny thing is, she is proud of you, no matter what.

I've learned a lot from Di over the years. There were probably ten years we fell out of touch since high school. Di is the one who taught me that people say "Bless You" in America when someone sneezes. Ha Ha, I know, but I grew up saying gesundheit (Dad), but when we moved to Georgia, I stopped because people made fun of me. I don't know why I remember that. Di and I spent a life-altering, bizarre at times summer at the Governor's Honors Program at Valdosta State College. I think it was a secretly funded gov't experiment...send all the weird gifted kids to some nowhere place for the summer and keep them all closely chained together at the height of adolescence. Oh My God, you have no idea. Which reminds me that Di has been listening to my drama for 30 years!!!

I just wanted to tell you about her. She and Ike are literally the perfect couple. Everyone should get the chance to know a perfect couple. It gives us all hope. I am not a sports fan. I don't get high school coaches. Their world is alien to me. But I understand the devotion they manage to inspire in their young charges. Because if Di told me I could swim the English Channel and to just get on with it, I'd probably dive right in.

Down with Klondike bars, Up with Rock Band

tomorrow morning I am going to blog about the incredible people in this picture. But tonight, I gave myself a stomach ache eating the chocolate off a klondike bar. I ended up with some ice cream. It isn't my fault, it is Di's fault, who is in the picture. Ha Ha always good to blame someone else. Also in the picture are Reid and Ike. They are all minor Rock Band royalty....

Sunday, July 11, 2010

All The World Is Staged

Well, I've had a tough couple of days. The still nagging dizziness doesn't help, but I soldier on.

I had no idea, none at all, how starting this simple blog would affect my life. I wasn't prepared for people's comments that were unhelpful and unfriendly. I wasn't ready for the public, I guess. That is totally my mistake. All my friends from facebook and my google followers have been awesome and so supportive. But I get comments via email from other sources, some of which were just mean.

It doesn't really matter. I know that. It's just yet another example of how naive I often am. I know you have to have thick skin. I just don't want to lose the wide-eyed things that make me...me.

Many years ago, a homebuilder hired me to decorate a townhouse he wanted to sell. He loved the way I had decorated my own home. He gave me a small budget and a short deadline. There was to be an open house in two weeks. By today's usage, I should say he hired me to "stage" the place. That word wasn't very well known back then. I worked very hard, and finished on time. The few friends I took by to see it thought it was attractive and well done. Sure, that isn't exactly a real sample.But I was young, and most importantly, I never claimed to be a decorator, or a professional designer. He came into my home and asked for my services.

The night I finished I had a nightmare that I went over and the whole townhouse, everything I had done, had been trashed, torn up, mismatched. I couldn't wake up. I was in shock in the dream. It was awful. The next day I went over to turn in the key and be paid for my work and reimbursed for my receipts. I went to change out one small rug in the kitchen, and my nightmare became truth. A realtor had come in and told the builder that she didn't like the decor. He was in a panic to sell the place. Instead of calling me and asking me possibly to meet with the realtor and maybe make some adaptations to her suggestions...discuss with her why I made the choices I did, he just let the realtor "have at it." It was godawful. It was hideous. Really. I took same friends to see changes, when I could see straight. They were all shocked. Even Jason, my ex, was shocked. It made no sense. Complete garble with no design aesthetics.

I guess if there is a slight tinge of Schadenfreude here, it is that the row of townhomes which I had decorated the model for, never sold. He actually defaulted on the loans on those properties. That isn't good for anyone, but I admit it did give me a smile. All I wanted was to do a good job. The most disappointing thing was that not a single potential buyer ever saw the townhome as I had staged it. Maybe it would have sold the others. Maybe not. But we will never know. I can guarantee he would have had a better chance with my design than what was shown to the public.

After that, I swore never to decorate for money again. Or really to sell my vision like that again. I just have no defense; I get too personally involved. I made five hundred dollars. I should have just walked away saying, "It's his money, whatever." But it hurt anyway. So, I learned something.

This is my blog. This is my vision; this is me. If I don't quote something just right, if someone doesn't agree with me, they are welcome to differ. But I'm not going to make any vows again not to put myself out there. Someone even suggested to me that I should stop blogging. And I understood their reasoning- personal diaries on the web invite trouble, it was said.

I wasn't ready for the trouble. But this time I'm not working for anyone else. It's my house, and I have the only key. Thank you for being my guests.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Everything 7/10/10

I had a lovely blog I was starting. It's title was When Did I Stop Dancing...

I guess now. I can't write it. I can't write anything. I am literally shaking.


Everything I did was for reasons
you will never never understand.
That was then and my heart was one piece with
my soul
for those moments
when I said yes
as Sylace does.
There is not enough everything left in the galaxy
I spin in...
When I danced a plie meant bended knee
not on my knees, not shaking like this and
my rond de jambe was large and open
it was soft,
I gave it to the audience, but
it was all mine.
I am not Art. I am not a doll, a mannequin, a clay model.
It should have been beautiful, it should have been beautiful,
It. Should. Have. Been.


I'm going to bed.
Where I will pray.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Where the Boys Are

Last night I watched "A Single Man." Colin Firth was incredible, but on the whole I thought the movie wasn't well realized at all. Isn't the director the same Tom Ford who was a designer? All the acting was excellent, but I thought the script could have been so much more.

Tonight I watched "Extraordinary Measures" with Brendan Fraser and Harrison Ford. Pretty much what I expected. Good for resting one's brain to. Then I watched half of "A Serious Man," the latest Coen Brothers movie. I get the subtle Jewish humor, but I was bored. I'll finish it though to see if it gets better. So now the TV is on and I'm watching "Where the Boys Are." If you haven't seen it...it isn't a happy movie.

Lately the topic of my life has been internet security, in many ways relating to this new blogging venture. Frank says anyone who "goes public" is easily searchable on the internet. He's right. I never used to pop up with much but my college alumni stuff. Now I seem to pop up places I'm not even connected to, like swimming pool companies. Yeah, I'm mystified, too. Frank isn't the only one warning me about internet crazies. I've secured my facebook, but the only way to really be secure on Fb is to not be on Fb. It is a social site, after all.

I think I have a few very negative observations to make here, so apologies in advance. It seems to me that men are almost all the problems in this arena. I know really famous guys get stalkers occasionally, like David Letterman- remember that woman who said she was his wife and got in his apartment? But regular everyday women aren't trolling the internet leering at men, or looking for someone to Googlestalk. Did I just create a new word? If you see that used out there, remember who said it first. I don't even know the latest percentage of all downloadable content that is porn. I'm sure it is outrageous and climbing. OAC. I plan on using that again, too. And who is looking at all this porn? Wow. Possible candidate for most obvious question of the year, and it's only July.

I'm just tired of it. The more things change, the more they stay the same. In 1964, this incredible portrait of Spring Break in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl., that manages to be goofy and whipped cream light, while tackling drunken shenanigans and a horrific date rape, did a pretty fair job of presenting the "boys" of the time. Forward 20 yrs... Graduation trip, 1984, Panama City Beach, Fl, I was kidnapped and held in a hotel room. Forward another 25 years, and I just want to write a blog that means something. I don't have ads to flash at you. I don't have giveaways of products to up my traffic. I don't follow hundreds of blogs and ask them to follow me- rarely reading their content. If I'm following your blog, it is because it interests me. But I have to put my energy into worrying about what kind of weirdo might see my picture and decide to search for me. Instead of into creating the best life I can for my sons and loved ones.

I guess I go around pretty blithely, because I hate to give energy to seeing or expecting the worst. But I can't practice my new "non-resistance" on this topic. I do resist. I object. It isn't fair, it isn't right, and probably all the guys who read my blog currently are "good guys," but you know men who aren't...even your friends. Let me ask you, just quietly, are you doing anything to resist the objectification and denigration of women? Even if that's just not listening or looking at things others say or send you?

That's all. End of small lecture. You don't have to answer. Just think about it for one second. I'd be most grateful.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Say Anything! I look best in profile anyway.

Lloyd Dobler is my hero. If you are anywhere near my age, or a movie buff, you should know who that is. He doesn't want to sell anything that is made or make anything that is produced or sold or...I don't know, who could list that? Okay, some probably could. Lloyd Dobler is John Cusack, in the movie Say Anything. Yes! Mr. boom box above his head...she gave me a pen. Realllly, Lloyd Dobler is Cameron Crowe. All Cameron Crowe's teenage characters are.

I remember the first time I saw Ione Skye. She was so different, so exotic...or what was exotic in the 80's land of white, except for Michael Jackson.

Aside from all the incredible reasons Lloyd Dobler is my hero, those that are expressly explicated in the movie, there is one I don't think gets any attention. When he goes to the prison to visit his girlfriend's dad, and Dad (the criminal, no less) spews his disgust upon our heroic everyman, saying how he cannot believe the way his daughter has learned to champion mediocrity as she has around Lloyd. And Lloyd just takes it, not a bat of an eyelash, not a change of expression perceptible at all. He just continues in his pursuit of getting Dad to read the daughter's letter. And then he bolsters Dad's confidence, reassures him, looks for the bright side. I find it very moving. It inspires me.

I saw once an hour long discussion on some christian channel of the phrase, "turn the other cheek." I don't think I have to remember what or when, so that I can tell you, because I'm not trying to convince you of anything. The lesson in Greek translation they were teaching was that the phrase "turn the other cheek" in historical context in Greece meant stand your ground. Someone hits one cheek, offer the other as well, to say, "Oh, yeah? That all you got?" Stand firm, but do not retaliate. I wish I could recreate the lesson for you, but it was fascinating and well supported. Every translation I can find online makes it look like you are to suffer anything that can be borne, and let God mete out his justice. There is a subtle difference there. I think it is the eyes.

A person striving to be meek might turn the other cheek, turning his eyes as well. But the person who is absolutely non-resistant, but standing firm, would offer the other cheek and yet continue to look the aggressor in the eye calmly.

I'm working hard on non-resistance. I want to be like Lloyd Dobler. I want to champion mediocrity, if that's what it takes. But of course, we should know that the person who can accept their very mediocrity and insignificance in the scheme of all humans on this planet, and continue to hold their eyes level with anyone- actually is rather extraordinary.

Besides, Lloyd Dobler is the Keymaster. And Rick Moranis is also the keymaster, Demon dog Vinz Clortho, in Ghostbusters. There are no coincidences...in the Twilight Zone. Hahahahahahaha

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bob Barker...grumble ##^)!!

I think you could pass me on the street and not know me.
Others differ in their opinion.
I should go to sleep, but my brain is still full. I have to take chewable calcium at night, and I think this has become akin to swallowing a mouthful of toilet paper after a brisk jog in the Gobi. Could it be fifteen years I have been chewing this stuff?

Should I buy a netbook? They are so adorable! This is like an ad in the middle.

The calcium...anything but chewable makes me ill. Hey!!! it is like a game show.
Let's play...What Makes Tara Sick?
pretty much say any food and you probably win. Do not say french fries. They do not make me sick. They have rapidly climbed the charts like the Matterhorn Climber guy on the old Price is Right as one of my top five most consumed. McDonald's is considering adding a tagline to the Happy Meal box..."Keeping Tara Alive Since 1975!" No? I kinda like it. Yeah yeah, I know there I am throwing in my real first name, Tara, and confusing the situation. But when I write like this I think I'm just more Tara. The real writer is Sylace.

Those old Price is Right games were kinda ridiculous. I liked plinko with the big silly chips big as your head. I hated the stupid golf game that Bob Barker almost always got a hole in one for the person. OMG, the showcase showdown!!! What a consumeristic glutton bowl that was. Sometimes I miss the seventies.

I used to paint. Why don't I paint anymore?

And this for Ali, who makes the world seem like a giant sunflower shaped cookie, because her genuine goodness is as inescapable as the end of the bread bag...

Virtual tea in Wonderland, tomorrow and yesterday both...at the same time, I'll bring the crumpets, you bring the whiskey for the Dormouse.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My Peace I Give You

Too much is happening too fast. I've done well slowing my inner mind down, but I don't seem to have any control over the outer environment. There are things I need to experience right now, that seem to have happened in the past.

My lesson for a few weeks has been for myself to stop being in the past, at all. The past really only exists when you are thinking of it. Other than that it is gone. So why think on what happened before that was maybe perceived as unpleasant at the time?
I am moving all my stored emails, some that contain information I may need to reference, to a flash drive, so that they do not exist on my computer right now...so that they become the past and not the now.

But what of grief? This June 30th was two years since my mother died. Last year right about now I had to put my cat to sleep. I had had him for twelve years. I am not a witch, but I love the idea of having a familiar. If I ever had one in all my life, Ajax was it.

Please don't read on if you are looking for happiness in this moment. Acceptance I have, but happiness no. And never were we ever promised by anyone that every moment would be happy. Some of you know I have been dealing with being the
Executrix of my Grandmother's estate since last December. Now that her house has sold, I feel I am just now reaching one of the stages of grief. I just read online that it is common for people to feel the most intense grief eight months after their loss. I don't know how substantiable this is, but Grandma died on Thanksgiving Day, so that is just about 8 months ago. I discovered her body when I went to pick her up for Thanksgiving dinner. She was in a tremendously awkward and "broken" position, but she also had her hands folded in prayer and the most peaceful expression. That's how I feel about the entirety of my loss. Broken but peaceful.

I am really the last of my family. Father died of cancer, which I more than anyone else in the immediate family, dealt with first hand. Mother died of pre-leukemia aplastic anemia (Evans syndrome), which I was able to help in her care by accompanying her to Cancer treatment hospitals around the country. Sister died in the Navy from the previously mentioned brain hemorrhage. I cared for my ex-husband through so many surgeries...back, throat, kidney, and did the best I could through his near fatal Melanoma that was already in his lymph nodes. Even my dog got cancer, bone cancer in her toes and had two amputation surgeries. Then the loss of my dear cat. And most recently my beloved Grandmother, the rock of my existence my whole life. I have one remaining sister, who is a brilliant woman, but in general I cannot deal with where she chooses to go emotionally, physically and spiritually...to great extremes I might politely say.

The greatest gift I can give myself is rest. Rest and generosity of thought.
I have never had so many weeks in a row of no actual concrete deadlines for anything. I've already registered for my classes. I can't close the estate just yet, but soon. I'm reading books and writing this blog, but the chaos continues.

Still I feel peace. I grew up Catholic, but haven't been Catholic in a long time. Went to Baptist private school when I was little, Presbyterian College...have regularly attended Episcopal and Methodist services at various times in my life. My father was a Buddhist mostly. I've had close friends and deep discussions in the Hindu faith, and my ex-husband was a Jew...we were even married by a rabbi.

My faith is to take the very best of all religions and thoughts always. Everything that is good, and pure. So I close with John 14:27, something I heard every day as a child.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (NIV)

And thanks for that.


I have to lay quiet sometimes
like a fallow field under last year's mown straw.
I can taste what you can only see.
Mouth full of ice frosted grapes they are fermenting to wine
and I am drunk, infused or cursed with delirium
far beyond what was advertised.
What couldn't I be sold,
I have no experience like this.

You forget I am a flower,
my bloom fragile but roots...
those I have like a dandelion taproot,
my very existence unmarketable
even somewhat unplanned.

Maybe That Wasn't Such A Good Idea, After All.

Well, it is Tuesday, but not Tuesday morning as I promised. Last night I suffered one of the worst migraine headaches I have had in years, probably since I got my wisdom teeth removed fifteen years ago. I felt nauseated all day...I thought from an undercooked hamburger at a BBQ, but now I think it was the migraine coming on.

July 4th Sunday, I spent hours on a Seadoo, which was awesome. I had a date with Frank, but at the moment I'm talking about something else. (My possible brain damage, LOL) Yesterday I went back out on the boat and Seadoo with Guy, when I already felt nauseated. It was a bad choice on my part. I wouldn't worry, probably, but my sister died at age 28 from a massive sub-arachnoid hemorrhage after several brain traumas and then lots of deep scuba diving where she was stationed in Yokuska, Japan. It was a congenital weakness coupled with an injury in Naval Officer Training where her retina completely detached behind one eye.

I think when I jumped off the 18' dock the other day, I kinda addled my brain. Frank is good with all things watercraft . I was very safe on the Seadoo with him, but I think maybe I've just shaken my brain around too much for several days straight. Plus I think I might have a case of Otitis Externa (outer ear/ear canal infection) in my right ear from water I didn't get out.

I'm going to post several blog posts today, I have different things to say. A lot has happened. I feel kind of confused. But I want thank Frank for helping me when the migraine hit. Migraine sufferers can attest to the face on the tile bathroom floor, retching, light-flashing behind the eyes misery that is a migraine. I'm not sure Frank had ever seen one, but he was kind and followed all my directions about what would help.

Stay tuned for more in the next few hours, and back to my regularly scheduled programming. And maybe some poetry.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Taking a day off!

Hi, y'all! I hope your holiday weekend was wonderful. I am taking a day off. or night off as the case may be. I'll be back tomorrow (which means Tuesday).

One thing I did want to pass along to those in Atlanta. I got my new used little car from Ray at Marietta Auto Mall. He is a gem, and the whole experience was terrific from start to finish. It is over near the Big Chicken. I was just so happy with my service that I wanted to give him a shout out.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day

Please, Lord, I hope I spelled Independence correctly.

Generally, I am a very good speller, but there are a few words I commonly misspell and that is one of them. Why do I want to put in an "a"? Maybe because I was a dancer for so many years. I want it to be independance.

I should not be up at four am, and this isn't going to make a lot of sense most likely. Today, which was yesterday, I declared my independence. It seems there is a lot of independence going around. People sloughing off the chains of whatever monarchy currently governs them. It's all a bad system, this idea, this need we have to control others. It doesn't really work anyway. People just go underground.

Guy and I had another wonderful talk at dinner. I find Zaxby's restaurant to be incredibly conducive to good talks. He gave me an analogy that fascinated me, that I think I need to spend some time turning over in my head. I have never played the game World of Warcraft, but with two teenage boys and friends, it would be hard to escape altogether. Guy explained that sometimes you will come across a rare item, or maybe it was for every item, or maybe when two players want the same item, but anyway, you get a choice to say, "need," or "greed." Meaning you are kinda on the honor system to say whether you really need the item to advance your character or game, or you just want it to sell or for its rarity. He said most people are pretty honest in which button they choose, but some people are just jerks and will press need when it really is greed. He was telling me that it seems that some people in life have their finger stuck on the Need button. They have lost their ability to discern their true needs.

This reminds me of one of the ten commandments. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's possessions. I have read a lot of arguments over the years as to what exactly it means to covet, and what might be the closest to the original a
Aramaic translation. Ultimately I decided the best definition I ever heard was that to covet was not just to desire what someone else has, but to equally desire that they not have it as well. To envy means to want what the other has, but it seems that you could still be happy they had it, too. Then you are equals. But to covet...a whole 'nother ballgame. It would be hard to make envy a sin...we are created that way to a large extent. It motivates us. But I can surely see why covetousness is hugely detrimental to all parties. A wise commandment.

I don't think I am stuck on the "need" button, but I'm going to take an inventory of myself and see how many of the things I need, for example, in a relationship, are true needs, and if any are just greed. Greed for attention, greed for reassurance, greed for things to be my way, greed to have my space and right to "be myself" all the time. I really think I'm doing pretty well, but sinking into the comfy armchair of I'm doing good enough can be awfully tempting.

My Independence is almost the most important thing to me right now- in terms of making all my own choices for my own reasons. I am often torn between being an extremely giving person (just shy of a doormat at times), and being a "take me as I am or walk away" person. I haven't quite settled my boundaries of give and take. Sometimes I just stand there letting everyone else push the need button over and over without ever pushing it myself.

I really want to be a complete part of the action, and not just bitch about hating the game. So for now, I'll try hopping up on the middle of the seesaw and standing firm, learning to balance...need vs greed, dependence vs. independence.

What's the worst that could happen?

Happy Independence Day!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

And the Source of the problem is? Most often myself.

I wasn't really sure what I wanted to blog about tonight. Guy and I worked volunteer crew at the Verizon Amphitheater this evening for the Earth Wind & Fire Show. It benefits the high school band that Reid is in. That's right, Reid is off cavorting at the beach in Hilton Head, while Guy and I run our tooshies off to raise money. Hahaha, I misrepresent. Reid was bummed he isn't old enough to volunteer for these concerts.

So...nothing happened. And suddenly!!!! Nothing else happened.
That's a really old joke. The concert was fabulous, but it didn't provide anything blogworthy. Fail! I must now manipulate all situations so that there is something to write about. Hopefully you snickered a little at that.

Here I am at home watching Star Trek: TNG, eating Lean Cuisine wondering when was the last actual vegetable I consumed...(weird for me, I live on veggies.)

Suddenly! Captain Picard says, "I think we can all agree this poses a grave threat to the Federation, and none of us will feel comfortable until we go to the source, and see for ourselves." And this struck me as a really unusual juxtaposition.
The first part seems like so much that goes on in our collective mentality these days. OMG, Panic, OMG, Panic, Warning Will Robinson!!!! 24 hrs a day it goes on. Does anyone remember when we used to grow up reading Fables and Fairy Tales that had morals to them? Like Chicken Little who always ran around saying the sky was falling? I seriously can't even listen to the news anymore, or talk radio, or political TV. The negativity and outright lies from all sides...while chicken little runs screaming in the background...just too much for my system. I have to acquire my news from mostly the internet, where at least it is silently delivered if nothing else. The stress this kind of Fear and Panic mongering puts on people; it's so damaging constantly having our fight or flight responses on high alert.

Which is where the odd juxtaposition comes it. Look at Picard's next sentence. After the recognition that there might be a threat to the "system," he says something...Reasonable! and Logical! I don't think anyone will be comfortable until we go to the source, and see for ourselves.

I want to practice that better and more regularly. Before I get all worked up, before I get upset, before I overreact, before I add to the Drama of the collective energy of humanity, go check with the source. If the source of the "threat" is a person, go directly to them. If the source is unsubstantiated, investigate. Deliberately slow down my reactions to things.

Interestingly, there is another "Source" we can check with. You can call it God if you wish. Maybe you call it by another Deity's name. Maybe you find the source to be in Nature, or out in the Universe. Maybe you find it deep within yourself.
Whatever you call it, when there is a "threat" that is putting you into high anxiety, and maybe you can't go to the source of the problem itself (I don't think they want us all rushing to the Gulf of Mexico with spongemops creating bigger problems), go to your other Source.

That's my new addition to all the things I'm trying to help myself be healthy, whole and sane. I'm tying a stout rope to my racing thoughts, lashing them securely to my side, and teaching them to heel. Stay with me, little three pounds of grey matter, and we will indeed arrive safely.

Friday, July 2, 2010

I'll Have One Acme Trampoline, Please. Delivered.

This evening I jumped off a bridge...basically.
I jumped into Lake Lanier off the top of a double tier dock. Estimate about 18' from my feet to the water, but sure looked like more from head height.

Took me a few minutes to decide to jump, then I just went.
I got a lot of water up in my sinuses, failing to actually hold my nose, which has given me a dreadful headache that hasn't gone away.

Reid was already out on the rail of the dock, deciding whether to go or not. Seemed an unusual conundrum for him, especially since he just went skydiving a few weeks ago. But I admit, it was a long way, it was getting dark, and you can't see what is under the water. (We knew it to be safe, however.)

I didn't have any particular urge to jump off anything that high, but others were doing it (hahahaha, if your friends jumped off a bridge would you, too?) and I thought why not? I'm in good shape; I'm not going to hurt myself. Plus I wanted to show Reid that he could do it. I thought he would feel disappointed if he didn't jump.

Eventually he did jump, and all turned out well, other than his feet hurting from standing on the rail so long. It's one of those daily occurrences that I think about. What is it that makes people make that decision to either jump or not jump?
How can I learn from this? What if a given of this equation is that it doesn't matter at all what decision you make, jump or not, you just have to decide.

I just know I feel like I'm standing on the edge of a cliff so much of the time. One misstep and I'm hanging by the ubiquitous twiggy tree root always conveniently placed at cliff edges. Standing on the edge, I feel the ground shaking. It might get so strong that it shakes me off. I look down into the canyon, and it doesn't really look that far, it doesn't seem so bad. There are things down there to explore...what if I just jumped?

It's okay up top. I've always liked it here. It's been my favorite place to be.
So I keep standing still. I keep looking. I keep thinking, do I jump or not?

Today I jumped. I got a lot of water in my head for the effort, but it was fun and I'm glad I did it.

I don't think this is very helpful for anyone, but maybe you can relate, or empathize. Actually, the one thing I can tell you is that either way, I will be okay. If I fall, magical miracle tree roots will appear in just the right pattern for me to climb down. If I get shaken off, someone with a trampoline will push it under me at just the right moment. If I jump, my sandals will sprout wings, and the Earth will riot with soft clover just under my feet.

Therein is the lesson I always look for each day, that I just have to remind myself of...

No matter what happens, if I do not fight it, I will be okay. If I think good things, even bad becomes good in all ways. There isn't anything but good, and Love.

Like my blog byline says, "because all experiences are valuable."

Whatever happens happens, and I am going to sleep well on that.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Lie, The Truth

Not everyone, not by half of half, was blessed with a mother like mine. This post isn't about her, or mothers, but often I think most of what I am today, at least the me in the flesh, started with my mother.

You laugh. OF COURSE I started with my mother. I laugh, too. But what if I told you that my mother was real. Just that, for our purposes here. Later when she became ill with the virus that eventually took her, she became odd, but that wasn't her.

She stands out in my mind like a statue of the Buddha, serene, smiling, and waiting zen-like with always the right advice, always the right mixture of sympathy, empathy, practicality, and mid-western perseverance.

That said, she was dynamic, and innovative. Back when High School was not a lockstep gestapo march to the podium, my mom actually got to design and teach some interesting elective English courses. (these days... if it ain't on the state mandated tests...you ain't gonna learn it.) She taught history of the Detective story, where I learned that Edgar Allan Poe is the Father of all Detective Novels. It all started with his story Murders In the Rue Morgue. Remember that one? It ended up being an escaped orangutan or something, all an accident.
I came to love Hercule Poirot, Ellery Queen (remember how the books stopped and let you try and figure out the ending??), Miss Marple, and Sherlock Holmes, with all
the picky little details and facts you'd never know, but won't forget after reading one of those stories. I will never forget that Foxglove is digitalis, a deadly poison used in small doses as a heart medication. (This also is used in the Count of Monte Cristo.)

She also taught a Science Fiction course. It was there that I read the story of EPICAC. I have never forgotten this story by Kurt Vonnegut, first published in 1952. EPICAC is a super computer, artificial intelligence. His human counterpart is shy and dull, but desperately in love with a fellow worker, Pat. She thinks our narrator isn't romantic enough for her. Through the story, our narrator asks EPICAC to help him write poetry for Pat, but he has to teach the computer about Love, Women, Poetry and such first. EPICAC produces some lovely poetry that does bring Pat around, but EPICAC falls in love with her in the process and decides he wants to marry her. Our narrator tells EPICAC that Pat cannot love a computer, because "he" will eventually rust and fall into disrepair, while a human being will live forever. The next morning, EPICAC is found dead, totally burned out, having produced 50,000 years worth of poetry for our narrator to use, as a wedding present. I really haven't done this story justice. I can't express the tenderness Vonnegut treats his computer creation with, the genius, but childlike outlook on love and humanity that EPICAC evinces. If you don't understand the relationship people can have with their computers, read this story. What if your computer loved and trusted you?

I am a huge Star Trek fan, and no character will ever top Commander Data, the android who wants to be human, in my personal fan book. I think that may be because I fell in love with EPICAC first.

It is a weighty thought to me. To burn oneself out, exhaust oneself to death, producing a work of love enough to last more than 800 lifetimes. Consider this:

If the last 50,000 years of human existence were divided into lifetimes of about 65 years each, that would make about 800 lifetimes.

Of those, the first 650 lifetimes were spent in caves.

Only in the last 70 lifetimes has it been possible to communicate through the written word.

Only in the last 6 lifetimes have we had the printed word.

Only in the last 2 have we had use of the electric motor.

And within our current lifetime (the past 65 years or so) have we seen part of the world pass from agrarian to labor in factories and to so-called white-collar labor of communicators, computer specialists, and so forth.

I always hated the narrator of that story. The lie he told that doomed poor EPICAC. But now I wonder if he lied at all. The energy of the human soul is not mortal, and 50,000 poems will not go to waste.