My Mother's "Goals and Dreams" Article

Oct 1, 2010 at 8:51 PM

My mother wrote an article, and I'm going to post most of it here. If you're interested in the sales pitch for organic cosmetics that she included in the email, following the link at the bottom of the email.

But I had to repost this. My mother made me proud today when I read this:

(Please forgive the comic sans font. She's a Mac user.)

-------------------------

We are still hot and sunny here in Florida but being a New England girl at heart, I am happy just thinking of the changing leaves and the cooler weather that will also come to us soon.

This week, I want to have an unusual special based around the subject so vital to a happy life, goals and dreams, purposes and aspirations. These are the thoughts that we need to emblazon on our minds and spirits, for these propel us forward and move us through obstacles to attain high ground and what we so hope to bring about.

These days, we find challenges to well-being and a good night's sleep hitting us in the forehead, wonk! at least a few times a day. I suggest that there are those who wish us to cower and give up. It seems to me that there are those who want us to feel powerless in view of insurmountable counter-intentions.

Man, despite the latest word on us, man is a creative, capable figure proven through time to be able to imagine and think through heavily adverse circumstances to prevail, based upon intelligence and ethics. Man also has a basic goodness, most notable, as I see it, in your "ordinary man," that is. I grew up as a virtual "untouchable" in an elite post-WWII society. I was Jewish and playing tennis, in the day when no Blacks or Jews dared play that gentleman's and ladies' sport. Tennis was a country club sport. No one else knew about it. Yet somehow it reached me and I loved it. With my tennis coach (US champion, famous, absolutely adorable, amazing person), I gave what he called "tennis clinics." He would explain the game for the as yet uninitiated. I almost said "plebians," so exclusive a sport was tennis then...and you can well guess that I'd rather be a pleb ANY day. We demonstrated a serve, a forehand, a backhand, etc., how the game works, and people found out what tennis was. Honestly, the people who attended these clinics had never heard of it til we did this! This was in the late 50's, so realize then that just about NO ONE but the elite country club-eligible set knew of the existence of tennis — other than a very few, like me.
I learned what prejudice is from my tennis tour experiences back in the 50's and 60's ("Mad Men" days) before even Arthur Ashe (a black guy) had shocked the tennis world by daring to be the best. I was darned good and I was a Jew. The country club members who "put up" (invited them to stay for the duration of the tournament in their homes), who put up tournament players traveling from afar, did not want to have to put up me. Some of them threw away their dishes after I had used them (I overheard). Fights about how could the (husband or wife) ever have agreed to accept me into the house and how would they clean it after I had gone. My renowned teacher, whom I adored, almost lost his job at Point Judith Country Club (in the Narragansett area of Rhode Island, quite exclusive) after I drank from the bubbler (a Rhode Island word for water fountain) upon getting exhausted from a long, rough work out. I, state champion but a lowly, foul Jew, was parched. He had gained permission for me to be able to use the courts on certain hours but for me to take a draught at the bubbler was just too much. My saliva...dangerous. I had to practice there since Chazzie (my tennis teacher) was pro there, before hitting the yearly circuit of tournaments which he and his wife drove us to.

It is the saddest thing I can think of, that ANY person actually imagines that he is innately superior to another. Granted our behavior can be magnanimous or petty, caring or hateful, sincere or deceitful, but in essence it is a gross error to assume prior to any actual knoweldge that someone is inferior based upon anything but actions, results and statistics. Even then, we need not assume that anyone must continue to be inferior. It's a pathetic attitude based upon a lie.

Truth is, for me, that we are who we imagine ourselves to be and decide we are. We are basically, though I leave this part up to your own feelings and perception, in God's image. I never feel that God belongs to one group or another, though. That is to cram the concept of God into various small bottles each colored separately, all of which cannot fit on the same shelf. Do you really think that the Author of Life would prefer one group against another? Let's all leap over pre-formed attitudes and simply look at what is NOW in front of us. Prejudice is pre-judgment and to me it means a blind and desperate attempt to assure oneself of one's one validity. It must be borne of serious doubt. C'mon, you can be right/good/valuable/worthy and so can I.

Can we get over our need to be more important than X? Even if it is rough to abolish the feeling, can we rationally see that any person has godly potential and is worthy of the same justice and opportunities in life?

We are potentially perfect as we find unrestricted admiration, respect and love, as we attain certainty of what we perceive, as we firm up well-placed trust. These make for a generous life. By generous, I mean noble in that one cares about others and takes responsibility for more than oneself. That's true nobility, little related to birth-nobility.

Who can say, I am better than you? Because a great-great-grandfather made a fortune? what does that have to do with the package of potential called you? Maybe someone else is better because he/she is more able at the moment, more agile and informed concerning the topic at hand, but know what? I can catch up. I might take this even further, if I trust myself and completely don't agree to limitations.

So, my fellows challenged, as I am, by daily bad news, isn't it time to say, sorry, guys, my self-certainty is unattackable and I will find and connect with others like myself? Isn't it time to trust our honest judgment? To say, my caring and love for life are my guide and I intend to prevail? And best to say to detractors, "Buzz off, those who would like me to see myself as lesser, incapable or owned!"

Your goals are important. You can contribute to a better world and can inspire others. It's almost ridiculous to state it, but there's gobs of room for improvement and inspiration. I mention the prejudices I ran into because of how destructive they can be. I bet that many of you have encountered some form of prejudice. A teacher who was sure you couldn't. A parent who would not accept that you might succeed where he/she had not. A friend who laughed when you broke the bounds of what is acceptable. A stranger who looked at you haughtily yet with no slightest concept of who you are. Anything like that, it doesn't have to be as obvious, and this is the point — other people's evaluations that box you up as smaller than you feel, that label you as a this or a that when you feel as if you are an "anything that you want to be and bigger than the sky."

If we buy the diminishing thought, we may feel inferior and less prone to assert ourselves or, as a reaction, the put-down can invite us to assert superiority not actually attained. That feels just about as idiotic and debasing as making nothing of ourselves. If you've run into any prejudice, it might help to see it as outright stupid and worth no more than being ignored. The truth that can make a difference is going to be found in what you've dreamed, what you hold dear, what you intend to do, what you've managed to accomplish and in the courage and certainty that have served you, despite how others may chide or ridicule, to move closer to your goals.

Are your goals expansive? Do they impinge upon life beyond just you? Goals for just yourself are needed, too. But if it's all about just you, how many will be empowered, due to your accomplishments, with improved lives, skills, peace or understanding?

So this week, please attest to me that you have your own creed written down (what you believe) and that you have your goals written, your aims and fondest hopes. Written down as that helps you settle upon them and helps them become more real. I feel that this is a BASIC to living determinatedly (by decision as opposed to by default) and thus happily.

Here's a link to her website where you can get fantastic stuff, like organic beauty products and skin care.

Land of La

Sep 8, 2010 at 11:51 PM
I did it. I left the woods.

I'm now living at Kat's house, with her and The Kid. It's great fun. We love it.

I've been so busy I've had nary a moment to think about personal blogging.

The twins are doing very well and we're all enjoying LA except that there are so many strange things to say about it that I don't even know where to start.

Does anyone have a few kind words of advice for a newly reborn Los Angelino?

Edith Piaf

Jul 3, 2010 at 5:25 PM
This song is absolutely fabulous.

Non, rien de rienNo, nothing at all
Non, je ne regrette rien No, I regret nothing
Ni le bien qu'on m'a faitNeither the good done to me
Ni le mal, tout ça m'est bien égalNeither evil, while I do not care
Non, rien de rienNo, nothing at all
Non, je ne regrette rien No, I regret nothing
C'est payé, balayé, oubliéIt is paid, swept away, forgotten
Je me fous du passéI care about the past
Avec mes souvenirs, j'ai allumé le feuWith my memories I lit the fire
Mes chagrins, mes plaisirs, je n'ai plus besoin d'eux My sorrows, my pleasures, I no longer need them
Balayées les amours, avec leurs trémolosScanned loves, with their tremolos
Balayées pour toujours, je repars à zéroSwept away forever, I'm off to zero
Non, rien de rienNo, nothing at all
Non, je ne regrette rien No, I regret nothing
Ni le bien qu'on m'a faitNeither the good done to me
Ni le mal, tout ça m'est bien égalNeither evil, while I do not care
Non, rien de rienNo, nothing at all
Non, je ne regrette rienNo, I regret nothing
Car ma vie car mes joiesBecause my life because my joys
Aujourd'hui, ça commence avec toi Today, it starts with you


Here is an embedded video of it.




To me, this epitomizes France, the culture, their music during the first half of the 20th century.

As does this opening scene from Mon Oncle.

Quietly Alive

Jun 28, 2010 at 9:38 PM
Piano, as a word, comes from Italian, meaning "quiet" or "softly". The beautiful instrument is actually called the pianoforte, meaning "soft loud". It was the first of the keyed instruments to respond to touch.

Touch is something I treasure about pianos. They swell and demand, they suckle and carress, they scream and cry, they sigh and murmur, they hum and vibrate; the playing of them is so closely tied to happiness for me that I have no words for the feeling I get playing piano.

A piano is a a tender lover and an open hearted friend.

What would I do without it? How would I release the tension, the happiness, the grief, the passion that I feel when I sit at the piano and play? What could possibly bring me to those same heights?

Today I played Schumann's 'Phantasietanz' better than I ever have. Now, I play this piece at about half its intended tempo (speed). I played up the dynamics of it, in order to best wrench every drop of feeling from the piece. And when I play it that way, I discover as it is being wrung from me that it feels like a child, standing in an open airy white ballroom, swaying with an overpowering urge to dance with the adults. Not quite like a full-on wild heathen dance the way it does a tempo.

I reserve the right to shift the pieces I play so they most harmonize with my soul.

The great composers are closer to me than any man ever has been. Schumann for grief, Beethoven for loss, Bach for tempestuous feeling, Chopin for beautiful elation, Mozart for vibrant happiness. The list of my "favorite" pieces goes on, constantly shifting, depending on where I'm at as a person and what my mood is.

I quietly feel all that I express, all that I play. I am driven to tears, to laughter, to stormy-skied eyes, to bliss, all because I sit at the piano and I allow my emotions to gain the upper hand.

Nothing else in my life has ever come close to creating as powerful a resonance within my core as the last fading bars of a well-wrought piece of music. It makes me feel more alive than anything else I do.

Overdue

Jun 12, 2010 at 4:06 AM
When I was young, I begged my parents over and over for a little sister. After a few tries that heartbreakingly did not result in my little sibling, eventually my little sister was born. She was so precious to me. Still is.

My wild, rebelious, funny, sweet, fantastic little sister. She's smart, too, but for some reason gets offended when I tell her so. Whatevs. She IS smart.

So, last year she fell in love. They've been a more committed couple than most married folks I know from day one. They are always together. Always. It was annoying at first because it meant that our constant togetherness was over, and also because it is so easy for her. She just walked into the relationship and boom, that was it.

I'm very very happy for them. They're a great match. And because of that, they have progressed with the alarming speed of the young, unwittingly brave, and happy.

Her pregnancy has been fun to watch, she's the best pregnant woman ever, totally chill,, sleeping and eating well, taking her vites, and generally not letting the world bust her calm, pregnant bubble. It's great. She's gonna have the healthiest baby ever.

And so yesterday my little sister was supposed to give birth. It was her due date. I guess that makes her overdue, because she's not in labor yet. Technically, the baby could happen at any time, there is no certain date in pregnancies, but it still feels "late" when you have a day on the calendar and nothing happens to come about. She wants me to come up a few days after she gives birth and meet the baby, so that's what I'm gonna do.

She called me up a few days ago. I answer the phone with the automatic question every time she calls of  "You in labor?" - she said no. But she had news... and paused. I hate it when people do that. I run through every possible horrific scenario, and torture myself. Why? WHY?? It's never as bad as whatever's in my head.

But it was actually good news. She had run off to the courthouse early in the morning (when did she start getting up early?). They eloped.

I congratulated her and told her to call everyone right away! And then I proceeded to call everyone I knew that Libs wasn't gonna call.

I wish I could have been there beside her, but what can you do... they love each other. They're committed. It doesn't change anything other than paper. They've been a done deal for a while now. If it hadn't been for me, they'd've never met. I was there when they met, and that was the true defining moment to be lucky to witness.

Weddings all over the place. What does one get for one's baby sister? I think I'll make her a painting. I'd make her a quilt, but someone beat me to the punch. She's too precious to me to even consider not making something personal for... I just need to start planning a painting. Flowers, maybe a vase of them, bright colors. Perfect for her. OK, I guess I figured it out.

My first niece. I have two nephews, but now I'll have a niece.

But in a few months I'm leaving Oregon. I'm headed to Lalaland. Yes, I'm moving to the city I hated. I decided it's not so bad, plus it has people there that I love. And people I do not yet know. But it means less time with Libs and Liz and their young ones. I haven't even met the baby I'm not going to see enough of. The one who's going to wrap herself around my little sister's heart and reshape her from a girl into a woman.

It's sad. But in LA there is the hope of progress. Of making friends, or building dreams into businesses, of crafting my life into something that sings. Or even finding a good guy to live my life with.

 I was waiting here for something big to happen so that I could leave. But honestly, I have to make my own life happen. Again. and again. and again. 5 years of  "meanwhile, back  on the ranch..." is long enough for me.

Plus, one of the reasons I was sticking round here is that my little sister needed me. She doesn't anymore. They're gonna be fine.

I've waited long enough. It's time.

The last few hours

May 25, 2010 at 12:56 PM
Up til three fixing Kat's computer, it was fun. It was like rifling in her underwear drawer and being allowed to make changes, like turning them all hot pink or making them all say "RADNESS". Thanks to Luke for that, his instructions kept her computer from turning into a flying toaster last night. But where his instructions left out, I was left alone with a computer asking me questions that - for once - I couldn't even think with. Wha-huh? The WHAT database? Press 3 for whahhhhhhhh? I was deep in IT tech.

After I got through that hoary jungle, I ran what I know well - defrag and disk cleaning. Except I did them my way - the hardcore techy way. With fancy applications. I firmly believe that everything can be solved by running defrag once a week.

Anyway, now that Kat's computer is the equivalent of hot pink and rad, I shall move on to this morning.

-------------------------

I have meetings all day, and lots to do. Staying up until three was not part of the plan.

So this morning, I wake up at 9:00 (two hours late) thinking "Oh crap! Straight to work then..." so it makes perfect sense that I crawl into the shower, spend ages under the warm friendly waters provided by the shower gods, and then get dressed. Once again, I'm wearing lady's work pants. They make me feel more "worky" on Tuesdays, when I have all my conference calls and stuff.

So, now that I'm late for starting my morning lineup, I find myself tottering around her kitchen pulling together breakfast. For some reason, Kat's cat, 'Kitty" thinks I have to take over feeding him. I have no idea where his food is.

So Kitty's chasing me around the kitchen, somehow calculating the precise mathematics involved in performing graceful figure eights that somehow ALL manage to intersect with my moving feet and legs in unpredictable ways as I stumble toward the coffee maker.

Here's how it goes.

Stumble, accidentally snag toe on Kitty. Check a cupboard for cat food. Grab mug, trip over Kitty. Explain to Kitty that I have no idea where his food is. Pour coffee into cup, head toward the bananas. Check a cupboard for cat food. Carefully stop feet at exact point where I'd have tripped over the Kitty, and then lift my foot slowly over Kitty. Check a cupboard for cat food. Still somehow end up tripping over Kitty. Explain to Kitty still louder that I don't know where his food is. Check a cupboard for cat food. Look at Kitty and say "See?" while pointing at the cupboard.

Reach down and pet him for a second sympathetically. This turns on his bongo drums, apparently, and he's now magnetically attracted to my legs, unable to not have some portion of his Kittiness rubbing against my body. Check a cupboard for cat food.   Trip over Kitty. Check a cupboard for cat food.    Trip over Kitty. Check a cupboard for cat food.

Whine to Kitty that I've already explained about his food and I'm not gonna keep talking to him anyway, he's a CAT.  Check a cupboard for cat food.

I trip on the way to pour myself a glass of water on Kitty. One tiny droplet splashes on him from my glass of water being poured. He vanishes suddenly and completely from the kitchen until my cup of water is done and sitting on the counter.

Trip over Kitty on the way to the apples. Explain to Kitty again that I'm not explaining this to him again. Check a cupboard for cat food.  Check a cupboard for cat food.  Check a cupboard for cat food.

Where the HELL does Kat keep her fricking cat food? Holy crap!

Tell Kitty it's totally Kat's fault I can't feed him.

Pick up a cup of coffee with my left hand. A cup of water with my right (Kitty disappears). Put a banana into my pants (I have no pantspocket, so the waistband's doing the job), put an Apple in my left bra cup, put my keys (why am I holding my keys? I don't know!) into my right bra cup, and head back to the back porch.

Aside from accidentally proposing a toast to myself with coffee and water while opening the door to the guesthouse, I think I'm doing pretty well.

Then I sit down and realize - I forgot to take the banana out of my pants and I now have a smooshed banana popping out of my pants and falling forward through my shirt like some strange alien. Good thing I work alone at home. That kind of thing is why I don't do well with coworkers.

OK. Talk to you later.

Wedding Gifts, Weddings and Love

May 17, 2010 at 5:16 AM
I would personally be very insulted if I got a wedding gift of something that didn't represent how that person sees me or my union. Kitchenware and Cuisinarts are inappropriate wedding gifts as far as I'm concerned.

I was very close with my cousin growing up, but I moved away ages ago. And I still miss her regularly. So when she said she was getting married on her 17th anniversary (they've been a done deal since they met) I decided it was important to give her something real and representative. They don't lack for anything, their lives are neatly sewn up, income, happiness, a home, and a fully stocked kitchen. They don't need material things from their relations, that's for sure.

So I painted her a painting in the theme of her wedding - which was purple, white with orchids and old fashioned.

I think it's appropriate, and I really like this one.

I finished it in Kat's house, just in time to be dry for the wedding.


LA People

May 6, 2010 at 2:27 AM
I'm headed to LA this weekend. Gonna spend a bunch of time with Kat. Yes, that Kat.

Anyway, LA people kinda weird me out. Hanging out in LA iskinda like panning for gold in icy creek water; mostly there's slime, but sometimes there is a hint of real beauty. And no matter what you do, you're gonna end up terribly uncomfortable, lose your footing and up to your knees in crap.

Now, there are some VERY REAL people in LA. And some VERY REAL artists mixed in with the people simply hoping for a glimmer of celebrity, some kind of recognition rather than accomplishment. And I really despise fame-seekers and false artists. I really can't stand false happiness, false laughter, false teeth, false boobs, false hair, false eyelashes even. I'm as real as it gets.

I found LA as a child to be a place full of many different kinds of people, some are truly fabulous. And some are total and complete wackadoos.

How many times when I was a small child in LA did I meet celebrities and their friends or entourages? Plenty. How often was I impressed. Only once. I think her name was Bertha Kitt or Eartha Kitt or something. I found her turban seriously impressive.

Oh! One more. Geoffrey Lewis' forehead is amazing. I was highly impressed. Just not the same on film.

All of this before I was two, mind you, so my view of things was rather toddler-centric.

But, to this day, celebrity doesn't impress me. I got pissed at a celeb you sometimes see in magazines because she cut ahead of me in line once. And at another shall-be-unnamed celebrity for somehow forgetting I've known her since we were tiny. (Probably got asked for money by one too many childhood friends.) Plus I have had a few good run ins with celebs. One held the elevator door for me once. I like him now. And another seemed very nice after I stayed at her house one weekend a long time back - one of my relatives worked for her and we were housesitting. Everyone should be judged on their actions. Not flim flam. And certainly not given special treatment.

But the thing about LA is that, along with real artists, real powerful movers and shakers, it draws people who are so delusional that they seriously believe they are artists and movers and shakers despite that they can't string three complete thoughts together without refusing to notice the obvious or making someone else feel inferior.

False artistry does not impress me.

Long soliloquies on your own merits do not impress me.

Refusal to even look upon me because I am NOT a world famous artist or a relative or assistant to an a-list celebrity is just gross.

Wearing hippie clothes and speaking in a whisper about how much you love everything when it is totally out of context (say, at the gas station) kinda weirds me out.

And pretending that you're listening while you aren't, well I hate that.

And I found so many many many of those kind of people in LA when I was growing up.

So, let me just say that while I don't really like the average LA person, Kat is AWESOME, I may spend most of my time in LA just hanging around her house and helping her grow hydroponic tomatoes and dancing with Colin.

Because I seriously seriously hate that city. I'd rather be almost anywhere.

At least the weather's nice when the smog rolls away...

Hummingbirds and Paintings

May 4, 2010 at 10:42 PM
For the first time, I got a hummingbird trapped in my house that I didn't care about being careful and gentle with.

See, I have an oil painting that is drying - it's at second stage (base, dry, detail, dry, touchups) so it's wet and hanging out in the livingroom on an easel.

And that hummingbird was within INCHES of my oil painting a few times.

I think the bird was so interested in the painting because, while right now the middle looks like a white blob to the seasoned eye, it will eventually look much more like an orchid than it does right now. That would be the world's biggest orchid and the hummingbird was probably thinking 'SCORE! My friends won't believe this!'

Or maybe it was simply trying to get high on the fumes from the paint thinners. I don't know. But it was obsessed.

So here I am, running around the house holding the easel, trying to tighten up the screws on my easel, keep the painting on the easel, and be where ever the hummingbird is not.

Lord, that was better than cardio, because cardio is not usually accompanied by sheer wailing panic.

But the painting is feather free, the bird found his own way outside and I don't end up having a photo of myself cleaning oil off a bird like a Gulf coast environmentalist.

Say Something! And it will belong to others...

at 8:51 PM
It is disheartening to me that all my blog posts only get comments on facebook... no one comments on them here where I wrote them on my own intellectual property.

Oh wait, Google owns one (blog spot) and Facebook owns the other (uh, facebook).

So when does anything I think or say here actually count as belonging to me?

Is it bad for us as a society that we technically no longer own our free speech?

And really, why do I miss getting comments here on my blog? I'm getting MORE comments, and most of them come from people I actually KNOW.

Why does it bother me that I've lost my other Cat, and my strange/unhappy/quirky/bloggy friends... (perhaps it is because they, too, have been swallowed whole by facebook.)

Anyway, I'm done ranting here. No one will comment on this. Until it automatically reposts to my facebook. (sigh)

Fish Don't Bite

May 1, 2010 at 4:19 PM
I've been trying to find real love for a while now. 4 years of online and offline dating have shown me that I would have no trouble at all if I was willing to settle.

The pitfalls of after-divorce dating are that I trip over opportunities for the following. Literally, every few days I get some reach toward me for one of the following:

1. Relationships of convenience, where someone is with me simply to have a warm body beside them at night and a person to date. No particular warmth for me as a person, but just to be together.
2. Casual sex.
3. Relationships with men who make loud claims to care about me but that I feel only friendly toward at best.
4. Sugar daddies. Dear lord, the online universe is FULL of divorce 50-something men who want someone my age with a good body and a sweet disposition. They have so few requirements. And they offer the world of financial security and easy living in exchange for the ability to plunder a younger body at will, searching for their lost youth. Trust me, they won't find it there.

I'm being WAY too picky, apparently. I want the REAL DEAL!  I want mutual admiration and goals, I want compatibility on all goddamn 29 measurements of compatibility that e-fucking-harmony talks about.

Before you suggest eHarmony, let me tell you that no online service matched me up with WORSE matches than eHarmony. Holy crap. You've never seen such unqualified, suicidally unhappy, uncommunicative louses as the men that eHarmony felt I was most like. Gee thanks, eHarmony. Way to crap on my parade.

Perhaps there simply is NO WAY to find the real deal online, especially if you come at it from the "once bitten, twice shy" attitude that I do.

I no longer believe proclamations of undying love. I have heard them too many times from the mouths of idle wanderers to be fooled. I believe only once in my life did the person who spoke them at me even possibly mean them enough to back them up with actions.  And I've been promised the sun moon and stars more often than a summer-stock Juliet.

I decided years ago that if someone loves me, they will prove it with actions, not words. Kind of a "look, don't listen" attitude.

And I have nothing worth looking upon in my life right now. As much as I have admirers and sweet men who would possibly take good care of me (but never really have tried to prove anything), I don't have anyone I am willing to love in return. I am much more of a Guinevere than a Juliet. I am not a young, naive thing who will believe the words of my enemy simply spoken from the heart, no matter where they lead her. Guinevere required daring tributes and long crusades to prove love before she was willing to bed down her Arthur, and I suppose Lancelot as well. Lucky woman had two men willing to go to that length for her. (Come to think of it, in my youth I was very much a Guinevere.)

Back to the online dating thing.  I have learned the hard way that online dating isn't "real" to these men. And it doesn't draw the kind of men looking for authentic bone-deep love, who think time and experience show whether a woman is right for him. It draw the kind of people who think that a brief email flirtation followed by a telephone call of three hours length is a binding connection worthy of proclamations of love, and then on the next call are certain you're a fraud - send a new picture taken right now to prove you really look like that. And on the next call are certain you're the love of their life. And on the next call they accuse you of pretending to be something you're not. And on the next call they declare their love again. And try to conference in their mama. No. Really.

And that's what this comes down to. I'm "too picky" - I don't want casual sex, nor do I want a relationship of convenience. I can find either in the "real world" easily. I don't want phone sex and dizzyingly beautiful statements that never turn into action, and polite chuckles that mask bone-deep distrust lurking below the oily skim of kindness in every call.

I can find incredibly superficial love like that in "virtual dating" and in real world dating with virtually no effort.

So when I bitch that I can't find anyone, I'm not admitting to a life completely devoid of attractiveness to the opposite sex. Nor am I admitting that I'm not trying hard enough.

I don't want anything but a real live honest to goodness man I'm attracted to who is willing to stretch a bit on my account and admirable enough to admire. It's terribly simple. Out of 7 billion people, one man somewhere must fit my bill, maybe.

But I'm coming closer and closer to the conclusion that he doesn't exist in the online dating world, nor are my friends really going to ship me any of the great men that they meet in the cities.

I think maybe I have to go where the fish bite. Or at least the kind of fish I want at my table. I have to leave my woodland haven, my perfect idyllic empty trap of a world.

It's a bit sad, because I love the woods so much, but I'm gonna do it anyway. Just a heads up (in case you haven't already realized that I say everything on facebook about 6 months before I say it here now).

Wag the Smile

Feb 10, 2010 at 12:05 AM
Why do people say that it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile?

The first time I heard that, I was three (and some change), and another child on the playground had stolen my orange. Rather than go give that kid a talking to, which I wanted, the teacher  said "You know what?" (forcing me to say a pointless "What?" so she could say...) "I'll tell you what. Scientists have proven that it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile."

I frowned deeper and looked up at this woman while heartily disagreeing. And she knew I disagreed. I saw it in the disappointment in her eyes. I was forever disappointing Miss Barbara. But sometimes Miss Barbara was just wrong.

She was wrong about how I should learn to read, she was wrong about certain salient math issues we were currently confronting, and she was definitely wrong about frowning.

I looked up at her, waiting for some response to my plea for citrus-related intervention.

She smiled patronizingly, tilted her head to the left, and said "Come on... smile for me." So, for the sake of appeasing her so we could move on to the real point (oranges!) already, I smiled. Little did I realize that meant no justice on the orange front. All washed up as far as oranges went, and she was done, turning away to talk to that pesky Bradley and his tag-along friends. Problem solved because I tweaked my cheek muscles in the correct direction to appease her mob of mistaken scientists.

Later that afternoon was the very first time I really wondered at my own assumptions. I wondered whether there was any justice built into the fabric of this world, or if I was at the whim of the Barbaras and Bradleys of the world. I was a bit scared of how much growing up I'd have to do to really be ready to defend myself against all that orange-stealing and name-calling all on my own. I guess it was at about the time I was on time-out in the storage room  for standing up for Renée against the pesky tag-alongs, bullies all, later that afternoon. I was the wounded hero of that piece. And I was the only one with a time-out. But whatever. Off topic.

The point is, I still hate that mindless phrase about muscles.

Even if it wasn't a diversion from the point of whatever you're mad about, it's patently untrue.


Here's why: I'll bet you if you got all those scientists together and asked them to, rather than measuring the pure number of muscles involved - a pointless endeavor to my mind, asked them to instead measure the force being exerted my those muscles, a frown of equal caliber to a smile would exert less force overall - and isn't that what matters? Not how many muscles you use, but how much force you exert in the process? For instance, I use the same muscles when I've got my monthly cycle that I use in childbirth. But the force those muscles exert is extremely different in both cases.

Admiration just has more force to it than dislike. Admiration is the one that can solve deeper problems and remove roadblocks. It has so much more force than pretty much anything else in the emotional range, albeit a smoother, less obnoxious force.

I can't help but think the muscles would prove out my theory with testing.

Force matters.

And being forced to smile when there is a real situation about which you feel like being a frowny-pants is just not cool. Even if my smile would be the better solution, stay away from drippy platitudes when you want ME to cooperate.

----------------------

Why do we even smile to show admiration? Most animals show their canines only when threatening.

And. why do dogs wag their tails to show appreciation and admiration? Which one started the practice, and how did he spread the word that it meant good things?

If we still had tails, would they wag when we were excited or happy? Is that what a frisson is? The little electrical signal trying to make it to your nonexistent tail still, but being sent back home over and over? If we had tails, would they wag and twitch? I wonder if I still have that little signal station in my brain somewhere, a connection to my tail, but since I don't have a tail, I just don't use it?

What I'm saying is, if I got a tail put on by some extremely fantastic super modern nano-bio-technology-weilding surgeon, would I be able to find and twitch my tail?

Maybe even wag it?

And if so, what would people say instead:

"It takes more muscles to frown than to wag your tail?"

--------------------------

It is surprising how thoroughly adult even childhood thoughts are. How they press and weigh just as heavily at 3 years old as they do at 33 years old. And how your delights are just as strong. How your will is just as strong and your failures or successes just as potent. And smiling or frowning, life is just as vital and amazing at both ages.

Perhaps I should stop dreading getting older and just press on, smiles and frowns, good times and bad - they will all be equally mine.

Ten (Not So) Important Questions

Jan 25, 2010 at 1:02 AM
1. What the hell is the name "Gary" short for? And who'd name their poor unsuspecting child that?

2. If the mummy doesn't like cats, why didn't every human in jeopardy that he needed to restore himself just surround themselves in stray cats? Total impasse for the mummy, but it wrecks the movie...

3. Why are goats totally incapable of taking any kind of direction that doesn't involve hitting them? I haven't the heart to hit the goat, so that's why he's still around. And why can't goats poop anywhere but on the porch or in the dog food?

4.  Why does my rabbit want to hump everything except the toy that I went and got him at great expense specifically for the purpose?

5. Where the hell did I put my good wrench? It hasn't shown up since I came home, but nothing else is missing. Hard to believe someone would come all the way out here only for the wrench without taking anything else. Do you think they might have taken it or do you think I've just misplaced it?



6. In farmville, why don't I ever have to feed my animals? Is that because if I had to feed them and forgot, the consequence (dead animals strewn around) is too gruesome for the kids and mommas that play the game? And why am I playing this game when I have a real chicken coop, and real goats and horses and cows around?

7. How do you STOP playing a zynga game? Where the hell is the "pause" or "off" button for Petville, CafeWorld, etc. I want to quit some of these damn games for a while but I don't want anything wilting/dying/running away/spoiling on me. Do I have to just stop caring or is there an off switch?

8. Who has a really nice car they no longer want? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? (ok, no? well, on to plan B...)

9. Why are baby cows cute but grown up cows are just kinda stupid looking? Why is it OK for stupid creatures to be babies, but not to grow up? Or do cows get stupid after they grow up? (I mean the real ones again)

10.  Why are the men in romantic comedies (movies) always kinda iffy looking and the chicks still have to be hot? Aren't women the primary audience? Wouldn't we rather see a great looking guy as the lead actor?

Silly Girl

Jan 24, 2010 at 5:26 PM
Today, and yesterday, I found myself feeling disinterested in the work involved in finding a new love. See, I need to go through hell and high water over the next little bit in order to get to the point where I can be near a place with other human beings in it. I have to move, so I can be near to where other human beings are, so that I can actually find one that wants to love me.

And that's the basic problem right now. I'm sitting in the woods, hundreds of miles from any man let alone the right one, and getting older every day without him. I'm robbing him and me of time together.

And every day, I get a little less interested in finding him. Every day I get  a little more jaded about whether love can exist in my life, whether I have a place in my house, in my life, for a good man.

And, last night, as I stared up at the exposed beams over my head, I started feeling like maybe I should just throw in the towel.  Stay here, live my perfectly wonderful little life without him in it, just become content to be alone. I didn't cry. I'm well past the stage where you cry, now I'm just thoughtful on the subject. It's one of the many steps I find myself taking in the direction of having a heart made of pure stone. And I HAVE to reverse that. For my own good. For the good of the children I may want to have again later on.

I know I don't really want to spend the rest of my life alone. Not really. Especially because I've only got six or so years before my children are all grown up and gone. How much closer to dead would I be without either my children or my love around?

Last night, I knew it was time to take drastic action. I needed to pull out the heavy artillery if I was going to stop myself wandering down the road toward the "I don't need a husband" loner's mountain again.

I pulled something from a drawer, and I tucked it against my chest like a talisman against the encroaching thoughts of giving up.

And this morning, I looked down at my hands when I woke and found it there, I had forgotten about my night time musings, but this morning I remembered and so I slipped it over my head. It was time. This shirt doesn't go with anything I own. It's red, decades old, faded, oversize. It doesn't fit. I've never thrown it out. It sits in my pajamas drawer waiting for a day like this.

The shirt sits softly with the seams down below my shoulders, not like it fit his. It brings to sharp contrast the differences between my own clothes and this shirt. Between my life right now, and the times I knew the man who wore this shirt. The places where it fit him snugly lie loose and flowing on me.

The smell that it no longer has tortures me, reminds me of his damned cheap laundry soap, of the sweet musky male scent of him. The feel of it beneath my skin reminds me of  what love feels like when you send it skimming through fingertips, when you imbue every act in your day to day life with love for another person.

This shirt clonks me over the head with memories of dancing on the beach, of lying together on rooftops, of sitting in a diner playing cards and of lying twined together bruised and laughing after tumbling downhill. Of feeling something - love? - so strongly that the urge to fold my arms around his neck and bury my head in his shoulder was uncheckable. And it reminds me of the strong, pure emotions that were once felt toward me. It reminds me of the first worthy man a young, foolish, trusting girl like me ever loved with all my heart. Silly girl.


The shirt floods me with memories, tortures me, but I wear it anyway. It wakes me up. I am a silly girl for forgetting what it reminds me of...

It reminds me that people are worthy of love, and that I should have someone to love. It is proof that I am loveable.

Sometimes you really need to be a silly girl, to throw yourself into something whether it hurts or not. To dive into something hard and dangerous headfirst for the rewards at the end. So, today, I am waking myself up to the idea that there can be real love.

In a Nutshell: Skilled But Lazy

Jan 23, 2010 at 2:50 AM
I remember when the girls were little, I'd sometimes make something that was awful slightly more bearable by simply making up a song about it on the spot.

I have a knack for that, for making up songs.

However, there are times when maybe I shouldn't have?

For instance, when we lived in one of those blah apartment complexes when they were about six years old, the girls got their true first taste of what death looks like when it happens badly. And we wrote a song about it. In fact, it was one of our favorites for a while -  "three days to die". It was about the time it took a raccoon that had been run over and was laying on the side of the road by our apartment to die - three whole days it was twitching and crawling and gross. I called the animal control people and they apparently did nothing. Tried calling the cops and they were not worried about it breaking into my home so did nothing.

Anyway, it's guts were showing, and it bled for a long time, crawled to the side of the road ever so slowly, getting run over but never being quite dead. It woulod twitch sometimes just when I thought it must finally be all the way dead. Then it finally died, but I only really believed it when the birds landed freely on its corpse. After it died, it then bloated and practically popped before the street cleaners got to it. But the point of the song was to make it easier to pass by the damn thing while driving home. While it was dying, the song was "all day to die", then "two days to die" and then "three days to die" and then when it was decomposing in the Florida heat, the girls simply made up more verses every time they were grossed out.

Now, we were only singing to keep from crying.

My children are actually the kind of people who will try to nurse a worm they've stepped on back to health. They're very considerate of all living things.

-----------

OK, another example of a song we made up was the "Don't Tell U-Haul" song. It was about all the crazy things that happened to us on our cross country road trip.

Some of the verses I recall were:

We had 15 Mexicans try to steal our Ride
Don't Tell U-Haul!
We're not sure how to work overdrive
Don't Tell U-Haul!
The Insurance Probably Doesn't Cover Carjackings
Don't Tell U-Haul!
Was the e-brake supposed to be off the whole time?
Don't Tell U-Haul!
The busted Axel was already like that, so OK
Go Tell U-Haul!

Anyhow, I did end up telling U-Haul all about the trip in the end, but it sure was fun to have the girls yelling out the (very simple) chorus.

I just find that no matter how crappy, crazy, adventurous, wild, silly, scary life is, it's just better to have a song to go with it.

I wrote one about Costa Rica. It's a damn site beter than the awful other song about Costa Rica that I was forced to endure while I was down there... some folk singer's kid wrote it. I don't remember who.

I was looking at the art pieces on the wall of a gallery in a movie and thought "I could do better than that".

I've been singing since I was a kid, and I can write songs and lyrics with absolutely no trouble. More than just comic stuff. I listen to the songs my daughters love by Taylor Swift and I remember that I did the same thing as a kid. I could totally do that now if I wanted.

I'm just too damn lazy is all.

Wondering

Jan 14, 2010 at 8:42 PM
When I was pregnant, I remember wondering what there was in store for me. What waited just on the other side of the unfathomable experience of childbirth.

Now my little sister is pregnant. She gets to experience the cozy, calm, tredipacious, itchy waiting period we all go through during the second and especially third trimesters. Ready to have a baby, not ready to have a baby, ready to give birth but terrified of it... it all works out in the end but at the time you have NO IDEA how that's gonna work, how you'll survive, how you'll support yourself.

Right now, she and her boyfriend are living in my house. I may get to have a baby here later this year, which I like and am also worried about. Can you really baby-proof this barn? Is she really ready to bring a child into the world? Am I ready to step up if I'm needed for help, support, love?

What kind of baby will she have? Boy? Girl? Smart? Sporty? Fiesty? Precocious?

So many possibilities...  so much more to imagine about than just what it will be named.

We're all very interested in seeing what happens around here.

Treat Me Mean and Cruel

Jan 12, 2010 at 4:36 AM
So I'm flying on the plane from Florida to Oregon, back home after a month of traveling. I spent three weeks in Costa Rica with my girls. We part ways, I leave them with their father in Florida and I get on a plane alone to head home.

Already in agony, except the guy seated directly behind me is an ex-impersonator - focusing all his dubious skill on one subject - Elvis.

Apparently it was Elvis' birthday on the 8th of January, his 75th.

The guy seated behind me wasn't much younger than Elvis. He was pushing 70 and kept waving his arms around dangerously close to me, and talking at the top of his lungs about his glory days as an impersonator to the woman seated across the row.

He was speaking loudly enough to wake up the guy sitting next to me repeatedly.

About 45 minutes into the flight, I'm already ready to call for the plane to be grounded and this guy let out on grounds of being completely wackadoo.

Now I have nothing against Elvis. What I have a grudge against are people being incredibly loud, annoying and refusing to honor personal space rules on airplanes.

Then he gets up and walks to the front on the plane. He looks intent and walks up really close to the stewardess. I think "Oh, God, he's an Elvis Impersonator hijacker". But no, she gets on the mike to announce that we have a special guest, because Elvis is in the plane and he's gonna sing to us for a treat.

About 15 minutes into the off-key, "personalized", words-all-scrambled medley of Elvis hits, I'm ready to shoot my own ears off. Need I remind you of the terrible quality of airplane loudspeaker systems? And how they whine and get fuzzy when the person speaks loudly?

Then he sits down, finally.

Except he's still right behind me. And he's still singing. Just not on the loudspeaker anymore, thank God.

Elvis, I love. This guy, not so much.

When I finally disembark from the Heartbreak Hotel, I found myself humming Elvis tunes for the rest of the day. In the old man's thready, flat voice.

Apparently, 3 hours of torture wasn't enough. I just got rid of Blue Hawaii for good yesterday.

Oh, wait. Never mind, there it is again.