Charles N. BarnardThe perfect Christmas tree? All Christmas trees are perfect!
Friday, November 30, 2007
Charles N. BarnardThe perfect Christmas tree? All Christmas trees are perfect!
It's been 34 years since that eventful evening. I can't say it feels like yesterday, but I do have to wonder where all the years between then and now have gone. John has a teenage daughter of his own. Time marches on.
3. That reminds me of the number of times I read "Are You my Mother" to Johnson. He loved that book. His other favorite book was "Where the Red Fern Grows."
5. He should have been a veterinarian or animal "whisperer." Then he'd be getting paid for what comes naturally to him. I went with him once to watch a colt be born. He was right in the mix the whole time. I had to leave because I got a little light headed.
7. Johnson can dance. I think our whole family will always remember how he got out on the dance floor down at a restaurant in Mexico and cut a rug with a woman more than twice his age.I'm not sure if he can still boogie today, but he's passed on a lot of his moves to his daughter.
9. John is the keeper of Ellington memories. He never fails to remember a detail from 20+ years back. Of course, he can say anything he wants because he knows the rest of us can't challenge him.
10. He swims and can hold his breath like a fish. He even had a waterbed growing up. He's a waterbaby.
11. His temper may scare the bejesus out of you sometimes, but the reverse of that is also true -- his capacity for love and his big ol' heart are boundless. (And you know if you ever run into trouble, John can and will protect you.)
12. John is a weatherman. Is there a hurricane or a tornado coming your way? John's on the weather watch, studying the path of the storm. And if the eye of the storm happens to be pointed right where he is, not to worry. He's not going anywhere.
14.He's a woodworker. Back in wood shop in junior high, his sister produced a very fine tick tack toe board during her class time. When John took the same class, he produced a beautiful custom coffee table that still resides in Mom's house. (Nobody knows where that tick tack toe board ended up.)
15. He's not a big fan of authority.
16.He appreciates neat handwriting.
18. He's a good driver. Even in the snowy ice. One time, before John even had his license, he had to take over the wheel from his big sis who was losing control of the car on an icy Virginia road.
19.He's a good Dad. He can speak "teenager." [Photo R: John, Wendy and Ashley]
20.The man loves his blankets.
21. I think the sun feeds his soul.
23. He's loyal. His friends are family to him. [Photo R: John and Eric]
24. John is the Ansel Adams of the Ellingtonfamily. He takes great pictures! For that matter, so does Wendy. Maybe its something inherited.
25. Need Christmas lights hung? Call John. He may try to convince you Christmas has been cancelled, but in the end, he'll string enough twinkly lights to rival the Aurora Borealis.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
The idea was sort of a Little House on the Prairie kind of gift. Homemade and from the heart.
I was going to write something! How original!
But then I got side tracked by this blasted NaBloPoMo (do I ever spell it the same way twice?). On top of that, my idea was turning into a very expensive proposition which kind of defeated the whole thing.
So here's what I've decided to do. In an effort to keep my writing skills honed, I'm going to use my blog as a launching pad for my own personal Advent calendar. From December 1 - 25, I'm going to pick a word, a holiday word we're all familiar with, and see if I can write something about it. The giving part of the idea is that hopefully, in our stress-filled-gotta-get-it-done-before-Christmas world, I can find something to say about the word that will destress the holidays.
I'm not sure I can do it. But it's a creative idea don't you think?
Tonight, I've got to finish my final post for NaBloPoMo. I want it to be published by 12am. Ahhh, just the sound of the word "final" makes me smile. I think I've done it. I'm a winner even if I don't win a prize.
Feeling confident in my new found ability to make a commitment and not quit 2/3 of the way in to it.
Thanks for hanging with me,
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Unless you are a member of NaBloMoPo and then it will seem like November has 300 days. I've really never known this month to drag on so long. Under normal circumstances, the days passing slow as molassas would be in my favor. I'd have what seems like more time to shop, bake, and prepare for December ho, ho, ho thing.
This afternoon I was sitting pretty. Almost resting on my smug, I-posted-30-days-in-a-row laurels. I thought I had only 2 more posts more to do. Indeed the finish line was in sight. Then I looked at the calendar. The last day of November does not arrive until Friday. Since I only had subject ideas for today and [what was I thought was the last day]tomorrow, I've now got to come up with one more thing more thing to write about.
Just when one thinks one is really screwed, the muse jumps in to aid the writer, or if not the muse then at least what the writer could call serendipity.
How can I possibly NOT draw attention to the comment I received on last night's post about Dancing with the Stars. The only comment I've ever received on my blog from someone I don't know. Can I suggest you go back and read it without sounding like a braggart? Go ahead. Take a peak. Check it out! I'll wait!
Hmmm. What do you think? Spam?
Yeh, I think so too.
There for a moment I let myself believe that members of Helio's Brazilian family had not only found my blog, they had posted a grateful comment. I convinced myself that they were really impressed with my choice of dancing winners, etc. etc. etc. I can't speak or read Spanish. So I scanned the comment and when I didn't see Helio's name, I pretty much had to tell myself it was a hoax. Talk about deflating one's ego.
The thing that cracks me up is how whoever wrote the comment ended it - "goodbye friend."
Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. And now that I've finished with this little ditty, I can offically say I see the end of NaBloPoMo in sight. Woohoo!
I checked out the prize list yesterday. Sixty-two prizes have been donated. There are 6245 NaBloPoMo members. I've never been the luckiest of people so I'm guessing my chances of being randomly picked for a prize of any kind are pretty slim.
Yet, hope springs eternal.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Silk shirts with no buttons
Disco ball trophy
Dancing with the Stars started an hour and a half ago. There's been some dancing but mostly glitz and gab. I'm not sure I can stand the wait.
Mel vs Helio
Sexy girl vs cute, cute boy
Who's gonna win?
Enough hype already. Let's get on with it.
So Helio won - great choice. But Mel did some mighty fine dancing. They were both so good, I say they were both winners.
Here's a dance quote I found that speaks to me - not so much about dancing but about life. I don't know who said it.
"Your love for yourself is only shown when you are dancing freely."
There is something to be said for dancing freely - disco ball trophy or not.
Monday, November 26, 2007
So imagine my surprise when, as I was reading Jenni's post, the girl cat wanders in with a mouth full of feathers. She is acting like she just won a feline version of the lottery. She is tossing around feathers like they are actually attached to a body with wings. In reality she's found a bunch of feathers that I collected and banded together in a kind of feng shui feather bokay and stuck in a plant.
Said plant was in the sink being watered. I suspect said cat got up on the counter where she doesn't belong and took the feathers right out of the plant. I'm thinking this is against the house rules, but like Jenni, I feel kind of proud that her natural instincts weren't completely bred out of her or drowned when she was thrown in the well from which she was rescued.
I grabbed my camera to try to capture the feather hunt on film. It's really not easy to photograph black cats. The pictures always end up looking like black blobs. Sometimes the blobs have big red eyes. Nonetheless here is a sequence of photos from Girl Cat having fun entertaining herself, to her brother, Boy Cat, eventually stealing the feathers from her. The picture(s) I didn't get was of Miss Braveheart walking off looking uninterested, then a few minutes later strolling back in the room with the feathers hanging out of her mouth. Obviously she had won the battle. Girls rule!
1. "Hey, mom, look what I found."
2. "This is kind of fun!"
Why is it that ....
- When people get on an elevator they look up at the floor marker rather than the people? I doubt if anyone in a crowded elevator could pick out a person in a police lineup even if they were standing right next to the guy (or gal as the case may be)?
- When I pick a line in the grocery store that looks like it's moving smoothly, it always comes to a complete standstill?
- My car still smells like sour milk after four months of airing out?
- Some old people enjoy being old and others don't?
- You wait for a while at a doctor's office doing nothing. But as soon as you pick up a magazine and start to read an interesting article your name is called?
- That Santa wears a red suit instead of something more readily visible like neon yellow?
- When I get a canned operator on the telephone I have one of two reactions. Either I talk to the person I know is not a real person who is prompting me to say, "yes" or "I didn't get that, please try again" with my inside voice like she is a long lost friend. Or I scream at her like she is a complete bimbo for not getting my information correct.
- [And since I'm on the subject] the computer person can repeat back your information?
- Two big fat mean women thought it was okay to torture and starve a seven year old boy. Where do grownups get off thinking they can beat up little kids?
- Somedays I have trouble remembering why I walked from one end of the house to the other but when my kids have another birthday I remember everything that happend on the day they were born ... over thirty years ago.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
A few weeks ago, the weatherman talked about an earlier than normal freeze. The temperatures may have dropped during the night, but the days have stayed warm. There is nothing like autumn to help one make the seasonal transition. A few sycamore trees in our neighborhood have dropped dried up leaves; none of which had much color. Some turned yellow, a few made it to an orangey red stage. Mostly they turned brown and landed on the ground.
Remember the theme from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head?" Because my neighborhood is full of oak trees, and it is true that from little acorns might oaks will grow, we've had weeks of "acorns falling on my head, and on my roof, and on my car. They are everywhere.
I'm sure if I was a better, more inventive cook, I could think of some kind of someting to make with the little buggers. If I was more crafty, I could glue them into some kind of homey decoration. Alas, all I can manage to do is step on them with bare feet. O-U-C-H! Acorns are obviously round, which makes them bruise the bottom of your foot when stepped on in just the right way. But the real hurty thing about stepping on acorns is that they have a pointy end. When your driveway is full of the premature oak trees it becomes a mine field - not fun like a pile of leaves.
I walked through the garden shop of Target today. There were a few Christmas trees that we all know didn't come from anywhere near Florida. Undoubtedly they will drop most of their needles before the 25th of December because of the heat and early cutting. But at least they weren't spray painted green. Curiously, there was a smell of pine in the air. And rosemary. Apparently rosemary trees, a la Martha Stewart, are going to be popular this year.
I have to be careful what I ask for. It's been known to snow in Jacksonville, so I don't want to press my luck. I'm not dreaming of a white Christmas. I would, however, like a cool yule. I want to be able to wear sweaters decorated with sequined ornaments, and turtleneck shirts and warm, wooly socks. I'd love to have a fire in the fireplace, without having to turn on a fan to even out the temperature.
I know Christmas can happen without all the Hollywood trappings. We don't need to have snow or trees or crackling fires to enjoy the real "reason of the season." It's what's in your heart that's important. It's the spirit of charitable giving that brings the holiday to life.
I wonder if reindeer like acorns. IPerhaps I could make a little North Pole stew and season it with rosemary. I think I'll put that on my list of things to do in the next thirty days.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
I seriously considered joining the shopping maniacs standing in line for stores to open at 4am. Well, not seriously, but the thought did cross my mind. However, for the past couple of years I've thought it might be fun to drive to Fernandina early in the morning just to shop in my pjs. For some reason that sounds like fun to me. Not sure why.
Here's something else I'm grateful for. There is really nothing I need, want or can afford that is worth climbing out of my warm, cozy bed to stand in line for. I'm more of a sleeper than shopper.
However, in an effort to get my son's birthday present to him on time, I did venture out into the madding crowd. Like a compass needle set on due north, I pointed my car in the direction I wanted to go and didn't look right or left. I was on a mission ... surf shop, toy shop, office shop and home.
I was luck in because my selection of stores was not the mob scene it could have been. If I had wanted to buy a surf board, I may have had to wait in line. But, since all I wanted was a few trinkets, I got in and out without too much trouble. I did have a moment of heart-stopping buyer anxiety when I heard a salesboy who was all of about 17 tell a kid who was about half that age that a particular pair of pants, which were sure to become an all-time favorite were a steal at the bargain price of $70.00.
Seventy dollars? For a pair of pants that the kid was going to outgrow in six months or rip to shreds when he crashed down from the top of a skatebaord ramp. Seventy dollar pants was the main reason I tried to stay out of Surf stores when Johnson was in his I-won't-wear-Cheetas days.
My trek to the office supply store was uneventful. In and out, just like the burger joint. Until I decided to check my receipt. I was stuck in a traffic log jam, not moving at all, so I went through my bag to see if I could decipher how the kid at the register had worked my return/purchase transaction. That's when I discovered the return had been handled fine, but the purchase had not taken place. I wasn't charged for the fancy dancy label maker I'd stuffed in my bag as the kid was stapling together old and new receipts. Yikes!!!!!!! I felt Bonnie MacDougal in the car with me.
By the time I had this figured out, the light sequence had changed three times and my position in the line of cars was second from the front. I just about had it made. I could turn the corner, hit the expressway and be home in ten minutes.
Wrong! Just like I was a movie cop I made a U-turn. Granted I cut off a pissant PT Cruiser, and ran over the roadside curb, but for a 1990 Dodge Caravan, I thought I made quite a brilliant maneuver. I went back into Office Max and the kid gives me a questioning look. When I explained to him what happened, he actually said, "oh you were buying that?"
"Well, yeh," I thought to myself, "that would be the reason I brought it up here in the first place."
The guy didn't seem to notice my incredulity. He wasn't impressed by my honesty. I think he'd had a long morning.
Ho!Ho!Ho! Merry Chrismtas! Let the season begin.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Last, but not least, I'm really, really, really grateful today, and everyday, for one special person - my sweetie aka Capt. Jack or Prince Charming. I'm grateful for all he does to lift me up, to help me be the best I can be. For his sense of humor, his spirit, and his style. For the way he listens with his heart as well as his ears. For his patience even when he doesn't feel patient. For his love even when I'm not so loveable. For his gentleness and his strength. For showing me what love is all about.
I am blessed and for this I am sincerely grateful. I hope you've had a day full of all your favorite foods and that you can still zip up your pants. May you know the joy of gratitude.
Be blessed and don't be afraid to say "thank you."
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I thought I'd given up on reality TV. I broke my addiction to Survivor several season's back by going cold turkey. I just said no. If you don't watch the opening show, you don't get hooked. However, I have to admit that I cannot say no to Dancing with the Stars. I haven't voted yet, but I think my devotion to the show would probably be considered over the top by most.
After reading antijen's recent blog about this season's Amazing Race, I totally rethought my decision not to watch. The if-you've-seen-it-once-you've-seen-it-all adage just doesn't hold true when you have teams of people who are so different traveling to some of the world's most out of the way places, milking camels, running through airports and sleeping in train stations. I never even heard of the place where they competed this week, the village of Bingo in Burkina Faso, so I think it is possible to say the show is educational.
But back to Project Runway. Sarah Jessica Parker showed up on tonight's show, asking the contestants to design a two piece outfit for the "everyday" woman. I consider myself an everyday woman, even though I don't wear bling; I don't wear high heeled shoes sans panythose, and I am rarely out of baggy, big girl blue jeans. However, I wouldn't have even considered wearing any of the designs from tonight's show. No matter, it's always fun to see what the designers come up with. I loved it when SJP walked into the design room and Chris was so excted he started crying. Something about him reminds me of Nathan Lane. Not sure what, but it makes me smile. Even though Elisa readily admits she comes from another plantet, she and Sweet P came up with a likable dress, albeit way to short for my taste.
I think Tim Gunn is a big butthead when he comes into the room where everyone is congratulating and commiserating and rushes the loser out. Like the party can't get started til the poor guy gets his pins and needles out of the work room. Even when I don't particulalry care for one of the people, I hate it when someone has to go home. I guess that's the reason it's called a game - someone is in and someone is out. Oh well, I'm going to bed in a better mood than when I got up. Thanks Bravo.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
So, now that I know things are okay in S. California I have to decide what to write about. My choices are limited but I've narrowed it down to two. I could tell you about how I was attempting to put on some panty hose to wear to church on Sunday morning and got stuck lying on my back looking, I suspect, like a dead bug - legs stuck in the air, unable to move my body. I had to call for help. At some point I may be able to do this story justice, but right now I'm feeling kind of embarrassed.
My second choice of post material is neither funny or pretty. It is, however, what's on my mind.
Do anyone remember the children's game - The Farmer in the Dell? A sing-song kind of game where one person picks another person who picks another person. Each pick is followed by a rousing chorus of "hi ho the dairy oh, the farmer in the dell."
In the game the farmer picks a wife, the wife picks a child, the child picks a dog etc. etc, etc.
You get the picture.
Well my evening last night was along those lines but in a less cheery way. One thing led to another and the hi ho chorus was more like a 45 record on a s-l-o-w speed so that it sounded kind of creepy. I should have seen it coming, there were signs that I chose to ignore, as in sleep through. But sometimes melt downs, like poop, just happens.
First of all Jean got mad a Jack; then Jack got mad back; then I got mad a Jean; and she got mad back; H-I-H-O-T-H-E-D-A-I-R-Y-O.
Then we went to dinner, but didn't make it around the block;then I spoke to Jean;the I started to cry;Black Beauty started pacing;Dad started worrying. H-I-H-O-T-H-E-D-A-I-R-Y-O.
Jack held me, I cried some more. I fell down between the toilet and the shower and cried some more. H-I-H-O-T-H-E-D-A-I-R-Y-O.
Jack put me to bed. I cried some more. Jean hugged me. Dad hugged me. Beauty paced, the cats investigated. I went to sleep. H-I-H-O-T-H-E-D-A-I-R-Y-O.
The good news is this - if I didn't already know it - next time I play Farmer in the Dell for real I'll pick Jack as my farmer. Even when it seems like your whole world is falling apart, having a sweetie like Jack is reason enough to sing H-I-H-O-T-H-E-D-A-I-R-Y-O!
Monday, November 19, 2007
I knew she was headed to San Diego to visit with her sister and babysit a niecelet. I knew she was going to be time-challenged. I knew NaBloPoMo wasn't going to be her first priority. Still, I sucked in my breath when I got to her site this morning and there was no Sunday post.
Jenni is my blog mentor. When my writer persona grows up, it wants to be just like her. Smart, quick witted, good vocabulary, "green" thinking and especially good when it comes to sentence structure.
It was Jenni's suggestion that got me into this blasted every day posting business. She was my first "friend" on NaBloPoMo. And let's face it, even if greeblemonkey has tagged me as a friend, as in real life, you find out who your friends are when you're down in the trenches.
I feel like I've let my friend down somehow. I don't know how I might have helped her. We live 3000 miles apart, which means our friendship is linked only by some mysterious signal that travels between computers. And in all honesty, I'm kind of glad she opted for real life, rather than the frantic-just-write-anything-and-post-it-so-you-can-go-to-bed things I've been writing lately.
I mean really, my last few posts have been lamer than lame. There really isn't much in my life to write about so I'm on the verge of having to make things up. Jenni is there in burned out, smokey smelling Southern California living good post material. So what if she doesn't get in on the "random" drawing prize at the end of the month - she's all about the adventure not the reward.
Have I mentioned that the mother in me is a tad bit worried about her. I mean, if she'd posted something, I'd know she made the drive safe and sound, that she made it past the Grapevine without incident. That she hasn't been kidnapped by aliens and taken to their planet and made their queen and been impregnated for the survival of their race. If she'd posted something by now I'd know for sure that those cock roach clusters she's been talking about didn't poison her.
Since Jenni isn't my own daughter I am aware that my natural mothering instincts are a little, not a lot, over the top. She has her own mother to fear the worst. Just like my own daughter she may have just turned her cell phone, i.e. unbilical cord, (or computer as the case may be) off when going on a big girl trip. "Oops! sorry mom, I forgot to turn it on." Yeh, right. Not having your phone on so your mother can get in touch with you when she knows you're not at home is a notsosubtle attempt at autonomy. What's that all about? Don't they know mothers worry. Don't they care? Who do they think they are, anyway, grown-ups?
Well, I can't sit around stewing. I need to start my day. I'm sure Jenni is going to have a terrific story to tell when next we hear from her. I can't wait. Not because I'm a neurotic, dramatic, over-adrenalined worry wort. But because I live vicariously through her adventures. Just think of it, if she was, by an off chance, abducted by aliens who better to tell the story than antijen.
Hey, Jenni, call/write home!
Worrying yet still,
Sunday, November 18, 2007
But look at the calendar. In four days it will be Thanksgiving. Even though we've already feasted on all the traditional foods and desserts, the fourth Thursday of November is the official start of holiday overeating. It is not the time of year to start a diet.
Unless, of course, it's a diet of sugar cookies and eggnog.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Yesterday, Gianna Ysabel Garcia came into the world. God has blessed her mom and dad, sisters, brother, Grandma, etc with another healthy and beautiful little girl. I can't wait to see a picture of her when her eyes are open and she's lost the I-just-got-born-give-a-girl-a-break-and-take-my-picture-later look.
In honor of little Gianna here are a couple of special wishes added to my August 16th post -
I wish for you:
That your home is safe from fires, wind and earthquakes
That you will honor and share your Latin heritage
Welcome to the world little one. May God bless you and keep you.
Friday, November 16, 2007
I've spent a lot of time in the last couple of days thinking. Reliving things that happened, re-hearing things that were said during our mini-family reunion. Processing is what my sweetie calls it. For me it's probably more like a dog chewing on a bone. I've turned bone chewing into an art form.
In an email I received yesterday, one of my sisters wrote: It is really fun to have all of us together, even though each of us has such different points of view.
Maybe because I'm both physically and emotionally exhausted, not to mention also suffering from a severe case of Thanksgiving dinner hangover - still stuffed to the gills -but I reacted to that statement like it was a bad thing. We're sisters. We are fam-i-ly. How can we have different points of view? Why would we have different points of view?
Two days later, I can finally say something obvious like "duh"! Of course we have different points of view, we're different people. Sisters maybe but still individuals. In an effort to understand something as complicated as quantum physics, I started at the beginning. I grabbed an apple. Here's how I figured it out.
If I put an apple in the middle of the dining room table and asked each of my sisters to sit in her age assigned seat (how old does one have to be before she feels cofortable enough to sit in a different chair?) we'd all see the same apple. But we'd be seeing it from different angles. Neither is right or wrong, just different.
In the case of real life situations, throw in the fact that there are sixteen years between oldest and youngest sibling, as well as lots of personality differences. So in reality it isn't a big surprise that we've got different points of view. Again I say, duh.
What I read in-between the email's lines, was more along the lines that we don't trust each other enough to share our points of view. There's not a lot of safety in expressing our individual ideas. Hmmmm, now that's a bone to chew on.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
I don't quite get why Dad still answers the "what do you want for ...." question with "peace and quiet." Seems like that is pretty much every day. Maybe not always peaceful as in serene, but at least his days are no longer ruled by the phases of the moon. And quiet is a relative thing!
I couldn't help but notice just how quiet the house felt today with everyone gone. Lonely quiet. Perhaps it was the kind of quiet my dad enjoys. But for me it was the kind of quiet that makes me cry. The kind of quiet that is full of memories rather than female activity. The kinf of quiet I always want to sleep through.
But life goes on. And like everything else, there is a time for noise and a time for quiet. In order to appreciate one, you have to endure the other. I'm torn between going to bed and snuggling under a couple of quilts and turning up the volume on the stereo for a rousing chorus of "wide Montana skies."
Peace and quiet - sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
One down. One more to go. The hardest one. The one I always hate. Saying goodbye to my sister Linda. Not sure how it got to be so, but out of five there have to be a few different groupings. Linda and I, for whatever reasons, are what you might call two peas in a pod. We've also been called the "cuckoo pigeon sisters" which may or may not be an accurate assessment.
Before the sun comes up tomorrow, Linda will get on a plane and head back to the NW. Too many miles will separate us. Yeh, I know the separation is a just a land thing, that our hearts will stay united. Still, it's not like I can just get in the car and head for the hills and be at her house in time for dinner.
This post is going to have to be a two parter. I'm having trouble focussing. I hope it counts to publish this half and then come back tomorrow - if I can get my head out from under the covers - to finish.
Not so merry, ME
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Got a hallpass.
First time visit to Hobby Lobby (mind boggling)
Ate lunch at the Loop (blue cheese burger - yum!)
Wandered around Borders. (Omigod, haven't been there in ages)
Tried on black Birkenstocks (really liked them, couldn't bring myself to spend the $$'s)
Fell in yarn love at Stitch in Time. (Didn't buy, just drooled)
Came home to regroup.
Going to RedLobster for dinner. (Shrimp Scampi. Yum!)
This is the kind of day sister visits are all about.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Today is Veteran's Day. Not the actual, November 11th day, set aside for remembering all the people who have given up life and limb, and maybe soul, for those of us who stay at home. As with a lot of holidays, Veteran's Day has been relegated to a Monday so working people can sleep in late, play golf or finish the weekend chores they weren't able to accomplish in the regular 48 hours set aside for catch up. I hope that the real purpose of the day does not get lost in all that activity.
America was birthed in war. It's been said freedom isn't free; a good offense is a good defense, or something like that. No matter how you feel about the war in Iraq -or the President and his fighting machine -you've got to give a lot of credit to the people (men and women, young and old, of every color and religion) doing the dirty work.
In my lifetime, there have been other conflicts. All in places too far from my comfortable home to even begin to imagine. Korea, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Grenada, Bosnia, Kuwait, Afghanistan. And let's not forget the "cold" war which is really an oxymoron if you think about it. Or maybe all wars are cold. In order to get the job done, human beings pretty much have to stick their hearts in a deep freeze to harden themselves to the sights and sound and smells around them.
I've been lucky. My granfather and father made it home from WWII, somewhat beat up in body (C.E. Aldrich, USS Yorktown, Battle of Midway), but sporting medals on chests full of military pride. My ex-husband and most of his contemporaries guarded the Mediterranean Sea, not the Gulf of Tonkin. My son and nephews have not seen battle other than 5 o'clock traffic on an LA freeway.
But in about six weeks that's all going to change. The Middle Eastern War is no longer going to be a political question, thousands of miles from home. Before the end of the year, I'm going to be listening to TV news reports with a new ear. Like mothers and fathers and wives and husbands, etc., have been doing since time began, I'll be holding my breath until our soldier comes home.
Though a few have been trained and ready to go, my niece is the first person in our family to go off to war in several years. And what makes it unique, for us, is that she is the first woman to do so. She is also the first mother, leaving behind not only her mother and sisters but her 6 month old daughter. Lauren, whose army job it is to repair missiles, will be driving the truck at the head of a convoy of missile launchers. Yikes!
I don't think there is anything I can say that won't sound political or sexist. The argument for women in combat is long past. The fact is woman are there, living and dying beside their male counterparts. Lauren won't be the first woman to see combat and she won't be the last. Her's won't be the first family to hold their collective breaths until she comes home.
Let's be honest - it's not a male or female question at all. It's a war or no war question. Please don't get me wrong. I come from a long line of patriots. I love my country and believe in its military prowess. I cry at the sight of flag draped caskets. My own national anthem is Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever. A Marine marching band is my idea of pure sex appeal.
But until the people of the world are willing to look one another in the eye and see the face of God, the God of love and brotherhood, there will be families like mine who must suffer the consequences; and if there is such a thing, perhaps we will also reap the rewards.
I close this post with a prayer of:
Gratitude for all those who answer our nation's call.
Courage for the families who wait.
Hope for the children of the world.
Peace. May we know it and share it.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Before I realized what was happening, the cable connecting the computer to the camera knocked the camera into my cup of tea. The cup fell to the floor, spilling tea across the floor. The computer hit my "funny" bone which sent a shiver down my arm, causing two of my fingers to be momentarily numb. That's when I discovered the cable still attached to the computer so I unhooked it. I yelled something unkind at my sweetie. Seems like even if he couldn't have helped he could have offered moral support - "Oh, darling, I'm so sorry you've hurt yourself. Here let me help you clean it up. You just sit there and get the blood moving in your fingers again. No really. I mean it, let me fix things for you. No, no - I'm not paying any attention to this wickedly British tv show." ....
I got down on my hands and knees to wipe up the spilled tea. And that's when I discovered the camera, business end down inside the cup that was mostly empty but not completely. If my arm wasn't tingling and if I wasn't feeling a little pissy, I might have thought it was funny. There was really no way to reproduce the whole scenario including the slam dunk camera in the tea cup.
Instead I started crying. I handed the dripping camera to one of my sisters. With the precision of a brain surgeon the battery and photo card were removed. They didn't look wet. The on/off switch worked which is a good sign. I guess, like me, we'll only know how it will work tomorrow after a good night's sleep.
I can't bear the thought that my dear little Canon Elf might have met a watery demise. I know there is a silver lining somewhere around the catastrophic gray cloud, I just can't think of it right now.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
I have to add the conversations alone have changed to reflect our ages. Instead of talking of who we're dating, what's the latest fashion trend, and where we're going to "par-tay," we're weary eyed at 9pm, discussing chin hairs, dry skin and going to bed. Dad and Jack sat at either end of the female dominated table and were suspiciously quiet. Could it be that they were savoring the scene - one big happy family? Or that they simply were not up to the challenge of taking on five of us at once. Also, as predicted, mother's spirit hung about in the room. For some reason, I started a sentence and found myself saying "Mommy". I haven't said that in years. Jack said it was the only the beginning of all the regression that would be going on this weeken.! I wonder if we'll be sucking our thumbs and fighting over pacifiers by the time it's all over. [Photo L: Too much female energy for Jack who has retired to his chair to watch some manly TV show like football or wrestling!**]
I hear the wheels of Dad's walker coming down the hall. Guess that means I need to take back the apron and wooden spoon. Breakfast orders will be coming fast and furious. Jean is getting her nails done. Things, for the moment, are back to normal.
The smell of turkey roasting and cinnamon rolls baking mixed with bathroom aromas of sweet smelling soap, hair spray and toothpaste - a few more things to add to the gratitude list. There are a few things missing, like the pitter patter of little feet, cheerios getting soggy in a bowlful of milk, waiting for Santa to appear on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, potato peels clogging up the disposal. But, hey, the day is young and who knows what might happen yet!
Gotta run, the kitchen awaits!
* This Buddah quote cracks me up. Not sure why.
** I made that up about wrestling! Poetic license!
Friday, November 9, 2007
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
I opened my eyes this morning to the sight of my sweetie standing in front of the mirror tying his tie. I'm not telling any tales if I let on that he is a tiny bit "anal". You know pens and pencils lind up in a row; underwear drawer stacked neatly, briefs never touching T's; grocery coupons cross referenced by use and alphabetical order. This man is all about neatness. (Just like me!) Need I say when it comes to tying his tie it is a task he does not take lightly?
Is it just me, or does anyone else out there like to watch a man shave or tie a tie? I'm guessing Dr. Freud would have a field day about the psychological meaning of such. Just so you don't think I'm really weird, I can assure you I don't get any kind of sexy feelings when I watch these procedures. Neither do they make me think of my father in some Greek-like Oedipal way. I just think there is something about the observing that calms me, makes me feel connected.
I can remember having the same warm fuzzy feeling watching my mom prepare for a cocktail party. With her hair still up in tight pin curls she'd expertly apply her make-up. Nearing the end of this rare but practiced toilette, mom would slip into a red chiffon dress that her daughters covet to this day. Donning her crystal star earrings and necklace was a sure sign she was almost ready to greet Dad at the back door, chilled martini in hand. All it took to finish was a light spray of 4711 on her pulse points, and, my favorite, the application of her lipstick.
First she'd pucker up, just a little to straighten out any lip lines that might make the lipstick smear. Then carefully as Michaelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel, she'd move from one outer corner, up to the top lip cleavage. She'd carefully repeat the same on the other side of her mouth. By smacking her lips together just the tiniest bit, she'd prepare her bottom lip for full coverage. It would sometimes take two swipes of the color stick but when she was finished her mouth was neatly outlined and shimmering red that perfectly complimented the dress. A final blot on a tissue and she was ready for looking pretty and kissing little ones goodnight. The kiss left a painted lip mark on our cheeks. Mmmmmmmm ... I can almost feel her feathery-light lips now.
Funny how memories pop up when you least expect them.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Probably because I just didn't know what to write about. I spent the day cleaning and ironing. I even straightened a shelf in the bathroom closet. My sisters are coming for a visit and while I don't think they'll even look in the bathroom closet, I thought it was a good opportunity to put all the first aid bandages and creams in one spot. I got the back of the house done today; will shoot for the front tomorrow. By the time sister #1 gets in, we'll both be too tired to care if things are clean or not. But it might not get done again for awhile. And if anyone cuts themselves or gets some other kind of booboo, well I'll know right where the first aid paraphenalia is. How's that for organized.
Can you tell I'm stalling? I'm down to 57 minutes. Damn!
Okay, here it goes. I heard a man on the radio today talking about Ron Paul. I've seen bumper stickers for this guy but have to admit I didn't have a clue as to who he is until today. Seems he's another Texan running for President. [An aside ... are we really ready for another Texan as president?] Apparently he made some huge amount of money for his campaign fund yesterday which probably has Hillary locked in a closet nervously counting her campaign coins, as if anybody could catch her when it comes to funding. That's all I know about it. In the course of the commentary, the radio man used the word juggernaut.
While I have heard of the word before I couldn't have given a definition off the top of my head. And to be honest, I don't think I've ever used "juggernaut" in a sentence. Which got me to thinking about the word, in the same way as when I have a scab, and it itches so I scratch it and it bleeds, and then scabs over again, and itches .... well you get the picture. For about an hour I couldn't stop thinking about the word juggernaut. Which led me to thoughts of cosmonaut, astronaut, and aquanaut.
When I googled all the words I found that the last three have the "naut" suffix in common, which means they have to do with travel. But juggernaut is a word unto itself - no suffix added at all. It is derived from a sanskrit word that has to do with the Jagannath Temple, which is one of India's most famous. It's known for its annual procession of chariots carrying statues of Jagannath.
From what I can tell this was a big ass procession and at times worshipers fell under the wheels of the gigantic chariot or were killed in stampedes. This caused the British colonials who sat back sipping their gin and tonics as the parade went by to use the word "juggernaut" to refer to "other forces of unstoppable, crushing forces."
I guess if you really think about it, since a chariot is a kind of traveling machine, and the "Jagannath" was riding on the chariot a juggernaut could hold its own with the other "naut" words I mentiond. I mean, if you replace the n's in the middle of the word with "uggers" then you'd have jugger-nath which is only two letters shy of juggernaut. The it would only be a short stretch to say that the jugger- and the astro- and the cosmo- all have the "naut" in common.
So now that I know what the word means, I still don't think I would ever use it in a sentence. Would you?
Done with minutes to spare.
Monday, November 5, 2007
The house is very quiet today. It's an odd sort of quiet. It's peaceful yet surprisingly uncomfortable.
Oddly the motion of household sounds has stopped. A bird song flutters by from one end of the house; country music classics from the other. Neither are too loud; both just barely audible. I can almost touch the quiescence.
My sweetie started a new job today. He left the house in a handsome blue suit, carrying a brief case and an air of confidence. When the door closed behind him, it felt a little reminiscent of the first day of a new school year. My kids would kiss me goodbye (hmmm, maybe it was more tolerated me kissing them) then walked to the bus stop on their own, leaving me in the doorway wondering what to do with myself.
Here's the disconcerting thing. My kids are long grown. And when Jack was working from his home office, it's not like he made a lot of noise. So why is it that the house feels so quiet today?Could it be that his presence, even behind a closed door, was enough to keep me company? Maybe I am feeling lonely?
Well, I'm just going to have to get over that! Cause quiet is a good thing. Peaceful is a really good thing. Think of the things I should be able to accomplish with nothing to distract me but my own prattlings. Think of the chores I can get done. Think of the projects I can finish. Think of the closets I can clean and the laundry I can fold.
The trouble with quiet when one isn't used to it is that it can be soporific instead of energizing. The bird song resembles a lullaby. Dolly Parton's chorus is just repetitive enough to induce sleep. Unlike Einstein, I think the quiet has stilled my creative mind.
I think I need a nap!
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Saturday, November 3, 2007
While perusing through a NaBloPoMo "friend's" blog I came across an interesting question. Perhaps it was only interesting to me because, when it comes to text-messaging lingo, I'm a little out of my league. No, a LOT out of my league. Aimee Greeblemonkey (don't you just love that name) asked simply: Anyone twitter?
Twitter? What the hell is that?
After looking on her site for some examples of twittering and getting her email definition of "short blurbs about your day, under 140 characters" I had to stop and think about how many characters I use in a blurb, a post, a day. The number has got to be startlingly high. I also decided after spending most of yesterday on my Princess post, either I am going to have to shorten my entries or give up my goal of posting every day in November. I'm losing momentum and it's only day 3.
You see in my mind, my last post was very clear - being a princess is not a bad thing. But instead of simply writing, "being a princess isn't a bad thing" I had to go around the block, down the street, and through an alley to get there. [That last run-on sentence would be a perfect example of what I'm talking about.]
And then, even when I get my thoughts on paper in some kind of order, there is that whole re-write thing. While I'm sitting here on my butt making examining each sentence time and again, my chores aren't getting done. Last night I was saved by my real life Prince Charming. Just as I was finishing up my thoughts on princess-ship and was nearing the point where I could tweak the final sentence and push the publish button I realized I was going to have to stop to make, eat and clean up the evening meal. That's when my sweetie jumped into action and offered to do the cooking so I could finish the writing task at hand. You gotta love a man like that! But I suspect he'd get a little tired of my blogging if it interfered with too many meals.
To admit I have very definite "delusions of grandeur" would be an understatement. I've finally put two and two together and come to the conclusion that this is probably why my stints as a daily journal keeper have never been very long. I get hung up on the end product way before the chapters are written. Kind of like seeing myself on the Oprah show telling the lover of good books how much I appreciate getting a Nobel prize for Diary Writing before my book is out of my head and on paper. Even in my most vivid imagination, I realize there is quite a long leap between "Dear Diary ... " and a writing prize of any sort. Still my perfectionism and grandiosity take over somewhere after the first "Today I ...."
This is probably why the quote for this post jumped out at me when I was googling about writing. I quite found the balance between trying to make my uneventful life seem eventful (or at the very least laughable) and making sense of the world's happenings.
As long as I'm dissecting my writing style I might as well add that in my journalism class I was instructed that short sentences are better sentences. For whatever reason, this seems to go contrary to my natural rhthym. If I were a dancer, I'd wear flowing voile scarves and twirl around the stage with barefeet. If I were an artist, I'd paint big bold curlicues in vibrant colors. But I'm a writer so I write in lengthy, rambling, but hopefully meaningful, circles!
Where Dr. Suess would write"I do not like Green Eggs and Ham, Sam I am," the Merry ME version would go something like this. Sam, green eggs and ham don't really suit my fancy. I mean really, some foods are supposed to be green, like broccoli, spinach and pistachio nuts; but eggs? Does anyone out there like green eggs?
And like the person who can't see the forest for the trees, I often get lost in the words and forget the story. Like now, for instance. I kind of forgot where I'm heading with this post.
What I'm trying to say is this: I need to learn to twitter!
Friday, November 2, 2007
This is not just another photo of some costume-clad goombas getting ready to trick or treat. It is actually, in my opinion, a picture of a Las Vegas showgirl witch, Underdog, and one strong, independent-minded princess. She may look like just another Snow White wanna be, but Miss Kisa B. has made a not-so-dwarflike statement by donning the satin dress and tiara. I can almost hear her shouting, "I am Princess, hear me roar!" or something to that affect.
Princess Diana has been quoted as saying,"Being a princess isn't all it's cracked up to be." But this looks like one happy princess to me.