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A Gal and Her Blog

A commentary on current events, relationships, family, holidays, vacations, people who are inspirational, good times, bad times, and life in general from the viewpoint of a 20-somthing year old girl. Updated about once a week (hopefully).

Candlelight

December 21, 2006

    "Going dark!" the call came through the hall
    And darkness, nervous, stole across the set.
    Actors stretching, not quite costumed yet,
    Scrambling, dressing, "Luck to one and all."
    As intercom proclaims the Places call
    Hearts a-pounding, palms clammy and wet
    And actors, nervous, steal across the set.
    They wait as blue light pools in from the hall.
    "Let's do this, folks. House out and music go."
    And suddenly the cast and crew all know.
    It's here that they fulfill their promised part
    Contentment settles fully in the heart
    As music swells and curtain starts to soar,
    The thrill, the high, the need, forevermore.

Ludwig

December 17, 2006

    It's the day Beethoven was christened today. No one knows when he was actually born, not even himself, but the church has records of his christening. He was a little strange, a little disorganized, very unhealthy, and quick to anger, but his music is some of the most recognizable today and has been for over 200 years.

    He was a strange little fellow, and roamed about the city in a dirty brown coat and smushed hat muttering and singing to himself, jotting things down in a little notebook. In his early 20's he started hearing a ringing in his ears, and by the time he was 40 he was completely deaf. He took the legs off his piano and laid the box on the floor so he could feel the vibrations, though he couldn't hear, and wrote the 9th symphony this way.

    Beethoven was extremely worried about not being able to hear, and he left his body to science in the hopes that someday we would be able to figure out what was wrong with him. Many theories abound, from his possibly having syphilis to the cartilage in his ears turning to bone, but they think they hit upon the truth when they tested a lock of his hair and discovered a lead content that would have killed any normal human being five times over. Beethoven's list of ailments reads like a checklist for lead poisoning, and he lived with this condition for upwards of ten years. An amazing human being, in so many ways.

    Beethoven knew about crummy days and deep depression, just listen to his music sometimes. Make sure you do it the right way: crank his fifth symphony at full volume, lay on the floor with your arms outstretched and let the rhythm pound into your soul. You won't feel so bad about your life. I know it, I've tried. A cure for the blues reaching out across the ages. Amazing.

 

Autumn Christmas

December 13, 2006

    Fall has finally come to Southern California. The air is crisp and clear, frosting my car in the evenings a little, and generally requiring jackets all around. The leaves are turning gold and red, slipping slowly off their branches and floating through the sky, piling themselves in a carpet across the ground. They are also gumming up the artificial streams in my condo complex, as they do every year. The water has begun to stagnate, as the leaves pile up even more and make the dampish streambed a little murky. The guy will be out to fix it in about two weeks and then it will be possible to play pooh-sticks under the little bridges again, if you wanted to. Better late than never, I guess.

    I have discovered in my short years here on earth that it makes me enormously joyous to spend money. It doesn't matter who I spend the money on, I get just as much happiness from buying things for other people as I do for myself. In fact, I would say that I like the shopping for others better. There's nothing more exciting than picking out that perfect gift and then watching it be opened. I get more excited to be the giver than the getter is sometimes.

    I've done a lot of giving this year, mostly for people I'll never meet. Kathy had the grand idea to adopt a needy family, so we picked out a whole slough of presents and had a blast wrapping everything, addressing it from Frosty, various reindeer, and Santa. It's nice to think about the family sitting around and opening it all on Christmas morning, although I'm sure I'd like it better if I could actually watch them open it. Spread the joy around a little. I can see how it might be awkward too, though. I don't want anyone to feel beholden to me.

    Christmas is almost here, and it's going to be an odd one. The first Christmas I haven't spent with my family in the whole 24 years I've been alive. I think it's going to be good, though. I feel almost as though Julie, Brian, and I are three peas in a pod, and we'll have a merry little time together at the Yule tide. This time of year is my favorite. Cozy houses all decked out with greenery, Christmas lights shining through the darkness and lighting the night, my own house and our fabulous Christmas tree, cuddling up with the cats and the husband on a cold autumn night. How can anything compare to that?

    It can't.



 

The Gigantic Diamond Evening

November 28, 2006

    It is my humble opinion that all women should have a gigantic diamond ring. Go and buy yourself a ten dollar fakey at the mall accessory shop, or wear the real deal. For the times when you can't bear to hear another pick-up line, or you just don't want to be bothered, they're endlessly helpful in keeping away men.

    I've been leaving my giant diamond at home lately. I don't know if my finger has grown a little since my marriage, but when I wear both the wedding band and the engagement ring my finger gets red and irritated. I figure the wedding band lets people know I'm married just fine. It's gorgeous, with little baguettes all across it, and it's a plus not to have to worry about loosing the giant diamond or possibly spearing someone with it (it's been known to happen). I know Brian's proud of that diamond, but if I can only wear one, it's got to be the wedding band.

    I took a very brave leap last weekend. I went to the Harvest Moon Swing-Out at P.B.D.A. all by myself, sans husband. I was quite worried about a few things, that I wouldn't get to dance at all, that I would end up dancing only with people who were bad, that I would be hit on (truly a fate worse than death). I zipped on my swirly brown dress, strapped on my dancing shoes, and slipped that giant diamond over my finger. It sparkled there, matching baguette to baguette with the other band, the perfect couple, infecting the night with good luck.

    People who I had always thought were great dancers, but was too shy to ask, came up to me all night long. I shim-shamed, I lindy-hopped, and I east coasted. Not one dance was bad and no one tried to chat me up, all in all an amazing evening. What can I say? The power of the gigantic diamond ring is a powerful force. A force all women should have at their beck and call, spouse or single, gay or straight. Sometimes it's necessary to have a good time.

 

Thanksgiving Carol

November 22, 2006

    Kathy, my lovely mother, asked me to change the lyrics of "My Favorite Things" into a Thanksgiving song, so here it is. Thanks Rodgers and Hammerstein!

    Harvest moon evenings and streets full of leaves
    Hot apple cider and wind in the eves
    Pumpkins and spices all baked into pies
    These are the things at Thanksgiving I prize

    A team running ragged for four extra downs
    A nap on the couch or a walk 'round the town
    A boat full of Pilgrims, all starting new lives
    These are the things at Thanksgiving I prize.

    Stuffing and gravy and turkey and squashes
    Cranberry sauces and wearing galoshes
    Gathering with all my kindred and kin
    I can't wait 'till Thanksgiving begins!

    When the air's crisp
    And the leaves change
    When the days get dim
    I remember my blessings at Thanksgiving time
    And sing this sweet harvest hymn.

 

The End Of Some Things

November 18, 2006

    It has been a season of endings for me this year. I guess it's appropriate, being fall and all... the season where things die back and button up for winter. I was lucky to be able to step back from my life for a week and a half, and it showed me just what was wrong in my life: everything except Brian. Coming soon are a lot of life changes.

    It seems strange, in lieu of recent events, but the biggest loss to my daily life is my stage manager. Orlando always had my back when I needed it most, above and beyond the call of duty sometimes, and I want to cry that he's been promoted because it means I won't see him. It also signifies the end of an era at the Candlelight Pavilion. I always thought I'd leave when he did, but I'm reluctant somehow. This job is the only vestige of theater I've managed to tear away and keep from my former life, and it used to mean a lot to me.

    Brian is starting a job search, and I've started one as well. This probably means the end of our cozy lunches together at the sushi place, and certainly means the end of our twin schedules. A loss of time with my favorite human being on earth, I know I'll miss every extra minute, though the change has been necessary for months now.

    I'm feeling a lot of separation anxiety- from many, many things. Not the least of which is the people that have gone before me. Grampy wasn't a part of my day to day life, but I feel like my existence was happier just knowing he was happy somewhere in Maine. Bill Bentley makes me sad as well, though I hardly even knew him.

    It's hard to pitch your whole life in the garbage and start over. I almost want to take the cowards way out, stay where I am and be unhappy. "The devil you know..." and all. It's too bad that change is so central to human life. Bring on the winter, I know I'll make it through somehow. I always have before
.
 

Robert Spofford, 1925~2006

November 15, 2006

    Oh Grampy. My Grampy. It makes me so sad to see the fire quenched in his eyes, the sparkle of eternal fun gone blank. He was a ladies man, always so proud of his 13 girls- 2 daughters and 11 granddaughters. He loved the boys too, of course, but it was obvious in the hospital how ecstatic he was to see us girls, blonde and blue-eyed and looking like sisters. Trouping into his room, or hoarding in the hall, and laughing quietly.

    He grew up on the beach, where we all grew up, with his older brother Hugh. I can just imagine them, two blonde boys in bathing suits that look like basketball uniforms scrambling over rocks and running in the soft sand. Grampy used to tie his boat to one of the rocks, separated from the rest a little and shaped like a dome. You can still see the bolt, sunk through a little metal ring and rusting a bit. I used to wrap my index finger through it, as the tide rose and ice cold water slapped at my legs. It was Hugh that named it Bobby's Tent, for my Grampy, and then at 18 he died of Hodgkin's Disease.

    World War II came along, and they asked for volunteers. Grampy had always loved the sea, so he signed up immediately for the Navy. On the questioneer he had to fill out, it asked "Do you sleep walk." He checked "Yes" because he used to when he was little, though he hadn't in years, and they turned him away. A year or so later, he was drafted, checked "no", and was stationed on a ship moving floating dry docks from San Francisco to Florida.

    They were based in Marin on a little headland across the bay from the big city. There was nothing in Marin, only a main street as long as a small city block, and of course the Naval Base. They hung out at Sam's, in the center of Main Street, with a beautiful view of the city across the sea. Some days they'd catch the bus to San Francisco and have to walk back to the base, pulling on their pea coats and traipsing over the golden gate bridge as the fog rolled in at four in the morning. It was aboard ship that he learned Morse Code, operating the ship's communication center.

    He worked for the railroad for a while, in the telegraph office. I don't know if this was before or after he met my grandmother, but I think it must have been before. I remember being at Disneyland with him, waiting for the train at New Orleans Station where they play the opening speech in Morse Code. "Do you know what it says?" My mother asked, and Grampy read the whole thing off to us.

    My grandmother, Virginia Twist, was working at Kennebunk Savings Bank when a mutual friend introduced them. She was a beautiful woman, slightly rubenesque, with a baby face and a sparkle in her eye. They were married at the South Congregational Church in Kennebunk, and when they tried to leave for the honeymoon they discovered that her father had put the axles of the car on cinderblocks so they couldn't drive away. There's a picture of Grampy in his tux, kneeling down to peer under the car, with a great big grin of appreciation on his face.

    They moved into a small apartment on Summer Street, the main drag in Kennebunk, where they had David, Nancy, and Kathy. Grampy started working for the Post Office as a letter carrier, and Gram started her role as church mother and general beneficiary to the community at large. Pretty soon they decided to buy the house across the street, though it was a little out of their budget, and Grampy picked up a paper route at night. They had Rob then, and several years later they had Steve. Some nights Grampy would wake up David or Nancy, bundle them into their coat, take them to Rapid Ray's, stuff them full of hot dogs, and they'd do the paper route together, creeping home in the early morning light.

    In the summertime, the family would pack into a little red cottage in the marsh, right across the road from the house that Grampy's father built, the "Juanita", and another generation of blonde haired kids scrambled over the rocks and ran in the sand. Grampy lobstered sometimes, taking out his boat and checking traps. My mother used to like to go with him and lay out on the bow for a good tan. Grampy built a tiny two bedroom cottage on the back of the property when they were little, letting David pound extra nails into the sub floor to keep him busy while Grampy worked. They painted it red, with a giant window in the living room facing the ocean. Small spiders would cover that window in the summertime, swinging towards the sea in the wind.

    Gram died when most of the kids were in their twenties. It was cancer, and it was everywhere by the time they figured out why she wasn't feeling so well. Steve was the only kid still at home, just starting high school. Grampy was lost, all by himself, and he was grateful when Win came over and kept him company, making meals and getting him back on his feet. A few months later they were married. They moved into Grammy Win's tiny house in Buxton, where a big red barn housed brown horses, standing in the sunlight and flicking their tails, and a still pond pooled to the west, it's cat-tails reaching their arms to the sky.

    In the winter, he and Grammy Win would make the trek in their RV to Florida, returning home in the spring, and spending weekends at the beach house in the summer, where another generation of blonde haired blue eyed grandkids was growing up. He asked us to stay with him in the big beachfront house that was his mother's one summer, installing a toilet in the basement so we wouldn't get the house sandy. I was certain that the creaking of the house settling at night was ghosts rumpassing in the hallway, so Grampy spent most of that month WD40-ing the entire house to make me feel better. There was a giant thunderstorm that year, which woke us up as we scrambled to close all the windows in the pouring rain. Us three girls huddled up on the couch in front of the picture window to watch the storm over the sea, with Grampy close by. Grammy Win would cook us Sunday dinner, which we had never heard of before, and we'd fall asleep to the crash-hush of the ocean while humming the Jeopardy theme song.

    My mother thought it was a little much for Grampy and Grammy Win to take, with all those little kids running around, so we stayed in the little cottage Grampy had built after that, with my two cousins. Four girls sharing two twin beds and not getting a whole lot of sleep.

    He had a heart attack one winter, shortly after our summer stay. My father told me the news in our kitchen one day as I sat on the countertop, but it didn't really register. The only change I ever saw was the scars running down his chest and legs when he wore his bathing suit in the summer, he still did everything he used to with as much vim and vigor.

    Friday nights, Grampy would have the local church people over for drinks and good times at Bob's Bar. He made the sweetest Shirley Temples, almost half grenadine with plenty of cherries for anyone who didn't want, or wasn't old enough to drink (my sister, me, and Grammy Win), killer martinis for my mother, and vodka tonics for my Aunt Nancy.

    When my mother called me at work and said "Aunt Nancy says to come now. Are you coming with us?" I found myself on a plane a few hours later. We had been told it was a heart attack again, but it wasn't really. His heart just wasn't able to process the Leukemia in his blood. It was strange seeing him in the hospital, he was just the same as he ever was... joking around and charming the nurses. He was very tired, though. That's mostly how the trip went, Grampy getting more and more drowsy as time went on.

    I held his hand on the day before he died, his grip just as strong as ever it used to be, his eyes staring beyond anything in the room. As I watched him fall asleep, the room faded away before me and I saw the tall, youthful silhouette of a man in navy blue, bravely walking alone across a red bridge, and into the fog dusted silver by the moonlight.

    I love you a lot, Grampy, and I know that scores of others feel the same.

 

Majority (!!!!!!!!!)

November 8, 2006

    I'm so excited, I just had to inform everyone.  The Democrats have won a clear majority in the House, and have a distinct possibility of winning the majority in the Senate!  They need one more seat, and it was a very close race.  The votes are being counted as we speak. 

    It's Bush's worst nightmare, it makes me so happy!  That man needs to be stopped and we have a chance now to stop him.  Rejoice and be glad, for the people have spoken, and they have spoken well. 

 

Nor' Easter

November 7, 2006

    I awoke to the rain and peeled back my curtains. It's my first Nor' Easter, and I'm kind of excited about it. No snow, but driving rain spattering against the building. I can see the sea from my window, like a TV with one channel. A span of brown grasses blowing in the wind, then the ocean.

    "You won't recognize the ocean, it gets so angry and gray." My Aunt Nancy told me. "You'll love it." And I do. It is gray, an enraged deep charcoal. I have a feeling it's low tide, though the waves are half-way up the beach, and bigger than they are at high tide. Far away in the distance, a white line will appear and recede suddenly on the choppy water. It makes me want to walk the beach, to be a part of it all, though I know it's close to freezing outside and in such weather my safety would be dubious.

    "I'm a little worried about them at Gooserocks. They're predicting 16 foot waves." My Uncle Steve told my mother.

    When my mother brought this up to Aunt Nancy, she poo-pooed it. "I brought the furniture in." She said. I'm endlessly grateful for her unconcern. A little weather in my homeland, the place where my heart always stays, is just about the best thing I could ask for. I'm crossing my fingers for a power outage.

    The gulls are awake this morning now too. One swoops right across my window, then glides to the beach. His fellows are up there already, arms outstretched. Steady, sliding in and out of view as the wind takes them. The biggest wave I've seen yet crests and falls, and something on Aunt Nancy's balcony above me is rattling around.

    I'm so glad they gave me this room, though it means I'm alone with myself. It seems I am glad for a lot of things these days. Cody, my favorite (and only) sister, flew into town last night on the heels of the storm. Now it's the Girls at Aunt Nancy's house, just like it used to be in the old days, when we were four knobby-kneed and blonde haired kids running all over the beach in the sunny summertime.

    It's autumn now, and just as beautiful as summer in a brown and orange way. Half of the trees are already bare, and the rest will be after this storm. Blown cat-tails, looking just like their namesake, rim the roadsides instead of the Queen Anne's Lace of summer.

    The wind blows on, whistling and howling as it tears around the building, spattering the rain across the windows with a thwap. People say that the earth is uncaring, that mother nature has no regard for me or my life, but I feel as though this storm was manufactured especially for us girls. So we could snuggle up together with our sorrows and scoff at loneliness together.

 

Moonrise

October 10, 2006

      My good luck charm, Orion, isn't there,
    I notice as I scan the evening sky.
    As darkness takes the canyon with a sigh,
    I feel a little panicked on the stair.
    Abysmal depths below I know are there
    Though I can't tell how near or far they lie.
    A fall, a flight, then land.. perhaps to die
    Is not the way I'd like my night to wear.
    My flashlight beam puts forth a puny light
    The milky way has spilled across the night
    As bright as dawn, the moon reveals her face
    And suddenly I'm in the eve's embrace
    In my soul I wish this night won't fade
    Pouring o'er the earth, the peace cascades.

 

A Hobbit With Me

September 21, 2006

    My best friend Marisa and I used to pass notes in Tengwar during High school. For those who don't know, Tengwar are the elven characters created by J.R.R. Tolkien for his books. We had a ton of fun with it. We could talk about people while they were sitting right in front of us, and even ask them to pass the notes. We'd always sign our names with the last name of the guy we liked, because there was no possibility of detection. I even had a teacher intercept the note, tell the class it was something juicy, then have to tell them "never mind..." because he couldn't read it. I still chuckle about that one.

Today is the day The Hobbit was first published, about seventy years ago. My entire adolescence is wrapped up tight with Tolkien's creations. It seems strange to me that he never expected anyone to be interested. A former student of his who went into the publishing industry practically had to pry it out of his hands. Whoever she was, I'm grateful. My life wouldn't be the same without either of them.
 

Hypothetically...

September 7, 2006

    I love boats. You can do so much with a boat. Waterskiing is fun, and if you don't water-ski you can tube. You can anchor in the middle of a lake, eat a lovely lunch, and sunbathe, all with that soothing rocking beneath you. It's great to just jump off the bow into the cool water, swim around a while, climb up the little ladder by the stern, and wrap yourself in a sun warmed towel. Not to mention speeding above the water, the wind whipping your hair across your face.

    My husband doesn't like boats. He's not much in favor of getting all sweaty and hot sitting in the sun. He also doesn't like the reality that boats are a lot of maintenance, and usually require fixing. "What's the definition of a boat?" he likes to ask, "A hole in the water you throw money into." he'll answer himself with a little chuckle. He will not be waylaid by the romance of a boat.

    I thought my husband might bend a bit, take a small flight of fancy with me. "Just imagine we had a hypothetical boat." I told him, "A hypothetical boat would not need fixing."

    "We don't have a hypothetical boat." He told me.

    "But wouldn't you like to have a little vacation home somewhere by the lake? We could take the kids out in our boat and they could learn to water-ski. We could dock for sandwiches and spend the whole day on the water."

    "What kids?" he asked me.

    "Our hypothetical kids." I said, slightly exasperated. We do plan to have kids someday.

    "I don't want a boat. Even a hypothetical boat. Boats mean stress, and lots and lots of money." He told me, "and we don't have any kids yet." I could tell by his tone that he thought I was a little nuts.

    "Fine!" was my reply. "I'm taking our hypothetical kids out in our hypothetical boat. We're going to have lots of fun, and you're not invited."

    I'm definitely the flighty one in the small family my husband and I have so recently created. He's the practical one. I'm sure if I actually had a little motor boat, it wouldn't be as much fun as the one I have in my mind, but it's great to think about all the times we would have if we had one. It's good to mull over the things you want, because even if you never get those specific things, you can still have the lifestyle that goes with it.  

    If you need me, I'll be out with my kids in our boat. We'll be waterskiing and having a grand old time.

 

Aging

August 31, 2006

    I was going through my diary last evening (something I do for kicks from time to time), and I found this rather poignant essay (if I do say so myself). It was written on or about my 20th birthday, before I was married.

    What they don't tell you when you're young, is that when you get older you are the exact same person you were way back when. Maybe you're a little smarter, because you've had the chance to make lots of mistakes and learn from them, but you really are exactly the same person you always were.

    I thought that when you reached 20, you instantly got the "grown up brain", causing you to think, act, and reason just like a grownup. Suddenly you would be completely fearless, completely self assured, and completely self-sufficient. You would morph into a mixture of all the Adults on TV, only you would still like the same things you always did. That was the only thing that would make you different, because you were older. Someone who didn't have a curfew and could do anything she wanted to.

    It doesn't happen like that. Little by little the Adults let you do things: date, drive, stay out late. Until one morning when you wake up and think ' Wow! I'm 20 ' and you realize that you feel the same way you always did. The same as last year, and when you were 12, and when you were 5. Only now it's so much harder than when you were young, because they all expect you to be an adult. They make you get a job so you can afford things, they make you schedule your own appointments and make your own meals. All the while you want to explain "Mom! Dad! I'm 12, I'm 5, I'm not an Adult!" But they know, because they still feel like you feel.

    It's hard to be a 13 year old in a 20 year-old's body. It's extra hard to be timid and completely unsure, and it's almost unbearable to know that you may be that way for the rest of your life. Maybe that's why they never tell you. Because if you knew you were going to be you when you grew up, would you still want to get there?

    Of course there's still the "Elder Brain". That's when you've had so incredibly much experience that you are wise beyond measure. And maybe we'll all get there someday.

A New Constitution

August 24, 2006

    Micronations: "entities that resemble independent nations or states, but which are unrecognized by them, and for the most part exist only on paper, on the Internet, or in the minds of their creators." ~Wikipedia

    I was on a Micronational message board the other day, and (for the fifth time in 24 hours) someone new was announcing the creation of their new nation, Your-Name-Here-Topia. The good micronational people kindly asked him what the purpose of his nation was. A simulation of government? An honest desire to become a recognized nation? A simulation of currency and economics? A fun role-playing game for your group of friends? It made me think a lot about why I had even bothered to go through all the research and the revisions to make a viable constitution, let alone a functional Micronational website.

    I never liked government in school. It's like history, only with everything interesting that ever happened taken out, and compiled into facts, figures, and balances of powers. I have absolutely no desire to become a recognized nation, because then I'd actually have to be responsible for it. I have no currency system, and wouldn't have the foggiest idea about how to even begin to set one up. I haven't invited any of my friends, because I don't want to burden them with (or expose them to my) silliness, without express permission to do so. So why did I create my micronation? I asked myself. 

    I have a hard time voting. In the last election, I refused to vote for anyone who didn't provide the League of Women Voters with information, a free service, even if they were the only ones on the ballot. Half the time, no one I know cares or remembers that it's voting day, I end up grossly unprepared, and decide to let the informed people make the decision. The other half of the time I end up completely exasperated with having to vote for the person I hate less.

    Do you know who your representatives are? I have absolutely no idea. I don't even know who the Mayor is these days, and he lives in my home town, let alone who speaks for me in Congress or, more importantly, what he (or she) stands for. I don't feel as if I have any kind of real say in the government here, and I certainly don't feel accurately represented.

    I feel like our current system no longer does what it was originally intended to do: watch out for the little guy. Our Government is getting bigger and bigger by the minute, and the more laws there are, the less freedom there is for us all.   I slowly realized it was this dissatisfaction with US politics is what made me decide to look into making a constitution. If our system doesn't provide what I need, what would?

    The Kwedregiol Constitution is my answer to these questions. It isn't about simulation, it's not about recognition, and it certainly isn't about fun and games. It's a quiet statement of dissatisfaction with the country I love so much, and it guarantees the most freedom and representation for the most amount of people.  Dissatisfied?  Start up your own Enclave from scratch and start over.  One endless second chance. 

America may be the Land of the Free, but we've gone sorely awry lately.  May we live to see better and prouder days.
 

Remember the Alamo

August 17, 2006

    Born on a mountain top in Tennessee
    Greenest state in the land of the free
    Raised in the woods so he knew ev'ry tree
    Kilt him a b'ar when he was only three
    Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier!


    It is the actual Davy Crockett's birthday today! I hope he has a good one wherever he is. On this auspicious occasion, I would like to take the opportunity to record a fine piece of poetry composed by my father at dinner one evening:

    Born on a table top in Tallahassee
    Drank him a beer when he was only three
    Staggered in the woods 'till he bumped into a tree
    Took him a bus into the City
    Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the Budweiser Beer.

    Cody and I used to sing this song like crazy when we were growing up (it was way clever when we were about 7). We watched the TV special with Fess Parker, and I sort of wanted to be Davy Crockett for a while until I realized that Frances Marion the Swamp Fox was a million times cooler.

    And speaking of western icons, it's Mae West's birthday too
.

...And Crown Thy Good With Brotherhood

July 1, 2006

    Oh beautiful for patriot dreams that seize beyond the years. Thine alabaster cities gleam, undimmed by human tears. America, America, God shed His grace on thee; and crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea.

    I am almost ashamed these days to be a patriotic person. I don't wish to be lumped in with the Bible thumpers, the Bush supporters. I don't wish to convey support for anything happening in Iraq, or to have anything to do with the folks screaming about good old fashioned American values from their half-million dollar homes in suburbia.

    I wonder sometimes when it was that patriotism became an indication of all that is corrupt in American politics. The flag that stands for world interference. There are a good many Americans who don't believe in the enforcement of democracy, but believe that democracy is a sacred thing. To be achieved and promoted, held up as the model for others to follow, but never force-fed to those that vehemently oppose it. You cannot make a thing love you, and the harder you try, the faster it will flee from you.

    When I think of America, I think of promise. I think of the 102 passengers aboard the Mayflower braving storms, disease, poverty and starvation to practice their religion in peace. I think of a handful of farmers marching to meet the British army, of a shot heard 'round the world. I think of the millions of families traveling westward on a beautiful but treacherous journey for opportunity's sake. The struggle of a nation to meld all cultures into one filled with diversity. This is the America I love.    

I have to admit that I get a little misty eyed on the fourth of July. It wasn't easy for my ancestors, and I think that makes their legacy all the more valuable. We should remember those people more, what they stood for, and what they wanted for us. We should be thinking more about our children's inheritance as well. War, uncertainty and hate for everything we stand for is not the burden I want to leave them, and we seem to be breeding these things in droves.

    I would love it if 100 years from now, some idealistic child started to cry as the fireworks burst over her head and the band swelled to a crescendo. She would be thinking of the things we accomplished, of the freedom and promise that we have passed to her, and she would be glad.

The Problem With Feminism

May 17, 2006

    The fundamental problem with the feminist movement is men. I like men very much, but there comes a time when we have to ask ourselves what the ideals of a male dominated society have done to the ideal woman.

    Let's look at the ideal man. He should be strong, in muscles as well as in temperament. He should be virile and youthful, but not young. He should be kind to others, a good provider, and he should protect those he loves from harm, unmercifully.

    Women in this day and age are trying so hard to emulate these qualities. Look at "career women". How do we think of them? How do we speak of them? The attributes we seek in powerful women are exactly the attributes we see in the ideal man. They gain power only as they stand in the shoes of men around them. Even women who don't have a powerful career position are trying so hard to fit the description of the ideal man.

    The trait that bothers me most in modern women is the idea that sex is currency. That somehow the only thing we have that men have use for is our bodies. The theory that if you unbutton your blouse one more button or hike up your skirt a little more, men won't notice that you aren't entirely prepared for that presentation you have to give. Or the idea that sleeping with every Tom, Dick and Harry gives you power over men. What are we trying to prove?

    There are many other disturbing trends that show me how the feminist movement has failed us. The trend for plastic surgery. To look perpetually 30, no matter what it does to ones body or long-term health. The fact that virginity is looked down on, even used as an insult. The thought that unless a woman has a career, her life has no meaning.

    Until we can step out of the shadows of a male dominated society and start taking charge on our own terms, feminism will always be the struggle of women in a world made for men. It isn't enough to be allowed into the workplace, to be allowed to vote. Our next step is to celebrate who we are, and to change the world to better suit our needs. Women have a thousand roles to play over a lifetime. We should be singing our differences from the rooftops, decreeing our role as the child-bearers (whether or not we choose to have children), and trying to hold onto the feminine in all things.

    We have survived too long in a world geared towards one role for everyone. We are diverse, and society hasn't suited our needs in millennia. It is time for drastic change.

Moms

May 10, 2006

    My mother started a box for my sister and I when we were born. It has our birth announcements, the newspaper on the day we were born, all our kindergarten and first grade schoolwork, the program to every play or recital we've ever been in, trophies, awards, our first pair of shoes, and tons more. It's my whole life, in a nifty 2x4 container.

    When I got married and moved out, my mother presented me with my box. It was a flimsy cardboard thing, and it was way too small to hold all that stuff. It was splitting at the seams. So, I got rid of some of the Christmas junk, and had a grand old time transferring all those mementos from the cardboard box to the plastic container. In with all of my things, I discovered quite a few copies of articles that my grandfather had written. I also came across an article that my grandmother had written for a local women's magazine about getting older.

    I was surprised to find that my grandmother was published, and when I sat down and read the article, I was even more surprised. My grandmother is the sweetest and nicest woman in the world. She sees the sunny side of every situation and is never unpleasant to be around, no matter what the circumstances. The writing was very optimistic, but it was about how her generation had been told to think of others, and never themselves, for their entire lives.

    I had never really thought about how other generations had been raised. I always assumed that everyone was like me, and had been instilled with the same viewpoint I was brought up with. Especially members of my family, older or younger. It shocked me how much that entire generation gave up. Especially in this selfish day and age (yes, I do things for other people, but I do a lot for myself as well).

    Take a moment to think about how great your mom is, and all the wonderful things she does for you on a regular basis. Now think about how her life has influenced yours. Mother's day isn't just about our individual moms, but about all the mothers that came before her. Thank your grandmother this year for sacrificing so that you could have the parents you have today. Wonderful or not, you wouldn't change them for the world.

Easter

April 13, 2006

    I am not the sort of person to run around telling everyone about the greatness of Christ, as you all know. I have a quiet set of beliefs that I practice quietly and don't talk about much, and I like it that way. That being said, it is Easter this weekend, what better time to talk about religion.

    It donned on me a few months ago that I have never seen real, true evidence that Jesus existed. It worried me, because this man is the standard to which every human is judged. Are we creating an impossibility for ourselves? Trying too hard to emulate an example that never existed?

    I am a huge believer in the saying "God works in mysterious ways". The religion I consider myself to be a member of was founded by a lady heavily addicted to narcotics. When I discovered this, I had a crisis of faith. The entire religion was founded on a lie. I was lost and confused until a still small voice in the back of my head whispered to me. "Does this make the teachings of the church any less valid?" it asked. I have known true and faithful people who wholeheartedly follow the tenants of the church, and who's lives are honestly better for it. I strive for that perfection for myself.

    The Easter story is sad. A man, friendless and completely alone in every way, is nailed to a cross for absolutely nothing. He didn't have a grand old time while he was alive. He grew up poor, and never experienced the comfortable thrill that is a relationship. He had no children, and no peers, and very little life experience. Yet I still feel glad on Easter morning, when the stone was rolled away. The experience was terrible for him, no doubt, but it has inspired all the rest of us for thousands of years.

    I don't think it matters whether or not Jesus actually existed. Even if we never quite get there, isn't it worth the attempt to attain perfection like that? We can't help but be better for it.

The Island of Romance

February 21, 2006

    26 miles across the sea, Santa Catalina was waiting for me. Dreaming in its pool of crystal water and silent evenings, it transferred all of its peace directly to me

    I was in a funk, I think. An endless repetition of work and school and work, of fighting to fit anyone else at all into this crazy life of mine. I never have a moment to stop; to reflect on the beauty of this world, and of what my place in it is. Whether or not I'm truly contributing as I'd like to contribute.

    Remember in High school when you had all this time to sit and reflect on the universe in general, and how everything should be? I knew more in my high school years than I ever have since. As the boat soared across the inky blackness of the ocean, and the shore receded into a line of Christmas lights on the horizon, I captured some of that lost understanding. It's a nice feeling to look at your life and to realize that you really really like it.

    Avalon, they call the main city on Catalina, the name of the island where King Arthur rests for eternity. And truly the island has an otherworldly charm about it, as if you were transported to a simpler time. A time without cars, without crime, without the suburban sprawl that takes over the mainland. It was the most romantic and wonderful time I have ever had in my life, with every moment more romantic than the one before.

    Thank you, Brian, for a beautiful weekend. I think we may have broken the Valentines day curse.

Birdflu

February 1, 2006

    I've been reading a lot in the news about birdflu. I thought it was like the Anthrax thing, or the Sars thing: way overblown and not likely to get anywhere near America or affect my daily life in any way. Yes, I'm sorry for those people in Asia, but I'm not going to worry about something that doesn't pertain to me. When I picked up my Smithsonian magazine and read their long article about birdflu, boy was I surprised.

    It turns out that the "People Who Know" think every large-scale flu epidemic known to man was originally caused by birds. When chickens have it, it's not that big a deal. They die from the disease, and as long as humans don't eat any infected chickens they're OK. Its those Ducks you have to worry about. They can carry Birdflu without any visible signs of it for years, and they migrate. Ohhh, so this is what everyone was upset about!

    Evidently, animals have been sharing diseases with humans for years. Most people know about HIV, but I thought that was just a fluke or something. It's not. You now have to worry when your spouse is sniffling, AND when your dog looks under the weather. I could have done without this knowledge I think, but I'm passing it on because it is something we should be worried about. And I do enjoy a good worry when it pertains to me.

I'm New To This

January 10, 2006

    Do I really have anything to say? That is the prime question. Brian, my excellent husband, and I were talking the other night about ordinary. He says that ordinary uptight people like us have no future as writers because we simply have nothing to say that is interesting. We have no strange bohemian experiences to relate, no tales of being stranded, no stories of our travels. When we have a day off from work (which is never) we go to Disneyland or the movies without fail, when we go to a restaurant we order the same exact thing on the menu that we always have, and we've only ever traveled to see family.

    I don't believe that living an ordinary life bars you from having something to say. There are plenty of authors that write about everyday life as most of us live it. Garrison Keilor and Louisa May Alcott, for two. Everyone has an opinion, everyone has relationships, and everyone has experiences that are worth while. No matter where you live your life or how many things you've seen. Lack of experience does not make you any less of a human, or your life any less meaningful.

    This Blog is intended as an experiment. To see how long I have something to relate. I think I can keep going for quite a while, but you never know. I guess we'll all find out.

 


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