Somebody Else's to them, whomever they may be.

Somebody Else's to them, whomever they may be.
How I feel after throwing a party...

Thanks for the visit!! :)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Don't wish away your days...

Me, Brazil, the late 70's.

A friend of mine shared the following:
"The trick is to enjoy life. Don't wish away your days waiting for better one's ahead."
--Janelle K.--

Don't perpetually miss the now for wishing and waiting for what is yet to be, or for what has already been and cannot be changed.

Today was beautiful. I, unfortunately, was under the weather. I felt like all of my limbs were joined by rubber bands and that if I wasn't careful, and flung myself around too much, that one of them might shoot away and not come back. Despite this, however, I managed some delightful photos today while out and about.

For enquiring minds that want to know...I'm now up to 1,936 photos on my iPhone. You'll remember that back in January I was at 917 photos. So--I've progressed. The great thing about it is...that no matter where I am, I can pop open my photo album on my phone and see all of this awesome stuff, things that struck my fancy, things I found interesting, people that I like, people that I love, places I've been, food I've eaten, flowers I've sniffed and babies I've loved. It's great...and I'm still as hooked as ever.

That are some recent photos that are current favorites on the photo play-list:

I never did post about this...I went to the Brigham Young University Women's Conference.
I go every year (for the past 11 years now) and absolutely love it.
It totally recharges my spiritual battery pack.
Pic above was painted by a visiting artist that I was able to actually meet and chat with for a few minutes. His work is incredible.

Below is the Marriott Center where I spent a good portion of my time during the course of the conference, listening to talks, presentations, music, and wonderful women talk about a plethora of topics.
My favorite part is the singing. If you've never sung with 18,000 other women...I'm telling you're missing out. It is so amazingly overwhelming that goosebumps and tears are pretty much inevitable and there are moments that you would swear you could hear the angels singing with you.

This delightful concoction is called a Brisa de la Mora Negra.
It is served at Los Hermanos in Provo, Utah.
"Blackberries, strawberries, and ice cream blended to the height of refreshment."
It is worth the money.
It is crazy delicious.

This is a Pom Pom creature.
13 year old's love to make them.
Put a magnet on the back and you've got a great little refrigerator magnet...or Mother's Day gift as the case may be.
I have no Pom Poms left.

This is a quilt square that my sister made for a family project.
I love it.
It makes me smile every time I see it.
It is sooooo Grace.

A long-standing, lifetime favorite.
I can eat them until I'm sick.
I've never gotten sick...

My grandma who is no longer a resident of this planet.
She's been gone for a long time now.
I miss her.

My 1950's teen Aunties.
These are my mom's two oldest sisters.
This photo is awesome and I just discovered it at a family luncheon I attended a few weeks back.

A favorite, though infrequent, treat.
I can eat this raw.
Sometimes I don't see how anyone ever made it past the batter to bake it.
This was an amended recipe.
It had mini semi sweet chips, semi sweet chocolate chunks, Special Dark chocolate chips and walnuts in it.
It was cookie-crack.

Below--you can see the baked end was amazing.
I think I could finagle land and treasure with these babies.

A couple of weeks ago we had a family dinner at my mom's.
My mom is an amazing cook and can whip up miracle meals, that will make your taste buds sing, out of nothing.
This particular dish is an all around family favorite: chicken fillets, peas & corn, mashed potatoes and gravy, salad with homemade vinaigrette and French bread.
Usually accompanied by ice water and Ginger ale...but not mixed together...cuz that would be gross.
You do not leave this weighted table hungry unless it is by choice.

Calvin wanted to help Grace walk Sophie.
To do so, he grabbed the handle part of the leash, and kept saying "Come" and "Go."
It was pretty funny.
By the time we were done with our walk, puppy and little boy were wiped out.

These are a new favorite of mine.
My mother-in-law loves Lillies, therefore, they also remind me of her.
I bought my first lillies this year.
One pot is full of burgundy flowers and the other pot is full of pink and white lillies.
I'm excited to get them in the ground.

I saw these flowers today and thought they were stunning.
They were in another lady's cart.
Luckily I had sunglasses on so she didn't notice that I was being a stare-bug.
I tried not to gawk, and managed to keep my mouth from dropping open like a little mailbox.
As I wandered, I came across them on my own.
As a huge pallet of Dahlia's it was even more amazing.

We have boatloads of books.
We are definitely classifiable as bibliophiles.
We have a number of bookshelves throughout the house, but one of our current projects is figuring out "the book issue"---as in "Where the hell are we going to put all of these books???"
We are looking at space saving shelving options.
I am excited about this, because I would like to maintain our collection in a more orderly manner.
It's o.k. for the most part, but books multiply. We need to give them happy homes, as opposed to secreted perches and tucked away corners.

Oh sweet baby girl!!
This is one of my nieces.
Amelia turns 3 in just a few days.
She is a doll and has the sweetest, tiniest voice you've ever heard.

These are my sister Grace's Iris's...or is it Irii...?
Anyway. She did not plant them, they were already in her garden when she bought her house. Therefore she didn't know what color they were until they peeked their pretty little heads out.
At first she thought they were all brown. Brown is not her favorite color. In fact, you might say she frequently makes cracks about brown because she really hates it.
She called me up and said "You know those Iris's?"
I said "Yes."
She said "Of all of the beautiful colors that Iris's can be--GUESS WHAT COLOR MINE ARE???? You're never going to believe what color mine are."
"What color are they?"
"They are POOP brown!"
I immediately burst into laughter...because no matter how old you are...when another adult uses the word "Poop" it's kinda funny, and the visual image of her discovering that her flowers were brown, of all colors, was pretty funny too. I'm sure she was completely disgusted.
Anyway, I asked if there were any other colors and she told me yellow and purple. I thought they sounded interesting.
In the end--they are funky. And not "poop brown." ;)
In the end, as they bloomed more fully, she decided that maybe they weren't so bad.
For myself...I think they are different, and pretty.

Bug alert.
Out for a walk, down by the ditch I found a whole bunch of pretty weeds and wildflowers.
This one had a resident.
I love bugs...when they are outside.
If they show up inside...they've signed their own death warrant.
They aren't just killed.
Usually they get obliterated...because I smash them that hard.

Dusk...actually it was fully evening.
Family BBQ at the in-laws.
It is finally almost warm enough to be outside in the evening and the great grand-kids were having a blast in the backyard, playing, running, squealing, laughing and periodically having little meltdown's.
It was a phenomenal evening.

My niece.
Yes, she is a beauty and always has been.
Women should wear flowers in their hair more often.
These are Lillie's of the Valley and they are from my mother-in-law's prolific garden.
They smell amazing and are the most beautiful petite little things you have ever seen.

This is my little maniac niece Olivia.
She is Tiffany's daughter.
Olivia is a ham, and is precocious.
Olivia is 5.
I was walking around my mother-in-law's garden, taking photos, the other evening, and Olivia was very interested in what I was doing, where I was going and why. I told her I was taking pictures of the beautiful flowers and she immediately wanted to be involved.
So here she is...Miss Olivia, with Iris's that are as big as her head.

And lastly, chives.
I think they are pretty, they smell fantastic, and they are tasty.
I love their pretty little flowers and how green the onion stems are.
I should plant a big box of these this year.
They (the green stems) are delicious finely chopped up, mixed in with softened butter, salt, black cracked pepper and parsley and then spread on corn on the cob, wrapped in foil and thrown on the BBQ for a few minutes.
Deliciously delightful.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Les Abeilles, La Pecheuse et Une Americaine...

Zip, Boom, Bonjour!!!

Rupa and the April Fishes "Une Americaine a Paris" is one of my absolute favorite videos and songs right now. I've known about them for awhile, and enjoyed them, but just can't get enough.

They have several other songs which I highly recommend. Right now, if you read this around the date of posting, you will find all three on my current playlist. No guarantees for the future, but for now, they are there. The songs are:

Les Abeilles
C'est Moi
La Pecheuse

I cannot get enough of the dusky French nightclub sound that they have, and they are stellar for listening to at midnight...or 1 a.m. as the case is today.

The write up is as follows (as cut and pasted from YouTube directly):

Born to Indian parents in California, raised in the US, India and southern France, and leading a double life as a musician and a doctor, singer/guitarist/composer Rupa Marya and her polyglot band of musical renegades have taken the San Francisco Bay Area by storm and are poised to bring their music to the world with the international release of eXtraOrdinary rendition on Cumbancha. With their enchanting mix of chic French nouvelle vague, rousing Latin alternative grooves, energetic Gypsy swing, and dreamy Indian ragas, the trend-setting band is spearheading a multicultural movement that is redefining the sound of contemporary music.

You can't help but move it, shake it, or tap your foot to it...whether you speak French or not (and I do--mais seulement un petit peu) you can get a funky little groove going with it.

Anyway--LOVE HER...give it a listen.
Turn it up, and feel it.
Lalala-lai, lalala-lai, la-lai.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Ruben's Beauties and Getting the Pink Slip

I was browsing through some old writings that I have saved away and came across a little gem I wrote shortly after getting laid off. It's a description of the start of the day, with no idea whatsoever with how it would end. Gives me a chuckle every time I come across it. Nothing like the simple habits and routines of the day to give you perspective on how little control you actually have over the big and unexpected events of your life.

Here it is...Enjoy.

"Wait...what?? I'm getting the pink slip?"

The harbingers of fate gave no warning that morning as I got up and got ready for my day. I woke up, blinked, cheery as usual but slow to wake. I scooched the covers back…I’m not a thrower-backer of the blankets…I like to linger a bit in their warmth…and it was a damn cold January morning to be going anywhere anyway…and gradually sat my recently slumbering bones up.

Feet on the floor. Feet on the floor. Whooooaaaaa feet on the floor! My mantra. I know that if I can just get my feet on the floor and not actually tip backwards back onto the pillows as I tuck my feet back under the still warm blankets for just a quick snuggle, that I may actually be on time…and I have to be on time today, no messing about. Today is our off-site beginning of the year strategic planning meeting. Lateness will not be tolerated today, that’s for sure, plus I was going to have to present to the group and I wanted to be fresh as a daisy, not worn out like a little lackluster weed.

Up, out and in to the shower I go. Pits and parts all scrubbed up, hair washed, out, out, out…argh…it’s cold. Big robe, dry off, lean on the bed, read a few pages in my book, look at the clock…no more minutes to be wasted…on with the day. Robe off, back into the bathroom, and the routine begins. All brushing and picking and plucking done… nose blown (tweezing my eyebrows always, without fail, makes me sneeze), and the make up application begins. I need to make sure I’m fully with-it today, inevitably some clown always brings a camera to these things to capture the “team” moments and I don’t want to look like a troll. So, full make up, full hair today, no slouching around, no ponytails and lip gloss. What am I going to wear?

Once the make up is done, on to the hair. Spray mousse, to eliminate getting so much on your hands, but no matter what you do it’s still going to get on your hands. Whatever. Head upside down, blow dryer on, bend at the waist…good I can still touch my toes…and noise, hot air and hair blowing all around. This blow dryer is like a jet airliner landing on my head…I really would like one of those salon dryers that you can barely hear. As it is there could be a SWAT team breaking in downstairs and I would never even know it until they busted through the bedroom door and I look up through the bathroom doorway between strands of wet hair at the horrified look of the policeman wondering who the chubby naked lady is making all this racket…but I digress.

Upside down, I think about my day some more. I got both of my presentations turned in, they looked good and I chopped them down significantly. Still working on that “too wordy/too much information” problem I’ve got. “Talk more, write less”…my newly counseled mantra. What else, the car needs to go in for a Jiffy Lube, but not today. I hope the catered lunch doesn’t suck. I shouldn’t have read those pages in my book, I could have had breakfast. Oh well. Maybe there is a NutriGrain bar or something I can grab before I go. That and a Caffeine Free Diet Coke, the bubbles will help. Do my calves really look like that?? Ugh. Gotta go to water aerobics tonight or something.

O.k. dry hair, fix it, fix it…is that a silver hair????? And another one…wait…3 more????? 3+1+the 2 I found the other day…6…WTF?????? Add “dye hair” to list of things to do. Hair spray is almost out, need to do grocery store/Wal*Mart list. Speaking of, I need to decide what I’m making for dinner tonight.

All right. Almost done. What time is it? O.k. a little hustle wouldn’t hurt. Closets open…so much to wear…so little time…I hate all my clothes…o.k….something really comfortable because no doubt there will be a rolling-around-on-the-floor-get-blindfolded-fall-into-your-coworkers-arms-do-you-trust-each-other moment. I don’t want to look bound up or tear anything from the strain of my oh-so-Rubenesque female form. I was made for paint in the 1600’s. Maybe Rubens “Venus at the Mirror” only with dark hair instead of blonde. Yep…probably that one.

Peter Paul Ruben's "Venus at the Mirror"

O.k. Comfy pants, shoes that won’t slip on any invisible water in the tiled hallway, so I don’t fall down and make a complete and utter ass of myself in front of my co-workers. And this pretty blouse, it’s comfortable, it looks nice (I won’t look like the wife of Sr. Troll in all of the pictures that will be taken) and I’ll be able to play business-team-twister if it comes to that. Jewelry—something that doesn’t clink every time I move. No bracelets, I’ll just end up taking them off every time I have to write something down. Necklace, watch, earrings, rings…all done.

O.K. Time to get out the door. Grabbing lipstick, lip gloss and blush. My book that I’m reading just in case there is time during lunch. Oh, who am I kidding, I’ll be chatty Cathy all during lunchtime. Lights out, down the stairs. Glass of water, take pills, grab breakfast bar, Diet Coke…no caffeine…boo, cell phone, purse, iPod, laptop bag (is the computer in it…yes…all my papers… yes), keys, coat (put on…yes…no…yes…no…it’ll be warm enough in the car), keys and out the door I go…wait…porch lights off…o.k. now I’m off.

Once I’m packed into the car, iPod is connected but not being listened to, maybe a little Laura Ingraham instead, I’m on my way. I always enjoy the drive into work, unless the weather and the traffic are horrible and conspiring against me. And today should be a nice day. I do enjoy the off sites, it’s nice to get away from the office every once in awhile, and the company is nice. As I drive the hour in to work my mind continues to check things off and mull things over. I think about how my presentation will go and will I get any questions that I don’t know the answers to. I hate that when that happens. But, I think I’m ready, I’ve come a long way and actually feel like I know what I’m talking about and that I actually sound like I know what I’m talking about. Sometimes those two things do not coincide.

Typical, there are boat loads of idiots on the road this morning and plenty of semi-trucks. I hate driving next to them. I’m just a tiny little bug on the road compared to them and they drive like maniacs in the weather and the traffic. But whatever, pass them and keep out of their way. Wow—that woman is actually talking on her cell phone, eating and driving at the same time. Large nice SUV…probability that she will cause an accident someday without ever knowing it, ruining someone’s day and perhaps their life in the process…pretty much 100%. Fred Flintstone-mobile on the right, student. Needs to get even further over on the right.

Great. I almost had a heart attack when that giant boulder hit my windshield. Damn gravel trucks. Lucky that didn’t crack the windshield! It was loud enough and big enough. I already have divots and dings everywhere, and a chunk of glass missing out of the middle of the windshield. Luckily it hasn’t cracked. I looked the car over the other day, and the nicks and pings in the paint and the windshield are too many to count. Of course they are tiny…not my point. But, this commute is definitely taking its toll day by day.

**Fast forward through the commute and the settling in to the conference.**

So far, pretty smooth day. My presentation went well and was well received. Now, I'm getting the 10:30 snooze-a-roo's. Ugh. I hate that. I can hardly keep my eyes open. Maybe some bubbles or some juice will help. It is warm in here. It's killing me!! Begin pinching of the arms and the biting of the inside of the cheek. Yes. It usually works. Now onward and upward through the remainder of the morning.

Finally--the lunch break. C'est incroyable! Is someone who is not a vegetarian really bitching about not having a vegetarian lunch?? I know they took orders ahead of time from everyone, they should have thought about it then. Ahhh, well, who cares. I'm just happy to be up and walking around and stretching my legs for a few minutes. The presentations were good, but this is a cramped, underground, hot little room, I feel like I'm about to go into hibernation here. I mean, I can *only* get naked...that would not be good for any of us...put on a sweater if you're cold or go do some jumping jacks in the hallway or something. Sheesh.

Anyway, looks like the team activity will not constitute anything like a trust fall or Twister, so I'm pretty happy about that. Looks like my boss is leaving unexpectedly. Wonder what's up.

**Move forward through a team building activity and then the afternoon break.**

Here comes the Admin. Huh--wonder what's up. Wow. My boss needs me back to the office. As I walk out to the car I start speculating. Wonder what it is. All the reports are turned in and current. The budget is in. The travel reports are done. There are no outstandings on the Financial year end reports, or month end Financial reports. Well, I guess I will know soon enough.

As I get into the turn lane to go down the street back to my place of employ, I think to myself "Maybe I'm getting the pink slip." In fact, I call my husband to tell him what's up and that I'm heading back to work and don't know if there's been some last minute request for data and/or reporting and so I might be late coming home that night. As a last minute quip, I say "Who knows, maybe I'm getting fired." And I laugh. Oh yes...I laugh.

I pull into the parking lot, park my car and head in and up to our room and to my boss's office. She ushers me in, asks me to close the door, pushes a box of Kleenex my way, and looks really worried. Now, she's a strong woman and an excellent leader, but are her eyes glistening?? What is going on? She tells me she has some unexpected news and to steel myself for it. Now I'm crazy curious. She lowers the boom and I find out that I'm right! I'm getting let go. I'm out of a job. After closer to 15 than to 10 years, I'm out the a few weeks that is--once I've cleaned everything up and trained everyone who needs training on how to do what I do.

Now she's a thoughtful woman and she's worried about my feelings, but strangely enough, I'm not upset. I mean I can't go up against this type of a machine. I don't even want to. I've been looking for a change, so "Surprise!!" here you go. Be careful what you wish for.

So now, in a tidy little way, I'm given an out. But let's be's still a shock.

She gives me the next day off. They are announcing everything tomorrow. I know it's done to spare my feelings and to help me fend off the plethora of commentaries and questions that will no doubt come my way over the next few days and weeks. I'm happy to take the day. I'm happy not to be in the middle of the awkwardness...and most of all...I'm happy to stay at home and roll all of this over and over and over again in my mind. What do I do now? It's not like they give you a guide or an owner's manual to this next phase of your life. I guess we'll see what happens. I don't know what is waiting or how it will go but I'm excited about some time off at home. That much I do know for sure, for sure.

***Addendum clarification per the Beloved:
I was laid off with the bulk of the department due to budget cuts, it was not a performance issue. I thought it was obvious...because I'm awesome possum like that... ;)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"The Whole World is Set on Fire"--My Need for Great Romantic Tragedy

Daniel Day-Lewis does an absolutely A-May-zing job.
Madeleine Stowe is incredible as well.
Overall, just an outstanding film that stands the tests of time.

I'm watching the end of The Last of the Mohicans for the second, and in a few minutes potentially the third, time...ok...a fourth...(by the time I get this typed up on my iPhone with my thumbs as I lay here in bed trying to find sleep.)

Why? You might ask. And my reply would be "Because it is one of the greatest tragic endings of all time. And if you know me or if you have read anything I have written you know still waters run deep within me and that my soul feels more than my brain can find words for.

A father running for his son, a brother for his brother and a sister for her sister and none of them with the hoped for end result. Silence, howling and sadness ensue.

The music, the beauty, the wildness, the humanity, the grand tragedy of young life lost, innocence removed and sacrificed and the pain of knowledge gained, the suddenness of loss and death, vengeance and justice, and yet the lingering hope for eternity and peace remains. There is a melancholic air that permeates the movie in it's entirety and it all conspires together to break your heart and to bring you to weeping for love undiminished and for justice given though too late to prevent loss.

Through the ages men and women have come and gone. Discoverers, explorers, makers of civilizations, slaves and freemen. It is a true cycle that humans keep without fail. Trial, perseverance, building and pushing through the struggle only to be replaced and perhaps eventually destroyed, only for the cycle of freedom and independence to build again and again and again.

The beauty of the earth is eternal and I could see myself as a frontiersman's woman. I could see living in the forest or in a clearing, tending to my own business and keeping quiet company. Carving a life out of the land with my hands and hard work.

No doubt I romanticize it to a significant degree and think that perhaps my life would need it's own soundtrack and film crew...but...I can see why people came here in the beginning. I can see why they braved the unknown and the wilds. I can see their need to not be owned--or at least to have the hope to not be owned. It was a different time and a very different place.

Maj. Heyward:
And who empowered these colonials to pass judgment on England's policies, and to come and go without so much as a "by your leave"?

Cora Munro:
They do not live their lives "by your leave"! They hack it out of the wilderness with their own two hands, burying their children along the way!

With the world as it is, balanced on the edge of a knife, I find myself often wondering if we will end up wide-eyed and surprised, running for our lives through the forest or into the mountains. Perhaps that seems or feels drastic but then Rome burned while Nero fiddled--so you never do know.

In contemplating the great American frontier, and in turn the Wild West I have a parting tale from my own archives of experience...

Jeremiah Johnson

When I was a younger woman of 28 or 29 I was very actively engaged in the Daughters of Utah Pioneers organization and attended a variety of events over the course of several years. At several of these events I met an older man, his wife and adult daughter. This man had to have been in his mid to late 60's at the time. He had a great white head of hair and a huge white beard, twinkling blue eyes and a ready smile and dressed in a Western cowboy way, down to the black hat. In appearance he reminded me a little of my dad.He was engaging, interesting and charming and had led a unique life full of interesting stories of a time gone by. I've always had a soft spot for a man with a big full beard and engaging ways. ;)

This older man, who was not my husband, unexpectedly and quite surprisingly, professed his respect and love for me, telling me that if it had been in a different time and in a different place that he would have followed me into the sun, to the end of the world, to the end of days. I remember blinking with my smile in place and thinking "Wait a minute--what?? Did he just...wait...he...oh my...he did!" Yes---I was stunned.

I was shockingly surprised, but touched by his gentle and desperate sincerity. I knew he meant no harm, nor any disrespect. I thought perhaps he felt twilight was upon him and was clutching with desperation to youth and there I stood--youth. In that moment, I definitely felt that the old West and frontiersman-way were still alive and well, right there in front of me.

I mention the story because he was a mountain man and he believed his own words. No doubt he would have wanted to call me his woman if the culture, time period and situation had been right. Watching movies about the frontier, the life, the beauty and the violence, on occasion remind me back to him, though not always. This is not because the feelings were mutual--they definitely were it possible to emphasize that enough??--but it was definitely an unexpected and very unique life experience at the time.

Anyway--appropriately so, nothing came of it and I never did see him again at any events after that. My mom thinks perhaps he realized he had gone too far, and said too much. I think she may be right. He was not a man to be inappropriate and perhaps his feelings on life got the better of him that day. Who could say?

Anyway--so there you have it. My up close and personal experience with Jeremiah Johnson or Josey Wales, as you please.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ahhhh Damage...

1976 Ballerina Barbie
Apparently this one is worth $8000 USD
She comes with a ballerina outfit and ballerina shoes and beautiful smooth blond hair.

This one is not mine.
Mine has no clothes, the shoes are in a landfill in Brazil somewhere, she has some seriously jacked up, matted hair that has been cut.
She is in a box somewhere...but not the original box she came in...probably a shoe box.

She is not worth $8000 USD...
She is not "Gently Used."
But she was well loved...and still has half her face and her crown. :)

I have a story to tell today--brought on by a miscellaneous post that a nephew put on his Facebook asking for definitions or other words for "Damage."

His request brought to mind an old sad tale of a childhood mistake that was made long, long ago.

What is damage?

...I will tell you...

Damage =

The face on your Barbie doll when you are 8 years old, and you realize she's really dirty (because you play with her **a lot**--as in every single day), and you take a cotton ball with acetone on it, because you've seen you mom clean off her fingernail polish with it, so it should work, right?

...And you accidentally wipe half of Barbie's face off and now she looks like she's been through a tragic accident.

There is no coming back from this mistake.

The paint is gone. Dissolved in the acetone on that little cotton ball clutched between your fingertips. And as you sit cross legged in the sunshine on the wooden floor in your bedroom, your little mouth is a perfect "O" because you're not really sure exactly what just happened, but you know it is bad.

Yeah...that can equate with "damage."

Feelings of Conflict Much??...Prepare's a spoiler on how human a being can feel from one microsecond to the next...

May10, 2010

Happy Mother's Day to all of you wonderful, beautiful, talented, loving, and persevering mom's! You do a tremendous and important---the MOST important---job there is in the world to do---being a mom. You change futures and societies through your actions. Thank you for all of the wonderful, and often unsung, work you do!! :)

Some days I don't feel cheerful or very I make myself be it...I force it---most of the time it works out that I'm able to change my mood and then I'm my genuine happy self and am glad for it. Sometimes I don't want to force it though, and I feel neutral and tired and I just don't care.

Today is one of the latter days. But I'm going to force it anyway. It's Mother's Day and it should be happy and good for the mom's.

It's my least favorite holiday---I'd rather it be Columbus Day or National Celebrate Lined Paper Day---not because of my circumstance, but because everybody looks at me with pity eyes and relief eyes that they are not me, and how can I possibly function not being a mother?

They say awkward things meant to comfort, but it doesn't, it's just awkward, and then I end up comforting them for feeling bad about me, saying "Its OK." with a small smile. And then they walk away happier for having their own life instead of mine and I stand uncomforted, awkward and continuing to march along my trail alone in my thoughts and feelings with my empty womb and childless arms.

In this minute I am sad. In this 15 seconds, I hate them all just a little bit and I feel guilty about it, because I love them all dearly and really do think they are wonderful and beautiful, gifted and talented, delightful and loving, and I don't know what I would do without them---but even so, it doesn't change how I feel in these 15 seconds of selfish desperation for what I want so badly and feel like I will never have...and I still feel bad about here I stand in silence and smiles, hoping but not any way whatsoever.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Other Humans on the Planet...

Today I had a shocking realization. Many teens do not know what being an "example" really means. In making my rotation to the different kids during homework time in our afterschool program I had the following retort to a posed question:

"What do you mean? What is a "good example"? How do I be that?"

This was a response to my question "Are you a good example to your siblings?" from one of my rough and tumble yet sweet 15 year olds.

There was a sincere look in the eye and a question on how to be those words. It was a one-on-one conversation at their desk that started with the straight "F's" they are getting and what can we do between now and the end of the school year to help get them up.

I'm a program manager for an afterschool program at a local inner-city junior high. Which means I get in everybody's business about behavior and grades and do a lot of tutoring as well as run afterschool activities.

At first I thought the kid was joking as a means of deflecting the question, but the look, the sincerity and the follow-up conversation confirmed to me what I could not believe to be true---being a good example was not a concept that this child was familiar with.

Reflecting back on it, how is it possible that children are growing up without knowing what a good example is? How can they be expected to make good decisions or to follow good role-models if they don't know the difference between right and wrong, between responsibility and irresponsibility for your own behaviors and actions or the simplest concept of choosing the right over the wrong?

This teen is not a bad kid. There are no learning disabilities. He is actually a bright young man. What is missing is a family culture of learning and self improvement, of discipline, and of engaging conversation about goals and futures and dreams and desires. This child has that look that tells you there has been too much yelling, too much mocking, too much anger, too much frustration, too much failure and definitely not enough hope.

When he said, "What is a good example? How do I be that?" I took the opportunity to talk about family and siblings and asked him "What is something good that you can show your little brother how to do?" After pausing to think, he said, very tentatively "Show him how to keep his room clean?" to which I replied with a big smile "YES! Absolutely! Showing someone how to work, how to keep something looking nice is very definitely part of being a good example."

My heart is aching for these children. They need so much, but you can't save all of them. It is not feasible no matter how much I would like to. So I just do my best, to make a difference every day with the ones who can absorb what I have to give--whether it is love, kindness, peace, tutoring or just a friendly smile.

Thoughts of which lead me right into the next set of thoughts, those being on God and the state of humankind...

Some people don't believe in God because there is such sadness, tragedy and wickedness in the world.

I don't think that testifies of a world---a universe---without God.

I think it merely shows that life is human and mortal and tragic, but that we have the capacity to improve it--to show the God-like nature we have within us to do great acts of service, to lose ourselves in selflessness towards our fellow human beings, to enlarge our abilities to love others that are less fotunate than ourselves.

No matter our own problems, there is always someone who is, or who has been, or who will be, whose life will be infinitely more tragic or more poorly off than our own. If instead of focusing on our own problems, and instead focusing on the life of another, even for a few moments, perspective can be regained.

If every one of us would rise to the occasion--there would be no poverty, or sadness, or abuse, or despair. But humans being the creatures that they are, this expectation is unlikely to be met across the board.

So, because of this, though I know it is not possible to save all of the humans on the planet through my actions, I just try to love and serve the ones that are within my small reach. I cannot look into the eyes of despair and not have my heart increase in love and desire to give this individual at least a moment of joy, or love, or peace. How can I have such an abundance of love and friendships and then not give it where it is not expected but most greatly required?

Love others--and be God's hands and eyes and ears and do good unto your fellow humans.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

At Another Spot...Namely the Gutter...

I have been meaning to read "The Mayor of Casterbridge" by Thomas Hardy since my friend, Heather, recommended it to me a couple of months back. I have read Tess of the D'Urbervilles, also by Hardy, and this new story seemed to be another of great tragic proportions.

Hardy has a knack for writing of the tragic nature of man. He writes of despair, despondency, innocence wronged and slighted. He writes of selfishness and depravity, ruthlessness and forgiveness in the sight of great wrongs. He does an excellent job of meeting out the play-by-play of each human being and it is done in such a way that you would rage and rail against those who sorely use the innocent and despise and feel sadly for the villain and his condition in all of his wickedness.

A few years back, my mother gave me an A&E set of Old English Biddie Movies, as my beloved likes to call them. In the collection was the film version of "The Mayor of Casterbridge." I don't know why I hadn't watched it before, but no matter, because I watched it tonight. Wow. What an outstanding rendition of what is undoubtedly a most excellent piece of literature. Where I wanted to read it before, I can hardly stand to wait to get it now!

The film version was deeply engaging and sucked me right into the storyline of one man's life of choices and its impact on all of those around him. It's multiple hours long, not sure how many, but I was up until 4:30 a.m. because I couldn't pause it and walk away from it.

The story is explicit in its portrayal of this mortal coil and the tragic human failings that no doubt we have all experienced, though hopefully not to this degree. To give you a brief picture into the tale, it starts out with a young man, his wife and baby trudging through the countryside. At one point, in a fit of drunken idiocy, the man sells his wife and baby daughter to the highest bidder (being a sailor) for pennies. When he sobers he comes to the realization of what he has done, swears to God on the Holy Bible not to drink for the next 21 years, during which time he prospers exceedingly and then along comes the wife and daughter lost so long ago, and the story ensues from that point.

The tragedy of poorly made choices at every possible turn and the bitterness of a self-interested life and the downfall that all of these things colluded to create is movingly performed by Ciaran Hinds as Michael Henchard--the Mayor of Casterbridge. On the other hand there was the perseverance and beauty of stoically bearing your burdens and the burdens placed upon you by the choices of others and by maintaining kindness in your heart and a loving, persevering attitude. Again, outstanding performances by Jodhi May as Elizabeth-Jane and by James Purefoy as Donald Farfrae are absolutely stellar.

So as not to ruin it, should you choose to view it (which I definitely recommend) let me say only this, that the movie was absorbing through to the very end---where I wept many tragedy-touched tears. It is one of the most moving endings to a film I've ever seen. What a tear jerker--it was great.

So, go get a beverage of choice, pop some popcorn, maybe even some chocolate (it's several hours after all), grab a tissue or two, and settle in for an absolutely engaging and wonderful story of tragedy and redemption.

Two thumbs up, and two toes...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Leather and Leopards

Los Escorpiones...aka The Scorpions: Francis, Rudolf, Klaus, Herman & Matthias
If you don't know who they are...then must just be a little kid...


I know what this looks like...actually I know exactly what it looks like. It looks like a leather train wreck with a bunch of hair from Germany from the 80's...with a precious leopard beret to top it all off...and it's fabulous. I mean--you've gotta have some awesome confidence to carry off this look, with that look on your face and have people still take you seriously enough to give your record company money for your music.

I could not possibly pass up posting this picture.

A: I was on a Scorpion's "Best of" nostalgic kick this last week. I don't know---I just LOVE "Still Loving You" and "No One Like You" I can listen to it over and over again--loud--and singing at the very tippy top of my lungs every precious word... it's the Jersey rocker-style girl deep down inside. I busted the Bon Jovi out as well...but I don't want to talk about it. I have trouble reconciling it with my Black Flag, Bad Brains, Clash, Sex Pistols, Violent Femmes and Misfits side from my teenage wunder-years.


B: I thought..."Oh, I'm going to find a Scorpion's picture and put it on Facebook, just for fun." and I found this gem. All leather. All 80's. All the time.

C: You wouldn't usually expect men to rock a beret...let alone a leopard beret...but if you think you can...and you do...then you can. I'd like to encourage any of you men out there in the great ether void to consider it. Think you've got an inner rocker? If you've got that air guitar down---it might be time to start dressing the part. Just don't use the sock-stuffing doesn't really work and it grosses the chicks out and you look like an idiot.

So there you have it. Confession #5005 from Tracy's closet of purported musical indiscretions and misdemeanors. Well, allegedly anyway-- by people who don't know any better than to only like one style of music...

But seriously...if you've never driven 80 mph down the road practically screaming "Still Loving You" just haven't really lived now, have you?