Wednesday, December 29, 2010
I don't know why this popped into my head this afternoon but it did.
Where do I begin...
Many years ago, I didn't like Guns & Roses. I hadn't even heard their music but I thought they were crude idiots.
My opinion of the day came about when I was with my boyfriend at the bank, I think. The year must have been the tail end of 1988. Some kid was in front of us with a jean jacket on with a scene on the back of it from one of their albums. It was crude and offensive. After googling it, I find that it was the uncensored cover for Appetite of Destruction. I don't recommend looking it up, do so at your own risk.
Anyway--this was before I had heard any of their music and at the time I was not so much into the Big Hair Metal Bands...not that I ever was "in" to them, so much as really liked some of them...but they weren't my thing...I was more of a punk, retro kinda kid. Anyway it doesn't matter.
This afternoon, as I drove home from work, "Welcome to the Jungle" came up on the ole' iPod playlist (because through the years I have come to enjoy a fair amount of their catalog), and as my mind wandered and I waited at a stop light, I remembered that several years after the less than savory encounter I had with the album cover, that I did come to appreciate Guns & Roses and what they had to offer the angry inner child.
As Slash...slashed away...at his guitar, and Duff thumped away on his bass, and the drummer whose name I still don't know did his thing, and that skinny imp Axl crooned, I remembered that A: I had a very confusing dream in which Axl Rose played a major part, when I was 21; and B: that I had a very brief brush with drunken fame when I met Duff at the Roxy in Los Angeles one balmy summer night.
As I daydreamed away, I reflected back on Axl Rose's ridiculous career and how he has completely careened off track into some kind of mania and how he did not fade away gracefully whatsoever...which brings me to my dream.
I don't remember all of it, but it's pretty close to 20 years ago at this point so the details have been lost. I do remember he was dressed like he was in the video for Sweet Child of Mine, and we were in a most fabulous lip-locked embrace and ooooo... was he a charmer. I woke up confused, because A: I didn't really care about G&R at that point in time and B: I knew that Axl was a very, very naughty man...probably more than naughty and straight into debauched...given that I was a pretty straight laced kinda kid at the time...albeit I did love the make out...I didn't know where this dream was coming from.
I proceeded to daydream into my meeting with Duff. I'm with my cousin, the girlfriend of the Mob House Rocks singer, at the Roxy in Los Angeles in the summer of 1992, and we are in some dimly lit, fairly fetid back stage area, and Duff is there sitting in a big chair, pushed against the curtains, in the semi dark, in a sunglassed, slouched, drunken, debauched state with two chicks on his lap. We say "Hello" and he nods his acknowledgment of our presence in his kingdom and that was my brush with G&R fame.
I got further than many, but not as far as some. There was no signing of the bum or boobies, to my great relief...especially since I'm a pen and paper kinda gal anyway.
Anyway...there is no point to the post...it's just a twisted little story from my twisted little life...in fact it's possible that I have reminisced about this previously...but long enough ago that I'm not digging around for it. ;)
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
I love the Christmas Tree which if you really trace it back, ends up as some kind of a Pagan fertility symbol with people rolling around underneath it at some point doing the happy horizontal and has nothing to do with Baby Jesus whatsoever...either that or it ends up with many and varied youths dancing around it in wild abandon right before they set it on fire. This does not prevent me from putting a nice tree up overloaded with lights and ornaments with a little happy village set up underneath it...though we don't set it on fire at any point in time.
I love the whole Santa thing and the reindeer and Frosty the Snowman. I love the mistletoe (with its kissing and berry picking implications) and the songs and the parties and the cookies and the craziness and everything that goes along with it.
More-so though, I enjoy the melancholy of it all.
I think there is the most beautiful melancholy to the whole holiday. Part of the melancholy comes from the people who try so hard to make the Norman Rockwell Christmas vignette in their own lives, some succeeding and some failing, and part of the melancholy comes from the depth of sorrow that so many suffer from because of loss and pain. Part of the melancholy comes from Christmas past, from history and memories that have been and are no more. Part of the melancholy is in the extreme peace and joy that can be felt and the let down, because there is always a let down, ex post facto, when we all return to our non-twinkled lives and our cold January routines. Yes, I can be joyful and cheery and red and white and green and Santa and Rudolph and Frosty...but that's not what makes it for me...that part is fun and definitely a factor...but it's not "It."
What makes it for me is the beauty, the moments that tear your heart out of your soul because you feel ancient and you know there is a God and if you listen and are still you can hear the angels singing. They are the moments that you are listening to something so beautiful that you are moved beyond yourself and that moment spins you out into the universe and you know that you are the tiniest of creatures and that there is so much more than just you spinning across the universe on this little blue and green planet...you somehow know that this is not all there is.
They are the moments when you perform or witness a kindness, or a service, of one human being to another. They are the moments when you see the difference one action can make in the life of another.
Do I believe in God?--yes I do. I'm not going to get into the dynamics of my faith and my hope because simply broken down that's all it is...I believe in God and to me, He is a God who knows me by my name and by my face and He loves me...He sees me and when I petition Him he hears me.
My celebration is in the joy of eternity, of God, of humanity, of this Earth. My celebration is in the birth of Jesus Christ, who as the son of God and man humanized himself to live here amongst us, to have the human experience, who loved and taught, and sacrificed himself to the hands of common sinners and was subjected to the whims of the mortals, both good and wicked. My celebration is in the gift His life was to humankind.
As an addendum--If you do not believe the same, that's o.k. with me, that's your choice and may your life be blessed with peace and joy however you may choose to find it. I have enough troubles of my own without borrowing them by fussing over who believes what and how. Be merry on your way. :)
I told my Beloved that the melancholy that Christmas brings to me is an ancient ache...a longing for something I can't quite pinpoint without becoming evasive as I am unable to quite get a grasp on the words for what I'm feeling and he replied "Well...it's an ancient holiday with ancient traditions. You are tapping in to the power that that holds." He's right. Everything about Christmas is ancient and well before my time. Everything about Christmas has gradually become combined. Pagans and Christians, Believers and Non-Believers, varied cultural traditions have descended down to us as one big ball of Christmas that we all rush around, chasing, chasing and trying to catch.
I decided this year that I would not chase the ball. I was going to wait for it to come back around to me. Just me...standing still...waiting to be overcome. I was going to let it crash into me, tumble over me, envelop me, transcend me and drown me in its meaning and in its tradition.
So this is what I have done. I waited for it and it came and it crushed me in its overwhelming embrace and I felt overcome by the power of it all and subdued by peace and tranquility as I lost myself in the meaning of it all. I released my inner Pagan Girl and my Christ-believing Woman and they did dance and frolic in delight.
I thought I had lost Christmas as my favorite holiday. It had become so embroiled in expectation and busy-ness and rushing here and there and back again...but this time around, it came back to me in ways unexpected, and while the time for the tree and the lights is waning, and while I am not rushing next year's Christmas back around to me, I am refreshed and rejuvenated and will be ready with open arms when it comes back around again.
Merry Christmas to you. I hope your season was bright and brought you joy.
Much love and peace be upon you as you head into the new year...
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
State Farm Dark Side
"Hey Dark Side, get your feet off the car."
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Here is some additional history on this tasty dish:
Wikipedia: Clam Chowder
My husband is an excellent cook. He has several specialties, one of which is New England Clam Chowder. He is from the great and mountainous West...but was back East once, when we were first married. I don't know how it is that he has done it, but, some of the best chowder I have ever had has come directly from his expertise.
We enjoyed some of this fantastic manna-like fare last night and even though I was full I went back for another bowl, and then another bite...or maybe three.
Here is the recipe:
Beloved's New England Clam Chowder
2 8 oz. cans Minced Clams, drained (though we use 3 because we love the clam.)
2 C. Onions, finely chopped
2 C. Celery, finely diced
4 C. Potatoes, peeled and diced (on the smaller side)
3/4 C. Butter
3/4 C. Flour
1 Qt. Half and Half Cream
2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Sugar
Black Cracked Pepper to taste
Drain the clams and pour over vegetables in medium saucepan. Add water to barely cover. Simmer covered over medium heat until potatoes are tender (about 20 minutes.)
In the Interim:
Melt butter, add flour. You are making a roux. Blend and cook 1-2 minutes. Using a wire whisk, add cream and cook, stirring until smooth and thick. Do not cook on too high a heat, you do not want to scorch the cream.
Add un-drained vegetables and clam mixture and heat thoroughly. Season with salt, pepper and sugar. You may want to add additional salt depending on your personal taste (we do.)
Enjoy it with Oyster Crackers or some nice crusty bread and butter.
Happy Eating! :D
Last night I dreamt I was running away from a freight train that was crashing towards me. Despite the giant yellow and red engines that were buckling and sliding my way, I miraculously escaped out of a giant gym right into a park where a river was raging fast and hard and rising towards where I stood.
I sat down in a large, brown leather armchair close to the river's edge, fascinated by it's violence, beauty and power. I knew I needed to get away, get to safety, and I puzzled over why I was sitting and not running. It was weighted to stand.
The water continued to rise and I broke free from my invisible bonds as the river came for me and I jumped up and grabbed my things as it lapped at my heels and then ankles as I ran away. Little Calvin (my sister's 3 year old) was suddenly there and I told him "Grab my pocket, let's go!" (if my hands are full, sometimes I tell him to hold my skirt or my pocket until I can free up my hands.)
(It is curious that I said this. Under real circumstances I would have picked him up and run, but then this was a dream and not real.)
We got away and up to dry land. We stood in a copse of summer green trees and long grass. Fields and trees and wild greenery overgrowing old fences and rocks stood near and also across the river and in a distance. The sunlight came from everywhere and nowhere. The sky was not blue but whitish-gray.
All of the sudden the river was as still as a lake, it did not move. In the shadow of the great trees that leaned over it, It was black and the wind rippled it's surface. I saw leaves drop from the trees and gently float on its surface.
Then I noticed the noise and it was getting closer. I heard a roaring like screeching branches against a window--magnified--or like the wheels of a freight train about to jump the track. And I could see the water rushing in a roiling, thick, muddy flood heading straight my way. It was crashing down the main way, too fast to escape. It hit the bend and the front wave exploded upwards with a thudding crash that shook the ground, and around the curve it raced pushing the clean water ahead of it.
I woke up with a start.
Anxiety much? I was happy to wake up. Sheesh.
No really...I really do...except when it malfunctions...and then...it's true I am a mental tantrum thrower.
I don't actually throw things though I would like to...I just get SUPER pissed. It's ridiculous and devoid of rationale and reason to get so irked and overly emotional about it, but really...How dare it inconvenience me, dammit...I have plans...and they did not include a reboot, or a restore, or a new launch, or blah-whatever-blah. I also hate updates. They are so cumbersome and everything ends up changed and you have to re-learn it all, and most of the time I don't feel like I have the time to tinker so then I'm irked and trying to FITFO before I really get into a time crunch. (If you don't know what FITFO is, you'll need to Figure It The...Out on your own...go insert your own words in the remaining slots...and shame on you if you pick the wrong ones. ;)
I know...it's a total whine-fest...I need some cheese and crackers to go along with it.
Anyway, this is not the year for me when it comes to technical devices.
My beautiful widescreen monitor fizzled out and due to budget constraints (we're all suffering from them, aren't we?) I was sans my computer for an achingly long period of time.
As you may also be aware from a previous post, my external hard drive bricked...that was a drama. I'm still in counseling for it... just kidding... not really but I probably could have been committed at the time. I am still recovering from it and get the occasional pang of sadness and regret when I think about all of the lost and beloved data...but so much for that, there's nothing to do about it now.
So, next, my PC at work has it's mostly good days but some pretty crappy ones too. Sometimes it requires a triple or quadruple reboot just to get the internet to hook up and get moving in the morning. Usually on mornings when there is no time for mollycoddling. It's at least once every week or two which is mostly a hassle more than anything else.
Then---oh yes---then there is tonight. My iPod and I have a happy and well tended relationship. I take good care of it and it plays all of my favorites and varied playlists to my heart's pure content. Well, I synched it up and that went well enough...but...for some reason the all-controlling-Apple-in-the-sky has a hard time letting you own your own music and so a work around is in order. While performing an additional synch of a few new discs that I ripped I noticed that the iPod stopped working and I had a frightening message pop up on the computer screen indicating that my iPod was not being recognized and the a Restore needed to be performed.
Now...so far I have 5,264 songs and who knows how many playlists that would need to be restored. I have no confidence...EVER...that when I synch that it's going to work out. To me, it always feels like a crap-shoot as to whether it will work the way it's suppose to. It is definitely a leap of faith. So, after performing some research, I took the leap and followed the directions of the wise and woolly who have gone through similar experiences and so far we are 25 minutes into it and at song 3,338. This better work or else...or else...or else I'm gonna be sitting here in a snit at 2:30 a.m.
As a side note...while synching up, because it's taking awhile, I remembered that there was suppose to be a rare lunar eclipse this morning from 1:30-1:53 a.m. So I thought to myself "Self--perhaps some fresh air might be in order, and if nothing else a lunar eclipse would be a cool way to spend your minutes while you wait."
And so I went outside and it felt fantastic. It was nice to get some fresh air and it was cool and brisk. I noticed that everything was still wet from an earlier rain, and then as I looked up and saw no moon and no stars I realized that it was snowing...soooooo...no lunar eclipse for me. But, the silence was golden and the quiet neighborhood was...well...quiet. I felt better and my head cleared.
Now...after that and typing up my diatribe, I'm at song #4,381...not too many more to go...and then it's "Arrivaderci, amigos and amigas!" because this is one tired chica.
**Good news...everything worked out. :D
Friday, December 17, 2010
The Fantabulous Speed Racer
Because I haven't posted for awhile...not that I haven't had thoughts and written things, because I have...but...on Facebook a couple of weeks back the request went round to post your favorite cartoon from your childhood.
So, being the lemming that I sometimes am, I pondered and thought and chose Speed Racer.
I LOVED Speed Racer.
LOVED him with his dashing blue shirt and snappy white pants and his red racing scarf around his neck and his racing gloves and his cool helmet, and his crazy monkey. I was crazy about Speed and his Japanimation blue eyes and perky tiny nose and how suave and debonair he was, though at that time I didn't know those words, but as a little girl I definitely knew their effect and the charm worked me over.
Fast car + cute boy = the formula for winning little girl hearts through the ages...
and big girl hearts too... ;)
I did NOT love his girlfriend Trixie though...she was just waaaaayyyyy too whiny.
Couldn't she see how fabulous Speed was and couldn't she just shut it and enjoy the ride?? Besides, my mom always told us not to whine, so if it wasn't appreciated in me, why would I appreciate it in others?
So I looked for a Speed Racer pic and this one made me laugh.
It made me laugh because this is how I feel when I'm driving...often.
Anyway, just a little note.
Hope your life is awesome and that Christmas cheer is yours.
I'm working on it. ;)