December 31, 2015

TED Posting

Ted and Ted-x and Ted-ed are regulars on my Facebook timeline. So much Ted-x and so little time!

This morning the title of one of the posts was

"If you could live another life,
who would you be and what would you be doing?"

Photo by Toni Tona
Interesting to think about. First, I wouldn't want to give up my life now BUT I think if I could split myself in two, the other me would love a solo life in the woods with little cabin with huge windows facing the south, an art studio with huge windows facing the north. There would be a nice size mountain lake that I can gaze on when I lay in bed in the morning and see from the porch as I read in the evenings.

Now and then the two Me's would get together and catch up or switch places. 

So, imagine that you put your 2015 You-head on the pillow tonight and wake up a new you. Who would you be and what would you be doing?



 

Sage Blessings


Things are still a little chaotic, though this morning is temporarily calm.

I want to wish you all a Happy New Year and remind us all that today is a good day to release  negative energies and promise ourselves to climb out of the valley of habitual reactions.

Is your sage ready to welcome the new year and close the door on 2015?

December 29, 2015

Crazyiness

First, can I just say...I miss you all.

The real run starts today. All the grandchildren will be here and my son and his wife from SoCal.
My husband is picking my parents up and bringing them. We will have a wonderful family time of loving chaos. My favorite time of the year.

The kids will teach us a couple of new games, which I may or may not do well. The 5 Second Rule game is outlawed in my house! That starter starts ticking and my brain goes completely empty, it's more efficient than meditation at clearing the mind!

Then there will be the midnight cookie dough raids.

Rest easy knowing that Michael's question of the month with be rumbling around in my head and I will answer by the 4th.

While thinking about resolutions, it brings to mind the year coming to an end. The year 2015 will go down in the memory book as a hard one though it was filled with many blessings, too. My dad was extremely ill and hospitalized. Scary because he has been the one steadfast person in my life. He bounced back like the champion he is. I learned some BIG life lessons this year.

Some dear friends had it even rougher.

There were some incredible blessings and today is going to be one of them! Can't wait to get it started.

What impact did 2015 have on you? Was it mostly good? Did you feel like you were climbing a steep hill most of the year or barely clinging to a vine? Maybe you were joyfully swinging on the vine or singing "the hills are alive...." on a mountain top?

Big changes? Little changes? Life lessons?

 

December 24, 2015

Only Burnt Six

Cookie day was great. We made a batch of chocolate chip of which six big ones got a little crisp. I called them biscotti and am enjoying one with my coffee.

We also made several dozen sugar cookies. Mistakenly, the tubes of decorator frosting was gel instead of frosting. Now, I know some of you are rolling your eyes because I didn't make my own frosting....get over it!

The cookies were still glorious. The girls, while heavily leaning towards designing the cookies with Supernatural, Dr. Who and Sherlock themes, stayed with Christmas designs.

Even 18 month old Brinley helped. JP and Alaina helped Brinley help which helped me. Only those of you with experience with an active and adventurous 18 month old will truly understand how much helping that entails!

Yes, her hair is blue and it is gorgeous!

We also had Benny, JP's little miniature Australian Shepherd. Benny is a cutie pie. He weighs just a little over Brinley and is the softest animal I have ever cuddled.  He and Rex played joyfully and wagging tails knocked ornaments off the tree. Happens all the time with Rex, just double the bouncing ornaments! Nothing broken but lots of laughing.

Alaina showed us some Hip Hop moves and Brinley joined in. We watched silly videos and talked about Jensen Ackles (yes, JP is in love hence the "Not Moose" t-shirt!). Ackles plays Dean in Supernatural. I would explain Supernatural to you but as JP states it, "I would need a Power Point Presentation to catch you up!"  I choose to Netflix 10 seasons with her and forego the professional presentation. I'm hooked.

We danced some more, we talked about a couple of mean girls at school, shared our excitement about the cousins coming up from SoCal.

It was a good day; a four Naproxen day, but a good day.

Little houses are for the fairies...it gets cold around here.



"The minstrels played their Christmas tune
To-night beneath my cottage eaves;
While smitten by a lofty moon,
The encircling laurels thick with leaves,
Gave back a rich and dazzling sheen,
That overpowered their natural green.

Through hill and valley every breeze
Had sunk to rest with folded wings:
Keen was the air, but could not freeze
Nor check the music of the strings;
So stout and hardy were the band
That scraped the chords with strenuous hand.

And who but listened?--till was paid
Respect to every inmate's claim,
The greeting given, the music played
In honor of each household name,
Duly pronounced with lusty call,
And a merry Christmas wished to all."
William Wordsworth


 From my house to yours, Merry Christmas.

December 23, 2015

December 22, 2015

Safe!

......and she slide's into home....shopping done and no one got hurt...well, there was that man that tried to get my parking spot but I used the angry post-menopausal woman face on him.

Yup. Shopping....absolutely done.  Christmas shopping is a double Xanax event for me.

Decorating...done.

Next, wrapping! Wrapping is fun.

At least I get to listen to my own music and not (as one of my granddaughter's describes it) "elevator Christmas music".Christmas music should be fun (the good kind, not the calm-the-masses kind).

Christmas Baking.  True confession. I'm not (and have been scolded for it) a cookie-baking-with-the-grandchildren type of Nana but I'm thinking I might give it a try tomorrow. Even picked up some baking soda and baking powder because what I have in cabinet is about 15 years old. Still need brown sugar and a bottle of bourbon (bourbon balls, not for imbibing with the grandkids!)

I'm ready for Christmas and it's only the 22nd! This is a record for me!

....or I'm forgetting something really big. Can't find my list.



What is your favorite part of Christmas, Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, Kwanza or Yule?  What do you hope Santa brings you?

(disclaimer: Leaving out of any winter holiday or celebration was not intentional.)





December 21, 2015

Dancing is Contagious

The baby and I had a great day. We made juice and oatmeal for breakfast. We had company late morning. Caught up on happenings.

We put some cd's in and did a little dancing until Brinley was completely worn out (thank God she got worn out because I beat her to Done-in-ville by 5 minutes.

She took a nap, I wrapped some gifts.

We played this afternoon and watched Mickey Mouse and the gang help Goofy find a shoe.

Then I changed the channel to Ellen Degeneres. It was probably a quarter of the way through the show.  Just as they cut to commercial they played a small (20 seconds tops) snippet of Matt Damen and two other people doing the Nay Nay dance.

Brinley immediately begin dancing and that quick, it's done. She isn't using a lot of words but she does get herself understood. She wanted to do the Nay Nay dance. I rewound it. We danced the 20 seconds. We did it again, and again, and again and again. Fourteen times! (by the way, Matt Damen can move!)

We had to repeat the whole thing later in the show and that clip was a bit longer. Didn't matter. We still had to do it over and over.

Brinley has a couple of phrases in her repertoire, She can say, "I did it!" "Going bye-bye" "The baby!" (which she says with arms open to be picked up or hand open to eat whatever you are relishing). She says, "I love you!" "Bye" "Night" and pats her thigh to call the dog, who she calls "puppy" instead of Rex.

By the end of the show, she had added, "Watch me!" to her list of phrases, with arms and legs flying.

"Can you please rewind the show one more time." still sounds like "Aaaaaahhhhhhnnnnnnkkkkk!"
but she really, really means it.

December 19, 2015

The Saturday Before Christmas

To-Do List

(Really, gonna do the things on this one and only the things on this one)

1. Dutch Bros for large hot Kicker. (Irish cream latte)
2. Set Pandora for Christmas tunes.
3. Get back in pajamas ( nevermind, Dutch Bros is a drive-thru, I'll wear my pj's there.)
4. Wrap presents
5. Dance
6. Finish art work on Katie's present
7. Dance
8. Finish edges on Natalie's project
8. Switch from coffee to Royal Crown on ice.
9. Dance
10. Make another Royal Crown on ice.
11. Might try that dance move where you step on the top of the sofa and it gently falls back and Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire steps off and continues dancing.



11. Who cares!  Could be a good movie, a long nap, or the ER.....we'll see.

Not-To-Do list

(Really, not gonna do the things on this one)

1. Vacuum (Rex, no shedding today!)
2.  Shop
3.  Cook
4. Answer Phone ("The music was so loud, I guess I didn't hear it ring!"
5. Answer Door  ("I must have been in the shower because I didn't even hear Rex bark!")
6.  Visit FB
7.  Feel bad about being a toxic bitch. (I might even relish in it after my second Royal Crown).
8.  Finish this list....I'll figure out what I'm not going to do as the opportunity to not do them arises.

Have a great day, my friends.

December 17, 2015

La Befana

photo courtesy of http://www.stregheria.com/Befana.htm
Long before Santa Claus flew through the sky in his shiny sleigh and eight wondrous reindeer it was a woman who flew on her broom, entering houses through chimneys to leave special goodies in the children's stockings.

A chimney was her only access, as all the houses were long houses of just think walls; no windows; no doors. Entry was made by climbing a ladder and entering the home through the roof. Then, to keep the inhabitants safe, the ladder was drawn up.

picture courtesy of http://www.ottawaitalians.com/Heritage/befana.htm
 She is a loving woman. She is a good woman.

She has a broom.

We turned her image into a sinister icon...oh no.....a woman on a broom. Run, hide or burn her.

But it was a cool idea about delivering gifts to good little boys and girls. Of course, the flying part is going to have to stay because how else can all the children be reached in one evening?

Both links on images can take you to the story of Befana. They both tell it better than I can.

I collect Santas. I have some incredibly beautiful dudes. Hand carved wood, cloth bodies and velvet robes, modern and old Saint Nicks!

Sitting on the sofa yesterday, admiring my guys, it dawned on me...Where was La Befana? How could I not have at least one beautiful, glorious flying woman on her magic broom and bag full of toys for the precious children?

I need her before Christmas. I need to tell her story to my granddaughters. If our culture doesn't accept a God that looks like them, then we sure as hell can have a Santa that looks like them!


So, on Christmas Eve don't forget to hang the stockings, leave milk and cookies for Santa and cheesecake and a glass of Cianti for Befana! 


Merry Christmas, Friends!

December 16, 2015

"You can't roller skate in a buffalo herd..."

"You can't roller skate in a buffalo herd..."

I have "authority issues"! When anyone tells me to do something or not to do something, I have an overwhelming urge to do just the opposite!

When someone tells me I "CAN'T" do something...well, my personal anarchist whispers in my ear, "Let's Do It!"

There are a couple of activities the responsible adult in me just draws the line at. Not many, because  the responsible adult holds a very minor part of my personality. She really is a drag.

Roller skating in a buffalo herd is one thing she absolutely will not allow. Besides being head-butted into the next county, she says:
1)  We could and probably would get buffalo patty in our ball bearings and ruin our wheels.
2)  The terrain is too unpredictable and we could fall and skin our knees, elbows or break something.
3)   Wolves might mistake us for lame buffaloes and attack and eat us.

And most importantly of all:

4) Someone might see us and think we were crazy!

See, I told you she was a drag!

Now, the not grown up part of me wants to get our roller skates and find a buffalo herd. After a short meeting of the minds (get it?) we resolved that:

1)  A little shit never hurt anything.
2)  A small donation of skin to Mother Earth would be ok (especially the rough elbow and knee stuff.  Besides, we really like Superman band aids. We also have never had a cast before and it would be fun to gather signatures!
3) Wolves have gotta eat too!

And most importantly of all:

4) We will send out invitations to come watch us because sanity blows!

photo courtesy of http://travelingrainvilles.typepad.com/





Lighten Up


Unless it's the Real Housewives of Atlanta, Beverly Hills, or New York!

Luxury Taxes

Last week someone mentioned that women's sanitary hygiene products are taxed as a luxury item.

I laughed at what absurdity the statement was...then I researched it.

OMG!

The UK defines tampons as "non-essential luxury items" and are taxed an extra 5%.

Australia taxes women's hygiene products by 10%, again, because they are "non-essential".

In the States there is a luxury tax on products that are not considered to be essential which the lawmakers say affects the wealthy as the products taxed are fur coats, expensive automobiles, jewelry and, oh yeah, tampons. The government actually collects over 19 million dollars a year on tampon taxes.

As long as I was researching genitalia related items, I checked out jock straps and protective cups. Now these two items are not used for everyday life but for sports and to protect the almighty male package. There is no jock strap tax.

I checked out electric shavers. Men have facial hair. Shaving it is a choice. Using a razor or an electric shaver is a choice. Why are electric shavers not taxed as a luxury item?

In 2008 the state of New York was considering adding an extra 5% luxury tax on jewelry and furs that cost more than $20,000 and fun stuff like airplanes or helicopters that cost more than $500,000, yachts that cost more than $200,000.  The rich dodged a bullet on that one because the proposal was struck down.

There are even states that grant 'tax holidays' (Alabama, for example). On the holiday, say, July 4th, no taxes will have to be paid that day, except for tampons, they are still taxed.

I propose that all menstruating women visit your state capitol tampon free. Wear a dress or skirt and lift them as you sit on the benches (make sure to bring some sanitizing wipes, not sure if they are taxed or not). Attend legislature assemblies, again, wipe the seat with a sanitizing wipe, lift your skirt and leave a little non-essential luxury on the seats. Same for buses, trains and planes.

Sorry ladies, this is one of those biases we are going to have to take 'sitting down'!








December 14, 2015

Warning


 I believe my label would be a soft rose color and the steel-blue, bold print would read:


Really, what would your label say? Would it be a large red font or small print to bring others in close?

December 12, 2015

11 Questions

Not my award, just playing along
Bob Slatten from I Should Be Laughing
was nominated by Anne Marie for the Liebster award. Liebster is German for 'dearest' and there are 11 questions about things near and dear to ones heart (and soul).
Sidenote about Anne Marie: She describes herself as 'straight but not narrow' and I find that a completely delicious way of defining oneself and may (shh!) start using the phrase to describe myself! She is the author of  From My Brain To My Mouth.
Bob answered the 11 Questions and then, to follow the rules (though from what I've read of Bob's blog, I don't believe he is much of a rule follower) one needs to share 11 Random things about oneself.

Then you are supposed to nominate 11 other blogs for the award. Here's where Bob's tendency to pick and choose rules comes in. He didn't nominate, he simply put the worm on the hook and cast it out. 

Hooked, here are the 11 Questions and my responses.
1] Which literary genre do you prefer?
Non-fiction is my typical choice, though I love a good novel. I like to juggle my reading matter, including memoirs, biographies, philosophy, metaphysics and world religions.  I am in a book club which meets twice a month. We are currently reading Gloria Steinem's book, My Life On The Road but on the side I am reading, Ravensbruck by Sarah Helm (about a women's concentration camp) and Holy Longing by Ronald Rolhiser. I have David Brock's book, The Road To Character waiting in the wings.
2] Why did you start blogging?
I blog because I can't not write. In high school, I used to actually write the Friday English Lit essay in class. I had Study Hall second period, so would write two more essays from different viewpoints and sell them to other seniors during 3rd or 4th period.Great way to make lunch money.
          One of my blogs describes several different aspects of my personality. I named
         them,
fleshed them out and write about the drama of living in
          my head when it comes to  decision making, keeping schedules and who wins out; artist, responsible adult, concerned advocate or toxic older sister! 
3] Order or chaos?

This would be my driveway!
I love order but have a household living with me at this time, so my house is more like a storage unit than it is a home. While I do like order, I do not like straight lines or rigidity. Unlike Mary, Mary, quite contrary, I do not like me flowers all in a row. I go for the flow.
4] Where would you like to live?
Mountains, mountains, mountains. My dream is to live on the south side of a rolling hill with my home built into the hill. I need running water nearby and I need to swim. If I can see anyone's house, they are too close.

           5] Starry sky or sunset?
Sunset for photography. I love the challenge of catching the two or three minutes of brilliant beauty. Starry, starry night for laying on the ground, looking up and talking to the All There Is or sitting around the campfire, passing around the Jack and telling stories of wild youth.
6] Paper book or e-book?
I have a gazillion books in my house. There are bookshelves overflowing with books in every room and boxes and boxes of books in the garage. I seriously need to purge BUT, I love the energy of books. I love to feel the energy of those who have held the books, who have read the books, who have written in the margins and highlighted meaningful lines. So, until I can get myself to purge, all my new books are on my Kindle.
7] What is the writing for?
Writing is to keep me sane...oops, too late!
8] TV or not TV?
I am too old to participate in Survivor and am actually quite afraid of intestinal parasites, therefore, I watch and imagine and occasionally cuss out the players who can't see the obvious (editing be damned). Because of Survivor, I have a severe addiction to television. I also have that poo-poo-pee-doo attitude that if I use the word television rather than TV there is a degree of sophistication to my being glued to the tube every Wednesday from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.
9] What do you think about social networks?
Love, love, love the people I have met in the blog networks. You all rock.  I started Twitter kind of by accident several years ago and every now and then get a message that someone has recently whatever someone does on Twitter. I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. Love to keep in touch with friends and family, hate politics and being told that I'm going to hell if I roll past another Jesus Loves You post. 
          I guess I'm going to hell but it looks like I'll have plenty of company.
10] Favorite food?
Top of the list: Cheesecake.  Then Mexican, mostly Ceviche, Chili Verde and my grandson's Chicken Enchiladas.  Then Steak. Really, really good pork friend rice, homemade soups and fresh veggie juices.  I am also partial to baloney, potato chip sandwiches on white bread when on road trips (memories).

11] Favorite music genres?


Music. World Music, R and B, Some Country (its easy to sing to and I'm a sap for lost dogs and lost love), Big Band, Old Standards, Pop, Indie, Rock, Classic Rock,   Classical, absolutely no heavy metal though Sammy Hagar's I Can't Drive 55 is one of my theme songs. Love Cello, piano, violin and acoustic guitar. Good drums turn me on. 

11 Random Things About Me

 1. I often smile at very inappropriate times because my mind finishes people's sentences with quotes from movies. I find it very amusing but people tend to look at me with serious concern or disdain (and that's okay).

2.  When I am writing or working with clay, I lose all concept of time and can look up and realize that 10 hours passed in what seemed like an hour (and that I have to pee really, really bad!)

3.  I think the sexiest part of a man is his forearm, from wrist to elbow, then his eyes. Long sleeve shirts rolled up just to below the elbow turn me on.

4.  I am a introvert and could live in a hut in the mountains alone (except for my books and my clay) for months at a time. Heaven forbid if Bigfoot should stroll by in a rolled up long sleeve shirt!

5.  I was once madly in love with a man who was going to be a priest "when he grew up!' Still one of my best friends and never did become a priest. Great line for men with commitment phobias!

6.  Whiskeytown Lake is my favorite spot to think things through, that's only if I don't have time to drive to Mt. Lassen.

7. Driving from Colorado in the middle of the night, when I was a kid, my mom and dad went into a cafe to have coffee. We were in the Rocky Mountains. I got out of the car and stared at the clear sky and was scared to death by the overwhelming number of stars but was hypnotized and paralyzed and couldn't move. The sky was overwhelming.

8 Body surfing in Puerto Rico was one of the most fun things I've ever done. Though water skying at Lake Shasta was pretty damn awesome and swimming in the Bio Bay was incredible.

9.  When I met my husband, he was in color and everyone else in the room was in black and white.

10.  I am a great-grandmother in my mid-sixties but I swear like a rogue truck driver. My goal is to clean up my language but my mouth keeps cashing checks my brain hasn't validated.

11.  I've been thinking about cheesecake the whole time I was typing this.

Not sure if I can nominate anyone, since I myself was not nominated but, what the hell. If Bob doesn't have to follow the rules....

I would really like to nominate learn more about:

Bouncin'Barb @ This and That as I bounce through life.
Martha @ Plowing Through Life
Debra @ She Who Seeks
Giggles @ Happy Tiler 
Michael @ View From The Brier Patch 
Greek Witch @ Dreaming of Rosemary
Ken @ Ken-atractor
Michael @ A Life Examined
Jaclyn @ Raviolis and Waterworks 
Pat @ Bertram's Blog
Baili @ Baili and Me

December 10, 2015

Stop The World....

....I want to get off.

We spent the evening with my 11 year old granddaughter. What a blast.

We talked about fashion.

We talked recipes and cooking.

We discussed leadership qualities and team projects.

The conversation veered off to stupidity and ignorance.

With the best (and most practiced) eye roll ever, she informed me that they can't sing Deck The Halls at her school anymore.  Apparently "don we now our gay apparel" is too offensive.

Pull your heads out of your butts people!


December 06, 2015

Another Saturday Night

Kids in bed. Husband in bed. Pandora and earphones plugged in to keep me company while I sit,  enjoying the solitude, candles burning, a glass of wine at my side. As I listen to my tunes. each song opens up the doors to incredible memories.

I can even smell the shea butter, thick on my body, while I float on my air mattress on Whiskeytown Lake with a bottle of Gallo wine or Almaden French Colombard tied to a ten foot rope floating in the cold water under my cheap flotation device.

Music is a marvelous gift for the soul. It reminds me of a Saturday evening, a long time ago, when I listened to some good tunes and tried to think of who sang what and who sang it the best. I thought I would share it, just in case you want to trip down memory lane during the Jurassic Period.

"Saturday Night and I ain't got nobody...."

I hope you enjoy and it brings back some good times for you.


                                                                     


                                                                          Sing it, sweet Sam!




Were those brothers delicious or what?







                                  
















"Goodnight, sweetheart, well it's time to go."







What is your favorite oldie but goodie? When is the last time you listened to it? When is the last time you danced to it (even if it was just a pillow or your puppy as your dance partner?

December 05, 2015

Oh! Oh!



My last post had two words in it that probably got me (and those who visited) on the secret 'watch list'!

Wandering and Wondering is typically visited between 22 and 28 times a day. Yesterday it had 55 visits!

Dang! FBI and NSA, believe me, the only thing radical about me is my love for cheesecake and Amaretto.

Okay, there is my extreme distaste for stupidity and lima beans, my truck-driver's talent for artful swearing and my incredible ingenuity for not getting to my To-Do list until it morphs into a Should-have-but-didn't list!

December 04, 2015

Radicalized?

Okay, I don't get the term "radicalized"!

It's a little like someone is casually trekking down the road when someone in a rusty, beat up, 35 year old Toyota Corolla rolls by and BAMM! A couple blasts from some weapon (ray-gun, blow-dart, cross-bow) and one is radicalized!

Give me a break! Please, media jockies, come up with a word that doesn't sound passive. Going ape-shit crazy radical is a choice. You don't get radicalized by sharing a soda with an extremist. Radicalization doesn't happen because some jihadist sneezed on you.

As long as I am ranting, what about the stupidity of excusing the drunk 19 year old who killed three people because of his 'Affluenza"? Growing up with too much money and too little parental guidance! So he gets 10 years of probation! Really?  If he was a kid without the money for a great attorney, he'd be in jail for 20 years minimum!

"It's not my fault I killed them, I was too rich growing up and my folks bought me the damn truck so it's their fault....can I go now? I don't want to be late for beer pong at my friend's house."

We make up so many stupid 'victim' type words in our culture so no one has to be responsible for their choices or actions.

Radicalized! Affluenza!

OMG, I just got it!  We are in the middle of the zombie apocalypse  and they've eaten most of the brains.

Nevermind!


P Words...Priorities, Prejudice, Phucked-up

Our book club just finished reading and discussing Maya Angelou's I Know Why A Caged Bird Sings. We had all read it years ago but we have found that revisiting some of the books that had impact on our lives or the lives of others is vital.

Angelou describes the excitement abounding for the black families over 8th grade graduation? They were getting an education and all the promises that academia promises. The white speaker, Mr. Donleavy, then makes his speech, breaking the hearts and crushing dreams.  His words pour water on the fire and passion of the black families and their graduates. Heads and shoulders hang low, they know they have just been told to remember 'their place'. Unless you are an incredibly gifted athlete, you are never going to be anything but a 'service' person.

How many students and families heard those commencement pronouncements all over the country, especially the southern states over the years? Good thing that doesn't happen anymore, right?

WRONG!

Our book club moved on to Gloria Steinem's latest book, "On The Road". Steinem writes that we, the United States, declare that we are all about freedom yet we imprison a bigger percentage of our citizens than any other country. Our college graduates are stuck with "crippling debt". We build more prisons and less schools. We are also "spending an average of fifty thousand dollars a year per prisoner" yet no where near that amount on students.

When we build more prisons and jails, when we spend more of our assets and resources on housing a large population whose criminal actions begin with inadequate education, disproportionate  availability to health services and safe housing, and inadequate availability of employment opportunities.

We don't put the money into education. We don't invest in people's lives. We are still telling Blacks and Latinos. Women and little girls, and impoverished Caucasions to remember their places, to stay small. We are just more sophisticated by how we communicate it.

"Sorry we can't afford a new science lab or new books at YOUR school, we need to build a big house to keep you in when you grow up because you will never amount to anything."

Is that our legacy?

According to the graph below, my state, California, spends less than $10,000 per year on elementary and secondary school students, yet almost $50,000 per year per inmate.

Can I just interject a little personal prejudice here? If this is what our country thinks is the most important, no wonder Trump is at the top of the polls!


Graph courtesy of CNN Money

We continue to cut education funding, cut Head Start funding. Corporations now have 'sentient being' status. Time for the other "P" word. This thinking is all phucked-up!

November 29, 2015

Making Do

Okay, so he worked today. So did I. He sold cameras. I worked on flyer and workbook....but,
the minute he walked through the door, we tossed the cameras into my car, gloves, hats and Rex, our border collie.

We hit Highway 44, headed east to Mt. Lassen. We needed to get a couple of pics of the mountains first snow.

We didn't hit snow until about 2000 feet. We hit ice about 2500 feet. We only lost traction once. If I remember correctly the words, "Holy shit!" passed my husbands lips. Yeah, that was reassuring.

The mountain was just donning her sunset colors, which means, photographically, we have about 3 and a half minutes to catch the color. I think we did a fairly good job.

Replay is planned for next Sunday, that's if I dont' just jump in the car and go myself!

She was beautiful. Her reflection in the frozen ice of Manzanita Lake was magical.

This mountain is so magical, her beauty sometimes challenges Mt. Shasta, a mere 6o miles north.

A new storm is expected this week and we might have to head north instead of east. As dad used to say while we were young, "We'll see!"

Rex would have nothing to do with staying couped up in the house today. He was at the car door, claiming his right to an adventure. We agreed. He needed some good running, off leash.

He loves the snow. He likes to eat it, he likes to dig in it, bury his face in it and his favorite....dying it spring colors (if you know what I mean).

He found a great little burrow to bury his nose in. Thankfully nothing snapped or sprayed back.



The evening was beautiful.

We even caught night shots of the valley lights below. Okay, Frank got those shots. I stayed inside the car just enjoying the view.

If you haven't visited Mt. Lassen or Mt. Shasta please come. Please see our purple mountains majesty!













November 28, 2015

To-Do Lists: Preparing for 2016

Many of you are dedicated list makers which, in turn, makes many of you much more efficient than me. Kudos to your organizational skills.

I make lists but I wouldn't exactly call them TO-DO lists as much as and Things-I-Forgot-TO-DO-MUST-DO-NOW lists.

The one list that I am dedicated to accomplish every year is my Packing For The New Year list.

Truly, this little list is one of the most important lists one can do, in my opinion.

There are two columns.

Must Have             Verboten Objects


Remember that what you decide to leave behind is just as important as what you choose to pack! Some of the items are the same as last year and some items are new.

Must Haves:

Integrity and Good Music,

Etymology Dictionary and  New Words

Imagination and Good Books,
.
An Open Mind and a Soft Shoulder.

A big bag of  Yes's for things untried.

My unopened box of No's! (going to use some of them-there NO's this year!)

Smiles When Sadness Intrudes.

Creativity, Spirituality and Good Humor.

Paint and Brushes,  Blank Paper and Colored Pencils.

Courage and a New Bathing Suit, Bird Seed and Bubbles.

Skate Key, Lightening Rod and Lip Gloss.

Purple Nail Polish and Body Shoppe Africa Spa Body Butter

My crystal door knob in case some doors have no apparent means of entry...(always carry an extra door knob with you; they are much less cumbersome than windows).

Good Wine and Good Friends.

Soft, soft, soft sheets, a feather pillow and a promise to remember my dreams.

A warm, time-worn quilt, aged cheese and apples just in case a spot of Earth invites me to a little picnic.

Soft, worn pajamas, cuddles and hugs and my favorite mugs.


Verboten Objects ~ What I am prepared to leave behind:

Maps unless it is a map I am drawing for myself.
Whining, on my part or anyone elses.....NO WHINING!

Bad Attitude, Brussel Sprouts, Judgemental People and unfair judgements on my part.
Grudges, Clothes that itch or bind, Excuses for not being Authentic.


I Promise To Be On The Lookout For:

Every Opportunity to tell my children and grandchildren and family and friends,
"I Love YOU" ~"You are Special" ~ "You are important to me"

Adding the opportunity to encourage others, "You can do it!" to those moments telling others: 
"Good job"
"I am proud of you"
"Hot damn" and sometimes giggle at myself and say..."man, that was stupid!"
I promise to leave enough room in my bags for sea shells and leaves and rocks and lost puppies.
...and to be on the lookout for
Miracles and Angels,
Sunrises and Sunsets,
New Friends and Rare Birds.
Fairies and Brownies

What's left packed from last year?

Good Books, Good Music, "Good Waves, Man"
Hugs, Kisses and Macaroons, Vintage Linens and Gin and Tonics for hot afternoons,
Crystals, Naps under the sky or completely naked under the covers in the middle of the day.
Opportunities for Growth, a chance to make my own path Out of the Box and Outside the Envelope.

What are you going to pack?


What are you going to leave behind?


What are you watching for?

Doors

Time to get out the Christmas decorations and do the house up! My favorite part of all the decorations is the garland around my red double entry door.

I love my doors. The red is bright, bold and hints or color and fun past the threshold.

BUT, if I could have any door, any door in the world, inviting guests to come on in...oh there are so many choices.

The tree door on the right would be a perfect fit for me.  Some of my best friends are trees, I love their majesty, their dignity, and their auras.  This carved door would absolutely be perfect except for the small part about knocking the existing house down and building a new, more appropriate house behind it. One cannot have this door and all it promises and have only two rooms with vaulted ceilings and the rest of the rooms graced with ceilings a mere 8 feet high. Even the vaulted are only 14 feet (and, for the most part, still have the icky cottage cheese texture...what were the builders thinking?)

Would my house embarrass this magnificent door?

 Would my little house be embarrassed by the door on the left, even though the size and lack of majesty
may be more appropriate?  I love, love, love the transom-ish windows above, but honestly, it looks a bit prickly. Yeah, I know, some of you are thinking or might have even said out loud, "but you're prickly, too, you old....(shame on you, Santa is watching!).

I love teal and turquoise and trees but if this one has to have all the gaudy carved stone work around it, It would become a condo for spiders of all kinds, and we've got spiders in northern California...big, giant creepy ones...(wish you could see my goose bumps). Yup, we're gonna pass on this door. Prickly spider condos are right out!

If I had a secret garden, I would definitely make the entrance special. Maybe a little purple door surrounded by jasmine and honeydew. the pathway leading to it would be lined with lavender and deep velvet purple verbena trailing from orange pots filled with violets and johnny-jump-ups.

You are probably asking yourself, "Doesn't she know that spiders can spin their webs in the greenery surround this garden door?"

Yes, I do, but spiders in the greenery, where they belong is natural. they have to hunt for their own meals. When they are clinging to the house, around the porch lights, it's as if I am an accomplice. Again, goose bumps and heebie jeegies. Yuck.



Many people say that our eyes are the doorways to our souls.
 
If the eyes didn't have it (doesn't mean the nays have it either) what would the doorway to your soul look like? 





Would it be wide open to the world or would it be tucked into the surrounding greenery?

Would it be hand carved oak?
Would it be wrought with iron? (get it!)


Can you imagine the handle to the doorway to your soul? Is it from bin 24 from the corner hardware store or is it beautifully customized?

More importantly, is the door open and inviting or is it locked up tight and the key heavily guarded? 

November 25, 2015

The "OTHER" Question Of The Month

Michael D'Agostino has a 'question of the month' on his blog. You've probably wandered by it a time or two. As I am jamming through my email, checking FB (thinking about checking out of FB until after the elections) and making my final final list of to-do's for Thanksgiving preps, his most recent question popped into my gmail.

Question: "Which one social convention would you get rid of?"

Oh My God! Why? Why would he ask such a question while I'm in the middle of 'doing'. I promised myself only 'doing' today, no 'thinking' today. No time for contemplation, except which red wine can I serve with turkey because my dad prefers a robust red to white. (Maybe I'll just get Dad a steak and let my grandson BBQ it).

My list-making is bogged down with social conventions and here I sit, needing a shower, three bottles of wine, celery and the chipped purple polish to be removed from my toenails to be replaced with less chipping color.

Social Conventions.

Our culture or other cultures?

Significant demands or insignificant details of an OCD Emily Post?

Speaking of Emily Post, I find it very comfortable with elbows on a table during a meal. No elbows on the table is definitely O-U-T!

It is nice when a man opens a door for a woman but I find it a waste to stand by a door waiting for him. My husband also says that he has been verbally flogged when opening doors for women. Why can't whoever gets to the door first, open it? Who walks through the doorway first is up to the two people at the door. No rules, just people being nice.

I love to see a Father walk his daughter down the aisle during a wedding but to be perfectly honest, when the pastor starts with the who-gives-this-woman stuff, I want to throw things! That convention needs to hit the road, Jack!

Damn list is calling my name, so is the shower and I need a cup of coffee. Got to get to the agenda of the day.....which brings up one more social convention. Responsible adult! That one really sucks!

I know D'Agostino asked which "one" convention but I've got more, so many social conventions and so little time!

So, Which one ( or dozen) social convention(s) would you get rid of?





November 24, 2015

Ranting When I Should Be Baking

Just had a friend of a friend inform me that her family is eating early on Thanksgiving Day because she needs to get to one of the Big-Box stores by 2 p.m.

Do you find it hard to swallow words sometimes, especially when your gut keeps tossing them up the old esophagus?

I wanted to scream, "NO, you.....(well, one can only imagine what I wanted to scream)."

I didn't. I just nodded my head but now I'm mad. Mad at me, mad at her, mad at the Big-Box stores and ultimately mad at the almighty dollar.

My husband is in retail, has been ever since we met. The first five years or so of our relationship, he managed a Thrifty's Drugs. Remember them? Open every frickin' day of the year! Guess who worked every single holiday for the first five years or so of our relationship?

Easter. Work.
July 4. Work.
Thanksgiving. Work.
Christmas. Work.

No three day weekends to celebrate Labor Day, Memorial Day or Veterans Day either. Three day weekends are for the big sales. What is a big sale without the manager there to coordinate, merchandise and, well, manage? 

Our home was in the country; a couple of acres, a view of Mt. Lassen out the front windows. Our daughter had a horse, we had 4 dogs and 5 cats but Thrifty's kept trying to get hubby to take on a store in the San Francisco Bay area. Last offer came with a stipulation that if he didn't take it (Vallejo? Really?) that he could kiss goodbye moving up in the company.

He kissed Thrifty's off and became the General Manager for a locally owned photo and camera shop. Retail.

In case you don't know anyone in retail, let me fill you in on Life In Retail. Maybe, more realistically, it should be Life In Between Retail!

Big Weekends are not about family drives to the coast. Dads (or moms) don't go camping with the family on spring break. Christmas Eve is not about sitting around the fire place with friends and family. From November 1st through December 31st the only days off are Thanksgiving and Christmas. There is no, absolutely NO going out-of-town for Thanksgiving to be with family because you need to be at the store way past closing on Wednesday evening to take care of those people who forgot to get batteries or chips for their cameras and you are damn well going to be at the store a- quarter-to-dawn on Black Friday. Christmas Eve is all about working late because of all the people who walk in the store five minutes before closing to do their last minute shopping.

The hours are longer than normal, so the non-retail spouse is responsible for hunting down a Christmas tree, decorating the tree, decorating the house, buying, wrapping and shipping gifts. Concerts and school plays the kids or grandkids are in are a race to get to in time and catching your breath for the first half hour. There's more....or maybe, there's less....depends on what side of the counter you're standing on.

So, if you leave your Thanksgiving table early Thursday to go out and save some dollars, you are submitting your ballot on the dollar side of family vs bottom line. The more people that go, the more stores are going to think, "hey, what a grand idea!"

That's more dads, moms, sons, daughters, grandmas and grandpas who aren't going to make it to dinner, or the homecoming game. If we can open up those big-box doors on Thanksgiving, then why not keep them open until 10 or midnight on Christmas Eve?

Missing In Action is not just a military term. Don't let friends and family go the way of  horse-drawn carriages. Staying home means someone else gets to go home.



And, then....


I bet you are all wondering about the awesome weekend at the cabin in the Cascades!

The hike down to the water's edge with crispy leaves crunching under our feet. Seeing the mountain lion tracks and the bear poop along the creek.

The bonding over wine and hot tub, as Julie, Diane and myself, share stories, memories, jokes and Pinot Grigio.

Gathered around the fire, the three of us in our pajamas, homemade soup  warming our tummies as the flames warm our limbs, talking into the wee hours of the night.

Sipping from mugs filled with hot coffee and Bailey's Irish Cream as we lean on the decking watching the sun rise from behind the mountain ridge.

The smell of bacon and forest floor enveloping us as we dance in the kitchen, windows open to the morning breeze.

Yup. I bet you are all wishing you were with us, or, at least, curious about the relaxation qualities of a weekend in the wildness of nature.

Well, so are we!

You see, the people who had rented the lodge last week couldn't leave on Sunday, as planned. Apparently, there was a mix-up in their flights back to Minnesota!  They stayed a couple of extra days.

The owners were comping the lodge to me for some photography we had done for them earlier in the year, so, income beats comp, hands down!

But hey, the dream was nice, the anticipation was yummy and the plans are still feasible.  Who knows, maybe there will be snow when we finally get up there. In the meantime, we are planning a day trip to the mountains and that, my friends, is a good thing.

Have you ever looked forward to a 'special weekend' or event and at the very last minute it, Kapow?



Thanks Giving

"Earth, symbol of security and stability,
bring peace and harmony into my home
at this season of thanksgiving.
May my family be well,
my house be a haven,
and my table be one of hospitality.
May the earth, the soil, the land,
ground me and protect me and
those whom I love,
and that which I call mine.
My property shall be a safe place,
a secure place, a harmonious place."


I found the gem above while surfing the net earlier this month. My apologies for not having the author's name or even remembering where I picked it up. (If it is yours, please let me know.)

This past year has been one of changes, upheavals, successes, discoveries and blessings. It has also been filled with the wonderfulness of the mundane; a safe place to wash dishes and read a book, a roof to keep us dry, vehicles that get us from here to there and back.  

Social media is exploding, again, with stories of the gruesomeness of the first Thanksgiving. Maybe they're true, maybe they're not; probably they are.

But, bottom line, life is good. There is plenty to be thankful for and I am!

Happy Thanksgiving all.

p.s. Keep your asses home tonight! No Shopping



 

November 23, 2015

Board Games

When I was a kid (Jurassic Period) our family would play lots of board games. Then I married a man who loved, loved board games.

Our family still loves to gather around the table and beat the crap out of each other! Nothing like winning at Life, Scrabble or Scattergories, except maybe when you are playing team games. Us against Them! Trivial Pursuit, Cranium, Pictionary.

Thanksgiving is within reach. I can hear the board games in the cabinet humming in anticipation!



I love the gravy and dressing. Hard to resist seconds on the pumpkin pie, especially my mom's. But, lets be honest.

Clear the table, mix the margaritas and let the games begin!

What is your favorite board game?

Warning: This one can be very dangerous. Almost stroked out playing with my granddaughters last year!

November 20, 2015

Mountain Bound

Our book club is headed to the mountains this weekend.



We've got a beautiful lodge in the Cascades overlooking Lake Shasta reserved for wine, girl-talk and walking through the woods. Color is perfect. Leaves are a hundred shades of golds and oranges.

Hot tub is bubbling. Wood stacked for the fireplace.

Julie, Diane and I are the only ones going yet the lodge sleeps twelve! Maybe, if the wine inspires, we'll play a little hide'n'seek!  Peg, you'll be missed.

Julie, don't forget your milk foaming machine and I'll bring the Baileys!

I might even have to buy a new pair of jammies to lounge in....do I have time to wash and dry them 42 times to soften them enough for the trip?

Yeah, life is good even in my old worn out p.j.'s.

I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to just be with you two!



November 18, 2015

"Give me your tired..."

After listening to so many GOP demagogues, in Office and/or running for Office, it is my opinion that we need to remove Emma Lazarus' sonnet from the base of the Statue of Liberty and return the Lady of Liberty to the French. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” has become an unrecognizable value in the great land of Liberty.




"New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"



One Of THOSE Days

Yup! Second one in a row. Can't stop crying.

Can't think of anything nice to say!

The following paragraph is posted in invisible print because I need to vent:











And I mean it! Sorry if it was too toxic or mean. But it had to be said.

Do I feel better? No.

Do you feel better?








November 14, 2015

Reiki Request

Many of us have a mutual blog friend. She has some substantial thyroid issues. Can all of you who practice Reiki, Distance Healing, and prayer, please send healing energy to Greek Witch at Dreaming of Rosemary. Thank you.


Look For The Helpers


"Only one thing is more powerful than a brotherhood based on hate, and that is a brotherhood based on love." Marianne Williamson, Huffington Post.

November 13, 2015

Stuff Worthy of Dusting

Do you collect shit stuff?

I am a collector. Not a capital 'C' Collector with millions of dollars of original great masters' art on my walls or a super garage with sexy muscle-cars or restored Model T's.

There is, however, lots of lower-case collectibles in my home. As I wander through the rooms, I wonder if some of those items are worthy of the time it takes to dust them (or the guilt and shame of not dusting them).

Largest collection: Books. There are books galore. Over-stuffed shelves of  big books and thick books, small books and skinny books in every room of the house. Okay, not the kitchen but there are a heap of books in the pantry which makes up for not hanging out in the kitchen! Some books are on their sides, resting on tables or chests. There are books in boxes and in cases. There are many gorgeous coffee table books with glorious photos, yet, we have no coffee tables to display them on.

We have my metaphysical books, highlighted paragraphs, observations and comments written in the margins. We have my husband's collection of books about weather, wind, clouds, barometric pressure and extreme weather phenomenon. He is also an amateur astronomer, so there are books about skies, stars, comets, galaxies, the universe. Hmm, he is really a man about the sky in all it's forms. He is also a hang glider pilot, so guess what other books we have more than we need? Being a professional photographer, he is also the one responsible for the large assortment of coffee table books and all books photographic in nature.

Frank also has every Catholic book ever printed including seven or eight bibles. Please, if we ever meet in person, don't ask him about his leather bound, lignin-free, titanium dioxide enhanced, Douay Rheims Bible! (Side note: Beware bringing up the 'justified by works vs faith subject! The man knows his stuff!)

I have nursing school medical books from 1977; could probably toss those out. The baby just pulled out a third grade math book, that had a sheet of homework with my little sister's name on it, folded inside. She hasn't been in school for at least three decades! Hell, if I keep it a couple of more years, maybe it will be worth something!

I have a huge collection of crystals and stones, even a petrified dinosaur bone! One of my amethyst's weighs upwards to 30 pounds. Can you imagine all the points that need to be individually dusted?

Hat pins! Yes, I have a nice little collection of hat pins, all very old. Though I never gave hat pins a single thought in my whole life (not worth remembering), I inherited the hat pins and can't imagine letting them go. Well, that's not completely true. If I could pay off my mortgage with the sale of those little pretties they would be gone in a flash of cash!

I do collect original art, but no one famous.

I have three sets of china. One for everyday, one for when there is more of us than 'everyday', and the one that is brought out for Christmas, Thanksgiving and that my grandchildren will fight over when I die. It will go a little like:

"Who wants Nana's Spanish Lace china?"

"Not me!"

"Not me!"

"You should take it! She would have wanted you to have it!"

"No! NO! You can't make me!"

Glad I'm choosing cremation; I would hate to roll over in my grave because of a china debate!

So! What goes? What stays?

Do you collect? Do you collect intentionally or do you discover you've collected stuff unconsciously or unwittingly?  What is your favorite stuff?

If you could collect anything in the world and money was no object, what would be on your shelves, garage, walls or safety deposit box?


Ironing Out The Kinks




I'm still working out the details of Act III of my life. Reading Mary Oliver's poem about peonies and their "eagerness to be wild and perfect for a moment before they are nothing forever" got me to thinking.

I am not actually looking for perfection in Act III; way too many kinks to iron out and I am not going to spend the last 3rd of my life ironing! I am, however, eager to be wild in my old age. Not the wild of my 20's, which, when I look back, was not wild at all. Just a bit of a controlled rebellion of life-long rules and regulations, as well as, our society's strict guidelines to stay within the cultural-norms box.

My 'wildness' was strictly within the guidelines of all the other rebellious twenty-somethings, and, to be honest, that doesn't smell or taste of wildness to me.  It has the distinct scent of following-the-crowd, albeit a different crowd and that has a certain stink to it.

I truly want my 60's, 70's and, hopefully, 80's to be filled with laughing that challenges my bladder, sights and music and moments that make the hair on my neck and arms dance.

I want my life to be filled with sensuousness. Not in the sexual way (though I have no objections to that either) but meaning that all my senses are fully alive and aware of the moment. I want to smell and taste color. I want to hear the sky, I want to feel the visible and invisible. I want to see, really see, what surrounds me and what surrounds what surrounds me.

Act III is beginning to weave itself into reality. My bucket list is not written in stone. The things of today may not interest me tomorrow. No script to follow; plans, yes, but with the attitude of flexibility for changes in the wind, the spirit or calls of the soul.

In Act III, I will be a peony, for forever is a long, long time.

What is your favorite color and what does it taste like?

Do you have a bucket list? What are your top three desires (at this moment)?