November 25, 2013

Profoundly Superficial

From my previous post you can probably tell that this isn't a good day for me. It has been a rapid decline since last Monday....almost near the bottom!

I talked to my sister, she's on the slide with me, though she must have greased her butt because she's just a tad bit ahead of me on the WTF scale of downward slides.

So I decided to lighten things up. A person does not live by slide alone!. Gonna grab the sides of the slide put on the brakes and take a little Profoundly Superficial detour. 
Mandala by Toni Tona

I borrowed some of James Lipton's questions from Inside the Actor's Studio. I am not an actor but I am an artist. Artists are just as screwed up as actors so what the hell!

1. What is your favorite word? Phosphatidylcholine

2. What is your least favorite word? stupid

3. What sound or noise do you love? granddaughters laughing

4. What sound or noise do you hate? I dislike traffic, parent's yelling putting kids down, bullying

5. What is your favorite curse word? My favorite word (because I have grandchildren and am trying to shed the truck-drive part of me) has been dang gum! I use it for surprise and for cursing but every now and then an f-bomb rips loose (this morning there was total anarchy in the cursing area of my mind and a convoy of f-bombs escaped.)

I found these questions on Brene Brown's blog and thought, as long as I am being profoundly superficial, I would try them.

1. A song/band/type of music you’d risk wreck and injury to turn off when it comes on the radio? The opening theme for the Rush Limbaugh Show.

2. Favorite show on television? Weekend Favorite Show: Super Soul Sunday on OWN / Weekday Favorite Show: Survivor ( I divided that to show depth of character...well, depth of something!)

3. Favorite movie? Swiss Family Robinson or Enchanted April

4. What are you grateful for today? My sister, I love her and don't know what life would be like without her.

5. If you could have anything put on a t-shirt what would it be? Be Nice or Shut The Fuck Up!

6. Favorite meal? Medium rare steak, grilled vegetables with rosemary, garlic bread and a really good Zin.  (or white bread, baloney and potato chips ).

7. A talent you wish you had? Putting bad guys in jars with a tap of my wand would be nice but I really, really wish I could carry a tune.

8. Favorite song/band? My very favorite song is Where I Go by Natalie Merchant and close follow- up is Digame or Forever Love by Anna Nalick.

9. What’s on your nightstand?  Lamp, about 7 books holding about 43 bookmarks and some dog eared pages, a handmade bowl with my favorite earrings and pendants, four or five crystals and a lot of dust....guess I should go clean it up.

10. What’s something about you that would surprise us? I think I am going to pack my bags, books and crystals, Mitch's ashes and my dog. Take Mitch to the ocean which he loved. Then find  a little house in the Marble Mountains for me and Rex. 

To Facebook or Not to Facebook?

Several years ago, during a heavy duty stretch of stress, I made the decision not to watch the news, read the news, listen to the news (including Talk Radio) for 90 days.

Some acquaintances told me it was irresponsible but I assured them that if something really vital came up or the world was ending that I was sure someone would let me know.

At the end of two weeks I was a new person. Incredible change in stress level. After 90 days I returned to watching televised news only if it is local or if there is something big national or international. If there is a global-type or national trauma, I will watch the first 10 minutes (maybe half an hour at most). I will not watch anything Diane Sawyer reports as I believe she should be narrating As the Drama Turns or The Young and the Pretentious. She can make a Campbell Soup commercial sound like the big bad wolf just ate the last little piggy and he's coming after you, in fact, he's at your door!

Once the "experts" are called in, the report is being repeated or people are "estimating" this and that, I click back to HGTV. I am sure the "corrected" details will be on tomorrow's newspapers and I will read what I need to, if I need to.

During the Pointing Fingers Fest of the last political race, Facebook got pretty nasty.  Some family members (in-law not blood) "unfriended" me because I didn't agree with their political views.  I have to say that I actually unfriended my husband's uncle.  I love a good debate. I do. Name calling and bullying is just unacceptable.

In the past two months it has gotten harder and harder to get on FB and check out what family and friends are up to.

Please know that I am very much aware of the cruelty done to babies, children, women, puppies, dogs. My heart breaks for all of them.  I don't want to disparage the pain and malice that is done to anyone. But, each day, picture after picture and story after story appear on my homepage. I have three dogs living at my house. I don't have cats because two of the dogs don't respect cats.  I would donate to animal shelters but I barely make my mortgage every month. I have sponsored family in fund raising events for their local animal shelter. I do donate to One Safe Place and Child Abuse Prevention and when I do we eat potatoes for a week.

How about if you warn us that the picture coming up is going to make us vomit with it's grisly details?  What if you only post one a day instead of 8 or 9?  What if you check the age and source of the pictures of abused babies or missing girls and brutalized puppies and dogs? Last week four people posted the same Missing Girl picture. She was 16. The picture was 4 years old, they found her body 3 years ago.  When you don't check dates, when you don't do your homework than people stop seeing them. Then the picture and information of the girl that was taken this morning gets passed over.

Be responsible. Be accountable.

Studies have been done...oh, screw the studies....I can't handle it anymore. My heart knows the evil that is out there and there is only so much one can do. Please, stop shoving it in our faces.

Another thorn in my side..."If you love Jesus...." If you believe in God...." "If you believe that Christ is your savior" you will share this picture".  Did I miss catechism the day they taught the 11th Commandment?  Thou shalt honor all pictures of the Lord, thy God and passeth them on.

Isn't there somewhere in the bible where Jesus says that prayer should be a private affair devoid of public display: "And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners [and on Facebook], that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you they have received their reward.  But when you pray, go into your room (or closet.) and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret..."  (Matthew 6:5-6 RSV).

Maybe I will just go over the friends list. Make sure that I get Notifications from my kids, kids-in-law and grandchildren, sister and brother and call it good.

p.s. friends, don't come over today. I'm in one of those moods! If you do come over, bring armor and bourbon!

November 14, 2013

Christmas Shopping.....again?

Didn't we just do this?

Can I just get a couple of catalogs and circle what I would give you if I had the bucks?

The economy is still in the tank here in Pottersville, if you know what I mean. Medical insurance premiums ($1389 per month) and medical bills ($5000 deductible each) have pretty much wiped us out over the past two years.

This year our budget is a little thin, about $35 to purchase gifts for 7 grandchildren and my mom and dad. I'm seriously thinking about buying a goat for a family in Africa in my grandchildren's names and calling it good!

Christmas really is one of my favorite times of the year but, frankly, I am really looking forward to the New Year! This year has been a hard one for the whole family. Mom had a stroke in April, Dad was diagnosed with colon cancer in September and my grandson's girlfriend had a miscarriage this summer. The list goes on but that's enough to make my point. Everyone is doing great now but the scars are there.

Don't get me wrong. Some good things happened this year too, but all in all, I am ready to tuck this year into the history books and move on.

My husband and I usually watch the New Year's Ball drop in New York on the television at 9 p.m. here in California. Then we give each other a big Happy-New-Year-kiss and hit the sack! 

This year, we have different plans.

In the movie Practical Magic, the women form a coven of witches, hold a Circle and turn the "bad juju" into dust. Then they sweep it out the door. That's my intention on how to help  the demise of 2013.

This year, I am going to be prepared.  We are staying up to greet the West Coast New Year. When that last minute of 2013 arrives and the countdown begins, I am going to throw the doors open, grab my broom ( actually, it's a Swiffer but that's a minor technicality ). I am going to sweep every bit of 2013 out the door.

10 - 9 - stroke, stroke, 8 - 7 - 6 - stroke, stroke - 5 - 4 - don't forget under the table - 3 - get the corners - 2 - throw the broom down -1!

Lift a glass of Cherry Moonshine and greet the New Year....Welcome 2014!....Make your self at home.

November 11, 2013

Off The Record

Last night there were a couple of shows on OWN that were focused on the history of Black people in America. One was an interview of the director, Lee Daniels, and actors, Forrest Whitaker and David Oyeloyo, from the movie The Butler.  The next show was an interview of Tyler Perry followed by an interview of Spike Lee.  All very interesting. I discovered that I could relate to Spike Lee, which, to be honest, surprised me.  I liked him.

While the interviews and discussions were going on several things were said that hit a nerve. Not a totally random nerve or one of those scientific-job nerves. It wasn't an autonomic nerve that keeps those parts we don't think about operating, lungs, stomach, intestines. Not a peripheral nerve or central nerve, you know, the north and south lanes to and from spinal cord and brain.

This was more of a cranial nerve but not the ones that connect your literal sense organs to your brain; eyes, ears, nose and mouth. Maybe I should call it a cranium nerve. A nerve that starts off with a flash of discomfort or disgust and grows and throbs until it is raw. One of those nerves that just won't shut up, some times it yells and some times it whispers, but it is there and not going anywhere.

Please believe me when I say I don't, in any way, want to demean the Black experience in America. This is not my intention. I guess you could say I just want to paint a bigger picture.

At one point in the conversation, I believe it might have been in the Butler-movie interviews, someone said: "It is part of our story in America" to which someone else responded, "It is America's story!"  (not a direct quote, I am lucky to remember what I said last night let alone people sitting in the tube talking between commercials).

I truly don't know where to start, which reminds me of a quote from the move Princess Bride. Indigo Montoya wants to catch a character up to what the situation is. He says, "Let me, there is too much, let me sum up!"  (best read with a hispanic accent).

About 500 years ago some STD infested Europeans "discovered" the Americas, stepped off the ships and basically said, "Let the slaughter begin!"

Every history book talks about how this white guy discovered this bay, that river, some huge canyon or some mighty peak.  Most of those rivers, bays, peaks, lakes, etc. are named for the white men who "discovered" them.

We rarely mention, if at all, that there were millions of indigenous folk who were living on the banks of the bays, rivers and lakes, the edges of the canyons and the slopes of the mountain peaks.  Oh, and many had been living there for thousands of years.

Some of those native "Americans" were my ancestors.  We have Navajo nation, Apache nation and some tribe from the far north eastern America according to my grandfather, but I never found out the name of the nation, let alone the tribe.  I also have a great-great-great-great-and-some-more-greats grandfather who came with Cortez to Mexico in the 1500's. Estaban de la Vaca, which through the years has been shortened to Baca.  Ol' Grandpa Estaban did not return to Europe but remained in Mexico, married and started a family, a large part of which migrated to the New Mexico territory area. Some family members where awarded huge Spanish land grants.

On the other side of my family, there were ancestors who immigrated from Spain in the 1700's and were given Spanish Land Grants in the New Mexico territory.  This family has the Apache lineage entangled with it but also a little French, a little German, a little Mexican and that mysterious north-eastern tribe of Native Americans. A large part of my family came from Europe, Spain, France, Ireland but they intermingled with "them"....married indigenous people. 

When the United States proposed to make New Mexico a state, the people of New Mexico were against it, mostly the people with land grants. Land was precious to them, they grew their own crops, raised cattle and sheep. Life was hard but life was good. They were independent.

The United States promised (first hint that something is up) that all land grants would be honored. It was called the Treaty of Hildago. We the people of the United States honor your......oops, the Santa Fe courthouse mysteriously burns down one night......Sorry, can't honor your land grants and we will not recognize the grants in your possession. All the "recorded" grants burned up with the courthouse. So, grants were taken away. Land confiscated. Promises broken.  I haven't looked up the word "treaty" but I'm that the United States government is under the assumption that the words "treaty" and "promise" have something to do with sodomy.

Some people got to keep a couple of acres, not enough to range your sheep or your cattle, not enough to grow food for your family. Too bad, so sad. Many of my ancestors went from land owners to share croppers and tenants, lost their homes, lost their herds. Never, ever, though, did they lose their strong work ethic.

My family moved to larger towns, got jobs, became dependent on others for their paychecks.

When the Great Depression hit, jobs became scarce. Thousands of "white" men were jobless. The United States passed a new ugliness. It was called the Mexican Repatriation Act.  Much like the Nazis, American police and soldiers loaded men, women and children of hispanic lineage (more than a 2 million) into trucks, cattle cars and box cars in trains and dumped them south of the Mexico border. Many were taken from their homes in the middle of the night. At least 60% of them were U.S. citizens, that would be about 1, 200,000.  Many of those people didn't even speak Spanish. 

Suprisingly, the families that were "repatriated" were families whose fathers and husbands had good jobs. Jobs that the unemployed white men could now take.  Many of the "Mexicans" who were dumped were born in the U.S. Many families had been here for generations. Sometimes only the husband and father was taken, never to be heard from again.

My grandfather was a hard worker. He was a supervisor on a large farm in Colorado. The owner of the ranch warned Grandpa that the government was coming for him, my grandmother and my mother (who was 2 years old). Grandpa, Grandma and my mother were all born in the U.S. Grandma and Grandpa in New Mexico, my mom in Colorado.  Grandpa smuggled his family to Denver, changed his name for a couple of years and lived with my great-grandparents until the repatriation activities had calmed down.

I believe the anthem for this movement was "Save the Real Jobs for Real Americans!" (Can I just say here that it was Herbert Hoover who signed the Act...a Republican)

What year in school did we study this little tidbit of U.S. History....oh, yeah...never!

 God Bless America, the land of the free!

Speaking of free people, the Mexican Repatriation Act and the experience it presented to our government in the reticent round-up of millions is credited with making the internment of millions of Japanese during WWII so easy.  Spooky, huh? 

Do you ever wonder who's next?

Another great-great immigrated from Ireland in the early 1800's. He was pretty smart and realized that Irish were not exactly welcome on the East Coast of the U.S. (was it the Catholicism that offended the powers-that-be) so his family eventually ended up in the southern states. My grandfather was born in Mississippi, moved to Tennessee and eventually moved on to New Mexico, where he met my grandmother.

My husband and I took a trip to Fort Jones and Etna in Northern California last week. I fell in love with the area. The Marble Mountains ( a range of mountains in the Klamath Mountains) are beautiful. I informed my husband that we are going to move to Etna or nearby. I started investigating properties, history, weather. Everything I can get my hands on.

In the research I discovered that Mt. Shasta was first discovered by ____________ __________ and was named after him for a short period and then discovered by _____________ and called __________ for awhile and then discovered by, on and on, white man after white man.  Then the articles go on to talk about the Native American tribes who lived in the area, for 400 years, for 700 years and maybe as much as 7000 years. Some even lived on the slopes of the yet, undiscovered, Mt. Shasta.  They didn't even know it hadn't been discovered.

Native Americans were promised much. Their children were made to march hundreds of miles in snow, without food or water, to reservations "granted to them" for the exchange of their life styles and their homes. We've made heroes of soldiers that slaughtered thousands of the indigenous people of America simply because they were in the way of progress.

The handcuffs above were used on Native American children when they were kidnapped by U.S. soldiers. Taken from their families and jailed in American schools. They were punished and beaten for speaking their native language.

I can go on. But I just want to say that Black Americans have had a bad ride, but they are not alone. Irish, Jews, Asians, Mexicans, Native Americans, have all had to fight for the right to be considered citizens of this country and to be treated as such. In many cases we are still fighting the fight.

Today is Veteran's Day in America. I honor all the men and women who have served our nation, who have been our six. I have to tell you though, there are those soldiers, who rode their horses while shooting at innocent Native American women and children, there are those soldiers who loaded up Hispanic families into box cars and enclosed trucks, those soldiers who rode their horses as they watched women and children, the old and the infirm, march to reservations with broken hearts and broken promises. There are those soldiers that I cannot be proud of, there are those times and those thoughts, that make it difficult being proud of our nation at times.

November 03, 2013

Boundaries ~ Yours and Mine

Therapy is a wonderful tool. My therapist is a shining light and she has helped me in soooooo many ways.

She has helped me to set limits and boundaries. She has helped me to recognize my values, to honor my values and stand up for what I believe in.  She has also pointed out that while I make a concerted effort to respect and honor other people's boundaries, I have made very little effort in standing up for my own values.At times I have let people piss on my boundaries, trample my feelings and ridicule my beliefs. If I call them out and tell them that disrespect for my boundaries is unacceptable, some have immediately apologized, some have thought about it a day or two and come back to discuss it with me and some have basically kicked me in the shin.  Big girl here, bruises heal.

My therapist has helped empower me to stand up for my values, myself and for those that I love. There is nothing wrong with drawing a line.

There have been people in my life whose boundaries are very tight and well guarded. Cross their lines and you better duck or run because they live life "Locked and Loaded"! Yet, they seem to have no limits at all when it comes to how they treat or talk to others.

In the past year (thank you therapy, medication and insight) I have learned to draw the line.  It has been very difficult but I think I'm getting there.

"Free World. Feel What You May!" I have my values. I will stand strong to support those values. If you don't like them or respect them, that is okay. It is a free world.

The good news is I'm not jumping through any one's hoops but my own!

If I don't have exactly the same religion that you do, I'm okay with that.

If I don't have exactly the same political views as you do, I'm okay with that.

If I don't have the same values that you do, I'm okay with that.

If you are not okay with any of the above, I'm okay with that, too.

November 01, 2013

Found A Stash

#nablopomo is a BlogHer challenge to write something daily on your blog. they give you prompts and everything!  Cool, huh!

I would definitely take the challenge but I have promised myself (and all the gods and goddesses that care about that sort of thing) that I would write at least two hours a day on my book.  In my "old" procrastination days (who are we kidding) I would have taken the challenge just to avoid working on the book.  You see I have Authority Issues, even when the authority is my own mind!

Several of my blog buddies did post interesting thoughts about today's prompt: "If you found a million dollars cash this morning and had to spend it all before evening, what would you do with it?"

First I would run to my room to take a shower and change clothes because I know I would have pee'd my pants.

Before I was even dry, I would call each of my kids and ask them to call their mortgage companies for payoff totals. I would get our payoff total and, viola! We would be mortgage-less!

I am pretty sure that that covers a big chunk out of the million dollars but I would still have some small change left.

Next I would tell my grandson to go find a new car, something with a rear-end that would make drifting difficult and could easily carry two large dogs.

I would buy round trip tickets for my niece to Aukland, New Zealand, send a money order to pay her tuition for the school she wants and then pay for six months on a nice little three bedroom house near the college.  (I would, of course, purchase tickets for my sister, my husband and myself to go and visit my niece).

All long as I have the airlines on the phone I would also purchase tickets for my husband and I to Spain, Italy, Belize, Costa Rica.

I would purchase two cars for my oldest granddaughter who is just learning to drive.  First car would
be a 2000 Chevy Suburban. After two years of no accidents or traffic citations, she can have the keys to the shiny, new VW Bug she wants so desperately.

Next, I would reserve and pay for a large lodge near Yellowstone for a week and flights for the whole family.  I would also reserve a large lodge near Zion National Park and tickets for the whole family. I would make sure the two trips weren't consecutive weeks so we still like each other after the trips.  I would reserve bikes, quads, and order several boxes of steaks to be delivered to lodges.

I think I would have just enough left for a couple of $1000 gift cards to Dutch Bros coffee house (1 for me, 1 for my daughter-in-law) and a $1000 gift card for Starbucks for my daughter.

Do I have time left or money? If so, I would buy some silk pajamas and a really, really good bra!