Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Dabble into Music

I have noticed the marked absence of music here. Maybe the last few years have been a bit too silent and I certainly haven't bought much music in the last few years or maybe because music for me is so incredibly personal...so personal I rarely listen to music I love with others around. I think music can strip away many of our self-protective barriers and I was never one to expose much of anything in plain sight....

What has been playing through my mind recently is "Wild Horses" as sung by The Sundays and the original is stunning by The Rolling Stones--each is haunting and eerie like an undefined ache. If I am completely truthful "Wild Horses" is playing a game of cat and mouse with Stone Temple Pilot's "Big Empty" in my mind (matches well with the Sin City montage).

I can't tell you how many times I listened to the soundtrack to The Crow when I was a teenager. I am one of those people who can listen to the same set of songs or even one song scores of times over until it becomes part of me. I remember in my sophomore or junior year of high school I drove my sister nuts by playing the Sliver soundtrack over and over again. She may have even been desperate enough to say she would buy me another CD.

When I was very little music always played a significant role in my life. As a baby my mother would put the radio on as I slept so that by the time I was 2 or 3 I couldn't fall asleep without the radio. Silence became oppressive and almost frightening as if it awaited something or someone to fill it up. When I began school and experienced sleepovers, I had to teach myself how to allow the silence to lull me to sleep.

I connect people with musical preferences much like I do with movie, television, reading, food or color preferences. When I drove in the car with my parents I identified certain music with each: my dad preferred Cat Stevens, Simon & Garfunkel, The Beatles and Queen...my mornings when he drove us to school were filled with my dad's music--mostly thoughtful, reflective and sprinkled with laughter. My mother on the other hand preferred Donna Summer, The Pointer Sisters, Whitney Houston, Tina Turner, Toto, Gloria Estefan and Billy Ocean. I remember her snapping her fingers, cranking up the volume and bouncing a bit to her favorites. My mom was joyous, wild and free as her music lifted her and those around her.

When I began to develop my own identity and taste it started in large part with music. In kindergarten I sought out my own radio station (I wanted to hear "Mickey"which was hugely popular at the time and I love the clip of "Solid Gold" because I used to watch that show) neither my parents listened to and I was introduced to teen pop music. I developed a like for Spandau Ballet and I adored "Only the Lonely" by the Motels. At some point I became a lover of Duran Duran which endured and informed many of my later music preferences (Seven and the Ragged Tiger and Tears for Fear's Songs from the Big Chair were the first tapes I bought for myself).

Tears for Fear leads me to a magnificently sad and poignant rendition of "Mad World" by Gary Jules (the original "Mad World" as performed by Tears for Fear). Tears for Fear reminds me of another song I loved from those days: "Voices Carry" by 'Til Tuesday which happens to have been headed by the wonderful Aimee Mann. The Magnolia soundtrack is one of my favorites because of Aimee Mann--"Save Me" is simply gorgeous (also love the movie). Another song on the Magnolia soundtrack, "The Logical Song" by Supertramp, is an instant flashback to those nights when music was my companion in the dark weaving the sound to all my dreams and hopes of the future.

Hope you enjoy the little traipse through a tiny bit of the music that marks my life, dear reader.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Being Dramatic

Dear reader, it has been far too long since last I wrote. I have begun and set aside a few starts to an entry...they seem to need a little more time to season, I suppose.

I decided to stay away from the computer for the weekend. I am on the computer for hours on end during the week (for work, of course) and when I get home the computer often is not something I wish to look upon. At times though I find myself sitting at my desk booting up the computer as if the thing mesmerized me. So, I then make a conscious decision to stay away which was quite easy to do. Instead I read a book, went shopping (in the process seeing several friends), spent an evening with my sister and uncle, saw a movie or two (nothing too memorable), made a cabbage salad (I would call it a coleslaw, but others would not) and continued to sort and organize the new studio (yes, I am still dealing with that!).

I have felt amazingly good lately with very little in the way of pity parties, which once upon a time I specialized in. I feel okay being me, although I am still not certain exactly what all that entails (I am okay with that too). Last night I was sorting through some of my extra ATC's (artist trading cards) and found one, which showcases a mother of pearl button. I wrote a very, very short story to go with the button and I reread it last night. I was wryly amused by my story. Oh, the words I used! Words like horrendous and wretched. My sister read it and said there must not have been a dry eye in the bunch and that in my own way I am dramatic. Thank God! Drama means color, vibrancy, interest and flair--I gladly accept that label.

I tend to write a bit (okay, often more than a bit) dramatically. I love adjectives with their power, lushness and grandness and I sprinkle my writing with them. If I am going to write, I don't want the words to be listless. I want the words to whisper, to leap, to shout, to swirl, to peek, to prod or do any other function to capture the attention of my reader and to keep me emotionally connected with what I write. If I write a tad too effusively it is because in writing I become effusive; in writing I am more and free to express a depth of emotion that in person I am too reserved to do (with some exceptions). For some to envelope someone in their love and caring they need a pen and paper. My body is awkward, but I can string together charged words until they encircle and move. Others surpass me with their deftness and skill in writing, but a little talent is more than enough to allow me to do what I need do.

Monday, August 20, 2007

All Because I Searched for "American Beauty"

In my search for American Beauty among the various films owned, I came across several I hadn't seen or some that caught my notice like Killer Klowns from Outer Space. For some reason Killer Klowns from Outer Space reminded me of a movie I vividly recall watching at my grandparents' house when I was no more than 4 years old (probably with my uncle who was around 16 at the time)...it was about alien/monster men with dark fibrous green skin pretending to be human in order to procreate with human women. The ending scene remains burned in my mind: that of a woman giving birth to a child only to scream in horror when she sees her baby is a monster. For decades I have tried to find out what film I saw so I may see it again. Will I feel sadness for the poor green baby? Will there be a different reaction to the film or will it trigger some embedded reaction? Dear reader, if you have a clue of the name of this movie and tell me you will become my hero!

Along with this movie I have images of The Amityville Horror residing in my brain (especially of an open window suddenly falling upon someone which was something that killed a young brother of a friend of mom). The scariest film for me though was Jaws and I still have not seen the movie again all these years later. The music alone is enough to make my skin crawl and I am not alone. I realize now I may have been more affected by these movies than I thought; perhaps they imprinted a seed of suspicion and of anxiety (although my current phobia of sharks can safely be blamed entirely on Jaws), but I think it was also the time in which I was young and most impressionable....

The mid to later 1970's and early 1980's were a time when it seemed danger and evil lurked behind seemingly pleasant facades and the world was becoming a truly frightening place. There was a rise in violent crime and such fearful things as serial killers, cults, terrorism, gangs, drugs and kidnappings dominating the news. Additionally, at this time the country was still reeling from and wounded by the Vietnam War and Watergate, which created a growing distrust for the government and the enforcers of such a government further deepening the unease. I am not sure if that time was any more dangerous than any other time, but it certainly felt that way.

As I write this the underlying fear I felt as a child resurfaces. Did other children also see the world as one riddled with danger and horror? As a child I would play a game that as long as I was under my covers I was safe. I never kept my closet door open (I still can't). Dreams manufactured by my mind no matter how gruesome were more soothing than reality. As a child, I also worried about child abduction. I had heard enough about it on the news, there were those sensational tv movies about it and my mother told me "true" stories meant to scare me into obedience...they did. One I recall was about a local child who had either wandered away from her mother or became separated from her mother at a department store only to be abducted by a woman and rushed into the department store's bathroom where the stranger quickly cut and dyed the child's hair. Only did the mother's screams and the locking of the department store doors keep the child from being kidnapped. My mom then stressed that everything had happened in a matter of minutes. My mother sincerely feared for such situations and possibilities and wanted me to remain ever vigilant. In conjunction with those present-day fears were also the looming horrors of the Holocaust. My boogieman had a face growing up and he looked remarkably like Adolf Hitler.

Whatever the causes, I harbored distrust and doubt about people and their potential for doing devastating acts against each other. I did not limit my doubt and distrust to others, but also began to see the same patterns in my own thoughts and actions. For many years I feared myself as much as anyone else. I wonder though what are the costs of such caution and legacy of fear? When do you learn to trust? Bad things undoubtedly occur, but it is also harmful to expect the worst to happen. People can be profoundly terrible and yet they can be profoundly magnificent. We make daily decisions weighing dozens of impulses and temptations. We constantly must choose and we are constantly given a new chance to triumph over what makes us small. I try to see the best in people and also accept that they also endure challenges which may sorely test them.

I type, think and say the words “hope” and “wish” quite frequently, because I do hope and wish frequently. My fear of humanity’s failings is now eclipsed by what I believe, hope and an adult’s awareness of the bounty I have received. I have been blessed to experience overwhelming the best in life, nature and people. I think with that gift also comes a responsibility on my part to share such fortune with others so perhaps they might see the possibilities and positive if they are not able to do so. We all need a little hope infused into every day and I hope that by treating others with respect and appreciation I may make their day a little easier and their perception of others a bit brighter.

Saturday night I went out into the backyard with my red dachshund, Dexter, and we each experienced nature around us. While I leaned against the brick exterior of the house, he sat silent. While I stood with my head tilted upwards, he stood looking around him. I felt a rush of goodwill as I looked up into the sky with the canopy of leaves hanging over my head and I wondered if the trees carried messages upon the breeze. I felt small and protected and I hope that is what Dexter feels when he looks up to me. Each of us has someone or something looking up to us even as we, ourselves, crick our necks to see above us.

I am often sent email forwards from friends with funny anecdotes, quizzes, questionnaires or moving messages and I rarely forward them on. I don’t forward them on because I don’t know who or who not to send such things. A forward can put me into a quandary. If I don’t send someone a blessing, am I therefore saying I don’t wish him or her well even when I know they don’t like forwards? If I do, does that mean they are more important to me than someone I don’t exchange forwards with? Oh, the dilemma! I am going to share one with you, dear reader, as I may like the message behind this one most of all:

Recently I overheard a mother and daughter in their last moments together at the airport. They had announced the departure.

Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the mother said, "I love you and I wish you enough."

The daughter replied, "Mom, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Mom."

They kissed and the daughter left. The mother walked over to the window where I was seated. Standing there I could see she wanted and needed to cry.

I tried not to intrude on her privacy but she welcomed me in by asking, "Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?"

"Yes, I have," I replied. "Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever good-bye?"

"I am old and she lives so far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is - the next trip back will be for my funeral," she said.

"When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, 'I wish you enough'. May I ask what that means?"

She began to smile. "That's a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone." She paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail and she smiled even more. "When we said, 'I wish you enough', we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them."

Then turning toward me, she shared the following as if she were reciting it from memory.

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how gray the day may appear.

I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.

I wish you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger.

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.

She then began to cry and walked away.

They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them but then an entire life to forget them.

For those who send me forwards: I did pray (623,096), I am Katharine Hepburn and I am grateful that you thought enough of me to send me any email that did not try to sell me something. I think the world of you.

Dear reader, I wish you and all in your life enough.

Friday, August 17, 2007


I began a post yesterday evening before I abandoned it all in favor of my bed after a tiring day. By rough day I mean I was visited upon by misfortune thrice: my back began to kill me; my car died when it should have idled; and my Harli was showing signs of having the illness, which Brandy (another elderly poodle) did not survive. Other than physical pain, a little frustration and embarrassment for stalling at a light before my car ran again and a brush with deep sadness and worry over Harli's health I was mainly exhausted, but okay. As if in reward for yesterday's calm, today my back doesn't hurt as much, Harli is right now asking in her demanding, spunky way for food and my car is sitting in my driveway without me needing to drive it. Tonight was a great night with the good company of my sister, a trip to a bookstore (nearly nirvana for me, but that is another story) and a delicious dinner at a local cafe.

Yesterday also marked the 32nd wedding anniversary of my parents. If that isn't cause for a feeling of well-being and awe, what is? My parents' marriage is in no way perfect, but it is strengthened by my parents' resolve, dedication and commitment in each other and in their relationship.

When I was a young teenager I once asked my mom how she fell in love with my dad. At the time her answer profoundly troubled and disturbed my notion of love. After all my parents met while they were both in high school--my mother 15 and my father 18 and I had seen more than enough movies of young love. My mother's answer was that she chose to love my dad. I have often pulled out this memory and examined it...looking at what she said this way and that. As I have grown older (and one can hope wiser) I have also come to appreciate her honest answer to me all the more. Mayhap I am wrong, but what I understand her meaning to be now is that everything is a choice and we must choose to love someone and recommit to them every day even when the bloom of passion has faded or when you are having a bad day or an even worse year.

Dear reade, I applaud my parents and others who are likewise choosing to love each other.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Quick Bit

Forgive me for not knowing what to write tonight. I am suffering from another bout of my reoccurring sinus infection (a truth drummed into me is that mucus is GROSS), but this time I actually took the medical advice of my uncle and swallowed some antibiotics--something I really hate to do. I can't remember the last time I took any medication whatsoever. It was only a few years ago I could take aspirin or the like without feeling like a wimp. Why are we taught to bear pain stoically when we have the means to alleviate it without a price to pay? Have I mentioned my avoidance of medication? Or my profound dislike of going to the doctor? It is nearly reckless, but honestly learned from my family. Even my uncle who is a doctor won't go to the doctor himself. That is so typical of my family.... Not much after taking the pills I feel asleep only to awake feeling more exhausted so I think I will return to bed and hope tomorrow morning I feel more the thing.

Wishing you a much healthier day, dear reader!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A Missive's Message

I think I can safely say 2/3 of my waking hours are spent on correspondence of some sort--I correspond constantly for work and leisure, learning and pleasure. I often forget how much time in the past was dedicated to the art of correspondence. In the days when there were not even telephones a large portion of the day was spent writing to friends and family too far away (only a few miles could take hours to travel to and from) to visit regularly. The now often empty dining room at one time used to be a place someone could write letters.

I rarely pen a note much less a real letter, but I still treasure them. I remember when I was little and I spent the night with my then best friend we would sometimes create stationary using whatever art and craft tools we happened to own--I am positive that some of that stationary is lovingly packed away in some box of mine. A few years back one holiday season during college I made sets of computer generated personalized stationary for my friends and another time I created stationary as graduation gifts for other friends.

When I returned home from college--using some of the stationary friends had given me as gifts through the years knowing my love of stationary--I tried to remain connected to the friends who were more like family than friends during which we shared nearly every dinner together for four years (and much of our time away from studying) by writing them letters. As convenient as email, phones and the like are, there is nothing as personal and heartfelt as a handwritten note, card or letter, nor such a testament of the sender's regard for the person receiving such a missive. Some of the letters I wrote remain in my possession never sent, waiting to be opened by those they are addressed to...little time capsules that once I find again I will send off along with new words of greeting to old friends.

This week I received a lovely thank you note from my college friend whose marriage I had attended just last month and I realized that I should have been the one writing a thank you. Her handmade and handwritten note reminded me of the value and importance of such correspondence and also what our friendship meant to me during college and how much I still value it. Years may have passed, but suddenly I remember who we all used to be, how we lingered over our meals long after the dining hall had emptied of all others and how special a time it was....

I think of these entries a little like those letters only the recipient is you, dear reader, and perhaps my future self when I need a little memory jog.

Monday, August 13, 2007


Admission: I read romance novels and even more damning than that I have read erotic romance novels. My favorites thus far are written by a woman by the name of Robin Schone. They are odd, disturbing and halting books even by my standards. I remember upon first reading The Lover I had to adjust my thoughts in order to grasp the lurching, cryptic narrative and intense, dark and passionate interplay between the hero and heroine.

I think why I like these books so much is that the books are about more than striping of clothing to expose the nude body beneath, but striping of all secrets and defenses until the hero and heroine expose the truth of the character they are to themselves and to each other...they are both so very vulnerable. The books seem more isolated than others in that the world narrows down to one man and one woman and yet they deal with all sorts of damage done by villains or at least three of them do: The Lover; its companion novel, Gabriel's Woman and The Lady's Tutor. These books aren't for the feint of heart or modest-minded. Not only are they carnal (I use this word deliberately rather than any other), they are emotionally raw--the characters need each other in the sense that they would be diminished without the other.

I am reminded of something one of my uncles warned me of when I was around 15 years old about reading romance novels: beware unreal, fantastical expectations. My mind is a strange thing and this avuncular advice coupled with a few other factors lead me to insulated myself from such unreal expectations by believing such things only happened to other people or only in books. I lived with the belief that love was not possible for me and I made choices accordingly. This belief still reverberates and marks my life. To hope for a life like other people, a life in which I am not alone seems presumptuous and foolhardy. In truth reading romance novels is often more torment than comfort, but at least it is fiction. Often real life is crueler to witness. Too often I feel like a beggar watching others feast. Ultimately though aren't I responsible for feeling like this? It is my own fault and only I can change this.

Maybe I am too much of a coward. I think it takes strength and courage to accept and give love. It certainly requires bravery to reveal who you are and let someone else know you. I congratulate anyone who has done just that.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Insomniac Ramblings

I can't sleep. I go through periods of time when my mind is working and I have no off switch (I am lacking the owner’s manual). At these times I am haunted by the past or feel some dread about the future. Sometimes what I am thinking about makes no sense because it is a mélange of indefinable emotions. I have tried writing several different entries tonight (Saturday) and only now have some direction (admittedly rambling) well after 2:00 am on Sunday morning.

Tonight I watched Hot Fuzz (tremendously entertaining British comedy which is close to the magic of Shaun of the Dead although I would have to give the edge to Shaun of the Dead as it is a zombie movie and for whatever reason I truly enjoy zombie flicks) for the first time and followed that with The Matador (rather decent film). Seemingly these two movies don't have too much in common, but I found a congruent theme or perhaps my restless mind only found it because I was gravitating towards such thoughts anyway. The theme I mean is friendship. The protagonists of both films live to work (they may be opposite sides of the law, but that is neither here nor there) and they are rescued quite literally and figuratively by their only friend in the world. In The Matador, the protagonist (an aging hit man played by Pierce Brosnan) and his friend (a salesman played by Greg Kinnear) don't know each other long or all that well before a bond is forged.

I wonder about the moment friendship solidifies and becomes bracing? Why do we feel an immediate kinship and willingness to trust some people and others it may take years to come to realize their importance in our lives? I suppose often it is being receptive to or in need of the connection. Also there is a necessity for reciprocity of need and dependence on each other or at least there is for me.

Conversely, when do friendships deteriorate and fall apart? Can't you remember someone who was so vital to your life 2 years ago only being a whisper of a thought now? Do we change so much? Call me foolish or delusional, but I have always thought I could sense when a friendship of mine was nearly at that point when it crumbles and in the past rather than fight or question my feeling, I have left with no resentment (I hope) on either side. Did I perhaps leave too early? Was too much the coward? Incorrectly read the signals? Or perhaps, dear reader, I analyze too much? Why is it that I have far too many questions and too few answers?

Thankfully documenting all these endless questions has made me tired. Dear reader, I hope I haven't likewise put you to sleep.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Autumn Cleaning

Many times I have no idea what I am going to write about, or I start on one topic that leads to another. I sometimes begin a post only to save it for later. Some ideas need to ferment and I seem to have quite a few of those (i.e. characters which have been with me since high school). Others need to immediately be expressed or I feel like a jack-in-the-box ready to pop from keeping them to myself. I feel most acutely alone when I don't know who to share my thoughts with...I am not sure if everyone is likewise as compartmentalized as me. I think I do it partly as a way to retain some privacy, partly to protect myself emotionally and at least a little because no matter how hard I try I still feel like a burden.

I am not proud to say that I have dropped friendships throughout my life. I walk away before others do. The catalyst for such shoddy behavior is an inability to accept my own failings. I don't seem to be able to deal with my own disappointment in myself without some destruction. I have a list of regrets so long I could easily fill a dozen notebooks. There are smaller regrets like not sending a birthday email and larger regrets like not being there for someone when I should have as I didn't know how and wasn't big enough to admit just that.

As a child when I was angry I would knock over books or other toys and make a big mess. In the act of cleaning up and organizing the mess I found peace and serenity. In this I am reminded of Kali, the Hindu mother-goddess of death, destruction, creation and rebirth. From fire's ash comes some of the most furtile soil. I don't think I am being sacrilegious when I connect Kali with the Jewish holiday by the name of Yom Kippur, which is the Day of Atonement. Actually the days between Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur you are supposed to reflect on what you have done and do what can be done to make amends. It is quite like a spiritual and emotional spring-cleaning or rather autumn cleaning. It is a time to rectify all the wrongs done to others from the previous year (or years if you have been accumulating a bigger mess) and a time to begin anew like the phoenix, hopefully more glorious and wise, from the remnants of the past.

I need to do a lot of cleaning, dear reader.


When I was searching for images under "autumn leaf", I discovered this blog: the seek speaks (you will have to go to the achive to find the October 26, 2005 blog entry to see the leaf that drew me to this blog). I loved looking around at all the blogger's drawings.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


I am on a minor tare about films. Do I usually saturate my life with films and television? Yes and no. Movies are a consistent element in my life and another realm in which I relate to others and particularly my family. My sister and I have a sort of shorthand language built upon movies, television and books. We tend to have similar tastes although mine stray more into the dark and bizarre and hers into the more Technicolor and Hollywood. For instance I will watch such movies as A Tale of Two Sisters and Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and she likes Dirty Dancing (one movie I have never really liked) and has love affairs with certain movies which I like to a certain extent, but don't watch as many times i.e. Bride and Prejudice, Love & Basketball, Daydream Believer (aka The Girl Who Came Late). Don't get me wrong, I also watch some movies way too many times or have them in the background as they give me comfort like a sunny-natured, slightly dense chatty friend. For instance, the cheesiness of Starship Troopers inevitably brightens my mood.

Sometimes we frighten each other by how in tune we are in how we think. Our minds often grab hold of the same archetype or cynical twist on an event. With all we do share, we also are dynamically different or perhaps we only prefer to highlight what makes us each unique. Inevitably you are compared and found wanting in some areas and superior in others. She is far more generous with her time, energy, love and resources and I usually with my judgment, patience and understanding. My sister will not suffer fools and in the right mood I will with some temperance. My sister is a fighter and diligent while I am prone to being easily deterred and distracted. I am naturally more creative and she more organized.

How much do we play up to the roles we have scripted for ourselves or been allotted? I wonder how much I define myself in relation to her? How much of who I am is related to being my sister's older sister? Interesting questions, dear reader, to delve into and explore....

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

At War with the Inner Critic

As much as I love the intricacies of planning: research; buying the elements; making lists and devising ideas my plans usually go awry before completion. In a piece of art this usually is a blessing, in all other areas of life this means many things left undone. My intentions are good, but how far can intentions get you?

One thing I always intend to do, but have only accomplished once is making handmade holiday cards for family and friends. Maybe if I start working on my idea now I will design and create a card people will treasure when they receive it in the mail in December. One of the problems with designing a holiday card is that my family and friends have diverse religious affiliations and I need to be sensitive regarding their beliefs. Do I do like that single successful year and do a nondenominational peace card? Or do I different cards with a similar footprint? I still prefer untraditional colors like pink and lime green or robin's egg blue and red for Christmas and turquoise and brown or aqua blue and sea glass green for Hanukkah. What about the other religions?

I look at old cards and such and see so much room for improvement in all I did and do. Yesterday at my monthly artist trading card (ATC) trade, I mentioned how in my recent packing up of my old studio I reviewed some of my ATC's and found them lacking in my opinion. I was not putting down my work so much as that I feel that in me I can do better...that I haven't reached some hidden potential I can only sense and haven't yet been able to exploit. In other words, I haven't found my artistic voice. All these years I have been fumbling around in the attempt to discover my authentic style and I have yet to find it. What I am making still isn't "right" and it doesn't feel entirely like me.

The same can be said for my creative writing. I constantly strive for the sense I have captured the ellusive truth and perhaps I begin anew too soon. I do know I struggle. In fact I struggle each time I write one of these entries as my inner critic finds more fault than good in what I do. If my inner critic had its way each entry would be a masterpiece and therefore never posted as I would be rewriting and revising the blasted thing everyday of my life to polish it until is gleamed like a jewel. Like a jewel it would be slick, cold and hard with no rough edges to make it interesting and human. When I post an entry it is actually a minor triumph for me of sincerity and honesty over a need for perfection. With any creative venture (actually most everything), I am working against my inner critic and my tendency to procrastinate (which I think is a mechanism to blindside my inner critic--I have not the luxury of time and must only do no matter the results).

So, dear reader, I return to my little battle and attempt to conqueror my inner critic long enough to create imperfect, but heartfelt holiday cards in time for the holidays.

P.S. I think I need to name my inner critic...it is about time we were on a first name basis. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Having been enthralled like many millions by the Harry Potter series, I also became ensnared by children and young adult literature. Today I finished reading Nancy Farmer's The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm set in Zimbabwe in the year of 2194. It is an intriguing future world intermixing such things as: evil genetically engineered blue monkeys; a wasteland being mined for rare plastic; a sequestered preserve in the middle of a bustling city with no modern technology; a mile-high building which is a vertical city in itself and spirits of ancestors, animals and the land. The characters of this delightful book are just as varied and colorful, but, dear reader, you can read more about that yourself by reading the link provided.

What I am most interested in discussing right now is spirits. In the book the living are constantly aware of the spiritual realm. Most important of all the spirits was the mhondoro: the lion spirit or spirit of the land. Everyone living in Zimbabwe belonged to the mhondoro, every creature that had ran, ate, played, hunted, loved and died on the land belonged to the mhondoro.

How many of us now are trying to reconnect with such a spirit in whichever land we call home? No matter how sleek our architecture or how powerful our artificial intelligence we all need to feel connected to the very essence of life in some way. Some of us only need to dig into the moist earth and foster growth, others need to explore the oceans, others pound into dough like their grandmother before them, others may hike trails or search for another bird and still others surround themselves in the sounds, motions and rituals of devotion and worship. What they all search for is a sense of belonging. Belonging necessitates relationships--a sense of community and participation in something greater than the individual.

I am a practical and dubious person when it comes to spirituality and the unexplained, or at least I was. Still, I am moved by more than the tangible. It took generations to create a modern life. Perhaps those before us linger and matter more than we realize. With each person we encounter we imprint a bit of ourselves on them--some more than others. We never know the full impact of a life: how we inspire another and what our words, actions or mere presence means.

It is strange to imagine, dear reader, that your life may impart such significance well into the future...that your spirit joins those before you and will be joined by those following you.

P.S. When I was searching for images using "spirit" as my keyword, I discovered this hauntingly beautiful photograph by Diane Varner (click on link to see the photo). Enjoy clicking through the rest of her photography of nature.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Watery Reflections

In the shower I ruminate. I am sure there are others who are more pleasantly engaged, but I think. Sometimes the thoughts are refreshing like the hot water hitting my skin and drenching my hair. Other times the thoughts in my mind scald. Still, I think about my life, who I am, of family, of friends, of silly things like cardamom or cartoons, of fairy tales and horrifyingly real issues, of beauty, of ugliness, of greater world issues and small, petty concerns of my own.

Now that I write on this blog I think of possible blog entries: books to discuss, moments in my life I want to capture in words and some images, films to recount, ideas to explore, loves to expose upon and difficulties to address.

Yesterday's shower I reflected upon how sensual and sexy food can be. When I say sexy, I mean the less sexualized meaning--it is seductive, lush and riveting much like how my grandpa calls my purple velour chairs sexy (he calls most things purple "sexy" which always makes me laugh in delight, but more on my grandpa and purple at a later date). This thought germinated from all the magazines, food blogs, cookbooks, food focused shows, food memoirs and photos of food I have consumed in my life not to mention the actual act of tasting, smelling and touching food and yet what really inspired this train of thought was the night before (Saturday night) I caught a bit of Gabriel Iglesias's Hot and Fluffy comedy special in which he highly sexualized his love of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. I felt slightly sick along with amused by the blatant doughnut eroticism, but there is certainly a granule of truth in what he was saying (anyone else remember the green M&M commercial? I am no prude, but I did not want to associate green M&M's and teenage boys fantasies). Food is often a substitute for affection, an expression of interest (chocolates for instance) or a prelude.

For me one magazine exemplifies beauty in food and cooking: Donna Hay Magazine from Australia. The photographs and food styling are so exquisite, simple and tempting I call them food porn (not a term I coined in anyway) as for anyone the least interested in food is immediately craving fresh, flavorful food and for those with even an inkling for cooking will be inspired to experiment in the kitchen. Donna Hay Magazine revitalizes commonplace food like mushrooms, grains of salt or pasta and at least for me, conjures up a childish zeal.

The visual appeal of Donna Hay Magazine led to a bit of reflecting on 300 which I saw Saturday on dvd. I meant to see 300 in the theater like I did Sin City, but for whatever reason it never happened. The story did not stir me all that much, although Spartan culture does interest me (I did take some courses on military history after all). The plot is a common tale of honor, betrayal, love, sacrifice and the reverberations of such sacrifice, but oh, dear reader, visually it is magnificent! As I have stated before, I am easily charmed by what I see and 300 is a feast. Like Sin City, there is great beauty juxtaposed and therefore heightened by great ugliness. The world of 300 is like Greek myth: ripe, terrible, violent, gory, fantastical, powerful, hedonistic and surreal.

During today's shower I thought upon my last entry and the comments. Honesty is often harsh and when someone lets you into their personal thoughts, fears, insecurities and feelings, dear reader, you will find things you do not care for or wish to know. As my mom says, people are sticky. I am no different. In my attempt to become a better person I do venture into the darker realms of my self. Even at the best of times I am not entirely lighthearted. It is my belief that only by understanding, cataloguing and forgiving my faults and who I have been may I be able to accept all of me and improve myself. I have made a lot of progress because I am treating my younger self as I try to treat others: with respect, compassion and acceptance. I am not ashamed of who I was or what I thought. That was how it was. Who I was then allowed me to become who I am now and who I am now will inform who I am to be and dear reader, I have big aspirations. I have always thought a little too big, expected too much and that is more than a little of my problem. Still, not to dream big (and also more than possibly crash hard), no matter the reality and the ramifications, would negate what I am coming to realize is who essentially I am....

I wish I could somehow take notes of the shower mental jaunts because I tend to forget the details much like dreams upon waking. I hope, dear reader, you find rejuvenation or serenity during your next venture the shower or bathtub.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Me, Two Years Ago

This entry was written on May 25, 2005 when I originally set up this blog and saved for all this time in draft form. I am posting it even though it is a little too raw and insightful about my outlook on my life then and it also isn't a complete post, but it was real and something I experienced. I am amazed at how much I am the same and also different since that day some 2 years ago. It truly is a snapshot into who I was at the moment in time. Dear reader, I hope you too can look back on your life with some kindness towards your younger self and with a little more hope and wisdom.

Due to another blogging site no longer allowing comments without signing up here I am blogging for the first time. Call me selfish and also sadistic because I have nothing to say of any interest to anyone, but still I inflict my writing on others. I can only hope this will be just be a self-indulgence that few people care about.

With that thought in mind, I am going to write what I want to write for my personal edification. Let me begin with the truths I live with. One, I know very little and therefore feel very small and damned stupid most the time. Two, I do not feel my age and never have--when you rarely hit the milestones others usually live by, how do you mark your life and progress? Three, I am constantly in a state of confusion and befuddlement. Three, I am both arrogant and self-depreciating and they feed off each other. Four, I believe in few things. Five, I am completely, utterly emotionally unsavvy--a dog has more sense than I do. Six, I am not certain about anything anymore, if I ever was. Seven, the only constant in my life is inconstancy. Eight, I have no direction. Nine, I am a perfectionist who realizes it is impossible to be perfect and yet can't or won't stop harping on all my faults. Ten, I have innumerable faults and a handful of real positive traits.

Hmm, there seems to be a theme. Mostly that I stumble through life and hate the fact that I stumble. I dislike being imperfect. I dislike emotions...or rather I dislike my emotions. And I am terrible at living. I mean I sometimes see myself objectively and am horrified by inability to do anything. I am paralyzed by a fear of doing something wrong, I no longer do much of anything and therefore I am wasting my life in most people's opinions. When not emeshed in the emotional deluge, I can honestly laugh at how much of a fool I am...I am not funny, but if you were playing a game to see how uninvolved a person can be in their own life I would be a great model. I ponder this, but I do not want to feel it. I am tired of being me. I was tired of being me when I was 4 and it hasn't gotten much better.

Friday, August 03, 2007


Dear reader, I typed away yesterday on a draft blog entry and then I lost momentum. My track record had been so beautifully consistent before I let it slip. Ah well, I did warn you that I was an inconsistent person (a dabbler), something I have much lamented about, but am trying to come to terms with at present.

Some of us are just innately erratic--going 0 to 60 one minute in one direction and then going upside down in another minute and then lazing about in yet another moment. I admit it is frustrating and I have on more than one occasion deserved the "flighty" moniker. In fact in middle school when I spent a lot of time out in the sun and had a golden hue, I was dubbed a ditzy blonde airhead. As long as friends also feed me Airhead candies, I didn't mind so much (it was not untrue after all).

It also doesn't help that I am not always present. I don't mean to have my mind focus somewhere beyond or backwards in the past that is where it naturally wanders and it requires an insane amount of will to focus on things I rather not: chores; sorting through my possessions; accounting; future negative ramifications of this precise action or that; car maintenance; maintenance of anything really; contacting someone I feel I have wronged in anyway, etc.

I remember as a teenager faced with the cleaning of the bathrooms every Friday afternoon after school I would be distracted and entranced by things that usually bored me--everything became exotic and mesmerizing when it suddenly became something I shouldn't do. My will is mightily weak, dear reader. I played cards, read books I previously discarded, noticed the patterns on trinkets, organized perfumes in order of height, tested the acoustics of my parents' bathroom and looked in the mirror trying to determine the color of my hair or eyes. All truly inane things another time and place, but on a Friday late afternoon or early evening, so much brighter than scrubbing out the tub or vacuuming the stairs.

Thankfully Fridays nights are now blissfully peaceful. There is nothing I must get done and no chores hanging over my head until the following morning. Fridays I am entirely too tired to worry about anything but relaxation. In this it is good to be an adult.

Have a lovely Friday night, dear reader!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Summer Under the Stars Begins

During the month of August every year TCM runs its Summer Under the Stars. Each day is dedicated to a chosen movie actor and each year the stars are different although there usually are superstars that show up each year (like Spencer Tracy, Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne, Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn), although this year there are fewer of these than previous years. Dear reader, I am sure you will be amused to know that I was nearly in raptures when I found out there would be a day dedicated to Vincent Price this year. I am an odd duck.

Summer Under the Stars is kicked off today with renowned raven-haired beauty, Elizabeth Taylor. I grew up believing Elizabeth Taylor one the greatest beauties of all time as my mom was a fan. Through the years I have seen several of Elizabeth Taylor's films from the time she was a young girl through her later years. I enjoy her sultry screen presence in the 1950's and 1960's best. Who can forget Maggie the Cat? Or more recently I saw a deliciously strange Southern gothic film Reflections in a Golden Eye co-starring Marlon Brando which I am convinced was an inspiration for American Beauty.

Before coming into work I caught the tail end (no pun intended) of one of Taylor's earlier films, Courage of Lassie (strangly enough the collie's name in the film was Bill and not Lassie, but you can read more about that if you are interested by clicking the link for the movie) which is one of those child and their dog movies. I feel more than a little sheepish to admit I am easily swayed by the emotional manipulation found in these films. Ah well, I am a sap. I only have to think of the ending scene of My Dog Skip to become damp-eyed.

Oh, and for those who enjoy reading blogs about movies, here is TCM's with several contributors and they cover a gambit of interesting topics related to film: Movie Morlocks.