Friday, September 27, 2013

TGIF

A friend shared Mary's song "Old Friends" on Facebook the other day, with a great video of animal friends, which got me going back to Mary's music. Beautiful stuff. I was lucky enough to see her frequently in concert when I lived in Monterey, before transferring to UCSC. Years later, I found out she was a DJ at the college radio station. Later, still, I found myself sitting next to her in a singer/songwriter workshop taught by none other that my heroine, Ronnie Gilbert. I haven't listened to Mary's music in decades, and doing so the other night brought a flood of emotions. Melancholy, wistfulness, feelings of a young woman just beginning her adult life. Fully engaged in the local music scene, playing gigs with my pals. A heady time, really. Amazing how music can do this to me. Ronnie Gilbert said, after hearing Paul Robeson sing when she was 10 years old, “Songs are dangerous, songs are subversive and can change your life." That workshop with Ronnie was a high point in my life, and the fact that Mary was there made it all the more special. It is moments like these that I think back on with abundant gratitude.

So many moments in my life when I have been Thankful, Grateful and Inspired.  Which is why I started this TGIF post in the first place.  I figure it is a good way to end any week.  No need to hit the bar (as is custom for many) and drink in celebration of a week's end.  I prefer to reflect on what has made me feel naturally good over the course of the week.  This is my way of celebrating!  

Here's wishing you a lovely weekend, filled with memorable moments. It might be cuddling up with a bowl of soup -- or inspiration from some old music you haven't heard in a long while.  Or, perhaps, the following video from 1951!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Gas me Once, Shame on you, Gas me Twice....

Yeegads...laughing gas again!  I went to have my permanent crown installed yesterday, and I'm such a big baby that they gave me gas for that procedure.  Well, truth be told, they did have to poke me several places to put gum numbing pain killer in my jaw, and it hurt like bloody hell, so I'm glad I  had the gas.

And the laughing gas is a gift that just keeps on giving.  There was James Taylor again, singing several songs in the course of my visit.  He is the 'easy listening' go-to guy, apparently.

I probably wasn't fit to drive home, but being high like I was, I was sure I was okay behind the wheel.  No driving mishaps, but upon getting home, I napped.  And napped.  And slept.  Right through dinner time.  So heavy...you are getting sleepy...very sleepy.  I couldn't shake it, so I gave in.  What choice did I have?

Woke up at midnight and watched a recorded episode of Breaking Bad.  That show really really got dark.  Last time I watched I said to myself, "no more."  It was too gruesome.  But in my haze last night, I watched 75 minutes.  Walt needs to hurry up and die.

This morning, finally, I feel as if I have a clear head.  Or as clear as it's gonna get.  Whew.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Harvest Moon

the harvest moon,

bathed in morning mist,

washes over the lavender.





Friday, September 20, 2013

TGIF

What a week.  This is my daughter's car after someone ran into it with their Jeep Wrangler with a mega-ton bumper.  I was the only one in the car at the time.  I have some aches and pains, all soft-tissue stuff, but this poor car has probably had it.  The repairs will cost more than the 14 year old car is worth.  Which means, she'll be out of pocket whether or not she has it repaired or buys a comparable used car.

HOWEVER, aside from this mishap the week has been grand.  I've been bubbe in charge, taking the wee one to day care, picking him up, taking him on walks, playing, reading and just generally delighting in his company.  He has a bad-ass cold which means I probably will, too, but shoot.  Couldn't be helped.  I'm dosing up on Vit C.

Good-bye, little one!  See you next time!


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Welcome to my Home

Deepak Chopra wrote a story in which the wizard Merlin said to young Arthur: “I once walked around like you, and when I looked at a person, all I saw was a form of flesh and bones. But after a while I noticed that a person lives in a house that extends that body — unhappy people with messy emotions live in messy houses; happy, contented people live in orderly houses. When I see a house, I am actually seeing more of that person.”  From this article.

I recently broke it off (after 3 dates) with a lovely woman whom I liked very much.  When I visited her home, I knew I could never be compatible with her.  It was a mess, and she had warned me that it was so.  Still, I went over, knowing that it would allow me to see her at her most honest self.  And I knew I wouldn't be able to get past it.  I was torn, should I just tell her that we could continue to date but that I couldn't go to her house because of my allergies (when it really was the pet smells and the general state of the place)?  Oh, believe me, I thought about it.  Did I say she was a lovely woman?  She was.  And I knew that to continue to date her, giving her false hope, was deeply wrong.

I wrote her the most honest, yet diplomatic, email I could.  Yes, email.  Somewhere in our conversations she had mentioned that she prefers this method of breaking up -- and I was kind but truthful.

On the flip side, if I went to a date's house and they were a neat freak and OCD about their surroundings, I would break it off with them as well.  I require cleanliness and order, but not at the expense of living a life enslaved by my domestic proclivities.

When my daughter was little and I was a single mom, the state of my house was the least of my worries.  I chose not to fret about it.  Bed left unmade?  Who cares?  Dishes piled in the sink?  I'll get to them in the morning.  I wasn't going to let it drive me crazy, and that was fine for that time in my life.

But now...I'm a growed up woman, and I'm dating growed up women, and I expect a certain level of order in their homes (and in mine).  Does that make me shallow?  Or am I just being real about what environments reflect about the people who live in them?  And I know what I want, and what I don't.

This dear woman may find a compatible partner who is not bothered at all about the house.  I hope she does - she deserves someone to love.  She has many great qualities about her.  Holding out hope for her, and I am proud of myself for not pretending it wasn't an issue.  Pretty good for a serious co-dependent who shies away from difficult conversations for fear of hurting someone's feelings.  And she deserves someone who really likes all the parts of her.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Trail of Toys

It's 8:44 a.m. and I am ready to go back to bed.

Grandson has been up since 5:50 a.m.  This is happy complaining, mind you, and it's not really complaining, it's just that I am amazed the amount of energy it takes to be with a toddler for a day, or a morning.  Litany of the dawn:

  • ate grapes
  • didn't want to be looked at or touched
  • pulled books off the shelf just for the helluvit
  • ate cheerios
  • drank juice
  • ate oatmeal (two helpings)
  • watch some baby tiger cartoon
  • took the dog for a walk
  • pulled his backpack out and unloaded all the toys into the kitchen
  • ate more grapes
  • got changed and dressed
  • brushed teeth
  • drove mom to her teaching assignment
  • drove grandson to daycare
  • empty the dishwasher
  • clean up breakfast dishes
  • pick up toys in kitchen, living room, bedroom
  • brew a second cuppa and put on some relaxing music
And I think there may be some laundry around here somewhere.....

There's a reason we have kids when we are young.  I am usually perplexed when I hear of a 40 something expectant mother.  Yoy.  When my daughter was young, we had friends who had their first baby when she was 40, her second boy when she was 45.  Granted, this woman had lots of energy -- she had to.

At 56, I discover that I have enough energy to help out for a few days with my grandson, but I'll probably rest a lot when I get back home.  Hell, it's been two days since I showered.  I've been making do with sponge baths because that's just the way it is.  Oh, how I recall the days of young motherhood when I was 32.

Oh, and last night, I gave him a bath (fun!) and afterwards as I stood him up to brush his teeth, he pulled away from the toothbrush, faced the bathroom door and proceeded to pee on the tile floor.  I picked him up mid-stream and stuck him on his potty.  But, alas, he had peed himself out.  He thought it was pretty funny to pee on the floor.  It was even funnier when dad cleaned it up.  Good times.

I do love him so.



Sunday, September 15, 2013

Bake Those Suckers

What to do when all your veg is coming in at once?  Roast 'em and bake 'em and throw some Panko and Parmesan on the top mixed with a little olive oil.

I used 4 zucchini, 4 japanese eggplant, 4 large heirloom tomatoes, a red pepper that was on its last legs.  You could throw in some basil or other herbs.  I thin sliced the zucs, eggplant and red pepper and brushed with olive oil.  425 degrees for about 20 minutes.  Then I layered, put a smidge of fontina cheese between one layer, and topped with tomatoes and Panko bread crumbs that I mixed with grated Parmesan and a little bit of olive oil for the browning.  Baked about 25 minutes on 350.

I would image you could do this with a wide variety of veg:  cauliflower would have gone nicely in here, too.  And I wish I had pine nuts, I would have roasted them in a dry pan and thrown them on top as well.  Yum.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Patio LIfe

This is the book that started me off.  It's a wonderful book
with some great ideas.  And it's just delightful to look at.  Inspired, however, I made a dash to Green Acres and put together my tower of lettuce.  I had plenty of lettuce left over, so I squeezed it into other pots as well.  Something I don't believe I've eaten before, called "Italian Dandelion" is planted in this strawberry pot as well.  It supposed to add quite a kick to salads, so I thought I'd give in try.

For the kitchen balcony upstairs, I bought more Italian parsley since we seem to go through it rapidly.

The day is perfect, especially in the shade.  I'm lounging here now with my water and feeling ready for a nap.  Weekend naps are sinfully delicious, no? 

I have a patio couch coming soon, but if I had it right now, I'd lie down and have a little snooze.  I don't know about you, but if the weather is halfway decent, I'd rather be on my patio that anywhere else in the house. 


Friday, September 13, 2013

TGIF

Friday the 13th.  Good JuJu.  Honestly, don't believe all that negative crap about Friday the 13th.

This weekend I am lucky enough to be celebrating a very good friend's birthday with a bunch of other friends at a fine southern cooking restaurant.  And the Sunday brunch gang is doing it in style at Jack and JT's house, with a movie.   Then I'm driving down to my old home town to watch after my daughter who just had surgery.  For a few days.  She won't be able to pick up her son, so Bubbie to the rescue!

I hope you have a great weekend.  Please, get some proper belly laughs in there, will ya?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Adventures in Filmmkaing

Shout out to Laine Causey!  Laine is a filmmaker who is embarking on a project called A Trilogy: 3 films that speak to the epidemic of violence against women.  I've known Laine for awhile now, through blogging, Facebook, Skype and phone calls.  Next year I will be joining Laine on a road trip to do filming for various projects and I will be assisting with sound and other tasks.  Like keeping us both healthy on the road, if that is possible.  I'll take my tiny portable blender and whip us up some kale protein shakes.

My qualifications?  I was the sound tech for a documentary a gazillion years ago, and I used to be in radio.  That's it.  Laine has faith in me, so I have faith in myself.  She swears the sound technology now is super easy.  It better be.

I couldn't be more excited.  This combines three great loves of mine:  travel, friendship, and creative expression.  And you know I'll be photo documenting the whole danged thang.  True Dat, right Laine?

If you're a Facebooker, go to Laine's page and "Like" the project.  It'll keep you up to date on the goings on.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Zen and the Art of Dentistry

Nothing quite like Monday morning dental procedures.  Imagine inhaling the wonderful gas that makes one's mind and body float to the happy place, and listening to this:

That was me, this morning. I was so stoned, I kicked my shoes off for the full relaxed effect. I was having a tooth prepped for a temporary crown, to be replaced in 2 weeks my a permanent one. I'm laughing to myself because I was feeling traumatized -- when injecting one of the Novocaine shots, the dentist directly hit a nerve and the entire right side of my body came off the chair. OHMYGAWD OMYGAWD OMYGAWD. Yet another First World problem, for sure. But this was my mouth, my pain, and by gawd I was not happy. Even with all that happy gas I was inhaling. I was thinking, hey, in my grandparent's day, a lot of people had all their teeth pulled and dentures installed when they were my age. So I know I'm in good shape. Until the Novocaine wears off. Then I think I'm going to feel the pain. Oh, oh, here comes another "oldie" In my gas haze, I'm really listening to the words and they sound profound. I'm thinking, these lyrics came from a deep and vulnerable place. The song was operating on two levels: a pop song and a deeply human experience. "I've overcome the blow. I learned to take it well. I only wish my words could convince myself." Fucking love sucks.  Until it doesn't.  Then it's mighty lovely.  Until it isn't.

These are the things running through my brain while the noise of the drill, the smell of ground teeth are filling my senses.  Then I find myself chanting (in my head) the medicine Buddha mantra:
Tayata
Om Bekandze Bekandze
Maha Bekandze
Radza Samudgate Soha

The mantra means:

May the many sentient beings
who are sick,
quickly be freed from sickness.
And may all the sicknesses of beings
Never arise again.

Good Lord, I am all over the map.  Just as if I were practicing meditation, I continue to remind myself to concentrate on my breath (and all that wonderful gas that I'm inhaling).  And the mantra keeps repeating itself.  And then James Taylor is singing, and then Billy Joel.  And the dentist is saying, "Please relax your tongue." And I don't even know where my tongue is.  How do you relax something that you are not even physically aware of?

With the procedure complete and oxygen pumped into my lungs, my head is clearing and I am returning to the world.  Gotta admit that there were some ecstatic mental moments in the past hour and half.  All because my brain chemicals were altered.  I used to pay a lot of money for that.  Oh wait.  I still do.  I wrote a hefty check for my dental experience, and murmured to Angel (yes, Angel) "In reality, you ought to be paying me for what I just went through."  She hears that a lot.

Friday, September 6, 2013

TGIF

I heard a great piece on public radio the other day, about a podcast called 5songs.com.  The concept of the show is simple: guests are asked to talk about the significance of 5 songs in their lives.  My first thought, though, was how in the world could I narrow it down to just 5 songs?  I'll give a shot.

1. Brother Sun Sister Moon by Donovan.
I must have been 14 or 15 when I saw this movie.  It, and the soundtrack, awakened such romantic spiritual passions in me that I could not put words to.  My cup runneth over.  My heart was full of ache and desire. I wanted to become a pilgrim, a child of God; in touch with the divine and experiencing miracles in my daily life.  I was a teenager, and St. Francis looked pretty sexy.

2. Jethro Tull Thick As a Brick.  16 or 17 years old. Fully steeped in playing my guitar, folk music, celtic music, rock, marijuana, LSD, endlessly criticizing my elders and the culture.  Everyone and everything (except Jethro Tull) was "thick as a brick."  In those days, there was one stereo in the house, in the living room.  I had to listen to this music when my parents (and often times my sisters) were not home. They were not amused by Ian Anderson's lecherous, druggy music.
 
3. The Hissing of Summer Lawns, Joni Mitchell. 18 and living on my own now,  with my own stereo, albeit still in the living room of my communal house; an echo of "The Last Time I saw Richard" in terms of looking back with regret, seeing that a conventional life was a stifling existence empty of meaning.  I was in the thick of teenage existential angst and wondering just what the hell I was going to do with my life.  I wanted to be tied to a man, to be comfortable, to have all the things that adults were supposed to have in terms of material things.  And that was also my worst nightmare.

4. Stop Making Sense, Talking Heads. 30, with a new baby, I went to the movie theater to watch this movie over and over again.  The theatrics of the show edgy. The music was stirring, crazy, wild, breathtaking.  I was a mom now, but not a shut-in, not old and boring, not completely overtaken by all things infantile.  This music made me feel liberated.  It was fun, and the baby slept through every show snuggled up tight in her wrap against my chest.  SMS is the actual song I'm referring to, but cannot refer to it without including the entire album and movie.

5. The Power of Good-Bye, Madonna.  41, having just sold my house and leaving my first long-term lesbian lover. Almost every word of this song could have come from my own experience. It was uncanny. It was an extremely sad, liberating, sobering, exhilarating time in my life.  After having made the agonizing decision to leave the woman I had committed myself to,  my life opened up in beautiful unexpected ways, and I felt such gratitude for second chances.  Happy to feel free to express myself and be who I wanted to be, without criticism or judgement from my 'beloved.' All because I summoned the power to say good-bye.

##

In picking these songs, I was careful not to over think it, because then choosing would have been impossible.  These songs and times of my life are snippets, albeit important ones, of a very full life.

If you'd like to try this exercise and post on your blog, please do let me know!  I would love to see your choices and hear your stories.  Happy Friday to you - have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

2014 Calendar

Mixbook - Create Beautiful Photo Books and Scrapbooks! | Start your own Photo Books | Create custom Christmas Cards
I've had another inquiry about my photo calendar.  Here it is if you want to take a look.  They sell for $25 and I did promise a video of me doing a happy dance if I got an order.  Well, I have, and now I owe y'all a video.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Morning Rituals

Long gone, for me, is the morning ritual of hitting the snooze button a gazillion times, rolling out of bed and into a hot shower determined to 'wake up' and hit the highway to my stressful job.  Gone are the triple shot lattes required to put my brain in gear and feel excited about the day.

(This is an appropriate Labor Day post, me thinks.)

Half way into the morning I would meet the real workers of the university, the carpenters, window washers, landscapers, electricians, and we would have our coffee break out on the plaza.  We would make snarky remarks about how some students were attired.  We appreciated the beautiful among them.  It was no secret that I am a lesbian, so I joined in the time-honored male ritual of verbally (but quietly) appreciating the beauties who sauntered by.  It was a refreshing highlight of my day, to hang out with these men and feel completely at home with them.  Being in the building trade myself, albeit at a managerial level, I gleaned useful information from them about the work in the trenches.  We got work done, not behind closed doors, but in the morning sun of the Quarry Plaza.

Fast forward to today.  I wake up when I wake up (usually around 7 or 8).  I put on some relaxing music, make my coffee, feed the dog and get some good cuddling time in.  I check my e-mail, maybe light some incense, take the dog out for her morning ritual in the grass.  (I have to tell you, a hummingbird just about flew in through my front door right now.)  Shower and dress when I bloody well want to.

Schedules and appointments do intervene at times, and it's those mornings that I remember well the harried pace of my former life.  And I sigh out of gratitude for what is my life now.    The wider world is not often sane.  A sane person could not watch the evening news without sobbing.  We are torn apart by a deadening materialistic culture that makes outrageous demands on our time, our soul.  Staying centered is a challenge.

I know I am greatly privileged.  I have support systems in place to enable my simpler existence.  I have arranged it this way, by my own herculean efforts, my family, and the sheer good grace of the universe.  Had I had it in me at the time, I could have incorporated some of this good self-care into my daily rituals while working. 

I invite you to find a way to make your mornings simple, happy islands of joy in your harried day.  Haters gonna hate, shit is going to happen, that inattentive driver is going to plough into the back of your car on the interstate.  How are you going to stay sane?

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Yer Kale-ing Me!

It's threatening to rain outside.  Storm clouds are crowding out the sky.  I put off washing the car today.  So now the rain will never come.

The saga of kale continues, tonight with a Portuguese Kale and Potato soup.  It has spicy Portuguese sausage in it and lots of onion.  The garlic has been omitted (sigh) because someone in the house is intolerant.  On so many levels.  (Okay now, return to your happy place.)

Serving it with challa (I like to say "holla!") bread.  Bon appetite, babies. 

Surly Bonds

My dad slipped the surly bonds of earth on January 13.  He'd had a massive stroke on the ninth and doctors were clear he was not going t...