Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Ms. Abzug (wearing her trademark hat in the photo above) was one of my first heroes. Bigger than life, she took no crap from anyone. She inspired and instigated, supported and intimidated. Whatever it took to get the job done. For an overview of her life and work, check out:
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
25 Random Things
1) I am blessed beyond belief yet still indulge in self-pity parties.
2) My memory grows poorer each year so I compensate by filling my space with mountains of artifacts: masks, musical instruments, paintings, drums, photographs, calendars, books, CDs, etc. Somehow these things help me hold on to my self-identity.
3) I’m addicted to the human voice. I listen to NPR on satellite radio almost non-stop (turning it off only to watch tivo’d tv programs). I don’t like to see photographs of radio personalities. I prefer to create my own image of them.
4) Numbers are elusive. When I think of age, 25 seems so young. Trying to think of 25 random things to write about, it seems so many!
5) I’ve had a love affair with cats all my life. I adopted a gray longhair female when I was about 6 or 7. I named her Liz after the cat in one of my first readers. She had a litter of kittens in a box behind the bedroom door. She (with the help of Tom) was very prolific. At one point she actually had two litters nursing at the same time. Now I have a coal black male with evil green eyes who was taken from his mom too early so still wants to nurse. When I don’t cooperate, he bites me. Hard.
6) I haven’t seen or heard from my biological mother since I was seventeen. I had recently married and sent her a framed photo of me with my new husband. I never heard from her again. I used to wonder if maybe she didn’t like what she saw in the photo. Some in her family think she was murdered in west Texas.
7) In the 9th grade I skipped school every Wednesday to work bagging groceries in Furr’s Supermarket in Hobbs, New Mexico. Times were hard and the $5.75 that my stepmother and I each earned made a difference. The carry-out boys would kiss up to my mom in hopes of getting a date with me. Sometimes they would deliberately bust a hole in a 5 pound sack of sugar so she could buy it at half-price.
8) My first airplane flight was to Las Vegas. As we left LA I couldn’t take my eyes off the lights below; I felt like I was in a movie. I was supposed to be at work at the bowling alley coffee shop in Anaheim. Oh well.
9) One of my current interests is learning to cook Asian foods. It’s right up my alley. Lots of interesting ingredients, mostly quick-fire kind of dishes, even the mistakes taste good. I enjoyed a recent visit to Chinatown in Oakland but had to turn away when I got to the turtle tank. It’s hard to face the reality of taking life. Even cold-blooded ones.
10) Jobs I’ve done for money*: affirmative action program manager, after school principal, babysitter, barmaid, cardex clerk, computer programmer, cotton picker, editor, file clerk, grocery bagger, housewife, ironer, middle-manager, mother, publisher, regular teacher, seamstress, substitute teacher, swap meet vendor, waitress. *or food and housing
11) I subscribe to too many magazines: Newsweek, The New Yorker, MS., Food & Wine, Via, The Progressive Populist, Mother Jones, The Sun. At best, I skim them. And then feel guilty so I try to find someone I can give them to. If I think about canceling my subscriptions, I worry that I will be the reason they fail.
12) I dye my hair. Actually, to be more specific, I pay someone to dye it for me every six weeks. If I had that gorgeous hair that goes silvery white all at once, I’d feel guilty about it. But it doesn’t, so I don’t.
13) Whew! I’m finally past the midpoint.
14) Over time I’ve slowly covered the mirror in my bathroom with baubles and bells, puppets and photos: Obama, Tina Turner, Elvis, The Rolling Stones. I also tape up the most recent schedule for my house construction. Fortunately I use removable tape.
15) My removable tape is dispensed by a bright blue frog with a red tongue. (Thanks Cooper!)
16) I collect dictionaries, especially Webster’s Collegiate editions. It’s interesting to look up words in the different versions to see how meanings change. For example, the word griffin once referred to people of African descent. I learned this from a second cousin I found in Texas whose last name is Griffin. I spent two months researching records in the Genealogy Library at Austin and visiting little towns looking for family members on my mother’s side. My favorite was Susie Mae, 102 and still living independently. I hope I have a lot of her genes.
17) When I look up from my computer, I see two old black-and-white photos. The first is of my maternal grandmother, sitting out in the yard on a quilt with her three daughters. The year is 1928 and the youngest child is my mother. My grandmother looks tired. Seven years later she would be a widow.
18) The second photo was taken in 1918. My grandparents approach this event with sternness, everyone dressed in their Sunday best. Only my father, an infant on his father’s lap, does not look at the camera. His sister would later be burned terribly in a house fire that left her unable to bear children. She would instead lavish her mother love on all her nieces and nephews.
19) As a teenager, I chewed my nails until they bled. Then I discovered nail polish: blue, green, purple, pink. Never red. Years later I still love to have my nails done but alas the thrill is short lived. Within hours they are chipped, broken, etc. So, until I can afford a live in manicurist, I might as well go back to chewing my nails.
20) Terry Gross is interviewing a guy about religion, specifically about Jesus and fundamentalists. I was raised in the church. More accurately, in the churches. Living with my grandparents I was ecumenical. Sometimes I went across the street to the Church of Christ. In the summer I went across town to vacation bible school with the Baptists. My mother had me and my younger sister baptized in the Methodist Church and at 17, I ran off with a Catholic and immersed myself in holy water and images of the Virgin Mary. It’s all water under the bridge now.
21) I LOVE computers. I was lucky enough to take classes in data processing in the early 70’s and was hired as a COBOL programmer. Later I moved into management and had my own HP desktop that used VisiCalc spreadsheet software. In the early 80’s, I managed a project that placed Osborne portable computers (they weighed a mere 23.5 pounds) with field reps so they could quickly update production information from the factory floor. Now I have a HP laptop that weighs 15 pounds and has more power than all my previous computers combined. I still love computers!
22) I once took care of 5 children: my two sons plus my 2nd husband’s son and two daughters. (They were all under the age of 10.) We used to walk with a grocery cart to the shopping center next door. I was in my early 20s--we got lots of stares. In the 90s, I was stepmother to my 4th husband’s daughter, from 4 to 10 years old. Having only birthed sons, it was thrilling to have a daughter in my life, even though it was only part-time. Later I even wanted to be a foster parent to a friend’s granddaughter. That mothering urge can run deep. Now when it comes, I take two aspirin and lay down until it goes away.
23) I know what prime numbers are but I’m not sure I understand why they are so important.
24) My youngest son died in April of 1997, the result of being chased by police because the motorcycle he was riding had a taillight burnt out. I will never stop grieving but I am a kinder person now as a result.
25) Whew! I wasn’t sure I’d make it. Thank goodness it wasn’t 50 Random Things.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Tumbleweeds populated my childhood in Texas and New Mexico. For me they symbolize loneliness (just ask any cowboy working the back forty), persistence (impossible to ever rid yourself of them), and creativity (spray them white, add some colored ornaments, and you have yourself an affordable Christmas tree).
Enjoy the following YouTube version of Tumbling Tumbleweeds by one of my childhood heroes, Roy Rogers, and The Sons of the Pioneers.
Friday, July 17, 2009
"Love is foolish but I might try it sometime." Floyd, age 9
"Married people usually look happy to talk to other people." Eddie, age 6
"Shake your hips and hope for the best." Camille, age 9
Thursday, July 16, 2009
It feels great to be this far down the road. I'm still hoping to have my 65th birthday party there in late September. Keep your fingers crossed. I'll keep you posted!
Monday, July 13, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
Ma owned and operated a lumberyard in the small Southern town of Rushville Center where for 27 years she offered her homespun philosophy to troubled souls in need of advice.