Friday, July 31, 2009

I want to feel more. . .

It's easy to tune out. To not feel, ignore what is going on in the world. I don't wan't to do that. But it is so easy to just do that. . .

Madame Kitty's Fortunes

Now is this cute or what! Makes me want to open up a store front and make folks feel good about their futures.

More Baskets, Please

Organizing makes me feel honorable, clever, and of course, organized. Addicted to thrift stores, I've long ago exhausted my basket options. Now I'm exploring flea markets as a means of redistributing some of my bounty. I'm skeptical, however, that my outgoing will be able to catch up with my incoming.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mildred Anna

I have many memories of my maternal grandmother but none of them look anything at all like this photograph. She's dressed up. Perhaps for church or maybe for her wedding to Clark. She looks relaxed, happy. Only the shoes seem familiar: sensible, sturdy.

What's Cooking

My son is an excellent cook. He's teaching his daughter and his girlfriend to cook. I already know how to cook but for the life of me can't imagine why I'd want to!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Juggler

Juggling Life by John Melencamp

Sometimes it feels like I've got too many balls in the air, too much to handle. But then I contemplate the alternatives--emptiness, boredom, apathy--and I realize that life is perfect just the way it is.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Physician, Heal Thyself

"Hygieia" by Gustav Klimt

According to my horoscope for today, I'm feeling "quiet, somber, realistic, and contained." Well, let's see what I can do about that!  

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Woman for All Seasons

"We are coming down from our pedestal and up from the laundry room. We want an equal share in government and we mean to get it." Bella Abzug 1920-1998

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

Just Another Cat & Mouse Game

I don't have much to say at the moment so will leave it at that.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

25 Random Things

A friend asked me to respond to this on Facebook a few months ago. I decided to share it now, though it's long, sometimes dense, and occasionally self-aggrandizing. I also think it is an accurate personal profile. Feel free to abandon it when it gets boring. Hugs. S

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.

Stuck in Space

July 22 Solar Eclipse as Viewed in Indonesia
As a child, eclipses were a really big deal. I confess, they still are. I wish we had more of them.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Am I Blue

I'm hopelessly drawn these days to blue. Plates, cups, glassware, unrealized dreams, lost memories, broken promises, untold stories, paintings by Miro. Send me your blues and I'll send you mine. 

Some Days

the best I can hope for is a good glass of red waiting at the end. So when I tell you I'm swearing off, switching to seltzer with a twist, giving up Rachel Maddow, taking up yoga. . .well, just don't take me too seriously. 

Monday, July 20, 2009

Something Gained, Something Lost

Forty years ago today, humans set foot on the moon, advancing science and extending frontiers. But I can't help but wonder if we also lost something? Did it diminish our sense of magic, the magnificence of beauty that is beyond our reach. 

Mellow Yellow

Apologies to my faithful blog followers. This isn't about world issues, personal angst, frustrated ambitions, or strange artistic forms. It's just about sitting here in my golden yellow sundress, enjoying the golden yellow flowers outside the backdoor, and admiring the clean-up and minor landscaping John and I accomplished yesterday. Life is good!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Tumbling Tumbleweeds

This morning John and I started the process of cleaning out the weeds that have taken over the long drive-way and entry to our property. Mostly it was an unnamed tenacious weed and some plants that couldn't make it without a good watering. Here and there were a few tumbleweeds.

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

Goodbye Walter

I've been a news junkie off and on for over 40 years. Walter Cronkite became the CBS news anchor the year my oldest son, John, was born (1962). He served us through many turbulent times: the Kennedy assassination, the Vietnam War, the Nixon tapes, and on and on. I bid you a fond farewell. You served us well, Walter.

Life As Art: The Beatles

Another of the wonderful metal sculptures I photographed on our trip to the Mt. Rainier area last fall. I'm so inspired by this man's art. Don't even know his name but his work is timeless.

Art as Life

Art Linkletter's House Party was broadcast on radio from 1945 to 1967. The most memorable part of the show for me was the Kids Say the Darndest Things segment. I'm sure I wasn't the only one who fantasized about being on the show. Many websites include some of the best quotes. A couple of my favorites:

"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


Wanted to share a couple of photos of the progress on the house. The top photo is of the kitchen area and the hallway on the right leads to the bath and bedroom. The bottom photo is of the covered porch which will be an outdoor living room/dining room.

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

Ironing As Therapy

I love ironing. My attention becomes balanced between the task at hand and my emotions, allowing me to think more clearly. And my clothes look better :)

On the Inside

Looking out.

Facing the Week

One day at a time.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Queen Isabelle

Look at that form!
Poetry in motion!

Daisy the Lifeguard Dog!
Proud Papa, the lifeguard exceptional!

What Am I Missing?

In my life I've had an active imagination and once had an active ulcer. But I've never had active underwear. Maybe it's not too late!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Oxydol's Own Ma Perkins

Some of my important early influences were the strong women who populated daytime radio. One example was Ma Perkins (portrayed by Virginia Payne). Like my grandmother, she was widowed and raised three children on her own.

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.

Monday, July 6, 2009


Check out the current issue of "Vanity Fair" for an in-depth look at Sarah Palin. You can read the full article online at 
It is frightening to think about all the folks who supported this person. 


Or not! I don't even remember why I thought this was funny. But it helps me satisfy my daily post :)

Friday, July 3, 2009

If Not Now, When?

What do Belgium, Canada, Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain, and Sweden have in common? They've all legalized same sex marriage, as has Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Write or call your senators and representatives. Now.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

George Sand 1804-1876

As a young mom, I was enthralled with the biography of George Sand, a woman who ignored custom and expectations, married, had children, divorced, took lovers, changed her name to fit her self image, published novels, and lived well. Happy birthday George!

Just Because

Some days I just feel blue and confused. Maybe it's the weather. Maybe it's lack of sleep. Maybe it's just too hard to be happy all the time.