Friday, November 30, 2007

... And So, November Ends

Boy, oh boy, was I ever a creative steam locomotive yesterday afternoon and evening. Clear the tracks... full speed! ("
I'm givin' 'er all she's got, Cap'n!") Where'd it all come from?! I don't know, but who am I to question The Muses?

I started by writing yesterday's blog entry. It seems some folks have come to expect fresh fodder from me to accompany their morning bean (sorry I was late, Tom!). I'm flattered, a) that people are reading my fevered scribbling at all, and b) that this li'l
stake I've claimed has so quickly become a standard in
any one's day. *deep curtsy* If you like what you're seeing, Gang, please pass the link along to others.

After I'd satisfied my daily blog quota, I went out to the kitchen to see what I could rustle up for some kind of dinner. I ended up baking oatmeal cookies (*slorp*). They're darned tasty - if'n I do say so myself -
they're healthy... well, mostly healthy... well, kinda... well... hey, they've got oatmeal and raisins in 'em anyway. I'll end up giving the bulk of them away (so no worries about the incredible shrinking woman). I just enjoy the process of baking, is all.

While I was waiting for batches of cookies to come out of the oven, I diddled around on the piano and (Pow!
Zap!! Zowie!!!
) an entire song came flooding out of me. I've never written a "protest" song before, but I kinda like this one Just The Same. (Psst... That's a live link to the lyrics for those of you who aren't entirely 'net savvy.)

Then, it was back to my cave (if I'm in the right mood, I call it my design studio, but who are we kiddin' here?!), whereupon I fell into a rubber stamping vortex. I was jammin' to some good tunes, happily inking away (I get just as much ink on my fingers as I do on the paper), cursing my paper cutter (which refuses to do anything in a straight line anymore), oblivious to pretty much anything else, when the telltale msn
radar blip yanked me back to reality. "You still awake?" typed the Blipper. I looked at the computer clock and realized it was already after 11 p.m. - past my bedtime. Oops.

So, I forced myself to shut things down, said "N'night" to The Muses (party on without me, Gals!), and ... here I am again, fresh hot bean in hand. It's the very last day of November (already!). I want to give a loud shout-out (I'm thinkin' Howler Monkey style oughta do) to my pal, Denise: Happy Birthday, Chiquita! This one's for you (you'll get the "live" version tomorrow)...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Verbal Remedy

In the movie, The Last Samurai, Nathan Algren is captured by a group of Samurai, led by Katsumoto. Once the dust has settled from the lopsided battle, Katsumoto proceeds to question Algren.
Katsumoto: I wish to learn.
Algren : Read a book.
Katsumoto : I would rather have a good conversation.
A bit later, with Algren frustrated at knowing nothing about his adversary, Katsumoto dismisses him, saying, "I have introduced myself. You have introduced yourself. This is a very good conversation."

I've never felt like I was a very gifted conversationalist. (Though this may seem like an attempt at self-deprecation, or a ploy for external validation, it's not. It's truly how I feel.) While I greatly enjoy listening to others talk, I don't much like hearing my own voice - my diction is worthless; I have a weird Midwestern accent; I'm not melodic; and I find myself thinking faster than I can talk, or talking faster than I can think - either of which leaves me groping for words and/or apologizing to my conversant partner(s) in crime, saying something lame like, "Ugh, sorry, that isn't quite what I meant." Or, "Dammit... I forgot where I was going with this point." It is, quite simply, a facet of communication in which I've never fully felt like a participant, even with those I've been closest too. (I acknowledge that there are some folks out there who are reading this and thinking, "What?! Are you kidding, Barb? How could you think that?" But, in fact, I do think that.)

In recent weeks, I've had the pleasure of several very good conversations, with several different people (some of whom, mere months ago, I'd have had a difficult time talking to for more than 5 minutes) - conversations wherein I actually felt like I contributed something worthwhile to the mix - held up my end of the bargain, so to speak. Of course, in my classic introspective, self-dissecting style, I've been trying to figure out what has changed - obviously, it's something within myself. Is it a new willingness to be more open? Is it a sudden burst of newly found intelligence (or an acceptance of intelligence that was there all along)? Is it that my full on plunge into the written word has my thoughts spilling over in such a fashion that I've actually found a vocal outlet as well? Is it, simply, that I don't give a rat's ass what anyone thinks about me anymore, thereby freeing myself to be myself, and say what's on my mind? Or is it all of the above? All, I think. But... where the hell did it come from?! Because, for sure, that ain't me, kid.
“A single conversation across the table with a wise person is worth a month's study of books.”~Chinese Proverb

As with any worthwhile gift, this one comes with wonderful richness and texture. I feel as though I've been given deeper insight, not only into myself, but into the people I care about. I've also learned a great deal about many different topics. It's broadened me in a way that my near constant perusal of books has never done. It's a connection with another soul, and that's always a beautiful thing. It's a gift I gratefully, albeit bewilderedly, accept, and promise to use my powers for good only, never ever for evil.
“Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.”

~Anne Morrow Lindbergh

A few months ago, I bowed to the Universe and asked for the freedom to live up to whatever potential I have. As John used to say, "Careful what you wish for; it is surely comin' your way... in your lane, high beams on, and it's drivin' fast." What's next? Who knows? I sure don't - stay tuned. But, I'll tell you this much; you'd be astounded at how good the rain feels once you've tossed the umbrella aside.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Who put the Ass in Asset?

During a conversation last night, I was reminded of something a wise woman once told me: A quality is not always an asset. All of us possess admirable qualities that can be turned around to become a detriment to us, as well as to others.

When I was in second grade, my mother went to the parent-teacher conference to meet with my teacher. Mrs. Schmidt (one of the finest teachers ever) told her, "Barbara is a very stubborn young lady." (To which, no doubt, my mother nodded.) "But," she continued. "Don't squelch that in her; it will be one of her finest assets in this life." She couldn't have spoken truer words... brilliant woman, that one. (Adelaide Schmidt just passed away on September 17th, R.I.P.)

That stubbornness has gotten me through so much. When it shines brightest are the times when someone tells me, "You can't do that." Oh yeah? Watch me. It shines when the whole world is falling apart and everything in me wants to run, but that little second grade Barby stands firm, hands on her hips, and says, "You can't scare me."

During the first weeks that John and I were together, he said, "Women don't seem able to hang with me. I can be an asshole. I won't be surprised if you end up leaving." I kid you not, my first internal response was, "Oh yeah? Watch me." My actual response was much more demure, "I'm not going anywhere."

It turned out that both of us were right. John was not an easy person to live with; the tenaciousness that I so admired in him came out in everything he did. Everything. I used to tease him that he was a badger in another life. He could, indeed, be a real S.O.B. - I absolutely hated the times we'd fight. (I don't like fighting with people anyway, but fights with him felt horrible.) He was fiercely direct with his feelings, and his anger was quick to surface. He could think so fast on his feet, and say exactly what he was thinking, using just the right words. Not me, I'm a far better writer than I am a talker - I tend to blurt first, think later. I was no match whatsoever in a verbal spar with John. Arguments with him would usually end with me dissolving into speechless tears, and him throwing his hands in the air, saying, "Fuck you," and heading off to another room. It wouldn't be long though before he'd come back, much calmer, and say, "Yeah, I'm pissed, but I love you, and I don't want to be at odds with you." His ability and willingness to do that never failed to astound me.

So, I hung with him. I saw the qualities in him that made him the fine, admirable person he was and I recognized that those same qualities were not always a good thing to possess. Stubbornness made me hang; love allowed me to stay. Yes, there's a difference. Stubbornness permitted me to keep John at home when he was dying, rather than send him to the hospice center. The hospice workers would counsel me and say, "This is an awful lot for one person to take on, you can't..." Oh yeah? Watch me. Stubbornness gave me the wherewithal to do anything and everything that was needed for his care. Love let him die at home, holding my hand - right where we both wanted him to be.

That same stubbornness - and I do have other qualities, but this is one I've dissected many times in my life, so it's easy to use as an example - that same stubbornness has gotten me into trouble. I've dug in when I should have walked away (the last three years of my ex-marriage comes to mind), I've said hurtful things in my defense when I should have acquiesced, I've tilted windmills when I should have been enjoying the view of the countryside. "Oh yeah? Watch me..." should often have been, "I'm sorry." Or even - horror or horrors - the unthinkable, "I just can't."

Balance. It's one of the greatest gifts we, as free-thinking humans, have been given. More often than not, our qualities are our assets. John is fondly remembered by everyone who knew him as being a determined, unyielding individual - qualities that got him through life as a paraplegic with impressive grace. My second grade teacher saw something in me 40 years ago that she knew would beam light into the darkest times. I'll never stop being stubborn. I do (sometimes) try to recognize the times when it may not be the best choice for me in a given situation.

Just don't tell me I can't... unless you really wanna be staring at my stubborn asset.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

This, That, n' Somethin' Else

I have two good things to share (and then some other related stuff):

a) Birddog passed her emissions test and is proudly wearing new tabs. So, the gypsy wagon is good to go for another year. (I ain't drivin' fast... I's just flyin' low.)

b) I'm proudly wearing jeans that are 3 sizes smaller than what I was wearing in August. Wooo! I fully intend to keep aiming for the lower numbers. Now that my mind and spirit are more in line with what I've always wanted for myself, it's time to get the ol' carcass to follow. B'sides, I wanna wander the woods, not waddle through 'em. So far it's been easy and painless to ... heh ... 'waist away'. Once I got my head where it needed to be, a couple of different things happened: I started wanting healthier things, and I stopped needing to fill the gaps in my life with food. (Janet Greeson's adage is true: It's not what you're eating - it's what's eating you.)

The other day when I shared the news with Bill (hey, dude... I'm not getting graded on this one, so I can use your name), he said, "You're withering." I replied, "No, I'm becoming." And that's really what all of this is about. I may not be able to shake the world from its apathy with my writing or artwork, my ranting or cajoling, or even my vivid blue stare (and I'm really much too passive to try the nostril/finger trick). But maybe, just maybe, if I truly lead by example, I can wake one person from their dreamless sleep. I have a rock on my desk (given to me by Laura years ago) that has a bitingly funny - but all too true - phrase chiseled into it:

If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning. ~Catherine Aird

Well... I don't want to be a horrible warning anymore!

Apropos of which... over the past month or so, I've found myself moving toward an increasingly vegetarian lifestyle. There are various reasons for this, and I won't go into great detail here as I'm still researching the import behind my instinct(s). Suffice it to say that it has a fair amount to do with concern for other warm-blooded beings, and concern for my own well-being. I really don't need animal fat as part of my diet, nor do I need the hormones, drugs, etc. that are used on animals and, in turn, passed on to me from the meat I might eat. So, I've come to a decision. I've decided to "go vegetarian" entirely, by the first of the year - it could be much sooner, but I've given myself that time to adjust and adapt, if needed.

I'm declaring this, not as a form of righteous indignation (caveat lector - that day's surely comin'! *sly grin*), but I am declaring it as a commitment. I'd be a pretty pathetic example of anything if I didn't allow myself to be held accountable.

So, that's the scratchy, confining little nutshell today (I keep trying to peck my way outa this damned thing!).

Monday, November 26, 2007

True Confessions

I'm a full moon junkie. Once a month, late at night, you can find me out in my backyard (or wherever I am) howling at the full moon. I used to hold back on those instincts until about 9 years ago, when my dearly departed friend, Roxan told me that she'd climb to the top of the grain silo and let loose with an ululating cry whenever the moon was full. "Just try and stop me." She said. "I can't not do it!" Anymore, I'm right there with ya, Rox!
I've always felt the tug of the moon - I get restless when the big headlight shows up in the sky; I don't sleep; I prowl the house; I get downright horny, dammit; I go feral! Whatever animal is left in me from whichever past life, or predisposition honed from dregs of my ancestral evolution, comes to the surface and wants out. No worries, it stops shy of me growing hair on my knuckles and needing to chew on some warm blooded creature. (Here, kitty, kitty...)
Needless to say, I'm very tired today. Tired, but feelin' fine, alive, and aware.
Anyone else out there feel the same inclination? Don't hold back. Howwwwwwl with me. Get in touch with your inner animal. Run wild.
"I'd rather be a dog, and bay at the moon, than such a Roman.
~William Shakespeare

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Gypsy Connection

At risk of blowing my enigmatic rep, here's the story behind the gypsy influence in my life.

As previously mentioned, my Mother's side of the family is Hungarian. In 1972, my Mom and my Grandmother took me to Hungary - it was the first time for Mom and me (Grandma came over on the boat in 1923). We spent time in Budapest with Mom's half brother (my Grandfather's son) and extended family, then went to the tiny village of Rábacsanak to visit with my Grandmother's cousins. Going to Rábacsanak, at the time, was like time-traveling back 40 years or so. No one had indoor plumbing of any kind, no one had phones, all of the roads were still dirt roads, the milk on the table came straight from the cow and the chicken roost had to be checked for eggs every day. I have pictures of my cousin Josi (YO-shee) making a new broom from gathered twigs. To my 10 year old mind, it was all magical, and even at that tender age, I could appreciate the bigger picture that I was being shown.

One morning, we suddenly heard the sounds of the most beautiful violin music coming from the street. Mom and I rushed out to the yard to see two old, weathered men standing in the street, dust clinging in layers to their dark jackets and hats, dark eyes glinting in the morning sun. They were gypsies, and even better, they were gypsies with violins, and they were beyond good. The music they brought to the day would have humbled Perlman and Stern. Mom and I stood there, watching, listening, completely enthralled. All the while, my cousins were running around, barking orders in Hungarian, "You! Go guard the chickens. You! Stand by the back door." Evidently, the gypsy ploy was to distract with music and send another contingency around to steal whatever could be carried out. It was their means to survival, their way of moving through life on an endless road. No, I don't approve at all of their thievery, but I do approve of the wandering spirit, and, boy howdy, can they make some music!

When I was 16 years old, I went back to Hungary by myself and stayed for nearly four months. I spent most of the time with my cousins in Budapest, but I trekked to Rábacsanak again for a few weeks. It felt like coming home. The villagers and I could barely communicate - my knowledge of Hungarian being fairly shaky, and their dialect being harder to understand than my city family. Even so, we managed to bond all over again as I worked along side them in the fields, picking raspberries; learned to milk the cows (thank the gods for patient cows!); tend the chickens. We worked hard, we ate plenty, drank even more, and laughed much. It's a time in my life that is nearly sacred. The night before I left the village, I felt such huge sorrow. I went outside to stand by the well and have a good weep. It wasn't long before my cousins Joska (YOSH-kuh) and Ilonka (EE-lon-kuh) came out to stand beside me, tears streaming down their faces as well. For once we didn't need to find words.

The next day, they put me on the train back to Budapest. I had to stop in Győr to change trains and had a couple of hours of layover to waste. So, I wandered out to the town square to people watch. It wasn't long before a family of gypsies sat down not far from me. Once again, I felt drawn, just as I had been six years previously. Their dark eyes pulled at me; their rough hands made me ashamed of the softness of my own; their rugged looks spoke of a life that was full of adventure; their few boxes and suitcases held everything they owned. They sang to each other; they talked constantly; and there was a deep mirth evident in every move they made. They were happy. Everything in me wanted to be one of them.

I still want that.

Nearly ten years ago I stunned everyone who knew me when I left almost all of my possessions behind in Maryland and moved, via greyhound bus, to the West coast. Shortly after, I was sitting by a clear mountain stream, up in the Trinity Alps of Northern California, feeling like - to paraphrase John Denver - I'd come home to a place I'd never been before, and I thought of the gypsies again for the first time in a long time. Right then and there, I penned one of my best (I think) poems, Gypsy.


I have wandered
into your land -
its verdant cry
has pierced my soul.
Mine are
the dust-covered colors
of a violent sunset;
see my skirts swirl
ablaze in the summer wind.
My heart is
a magician’s cache
of tricks and turns –
invisible to the eye,
startling with their vision.
My wit is
a dark night cast
with stars that shine
promise of other worlds.
My eyes are
a noon sky –
have stared too long
at suns and moons,
have seen days
become years.
I am deeply ancient.
I am tabula rasa.
I knew you
when you were born, yet
discovered you only yesterday.
I will always
be this curious and wise
gypsy woman –
dancing in the wind,
walking on fire,
wading the river,
for the lush pine grove
that whispers in the evening,
that sings my soul’s music
in a voice that is yours.
© Barbara Ann Black

Just this past August, I rediscovered the poem, and the feeling of culmination that I experienced in writing it. In trying to get through some of the darkness of losing John, I felt the need to wander again, to hit the open road and see something new, to be by myself amid tall trees and mountains. So, I hit the road a few times throughout August and September. Friends would be astounded and even concerned that I'd just jump in the truck and go (one such trip took me on a 2400 mile journey). My response would be, "Hey, I'm just a gypsy." And, the label stuck, much to my great pleasure.

The great irony here is that in Hungary, cigány* (gypsy) is a pejorative - the standard view is that they're nothing but a bunch of dirty thieves. I'm sure my clan over there would be appalled if they knew I was aligning myself with "that lot." Too bad, because this Gypsy's got "miles to go before I sleep."**

*cigány (TSEE-gahnyuh)
**Robert Frost, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

"If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there."
~Lewis Carroll

Wandering. (*sigh*) The Gypsy in me longs to wander; to feel the open road or the undefined trail; to toddle off into the sunset and never see the same place twice; to have the most pressing decision be "where next?" I find that the older I get, the more I long for the freedom to roam. The life I once found comfortable - the house, the job, the knowing exactly where I was going to be the next day, and everything that goes with a (perceived) successful lifestyle - well, that's the life I've become less comfortable living. It's begun to feel like a façade - like the proverbial house of cards, to be brought down as soon as the slightest gust blows. I feel an intense restlessness to be free of anything that might hold me. After all, you can't lose what you don't have.

I keep a pillow and a pile of old Indian blankets in the truck, with the idea that I never know when or where a whim might take me. I keep running my tongue over this thought that comes to me at any given moment, this thought of, "What if I sold it all, gave it all away, and left?" Left for where, or what? Don't know. Don't care. No, that's not ignorance and apathy (*smirk*) - not even close. It's boldness. It's the wild gypsy dancing with abandon by the bonfire. It's my spirit saying, "Take me as you will, take me where you will, I am open to it all. I want to learn, I want to discover, I want to be, I want to breathe." (As Tolkien said, "Not all who wander are lost.")

None of us knows where this life's journey will take us. None of us can guess what is to come. None of us can really, truly plan for tomorrow. I know one thing with certainty - it's all over with much too soon, whether the end comes at 46 or 96. In the movie, The World's Fastest Indian, Burt Munro says, "If you don't go when you want to go, when you do go, you'll find you've gone." I was struck by the perfect truth in that statement. How many times have we heard said of a dearly departed soul, "Y'know, he always wanted to go to (name place), but just never made the time..." I'd like my epitaph to read: She got gone while the gettin' was good.

Am I brave enough to live life that wide open? Am I bold enough? I sure hope so. What the hell, why not? (I can always find a place to land should I decide The Gypsy Way needs a rest.) I have a funny feeling that this could be where my path has been headed for so long. It's ironic to me that the word destiny has always seemed so solid - a tangible place to land... I'm just beginning to see that destiny may very well be an ever-shifting plane.
Stay tuned. I can write wherever I go.

... and I promise not to steal any chickens.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Exact Change Only

Indifference is a disease that kills. It kills the spirit; it kills marriages; it kills people; it kills Mother Nature; it kills the critical thinker that I try to believe dwells somewhere in all of us; it will take us down as a society faster than (*ahem*) Weapons of Mass Destruction. Indifference is a cancer that begins as a small, dull ache, and ignored, works its way through to destroy the entire body. Indifference fostered the Holocaust. Indifference pollutes the air we breathe, and turns babbling streams into wasteland. It's a big, bad, evil, "mothuh fukka" of a disease, and we all have it to some extent.

“There is nothing harder than the softness of indifference.”
~Clare Boothe Luce

Fortunately, there is a cure for indifference. It's a nifty new drug called Righteous Indignation. That's right... anger. While anger is normally seen as a bad emotion, or even as a useless emotion, when processed and used in an informed and constructive manner, it's often the only tool that works. It shakes up apathy; it's causal to reaction; it can't be ignored. Think about it: you're drinking your morning bean, perusing the sports section, mind wandering to mundane daily tasks, when suddenly you hear a loud, angry voice complaining that there's too much foam on their latte. Whether you agree with that person's anger or cause, they've got your attention - they've pulled you from your safe little newsprint world, at least for a moment.

Lately, I've been looking into the hollow eyes of people I meet, people who are only concerned with the next work day, the next bill to pay, the next meal, the next little league game, the next thing to come on TV. I've talked to people who shrug and say, "Ah, what can ya do? Oh well." I want to grab them by the nostrils, bowling ball style, and drag them kicking and screaming (because kicking and screaming would be better than that apathetic pallor, y'know?) into the sunlight. I want to do like Bud did to Lindsey in The Abyss - smack them hard across the face, and shout, "Fight! Right now! Do it! Fight goddammit! Fight!"

Recently, I had a friend let loose in an email rant about the shitty circumstances that are currently reigning o'er his life, and then apologize to me for ranting. I had to go alpha on him for apologizing. People - stop apologizing for feeling what you feel! We're all so caught up in our politically correct cocoons that we're afraid to say anything for fear of offending someone. I mean, are you kidding?! Even if it's directed right at me, I'd much rather hear someone screaming and cursing than to hear desultory resignation in their voice. For fuck's sake - yes, yes, yes! Thrash in the waves, don't just drown! While at first the thrashing might seem futile and fruitless, eventually, maybe, you thrash just the right way and learn to swim. Regardless, what's there to lose? Die trying.

Please, don't be indifferent about the events in your life, about the people in your life, about the crises of the world, about the dying of the land. Get indignant. Be a righteous dude (or dudette). Hey, I understand fully the feeling of, "who am I and what could I possibly do to change anything? After all, I can barely decide which socks to wear." Begin from within. Move your self, your perceptions, your reactions. Helen Keller said, “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.

Exact Change Only. I challenge you.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's a beautiful day here in Kirkland. I was up and outside early to bow to the day and make my thanks to the universe. The sun is shining brightly and the ground is covered in frost. The resulting combination of the two makes my backyard look like it's covered in diamonds. I feel rich.

I feel richly blessed. I'm thankful for for the love of fine friends and family; for fairly good health; for a mind that operates on a decent, functioning level; and for this fine cuppa deep, dark Bean that I'm drinking as I write this.

My sister blew into town yesterday, and we're having a grand time together. I'm so glad she was able to come for a visit.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Daddy's Girl

You are looking at an old picture of my father. It's beautiful, no? He was a handsome man, especially so before the ravages of constant pain, the frustrations of living an unexamined life that included too many cigarettes and far too much alcohol, and finally lung cancer decimated him. This picture, I am guessing, was taken in his late teens or very early twenties... his skin was smooth and clear, his big deep blue eyes sharp and holding a glint of the wicked humor that was his benchmark, the look on his face is thought full - testament to his inherent intelligence, there's a slight smile - a mere rumor of the Black family lopsided grin.

I wish I'd known him better. Dad died when I was 20 years old, before I'd had the chance to learn enough about life to be a forgiving person, or to see beyond the detritus that can mask the beauty of a person's true self. The dark side of Dad was a verbally and emotionally abusive alcoholic, and as a youngster fraught with her own low self-esteem and issues of feeling like an outsider in this wide world, I couldn't make my way past the monster that ruled the house to the artist's soul. I wish, I wish.

In my own recent soul-journey, I've begun to discover and embrace just how much alike we are. (I've always rebelliously imagined that I looked more like the Hungarian [Mom's] side of the family. Not really true.) In looking at this picture, I see my own face... eerily so... the forehead, the eyebrows, the eyes, nose, cheekbones, the set of the jaw, the smile, even the contemplative look. More than looks though, we are very much alike in thought, in creative process, in seeing wonder in the simple and conveying it.

Dad was an artist - a truly gifted one at that. I think he never understood just how good he was with his art. I have very few examples of his artwork, but what I do have stuns me. He chose to, or was forced to, use his creativity as a commercial artist for a living, owning his own sign shop. He was fairly successful with it, but I think it stole from his overall ability to dive into the depths of his creative pool. Moreover, I think that not being able to do so robbed him in a way that left him floundering for deeper meaning to his life, hence adding to the need to anesthetize himself. I can only relate in terms of what happens in my own head if I hold back on a creative bent - sort of like having an overly full mental bladder; it's miserable. It must have been hell to be Harold Black.

We're so alike in our sense of humor - that sarcastic, sardonic, smirky, quirky humor. Actually, all five of his children are prone to that. I like to maintain that Kathleen didn't raise any fools, and Harold didn't raise any that weren't smart-asses. Humor is a coping mechanism for all of us - a gathering of the Black clan is rarely filled with deep discussion, but is more often than not, rife with laughter (and Mom shaking her head and muttering, "Honestly... you kids...").

Even with that humor, Dad was clearly an unhappy man - lost in the trappings of middle-class suburbia, trying his best to provide for a wife and five children. I think at the sequestered heart of him was a much freer spirit... a man who was happiest walking the woods, or sitting in a boat in the middle of a wilderness lake, fishing pole in hand. (Though he never made it to the Pacific NW, I know he'd have loved it here.) He was a man who was clearly unprepared for life as a father (as with so many baby boom era fathers) - he did his best, but I think it scared the shit out of him. Constantly. I think he would have really enjoyed our company (his five children) as adults... as the people we've grown into.

I was always Barboo or Punkin. Punkin was my favorite, and I can still, even after all these years, hear him say it. I hope, wherever he is, that he can see the gypsy in me rallying the day - I think he'd like that. Nah, he'd love it. He'd be pleased at my roaming spirit, at my willingness to give myself over to my craft(s), and (at the very least) at my ability to let loose with with a hearty epithet. I think ladylike, proper women bugged him (don't ask me how he ended up with Mom, who is the antithesis of me). I think he'd like that I'm happiest in t-shirts and jeans and hair hanging free (oh hell, yes... any day! Every day!), rather than pantyhose and skirts and a carefully coiffed do.
Where am I going with all this? Nowhere. Simply appreciating a man who lived an unfinished life. Here's to you, Dadoo - care to dance with your bright-eyed gypsy girl? Thanks for all the rich things you gave me without knowing - I'm sorry it took me so long to unwrap all the gifts, but I'll do my damnedest to make worthy use of 'em. Promise ya.

Click here to read:
Harold's Song

But I'm livin' the dream that he kept hid
~Jim Croce, I've Got A Name
Like the pine trees linin' the windin' road
I've got a name, I've got a name
Like the singin' bird and the croakin' toad
I've got a name, I've got a name
And I carry it with me like my daddy did

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pride and Dignity

Pride. Dignity. When does the fine line get crossed? My mac's dashboard dictionary defines Pride as, "the consciousness of one's own dignity." It defines Dignity as, "the quality of being worthy of honor or respect."

Do we not, in some way, need to be aware of our own dignity in order to, at the very least, preserve it? To nurture it? If we are to live lives that are worthy of honor and respect, it stands to follow that pride, the consciousness of those qualities in ourselves, must be part of our psyches.

I've known men who were both proud and dignified. Heck, I lived with one for nine years. As a paraplegic confined to use of a wheelchair, John's dignity was very important to him. He never wanted to be perceived as weak, and I don't think he ever was - certainly not by me. He took great pride in the fact that no one ever saw him as being weak. He very rarely asked for help with anything, and more rarely accepted help. It's my theory that the loss of that dignity is what finally killed him - not cancer. Nine days before he died, he tried to get out of bed (transferring himself to his chair as usual), and failed because his muscles just weren't there for him. He ended up doing a controlled fall to the floor. He struggled fruitlessly by himself for half an hour to either get back in the bed or into his chair. When I couldn't bear to see him struggle any more, I suggested, "Let me help. Let me pick you up." Knowing that he couldn't spend whatever was left of his life on the floor, he acquiesced. I scooped him up and set him in his chair. As glad as I was that I could be there for him, and help, it broke my heart because I knew what it meant to him for me to do that. I think it was in that moment that something inside of him finally broke, the fortress of a dignity that had been built over the course of 35 years as a paraplegic had been breached. Something inside him said, "Fuck it. The day my girlfriend has to put me in my chair is the day it's done." He went to bed that night and never got up again, dying 9 days later. He died with dignity - regardless of the mess, regardless of the agony of the last stage of his illness, and the frustration at not being able to communicate and articulate as he had always so adroitly done. I was honored to be there, and respected the man who asked for nothing.

One time, a few years back, John and I were with my brothers, Mike and Tom, in Las Vegas. We'd been wandering around the casinos and were ready to head back out onto the street. The only way out we could find involved going down an escalator - a scary concept for a guy in a wheelchair. Mike and Tom suggested that I could take the chair down and they could carry John down. "No! Oh hell no!" was John's fervent reply. "Here's what's going to happen. Mike, Tom, you guys get on in front of me, brace yourselves to keep me from rolling down the steps, and I'll wheel on backwards. Barb, you get on after me and just keep a hand on my chair for stability." And that's just how we did it. The looks we got from people watching a dude in a wheelchair going down an escalator (backwards, no less!) were priceless. Dignity was intact all around... we got to help, and John got to be his own man.

Dignity asks for nothing. Pride flat out refuses anything. I've watched people struggle, (hell, I've done it often myself), and go through a myriad of agonies, frustrations and annoyance in a attempt to avoid asking for, or accepting help from others. It's a noble pursuit, that dignity, but the necessary cement of pride that it requires is often more of a stumbling block than a step. I think one of the reasons John and I got on so well was that I have the same mindset when it comes to "doing it myself." Alas, I had a year that wouldn't allow for that. I had to accept help from others, physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially. Looking across that chasm, knowing that I couldn't cross it on my own, broke me of pride. Moreover, it made me acknowledge that in allowing others to help, I was lending to their dignity (in that they were helping out of their own sense of honor and respect). Who was I to deny their journey? Who was/am I to deny my own?
We all need to learn to accept each other's help. There's nothing wrong with doing that, provided it's not an expected thing, provided it doesn't engender a sense of entitlement in either direction. We isolate ourselves and stand on pride in pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps (again, that's mostly a good thing - I greatly admire anyone who attempts to stand on their own), but there comes a time when humility and pride have to do battle in order to preserve our dignity. Humility is a tough biscuit to chew and swallow - to make our selves less important in the overall picture. How many times have each of us struggled with something, only to hear someone say, "Hey, let me help...", only to say, "Ah, no... that's ok, I've got it." We don't always "got it." Like it or not, we need each other. The person who offers help needs to give that help just as much as the person struggling needs to receive it - where's the dignity in hanging in the wings watching someone struggle needlessly? Where's the dignity in falling down simply because you wouldn't allow someone to help?


Let someone help you today - allow for a break in the facade of pride. Watch how it makes that person shine, watch how it makes you grow. Then pay it forward. That's dignity... be proud of it.

“Remember this; that there is a proper dignity and proportion to be observed in the performance of every act of life."
~Marcus Aurelius

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Ignorance & Apathy vs. Enlightenment & Empathy

A couple of months before John died, we had a beautiful and deep discussion about my life "after." Noble man that he was, John was more afraid of the journey that I was about to face than the vagaries of his own. Knowing how dearly precious I hold in my heart those I choose to love, he knew that his leaving would result in one tremendously heartbroken woman being left behind. Before the night was over, I promised John that, not only would I go on living, but that I would live my life well and fully.

After he died in May, and once the figurative smell of cordite and dust cleared the air, and I could breathe again without concentrating (I think it was the end of July or so), I began the journey toward fulfilling that promise. (With any luck, I'll have many decades to make good on it, but there's no time like the present.)

Self-discovery, self-actualization, exacting change, enacting a new paradigm... those are relatively simple phrases for a process that is mostly daunting and, more often than not, painful, but one that, ultimately, is not without great reward. (I have to believe.) Yesterday was a day of epiphany.

I spent the day at a friend's house (whose name is omitted in hopes of preserving my grade point average) just hanging around, drinking good bean, and watching TV. One of the things we watched was a talk given by Wayne Dyer on the subject of the Tao Te Ching as it applies to us in today's world. So much of what he had to say rang true with what I've been thinking and doing naturally over the past few months. I was enthralled. At one point, I was very nearly moved to tears when Dyer spoke about Lao Tzu's idea that we are all interconnected. It was an 'aha' moment for me.

From as early as I can remember, I've always felt a great deal of empathy for my fellow humans - at times it's seemed, too much so. I will hurt along with someone who's hurting (to the point of distraction), and if possible, will do everything I can to ease that pain, be it mental or physical. (It's occurred to me that this is likely one of the prominent reasons that I make such a good caregiver for the dying. It's not necessarily that I'm so strong, but that I can't bear to
feel their suffering.) If I see a stranger crying, my chest will tighten and I'll be moved to tears myself. If I see someone in physical pain, my body will respond in kind. Throughout my life, I've seen this more as a liability than an asset. I've been accused of being overly sensitive and overly emotional - and I've always agreed with that assessment. So many times over the years I've wondered, "What the hell is wrong with me?!" Even going so far as to seek out (useless) therapy at one point.

In The Green Mile, John Coffey says to Boss Edgecomb, "I know you hurtin' and worryin', I can feel it on you, but you oughta quit on it now. Because I want it over and done. I do. I'm tired, boss. Tired of bein' on the road, lonely as a sparrow in the rain. Tired of not ever having me a buddy to be with, or tell me where we's coming from or going to, or why. Mostly I'm tired of people being ugly to each other. I'm tired of all the pain I feel and hear in the world everyday. There's too much of it. It's like pieces of glass in my head all the time. Can you understand?" I thought, someone out there gets it, gets what it feels like for me. But that was fiction.

So, yesterday, when the subject of interconnectedness came up, I nearly hollered, "YES! That's IT!" I felt... I don't know... vindicated, substantiated, hell...
liberated. I'll no longer ignore my empathic side, or shun it, or live with the notion that it's a psychological flaw. Instead, I will embrace it, nurture it and, to the best of my abilities, use
it. William Osler said, "By far the most dangerous foe we have to fight is apathy..." Arthur Gordon said, "Some people confuse acceptance with apathy, but there's all the difference in the world. Apathy fails to distinguish between what can and what cannot be helped; acceptance makes that distinction. Apathy paralyzes the will-to-action; acceptance frees it by relieving it of impossible burden." Amen, brothers and sisters, amen. It's doubtful that I can save the world; I may not even be able to save a single person, but that won't stop me from doing whatever I can to change the texture of the day for someone who's suffering.

Confusius said, "The journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step." John always paraphrased that and said, "It's a journey of 1000 miles, but it's just walkin'..."

Walk with me.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Friday's Child is Loving and Giving...

I was awakened at 5 a.m today by the ringing of the phone. I groggily tried to answer the TV remote twice before I figured out I had the wrong device. Upon finally finding the phone handset, the proper button to push, and muttering something that I think sounded like hello, I heard the voices of my friends Timothy and Glenda regaling me with the Happy Birthday song. Their hearts were in the right place, to be sure, but their dulcet tones can only be truly appreciated when one is completely inebriated, or still lost in the depths of a sleep grog. Luckily for me, the latter (at least) applied.

So it was, Friday, November 17, 1961, Grand Rapids, Michigan: I was a procrastinator before I was even born. Nearly two weeks late, I had given Kathleen several mixed signals and false starts. This is why, on November 17, she didn't pay much attention to the restless baby inside her, until finally, near dinner time she turned to Harold in resignation and said, "I suppose we ought to go to the hospital." On the way to the hospital, she changed her mind and said, "You know, this is probably just another false labor, let's stop for coffee." (Yes, the Bean connection begins...) Halfway through their cuppa, she was hit with a rather forceful insistence from the baby in her belly, looked at Harold and said, "Change of plans Daddy, we need to get to the hospital
!" (I may be slow on the uptake, but once I make up my mind, I mean it.) Harold always insisted that Kathleen left claw marks on the oak tree outside the entrance to St. Mary's hospital. A couple of hours later, the doctor placed a squirming little bundle on my mother's chest and said, "Congratulations, Mrs. Black, it's a girl. What name are you giving her?" "Barbara Ann," was the exhausted (I can only imagine) reply. And so I joined this earthly realm, fourth in line after Mike, Tom and Nancy, and followed a couple of years later by John.

Because it's my
birthday and I get to do what I want, I choose to celebrate the lives of others who have molded my life: Thanks, Mom and Dad... for the love, for the solid name, for... heck... everything
; thanks to my brothers and my sister for being the finest, funnest and funniest bunch a girl could wish for.

I also want to thank John Johnson's parents for their fine family, and all of them in turn for their astounding and inspiring love and support. You're a beautiful bunch, and you can all be very proud. Carry on carrying on. Live and love, y'know?

To all my friends - I choose wisely. While we may seem to have stumbled blindly into each others lives, that you're still around speaks volumes about the stellar kinds of people you are. I love you all dearly and you each lend a different and beautiful path for this gypsy heart to travel upon. Thank you.

Finally, thank you, John... the universe is both kind and cruel. To say I was fortunate to have met you, lived with you, loved with you, laughed and cried with you, is a vast understatement. To say I miss you is a travesty in the face of the deep loss I feel without you in my everyday. You amaze me still. There are a half dozen roses blooming on the Valentine's Always bush right now - yes, despite the rain and cold, they popped open just today. Thoughtful as ever, aren't you? Tenacious and stubborn as ever too, huh? Ya Sneaky Rat Bastard... my love for you is always.

It's a good day to be alive and 46,
Barbara Ann

Friday, November 16, 2007

Talent & Courage - The Assignment

Last night I was chatting with my friend Bill, and the topic turned to writing. Recently, several people have told me that, not only should I (continue to) write, but that I should be writing for a living. "Submit, submit, submit!" is the edict of the day.

Fine, fine, fine. I'm working on it.

During the course of the conversation, he said something about wishing he had the talent and courage that I have. (Buddy, you've got the talent - buckets of it - it's merely the courage you lack.) We wandered off onto other subjects, but toward the end I asked him to challenge me with today's blog topic. Smart ass that he is, he immediately shot back with, "Talent and Courage." So, here we are.

Talent first. I guess I can understand why people might think I'm talented. I'm not sure I see it that way. Creative, sure, I'll buy that. Gifted, maybe. Gifted in that I can see an idea in 3-D. I'll get a feeling (sort of an emotion, but more than that) in my head that I know needs to come out - not because it's so amazing - but because if I leave it alone, it will drive me mad with distraction, much like having a popcorn hull stuck between my teeth. When that happens for me (the idea, not the popcorn), I'll close my eyes and let the visual come. Sometimes that appears as a picture, sometimes it's a series of words floating by, sometimes it's just a filament of color that leads me down a path, but I can walk around it and take a good long look. Once I've been able to do that, there's nothing to be done but to expel it. Spit it out. I've often crudely referred to it as regurgitating my soul gunk.

Is that talent? Really? I don't know. To me it's as natural as picking the crust out of my eyes in the morning... I just can't see straight until I do. I also talked to my friend Gary last night, and he commented, "You're able to say things that the rest of us feel, but can't express." For me, it's just a coping mechanism. If I don't express it, it will destroy me. Yes, I'll acknowledge that I'm gifted at that expression, I can paint a clear enough picture in words. That comes from years of trying, years of reading and expanding my vocabulary, and years of being utterly afraid that I'll be misunderstood. (I used to say nothing for fear of saying the wrong thing.) My worst nightmares are ones in which no one gets what I'm trying to say - those will wake me in tears. For a very long time, I thought I had nothing of interest to say, and then I realized... who am I to judge what might be interesting, or even important to someone else? Therein, I found the courage to use my "voice."

Courage. Bravery. Strength. Those are words people have used to describe me, especially this past year or so. It's amazing to me that what's perceived externally is so vastly different from what I feel internally. About a year ago, I watched the movie, The Princess Diaries, thinking, it would be a fluff piece, a happy little distraction. In it, I heard one of the most profound things ever in my life. Anne Hathaway complains that she doesn't think she's got what it takes. Julie Andrews replies, "Courage is not the absence of fear; it's the realization that there's something more important than that fear." I was floored by that statement - absolutely stopped in my tracks.

I'm no more courageous than the next person. I simply do what needs to be done. Hell yes, I feel fear - every day, all the time - but, my own feelings of fear will piss me off. In me is a dichotomy of two women: one is a feisty, inquisitive, gypsy of a girl with a steadfast (pardon the vernacular) fuck-you attitude; the other is a shy, trembling, find-me-a-place-to-hide, quaking at her own shadow, girl. Shadow girl is the Barbara Ann I know best, we've been together a long, long time. The Gypsy has only recently come charging out of the woods to take control. It so happens lately, that when the chips are down; when it all seems more bleak, and sad, and harsh than I can bear; when all I want to do is melt into an ocean of tears; that's when The Gypsy will march in, smack the shadow girl hard across the face, and say, "Dammit, Barbara Ann! Knock your shit off, cowboy up, and get on with it!" More often than not, The Gypsy wins the day, but the process is not a pleasant propensity.

Is that courage? Because, if it is... it's a fucking psychotic feeling... and I can fully understand why people who go into battle, or work in rescue oriented fields (where bravery in the face of enormous, life-threatening risk is needed every day)... I can understand why so many of those folks feel a need to turn to alcohol or drugs. Courage, beyond the initial adrenaline rush, is not a good feeling, but it's what has to be.

So. I utilize my talent to release trapped emotions, and tap into my courage in order to turn them loose on the world. It's a dark little gift, but one I suppose I've come to accept.

(Thanks, Bill. This was an enlightening little exploratory surgery for me. Holy shit... pass the tylenol.)

Post posting note: In re-reading/editing this, I'm struck by the amount of courage it took to hit the "post" button in the first place, and stand here naked in front of y'all. *grin*

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Seeing Red (& Green)

I listened to the radio this morning as I was rowing the ark to work (welcome to winter in the Pacific NW!). The DJ came on with a blurb that has me throwing my metaphysical hands in the air in a state of baffled resignation.

News flash: In Australia, Santa is being told to refrain from uttering the traditional, “Ho Ho Ho!” and use “Ha Ha Ha!” instead. Why? Because “Ho Ho Ho” may be offensive to women. What the f*ck?! Have we become so overly sensitive to the merest possibility of a slight that we can’t even honor tradition? People! Puh-leeeeeeze!!! “Ho Ho Ho,” as part of the Santa Claus Christmas tradition, was culled from the much beloved, oft read story written by Clement Clarke Moore, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Are you going to try to tell me now, after all these years, that dear ol’ Clement was implying that St. Nick had a thang for prostitutes? Really? Well, damn. Santa Baby (hey, is that a crack pipe you’re smoking?), I’ll be your Ho, and I’ll wager I can find two female friends who will gladly join me.

Shit. What next? Will we do away with the whole imagery of the red and white spinning North Pole because it’s too phallic looking? (Those ain't sugar plumbs I'm dreamin' of, Sweetheart!)

All things being equal, I’m not a huge proponent of Christmas anyway. Blatant, ugly, gaudy, over-commercialism aside, I have a hard time believing in god, much less the whole virgin birth / baby / savior thing. Like the song says, “Jesus is just alright by me,” but, he’s not my god. (To all you Christians who are going to jump my back for saying so – know that there are several gods I don’t believe in, not just yours. I firmly stand by disbelief with no compunction- fodder for future posts, have no doubt. After all, I once stood in your sandals.) That being said, my upbringing was steeped in Catholic tradition, so on some level, the pretty lights and carols do tug at my cynical, poly-atheistic heart. I still wish people “Merry Christmas” every year. I like to hear it myself, because it’s normally meant as a heartfelt wish for good cheer. There’s nothing wrong with that, no matter what the words are. It’s the thought that counts.

Now, while we’re on the subject, the phrase “Season’s Greetings” bugs the crap out of me- what the hell does it mean? Which Season? Winter Solstice Season? Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa Season? Criminy, if you can’t commit to an idea, don’t say anything, ya big wuss.

I wish you Peace & Brown Rice. Y’all try not to kill each other, k?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Chew on This

Someone once described irony as a metallic, bitter taste. Being one who has always believed that words have flavor (and they do, but more on that in another post, another day), I loved that analogy.

Fast forward to lunch today. I snagged some yakisoba from the teriyaki joint next door to where I work. The noodles were darned tasty, and hot, and comforting on a cold and rather frustrating, and overly busy business day. I took a few minutes away from the menacing stack of paper on my desk to email a couple of friends while I plied my chopsticks around in the noodles. I told my friend Kin what I was having for lunch and that, "I really love eating with chopsticks. Is that weird for a white American girl..?"

Kin wrote back, "You are one up on me there... using chopsticks. I am almost useless around chopsticks. Really weird for a middle aged Asian guy. I'd rather use a fork any day. So if I treat you to lunch at a Chinese restaurant, don't be alarmed if I look lost."

I laughed so hard I about shot noodles out of my nose for the second time in my life.

Yes, you read it right. Second Time. I happen to hold the Three Noodle (plus a chicken chunk) Spew Record. When I was six years old, my sister, Nancy and I were sitting at the counter eating Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup for lunch. Nancy, who always tried to get the best of me as a kid, was (as usual) teasing me mercilessly. I was trying very hard, as my normally wise Mother foolishly suggested, to ignore her. It almost worked... so close to working... thisclose. I hoisted a big spoonful of soup into my mouth, clamped my lips shut, stared straight ahead, and then she did it. In an impeccably timed moment of brilliance, she made some biting comment that was also truly funny. I couldn't open my mouth to laugh, it was full of hot soup and noodles! So, they found the next best exit point as I snorted with laughter. Right out of my nose and back into the bowl. Nancy absolutely pealed with laughter, and I got in trouble for goofing around(!), making a mess, and ruining my bowl of soup with spewage.

If you ever dine with the two of us, fair warning. You'll likely hear Nancy's version of the story (which is pretty much the same as mine, but includes the pealing laughter all over again), and you'll also probably hear about the time I was sleep walking and peed in the closet (hey, I was four years old!). It's really all she has on me any more. I've found acceptance; I've come to peace with it. My left eye hardly even twitches any more when she's around.

By the way, she'll be here for Thanksgiving next week. Neither soup nor noodles are on the menu.

Wicked Game

I have no tolerance for solicitors. I like to screw with them when they dare cross my boundaries. It's a little thing, but it brings me glee. Who knows, maybe I enrich their sorry little telemarketing lives by giving them an interesting story to tell over a beer. Here's one from the other day:

(Phone rings)
(Cue overly cheerful voice)
"Good Evening! May I speak to John?"
"I'm sorry, he can't come to the phone."
"Is he home?"
"Some would say that."
"It's important that I speak with him. I have an exciting offer from the Seattle Times."
"Well, you could try a medium. Do you have a medium?"
"I... Do I have a... huh?"
"Well, unless you have a better way of contacting the dead...?"
"I...oh... I... uh..."

Here's another from months ago:

(phone rings)
"Hi there! Is this the lady of the house?"
"Much to my mother's chagrin, I ain't no lady."
(*polite cough*) "Oh. I'm calling to offer you tickets to the Kirkland Firefighter's Ball."
"What?! They're raffling off their balls? Don't they need those?"
(*another polite cough*) "Um. No. Uh. I'm... um... the firefighters are having a ball, and you're invited to attend."
"And they have you calling around advertising for that?! Can't they get their own dates? Can I dance with the cute one? I don't know what I'll wear..."
"Oh! So you'd like a ticket?"
"Will there be a live band?"
"Why, yes!"
"Well, with all due respect to the firefighters, I'd rather have a date with the guitar player... see, I've always had a thing for guitar players..."
"No, you misunderstand, I'm not selling dates with..."
"Right, because that would be prostitution."
"This is sounding awfully risky. You're toying around with illegality here."
(*frustrated voice speaks very slowly*) "I'm selling tickets to the annual Kirkland Firefighter's Ball."
"I don't dance. I'm a vegetarian."
They hung up. *sigh* Some folks just have no imagination.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

It seems that the sea was calling my name in my dreams last night... a vague whisper from the fingers of beckoning waves, "Psst, Gypsy... here... here..." I remember standing on the sand, and the smell of the salt air. I was waiting for...? I don't know. I could see a dark lighthouse in the distance, and beyond it, heavy storm clouds. I was cold and the wind was whipping my hair everywhere, but I couldn't move. I could only stand and wait.
Perhaps I'll drive to the ocean for my birthday on Saturday, wrap myself in an Indian blanket, and listen for what else the sea might have to tell me. I'll scatter some of John's ashes and let him travel where I can't go, let the keening of the gulls punctuate the deep grief for which I have no words.

Life does move on, steady and sure as the sea, but some things remain static. Sometimes it seems that I'm the static one; I'm the dark lighthouse, while everything and everyone around me floats, drifts, sifts and is, ultimately, carried away.

It sounds like I'm sad, but it's more a pensive state of mind. I wonder what point there is to all this thinking? Or is it just seafoam... residue of events that have washed up on my life's shore.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Alright, alright! I give up already!!

It seems like forever that friends and admirers (no one has any standards anymore, I swear) have been nudging me to slap a blog into existence. So, here's my attempt.

Why did I suddenly cave? Two reasons: I've been busy all weekend combining my craft studio and office, and I have more work to do, but I'll be damned if I feel like doing it. My shoulders hurt, my gimpy knee is screaming ... MEDIC! Plus, I've managed to get hives from something today, and am in near desperate need of distraction (*skritch, skritch, skritch*). So... neener, neener... y'all pretty much had nothing to do with it. It's my own decrepit, deceitful, peri-menopausal, nearly 46 year old carcass that was the impetus.

Here's a basic thing about me, as if you didn't already know... I'm a fierce Bean addict. You will very rarely ever hear me refer to the stuff as coffee. Coffee implies some weak-ass, watery, brownish, lukewarm liquid that needs to be tossed out asap. Bean, however... BEAN is the real deal, the deep murky, the feisty bitterness that almost makes it worth rolling out of bed in the morning, that hot, screamin', slap ya in the face jolt. Bean. Yeah... now you're getting the idea.

I guess I'll stop for now and see if I can figure out what else to do with this... thang.