Saturday, September 27, 2008

Our Resilience Tree

Resilience Tree

This little tree, currently in our dining room, has suffered through four moves across country. The first was in 1987, then 1989, and again in 2006 and 2008. Each time we prepared to leave, it's branches were bent, pushed in a box that is lined with a black hefty bag, and it is deprived of light and fresh air for almost two weeks. More than once its path took it through hot summer weather in an eighteen wheeler whose contents grew hot enough to melt the rubbermaid tubs I packed things in. As we unpacked, it emerged tired and weak, almost dead, and each time we feared it wouldn't come back. It always did.

This time we feared the worst. It was bone dry, not a green thing alive on its withered branches. We left it on the back deck for almost a month. Suddenly, just a week ago, tiny shoots appeared almost magically. As if from a life line somewhere deep within it, its new growth is more beautiful than before.

This small tree is a a symbolism of resilience in our family and the 23 year relationship Leslie and I share.

The brooms? Oh, I use them all the time. The one on the left is my commuter broom. I use it to go to work. The one on the right, the fancy one, is our weekend broom, and we use it only for family outings.

A girls' got to get around, doesn't she?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Thoughts


I've been writing about myself and my spiritual experiences, one in the same, for a little over a year. The ebb and flow of my creativity is its own creature. When the urge is there, it tugs at my consciousness until I satiate it. When writing about myself, the ebb and flow goes hand in hand with understanding. Certain periods are as clear as a crystal spring, and so flow evenly and effortlessly from mind to hand to pen. Other periods are as tangled and knotted yarn, and so I must pick and pick and pick at the knots until the strength of their confusion gives way.


I've not written a thing on my spiritual past since last May. Granted, my family and I were busy relocating, but I've had considerable untangling to do, as well. This move was the detangler I needed. The urge to return to When Isis Rises tugs steadily at my consciousness, each time a bit louder, a bit more insistent, like a child.


Before too long, I will have to indulge myself.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hey Jane, it's WTF Friday!


Jane Devin has a cool, recurring article called "What The Fuck Friday". Her narratives are typically very clever and rendered in a number of creative ways, the artistic approach of which is rivaled only by the comments left by her loyal following. Inspired by Jane, I offer up my own personal What the Fuck Friday, aka personal rant, echoe-ing a comment I left for Jane and offered up only this once.


All of a sudden the media and our government have discovered the link between the housing market (in the crapper) and the banking institutions (falling like dominoes). We’ve careened right over “recession” and taken our place at “the worse financial crises since the Great Depression”. The train is heading toward that cliff, and we’ve got the Goddess and her happy little natural disasters pushing the caboose, as well. We all know that New Orleans is still a mess … well, it is where the po’folk are. And what about Cincinnati? It’s not been the same since the floods in May and June. Houston? Still no commerce there, for the most part, although there are trucks all over trying to get the power back on for a million some odd people. How come the media isn’t saying much about that? No, we’re too interested in watching SNL spoof Sarah What’sername on YouTube. I watched our esteemed President on the news this morning try to instill the American public with confidence. Why? To assure us everything was okay, shove more poo-poo down our throats? No … the train is already running on the destruction of our country as we know it. Nothing he says is going to stop that. In fact, I’m convinced he aims to squeeze everything he can out of us before he takes his place in the history books. This morning he was trying to convince those of us who haven’t sold our house, pulled our savings, or sold our stock NOT to jump like fucking lemmings! He did everything but BEG us not to withdraw our 401K’s, which is probably the only thing, at this juncture, keeping “it” strung together.

That's not all.

Lunch Time

My biggest WTF of the week is PMS. Yes, I said PMS. Fuck the country, it’s all about me. I started the week in an utter fog, barely articulate and not really able to organize my thoughts, never mind my desk. I mean, I just couldn’t get my head around it. Then, on Wednesday, at about 3pm, I got a splitting headache, the damn burst, the fog cleared, and I organized my desk in under 20 minutes.

On Bart

What the fuck?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hard Wired


Some of us are fortunate enough to be born to parents whose single greatest wish is to love and cherish us. They are the lucky ones, I think, although many times they are the clueless ones, as well, having absolutely no awareness of their blessings, buffered as they are by their own ignorance. Staggering about in a bubble of moronic superiority, these people are often oblivious to the troubles suffered by those around them. Others of us are born to parents who reluctantly fulfill what they view as a grudging obligation to parenthood. They put forth as little effort as possible, as little love as possible, and do so in as half-assed a manner as they can get away with. I was raised (sort of) by reluctant parents, which I’ve written about at length, and their legacy to me was an irrational fear of being abandoned.

There are still others of us, a large, even staggering majority, who are born into fear. This may be an existence where monsters are not only real but highly manifest in the behavior seen in our parents who, themselves irreparably damaged, hand down a legacy of terror, wrapped like a gift in ignorance, rage or sadism, as though it were a precious family heirloom. Of course, horror can be an outside element, too, like genocide, ethnic cleansing, war, famine, starvation and the like. I’ll stick to what I know in this narrative, which is your basic, suburban, family style dysfunction.

I like to think my daughter is one of the fortunate children, born into a loving family, although I also believe it is my responsibility to raise her with an awareness of the world at large. Unless we expose our children to the world’s difficulties in an appropriate manner, in a way they can assimilate and understand, they may grow to be terribly unprepared for the cesspool we live in and then perpetuate an entirely new kind of ignorance. For example, computers, the World Wide Web, chat rooms, and instant messaging are facets of our world, and while they have become an integral part of school and college, they are best used in moderation by growing children. Over use or use in desperation or abject loneliness can lead to misguided interaction, and then an introduction to on-line predators, of which there are many. As if there aren’t enough perverts in real life, now we have to worry about these sick-o’s predating our children in cyberspace, too.

You don’t have to serve in Bagdad to know there are many landmines on the American landscape.

For those of us born into a world of fear, passed down either helplessly or in ignorance, mayhap even deliberately by our parents, our perception is forever clouded by that toxic environment. When perpetually present at the earliest and most impressionable stages of development, I believe fear and its subsequent responses are burned into the hard wiring of our most impressionable childhood brains.

The question is: Can that hardwiring be deprogrammed?

I can’t help but be amazed at how well adjusted my daughter is in her relationships. I have to attribute the majority of this well adjusted upbringing to Leslie, however, who was self-aware as a little girl, and is equally as aware as an adult. I, on the other hand, had to grow and evolve to achieve the same personal realization. Elizabeth, or Liz, as she is referred to by her friends, knows what she does and doesn’t want in a friend, and she is very clear on her feelings when she is “dissed”. Yes, she actually uses that word. Elizabeth and Margaret are still best friends for life, for example, but they parted ways with Lindsay, the third in their trio, a while before school ended and before we left the State of Connecticut. In fact, at one point, Margaret’s mother, who plays tennis once in a while with Lindsay’s Mom, asked if the girls, the three of them, could get together for one last play date before we left. Elizabeth was adamant that she didn’t want to be mean, but she and Lindsay were no longer friends, and she did not want to have a play date. When the trouble with Lindsay started, she approached the problem analytically (which is her nature, an Aries/Virgo through and through), and because she isn’t an emotional beggar like I was, desperate for attention from parents, friends, or anyone really, she saw the truth of it and accepted what was happening. She did not view the failed friendship as a reflection of her self-worth. Nor did she hang on to the friend until the relationship soured and became destructive. I was impressed by her confidence and her certainty. Leslie and I discussed the issues that came up, because Margaret’s mom had mentioned it. I was eager to stand behind Elizabeth’s decision, which was justified and made in good conscience; but it was she, however, who understood and maintained her position despite the adults around her having differing opinions.


wicked01



I remember having a bosom friend when I was six years old. Her name was Jennifer, and she was an angelic blonde. I loved her madly and intensely, as only a six year old can, and her family lived across the alley behind our house on Hawley Avenue. Her mother had flaming red hair and a pottery studio in a building behind the house. It was a magical place full of clay, sculpture and fire kilns. Leslie would say it was very seventies. The summer before second grade, a time when each kid year seems like ten years and summers go on forever and ever, they moved away. I was sad. I remember standing at the back window watching them pull away, perhaps with my own theme song music playing a sad requiem in my brain. It felt like my heart was breaking. Circumstances, however, hadn’t turned me yet into an emotional beggar, although they were steadily chipping away.

The friendships I had when I was a teenager were made of the usual stuff; things in common, like dancing school, fantasy, and a love of comic books and drawing. These relationships were woven together by the depth of my need and a desperate fear of abandonment, issues I know my daughter will never be burdened with. I was by no means a quiet little wall flower. I was a strange teenager, a drama queen, who was obsessed with children’s theater. As much as I loved my girlfriends, a eclectic group of confused and weird high school students, I desperately needed them, along with their approval and attention. You see, by this time at about 15 or 16, I had become an emotional beggar, molded as such by the emotional unavailability of my parents, and their repeated disappearances.

But what if, instead of abandonment, which began in my life at 4 years old, the issues my parents brought to the table were more mental illness or violence. What if, instead of leaving me, my mother kept me up all night, night after night, screaming about monsters she saw under the bed waiting for her? What if, instead of judging me and standing behind a shield of cult worship, my father had sexually abused me again and again? What if I grew up convinced on a most cellular level that bad things not only do happen to good people, but they can be more or less depended upon?


ElphabaGlindaDefyGravity


What if that deep fear response had been hard wired into my brain before I had any choice in the matter?

Is it possible to deprogram ourselves? If we know we are missing a critical part of the ability to overcome obstacles in our adulthood, things that hamper our ability to engage in the pursuit of happiness, must we accept this as the limit of our potential? Must we remain content to wallow in an understanding of misery while holding our long standing fear responses close as comfort, as we curse the power of positive thinking?

I believe there is healing in the world. It is available to everyone, but we must want it badly enough to override our fear responses in order to pursue it. And then we must stick with it long enough to allow it to work its magic.

They say that the Goddess helps those who help themselves, and this I know from experience to be true.

My question is: Will you take the leap of faith that gets you there?

End Note: All photos in this posting are from the Broadway Musical, "Wicked". All rights are reserved by the photographers, certainly not by me.




Monday, September 8, 2008

I Love Your Blog


I’m screwing around on the net tonight. No work to do and we ate out, so there is time to spare (for once). I dropped by A. Venifica’s site Symbolic Meanings and was once again inspired. She’s done it to me before. In fact, there were a few months recently past when she wasn’t posting much, and, even though my life was crazy and busy, I truly missed her work. A. Venifica has launched her participation in what she calls the “I Love Your Blog” campaign, wherein bloggers set forth seven or so of their favorite blogs with comments and/or commentary. I’d like to weigh in on that.

So, here they are … my five favorite blogs for those of you who are interested.

Jane Devin’s There’s Always More to the Story … Jane is a widely read, and extremely talented author who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. She’s definitely my absolutely favorite blogger. I’ve been following Jane’s work for some time now, panting for her first novel, and I always look forward to what she has to say. She’s courageously tackled topics like child abuse and rape, at times speaking from experience on some of the most awkward and uncomfortable current events. But mostly … well, I really like Jane. She’s tough, sensitive, vulnerable, wounded, and adorable and has been touched atop the head by the Goddess with a true gift. Jane can make you feeeeel through her writing. You can’t help but get caught up in that narrative. I bet she gets hundreds of hits every day and has a loyal following that leave at least 30 comments on each of her postings. She’s one of those gals who simply must write, and in doing so touch our hearts.

Oh … one last thing … I discovered one of my new favorite words on Jane’s site; the word “fucktard”. For this, I am forever grateful!

Sue’s Coming Out 101 … If you know me, you know that I am not a political person, and that I generally disdain labels. I am in a long term relationship with a woman (my Leslie), but the only time I identify as a lesbian, per se, is when I’m with other lesbians. At work, I’m a manager and a leader. At home, I’m a mother, a family member, a donut maker, a lover, a best friend, and a life partner. When with my grandmother, I was always a granddaughter first (and Leslie was a second cousin – ha!). It may not be a popular opinion, particularly in San Francisco, but I am first and foremost me and only me. Sue seems to get it. Coming Out 101 celebrates a person’s right to choose how they want to be addressed in the privacy of their lives. She acknowledges that while our sexuality may not be a choice we made, for better or for worse given our personal circumstances, coming out certainly is. Sue is articulate, makes good points, rarely letting headlines get by without voicing her opinion, and can really let fly with some fabulous web magic! Sue rocks!

Liara’s Dream Builders… A. Venficia listed this as one of her favorites, and I have to echo that vote. In fact, it was she who indirectly turned me on to Liara’s fabulous work. Dream Builders is an Australian site written by a learned woman who is an expert at dream interpretation. I’m confident Liara is expert at many things and probably has a hundred degrees, but more significant to me, Liara is a student of the positive. Encouraging us to take a look at how we participate in the tapestry of our lives, she asks us to identify how we may be contributing to our sadness or happiness, and then challenges us to seek a greater destiny. I discovered a while back that the Goddess helps those who help themselves. I can’t speak to the greater evil that lurks in this day and age, the strange but frighteningly familiar streak of independent evilness that touches us from time to time; however, I can say that getting our heads out of our ass will most definitely improve the quality of lives overall. Liara never lets us forget this, and while I am sure Jane would hate Liara’s work (am I right?), I for one think it’s awesome.

Symbolic Meanings by A. Venifica … I wish I knew what A. Venifica’s real name is. There is a picture of her on one of her sites, and she’s got the kind of looks that surpass space and time. If she were alive in ancient Roman days, I would think she’d look exactly the same. She is a translator by trade, and admittedly seeks to understand the hidden and esoteric meanings in our mundane lives. So much so that she’s dedicated more than one entire website to the topic. A. Venifica will answer specific questions from readers, set forth elaborate dream interpretations, or spend one post pondering the esoteric meaning of the number 7, for example. Her writing style is succinct and unflinchingly respectful of the opinion of others, as well, which I appreciate personally. She also has a sense of community and encourages us to participate in Synchroblogs (I had a ball with that!) and this most recent “I Love Your Blog” campaign.

Last, but certainly not least …

Dan’s The Stank Nasty … this is my dirty little secret! I ran into Dan in Roseanne Barr’s website and forum, and while that is most assuredly an eclectic group of fans, queers, spiritualists, mountain people, and wierdos, Dan just sort of jumped out at me. He is what I would lovingly refer to as an irreverent queen. Prone to using naughty words to describe his infatuation with all things edible, all things retro, and all things screwy, Dan’s typical blogs range from boring, to amusing, to downright hysterical. The thing with Dan is just when you think he’s thrown as many lost or archived 1980’s music videos as he possibly could, when you’ve seen more Prince than you ever (or never) wanted to in your lifetime, he writes something so perfectly succinct, so perfectly observant, and so courageous that it gives you pause. Take for instance his post Obamary Clintrack, written last January. Dan the Man, midst all the retro poo-poo, knows how to call it when he sees it, and for this I will always check back to his happy little corner of the web to see what he’s pulling out of his derriere.


So that's that ... my participation in the "I Love Your Blog" campaign. You can take it or leave it. If you like it, that's wonderful, and I'm so glad you stopped by. If you don't like it, you can shove it. This is my blog and nobody's dragging your sorry ass here.


Take care, everyone!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

3 a.m.


It’s three in the morning here at the Marriott Residence Inn. My daughter and our dogs are curled up on the pull out bed like a small pack of beasts, perfectly comfortable with one another, and perfectly sleeping. Daizy is snoring like a chain saw. The temperature at our house rose above one hundred degrees this past week, all week, so the girls and I left for cooler temperatures just 30 minutes up the line closer to the San Francisco, where the Bay insulates the land from the worst of the sun’s punishment.

Apollo is punishing everyone these days with great fervor.

I can’t sleep. I was doing alright at first but a tickle in Leslie’s throat kept her up for a time. Now, hours after I went to bed, I’m up wide eyed on the computer with joints that are aching and the urge to write in my head.

Some times it’s better just to go with it.

I have nothing clever to say, really. Perhaps rather oblique observations about people on the BART train. Fodder for another post maybe, but not tonight.


Daly City Train Approaching ...


As it was bound to happen, my captivating and enjoyable job is taking up so much space in my brain, that I find myself with little time or energy to write clever narratives. In Connecticut, the job I had there, which I could’ve easily done in two and a half days and still been successful, lent itself very nicely to part time blogging. This one is much more demanding.

Maybe it’s just that I’m more content and so have less to work out in writing, less to bitch and moan about.

I’m going to give this more thought.

But first … back to sleep.

I hope.

Sleeping Beauty 2007

Monday, September 1, 2008

Ocean Beach, San Francisco

Last night, we had dinner at Louis', a historic diner just up the hill from the Cliff House at Ocean Beach, San Francisco. From there, you can see the Sutro Bath ruins.

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