Thursday, April 30, 2009

There was a subject all picked out to write about this morning but
instead I'm going to share a brief moment from yesterday.

I was seated comfortably in the bathroom and, as so often happens, my
husband stood outside the door to engage me in conversation. Me in
the bathroom has historically provided a family conversation
opportunity.There have been times when I was seated in the bathtub
and had daughter, husband, and one or two cats enter to keep me
company. It isn't as if I move around so fast and so much that this
is the only time I can be cornered. Maybe it is the lovely echo in
the room? Back to yesterday though... and I wasn't sitting in the
tub. The subject of our talk escapes me but we both ended up
laughing, whereupon my husband said "We have the best time together!"

And it's true. More than any other facet of our relationship I
cherish the friendship and the humor we have together. We have had,
and still have, difficult moments but he remains my best pal, the one
person who is there to make me laugh no matter how bad I feel. He
isn't as emotive as I so it is a thrill to make him chuckle out loud
and to hear his laugh. I can't imagine a day without the wicked
twinkle in his eye and wry view of the world.

That "we have the best time together" was louder and more precious
than any "I love you" has ever been. And I'll try to save the memory
up for the next time he stands outside the bathroom to give me
internet news updates and I want to throttle him.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Time

Time is a subjective thing. Take an hour for example. When waiting
for pleasant company it can stretch and lengthen to resemble infinity
and once you are in that company it can pass with a heartbeat. So
unfair for perception to vary it so rudely.

If only the passage of time could be ordered up, like an item on a
menu instead of perversely slowing and speeding, without the least
regard for one's personal needs. "One hour, please, suitably long for
this romantic kiss," one could demand, or "One hour, quick as
possible, to spend waiting for that important phone call." Let some
clever entrepeneur come up with means, not requiring administration
of mind-altering drugs, and his fortune is made.

Hmmm, seems to me I vaguely recall a science fiction story that
attempted to broach this subhject. If I remember correctly one ended
up stealing hours from the end of life to add into the middle - and
hours given away from the middle were irretrievably lost. I don't
know the author but he must have been familiar with the universal
sense of humor I've come to recognize. The one where you can ask, or
pray if that is your wont, for some boon. Without specifics the boon
can be granted so as to be unrecognizable when it arrives.

"I wish my boyfriend would adore me," turns into a possessive,
jealous and ardent lover.
"I pray for some money," and one gets an insurance settlement after
an accident that maims.

I'll content myself with time as it is, I guess, zooming or halting
despite my efforts to change my perception.

(File this under "philosophical meanderings" - it's the BIG file!))

Monday, April 27, 2009

Shrine


About three weeks ago I wrote about my home altar. My husband reads the blog and the idea must have been simmering in his fecund brain ever since. All sorts of matter bubbles and churns in that place and I imagine if it was visible the appearance would be akin to the primordial ooze. He announced to me this morning that after consideration he'd decided his personal altar was his computer. Nay, not simply his altar. It is his shrine.

I must agree. His Mac is not a simple table for religious rites. It is a holy place for his worship of the digital divinity, replete with relics and sacred memorabilia. We are both worshippers at the keyboard, but I am a mere acolyte while he is monk, bishop, cardinal, and pope in service to his Gitchi Macintoush. We're talking major devotion not even R2-D2 could match. He supplicates himself day and night, rigidly observing the holy days of application updates, operating system revisions, and pronouncements by Steve Jobs. He is a Macevangelist, spreading THE WORD whenever possible.

There are times his adherence to the faith is exasperating. I cleave to my iMac with love and spend many hours in its company, but there are other gods in my pantheon. For him the word has been spoken: Thou shalt have no other gods before me. His is a hymn with a single note of alleluia.

Behold, there was the word and the word was Macintosh. And it was good!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Subject to Fits of Enthusiasm


Aging seems to have little effect upon the flights of enthusiasm that overtake me from time to time. Slowing down, with bad knees, perhaps makes them sedate, the lift off the ground a bit more hazardous, but age has also brought me to the point of issuing forth an occasional bright, wet raspberry in the face of restraint. The landing after one of these flights can be fraught with some confusion and much astonishment. I did what? Whatever for? When? You're kidding!

It was with a smile yesterday that I chanced upon the blog of Handbag Diva and found an explanation for one of my fanciful aeronautics. You can see from the photo above that I can consider myself a collector of vintage handbags, or at least I can use that line in the future to explain those three objects. If only it were true.

The truth? I was at the Port Orford Library Friend's Gift Shop. The three purses were in the showcase, caught my eye, were reasonably priced, and I bought them. I do not collect handbags. I carry the same purse year after year until it disintegrates - currently an over-sized fanny pack in navy blue. I am not interested in retro fashions. I have no idea why I purchased those bags or what to do with them now. It was a case of "I saw. I flew. I acquired." Common sense certainly didn't enter into it.

Thanks to Handbag Diva I can pass this one off as a hobby. Nobody is likely to be fooled but perhaps I can retain some well-needed dignity. When will the next momentary mania cause me to take wing? I'll let you know as soon as I regain the runway.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

More Whimsy!

Perhaps the lack of whimsy I noted is a local issue. The quality seems active out there in the world - THANK GOODNESS!. Check out this blog:
http://little-people.blogspot.com/

I'm still chuckling.

Old and Childlike

A fellow blogger mentioned these two words together yesterday with a bit of apology as he compared childlike to a lack of responsibility in some areas of his life. I puzzled over it a bit and have decided to share ownership of those two words with him, but I'll argue the sense that childlike has anything to do with not filling out forms or paying bills.

I am old in years and childlike in nature. Childlike does not mean irresponsible or silly, though I don't mind claiming the latter at times. Choose instead the meanings: innocent, natural, spontaneous. Find wonder in the world and approach life with curiosity and interest. Say "Oh Wow!" while viewing a sunset, shed tears over a piece of music, giggle while you blow bubbles. Childlike is to keep learning and growing, to keep finding newness around you.

Age is a fact and the years keep incrementing. Experience brings cynicism and suspicion along with wisdom and awareness. At least we can hope it does. But I want to always balance those with awe and delight. I'll sit open-mouthed in amazement as a spider spins her web and splash in puddles just for the fun of it. I hope that blogger-buddy will too.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Giving

Today has been a day for giving. I made my fourth KIVA loan. This one
is to Peru and continues my web-around-the-world by joining loans to
Samoa, Tajikistan, and Sengal.

I donated to the Kids Need to Read Foundation.

I pledged to FeedingAmerica.org.

These are all small things but are within the reach of my retired
American budget. Bills pinch and costs rise but I am so very grateful
to have the abundance, safety, and security that I do have and that
so many people on this planet lack.

We Americans are some of the most open-hearted folks in the world.
Everybody I know finds a way to share their time and their wallet
contents. We look for a time when every human being has enough to get
by and we profit in our hearts by sharing.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Playfully quaint or fanciful behavior


The world needs more whimsy. This is a belief I've devoutly pursued for a long time and one that grabs my attention on a continually more frequent basis. Life seems to hold a plethora of death, destruction, misery, sadness, and chaos and laughter is required to balance the scales. That last category - chaos - can provide some. And "it hurts so bad I had to laugh" gets in there too, but I'm all for just plain silliness.

And so...

I'm on Facebook and I created a group called "Folks Who Wear Groucho Glasses" hoping to find folks from anywhere around the world who giggle at the prop, might be fans of the Marx Brothers, and would be willing to send in a picture and laugh along with me. I seem to be chuckling alone. Nevertheless I keep hoping to see more Grouchos, more people who titter as they snap a photo in glasses and mustache, in front of the Louvré, the pyramids, maybe on a beach in Tahiti (perfect place for a snicker - Tah-hee-tee!)

And now I shall chortle my way off into the sunset.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Party's Over

The conclusion of a five day visit from my gal-pals has prompted me
to mull over some aspects of friendship and of being hostess and/or
company. These are, in no particular order:

* Good company helps out and pick up after themselves. More people
means more work and more stuff.

* Hostesses provide as best they can for company's needs. That means
sleeping situation, diet requirements, or other ways to make people
comfortable.

* My women friends are the best visiting company and are welcome
anytime.

The first two may be obvious but seem to get tripped over a lot. I
knew the third but just had it well reinforced. Having two of my
closest friends here was almost sufficient to make me believe I'd
enjoy a polygamous marriage. *HE* wouldn't get to choose the co-wives
but I'd be glad to do it. Having three compatible women in the house
was a dream. Instead of more bodies equaling more work a ballet
seemed to happen where each chore got handled by the dancer nearest,
or a pas de deux formed, or a threesome when needed. No orders were
issued nor big discussions required. One or another of us saw what
was to be done or what help was necessary and did it. Courtesy was
extended. Love was shared all around. I felt honored to be part of an
extraordinary gestalt.

Tears were shed at parting this morning. Please ladies, return when
and as you may. I am fortunate to be part of who we are together.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cackle Time

I'm holding my breath in happy anticipation of a visit from some gal
friends. Ileah and Gail arrive today for a five-day sojourn. We used
to live close enough to share morning coffee or afternoon cups of
tea. We belonged to the same groups and were traveling the same
spiritual path together. My move to Oregon fifteen years ago removed
me from the troops and I've relied on email, phone calls, and the
occasional trip north by one of them or south by me to remain connected.

My husband is on the alert. He knows he's due to witness a spate of
Cackle Time. That may not be a very politically correct and feminism-
aware term to apply to our group visit, but it certainly is apt. When
we get together the air is filled with chatter and bursts of
laughter. Cackle Time is woman time. It is sharing our stories, our
worries, loves, frustrations, wisdoms and, often now the dubious joys
of aging in parallel. Phone calls and email may touch but so much
more happens between us when we are cheek by jowl. No other
conversation compares with it.

So like the pick-a-little ladies we will chitter and bob our heads, a
bunch of happy hens taking part in the group dynamic. We will tell
stories of the worms in our lives and the problems on the roost. We
will discuss our chicks and the potential for the chopping block. We
will learn and grow in league again for a while. How I cherish the
Cackle Time!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Weather

One of the obsessions with which I am afflicted as I (ahem) mature is
a preoccupation with the weather. Younger people seem to separate
weather into two categories: good and bad. Good weather is anything
suitable for play; sunshine if you want to participate in outdoors
sports such as baseball or swimming and snow if you are desirous of
skiing or sledding. Bad weather is that which precludes outside
activities making work: house, office or school, a viable alternative.

We older individuals find more nuances to weather. For those of us
both aging and rural weather is a major concern and subject for
discussion. I'm in that group now. My emails to friends contain a
summery of the expected or recent meteorological conditions. Chats
with neighbors contain comments on and opinions about this year's
climate relative to that of past years. We mull over the signs of
seasonal change like scribes examining a rare manuscript. Were the
trees blooming sooner in '08? Will there be drought in '09? Did the
termites fly earlier last fall? Is there more hail, less wind, or
heavier frost?

Living on the Oregon coast brings the added dimension of fascination
with rain. Precipitation here has so much more character than where I
came from in California. In California it was either raining or not.
Usually not. In Oregon where I am now rain is a personality. Winter
rain is generally horizontal and from the south. A spring rain can be
vertical, which is unusual enough to warrant notice. We strain to
find ways to describe a particular speed, volume and ferocity of
wetness: mist, drizzle, sprinkle, shower, downpour, torrent, deluge,
barrage, inundation. We add to these the variety of the hail, from
slush to pellet size, sleet to gropple. Then we include the wind for
which the terms get somewhat too profane to describe. Use your
imagination and a sailor's vocabulary. The sum of a rain portrayal
never quite conveys it but we Northwetians give it a go. If our
characterizations falls short we get plenty of opportunity for a
retry at this time of year. The conditions change from moment to
moment and cloud to cloud.

Now that I think about it we don't have nearly as much to say about
warm sunny weather. Could be a lack of familiarity. Could be we are
stunned silent. Or maybe we are just too weak with relief.

Friday, April 10, 2009


This picture of me, taken last month at my End of Winter Doldrums Chili & Funny Hat Potluck, should serve as a warning of what happens when some of us leap ungracefully toward old age. Wisdom? Bah! Maturity? Humbug! Note the manic expression and the wicked gleam in the eyes. Somebody must have suggested that Nathan Fillion was nearby and I was considering the probability of chasing him down and pinching his cheekies!

I'd thought to age in gentle fashion and assume grandmotherly poise and spiritual understanding. Instead I find myself (still) inclined to whoop it up and create mayhem whenever possible. The world can be glad senior aches and youthful indiscretions have hobbled me a bit.

Toodle-ooooh!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Launching into the... present?

I'm not a Luddite. I use a computer and I have an iPod. Facebook is
familiar to me and I know what a Tweet is, I think. One facet of the
age that has escaped me however, at least until today, is the
ubiquitous cell phone. "Not something I need, " I declared loudly
whenever I saw someone with their arm crooked to their ear or the
tiny implement attached to their head. Visions of myself wandering a
store talking to the air like a vagrant on Broadway conversing with
mental aliens... scary!

I was still thinking of the days of living in a town where every
corner had a pay phone (remember those?) and I had good knees that
could handle a walk along well lit nighttime streets to make a call.
But now we live 13 miles from the nearest small town and even in the
daytime it can be lonely driving to a meeting or to a friend's house.
At night is it pitch black. My knees are older and crankier so
abandoning the car to walk to a phone is damned near impossible.
After some thought and consultation my husband and I decided to
succumb buy a pay-as-you-go cell phone. Seemed simple enough. Carry
the phone when we travel and only pay for the calls we make. Oh, the
naiveté.

We made our purchase, and opened the package. A chainsaw might have
been useful for this purpose as the phone was encapsulated in one of
those hard plastic child/adult/tank & bazooka-proof packages. Since
I'm most likely to carry the phone with me I confidently began
reading the accompanying literature. A short time later I realized my
college degree in English was not sufficient to pick and choose among
cell phone plans. It might be easier in Spanish since the English
language booklet that exploded from the package with all the assorted
paraphernalia was much thicker than the Spanish version - but I don't
read Spanish. I began to whimper. Calling minutes? Air time? Roaming?
Three months or one year? 60, 120, 400, 800 minutes? Double this?
Added to that? As I began to lose consciousness my blessed husband
leapt to the rescue.

I've resigned from decision making, happy to leave it all up to him.
Sometime this evening he'll activate the phone and do choosing.
"After all," he says, "can it be any harder than choosing a Medicare
Health Plan?" Oh dear god!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My Altar

A blog post by Snowbrush, <snowbrush.blogspot.com/2009/04/household-
gods.html> to which I'd made a comment, engendered the following
questions from the author:

"This evokes a couple of questions. For example, did you create your
altar to be an altar, or did you first create it and later realize
that it was an altar? Also, do its contents ever change, for example
with the seasons or as new objects come into your life?"

We denizens of the Northwest are reputed to be the least church-going
folk in the nation yet are also among the most spiritually oriented.
I'd suspected as much and had it confirmed by a talk Mark Shibley
gave at our local library. He referred to this corner of the country
as "The None Zone". When questionnaires ask if we PacNorthwesters
belong to an organized religion we mark NONE, but if asked are we
spiritual the answer is a resounding YES!

Like many in that group I am independent in attitude and belief. I
was raised in a protestant household, quit attending Sunday services
in my late teens, and proceeded to search for my personal
relationship to god. I read. I went to services in Jewish and
Catholic churches. I meditated and spent years doing the Dances of
Universal Peace with wonderful spiritually oriented folk. My
wandering brought me to the environmental/ecologically aware
philosophy that is embraced by much of our part of the world. It also
brought me to Wicca as it has been reborn here.

So, to answer Snowbrush's questions: I did consciously create my
hallway altar aided by a convenient niche in the house we bought here
in Oregon. I chose the hunk of malachite who serves as my goddess
figure for her Venus of Willandorf figure, but the Kwan Yin that is
her companion came from my in-laws and reminds me of them. Things
have been added, subtracted, and replaced (or not) over time. The
pottery pentagram was a gift from a non-pagan friend, the clay
GreenMan a gift from another pal. I stitched the cloth below them
myself. From time to time the bits of everyday life get plopped there
as they make their way from room to room. My altar is not sacrosanct
but is part of my life. It gets dusty like the rest of my house and
cleaned...not often enough... also like the rest of my house. As I
consider it I see that my altar is a lot like me.

Thank you Snowbrush - for helping me see this piece of my home, and
myself, in a new way.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Five Treasures

An email pal sent me one of those memes the other day. This one asked
me for my "five treasures" is the categories of books, music, and
art. I'm a sucker for that sort of thing so I sat down to try and
figure it out. It seemed a simple enough task. What five items in
each group would I list?

Not at all simple as it turns out. Five is both a too small and a too
large number. My ideas of what I like and what I'd choose to spend a
lifetime with change day to day and year to year. Books that were
treasured companions when I was twenty or forty no longer speak to
me. Music that sent me into ecstasy no longer plucks a heartstring.
The delights of my eye today may bore me tomorrow. I created a list
to send back to my friend, fully knowing that it is a list for today
and that next week each and every item may be overthrown by another.
Is it the same for others or am I too momentary to lock things in a
treasure box?

Here are my choices (for 4/4/09) in case you are curious:

MY 5 TREASURES
Suppose you had a treasure box that would hold only 5 of each kind of
item, what would yours hold?

BOOKS (FICTION): Pride & Prejudice, Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Jane
Eyre, War & Peace, Wintergreen

BOOKS (NON-FICTION): Roget's Thesaurus, OED, World Atlas, Sibley's
Bird Guide, Western Gardens Book

POEMS: Any five by Mary Durel.

MOVIES: Stranger Than Fiction, The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But
Came Down a Mountain, Gigi, While You Were Sleeping, Star Wars

RECORDS: Chansons A Cappella (Charbonniers de L'Enfer), Symphony #40
in G Minor (Mozart), Rubber Soul (Beatles), Scandinavia Potluck by
Skålmusik, Carolan's Favorite by Derek Bell

ART (REPRODUCTIONS): Monet Waterlilies, Van Gogh Sunflowers, Christ
of St. John of the Cross by Salvidor Dali, Self Portrait (1500)
Albrect Dürer, Eruption of Vesuvius by Turner

Saturday, April 4, 2009

King Lear

I had the evening to myself last night so I thought it a perfect time
to watch the production of King Lear we recently recorded from PBS.
In general I prefer Shakespeare comedies. Life holds too many
tragedies day-to-day as it is- just watch the evening news. But Lear
is powerful stuff and worth the watching.

The production may have been quite good but I'll never know. It was
so dark (I suppose the lighting designer would have said it was
"moody") that I may as well have been attending an audio-only
performance. What is it with that? A large part of the theatre
experience, okay, it was TV but the ambiance was purely theatrical,
is seeing the actors. SEEING!! This play was so dark I was sure
they'd been limited by budget to a single bare light-bulb. Stark is
one thing but invisible is quite another. It was very disappointing.
Ian McKellen is an excellent actor and there seemed to be a fine
supporting cast. At least I think there was. Hard to say since I
could barely see anyone in the murk.

Perhaps it is my age but I've taken to avoiding movies where
"atmosphere" is defined as unlit and everything happens at night.
Perhaps it is cost-saving, or ultra-modern in the graphic novel
sense, but squinting to try and see what is happening is not my idea
of viewing pleasure. My tired old eyes aren't up to the work.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Writing every day?

At the beginning of 2009 I'd thought to make a resolution to A-blog-a-
day. After all, how hard could it be to write a few words each and
every day.

Good thing I restrained myself. (I DID restrain myself, didn't I?)

Too many days I wake, check the contents of my head and fin, well -
not much. Hellloooooo! Anybody home? And an echoing emptiness of
thought and inspiration yawns there. Okay, maybe not totally a
desolate yawning cavern of nothing. It is more like stacks and stacks
of very old magazines. The type you see curling their pages in a
doctor's office filled with outdated self-help articles and ads for
products no longer in vogue. I search around in my brain hoping for
some clever idea and too many of the nuggets that bob to the surface
resemble recipes for chili from a twenty-year old issue of Redbook.

Sigh. So I am silent as long as possible and then SPROING! Something
like this wrests its way through my fingers and into the blogosphere.
Oops. Desperation strikes again.