Please Cast Your Votes Today For A Very Worthy Cause

I have pulled the following blog from one of my blogfellows, Memphis Mafia of Really…Really…Seriously…

I do not normally repost complete blogs, but in this case, I thought that I really needed to make an exception. What Memphis Mafia is asking for is such a good cause that I wanted to make you aware of it.

Children’s hospitals are miraculous places. I don’t mean to sound all puppy dogs and kittens. I truly mean the word miraculous. Having spent an inordinate amount of time at The Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters with my daughter Caitlin, and then later, with my youngest son Brett, I have an extensive knowledge of what goes on in a hospital dedicated to serving the needs of only children.

It takes incredible strength to work on some of the wards. And I have found the administrators to be a particularly dedicated group of people. In fact, when I was in graduate school, I had a short stint with CHKD working on a national children’s hospital conference.

All of that aside, I hope that you will click on the link and cast your vote. Having a gameroom makeover is no small thing in a hospital filled with children of all ages, many of whom are bored for hours on end.  If you have ever been in  hospital, you know exactly what I’m talking about: the interminably long hours of absolutely nothing to do. A hospital gameroom is the place to be if you are a child who is mobile.

The people who read this blog regularly are a wonderful group of people. I know that I can count on you to participate.

Many thanks. Peace to you and yours.

A children’s hospital needs your help…

CMN LogoSeptember 30, 2009 · So, I’ve never really talked a lot about my life on this blog, but today I’m going to break that rule.  I work for Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center in Memphis, Tennessee.  Which if you’ve been seeing my tweets (conveniently located just to the side of this post), you probably shouldn’t be surprised.  It is a fantastic place that helps lots of patients and families.  If you want to know more about it, I really recommend clicking on the link for it.  I’m am breaking my silence to ask for help.

The Children’s Miracle Network and Microsoft Xbox are hosting a contest to give away three gameroom makeovers for Children’s Miracle Network hospitals, which Le Bonheur Children’s is one.  The winning organizations get a completely redone gameroom, complete with $10,000 of new equipment.  The contest is fairly simple, people register and can vote for the hospital of their choice.  Each voter has 10 votes they can cast daily, and can vote everyday between now and October 16.

When I started looking at this, Le Bonheur Children’s was in 58th place, but has moved up to 17th (and will probably end today at 16th).  To be competitive, we need to recruit 3,000 new voters, which would translate into 30,000 daily votes.  So, this is where I turn to you, dear reader, to ask for help.  If you are willing to help, follow this link to http://xbox.childrensmiraclenetwork.org/ and register to vote.  The zip code (which is the easiest way to find the hospital) for Le Bonheur is 38103.  Vote daily for the contest, and tell your friends, family, or however about it.

I don’t want to sound cliche, but this will make a major difference in the experience of patients and families receiving care.  The hospital needs places like this to give families somewhere to go and unwind.  Children need place to go, play, and just be kids (and not “sick” kids).  It takes about five minutes to register and vote, and then 2 minutes a day after that.  Thanks for helping us out!

“Simplicity, carried to the extreme, becomes elegance.” ~ Jon Franklin

cyberspace

Cyberspace

 

“It would appear that we have reached the limits of what it is possible to achieve with computer technology, although one should be careful with such statements as they tend to sound pretty silly in 5 years.” ~ Johann von Neumann (1949)

Had an appointment with my headache doctor this morning. New strategy: Lots of magnesium and no more of that specific class of preventive meds that have been giving me so many negative side effects. Also a new medicine for migraine onset. The doctor gave me a couple of samples (did you know that pharmaceutical companies are doing away with reps and delivering samples to offices? I didn’t either. I love samples). When I showed the samples to Corey, he said, “Haven’t you already tried that one?” I’ve tried so many different ones that I really cannot say whether or not this is a repeat. We’ll see.

Anyway, here’s hoping that this latest combo will work . . . who knows. Got 14 trigger shots from neck down, and then I came home and crashed, really crashed. Probably had the soundest four hours of sleep that I’ve had in the past three weeks. Go figure.

While waiting for the doctor, I skimmed a copy of  Newsweek, and I came across an article that says that Google is losing money on YouTube. Apparently, when ruler of the information highway first acquired YouTube for $1.65 bilion in 2006, Google thought that it was buying a cash cow.

Wrong.
YouTube logo
YouTube, which most everyone knows, is a site that supports user-generated content. This content, which is uploaded to YouTube at something akin to the speed of light, eats up bandwidth (for storage, retrieval, shuttling, etc.). According to a report cited by Slate Magazine, those who know these things (you know, forecasters, them), say that YouTube’s broadband connection will probably runs around $350 to $400 million a year.

Then, Google has to pay for the rights to show licensed material that is submitted by professionals. That’s another $250 million or so. The result is that by the end of 2009, YouTube will have cost Google an estimated $500 million or more, depending. These are all industry estimates as Google isn’t too keen on revealing exactly how much of their $6 billion in profit is being dropped on YouTube.

“I see little commercial potential for the Internet for at least ten years.” ~ Bill Gates (1994)  

Cyberspace greenApparently, Google thought that they would be able to support YouTube with sidebar tile advertising on the site. What they didn’t count on was that advertisers really don’t want to spend thousands and thousands of dollars to have their product placement next to a video of a skateboarding dog (although I don’t really understand why because that dog is awesome (kidding, just kidding)). So the stream of advertising revenue has been, shall we say, running dry, which makes YouTube a big old albatross around Google’s neck.

Granted, Google’s profit neck is pretty hefty, but almost half a billion dollars is a big money pit.

According to the article, YouTube is “the third-biggest site on the Internet, with 426 million monthly visitors who upload 20 hours of video every minute.” That, my friends, is a lot of streaming and a megaton of bandwidth. I’ll bet those former PayPal employees who created YouTube are patting their pockets knowingly. Their sale of YouTube to Google, making the site a subsidiary of Google, garnered the former owners a nice profit, and they got out while the getting was good: before the explosive expansion of YouTube.

“Tell me and I forget.  Teach me and I remember.  Involve me and I learn.” ~ Benjamin Franklin  

You Tube Capture
YouTube Capture of Talking Squirrel

Personally, as you probably know from reading my blog, I love YouTube. I think that it’s one of the best inventions since Twizzlers in a four-pound plastic tub. I mean think about it, YouTube brought politics into the homes of millions of people last year. Because of posts by ordinary people, we were able to see pictures of President Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention that showed angles different from mainstream media.

The political process—something too many Americans ignore—became the subject matter of countless videos uploaded by ordinary people. Thanks to YouTube, videos of the Presidential inauguration became almost instantly available, a bonus for those of us who were unable to attend the historic event.

Not to mention the fact that YouTube is a great source of music videos created by people with computers and an eye for images that pair well with a song. YouTube allows the world access to bands and musicians of which they may have never heard.

YouTube also brings stark images of our fallen warriors coming home, of our dedicated service men and women in the field—things we used to be able to see only on the evening news, and then for only a moment or two.

Granted, YouTube is also a source of complete idiocy: Videos of celebrities making complete fools of themselves, images of people falling off ladders, minutes of nothing but callers to radio shows revealing their ignorance. It’s free entertainment for the masses, and the masses cannot get enough of it.

“The next best thing to knowing something is knowing where to find it.” ~ Samuel Johnson

Internet Cafe aboard cruise ship liberty
Internet Cafe Aboard Cruise Ship Liberty

All of that being said, I have no doubts that the brains at Google will eventually come up with some way to crunch the bandwidth problem so that the profit to loss margin for running YouTube can be reversed.

And YouTube has taken its place in Internet culture: For every silly baby face video, there exists another video of an, as yet, unknown guitar player in his bedroom. Remember the unknown Korean student who played Pachelbel’s Canon on the electric guitar? His video is ranked as the 6th most viewed video in the history of the site. Oh, and he isn’t unknown any more. Initially known as “funtwo,” the extremely talented guitarist was identified as Jeong-Hyun Lim, and his hands are amazing.

Undoubtedly, YouTube has become an integral part of computing for millions of people. Internet Cafes: the new social scene. Cruise one, and chances are good that someone is going to be streaming YouTube. Isn’t cyberspace a wonderful thing?

“This is just the beginning, the beginning of understanding that cyberspace has no limits, no boundaries.” ~ Nicholas Negroponte 

I thought it only fitting to close this post with my latest discovery, which I got from Tweetzy Deetzy on Twitter. Here is Finland’s Apocalyptica doing “Nothing Else Matters.” Awesome and then some.

More later. Peace.

“We convince by our presence.” ~ Walt Whitman

Blue River Henry County Indiana by Julayne

Blue River, Henry County, Indiana by Julayne

 

“Every moment of light and dark is a miracle.” ~ Walt Whitman

“When I give, I give myself.” ~ Walt Whitman

Sings of Autumn U of AK campus JJ
Signs of Autumn, U. of Alaska Campus by Janson Jones

Earlier this morning when I let the dogs out, I stuck my head outside and inhaled deeply. Yep. Smells like fall.

Even though we don’t live in the country, so to speak, the air still has those fine seasonal permutations in which sounds and scents can be discerned. Today promises to be in the low 60’s and sunny, or so says my little weather icon. Part of me could live in clear and cool in the 60’s every single day of my life. Not hot. Not cold. Not gloomy. Not snowy.

Yet, there is still that part of me that aches for the tropics. Not so much the heat as the blazing sun and azure waters. Feeling the fine grains of sand beneath my feet and falling asleep to the sound of the incoming and outgoing tides. I find that very appealing.

People who are from this area know exactly how fickle the weather can be. It can be 80 degrees on Thanksgiving Day. It can snow five inches in the middle of March. We can go from a high of 86 on Monday to a high of 60 on Tuesday. Everyone talks about how wonderful it is that we have such mild winters, but that makes me yearn for snow. And as I have said before, spring is entirely too short: We virtually run through spring directly into summer in about two weeks. But fall does seem to last a bit longer, which is fine by me.

“The future is more uncertain than the present” ~ Walt Whitman 

I’ve had this feeling of late that I am coming to some sort of crossroads. Part of that feeling is probably due, in part, to the fact that we are now at a do or die time for Corey to get a job, and the outlook for him being able to get a job on a tug boat is looking extremely dim.

Forecasts for the shipping industry do not anticipate any kind of upturn in the industry until 2010. I just read about a strike by some tug workers in New York harbor because of hiring practices.

Fall FoliageSo we have been discussing alternative careers. I know and Corey knows that circumstances will probably make it more than a possibility that he is going to have to shift his career if he is going to get a job anytime soon, which makes both of us more than a little melancholy. He just finished those classes to get more endorsements on his Merchant Marine Document (MMD), and he is more qualified than he has ever been at any point in his shipping career. But there just aren’t any jobs.

My Captain is without a vessel. I really ache for him. I, too, know what it is like to be out of work (not the current circumstances of being disabled), but avidly looking for work, and getting nothing but the standard, “We’ll put your resume on file” response. After the first 50 times, it’s hard not to begin to turn inside and think that there must be something wrong with you.

Statistically, in this kind of stagnant economy, I think the old saying is that for every 100 resumes you send out, you can expect to get 1 interview. Bummer, huh?

But even though we are still on this see saw, I have this gut feeling that a change is coming, not exactly sure what kind of change, but some kind of change. Change can be good. Right? I should embrace this gut feeling. Right? Then why do I feel trepidation?

“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.” ~ Walt Whitman 

Perhaps trepidation is too strong. Fear is too dramatic. Icky feeling in my gut is poorly phrased. What’s the word that I’m looking for? Agitation? Perturbation? Palpitation? Hesitation? That’s it: hesitation.

I am hesitant to embrace any kind of gut feeling that might portend a change for the better. After all, if you convince yourself that things are looking up, that’s about the time a grand piano falls from the sky and lands on your head.

Skyline DriveIs it any wonder that I really liked the story of  “Chicken Little” when I was a child? I suppose I have always been a glass half-empty person. I mean, if I won the lottery, after being incredibly excited, my very next feeling would be dread because of the taxes that I would have to pay. I know. I know. I’ve been talking about hope and strength and peace of mind, but the nudge side of me keeps intruding.

My ex used to call me a nudge, as in I could never let something go. I would keep nudging until it erupted or died like the proverbial dead horse on the front lawn. I’ve really worked on the whole letting go thing. I think that I’ve gotten much better. For example, whenever I used to get into an argument, I was never ready to apologize and move on. I do apologize now, and I actually mean it sincerely 99 percent of the time.

But I don’t think that I’ll ever get to the point at which I can say (truthfully) that I have let go of the perturbation at having been wronged by someone (other than Corey). I mean, I don’t openly dwell as much; truth be told, I don’t dwell to the point of internal agitation. But every once in a while, a memory of a situation in which someone has treated me badly will pop into my brain, and I will stew for a bit. I really wish that I could overcome the ability to remember past wrongs with such clarity. The rest of my memory seems to be getting fuzzier, but not the “Oh. I have been done wrong” part.

But I digress . . .

“Not I—not anyone else, can travel that road for you,/You must travel it for yourself.”  ~ Walt Whitman  

Crossroads. Fall. Right.

I do feel that I am coming to some sort of divide in the road, Frost’s two roads diverging. And I will probably take the path less trodden upon as it seems to offer more in the way of surprises. I’m just hoping that they will be good surprises, for a change.

Fall is my season of big change. Almost everything significant in my life has happened in the fall—good and bad. Job changes. School. New friendships. Losses. All in the fall.

I also find that I write more in the fall. I am planning to get back to my daily writing in October: posting everyday, getting back into my routine of writing about something, anything every day. Fall is also my time for poetry, perhaps because my psyche is has embellished upon it the memories of teaching literature classes to students who would groan audibly when I would mention poetry. By the second week, they wanted more. It’s all in the words, the ways in which we share them, the manner in which we connect with them.
sunset on skyline drive
Perhaps the change that I sense is the bounty that fall brings to my life. Perhaps not. Not being a seer, I have no way to tell. I just know that something is looming, just over the horizon. And I think that I am actually ready for it.

So I will pause and make myself cherish the coming days. Go outside more and breathe the air, watch the birds, listen to the geese as they fly overhead, and smell the leaves, the chrysanthemums, and enjoy my season.

I have used quotes from Walt Whitman in this post because his words have been echoing in my brain. In particular, there is one long quote by Whitman that is among my most favorite:

“This is what you shall do: love the earth and sun, and animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence towards the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown, or to any man or number of men; go freely with the powerful uneducated persons, and with the young, and mothers, of families: read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life: re-examine all you have been told at school or church, or in any books, and dismiss whatever insults your soul.”

I have included James Wright’s “A Blessing,” as it is one of my favorite poems, and it jumped into my mind as I was writing this post. Obviously, it was supposed to be here.

More later. Peace.

A Blessing

Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl’s wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.

~ James Wright

                                                                                                   

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Help Support Underpaid Insurance Executives

Please Help to Protect Our Nation’s Health Insurance Executives From Unfair Changes in Their Lifestyles

 Grabbed this off WillPen’s World. Feel free to grab and share.

Vodpod videos no longer available.  

more about “Help Protect Insurance Executives Fro…“, posted with vodpod

 

Enough said. More later. Peace.

Perchance . . . to dream?

Stream of Unconsciousness

Disclaimer:  The following is brought to you in living color, so there will be no pictures as all of the pictures were already in my head, and that is waayy too hard to recreate here, but in an attempt to give you something to look at, I will use color here.

Caveat: Corey will hate the following as all of the men are made to look like imbeciles, but I have a very good reason: It was a dream (granted a very realistic dream), but a dream, nonetheless.

Warning: The following contains material that may be too graphic for some readers. I would rate it a PG because it’s pretty good and comes directly too you from my subconscious and/or dream state, but some people might rate it R because it’s a bit raunchy, but honestly, no sex is involved.

Okay. Now that I’ve gotten all of that out of the way, I can begin. I’m on day 5 or so of my latest insomnia jag. I started to write a post a few days ago about not being able to sleep, and how when I do sleep, I have weird dreams, but the post was so boring, that I deleted it. This particular post looks different from most of my other posts because, well because it’s different from most of my other posts. Bear in mind a few things: I’ve had little sleep. I have a warped sense of humor. I didn’t check for typos . . .

Let me just preface this by saying that it is now 9:07 a.m. my time, and I did not fall asleep until sometime after 6:21 a.m., which is the last time I looked at the clock to see how late/early it was (depending upon your point of view), before I fell asleep. Should the preface have gone with the disclaimer, caveat, and warning?

Okay. Wait, already said that. Moving along: I have been having terrible nightmares for the past four or five nights, from which I awaken screaming, which is kind of a good alarm clock, except no one has really needed an alarm clock in the middle of the night. So imagine my surprise when I awoke this morning laughing my buttocks off. Nice change. Then I thought about why I was laughing my buttocks off, and began to laugh again. I put my head down, prepared to try to go back to sleep when I realized, “Hey! You will not remember all of this with all of the details (especially the cats and the microwave dog pretzels) if you go back to sleep, so get your butt out of bed and get it down now while it’s fresh.”

Rational self said, “Are you out of your freaking mind? It’s 9:07, and I haven’t even had three hours sleep yet.”

Other self said, “I know that, but most people in half of the world, or at least several time zones are already awake and at work.”

Rational self said, “Well, you have a point. But I don’t have a job, so thanks for reminding me.”

The debate would have continued, but I needed something to drink, whereupon I took my empty glass and went to the kitchen to get some  juice. Tillie, who was comfortably ensconced on the couch, lifted an eye as if to say, “You? I never see you before the afternoon unless I get you out of bed, and I don’t think I got you out of bed.”

I acknowledged her look, and she went back to sleep. Got my juice, walked back to the bedroom, and decided that I had to get this down because it was a full episode of a sitcom that I was never going to remember. All that being said, let me tell you about my dream, which we will call Episode 32: “Why I Never Dated After My Ex Left and Fell In Love With a New Woman Because I Knew That I Wouldn’t Be Very Good At It. (The True Story, well the title is true, but what happens in the dream never happened, or at least never happened all at once in one night).”

Stay with me. It gets bettter. Honest.

The Dream:

Setting: My sister-in-law Anne’s house, or at least for the purposes of this dream. Real time. A casual get together in which people were supposed to bring their own drinking materials, which does not include microwave doggie treats.

I’m sitting on the floor near the door. There are several people here who I do not know, a few are couples. The man next to me I do know because I thought that I was dating him, but I am ignoring him. Let’s call him “The Relationship that didn’t happen,” or TRTDH.

TRTDH: “So, why aren’t you talking to me?” (sotto voice or whispering)

Me: “Are you talking to me? I thought that when you said that you didn’t really see us going anywhere, that meant that you didn’t want to see me anymore, so I’m not not talking to you. I’m ignoring you.”

TRTDH: “There’s a difference?” (still trying to whisper even though everyone in the room is now looking at us).

Me: “Of course there is a difference. Just ask any woman in this room.”

At this point, one couple excuses themselves and leaves by the back door. The three guys who are sitting next to each other on the couch begin to squirm a little.

Woman I Don’t Know #1: “Ask us what?”

All of the other woman I Don’t Know: “What?”

TRTDH: “Nothing. It’s personal.”

Me: “It’s not personal. It stopped being personal when you said that we didn’t have  a relationship.”

WIDN#2: “He said that?”

Smirks on the faces of a few of the males.

Me: “Gentlemen. You think that this is amusing?”

Vigorous shakes of the head indicating denial, including TRTDH.

Me: “Ladies, this person next to me told me that he didn’t think that our relationship was going anywhere. In my mind, that meant that we, and therefore he no longer existed. Correct?”

Vigorous nods of assent by females in the room. Ann walks into the room.

Ann: Can you handle everything for a minute. We have to go somewhere?”

Don’t ask me why she is going somewhere in the middle of her get-together, just roll with it. It’s a dream.

Me: “No problem.”

Immediately, another couple leaves by the back door, whereupon one cat runs out the door and another cat comes in the door, which confuses me as I believe that the cat that isn’t supposed to be in the house just came in, and the cat that isn’t supposed to be outside, just ran out. I walk back into the living room completely confused but still mad.

Me to attractive WIDN#3 who is chugging rum out of a bottle: “Great. You’re drinking half of the liquor that is supposed to be for all of the guests directly out of the bottle. Were you raised in a barn?”

WIDN#3 spits out the rum.

Me: “Well that didn’t really help anything. Don’t you move (I yell to TRDTH, who is trying to sneak out of the room)”

Woman on the floor sitting next to woman who chugged rum: “What exactly did he do?”

Me: “After we had several dates, he told me that he didn’t think that our relationship was going anywhere, and then he shows up here tonight thinking that he can act like he’s my date. And by the way, the guy on the end of the couch is my ex-husband, father of my children, so pay attention to nothing he says.”

Everyone turns and looks at Ex.

Ex: “I’m not here, but buddy, you are in for a world of shit (to TRDTH).”

All of the men in the room nod commiseratingly, while their dates, if they have them, glare.

Me: “Tell me (to no one in particular), do I need to acknowledge his presence?”

Woman coming into the back door: “Whose presence?”

I move to the kitchen and trip over one of the dogs, fall into the arms of the woman who is coming into the back door.

Me: “Great, you brought food. We only have frozen peas.”

Woman coming into the back door (this would be so much easier if I knew their names): “These? Oh no. They are yogurt covered dog pretzels that you pop into the microwave.”

Dogs upon hearing the word ‘treats’ all run into the kitchen. Disgusted with her offering and disappointed that there is no food, I return to the living room to continue my rant.

Woman coming into the back door: “What did we miss?”

WIDN#1: “Oh, she’s really pissed at her boyfriend, and they’re having an argument.”

WIDN#2 and TRTDH simultaneously: “He’s/I’m not her boyfriend.”

Me: He’s not my boyfriend. He’s just some guy that I slept with because I thought that we were in a relationship, but then he said that we didn’t really have a relationship that’s going anywhere.”

Nodding and shaking of heads all around the room, depending upon gender. Ann comes back in the room.

Ann: “Where’s the cat? And where’s Mallory (her younger daughter).”

Damn. I knew that I was supposed to be watching something besides the cats and the rum.

Me: “Isn’t Mallory with you?”

Mallory from corner of the room: “I’m over here listing to Aunt Lola yell at some guy she’s been sleeping with. What’s sleeping with?”

Ann: “Eat your peas.”

Mallory: “I can’t. Aunt Lola bent all of the forks.”

It’s true. I hate the way that peas roll off the fork so I have bent all of the silverware. Don’t ask me when.

WIDN#3: Can we get back to the story?”

Guys on couch turn on the television and pretend to watch football.

Me: “Hey you! Yep you guys pretending to watch football. Do you know how rude it is to watch television during a get-together and an argument?”

Rapid shaking of heads.

Me: No. I don’t suppose you do because you’re men.

Knowing nods of assent.

Me to TRTDH: “Do you see what you’ve done.?”

TRTDH: “What have I done?”

Greek chorus echoing from the kitchen: “You led her on, made her think that you had a relationship when all along you never wanted a relationship.”

(I think they were singing.)

TRTDH: “I never did that. We went on a few dates, had some fun. Now it’s time to move on.”

Me: “My point exactly. Hence, I am ignoring you.”

TRTDH: “But that’s childish.”

All of the women in the room break out into spontaneous remarks. Too many to put down here. Use your imagination. I did.

Me: (screeching) Childish?! I cannot believe that someone as asinine as you would call me childish.”

TRTDH: “I know what asinine means. I’m getting another degree, so you can’t talk to me that way.”

At some point, alcoholic beverages appeared in everyone in attendance’s hands, except for the really skinny woman.

Me as an aside to Ann: Hey. What do you want to bet that that skinny bitch says any minute now that she just wants water because she is so full?”

Ann: “But we haven’t had cake yet. How can she be full?”

Skinny Bitch: “Oh, just water for me. I ate entirely too much.”

Ann and I look at each other and chug our beers.

TRTDH to guys on the couch and my ex: “Don’t you think that she is making too much out of this?”

Ex: “You have no idea?”

Me: “Too much? Too much? (voice goes up an octave with each repetition). I had my nails done. I hade my hair done. I bought a new dress (look down at myself and realize that I have on a new dress, pretty hot one, at that). I’m eating peas. I can ignore you any time I want to (ending sentence in preposition because, well, it’s a dream).”

Ann: “Why are there dogs here?”

Me: “Would you keep up with the conversation. And oh yeah, your dumbass friend over there brought dog treats instead of real food.”

Dumbass Friend: “Ann told me to bring dog treats. Besides, aren’t they cute?”

All of the women ooh and aah at the pastel pretzel that DAF is holding up.

Ann: “Why would I tell you to bring dog treats. I have cats. We need some food.”

Me: “Can we get back to me? This is about me.”

TRTDH: (attempts to whisper) “That’s why we can’t have a relationship.”

Me: “I heard that. You’re sitting right next to me. Geez, you really aren’t too bright are you?”

TRTDH: “I knew what asinine meant.”

Me: “That’s really great. Commendable. I’m still ignoring you.”

WIDN#2: “If you aren’t going to date him, can I have him?”

Incredulous looks all around. Men look at #2 in entirely new way, as in, whoa, new prospect. Women look at #2 as if she has just grown horns.

Me: “No you can’t have him. I’m dating him.”

WIDN#2: “But you said that you were ignoring him. He said that you don’t have a relationship.”

Ann: “Where’s Mallory?”

Me: “She’s outside.”

Ann: “It’s midnight.”

Me: “Well we do have a relationship.”

Ann: “You and Mallory?”

Me: “Stop drinking rum and try to keep up. Not Mallory, this guy (gesturing towards TRTDH). We have a relationship. He just doesn’t want to acknowledge it.”

Enter my mom and dad. Everyone immediately pretends to be doing something.

Mom: “Where’s . . .?”

“Bathroom. Kitchen. She left.”

“Guys. She can see me.”

Mom: “It’s past your curfew, and you left your window open.”

Me: Mom, I haven’t had a curfew in years. What are you talking about?”

Mom: “That’s right. I’m always wrong. Blame it on me.”

Eye-rolling.

Mom: “Don’t roll your eyes at me. Ken, she rolled her eyes as me.”

Dad: “Don’t roll your eyes at your mother. It’s disrespectful.”

Me: “Can you guys go back home? You’re embarrassing me. This is a party.”

Mom and Dad disappear. New people appear. More beer and rum appear. Still no food except for the dog treats and peas.

Me: “I’m so confused.”

TRTDH: “You’re confused . . .”

WIDN#3: “Shut up. No one asked you. If you weren’t here, we could be having fun. Instead, we have to listen to this crap.”

Me to WIDN#3: “We could have a fight.”

Guys murmur something about chick fights.

Me: “Don’t call me a chick.”

Ex: “She hates that.”

Other two guys on the couch: “Are they going to fight, or what?”

Me: “No, we are not going to fight. (to WIDN#3) I really like that shirt.”

Ann: “Everyone needs to go home now. It’s late, and I need to put Mallory to bed (Mallory is now an infant in an infant carrier).”

Everyone stands up and starts to go to the kitchen. I open the freezer and look inside, but there’s still nothing but peas.

Me: “Do I have to go too?”

Ann: “Nah.”

Corey: “Can I stay?”

Ann and Me: “When did you get here?”

Me: “You can’t be here. I have a date.”

Corey: “What do you mean you have a date?”

TRTDH: “I AM NOT HER DATE. WE ARE NOT IN A RELATIONSHIP.”

Corey: “Why is that guy yelling?”

Me: “Ignore him. He thinks that we’re dating. Did you bring the rum?”

Corey: “No. But I brought Tillie.”

Ann: “We have microwave dog treats.”

Corey: “Why do they have to be microwaved?”

Ann and Me: “Don’t know. She never told us.”

There was actually more, but it’s 10:12, and I’m actually feeling sleepy. Maybe it was funnier in the dream. But at least I didn’t dream about knives, or crocodiles/alligators (never know which is which), or any of the other strange things that I dream about. This dream was almost normal. For me. That being said, enough said.

Eat your peas. More later. Peace.

“We come spinning out of nothingness, scattering stars like dust.” ~ Rumi

lotus 

“Thirst drove me down to the water where I drank the moon’s reflection.” ~ Rumi

“All day I think about it, then at night I say it. Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing? I have no idea. My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that, and I intend to end up there.” ~ Rumi

I’ve been having really strange dreams again, probably due in part to my latest bout with insomnia. Most of these dreams have involved killing in some way, knives, and blood.

Dark-stormy-cloudsDelightful, n’est pas?

For example, one of the dreams involved a young girl who murdered her parents and younger brother. I had watched a program about this true story, and found it appalling as the girl was only 13 years old when she committed this crime with her 23-year-old boyfriend.

When she appeared in my dream, the girl was much younger, about 5, and she had killed a kitten and was storing it in a drawer. She had made a purple velvet pillow and placed the tiny body of the white kitten atop the pillow inside the drawer, which was spattered with blood stains. I was trying to explain to someone that psychopaths very often kill animals when they are children, and it can go unnoticed.

Freud would have a field day with that particular dream.

In another dream, I was speaking with a woman who had a head but no body. Her head was encased in glass. She was alive and articulate, but she had no torso, hence, no heart. I thought to myself in the dream: “How can she be alive with no heart?”

Wait, they get weirder.

This morning I forced myself to wake up as I knew that I was in the middle of a really terrible nightmare, which, thankfully, I do nt recall, and I was close enough to the edge of wakefulness to be able to force myself into an upright position. What I didn’t realize was that I screamed out loud when I woke up. Scared the bejeezus out of Corey.

But the worst one involved a concentration camp. It wasn’t a Nazi camp, but it was a camp in which the people arriving were separated into two groups. I realized that the guards were taking all of the women with long hair out of the main line and putting them into the line that went directly to the showers. I took a knife (that I just happened to be carrying), and began to saw off my hair in big chunks. I convinced a female guard to help me to cut off the rest of my hair before I got to the head of the queue.

I hate having these kinds of dreams. I wake up totally discombobulated with my heart racing, gasping for air. Not the best way to greet the day.

“Observe the wonders as they occur around you. Don’t claim them. Feel the artistry moving through and be silent.” ~ Rumi

Metta Prayer Beads
Metta Prayer Beads

Speaking of greeting the day, I was reading a post on After the Gold Puppy a few days ago in which Reya was discussing manifestos, life affirmations, statements of purpose.  Throughout my own life, I have always had phrases and sayings that I repeat to myself silently. These affirmations or mantras have varied depending upon my need and/or at what point I found myself in life.

Metta prayers or meditations, which are derived from the Buddhist tradition, are focused on the translation of Metta (trans. Pali) as loving kindness or loving friendship. A Metta prayer allows the speaker to feel empathy for others and for all living things. Metta is unconditional love without attachment, without a desire to possess.

Metta prayers should be repeated often as a means of exercising positive mental qualities. The intention is to create a habit of mind that “allows us to soften into the deeper experiences of our lives, the chances to connect with all that is around and within us…. to live more fully. It allows spaciousness to develop in the mind allowing us to be less reactive, less stressed out, more calm in the face of challenges, losses, injustices (http://www.bemindful.org/metta.htm).

Metta meditations are usually harmonic in patterns and sounds, for example, pairs of words, or phrases of the same length:

Mind clear and alert

Body fit and strong

However, an individual who wishes to employ the Metta can adapt any of the existing prayers as needed. Here is an example of a Metta Bhavana, which encourages us to give Metta to ourselves so that we can be better able to offer loving kindness to others:

May all beings be free.
May all beings be peaceful
May all beings be happy
May all beings awaken to the light
of their True nature
May all beings be free

The following is a selection taken from the Metta Sutta, Universal Love Prayer (adapted by G. R. Lewis):

May all beings everywhere,  
Seen and unseen,  
Dwelling far off or nearby,  
Being or waiting to become:  
May all be filled with lasting joy.  
 
Let no one deceive another,  
Let no one anywhere despise another,  
Let no one out of anger or resentment  
Wish suffering on anyone at all.  

“Everyone sees the unseen in proportion to the clarity of his heart, and that depends upon how much he has polished it. Whoever has polished it more sees more—more unseen forms become manifest to him.” ~ Rumi

The Metta must first be directed towards the self. Only by learning to nurture ourselves can we offer love to others that is based on integrity and truth. The purpose of the Metta is to become more open and aware in our love towards the self.

Botswana agate prayer beads
Botswana Agate Prayer Beads

Metta is then directed towards someone for whom we feel gratitude and respect, such as a teacher or mentor. This person is known as a “benefactor.” Next, the metta is directed towards a friend or family member. By making these connections with people we respect and love, it becomes easier to move on to the next step, which is to direct the Metta towards someone neutral; this may be a hard step as it is not always possible to identify a person to whom we feel true neutrality, but consider all of the people who are in and out of your life on a daily basis with whom you do not interact directly: the mail carrier or the barista at Starbucks, for example.

Finally, the Metta is directed towards those for whom we may not necessarily feel loving kindness, someone with whom we have experienced conflict, fear, or who we have been unwilling to forgive. After praying for all of these individuals, direct the Metta towards all sentient beings (taken from “Facets of Metta” by Sharon Salzberg).

The Metta prayers can be recited with or without prayer beads. These beads can be made of stones, agates, crystals, and can be anything from simple wooden beads on a string to carved jade beads on silk string.

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.”~ Rumi

Here is the Metta that I have composed for myself:

I am content
I am calm

May I be safe
May I be strong

Loving kindness and
Peace will come to me
Clear mind and strong body
will set me free

Loving friendship
from sister moon
and earth mother 
will strengthen my heart
for the trials I suffer

And I will face each day
with hope and joy
and truth in my soul
anew.

 

flower2

 

More later. Peace.

“The Promise,” Tracy Chapman

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” ~ John F. Kennedy

AWARD--Honest_Weblog_Award

Me? Seriously? You Shouldn’t Have But I’m Glad That You Did

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” ~ Albert Schweitzer

This is a little late in coming, but I would like to thank Zirgar for bestowing upon me the Honest Weblog Award. I have been told by several people that one of the better qualities of my writing is its honesty; I know that I do write from my heart, which is not always a good thing, I realize, but it is my way of being true to myself. So many thanks Z and all of the other wonderful regular readers who stop by here to read and sometimes comment.

Chesapeake Bay
End of the Day, Chesapeake Bay, Virginia

As we all know, no award comes without a few strings, and the Honest Weblog Award is no exception. Here are the rules: 

  1. You must brag about the award.
  2. You must include the name of the blogger who bestowed the award on you and link back to that blogger.
  3. You must choose a minimum of seven blogs that you find brilliant in content or design.
  4. Show their names and links and leave a comment informing them that they were prized with the Honest Weblog Award.
  5. List at least ten honest things about yourself.

Then pass along the award with the above instructions.

Top Seven

So here are the blogs to which I have chosen to pass along the Honest Weblog Award. The blogs are listed in no particular order, and their content is as varied as their owners. I try to visit these blogs daily or as often as possible, and my interest in each of them is evidenced by the fact that you can find them listed under the different categories of blogrolls to the left of my site.

  1. White Orchid: This blog is written by one of my dear online friends, Maureen, who lives in Australia. Maureen’s blog covers a wide range of topics—family, friends, work, Australian politics, and much more. Maureen has a very loyal group of followers, and she is diligent about responding to comments and e-mails.
  2. Supersense: Written by Bruce M. Hood, the Director of the  Bristol Cognitive Development Centre in the Experimental Psychology Department at the University of Bristol in England. Bruce recently published Supersense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable, an incredible book that I found immensely enjoyable and informative (I promise that I’ll get around to posting my review soon). Part of what makes Bruce’s blog so interesting is the comment section: His regulars are a diverse bunch with very strong opinions.
  3. Floridana Alaskiana v2.5: This blog is written by Janson Jones, who lives in Anchorage, Alaska. If you appreciate fine photography, then you definitely need to visit this blog. Janson, who recently celebrated the birth of his daughter Aurelia, fills his posts with beautiful images of landscapes, wildlife, and people. He also comments occasionally on political issues in which he is interested.
  4. Islamorada Florida by JJ
    Islamorada, Florida by Janson Jones
  5. My Sweetest Downfall: This pseudonymous blog is beautifully written by a woman with incredible wit and enough sarcasm to keep me entertained. She doesn’t post daily, but the content of her posts makes up for the wait between. I think that what I probably enjoy most about JaneyLynn’s blog is that I can totally relate to it, to the craziness of her life, and to her occasional funks.
  6. Zirgar’s Fresh New Brain Squeezins: Zirgar, who presented me with this award, describes his blog as “a place to vent and find catharsis.” Very left of center, Z takes on Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and the whole Fox circus, as well as most far-right politicians and politicos. Be warned, he doesn’t censor himself, so if you are offended easily, then this isn’t the blog for you. That being said, I greatly enjoy his rants and screeds on closed-minded racists and bigots, as well as the regulars who comment on his posts. Very glad I found this particular blog, and many thanks again Zirgar for remembering me.
  7. Leaving Lilac Sky: Another pseudonymous blog written by a very talented poet. I have been following this writer’s blog for almost a year now. As with most poets, she has her dry spells, and then she goes into periods in which she is incredibly prolific, turning out a poem a day. A confessional poet, her poems deal with heart-rending emotions, but at the same time, she celebrates life.
  8. Willpen’s World: This is another blog that I have been following regularly since I began blogging last year. Another kindred political spirit, WP is not afraid to voice her opinions about the state of affairs in this country. Worth noting: Several of the blogs that I now read regularly I found through the comments section of WP’s blog.

A few honorable mentions: November Fifth (intelligent, articulate, and a college-level English prof), Really . . . Really . . . Seriously (music and movies), David Bridger (writer with a lot to say about writing, life, and lots of other things). There are a few other blogs that I read as much as possible, but these are the highlights.

Ten Honest Things About Myself

  1. I am hypersensitive, although I try very hard not to be. Just how sensitive I am depends upon the state of my life, which means that currently, I can tear up upon hearing a song or watcing a commercial.
  2. I believe in reincarnation. I know that this is not logical (Bruce), but it is something that I have felt very strongly about since I was very young. No, I was not Marie Antoinette, but my affinity for and knowledge of things that I don’t have a logical reason for knowing has to come from somewhere.
  3. I was a daddy’s girl. As an only child, I was spoiled, and my dad labeled me as a “Want-Whiney” when I was a little girl. If I am to be completely honest, the label still applies. 

    Sailing on the Chesapeake Bay
    Catamaran on the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia
  4. I love to wear boots, long skirts and sweaters. I should probably live in a cooler climate as this is how I would clad myself everyday if I had somewhere to be.
  5. My biggest personal regret is not going for my doctorate in English.
  6. I am a collector: books, stuffed bears, boots, office supplies, and watches probably being the top five.
  7. I don’t do things half way. It’s either all in or nothing.
  8. I have become too much of a recluse in the past two years, and I really need to get out of the house more.
  9. I love words. I love to find new quotes by writers I have been reading for years. I love to find new writers. I love to put words together and push them around until I have created something of which I can be proud.
  10. I love the man who has been the biggest part of my life for the past 10 years unconditionally and completely, and my children are my joy. Never try to come between me and my family.

Okay, a couple of other tidbits: I am not afraid of spiders, but am terrified of snakes and centipedes. I love the colors red, black and purple. I really enjoy nature: backyard birding, mountains, waterfalls, and sunrises and sunsets. I am very insecure about the way that I look. I do not have tons of friends, rather, a select few. I love them and miss them every single day, and there is nothing that I wouldn’t do for one of my friends.

“Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind.” ~ Lionel Hampton

So, gentle reader, this ends my conferring of the Honest Weblog Award upon some of my favorite online sites. I hope that you take the time to visit a few of these worthwhile and diverse sites.

More later. Peace.