Friday, November 21, 2014

THAT IS MY PRESIDENT!

I have been waiting for years for Barry to flex this muscle.

The fact is that the Republicans have no intention of doing anything ... any governing... at all.

They have made a career out of doing nothing but talking shit about other people, particularly President Obama.

So, there has been no reason at all to try to work with them, or not rock the boat lest some chicken shit Democrats might not get elected.

Yeah, so in case you have not met him, THIS is MY president.

Work it, Barry.  Shower them with executive orders, take them to the carpet, dare them to alienate the fastest growing ethnic group in the nation.  Just like that.

I knew you could do it.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Quote Thursday

You love like a coward.
Don't take no steps at all.
Just stand around and hope 
for things to happen out right.
Unthankful 
and unknowing
like a hog under an acorn tree.
Eating and grunting with your ears
hanging over your eyes,
and never even looking up
to see where the acorns
are coming from.

~Z. N. Hurston
from Their Eyes Were Watching God

I am not sure that Zora didn't mean that to be a poem.  It jumped out of the book at me many, many years ago.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Poetry Thursday

The Dream That Must Be Interpreted

This place is a dream.
Only a sleeper considers it real.

Then death comes like dawn,
and you wake up laughing
at what you thought was your grief.

But there's a difference with this dream.
Everything cruel and unconscious
done in the illusion of the present world,
all that does not fade away at the death-waking.

It stays,
and it must be interpreted.

All the mean laughing,
all the quick, sexual wanting,
those torn coats of Joseph,
they change into powerful wolves
that you must face.

The retaliation that sometimes comes now,
the swift, payback hit,
is just a boy's game
to what the other will be.

You know about circumcision here.
It's full castration there!

And this groggy time we live,
this is what it's like:

A man goes to sleep in the town
where he has always lived, 
and he dreams he's living
in another town.
In the dream, he doesn't remember
the town he's sleeping in his bed in.  
He believes the reality of the dream town.

The world is that kind of sleep.

The dust of many crumbled cities
settles over us like a forgetful doze,
but we are older than those cities.
                                                    
We began as a mineral.  
We emerged into plant life
and into the animal state, 
and then into being human,
and always we have forgotten our former states,
except in early spring 
when we slightly recall being green again.
                             
That's how a young person turns
toward a teacher.  That's how a baby leans
toward the breast, without knowing the secret
of its desire, yet turning instinctively.

Humankind is being led along an evolving course,
through this migration of intelligences,
and though we seem to be sleeping,
there is an inner wakefulness
that directs the dream,

and that will eventually startle us back
to the truth of who we are.

From Essential Rumi
translated by Coleman Barks

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

NRU mishy and mashy

[wrote this one a bit ago ... and put it in the drafts folder]
Maybe several someones having been saying this ... but someone really needed to. In fact, I think it ought to run in a loop to counter all the crazy that is running on all the purported media outlets on television.  I have heard some good and some questionable on the radio (read NPR because I don't listen to talk radio), but to allow folks to talk about quarantine for ebola (why is it capitalized? do we capitalize flu?) is patently ridiculous.  I don't care -- every call in show in the world ought to be setting the crazy straight not allowing it to rage.  It is unconscionable that we are worrying about this when how many law enforcement officers have been murdered by gun violence in the past month?  We have some diseases running through our country, and we protect our "right" to keep it going.  Ebola (beginning of a sentence) is not one of those disease rampaging through our country.

And I would also like to give a shout out to the nurse in Maine -- she is super right to be whacking back at the wackos with the law and logic.  However, I would also like to point out that if she had not been white, she might not have taken it to this level -- take some basic rights away from a white person and they notice.  Just saying ... good on her, no doubt ... we should all feel that way about basic rights being taken away, like the right to be a person of color and walk the street without being shot down by a cop.
----
I am not sure what is says about Denton (Texas) and Santa Barbara (CA) that Denton passed its fracking ban and Santa Barbara did not ... but hoping that others will follow Denton's lead and build bridges with unlikely allies in order to make some sense out of this issue.  I wish that those reporting about the swarms of earthquakes would speculate more about how we are disturbing tectonics with the fracking industry.  I wish that we could take a step back and look at the economics of the situation, too.  Is it really a good idea to flood the market with oil and natural gas?  And at what price?  In the long run, will we be paying for fracking longer than conventional wells?  Ugh... so much to think about here, my head hurts, but we can't act like Ostriches.  So, back to the top -- way to go, DENTON!

For those that still do not believe there is a problem with football (yes, you are similar to those who still don't believe in climate change), here is a story for you.  Fascinating and heartbreaking ... and it may just make you feel respectful of lawyers ... they do get badmouthed a lot - not always deservedly.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Goods and Odds

"The odds were good, but the goods were odd," Seattle Underground Tour Guide

I love the underground Seattle tour -- in fact, it might be the best part of Seattle.  I have only been in Seattle twice and mostly saw the same things both times.  I guess if you had time to explore, you might find lots of other great things.

However, the line delivered by our super funny tour guide sums up several parts of our college tour of the Pacific Northwest.

My long train trips (read: overnight) have always been to Albuquerque -- you leave in the evening and arrive mid morning the next day.  Each time, I enjoyed the trips -- and, yes, I have always  met interesting, and sometimes odd, travelers, but nothing like this time.

There just isn't time on the Southwest Chief to get into a lot of trouble.

Not so the Coast Starlight past Oakland.  Wow...

On the way up to Portland, we spent quite a bit of time in the observation car -- getting to know the way some men cannot participate in conversations -- only throw in "facts" sometimes without any foundation and then throw banter back and forth.

I felt as if I were discovering a strange breed for the first time.

I am all about being friendly and talking to strangers.  But these guys were those men who must be entertained at all times -- and do so by engaging anyone, everyone in this little "did you know..." talk.

Super annoying.  One thing is sitting at a bar with your friend and getting interrupted a few times ... another is being trapped in a train for over 24 hours with these guys.

Ouch.

Had I been alone, I would have just put in my earphones.  Instead, I watched and winced as my mom, niece and nephew participated in the crazy talk.

I am not saying it wasn't at times entertaining ... but only for about five minutes.

That was the ride up ... and it was tame in comparison with the ride back.

There were no less than two large, loud and drunk parties that got on in Seattle and off in Portland. OK, they were funny because they were getting off pretty soon.

For the rest of the trip, over another 24 hours, the conductors made many, many announcements about drinking, being drunk in public and being thrown off the train.  If that gives you any sense of what the train ride was like. 

Let's just say that I spent more time at my seat, headphones in.  I got off the train on longer stops to let my nephew run, helping to keep his need to be entertained down.

Next time, I will buy the sleeping compartment, if only to get access to the other parlor car.

There were other adventures... when there is more time, I will share.

Friday, November 07, 2014

NRU cute, fun and entertaining

If this little gal doesn't melt your heart, then you probably don't have one.  Super cute -- so glad they were able to rescue her and nurse her back to health. Not sure I am so glad she is moving to Chicago.

I wish I had a whole posting worth of cute baby otter pictures.

Alas... I do not.  And there is too much bad news around crowding out anything fun,

I did find this though -- it has more promise than substance.  I could see myself following these leads - and making up anything that I didn't find out.  In fact, it is my plan for my grandmother's story -- you know the one where I have found more questions than answers.  In any case, it is fun enough that I am looking forward to hearing the rest.

If you want more true stories that are fun ... you can look here -- I am always happy to catch an episode, usually when I am on my way to pick up my nephew from school on a Tuesday afternoon.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Quote Thursday, oldie but goodie (snippet)

...be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe, 
no less than the trees and the stars. 
...
In the noisy confusion of life, 
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, 
it is still a beautiful world. 
Be careful. 
Strive to be happy.


Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Life Intrudes

I have drafts... but every time I sat down to write on those drafts, life has intruded. [I'll get back to those drafts next week, I promise.]

Two things happened today.

1) I took that walk on the beach I promised the therapist I would squeeze in even though I had a million other things to do for myself or others.

It was glorious.  The perfect beach day -- November 4th.

My mother said the other day, we really do live in a beautiful place.

There is so much beauty, I can't even place which beauty she was talking about.

I am practicing reminding myself about that silver lining every day by enjoying the beauty.

Today I saw, felt and touched beauty -- life.

It helped shift me into a feeling mode that wasn't dominated by anxiety and overwhelm.

It was  blessing that I gave myself by taking an hour to just appreciate the world I live in.

2) I read this.

I stumbled on this piece back in June. [I am pretty sure I have shared it before.]

And I have been following Oren's progress through his twitter, facebook and blog posts.

I have been holding him and his family in my heart -- in the space where I still believe in miracles and hope for the best even though good news has been so short.

I cry whenever I read about Oren's diagnosis -- I wish I could trade my health for his.  I wish I could somehow give his family more time together and that time would be spent in good health.

But Oren's presence of mind, clarity about what matters in life and his ability to hold optimism in the face of such difficulties also fills me with faith -- faith in the world we live in, the intrinsic goodness of people and the strength love can give you.

I am sharing Oren's words because they have that power and because his family needs all the good thoughts and prayers we all can muster.  And, of course, if you have funds to donate to research, November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

May we all recognize the beauty around us, bless ourselves with living in the present moment, and take the opportunity to appreciate our abundance in whatever form it takes in our lives.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

The Tappet Bros minus 1

I was listening to the Car Talk guys this weekend -- it happens whenever I sleep in that before I know it, the guys are cackling in the background ... and I can't tear myself away.

I clued a friend in not too long ago that Click and Clack had retired and these were reruns... he had no idea.

It really doesn't matter - unless you are paying super close attention to the years of the cars and the guys talking about the relationship of time to the repair.

This weekend, one of the brothers, I could not keep them straight, nearly proposed to a woman who called in to get their advice about buying a used stretch limo.  When she said that one of her other cars was a 52 convertible cadillac, one of those Magliozzi was ready to buy a ticket to Florida.

I thought, then, about the fact that this was a rerun ... and wondered wistfully if they hadn't met up after all.

Then I opened the newspaper online Monday afternoon and saw that Tom had passed.

I guess the mystery of why they retired from the radio show is revealed by Tom's condition.

The pain of his passing must be somewhat diminished by the fact that he is no longer controlled by that anguish.

Still, so freshly having lost my siblings, my heart aches for Ray (and their sister, Lucille).

I can hear them laughing in the background of my mind.  What a treasure they are ... and I am so thankful for the many years of listening thus far ... and for the many to come as Ray has graciously allowed NPR to continue to air their reruns.

If you have never heard any of their shows, treat yourself to some.

NPR has some other lovely remembrances of Ray here and here and here.

Here is what the NYTimes had to say about him.

Here is the LATimes obituary.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Rain Watch

Life isn't about waiting 
for the storm to pass. 
It's about learning how to 
dance in the rain...

- Vivian Greene

Last week we spent much time and energy waiting and watching for rain.

All over the television and radio weather forecasters speculated, hoped and dreamed of rain for our parched land.

As we got closer, with certainty, the forecasters predicted, changed their minds, and admonished us about how slick the roads would be with all the oil build up in these dry, dry months.

We have been in the middle of yet another great renovation adventure.

Each time it seems like it will be "easy" and then the reality of a house filled to the brim with junk sinks in.

All of the crap my father put outside for the floors to be put in were mostly still outside -- usually not a problem at all.  And all the scraps of rug, rug pad, and other detritus had joined the crap on the front lawn. 

But rain was coming ...

As we surveyed the lot of it, it was dificult to tell the difference between the keepers and the trash.  At least for me...

Despite the week of detailed prognostication, my dad waited until the very last minute to bring in the junk in a mad rush of moving, bundling, covering and arguing.

All day, my dad had asked me for the weather update -- and every few hours, the time the rain would arrive changed.  The dark clouds had been menacing all day ... usually a bad sign because often that meant it was raining somewhere else and we *might* get a drop or two of their leftovers.

In our house, it is a rule that if it doesn't say at least 80% chance of rain, we don't believe we will see any rain.

And, of course, all of this on Halloween -- I was anxiously awaiting CHILDREN in COSTUMES since none ever approached my apartment thinking students too cheap to buy candy.

There we were, as the sun was setting, madly trying to get it all in...somewhere.

Long after I gave up *helping* and turned my attention to the trick-or-treaters, mom and dad were cutting up and bundling rug to "hide" it in the back of my dad's pick up.  Rain soaked it would weigh at least three times.

After all was said or done ... around 10:30pm, the rain came.

It pounded so hard for the first thirty minutes, I almost believed those last forecasts of lightning. But we didn't see any lights ... just rain.

I went to sleep to the sound of rain -- windows open -- and woke up to it, too.

By 9:00am the next morning, there were only puddles here and there.  But the plants were happy, the carpet trash was safe in the truck and everything else "dry" in its various hiding places.

Oh ... and my car almost looks like it was washed. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

NRU CA sights edition, short and tricky

At-risk cultural landscapes are detailed here -- the headline included the Watts Towers -- and the article refers to others in California recently added to the list.  Ideas of places to take in -- if one were on a tour of places to catch before they literally degrade into nothingness.  Not really for the bucket list unless you are categorizing which to hit first.

For Halloween, the LATimes came up with this piece on famous writers buried in the Los Angeles area.  I guess if one were so inclined, he or she could take some cemetery tours tonight... I am not sure if that is any better than waiting for the great pumpkin with Linus -- unless it comes with champagne and chocolate cake.

After touring the Seattle underground, again, on my trip north -- I relished this piece on more of Los Angeles' underground ... looking forward to exploring more in the coming weeks.

This is a local guy (from Ventura County, that is) who grows his pumpkins with faces... how is that for spooky Halloween for you?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

the playlist

The thing about the playlist is that all the songs there are the ones you put there.

Some people may update those songs regularly. 

I don't know if I am just not that person, if I don't have time, or if I don't care...

But I have this little ipod shuffle, the one my friends replaced after the one my cousin gave me was stolen off my sweater as I walked home from the BART.

And the computer that had that playlist music on it died (several times) a while ago.  I still cart its dead, ok just virus infected, body around with me because the playlist is on there. Yes, there are photos and other things that I *might* wish I had with me.  But the big thing is the playlist.

It was my first playlist, she thinks wistfully, as if it were like a first love.

It has so many of my favorites on it ... the first thirty minutes or so are my running songs. I carefully honed them while training for half marathons -- starting out with my upbeat walking/warm up songs to my slowing down/cool down songs and everything in between.

It has my favorite Whitney Houston, Luther Vandross, Eagles, Bonnie Raitt, Tears for Fears, and SADE (though there are newer favorites not there) and my favorite Los Lobos album (actually the only one of theirs that I like at all). 

It has the Etta James songs that Claudia put on a CD for me -- don't know where that CD is, so ostensibly that is the reason why I won't update this ipod anywhere else.

It reminds me of every place I have ever lived, and all the people I have ever loved.  IT brings me to my knees with the songs of my fifteenth year -- and the pain of that time -- and elicits every kind of passion I have ever felt, for person, place or thing.

It is the playlist that calms me down, revs me up, keeps me moving, helps me settle down, and brings me to tears.  

In the old days, I used to skip around ... but it is always on loop now.  I imagine that it is because there are some old This American Life, Radio Lab and Selected Shorts at the end.  But it is really because it is in the order I honed over time. 

And every time I listen to the songs, I am surprised at how much it affects me emotionally ... and then I remember it's *my* playlist.

p/s I am so off track on my Thursday poetry and quotes, I apologize ... I am thinking about it but not doing anything about it... hoping to be back on track by next week.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

processing, catching up ...

Nothing I expected to get done while on the college tour got done ...

That means that the drafts I started, ok named, are still there in the drafts folder.

The paper is still not done.

The other papers are still not done.

No books were finished, though one for pleasure was started.

On the other hand, my niece is now excited (and scared) about applying to college.

And no one died ... and no one was injured, except for their tiny little feelings... all around.

Two teeth were wrangled out of one ten-year-old mouth.

Amtrak has too much of our money.

The house is in a frightful state, but the floors my mother has been wanting are nearly complete.

And all the food I made for my dad is still in the freezer, so I won't have to cook for another two weeks.

Hurrah...

I will write more soon, but not too soon ... maybe Wednesday, maybe Friday.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Quote Thursday, a few days late

“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. 
"Pooh?" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's hand. 
"I just wanted to be sure of you.” 

~A. A. Milne, from Winnie the Pooh



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

NRU California Sights Edition

Ojai is a kind of earthy/crunchy super elite all to itself -- but I bet these shops are a ton of fun.  If only I had time, money and inclination to spend my little free time shopping. I would definitely take these in under those circumstances.

I think the drought is a great reason to rethink how to decorate our houses -- that is with plant wildlife. Still have that pipedream of going hiking to take pictures of all the wonderful drought resistant plants that grow in our backyards!

This used to be a California only thing, but I heard on the radio that several other states and even countries would partake -- in order to get ready for THE BIG ONE.  Sometimes I think we should be worrying more about the many not so big ones.  All I know is that we used to drop and curl under our school desks every month -- though I don't remember how many times a year we went out for the fire drill.  [NOTE: I am drafting this on the day 10/16/14 after the 10:16am practice -- and THE BIG ONE did not show up for fun or anything.]

One, I am not sure that this is news.  Two, I don't find it visually remarkable -- I can't tell what is different even though it says there right in the caption.  Though it may be that I never paid attention to it in the first place.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Education NRU, more bits

Uh... I started this the other day, and then this happened. So, read the rest with the knowledge that I was just anticipating from what I had read.   You will note that this is Thursday and yet this is really not a poetry or quote.  But, news intervened.  I will get to the quote tomorrow.

I saw this steady stream of education pieces focused on Deasy and his missteps at LAUSD, and I should have wondered: How has this man incurred the wrath of the LA Times?  I heard a piece on Warren Olney's LA call in show on the way home from somewhere, and it added to the intrigue.  Apparently, there is a fight to the death to see if they will buy out Deasy's contract with all the typical crew checking in from here and there.  The union wants him out.  No surprise, since he has done nothing to cultivate teachers as partners.  The board has adherents and detractors -- also not surprisingly.  Olney had the head of the union on and they hashed out all of the serious problems facing the district and places where Deasy has not made it better or done questionable things that have threatened to make it worse.  It is sad to say that the Jefferson mess has turned into two black eyes, one for the district and one for Deasy for many reasons, but that all anyone can think about is how should they apply the concealor.  Antonia Hernandez was another guest who favors keeping Deasy to the end of his contract.  I am not sure what all of her reasons really are -- but I have to admit that I agree.  On the one hand, it is not clear that he can be effective if so many are now turned off by his leadership style and decision making process.  But, how will buying him out and having to buy another big ticket superintendent help?!  We don't fire superintendents no matter how much we think we do... they get a nice fat paycheck while they look for their next job.  No "fired" superintendent is really hurt in this process ... they almost always bounce back into other equally troubled districts with similar results.  Her final plea, perhaps, was the most convincing and sad, who on earth would want this job if this is how we behave?

I saw one comment on an article at LATimes.com calling for the state to take over the district, ala Oakland several years ago.  I mulled that -- and several evenings later, as I pulled a grocery bag out of my trunk, I wondered if it wouldn't be a terrible idea.  But the state really only cares if the district goes bankrupt, right? 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

ahem... new addiction

I will interrupt this pity party with a link to my latest addiction: SERIAL.

This American Life gave us the first episode of the spin off - and yes, I am at least a week behind.

If you are not sure if you want to join in on this addiction, I invite you to read this post.  If you are not hooked by that post, then it truly is not for you.

I am about to devour episode 2 and try to keep from listening to episode 3 too soon ... I have a 28 hour train ride, wait, two of them coming up in the next 14 days, so, I will need as many podcasts as I can load onto my phone/ipod.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

ugly truth

I was sitting with the mom of one of the boys in mijo's grief group last week.

I had just come out of the therapy session where I had *promised* to do one thing to take care of myself this week.  [No, I haven't done that yet, by the way.]

dad's orchids
She looked over at me and said she had the same problem.

I suggested that I don't have time to think about myself because I am taking care of everyone else.

She followed with her issue was that she did not feel worthy.

Wow.

She said it so matter-of-factly that it didn't even feel like a challenge to speak the truth. 

I suspect that years of therapy have made revelations such as that one easier to hold and share. 

They [who are they?] say [and why are they always saying things?] that recognizing/acknowledging our issues is the first step.

I say, "First step to what? HELL?"

I already know this... do I forget?  Do I have to be reminded so painfully?

And what am I supposed to do with this knowledge?
seaweed and surf, favorite beach

I just finished journaling about some other ugly things that I have been feeling.  I am not sure that it makes me feel *better* but it does make me feel the tiniest bit lighter.

Every week, I bring the mijo to his group, and I see his shoulders drop in relief.  I am not sure what makes him feel so safe there -- that he is not different, alone in his condition or grief?  And at the end of the hour and a half, he is elated... he always comes out of group bouncing with happiness. 

I do not feel this way after group ... or journaling or truth telling or even crying.  But I do feel the tiniest bit lighter.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Blame it on Mercury

This post was going to start: EVERY DAY IS HARD.

But then I started to feel like that was probably (still considering) exaggerating.

So, some days are harder than others.

All I know is that I have been wanting to cry for days ... I struggle to describe what that actually looks and feels like.

I have said before that it feels like a dark smoke filling up my eyes, circling through my mind.  It feels like walking around under a dark cloud, blocking out the sun and threatening to rain.

It feels like a tug on your heartstrings ... the kind that leads you to cry while watching a coffee commercial (not the current, but think back to those days with the super melodramatic coffee commercials, you know what I mean) or the trailer for the latest super romantic movie (you know the one where the couple is going to have to go through serious heartache and maybe many years before they get together and then the movie will end?).

It looks like being super sensitive to everything that is being said to you -- those days when you think you can feel the unsaid critiques cut you to your soul.

Like that, but more dramatic because mercury is in retrograde.

Why do I always plan out to be super productive for an extended period only to find out it is smack dab in the middle of the retrograde? WHY?

One would think that I would check first, but I don't.

So, blame it on mercury if I feel like shit ... and it isn't even the stronger period just now...

In fact, I was completely oblivious to the dates until I was on the third day of feeling like crap.  By this day, I was unable to even keep the tears inside -- and I am super good at it.

I had already done some questionable at best things that caused me even more angst before I bothered to look it up.

Yup, been in retrograde since the 4th ... and won't go direct til the 25th ...

I am thinking the only thing to do is EXERCISE ... yeah that should have been my first clue.

On October 1st, I went to the gym to try to become a member -- and they couldn't figure out how to help me with that ... it was the pre-retrograde and I fell right into it.

I am still going to try to EXERCISE, but I am also going to eat emergency treats.

Friday, October 10, 2014

NRU mishmashy - another short bit


I am slammed this week with work and work for money and work for mom and dad... and the turtle can't even get me to buy her some fish!

So... more stories I have been hording for a while.

I hate it when I find about someone only after he/she isgone.  This guy really got it … in an era when so very many did not. May he rest in peace... and thanks for leaving us some sage works.

Nuns on the bus updated!   I will readily admit that I have a thing for these nuns.

Just when you thought that all southern California drivers were texting and driving, turns out some of them were looking at the road… and saving little dogs in an impromptu community maneuver I really don't think you would find anywhere else.

This was a little bit odd, but I enjoyed it ... Joanne Carson and Truman Capote and writing ... and dogs.  I feel a little like dogs are trying to take over my life... but I liked this piece anyway.