Thursday, December 29, 2005

Graveside Visits

The holiday season means trips to the cemetery for me... I have lost too many people at this time of the year; couple that with the fact that I have lived away from my hometown for the past fifteen years (yikes), and this time of the year finds me near the graves of many of my near and dear.

Lately, I only make it to one cemetery or the other (my grandparents are conveniently now residing in two separate cemeteries)... the main objective of the trip is to see my mother's mother, father and brother, but I also always drop by to wish Jaime a merry christmas and to make sure he knows that he is still alive in my heart.

Jaime was my first junior high. He played on the basketball team and I was one of the managers. The thing about being so close to your crush on a regular basis is that you really can become friends. It was clear that he and I were never going to be a couple... nice to look at but not really my type, and I was definitely not his type. On the other hand, we were good friends...he, like many of the guys on the team, developed serious brotherly feelings for me. When we went to the same high school, away from most of the people we knew, our bond was sealed. Although we didn't have any classes together and didn't spend endless hours together at basketball games anymore, we were still buddies.

Our senior year, during our Christmas break, Jaime and his friend Raul were in a car accident, and Jaime didn't survive. It broke my heart then and still makes me cry. I can't believe it has been 19 years since my friend Jaime went to live with god.

Every year at Christmas, I go to visit Jaime... It makes me feel better to see his picture on the headstone and see the decorations his family has put out for him. He was the oldest and on the outs with his parents when he died, but they have never left him alone there in the cemetery. This year, I found a lonely balloon stuck in the flower holder and a chip in his picture. I can almost not describe the sincere sense of loss that I felt when I saw his lonely grave. It was like losing him all over again. It hurts to think that Jaime is not the center of someone's world; that his loss is not as deeply felt as before. Maybe his family has moved away; maybe they, like my family, have just stopped going to the cemetery. Maybe he lives in their hearts even if they can't be there to decorate his grave for Christmas.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas without Tamales

Sometime earlier this week, my sisters decided that my mom was too sick and tired to make tamales. Note, they didn't decide that we could make them instead.

Tamales or no tamales is not what makes Christmas. I guess I have learned that the hard way. Living far away from home for so many years, I had to do without tamales quite a bit. One year I even made my own, by myself... and maybe that was when I learned that it wasn't about the tamales.

What has always marked our Christmases is the making in group of the tamales. It takes all day and all night between the preparation, the assembly and the cooking. And in between all of the people wander in and out of the kitchen; some help, some steal olives, some fix drinks, and some entertain the cooks. Growing up my favorite part of Christmas was that we got to have the whole family in the house, but there was little pressure to do any one thing. Of course, all the moms and tias complained that I didn't take my place on the assembly line, but in some way that was entertainment for them too.

A few more important facts to note: my mother never celebrated Christmas as a child. Her family was poor, it wasn't their tradition, and they didn't put up trees or sit around and make tamales all night. My mom created the tradition after she was married as a way of bringing together all the various pieces of her family: her brothers (she's the only girl), my dad's siblings and all of the cousins.

It took me a long time to figure out that my mother hadn't been celebrating Christmas this way her whole life. She guards every piece of the traditions she's created very fiercely. She doesn't like to vary the menu or the way anything is prepared in the least. She takes it as a personal insult if anyone suggests that she add or take away ingredients. Though, for the short time I was a vegetarian, she did learn to make a new kind of tamale for me that she then added to the tradition as though it had always been there.

Over the years, the guest list has become more and more limited... more because as the cousins have grown up they have their own family gatherings, but also because my mom is unwilling to give up any piece of her guardianship of tradition. So the house is no longer full of people, but there is also less drama. But there are fewer tamaleras to help with the making and cooking of the tamales. None of us girls are wildly interested in cooking, but some of that has to do with the strictness with which my mother guards everything.

So, it should not have surprised me when my sisters decided that we would just have something else and that rather than coordinate with each other, we would all just make whatever we wanted. When it was five o'clock, the chosen eating time, and there were no appetizers, there was some backlash. And there was too much food and nothing went well together. It was a little like Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving... popcorn and peanut butter sandwiches... on the other hand, it was very sweet to have everyone around the table to eat together instead of some stuck in the kitchen cooking (though there were three of us stuck in the kitchen for a while).

It was also nice to not have my mom whirling around like the tasmanian devil all day. She was nervous in the service... that's what I call it when she just doesn't know what to do with herself. I made her go for a walk with my sister and I to run our last minute Christmas and trip shopping. Then I took her to the cemetery to visit one set of grandparents and some other relatives and my friend, Jaime. Every Christmas I try to visit Jaime and my grandmothers... I lost all of them (in different years) at this time of the year. When we got back there was still time for all of us to sit around and finish wrapping our gifts. It was a chore no one was looking forward to, but somehow, like making tamales in group, it was more fun together.

So, it turns out Christmas will come and go without tamales... and traditions and recipes can be tweaked, and the sky will not fall.

Merry Christmas all...

Thursday, December 22, 2005

the child's table

Overheard at the physical therapy place:

I think we should put in the extra piece to the table and then put the two tables together.

She inquired about the number of adults and the number of children. 6 of each. The young girl tried to talk her mother out of having a child's table.

A young party planner in the making, I remarked. No doubt.

But it was also about being a tween and being tired of being a kid ... a little sense of powerlessness and yet the cunning to try to talk her mother into letting her be a grown up.

I remember the child's table in the kitchen. I hated that as well. When we still had a lot of people over for thanksgiving, my dad would bring in a big table from outside and when we put it together with the dining room table, it took up the entire living room and dining room. And we still had to put the children in the kitchen.

I look at my niece and nephew now and wonder if they wouldn't rather be at a child's table. Last year, we sat around the table telling stories about our history. My niece was really annoyed. No more stories she wailed. My nephew was entranced... another one.

It's the way I learned my family's history... listening to the stories around the dinner table, especially when we had visitors.

I thought today about all the children who won't know their grandparents and how would they learn about them? Do other families like to tell stories as much as mine? I was born about fifteen years after my mother's father died, yet I feel as though I grew up at his knee. My mom is really good at telling our history... and since she and my dad grew up together, she knows his family stories too.

Maybe it is time to start writing down the stories so even if we don't talk about the stories, they can still be passed down.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

message in a bottle


Awaiting reply

The thing about a message in a bottle is that sometimes you don't get anything back.

I usually only resort to the message in a bottle if I need to get something out and don't really NEED a reply.


I don't NEED a reply now either...just want one.

Any one


Sunday, December 18, 2005

how do songs get written?

Not the music, the words.

Is it possible that tangled emotions are worked out in poetry?

Do the words learn to string themselves in somewhat ambiguous patterns?

What takes one to the point of letting out the words?

Saturday, December 17, 2005


This article, coupled with several other cases, clearly demonstrates to me why the "justice" system is so fucked up. Sure, it was a horrible thing that this woman's actions resulted in the death of her defenseless child. But compare this sentence with the 6 years one guy gets on a plea deal for Gwen Araujo or the 16 maximum years the other guys got for beating and strangling an equally defenseless Gwen Araujo.

Or if you want to compare another case in NJ, the 15 year maximum the guy got for beating his filipino wife (mail order bride?) to death and then throwing her body in a car down a ravine to pretend it was an accident that killed her.

Maybe I am just crazy, but it seems like we use the word justice and then bend it around our personal vendettas...

After reading this, I had a long discussion with a friend about justice, the death penatly, and judicial punishment in general.

What upsets me is not that people are seduced into believing that vengeance will soothe the pain of losing a loved one. What upsets me is that we pretend that when we are meting out "justice" that is has something to do with logic and rule of law. Sentencing in this country is arbitrary in the most gentle terms... and racist, sexist and vengeful in the most extreme terms.

We demonstrate as a society how we devalue some people and value others. We disregard the health and welfare of women and children; but then we punish them to the fullest extent of the law if they attempt to defend themselves.

It would be less hypocritical if were not always judging other countries and the way they punish.

We talk about rehabilitation and then we murder those who attempt to change their lives.

We talk about wanting to have safe communities, but then we fail to educate poor, black and brown children so that they can be financially secure. We look around ourselves and wonder why bright youth turn to crime.

We expect people to cross the border to do any job, for less than is financially responsible, we are unwilling to do or pay a living wage for, and then we don't want them to have access to education or healthcare. We treat people like slaves or indentured servants; we demonize people, and wonder when we are the targets of terrorism.

What does this have to do with justice?

It has to do with our self-perception, our hypocrisy, our inability to admit when we are being human and looking for retribution instead of justice.

How can we change things or make them better if we can't admit to what we do?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

My daily fortune

The secret paths of your heart contain many blessings to be shared with another.

In honor of my fortune, I am going to try, again, to write the letter I have been carrying around in my heart.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Velando a Tookie

The bright lights from the news crews were blinding; the people packed around you, and you had to move according to their movements. We walked along the water, the houses across the street were stately and quiet, as if no one were home. With my sight obscured and the sound of the helicopters drowning out all other sound, it seemed my sense of smell was more acute. It smelled like Christmas. I looked around and saw there were pine trees, and people who had climbed in them to get a better view. Move forward a bit, just stuck in a bottleneck, try to keep your hair from being burned by candles. I heard someone say, "excuse me," and Sean Penn brushed by me.

No way to be tired; no sense of time, it was truly surreal. So many camera people and news people trying to get the perfect picture or score an interview with just the most interesting person. Some people there to be seen, but most there to wait and hear and help Tookie's spirit pass to the other side.

For the last hour, children and adults read Tookie's books in the microphone. We all grew a little restless by 12:15am... no word, no sign, no way of knowing what was going on inside the prison. I hope someone told him how many of us had come to support him in his last hour.

The ridiculous show of force... police lined up in the most inane places. Smirking, talking about traffic, some taking the opportunity to earn the city a little cash by writing parking tickets. We were making them nervous. They were making us angry and sad and frustrated. So much wasted energy. So much wasted in general.

Watching your country make justice = vengeance in your name has got to be the single most disgusting thing. Maybe it would be worse to see them mow down innocent people in the war, but this was here...twenty minutes from my house. It should be required of all citizens to watch, to contemplate the horror of murdering someone in the name of justice.

I'm sure there's more, but these are the images, thoughts, and feelings pressing on my chest right now.

Sunday, December 04, 2005


So ... I think it was a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, I really can't remember the exact date, I decided to stop drinking coffee.

I was tired of being addicted to caffeine. I didn't like the way it made me feel, and I hated having to worry about having caffeine before I got a headache. Besides the fact that I don't even like coffee.

Getting rid of coffee was like getting rid of the last nasty legacy of my last job. So I did it.

I switched to tea. Some days it would take quite a few cups of tea, but by the end of the first week, I was able to cut back to just one cup of tea.

Those first few weeks were difficult because they were super stressful weeks... so much going on... but I made it.

Now I can drink herbal tea in the morning or all day if I feel like it.

I miss the milk and sugar... so sometimes I have a chai latte and even found a place that will make a tea latte.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

twelve months later...

I realized today that at the end of the month, I will have been blogging for a whole year. It's hard to believe, but, then again, time flies.

I didn't really start blogging in earnest until May, but I have been trying to be a more faithful blogger in the past few months. Sometimes I do well, other times, I fall off the posting wagon.

I follow a bunch of other blogs faithfully; so I know how it feels when someone isn't updating. I have noticed that some of the people I follow stop posting when they are happy.

I am going to try to blog more faithfully... not just rant and not just untangle.

I looked back over the year so far and noticed that pattern in myself as well. Many days, they were just rants. I think that's ok... I read something that outrages me, and instead of forwarding it to everyone I know with an indignant note, I just write something here and post the link. That way, my readers can check it out or skip it.

What's different about my blogging, I think, is that I really use the blog as the place where I untangle the knots or muse about the blockage. I find it really useful to have a place where I can be honest while I am simultaneously not revealing too much information. I feel safe even while I am unloading things that had been dragging me down.

I want to post more often about good times and things that made me smile outwardly and inwardly, like the red rocks, the shooting stars, gorgeous redwoods and the little mijo.

So...when I look back over the year, I re-read and remember, oh yeah, that's what I was going through...or I remember feeling that.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Trusting your instincts

How do you know when to trust what feels RIGHT even though it seems like pure craziness to everyone else??

I used to never think twice... just follow my heart wherever it led me.

Sometimes that road ended in serious heartbreak.

But as I look back, it was much, much worse when I tried to game it out. Maybe I am just no good at looking at all the angles. Maybe I have blinders. I just know that each time I thought it out, it never turned out right. It turned out exactly like I didn't think it would.

So, how do I know when I am following my instincts vs having wishful thinking?

The only thing I am really sure about now is that wherever I go, I need to go there whole-heartedly. If I can't do that, then I don't think I should do it all. Is that following my instincts or just being a fool?

How can you claim the gifts from the universe when you can't name them?


Ok, ok... so for the one or two faithful readers, I humbly apologize, I have, in point of fact, four posts in draft form that I need to sit down and just finish. Please come back and check, I promise to get at least one of them up tonight!

Happy Wednesday...

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Noah's Wind

As long as I can remember, I have associated wind with rain.

I love wind.

I hate rain.

Maybe hate is too strong a word for the emotion, as I have come to enjoy the feel of rain on my face. Since I gave up umbrellas, I get really wet when it rains, but I also get to revel.

Now that I have more and varied experience with rain, I can distinguish between the wind that is bringing rain, and the one that comes after rain.

I call the one that comes after, Noah's Wind. It is rough and wild. It is determined and powerful. I imagine Noah's Wind feeling as though it has the responsibility of drying up the flood.

Today, coming out of my lunch meeting, I came face to face with Noah's Wind.

I love it. It's like a rainbow... it means the sky is tired of dropping rain. It is like the eraser earnestly removing every speck of writing. Dry it up, remove all memory of the rain.

If we're lucky we won't get anymore rain after Noah's Wind, but sometimes, it's just a tease.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Gratitude Month

Teachers --
I was blessed with the best middle school experience ever... not what you expect as most folks think that life between the ages 11-13 are the most awkward and therefore, least desirable... Maybe it was just in comparison to my previous experience, but with the value of hindsight, I still see it as the best.

It was my first public school experience; my parents thought that parochial school would seal my soul's fate. It was considered the worst school in the city. Long before I arrived there, the world had decided that the school and its inhabitants were not worth much. When the windows were first broken, they were replaced with plexiglass. When the plexiglass was treated badly, it was replaced with wood. There were a great number of classrooms at that school with rows of plywood instead of windows. By the time I got there, it had long been forgotten by the powers that be.

But not by most of the teachers and the administrators. I can truly say that I have never experienced such a dedicated staff, as a student or as a teacher. These teachers and students did know that they were teaching at the Rodney Dangerfield of schools, but they never treated us that way. And many of them went on to become administrators at other schools and bigshots in the district. Regardless of whether or not they were using the experience as a stepping stone, more power to them, we only knew their best.

These were the only guidance counselors I knew as a student who actually took the time to get to know all the students, not just the ones with a problem. And these were the teachers who knew how to deal with our raging hormones and still teach us.

I learned things from my literature teacher, Mrs. Davis, and studied pieces of literature with her that I didn't see again until twelfth grade. She made everything very real for us, but never in a patronizing way. She never treated us like the poor kids with no culture and no class... she elevated us and taught us what we needed to know. Thanks to her, I saw La Boheme, The Mikado and various other plays with my classmates, after having read them. We knew more about George Bernard Shaw probably than the actors who starred in West Side Story... and we read the original Pygmalion, from the Greek, as well. We were her Eliza's ... but she never made us feel that way.

I could go on and on... but maybe, that's enough. To all those teachers, who demonstrated true dedication to one's craft, I dedicate this gratitude month. I hope that as a teacher, I gave my students one tenth of what I got from that phenomenal staff. I hope I have the chance to give them my gratitude in a more tangible way some day.

We always forget and underestimate the value of the thank you.

There are countless other things in my life for which to be grateful, but in my present profession, I have been earnestly contemplating my educational experiences, particularly those in public school, and imagining what I would like for other children/youth to have in California. Those teachers I had in middle school, those are the ones I wish for the children/youth of California: ambitious, caring, earnest, and willing to go with the kids where you need to go to get them where you want them to be.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Adventures with small children

I celebrated the day after Thanksgiving by accompanying my 18 month old nephew on his first real transit adventure. We started bright and early with a train. He loves trains. I am not so sure once we got on the train that he knew that's where we were, but we enjoyed listening for the whistle and watching it pull up.

Oh! Wow! He is fond of saying when he sees something he really likes.

We probably should have taken a shorter train ride because sitting in the seat and looking out the window only happened in five to ten minute spurts. We could capture his attention with the animals and the water... AGUA he yells everytime he sees it. But then he wanted to run up and down the train and talk to all the people. Good thing he's cute.

When we pulled into Union Station, I offered to take care of him while my sister and brother-in-law used the facilities. As soon as we could, I took him to my favorite place at Union Station. There on the side is a little garden with a fountain, beautiful benches and trees. It is a quiet oasis next to the bustling station. The first time I ever saw it, it was full of people in period costumes waiting to get on the mystery train (Sherlock Holmes era I suspected). It was a beautiful and mysterious place where you could really feel transported back in time. Everytime I am in Union Station, I think I can see and hear the soldiers moving around during WWII.

Well mijo loved the garden, but mostly that he could run around and, of course, the fountain. He ran up to it exclaiming, "AGUA!" and proceeded to get as close as possible without climbing in. Just mesmerized to watch the water go up and come down.

He probably could have stayed at the station all day, there was another fountain on the other side, not as fascinating to me as it is more modern, but enchanting to him because it was full of fish.

We headed over to Olvera Street for breakfast -- it was a difficult half an hour because mijo really wanted to run and Olvera Street is not really for running. I managed to keep him busy while his mom and dad ate, but he wasn't really having the stroller.

Next we went back to Union Station to get the Red Line of the Metro. I had foolishly envisioned walking off all the turkey feast once we got out of the metro, but my brother-in-law's knee wasn't up to the trek, so we caught a bus. The only thing mijo loves more than AGUA is the bus. It was dicey at the end because it was morning nap time... but we made it.

The La Brea Tar Pits is a great place to take young children (all children really) because it is mostly a park with a small museum. The grounds have tar pits still bubbling. My brother-in-law could not believe that the bubbles could hold us spellbound, but they did. Like clock work, old faithful my sister thought, a small eruption that turned into a thin bubble shimmering in the sunlight and then POP. A few seconds later, it started all over again.

We looked at the tar pits and thought about going into the museum, but then mijo spied another of his favorite things, a ball. A soccer ball to be exact. I tried to tell him that he couldn't just grab someone else's soccer ball, but the little boy who owned it, kicked it right over to mijo. Mijo is not a kicker, he's a thrower. The little boy's grandma was telling him to let the baby play with the ball, in Spanish, and Mijo was trying to throw the ball at her.

Eventually he got bored with the ball and ran up the hill. That's the thing when you are a kid in a candy store, you just don't know where to go next. The steep hill leads to the cieling of the tarpits look down into the center garden of the museum. Mijo wanted to jump into the garden, so we figured we better go inside.

My sister has been teaching mijo how to say the sounds of the animals; so far he has cow, dog, cat, LION or TIGER, snake and fish. I know, I know, fish don't really make noise, but mijo makes the cutest fish lips ever when you ask him what does the fish do? So we went inside and every time mijo saw the Saber Toothed Tiger, he roared.

Pretending to be fearless as usual, he ran from exhibit to exhibit until we met up with the museum lady. She had some re-creations of the fossils they have found, specifically she had the heads of several prehistoric tigers and wolves as well as one big tooth. Mijo loved the tooth and hit the floor with it. But when the lady brought out the tiger head with the moving jaw, he jumped back.

Eventually we ended up in the garden. Mijo was getting more and more tired, you could tell, especially when he went up to a little girl his size and hit her. He likes little girls, and big ones too, for that matter. Usually he turns on the charm and says "HI," in his cute fast way. But his crabbiness was showing when he hit the little girl, no smile, no "hi", just pow.

After a challenging time in the museum store, we finally went outside again to drink some AGUA and run around some more. While my sister talked to the fiddle player and mijo tried to grab all the money in the fiddler's box, I was watching two young boys roll down the hill mijo had run up.

Not many people know this, but I am an expert at hill rolling. Over the years, I have perfected the technique and feel it is my duty to help fledgeling rollers to become experts. When mijo noticed the boys rolling, he ran right over to them; actually into their path. This gave me the opportunity to impart some lessons. I showed them the hand tucking and feet together tricks. But, of course, you can't really teach kids to roll properly unless you actually SHOW them. So I went to the top of the hill, took off my hair clip, and showed them how to do it. Afterall, you don't become an expert hill roller by allowing prime opportunities to roll slip by.

After the hill, mijo had a little lunch and then was ready to start running again. We explored the rest of the park, and when my sister and brother-in-law needed a little break, I ran after the mijo. We went everywhere and fast. He tried to take someone's soda, almost crashed a romantic picnic, and tried to climb on the giant concrete sloth. There was a little playing in the dirt. There were some attempts to pick flowers and climb trees, and there was an awful lot of running. Eventually it was time to head back to Union Station.

We left the park and got on the bus... this time mijo really understood that we were ON THE BUS. He kept telling the lady sitting beside us, just in case she hadn't noticed, "BUS!" We looked out the window, said hi to everyone we could, and then, he turned around, sat down on my lap, and finally fell asleep. Smooth sailing after that for about an hour... he slept right through the metro and our drinks and nachos on Olvera Street.

But he woke up again when we got on the train, perhaps a little bit too early... the ride back on the train was more trouble than the ride there. A very grouchy and still tired little one who wanted to run up and down with three adults with no energy left to chase.

Believe it or not, after that wild adventure, we went to a wedding reception where I had the pleasure to run after mijo for another hour.

It was great fun, and I am pretty sure I worked off all the turkey as well as the nachos and the taquitos and the sangria. And it was great to be part of his first transit adventure.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Kitchen Table Talk

Whenever I get home, to my mother's house, no matter the time of day or how long I have been traveling, you can be sure there will be kitchen table talk.

And it will take all night. This time around, my dad came into the kitchen to announce to my mother, my sister and myself that it was 1 am. We looked at him and kept talking. He walked back out of the kitchen.

I think it became a tradition when I lived 3000 miles away and only visited once or twice a year, if I was lucky. And even now that I am only 300 miles away, the tradition continues. It doesn't matter if we talked the entire drive home or if we talked several times in the week leading up to the visit. When I get home, all bets are off, and we are going to have a throw down in the kitchen.

And don't think it's small talk. It's everything you've ever felt or believed as well as any chisme about any person you might know in common, and even some you don't. It's a snowball and free association on steroids. I can't even recall all the themes that we covered on this last visit.

When I recall it, though, I realize how much I have to say ... and how much others want to hear it.

There is something very special about the in person talk that can't happen over the phone. I can't explain it, I just know it when I experience it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I believe, I believe, it's silly, but I believe

Favorite quote from one of my all time favorite movies.

Right now, every time it seems impossible, I remember this quote...
and hope for the miracle.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Strength, Courage, Staying Power?

Not sure which I need... but I need something.
Why isn't articulating enough?
A friend said recently, I just want a place to rest my head at the end of a long, hard day. And my immediate reaction to that was...but you need to be that for yourself.

I believe it. Not just I want to believe it. I believe it.

Yet, despite more than just surviving the past week, I am not buoyed by the successes. I am exhausted. I feel like I am just treading water and not moving forward. Worse, I feel like I fall off the edge so easily...and then I am desperately measuring myself against the reactions of the world around me.

Maybe I just need some sleep, but I think I need more than that... just not sure what or how to get it.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Sharing wisdom, sort of

Trying to help myself hear the messages, I share one with the readership.
Yesterday's Mastery of Love card:
To master love, you have to practice love. (emphasis in the original)
On the back, the toltec (or his helpers) continues:
The art of relationship is a whole mastery, and the only way to reach mastery is with practice.
To master a relationship is, therefore, about action; it is not about attainging knowledge.

So, when I read it, I said to myself, Yes, almost, DUH...because attaining knowledge and action are such wildly different skills.

I read with both the recognition that this is true, and necessary, and very difficult indeed.

We keep trying, I guess, until we figure it out; or get tired and settle for something easier if less satisfying.

That's the thing, though, I have already done what was, in theory, less challenging and it was absolutely less satisfying but really not easier.

I am working on the longer piece that this card and other recent events have had me pondering, but it's not ready for release.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Self Love

I may have discovered the missing link, or rediscovered it. The questions had always been: “So what are the practical steps to do this? How does someone learn to love oneself?”

The question itself belies the crux of the issue for me... first, you have to love yourself. You have to believe yourself LOVE-able... That first wall always stopped me from getting any farther. I have been feeling like just because I can trace back where that notion started, it doesn’t mean I can really change it. First I accepted that it was something that someone else had imprinted on me. I acknowledged it was the best she could do. Not forgiving, but not dwelling. But it just didn’t make me feel loveable. I kept looking for and waiting for the magic bullet that would make it ok. Some of the false bullets were more detrimental than the original hurt.

After long, painful work, I realized that I was the only one standing in the way of being loveable. I had to believe. All the rest are habits of the mind. Learning to reprogram the self talk. Learning to rewrite the story of your SELF where your actions and characteristics don't have to be categorized as GOOD or BAD. Learning to love all your parts, inside and out. Those are the practical steps. I knew it. I guess I have always known it. I have just been unwilling to start at the beginning. I have been unwilling to face the self-perception of myself as intrinsically unworthy.

And, yet, the truly destructive and sinful action of looking for external validators took over my life.

You can always find people to prove you right if you think you are a horrible person. Hardly anyone walks around with compassion on his/her sleeves. We are more often ready to pounce on words and actions and criticize. So, any of us hoping for someone to demonstrate our true dastardliness can hear that criticism in a word, sigh, look or lack thereof. That kind of external validation is plentiful.

We don't tell people that we are grateful for their presence. We don't always even recognize that we are. We don't just need and want happy, peppy, perfect (non-existent) people. Every one around us has worth for which we are unconsciously grateful. We hardly ever acknowledge it to ourselves let alone share that kind of external validation with those around us, and less with those who we know we love and admire.

So, make to the self-love. How can I love myself when I don't LOVE those around me? I feel as though I have been walking around the world on-guard, for at least the last four years, probably much longer. And the on-guard description is the most benign way I know to describe it. I am great at tearing myself apart with criticism of the slightest detail. Sometimes I have been walking around with the sword out, ready to give the first blow.

I am not sure I know how to put down the sword. I don’t know if I can reach back in and figure out how to wear my compassion on my sleeve. I don’t know if I ever did.

I have to learn to love that defensive part of me, too, even though it makes me hang my head in shame.

Where was I going with this?

I can’t remember, it’s been two days and it’s still not finished and keeping me up at night.

Every once in a while, when the nasty voices start pulling apart my every action, thought and word, there is a little, quiet voice reminding me to be more gentle with myself. I hear her as some disembodied piece of my self…she is weak yet strong. She is resilient. I want her to win, but I am afraid to believe in her either…

Maybe the shell is breaking…maybe I am just tired. Maybe it will get better.

Maybe when I really believe that I deserve what I want, I will get it.

Maybe is such a better place than before. I am trying to be grateful just for maybe right now.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Book

Most true happiness comes from one's inner life, from the disposition of the mind and soul. Admittedly, a good inner life is hard to achieve, especially in these trying times. It takes reflection and contemplation and self-discipline.
- W. L. Shirer

For a long while, I have been collecting quotes. Almost four years ago, I started making a book of quotes for a very dear friend. Even when we weren't talking and hadn't seen each other for a year, I was still collecting quotes.

I just opened the word doc where I have been collecting the quotes of late to put in a new one, and I found this one.

I have been living inside myself, in my head, in my heart, in my soul, for a while now. I don't really feel like talking to my friends, and I am enjoying, perhaps a little too much, going to the cafe by myself. I almost feel like if I don't stay inside that I won't get the work done... and I feel like the intensity of the work is lessened when I talk about it before I really understand it.

In the last month, though, I have begun to talk again... sometimes to complete strangers. I am also practicing listening. I am good at noticing, but not always patient enough to listen. I too often rely on my ability to intuit people's emotions, struggles, concerns, that I don't cultivate my listening skills. I need to listen with my ears as well as my heart.

Here's the latest quote, found it on another bloggers musings, I don't think she'll mind if I share it:
"La ausencia disminuye las pequeñas pasiones y aumenta las grandes, lo mismo que el viento apaga las velas y aviva las hogueras" -- François de la Rochefoucauld
Translation: Absence diminishes the small passions and increases the great ones, just as the wind blows out the candles and revives the bonfires.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


So, although I am never quite sure who is reading the blog or whether or not anyone is... I am feeling guilty about the negative nature of the postings of late...

Why is that when I am feeling great there is no post?

Why is it that giddiness is never reflected here?

Sometimes I think it is because that might betray some confidence I imagine myself to be keeping... or maybe I am just not as good as relating that in an anonymous way...

This morning I treated myself to breakfast before I went to work... some might see this as something routine, but I usually do work if I get up early, or get up with just enough time to get out the door. This morning, I got up early in order to make myself breakfast. I did have oatmeal and a little herbal tea, trying to decaffeinate, so it wasn't like having a spa day; but it was a little, I love you, I am going to do something nice and good for you.

Perhaps as a way of rewarding me, the universe then conspired to have someone call me just as I finished that breakfast who made me smile from ear to ear. The giddiness that ensued lasted for a good long while... til someone said something stupid at work and tried to crush it.

I did my best to keep that giddiness all day, and I am sitting here grinning right now.

Every day can be a great day, I just need to keep on trying to make it happen.

Happy Tuesday for today, and Happy Wednesday for tomorrow, dear anonymous readers.

Monday, November 07, 2005

darkening around the edges

Today, to match the weather, everything is gray and turning darker. The storm clouds gather, and I feel like crying all the time. Yet, I know it will pass, I want so badly to make the demons go away on my own and not need help...

maybe it's hormones, seasonal affect disorder or just plain tiredness...but the need to get pep-talked or to pep-talk oneself creeps up on me. Like the clouds that have threatened all day, and now drop their angel spittle, I feel the dams about to burst.

Keep treading water, I admonish myself, the flood is bound to subside at any moment.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

ugly, probably best not to read it

Inside my darkest insecurities I watch my dearest held dream turn into pain and dread and punishment. I do it to myself...that is I allow my insecurities to overtake my mind and turn goodness into evil.

I don't know if I can take my feelings out of the trash can and dust them off, but I know my heart and soul ache believing I am playing a horrible trick on myself.

Is this all about claiming what I want?

Does it matter what anyone deserves?

Are there answers to any questions?

Do we use our humanity against one another?

I feel like nothing makes sense, and maybe it shouldn't. Maybe it should just be and naming anything sense or non-sensical is the folly.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

And one more thing

While wandering around the National Zoo, Renea and I happened upon a family sitting on a park bench. We were trying to figure out if when they were on display, the wild lion tamarinds had really been on the loose with just radio collars on so that the zoo keepers would know where the "lions" were. We knew that they were no longer in the trees, we were just looking around and imagining it. In fact, if they were still out we might not have been there at all...someone was afraid of monkeys throwing poop.

In any case, out of one ear I hear, "and one more thing, there are no animals here." I am getting the quote wrong now. Try to hear the indignance in the voice of the rather small potentially 7-8 year old child. He had been addressing his parents in Chinese, but dropped that last argument in English. Then he turned to me and said, "they are in the small animal house." (he left out the "stupid" he really wanted to add to his sentence.) I knew that, I had read the sign, but it was fun to play along with his parents.

I asked him what the other things were, but he refused to tell me, and this really amused his parents. Finally, he gave up trying to reason with them, opened up his book, and sat down on the bench.

There they stayed as we went on towards more animals who were actually outside... I really did want to know what the other arguments were, though.

Other overheard comments:
"Don't stop until we get to the restaurant, we didn't come to the zoo to see animals!" -- I kid you not. She was pushing a stroller and surrounded by many other adults and children who really did want to stop and see some animals on the way to the restaurant

"Hippo!" -- imagine it yelled, over and over, loudly, as a way of trying to wake the hippo and get her (renea decided the hippo was a she) to turn over.

"Howling sound" emitted from small child as a way of getting the wolves to come out where we could see them.

"I guess that's where the saying, busy beavers, comes from" upon seeing a beaver working on a lock. It had been hooked on a little pole where the beavers could keep themselves entertained for hours. I cannot repeat the suggestions being made about one of the beavers who refused to leave the jets.

Adults on the loose in the National Zoo... we should have had cameras following us, some of it was quite good, on the other hand, there were no binobos.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

fear and insecurity in Oakland

Right at this moment I am wondering if fear or insecurity is more powerful. Perhaps it is a combo but I am afraid it is the insecurity breeding fear.

I have somehow convinced myself I should be afraid. I am worried about everything especially about not being enough or not being good enough.

Hunter S Thompson never gave Oscar Acosta any credit for Fear and Loathing. He changed his identity and called him the Samoan... like any old ethnic guy would do, or maybe because Hunter didn't think Mexicans should be fat... or big, or whatever you want to call it. It's somehow easier to imagine a large islander who is open and free and drugged out of his mind. I guess it's ok... Oscar was really only ethnic when he was Zeta and that was all an act...mostly he was just himself.

Like Oscar, I am uneasy in my own skin... I remember reading through his papers, sometimes he desperately wanted to be earnest in his work whether it was as the musician/soldier turned missionary, night-school educated lawyer or the Chicano activist lawyer... it was always an act.

Uneasy and living beyong the moment, me and Oscar, two of a kind in some ways, only I achieve the out of body with anxiety, fear and insecurity. I don't need the drugs. Maybe he was using the drugs to try to feel in the moment.

I guess we'll never know. About Oscar, I mean. I hope we know about me, that I will keep trying to get at living in the moment, even if I die trying.

Monday, October 24, 2005


This is how I feel... untitled.

Not scripted, not formed, not one thing or another.

Not blank, not empty, not unknown.

Just unnamed.

Open to the possibilities.

But a little afraid to name them.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Testing... and Being Tested

It doesn't seem like a bad thing to put your little toe in the water to see the temperature, right? It seems like a natural reaction to a situation whose outcome is unknown to you. I am sure we do it all the time without thinking about how the other person might feel. I mean, it seems like the appropriate thing for a rational person to do. Except when someone else is testing your temperature.

Then it feels like a lack of faith, it feels like pressure to perform... it feels like, gee, I must not seem like a good bet. Then I start to worry that maybe I do have something to prove, and maybe being tested is the proof that just plain old me is not enough.

I need to resist the temptation to read too much into it... especially since, though I often seem like a crazy person plunging in where others wouldn't dare, I am actually quite careful, calculating as much as is humanly possible, and checking the stars for what is not.

shooting stars

Tonight, late, after the wedding, and the party, and long crazy talks about life, religion vs spirituality, what we call god/creator/supreme or not being with someone whose last name I still don't know... I was standing outside under a sky like a planetarium...trying to identify planets among the twinkling stars.

And there it was, a shooting star.

I was so happy to see it, just to see it, that I did not even make a wish.

Whoever that being is who created the world, complete with crazy people and shooting stars... I was in awe, and thankful.

Friday, October 21, 2005


I feel like hansel and gretel...trying to follow a trail back after the crows have eaten my markers.

To be as truthful as I can stand to be, I have to admit that more than half the time I am happy to be "lost" as it were... unable to follow the trail.

When I get stuck, it can last for days; eventually, the nightmares start... forcing me to resume the trek, compelling me to walk down one of the paths. That is the worst: not knowing where it will lead.

But, then there is some relief in finding out that it was not as scary as I thought it would be. No monsters met me on the path; they only inhabit the nightmares.

It's really never more than I can handle, but not fun or easy either. As I was telling a friend tonight, I just want a day off. I want ONE day where I don't have to struggle with some inner demon or other.

Just one day ... is that an impossible dream?

When I do make it back down the trail to the end, there is just more work... it's never enough just to unpack... then I have to deal with whatever I find there.

Sometimes, I just want to throw all those unpacked emotions out and start over. If any one knows how to do that, please let me know.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


When you are squirreling around for buried treasure, sometimes you get lucky. I did... a few months back when I found Andrea's blog.

The truly impressive thing about squirrels is that they remember where they leave their treasure, and they come back for it.

I can't remember all the time, so I make good use of the bookmark function; I suggest that you visit Andrea's blog, especially when you are feeling like you need the sage input of someone who is not afraid to live in the world. She always seems to be thinking about just what I need to get real about.

Happy blog reading...happy Wednesday... happy life.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Crazy Vs Careful

I have done a crazy thing... crazy, that is, to all the logical thinkers who might say that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. Crazy, to all those people who believe it is important to protect build the wall around our hearts.

To the other folks, crazy was not to do it. Letting go of a dream is a crazy, painful thing.

Finishing this 10/18/2005

Where is the intersection between protection and living life? There is something to be said for careful; you know, don't walk barefoot over broken glass; or, don't walk home from BART after 10 pm.

I learned the hard way with Jake. Now whenever I walk home I have an imaginary, angry conversation with whomever would potentially try to curtail my freedom.

But, careful doesn't work in all situations.

I am dancing around this because I can't believe I only feel safe writing about this in cyber space. Sometimes it is more important to throw caution to the wind than to be careful.

When I started this post several days ago... I was floating on air... sort of, and scared to death. So, crazy or not, I feel I should not lose the faith. I think I should stick it out until I know for sure whether it was crazy or not.

There is a big part of me that is looking for the strength, the courage, to face whatever may come... to dare to be vulnerable to the whims of the fates, even if the three of them can't get together on what they want for me and go back and forth with good and bad, happy and sad, unresolved and uncertain...

Cut and run is an all too familiar reaction when it comes to these issues of crazy vs. careful. What will it take to stick it out? I started it, in any case.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Happy Almost Veteran's Day

Ok... am I only choosing to read really sad stories or are these stories jumping out at me for a reason. I was so struck by this story that I posted it to a listserv where I have been only lurking. I sent it to friends and I forwarded it to a woman I have never met who sent me an equally troubling story last week.

When will the madness of this war become real for those who are in a position to stop it?

Never, actually, because they are not in it for any logical reason.

I am embarrassed, saddened and rocked at my core that this young man's life was sacrified in my name.

Perhaps it is just that fact that forced me to send this story on, that spurred me to write about it. We walk around every day without having to face the fact that innocent people are killed and maimed (physically and emotionally) in our names. If we are not willing to stand up and say publicly: NOT IN MY NAME, then we are more than complicit.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

towns declared cemeteries

I can't seem to find the words to express the deep pain reading just the headline caused me. With all that the world has suffered in the past few months, why should this seem worse? I don't know, but it is. These people and their entire towns are gone. Obliterated. It is now as if they never existed. Is this yet another way to devalue an ethnic group's life?

All around us, the physical world seems to be failing us, maybe even attacking us. Despite the fact that my rational mind understands that there are no logical reasons for this happening, I search for logical reasons why it should stop... or at least stop in some places... Guatemala has had enough, so has Pakistan.

Somehow doubly cruel for weather/environmental catastrophes to befall the poorest in the world... it makes it awfully hard to believe in any higher being, at least not one to whom one could appeal in times of need. If these are acts of god, then how can asking that same god to help be logical?

This surely doesn't seem like an intelligent design.

The things you'll see...

while sitting outside a Starbucks in Union City.

I have to start by saying that I am still practicing sitting in a cafe. It seems like the most natural thing...sitting in the cafe, reading your book, writing a letter, working on the computer, etc. But when I see people doing homework or whatever, I just want them to go home, so it is more than mildly hypocritical for me to sit there for no particular reason.

So, I practice sitting in the cafe, with my coffee, and some other not really important thing to do. I usually can't take it for longer than a half an hour. Yesterday, in Union City, since I had two hours to kill, I managed almost a whole hour.

Here's what I saw:

--four shimmery, silvery cadillac escalades... I wouldn't have paid attention ordinarily, but the three I saw all drove past in the first twenty minutes. I just couldn't believe there was such a need for so many HUGE cars. I was careful by the time I saw the second and third to make sure they weren't the same car... it wasn't that...and there were more, I stopped watching them after a while.

--leather jacket clad, cell phone talking guy... had to be late twenties, maybe older or just not well-preserved...waiting for his mom to pick him up from work. I was intrigued by his inability to sit still... he made five or six calls in succession... most short calls, some were just messages... maybe he was just anxious to get to wherever he was going next. All I know for sure is that when he wasn't on the phone, he was constantly moving, jerking as though about to jump up. Finally, his mother arrived in a shiny blue pt cruiser. I don't know what I expected her to drive; it all just seemed unlikely.

--so many twelve to fifteen year old asian boys wandering aimlessly between the movie theater and the restaurants. I was especially intrigued by the very young boy wearing a shirt about beer. A friend recently wondered aloud where all the teenage kids were hanging out in Oakland... we mused about it... no mall here to hang out in; but in Union City, even outside strip malls are the perfect place to drop off your kids for the day. Ahhh, suburbia.

--No rice, no beans burrito. Finally, I had to notice when the third or fourth person said these words as they rounded the corner. Then I realized that the Starbucks was right next to La Salsa... it must be the most popular burrito.

--finally, MOTORCYCLES. I don't know about you, but if I had a motorcycle and lived in NoCal, I would not spend my weekend riding loudly around the mall. I cannot even begin to count the number of motorcycles that drove past me... they were literally non-stop.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

who really said that??

Face your deficiencies and acknowledge them; but do not let them master you. Let them teach you patience, sweetness, insight.
- -- Helen Keller

I read the quotes attributed to Helen Keller, and I think to myself: is it possible that this woman who could not hear or see or speak and still figure out the world better than most folks?? Or did someone else make up all this and just put her name to it? That's a really ugly and cynical thing to think and especially to write about, but that is the thought I have right after I think: wow, what a profound woman. So, is it just plain jealousy? Wish I could be so profound... and I don't even have any physical limitations. Or is it something else??

Anyway, I love quotes. I don't really care if they are all cranked out by some crazy quote machine and no one ever said them in real life.

I like the way they summarize and illuminate in a short space.

I like that they get right to the point and don't bore you with a bunch of examples.

I am tired of reading books and essays by folks who want to hit you over the head with the TRUTH as seen by this author or that author.

LOVE LOVE LOVE quotes...good, true, impossible, funny, witty, sage, or just silly. I LOVE QUOTES.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Although I have long had issues with our justice system and particularly with the death penalty, this story hit me very hard.

I think it was the line about some lives being worth more than others.

I am sure that I have heard this before, maybe even coming out of my own mouth, as a commentary on some perceived injustice or other... but this is not my crazy observation, it is tangible truth demonstrated through the actions of folks who surely don't consider themselves racist.

Like so many other clear representations of our dirty racial problem of late, it also surprises me how easily some can dismiss the findings in this report. The fact that the race of the perpetrator didn't affect whether or not the prosecutor decided to seek the death penalty is small consolation to someone who has just had demonstrated to her that her life is worth LESS than ANY white person in the world.

These are rantings that should not be confined to this blog, but, honestly, I am afraid of saying this out loud in front of my friends ... what if they don't see the inherent flaw in our society, will they also be exposing their belief that some lives are worth more than others?

Saturday, September 17, 2005

On knowing what you need to do...

And not doing it.

How many times have I heard, "Recognizing your problem is half the battle"?

Too damn many.

Like many other aphorisms, it is utterly untrue.

1/4 of the battle, maybe, but I am afraid that it is much, much less.

Perhaps the first problem with this saying, and the entire approach, is that this IS NOT a battle to be fought and won. This is life.

Life happens... our happiness quotient goes up and down with the daily rituals, obstacles, successes or just every day happenings. Generally speaking, it is good to plan, but things rarely turn out the way we plan. So, flexibility is important, but that doesn't mean just let life happen, ala Forrest Gump.

Don't get me started on FG. You won't like what I have to say.

So... here we are, breathing, living, reacting to the world/life that happens around us. What does it mean? 1/2 the battle, 1/4 of the battle or much, much less. There is some out-of-whack belief that there is an elusive HAPPINESS that we can reach... if we just try harder? tap our heels together? just let it happen? wait expectantly?

All I know is to live right now, with whatever emotion is cascading over me, is very difficult and perhaps the only way to "WIN" the battle.

It is a very difficult state for me... I try, walking around, sitting at my desk, even when I am interacting with others, to stay in the moment... to feel all that is happening, to appreciate each breath and its intricacies, like carefully inspecting a spider's web, but I find my mind wandering to the myriad of what if's that only serve to leave me feeling bereft.

There will always be an "if only" -- there is always room for improvement, there are a million ways to approach any task and therefore infinite resolutions to any situation. None and all are right, yet I fight with myself in just accepting what is facing me right at this moment.

Figuring out, recognizing if you like, what the problem is only plays into this not-living-in-the-moment thing for me... I play and replay, parse, analyze until I know exactly what the problem is, where it came from and even how to get rid of it. None of that is now... it's yesterday, this morning, when I was five, or tomorrow, next month, or when I get around to it.

Right now I feel better and I want to cry at the same time. It's ok... I will keep breathing in and out and feeling.

Friday, September 16, 2005

It turns out he's a cheater

A while back, I was carpooling with a couple. I found them on Craigslist before I was willing to casual carpool, but after I realized just how expensive it was to commute!!

In any case, it was also very soon after the divorce. The couple was ok; she was in law school, almost done. He was a graphic designer for pottery barn. They were driving into San Francisco because he had surgery on his leg and couldn't walk very well. So she drove him to work every morning and then took herself to school.

In the time that I was carpooling with them, I learned that he was really into vw bugs and drinking. He would go to flea markets devoted to the buying and selling of obsolete parts for really old cars that probably shouldn't be on the road. He had talked her into buying one that didn't even run; he was fixing up another one or two. Wednesdays were Whiskey Weds. So Thursday mornings were always interesting.

The part that was difficult for me was that every morning there was some drama, some tension. I bristled every time, but I thought I was just being overly sensitive. He seemed super manipulative and power hungry. He couldn't drive, so he spent most of the ride telling her which lane to drive in or when to go faster or slower. I think by the end I was consciously trying to engage him in conversation during the ride to keep him off her back. But, I figured that they were a normal, regular couple and I was seeing things from a crazy, paranoid space.

Once, I was telling a friend about the carpool couple. I described him and my friend asked if he had tattoos on his hands. I hadn't ever noticed. My friend said a guy that sounded like him at hit on her at a bar recently. Weird, I thought, the carpool couple seem really solid. They are talking about buying a house.

Well, his cast came off and we stopped carpooling (and I started using the casual carpool where people don't talk to each other, I like that). I thought of them, and their talk of buying a house; I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and scream...don't invest anymore time or money in this guy. But, I just smiled. Occasionally I would see him waiting for the bus as I drove by in some stranger's car.

One day, I was walking in my neighborhood and I saw her. By then, she should have graduated and passed the bar. I told her I saw him sometimes at the bus stop, and she said, "We broke up, it turns out he's a cheater." She said she had moved to where she would be working. She was just in the neighborhood to pack up her stuff. I wished her well and kept walking down the street, but I never forgot her words. "It turns out he's a cheater."

It took me a long time to realize why her words had struck me. She was so matter of fact about it. It was HIS problem. It had nothing to do with HER. Of course, you might say. It is a perfectly logical and healthy way to see the situation.

The thing is I had just spent at least three years trying to turn myself inside out. Trying to be the person who my husband wouldn't cheat on... never even contemplating that it might not be my fault. He said it was my fault and I believed him. To be fair, not that he deserves or needs it, I wanted to believe him. His little statement was playing right into the drama I wanted to live, subconsciously or not, where I was the villain. There was something inherently wrong with me that caused him to go out and seek someone else, anyone else.

So, reading this article today, I was again taken back to these two moments in my life: when this half of the carpool couple illuminated me about how infidelity works, and my insane belief for too long on how I was responsible. I wish I could say I were completely healed and see things like my carpool buddy does, but I am still working on it.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Wal Mart Trying to Make Inroads into California, AGAIN

It hurts my soul to know that the Oakland Wal-Mart has opened. I did not keep track of the campaign to keep them out and I feel terribly guilty about that.

I am heartened to know that southern Californians continue to fight against the implantation of evil empire Wal-Mart pods.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Remembering 9/11

On this day, four years ago, so many lives were shattered.

These brave souls shared their stories...

listen and remember, and say a prayer today to whomever you pray for those who survived as well as those who were lost.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Katrina memorial

If you have a little time, watch this compilation of pictures of the aftermath of Katrina.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Friday Special

The blues are because you're getting fat and maybe it's been raining too long, you're just sad that's all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you're afraid and you don't know what you're afraid of.
Holly Golightly... Breakfast at Tiffany's

Not necessarily appropriate, but it is, in fact, my favorite quote from my favorite movie... so it is the Friday Special.

Let the Scapegoating begin...

Not that I disagree with relieving this poser from his post, but this coupled with the full court press to whitewash the "bungledness" of this disaster today, I am convinced that this is all vast right-wing conspiracy to make the president look good.

I especially like the very little play that george's mom's comments got. I guess the NY Times finally wrote something about it, but I would have liked to see it replayed over and over just like the looting images. I guess since it was radio, it's less sexy.

I am also irritated by the product placement of the other Mrs. Bush ... I don't want to hear the former school librarian telling me that as a woman she would like the other supreme court nominee to be a woman; that little comment didn't help us last time the jerk named someone. I especially don't want to hear her excuse the handling of the disaster. I really don't care if Laura doesn't mind being used this way, I just don't want to hear it.

This, by the way, is my favorite part of the blog... the ability to rant on and on about something that no one else needs to hear unless he/she wants to and yet I get it off my chest.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

this week

I am awash in unacknowleged feelings... I know they are out there but I am loathe to even concede their existence.

I think my body is mirroring this ... despite the fact that I have not been physically active, I am stiff as though I have just finished the marathon. Every movement causes pain ... I feel as though I will not be able to move at some point.

I know I need to stretch... to do the yoga, to breathe, to let go; but I don't... I won't... for reasons that I truly do not understand and cannot articulate, except that these pains are just the physical representation of the emotions that I refuse to recognize.

Perhaps now that I have published it for all the world (or at least just for those who read this blog) to see, I can start to unwrap the emotions and the muscles...

wish me luck

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Some days were not made for blogging

I keep thinking there are things I need to put in here... I remember that I have two drafts waiting to be completed and posted, and yet, I cannot write. Too tired, too overwhelmed, or just plain empty. Not sure which one it is.

Mourning is emotionally and physically draining. I try to find the energy to do the things that will make me feel better, but instead I sit on the couch or go to sleep or read inane things on the internet.

too much
too little
for now

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Love knows no bounds in California

Unless Arnold decides to play god...
not god exactly, but certainly politices...

it looks like CA lovin' will know bounds again at least for a little while...

Semantics or something deeper?

Can you say, "You just don't get it!"?
I can... and I will.

To think, believe, innocently speculate that REFUGEE is a more appropriate term to use for your fellow American citizens in need of relief/compassion/basic human kindness because it is more PRECISE than EVACUEE is disengenuous at best and just plain hypocritical and inflammatory at its worst.

Folks who made it out before, during and/or after the devastation of the hurricane, as well as those who chose to stay because they have no where to go are SURVIVORS. These folks embody the best of our collective will/courage/strength.

While we all speculate about what is best for an entire city and its population from the comfort of our dry living rooms, almost 500,000 people from New Oreans alone (not to mention the folks from other devastated areas) plan for their futures with no certainty that anyone will be there to help.

Admit it, all those news people who are calling people REFUGEES are doing it because it makes for a good story, more sensational and more seedy... you want the ratings and you'll do ANYTHING to get it.

Then, of course, there is the incredibly articulate and honest Mrs. Barbara Bush ... referring to the poor who had lost everything back home and evacuated, "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them."

If you need to read the article, just to prove to yourself that there are people out there who are willing to say exactly what they think no matter how egregious that might be, here is the link:

Monday, September 05, 2005


Perhaps love is the process of my leading you gently back to yourself.
- -- Antoine De Saint-Exupery

I sincerely hope this is true for me. SINCERELY... I like all of it: I truly appreciate "gently" but mostly I am interested in having the process lead me back to me.

If all these emotions are winding me back to myself, I hope when I get there what I will find is a whole person. I hope she will be ready and willing to share that wholeness.

I had written something more interesting and revealing but I lost the connection and subsequently the entry... this one will have to do. It's the thought that counts, right?

thank you

The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him with his friendship.
- -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Had dessert and wine with a friend I haven't seen for a while tonight. It is incredible to have such a fabulous talk with someone who I haven't seen in a long time. I forget how easy it is to connect, how adult conversations are not necessarily difficult to find, and how important it is to have folks to whom you don't have to explain yourself.

Thank you god, spirit, creator, who ever might be out there to appreciate this gratitude.

Saturday, September 03, 2005


Somehow it has taken us five days, but finally, not only has the government begun to mobilize, to react, to feel the sense of responsibility and urgency the disaster in New Orleans demands, but the business community, celebrities and regular folks are doing anything and everything it takes to help those displaced by the hurricane to see that we are one people.
More stories to make us proud to be citizens of this complex and sometimes contradictory country...

Troops Bring Food, Medicine to New Orleans

LSU Quarterback Opens Home to Fats Domino

Donations Pour in for Katrina Relief

Stars Pledge Help for Katrina Victims

New Orleans Hospitals Getting Some Help

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

What are you calling forth from others?

When I step back and view myself through the lens of other people's reactions to me, I am frequently confused, disappointed and frustrated.

In the last few months, I have questioned myself to the nth degree... wondering if my inability to articulate what I want and how I want to live is emblematic of the fact that I am completely out of touch with who I am and who I project.

Is it that I am talking nonsense?

Is it that I am so unaware of what I really want that I am unable to deal with it when it comes knocking at my door?

Am I so one-dimensional that I can only send out the fixer/doer vibe enabling those around me to become baby birds?

My concern is that if I don't see it, yet these are the reactions that I live, how can I stop sending out those signals? How can I stop calling that out in others? How can I send the vibe that I want relationships based on mutual respect and responsibility?

I mean, I am no more in control/on top of my game than anyone else; and it gets very difficult to have to be "on" all the time. Especially trying when I am not sure that I can help anyone, really. It sounds good, but it might only be window dressing.

These are thoughts that wake me up in the middle of the night.

Monday, August 29, 2005

I could get used to this...

I cannot decide... the waterfall treatment, the fitness center with individual tv's, the great low-fat cookies and tea, the fabulous pool, the incredible salmon salad... I just cannot pick one thing that wasn't perfect.

Even though I did manage to mess up the locker combination within minutes of arriving... it was just a minor setback.

Had I known how fabulous it was going to be, I would have gotten up early and stayed until 10 pm.

I highly recommend sitting by the pool and pampering yourself all day, any day... who knew it was so relaxing to do absolutely nothing? If I had known, I might have tried it sooner. I have spent so much time multi-tasking, brining along work, books, letters to write in case I got bored. I just had no idea one could sit and do absolutely nothing and not be bored.

Amazing. Fabulous. Wonderful.

Don't worry, I won't get used to it, but now I have something to plan for... the day when I do get used to it on a regular basis.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Red Rock

Sedona is a beautiful place. The beauty and the starkness of the land around it, and the striking Red Rock emerging from it, are over-powering to be sure. I was, however, put off by the commercial pandering to upper-middle-class folk who want to dabble in the metaphysical for the weekend.

Everywhere there are pamphlets extolling the SCIENCE that proves each vortex, coincidentally located in the Red Rock formations, is a special energy field; each vortex, by the way, has its own special powers. At every turn, you can buy crystals from people who think of them as nothing more than souvenirs and won’t speak to you civilly unless they believe you are going to drop a lot of cash.

Over and over again, I was struck by the clash between this wild commercialism and the savage beauty of the place.

I understand the appeal; I even understand the marketing…we see this beautiful, unusual place and it humbles us. We want that humbling to mean something, so we attach supernatural qualities to this thing that is other than us but puts us in our place. It is all rationalization.

The thing about landscapes is that they are large, expansive, open and seemingly unending. They force us to place ourselves within them where our true size is revealed.

So, driving through the scruffy, wide desert you are humbled into seeing yourself as a dot on an endless landscape of brown rocks and cacti. You already know that you are, in fact, less than the cacti that can survive in this environment without aid from anyone or anything.

When the magnificent Red Rocks (you see, every time I even think of them they need to be capitalized) appear on the horizon your only alternative is to believe they are magical outposts where your energies can be aligned and restored.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

More EntWives

Driving up and down the 101 to Fortuna, I had the pleasure of driving directly through the Redwoods.

The temperature drops at least 10 degrees and there is suddenly no sun. You slow down... only partly because the speed limit signs demand it.

As your eyes adjust to the change in the light. Suddenly, around the tightest turn, you see it... the giant redwood... the one only Paul Bunyan could truly hug.

It is beautiful and magical and only real because you are seeing it, if only for a second and then you are nearly through the park.

The EntWives, I thought whimsically. These are definitely the EntWives, and they are happy to be here... with or without the Ents.

We have lessons to learn.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Stranded in New Jersey

Not truly comparable. I am not into punk in any way shape or form. But I went to New Jersey, actually in my case, I went back to New Jersey expecting something just like these folks.

We all expected something good and didn't get it.

We all spent money and time we can't get back.

They are considering ways to make the best of it. I did that for way too many years.

They get to go home in a few days.

It took me nine years.

When I think of the time FLYING by it makes me crazy... I hate to think that I wasted so many years there. There is not just New Jersey, you realize that, right?

Tonight, I went to see the final projects of some high school students who spent the summer as fellows -- they were given a task and a few days to pull together projects as well as internships. They were lovely, well-spoken, poised teen agers. Wow, I kept thinking, I need to get myself some of the media training they got. They stood up straight; they projected their voices; they said what they needed to say fairly forcefully with a minimum of umms.

What struck me most, however, is that so many of them said, I just turned (enter teen age years) or I am about to turn (enter teen age year).

We spend so much of our youth yearning to be older and so much of our maturity trying to stop time. Go figure.

I am glad not to be stranded in New Jersey. I want to stop wasting time. I want to take advantage of every minute of every day from now on.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Lost Cats

It seems as though every day there is a new sign up in my neighborhood pleading for help in locating a lost cat or kitten. The latest lost pet is Emma. The notice goes something like this: 6? week old kitten rescued... lost tail in surgery... please help us find her.

It turns out there was an Emma sighting in my own backyard. The humane trap was put out, but Emma didn't take the bait.

This sort of brings me to the point I wanted to make... are cats ever really lost??

I mean, cats are the ultimate free spirits. You only think they want to be curled up on YOUR lap. Actually, your lap was convenient and warm and the cat could have done just fine with a patch of sun on the couch or any other warm body that happened to sit there.

I just don't think that cats are ever lost. They are out adventuring. There are times that this kind of adventuring can cause a cat, like any other adventurer, to need assistance. Remember all those guys who get caught on the mountain and need to be rescued? Well, that's no different from getting a cat out of a tree of out from under a house.

It's in a cat's nature to go out adventuring. No matter how domesticated cats get, they will always have a wild, independent streak. WILD ANIMALS cannot really be domesticated.

Now, if T-mina were somehow to get out of her tank and start wandering around, adventuring, I surely would not say that she is lost. She would know exactly where she is. She may even be taking the scenic route, but she wouldn't be lost. Her curiosity and love of adventure may very well make her hawk bait, but that's the price she would have to pay for her independence, just like the cats.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Casey's Mom

And Osbaldo's widow. Tonight at the vigil, I was reminded of how life goes on. As we stood with our candles trying to garner support from those passing by, it was ironic to have SUV drivers honking and throwing the peace sign.

My cousin lost her husband in the war several years ago; he was taken very early in the conflict. She had a baby last Thursday. I am so proud that she is moving forward with her life. I get to meet her son this weekend. :) It's a wonderful thing to have that new life, that new leaf to our family tree. But, I can't help but think of Baldo and all the children he and Mayra should have had together.

It's so important not to forget while we move forward. The cars keep running down the road, using up oil we have to get from somewhere. The people keep living, although some keep grieving. The candle burns down until we can't hold it anymore. We get older while the children we send to war keep dying.

Don't forget to visit them... to see the faces of the folks that are dying so that we can drive as much as we want.

Compassion instead of anger

Just when I was feeling like there weren't real silver linings, that I had just been fooling myself into seeing them... here's one.

I read this piece and felt hopeful about the world and people...

So I share it with the blog and its readers, real or imagined.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

where I'd like to be...

I opened the dam and the world did not end.
I am emotionally and physically exhausted.
I'd like time and space to sit and work through all the things that make me wake up in the middle of the night in a panic. But I am not sure if I would actually do that work or just sleep.
I would rather go for a walk near, under, around or through a waterfall.

Friday, August 12, 2005

fell off the wagon

So, I was trying really hard to write something every day... if I didn't write in the blog then I would at least write in the journal. But, no writing, no where.

Hiding from the volcano doesn't stop it from erupting. Will an umbrella protect me when it does?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


I think I blog inappropriately... almost (I said almost) all the other blogs I read are very chitty-chatty, as if only their friends are reading it. They talk back and forth like it's one big email chain. The only time you can tell it's a blog is that it is all very TMI and they believe that their significant others are not reading it. HAHAHA It's not anonymity when all your friends are reading it... it's gossip and chat sessions in writing!

I, on the other hand, see the blog as a way to write all the little observations of the world that I don't assume my friends want to hear about. I think of the blog as a class full of kindergarteners... I remember fondly how we chatted stream-of-consciousness like when I was monitoring kindergarten lunch and recess. Those kids had an opinion about everything and anything, and they were always ready and willing to share.

I think that the anonymity is only important in the sense of protecting the innocent. Obviously, the majority of the folks who are reading this blog have been invited to do so. I am sure there are the occasional "next blog" clickers that end up here... I certainly have found plenty of blogs that I enjoy reading that way.

For me, the blog is a strange way for me to deal with issues too hard, sometimes, for me to journal about as well as the random thought that falls from the sky begging to be shared but really not that significant.


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Could it be?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Kahlil Gibran

had to be shared

So... somehow, tired as I am, with as much as I should have been doing, I ended up taking a ride over to the taco truck on the other side of town.

We're standing waiting to order... guy must be working by himself because he takes three orders, disappears, then comes back with one order at a time before he'll talk to us. So, waiting, patiently, talking. We're the only ones speaking English just because I guess we didn't feel like speaking Spanish. We're talking, laughing, each of us secretly plotting our taco choices.

All of a sudden, Donald Duck has appeared behind us and is talking with a kind of drunk slur. I tried to control keep from laughing. Pretty soon my whole body was shaking with the internalized laughter.

Eventually I couldn't help myself and I turned around to see... short, older man with curly hair... way beyond two sheets to the wind. The voice of Donald.

He is clearly not a stranger; the one guy in the taco truck reappears to talk to Donald.

He did not give us the voice again.

Sunday, July 31, 2005


The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.
Emily Dickinson

The Smile that Grows across My Face

I want to believe it's wrong. I really, really do. But I hear his voice and the smile grows on its own. It doesn't matter what the voice says, but sometimes it says something so funny the smile grows even more. I think to myself, my cheeks will be sore later.

I don't think it's wrong. It is one of the things I think is most right in the world. Just not always as comfortable as I would like it to be. Nothing that is worthwhile is easy. I keep telling myself, anyway.

It feels like least the way that I imagine it feels to soar high above the world. Carefree in a way, wind offering updrafts and downdrafts that feel like a rollercoaster with no rails. A big bird, maybe a hawk or a sea bird, gliding, soaring, not flapping. It's easy.

Reality doesn't intervene until its time to say goodbye.

There was a moment of silence today. At first I worried that I should make up something to say, but I didn't. It was nice to be silent together for a few seconds. The conversation continued easily enough, but I knew that the end was coming soon.

We don't really say goodbye; not true, I do, he doesn't. Talk to you soon. More or less emphasis on the SOON. Maybe, maybe not.

The one thing that is certain: when the phone rings and I hear the voice, the smile will grow across my face. Like the grinch, my heart grows three times its normal size. There is no sense in denying it or trying to make it wrong.

Friday, July 29, 2005

The Holocaust Memorial Museum

It is impossible to be mentally or emotionally prepared to live through the holocaust ... as close as you can get, but clearly not as real or painful as those who actually lived through it.

The day was perfect for this experience. The clouds threatened. Everyone was carrying around umbrellas. A nice man outside the museum tried to talk me into buying one. It was not raining when I came out of the metro; spritzing, not even a drizzle, just the occasional big drop. He said, it pours sometimes. I politely declined.

First you have to get a timed pass to go up to the permanent collection... and then you wait. While I waited, I visited Remember the Children, Daniel's Story. It is a recreation of a child's life from before the war through the camps. It's a compilation...there are parts that grab your heart, but there are light moments too. You follow a child's journal from the good times when they made cookies together through the ghetto where the little sister still tried to make her mother's birthday special. Finally, to the camps where the men are separated from the women and Daniel never sees his mother or sister again. It tugs at your heart, but you escape that exhibit and you think, I can do this. I know what happened.

On the elevator, you see and hear the voice of American troops as they liberate the camps. You can hear the horror and disbelief, but you still think YOU are strong. The doors open and you are on the fourth floor, pre-war Germany. You travel through the cataloging and codifying of people. You see how Hitler worked to make Germans believe in their superiority by dehumanizing everyone else. You see how the world watched Hitler disenfranchise and demoralize Jews, homosexuals, the Roma, Jehovah Witnesses and anyone who stood in his way. You see how the powers-that-be of other countries not only watched but participated in giving parts of other countries to Hitler like sacrificial lambs. And you wonder when you're democracy- and freedom-loving country will take a stand. And they don't. They never do.

Seething at the outrageous way the world looks the other way, you approach the walkway that will take you to the third floor... you walk through a hallway that has the portraits of the inhabitants of a town in Poland or the Ukraine, somewhere that Jews have lived for 900 years... and you know that they were eliminated... you know that an entire town, a civilization that had lived for almost a thousand years in that land was murdered, slaughtered. 30,000 in one day.

It is a good thing that they start you on the top floor because by the end of that, I just wanted to run out of the building and cry...but I couldn't. I had to continue to walk through history; I had to face OUR history, MY history; EVERYTHING my country has done I am responsible for, I am my brother's and sister's keeper. So are you.

It was difficult. I almost could not bring myself to read about the ghettos. I was already dreading wandering through the deportations and the concentration camps. It was already too much. TOO MUCH?? I only lost respect for my country and its hypocritical ways, I did not lose my entire family. I tried yoga breathing to steady myself, I stood up straight and I continued on.

Eventually, there was a white wall with the names of all the people who saved innocent people from Hitler. Sometimes there were stories to go with the names. Thank god, if I still believe, that there were some people who believed that innocent people should not be sacrificed to Hitler's insecurity. I read every story, thanking god for each of the souls who had risked his or her life to save the life of someone else. I needed the hope that life can conquer hate.

I made it to the end, I don't know how... I can't remember. Then there was a screen and some seats and survivors telling stories. I was drawn to the screen and I sat, trying to feel the strength of those survivors. When the man started to cry, he broke me in two. When the woman told the story of how her mother saved her sister by taking away the sister's baby knowing that all women with children were gassed immediately, I was shattered into a million pieces. I couldn't get out of there fast enough.

The final floor dumps you into the Hall of Remembrance and the eternal flame, and walls of lighted candles. I sat down there and tried to catch my breath. I didn't pray. I am not sure that I know how to anymore. I sat and felt the strength of the souls remembered there where the walls exhort you to remember, to honor the suffering, the horror, the lives lost, the hope destroyed by remembering, by pledging NEVER AGAIN.

I stepped out to a steady light rain and felt the angels weeping for the over million babies slaughtered, families destroyed, towns annihilated, and the resilience of a people who not only remember but work to keep it from happening again to anyone. And I hope for peace. Not just for those whose lives are on the line, but for my own soul.

Friday, July 15, 2005


So... there are many more important stories to worry (or obsess) about in the news today, but these struck me as the most outrageous demonstrations of our whacky priorities:
T-ball Coach Pays Off Player to Hit Disabled Child

Drunk Driver Mows Down Family near Border Crossing, Killing Two Children

12-Year Old Dies When Chased into Traffic

I know that I should spend more time worrying about getting my priorities straightened out, but maybe reflecting on the lack of perspective here will help me to get my perspective back.

The Dalai Lama has been talking about how one must replace anger with patience and tolerance. I agree in theory...but in practice, it doesn't feel like replacing. It feels like I am just ignoring the anger in the hope that it will go away. He warns about the dangerous recklessness possible when one allows herself to "express anger" as a way of moving beyond it. He says that anger is so prolific that it will just take over. So that means I really do have to replace the anger with patience and tolerance while still honoring my feelings... how is that done??? When the anger has been assumed, subsumed and ignored, it is fighting to get out in so many other ways. If it is not processed in anyway, just thrown out the window, then what??

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Let the Mind/Thought Control Begin

The first, I am sure, of a string of "opinions" we will learn about from the new Pope. Let's remember that as a young person he was involved with the Hitler Youth group. Which is really more likely "to erode Christianity in the soul" of young people?

Yes, he's old and likely to die soon, but no less dangerous as a result.

Ok... on a slightly lighter note... a very funny piece from the editor who passed on the first Harry Potter... read it soon as the NY Times charges for articles after a certain time...

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Tangled Webs

There is a really, really big -- I mean huge -- spider that lives on the deck. I saw him or her for the first time the other day. I had run into its web many times before. I always wondered how any spider could build just a huge web so quickly... sometimes I go out for an hour or two just before sundown and when I return, my doorway is covered in webs. Now I know, it's Charlotte's amazon cousin.

Sometimes my life feels like that too... I wonder how quickly my various selves can create such tangles. When did I have time to alienate some, rile others and offend still others. I have a way of provoking extreme emotions, I guess.

Maybe I do it on purpose, maybe I can't help myself. I am sure sometimes Charlotte's cousin just wants to build a dainty web that will catch some scrumptious bugs but not get in a clumsy human's way. I am sure she (she's definitely a she now, such a hard worker) is devasted to see all her hard work torn to shreds as I try to get into my apartment.

She's still hungry, so she has to build anew. I am just tired and contemplate the hermit life so as not to have to provoke, incite or rile anyone else. Being alone isn't always lonely. Sometimes, it's just the stillness I need to breathe and not feel clumsy.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

el tiempo y el vacio

Me encanta sentir el viento en mi pelo... aun si ese viento trae la lluvia que ya he dicho no me gusta.

Tal vez lo que mas me gusta es que el viento tiene la capacidad de llevar consigo todo lo que pienso, siento, todas mis dudas. Me gustaria quedar alli en el vacio... sola con el viento. Para no tener que pensar ni sentir. No se como seria porque nunca he podido vaciar mi mente ni mi corazon. Pero me gustaria una vez estar sola en el vacio.

Pero el vacio no dura porque al igual que el viento lleva, tambien trae consigo aventuras nuevas, algunas buenas y otras no tan buenas... para sobrevivir hasta que venga el proximo viento.

Sigo pensando que con el tiempo aprendere a llenar el vacio de una manera que pueda vivir con lo que esta alli en vez de querer vaciar y llenar de nuevo. Pero tal vez es mas importante aprender a aguantar lo que el viento trae y lleva. Parece una meta que no puedo alcanzar.

Friday, July 01, 2005

from here to there

The really cool thing about the internet, to me, is that it is like a game I used to play: trying to retrace my thoughts to figure out how I had gotten here.

I love to meander... I am not lost, I am taking the scenic route, figuratively or literally, all the time. I am convinced that it is the best way to not MISS anything that might be out there to see or marvel at or feel indignant or shocked about. So for me, internet searches are about casting the widest net and seeing what crazy things will pop up. Remember that time I found the site where you can post your ESP experience??

Today, while looking for more info on an author, I found this great list of uses for LARD. I know that lard is useful, most people doubt it these days... so I thought I would share it. I also found the saddest and warmest recollections about another author, who I had never heard of, who died in a plane crash in March at the age of 32. I have to admit that I was tearful while reading through all these memories, wishing I too had known her, wanting to read everything she ever read, wondering if I had ever passed her in the street. I was also thinking about how we don't really know the impact we have on folks every day. It made me think I should be more careful and more carefree at the same time.

Check out the uses for LARD and remember to search big sometimes instead of for just what you want... there's a whole world out there waiting for YOU.