---Alice Abrams

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Five Things I Have Learned About Myself

This comes from Ron, at Cluttered Eclectic Mind (click on the right). He's got some really great stuff over at his site. Give him a look-see.

Five Things I Have Learned About Myself (and am still learning!!!)

1. .No man is an island I have this horrid habit of pulling away from people who love and care about me. Having suffered from depression most of my adult life and feeling as though I fail those about me, the simplest thing to do is pull away. (Stupid!!!) I need people in my life.

2. I have a deep fear of failure. I set my goals way too high and set myself up so I do the self-fulling thing.

3. I am a nuturer. I have made myself do this from afar because I do not want to suffocate those closest to me. I once had a therapist tell me I had a "Savior Complex." Thanks a lot, pal.
But I should have pursued psychology as a career.

4. I don't trust people who don't like animals. I can't quite explain this but it's a gut reaction I get. I don't expect people to fawn over my critters like I do but an affection for those who need our attention and care, speaks volumes to me about how a person treats his fellow man.

5. I hate confrontations. I will go out of my way to keep the peace. Our local newspaper has a blog and I chose to quit blogging there. The atheists loved to go on the "Faith" blog and trash us and the liberals loved to get ugly with the conservatives (and vice versa!). I would try to make a point and the crap that would get slung back at me was so hateful, I just quit. I tried to mediate for a long time until I asked myself why on earth do I care so much? I don't want to be right, I just want to be treated respectfully.

To anyone who reads this, please share and tell me five things that you have learned about yourself!

Friday, January 26, 2007

My Very First Friday Feast...

Friday, January 26, 2007
Feast One Hundred & Twenty Eight

Appetizer: If you could take lessons to learn any musical instrument, which would you want to learn?

I used to play the piano and have dabbled around with the guitar. I have never been proficient with either. So, I think I'd like to wiggle my nose and turn into Yo Yo Ma and play the cello.

Soup: Have you ever mistaken a person for someone else?

Oh yeah! I once introduced my husband as "Bob" His name was "Bill." Try 'splainin' your self outta that mess!

Salad: On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being highest, how well do you keep secrets?

Now, unless I inadvertantly blurt out "Bob! ..." the state secrets are safe with me!

Main Course: What's the closest you've ever been to a dangerous animal?

Other than the zoo, I've never had a real wildlife encounter...A masher? Yes, but that's another story!

Dessert: When was the last time you lost your patience?

Let me just check my watch. I've been in computer hell all day, not being able to keep a connection with my internet provider (Not-So-Brighthouse). Just when I thought I had it under control, I lost my wireless connection to my laptop, where I do all my stuff...My PC has frozen and I finally worked up the nerve to try and hash that out with a techie and I still don't have a handle on it yet. I have no patience at all when I'm working at something and I don't a clue...
I think it's called frustration???

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Uh Oh...I've Been Tagged!


1. I wear stupidly embarrassing floral pants in public - that's why I'm not smiling!
But when in Rome, or in this case, Hawai'i...dress like the natives - or should I say, tourists!

2. I once sang a solo at a wedding and the wedding actually continued! I used to sing in a group from church and they convinced me to do a solo which can be a problem because I have a low alto voice. What was really spooky was that it was A Cappella! I have no shame.

3. I used to weigh 265 lbs. I had gastric bypass surgery but since the photo was taken I've gained about 30-35 lbs. I'm scared to death I'm going to gain back all of my weight.

4. I was married at 17 to my high school sweetie. He died at 30 in a car accident.
We had 3 children. When I remarried I gained 3 children! We now have 12 adult kids plus 9 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild. I've promised not to blog extensively about them but obviously, they're all precious.

5. This is hard!!! I could go for something serious or something silly...I think I just answered my own question. I tend to try too hard to be right. I've been sitting here for ten minutes trying to be clever or smart. I am a perfectionist trying to learn to lighten up. So I'll leave with this - I'm so hungry right now I could eat my weight in enchiladas. See #3.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

But Honey, I'm Blogging!

This is one of my favorite pictures. It shows our condo from quite a distance across the bay (it's on the left in the middle). I always try to take shots that I may want to paint at some date in the future. But all my stuff is packed away and my creativity is too.
I used the caption "But Honey, I'm Blogging," because my poor husband is wondering if I've stumbled into some evil chat room or some such. He's not an internet user so it has a veil of mystery hovering over it. Since I signed on with "Biggest Blogger" I've been trying to figure out a lot of new stuff and visit a lot of new sites and respond to those who have been kind enough to visit mine - and then there's the issue of my server going in and out - frustrates the snot out of me! Sorry, that's not a pretty picture.

So, I've been rather preoccupied lately. He asks me if I want to watch a movie and my response has been, "But Honey, I'm Blogging!" I need to watch that...he's such a good guy!!!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Dolphin Dancing

It was our last morning in Maui and we'd decided to snorkel one more time. My son-in-law, Doug, had talked with some locals and found a great place to snorkel - few people, lots of colorful fish and huge sea turtles, with even an eel or two. Doug had kept saltwater tanks and was thrilled to share his knowledge of the different species with us. On our two previous trips we saw clown fish, lion fish, and tang, whose gem-like colors were something you'd find in a jewelery box: bright cobalt blues, lemon yellows, and vibrant oranges.

In order to get to this wonderful place, you had to park up on the highway, going north from Ka'anapali. You then entered a dense rainforest area and walk downward about a half mile to the bay. The verdant pathway took us through an area full of trees that looked as if an artist had taken buckets of paint and thrown them at the smooth trunks or shot them with paint balls of different colors. We later found out they are Mindanao Gum trees.

The air was so full of oxygen it made one giddy. I stood still while the others walked on up ahead and sucked the air deeply into my lungs, wishing I could take this heavy, sweet, clean air home with me. As I caught up with the rest of them I noticed they were looking at something on the ground. At first, I thought it was a lean-to made for shelter but it was too small for an adult. As we looked closer we understood that it was an altar. The native Hawaiian people build altars with lava rock and plant material. Simplicity and a deep love for their land.

There were pothos (philodendron) whose leaves were the size of an elephant's ear climbing up the giant trees for a peek of the sun. When you grow them in the house, you're lucky if the leaves are the same size as your hand. It's the air and the oxygen and the rich earth. As you approach the water you see a horseshoe shaped bay with a rather large opening to the ocean. There was no beach, just rocks on which you gingerly perched to put on your mask and flippers.

As we readied for this final journey, I happened to look out at the horizon and saw something that took my breath away. At the opening of the bay there were many dolphins jumping, whirling, spinning and leaping! Like soccer moms heading to a sale at Nordstrum's, we raced out across the water, swimming as quickly as we could, trying to reach the dolphins before they headed out to deeper water.

I am not a strong swimmer but my body filled with adrenalin and I swam as fast as I could. Before I knew it, I was surrounded by dolphins! They appeared to have met us and were closer to shore than they had been. They were definitely spinners and were spinning all around me, in the air and in the water! At our best count, there were between 25-30 of them, dancing, spinning, frolicking all around us, delighting us to our very core. Doug had his underwater camera with him and was able to take a wonderful photo of a mother and calf. The calf was actually spinning around it's mother! As I glanced at my husband and daughter, their faces were filled with joy and pure amazement as I'm certain mine was.

They would swim up close and we would put out our arms as far as they could reach, then they'd break away and swim off or spin under, around and up in the air, chattering to each other in that distinctly "dolphinese" dialect that TV's Flipper first echoed many years ago. It was if they were teasing us, getting within our reach, tempting us and then turning and darting away, letting us know they had the upper hand.

We must have had twenty minutes with our friends before they slowly drifted off and we realized we were alone and had drifted out quite away from the beach. The guys swam on back while my daughter and I took our time making our way slowly through the mild water, realizing that we had just had the experience of a lifetime. Dolphins have become an icon in New Age thought and are said to have healing powers. If anything, dolphins have the power to let us interact with them and become a part of their world. I was healed from the cares and burdens I place upon my back for the twenty minutes we danced with the dolphins.

Our darling Doug died three years after this trip. When I think of Doug and become overwhelmed by his loss, I go back in time to that moment when we danced with dolphins and I smile. That is healing...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I Need A Fix!

With all this freezing cold weather, I need a Kaua'i fix! This is the view from our room in Princeville in '04. I'm so ready to go back...Even though there are clouds in this photo, the temp never got under the mid-eighties during the day. Bali Hai is straight across the bay. Sigh...

More Mayhem in the Yard

I awoke this morning to the sound of chain saws. It was early for the gardeners so I assumed it was the neighbors. WRONG! My beloved Nandina (Heavenly Bamboo) was being butchered by a chain saw wielding madman. As I continued to watch the destruction with my jaw hanging open, one little tree was reduced from a natural shape to a lopsided lollipop. My Hawthorne, ferns, Lilly of the Nile and grasses are all now the same height: about 6 inches! Sawed off straight shaping, just plain butchery.

After they chopped off what remained of anything green, they started in on the stuff the frost killed. My beautiful bananas, five varieties of hibiscus, bougainvilleas, plus assorted geraniums and vines - are toast. Unless the spring can entice some new growth, the deep freeze, along with the help of madmen with chain saws, my beautiful haven is now hell.

Where are the Plant Police? I'm ready to file charges!!!
A footnote:
To all of those who have been without power and are really struggling, I realize my post sounds very trivial. My heart goes out to all of you and you are in my prayers.

A Death on the Patio

"The Critter Caper..."

An unknown subject met an untimely death amongst my potted plants, or what the deep freeze has left of them. There is no body, the only evidence of a crime is the large pool of blood on the cold concrete. A cold-blooded murder on cold concrete. (Oh, did I mention it was a dark and stormy night?)

There are two witnesses to this tragedy but, unfortunately, they are not English-speaking and try though I may, I don't speak dog. They alerted to an intrusion but I paid no attention since the neighbor's gardener was in the vicinity and they don't like him. They always act tough when he's around so I ignored the warning of the fowl deed occurring right under my nose.

The only suspect is the gang-banger hawk that's been hanging out in the neighborhood lately. He's been observed trying to recruit some of the wilder doves into the local group of punk raptors that have been terrorizing my bird feeder where the sparrows and house finches lounge about.

Suspect hawk appears to be a Cooper's Hawk, though that cannot be confirmed. Based on the blood evidence, it was an air strike - a slay and swoop. Unless said hawk reappears and strikes again, there is not enough evidence to call in the big dogs. Until he finds better hunting grounds, more innocent bird blood is likely to be spilled on the patio.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Crabby Ol' Me...

Cancer is my sign (I love Steve Martin's rejoinder to that line: "I'm a Feces myself...") and I'm a typical crab today. I couldn't find a pic of a hermit crab because that would be more fitting! I'd love to crawl into my shell and stay there.

What a crappy day! I have spent more hours than I care to think about trying to get my laptop to print to my PC, which the cable guy screwed up (and I can't follow the instructions to fix it because I downloaded the software online and do not have a disc to insert - although I'd like to insert something into the cable guy!). Being tech deficient I'm about to pull out my remaining hair! I'm so spoiled from working with some of the best IT people in town, and now that I'm off on perm disability I can't pick up the phone and yell "Come save me!" anymore. I don't have the funds to call the Geek Squad this month so I will continue to stress. I leave stuff alone for ages because I know I don't have the skills to fix it, then the manic side kicks in and I just HAVE to get it fixed so I spend hours torturing my psyche and overloading all of those delicate little neurons in my brain, and sometimes I swear, I can hear the short circuiting going on and sparks flying out of my ears.

You know how ticked off you get when you load a program and you go through all of the processes and right down to the last one and it's "ERROR." Crap. I know it's some dumb little hitch I can't locate but for friggin' sakes! Then I can't get "Outlook Express" to run, mainly because I want all of those cute little Incredimail thingies. Now, that's pathetic. When OE wouldn't work before, I just let it go and when I needed to email someone or a company who uses OE, I just used my Road Runner account or Yahoo. But now I need it and it isn't cooperating. E-mail just isn't the same w/o all those cute little animated cuties, right? I know, the world is going to Hell in a hand basket and I want cute e-mail. Pathetic.
And on top of that, my darlin' best friend, my dear cuz, e-mailed to let me know her on/off guy of some 40+ years, has once again destroyed that spark of hope that just won't go away. She is (as I told her earlier and I'm adding it here because I want her to read it again!) vivacious, vibrant, giving, loving, caring, beautiful and smart! She deserves better, much better and I'm rooting for her to let go and find peace within herself (and find someone who will honor her!).
She has so much to give and this man will rue the day he finally blew out the spark for the last time.

And to top it all off, she works for a group of clowns that will never make it in Cirque du Soleil!
A group of brothers who are losers who are burned out and burning her out along with them; a daffy young self-victimized clerk who won't file because she doesn't like to and is late everyday and is always on the phone. My girl needs a vacation, a raise and a whole lot of respect!!!
Babe, you got it from here!!!

I can't drink wine, it's too late for coffee so I guess I'll watch Jay Leno and play Solitaire and try to calm myself down. Hmmmmmm.....think I'll go crawl in my shell and call it a night.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

So, Now I'm Old??? As In OLD?

"Grow old along with me...the best is yet to be." Or something like that - I believe are the words on most sundials. I'm 50-freaking-nine and I've always tried to be up-to-date when it comes to dress. I don't schelp around in polyester stretch pants and sloppy pullover tops and "comfort" shoes. Since I have daughters and have worked with younger classy women I've always kept myself well-dressed without being broke or looking like I'm trying to be 30 again.
I wear age-appropriate make-up, keep the colors in vogue without going over the top and don't over do the lip gloss and NEVER wear blue eyeshadow! That was over for me in the '60's. I still don't have to dye my hair but would if I needed to...

But I had a rude awakening last night when the family was all together. I was wearing jeans, a teal tunic turtleneck sweater (I love alliteration) and new lace-up suede ankle booties by Esprit that I'd just gotten on eBay. I was chatting with the girls and told them about the great steal I'd gotten on my fab footwear and asked them if they considered them "grannyish..." They looked at one another and started laughing and my youngest looked at me and said, "But mom, you are old!"

Jeeeze, girls! I never in a million years would've treated my mom like that. It goes back to the post under "My Horoscope." I'm always so damned concerned about others' feelings. Well, the wind went right out of my sails. There were a couple of other occurrences that evening that made me wonder about respect and their lack of it for me. I felt as if I was the brunt of jokes and maybe I'm too thinned skinned, but I didn't appreciate it. Could it be the wine they were drinking? I don't know. But by the time we got home last night, I felt 100 yrs old.

Dealing with depression is a day-to-day adventure. Some days are red-letter days which mean I actually got dressed and went somewhere. Then there are the days where I have no purpose or meaning to my life. Yesterday was a good day until I started to really brood about the behind the hand remarks and other little slights. Now, that is not their fault. I have learned a long time ago that how I choose to react in certain situations is MY choice. My first reaction was to feel that the world would be better off without me, my kids don't love me, my brother can't stand me, I can't work, we're losing the house...yadda, yadda, yadda...

My brain is wired to go into a tailspin when it receives vibes it perceives to be harmful. It's up to me and the serotonin-based meds I take to correct the path those thoughts take and make sure I pull up on the throttle and keep from crashing. It's just so dratted hard!!!

I'm not going to put on a red hat and wear purple. I refuse. To my way of thinking that's advertising, "I'm old!" But I can put on my jeans, my funky new boots and listen to some jazz or Hootie and the Blowfish and cool my jets. (I don't know where all of these airplane analogies are coming from!) "Old" is a state of mind and, while I do not have any intention of wearing hip-hugger pants or going without undies in public (or a bra for that matter!) I ain't done yet!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Of Cockatiels and Shih Tzus...

Katie is the sweetest dog I have ever known! Spike is our little cockatiel clown. They love to hang out together. Spike will walk up to Katie and say, "Hello!" And they'll go nose to beak, checking each other out...My larger parrot, Spanky, will also tolerate Katie. She's just the neatest little pup. Zoe, our Schnauzer, isn't real keen on either one, especially the parrot. She knows what that beak can do!

If the rest of us could take lessons.

Baby, It's Cold Outside!!!

Records are made to be broken and we might just do that tonight and the following few days. We actually had to wrap our pipes tonight! This is the central valley in California and we're not used to a freeze warning, with overnight lows in the low 20's. I bundled up a bunch of potted plants on the front and back porches and brought in the rest of my tropicals so the guest bathroom tub is full of greenery! I draped the stuff outside with plastic trash bags and some bubble wrap and have my fingers crossed!

Our high today was 46, which isn't unusual for this time of the year but it is usually accompanied by fog, which keeps the overnight lows at or above freezing. The "Artic Express" that is bringing this cold front is blowing out the tule fog so the air is clear. There's also a chance of snow on the valley floor for Saturday. The last time we had snow was in 1999 and there was quite a bit of it on the ground.

I adore these cold days. Most of my friends think I'm nuts (I'm use to that...) in that I detest the hot summers here. But the heat is so oppressive and the cold is invigorating. You can throw on warm clothes, light a fire - when the fire nazis give you permission, that is - drink coffee or chai tea, swathe in sweats, a soft throw and a good book. My dog loves to cuddle and that provides extra warmth, so we're good to go! (And I cheat - the thermostat is set at 65!)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Winter Prom

Another year has gone by and so have a few inches. Matt (on the left) is taking his girlfriend to Winter Prom. Kyle (in the center) recently broke up with his gal-pal for the gross offense of text-messaging to the tune of $100 and needing to know his whereabouts every second. Way to go, Kyle!!! Robby is a senior this year and a survivor of proms. They're a handsome lot, these guys! Grandsons are a blessing. They're funny, gross, generous, loving, and all the neat things boys are. I love to rag on them...and I get away with it.

Monday, January 08, 2007

My Horoscope...

I read my horoscope this morning and even though I believe them to be bunk, this one struck a nerve. Here it is:
"Speaking your mind sometimes is uncomfortable. Often, you worry more about others' feelings than your own. Start acting like you are just as important."
You know how it goes. One of your buddies at work comes up to you in this gawd-awful getup and asks if you don't just loooove it. Well, of course, you fudge a little. To not do so would be cruel and would ruin their day. I've been feeling just great and have someone ask me if I'm sick. Shoots the whole day right down the tubes, right? So a little fudging for friends' sake is good.
Some people compliment themselves for being honest when down deep I think they get a kick out of hurting people. I don't think honesty has a thing to do with it.
I never considered that the reason I hold back a lot of opinions may be because I worry that I'm not important enough to relay them. I know I hate confrontation and I feel deeply about a lot of things, so I tend to steer clear of controversial things (abortion, liberalism, Christianity) with people I know will be turned off by those topics. I will answer truthfully if questioned, though.
But when it comes to my family, I'm sure this is true. I have things I need to say and stay quiet because I'm so afraid of hurting feelings. Humans are SO complicated!

Left Behind?

For those of us who don't
know our left from our
right, this just might be
the perfect gift!
I don't want to anger
my dispensationalist buddies,
especially since I was raised up
in that belief system, but someone
really had a terrific idea in rebuttal
to the LeHaye series of books!!!
Not to be outdone, a couple of atheists
have dreamed up the perfect plan. They
will, for the right price, send your last
instructions to all of your friends and loved ones after the Rapture. In other words, your "I Told You So" letters! Don't you know they'll make a small fortune!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Abomination in Congress

It's the "Rock 'em, Sock 'em Robot!"

It's worse than I'd even anticipated. Even Cindy Sheehan is protesting...

Mz. Peolosi proclaimed herself to be "the strongest woman" in America. Talk about humility!!! Can the Anti-Christ be a female? Now, that's something the evangelicals haven't considered.

I have absolutely nothing against women in politics, but I sure as heck can think of a dozen or more than this sorry excuse of estrogen for the job. I couldn't watch all of the proceedings as I already had diarrhea today and the nausea was setting in. But the wild look in her eyes was unsettling, to say the least. So now we have an megalomaniac in line for the presidency and Cheney's got a weak ticker. Please, God! I know we deserve a lot as a country, but please spare us this witch!

The only thing I can hope for is that she'll continue on with her appointments (chair of terrorism didn't know the difference between Al Qaida, Hamas, and the Taliban!!!) and with her discussions of ethics with Jefferson, Conyers, et al, re-elected, I'm hoping folks will have regained their senses and vote the scum out in '08. The Deocratic party of JFK and FDR no longer exists.
This bunch of loons will run us off the cliff like lemmings.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Patterns on the Water

As the wind ripples still waters, so are my thoughts tonight, January 1st, 2007. Last year began with a wonderful day of rain, cleansing the air. Today, the weather was uneventful, with a forecast of fog overnight. But my thoughts for the new year are muddled...there's so much at stake this year. Number one, where will we be living?

I have always loved the feeling of slicing through the water into a pool although I've never been a good diver. Feeling the water surrounding you, refreshing you, then releasing you into the oxygenated air as your lungs begin to yearn for relief is so exhilarating. Even standing in a shower is a ritual as the water cleanses your skin and helps ease tense muscles. It's no wonder God requires the covenant of baptism. Standing in the middle of a sandstorm just doesn't hold the same symbolism as the cleansing of water.

Even though my thoughts are not clear tonight and I have such an awful tendency to fret, the photo above is still beautiful and shows promise. The light shining on the water and the patterns it forms as it swirls about is full of mystery and power.

I choose not to make idle resolutions but to work on viewing my thoughts this year as showing promise. I'm not using the sub-title "Echoes" this year. Although I still need to work on things from my past to heal the present, I want to have a vision of HOPE.

May His face shine upon you and bring you peace...