Sunday, August 31, 2008

One Single Impression: Spectacle

This week's prompt for One Single Impression was "spectacle." I thought this was the prompt three weeks ago, so I've had these waiting to post. (If you have trouble reading any of these, you can click on them to see a larger verison.)

Not spectacular
But already completed
Easy week for me

Friday, August 29, 2008

Saturday Wordzzle Challenge: Week 28

Welcome to Week 28 of the Saturday Wordzzle Challenge. Those new to the process can check back here for guidelines of how the challenge works. I had a hard time writing anything this week and then I had a hard time getting this to post. It looks sort of distorted to me. Sorry about that. I am disgruntled, distressed, burdened with the blahs.... Hope these aren't as dull as they seem to me. Looking forward to reading what everyone else has done.

The words for this week's ten word challenge were: pogo stick, ant farm, psychic, tin box, wall safe, Waterloo, surge protector, pneumonia, ravages of time, turtle And for the Mini Challenge: Swollen ankles, opera singer, toothy grin, oil paints, potter’s wheel

Here's my ten-word offering for this week.

Psychic Wanda Waterloo, mother of five sat amidst the chaos of pogo sticks, fish tanks, an ant farm, the terrarium which was home to her youngest’s three box turtles, a pile of jump ropes, three tin boxes and a host of other toys and childhood paraphernalia. She was in every way a very ordinary person except that when the phone rang and some distant police chief asked for her help she was suddenly transported to distant places. On this particular day she saw first an old woman whose face bore the ravages of time, she felt the gasping breath and the tight breathing that her intuition read as pneumonia. Next she saw the surge protector tossed into the old woman’s bath. Lastly she saw a man’s hand wearing a large gold ring with a skull on it and a very unique watch reaching into the wall safe. All this she shared with the distant policeman, hearing as she did his astonishment at the accuracy of the details she described. As quickly as the vision came, it was gone and she gratefully hugged the three year old who crawled into her lap for a hug and returned her to the hectic peace of her every-day life.

And here's my mini challenge:

Sitting at the potter’s wheel, Zelda turned the stereo up full volume and let the voice of the opera singer fill the room. “You’re giving me swollen ankles, mighty munchkin, but I love you anyway,” she whispered to her swollen belly, lips parting in a toothy grin. “This belly is making pottery too difficult, so I guess it’s time to move on to oil paints. No matter what it takes, little one, I’m gonna make sure you got culture from before you’re born. Your gonna have a life like dreams are made of, I promise. Listen good to that music, ya hear? That’s what smart folks listen to. Only the best for my little one. You’re gonna have a better life than me, I promise, baby love. I promise.”

And the mega challenge:

His wrinkled face and toothy grin reflecting the ravages of time and hard work both, the old farmer looked the tired young woman up and down, noting her swollen ankles, blood-shot eyes and general air of exhaustion and then took in the unhappy looking child standing miserably at her side. Opera singer, are ya?” he announced more than asked. “Doc said you had pneumonia and need to rest and recuperate.” When she nodded, he added “Waterloo Tin Box Farm may look rustic, but I think you and that young lad will both enjoy your stay here. My wife Essie’s a fine cook… and she’s also a pretty impressive psychic. She’ll be thrilled to give you a reading if you’d like. And we got lots of entertainment for both you and the boy. There’s movies every night and live music on weekends. We got a Art department: a potter’s wheel if you want to try your hand and oil paints and canvass if you’ve a mind to be creative. Or you can just rest and enjoy the scenery. We got a wall safe in the main house if you got valuables and surge protectors in case you got a computer you want to hook up. As for you, boy, ever seen an ant farm? I got the biggest one you’ll ever see. Belonged to my son when he was your age – long time ago now. We got a couple of big old box turtles out back that love an extra treat of fresh lettuce from anyone that wants to visit them. And this here’s Pogo Stick,” he said as an energetic little dog bounced up and down at the boy’s side quickly erasing his sullen shyness with doggie kisses. As though a great weight had been lifted from her shoulders, the tired mother smiled for the first time. “Looks like a friendship made in heaven… I can’t wait to get settled in and enjoy some of your famous hospitality. Thanks so much for this warm welcome.”

This week's vanity wordzzle used the words: moonshine, tenacious, stalagmite, acoustical ceiling, president, fabulous, swirl, roller coaster, high arch, fringe.

President Eubie McCoy rolled his eyes upward, gazed at the bland sameness of the acoustical ceiling and longed for simple times and better days, before he had been sucked into the consuming, tenacious world of politics and glory and deceit. He thought back to childhood days in the Ozark Mountains and his mind took him into the rich green woods and the high arch entrance to Dinwood's cave. That was a ceiling - its high curve dripping with stalagmites and stalactites. It’s beauty beyond words. He could almost feel the dampness of the strange rock formations. And then, like some exotic roller coaster, his mind jolted forward and he was 16, aware now that there was a bigger world that swirled beyond the fringes of the woods, where they laughed at coon hunters and moonshiners. In those days the mystery of that world had seemed too fabulous to resist and he had scraped and clawed and pushed to get away. He had vowed at the time to destroy that quaint old world of his childhood. But years of public life had changed all that. He was tired, right past his bones and into his soul. He would trade it all - the power, the money, the glamour - for a good jug of moonshine liquor and a night under the stars outside of Dinwood's cave.


Next Week's Ten Word Challenge will be: invincible, falling leaves, (surge protector - OOPS! Sorry... I'd do that cross out thing but I don't know how), two-year-old, fusion, grizzly bear, Jamaica, delivery, popsicle stick, caviar ... Surge Protector can be replaced with lap-top

And for the Mini Challenge: toad stool, liquid lunch, counting sheep, manacles, Jurassic Park

Thanks for playing. For those who are new, here are some guidelines to make the process more fun.

Enjoy! See you next week.


Lately, Mr. Linky has been playing hide and seek. On the off chance that all you see is a little square instead of the Mr. Linky logo, just click on the square. The little guy should be there. I don't have sufficient cyber skills to know why this has been happening. And maybe it's only happening on my computer which has been acting very odd of late.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I Love Barack Obama

Anyone who didn't listen to Barack Obama's speech tonight, should make it a point to find it and either watch or read it. This is a great man. He offers hope - but it isn't empty hope. It is promise, new ideas to revitalize and restore this nation's dignity and decency as well as our economy and our place in the world. Awesome.

I hate pundits. I think they are morons who love the sound of their own voices. I think I will turn the sound down and do something else instead of let them rain on the substance and genius of Mr. Obama's speech.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wake Up America!

Ok, I know I'm not posting (see below) right now. I'm on break. But I love Dennis Kucinich. I think he's a great man. I haven't been able to make this video run - or any other - but I've read the text and I just have to share my man Dennis.

Now I will return to my sort of cave.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Just Taking a Few Days Off


A couple of people were worried about me because I didn't post anything yesterday - pretty much the first time in almost 8 months that I have not done so.

I'm a creature of inertia so it makes me a bit anxious to take this break. Will I start up again? Well Saturday is Wordzzles so I have to, I think.

Meanwhile, I'm just a touch under the weather with a flu-ish something that is better but still making me tired an cranky and unenthusiastic about anything much.

I have been watching the Democratic Convention. Some boring speeches. I thought Michelle Obama did a great job and so did Hilary Clinton. I was moved by Ted Kennedy's speech too. One thing that has been really wonderful watching the convention is the abundance of black and female voices.

I sure hope that John McCain loses by a landslide. I think I've mentioned before that I live on the border between New York and Pennsylvania and I watch too much TV. This means that I'm seeing a great many of the vile and dishonest campaign ads being run over and over by the McCain campaign. Bad enough are the ones that misrepresent the truth of Obama's platform, but today I heard one which virtually accused Obama of being a terrorist. I was stunned and disgusted.

Well this is a pretty long post saying that I'm not posting, isn't it? Sigh. No Ruby Tuesday, or Wordless Wednesday or Bridges or Skywatch (well maybe I'll feel better by Thursday night). Anyway, I'm just going to rest up a bit and see if I can kick the inner pity party crowd out of my head.

I will probably pop around and visit people, but I might not even do that. I still care, though.

Much Love and see you shortly,

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Alphabet Backwards: D is for Dental Care and Delivery

The Alphabet Backwards is winding towards it close. This week we confront the letter D. D is for diamonds, dogs, diverticulitis, drama, dragnet, dragons, dessert, deserts, doubt, Darfur, duets, diagnoses, dumb bells, devils, darkness, Democrats, doggerel, deviled eggs, dew, Devonshire, Denmark, Detroit, downers, Down Under, default, dearth, debris, Dodge, Desdamona, duplicitous, derbies, dusk, dawn, darning, daisies, dogwood, dahlias, daffodils - lots of flowers seem to begin with d – distance, discovery, diary, dairy, disguises, doves, doors, dragonflies, dreams, dictators, Diebold, danger, democracy, demagogues, demonstrations, drugs, delivery, dental care….

Well, I can’t say that it isn’t tempting to go off on another rant about the Bush administration and the dangers Democracy is facing. I do hope some people will listen to the video series below about the Diebold machines. Since I posted that yesterday, I’ll skip a political tirade today… well almost. I’ve chosen two words for today’s theme. Dental Care and Delivery.

Since I moved to Upstate New York (first Sullivan County and now Delaware County), I’ve learned a lot more about how poor people are treated in this country. It isn’t pretty. Even though I’m disabled and technically poor, I grew up middle class and that makes the nature of my poverty pretty different, I think. First off, I had more than enough to eat my whole life. I had books and medical care when I needed it (at least before I became my own caretaker). I had literate parents and a decent education. I also had good dental care early on, something poor people in our country are apparently not entitled to unless their teeth need to be pulled. Dental care I learned from many of the people I met with ravaged mouths half full of rotting teeth – and half empty - dental care is, in the eyes of the stingy rich people who make the rules – cosmetic. The government will pay for dentures when your teeth have rotted and been pulled out – assuming you haven’t died from heart or other complications first. I wish I had more artistic skill but hopefully my two smiles give a hint of the difference in "affluent" teeth and those of the poor. Painting black smudges and darkening otherwise healthy teeth doesn't really give the full impact, but hopefully it gives some. Nobody should have to live with discolored and missing teeth in a society as rich and advanced as ours.

I believe that we should have universal health coverage, in which case dental care would presumably be covered as well. In the meantime, these demented and Draconian (D words) policies, besides being evil and obscene add to the health care problems of the poor. Bad teeth impact your overall physical health and your emotional health. They make you less employable. They make you feel bad about yourself. And they make you sick, sometimes profoundly and fatally ill. Dental infections are especially dangerous to diabetics. They can lead to serious heart problems. But as far as Medicaid is concerned, they are a cosmetic issue. How shameful that the richest country in the world treats it’s citizens with such lack of compassion and respect. It makes me angry. It makes me sad. It makes me profoundly grateful that I have very strong teeth. I’ll dental rant at that for the moment and close on a lighter note. (I’ve been quite a curmudgeon the last week or so. I’m not feeling well and it makes me extra cranky.)

So my other choice of D words (since I decided to avoid politics) was delivery. I really miss it. I can’t say I really miss New York City. Because of my disability, I was kind of a prisoner in my apartment the last years there. And I like my little house and looking out the window at trees and birds and chipmunks. But I do miss… really, really, really miss… DELIVERY. Other than UPS, Fed Ex and the Post Office - oh – and Schwanns, thank God - nobody delivers anything here in the middle of nowhere. You want it, you’d better be able to go and get it yourself. In truth, it’s probably a good thing. I’m kind of a delivery junkie. When I lived in NYC, I could pick up the phone and have a couple of days worth (more cost effective that way) of Afghanistani food, or Chinese, or …. I could have a pizza delivered or… Pretty much anything I wanted. It was terrible for my health, I suppose, but oh, how delightful. I actually suggested to one of my neighbors that it would be a great business for someone around here. You could deliver for all the local businesses. He said he had actually thought of that when he first moved up here but the businesses wouldn’t go for it. Too bad. Of course, Hancock, doesn’t offer any good Afghan restaurants either.

One more thought on the subject of delivery. It’s one of the gifts of the internet for people like me. Maybe I can’t get meals, but I can get almost everything else – movies, groceries, books, my camera, cat food and litter – all things that I don’t have to burden my kind and already overly generous friends with doing for me. Last week I found a good buy on garbage bags at I’m set for the next year and a half. Yippee!

So that’s it from me for the letter D. Only C, B and A and then I’m sprung from this goofy idea for good and my noble kind-hearted visitors won’t be forced to read them any more either. Phew.

Have a great week.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Elections in Danger: More on Diebold

More material on the danger of Deibold machines and the danger of having yet another election stolen. Spoonerman is am expert in computers and credit card fraud. He's a life-long REPUBLICAN who has campaigned for people I despise. As he says, this isn't a Republican/Democratic issue. It's about Democracy. This interview dates back to 2006. I am stunned and dismayed at the inertia of our government and our public. While we let people scare us with the boogy-man of terrorism, our Democracy is being eroded and stolen right from under our noses while we twiddle our thumbs and stare into the far distance. These are all fairly short videos.

One Single Impression: Resolve

This week's prompt for One Single Impression was "resolve." Squeezing even these three pathetic offerings out was not easy. Sigh.

Although I resolved
To participate today
No inspiration
Alas, ideas were too few
Inspiration came not

Where are our leaders?
Why won’t they do anything?
Eight years of unchecked
High crimes and misdemeanors
Where is Congress’s resolve?


Somehow firm resolve
Doesn’t always linger on
I start strong and fade


Resolve’s a good thing
A long as we remember
You can’t always win
Sometimes God has other plans
That are more long range than ours

Friday, August 22, 2008

Saturday Wordzzle Challenge: Week 27

This is week 27 of the Saturday Wordzzle Challenge. Anyone new to the process can refer back here to find out how it works. Thanks again to Jeff B for supplying this week's words/phrases. I enjoyed my break from making them up myself.

The words for this week's ten word challenge were: tiramisu, transfixed, evacuation, Queen of the Nile, pillowcase, grammatical, voice inflection, pacified, micro climate, swami And for the Mini Challenge: maggots, thermal pocket, industrial, bovine, feminized

Here's my ten-word offering for this week.

Miranda sat transfixed by the droning voice of the swami. He droned on and on with no voice inflection, no movement and she felt pacified and content. At first her mind had flitted wildly across a wild range of topics: whether to have tiramisu for dessert, what was a micro climate, where was the exit in case of evacuation, had that last sentence been grammatical, and did she really like the pillowcase that came with the Queen of the Nile sheet set… And then slowly her mind quieted and she felt a wonderful peace descend on her. So this is what meditation is all about she thought shortly before her snores disrupted the entire gathering.

And here's my mini challenge:

On the TV the weatherman droned on about a thermal pocket – why didn’t they just say rain, cold, sun - what was the thermal pocket nonsense… she muttered to herself. She had bigger problems than the weatherman, though. Daisy May, the feminized industrial bovine (following the weatherman’s penchant for fancy words where simple ones would do) had apparently failed to do a product check and the fancy cottage cheese she had planned to have for lunch was full of maggots.

And the mega challenge:

With no voice infliction whatsoever, a feminized bovine made up to look like the Queen of the Nile droned on about thermal pockets and micro climates and evacuation plans. After the weather, the Queen of the Nile had moved on to the totally unrelated subject of what was and was not grammatical using a sentence containing the words wiggly worms and maggots. It was brilliant and strangely mesmerizing. The children sat transfixed and pacified. That cow is like an industrial strength swami thought Jennifer, mother of six, as she changed the last of a dozen pillowcases, then headed to the refrigerator where she pulled out the last little bowl of tiramisu, picked up a book and stretched out for what she hoped might be a half hour of uninterrupted peace. “God bless that cow,” she whispered.

This week's vanity wordzzle used the words: picture, roof, line, red, eyes, silence, talkative, cake

For someone as talkative as Mary Smith, a three-day silent retreat was no picnic. I mean, Mary liked to talk to herself, and this silence was all but killing her. Her eyes were red and bleary from lack of sleep because she had spent the night running through all the things she had wanted to say to this person and that. I mean the place they were at was beautiful! It was like a picture postcard. And not just the surrounding views either. The house itself was a jewel, every line perfectly aligned to complement and be complemented by the surrounding countryside. And you could sit on the roof! Really. You could see for miles. And there was a lake that was so blue it seemed unreal, and butterflies, and tiny wild flowers in just about every color you could imagine. And - she thought maybe the silence had gotten to her with this one - but she was certain that she had seen fairies playing at the edge of the woods. She had desperately wanted to talk to them, but she was stuck with this stupid vow of silence and she couldn't ask anyone else if the fairies were real or just her imagination. She wanted to scream, she wanted to tear out her hair. "Please, God, do something or I'll surely talk." And as if in answer to her prayer, the "tea-time" bell sounded. "I'd rather talk, God, but if you insist, I will fill my mouth with cake instead."

Next Week's Ten Word Challenge will be: pogo stick, ant farm, psychic, tin box, wall safe, Waterloo, surge protector, pneumonia, ravages of time, turtle

And for the Mini Challenge: Swollen ankles, opera singer, toothy grin, oil paints, potter’s wheel

Thanks for playing. For those who are new, here are some guidelines to make the process more fun.l

Enjoy! See you next week.


Lately, Mr. Linky has been playing hide and seek. On the off chance that all you see is a little square instead of the Mr. Linky logo, just click on the square. The little guy should be there. I don't have sufficient cyber skills to know why this has been happening. And maybe it's only happening on my computer which has been acting very odd of late.

Fable of the Month: The Aftermath

OK... Going WAAAAYYYY outside of my comfort zone with this one. Sex is mentioned and even implied. If my mother even thought you might be thinking about sex or had thought about sex at any time in your life, she pretty much thought you were a whore. She pretty much thought I was a whore just because I was a girl and had girl parts. I was actually very much an innocent but boy did I feel guilty. I just had no idea about what. So anyway.... comfort zone... speck in the distance, not even really visible... I do know, though (I think), that this is pretty funny. It was a class assignment years ago. (I surely didn't come up with the topic myself. Can't remember exactly how the assignment was worded, but I know the porno theater and the end of the world were the teacher's idea, not mine. I just ran with it.) Anyway, enough disclaimers. Prudish people proceed at your own risk.



Katherine E. Rabenau

Sometimes I think God doesn't exist; sometimes I think He's a practical joker; and sometimes I'm convinced the old bastard's just a full-blown sadist. Right now I'm leaning toward the sadist end of the scale. You see, I guess the assholes (the official, elected assholes, that is) dropped the damned hydrogen bomb and everyone but me is gone. I mean, I guess that's what happened. One minute it was life as usual and then the next, BOOM. I don't really know what happened or even how I survived or why, but I seem to be the only one left. I keep thinking there must be someone else, but so far, no one. I'm not sure how long it's been, to tell the truth. At first, I didn't mind the loneliness that much, you know. I mean, the situation was so overwhelming. They thought the destruction of property with this bomb wouldn't be so bad, but let me tell you, it's awful. Here's a good joke for you. Just about the only building left in tact is Vic Voyeur's Variety Theatre and Porno World. That's what I mean about God being a practical joker. Me, alone in the world with only a porno theatre for company. Jesus! The world's most sexually repressed woman living in the lobby of a porno theatre. And you know what's really stupid? I'm still scared to go inside. Weird thing is there's still electricity, too. I could even run the movies. It would be company, I guess. I mean, how sinful can sex be if there's no one to have it with? And I suppose if there was someone around, it would be our duty to procreate the species, so I suppose I could look on this as study time, learning how it's done, just in case, you know, somebody shows up. God, I wish somebody would.

What a concept! Guilt-free sex. Virtuous sex. Well, what have I got to lose? Who's gonna punish me? Shit, this is weird, alone here in the dark with these strange images flickering away. How beautiful it is to hear a human voice. I didn't realize how much I missed sounds, how much I have always missed touch. Jesus, look what she's doing! Oh, my God! Hmmmm. Well, I guess there's no harm in trying. I mean, I'm the only person left in the world. Who's gonna see? I guess I could take these clothes off. They're pretty dirty anyway. Oooooh, shit. That feels really good! No wonder people like this stuff! I never knew my body could do that. Why on earth was this a sin? God, I mean, it feels nice. I wonder if I'm really the only one left? Maybe there are some others and we can make a new world, a new Garden of Eden, only with different rules. Let's see. Don't kill would still stand. Then love one another, but body and soul. Oh, and we could add love yourself. (Make that one body and soul, too.) Love yourself and the rest will fall in place kind of naturally, the loving others part. Oh, and we'd have lots of mirrors and people would have to admire themselves. And each other. No matter what a person looked like, you'd see them as beautiful and praise their qualities. If they were thin, you'd say what lovely thinness they had and if they were fat, you'd admire how magnificently, beautifully fat they were. And we'd study our bodies. Oooh, this feels good. Wish I'd known about this before... Yes, where was I? Oh, masturbation would be encouraged, and touching. We could still pray and meditate and all that stuff, but we'd have to respect our bodies too. God, I hope there are still others around. I don't want to end my days alone in a porno theatre, though I'm really glad I found it, found my body. Too bad the world had to end for me to do it. Kind of extreme. Oh, my God, look at that! How did they do that? Hmmmm. I could do that alone. Oh, God, yes. Yes! Oh, oh, aaah. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you. Think I'll try that again. Hmmmm. Oh, God, please let there be at least one man still alive out there. Good looking, if you can, though I suppose in my new order, anyone is good looking. And probably if he's the only man on earth he will look good. I guess I should probably head out and start looking for him. But meanwhile, I'll just stay here and study for a little while longer. Oh, boy, look at that! OH, YES!


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Poem(s) of the Week: Two Dark Poems, Two about Time

From right to left: My sister Carole in pink, my brother Phil and me.
This is the only picture of my brother that I have available digitally. I may try to photograph some other, later pictures tomorrow but I'll have to dig them out of storage. Except that we are rather rosy cheeked and painted in the style of antiquity, it's a nice picture. You could look at it and think we lived a different life than we did. Doesn't really go with the poems, but it's what I wanted to post.

This an odd collection of poems. The first two are about my relationship with my brother. It took me until my 40s to realize how destructive he was. I lived most of my life before then in a kind of trance in which my job was to make everyone happy and anything which went wrong in the world was my fault. It took me about 8 years of therapy to start being pissed off. I'm stubborn. The last two poems are just kind of odd. Not sure why I'm posting them at all. Maybe because they are less dark than the first two.
The first two were written probably when I was in my 50s, the second two in my 20s or 30s. Anyway, proceed at your own risk.


When I think of seeing him
I see a giant spider
Waiting to mummify me
In gooey silken thread
Before it makes a meal of me
Slowly over time
Keeping me alive somehow
Until it can suck not just the life
But the spirit out of me
Can I have loved him once?
Was there someone once to love
Despite the rages and hurts
And did the darkness grow and grow inside him
Until there was nothing else left?

- Katherine E. Rabenau

If I let my rage come loose
Will the sharp-edged, iron weight
Fly wild and hurt some stranger
Or will it cut straight through you, dear brother
And kill Mom too?
Do I shield you because
To touch my rage at you
Is to risk hurting her
Whom I loved so much
Who hurt me so?

- Katherine E. Rabenau


Time changes everything
Locks us in words, threadbare maxims
Plays sleight of hand with hope
(Now you see it, now you don't)
But never pauses the slow march
Sideways through eternity
Never stops holding out the bait
While mankind pursues the hand on the clock
Endlessly circling
Until he stops to be rewound
And set on the same foolish chase

- Katherine E. Rabenau


A sequence of events
Ordained by fate and chance alike
Borders of the possible
An infinite set of variable mandates
By which we steer our lives
Into some mysterious triangle
Where all things make sense
And the world no longer sees or hears
But none-the-less wonders from time to time
What it all meant
And what that power is
Whose presence we cannot know.

- Katherine E. Rabenau

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Just Thinking and a Belated Apology

Well, I've decided to take a break from meme world for a few days. We'll see if I can hold to that with Skywatch coming up, but for today, anyway, I thought I'd try some words. When I first started this blog, the idea was to trick myself into writing again. Alas, I'm not the most self-motivated person. Tell me to write about subject X or Y and I'll probably sit down and write something, but leave me to my own devices and I'll brood about what I should say and while away my time playing computer games. Photo memes have been a great diversion from writing. Don't get me wrong. Buying my camera last March and joining these memes has been pure joy from start to finish. The camera has expanded my tiny four-room world and visiting others and seeing their creativity is a wonderful way to explore the world from my desk. Still, it has become a bit consuming. Today, I want to try to write. So here I am. Now what the hell am I going to say?

One thing, I guess I need to get out of my system is an apology to the two or three people who gave me awards which I have very ungraciously not picked up, posted or even acknowledged here. I'm really, really sorry about that. I have trouble with praise. I love it. I drink it in like water in the desert. BUT... it also freaks me out. Praise and I have a spotty history. I grew up with a genius (162 IQ) psychopath brother and a deeply wounded mother. My brother is 7-1/2 years older than me. He was pretty much God's gift to everyone's world - handsome, brilliant, charming (unless you knew him) . Still he HATED, I mean pathologically hated, hated, hated, seeing a word of praise come my way. Hated any success I might have. And he found ways to punish me when such things happened. For my mother's part (besides being oblivious to my brother's insanity), she equated feeling good about yourself with the sin of vanity. She made sure to bring you down off of any awards platform you might think of stepping onto. So I pretty much have little breakdowns around certain kinds of compliments.

A week or so ago, I sent someone a CD I made while I was in Arizona. It's a weird thing. It's woo-woo stuff... channeled "toning." I sometimes use sound when I do reiki and I had a young seven-year-old friend in Arizona who loved it and was upset that I was moving back east. That and some encouragement from my friend Saggio pushed me beyond the outer limits of my comfort zone, my wallet, my everything. I'm very proud of having done it. As I said, it's channeled. No second takes, one hour of improvised sound. Weird. Anyway, I received the kindest note from L. and instead of glowing with joy, my heart shut down and I went into a kind of depression. Thank God for therapy, because I didn't make the connection about what had sunk me into the abyss. Intellectually, I love praise more than most people probably. I salivate for it. I crave it. I hunger for it. I long for it. Maybe because even when I get it, I'm only able to metabolize a small percentage of it. Intellectually, I know better. This is a reaction that is un (or semi, maybe) conscious and instinctive. Even writing about it here, I feel myself going into the tired place.

And of course thinking, "that's right, let's write a big whine as our first venture into words for a while. I'm sure people will be thrilled and beg for more." And while I do apologize for going on at length about this, I suspect I'm not totally alone in feeling insecure about success. I suspect there are plenty of others out there with similar issues in one way or another. One of the many things about much "religious" teaching is that it totally screws people up and robs them of much joy. I personally believe that God/Great Mystery/All that Is/- whatever or however you view the Divinity (if you believe in one) - wants nothing more than to have us rejoice in our beauty and talent and creative expression. Even Jesus said "don't hide your light under a bushel." Yet much religious teaching seems to tell us to do just that. I think most of us know this in our hearts, but I also think we have a lot of confusion about it too. Maybe that's one of the reasons we like to put celebrities and others on pedestals and then tear them down. We admire people who let their light shine, but we resent them too. They are doing what we wish we could. I've been watching bits and pieces of the Olympics. What a joy to see these young people embracing their talents and their hard-won successes. I love it. My mother's voice does sometimes whisper in my ear about their vanity. Poor, sad, mother. Alas and fortunately, I only ever listen/listened to that voice in relation to myself. I'm hoping that by the time I move out of this life, I'll be able to let the love in not just to my head, but into my whole being. It's what I wish for all of us in this life... to let go of toxic shame and to both see and rejoice in our own and each other's magnificence and talent.

Well, this is already too long... It's incomplete, I know. I do apologize again to the three (four?) people who have gifted me and had their lovely gifts unclaimed and unacknowledged. It's both rude and unkind not to receive a gift and I apologize for my lack of grace in doing so. I will do so formally soon (hopefully), I promise. It may still take me a while to find them again and to work through my craziness. But I am none-the-less grateful.

For better or worse, I have a feeling this may be part one of a larger discussion. It feels unfinished as it is, but it's after 2:00 pm and I don't want to ramble on for too much longer in any case. Maybe, I'll close with a poem that touches on this subject with at least an awakening of hope. I posted it a few months back, but I'll share it here as a way to close. May we all learn to let our light shine joyfully and without shame or doubt... and without worrying about whether we are "worthy" or not. We are. Just because we live and breathe and love.

October 1, 1999

Live as big as the sky, she said
And I felt my heart awaken and take note
As big as the sky? it asked?
Can I do that?
I don’t know, I said,
Liking always to be truthful.
But we can try.

- Katherine E. Rabenau

Monday, August 18, 2008

Ruby Tuesday

Maryt/The Teach over at Work of the Poet has something called Ruby Tuesday which featuring all things red.

Since I never leave the house, I'm pretty ill-equipped to come up with much new red week after week. This week the strain is really starting to show. Of course given my limitations, you'd think I'd limit myself to one photo, but I just can't do it. I am by nature a person of excess, I guess and one - or even two - photos - just doesn't feel like enough. Sigh. And of course blogger is misbehaving big time tonight. Grrr.

This week's assortment is pretty wide-ranging.

My niece Cindy has recently converted some old slides to digital form. This is a rare photo of my mother and father actually looking pretty happy. Of course they are holding their youngest grandchild (I think it's their youngest) who is now in her 30s and they have been at rest for 18 years. They were born 5 days apart and died less than three months apart. Their last years were so full of grief and illness that it was nice to see this reminder that they had their happy moments. (Late added confession: I just realized these are supposed to be my photos. I didn't take this one. I just got excited because it had red and it's such a nice picture of my parents. I think my brother-in-law took it.)

This is some fall foliage I took with my old camera back when I lived in Callicoon (or maybe Narrowsburg).

These are some apples (I think) on my neighbor's tree.

Then - before I found the picture of my parents and the old tree picture, in desperation, I took one of my cloud shots, turned it red and then played with making it into a variety of kaleidoscopes. I'm not terribly pleased with them, but... they are very red. I think they probably look slightly better if you click on them and view them larger.

Happy Ruby Tuesday!

Elections and the vote Part 2: HACKING DEMOCRACY

This is actually what I wanted to post yesterday but I couldn't find it. I have a vague idea that I posted this or part of it before, but I can't find it and it bears repeating even if I did. I'm going to post all nine segments.

Check here for more information on HACKING DEMOCRACY.

The Alphabet Backwards: E is for Elections and Eloquence

I meant to publish this tomorrow but I screwed up. I thought about deleting it and reposting, but I'm not going to argue with the will of the fates. I hope you'll check out my Sunday post too, though. Pretty singing and the link to a wonderful video at my niece Diana's site. That adds up to a lot of videos, I know, but they are all really good.

This week’s Alphabet backwards - which comes to you a week late - features the letter “E.” There’s a pretty rich supply of interesting words. Evil, Envy, experience, emeralds, embarrassment, eagles, exceptional, elephants, elephant in the living room, effort, escapism, errors, editorials, editors, email, exaggeration, eating, Easter, edges, empathic, education, elections, Evil Empire, Emerald City, Establishment, End Times, elevators, equestrian, eggs, emergency, excess, empires, epic, epicenter, evolution, England, eugenics, early bird, expresso, epaulets, eulogies, evergreen, easy living, economics, economy, environment... And then there are phrases like...

Eagerly expecting the End Times, Empire-builder, Evil George and his buddy Evil Dick, Elaborated lies, Elevated fears, Entered into war, Eulogizing the military (while), Eliminating funding and care, Enriching themselves, Enabling the desecration of the constitution, Elections rigged, manipulated, Economy in ruins, Environment – who cares. Eliminate checks and balances, Eliminate your enemies... Ok, so this last list is a rant.

I was going to write about how important it is to vote and how precious and endangered our electoral process is but I think maybe the following videos will have more eloquence than I do on this subject. Those who think our elections are safe, listen to these videos. Those who think that fear about stolen elections is paranoia, listen to these videos. Those who think voting doesn't matter... listen to these videos.

On the subject of eloquence - another "E" word - I would just direct you to this wonderful piece that my friend Dianne at Forks Off the Moment wrote last week.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday Break

Well, I had something all prepared for One Single Impression, but I got the prompt wrong and I don't have enough ambition to start over, so.... thought I'd offer another Sunday musical interlude. I ran across this on my skywatch travels. I apologize to the person I borrowed it from. I forgot to note your link so I can't credit you. I thought this was a wonderful version of Over the Rainbow, though.

If you've got the time, I recommend that you pop over to my niece Diana's blog and watch a video she posted a week ago. I would have borrowed it and posted it here, but the coding is hidden and you have to have her level of computer genius to share it. I can't say that I live in accordance with what this film talks about, but it is certainly rich food for thought and beautifully done.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Saturday Wordzzle Challenge: Week 26

Please scroll down for Skywatch Friday.)

This is week 26 of the Saturday Wordzzle Challenge. Anyone new to the process can refer back here to find out how it works. Thanks again to Jeff B for supplying this week's words/phrases. I continue to enjoy the break from making them up myself.

I had a hard time this with this week's words. Hemoglobin, Jeff? What were you thinking?

The words for this week's ten word challenge were: exponentially, Nightshade, braces, impossibility, the beginning of time, barracuda, playful banter, delve, automatic, bewildered And for the Mini Challenge: fragment, hemoglobin, insipid, flourish, juxtapose

Here's my ten-word offering for this week.

Marybeth sat bewildered looking in the mirror. Much as it had seemed an impossibility to her that she could look any uglier than she had since the beginning of time, the braces, besides being uncomfortable, made her feel exponentially more hideous. They gave her, she believed, the look of a chubby barracuda. She could hear the so-called playful banter of her family as they delved ever more deeply into the heart of her pain, twisting a thousand knives and making jokes at her expense. But she would show them. She would kill herself with nightshade also known as bella dona or beautiful woman. How better to kill her ugliness? Her pain would be gone and others would suffer. They would never be able to mock her ugliness again.

And here's my mini challenge:

Lance Langmulchen waved away the last fragment of his fear with an insipid flourish of the wrist. Meredith needed hemoglobin and he would supply her with as much blood as he could, no matter what it cost him in anxiety. Juxtaposed against the possibility of losing her, his terror of needles and tubes was nothing. “Proceed,” he whispered to the nurse, “I do this for my Meredith,” and promptly fainted.

For the mega challenge
: I went with a poem on this one. And I repeat. Hemoglobin, Jeff? Hemoglobin?

The Broken Heart

Sweet Nightshade I call you
You are poison to me
I have loved you
Since the beginning of time

Bewildered by the depth of it
Ashamed and confused

I brace against each pathetic, insipid flourish
Of attention I instinctively - automatically -
Direct to you
Although the impossibility of us -
Of you and me -
Becomes exponentially more clear
With the passing of each breath,
Each day, each week, each year

Juxtaposed against my agonized love
Your playful banter,
Not meant to be unkind

Delves deep
Like a savage barracuda
And chews on the fragments
Of my broken heart
Oblivious - which makes it so much more cruel -
You suck the hemoglobin from my blood
And my iron will melts to nothing
Sweet Nightshade
Your poison is in my blood and I cannot resist
I can't stop loving you while there is any hope
Yet even rejection would be better
Than being so unseen.


This week's vanity wordzzle used the words: mush, ping, kaleidoscope, software, pillbox hat, parquet floor, skinny woman, Venus flytrap

Ruth Jones felt like she had mush for brains and hoped that booting up the computer would ground her and bring her back to center. She felt comforted by the pings and beeps and grunting start-up noises as the software (or hardware - she was never sure which was which) brought the screen to light. From the other room she heard a thump, followed by hissing, followed by the thundering sound of cats-paws on her beautiful parquet floor and then her usually agile and well-behaved cats came tearing into the room knocking over a small shelf which held a large violet, two Venus fly-traps, and her brand new kaleidoscope, all of which crashed to the floor in a jumbled mess of leaves, glass and dirt. As if that weren't enough, the doorbell rang. Ruth frowned. "What now," and peeking through the eye-hole on her door saw with dread, a skinny woman in a pink Chanel suit and matching pillbox hat, and of course WHITE GLOVES. "I am in Hell," she sighed, forced her mouth into a smile and opened the door. "Mother! What a lovely surprise."


Special thanks to Jeff B for this week’s words and phrases (hemoglobin!????) and the following for next week. (By the way, Jeff... just kidding. I love a challenge.)

Next Week's Ten Word Challenge will be: tiramisu, transfixed, evacuation, Queen of the Nile, pillowcase, grammatical, voice inflection, pacified, microclimate, swami

And for the Mini Challenge: maggots, thermal pocket, industrial, bovine, feminized

Thanks for playing. For those who are new, here are some guidelines to make the process more fun.

Enjoy! See you next week.


Mr. Linky has been known to play hide and seek on occasion. On the off chance that all you see is a little square instead of the Mr. Linky logo, just click on the square. The little guy should be there. I don't have sufficient cyber skills to know why this has been happening. And maybe it's only happening on my computer which has been acting very odd of late.