Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Real Power

Thankfully, there was no reason to have *a discrimination suit* at workplace #2.

Tomorrow I will.be.slammed at workplace #1.

There are 3 generations of us under one roof right now.  So far so good.  Granny is in town so I can return to workplace #1....or #3 depending.  Past visits have been riddled with angst and competition and disappointment, but I have a firmer grasp now on what I *think* I can control...and all I can control is my own reactions.  I think she knows this about herself too now.

This is helpful along with the realization that we are not on this Earth forever together.  We're just trying to survive and get by; spinning around each day on a tilted axis, you know?  (and the Earth too).  Still.looking.for.perspective.  And peace.  Thankfully beauty and laughter are present.

Here's a song that popped up on my itunes.  It's a sweet remake of Huey Lewis':

Power of Love 5:19   The Early November Punk Goes 80's Alternative

It's what's on my mind right now.  Can love conquer all?  What is it "all" anyway?


"It's strong and it's sudden and it's cruel sometimes..."

"That's the power that makes the world go 'round...."

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bones to pick

On second thought, in reference to my post here:
Judgement Whore
...maybe I need to spend more time with my friends who:
1) don't allow me to feel sorry for myself and
2) share similar opinions
3) don't judge ME!

Tonight my glass of vino is a meritage from Napa County.  Oaky.  Thick.  Mouthy.  Meaty.  Could've been my dinner.  Or my date!

Tomorrow, before my workout, I'll be investigating the potential for *a discrimination suit* at my workplace #2.  THIS will be an interesting week.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

My other career; and favorite Vivaldi

Concerto In G Minor for Violin, String Orchestra and Continuo, Op. 8, No. 2, RV 315, "L'estate" (Summer): I. Allegro Non Molto
as performed by Joshua Bell, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields & John Constable Vivaldi: The Four Seasons

This song makes me wish I had studied classical ballet and pointe for much longer than I did.  I am stronger now and more disciplined but I haven't heard of a 33year old ballerina so I'll stick with aerobics.

I am constructing my playlist for next week's water aerobics class and the "theme request" for our music was "Summer".   As an FYI this weekend's themes were colors and sunshine.

This song is beautiful and I think totally captures summertime no matter where you live.  In fact all the songs on my itunes when I search "summer" seem to be less than 100bpm.  That's right, slow.

 Vivaldi's "Summer" is slow and almost methodic, like taking steps in the desert in the obliterating midday heat.  Unknown birds and insects whine of the sun's oppression.  Like a group of aproned old women rocking on a wooden porch with glasses of icy sweet tea melting in their knuckl-y hands.  Then it picks up like you're on the back of a bumble bee or dragon fly, lighter than air; gossamer wings sparkling unknown hues of the rainbow in the hot direct sunlight.  The fast breeze that comes with flight is refreshing yet hard work.

Or you're at the beach watching lazy waves roll onto the seashore as children dirty themselves up in brown sand when the wind picks up and sends hats and buckets and sandwich wrappers flying.

Or anywhere else.

Peace returns.  Dogs are panting eagerly in jackets of shaded heat.  Their paws are caked with dried mud and keeping both eyes open begs of too much work.  They nose around in dry dirt for a reprieve; muzzles chocolated when an iridescent green-throated hummingbird appears at mach speed from nowhere.  Dancing among orange-trumpeted flowers, suspended in air seemingly wingless.  Nervous.  The dogs are too hot to notice.  What could be so necessary to justify that movement?  Fluttering away with the urgency of something imminent.  The heat remains unforgiving.

Afternoon clouds roll in from behind the Catalinas.  Wind rises.  The monsoon rains tease. Grey and spitting almost-refreshment, satiny ribbons of relief hardly reach the ground.  The winds return to dance with limber swaying trees.  Lost lovers reunited only for a brief, intense, sacred moment.  Rain returns with sadness and intensity to meet the needy deadline of all things to-be-living.  Her fingertips brush with the Earth's bare back.  A job.  Her duty.  A brief commitment cashed while falling from the heavens.  Freely plummeting to her end, rain potentiates life on the ground.

The days are long.  The nights are sleepless.  Rivers form, seas swell, plants and trees and flowers bloom.  Summer begins for its end, and to begin again.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Thisssssss was Bound to happen Ssssssometime

Let me recap the first part of my evening for you.  G and I got home and I took her by the hand to walk around the north side of the house to pick a lemon for my green bean salad. 

Walking walking walking...


You didn't see him lying there either did you?  

Those of you who know me might be wondering if I was really wearing my camera for the trip to the lemon tree, which would not be unusual, but no.  I scooped up G and hightailed it into the house to get my camera and (almost) retrace my steps.

Trying to *stay calm* and make this a *learning* experience, I held G in my arms, a safe distance from the Rattler, and reviewed "owie" and "snake" and "ssssssssssssssssssssssss".  I think he was as long as G is tall.  Thankfully he was just chillin'...or warming up (technically).

Then he slowly slithered away into the front yard.  G waved him "bye bye".  We opted to play indoors after dinner rather than at the sandpile tonight!

Happy Trails Mr. Rattlesnake!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Judgement Whore's New Glass

Wow.  I just read this chick's post:
Loquats and a Kid Breakfast
and someone left this chick a 4 page note scrutinizing her mothering skills:
The Blame Game

True, "it takes one to know one" and I, my friends, have been one.  A.Judgement.Whore.  I have been that ugly, insecure, angry girl who is judging EVERYONE and EVERYTHING around me,  Around you.  Probably even you!  Definitely even myself!  Please accept my apology.

I used to say it's fine to say what you think as long as you can and will say it to the person's face.  You know what, not anymore.  Who cares?!  Who or what made me worthy of judging you or anyone else or anything for that matter.  The sense of entitlement I justified being a *royal biotch* with is ovah!  I am disgusted with who I was.  Crap.  Done with that!  I'm not going to say "it" to you because there will be nothing judgmental to say.  I don't even want to think those thoughts.

I think I hated parts of myself so much (and kinda rightfully so) that when the uglinesses came to light, I was so hard on myself (because I was ashamed) I felt justified being as hard (judgmental) on others- even complete strangers!  This is truly horrible!  There are at least 2 sides to every story.  It can be more difficult to vocalize something positive rather than negative about someone but I even want to stay away from that.  I don't want to judge the situation either way.  Don't.want.to.judge!  I avoided that career, you know?!

I'd like to think of myself as becoming the kind of person, friend, and mom who can let whatever will be just be (so long as your life won't be in danger!)  Man, there's so much more energy available for simply living and loving and enjoying life!  Some things just are, and I won't understand, and I don't need to understand.  Just gotta love.

Que Sera *Syrah*  ;)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Multitaskin' Mama

Yesterday I took a nap indoors rather than sun on the roof like I usually do when baby G is sleeping. I think I 1) made a pizza and 2) boiled some eggs.  I am writing this down so that in the future when I am feeling drained, I will remember what I can do on a good day.  I also think unplugging the TV has given me a lot more free time, and mental space.
I was up before 7, as usual, fed us all breakfast, cleaned the kitchen sink (with baking soda and bleach) and then the bathroom with baby G at my side, roasted 2 chickens in my homemade 5-spice rub, marinated and roasted potatoes, tomatoes and onions in a sage rub with olive oil.  I did a load of laundry and ran the dishwasher before G's snacktime.  The soundtrack was itunes DJ from my computer.  We then played in her room.  For lunch she sampled some of the previous dishes but opted for a cheesestick and yogurt.  She colored and played with a People magazine while I cleaned up.  We played in her room some more and I read some of her fav books before her nap.  As she napped I swept and mopped the floors, folded the load of laundry, put on my bikini and went outside.  I threw the ball for the dogs, I raked the yard and picked up their poops AND put the trash IN the trashcan all while working on my suntan.  I also picked up the poops in the front yard.  {Oh yeah, AND I cleaned the pool}.  I prepped my Navy beans for dinner and got changed for my workout.  Thankfully G woke up in time for me to go to for a workout and I had her sippy of milk and change of clothes ready.  I moved some heavy weights for an hour and stretched for 15 minutes and then got her from childwatch.  We checked out the kiddy pool at the Y and then rolled home.  We will def be playing in there next Sunday.  I turned on the stove for the beans and put G on my hip in the baby wrap.  We ventured outside to throw the ball for the dogs some more and walk around.  We reviewed that cacti are "owies" and that green trees are not owies.  We listened to other dogs and birds.  We came in and read some more.   I made a lemon butter for later and pureed most of the beans into a soup for tonight.  Delicious!  For dinner I offered G a combo of all of these things and thankfully she was a bit more receptive.  I fed the dogs and loaded the dishwasher again.  I got our lunches ready for Monday while G looked at another book.  I started another load of laundry and the dishwasher and we all went to the side yard to play with bubbles and the dirtpile.  I took pictures of G playing in the dirt tonight.  We reviewed that cacti are "owies" and that green trees are not owies.  We listened to other dogs and birds.  Not kidding.  After an hour of fun we came back in for showers and teeth brushing (didn't go well tonight at all).  My restless little girl was not ready for bed until 8:30 but now she is sound asleep THANKFULLY!  We are all clean and full!  The last load of laundry is finishing.  The dishes are drying.  The doggies are asleep too.  I am going to finish this post and read some more of Anthony Bourdain's "The Nasty Bits" as I fall into a sleepy haze to the sound of his voice in my head.  Tomorrow I am going to get slammed at work so I gotta mentally prep for that too.  No vacation just yet...that will be on Wednesday thankfully!  Whew.  I can taste my hot cup of dark acidic coffee, brown sugar and whole milk already!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Life is Like a Slackline; potential ultra-over-universalizing

My friend AV posted something on her FB about "slackline" and "acroyoga".  I was mega-interested and did some googling and found this link of these guys who must be in town:
Since my attendance to a workshop will not be a reality I was enjoying some of the videos.  Of particular interest was the slackline work.  HOW FUN!  I want to set one up in the park here and go for it!  I got to thinking, metaphorically of course, that maybe life is like a slackline.
The beginning and ending are fixed points; two nodes.  For this metaphor, that's all you need to accept.  The middle of the line is an antinode that vibrates with a certain frequency depending on the length of the line (to keep things simple).  If you watch people walk the line, or visit harmonics and waveforms here:
a brief Physics Tutorial
you will *note* that the middle of the line is where there is the most amplitude or movement.  If I could pick a soundtrack it would be Jimmy Eat World "The Middle".  You will also *note* that b/c people have much more mass than air particles, and also because of gravity, the amplitude on the slackline is horizontal displacement.
The "yoga slackers" emphasize how it is pleasant to meditate on the slackline as they work through a series of yoga poses.  Forced meditation.  I get it.  I wish I could try it there also.  But seriously, that is what LIFE is I think!  You gotta get on and stay on and make it to the end.  You gotta problem-solve, and understand your body and your mind and your hangups and your expectations and you gotta figure it out as.you.go!  You don't have to be moving linearly to be progressing, you can take a sit and figure some things out and let the turbulence pass and ride the wave out.  I love it!
It seems also that in the middle is where things can be the toughest.  This is where you know you are out of control and the harder you try the less likely you are to stay on the line or to stay on track.  Ha!  Neat.  But it can be done with practice and determination and forgiveness and patience.  love.love.love it!  

Friday, May 14, 2010

Thankful Thursday (Friday)

...because I was too tired last night to type.  But I have been thinking of this post for a while since I have been reading Michael Pollan's "In Defense of Food" and "The Botany of Desire".

Growing up, when we said the blessing at dinner, my brother would like to sing this:

"Oh the Lord is good to me and so I thank the Lord
for giving me the things I need
the sun and the rain and the appleseeds
The Lords is good to me"

We called it the Johnny Appleseed blessing.  I actually don't know where my Mom (probably) got it from or how we learned it.  Well crap, I just googled it and here it is, sure enough!


Pollan's first chapter of "The Botany of Desire" is "Desire: Sweetness, Plant: Apple".  Yes, really for 58 pages he talks about apples.  Of pertinence to this post is that he talks about how apples were cultivated along the Ohio River in the Northeastern US by a Mr. Johnny Appleseed.  This dude sounds like quite the character and Pollan uniquely elevates him as an American Dionysus of sorts who, by planting orchards and enabling the production of hard cider, cultivated the early US settlers as well.

The story is not that simple, and Pollan can draw you in for 58 pages of it, but it is amazing to think about.  I think in order to agree with the Appleseed-Dionysus comparison you would have to believe that alcohol complements civilization but not to the exclusion of alcohol complementing chaos either.  I can see that making time for drink would mean quite a few things in that agrarian culture like 1) you had time to stop working for a drink and 2) enjoy some time with other people and 3) maybe the combo of 1 + 2 would lead to discussions about politics and poetry and art and news, like it does these days.

In closing, this Friday I am thankful for numerous things again but they are simple.  Let's say 1 and 2 and 3.  Yes.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Nothing but a Memory, part 1.618

I need some inspiration and feedback y'all.  As I am poised to have to re-pack all of my shizzot from this move, and hoping not to have to rent the Uhaul with the frappin' "Granny's Attic", I am musing what to do with all of my photos from the "regret-worthy-yet-highly-educational-and-irreplaceable-life-shaping-years" circa 2002-2004.  side note: how do you live a lifetime in 2 years?

I have those years organized in lovely leather-bound albums.  Glossy 4x6s, 4 to a page in shiny clear pockets so as to remain blemish free; unlike my heart!  Ha!  Kidding!  Well, not really!  Wait.  :(  side note for another entry: is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?  - Lord Tennyson.  I remember when the Ritz Camera clerk told "Namaste Hardup" the following quote exactly as he handed him the prints from my twin, blond cousins' raucous birthday party (with the cake from the Sweet and Nasty); "Dude, I want your life".  *sigh*

And there's the print of me dancing on the real Coyote Ugly Bar in NYC, "Hogs and Heifers" where I was asked if I was "a real dancer".  *sigh* again

Oh, and there are so, so many more to relish.  Fact is, I'll keep a few around to remember I'm human and make mistakes and wait, wait, I don't need pix for that...

Some of these prints memorialize my youth.  I want to keep those.  Some of these prints give a slim dimension to lost memories and people.  Maybe I should get rid of those.  So then I was searching for what to do with all of this data; can I recycle these candids into a functional or useful or beautiful piece of art? You can't use photo paper for toilet tissue.  I am wondering.  This is perplexing.

I saw an idea for a collage.  Maybe I'll make a series of collages and give the titles of the 7 deadly sins...or the 7 almost deadly sins...what would THOSE be?  That would undeniably be more fun to create!  Are there 7 lively sins OR are they the 7 deadly sins...pontificating...hmmmmmmmmm.

How big should my collages be?  Should there be a pattern?  Shapes, sizes, colors, locations, faces...?  Well, maybe I've just decided.  I can't remember the ad but the one where when you're up close you see the individual pix and then the camera pulls away and you see a pattern.  Yes.  Yes.  This is what I'll do.

So now I need to decide what the pattern will be, a word or phrase I think since I was contemplating something profound for a tat, but that has yet to happen.  I'll pull all the pix from my albums except for the best memories I want records of, and then I'll organize the remainders into piles of colors.  Yes!  This is brilliant and taking shape nicely!!!  Thank you for all your help!  ;)

Maybe a nautilus shell that uses the "Golden Ratio".  YES!  And that will be easy to do once I decide how big my canvas (or more likely posterboard) will be!  Here's a pic of what my template will be:

Maybe a few, smallish, manageable pieces.  A trio of "Golden Ratio" Nautiluses to help remind me of the state of order that IS found in nature thanks to an "irrational mathematical constant".  THAT makes sense to me.  Irony.  Paradox.  Math.  Maybe, just maybe.  Because see, I like order.  Imposed or created  order can be safe and liberating and predictable and calming, side note for another post: OCD.  Now gentle reader you are saying, "But all her photos are already organized in albums" which is true, but I'm ready to change their order, and create disorder...but within the limits of the Fibonacci Sequence.  I ain't even Italian!

The nautilus grows its shell as the animal grows.  Hermit crabs vacate and locate new shells as they grow, so I must be a hermit crab in this analogy.  Vulnerable for a while, looking for my new home.  I'll carry my home on my back!

Safety and order with my hi-falutin' snail collages around me amidst this chaos.  What an appropriate reminder.  So maybe I'm not really changing anything.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thankful Thursday

crisp clean sheets
soap crayons !
amazing friends
amazing doctors
a clean-ish pool
warm springtime breezes
that chocolate mint ice cream I made
a job that pays insurance
a truck that runs and looks clean-ish
the hummingbird singing while swinging on an ivy tendril
2 (seemingly) devoted doggies
a sweet Mother's Day card from my parents
the ability to wonder
the ability to realize when to shut yer trap
enough self control to save leftovers (sometimes)
the ability to say yes, and/or no
craftiness with leftovers
dogs to clean up the leftover crafty-leftovers :)
dried shiitake mushrooms
a washing machine and a dryer
a dishwasher
a broom and that  Swiffer Wet Jet
pictures and photography
this computer
sunset at the dirtpile
Kohl's cash!  Seriously!  Why isn't this place running our government?
the absence of TV
Crest whitening toothpaste in vanilla
fluoride-free training toothpaste
a self-assured toothbrusher baby G
that chocolate fudge I made
18 eggs for $1.50 seriously !

Monday, May 3, 2010

Chocolate Mint Ice Cream and other Magic Dairy Novelties

A post about food!  Can you believe it?  'Bout time, I know.  Sometimes my life IS ice cream and sunshine and flowers and puppies and babies and ...eh.

Those of you who are my fellows in cynicism will revel in this first comment.  I hate the "Bluebell Ice Cream" ads on the radio.  They have changed into a less sappy version lately, but from 2005~2008ish the radio ad was:

I remember our old country home 
Clean fresh air and the flowers growing 
In the fields, along the path, beside our swimming hole 

Momma hollering through the screen 
Would you kids like some homemade ice cream? 
That was such a simpler time and place 
Blue Bell tastes just like the good old days 

This ad makes.my.skin.crawl.  Long story short, I'm glad it is no longer aired.  HATE IT!  And yet, last night I made some d*mn homemade ice cream in the ice cream maker that was a wedding gift: and it still tasted good.  I had gone to the St. Phillips Market with friend ET and her daughter on Sunday.  Side note: doesn't it seem that farmers' markets have the highest concentration of dred-lock-sporting-white-people ANYWHERE?!  What's the deal? (say it in a Jerry Seinfeld voice!)  We got beef bones for stock (what a frappin' bargain), coffee, lavender lemonade, Emu oil stick, spinach, onions, carrots and some CHOCOLATE MINT.  Yes really.  I got it from this stand:

Sleeping Frog Farms

Side note: I am on their CSA waiting list and I will die if I don't get to enroll!  Ok, so it couldn't have been later than 10:15 and the pickin's were slim.  These guys are popular!  The dark, beautifully gathered chocolate mint twinkled at me in the low-angled sunlight.  I knew I could do something with it.  First though: ice cream!  The good kind with a lot of milk fat and sugar!  The kind baby G will love also!  Bingo.  

After processing my finds at home that afternoon, I decided to modify this recipe from Epicurious:

"Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream"

But I changed it:
2c whole milk (yeah yeah!!!)
1c whipping cream (yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwhhhhhhhhhhhhh)
chocolate mint leaves from the 5 stalks in the bunch
1/2 c egg beaters (b/c it's pasteurized)
3/4 c confectioners sugar

I put all those ingredients in the blender and tasted.  This beauty did not need any more sugar.  Did not need any vanilla extract.  Did not need the chocolate/cacao addition.  I would not adulterate it with green food coloring.  I knew if it tasted this good in the blender then it would be dynamite frozen!  

Later that night after I put baby G to sleep, I got the pre-frozen ice-cream-maker-bucket out and let the Cuisinart do its work!  25 minutes later I was enjoying a bowl-full of magic with some chocolate fudge squares I had made earlier.  And a glass of champagne :)  I'll need to post the recipe I used; shared by my mom,  b/c I call the fudge "Darker than my Soul Fudge".  It has 9oz of cocoa powder in it.  Not kidding.  Back to that in a later post.

So anyway this ice cream is amazing.  Next I will try the recipe with the basil I bought at TJs.  This may show up at wine club ladies- consider yourselves warned and wear elastic pants!  Also at TJs now is this AMAZING blue cheese hybrid.  I think it's blended with Jack and it comes in melt-able slices.  I think it's 8 slices for $3.50  I think it's called blue granite b/c that's what it looks like.  Whatev.  There's an ad on the radio for it now, which is obviously how I heard about it, and decided baby G and I needed.to.try.it!  Yesterday she had 2 slices.  I melted it onto Portabello Mushroom Raviolis for her lunch tomorrow and as a post-dinner, post-ice cream snack (thankfully we are not lactose intolerant) we shared a piece tonight.  

I think this cheese is magic.  With only one bite down the hatch, both baby G and I were dancing to the radio and laughing at ourselves.  Shakin' our hineys in the kitchen.  Clapping for each other.  Sharing hearty guffaws and belly-laughs.  She was giving me bear hugs and huge toothy grins.  I was melting.  She was melt-able.  My daughter is amazing and this cheese is amazing!  I think it might just cure what ails you!  For a moment I remembered what it felt like to be a carefree child again. 

I am not posting pix b/c my camera is on the out and out and the available lighting does not do these treats justice.  I don't think any pictures could, in fact!  How can you photograph magic?  In conclusion, for tonight, my life CAN be summarized as ice cream and a sunset and 2 puppies and one baby and *cheese* !