Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Going gentle

I know, from Abs to Dylan Thomas, that's the way my brain works, this girl can't help it-
I spent a little time with a friend from my youth, we were quite close in those days of angst, fearlessness, growth and change. The years right after high school, early twenties, both of us having gone through break-ups with our first loves, and we really helped one another with humor and fun. I have such strong memories of that period of time, my new found freedom along with new responsibilities, mainly paying my rent, getting to class and work. On my own for the first time in life, completely in charge of myself and what choices I would make, which paths I could choose. Such a liberating time for a girl, after leaving her childhood home. I asked for no help, I just wanted my freedom, no strings, nothing to pull me back. I discovered Dylan Thomas at that time, gobbling up poetry and trying to create it within my own life. I always loved poems, even as a child, rhymes, haiku's and funny poetry. When I was in fourth grade I believed that poems had to be about pretty things or sad things, then.. I found Shel Silverstein (What!! Is!! This!!) how cool that was for me. My fifth grade teacher, Mark Relf also brought in his poetry notebook and let each student choose a poem that we liked from his original writings (he was my first teacher crush, he had a huge Afro and large black glasses, wore bell bottoms and polyester shirts with cool scenes all over) and we were to draw pictures to go with the page. I chose one titled "You're UGLY" at the time it blew my mind.. you could use poetry to insult people?? I loved it, from that point on, the poem had to have a point, an idea, a message, it's what I loved, and sometimes the more confusing the poem was, the more fun it was for me to figure out. I still enjoy poems that I can shape into memories or ideas of my own. But, I'm going off point, this poem by Dylan Thomas took on a different meaning last night, more than being about dying, I think it's more about losing your passion in life, or I like to think it is, especially because the author died at such a young age, if your passion in life dwindles or falls by the wayside, what is there? Sleepwalking, following directions, depression? Reach for the things that inspire and bring joy, that to me seems the key to keep from letting go of the fire, or the passion for anything.

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. 

Dylan Thomas-

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

here comes the rain...

One month in our new house, so far it's been, A LOT of well...stuff. We lost a garage in this move, and you realize how much junk you have saved in that garage and, it is way more then fits comfortably in this house, it's stuff you think you want, but just don't want to see.. so we had two out buildings built for that sort of stuff. We had a little under an acre of ground covering pulled up and cleared out, which must have been home to like.. a million spiders, wonder where they are now?
The house itself was empty for a few months and I guess if the rats weren't already living inside the ceilings and crawl space they definitely took that time to move in and make it home. Anyway I'm not going into detail too much, but we had a company come in and clean and sanitize and deodorize and seal the house up from the inside out to prevent any further entry of the little creatures (or exit! ugh!) Anyhow to make a long story short both ceilings in the lower level of the house had to be torn down and cleaned out and replaced- house is now free of 15 dead rats and about 5 gallons of rat @$#*! Gross, but now gone- : ) R-E-L-I-E-F

Monday, October 20, 2014

ABS that will make you go....

This is just to indulge in life's simple pleasures- I love a good slim muscular body on a guy, Apollo's belt, yes please!
Don't know how he looks so good smoking cigs or who this guy actually is..but hey, check out that belt!

Again with the smoking...but whatever, he looks hot!
Adam Levine! Arrows pointing to his treasure?

Magic Mike, Channing Tatum, wins the wet t-shirt contest!
David Beckham- need I say more?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Road trip

Me, my sister Tanjah and my mom recently took a road trip together. A little get away from everyday things,  and relax a bit. A  fun trip, lots of conversation about life in general.  My mom, being seventy, was ready for bed early each nigh which gave me and Tanjah time to hang out, have a glass of wine, go to dinner and just talk without interruption. Pretty nice overall.

Here stands a snowy Egret- haha!
I have no clue what kind this is,
just a cool beach bird eating some lunch. 
Little bird, looking for leftovers
Sardines that the fisherman hauled up with his net,
 then threw all over the boardwalk 
Siesta key beach, Florida, the sand was so soft and white,
like baby powder
Siesta Key Beach
Ferns in the French Quarter, New Orleans-
 soooo humid, I was melting

Mom. I just love her choice of hat! New Orleans
My mom had never had Beignets,
 had to take them to Cafe Du Monde- when in Rome
Promoting local wildlife
Tanjah in Venice Florida, just a a storm cloud was rolling in,
it got very windy, then the rain and furious

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Carmel, CA- white sand, cold water

I completely fell in love with Carmel on our last visit. Greg and I visited in 1998 and I don't remember much about it from that visit, we had driven from Lake Tahoe, attended a wedding in San Francisco and then taken California 1 home to Los Angeles, the beaches sort of blurred together at that time. Aside from the very quaint, high end, tourist filled downtown area of Carmel, it's the beach that is so beckoning, rolling sand hills leading down to a very white sandy beach (most California beaches have a darker beige sand color) I love when the sand is white, it gives the ocean a more colorful blue, and it just makes it feel more tropical. However the water is still freezing!!! Anything below 78 degrees is freezing to me! The boys took their boogie boards in only a couple of times before the shivers began. The water Santa Cruz seems a bit warmer for some reason. The dolphins were out in full force, jumping in arches out of the water, playing in pairs, always so cool and I could watch them forever and feel peaceful. The beach was filled with tourists as well, but not as crowded as Santa Cruz beaches in the summer and I noticed several French accents. Here are some quick photos I snapped on the beach in Carmel. The video is of some dolphins, but sort of hard to see!

In Carmel, on a hike by Pacific Ocean
Austin & Noah, Carmel

The sand, my nephew, wearing a seaweed necklace

Me and my sister hanging out, Carmel

View from the cliffside, Carmel

Greg looking cute, on a hike 

Me, in the wildflowers, by the ocean

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

THE movies

I'm not a big time movie goer, if there is something that I really want to see, I will usually carve some time from my schedule, but usually I just wait for it to show up on cable or download it from the web. When all the awards shows are airing, I have to admit that I've maybe seen two to four of the movies nominated. I really enjoy a great movie, one that gets you thinking or emotional.

Back in my early twenties I was experiencing some heavy anxiety and had to avoid movies all together- anything could send me into a panic. Recently I took our two older  boys to see Godzilla. I started getting anxious right from the opening scene,  I thought "Am I going to have to slip out, leaving the boys to watch these giant monsters all by themselves, while I spend my ten dollars having a panic attack in the bathroom?" I snapped my jaws together and put the cold drink against the pulse throbbing in my neck, that seemed to help, covering my ears helped a bit as well. I'm sure looked like some kind of idiot, but whatever. I was so happy I stayed, I loved the movie, very well done and super entertaining! Bravo!

Greg and I also will catch some flicks together on the couch, we recently watched Don Jon, which we both laughed at, and I thought it had a really great lesson to be learned at the heart of the movie- A winner!  I really like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who also directed btw (hey!). Enjoyable, truly.

There are the movies that if I'm channel surfing and happen to come across that certain movie I must watch, such as: Dirty Dancing, any of the Harry Potter movies, The English Patient, When Harry met Sally, any movie with Ewan McGregor, Fight Club,  9 1/2 weeks, Lord of the Rings (any), Forest Gump, L.A. Confidential (but I think this is because I think I may understand what is going on if I watch it enough), Unforgiven, The Sixth Sense, The Others, Breakfast at Tiffany's! There- I think that's most of them.  I adore a good book, but a movie done well is sort of like a good book wrapped up in a pretty little package and mostly it's only about two hours out of your life to enjoy!

I'm looking forward to seeing the third Hobbit movie & would like to see the new X-men movie that's just out. Also,  I'm totally into Game of Thrones- which feels like an ongoing movie somehow.

Loved this, has a sweet lesson

Such sweet sadness

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Praying hands

Thinking about mothers who have lost their children today and all my love and hugs go out to them, my mother included.

This is a poem i wrote about a friend of mine that was gone way to soon...

Praying Hands

Your praying hands looked smooth in the photo

But- you hated your hands

the lines
the veins visible beneath
their plumpness

You would ask me every time 

Did you look different?

Did you seem any different?

you cut your hair-

dyed it-

You ripped your t-shirt

I said you looked different

Still you giggled like a child

covered your mouth with your hands

The rosary you were holding in the photo

a strange foreshadowing

of your coming sainthood 

And the landscape of your face forever the same-

Photo by me, Cemetery NJ

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tender Heart

Mothers face was always the same to me
I didn’t see the creases or folds of skin
or the scars
I only saw the sadness
the loss in them
even through the laughter
The hands, hers, always moving, already on to the next task
or chore, or dish, never resting, never still

The love was there
with no understanding
no doorway to enter
How I wished to ease that sorrow
some people come through so unscarred, so unchanged

Would that I knew the thirteen year old  you
laughing, running, a sweet grin from ear to ear
Pansies held out to your father
who didn’t reach for them
holding instead a bible, fingers white with the grip
Eyes seeing the beauty, but no soft mother there 
to explain what tenderness was
Mean as the devil, his misshapen nose
reflecting the empty space inside

Dear Mother
your beauty will be remembered
as well as the tears
my mom

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Squirrel

The hardwood squirrel was perched just so on the limb, 
tail hanging, arms out, nose lifted to the breeze

Why did he never move? Stuck forever in the place he thought was best

Noise like a tiny banging, a hollow echo, non-stop, drilling into my skull

Fingers long and broad, clasping mine,
slightly calloused from pens, pencils, raking?
I can't think why

So bright, like the harvest moons we want, fluttering lashes,
timid with excitement, brimming with innocence,
the fear is holding and I can't let it loose,
please live forever, please flash those little Chiclets,
please give me the warmth

Leaves kicked up into the sky, and the wet beneath,
the potent smell of earth,
I was four, making mud pies, adding the poison berries for color

Mother's arms were soft, I liked to touch the skin under her arm,
she hated it,
reminded her that she was no child any longer,
I wanted arms around me, she went into her closet,
her face was wet when she emerged

My eyes have grow lighter, blueing around the edges,
lips pointing downward toward the grave,
sleep is not easy as before,
a sharpness that comes and goes with movement,
is it my death poking at me, making me look to the future? 

Watching the flowers bloom in spring, then they are gone again,
the lilac smell a heavy perfume, with no owner-

Places changing, can't remember my address,
long silences remain in my memory,
where was that we stood and admired?
Park in New Jersey, photo by me

Some of my friends and most of my family know what a crazy past two years this has been for me. Almost two years since my father passed away from heart failure (due to complications from Parkinson's) and coming up on a year that my brother Bill passed away from a ruptured gall bladder (while in the ER) I still think of my father often and how he could be so embrassing and stubborn and had absolutely no filter, but also what a bright light he was, he could always cheer me up and and make me laugh.  Most of the time he seemed like he was ignoring whatever it was I was saying, but in some special way he was still there for me. I have so many fun memories of him and the time we spent together, he just got me (in the sense that he knew I was my own person) even when I was a  teenager. He was like an onion (many layers). I miss him all the time and I'm sad that the boys won't have him around as they grow up, variety is the spice of life, in people and in places.
I still have a hard time believing that my brother is gone, not really ready to talk about that, I still have not reconciled myself to the fact. So many he left in mourning, his wife, children, grandchildren, my mother, brothers, sisters.
Death happens so often, it's reported on the news daily, murders, accidents, wars, entire planes disappear, there's just an emptiness left behind for those who loved the departed, it will not be filled by anyone else, and that is OK, painful, but OK.

Spring break better start improving soon, I'm tired of sad things. Spring time is about life and beauty and joy, embracing the new and looking forward. So out into the mountains for awhile to cleanse and embrace things, clear my thoughts and smile and love and enjoy LIFE!

I didn't post this until after we got back from spring break, I felt a little suspicious

Sunday, March 9, 2014

School stuff

For me going to college was a learning process (aside from the education part- haha!).. neither of my parents were high school graduates and they simply did not view college as a necessity. My older brother Paul gave me a few tips about finances and told me about some grants that might be available to me. The process was slow and painful, the few schools that I applied and was accepted to…I just simply could not afford. So- instead of living at home and going to a nearby school, I opted to move to Austin and start at the community college. I immediately looked for and got a job. I began working as a hostess at the Driskill Hotel in downtown Austin. It was a bit stuffy, as I worked in the "Formal Dining Restaurant" also, it exposed me to a bunch of old perverts of the sort that I had no idea existed in the world... nice, handsome, older perverts with money, but creeps none-the-less.  When school did start and I managed to pay for my tuition, I realized that in order to continue with school AND buy textbooks AND pay my rent (only a mere $200) I would need a second job, which I got pretty quickly at Trudy's Texas Star (at least here, I was working with students, grad students and waited on mostly the same). I had a really hard time asking my parents for money, they still had four kids at home and really didn't have much money to spare. My dad would give me anything, but I just was too proud to ask and also was determined to really be on my own. I struggled many times, but I learned ways to eat when I was hungry (mostly I ate where I worked because they provided a meal to employees) I pawned all my jewelry to pay rent. That first year I lost a whole lot of weight, I preferred to spend my money on beer, instead of food, I was tired all the time, studying, working, going out, it left little time for sleep. Thank god I discovered coffee that first year & developed quite a liking for it! (still love coffee) I met several people whose parents were paying their way through school, and providing them with dorm rooms, or apartments. It was funny for me to listen to them talk of their struggles. I always knew that I would find a way to get buy, at least to pay my rent. I lived in some pretty cheap, but homey places…I once found a roommate online, she was insane to say the least- I would see her hiding in the bushes when I would come home, she would wear my clothes, eat my food, all while I was away. I would smell her perfume in my bed and find her lipstick on my clothes.. I'm pretty sure she stole my passport as well. I lived there a month and got the hell out. I also lived with these two guys that owned a hugely fat cat, that they let sit on the stove (I found this disgusting, and hated to cook) it's fur was like four inches long and it had fleas- I didn't feel bad when I threw the cat into the shower and dumped flea shampoo on it and shut the glass behind me. These two guys would leave big jars of Vaseline next to the living room chair, along with towels and the VCR blinking- once a blow-up doll fell out of the hall closet, all that stuff was weird- after a couple of months, the cat finally drove me away. I lived with a guy named Chuck, who ate nothing but baloney on white bread, he was so quite and sterile, he cleaned his house spotless everyday and bleached his bathroom so often that I wondered if he killed people there from time to time.
I know it's old news, but this girl who is suing her parents for college tuition and living expenses can't really expect to win, and if she does, oh my god! How bratty and spoiled she comes across. When she has children, she is in for a real eye-opener.  I hope if she does have kids, they sue her to take care of them after they are eighteen. I am raising my boys to be contributing members of society, to take care of themselves, to know how to cook, do laundry and hopefully if need be get a job while in school- they all have college funds, but It won't be a completely free ride. I think working in college is a necessary transition into adulthood, and gives a sense of accomplishment as well. This girl needs to be left on her own, maybe then she will step up and learn how to accept that she is an adult and responsible for her own future.
Driskill Hotel

Monday, February 10, 2014

Plath & Hughes

The last couple of months I've been reading the writings of Sylvia Plath, along with the writings of her husband Ted Hughes. It's such a fascinating story, the two of them, obviously soul-mates. Two destructive forces come together with a common love of writing and undeniable animal magnetism.  I read Sylvia Plath when I was just into my twenties and I really did not like her book The Bell Jar which I read before anything else she had written, including Ariel or her journals. I had a sour taste in my mouth from Bell and couldn't bring myself to pick  up much else that she had written. It was only after becoming interested in Ted Hughes poetry, and while reading Birthday Letters (the story of the two of them in prose) that I began to pick up and read other Plath works. I read her journals, along with Birthday letters and it became like a story to me in itself, the two stories- intertwined over decades, if only composed in life for six short years. I have the sense that Sylvia was rushing through life, trying to get it all under her belt in a time frame that she had set out in her head. Published by…college by…travel by….marriage by…children by.. and so on. It's sort of robotic in a way, but she was SO not robotic, which is where the mental illness comes into play I suppose. Plath put such strong demands upon herself and it seems on everyone that she loved, and would accept no less then what she demanded. I think if one was not equipped enough for this, several breaks from such a personality would be understandable. Leaving physically... if not mentally, would even be preferable to most. I think Ted was so ensnared mentally with Plath that he would never be free from her, so the only freedom he had was the physical sort. Plath longed to control, but wanted to be controlled by someone stronger than her (Ted was that person, however imperfect their story). More on this soon, as I continue to read up on these two.

Sylvia Plath & Ted Hughes

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy 2014!

Wow! I finally feel that time is flying! We had two weeks off over Christmas and New Years. We fit several small trips into this time. California is so rich in that way, so much to see and many beautiful areas to visit, the weather is mostly beautiful, even when the temperature drops it is never unbearable. I guess I prefer the "in-between" weather wise, not too hot, not too cold, the in be-tweens are my thing, where I'm most content... perfect for that here!

SO... this year will hopefully be my project finishing year. I have so many things packed away that I have high hopes for. I'm going to drag them out and finish what I started, even the things I haven't started yet- but that have been brewing in my head for awhile. Painting projects, sewing projects, ahem…..writing projects.

I really loved and highly recommend the 17 mile drive starting in Monterey, CA and winding on around the ocean and several other cool vantage points that are well worth seeing. Also in this stretch is the famous Pebble Beach golf resort, I guess if you golf, this place is the ultimate, really striking views of the ocean. Super worth the $9 fee charged for the coastal drive. I didn't know at the time but the ocean was having what is called King Tides, caused by the gravitational pull of the moon as well as the position of the earth to the sun. Both the highest and lowest tides of the year were happening. The waves were amazing, the sun glinting off the peaks in a silvery spray, the skies bluer than anything. It was truly breathtaking! There is no way to capture this beauty, it is ever changing, each moment is different. I took a few shots, and I'll happily share. Here's to a beautiful, adventurous, ever-changing, and ever satisfying 2014!!! CHEERS!!

Succulents by the Ocean, 17 mile drive
Climbing the rocks, 17 mile drive
The swirling ocean
This look, "Think it's safe?"
Just plain beautiful
Sun reflecting on the water
Me & the boys, on some rocks
They sure had fun, running over these jagged rocks
More running, just needs some scissors