Saturday, September 16, 2006

New blog

I have made a new blog for movie and book reviews. If you're interested, check out Trash & Treasure Reviews. Trash reviews will be listed in brown and treasure reviews in red. For the movies and books that aren't bad enough to be trash or good enough to be treasures, they will get a mediocre recycle.

There is only one review on the site now and it is reposted from this journal. Put it on your list and check it out if you can stand the heat.

That is all. Disperse.

Another route

When the road ahead is blocked or unnavigable due to damage to the road or traffic, it's time to go off road or take a different route. I chose to take a little different route.

As LadyCelia mentioned in her comments about a different kind of wedding, 20-something girls have grown up with Barbie in white and they dream of their own white wedding gown. She is right. Barbie is one of the first places young girls learn about style. I decided to contact Mattel to see if they would be interested in a line of different weddings for Barbie, something more along the lines of what I envisioned: brightly colored wedding dressings with attendants in black and/or white. I don't know how this will go, but it is a start. Getting into the fashion world is a lot like finding the spider in the web. Tug on a strand and the spider will come running to see what is for dinner.

That is all. Disperse.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A little bit

A few minutes ago the sky was full of lightning slashing across the gray clouded skies. Now the sky is blue with a herd of fluffy clouds meandering overhead. Raindrops cling to leaves and shimmer like diamonds until a little bit of sun catches them just right and turns them to jeweled fire. Golden leave are crowding out the green in the front yard while the green hangs on outside the sunroom windows. Just a little bit of sun and a little bit of rain and the right angle as the sun moves a little bit and clear water becomes a blaze of fire, glimmering jewels, flashing diamonds.

A little bit of time last night checking my caller ID and I found strange phone numbers. I called a couple of them back. One of them wanted Mae, the lady who had the phone number before me, and I explained she lived in a nursing home and no longer had the number. She said she knew Mae was in a nursing home but thought my number was the nursing home's number. I asked if she would mind letting me know when she found out Mae's number and call me with the information so I can pass the information along. A little time later and she called back with the number.

The other number I called in Atlanta, Georgia was a strange one. Turns out the caller on the other end was a young man who calls women in the middle of the night. I explained I was not in the market for a teenage boyfriend and the lady laughed. A little bit later and the boy called and asked for Leisha. I explained I was not Leisha and did not give him my phone number. He evidently didn't understand what I said because a little bit later he called again. I told him I didn't know Leisha, had never met Leisha and did not give him my number. Leisha evidently gave him a wrong number or he wrote it down incorrectly. He hung up without saying goodbye. I waited a little bit longer and he didn't call back. I guess he got the message at last.

In a little bit I will take my cayenne pepper laced lemonade and go back to work with the hope there will be work to do. I've been up since 5 AM and took a nap when the work petered out but my body didn't stop working. I woke with a shock and a need to get quickly to the bathroom. A little bit of pure raw maple syrup (grade B of course), a little bit of cayenne and a little bit of lemon juice in water and I am good to go and go and go and go and...

Senna softens the debris and a quart of water, two teaspoons of Celtic sea salt in the morning and 30 minutes later debris was evacuated in a rush. One thing to remember is that even a little bit of Celtic sea salt needs warmer water to dissolve properly. It's a bit difficult to chug the whole quart, but that's what I must do and that is what I shall do, enduring the little bit of discomfort it causes for the results it brings.

I have more lemonade to drink and more work to do and a little bit of time before I turn off the movie I'm watching and go back to work. Amazing what a little bit of anything can do.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Forget the pain

Between the cry of the train whistle comes the sound patter of rain. A few yellow lights glimmer in the darkness beyond the window and the night breeze is soft and cool. In the dark, the only light comes from my laptop screen. I've been chasing a story about running and the words aren't coming right. I know what I want to say but the words are slippery and elusive. They don't want to settle down and tell the story I want told. They'd rather find another pathway, another story, not this one right now. Or maybe I'm chasing them too hard and like a lover need to be wooed and coaxed.

I hadn't thought about running for a long time, not since the accident that damaged my knees. Time and weight took the rest of my desire for running, putting more time and weight between me and those times. Some days I can barely walk let alone think of running. It seemed that part of my life was over. John brought it back.

We were both chubby kids in sixth grade when we met. I still see him in his boy scout uniform, his knees pudgy like mine, although we both walked everywhere. The distance grew as we moved from elementary school to junior high. Two miles one way to junior high school, two miles to the pool to swim the hours away or dive or dance by the jukebox, nothing was too strenuous, just a hurdle to cross. I had forgotten those times until John brought them back the day he came to the house to see me for the first time in thirty years. All of it came flooding back as he talked about the first time he had to run the year after he graduated from Officer's Candidate School in the Air Force.

"After I ran the mile around the track I wasn't tired or winded. I wanted to keep running," he said his eyes alight. He smiled looking back on those times. "I kept on running. I felt good. I felt invincible. I felt free."

As he talked, his eyes glowed. He talked about his first ultra marathon and the mornings running. When he got back home he sent me pictures of some of his races. He was happy and excited. He was on top of the world, or as close as you can get running the Pikes Peak Ascent. His memories sparked mine and those long ago days came flooding back as if they had happened last week or last night.

I ran everywhere in high school. I ran to school. I ran up and down the stairs at school. I ran home. I ran down the side streets and sailed over bushes and fences, flying, free, and happy. I had no problems, no worries, no complications when I ran. I didn't join the track team because it wasn't important to win a race or even compete, but I took every chance to run when the high hurdles were set up for the track team or for gym classes. Playing flag football was nearly as good. Even as quarterback I took advantage of the chance to scramble, jumping over bodies and hurdling over missed tackles. It didn't occur to me that there would be a time when I couldn't run, when even the idea of walking took every ounce of energy planning how to get up and down stairs or the shortest path from one point to another. I had forgotten how effortless running was, how little thought or planning it took. I just ran.

As I sit here now remembering those flying days and effortless movement through the air as I sailed over anything in my path, I realize I can have that feeling back. It will take time and it will be painful, but it is possible. My knees are damaged and some mornings they are so stiff and sore it takes all my energy just getting out of bed and walking across the floor. One step will lead to another as long as I don't think about it or contemplate the pain because I know there will come a time when once again I can fly effortlessly down the side streets and over bushes and fences in the gathering dark of day's end. I will be able to share again the way John smiles when he talks about those days running in the cool dark before dawn or evenings after work when it is time to leave responsibility and duty in the distance as I forget the pain and run free once again.

Breaking with tradition

On the day of days girls dream of being center stage at their wedding wearing a stunning gown of white, symbol of purity since Queen Victoria popularized the white gown and the symbol of happiness since Roman times. It's time for a change.

The grooms wait at the altar. Groomsmen in tuxes or morning suits or afternoon white escort the bridesmaids down the aisle. Each bridesmaid wears a white gown. The music swells with the opening strains of the wedding march. The bride enters on the arm of her father (or father figure) in a stunning gown of brilliant red trimmed in gold.

The bridal gown could be any jewel bright color: primary, earthy, awe inspiring, a gown that takes center stage with color and design while the bridesmaids form the frame in either black or white. Is there a designer who is willing to break with tradition, a bride with vision and a sense of adventure daring enough to turn the fashion world on its head and break new ground?

What I want is a designer with vision and a woman with a spirit of daring and adventure to pull this off. It would be the event of the season captured in pictures (and on video), an event that will turn the fashion world on its ear and set the standard for a new kind of fashion and style. I've contacted several top designers and I'm looking for a willing bride. It's different and bold and I don't know how long it will take to find the right ingredients, but it should be fun as well as a lot of hard work -- providing the white coats don't come for me.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Tax rebate

After 108 years of taxes to support a war no longer being fought, the Spanish American War, an illegal tax will be returned to taxpayers on the 2006 return. The maximum is $60 on a long distance bill and based on the number of people in the family, and that without copies of the phone bills. That's fine for 2006 but what about the 3% tax that has been paid on long distance phone calls for the past 108 years? The Spanish American war was ended with the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898.

The money was earmarked to pay for the war and the tax enacted in 1898, a luxury tax on long distance phone calls since only the rich could afford to make and pay for LD calls. The tax has just been repealed and phone and cell phone companies had until August 1, 2006 to stop charging the tax. I still want to know what happened and will happen to the funds that have been collected over the past 100+ years. I would like to have the 3% tax I have paid over the past 33 years, and the interest, too. I could use the money but I'd be glad to see the funds sitting in some slush fund collecting interest this past century funneled into Social Security. That should keep the fund solvent for at least another 20 or 30 years. I'll probably win the lottery sooner.

That is all. Disperse.

No snoring here

First the famine and now the feast.

Things go in cycles and now the cycle has turned from no guys interested in me to two guys interested in me. The catch is that they don't live in Colorado. I would enjoy a visit to the UK and Ghana is certainly an interesting proposition, but Arkansas? There are a couple of local guys who seem interesting and yet... Maybe I'm getting cynical in my old age. The guy in Ghana is only there for another four or five months. He's the right age (a little younger) and financially independent and SINGLE. He is the directorial manager of an NGO (non-governmental organization) that works with placing third world orphans. He's nice looking and interesting and he lives in Arkansas when he isn't traveling in Africa. Could be the perfect relationship: separate houses in separate states, financially independent and conjugal visits in exotic locales.

I do not think the UK guy is going to work out. He wastes no chance to remind me he works for the LORD, so I countered with the fact that I am a pagan with Wiccan leanings. I left out the witch part. I know they don't burn witches in the UK any more but I'm not taking any chances, especially since I left the cross on the wood pile back up at the cabin.

I am about to take a shower and wash my hair, get dressed, brush my hair and teeth and go to the grocery store. I plan to load up on all the junk food I have avoided for so long because I'm starting the Master Cleanse diet on Friday and will get nothing but cayenne-flavored lemonade for three weeks. By the end of that time, I expect to have cleaned out my GI tract, dropped a few pounds and be ready to sink my teeth into the first available food source -- living or dead and barbecued. So, tonight it will be sushi, Godiva chocolate raspberry truffle ice cream and a box of lemon poppy seed muffins. Okay, so not so big a junk food fest but I could always work in two pints of ice cream and a bag of Cheetos or dill pickle Lay's potato chips. I have options and money, always a great combination. Then again, I should get the motor for the wiper blade that doesn't work any more and install it. It's inexpensive and it might snow or rain or be otherwise inclement when I drive up to Winslow Pass this weekend and come back through the golden aspens near Cripple Creek. Yes, I'm getting out of town for a few hours and take my camera. I will have pictures.

It has paid to call around for prices on fixing the windshield wiper motor. The guy who answered the phone at one auto repair place was interesting and I couldn't figure out how an ex-English teacher ended up working for an auto repair shop. His brother owns the shop. He "escaped from the Denver school systems" and he is articulate and interesting and has a sense of humor. He's also single and we have a date for coffee (mine will be water, juice or herbal tea) and talk. He's also asked for help with setting up a web site since he is a tutor for ACT, SAT and AP (advanced placement) exams. He's a little older than I am and he's single, articulate and single.

Oh, he also lives about five blocks from here. Finally, a local guy. Definitely feast. The famine is over.

That is all. Disperse.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Of death and life

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I hadn't looked at the calendar yet so I didn't realize what today is. It's the anniversary of the destruction of the Twin Towers but also the anniversary of a much more pleasant event.

Two years ago today, instead of celebrating this anniversary with tears and sad memories, we chose to celebrate death and destruction with an affirmation of life. After 39 years of sighs and longing looks, tender thoughts and happy fantasies, we looked into each other's eyes and saw the truth. Through laughter and giggles and long, loving looks and sighs we stood outside on the deck wrapped in each other's arms and noticed the wind's devastation in an uprooted lodgepole pine that had fallen away from the cabin and away from us. He laughed while I got my words mixed up standing so close to him, our mingled scent wreaking havoc with my logic circuits, while I explained how the wind was so strong and fierce it had bent the rigid pines nearly vertical. I meant horizontal, my hand horizontal, but vertical rushing from between my lips. Every time vertical or horizontal come up now his green eyes twinkle as he smiles his crooked smile and I see the memory of those moments on the deck, wrapped in each other's arms as we laughed and teased and kissed mirrored in his eyes.

The world outside didn't exist that day, only being together, sharing a bowl of oatmeal and his favorite movie while we sat on the floor together, holding each other and wiping tears of joy from our eyes. We were closer that day in those few hours than we have ever been before or since and I cherish those moments as much as I cherish the gift he brought me, a gift he lovingly crafted and shared.

As difficult as it is to look back and remember the devastation of the Twin Towers on that day five years ago, a devastation I heard on the radio as I drove to the doctor's office to have her look at the blood leaking into the tissues under my right eye and swelling my eye nearly shut because of a car accident three days before, I prefer to remember the same date two years ago when I finally understood how wonderful it is to be loved and understood and accepted and cherished, to look into another's eyes and see perfect love and trust and long held dreams fulfilled.

Say nothing

Some mornings the words flow and some mornings the words won't come, a little literary constipation in my day to bind things up. Then there are the days when the words are there but I cannot ferret them out or bring them to the surface the way they sound in my mind like a schizophrenic aphasia. Today is none of those but a feeling of words needing to be expressed that must wait until the working day is over because the work funds the time to write and a place to write and tools to use to write and a warm and comfortable (unlike today) place to write. These are the times that try writer's souls; my writer's soul.

My grandmother told me many times that my wants wouldn't kill me. She was right. Wanting to write didn't kill me, but writing is more than a want. Writing saved my sanity and my life at a time when I thought I couldn't go on another day, a time when death seemed preferable to being caged. For me, writing is as necessary as oxygen and water and food and sunlight. Even if no one sees what I write or ever reads it during my life time, it is just as necessary for me to continue living.

I have been struggling with finding the words for a contest. I don't enter a lot of contests because I have had neither the time nor the money but this morning as I write this I finally see the way through to the words I need for this one contest about writing and how to explain and quantify success. There are a few writers who read this journal and I wonder how they determine writing success. Is it being published or winning contests or is it something more, something less? I don't want to know why you write but how you, as a writer, measure success? Say anything.




Sunday, September 10, 2006

Clothes off, clothes on

I had Pastor last night and since the landlady was gone I got to do the laundry, too. Finding time to do the laundry around here is difficult and weeks go by (and I run out of underwear) before I get time in the laundry room, which is downstairs, around the back side of the house and through a locked door. Nel has Sundays and the landlady likes Saturdays which leaves me with whenever I can get to it. I have to admit it would be more convenient for me if the landlady would do her laundry any other day but Saturday, which would be easy for her since the washer and dryer are on her floor and she has access 24/7, but that's not the way it works.

So, I did the laundry last night sitting downstairs watching the movies I haven't had a chance to see. First up was a clothing optional movie: On a Clear Day about a ship builder made redundant who decides to swim the English Channel after training for only six months. The clothing optional part was because most of the time the main character and his side kicks, including Billy Boyd who pranced around in pink bikini panties that belonged to a girl, swam in trunks. They also managed to swim in their clothes a few times, but those times were minor at best. I love a good coming of age story and this was definitely one of them even if most of the characters were middle-aged. Even middle-aged men eventually have to come of age. Keep the Kleenex handy, though. You will need them.

In between letting Pastor in and out (so much for the landlady telling me he could hold his water for 8-10 hours -- more like 8-10 minutes sometimes) and checking the laundry, I managed a second movie: The Libertine with the always versatile and fascinating chameleon, Johnny Depp who was as interesting and fascinating as ever. I do not, however, see any resemblance between John Malkovich's portrayal of King Charles II and Sam Neill's in Restoration, especially since Neill is so handsome and Malkovich sporting a stereotypical Halloween witch's hooked nose, but at least the wig and mustache were the same. Depp begins the movie telling you how much you're going to hate him because he has a way with a stiff member and sets you up for a huge fall. John Wilmot, as portrayed by Depp, is definitely the libertine they call him, but he is also a complex and original character with depth and sensitivity.

Earlier in the day, in an effort to avoid writing or doing anything of real worth, I also watched V is for Vendetta, a movie I had put far down my Netflix list because I had not read the comic book and because it did not really appeal to me. I changed my mind. The ending stirs the heart and the blood and leaves you rooting for the "bad" guys.

Casting was very interesting with John Hurt as the Chancellor who governs the country with an iron fist and the Anglican Bible in his free hand, creating a state governed inextricably by the church with no separation of ideology or visible intelligence. Timing is everything and this movie's release at this time is telling. Too bad November 5 is not a memorable day in American historical annals. We could use a Guy Fawkes day to ignite an explosion of freedom.

All three movies are well worth the time and the cost to add them to your library. If you haven't seen them, put them in your Netflix queue or at least go to the video store and check them out.

That is all. Disperse.