Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Rantin and a Ravin

If the words: "I hate it when that happens", don't mean anything to you, you are probably too young to continue reading this post. Not that you can't continue, it just won't make as much sense... I just feel like ranting, and while I am rather negative at the moment, I'm trying to put a humorous (if not nostalgic) spin on it.

-So, here it is, my list of rants O the day-

1- Dropping your toast, butter side down. (Or either side down on my kitchen floor.)
2- Poking a sharp stick in your eye.
3- Knowing you HAVE to get up when your house is freezing
and you are snuggly in the covers.
4- People talking on the phone and driving like ass.
5- Too much suspense! (It kills me :-)
6- Waking up one day to realize your metabolism
changed when you weren't looking.
7- Figuring out that #6 actually happened months ago and now, you are obese.
8- Tummy aches... or aches of any kind, really.
8- You think about the fact that the moment you are in now, will be a memory soon.
9- The economy tanks
10-You're startled at 4am by the 3 legged kitty, roaming the halls like the ghost of Captn Ahab.
11-The bad guys seem to be winning in the movie of choice... or worse, in life.
12-Everyone in the house including the fish want your attention at the same time.
13-Mean people.
14-Another sharp stick in the other eye.
15-A moral dilemma
16-Being pulled over when there are a million people who deserve it more!
17-The site of a cop, even when you're on foot, makes you slow down immediately.
18-Realizing that #17 just happened and wondering what the HELL is wrong with you!
19-Network TV
20-You realize exactly why your parents uttered that egotistical phrase:"Because I said so!"

Rant over.
Thanks for dropping in.

Friday, January 23, 2009

This is not my beautiful cake.

This is the best birthday I can remember in a long time.... It all started last weekend when we got a surprise pre-birthday visit with my brother and his wife. Lots of pizza, wine and song, dancing, playing trains, and catching up. We always have such a great time when we get together. There is a chance my bro may get a gig up here, and I hope he does!

FF to my actual birthday, this week: My cousin who is a year or so older than I, called to wish me a Happy Birthday in the morning. He asked what I was doing, so I told him: "Well, right now I'm cussing at my husband's computer because he's changed all the dang commands on it... who does this?" Anyway, he figured that nobody else was around and he was quite distressed that I should be home alone on my birthday. (He has no children) I explained how wonderful it is to be alone for a few hours to get all the stuff done that has been hanging over my head... interruption free and alternate between radio stations at will. Happily switching between my own music to NPR without concern. I assured him that the boys would be home soon enough and the birthday madness would ensue! "Oh, well I guess that's alright then". He said not totally understanding what a luxurious treat it actually was, but surrendering his notion just the same. So I had a whole morning of catching up on laundry, errands, blogging and reading at my own pace. Woo! Pretty great!

Of course I got well wishing calls, emails, and ecards from various family members and even had a rather fun and lengthy conversation with my mom. (Very unusual, she doesn't like the phone much.) She assured me her card was en route and it had a sizable check enclosed. She's 84 and still can't keep a secret! hee hee! I'm to call or email my sister upon it's arrival, so as to be sure nobody has absconded with my present! She was also still all a flutter about the inauguration ceremony and festivities. She had to give me her own version of it and all the things she liked best. Cool.

Then at some point in the morning, a dear friend of mine snuck in the back door, leaving me a basket of her very first home made soaps. Let me tell you, I got quite a collection! I think she must have creeped in whilst I was cussing out the computer because I never even heard her! Needless to say it was really fun having a groovy surprise waiting for me as I shuffled back to the kitchen for a coffee refill.... muttering about my computer woes all the way. Ok, so back to the soap! Each one was individually wrapped in beautiful tissue and tied up with a ribbon. They were placed in a lovely basket garnished with a floral kerchief... aka, hankie. (I LOVE hankies!) But that's not all, I also got a home made card to go with! All retro and glitter with festive Spanish exclamations and a beautiful note. I will post a picture of the card when I can get my husband to help me with the transferring of pix to puter. (I'm dull that way) Unfortunately, I cannot post a picture of the Easter Egg soap basket as I ripped them open immediately! Shortly thereafter, I actually showered with one which contains home grown Loofah. I didn't even realize it was a plant... I guess I thought of it some sort of contorted sponge or petrified sea creature.. or a man made deal... anyway, it's not. And I think that was the best shower I've had in weeks! Aaaaah, home made soap is the greatest. I also got some home made lip balm and some home made soup from the same friend! (There is not much she can't do, and what she can't, her husband can.) They are without a doubt some of the coolest folks you'll ever meet.

I got to enjoy a long and much needed nap as well. Something that is very rare since our son gave up naps about 8 months ago, but I still dip hard in the afternoons. So, yet another "mommy treat"!

My son and my husband finally made it home with my favorite lunch from my favorite restaurant in tow. They spent a good part of the afternoon making me a fabulous red velvet cake with sprinkles and all. Then they hid it in the dishwasher so that I wouldn't see it, and ruin the "surprise". Very silly. When it was finally cake time, they brought it out, candles ablazing! It had lovely curly cue candles that, along with the sprinkles, looked an awful lot like confetti. It was very very tasty and festive... Oh and did I mention there were little surprise chocolate chips inside? A couple of our good friends & neighbors came over for cake and merry making. My son, Harley helped blow out the candles and the glee on his face is enough to melt hardest of hearts. So there we all were, with our hearts melted and our bellies full of cake. Yummy!

After Harley had worked off his sugar buzz and was safely tucked in, I got my present from daddy. It was the most lovely poem ever. He's a gifted poet. Seriously, I'm not saying that because he is my husband. His words are truly stunning and his feelings flow gracefully across the page. And he really sees me, which is also always so surprising for some reason. What a guy. He also bought me a copy of one of my favorite books which is a work book of sorts by Ted Andrews. My original was loaned out to my friend, LC, who as you know, lives on the row (refer to New Years in Prison post) . Anyway, I always intended on getting another copy so LC and I could do exercises in it together... and it never happened. The book was rather expensive for our budget, so I kept waiting for the price to come down and then forgot about it. So, now LC and I can resume our "work" together, and it's a great way to start the New Year.

It's funny, 3 years ago, this would not be my idea of birthday bliss. But now it's just perfect. Absolutely perfect. Hope on your birthday, you all get your own personal bliss.
Adios, and thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

~Happy New President Day~

Hello and Happy Inauguration Day!

Snuggly in our house this morning, we watched as thousands were gathered in breathless anticipation... Tonight I'm feeling grateful, peaceful, hopeful, excited, satisfied and just a wee bit smug! I never doubted that President Obama would indeed be our 44th president. I don't know why exactly. Once his hat was in the ring, I just knew, in the same way that some people describe how they knew that they were going to marry someone... and I'm sort of proud of that fact. I'm also proud that most of my family and friends got out and helped in the campaign as did my husband's family. It makes us feel all the more a part of creating our future instead of merely observing it.

I think the fact that Mr. Obama has officially taken office, is already beginning the healing process for the entire world--raising our spirits along with our hopes. Hell, the inauguration was so great, my 3 yr old sat and watched for about 30 minutes or so. (He especially liked the music) That was about all he could handle, then we had to find some train videos on UTUBE for him so we parents could finish watching the madness and jubilation and feel connected to it. I especially loved the Reverend Lowery. He was so right on and so darn cute! Is it bad to think of elders as cute? Anyway, it was a wonderful benediction and a great day to have a new president.


Peace-- PF

Sunday, January 18, 2009

What's it all about, Alfie?

Taoists say there is the Tao that can be talked about and the Tao that cannot be talked about. I agree. For the purposes of this blog, we are referring to the Tao that can be talked about. Thoughts, feelings and beliefs on God or (fill in the blank) are personal, and let's face it, there is no way it can all be covered ever... but we can toss it around the room for a while!

My own humble beginnings seem as good a place as any to start, since it's the only thing I can speak of with any amount of certainty. I started out with an innate belief which was unnamed and unspoken. A sort of wonder and awareness of something working behind the scenes. Something akin to magick. My memories are watery now, but this way of being in the world lasted till about age 4 and a little beyond. By the time I was able to reason, everything changed. I was thereafter conditioned and influenced primarily by my father, a WWII survivor, child protégé and a true genius. The important thing to remember here is that he was bigger than life and he was my father, a man I respected and loved unconditionally... and he was an atheist (probably more of agnostic in truth, however...)

  • Just a short note about dad... he was someone who commanded a certain amount of respect, even from strangers, due to the sheer breadth and depth of his knowledge base on seemingly every subject imaginable.

Who was I to argue? So, I spent many years thinking that God is a myth believed by people who were too afraid of their intellect, or worse had none or needed a crutch. My dad had many salient arguments and flawless logic on his side. Even more compelling is what he did not say, and knowing his misguided heart meant well... I knew there was more to the story. Tricky to navigate, these waters, much less explain, even now. As I got older , I realized he was railing against the mainstream ideologies and stories about God juxtaposed with his war experiences, rather than the wonder of The Force itself.

What emerged from all of this is my own unique (and not so unique) belief system, my own religion. One whose roots lie in many philosophies, cultures and ancient (established) religions which resonate with me. I've mixed in my own personal divine revelations... and a bit of Agnostic caution thrown in for good measure. I have thought, read, observed and experienced and have somewhat unwittingly entered a life long process of not only developing my own religion, but my own traditions to go along with it. It has no official name, yet it continues to provide me a solid foundation and grounding. It is ever expanding, so it grows with me and I with it, and it helps me to live more fully. It helps me in too many ways to list and has taken years of getting used to. (forgetting and remembering). I feel sure it will take at least a couple of lifetimes to perfect, but so well worth it!

In my world, The Force is not benevolent, it just is. (You never hear anyone saying: "May the Good Force be with you!") We know what they say, which implies The Force has a magnitude of ranges from positive to negative. It all depends on the channel its passing through, our perceptions, and time.

As humans we need to label things that are too large for us to wrap our heads around. In this case, what we end up with is, The Force personified, or God. I was introduced to this concept for the first time in a book by Joseph Campbell, Masks of God... or maybe it was Jung's, Man and His Symbols...? I forget. What matters though, is that it makes perfect sense to me! It clears up a whole lot of mysteries for me as well. Mysteries about why peoples worldwide have very similar concepts about who or what God represents. And also why they differ. Differ in their rules about God, creation and to how to please God. It also explains why many cultures have been conditioned to treat God as a self centered, "parent". It's what we as humans can relate to. It provides tangible images and examples to draw from. It's understandable. What remains a mystery, is why these beliefs seem to have little room for modification or growth. Many seem to posses very little tolerance for others, and it's all about the past rather than the present or the future. God vs the politics of God. Very sticky.

Many indigenous peoples believed that nature is God. That we came from the stars. The sky is Grandfather, and the earth, Grandmother. Each to be treated with respect and quiet observation to direct their path. All of the creatures of the earth, and even innate substances like dirt and rock carry the life force, and are deserving of our respect. The earth is not merely our playground, but our Grandmother. A living organism unto herself. An organism with needs, and from which all life springs. Treating the earth or her creatures unjustly leads to imbalance, which ultimately leads to suffering. Our role, is to be her stewards. Again, the personification, but here it's an integrative, inclusive concept, rather than a dictatorship. See, this makes perfect sense to me, however it is quite an inconvenient notion for we westerners who think primarily about creature comforts, and are caught up in the illusion that we have a God given right to dominance over the earth and all of her creatures. (I'm sure it was worded differently in the Bible, but that's what I took away from it) And that notion works just fine for industry and the Capitalist way of life. I straddle this fence constantly, having grown up in The States. I would die if I were thrown into the natural world to fend for myself, and create balance with every step. I love my creature comforts, but feel sick about what is sacrificed to provide them. Up until very recently, I've also felt somewhat powerless as to what to do about it. All this brings up another oft' asked question, did we create God, or did God create us? Chicken or Egg?

What do I think...? Well, since you asked, I think The Force created us, and we created God. ( I'm over simplifying, but...) The earth was likely created by some cosmic happening or an alignment of just the right combination of cosmic happenings... The Force at work. Then we evolved and proceeded to interpret The Force, give it a name, an image, a personality and put it in a box. Maybe so we could wrap our brains around it, survive prehistoric times, as a distraction, for power.... or any number of reasons. But whatever our reasons, it meant we were putting our human qualities and limitations on The Force, challenging The Force instead of channeling it, and then things get really pathetically confusing and we became creators rather than co-creators. Using the power of the image of God to create rules and take over... I'm not sure, but I think there was a fallen angel who attempted this and got banished according to scriptures. Are we the descendants of this angel, conveniently hiding behind the curtain of a created Wizard? Hmmmmm...
OK, that one spun out a bit.

That's all I got for now. Please feel free to let me know your thoughts on this subject.... and

May The Force be with you!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Greetings and salutations! I'd like take a moment to clear up a few things before I blog further.

Thing 1- I am not a writer.
I am, however a person with a whole lot to say. Up till recently, I have possessed very few specific personal goals other than evolving and spending time with my family. My hope is that this blogging will serve as an outlet for further evolution... a place to throw out ideas and see what comes back... a means to help develop concentration and discipline through some sort of imaginary accountability...
stretching my comfort zone, etc.

Thing 2- I can't promise my blog will always be interesting, well written or follow a theme. In fact, I can't promise much of anything except that I'll try to show up. You know what's weird? I don't even really know who I'm talking to, if anyone! But I thought I should clear these things up... just in case.

Thing 3- For reasons I can't get into, I cannot provide a personal profile. And yes, those are in fact, Easter eggs.

That said, the topic for the day is.... HORMONES.

I have been an observer of human behavior for many years. (Working in the food service industry for more years than I'd care to mention.) In that time I've developed many theories about human behavior and it's driving forces. After lo these many years of mulling, researching, and factoring in my own personal experiences, I have come to the conclusion that one of the biggest, (if not THE biggest), causes of human suffering is our pesky hormones. Our hormones are powerful little buggers who are not given their due. Sure, they may be getting more attention now than ever before, but what if they are the root source of many more illnesses, both mental and physical, than they are given credit for? And what if we are only seeing secondary symptoms of malfunctioning endocrine systems and calling them something else? And only treating the secondary symptoms and not the real cause of the illness(es)? I'm pretty sure they can and do effect most every aspect of human behavior and thought, without us ever realizing it much of the time. I do have just a tiny bit of research to share that I dug up off of the Hormone Foundation website. It's just the tip of a very large iceberg, but hopefully it will provide enough information to illicit further investigation. Here we go, an introduction to the endocrine system:

The endocrine system is one of the body’s main systems for communicating, controlling and coordinating the body’s work. It works with the nervous system, reproductive system, kidneys, gut, liver, pancreas and fat to help maintain and control the following:

* body energy levels
* reproduction
* growth and development
* internal balance of body systems, called homeostasis
* responses to surroundings, stress and injury

The endocrine system accomplishes these tasks via a network of glands and organs that produce, store, and secrete certain types of hormones. Hormones are special chemicals that move into body fluid after they are made by one cell or a group of cells. Different types of hormones cause different effects on other cells or tissues of the body.

Yepper, I'm sure the world would be a much safer, healthier and all around more pleasant place if we would give our hormones more credit for being the foundation for "other" diagnosed ailments. I think its time to face the facts and find a safe way to provide checks and balances for these power hungry little scoundrels!

Just to be clear, both genders have their own specific hormonal mysteries to solve ... And while many women may be a bit more predictable month to month about certain effects that we notice, but what about the ones we don't notice? And does knowing make it easier to deal with? hmmm... And what about men? Testosterone... Need I say more? Instead of blaming (ourselves or) each other or calling each other names when we are unreasonable, maybe we can take a moment to remember we are all just living under the influence... of hormones.
For more on hormones, here are a few links to get you started:

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Years in prison and the food was real good.

Have you ever heard the John Prine song, Christmas in Prison"? It's a fabulous song, although not a very happy one. One of my best friends resides in a prison. (Death row no less. Now there's a happy name) Anyway, he says that JP must have done time to be able to write about the inside so well. I always suspected as much, but never having done time myself, there was no real way for me to make that kind of determination. But I'm getting off track. The point I'm making is that despite the name death row, and despite the razor wire, electric fences, and just the general intimidation level of the place, I always have a hell of a great time because I get to hang out with my friend, and that is a blessing for us both.

This new years day I spent with my dear friend, who we shall refer to as LC in the visiting park of the Hotel California. His cell is on the second floor, so we like to call it the Penthouse. That way, we can delightfully have one foot in denial about his real residence. Besides, it sounds nicer. Anyway, the penthouse is only 6x9 I believe. He and the rest of the gang on his wing get to go outside twice a week to exercise, but that's it. The rest of the time it's 6X9. That would drive me totally insane! But not LC. He is one of the most sane people I know.... and kind to boot. You may be thinking, "Uh, why is he on the row if he's such a great guy?" Unfortunately, I am not at liberty to discuss that, so you'll just have to trust me.

Spending any time at all in a prison-- visiting or otherwise, is not something I ever thought I would do, much less write about, or blog about. So...New Years day in the visiting "park" on death row~ Uh, that would not EVEN compute, until a few (ok, 7) short years ago. But now it's as normal as having Christmas day with family. In fact, it is exactly that, only it's new years, not Christmas (this year).

Semi-healthy food is now available in the park, so we're doubly blessed. I mean having an excuse to eat junk food all day was great and everything, but let's face it, these guys eat nasty unhealthy food all week long.. The only shot at having something half way nutritious, tasty and (hot food hot, and cold food cold) is to go to the park on visiting day. It also helps for me not to have acid reflux for days afterward, as I don't eat much fried or junk food normally. So, there we were, happily grazing on salad and using pretzels for croutons, sipping V-8s and OJs, and nibbling popcorn and solving the world's problems as friends will do.

We had a wonderful New Years day filled with great conversation, catch up time, some healthy foods and some junk (great popcorn which I'm sure has about a million trans fat grams per kernel, but what the hell) and lots of laughs. Even the guards seemed a little cheerier, despite the fact that they were working on new years instead of watching football. And as an added bonus, we were able to say happy new year and briefly chat with a few other old friends who were having visits too. (Technically, you're not supposed to talk to other inmates or guests of other inmates, but there's no rule about wishing people a happy new year and maybe a short conversation at the concession line or waiting for a microwave). It's akin to those meetings at the water cooler at work...

I am so happy and grateful to have been able to visit LC as planned. (Demands of life don't always permit) But there's nothing much like sharing some time, some laughs and dreams for the coming year with a friend. Hope you all had a sweet a new years day too, and a great 364 to follow.
Peace & blessing,