Monday, August 23, 2010

Our new favorite show... and other antics

and it does not even premiere till Sept 6th!

Harley is already hooked on this show.  We have viewed every sneak peak video on the PBS site...  This weekend we played a game called the cat family wherein I am the mommy cat and he is the baby.  He hides under a blanket, which is his egg.  I sit on him (not really), and then he hatches.  I was informed that he had a little kitchen in his egg which consisted of an oven and a sink, and some food.  He made himself kitty kibbles,  wet food and saucers of milk.  He also drank lots of water because, you know, it's good for you.

Another little unrelated quirk that has us entertained lately is that Harley has picked up on a saying that I sort of resurrected lately.  I had a work partner that used to get so tickled at himself when he would call somebody a "Fish eyed FOO"!  (Like Fred Sanford used to call Aunt Esther...) Then we'd start cracking S&S jokes and reminiscing about all the fun characters. (My fave is Grady) But anyway Ahem, as I was saying, I said it for some reason lately and Harley latched on to it.

If there is anything funnier than a 4 year old saying "Fish eyed FOO"!  with the perfect Ebonic inflection, I'm not sure what it is.

Have fun out there.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Stoned me just like Jelly Roll

Morrison, in 1985, related the song to a quasi-mystical childhood experience: 
        I suppose I was about twelve years old. We used to go to a place called Ballystockart to fish. We stopped in the village on the way up to this place and I went to this little stone house, and there was an old man there with dark weather-beaten skin, and we asked him if he had any water. He gave us some water which he said he'd got from the stream. We drank some and everything seemed to stop for me. Time stood still. For five minutes everything was really quiet and I was in this 'other dimension'. That's what the song is about.
         During this song Morrison sings: "...Stoned me just like Jelly Roll. And it stoned me." 
         That lyric is thought to be a reference to jazz musicianJelly Roll Morton, whose 
         recordings Morrison listened to with his father as he was growing up.
I know what Van is talking about....

This Tuesday, Harley, my 4 year old, said the inevitable during a particularly intense temper tantrum.

"I don't love you ANY-MORE!"

I knew it was coming, someday, but it still stoned me.   My offending behavior, turning off the television before Word World because we had somewhere to be.

Then yesterday,  as I'm puttering around the kitchen, this conversation takes place:

H--"Mommy, you look old".

Me-- "Really?   How so"?

H-- "Well, it's not your skin, it's more on the inside".


H--"Well, mommy, it's only because you ARE old"!

Me--"Yes, I am... but I'm not THAT old"!

H--"Well, you're not a kid mom".

Me--"That's true... I'm not.  What about grandma, does she look old too"?

H--- giggling-- "No!"

And there you have it.  I may be old, hated and stoned to the bone, but not, as yet, in the way.
Some weeks you take what you can get.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Universe Speaks...

...And for once, I am listening.
I have been wanting to post about this for some time, only the words and the time never seem to coincide with my plans.   I wanted to make this a well thought out piece because it deserves that kind of attention, and yet, my life requires me to live in the now, so I don't have that luxury.... but irony's good too, no? 

First I want to tell a story about a friend of mine, who I have only known a little over a year, and never met in person.  I always believed that our paths were meant to cross, now in hind-sight, I know it.  Like many of us, we met on the internet.  Her name is Jenny, and she has helped me to change my life in such a profound way, I can't imagine my life without her in it anymore.  While I know there are millions of stories out there about this kind of phenomenon, this one is mine

The most incredible part of it, well, besides all of that we met in a very bizarre, happenstance manner.  Or was it?  The way we met was through this short little post: Dexter Mania that I almost DID NOT write back in July of last year.  The post was not even two paragraphs long, and if I had not posted it, I may never have crossed paths with Jenny, which I can't even fathom.  How strange the universe is?  I mean, (For those of you who are not acquainted with the Showtime series Dexter, it's about the life of a serial killer).  Much of it happens in the first person wherein you get to hear Dexter's thoughts as the story unfolds.  I think that this was a big part of our mutual fascination with the show... that, and it is extremely well done.

So, Jenny comments on this post, and she invites me to her blog about.... Dexter!  (Which I still go back and read now and then, it's that good!) We are both fascinated with human behavior and the mind, and we both find it important to consciously strive at furthering our respective personal evolutionary processes.  Neither of us likes or condones violence... much, and yet we are both rather obsessed with this show about a serial killer!  Maybe this is not as strange to anyone else, as it is to me, or as unlikely anyway.  

After visiting her blog, and her visiting mine, we became pen pals.  I knew by the way she expressed herself in words so beautifully and purposefully, (which by extension is the way her mind works also) that she was extraordinary.  Then we began skyping and sending photos and etc and really getting to know one another.  During  this time is when she re-introduced me to the idea of Life Coaching, among other things.  We talked and talked and wrote and wrote.  She was so intuitive and supportive of my interest in Life Coaching that I finally was able to break through the brick wall, which is my head, to see Life Coaching as reality for me.  I began to relax and loosen.  I began to give myself permission to  change and to grow and to do something I wanted.  Nobody else.  No matter how  uncomfortable it was for me or anyone else, I knew it was what I wanted. I knew I could be good at it, and then I saw it.  I saw myself being very very good at it.  (futuristically speaking.)  The potential is there, and although nobody in my family would likely ever approve of it, I was going to do this.  Which, at 47, should not be such a big deal I suppose, and yet, it was.  Jenny helped me figure that one out too! (Thank you J.)

I talked my hub into heaping yet MORE debt on our already hefty credit card balances so that I could get certified.  This was not as hard as I thought it would be considering.  He could see I was committed to it, and at this point, another thousand clams or so wasn't going to keep us from bankruptcy, if that was our destiny... That is what we came to anyway.  So, I did it, I got my paper and I was FREE!!  Free to get my business license that is.  And so I did that.  And all through out this process I was being supported by both Marc and Jenny.  They kept me sane, kept me moving and even volunteered to be Guinea pigs for my coaching homework assignments...  All along the way the universe has been whispering, and doors have been opening.  Things that I thought would be so hard, were not nearly as hard in practice, as they were in my head.   And it continues at my own pace....

I originally wanted to begin my business asap.,as in this summer.  However, Harley is still on summer break, so I decided to wait...  As serendipity would have it, without really even trying, I got my very first professional gig about a week ago~  It was scheduled (not by me!) for Sept 1st, right after school starts!   AND then.... in the interim, the hub gets a great new job, so the urgency to begin was lifted right around the same time anyway....  Perfect!

The Universe is still speaking, and I am perched on the edge of my chair!  
...To be continued.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

For SB: Rod's rod and Willie's willie.

 I was sent the below information and photo yesterday in an email, and thought about posting it.... Then when I saw your post about Rod today, I knew I HAD TO!

So, now the question is, is it better to retire your wormrodpeckerwillie before you outlive it, or what?  It sounds like a problem that may be best left for aging musicians to ponder!  :-)

Willie Nelson commenting on his 75th Birthday... Whether or not you are a country music fan, these are truly the words of a deep thinker.  So simple, yet so profound.  Only a man with such wisdom and maturity could be so concise in phrasing his feelings at this turning point in his life.

"I have outlived my pecker."

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I spy things that never end...

I spy a road.

I spy the sky.

I spy grass.

I spy numbers.

I spy railroad tracks.

I spy outer space.

I spy the wind

I spy trees.

I spy love.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Pump up the volume

This is Harley's new favorite song.

He sings it throughout the day and when we are driving, I'm instructed to please put "Way UP" on repeat...  Who is this kid?  I mean, yes we expose him to what we believe to be good music, art, ideas, etc... but it doesn't mean he has to like it, or to respond to it as he does.  He is as obsessed or more with this song as I was the first time I heard it.

One day this week, I was instructed to please take out the "Steve Songs" CD (Mr. Steve is a PBS kid's star)and put in the Dean Martin CD.... Oh LORD!  He used to also do this with his compilation CD:  featuring Dylan, the Beatles, Cake,  Keb Mo, Harry Conick, etc...  so this is not entirely new.  However, by instructing me to take out the kid icon CD, Mr. Steve, and replace it with the Dean Martin CD was unprecedented! (He adores Mr. Steve~)

Yesterday, we spent the whole day swimming at a public pool.  Griffin went from singing an old Dean Martin standard, "Dance with me"  to "Way UP!"   Nobody around us knew what he/we were singing, but we did. And our glee was uncontainable.   We finally cooled off (it's been rather hot in these parts) and were able to do it OUTside!   The only way it could have been better is if they sold ice cream.  They do not.

.If you have a few minutes, watch this clip.  It's the ending to the Divine Ya Ya movie, and it's precious.

I sometimes get a little wistful wondering how many other kids would love these kinds of songs and keep them alive, and sew a thread from  our shared artistic/cultural history to our present... and future.  And if it will happen..?  I hope so.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hallelujah! Sela!, Glory BE! AND AMEN!!!

The legal team that fought to save California's Proposition 8 from history's scrap heap practically dared U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker to rule against the 2008 ballot initiative that banned same-sex marriage in the Golden State.

Led by attorney Charles Cooper, who stumbled and bumbled his way through closing arguments, these defenders of "traditional" marriage presented virtually no evidence to support their case during the months-long trial in San Francisco. Instead, they kept telling the veteran judge that legal standards and precedents were so clear and unambiguously in their favor that virtually no set of facts could support the arguments offered by their prime-time opponents, Ted Olson and David Boies, who led the fight to ban the ban on same-sex marriage.

But federal judges don't buckle to dares. And they rarely rush to endorse litigants who fail to present plausible (much less compelling) cases in their courtrooms. So for those of you just now tuning back in to this unfolding legal drama, Walker's landmark136-page ruling Wednesday is not nearly as surprising as you might think. As he suggested he would during closing arguments, the judge, an appointee of the first President George Bush, wholly rejected the dubious rope-a-dope strategy employed by Cooper and Company. Indeed, if the trial and the ruling were a boxing match it would have been an early TKO.

It is hard to overstate the significance of the ruling. For the first time in the nation's history, a federal judge has identified a right under both the equal protection and due process clauses of the federal Constitution that precludes a state from banning same-sex marriages. Just six years after Massachusetts charted its own course and recognized same-sex marriage on a state level, the matter is now squarely before the nation's judiciary. Within a decade the whole matter might be resolved. And all those people (like me) who blasted the dream team of Boies and Olson for rushing into this case before America was ready for it now are left to wonder what they missed.

Walker's opinion was detailed, intense and relentless in its rejection of the arguments offered by proponents of Proposition 8. For example, the crucial "findings of fact" contained in the ruling roll on for more than 40 pages; a paean to the dogged work of Boies and Olson and a vitiation of many of the beliefs and prejudices held by so many in and out of California when it comes to same-sex marriage. During the trial, Walker practically begged and cajoled the Prop 8 lawyers to do better for their cause. He asked them written questions to draw them out. He scolded them during closing arguments to make more persuasive arguments. They simply didn't or couldn't or wouldn't respond. And so, based on the evidence at trial, Judge Walker found:

1. "Individuals do not generally choose their sexual orientation. No credible evidence supports a finding that an individual may, through conscious decision, therapeutic intervention or any other method, change his or her sexual orientation."

2. "California has no interest in asking gays and lesbians to change their sexual orientation or in reducing the number of gays and lesbians in California."

3. "Same-sex couples are identical to opposite-sex couples in the characteristics relevant to the ability to form successful marital unions. Like opposite-sex couples, same-sex couples have happy, satisfying relationships and form deep emotional bonds and strong commitments to their partners."

4. "Marrying a person of the opposite sex is an unrealistic option for gay and lesbian individuals."

5. "The availability of domestic partnership does not provide gays and lesbians with a status equivalent to marriage because the cultural meaning of marriage and its associated benefits are intentionally withheld from same-sex couples in domestic partnerships."

6. "Permitting same-sex couples to marry will not affect the number of opposite-sex couples who marry, divorce, cohabit, have children outside of marriage or otherwise affect the stability of opposite-sex marriages."

7. "Proposition 8 places the force of law behind stigmas against gays and lesbians, including: gays and lesbians do not have intimate relationships similar to heterosexual couples; gays and lesbians are not as good as heterosexuals; and gay and lesbian relationships do not deserve the full recognition of society."

8. "Proposition 8 increases costs and decreases wealth for same sex couples because of increased tax burdens, decreased availability of health insurance and higher transactions costs to secure rights and obligations typically associated with marriage."

9. "Proposition 8 singles out gays and lesbians and legitimates their unequal treatment. Proposition 8 perpetuates the stereotype that gays and lesbians are incapable of forming long-term loving relationships and that gays and lesbians are not good parents."

10. "The gender of a child's parent is not a factor in a child's adjustment. The sexual orientation of an individual does not determine whether that individual can be a good parent. Children raised by gay or lesbian parents are as likely as children raised by heterosexual parents to be healthy, successful and well-adjusted."

Even if the appellate courts ultimately find that Walker got his legal analysis wrong, they cannot wash away what same-sex marriage proponents surely will call these 10 "points of light." Based upon those findings -- based upon the utter lack of a rebuttal by opponents of same-sex marriage -- Walker concluded that Prop 8 was so blatantly unconstitutional that it could not pass muster under any of the relevant legal standards that judges routinely apply in these cases -- even the one called "rational basis," which is a very low bar indeed. This was a rout, in other words, and there is virtually nothing in the language of Walker's ruling that suggests otherwise.

As most judges do in these sorts of situations, Walker immediately stayed the effect of his ruling pending an appeal. Soon the dispute will move to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals where the Prop 8 lawyers will try to convince the appellate judges that Walker wrongly applied the factual record to existing legal precedent. I suppose it's possible that the 9th Circuit will overturn the ruling. But if it does, it will be forced to largely discount the testimony and conclusions of dozens of witnesses presented by opponents of Prop 8 while enlarging beyond all recognition the impact of the two -- and only two -- witnesses presented by Cooper and his team. It's clear what Walker thought of those defense witnesses; he ruled in his order that the testimony of one of them, Don Blankenhorn, was so inapt and contradictory that it was rendered inadmissible. You don't see that every day in a high-profile case in federal court.

Based upon Walker's factual findings, therefore, there may not be enough factual bedrock for the 9th Circuit to grab on to even if its judges are inclined to reinstate Prop 8. And the same goes for the U.S. Supreme Court. In any event, playing possum in a case of this magnitude -- laying in wait for the conservative Supreme Court to save the day -- is certainly not a risk most sensible litigators would have taken.

This is true especially since a high court ruling -- if and when it comes one day -- will almost certainly be determined by the sole remaining Californian on the court, Justice Anthony Kennedy, who always seems to cast the fifth and deciding vote in social cases like this. Like every other judge who now will look at this record, he will scratch his head and wonder: Where did Prop 8's case go? And how and why should it be rescued at this late hour?

Indeed, it is unclear and nearly unfathomable today why Prop 8's supporters would have been and remained so confident in Justice Kennedy's jurisprudence to have ceded so much ground at trial to their opponents. It is inconceivable that they would not have even attempted (much less succeeded) in rebutting the many strong facts and arguments offered by same-sex marriage proponents, who saw Prop 8 as an unlawful exercise of majority rule. Perhaps Cooper and Company will have more answers now than they had during the trial. Perhaps not.