Friday, November 28, 2008

Comment on American "Actresses"

I recently re-read "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" by, Milan Kundera. While Angelina Jolie was not grown up or known to the public at the time of this writing, I just had to quote this passage from the book. It is so applicable to the uselessness represented by Ms. Jolie and her ilk.

"...Something was in the air. People were slowing down and looking back.

The American actress, who had ended up in the rear, could no longer stand the disgrace of it and, determined to take the offensive, was sprinting to the head of the parade. It was as if a runner in a five-kilometer race, who had been saving his strength by hanging back with the pack, had suddenly sprung forward and started overtaking his opponents one by one

The men stepped back with embarrassed smiles, not wishing to spoil the famous runner's bid for victory, but the women yelled, "Get back in line! This is no star parade!"

Undaunted, the actress pushed on, a suite of five photographers and two camermen in tow.

Suddenly a Frenchwoman, a professor of linguistics, grabbed the actress by the wrist and said (in terrible-sounding English), "This is a parade for doctors who have come to care for the mortally ill Cambodians, not a publicity stunt for movie stars!"

The actress's wrist was locked in the linguistics professor's grip; she could do nothing to pry it loose. "What the hell do you think you're doing?" she said (in perfect English), "I've been in a hundred parades like this! You won't get anywhere without stars! It's our job! Our moral obligation!"

"Merde!" said the linguistics professor (in perfect French).

The American actress understood and burst into tears.

"Hold it, please," a cameraman called out, and knelt at her feet. The actress gave a long look into his lens, the tears streaming down her cheeks.

When at last the linguistics professor let go of the American actress's wrist, the German pop singer with the black beard and white flag called out her name.

The American actress had never heard of him, but after being humiliated she was more receptive to sympathy than usual and ran over to him. The singer switched the pole to his left hand and put his right around her shoulders.

They were immediately surrounded by new photographers and cameramen. A well-known American photographer, having trouble squeezing both their faces and the flag into his viewfinder because the pole was so long, moved back a few steps into the ricefield. And so it happened that he stepped on a mine. An explosion rang out, and his body, ripped to pieces, went flying through the air, raining a shower of blood on the European intellectuals.

The singer and the actress were horrified and could not budge. They lifted their eyes to the flag. It was spattered with blood. Once more they were horrified. Then the timidly ventured a few more looks upward and began to smile slightly. They were filled with a strange pride, a pride they had never known before: the flag they were carrying had been consecrated by blood. Once more they joined the march..."

(From: The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera (1984), pp. 285-287).

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The First Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, June 20, 1676

Governing council of Charlestown, Massachusetts

The Holy God having by a long and Continual Series of his Afflictive dispensations in and by the present Warr with the Heathen Natives of this land, written and brought to pass bitter things against his own Covenant people in this wilderness, yet so that we evidently discern that in the midst of his judgements he hath remembered mercy, having remembered his Footstool in the day of his sore displeasure against us for our sins, with many singular Intimations of his Fatherly Compassion, and regard; reserving many of our Towns from Desolation Threatened, and attempted by the Enemy, and giving us especially of late with many of our Confederates many signal Advantages against them, without such Disadvantage to ourselves as formerly we have been sensible of, if it be the Lord's mercy that we are not consumed, It certainly bespeaks our positive Thankfulness, when our Enemies are in any measure disappointed or destroyed; and fearing the Lord should take notice under so many Intimations of his returning mercy, we should be found an Insensible people, as not standing before Him with Thanksgiving, as well as lading him with our Complaints in the time of pressing Afflictions: The Council has thought meet to appoint and set apart the 29th day of this instant June, as a day of Solemn Thanksgiving and praise to God for such his Goodness and Favour, many Particulars of which mercy might be Instanced, but we doubt not those who are sensible of God's Afflictions, have been as diligent to espy him returning to us; and that the Lord may behold us as a People offering Praise and thereby glorifying Him; the Council doth commend it to the Respective Ministers, Elders and people of this Jurisdiction; Solemnly and seriously to keep the same Beseeching that being persuaded by the mercies of God we may all, even this whole people offer up our bodies and souls as a living and acceptable Service unto God by Jesus Christ.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Falling Holiday Economy

The economy is seriously bleak. I don't know why this is affecting me the way that it is. My job is fairly secure at this time and so is my husband's. I think that it must be the "air." I just got an e-mail listing stores who are either closing or filing chapter 11. The e-mail was a warning to not buy gift cards for these stores as they may not be redeemable after the holidays. I also visited a blog site and the blogger had posted a photo of a sign on a restaurant letting people know that they were trying not to raise their prices during these difficult economic times.

This time that we are in is hard on some families. It is also hard on organizations that rely on charitable giving in order to provide services. The Internet is full of ideas on how to save over the holidays and how to make gift giving more economical. This certainly won't help the retail industry although it will help the consumer. This season is traditionally one of warmth and giving, it is tainted by hardness this year. Although I do know families who are having a difficult go of it, I also know families that are completely unaffected, dining out, shopping, and planning expensive vacations throughout the year. I guess that they are the lucky ones.

My family is in the middle. Things aren't bad, but they could be better, and they may definitely get worse before the year is out. I know that this country has great hopes in our new leader and I hope that he is up for the task. Big jobs await, getting the economy back on track, getting our troops out of Iraq.

Today is a glorious Fall day. A perfect day to be outside enjoying what may be the last of the nice weather. The bad economy forces us to take note of the little things, free joys and simple pleasures and in this season of Thanksgiving, being thankful for all that we have.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Prejudice, Who has the Time?

I have been thinking lately about prejudice and how time consuming and exhausting it must be to put one's energy into hating another ethnic/religious/political group. A friend of mine shared a story with me the other day that really struck at the heart of this. She was recently on an airplane chatting happily with the young man seated next to her. They seemed to have a lot to talk about, laughing, asking each other questions, it looked to her like he would turn out to be a pleasant seat mate for the flight. Then he commented on her accent and asked where she was from. The reply, "I'm from Iran," caused the young man to mutter something, pull out his headphones, and sit with his backside toward her. What had started as a great human interaction was shut down by prejudice.

It is easy to blame others for problems in life. This has been played out globally in the South in our own country, Rwanda, WW II Germany, Sierra Leone, Israel, Afghanistan... there are countless examples of blame and prejudice fueled by hate, if we just get rid of or suppress this one group of people through fear and violence our own lives will be O.K. The same can be said for gay persons throughout America. Time and time again I have heard people proselytize about being anti-gay marriage. When asked if they actually know anyone who is gay, the response is often "no." It seems to be easier to hate or be against a group of people if you don't know them or interact with them personally.

Scarily enough I have sometimes found myself to be a victim of prejudicial thoughts. This was really true for me soon after 9/11. Since then I have met, interacted with, and known many Muslim people who do not endorse the 9/11 actions. As a person of christian descent, I know that my religion has been hated and persecuted in the past. As a group, the Christians have committed atrocities throughout history, although it is ancient, the crusades comes to mind.

I think sometimes that our society is learning and growing as a whole and than I hear stories like the one that my friend experienced and it makes me sad. Even given a strong, positive connection with an individual, that young man was not able to set aside his prejudice. This only serves to divide people and keep hate strong.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Holidays, Holidays, Holidays

It is that time of year again, I can feel it. The air becomes subtly more chilly, the leaves are all but gone off of the trees, thoughts of skiing and other winter activities begin to fill my mind and then there are the HOLIDAYS. Help! I do like Christmas, really I do, I tell myself over and over again. Actually there are many things about Christmas that I love. I love getting a Christmas tree, baking new things, smelling Christmasy smells, going to parties, taking the kids to see Santa, you know, all of the fun stuff. I don't really relish having to find the perfect gift, shop in a mall, address Christmas cards, spend too much time with family...I don't like the things about the holidays that cause stress. One thing that I really don't enjoy is having to travel somewhere for Christmas day or for Thanksgiving day.

Once, not so long ago, we were travelling to Boise, Idaho every Thanksgiving. I enjoyed seeing my brother-in-law and sister-in-law and the kids loved seeing their cousins, but every year after a very long drive, I came home already behind on getting ready for Christmas. Now we go to Boise other times during the year and bypass the Thanksgiving crunch. Then there is Christmas. I love to travel after Christmas, vacationing between Christmas and New Years is my idea of a very good time. Travelling to spend Christmas day with relatives is not a vacation and there is no pressure like the pressure that my family puts on us at Christmas.

Overall, my in-laws are pretty good about spending Christmas wherever they may land. We did drive to my parents house last year because my in-laws were unable to come to us. This might be a good time to add that my mother-in-law is a great cook. I couldn't do Christmas at my house without her. My mom is really good at making reservations and being a guest at Christmas. The thought of doing Christmas Eve, Christmas morning, and Christmas day dinners all by myself was enough to send me scurrying to my parents house last holiday.

This year I am not sure what will happen. I would like to just have Christmas here with our family and have the family get togethers before and after the big holiday. My mom still envisions Norman Rockwell every year. Despite the obvious dysfunction of my immediate family, she has persisted in this fantasy. I might add that the fantasy can only be carried out at her house and there is palatable disappointment if the holiday is spent at our house instead. Not spending it together at all may border on mortal sin with enough quiet resentment to brew and stew me through until next year.

It is with mixed excitement that I embrace the holiday season. Until I absolutely have to make a decision about where to spend it, I am not going to. My husband doesn't like to travel either, maybe I will be able to use him as an excuse. I am very thankful that we have somewhere to go between Christmas and New Years. My Christmas wish for Christmas day is to hopefully spend a lovely holiday at home as a family.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Women in Hats

My creative writing group at our hat story event last night. All of the stories were sad, but interesting with some surprise endings. Great work everyone, I look forward to our next meeting.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I am not prone to using my blog as a journal of my inner thoughts and feelings. But today is the exception to my unstated rule. This Fall has got me feeling very reflective. My life has grown quite still. Not still in the terms of lacking in the hustle and bustle of raising children, but still in terms of my own growth. In my twenties I was working towards finishing a long school journey and establishing myself in my current career. In my thirties I started having a family and began a new journey with babies and toddlers. Now, as I enter this new decade, "the forties" I have to wonder what I am travelling toward. There doesn't seem to be any life defining action going on these days.

Currently, I am employed part-time. Until recently this was a comfortable and workable arrangement. Given the current state of the economy, I have felt the crunch of downsizing. I am still employed part-time, but now I have more free time than I really want at this stage in my life. This leaves me with a number of options, the most obvious being to try and find a new part-time job. That's just it, though, I don't want to spin my wheels in one part-time position after another, I think that it is time that I try something different in my current profession. I am just not sure what. Something else is missing as well, I lack the confidence that I had when I was younger and looking for work. Yeah, I know that I have all of this great experience. That just gives some employers cold feet because they figure that I will probably be asking for more money and they are probably right. In my current profession, there are positions that I can take where the part-time money is great, but they are not really positions that I want. The money is good because the positions are hard to fill.

So stillness fills my life. The kids continue to grow and change, I stay the same (except for a few more wrinkles and fat deposits). I am stuck in a rut. Right now I would just like to pack up and move the family out of the country for a while. I am not going to dwell on politics here, but the atmosphere in this country is downright depressing. Believe me when I say that I know people personally who are feeling this economic crisis up close and personal and it ain't easy. My coping mechanism of comfort is to just leave the bad situation, that is always my first reaction.

I was talking to my eldest daughter this morning about setting goals for your day. She had a goal today of "maybe doing some stuff." Right now that sounds like a pretty good one. Maybe today I can "do some stuff" and see where that gets me. Maybe if I do said stuff a little at a time I will work my way into the next phase of life whatever that may be.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Lesbos, By Sylvia Plath


Viciousness in the kitchen!
The potatoes hiss.
It is all Hollywood, windowless,
The fluorescent light wincing on and off like a terrible migraine,
Coy paper strips for doors
Stage curtains, a widow's frizz.
And I, love, am a pathological liar,
And my child look at her, face down on the floor,
Little unstrung puppet, kicking to disappear
Why she is schizophrenic,
Her face is red and white, a panic,
You have stuck her kittens outside your window
In a sort of cement well
Where they crap and puke and cry and she can't hear.
You say you can't stand her,
The bastard's a girl.
You who have blown your tubes like a bad radio
Clear of voices and history, the staticky
Noise of the new.
You say I should drown the kittens.
Their smell!
You say I should drown my girl.
She'll cut her throat at ten if she's mad at two.
The baby smiles, fat snail,
From the polished lozenges of orange linoleum.
You could eat him.
He's a boy.
You say your husband is just no good to you.
His Jew-Mama guards his sweet sex like a pearl.
You have one baby, I have two.
I should sit on a rock off Cornwall and comb my hair.
I should wear tiger pants, I should have an affair.
We should meet in another life, we should meet in air,
Me and you.

Meanwhile there's a stink of fat and baby crap.
I'm doped and thick from my last sleeping pill.
The smog of cooking, the smog of hell
Floats our heads, two venemous opposites,
Our bones, our hair.
I call you Orphan, orphan. You are ill.
The sun gives you ulcers, the wind gives you T.B.
Once you were beautiful.
In New York, in Hollywood, the men said: "Through?Gee baby, you are rare."
You acted, acted for the thrill.
The impotent husband slumps out for a coffee.
I try to keep him in,
An old pole for the lightning,
The acid baths, the skyfuls off of you.
He lumps it down the plastic cobbled hill,
Flogged trolley.
The sparks are blue.
The blue sparks spill,
Splitting like quartz into a million bits.
O jewel! O valuable!
That night the moon
Dragged its blood bag, sick animal
Up over the harbor lights.
And then grew normal,
Hard and apart and white.
The scale-sheen on the sand scared me to death.
We kept picking up handfuls, loving it,
Working it like dough, a mulatto body,
The silk grits.
A dog picked up your doggy husband.
He went on.
Now I am silent, hate
Up to my neck,
Thick, thick.
I do not speak.
I am packing the hard potatoes like good clothes,
I am packing the babies,
I am packing the sick cats.
O vase of acid,It is love you are full of.
You know who you hate.
He is hugging his ball and chain down by the gate
That opens to the sea
Where it drives in, white and black,
Then spews it back.
Every day you fill him with soul-stuff, like a pitcher.
You are so exhausted.
Your voice my ear-ring,
Flapping and sucking, blood-loving bat.
That is that. That is that.
You peer from the door,
Sad hag.
"Every woman's a whore.I can't communicate."
I see your cute decor
Close on you like the fist of a baby
Or an anemone, that sea
Sweetheart, that kleptomaniac.
I am still raw.
I say I may be back.
You know what lies are for.
Even in your Zen heaven we shan't meet.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Eisley - Memories

I really love this group. Beautiful music.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Favorite Pictures

Sometimes I like to wake up and relax out on the terrace, enjoying the view. You know, spread my wings a little and soak in the newness of the day. I am just glad that I have the option to stretch now and then.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Live Uncut Solo Electric Cello through Live Looping

I saw this guy perform at "An American Symphony" benefit concert for Seattle Children's Hospital last night. Absolutely incredible, especially when backed by the Northwest Symphony Orchestra. Learn more about live looping at

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Memories, 2008

Naughty Gnomes and Nurses

Plundering Pirates

Princess Fiona

Dead Baby Juice Punch

Tick-or-Treaters Galore