Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Transformation of Mind by, Myself

I was going through some notebooks the other night, when I actually took pen to paper and wrote in notebooks prior to getting this wonderful technological invention called a netbook and decided that it was time again for me to post an attempt at poetry. This was from 2008 at a time when I was trying to teach myself how to write poetry in a more structured fashion. Monica, where are your sonnets?

I am
...a quick study
...a fast read
...a slow screw

Take care of me
Like a china cup
That shatters in
too tight a grasp

I am
...a lapdog
...a panther
...a badger

Baring my teeth
to protect the innocent
I don't fear death
I don't live life

I am
...a cold demon
...a loud prowler
...a silent protestor

When shadows fall
My doom shatters
in the mist

I used to care so much,
it made my eyes burn

Now I sit, chalice in hand
watching the rain wash
the boards beneath
my pink painted toes

I am

@KMJ 2008

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

We All Have "Our Things"

The idea for this post came from a recent e-mail discussion that I had with my dear friend Meg. We all have these "things" that if they were to happen our lives would be so much better. For some the thing would be to get married, if they could only find a spouse how much better their life would be! Others may be longing for things like a thinner body, home ownership, a child, or a college degree. It doesn't really matter what the thing is, whether it is big or small, with most of us it is the longing for a thing that would make our lives complete. I often find myself thinking that if I had only published a book my life would somehow be more complete. When I was younger I used to have this discussion with friends, we would talk about our young adulthood and how we were working towards college degrees then graduate degrees and then we would find jobs and maybe get married, buy a house, have some kids, and then what...well the "then what" stage is the stage that I am in now and I find that the biggest difficulty of "then what" is choosing what to do rather than having it planned for me based on my time in life.

The things tend to be more challenging than the stages. Often we do get the things that we long for to make our lives complete and when we get them, they are nothing like we expected. This is especially true for things that aren't really things like marriage and children. In the case of actual things, the getting of them usually doesn't offer completeness. More often than not, the getting of them results in the desire to have something better. A starter home is great to own, but won't it be great when we can move to a different neighborhood or have this much more square footage. If one is jobless, having money to live may be the desired, and necessary, thing. When the joblessness is left behind and money is coming in, there is always the temptation to want more, to earn more, and to collect more. The money to live is no longer enough and the thing is transformed.

It doesn't really matter what the things are. We all have them. They change. They grow. If we let them they consume us, our minds and our conversations. It is a challenge to be happy where you are at and know that, for whatever reason, you are meant to be in this particular place at this particular time. It takes knowing yourself and learning how to be content, maybe there are things that can make us more fulfilled and more happy, the problem is learning to know just what those are.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Words of Wisdom

A fanatic can't change their mind and won't change the subject.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Golf Swing Rules for Women

Next time that I go golfing, I am going to try very hard to remember this little poem. I don't know the origin, my friend Julie passed it on to me and it sounds, based on my experience, like good advice.

1) Brush the grass
2) Lower your ass
3) Shoulder to chin
4) Pussy to pin

If I am able to accomplish all four rules, especially the last one, and smack the ball over 200 yards I will be very happy.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Here's to Great Friends!

When I take the timeto stop and reflect on what wonderful friends I have, I can't help but feel overwhelmed with good furtune. The other night a friend of mine in my neighborhood threw an awesome party. It was so awesome in fact that her recently laid off and moved back home twenty-three year old son had the date circled on his calendar as a date when he would be spending the night at his sister's apartment, away from his version of hell, a party thrown by his mother for her friends! We ate food prepared by a local hobby chef, drank Bazooka cocktails, we danced and later in the evening the theme song became "I am not a Whore" by LMFAO. After this fun filled evening, which ran far too late for a "school night," I began my self reflection on my fortunate friendships, not just in my neighborhood, but in places throughout the world. If there is one gift that I hope to pass onto my children, it is that ability to choose great friends and keep them close, no matter how far the distance. Here's to great friendships!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Writers who Write in Their Time

It was on this day in 1939 that John Steinbeck published "The Grapes of Wrath." The novel tells the story of three generations of the Joad family, who lose their farm in Oklahoma and set off across the country for the paradise of California, only to encounter extreme poverty and corrupt corporations trying to make a profit off them. He wrote the novel at an incredible rate — about two thousands words a day — in a tiny outhouse that had just enough room for a bed, a desk, a gun rack, and a bookshelf. He finished it in about five months. When he was done, he wasn't very satisfied with it: He wrote in his journal, "It's just a run-of-the-mill book, and the awful thing is that it is absolutely the best I can do." And he warned his publisher that it wouldn't be very popular.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Back in the Swing of Things

I am by no means an expert golfer. But I do like the sport, the walking, the smell of the fresh grass, being out in the sun...of course springtime in the Northwest is hardly a sunny time, being out in the showers is more like it. I haven't golfed much since having kids. It is a rather time consuming activity. Ages ago I golfed in a women's golf league, my parents live off of the second hole of a country club, I come from a family of golfers. In the last decade I have had to pick and choose free time activities and golfing just hasn't been one of them. I have decided to dust off the old clubs and give it a go again because I want to and because I have found a couple of other friends who are also interested in getting back into golfing. The great thing...there is a pretty great course less than 15 minutes from my house and they offer kids lessons at a reasonable rate, this may become a family activity after all.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Panama Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Today I toured the Panama Hotel, the hotel that is featured in the book "On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet." The hotel owner, since 1985, gave us the personal touch. She is kind of like a walking history book and has procured an amazing amount of artifacts about the Japanese internment on the West Coast, many of which she shared today. The Panama Hotel is still in operation. It boasts a tea room/cafe, 101 rooms with bathrooms and showers down the hall, a basement in which many of the trunks left by Japanese families during the interment still reside, and best of all the ONLY fully intact old-style Japanese bath house in Northern America. The bath house was the best part. It has not been renovated or updated in any way and was fully functioning until 1963. Apparently, following internment, many Japanese families moved out of the city and relocated to homes with land. The small block near the Panama Hotel that housed over 8,000 Japanese before the war was changed forever. With bathrooms in their own homes, they no longer needed to come to the public bath house. If you ever come to Seattle for a visit and have an inkling for times gone by, The Panama Hotel would be a great place to spend a night or two.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Keeping a Happy Outlook

The kids have been on spring break this week and I have actually had some time to read the paper. Often reading the paper can be a real downer for me, it always seems that most of the news is so negative. I have decided to focus on the positive this week and here are a few positive things that I have learned while reading the news:

1) Over 7,000 acres along the Hoh River in the Olympic Rain Forest have been preserved as wilderness, a place where the trees will be allowed to grow "huge," much like other areas in the rain forest that haven't been logged. This will ensure a local wilderness and waterway for future generations.
2) A crusty ex-serviceman and ex-child crimes detective legally adopted a former victim. The child is now 19 years of age and is blind, quadriplegic, and severely brain-damaged from abuse sustained at the hands of his mother's boyfriend when he was a toddler. This family-less detective was planning to use his retirement funds to travel. He had re-connected with this boy as a teenager, saw how he never got better, forged a bond with him, and decided to legally become his parent instead of travelling the globe alone.
3) A cop went undercover, posing as a pedophile father of two daughters ages 11 and 13. He developed an on-line relationship with the pedophile he was investigating and managed to secure enough evidence to put this guy away for life. People like to say that the Internet is the new playground for pedophiles and I think that is true. It is a real joy to see it working against them.

Tucked in between the real big stories are always those little events, a child promoting a charity, people lost to one another reconnecting, a new service invented by someone creative. If I really try to be less of a cynic, the positive news is out there, it just sometimes seems to get lost in all of the badness of the world.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Olive Kitteridge

I just finished reading, "Olive Kitteridge" by Elizabeth Strout. This is probably a book that I would have had by my bedside for months without reading it if it had not been chosen for book club this month. Olive is an large, opinionated, and unsentimental woman whose presence is woven in and around the lives of the people in her small town of Crosby, Maine. At times I identified with Olive. I can be as unsentimental and opinionated as she. Towards the end of the book, I began to identify less with Olive and more with her grown son, Christopher. Olive started to take the form of a someone or another that I may have known at some point in my life. I believe that we have all known an Olive Kitteridge at one time or another. Certain themes are constant, illness, death, suicide, loving and loveless marriages, people living lives without ever saying what they really mean. This is the stuff of daily living, life stripped of excess. Olive faces this life in a frank and non-questioning way, bad things happen, if you don't think so, then where have you been?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Frances Farmer

If I think back I might have heard her name once or twice, Frances Farmer that is. But I don't think that I have ever seen any movies of hers. At least none of them sound familiar. She was born in Seattle and lived from 1913-1970. Last night I watched a biography of her life filmed in 1982 and entitled simply, "Frances." A gifted actress and gifted in self-expression she was definitely on the Hollywood scene long before her time. I found myself really wishing that she had been an actress now, the things that she could have accomplished! Although that pesky mental illness that followed her about and caused her to be institutionalized more than once might have interfered. I find myself doubting the mental illness part. By today's standards Frances Farmer may have been considered "eccentric." Nothing that she did would have been any more shocking than the celebrity headlines that we are bombarded with everyday, in fact in comparison, Frances Farmer's escapades were really rather mild. I may be watching some more old movies in the very near future.