Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Sea birds soared and danced in the cornflower sky, their voices singing out to each other. The sun warmed the beach. Its bright light sparkled along the edge of the surf. It danced across the gentle waves, highlighting the peaks on the swells. The water caressed the shoulder of the promontory cradled in its heart. Pillows of soft downy clouds reflected in the abyss, pierced by the bedrock. The tides pulsed. Just below the surface, life throbbed in abundance and tickled the shore. Evergreens sprouted erect and stiff along the embankment, their ebony shadows pierced by white rays.

* * *

Birds screeched at each other, slicing across the darkening sky. The air stank of damp and cold. Thunderclouds broiled across the face of the sun. Shadows hunted along the foaming swells. The water churned green and putrid. Waves beat against the crag protruding black against the gray firmament. Fish hid from the teeth of the rolling currents. The sea bit into the coastline, leaving deep gashes. Brine pierced the trees standing guard along the banks, ripping needles from their limbs.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


It’s Christmas time again, one of my favorite times of the year and most stressful, just like for everyone else. In an effort to add more meaning to my life, to add more –isms besides materialism, I’ve been looking at my spiritual life.

I was raised a Roman Catholic, but with an Austrian flavor to it. My mother is Austrian, from a small town called Oberalm, near Salzburg (think Sound of Music.) Now, Austria, my mother’s area in particular, is definitely Catholic. It was the seat of the Holy Roman Empire for a very long time. The Catholic Church has ruled there since the 6th century. Every church we went to was like a cathedral. My mother wasn’t particularly churchy (she thought she had been excommunicated because she did the evil thing of marrying my protestant father in City Hall – which is also like a cathedral over there.) Even as a child, she didn’t care much for church.

I loved church. I have distinct memories of my First Communion classes. I really got into praying, speaking with The Old Man. Then, some of the other girls made fun of the way I held my hands when I pray. My first religion related trauma. That’s when I began having problems with people and religion. Let’s face it. Religion is just about the people. God doesn’t care what religion you are. She just wants to be loved. But people will screw up religion every time.

Anyway, getting back on topic. Where my mother is from is also a very pagan area, part of the original Celts (the Hallstatt era.) And many of my relatives come form that stock, alpine farmers, salt miners, that sort of thing. My great-mother said a complete rosary every day and could recite all of the psalms by heart, then, she would go read cards (like Tarot only with a regular playing deck) for a witch who lived in the swamps (the witch had five kids, each child with a different father, she was a local midwife and she dispensed questionable herbal remedies and she was referred to as a witch.)

Saint Nicholas Day is December 6th, 2005. On this day, the Catholic saint, who is no longer officially a saint, St. Nicholas, travels around to all of the children dispensing nuts and fruit to those who have been good. He has a companion called Krampus. This is a hairy horned being that switches bad children and leaves them coal. He looks like what Christians think of as the devil, but he’s not, he’s older than that. When I was about 8, my brother got a St. Nicholas puppet and I got a red Krampus puppet. I was traumatized again. I made such a fuss, screaming and crying horribly. I love St. Nicholas Day. I still celebrate it and I make sure all of our children keep it up. It’s so popular in Austria now, that hordes of Krampus travel the streets in packs, switching people’s legs and carrying women off.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Ohuh, Muh Gawd!

I was watching TV with my brother a while back. “Wheel of Fortune” was on (very highbrow, intellectual stuff – a game which I can’t even win.) The announcer introduced Pat Sajak. The Pat Sajak introduced Vanna White (of the big-head, check it out, Andy, her head is disproportionate to her body.) Then, Pat did the introductions and mini interviews of the three contestants. Lots of giggles all around (Pat is so silly.) Then, Pat Zajak turned to the first contestant on the left and said, as he always does, “Ms. Doe, you won the draw before the show, so you get to spin first.”

Well, I was amazed. I don’t watch Wheel of Fortune often, but still what were the odds? I turned to my brother and asked, “Isn’t it weird that the first person on the left always wins the draw to spin first?”

My brother didn’t respond. I looked over at him and he was staring at me with an odd look in his eyes. Then, he burst out laughing. At me, mind you, and not with me. I didn’t take kindly to his laughing at me.

I was pretty grumpy, I can tell you, because I didn’t see what was so funny. “Whaaat?” I whined. “Why are you laughing at me?” I was still whining. I exhibited lovely behavior for an adult.
“You don’t think they, like, maybe, just maybe, they arrange them that way?” He asked me, still laughing. “I guess blonde from a bottle is just as blonde,” he concluded.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Plan B

I have a real problem with men deciding on issues of birth control, contraption and pregnancy. And it’s not just men, it’s others who want to make decisions in these areas for strangers.

I have a problem with men making the decisions because until they have to live the life, they have no way to truly empathize. It’s not that I don’t think they should have an opinion, because they can. It’s just that men can’t have a life growing in the bodies for nine months and can never know that commitment.

When it comes to those that are holier than thou making decisions of this nature for strangers, I always want to ask, "How many children have you adopted?" or "How many single mothers do you personally support?" I want to know how many priests are personally raising children of rape victims. Or how many Christians are baby sitting children born to unwed mothers while the moms are working at Mickey D’s. Are any of these people putting a seventeen year old Mom through college so her child can have a better life? Are any of them hugging these Moms when they are scared to death of their futures?

I want a personal accounting by every person, male or female, who tries to make these decisions for a woman. I want to know what exactly they have done to prevent a rape, to educate a girl that doesn’t know any thing different, to build a girl’s self esteem, to improve the life of a child not related to them, when God last told them it was OK to make a desperate person’s life more difficult.
Stuff it!

I didn’t want to do it. Now, I’m traumatized. I am mad at my husband for making me do it. My bronchial tubes are closing up.

It had to be done though. I know that rationally, but still I’m upset. I’m a pack rat. I’ve got boxes of stuff that have sat around for thirty years. Things I haven’t touch in all of that time. I took unopened boxes from one place to another and they ended up in our basement. I don’t even remember most of the stuff. Most of the stuff has no value, monetary or emotional.

So, my husband said it was time I clean out the debris of my life. He told me it was time to unstuff myself. He said if I didn’t go through the boxes and make some tough decisions about what had value, he’d toss it all out the basement windows when I was at work. He’s lucky I don’t kill him in his sleep.

I hate it when’s he’s right. We began today. I threw out several boxes of stuff that don’t mean anything to me. I couldn’t even give it away to someone else. I could probably sell it in a yard sale (those people will buy anything.) But I couldn’t do that either. (I consider yard sales a complete and utter waste of my time – make a quarter selling a stained baby blanket or buy an Eagles plastic beer cup for a dime, yeah, right.)

I do feel freer. Less encumbered. Like a weight has been lifted. Of course, I barely put a dent in it, but it’s a start. And my hubby will have to threaten me again. And we’ll have a fight when I want to keep something stupid. But if you ever find someone that makes you throw out your crap out of love – keep em.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

A Wonderful Thanksgiving Story

We had Thanksgiving dinner at my parent’s house. It was great. I didn’t have to do anything. My Aunt and Uncle were also there.

My husband just remembered the following:

The boys were in the TV room. (Yes, they must be separated, you’ll see why.)

A commercial came on for a cell phone. It had a girl in it. My 87 year old Uncle said, "Look at the thighs on her. She’d crack your head like a walnut."
I’m not funny

I am not funny. No really, this is not a bid for compliments. I know I’m not funny. I accept that. I might on occasion be witty or humorous, but generally speaking I am not funny.

I also do not have a smile on my face most of the time. It’s not that I am not happy, because I am for the most part. I just do not have the ability to keep grinning. When something in particular tickles my fancy, I grin, smile or laugh, as appropriate, but then it’s gone. It’s not a permanent fixture on my face.

I bring these things up because I often regret not have these two skills. And believe me they are powerful social skills. People who can make others laugh at will are very lucky. People who smile all of the time attract others with an ease to be envied. These people have gold.

If you tell someone "Go fuck yourself," while grinning from ear to ear, they think you’re kidding and you won’t get your block knocked off. When I say it, you know I hate your guts, because I’m not laughing. This does not help with my interpersonal relationships.

They say a smile requires the use of fewer muscles than a frown, but I don’t believe it. Smiling feels unnatural to me. I’ve stood in front of a mirror and practiced my smiling. My cheeks pouf up all round and my eyes get all squinchy and my jaw muscles hurt. I feel like the Joker from Batman.

Because of my lack of these abilities, I will forever be doomed to watching from the sidelines in social situations. I hate parties, unless I can sit in a corner and watch. I can’t live up to the pressure of being the center of attention. I can’t maintain the effort.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Black Friday

Today is Black Friday. This is the traditional big first shopping day of the holiday season. This is the day when retailers will go in the "black" because of all of the shoppers spending their money for bargains. They say they will earn 40% of their annual revenue today.

I have never gone shopping on Black Friday. This won’t surprise anyone who knows me, as they know shopping is not one of my favorite past times. Many have tried to convert me. I’m regaled with wondrous stories of tremendous bargains by folks with a wistful look in their eyes. The Black Friday Experience is like an epiphany for some. Despite the stories I’ve heard from people who do love to shop, I don’t feel I’m missing anything of value. I have decided opinions on this subject.

This is the day retailers bring out new products that have been hyped for months. They sell them at what they say are ridiculously reduced prices. They never have enough for everyone. Usually, these are items no one really needs. In January, they will be sold for even less. In a year, they will be obsolete. But today, they are "must have" items. This all sounds like Marketing 101 – Supply and Demand.

People get up at three in the morning, wait in long lines in the freezing cold and then fight over the few pieces on store shelves. As I watch the news, I see people trampling, punching and knocking each other over. One old woman had her wig knocked off and had to be removed from the store by emergency services people because she was so traumatized. Police were called in and arrested a few shoppers. Ah, our taxes put to good use.

Reporters interviewed some witnesses. One suggested the store have enough product on hand for all of the possible shoppers. Another said there should have been more security.

Here are some ideas: People acting like human beings. People using some manners. People not acting like starving famine survivors going after gruel.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

A Thanksgiving Limerick

On this day for so much I can thank
Not only for money in the bank
My family has its health
That’s to me the best wealth
And I have plenty more to be frank.
Deep Cleansing

I used one of those deep cleansing pore strips today. The box says, "Pull the plug on clogged pores." I love those things. If you don’t know about these you must check them out. You wash and rinse your face. While your face is still damp, you place a strip on an area of your face, like on your nose. You let the strip dry about ten minutes. Then you pull the strip off. All of the gunk that was in your pores is now on the strip.

Here’s where it gets fascinating. Little fuzzy spikes of blackheads and hard sebum are sprouting all over the surface of the strip. At first I thought these protrusions reminded me of peach fuzz but after looking at them through a magnifying glass, they look more like insect legs. Or some alien landscape, a vast white wasteland with burnt out stubs of tree trunks. I hate throwing them away.

Just so you know, I’m not the only one who thinks the used strips are interesting. Somehow (don’t know how) these strips came up in conversation at work. Others had used them and also had Zen-like experiences with them. They’re a focal point for meditation. They can be used in relaxation exercises to take your mind off of your troubles. And you get smaller looking pores.

Yesterday I was sent an email that listed new uses for everyday things. (Did you know beer would condition your hair from the outside, too?) You can save about $5.00 by painting white glue on your face. Let it dry and peel it off. This apparently unclogs your pores too. But will I get my toy? I’ll have to give it a try.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

I Love Limericks 1

There once was a girl named Gracie
She was fun and loose and crazy
She was wild once she drank
And to be awfully frank
The next day everything was hazy.