Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Hump day thoughts

What I’ve learned:

1. The lighter the clothes you wear the more likely you will spill food or beverage on yourself

2. If it can drip, it will

3. Plants really do need water to survive

4. My animals shedding ratio is in direct proportion to how clean I need the house to be

5. On that same note, the more I need a meal to be perfect for company the greater the effort made by the animals to get their hair airborne and into the food

6. The more I have to do the busier everything else in my life is

7. Green Day’s American Idiot album is great to listen to when you are watering your plants. See #3

8. Some people will be unhappy no matter what is happening in their life

9. It’s ok to eat pop tarts when you are an adult – I tested the theory this morning and the pop-tart police did not break down my door.

10. If an animal is mentally unstable I will want to adopt it – I have several pets that prove this.

11.There is not enough time in the day when it comes to reading a good book

12. Making a consistently perfect cup of coffee is a very rare skill and only one out of the fifteen odd coffee houses here in St. Paul are capable of this.

13. When a pair of shoes or top or skirt is perfect and fits just right, buy one in every color.

14. Lipstick really does make a woman feel a little more sexy

15. This also goes for paint on the toes.

Last night was kitty shelter night. There is the most darling little black kitty currently hanging out in the med's room. They don't know why trauma he experienced but he's a little slow. Or as we like to say: He takes the short bus to school. But he is a darling loveable cat.

What I’m listening to: Green Day’s American Idiot – it kicks ass

What I’m reading: Dhampir by Barb and J.C. Hendee

What I'm drinking: fruit smoothie

What I'm eating: chicken pot pie

What I'm hearing: the hum of the fax machine

What I'm seeing: the sugar plum fairy ornament someone gave me many moons ago

What I'm also seeing: the picture that has the tattoo I want to get

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Random ramblings

Search term that brought someone here: What do Newt's eat? - answer: macaroni and cheese, pop tarts, pasta with pesto, garlic cheese bread, steak, baby back ribs, spring mix salad, mandarin oranges, animal crackers (the iced ones from Mother's), cauliflower, carrots, and corn on the cob. (Not all at once mind you)

Yahoo has started a blog. I can set it up in tandem with my website. I don't like it. Blogger is better. It would probably be cooler if I understood html.

My desk is a freak'n disaster. How can anyone work in such a mess????????

Why do I break all the little clips off my pens? It's a sick compulsion I have to play with them till they snap. The number of pens that I can slide into the little pen loop of my planner is becoming fewer and fewer..............

My former co-worker Marie has started a band. That is sooooo cool. I get to hear her play on the 17th.

My lil Sophie girl was insane this morning. The heat kept her mellow and sleeping most of the weekend so this morning her energy came flying out in all directions. She helped me water the plants in the yard this morning. While I watered she did crazy dog all around the yard. Running as fast as she could in circles all over the place. Then if she saw me look at her she would all out sprint to me, crash her paws into my legs and do a back flip off the force of impact. Only to run all over the yard again, crash into my legs, do a back flip etc. etc. etc. I just about peed my pants she was so funny.

Tuesdays are a most excellent way to start the work week. I could get used to this :-)

Monday, May 29, 2006

Breathing Mozart and Is this my reality or did I just make it up?

I just finished a book called I Vampire. It was pretty good. Easy weekend read. As the title suggests it is about vampires. There are good vamps and bad vamps. The good vamps are all members of the Illuminati. One of the good vamps is Mozart. Yep, he's still alive and kicking in this book. At the end of the novel he plays with an orchestra. And the music is described as like nothing we have ever heard. How cool would it be to hear that? What he really intended his music to sound like? I recently picked up the Mozart 250 c.d. It's awesome. I'm listening to it as I type this. But now I can't help but wonder.......................what if Mozart was playing?

On another note, deja vu freaks me out. It's an odd feeling to experience. Sort of like your spinning just fine with the planet and then all of a sudden, whoa, hang on a sec, stop this thing so I can get off. The only other thing that freaks me out in just about the same way is deja dream. I'm not sure how else to describe it. But you have a memory pop into your head but you can't remember for the life of you where it came from. And worse, if it was even real. Did I see it/smell it, experience it - or did I simply dream it?

I think it is the closest I ever come to questioning my sanity.

Speaking of dreams, I had a dream last night that Mikerzz had adopted a little girl. Only he didn't know if he wanted to keep her so he asked me if I wanted to adopt her. So for the rest of the dream I am carrying around this tiny baby girl trying to get diapers for her and her birth certificate. And I kept asking Mike for the stuff but he was busy doing I can't remember what. And so he just kept telling me it was all in the pretty floral diaper bag. Only of all the diaper bags in the room none of them were pretty and floral. She was the only baby in the dream so I'm not quite sure why there were diaper bags all over the place. Then to further put this dream on the weird shit o meter my mom; the woman that wants to be a grandma more than anything, was criticizing me for adopting this baby. I don't even remember why. But I was mad at her because she is always nagging me about starting a family. Then I start one and she doesn't think it's a good idea. I don't think the hubster was in this dream. But the baby was named Anna. Part of the reason I wanted to get her birth certificate and adoption stuff together was so I could legally make her mine and change her name. This was a very strange dream.
I'm going to say it was all the sun and 98 degrees here in MN that caused this.

Happy Memorial Day folks! My heart goes out to all of the families affected by Commander Coo-Coo bananas war. While he is chugging beer and chomping steak families are grieving for lost loved ones. May the SOB choke on his filet.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

What might have been

While washing dishes tonight I started to ponder some what ifs........
A pseudo ghost of christmas "what might have been" sort of thoughts.

When I think back on my life there are several distinct forks in the road.
What if I had chosen the other path? What would my life be like? Some of those forks I regret the choice I made. Some of the forks I am very thankful for the path chosen.

What if Dad had moved us over seas?
What if I didn't leave Jersey after high school
What if
What if
What if

While washing out the big salad bowl I had a mental image of a what if that was so strong it was almost eerie. As if an alternate universe briefly crossed my path. OK, the fact that I just said that tells you I watch way too much SciFi. But it was as if a complete memory of a life not lived had flitted through my brain. Perhaps I have not gotten enough sleep lately. Or perhaps it was the chinese cole slaw salad talking. But it was so vivid.

On that same odd note I also think about some of the odd ball things that had to happen in my life for me to be where I am today. These are things that weren't so much choices on my part but forces of nature so to speak. Or forces of other's. But these events totally changed how my life turned out.

The biggest of these was my divorce. But aside from that gigantic force of nature - there are a million little things that helped lead me to where I am today. I also realize that I had to go through my marriage and divorce to be where I am today. Had I not known Mr. X none of the other dominos would have been put into place. And the fall of that first domino, our marriage, caused everything else that has happened to me to follow. I have always said that Mr. X did me a favor. And the more I think about it the bigger that favor becomes.

Had you told me 10 years ago that I would be living in Minnesota, happily married with 4 cats and 2 dogs I would have laughed my butt off. Especially the Minnesota part. Once a California girl always a California girl right? As it turns out. NO!
There is life beyond 85 and sunny.

Anyway, pondering the what if's can be rather interesting. And it makes the dish washing go a little faster.

And on a totally unrelated note:
Search terms that brought people to my blog:

shantaram loneliness feelings sink so deep: interesting way to search Shantaram
dumb car commercials with a crab: uh, other people search for this?????
muse & wizard & commercial: what? I don't even get why you would put those 3 terms together

Countries that visited my blog:


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

16 stitches and a numb ass

What I have been doing:
Well, they ice cream scooped the spot on my hip out. And 16 stitches later sent me on my way. It was an interesting sensation to have a butt cheek totally numb. I knew my leg was working but it didn't feel attached to the rest of my body. My friend took me to my appointment. Just in case. I didn't' want to assume I was going to be able to drive after the "procedure". We turned it into a girls day following the appointment up with shopping. Vicky's Secret has some pretty cool new scents for spring. It ended up being a pretty fun day.

I was helping teach a class today at work. It requires me to operate heavy machinery. And of course after doing so I realized that it was probably a bad idea. Oh well. The stitches are all still in place so we'll just chalk that one up as stupid thing to do #6,793,461,342. As you can see, I'm on a roll.

What I have been reading:
I'm reading a good book called I Vampire. Or at least so far so good. I am also enjoying one called Dreams Underfoot. I tend to multi-task when it comes to reading.

What I have been thinking:
Lone Sophist got into a discussion about Shitty Friend Syndrome. I know I have been guilty of it. My big problem is that I am a private person that tends not to tell people how I "feel". So if they do something that really upsets me I'm not big enough to tell them, I just tend to turn into a shitty friend. I deal with it by avoiding it and in turn avoiding the friend. I'm not sure why I don't just come out and say what's bothering me. Lord knows I have friends that will tell me when I have offended them. I'm glad they do, but then sometimes I get upset with them and think "well you do this....." but of course I never tell them that. It's a vicious circle. I've tried to be better about this. And I've also tried to open up to people a little bit more. But I often catch myself retreating back into my silence and privacy. One place that I am NOT a shitty friend is in listening to my friends. I like to hear what they have been up to. The good and the bad. One of my friends is worried that one of these days I'm going to loose respect for her because of some things going on in her life. I tried to tell her that as long as she isn't cruel to animals or molests/abuses any children I will love her no matter what. But I'm not sure how to say it to her so she will believe me. I don't make good friends easily. And I tend to get along better with guys. But I value the friendship I have with her and I hope she will some day believe that I accept and love her just as she is.

What I have been seeing:
Minnesota is at it's most beautiful. All the wildlife is out. The tiny babies are exploring their new world. Baby deer, cows, ducks, geese, rabbits. It's just amazing. Everything is green and lush and there are flowers everywhere. I have to get a digital camera so I can share all of these kinds of things with you. Plus there are a few photo challenges I would like to participate in in the blog world. I have a great film camera but for some reason my ability to get the film developed is not a good thing.

What I have been wishing:
That I could figure out a way to drink more wine without it bothering my stomach. I love the taste of wine. It goes so nicely with the evening. Even the wine cooler type drinks can bother me. I can't figure out why some days I can drink like a fish and other days two sips makes me feel ill. Is there a secret? I drank a Peels malt beverage tonight and got really sick. The hubster said to take some tums and it seemed to make it better. So I might try that in the future. Anyone got any suggestions?

What I have been watching:
Curse our satellite company for adding G4 to the line up. They run Star Trek Next Generation episodes for a good part of the evening. The hubster and I are addicted. I still haven't seen the season finale of 24. It's on tape waiting for me. But alas I haven't sat down yet to watch. Perhaps I just don't want a good thing to come to an end. So if I haven't seen the finale, it hasn't happened yet right???????

What I have been eating:
That would be NOTHING. All do to the fact that they started this lunch and learn thing at work. Each week a different division of our company presents a little info session. I guess they just started this. It's at the campus I am not normally at. But due to the training I am there this week. Anyway, we took the class down for lunch and had the pleasure of sitting through the presentation. Since there really isn't any place else to eat mind you. And who was the group that presented? That would be our Pest Control division. And OH MY GOD was that disgusting. Nothing makes a salad with sunflower seeds taste better than someone talking about bugs that infest our food, our pantries, our flour, grains, etc...... Cause you want to hear that the tiny brown things in the flour are feces. It makes your lunch taste so...............................F&*$% inedible. I'm not sure who the genius was that thought that that would be a good idea. Ok, it is a good idea to find out what the other 19,947 people in the company are doing, but still, BUGS, at lunch? come on! And tempting us with the chocolate covered grass hoppers did not make this ok people!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Two dogs, a lot of road, goose murder, a boy king, and 3:30am.

This past weekend the hubster and I along with another couple and our two dogs got in the car and headed for Chicago. It’s about 7 hours worth of driving to get there. And with two psychotic little dogs – man was it fun. Actually the dogs were really good. I have to give them credit.

I took over driving about 3 ½ hours into the trip. And I was not but a few miles down the road when I had to swerve around a frantically waving Canadian Goose on the side of the road. Only to discover to my horror that she was waving because she was trying to get her babies across the highway. Too late! The scene was horrific and I cried for the next hour. I think I became a murderer on this trip. I’m not sure, I did swerve far enough away from her that I think the remaining babies were well past my tires but I still feel horrible. And the carnage on the road was something I wish I could erase from my poor brain.

Well, several tears later we arrived in Chicago. Had a lovely dinner at Steak and Shake and crashed for the night.

Up early and over to the Field Museum to see King Tut. It was freak’n awesome. Hats off to the museum for a fabulous exhibit. Seriously, if you have the chance to see it either in Chicago or elsewhere in the states do so. And of course I picked up the cheesiest thing for sale in the gift shop. Yes, a King Tut bobble head!

After seeing the boy king we got the dogs and walked around the paths along Lake Michigan. It was a perfect day. A little chilly but bright blue sky’s. And the dogs had so much fun. Sophie discovered that waves scare her. I wish I could have captured on film the leap up and sideways she did to get away from the water. We were all doubled over laughing.

The drive home was far less eventful. Thankfully.

After we got home I rushed off to partake in the R&D project at work. We wanted to show off the products/process of a resent acquisition. And let’s just say we didn’t have the work done till 3:30 this morning. And I was back to work at 8. I’m barely human.
But life goes on.

And I had to record 24. I can’t wait to get home tonight!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Thoughts on the wind

I mentioned that I keep a journal of thoughts, quotes, etc.... Let's see what is in the latest:

From Lone Sophist's site:
"Everyone is a moon and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody"

Amalie - good movie according to Will or it's Amelie, or maybe Amelia

"Life does not always turn out the way you planned"

"If you can't laugh at yourself life is going to seem a whole lot longer than you'd like"
Sam - from the movie Garden State

"Maybe that's what family really is. A group of people that miss the same things."
Large - from the movie Garden State

"Like a hole in the heart."
"I've lived a long time....and you know what? It doesn't get any easier. You'd think it would get easier. But it doesn't."
"After a while you get to know your holes, can put your finger in them, feel the inside, know how deep, what's still tender, what's scarred over."
"This might sound strange, but it's true,...."........"It's as if they become your friends. They're yours, and nobody can take them away from you. Your little heart holes."
"Do you think this could be my last hold, please?" .......... "It feels like enough."
"Probably not,"........."But try to think of it differently. Like a badge."
"A Badge?"
"That's right. By the time they call your number, you want a heart full of holes,"........"What else you gonna have to show for your life?"
From Hole in the Heart by Christopher Marquis

"Her heart lightened a moment, yet she still didn't see why such creatures must one day not be. "We have loved their music," old Shirley said.
"It comes wrapped in silence, they'll someday be dead. Our lives are the same, we're not here for long, and that's why we listen so hard to their song."

Love made cowards of us all. It made us brave in the big moments, when eternity was on the line. But we squandered that gift in a million private fears, doled out in the half-light of our bedrooms, worrying that we might lose our most precious someone.

British words we don't use enough:
Fuck all

"........I swear my nerves are sitting in a corner, crying their eyes out."
Joanna in Something from the Nightside by Simon R. Green

"The gesture was come and gone, but of such small steps are miracles made."
John Taylor in Paths not Taken by Simon R. Green

"This is not how we really are," said the angel Gabriel, "We found these images in your heads."
"Comfortable fictions," said Baphomet
From Paths not Taken by Simon R. Green

"Certainty of death, small chance of success, what are we waiting for?"
Gimley from the movie Return of the King

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

To Rant or Not to Rant that is the Question

I am not a speak think person. But I am a write think person. I tend to hold off and ponder something before I verbalize my thoughts and feelings. For the most part mind you. But when something irks me I will almost instantly type up a blog entry. Because I am the worlds worst speller I type first in Word and then cut and paste to my blog. I know the blog has spell check but I prefer the immediate gratification that Word provides. So, I have a few dozen rants and a few more toned down versions of those rants, and then some very small rants sitting in a file that I have never posted. This works for a couple of reasons. For one, I wanted my blog to be about life, the universe, and everything. I did not want it to be about politics. Even if that could theoretically fall within the everything category.
Secondly by the time I type through my rant and re-read it I have cooled down. Thus the creation of toned down versions. And if I hold off to post till the next day I find that the issue no longer matters to me. And that I would prefer to tell you about the pups or about the good book I am reading.
I’ve always tried to live by the “Count to 10” method of anger management. When I am upset about something it’s better to take a walk, work in the garden, listen to the Ipod, read a book, and in general to cool down. Because after the steaming period usually comes a little resolution. And inevitably during that cool down period the important things in life creep back in. And what upset me a while back just isn’t important anymore. How can I stay mad about Commander Coo-Coo Bananas latest fubar when I have the worlds cutest pup sitting in my lap? Change my focus, change my attitude.

So I got to thinking about what my blogging is all about. And two bloggers came to mind:

I was reading Tink’s entry about the dog sitting problem. And Tink was worried about even blogging about it because it was a sad and angry post rather than the normal dose of Tink. And Lone Sophist debated posting about a health scare. These posts are about life. And you NEED to blog about them. Blogging about these kinds of things helps us to realize how small the universe is. And comments from other readers will show you that you aren’t alone. That you have friends that will be there to support you, encourage you, and give you some advice. I have met wonderful people, heard fabulous stories, and felt a little more connected to this big world through blogging. Though I have chosen to not get overly political in my blogs I have read some that are political and I love them. Through blogging I have gotten some recipes, some books to read, music to listen to, places to see, things to do, and the list goes on. For me, blogging IS about Life, the Universe and Everything. It’s a fun place to hang out, a fun place to put my thoughts, and a fun place to read others. Good, bad, sad, happy, glad, or indifferent. I blog because I love it. Content doesn’t really always matter. And my day is a little bit better, a little bit brighter because I get to share it with you.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Tagged by the Tinkinator

Okay, here goes:

TAGGED by Tink:

I AM bright gothic.
I WANT to rescue all the homeless dogs on earth.
I WISH there were less miles between me and my family.
I MISS my Grandpa.
I HEAR my dog snoring and it makes me smile.
I WONDER if there are creatures flying through the universe right now.
I REGRET not adopting Lila.
I AM NOT able to touch my foot to the back of my head.
I DANCE in the kitchen while washing dishes.
I WRITE interesting sayings and ideas from books, movies, songs, and overheard conversations down in a journal.
I CONFUSE myself all the time.
I NEED a new bathroom.
I SHOULD work in my yard more.
I START each day with a walk.
I FINISH each day reading in bed with a puppy sleeping on my leg.
I TAG Mikerzz, Scott, Dusty, and any other blog buddy who wants to give it a shot.

"I Pinch"

I like that stupid commercial with the car and the crab. “I pinch” – I have to ponder who the heck came up with that one. And how did they pitch it? I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for that one. My first instinct would have been to toss the person out on their head the concept is so dumb. So who gave them the go ahead? This was some serious outside of the box thinking.

The capital one commercials with David Spade. They were okay, but then they added the poor hapless kid. He made the commercials. And we all watch enough t.v. that they have been able to have less and less David and more and more hapless kid. But our brains can follow the thoughts. And it’s this kid that makes them work.

Another great string Capital did was with the Vikings. I love the commercial progression. Marauding raiders reduced to department store santas and other thankless jobs. Awesome job by the creators. And again, we all watch enough t.v. that we can follow the progression.

And in other news:
I added the web stats thanks to Tink. I love the search terms she posts and just had to see what would come up for mine:

Watch out for the karma cow – I guess I didn’t know other people had a deep respect and fear of the Karma Cow
Shhh! Be vewy quiet -
Peels malt beverage
Steve kluger – No clue on this baby

United States
Unknown – I’m going to say this one came from P3X97 – a relatively close planet with a technology level similar to that of earth’s. Dr. Jackson thought there were some interesting ruins that should be studied further. (you must be a Stargate fan to even begin to understand this train of babbling)

Lastly, I began the book “To Dance with the White Dog” by Terry Kay this morning. I started crying on page two and only made it to 13 before I had to go reapply my make-up and leave for work. Ya got to hand it to an author that can get ya bawling before you even know the characters in the book. I still have 165 pages to go. I guess I must always have a box of Kleenex near by.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Catching up with Newt : Books, Ugly ducklings and a walk around the world.

Damn those literary magazines. I just picked up 2 more books due to the reviews I read in the newest edition of Pages Magazine. I zipped right through one this weekend called "Firmin: Adventures of a metropolitan Lowlife". It’s about a rat living in a book store. It was fun light reading that I completely enjoyed. I’m not even sure if I took anything away from the story other than it was a fun read. As I blog this I don’t have a copy handy to list the great lines in the book but I know my little arrows are sticking out all over the place so there were quite a few,. Oh well, maybe I’ll blog them tomorrow. The next book up to read is called "To Dance with the White Dog". Also in Pages as a good read.
I also recently finished a story called “Finding Laura Buggs”. It’s a sweet story about a girl who searches for her birth parents in the 40’s. The story takes place here in the twin cities. It’s funny to read about places that are still around today. And to read about things that aren’t. The cities used to have an impressive street car system. The oil / car industry did the world a great disservice when they forced them out of business. It’s criminal actually when you consider the billions being spent to re-make what was already once there. But the oil companies and car companies got rich and still do and have insane lobby power in the government.

Anyway, back to the story. There were a few great lines in the book:

“Make friends with an angel”, he said
“Pardon me,” I shouted.
“Make friends with an angel if you ever get the chance.”
“How do you find one?”
“It’s hard, they come in many disguises.”

• I wanted to remember that I ran while I could run and danced while the music played and sang my song while I had my voice.

• We’d pick a tree that needed us, one that undoubtedly wouldn’t make it into anyone’s home and therefore miss its reason for growing up.

That last thought is marvelous. An extension of the Charlie Brown tree. I have always been a sucker for the unwanted. From pets to Christmas trees I have always preferred the ones that went overlooked.

Keep that in mind the next time you shop for something. Don’t let a tree, or a plant, or a puppy miss its reason for growing up. I have bought plenty of sad little plants in the course of the past few years. And they have been some of the strongest plants in our yard. I bought a mostly dead clematis 4 or 5 years ago and it grows bigger and stronger every year. This year it has expanded past our mailbox post and will climb and cover our stair railing this year. It’s gorgeous.

A weekend ago ago we had our Festival of Nations here in the Cities. My husband took me several years ago since I was new to the state and had never been to one. We went back this year and had a blast. There is music and dancing from around the world. And there are about 25 countries represented at food booths. We sampled all sorts of tasty treats. And we brought home a big bag of various desserts. One of the treats from Switzerland was a chocolate dipped cookie. I can’t remember the name but it was very similar to the pitzales that my Great Grandma used to make. It’s a cookie that is made in an iron. Similar to a waffle cone but the pattern is more like lace and the flavor is different. Italians make the pitzales and leave them as flat cookies. We always broke off pieces and dipped them in coffee. The swiss version rolls the cookie while it is still warm so you get a little tube shaped cookie. Then they dunked one end in swiss chocolate. Very nummy.

The festival also has a great bazaar. There is a fun mix of cheap touristy kinds of gifts and legitimate artisan items representative of the culture. I got a really unique heart shaped ring with Baltic amber. And the hubster got a walking stick that had a wizard’s face carved into the wood. We also found a very cool wood watch from Columbia. It’s so cool I’m afraid to wear it.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Corporate kidnapping

Hey boys and girls. It's been a corporate America week for me. So, here's the week in summary:
Ready: Set: Go:

Monday: Training - then catching up on worked I missed all day
Tuesday: Training - then going out for fancy shmanshy corporate sponsored dinner complete with top executives - so your basic brown nose and suck up session :-)
Wednesday: Training - then dinner out at Mall of America with the girls! Items purchased: two tubes of cocoa butter lip balm and three eye shadows from The Body Shop (Kick ass sale) one pair of sunglasses (I'm told they are very glam on me), and a couple pink and lacy from VS. Also had incredible dinner and lots of giggles.
Thursday: Training - Dinner with the Canadians also in town for training. Took them shopping at Mall of America and then we watched the hockey playoff's at Tony Romas. By the way, there is this kick ass new beverage called Peels. It's a natural fruit juice and malt beverage drink. I saw it blogged about a few months back and couldn't wait to try them. Well damn if those puppies aren't delicious :-)

So, basically I have been going to work at 7 am and getting home at 10. And worst of all, no easy access to blog/internet time. It's very depressing. Good thing is tomorrow we finish up early. And since all the work will still be there on Monday, I think it's going to be a blogging sort of afternoon. So, I can catch up on the ever fabulous Tink, Sophist, Mikerzz, and the list goes on...............

Hugs to all of you out there, see you tomorrow, I can't wait.......................

Friday, May 05, 2006

In the Arms of the Angels you Pay It Forward

Quote from current book:

“Make friends with an angel”, he said
“Pardon me,” I shouted.
“Make friends with an angel if you ever get the chance.”
“How do you find one?”
“It’s hard, they come in many disguises.”

From: Finding Laura Buggs by Stanley Gordon West

Recently Tink talked about influential people. She mentioned the stranger in Subway. Maybe he was one of her angels. Those people that cross your path briefly but change it forever.

I once had a friend in high school that was an artist. He was a year older than me, a very private individual and the only person I ever met whose soul didn’t seem quite of the same stuff as the rest of us. He seemed ancient rather than a youthful 18. And he seemed so wise beyond his years. I had been out driving with a couple of friends all over the back roads of New Jersey. We randomly turned down country roads with no destination in mind. Thankfully it is a very small state and no matter how lost you get you can always find your way home. So, we were out in the middle of nowhere and the car broke down. The road was not even wide enough for two cars. And we hadn’t seen a house in miles. This was pre-cellular days so we had no way to call for help. We were looking at a long walk in the dead of night. Then headlights appeared up the road. And we thought great, someone can at least give us a ride to a phone. The car stopped and it looked strangely familiar but that wasn’t possible since we knew we were several hours from home. Only as it turns out we did know the car and we knew the person who had come to our aid. It was him. The lone artist. I know we all had the deer in the headlights expression on our faces because how could he possibly have known. We are talking a very small needle in a very large haystack. We asked him what the heck he was doing out here and he said he knew we needed help. I have to admit that I should have wet myself at this point but at the time it seemed right. Like it was the most natural thing to have happen. But years later when I think about this I get chills.

There is an idea out there in the world (and a very good movie I might add) called “Pay it Forward”. If someone does something nice for you don’t do it back to them, pass on the kind act to someone new.

Not long after this incident I got my chance to pay it forward:

I was driving a friend of mine back to his house. He lived 45 minutes away from me but in Jersey this was not unusual. Our high school had a student population that came from a radius of about 50 miles. So you could drive almost two hours to go from one friend’s house to another. For whatever reason I drove very slowly, 15 miles or so under the speed limit. I never do that but for some unknown reason that night I chose to. We came around a blind corner and my headlights swept across a car that was flipped over in the ditch, the wheels still turning. We got out of the car and ran over to help. The two passengers were still inside. One was unconscious but breathing. The other was crying.
I knew the girl that was crying. We worked together. While my friend stayed with the people in the car I ran to the closest house. I didn’t know the area at all so I wasn’t sure what sort of response I would get knocking on doors in the middle of the night but I had to call for help. I rang the doorbell and the person that opened it was someone else I worked with. We stared at each other in mild shock. We weren’t friends outside of work so this was not something I expected in a million years. I told her what happened and she called 911. Then she came down with me to the car. Because there was no gas leaking and we didn’t want to cause any further injury we sat holding hands with the girl in the car. Help was actually quick to arrive. And the rescue squad was able to remove them with the proper equipment, braces, and boards. The girl I knew in the wreck wouldn’t let go of my hand so they let me ride with her in the ambulance. I stayed with her until her mom was able to get out to the hospital. Both of the people in the car survived with very minor injuries. I don’t think I ever really saw that girl much after either. It was the end of our senior year and I was heading west. But it’s a night I have never forgotten, all the seemingly unrelated things that came together spook me to this day.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Dogs, debates, and downtime

Sophie and I had another marvelous walk this morning. My goal is to take a different route each morning so this morning we wandered past the cemeteries and over to the local city ball field. And, shock, there was a person walking their dog off leash. And shock again, the dog took off across the field to get to another person out walking their dog. Thankfully neither dog was aggressive and there was no fighting. But I certainly felt for the poor woman who's dog was on leash and didn't know what to do about the charging mongrel. I get so angry with these people. The owner of the loose dog was on the opposite side of the park so I couldn't dish out a little come to jesus session. I don't worry about Sophie with other dogs. She is so passive that any dog that approaches us sniffs and leaves well alone. It's not true where Max is concerned. I was feeling a little guilty about not taking him with us but unfortunately this morning enforced my fears. Max would have barked, we would have been charged and a dog fight would have ensued. Arghhhhhhhhh. My husband said I should take my cell phone with me and call the police. I know that the police have better things to do than come yell at people with off leash dogs but maybe it's the only way to actually start getting people to be responsible for their pets.

This morning I read through a fabulous debate on the Lone Sophists blog regarding immigration. A heated discussion to say the least. But very good. And now I have Dusty's blog to add to my lunch time reads. It's all good stuff. Dusty also talks about Neil Young's blog and his album that is streaming on line. I'm listening to it as I type. I have always loved Neil. Bless his heart. My good friends in high school loved him so I always get a little nostalgic when I hear him.

Finally, now that it is summer my down time activities are changing. In winter it's reading, t.v., and crafts. Now that it is spring it is digging in the dirt, pulling weeds, and planning this years plantings. With our less than tropical climate we often have a few plants each year that don't make it through the winter. So I have to decide what I want to stick there. Same thing? Give it another go? Or different? I usually end up with a little of both. Our garden is quite chaotic but I love it and it's beautiful. A master gardener I am not but I have fun with it every year. Soon I will plant several flats of petunias. I love them because they are hardy and will grow and flower all the way through spring, summer, and fall. Even after the first snow they will flower with their last breath.
Once I get the petunias in I have to spend the next month battling my resident ground squirrel. He is convinced that there are bulbs under the petunias so he pulls them all out. Then each morning I go out front and stick them all back in the ground. Last year I planted about 120 petunias. He popped out about half of them the first night. It progressively gets less and less each morning but I guess you can say it is our annual morning routine for a while. The irony is that I rescued that little guy from the jaws of one of our cats. And he has thanked me in little ways ever since. Petunia popping, columbine eating, fern chomping, and yes, he pulls up and eats some of the actual bulbs I try to plant for spring.
But he has as much right to exist on this earth as I do so we continue each year with our little yard war. I think I would miss the little guy if he wasn't there.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Filter issues and Heaven in the a.m.

First: Filter issues:
I came across something I had never heard of before while reading this morning. In my book the narrator was saying that one of the characters had made an appointment in the Garden of Gethsemane. I have no idea what that is. So when I got to work this morning I attempted to google it. I was able to see the Wikkepedia information but no other link could get past the internet filter. Apparently “religion, atheist, biblical” are trigger words for blocking the website. Or at least those were the major words in the internet address. Who knows what actually stops it. Oh well, I got a pretty decent explanation from wikkepedia. (well how bizarre , I was trying to create a link for wikkepedia for ya'll and the internet filter just stopped it but not the link within wikkepedia - go figure - ok, even stranger I can go to the wikkepedia home page from the G of G page but not the straight google link to wikkepedia.)

And now: Heaven in the a.m.

Since spring is sprunging here in the cities I have a far greater urge to be outside. So this morning Sophie and I snuck out of the house and went for a walk around the block. It was a magnificent morning and I treasured our entire walk together. First of all the temperature was orgasmicly perfect. I know of no other way to describe it. No humidity, cool enough to feel good on the skin but not to make me shiver. The sun was just coming up so the sky was awash in brilliant shades of orange and yellow. There was the softest breeze blowing and the lilacs are blooming. So the air smelled a little like heaven.
Sophie has this darling habit of looking up at me while we walk. She gets this silly smile on her face and her tongue hangs out the side of her mouth. I have never been able to capture it in a picture but it’s the cutest damn thing you have ever seen. Similar to this picture of her only her smile is bigger and of course the tongue is hanging out to the side - well, and she is walking or prancing as the hubster and I like to call it.
Anyway, it was the perfect start to the day. I’m an early riser every day but I still don’t love mornings however I think I’m going to start if my little girl and I keep this up. And if I can remember to go outside with my coffee and book while I wait for the hubster mornings will become my favorite part of the day.

For those of you that know we have two dogs I’m not playing favorites. My little boy, Max likes to sleep in. He doesn’t like to get out of his bed before he has to. And because of some problems we have had with loose dogs I don’t like to walk him in the neighborhood. And since this is supposed to be my “spiritual rejuv. time” having to be paranoid the entire walk and or having to kick a 150 lb. dog in the head to get him off my dog is not exactly relaxing. So for now it’s just me and Sophie.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Molding the clay that is me

The ever marvelous Tink was talking about influential people. And it got me thinking about who influenced my life.

Firstly my dad. He has a business ethic on a level so honorable that he is one in a billion in the business world. He always treated people with a kindness not often seen. His last position with his company was unique and in recognition of his skills. If the company had a location/plant that was not functioning as well as expected he was sent to that location to clean up whatever the problems were. Usually that meant sweeping up and throwing out several managers/supervisors/executives. Because typically that is why plants would not be 100% - poor management. The way that my dad is with people he could fire someone and they would thank him, shake his hand, and take him out to dinner. I don’t know how else to describe it. But the people left not feeling belittled or criticized. He has the magic touch with people. Anyone who meets my father likes him immediately. His kindness and genuineness must radiate from him because people sense it. And I am always surprised at the number of people that not only say it was nice meeting him but give him a hug as well. I have spent my life trying to emulate him. He is my inspiration and my hero.

Secondly my Aunt and Uncle were a big influence on my life. A great deal of who I am, what I like, what I eat is because of them. I also hoped to find a soul mate that would provide me with even half the love and affection they have for each other. They are a very rare couple in their love for one another. And they too have a way about them when it comes to meeting people. It amazes me the affection people feel for them. Right down to the people that work at the grocery store, medical clinics, even the corner deli. They just love them. And go out of their way to take care of them. Since my Uncle’s health is not 100% it is difficult for them to get around. If they order a chicken dinner from a local deli the employees know as soon as my Aunt calls exactly how to prepare it and they also wait outside to give it to them in their car rather than them having to park and walk to the deli. And this type of service/attention happens everywhere. It’s surreal actually. Especially since they live in California which invented the concept of snub thy human.

Lastly, much like Tink’s stranger in Subway this last person I have never met and may not have even been alive when she indirectly changed my life. There was a local community college where I lived in California and graduate students could take courses for something like 35 bucks. Too cheap to pass up. So I took some courses there for the heck of it. One of the courses was Art History. My teacher was dynamic, fascinating, and so knowledgeable that I fell in love with Art. And I fell in love with his mesmerizing style. His parents were archaeologists specializing in Mayan and Aztec culture. He grew up in digs all over central and S. America. I would talk to my dad after each class and tell him what we discussed. After a few classes he said that the teacher’s style was very similar to his art teacher in college. Her name was Mary. My father said that she made him fall in love with art much the same way as my professor was influencing me. In fact my dad went on to say, he met my mother at an art gallery that he had an assignment at. So basically this lady Mary was responsible for my entire existence. But it gets stranger. I went to the next class and asked my teacher if he knew Mary. He turned ghostly pale and sat down in one of the seats. “Why did you say that name to me?” he asked. So I told him the story of my father’s experiences with her. He said that she was his teacher for most of his degree and his mentor. She helped him get his PhD in art history. He attributes his entire life’s work to her. He wished she could have heard the conversation we had because she probably had no idea how much her teaching had influenced some of her students lives. Hell, I am alive because of her. So, thanks Mary, for indirectly giving me “life” and an extreme love of art.

And on an unrelated note

Quote from the book I am reading:
“A conversation with you is a head-numbing experience. I don’t think any ordinary person is ready for it.”
In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead by James Lee Burke

Monday, May 01, 2006

On some level it’s cool

I’m published. Yippee. Grant you it’s not for anything on par with the fabulous Tink’s story. But rather it is for a letter to the editor. But hey, it’s in a magazine, and it’s for sale to the national public. So, that’s kinda cool. The editor had written about re-reading books. Which lead to my blog about that subject which lead to Mikerzz’s blog about that subject. But first it lead to me emailing in to the magazine editor. Who in turn emailed me back. He mentioned making room for my letter but I didn’t actually believe it would happen.

Cool lines from what I am currently reading:

To set the scene for both quotes, the main character has had an encounter with civil war soldiers camped out in the marshes near New Orleans. The story takes place in the mid 90’s. The mid 1990’s.

“Ah, you’ll simply turn your back on madness, will you? The quixotic vision is not for you, is it?”

“…..and decided that the general and I would not share our secrets with those whose lives and vision were defined by daylight and a rational point of view.”

“In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead” by James Lee Burke

As I mentioned in my previous blog, this is a re-read. I told my dad to give James Lee Burke a try. So while he was here visiting me I gave him one of his books. He loved it. Then when he went back home he mentioned to his coffee shop buddies that his daughter got him hooked on a new author. Two of the coffee shop guys said that Burke was hands down their favorite author and one of the guys in fact went out to his car and and gave dad a whole stack of his books. (Sometimes the coincidences in life are surreal) Well anyway, he has been reading the series in order and finally got to “Electric Mist” This was my favorite book by Burke and also the one that got me hooked on his writing. So in order to be able to discuss the book with him I picked it back up. I think I may be enjoying this book even more the second time around. I know the character better. I know the directions his life is going to go. And I know that one of the main characters is no longer with us (in a literary sense – she’s was killed off recently) So it’s like visiting an old friend. If you have never tried James Lee Burke do so. Read his Dave Robicheaux series. They are fantastic novels. I little violent but damn if the guy can’t write descriptive and poetic narrative better than almost anyone I have ever read.

Anyway, I have now beaten this topic to death. So, so long, talk to you later gator.