"We Three"

"We Three"

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

What goes around keeps going round, and round, and round...

History is so interesting. From the very beginning, it is about one group of people finding the absolute right way to live, and imposing it on everyone else they can. Most couch their conquest in religion, while consuming the wealth and power of their enemies. Sumerians are conquered by Akkadians, who fall to the Hittites, who are vanquished by the mysterious "sea people", and the Babylonians rise, full of righteousness. Ah, there's the rub. Righteousness. We are still steeping it today, in this enlightened age, because there are still people who know the only right way to live, and claim their knowledge comes directly from the Deity. Man, it is really getting old, people! Live and let live! And get a life, you righteous creeps! There, I feel better.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

God bless the garbageman...

Great lumbering, grumbling beasts ply Wild Rose Drive every Monday morning. Today, in their honor, I bagged and carried out all the orts of my life, and lined them up on the curb in their respective containers, where tomorrow, they will be whisked from my life forever. How wonderful is that, anyway? So here's to the sanitation engineer, rough and ready guy that he is, a magician of sorts, if you think about it, and every Monday, my hero.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Long live Pleasantville.

When I was growing up, milk was delivered to your doorstep a couple of times a week, and if you needed cream, you just left the milkman a note. All milk was whole milk, there was no other kind. Labels were sensibly inside of clothing. Boys were beginning to wear jeans to school, Levis one and all. Girls wore dresses, blouses or sweaters with skirts, or jumpers. I really miss jumpers. I had several things that had fur collars, real fur. We rode our bicycles to school, and parked them in bikeracks or on their kickstands, without locks, and they were all there when we got ready to leave. We played outdoors whenever we could. Electronics meant you traded in your manual typewriter for an electric one. Phones were big, bulky and mostly black, and you were grateful for a private line that you didn't have to share with a lot of other (nosy) people. The thrill of the day was when the ice cream truck toodled through the neighborhood with its music-box playing and we bought popsicles, for a dime. The movies were double-features (two movies, for you uninitiated) with two cartoons, a newsreel and an episode of a serial, like Zorro, or Flash Gordon, or Captain America, all for 30 cents. Another dime bought a tube of Flicks, little chocolate disks, or a Three Musketeers bar the size of Wyoming. Stereos were new, and built into furniture (ours was a roll-top desk, built by Robert Montgomery, husband of Dinah Shore). Music came on vinyl, and in three speeds, 78, 45 or 33 rpm. Automobiles were huge landboats, laden with chrome, heavy as elephants, and got about 8 mpg, but that didn't matter, because the gallon indicater moved much faster than the dollar one, gas was about 19 cents a gallon. And a small army of uniformed guys would scurry out to wash your windshield, check your tires and measure your oil level. Television was new, mostly broadcast live, in black and white. And radio was still hot, with shows like Inner Sanctum, and the Whistler, and the Shadow. Scary then, and even now, because we used to catch a retrospective on our way home from Grandma's house when the kids were little, and they would be scared out of their tiny minds by the time we arrived. Thrilling. Divorce was the exception rather than the rule. It was a time of great prosperity, after the long trial of World War II. Ike was president, Nixon (later tricky Dick) was vice president, the cold war was raging; we had regulad air-raid drills where we all ducked under our desks and covered our heads so the flash of the nuclear explosion would not blind us, as if we all wouldn't be toast anyway. Dinosaurs were reptiles, Jupiter had only 9 moons, and history really was the chronicle of dead white men on horses. Life was simple, and simplistic. I love to remember it, but I don't really miss it. I like 1% milk and computers and birth control pills and the diversity we now celebrate. And someday I will get used to my clothes having labels on the outside.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Laughing out loud...

I was in bed last night, reading Wealth 101, marvelous spiritual book. Really. And the authors listed our primary needs as: air, water, food, shelter, clothing and television. How true is that. It's not a new book, because I would add VCR, DVD player, premium channels, and a whizbang computer suite, complete with printer, scanner, fax machine and digital camera. Abbondanza!
It's a funny thing, but it doesn't really take a lot of money to be rich. Being rich is being in love with my life, having the things that make me feel abundant, like those mentioned above, but also owning major appliances like my refrigerator and washer/dryer, a really fine vacuum cleaner and a happily chortling coffeemaker brewing up a pot of fresh-ground Ethiopian. My humble little yellow house is my palace. It holds my beloved's artwork on the walls, both his and mine, because he taught me to paint. And I have some of my photography framed, and signed, too. There is joy around every corner here, in the rose bushes front and back, the corner of the bedroom that holds pictures of my babies, the little rack on the wall beside the front door where scarves, umbrellas and Boo's leash hang, the kitchen counter where Phoebe's cage sits, the red curtains in the common room. I could want for more, but truly, I want for nothing that I need, not a whit.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

...and then you throw the dog a bone.

Navigating the vicissitudes of college is not nearly as rigorous as preparing to leave the house. First, there is the ritual Packing-of-the-Bookbag. Certain items live in the bag, like pens, pencils, calculator, ruler, great big eraser, Scantrons, student ID card, a lipstick and comb. Others need to be added: kleenex, driver's license, ATM card (just in case), a little cash (for early morning latte), cell phone, academic planner, three-ring binder, homework, and of course, textbooks, hopefully the right ones for that day's classes. Which means I must always know what day it is, and what day it will be tomorrow, even. On Wednesdays, I also take a lunch and my laptop, which means the bag weighs a whole bunch more. After packing, there is the ceremony of Finding-the-Keys, which sometimes entails remembering what I wore yesterday, too. Once located, I must secretly slip them into my pocket without drawing the dog's attention, as this is a dead giveaway that I am leaving, and may not plan on taking him, always an occasion of much ennui on his part. Then there are the rites of Turning-Everything-Off, which is the main thrust of my current exercise program, as I always manage to forget something at the other end of the house. On my way back, I slip a couple of MilkBones out of their box, so that by the time I grab my bookbag and don my coat, scarf, and sunglasses, with Boo whining and griping and jumping about a lot, I am all ready to give him a bone (after he sits up for me; he doesn't get something for nothing, after all), then toss another one across the room (otherwise he will sneak by me when I open the door and storm the car), I am free to leave. With any luck, I have remembered everything I need, because going back into the house is sheer hell to pay. Fortunately, I only need do this four days a week. And I get a nice vacation at the end of the semester. Which I really, really need by that time. A semester equals one box of Milk Bones, in case you were wondering.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I'm really not lazy...

Just overwhelmed with new semester. Every teacher hands out their syllabus, and suddenly there is 120 pages of information to digest, and every page is packed with information. We have already studied the Sumerians, Hittites, Akkadians, Babylonians and Egyptians in Western Civilization. In American History, we are learning all the myriad tribes of Native Americans, which are called in very un-PC terms in the text, Indians, because that is what the were called for most of the last 200 years, and the plethora of conquistadores who rampaged about the continent. And in Geology, gosh, it is hard to know where to begin. Plate techtonics with divergent, convergent and transform plate boundaries, Pangaea, minerals, you name it. And that was just the first week. Yesterday, I read the Code of Hammurabi, the Laws of the Hebrews, a synopsis of the Odyssey, and the Epic of Gilgamesh. My notes binder is already bulging with stuff. I find I take at least 3 pages of notes per hour this semester. Oh, and did I mention the Gore Vidal tome on Jefferson, Washington and Hamilton? Or the book on daily life of a colonist? Plowing through those, too. If I get through this semester, I can do anything. Anything.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Things that go bump in the night...

Strange things are happening. My dear roommate is gone off to school, as she does every week, and I am here, alone, in the little yellow house. Boo is ensconsed on the bed, as usual, and all is quiet, except for this noise next door. From the sound of it, my neighbor is either building a deck to cover his dead wife's grave, or stacking firewood. Clunk, clunk, clunk. What a wonder imagination is, n'est-ce pas? Actually, this is a rather frightening place after dark. Because this area is unincorporated, we have no street lights. It is uber-dark out there. If the neighbor across the street didn't leave their porch light on all night, we would be totally shrouded in blackness. Ooooh. And soon, dear roommate is moving away, and we will be here, Boo and Phoebe and I, all alone, all the time. So, time to get used to it. And put the hammer in my nightstand drawer.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Deep thoughts, vol. 9987

It's Friday, and I usually take Friday off. No school, minimal studying, usually later in the day. My mind turns to less weighty issues, like what to wear to bed. I think I have finally discovered the right thing, allbeit 61 years late, but better late than never, I suppose. Nightgowns look wonderful swirling around the ankles whilst swishing about before bed. I like the ones with pintucks and lots of ribbon and lace dripping from neck and sleeves. But, in bed, they tend to ruch up about my hips and wrap me like a mummy, so that I have to unroll myself from them in the morning like a Tootsie Roll from its wrapper. Tee shirts are great in the summer, big ones, but they leave my legs dangling out there in the cold in the winter. Pajamas also look so dapper, all outdoorsy-woman, so Lands End, but I hate those with buttons that poke me and tend to come undone. I bought one pair with a slip-on top, and knitted cuffs at the wrists and ankles, so they don't hike up. Haven't been able to find another like them and these are pretty ratty after a couple of thousand wearings. And what about a bra? I wore one to bed for many years, then gave up on underwire in the night, talk about pokes. But I like to corral those puppies, a little, so I don't get one caught under my arm. So I have come up with the pluperfect nighttime ensemble: stretchy little cami with cunning shelf bra, flannel pajama bottoms, and a thermal tee on top, that I can take it off in the middle of the night if I get too warm. And these supersoft anklets, all poofy and fluffy, on those especially cold nights. Funny how warm feet seem to keep everything else warm, and vice versa. Boy, am I relieved to have this dilemma behind me.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

New history...

Interesting. History has evolved a lot since I was in school. Now, we are learning more than stories of dead wigged white men on horses. Efforts are made to avoid ethnocentrism and see the big picture. So the history of North America begins with the Native Americans, their communities, their spiritual practices, their interactions. What a hoot! And we will be looking from a slave's point of view later, as well as women (imagine that). In fact, Mr. Toad says the only viewpoint that hasn't come to the forefront yet is a child's view of events. College is such an interesting process now. I come home every day and feel stuffed full of new information. Like, did you know where the phrase "mad as a hatter" came from? Leather used to be processed with mercury, which is highly toxic and causes insanity if one is exposed too often or too long. Hatters who cut the leather often went bonkers. I learned this in geology, of all places. Well, makes sense to this nutso Gemini - Mercury is my ruling planet!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

All kinds of newness today...

School seemed better today. Saw an old friend, who is taking same geology class as I, and felt like I belonged there. Teacher is young, athletic woman, very dedicated as she is chair of her department that includes astronomy, geology and meteorology, the department of heaven and earth, she called it. Glad I like her, because she also teaches the lab I had this afternoon, where I learned to convert farenheit to celcius (C=Fx9/5-32) and find locations on earth from their latitude and longitude. New friend, Suzy, another over-the-hill gal, and we will have lots of fun doing all this stuff together. Already had some good laughs, and that is what it is all about, enjoying this process of learning new stuff. Lots, and lots, and lots of reading to do, though. So far, I have had interaction with Hittites and Sumerians and Egyptians, plumbed the inner mind of the Founding Fathers, and examined the layers that make up the earth: crust, mantle and core. So much to learn.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


First day of new semester. I always feel that I must be crazy, doing this academic thing. I lugged the already too heavy bookbag out to the car and set off, first to get my non-fat latte, my first-day-of-the-week treat, then to the downtown mall, where I was relieved to see the familiar signs directing me to our designated parking place, meaning that, yes indeed, the shuttles are running. I found my first class, major accomplishment because it is in a new building that I had not explored yet, then sat there sure that I was in the wrong classroom, since it was American History, but this looked like a science-type classroom. The sink in the counter is a dead giveaway. It was, however, the right place. Our professor is a truncated little guy, very puffed up on top, neckless and kind of toadlike, but despite gruff exterior, funny and droll. We did some fun exercise that tested our knowledge and intelligence by selecting a person, place and event from the period we are studying, up to 1877. Some of us were pretty much not present, with answers like Ronald Reagan and Battle of the Bulge, but hey, it's early in the semester. Also, I always thought old RR was a fossil, anyway. Next, I hiked over to my familiar territory for the Western Civilization class. Mr. Diaz is a kind of fluffy young Hispanic, very mild-mannered and also rather droll in an endearing way. He gave us a quiz, right off the bat, and I am happy to say I got a couple of the questions right, like "where is Stonehenge and who built it" and "who was Julius Caesar". The other eight I just guessed, and it is good we are studying this stuff, because I don't know very much at all. Things I learned today: I have enough time to get from my 9 AM to my 10:30 AM and pee in between, too. And bless Prof. Diaz, I will be first onto the shuttle at lunchtime, because he will let us out early. These are the really important things to know.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The King is dead (again)...

I saw the new and improved King Kong today, don't ask me why, it just seemed to call to me. I loved the first one, shuddered through the Jeff Bridges/Jessica Lange version, which ended on the top of the now defunct World Trade Center, and how sad is that. Peter Jackson got kind of carried away with adoring close-ups of his admittedly attractive stars. Even Jack Black looked great glaring away in that menacing way he has. And oh, Naomi Watts is stunning, even those two rabbity front teeth we glimpse over and over and over again through her parted, trembling lips. The sets are amazing. I especially loved the New York of the '30s, clogged with all those tin lizzies in gridlock traffic jams. Skull Island was a roller coaster ride of monstrous creatures, including the bugs, which really made me sink down into my seat. Kong was more animated, and much dirtier than he had ever been in previous versions. Caked and matted, even. After a brief moment of wondering how they got him home in the hold of that tiny freighter, we got to watch him rip up quite a few unlucky New Yorkers before his dizzying climb, this time, once again, to the top of the Empire State Building, Naomi in tow. That was a feat, carrying her in one hand and scaling the vertical face of the building with the other. Those scenes, high in the air, Naomi in this satin slip of a dress in the dead of a New York winter and not even shivering, our heroine, terrified me. She kept climbing up to where Kong was perched, and I knew she was going to wind up a flat furry spot on the pavement far, far, far below. Like, why did I care, 2 hours and 58 minutes later? Did I think it would end differently? It didn't. Faithful parody of the first version, though the captain of the freighter was a hottie, and worth the whole movie for moi. Great movie to see so you can say you saw it. Again.

Friday, January 13, 2006

I get it, really I do...

In today's inbox, a plethora of forwarded stuff, like the one about women, our virtues, of course. My favorite; "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." Ain't that the truth. And there are a lot of those in my life. There is the woman who collects resentments and frequently trots them out (my mother). There is the woman whose brain has become disconnected from her mouth, so that she frequently utters words that should never breathe the light of day. There is the woman who gripes, and gripes, and gripes, and if you try to offer her an alternative, argues for her limitations. I am surrounded by horrible examples, a lot of them of the female persuasion. So my daily challenge is to stay true to my path, take these people as poor sick gals full of self-centered fear and really not out to sink my ship. Which is exactly what it looks like they are doing.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

If I ruled the world...

It may sound picky, but did the guy who designed my toilet ever clean one? Oh, I know it was a man who made this thing, this cunning little wide-mouthed beast that squats on its haunches in my tiny bathroom. And I am not talking about the inside. Oh, nonono. It is the exterior I am talking about, all these loopy curves that just sit there and collect crud. And when are the car manufacturers going to get their act together and give women a decent shelf in the dashboard to stow their purses? Take that glove compartment and shove it, guys. Just put a pocket on one of the sunvisors for the registration, manual and proof of insurance. OK?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Here we go round the mulberry bush...

I have a cold. For the last 3 days, I tried to ignore it, but today, it won. I have two lousy choices here: stay all stuffed up, achy and scratchy or take the #$%&*$ pills. I have plenty of those suckers, courtesy of Costco, some for day and some for night. Orange and green, so there will be no mistake, because that would be disastrous. The orange ones act like speed so, even though I am moving slowly, it feels like I am in fast forward mode. And the green ones knock me out, until they wear off about 3 AM, and I have to get up to find the little scissors to open another package of them (just another thing that is annoying about pills), but they work really swell otherwise. Funny, a little thing like this can obscure everything else while it lasts. My focus narrows to my drippy nose and stuffy head, my misery. So I am going back to bed, again. No more running around everywhere, pretending I am well. Fortunately, I also have a Costco supply of Kleenex and tea.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Dog days...

I am old enough to remember what it was like to have a dog in the good old days. It was usually a mutt, someone's accident. We usually only saw the vet if it got hit by a car, because there were no leash laws. It ate table scraps and occasionally got a bath, usually in the summer, on the lawn. If it died, you buried it in the backyard, and got another one. My, my. Times have changed. Not only has Boo had a regular series of well-baby visits to the vet, he has special ear washing stuff and teeth brushing stuff. He is altered, of course. I had a moment of pure regret thinking of him losing those dear little cajones. Though he is not purebred, he cost a fair bundle because he was 1) obscenely cute and 2) reasonably small. An eye injury when he was little cost me $150, almost as much as he cost me originally. Well, my times have changed, too. I got the reminder postcard from the vet, time for rabies and Parvo/DHLP boosters. Groan. Another $200 for 20 minutes at the vet. But, what's this! Vaccination clinic at SuperPets! So, off we went yesterday, arriving at 3:50 pm for the 4 o'clock clinic, only to find it wasn't going to start till 4:30. So we spent the better part of an hour in line with the other pet owners who were seeking financial relief. Boo left a little dividend on the store floor, but no matter; there were paper bags and paper towels at regular intervals just for this occasion. In front of us, a couple brought their pug puppy, talk about cute. And behind us was a miniture schnauzer puppy, about the size of a guinea pig, sooooo cute. Boo weathered the wait by sniffing at the cat carrier that was being pushed along by a young couple. I stole a glimpse when they took it out, finally, a gorgeous tortie. Boo weathered the shots well, not even a squeal. He's been a little laid back ever since, like he has not even gotten off the bed to lick my cereal bowl, I may have to just put it in the dishwasher without his help. Ah, the joys of pet ownership in the 21st century.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

A whole bunch of hoopla...

So, the fundamentalist folks are railing against that show I was talking about, The Book of Daniel. Seems this is not their brand of Jesus. Isn't that like saying if you don't smoke Camels you are not a real smoker? Anyway, they have succeeded in pressuring a couple of local markets not to carry the show, and this is dandy news, because now a whole bunch of folks who could have cared less will watch it. I cannot imagine what it must be like to have a faith so fragile that a dissenting opinion can shake it this badly. And what can they be so riled up about? Well, the gay son, obviously. Jesus cannot possibly love (gasp) gay people, right? Well, sorry. Jesus loves everyone, like we are supposed to. And that doesn't just mean other people who are (on the surface, anyway) just like us. Everyone. Especially (read my lips) sinners! Self-righteousness is a sin. Hypocrisy is a sin. So, definitely, Jesus loves the fundamentalists, bless their fearful little hearts. The trouble with being rigid, though, is that one becomes brittle. And brittle people break, easily. Those who are strong in faith enough to let others have whatever beliefs work for them, well, they are not only flexible, but happy. Daniel's Jesus is loving, non-judgmental and supportive. How could he be any more wondrous? And I am not even a Christian. But if this were the real Jesus, I might consider it. For a moment.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Little blessings everywhere...

I was laying in my bed of pain yesterday, dog at my feet and remote at my side, when I saw this promo for a new show, The Book of Daniel, premiering that very night on NBC. Looked interesting, and I was still awake at 9, so I checked it out. What a hoot! Aiden Quinn (much more attractive now that age has spread him out a little) stars as an Episcopal priest whose daughter has been trying to raise money be selling pot, adopted Chinese son is bonking the deacon's daughter, natural son is gay and trying to tell his grandfather the Bishop, mother has Alzheimers' , and brother-in-law has just absconded with the million dollar church building fund. In the midst of all this, Jesus regularly drops by to offer support. Support, not advice, not admonitions. Support. Wow. Not the Jesus of my childhood, that whitewashed personna who seemed to deal with his fleshiness so much better than I dealt with mine. Huge resentment about that one. Except, now, having completed a course in critical thinking, I can see that that was all we were allowed to see of Jesus, his godliness. There was humaness there, too, I am sure. So, this TV version has all the trappings: flowing robes, blue eyes, long hair and beard. But there the similarity ends. For one thing, he has quite a sense of humor, and seems to appreciate Daniel's very human veniality. At one point Daniel asks him "Do you talk to me because I am special?" and Jesus replies "No, I talk to everyone. You listen." And there it is, a whole big dollop of wisdom and direction, right there in primetime! Good stuff happens when I get still and listen to the inner wisdom that is right there, always available. Go NBC!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Tis the season, sigh.

I was wandering around the Costco parking lot this morning in an antihistimine-induced haze, just wanting to get this one errand that I could not shirk behind me so I could get into my sweats and stay in bed all afternoon, and thinking. I didn't do my usual gratitude parking practice, park way far away and hike in. Headaches do that to me, make me selfish. I managed to find my card, and get in line to go in. At Costco, there are lines everywhere. People who say they hate Costco because of the lines need to get over it. Lines are perfect opportunities to be grateful I am not like other people, who hate lines. Costco is not stupid. There were huge displays of vitamins lining the entrance, for all those who have resolved to get their act together in the New Year. And then came the piles of (ick) TurboTax software and expanding files, for those disgusting enough to think about things like that before April 15. I followed a couple of slaphappy older guys, who told me they were down from Lakeport, about an hour away, in total culture shock, and headed for the free samples. Lunch! I got my usual goodies for tomorrow's meeting, fruit tray, cream cheese snails and loaves of variety breads to slice up for the hungry AA's and looked for the Lean Cuisine 4 packs, but they must have sold out. Or I was too hazy to see them. I did notice huge mountains of organizers: plastic bins, rolling shelf units, modular storage units, and lots of exercise equipment, too. Everybody is thinking they will be better because the calendar has flipped over. I, on the other hand, am just going to bed.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Remembering and forgetting...

Sometimes I think there is nothing wrong with my life that a whole big bunch of money would not fix. Most of the time I lead this sweet life, in my tiny house in my funky turkey-infested neighborhood in this mediocre little city, with my kind of stinky dog and economy car. Then I venture out of my milieu, and realize there is a much more gracious and wondrous life out there, being lived by gracious and wonderful (and rich) people. Well, I could be doing that, too. I would just have to swallow a whole big bunch of bitterness and give up ever being seen or appreciated. I could have stayed married to my last ex-husband, and spent the rest of my life being reminded daily of all my deficiencies, which, I assure you, abound. I would have a fabulous house and shiny furniture and German cars and pedigreed dogs that get baths once a month and a monthly appointment for me at a chichi salon for color, cut and manicure. Then I remember the way I felt then, like an emotional cripple, unable to love myself at all because I knew I was selling out. And I remember that, even in my humble little life, I feel pretty good about what I am doing here, helping other women to find what I found, a life of spiritual peace. And I am happy with Nice and Easy and $15 haircuts. I am satisfied with going to the local community college. I am grateful to be alive at all. It's like sometimes I just go to sleep, and forget who I am, which is enough, just the way I am now. I am not missing anything here. No more is needed. Amen.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Ah, a new year...

So, I had invitations, really I did. Instead, I stayed home, where it was warm and dry, and watched this sleazy movie, The Sweetest Thing, an old Cameron Diaz/Christina Applegate vehicle. I knew it was sleazy because I had seen it before. Yes, I know there was probably something more uplifting to do, and it certainly was not watching a bunch of drunken revellers waiting for a ball to drop. The year turned over quietly, as I watched Laurence Olivier smarm his way through Pride and Prejudice with Greer Garson as a rather over-the-hill Lizzie. Boo lay quietly at my feet and I had a new John Grisham novel to dip into when television got just too much to bear. I guess I will write out a few things today; what worked last year, what didn't work last year, what I would like to see work this year, blah, blah, blah. As you can see, my enthusiam has waned somewhat. At the same time, a lot of our county that normally isn't underwater is today, very bad, and the hills are falling down into the streets, too. Nothing in our neighborhood floated away last night, so we are in good shape.