Friday, December 31, 2010
I love ITunes radio. I can stream it here on Big Bad Mama, my Dell Dimension dinosaur that runs on Windows XP Professional, and has speakers that can be heard for miles. Usually, I tune in to one of the soundtrack stations on the classical menu, but my mouse slipped a cog the other day and instead of Radio IO, I got RMF Classic. Moosica Classeek. I knew this language was not of the Latin variety, or Russian, or Germanic for that matter. And I kept listening. Usually, when talking is necessary on Radio IO, I get all annoyed. But on RMF Classic, I can't tell what they are saying, and the speech is so melodic, rising and falling as it does, and I know they are trying to tell me something, so I just listen to see if I can recognize any words. French seems to find its way in, as does English. The music is a delightful eclectic mix of classical, soundtracks, American easy listening, really quirky tunes from the other side of the world, and some French goodies, like Edith Piaf singing Rien de Rien, or an Ives Montand ballad. Yesterday, I slapped my forehead in a real DUH moment, and Googled them. I am listening to music from Poland. That took some discernment, actually. Not only is Polish a different language, they use a different alphabet. Then I saw this little button that said Translate this page. And it was from Polish to English. Wow. So, I pushed the Like button to become one of 2,604 fans. Just love that Internet. I learn something new every day. Oh, and today's image is really old painting, in its raw beginning. It has been through many morphs, changing because my mentor did not like it, and has never been finished. Actually, it never looked as good as it did at this stage again. 2011 may find it completed. That would be nice.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Sooooo glad those holidaze are almost history, and cowwoman can get back to dabbing at a canvas with paint, or smearing pastels, or just sharpening a pencil. Too long, no art. It really is an integral part of my psyche now, to create something, anything. Also need a sewing machine expert to come over and instruct me in the intricasies of this very wonderful and complicated machine I have owned for over two years, and now need to know how to use! Help! As this year ends (and lordy, let it be over!), I am reviewing my tiny life, looking in the dark corners where things like dog hair and crumbs tend to lodge, sweeping up, so to speak. I started a 4th step around my mother (again!), because she managed to push the button (again!), you know, the one she installed back in the beginning, when dirt was new. I have been stomping around the little yellow house, yelling at her, telling her off. Of course I would never do that up close and personal. It would hurt me more than it hurt her. But I do know that this anger lives in my body, and unless I get it out, no amount of writing or discerning or pissing and moaning will break it loose. I know it's the right thing because it feels great. And the really fine thing about the 4th step is, that once all the vitriol is out there on the paper, I get to do the real work of seeing MY PART. After all, can't change the old witch of the west. Can only change the old lady here, on Wild Rose Drive. Then I can paint some more cows.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Most Americans think we live in a democracy. We don't. Our government is a republic. That is what a college education gave me, discernment. The power lies in the elected officials, who may or may not represent their constituent's wishes. Of course, the electorate can always change their representation, but in the end, the power is still in their hands. Now, AA, that's a horse of a different color. I was elected to be the Intergroup representative for my home meeting. That means I carry my group's conscience to the monthly meeting of Intergroup, a service committee that produces the meeting schedules, runs the bookstore, integrates teleservice for those seeking AA meetings, and produces activities for the county as a whole, like annual picnics, New Year's Eve dances, and the Alkathons, marathon meetings that meet around the clock on major holidaze to give us all a refuge from families and support to not drink. Now, this is a pretty political arm of the program, and I am basically apolitical in nature. But even I have to admit, it was a thing of beauty last night. We had a motion on the floor, to remove the rather pricey ad we run in our local paper, as an economy measure. Most of the reps had taken the issue to their respective groups and gotten the majority opinion. So, first we all stood at the microphone and our individual group's wishes were read into the record. Then, we voted on whether to vote on the issue. Yes, we wanted to do that. Then we voted to see if we wanted a simple majority or a 2/3 majority. That vote tied, 34 to 34, so the chair had the deciding vote. Politician that he was, he decided to do an eeny-meeny-miney-mo thing, and pull it out of the hat, thoughtfully provided by the treasurer. When he selected the 2/3 , I thought we would never be able to pass the issue, but pass it did, with more than 3/4 deciding to drop the ad. You would think this would be an easy decision, but AA's primary purpose is to help the alcoholic still suffering, and many felt we should keep reaching out. However, in the end, most of us felt that our hotline number in the phone book, our Public Information Committee's work, providing literature and schedules in our libraries, schools, etc., were enough for now. After all, we have a strict policy of attraction, not promotion. This is mainly because recovery only works for those who want it. Many who need it cannot recover for lack of desire. Personally, I think those who want us will find us even if we went underground. Actually, that is where we are, anyway. Kind of like an operating system, running in the background. You only interact with it in dire emergencies. And that is how most of us came to be in Program, anyway, bleeding and on fire. Hey, whatever works. And true democracy lives, quietly, with a lot of thought and discussion.
Monday, December 27, 2010
And how happy is the cowwoman to see this year slip away? HELLA-HAPPY! Okay, it is just another day in the life of, but there is something wonderfully symbolic about the turning of the year. I mean, I had to buy a new calendar! I don't think it is silly, not at all, to pretend everything can be new again. The year in review is a trail of tears, literally, what with the eye surgery and its subsequent recovery process, and the many, many, many funerals that followed. And it was a triumphant year, where cowwoman saw her artwork grace the tickets to Art for Life, sold three paintings, and, best of all, gained a new son with the announcement of my daughter's impending nuptials. So, great, bursting heights, and crushing, dark depths. I would love to get off that rollercoaster in 2011, just ride the carousel, and maybe the Ferris wheel, for excitement.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Good friends are ever so much more valuable than pissy family members. So, my Christmas with the women who are trudging the happy road of destiny with me was precious. It started at my home group meeting, where I stood in for the secretary, who had family obligations (probably much more pleasant ones than mine). My extraordinary sponsor chaired. Then we mosied over to the alkathon, for most of a meeting and some really sweet stuff, like pecan pie and apple strudel, before hitting the 1:30 matinee of "The King's Speech" at, TADA, the smart people's movies, which opened again just lately. New owner, but he has kept it an art house, and installed really comfy seats to boot. Dynamite film, with moving and incredible performances, oscar-worthy, for sure. Then a nosh at our favorite coffee shop that stays open for folks like us, poor orphaned gals that we are. We had a swell time, stayed sober through another #$&(# Christmas, and tomorrow, I will have 21 years sober, and a delightful day with my kids, who are the best family ever, and now, I have three, because one will soon be my son-in-law, how sweet is that! Many blessings to count as this danged year closes. It was a doozy. Hoping next year brings less drama. That alone would be super.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
It is winter solstice, the darkest day of the year. In my neighborhood, the sun made a valiant effort for a few moments this afternoon before surrendering to storm clouds that have now piled up again, and it is ready to rain. The big puddle across the street is at tidal status, ebbing and flowing with the pass of the moon, it is so deep already. I like the idea of the sacredness of this time, a time to go inward, examine the so-far-unexamined, take stock of the virtues and character defects, and get rid of the stale-dated behaviors that no longer serve the common good. Letting go of judgment myself, knowing that I do not ever know what goes on between the ears of another human being. I can only suppose it is the same as what goes on between mine, and that has never been true. Just doing my best to be the person my dogs think I am. I came home this afternoon after a short shopping trip, and found both poochies all wriggly and filled with delight to see me. Just love being loved like that. Now trying to spread that in the world, too, even to people who seem to not love me. After all, one should never wrestle with pigs; you get all dirty, and you piss the pigs off, too. So if someone is doing me dirt, I just let it lie there between us, and continue to believe it was an accident, after all. My job is to BE the person I want others to be. Big job, that.
Monday, December 20, 2010
I had thought my days of entertaining were behind me. After all, the little yellow house is, well, little. And then my folks got too frail to do their annual pre-Christmas get-together, so I decided I could do it, yes I could. And I did, yesterday. We all fit quite well, with a little ingenuity and shuffling of furniture. It was a fine time. Except ( and isn't there always an EXCEPT), Mother did not attend. She was feeling dizzy. Dad made it, along with baby brothers, who are now 63 and 61, my adopted brother (from long association and much affection), little kiddo and her fiance. Food was scrumptious. Well, God cooked it. I was not really in charge. Worked hard to be laid back and not expect perfection. That didn't work all the time, but it was helpful. I decided Mom was really not well, and wasn't doing this to get back at me for times I was unable to attend family gatherings, called to see how she was doing later in the day, and sent her a plate of food. What goes on with her is so foreign to me, I would not even start to figure it out. Just know that because she is who she is, I am who I am. Polar opposite.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Still warm and fuzzy after a day in the big City with youngest kiddo and her dear intended. It is kind of a tradition to do Harry Potter movies together. So I plyed the 101 corridor for a breezy hour to get to San Francisco. There are several towns lining the freeway. Rohnert Park grew there during my lifetime, a non-city that serves as a bedroom community for Santa Rosa, Marin, and San Francisco, with sections sensibly named A Section, B Section, etc. Kind of simple-minded, actually. Cotati was a tiny blip on radar, and now hosts the International Accordian Festival, a gala event I have so far managed to avoid. Petaluma was once the egg basket of Northern California. There are still chicken ranches sprinkled here and there, but it, too, has morphed into creeping suburbia. Over the Cotati grade, one dips down into Marin County, and I waved at the herd of dairy cows lounging after their morning milking, waiting for the farmer to open the gate that allows them to sojourn under the freeway to pastures on the east side of the road. Novato is Marin's poor relative, sprawling in mostly flatlands. It does have the famous rotating house, which I noticed had a new blue and white checked paintjob. White egrets stand by the freeway there and watch you pass by with their own brand of elegant disdain. San Rafael is old growth Marin, it even has one of Junipero Serra's missions beautifully preserved off its main drag. Houses perch on the hills in overgrown trees. Mount Tamalpais was almost invisible in the fog. It is Marin's token dormant volcano, and on a clear day, one can see across the Bay to Mount Diablo, the east bay's equivalent. After the climb up past Frank Lloyd Wright's Marin Civic Center, through San Rafael's auto row and up over the next hill, one enters Marin Proper, the artsy fartsy Marin one thinks of immediately when the name comes up. However, if one were to look over one's shoulder, there is San Quentin, sitting on primo real estate beside the Bay, near the entrance to the Richmond-San Rafael bridge, always a sobering sight. Corte Madera morphs into Mill Valley, bastion of the more laid back folks, and then there is Tiburon, with Belvedere Island attached, where the really rich folks hang out. Sausalito sports rows of funky houseboats strung together like Christmas lights, each more outrageously ingenius than the last. And then the ride gets exciting, climbing up the back of the Waldo Grade, where there is no civilization other than highway signs and lamp posts, huge eucalyptus and cypress and pine trees on the steep slopes of the hills, winding up to the tunnel. And one emerges to the Golden Gate Bridge, with the City spread out across the mouth of the Bay, all sparkly even in the mist. It never fails to take my breath away, even as I scramble to remember where in the car is my purse, and do I have $6 cash for the toll booth waiting on the other side. Even the drive down into the heart of San Francisco is wooded and green, as one traverses the Presidio, now the home of ILM (Industrial Light and Magic, Lucas's brainchild) and other commercial concerns. Kiddo live in the Marina, really easy to get to and often offering that very rare accomodation, a parking space. Yesterday, we went straight to brunch, taking Fillmore Street (yes, same as the auditorium of rock 'n roll fame) over the hill (and there should be a much better name for it, it is soooooo steep) and into Japantown, where we had reserved seating (!) for the movie after a delightful Indian meal at Dosa. I had traveled 120 miles by the time I greeted the poochies that evening, and it was all wondrous. Comes from being comfortable in my own skin, sober for 21 years. Now, that's something in itself.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
All I wanted when I was a child was to be grown-up. For some reason, I thought no one could tell me what to do when I got there. Jeez, was I wrong. Instead of just the parents and teachers and nuns, there were the IRS and the boss and the supervisors and the Highway Patrol and the Catholic Church and, yes, still the parents, and the KIDS. Well, now that I am in the netheryears, I pretty much ignore most of them, anyway. I speed very slowly these days, anyway. And besides all these entities, watching over me like Big Brother, there are all those health advisories. Coffee is bad for you! Oh, wait, coffee has anti-oxidants. Coffee is good for you! Help! Recently, I read the Belly Fat Diet book, like this little pad that has enveloped me for 50 years was going to flatten out like an empty balloon. Hasn't happened. But I did learn about MUFAs, mono-unsaturated fatty acids. MUFAs are my friends. Avacados, olives and olive oil, nuts and seeds, fish high in omega-3 are all MUFAs. And then there is my favorite MUFA, dark CHOCOLATE. I am supposed to eat some every day. How cool is that. And I found the ideal way to do that, at Trader Joe's, that gastronomic Disneyland, Nutty Bits, little bites of dry-roasted nuts covered in dark chocolate. Maybe being an adult is not such a bad thing, after all. And look where I live, in this amazingly lovely place, where hiking is really just walking up and down rolling slopes, with one pristine vista after another. I and my belly fat are happy today.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Just read in my AARP bulletin that dogs are decidedly smarter than cats. The trick is their social skills, trait that the felines have never caught on to. Solitary species have less developed brains than more social animals, like monkeys, dolphins, and dogs. My two are pretty sweet, so it doesn't matter all that much how smart they are. Well, not most of the time. I do like that when I growl at them, they both automatically move to the other side of the bed. Not so crazy about the fact that if I get out of bed, they will move into my spot, every time. Could be they just like the warmth, but truly, they are just so devoted to me, they want to sleep in my scent. How adorable is that! Such a wonder, these little guys. Love on the hoof.
Friday, December 10, 2010
You know how it is, your hair gets manageable after your last haircut, and for about 60 seconds, it is perfect. Then, bang! It's too long. And if you are like me, you will try and try again to get it to look like it did for that one evanescent second when it was perfection, until you can barely see through your bangs. So I took my head to the hair cutters today, and got suitably shorn. I love it. And guess what? I haven't colored it in months, and underneath, it was all silvery like it was on top! For the first time in decades, my hair is its natural color! And I love it. Strange but true. So here is my dragonfly, the symbol of ILLUSION, resigning that little part of the cowwoman's life. This should save me about $80 a year in hair coloring product, not to mention the wear and tear on my heart each time I blew dry afterward. Yay.
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
This is the time that I get all misty about what has been lost over the many, many, many years of this earthly existence. Holidays in the FOO (family of origin, for the uninitiated) were sumptuous times of excess: three kinds of homemade candy (fudge, penuche and divinity), candied walnuts, stuffed dates, mountains of nuts in the shell with convenient nutcracker, cookies (dream bars, thumbprint, Russian tea cakes), presents that began appearing under the enormous tree a couple of weeks before Christmas, and often wound up piled higher than the tree itself, turkey and all the accompanying delights, pumpkin and mincemeat pies, carrot pudding (sounds awful, I know, but it was like the cherry on top) and stockings stuffed with tiny wonders in the morning, after high mass, lots of smells and bells and singing. Major overwhelm for small hearts. Yet, there was this underlying current of guilt, like I was such a BAD kid, I didn't really deserve any of this. Later, it was me doing all this for my kids. Exhausting, it was. And 180 degrees from my former holidaze, because no one did anything for me. Nada. Zipideedoodah. In my current situation, I seem to always go to that place where I feel less-than, because ex-hubby is ever so much more abundant than I. As I ponder, I realize that this may be true, but I am ever so much more generous than he. My heart remains open, and vulnerable. I think that is the most difficult, and only place to be in consciousness. And the strongest place to stand, as well. Takes a lot of faith in the goodness of this world to be open to its many slings and arrows. This year, I am actually thinking of doing a little tree! Just for the kid that lives in ME. First, need a ladder to get ornaments out of the @##&*%@ attic.
Monday, December 06, 2010
For a Monday, today was quite successful, in many little ways. I got up before 9 AM, earliest in a while, had apple pie with whipped cream and nuts for breakfast, really yummy. Got into gym clothes, and after little distraction checking email, went to the gym. Since I have not worked out in 10 days, and then only once in 21, I was really puny on the machines. Add to that the fact that my most comfortable ones are history since the remodel. Now have to learn a whole bunch more. No problem. I just wandered around, did a little of this, a little of that, not too strenuous but did have to mop my brow several times. Back home, I got online and bought some gifts. Half my list is taken care of. How sweet it is that! And, I never buy everything too early in the month, because the spirit will hit me later, and then, I buy too much. Just as I sat down to watch the soap opera, there was a knock at the door. Enterprising guy offering to clean the gutters. This was a real concern that I had hoped to take care of soon. I offered him a price, he accepted, and 30 minutes later, and that little task got crossed off the list. Then I got out a knitting project that had nestled in a corner of my bedroom for a few months and finished it to give as a gift, too. And I found that book I thought I had lost, in the bag with the knitting. All in all, a truly productive day. I even got the trash cans back in their assigned places after today's pickup. Usually, they stand at the curb until at least Wednesday. Definite progress, here.
Saturday, December 04, 2010
Sayonara, favorite Pepperwood piece. I sold it, which is a little like adopting out one of your kids. I guess that was the idea in the first place. It just doesn't happen often enough to soothe the sting, like a piece of me went byebye with it. It will always be in me, this creation. And more will emerge, I just know it. Meanwhile, I got to appreciate the art of others, too. A friend and I went to the 95th anniversary of Corrick's stationary store in our lovely downtown, to hear the owner and his wife play duets on a magnificent Yamaha grand, not unlike the one I sold a few years ago, except that this one played itself, too. We heard some Chopin, Ravel, and Brahms, then checked out the local artist from Art Trails who were displayed, and they turned out to be my teacher from Pepperwood and her dearest friend, whose art is 180 degrees different, very anal watercolors. Delightful, but picky beyond words. I couldn't do that if my life depended on it. I like messiness. And I think it works for me. More schlepping around in the artsy fartsy world tomorrow, with a trip to the Finley Center just up the street for a show by the faculty at my little junior college, and to Luther Burbank Home and Gardens open house, a sort of Dickensian trip into yesteryear. Someday soon, I will do my Christmas shopping. I can hardly wait for that to happen.
Thursday, December 02, 2010
The cold seemed to have flown, so I stopped the pills, only to stuff up and get all muzzy again. Nevertheless, I plowed on, doing the proscribed chores I had set out for myself before this little setback. A trip to the library headed the list. I was really bad about returning library books as a kid, often keeping them for long, long time before getting as guilty as a little Catholic girl could and returning them all shamefaced. Now I am vigilant to the point of paranoia. And I had a couple that a friend passed on to me, too. God forbid I should rack up fees on HER account. The main branch was full of frowsy folks in bubbly coats and wool hats, some drowsing over magazines, keeping warm on a crisp fall day. I noticed this really ancient woman frowning over a computer monitor, and realized my mother will die without ever touching a keyboard. What wonders she has missed! And she could have afforded a super system. I renewed Murder at the Museum of Man, a dandy mystery set in academia and full of intelligent mumbojumbo that has me bursting out laughing ever so often, but is abysmally slow to read because of all the twenty dollar words. I decided I didn't need to know what they meant after all, which has significantly sped up the process, but it is a rambling narrative with little dialogue, and demands full attention, something at which I am not very good (notice avoidance of dangling participle there, result of reading scholarly tomes). Next stop was Costco, where I now have an Executive Membership and privilege of getting into the warehouse an hour early, except, after purchasing it, I found out EVERYONE is being let in an hour early. Whatever, I get $$$ back on my purchases now, so I bought those fleece-lined Ugg knockoffs in gray that I had been salivating over, along with an apple pie that I will gnaw away at for the coming week, my supplements, a cake for the meeting tonight, whipped cream (basic food group in the little yellow house), staples like that. Laundry consumed the afternoon. I folded a load that had been moldering in the dryer for the duration of my illness. It contained one pair of sweatpants, one sweatshirt, two thermal tops, two pajama bottoms, one pajama top, four camis, one tank top, a bra, two bath towels, two hand towels, two washcloths, two dish towels, eleven pairs of socks, and twenty-seven pairs of panties. Long time, no wash. And there were still panties in the drawer, not to mention the ones now in the dryer waiting to be folded from the second load I ran and forgot. Well, what can I say. Bikinis just leaped into my basket at Costco for a long time. Now I am on an underwear fast, waiting for some of these to wear out, which will probably be never since a pair only gets worn every fifth or sixth week, and the ones on the bottom will probably never see the light of day, unless I get significantly behind in laundry, and if that happens, I will probably be dead. I know this is all supremely prosaic, but, hey, that's my life at the moment. Small. Tiny.