Monday, August 30, 2010


"Dreyfus once wrote from Devil's Island that he would see the most glorious birds. Many years later in Brittany he realized they had only been seagulls. For me they will always be glorious birds."

"I don't mind a parasite. I object to a cut-rate one."

“Now, what's that supposed to be coming out of there?”
“Lightning. Fire. The power of God or something.”
I'm beginning to understand Hitler's interest in this.”

“They ain't paying us enough for this, man.”
“Not enough to have to wake up to your face.”
“What? Is that a joke?”
“Oh, I wish it were.”

"On the page it looked nothing. The beginning simple, almost comic. Just a pulse - bassoons and basset horns - like a rusty squeezebox. Then suddenly - high above it - an oboe, a single note, hanging there unwavering, till a clarinet took over and sweetened it into a phrase of such delight! ... This was a music I'd never heard. Filled with such longing, such unfulfillable longing, it had me trembling. It seemed to me that I was hearing the very voice of God."

Oh, the things I will do to avoid what I should actually be working on.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


(I mentioned this on my Facebook page, but I need to expand it a little - hence today's entry.)

We fall in love with movie stars... because we don't have to deal with their habit of eating pickles in bed.

George Cloonley is gorgeous on film... but in real life he's shorter than I am, and used to have a pet pig (I really really really do not like pigs other than served in a BLT).

Hugh Laurie, the actor that plays "House", actually is a lot like Dr. House - (but at least he really IS 6'2").

And I will continue to drool over John Krasinski even when I am embarrassed to admit he is one month younger than my daughter.

But it may be a particular movie - just one scene - that will always get you wobbly inside. There may a song - from college, a date, that one night.

But for years and years and years, that same wash of emotions crashes over you when ever you hear or see it.

Okay, so here is my confession - the logo for Caravan Pictures (a now-defunct section of Disney), in the opening credits of "While You Were Sleeping" (which I have watched 3,422 times, so it has been ingrained into what little itty bitty part I still have left of my brain), the Walking Man.

I'm in love with this guy, what can I say? I guess it's the style of his walk - the confidence - it is just SEXY.

And the other one is even weirder (yeah, Hope, what could be odder than you longing after a movie logo?), but both of you will understand (when you look up "odd and strange" in the encyclopedia, my photograph is right there staring back at you).

Harmony introduced me to the ethereal wonder (or alternate reality) of Sandra Boynton's music, and one in particular - "The Intermission Song!" by the Aardvarks, which is on the Philadelphia Chickens album (I swear that all this is true, I am not making all of this up).

There is an spoken... interlude, might be the nicest way to explain it when the Aardvarks are conferring about what aardvarks do say... well, there is a guy in the background of these voices who says, "I don't know either" at exactly1:19 of the recording....

Well, sorry, someday I am going to meet this voice, and rainbows will shine and angels will sing praises. I have no idea what it IS about this voice, but man, is it THERE.

The mental institution up in Benson opens at 9 a.m. tomorrow, okay? I'll be ready, I promise.

Friday, August 27, 2010


A book I am reading suggested that we write a letter to those who have made significant and positive impact on our lives.

Immediately I thought of you

You were always my cheerleader - I was the brightest, prettiest and nicest girl in the world - at least to hear you talk about me. I can't think of anything you did not support me in. You encouraged me to follow my own path and always to do what I felt was right. But you didn't rescue me when I did fall flat on my face (more than once or twice) - you would let me feel the consequences and learn from the experience.

I realize as an adult and a parent now how much shielding from Mom you did for both Brad and me. I'm sorry that Brad and I both let you know what she did do, but I know you did the very best you could possibly do.

There is a lot about your life that I still don't know - you never wanted to talk much about being in the Pacific during WWII. 

I never really understood why you wouldn't marry Joann, but I'm glad you were together for as long as you were - she made you happier than I'd ever seen you.

And it was really only after the obit was published in Kalamazoo that I realized how many of your students were influenced and moved by you - I got a lot of letters and emails.

I am so incredibly sorry that the last two years were so miserable, but I'm so glad you were already living down here and Wilt and I could both help.

I would have given almost anything to give you back your music and your writing, and that was the most comforting thing when you did pass - I am certain you are writing and composing beyond the veil right now.

I miss you - but thanks so much for being such a great dad.

And I will see you again - and then I'll get the chance to say, "told you so!"


Thursday, August 26, 2010


My first baby was not a snuggler.

She was affectionate, and a friendly, lovely infant - but would actively struggle if you attempted to hold her close.

She wanted her own space.

My second child was okay about being cuddled and snuggled - but she was pretty much okay about much of anything - the first year of her life, she was passed around between every single member of our English-speaking branch of our church in Dusseldorf.

I'm not too much about getting all cosy and up close - well, except for my grandchildren and my horse Najale - but it's impossible for me to sleep with someone touching me.

Well, I haven't tried going to sleep with Liam Neeson touching me... yet.

But back to the story.

I have a cat who is now going through an extreme case of feline dementia and forgotten he is a cat (i.e. standoffish and aloof) or has some highly contagious disease that he is determined to have me catch.

Because now every night, he demands at least fifteen minutes of close, almost intimate contact.

With his face smashed into my left armpit.

I'm trying to figure out if he's getting high by this oxygen deprivation or attempting a ritualistic form of elegant suicide.

But right now I am still leaning towards some contaminate that will destroy the entire world except for him and a life-time supply of cat food.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


It's not so much that we're afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it's that place in between that we fear . . . . It's like being between trapezes. It's Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There's nothing to hold on to.
- Marilyn Ferguson

Sometimes change is welcome -- discovering you have lost 10 lbs. - that the blue shirt you've been drooling over for the past six weeks is now in the sale rack and 50% off - someone else did the dishes.

But it can also be scary -- when you move to a different part of the country/world, far away from friends and family - parts of your body stop working like they are supposed to - you begin to agree with some Republican candidates.

Now, tonight there was a major modification in the life of my husband's pet, the greyhound Delilah.

Now pay attention, this was a RADICAL deviation in her existence.

She got a new bed.

My husband may not sleep at all tonight, because the dog is not immediately taking to a different dog bed.

Have I mentioned in the past how my husband does NOT respond well to change in any way, manner or form?

Saturday, August 21, 2010


I don't go see movies in the theatre very often.

There are DVDs - Netflixs is addictive - and if I wait long enough (and sometimes not even very long), it comes out on television.

But there are some movies that really need to be seen on the big screen.

Since Ben-Hur came out in 1959 when I was three years old, if I actually did see it at the theatre, I don't remember it.

But that is most definitely a big screen movie.

2001: A Space Odyssey - especially with that incredible music - needs to be experienced  in a big, big room (which is one of the reasons Annette and I sat through it twice the very first time we saw it - go, Rialto theatre, South Pasadena!).

The very first Rocky movie - the first three Star Wars - Lord of the Rings - Dances with Wolves - yup - all big screen ones.

And at my daughter's insistence, I went yesterday to see "Inception" at the mall.

And trust me, it's worth seeing there.

Now my only problem is the implanted paranoia which is now accompanying me every time I go to sleep - which level am I actually on?

Friday, August 20, 2010


A man who works with my husband describes our little section of Arizona as being "beautiful landscapes drenched in 385 different shades of brown."

The first time we lived in Arizona, back in 1981, my husband, an Oregon native, thought this all was simply ugly desert.

Then he served six months in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait during the first Gulf War, and learned what real desert looks like.

Now he is able to appreciate the beauty of the high chaparral surrounding us.

This monsoon season has been very generous, and the surrounding valley looks lush and green as Kentucky.

(And this is obviously when real estate agencies take all the the photos they display on the Internet to get people from Nebraska and Wisconsin to move down here)

But I am beginning to seriously question my sanity.

We have incredible sunsets here normally, but over the past couple of weeks, I am seeing seen colors that I don't actually think exist.

At first I just thought I was being extra sensitive to the beauty, or perhaps a heightened appreciation with all the unusual greenery.

Or perhaps because of being diagnosed with glaucoma is making me simply more conscious of my sight.

But I am now seeing greens/emeralds/ chartreuse/malachite (do you have any idea what malachite? I didn't until right now - cool word)  that are brighter than regular greens - shades of purple/lilac/violet/mauve/lavender/ amethyst that I would give almost ANYTHING to have a shirt the exact same color as.

I'm either taking drugs that I am not aware of, or I am having flashbacks from drugs that I did not take when I was a teenager.

Hey, if you can come up with a better idea, I'm ready to hear it.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


We as women are all familiar with "fat days."

Times when our regular jeans are suddenly uncomfortably tight - the t-shirt is just a little bit more snug - even our toes need to be jammed into our shoes.

Especially as women with menstrual cycles, this becomes a disquieting and monthly occurrence for the majority of our lives.

Today I unexpectedly had a "skinny" day.

Now, my uterus left me about six years ago, so I can't blame it either way. 

I hadn't changed anything I ate or drank today.

I certainly haven't been losing weight, although my goal of being my college-weight has remained firmly attached to my bathroom cabinet for years... as well as the feeling of frustration and failure as I continue to lug around the extra 45 lbs. right around my middle.

But today as I got ready for church, I actually felt like my clothes were loose.

As I walked across the parking lot to enter our chapel, I felt light on my feet.

When I settled down in my regular pew, there wasn't the regular feeling of sheer extra mass oozing around me.
And as I put on my regular everyday go-feed-the-horses-and-prepare-to-be-covered-with-hay-hair-and-humidity jeans, they felt unrestricted and almost slack.

Okay, people, how can I put this into a bottle and market it?

Friday, August 13, 2010


There are some things that are just odd - strange - peculiar .

-- Men and women trying to live together - that is simply impossible, but we keep trying to do it.

-- High heels. I mean, I understand making your legs looking longer, but WHY has that become a cultural icon? It's STUPID.

-- And while on the subject, nylons - cover your legs with something that is DESIGNED to only last a couple of wearings.

But when I read about a using a neti-pot to treat sinus infections... I could not get one image out of my mind (and this is only for you die-hard "The Office" fans) - Dwight explaining, as he tips Jim's Secret Santa gift to Pam, a teal tea-pot, up into his nostril, about using it to treat his sinus infections.


However, I did not allow this distasteful scene to stop me - researched (translates into "puts words in Google) more, and actually purchased one.

And it is amazing. Although also utterly gross.

My nose still is bothering me - but you would not believe the crap that got flushed out.

Really. You wouldn't believe it.

(And now I got that image in your head, don't I?)

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Annette Shurtliff and I became friends in a seventh grade art class, over the creation of a mural of animals wandering across the African veldt.

And we remained friends through junior high, high school, horses, going to different colleges, becoming members of the same church, living together, living apart, same college, marriage (different guys - sorry to break the pattern here), different states/continents, babies around the same time (she had one extra), husbands in radically different careers (teaching special-education kids vs. thinking like a terrorist... wait a minute, maybe they're more alike than I thought).

We became grayer, and heavier, a little slower.

But we both were madly in love with our dogs.

And unfortunate, both Annette and I very recently had to make the incredibly difficult decision to have our dogs put down rather than suffer.

Annette's daughter Mary Anne made a Facebook page for Charlie - I've written about Murray in here.

We'll see you guys in the next life for sure - if we reach that high.

Monday, August 9, 2010


I love my horses so much that sometimes I do rather foolish things just to spoil them.

Last night, I got home after sunset - in face, quite a while after sunset - so it was dark - real, real dark.

For those of you who have never lived outside of a populated area, it is rather surprising at first when you get away from city lights, streetlamps, traffic and even houses indoor lights.

We even have 'light pollution' laws in our county, restricting streetlights, flood lights (well, except for the border - they can use pretty bright lights there) and even the type of lights that we can use - they must be shaded for limited exposure.

So again - it's dark.


Yes, I am a weak person, and am extremely susceptible to equine mind control.

So I took both animals, each weighing over 1,000 lbs. apiece, with four feet each (that's eight total for you mathmatically-challenged out there) which are EACH approxmiately five feet across and can easily crush each and every metatarsus bone in your tiny little weak human feet - I took these beasts out IN THE COMPLETE AND TOTAL DARKNESS to graze.

Only one thing saved me... well, sort of.

It turns out that my younger horse (who is responsible for the majority of the mind controlling beams) is a little bit "scawed of the dawk" (that's Elmer Fudd talk there - did you know there is a translation site that has redneck, Swedish chef, Cockney translations?).

So I got slammed by Najale's head (enough that my upper thigh looks just like this today) as he alternated between ripping and gulping grass into his mouth but then spooking at the sound he was creating by of every single blade being crushed between his huge teeth.

So the lesson learned from all of this is 1) wearing a tin-foil helmet does deters my horses' mind-alternating thought rays, and 2) although I am not frightened by coyotes, illegal immigrants and scary things that go bump in the night close to the Mexican border, I now realize that I need to be scared of my horse eating in the dark."I woke last night to the sound of thunder

How far off I sat and wondered
Started humming a song from 1962
Ain't it funny how the night moves
When you just don't seem to have as much to lose..."

And I'm including this last thing just because it made me laugh.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Forget all that I blogged yesterday about heat and suffering and how we stalwart Arizonans deal with it.

Because I got hailed on today.

I have been aware that thunderstorms were moving in and out of our valley. We've had  fairly steady late afternoon rains the last couple of weeks - actually, we're already had over 15 inches this year as of this afternoon, and that's pretty good for this part of Arizona.

And this evening, as I went out to put the horses back together (see this blog if you don't understand the dynamics of our feeding ritual), I was fully prepared for some rain.

I mean, I actually had my hat on.

But I was in no way prepared for the large pieces of ice that begin to pelt me from the heavens above.

So I did what seemed obvious at the moment - I hid out with the horses in their shed for the next twenty minutes or so, with the ice pounding on the metal roof.

However, I did not count on two things:

1. The fact that hail makes enough noise that even my husband and son came from their respective rooms to witness the phenomena, and

2. They then noticed that I was not in the house.

Somehow this was a case for major panic - somehow the threat of, I don't know, kidnapping by exhausted Mexicans crossing our property was increased a hundred fold by it being in the middle of a hail storm.

So when my son finally found me (holding a knapsack over his head), safe and not too incredibly wet, he and I stood in the shed with the horses until the storm passed (he also learned that yes, horses can push you aside fairly easily in small places, don't try to fight back).

And then went back to the house, to be welcomed back with a warm hug for my safe return?

Not exactly.

My husband has one 'main' emotion - which is anger.

So instead of being scared... he gets angry.

When most people would feel nervous... he gets angry.

Anxious... anger.

Protective... anger.

Irritation... anger.

Problems sharing... anger.

Are we seeing a pattern here?

So guess who was furious when I came back inside?