Thursday, May 28, 2009

Welcome to RUB Airlines! (Theme Thursday...Suitcase)


"Welcome to RUB Airlines! We will begin our boarding process shortly. Flight 409, departing Stressville bound for Nirvana, will board through Gate 17 at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time. This flight is on schedule. Please have your boarding passes ready," announced the ticketer.

"Nervous? First time?," asked the stewardess. "Don't worry! I'll make sure you're snuggled in and comfortable. Since you've not taken a massage flight before, let me give you some pointers that will make for a pleasant ride. First, please make sure your busy, chattering mind is turned off. This is a 'worry free zone.' Next, I am going to ask you to put your array, or rather, disarray of problems in imaginary suitcases. That's right. Put them a-l-l in there. Wait, you forgot to put in your anxiety, fear, shame and anger. There you go. Oops, don't forget the "lacks." Lack of funds. Lack of love. Lack of commitment. Sorry abandonment and resentment, you don't get to escape so easily. And, hey, you over there, stop! Ya, you, guilt, I'm talking to you! You get your ripply, overstuffed glutes in that BIG suitcase over there. That's a good passenger, stuff them all in and sit on the lids to close the cases if you need. Now, leave those suitcases outside the passenger cabin door as you enter and climb on the table.

Just leave them there for 60 minutes. That's all I ask. No one is going to steal them, believe me, they have plenty of baggage of their own. They don't need yours any more than you do. If there are items you wish to retrieve from those suitcases after your massage, feel free to claim them as you exit the terminal. Personally, I hope you don't but, unfortunately, RUB Airline's lost baggage return percentage is very high. Ready? All aboard!!!"

"4-0-9er to ground control. We're ready, loaded and prepared to taxi."

"4-0-9er, this is the tower, taxi to runway 1-9er. Flight 4-0-9er, you're cleared for take off. Stressville departure frequency 2-2-3 point 9er."

"Roger, tower. Request vector, over."

"4-0-9er, tower has you cleared for vector 3-4-5."

"Good evening ladies and gentlemen, this is captain Ronda speaking. Tower has given us clearance. We'll be cruising at 38,000 feet this afternoon. Our arrival time in Nirvana will be 4:30 p.m. Pacific time. The temperature there is currently a perfect 80 degrees with a 0% chance of precipitation. It looks like we will have smooth flying. Meanwhile relax and enjoy your flight. Over and out."

Monday, May 25, 2009


Photo: Taken locally, this family never forgets.
This family never lets me forget.

next to of course god america i

next to of course god america i
love you land of the pilgrims' and so forth oh
say can you see by the dawn's early my
country 'tis of centuries come and go
and are no more what of it we should worry
in every language even deafanddumb
thy sons acclaim your glorious name by gorry by jingo by gee by gosh by gum.
why talk of beauty what could be more beautiful
than these heroic happy dead who rushed like lions to the roaring slaughter
they did not stop to think they died instead
then shall the voice of liberty be mute?"

He spoke. And rapidly drank a glass of water.

ee cummings

Let us keep a prayer in our heart and on our lips for our soldiers who are far from home. They protect us with their lives and the lives and futures of their families. Living and dead, they are not all, yet, home. Many soldiers are still fighting our current wars. Many are still missing from our past wars of Korea and Viet Nam.

War is of human consciousness.

War is not of God consciousness.

Please view desheik's War video below.


"What side are you on?

The most important thing we can accomplish for the future is Peace."--desheik

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Vacation Hat (Theme Thursday...Vacation)

The Vacation Hat

Hey there, hi there, ho there! This is the Vacation Hat. What was once just bubble wrap, tape, and paper became so much more. In the doctor's office where I worked, we collected a wonderful group of people. We didn't have much money but we had great imaginations and even greater times. The tradition was that on the last day you worked before leaving on vacation, you had to wear the hat the entire day. It was an odd combination of celebration of your time off and punishment for dumping all of your unfinished work on others.

Over the years, the hat had many incarnations. We started using it for all kinds of celebrations. One man's trash is another man's treasure. What I treasure are the many happy memories held in this hat. I remember when Suzanna turned 30 years old. "Colette, wear this hat with pride. I know your mom did. Happy 21st!," proclaims the lavender Post-It note. Dr. Jamie's favorite sayings, which drove us crazy, are imbued in that hat. It was given as an employee award. And, conversely, it was used to identify, like a dunce cap, the office poop-stirrer du jour. Please note the phases of the moon illustrated by, well, the cottage cheese, moon-glute chart moving from waxing to full to waning. We were definitely students of anatomy. Oh yeah! The doctor made us so. By the time even the most short lived employee left our office, they were quite familiar with the glutes. We discussed, treated, and charged for more buns than are buttered on Thanksgiving Day.

Just like kids who have more fun with the cardboard box than the expensive gift inside, so it was for us. Until the day we left that office, we looked as forward to receiving that hat as we did to passing it on to the next poor chump. We valued this wacky, tacky, plastic Vacation Hat at the price of gold because it symbolized many years of friendship. For a time, we thought it lost. Its disappearance was the subject of many a baleful conversation. But, today, while cleaning the deepest, scariest reaches of my bedroom closet, I uncovered a small, beautifully decorated box that had been carefully tucked away. Upon opening the box, happiness filled my heart as I beheld the splendor of the Vacation Hat. And the ritual begins anew. To whom will it go next? The thing is is that if it is you, you will know that you are well loved.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Big Fix!

Photo: daydreamer173

Everything I own is breaking. Well, not everything but a lot of items are--all at once. Let's see. First, the computer died at the end of April. Getting the new one up and running has been challenged by Internet connectivity problems. Even last night and this morning, I entered no less than three separate tech support companies, all fraught with the pitfalls in Dante's three worlds of the afterlife. Each encounter should be prefaced with "Abandon every hope all you who enter." After countless hours, I am again connected but for how long?

Last week the cars had issues. Saturday night the cable box died. B.B. the Dog killed it with her fur balls. Sunday, the air conditioner went down ...our first 103 degree day. Monday morning the washer quit spinning. Monday night as I walked across the laundry porch floor, I felt a ripple. Looking down I noticed the linoleum tiles were lifting and the floor was soaked around the water heater. This brings me up to last evening's crashing of cyberspace. I felt so alone.

The planet Mercury went into retrograde on May 7th. The effects of retrograde can be felt for weeks before, and after, the process is complete. A planet is considered to be retrograde when it appears to be moving backward through the zodiac. Frequently, planets in retrograde, mark a time of ever changing events. Past issues that are unresolved tend to surface. These Retro phases present us with a series of challenges over which we feel we have little, or no, conscious control.

The general aspects under Mercury's rule are perception, thinking, comprehending information, communication, business, education and transportation. When in retrograde, Mercury can stir up personal misunderstandings, errant communications, negotiations and deals, snafu's with phones, computers, cars and other modes of transportation. Usually these problems arise because a critical piece of information, or part, has failed. If possible, avoid making important decisions while Mercury is in retrograde as miscommunication and missing information, can obscure our decisions. As Mercury influences mental clarity and brain power, in retrograde, intellectually, we can be come duller.

This retrograde will end on May 31 but the effects may well last until mid-June. As I shared breakfast with the air conditioner repair man, walked out of the denizens of Hell with the support of some patient (female), and not so patient (male), techies, and prepare for the arrival of the washer repair man somewhere between the convenient hours of 8-5, I ponder these planetary influences. So far, nothing apocalyptic has occurred. Just lots of annoying glitches and repetitive breakdowns. The cable repair man brought out a new box. The cars just needed minor repairs and maintenance. The air conditioner only cost a C-note to repair. The hot water heater just needed the valve tightened. The laundry room floor needs to be dried and minor repairs completed. I am connected to the Internet--at least for the moment. And I am awaiting the diagnostics on the washer which, hopefully, will continue in the same pattern.

Retrogrades are exercises in patience, understanding and putting one foot in front of the other. The lesson is to experience those moments of frustration and then let them go. Just like breathing...first in then out. Here's to only two more weeks. I hope!

Photo: Ryeleah

Friday, May 15, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

The Wedding Toast
Child in foreground waiting for cake!

Today is our 33rd wedding anniversary. My husband, Randy, and I were married on this perfect Saturday evening in May of 1976. The ceremony was held in my parent's back yard. All was wonderful until later in the evening. My Maid of Honor's cousins got into a fist fight out in the middle of the street. What were they fighting over? Who was going to steal the empty keg, return it to the liquor store and pocket the deposit money. Family. Ya gotta love 'em.

Marriage is ebb and flow. We are in flow at the moment, thank goodness. Anniversaries are much happier celebrations when this is so!

The Honeymoon Car-'68 Cougar XR7


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Betty Lou "Unplugged" (Theme Thursday...Whoops)

Betty Lou Stratton, Nurse Graduate
August 17,1942 to September 1945

Nee Stratton, Betty Lou, arrived in this world at a location known as Hobson, Montana, in the early summer of 1924. She was the third of seven children. The family soon moved to Lewistown, Montana. Her friends and family were her world. They were all she knew or wanted. Her mother, Blanche, was steadfast in her determination that Betty Lou would not live her life toiling in stoop labor planting crops that would, all to often, wither and produce only tears of loss and frustration. She was determined that Betty Lou would have the opportunity to bear children who might not die for want of money and lack of care. She determined to send her away in the summer of '42.

Despite her protestations, at age 18, her familial homestead was left behind as she traveled to Los Angeles, California to live with her aunt Edna, a private care nurse. Betty Lou, crushed and heart broken, missed her family terribly. Frequent, salty remorse glistened on her cheeks. Her kindly, but stern, aunt enrolled her in nursing school. World War II had just begun and nurses were needed for the cause. Betty proved to have the gift of healing and excelled. Her studies kept her mind occupied and off of her loneliness. That and the movies. She loved going to the movies in Hollywood. She could get lost for hours living a life that was not hers. She graduated from nurses training just as the war ended in 1945. Patriotic, she was disappointed that she would not be sent out to serve the war effort and its wounded soldiers.

Betty Lou Stratton, Cadet Nurse


Since the war was over, she moved to Modesto, California to take her first nursing job at McPheeter's Hospital in December of 1945. It was there that she met her husband, Bill. They married and had two sons. Five years after the birth of her youngest son, the family moved again, further north this time, ending up in upper northern California. She cared for her family, raised her sons, and moved forward in her career. Eventually, she took a position as the head surgical nurse at the local county hospital. She was kindly and stern, like her aunt, with a mind meshed for details.

During her career, she witnessed many tragedies and traumas. She saw families make emotional, heart wrenching decisions to place members on life support all the while knowing, that they would have been better served by quiet, and ideally, painless expunging of their light. She began to understand, with certainty, what she wanted for her self--no heroic life saving measures.

As she aged, her health problems increased. A number of non-life-threatening surgeries ensued. Eventually, she suffered a heart attack. Although serious, she always managed to come back from these occurrences with renewed vigor and zest for life. She made sure her Advance Directive stating her health care wishes and Health Care Proxy forms were completed, signed, and on file with the hospital. Her appointed proxy knew of her profound wish--NO HEROIC LIFE SAVING MEASURES! Being a woman of detail, she left nothing to chance.

In the spring of 2000, she fell down on several occasions and her teeth fell out for no apparent reason. I mean, there had to be a reason, but it wasn't obvious. She was admitted into the hospital where, for the first time in her life, she did not keep her head-nurse-eagle-eye on the doctors, nurses, and staff. She was distracted. Her mind was on, she would say, more important matters. This time, she was aware that her hospitalization was different.

After a procedure on the evening of Easter Sunday, she failed. An intensivist was called to provide emergency interventions. At a critical juncture in her event, he was made aware of her Advance Directive. He told Betty Lou that if she wanted to live, he would have to intervene with life saving heroics. She was lucid enough at the time to tell him that she would agree, if only for a brief while, until it could be determined if her life could be sustained without long term support.

It was here her problem began. After their conversation, she fell into a deep, unreachable coma. She was no longer able to define what she meant by a "brief while." She continued to need tests, treatments, surgeries, and life support. Even with all of these being performed, she failed to thrive. After a few weeks, social services, the finance department and medical staff called the proxy to make a decision regarding Betty Lou's life: continue or desist. The proxy, taking all points under advisement along with her written and verbal commands, made the decision to discontinue life support and allow her to function, or not, of her own accord. It was believed that she would only live for a few hours after support was withdrawn.

The proxy, sad and dejected, left the hospital to make arrangements for her cremation and memorial...according to her very specific and detailed orders. The proxy's wife, at home waiting his return, answered the phone when it rang. It was a nurse from the hospital. She asked for the proxy and upon hearing he wasn't available, hurriedly stated that she had been in the last step of Betty Lou's disconnect. At that point, Betty rallied from her long coma. Startled, the nurse informed Betty Lou that her life support was being discontinued according to her wishes. She then asked her if this was what she wanted. Betty blinked indicating "no". NO, she shook her head. NO! The nurse told the proxy's wife she needed a verbal decision to cease the disconnect process. She asked what she should do. The proxy's wife, being in a situation of having to make a life or death decision, and hoping her husband would agree, yelled for the nurse to stop. She told her to re-initialize Betty Lou's support. Happily, the nurse, quickly and efficiently, set about doing as she was instructed.

WHOOPS! And I mean a BIG OL' W-H-O-O-P-S! Another person's life was almost taken, albeit by her own pen, it was still nearly forfeit. When the proxy arrived home 20 minutes later, his wife told him that the hospital had called. Resignedly, he dropped his head and stated that he knew. He told his wife that he had finally given the instructions to discontinue life support for Betty Lou according to her very specific instructions regarding no heroics in the last stages of her life. He told his wife that he had been out making her final arrangements. He stated that he knew that by the time he got home to pick her up to go up to the hospital for the last time, the hospital would call with notice of Betty Lou's death. His wife, with rushed panic, explained that what he didn't understand was that Betty had risen at the last possible minute to indicated this was not her wish. And that she, the proxy's wife, upon being asked to make the final decision on the end of life, had ordered the nurse to stop the process.

A whiter shade of pale surfaced as the blood drained from his face. Catching his breath, he told his wife he felt the flames of Hell licking on the heels of his near execution of her self-imposed death sentence. What a tricky business...this interpretation of the intricacies of another's life. Especially when the ego's desire for life was stronger than the intellect's ability to account. We rarely know what we truly want until that last instant is at hand.

After that incident, Betty Lou roused, kind of, for a day or two. She couldn't speak but she would nod. It was a mad yes-nod given in response to ALL questions. Do you want to live? Yes. Do you want water? Yes. Would you like a back rub? Yes. Would you like dirt in your IV? Yes. Is dog poop a great dessert? Yes. It was as if her mind was gone but a powerfully, small piece of her own sheer will that could not, nay, would not, let her pass on, was pulling the marionette's string. Finally, even the nodding stopped as she dropped back into her coma, never to return. The disconnect process was finally executed by her doctor on May 21, 2000.

Betty Lou was my mother-in-law. My husband was her proxy. We will never forget the biggest "whoops" of our life. EVER!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Oh, Happy Me!

Photo: Heather-L

Brian Miller, author of the insightful Waystation One blog, tagged me with this meme to list six unimportant things that make me happy. Those of you who know me, are aware that this is not a hard task. I am just one of those naturally happy, chipper individuals who drives others to restrain themselves from stuffing me into a burlap bag, tied and weighted with heavy stones, and tossing the bag into a deep, wide, swift running river. Mornings are usually the most dangerous time for me. I lurk on the fringes of society, literally out of arms reach, until the consumption of various brown, caffeinated joy juices by the general populous, reaches levels sufficient to allow the sparing of my life. Morning draws nigh. A quick urgency is applied to the creation of my list:

1. I love the way my dogs nuzzle and sniff my head after my hair is freshly washed. They especially like my new Enjoy shampoo and conditioner. Of course, by the time they finish canoodling and snorting their damp noses through my hair and over my scalp, I need to wash again, but it is worth the pleasure of our play.

2. I love the scent of the rich, creamy, Ecco Bella Vanilla Body Lotion I apply every morning after my shower. In groups, I feel like John Travolta as the angel in the movie Michael because I always smell like cookies. People are always asking where they are when near me.

3. I'm happy when Blogger actually lists what I have posted. Although my posts are displayed on my site, they often never appear on Google Reader or others Blog Rolls. Lost in Blog-Space, am I.

4. I am happy when ingesting endorphin elevating substances: salsa, wasabi, hot mustard and spicy peppers. Oh, sweaty yum.

5. I love the satisfaction of taking something that someone else would discard, restoring and giving it new life. Most of my reward is in seeing how much pleasure these restorations bring others as they evoke memories and generate stories from times gone by.

6. I love getting together with my friends for our Birthday Club luncheons. Our difference in age, spans more than 60 years. We share more than just the celebration of attaining another year, we share love, fears, and tears. We share life and not just the pretty parts.

Well, Blog Pals, here you have six unimportant facts about me. Thank you, Brian, for the challenge of, in a larger sense, opening up to the world and, in a smaller sense, exploring myself. By the rules, I am supposed to tag six other bloggers and post their links as well as the blogger who tagged me. But I will broaden the circle by inviting anyone who would like to play to join the game by posting "six unimportant things" about themselves.

Happy, happy, joy, joy!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

American Legends

The low, throaty growl of glass pack mufflers carry long and deep on the wind of the cool night air. The desire for speed signals the primal brain to ready for flight rather than fight. The appearance of spring heralds the arrival of cars from all over the country. They roll into town and spin, like golden oldie time machines, back into the past. Thousands of vintage and classic automobiles arrive for cruisin' and draggin.' Some are daily drivers and trailer queens. Others are tubbed, frenched and fatted. Some are chopped and lowered. Others are customs, originals and street rods. Some are stroked and bored . Others are blown and Hemied. Some are primered. Others are one-off paint jobs. But all are here to enjoy these perfect weeks of cool nights, hot cars, and the police department's eye-turned-blind to the smoke of burning rubber.

For months, car shows, rod runs and Concourses d'Elegance will be staged. California, being an arid, relatively salt-free environment, is lead sled heaven. Car cancer, rust, is minimal and many models are resurrected to, once again, shine their lights in the aprés-winter climate. The trifecta of auto collecting is an original, good condition, unrestored, California rust-free car with black-letter-on-yellow-background license plates. If you have one of these, feel free to tack $$ on to your price.

Cars. For as long as I can remember, I have loved them! My first real memory of a car is from when I was very young. Perhaps four or five years old. As a young child, I remember riding around in my nana's green, 1948 Chevy. "Nellie," as nana called her, had coil spring seats. Tall from a child's point of view, they beckoned to be climbed. I felt as tall and safe in those seats as I did in my nana's arms when she sat and held me on her frieze covered chesterfield. Nellie's soft, short-bristled, mohair upholstered seats playfully tickled the backs of my stubby, summer-bared legs as we drove to the grocery store.

I loved looking at mom and dad's old, black, embossed leather photo albums filled with pictures of young adults I scarcely recognized as my parents. Curly edged photos framed black and white images of young women wearing the soft, bobbed hairdos of the 50s, men's collared, white, dress shirts, rolled-cuff dungarees and saddle Oxford shoes over white bobby socks. Often, a strand of pearls outlined the neckline of a cardigan sweater set layered over a full, mid-calf length, plaid skirt. The boys wore white T-shirts, blue jeans, black leather shoes and Pompadour hair styles. In many of the photos, the teens posed on or around cars. There were many photos of my mom and her friends striking movie star poses--one hand on the hip and the other hand on the back of their head.

One of my favorite pictures was of my father around age twenty wearing the khaki uniform of an Army Private First Class. He was standing in front of his rounded, black, 1949 Chevrolet Business Coupe--straight, proud and holding salute. Tan against black. Straight against curve. Flesh against metal. Refracting star strikes of light caromed off the Chevy's gleaming chrome bumper back into my eyes.

And I was in love. As infatuated with cars, as I was with my daddy, the center of my universe. As infatuated with cars as Americans have been for over a hundred years. Inventor Henry Ford had the vision of bringing the automobiles role from a luxurious status symbol of the rich to that of being a necessity to the masses. He said, "I will build a car for the great multitude." American tenacity, independence, perseverance, imagination and pioneer spirit became synonymous with the automobile the instant he rolled his first Model T off the assembly line in 1908. Henry had produced a car, affectionately known as the "Tin Lizzie," that was affordable to ordinary people. With this act, he undeniably changed the American way of life.

This profound change has become ingrained in our belief system, culture, music and movies. Men like Preston T. Tucker and John Z. DeLorean have continued to link the automobile to American individualism. Tucker, in the 50's and DeLorean, again in the 80s, challenged the great motor corporations of their times by attempting to establish sole-proprietor managed auto manufacturing factories. Their roguish attempts failed, but their cars, the Tucker and the DeLorean, exist as monuments to their independence.

Our music reflects the power of vehicular perseverance in such songs as the Beach Boys "409," "Little Deuce Coupe," and "Fun, Fun, Fun." In "Shut Down," their simple rhythms and intricate harmonies laud the Fuel-Injection Stingray, a Super Stock Dodge, and a 413. Wilson Pickett croons "Mustang Sally." The Rip Chords' "Hey Little Cobra," lives as testament to muscle cars of the 60s. Drag racing's demise was chronicled in the tearful "Dead Man's Curve" by Jan and Dean.

In the the 1950s, actor James Dean's portrayal of a rebellious, drag racing teenager insured that the automobile would live on as a celluloid icon to American life. His subsequent and eerie, early demise on September 30, 1955 linked the tragic, brooding star to the car crash of his Porsche Spyder 550. He died at the intersection of Route 466 and 41 near Cholame, California on his way to a racing event with his mechanic, Rolf Wuetherich. Ironically, he had filmed a public commercial for car safety just prior to his crash. In it, he cautioned teenagers to drive safely because, "The life you save might be mine." A black-and-white 1950 Ford Custom Tudor driven by a 23-year-old Cal Poly student, Donald Turnupspeed, was coming from the opposite direction. Attempting to take the fork onto State Route 41, he crossed into James Dean's lane without seeing him. Both cars hit almost straight on.

Dean's last words, "He's going to see us," infinitely race across the winds of eternity.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Dog and the Robins

Miss B. B. La La

This is our B. B. girl. The B. B. stands for Butter Butt. We named her this because when she was a pup, she was the same color as butter and sugar when you cream them together. She is one of the sweetest dogs on this planet. The woman who pawned this fluffy snowball of a home-needing pup on us nine years ago, told us she thought she would be sweet because her mother was sweet. She also told us that the cream colored pup was a Chow-Australian Shepherd crossbreed. At least, she said, she knew for sure her mom was a Chow.

As B. B. grew, we didn't see either breed in her. Finally, we asked the pup's donor if she had a photo of the B. B.'s mama. Well, upon inspection of the photograph, the mother looked like she probably was part Chow. She certainly was furry enough. But Australian Shepard? Not a chance.
A few months earlier, the last of our other dogs, Jennifer, an actual Australian Shepherd, had crossed the Rainbow Bridge leading to dogie heaven. My husband's mother was in the hospital, very ill and not expected to live. We were sitting the bedside vigil, taking care of her affairs, and hosting visiting relatives. The last thing we needed to take on was a puppy. But who ever said that death leads one along the rational path.

Now, I hadn't told my husband I was bringing a puppy home because I didn't know that I was. The pup's donor just appeared at the doctor's office where I worked one Friday. She was a patient and knew we had just lost a dog. She walked up to me with this white puff of a pup and, despite my protestations, put her in my arms. That was that. I was taking the pup home with me.

I had to give a massage and had no choice but to take her in session with me. I set her on the floor. She cried non-stop. God Bless my dog loving patient who eventually, probably wanting peace and quiet, asked to hold the little whiner while I finished her massage. Within minutes, they were both asleep.

The day B. B. came to our house to live, I remember my visiting brother-in-law walking in the front door of our house. Upon seeing her, he asked what she was doing here. I told him that she would be living with us. He gave me the evil eye. Opposite of my brother-in-law, who questioned the canine's presence with raised brows, my husband said, oh, look! There's a puppy! He bent over, scooped her small body up and wrapped his great big arms around her. B. B. was accepted then and there. Immediately.

Did I mention how much I love my husband? He accepts every homeless critter I bring home with no more than a roll of his eyes. He rolls with me as well as on me. What more can you ask of a man. Out of all that sadness and sorrow of life's passing, we found new life. New hope. We found a bouncing, peeing, pooping reminder that life goes on.

She soon grew out of her gangly puppy stage to fluid dogdom. Now, B. B.'s sweetness is in direct proportion to her dimness. B. B. is not particularly gifted with intelligence quotient, IQ. We didn't realize it at first, but as we acquired other dogs forming our new pack, it became exceedingly clear. Don't get me wrong, I am not disparaging her lack of neurosynaptic activity. In fact, it is a trait for which we have come to have an affinity. A simple-minded dog is an easy dog to handle.

Nothing pointed that out more than when we got the black dog, Maaco the Crazed, pictured in the above header photo. That dog is SMART. Too flippin' smart. We have to have triple latched gates because he learned how to open one latch and then a second. So, up went number three. He figured out how to open doors with regular knobs by using his mouth. He slides the latch on his crate with his tongue and then flips it up. The list goes on, and on, and on, and on. In our book:

Dumb dogs = Easy.
Smart dogs = Pain in the Arse.

Miss B.B. La La is EASY. She also exudes as much fur as she does sweetness. A lot! At this time of year, with the seasons changing, spring is causing hair to abandon her handfuls. She is fully blowing her coat. Wispy handfuls on the floor that move everywhere with movements and vernal breezes. We vacuum every day because of Miss La La.

Every year it is the same thing. Her free falling fur is so soft and abundant that I always thought it a shame there is nothing to use it for. A friend of mine, who has lots of different kinds of animals, learned how to spin and was actually spinning her animals hair into yarn for fabric weaving. We aren't that industrious. We just suck it up with the vacuum. Often.

A few years ago, we started noticing that, during April and May, the Robins would build nests under my next door neighbor's patio cover. They would leave Marvin's yard and fly over to our yard to collect bits of dried grass and mud. They would fly back across the fence with their treasures. One morning while looking out our kitchen window, we noticed a mama Robin swoop down and, with excited quickness, pick up something special in her beak. On the flight back to Marvin's, she stopped to rest atop the fence and proudly displayed her find. It was a nice, creamy, soft tuft of B.B. fur. During these months, the Robins collect her hair to soften the twigs of their babies nest. It has become an annual spring play to which we look forward to seeing.

Photo: froggirl030

If you ever had a chance to just sit and rub one of B. B.'s ears between your fingers, you'd know how softly the little nestlings will be swaddled in her fur. The sensation is calming...soothing...protecting. It is comforting to know that Mother Earth's Recycling Center never wastes one of her creations, no matter how insignificant it seems to us.

She completely utilizes every thing she makes down to the most minute detail. Her leaves that drop to the ground from the trees in the fall of the year, break down and become fertilizer for the soil. Her dinosaurs, buried en masse eons ago, become oil oozing tar pits of future petrol. Monogamous crows take the scavenged carcasses of carrion, hydrate them with water and return them to their nesting females for sustenance, water, and perpetuation of their species. I can not think of one thing the Mother creates for which she doesn't have some future purpose.

While Randy and I view all of B. B.'s discharged and fallen hair with dismay and janitorial resignation, the Mother sees the tufts as royal cocoons for the fledgling Robin babes. Sweet Life. Sweet Love. The sweet, absolute divine architecture of the Mother reigns supreme. All Hail the Mother, we have so much to learn.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Happy, Happy First of May!

Happy, Happy first of May.

Outdoor f***ing starts today!

I first heard this verse a number of years ago from my friend, Jeanne. This celebration was a family tradition passed down to her from her mother, aunts, and older cousins. Her complete story can be found here. As I recall, one of her aunts, who wouldn't say shite if her mouth was full of it, had no problemo spouting this happy jingle. Heck, I'm not even sure that all of them even "Did It" but it didn't stop the merriness. Wasn't there a sistah who was a spinstah? Now, I might have hallucinated that part and will have to confirm with a fact check.

But who did they first get it from? No one seems to know. How far back in the family lineage does it extend? No one seems to know. Every year on the first of May, these Irish Catholic women would send May cards to each other. They would call each other and laugh their private little laughs. Their secret day, it seems, was a joyous occasion leaving all the young ones to wonder what was so funny. Jeanne witnessed this secret ritual for years before she grew old enough to be initiated into this sacred rite. She told me. I told everyone I knew. Now I'm telling you this bit of wisdom so it can continue being passed down through the matriarchal line.

May Day is a Celtic holiday marking the waxing of the bright time of the year. The next holiday is the Summer Solstice from which, being the zenith of the light, the year begins to wane. May Day is also know as Beltane. Beltane means "brilliant fires" or "fires of the Bel" after the God Belenus. On Beltane, or May eve, two bonfires were lit from nine different kinds of wood and people and domestic animals passed between the two fires to eliminate disease and misfortune.

With all that is going on with the Swine flu right now, perhaps today would be an excellent day to resurrect this idea. As this was a time before electricity, brands were lit from the bonfires. These, in turn, were used to light fires throughout the village. Long ago, the Pagan festivals at Beltane included dancing around the May Pole, singing, and sexuality. And the party went on "All Night Long." I believe this to be the origin of Lionel Richie's song.

The mass conversion of Pagans, along with their rites and rituals, to Christianity was not always peaceful. The natives were subject to political and military campaigns, laws, demonization of their gods, and threats of torture and death in the name of enforcing Christian belief. After a while, the Church sanctioned the existence of Pagan ideals in the belief that conversion was easier if the rituals were left intact but presented as worshiping the Christian God. It was intended that indigenous people would continue to practice their traditions but the reasons why would be forgotten in time. Seems insidious to me but I guess insidiousness was what the conversion was all about. I mean, how many people are really aware of the many calendars in existence other than the Gregorian Calendar? Few, I think.

Although most early records of May Day are benign and vanilla, they almost always mention 'going-a-maying' or 'bringing in the may.' This referred to going out and gathering greenery to decorate houses and public buildings to welcome the season. Around the mid 13th century, there were derogatory writings about priests playing maying games. Apparently the clergy was not so different then than it is today. But the celebrations were widely accepted, being participated in by religious and political leaders as well as royalty. There is even record of funds being appropriated from public and church coffers to help cover the costs of the celebrations.

Ancient writings tell of young men and maidens, old men and wives wandering around the hills, woods, groves and mountains all through the night. Shucks, the good times probably also included maiden and maiden, merry man and merry man. Making merry, making love, and kissing on the green grass of spring was the order of the day. In fact the term "green gown" was a metaphor for what young girls got from lying on the grass with their lovers.

Amour-wise, it was a busy time of year. Makes me wonder about all the little love bugs that were probably conceived on this day. Let's see, you count back three months. Okay, it's May. So, April... March...February...!!! Holy Green Gown! I WAS born in February. On the first, to be exact. Oh, Momma. Oh, Papa. It all becomes clear now. I was the result of a 'going-a-maying' tryst! Guess I can't blame you...or Rio. And somewhere, I believe I read that in latter years, May 1st also became a day associated with honoring laborers. Again, an epiphany for me. Labor most certainly follows nine months of pregnancy. There is such synchronicity in the world isn't there? I am always amazed!

All kidding aside, love and passion "peak" at this time of year. The chasteness of the young maid has given way to the fiery sexuality of a woman. A woman free to experiment and taste delights, heretofore, untried. To all of my sistahs:

Happy, Happy first of May.

You know what starts today.

Carpe Someone! Carpe Diem!