Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Stars are Falling, The Stars are Falling

Stars intrigue me, captivate me, and mesmerize me. Anyone who knows me for long, knows this – I can stare up at the stars for hours on end. I can’t talk a lot about them knowledgeably (thought that hasn’t stopped me) but I love listening to people who know about stars. And Sky and Telescope’s Sky At A Glance is a weekly stop for me on the internet. I want to know what star is brightest where in what part of the sky. I’m hooked since childhood.

So earlier this week I’d heard a program, or maybe it was last week, that said when something is hurtling through space (think asteroids, comets, and other large propelled objects) but you see it in the sky as stationary, that means it’s hurtling towards earth. Oh joy. It gives pause to thought on the gazilla…trilla…bazillions of stars out there that seemingly don’t move (unless you go in the house for an hour then come back out.)

The street I drive off highway 101 to get to and from work logically runs west to east and in the evening back again. Duh! Tonight the sky was clear and dark with hundreds of brilliant stars twinkling (in their stationary mode) in the sky. Beautiful. I could see Venus hanging in the southwest a mere five degrees to the upper left of the sickled moon that was low towards the ocean’s horizon end.

I drove west towards 101 and watched the moon and Venus seemingly fall out of the sky. So rapidly that I had to stop for a moment (slow road) and get my bearings. Watching Venus and the Moon fall from the sky momentarily side swiped me and I had to regain my bearings (whoa dude, unhinged vertigo) so I could drive the remaining nine tenths of a mile home and climb in my hot tub.

Thank God the Moon and Venus are still in the sky. Well okay the Moon has gone to bed, but if I were rowing towards China, it’d be there. Now I need a Kahlua.


The photo is from Spaceweather

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Dawn of Hope

Today I was extremely proud to be an American. Today we stepped in to a new tomorrow, and wow, it felt darn good.

Last night I went to bed knowing a new dawn would break for America when I woke up. When I got to work I hurried through my prep so I could take fifteen minutes and listen, feel, and embrace this new day. My gracious Aretha can torture a song now can’t she?

As I listened to Obama take his oath of office my heart smiled. As he delivered his inaugural speech tears began rolling down my cheeks (I had worn blush to work.) As I listened to people choked with emotion and joy I could hear the land sigh relief.

Not all felt that cleansing breath, some took their moment to comment, “I see the stockmarket fell another 326 points today. I thought Obama was going to fix that?” I understand their bitterness, I felt pretty numb with stunned disillusionment when the weed took his second oath of office.

“Ah, he’s just a politician and politicians are all in it for money and crooked.”

The ailments and wrongs of and by America cannot be fixed with an oath. What was broken over years cannot be fixed in a week or even a year. But was has begun to heal is the spirit of Americans who want to believe we can, we will. Yes, we shall.

Politics and hope in an underdog make strange bedfellows. My morning DJ may have said it best, “Like Christmas music, you rarily get a new patriotic song that standsout.” David Foster and worked to create what I think is one of the most beautiful, new patriotic pieces I’ve ever heard (But America the Beautiful is still the best.)

America’s Song – featuring David Foster,, Faith Hill, Seal, Bono, and Mary J Blige. Thank you Oprah and Harpo Productions, and of course YouTube.

My America, Your America, Our America, is beautiful to me!

To a new tomorrow,

Monday, January 19, 2009

2009 Winter Folk Festival – pt I.

Every January my town celebrates Folk Music. I love Folk Music (which is why I use caps, where no caps should be) I LOVE FOLK MUSIC. I am not an authority, I do not know all Folk Music, but what I know I love.

My mother and I made a day of it, okay really it was just half a day- but it counts. We started with lunch out, fish and chips at the Beachcomber—Lovejoys was closed (bummer.) And then it was onto the Florence Events Center for folk arts, folk crafts, and great Folk Music.

I make sure I take in this festival every year for two reasons, yes as I said the great Folk Music, but also for birthday shopping. I usually find the best little birthday presents there. But not this year, the kewl things I found, I had found in 2006. So no neat birthday presents from there for this year. But, the music wow.

Mom and I wandered the booths peaking and seeing, and the entire time I could hear great music coming from the theatre speakers, I was anxious to get inside and listen. After deciding which booths we needed to hit after the music we went inside to hear Calaveras. Sadly we were too late to get more than three songs, but oh were they worth it.

The second to the last song of their set took me totally by surprise. In truth I can’t remember what came before or after in their set for the second to the last song was – simply amazing. The song was about relationships that are parted by the conclusion of life on this plane and the sweet belief we shall be reunited on another.

In a clear voice she (Victoria Blythe) began singing…

“I am standing on the edge of the water…”

Chills swept up my back, goose bumps raised with the hair on my arms, my heart swelled, and my tears flooded quietly over the brim.

“And I am watching the wild birds fill the skyAnd I am longing to be lifted up among themI am not dying I’m getting ready to fly.”

In the dark theatre tears silent ran down my cheeks before my fingers could wipe them all away. The clear notes of their voices raised up to the rafters and I thought my mom would shake her head when she found out I was crying. But as the song finished I turned to her and said, “That is what I love about Folk Music it grabs you by the heart and answers something in your soul.” It was with those words I saw my mom (I think for the first time in my life) crying.

She looked at me, as she wiped away her own tears, and in a voice choking on tears she said, “I could just see your dad, free flying with the birds just as he loved.” I am pretty certain the song haunted her well into the night.

Sadly I could find recordings of the song, but no video to share with you. Visit Calaveras on their MySpace webpage, Ready to Fly is the second song on their playlist.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Talk Thursday: Serenity Now

I think my mother said it best, just this evening as I bemoaned (What? Me whine?) that I had no idea what I was going to do with this week’s topic. So what the wise woman of Florence said was this…

“Serenity comes from within.”

Most everything wise I learned, I learned from her (the rest I learned from my daughter.) Simple, concise, spot on. Serenity comes from within.

Yes, our lives contain periods of harried chaos. Moments where we can couldn’t find tranquility if we splashed smack into the of a sea of it – tranquility that is, not chaos.

Digression…Is there a Sea of Chaos? Enquiring minds what to know.

Back to the contemplation of serenity…Why, because that is life. It’s because we can’t turn off the chaos that holds our attention in that moment, that space of time where we are besieged by conflict, emotions, and dilemmas. At least not until the forces of chaos are momentarily pacified, rectified, or sterilized. And then we take our toys and we go home.

We (I know there is more than just me out there) home builders who construct our homes to create havens, idealic (not a real word – but it’s what I mean) settings where we can run away from our daily strife and find serenity. We create cozy corners, quite courtyards, lush gardens that take us outside our workaday worlds. But that doesn’t mean we find serenity. It means that I find a heart that listens then quietly shares a hot tub with me starring at the stars.

Because serenity is not a place, it is a state of being. I am sublimely happy when I am in my hot tub in the dark, the wind blowing in the trees, stars brilliant in the sky above. I am at peace, serene inside my heart, inside my skin as I contemplate things in the universe much bigger than me, bigger than the problems of the day, secrets deep and unfathomable.

Being in hot water with someone, who loves both the best and worst of me, makes serenity that much easier.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sage is a Youthful Mind

It is wonderful to have a young mind to nurture; to pass along all the long stored knowledge gleaned over the decades since my birth…from all those nurturing people in my past. For years I have worked with high school students, passing along my know-it-all of radio and music, which they gleefully ignore with wild rolling eyes.

To have a grandchild is a power untold. Oh, the possibilities are endless. For years I have had the joy of sharing my copious know-it-all with Burp. First we would play Funny Bugs (a game of concentration) and I would delight in kicking his cute little butt. The best part would be hearing him “Aah” every time the Firefly would be turned over in all her glory. Now he is mastering the wickedness of Chinese checkers with an adroit ability to jump three times sideways and still make it three spaces forward. That’s My Boy!

He delights in pounding nails with Ducky, measuring space and length time and time again to make sure everything is coming out right.

Finger-painted masterpieces adorn my refrigerator. Often his mom’s present at a birthday or Christmas will include something hand painted by Burp himself. He and Psam often hand make their Christmas presents.

He plants bulbs with me each fall. Deadheads every posy in my copious and growing gardens from May to October. And helps tote pavers for whatever path and courtyard I’m designing at the time. The boy is a workhorse.

Our cooking forays began early with oatmeal, chocolate chip, coconut cookies. The kid is a cookie maven. His Halloween pumpkin, cream-cheese frosted sugar cookies are to die for. He has helped me make gravy…from scratch (we’re still working on technique,) candied sweet potatoes (I’m sure as many marshmallows go in him as there are a top the yams,) and he knows to roll up when making pie- crust.

He loves breakfast for dinner. Okay, no, not as much as a 6 piece McDonald’s Happy Meal, but still – it’s breakfast for dinner with all its sausagy-syrupiness. So imagine my surprise Saturday evening, as I was pulled out my waffle iron, that when Burp asked what we were making for dinner and I replied, “Waffles.”

He replied with the sage nonchalance of youth, “Oh, easy. That just takes a toaster.”


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Talk Thursday – Things I Missed

Have you ever noticed the people who pick the topic tend to have a great deal of difficulty writing the topic? Been there, am that. It’s one of the problems in life I’ve not missed. Like not missing the moments of horror when you discovered your dress is tucked into the back of your pantyhose, has been since your last potty break, say 15 minutes, 30 minutes, three bus stops ago. Yeah, the red faced, absolute, public mortification lives far beyond the actual moment of discovery. I hate when the thing I missed was a really, really important fine detail.

In my teen years I was a big surf freak. Big surf freak. Problem one, I lived 16 miles from Huntington Beach, 19 from Balboa. Problem two, out of four years in high school I had two, count them two whole boyfriends who were surfers. One lasted two weeks, three dates; the other lasted two summer vacations to Morro Bay. The wealth of my surfing experience is much smaller than I’d like.

Through out my childhood and early to mid teens I spent a wealth of my summer days at the beach sunning, swimming, surfing, and body surfing. Two weeks were usually spent at my grandparents house in Balboa, where I was under the strictest rules to NOT surf at the Wedge, having seen a guy killed surfing at the Wedge, it was a rule I was prone to follow.

My grandparents lived on the peninsula - bay side, or two blocks from the ocean. And there was no prohibitions placed on body surfing. For those who don’t know Balboa, it’s a spring break / summer mecca for those who couldn’t make it to the River. A beach house rented back then for about $1500 a week, a price I could never have afforded even a portion, but I was born lucky, my grandpa lived there. Bitchin’. The riptides create prefect conditions for body surfing and the deadly conditions at the Wedge. Because it wasn’t Huntington the beaches weren’t crowded, the population tasty, and the water perfect.

In the tenth grade I had this great blue and green acrylic (the material, not the paint) bikini. It was my favorite, my first bikini, out of three I had. Armed with shades, a book, and a towel in my beachbag I walked the two blocks to the beach (dude, only babies and old maids did the bay,) found my strip of sand, and scanned the minimal crowd. Wow, the dudes were hot and the female companionship as scant…as their attire.

For the first half hour I would read my book, at that time it was most likely a Ray Bradbury sci-fi. My favorite being the The Illustrated Man, but I read them all that summer and a few romances. In time I’d be chatting with others on the beach, enticed into the surf, and spend the remainder of the day body surfing. Years of skateboarding, surfing, and some gymnastics gave me a pretty good start on body surfing, that and my own personal floatation devices - the girls and teenly bubble butt, made body surfing a great pastime and sport for me.

On this particular summer day I’d met up with six or seven guys and two chicks, who’d been staying on the island for the week. If memory serves they were from Taft and staying at an old beach house on Opal. The curls had been pretty good, each one growing in the series. I’d caught two or three nice rides taking me close into the shore laughing with whom ever I’d shared the ride, then we would swim back out to the break line.

The walls had been growing bigger and bigger, each ride taking us further, you could tell a big one was coming. Three or four of us were in a horizontal line to the beach, giddy with anticipation at the big one coming at us. I leaned slightly forward and slowly began my strokes to judge the speed of the wave. The surge of the water picked me up as the trough spread out before me, deepening as the crest built behind me. The ride was incredible; the height must have been a good fifteen feet from the base, mind blowing. Right up to the moment it disappeared from underneath me. Suddenly, the wave’s force and drive drove me crashing into the wet sand and broken shells of the sea floor below. Like flotsam and jetsam I gave myself up to the power of the wave waiting the right time to resurface.

The wave had it’s way with me, I tumbled, rolled, and lurched at the whim of mother sea. And then I felt my bikini bottom shift to my knees. My ankles locked together to keep them from floating way. As my hands rushed to my knees to pull them back up my feet hit the sand and thrust my body upward and out of the water…

Into a world populated by manly teen males. The thing I’d missed in my efforts to save my bikini bottom – was that the skinny part of my bikini top, it looked like a tie front – but really it had been sewn together with a false tie tacked on, had burst at the seam and the girls were flying freely in the surf and sun of Balboa beach, which is not now, nor has ever been a topless beach.


Monday, January 05, 2009

O圣诞树, O圣诞树我流了我的在您的血液: O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree I shed my blood on you

I think I’m allergic to my Christmas tree. Yes, it’s artificial. But it’s from China and I have an aversion to all things manufactured in China. If I’d been boycotting products made in China back in 2003 I might not have bought it. Do Americans make artificial trees? I know I live in the land of the Christmas tree, but I also have a woodstove. Dried out Doug Fir and American made woodstoves do not a happy holiday make. Does that contribute to my carbon footprint? And since it probably does, which contributes more: the Chinese wire and probable lead content, or the smoke from my chimney burning good old American grown Doug Fir? Crap I don’t want to know the answer do I?

Yesterday, after appreciating the lit brilliance of my Chinese artificial Nordic Christmas tree (ha, ha I’m imaging blonde Chinese people with dog sleds hauling my Christmas tree after harvest from the hills of Outer Mongolia,) I took off all the red balls and beads, crystal hearts and angels (all most certainly made in China) and carefully packed them away for later this year. Gingerly parting the wire branches I waded inside to break the tree trunk in to three parts, and proceeded to scratch my arms all to heck, pierce my left thumb (which was already highly abused from changing the high beam bulb - most assuredly manufactured in China- in Ducky’s Aspire earlier in the day) and bled profusely from that tiny hole for thirty minutes. Note: Chinese made band aides do not last as long as Chinese made Christmas trees.

I’m fairly certain I left a Chinese band aide in my American made hot tub filter.

And dirty words (all in English) I flip over my Dell Inspiron lap top and note, that yes folks the (frellin’ Australian made up word for Fuck!) stamps on the underside all say “Made in China.” Next time I’ll buy a Samsung or Sanyo or something less America sounding and maybe it will be made in some place closer to home, like Mexico or Canada.

Bah Humbug,

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy Resolutions

Happy New Year!

Every year I fall into the make a resolution revolving door that kicks my butt by, let’s say February. Sad, so sad. Last year I thought to make it a more realistic. I resolved to blog twice a week, and write a poem a week (or three a month.) Well I fell only five short on the blogs, which baffles my mind. How did I get that many written? As for the poems…let’s not go there.

Because I was such a slackard last year, I’m going to try again for 2009. This is post 221 by year’s end, a mere 364 days away in a perfect world, I should have written and posted blog number 345. That is without skipping a single post between 222 to 344 just to be clear. Check back with me December 31st, will you? As for the poetry, well I hope to get one new poem written a month. That should be putting the hurdle low enough.

See, I do make resolutions, but I’ve scaled back from the grandiose “shrink my zip code size butt to one block” dieting for life resolutions to the livable type resolutions. Ergo, I resolve to be more positive, upbeat, and less sensible. Plus I’m doing the two I boffed last year… Some you win, some you lose. I will try harder.

The other thing I plan to improve upon is twofold 1) the time I spend with Ducky and 2) the time I spend in the hot tub.

I, er, I mean we began today. I came home from work (yes, I know it’s New Year’s Day, I’m in radio…and as I am wont to say, “Radio stops for no one.”) Ducky and I watched the first quarter of the Rose Bowl game… go Trojans! (Hey, I support the Pac Ten - Ducks first, the Beavers when they're not playing the Ducks, and damn even them dawgs.) And then hopped into the hot tub. You might note that Oregon’s coast line is being bombarded by high winds, rain, and did I mention high winds? I purposely left the cover partially perched over the west half of the hot tub and climbed in. Amazing. The wind blew, the rain poured, the hot water bubbled merrily…ahhh, total contentment and the perfect way to spend a New Year’s Day.

Hot water.
High winds.
Torrential rains.
And the man I love...Pure Bliss!