Friday, December 31, 2010

Talk Thursday: The Topic Fairy Died

Farewell, Good-bye, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu 2010

Happily I will bid a hasty TaTa to 2010, what a hell it has been, okay that’s strong, very strong. It wasn’t that bad, but it took me three quarters of the year to determine what felt better, twenty ten, two thousand ten, or two ought ten (while different it doesn’t leap to mind or tongue when you’re in the bowels of indecision over numerical determination.) It’s final, I’m starting out the new year knowing I am calling it twenty eleven, that determination should last at least until just after midnight.

Really twenty ten wasn’t THAT bad, it was just annoying as hell. January, cold, cold cold. I got my Christmas tree down on New Years Day two ought ten, only six more weeks until it’s time to put it up again… okay twelve weeks (but who’s counting?) My time flies… just wait you’re getting older too. My Ducks failed to show up on the bowl game gridiron (I’m not sure who they sent, but they didn’t play like my Ducks). And speaking of Ducks, my Ducky was stuck in the valley a few times by snow. The Winter Folk Festival and craft sale rocked with good dried apricot jam and The Brothers Four and Barry McGuire.

In February I received an awesome yoga DVD set for my birthday. Upward facing dog kicked my 54 year old ass and my Chiropractor, St Gregory (the ST stands for steel thumbs) said, “No, no.” to the yoga. Well spank my fat ass. At the radio auction I bought a kick ass secretariat for my new room. The question of twenty ten, “What do we call the new edition that is now six years old?” Note, I’ve tried Sunroom, garden room, sun room, new room seems to work… sort of.

March offered up a promise of spring and a feasible countdown to baseball season. The first of my daffodils and iris popped their poinky green tips out of the soggy, semi frozen garden sand….And then proceeded to go back to sleep. The annual home and garden show was a success.

April, there is no easy way to say it, Psam lost her job… thank you Mr. Unionman… for nothing. She loved her job, she’s damn good at her job… but she was low man on the totem pole. She also was turned down for unemployment…again I am disappointed in my government. The new Green Show seemed more like a repeat of the Home and Garden Show. Baseball season came and I was wishing for Duck Football, I seemingly can’t be pleased.

May, Rhody Fest came, gone, and will reappear before you even know it. A good time was had by all. Darn it just tires me all to hell out. On the other hand I started my Christmas shopping. I know, I know – you’re saying it’s May, really, Christmas shopping? Yeah, duh! When you find great stocking stuffers you buy them and start the list.

June seemed like an extension of early spring, cold and wet. Now all my friends will say, “But. Cele you like the rain and cold of Winter.”

I will reply, “Yes, I do, but not in June, July, and August.”

July… flew by. I boycotted the Fireworks Spectacular. Missed the crafts fair.

August… gone. But, oh, oh, oh I did go to my first bead trunk show and a new addiction was in embryotic form.

September – DUCK FOOTBALLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve become predictable and boring… until the game starts and then the loud unholy football fan takes over and I morph in to Mega football Mama! Go Ducks! Thank fully and I do mean fully that my husband, my daughter, my grandson, my sister, sister in law and their families are all MEGA DUCK fans too. Second passion of the season, fishing. Ducky got me on the banks of the Siuslaw with a Salmon pole in hand. I didn’t catch a single nibble, let alone the whole fish but gosh I loved it all. We spent sunny afternoons on the bank of the river, taking it all in, casting over and over again, not a care in the world. Heaven.

October, wow, more Duck Football; a little more fishing, but now I’m starting to worry about Christmas, it’s only three weeks away. I can’t find last year’s Christmas list. Bottles are $23 a case, I need two, but it’s $48 dollars to ship them. Crap what am I going to do? How about another bead trunk show…. Woo hoo I’m hooked. Oh and I had great jack-o-lanterns.

November, visit St. Gregory and a week later my neck is out. Freck. I spent Thanksgiving puking, laying on my daughter’s bed, and did I mention puking? Where is that friggin’ Christmas list? Bracelets were made, more beads bought, addiction, addiction, addiction.

December started with the final Duck victory of the regular season and the Pac Ten Championship – up next Auburn. Well, I finally found the Christmas list from last year… you know - the one I forgot to fill it all out, what did we get the Brit? Empty Bowls were bought and filled, wrapped and awaited gifting. New bottles were bought at the Home Fermentation store, Kahlua made, labels celebrated, and presents wrapped. More bracelets made. BTW, the Wii Ducky got is still in its box. Maybe this weekend, right after I take down the Christmas tree, I’ll get it hooked up.

It’s December 31st at 9:10pm. The day after the current topic fairy failed at his task. He’s probably in the midst of very non-private exhibition. Germany, England, Scotland, and West Virginia have already counted down. Their feet now are firmly resting in twenty eleven, and it is on the verge of snowing here. Happy New Year.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Talk Thursday: If This Is The Holidays, Why Do I Feel…

The holidays were great. We had a family Christmas gathering the weekend before Christmas, bringing together my daughter, our grandson, and Ducky’s daughters and their significant others. Normally I’d not break it down that, I consider Ducky’s daughters mine, he looks at Psam as his daughter and while there have been problems, it works. This year I went the easy route, dips, guacamole, nibbles, Psam made her famous Pico De Gallo (I’m in seventh heaven) and then pizza from the local Abby’s. Sunday morning we ransack our stockings, then pile into the cars and breakfasted at our favorite omelet place. Afterwards we went home and open presents. Then two third of them can’t get out of the house fast enough. It works.

We had a smaller Christmas celebration this year for several reasons, but first and foremost… I had a breakdown last year at Christmas time. Ducky threatened to cancel our Christmas gathering this year, but Psam chipped in and was a huge help. I scaled back my cooking and all was good. To me Christmas is all about family, it wouldn’t have been Christmas without Psam and Burp, my mom and grandmother. Ducky’s family is always welcomed, as are all holiday orphans, but they all have their own families and traditions, and the girls are required (at the ages of 30 and 36) to be at their mother’s for Christmas. Let me stop now and thank my parents for urging all their children to create their own traditions – they rarely requested a family Christmas.

My father was born to a very poor family in the back hills of West Virginia, my mother to a family of standing and modest wealth in Pasadena, CA, despite the vast difference in their personal experiences they made the holidays work and taught us it’s not the present but the thought that counts. My sister, mother, Psam, and myself often make our gifts. This year Psam and I spent Christmas Eve beading the last of our bracelets for gifting. Believe it or not I was a wee bit worried about giving such a small gift, second- guessing myself and not giving the recipients enough credit. I may be new at making beaded bracelets but I enjoy it, they are pretty and wearable, I crafted each to reflect the person recieving.

Psam gave me several unique wire wrapped heart beads she’d picked up that day in Eugene. The new beads gave me the opportunity to try multi-piece bracelets. The turned out pretty kewl, my grandmother really seemed to like hers.

The one bad thing that happened was Arlo’s gluttony for anything edible- preferably something to which he is allergic, struck. Sunday morning when the house was quite, Ducky and I were doing various chores in opposite sides of the house Arlo got into my closet and ate 8 ounces of chocolate covered espresso beans. Hmm,mmm lip smacking good if his smacking lips and lapping tongue were any indication. Hey, it was all good though, he hadn’t ravished my Peeps! Not for lack of trying, one corner of the wrapper was definitely dog mauled. Butthead, stay away from my Peeps! I mean, sheesh, he got a bag of dried apple slices, a bag of banana chips, and a knotted rawhide in his stocking – what more does a dog need?

In recent years I think I let the stress and demand of the holidays get to me. This year I took back the joy and simplicity of the season. It was a great holiday season, replete family, friends, Christmas socks (pictures to come), a brand new Kahlua Cali label
that was a last minute spate of inspiration (I think I’ll make this one permanent I like it that much), and dog mauled Chocolate Mousse Peeps – It was Christmas and I feel fabulous!


Monday, December 20, 2010

Talk Thursday: But For The Grace… of God

Often I count my blessings, for I am truly blessed. I am of normal mental health, I have a husband who loves me, a daughter I adore, a grandson who is the light of my life, and my mother likes me. I have a job, a soft bed, fresh wholesome food, and clothing of good repair in a size I might not like, but they fit. I have more than I need, want for nothing, and I am happy.

And then I look around me. I realize that there is a sad part of me that has become cynical about individual human conditions, even about many of the organizations that aide those that are in need. On Saturday the local Soroptimist club teamed up with several other organizations and distributed almost 600 Christmas baskets to families in the community in need. Food for a holiday meal, maybe presents for the children, new socks, a jacket, or some other much need basic necessity – those daily items many of us take for granted. But the reality is I know that many people take those baskets do not want of much if anything. How do I know this? I’ve been handed a box by my grandmother who had it given to her by someone who’d gotten emergency food from the Food Share. I try to give at least a hundred dollars a year to the Christmas Basket Project, it’s not much but it will cover the cost of two baskets. I give several times a year to the Food Share, the rest that I give is to the local Habitat for Humanity. It is never enough and there are never enough donations, whether it be in Florence or in your own town. And yet, despite it never being enough for those truly in need there are those who aren’t yet take. This rents my soul. My arguments and anger over this injustice fall on deaf ears. But yet, I give because I can and if not for the blessings of my birth, the generosity of my family, and my job it could have been me who lined up at 5:30 in the morning to make sure I had a dinner for my family. I believe charity begins at home, Florence is my home, I give here, my money stays here, and helps people here. I am blessed.

The husband of one of my best friends is dying. It might not happen tomorrow (but it could) it might not happen next week (but it is a definite possibility), it might not happen next month (but that would shock me) it will happen; it is happening slowly and she has little or no power over this mandate of abused health and old age. He is a diabetic, former smoker, has less than 25 percent use of his heart and he is in renal failure – and yet he could linger. She is a strong soul but her plate so very full. She already has a severely disable daughter for whom she cares, grandchildren who come into her home to live and then leave when it’s convenient to do so, and children far from home – she needs their help and yet she is alone. I ache for her all the while knowing I am blessed because my family is healthy, hard working, self sufficient, and supportive. I am not alone and even more than that I am loved. That isn’t to say that my friend isn’t, it is just… I am not her, I do not live her life and except for my support 2500 miles away I can not help her.

My friends both in my work-a-day world, my online life, and off times, are real, diverse, and rich in the rewards of laughter, communion, and support. But for the grace of God, a circumstance of birth, a disrupted chromosome or mutated gene go I. I do not let my blessing go un-noted,, I do not let them go uncounted, I do not let them pass silently in the dark taken for granted. I am blessed

And the reality my friend is that you most likely were too.


Sunday, December 05, 2010

Talk Thursday: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can stab much deeper

People use the words they mean, whether they realize it or not. As people we individually place levels of meaning to words that mean the same thing – read as “Cele can say four words that mean the same thing, through word usage is the seriousness of the matter is truly implied.” It’s a me thing to a point, I guess. People strike out with words.

My mother sincerely believed (until the other night at dinner) that I had once screamed the words at her, “I hate you, I hate you, I hate you!” Not. I screamed those words at my father, whom in front of visiting extended family (rather loudly in bold font) announced he believed I would be pregnant by the Mexican boy next door with in six months. This happened because I asked if we could go on a neighborhood picnic. He said that, I screamed that, but not at my mother. My grandmother upon hearing this explanation of the facts looked at my mother and asked why he would do that? He did it because he believed I liked the boy next door (not, Benny and I were no more than neighborhood friends) and he judged me based on his actions as a teenager.

I adored my father; he was one of my heroes, my mentors, my friends. I miss him dearly to this day and know that there are things he said in my life that were said out of frustration and based on his experience but overlaid on what he thought was happening in mine. We were father and daughter, we were friends, and even though he is now passed close to three years he visits me, wants the best for me, and loves me. His words may have cut at the moment, but they helped me evolve into me.

My first husband has a drinking problem, but long ago it was a drug and drinking problem. We spent many a party with him passed out in someone’s back room, under the keg at a function (this was lovely when he was in the service), or just AWOL because a beer was more important than family. He’s not my favorite person, but we get along. He never used words that cut, he used his fist. I left

My second husband used words. Words that cut me more than anything my first husband ever did. He told me in succession
1) you have no sense of humor
2) you are the most negative person I know
3) you don’t have your own personality
4) and probably the worst, “I have never loved you, I just wanted the family you offered.”
Number four destroyed me, how do you live with someone for eleven years, tell them you love them and then turn around and say you never did. I’m sorry, let me reiterate that, NEVER LOVED YOU, because regardless of how somberly spoken, how quietly uttered they scream while renting through my heart and soul.

I gave the best eighteen years of my life to these two men and they trod with cork boots on them. I survived the fist, the choking, the beating my head in to a cement floor… and rather admirably I might say, but the words hurt me to this day. I am an imitation of others – hey wait a friggin’ minute we are all an amalgamation of others we meet through out our lives, the lessons we learn, the slang we hear, the books we read, the movies we watch, and the songs we sing. It may be personal preference that leads us to steal “dude” as a favorite slang word, Folk Rock as a favorite type of music, or Jane Austin as a favorite author, but it is the people we met through life that we take the little nuances from.

I choose my words carefully as to not unintentionally hurt someone. I do not fling words out in anger. You can’t take back words said in a heated moment no matter how hard you try – so I refuse to utter them. I am not a saint; I’m a normal everyday person who has through a life of personal osmosis become who I am.

Through effort I removed most of the negativity in my personality and strive to be a positive. While I have my loud moments and voice I tend to have a quiet personality. Sense of humor I’m not so sure about. But what I do have is a large vocabulary and usually know how to use it. I don’t use it to hurt.


Saturday, December 04, 2010

I love my Ducks and today is Civil War Saturday - Go Ducks!

Most of my family are Duck faithfuls... well except Miseray and the Brit, who is at today's game and didn't take Ducky. He's a bit miffed, there maybe coal in the Brit's Christmas present this yeat.

If any team is up for beating the Ducks it's the Beavers. So GO DUCKS!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Talk Thursday: So What’s It Gonna Be, Eh?

Most likely a rant, and that kind of bothers me. Why do I rant so much? Do I think myself superior that the crappy shallow comments that people make are beyond my own baseness? Superior no, base, hell yes, mind boggled normally. Recent observations.

ABC Radio (because I rarely watch real news on TV – Give me Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and Bill Mahre any day of the week, I digress) reported early this week that the man of interest in the shooting death of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen committed suicide (a good money saving measure for the cash strapped state of California). The short story (common it’s radio – we have to say the important stuff in usually ninety words or less) repeatedly commented that Chasen was murdered while driving her Mercedes through Beverly Hills.

So if she was driving a Volvo would she have been murdered? What difference does the model of vehicle have on her death? NADA, thank you very much! But apparently some dimwitted reporter felt it was very important to note several times (with in his ninety or so words) that she was driving a Mercedes. Gas guzzling vehicle envy on the part of the report I dare say.

And by the way... the guy who committed suicide may not even be linked to the Chasen murder... but she was driving a Mercedes in Beverly Hills.

This week the Senate failed (or is it refused) to extend unemployment. This hits me on several levels
1) the perpetual mind-boggle that is the hallmark of my daily existence
2) the anger that we can take care of the truly rich and ignore people who are truly in need because there are no jobs

Last night my mother made a comment about how Demark had slowly cut back remuneration and duration of unemployment because it paid so well the unemployed liked staying there. Mom, in the US that is called Welfare, not unemployment – you have to be making big bucks to make big bucks on unemployment. And btw Mom, there aren’t jobs out there. That isn’t to say that there aren’t people who work the system, but I’m looking at my own daughter, who works as many hours as are available to her (they are never enough to be called employed) and yet can’t get unemployment because she’s trying to be a responsible mom raising a child by herself. I bet the worthless sperm donor, who can’t be bothered paying support, gets unemployment in between dropping jobs because he gets dinged for support.

We are in the toughest economic era to hit the US (and the world since the great depression) and we can’t extend unemployment benefits? Nope, can’t, but let’s talk about tax cuts for Billionaires. I think death taxes are wrong, especially 55 percent death taxes for any tax bracket, but really folks, how much money is enough? It does grieve me that we favor the rich with tax-breaks and loop-holes and it also grieves me that hardworking people who save for their retirement are penalized in their retirement.

In this day and economy (actually for a decade or three now) a million dollars is not a lot of money, it’s certainly not a lot when you are looking at the end of your life and counting the pennies to keep you in your home – in health care – in a nursing home. But starting January 1st estates of a million dollars or more could be taxed up to 55 percent estate (death) taxes. I’m sorry that bothers me. My mom’s estate will be about a million. Maybe, just about, depending on property values. Fifty five percent to the government because you died? Outrageous.

Sounds self- serving doesn’t it? If you pay your taxes why should you have to pay fifty five percent more on the action of your death (or is that the inaction of your death?) I believe in paying my taxes but hmmmm, let me see: My boss pays taxes on the money the station makes (including payroll taxes), I pay taxes on the money that I get paid out of what is left after my boss pays the taxes. Then I pay taxes of my property and at the end of the year I pay taxes on what the government feels they over looked when they taxed me the first time around. Hmmmm, I buy things in the community, and the proprietors of my favorite shops pay taxes on what they made when I bought the things to live on. Now the money that I set aside from my paycheck for my retirement (out of the taxed money that my boss paid taxes on) are not taxed…. Until I retire and have to use that money to pay the taxes on my house and live. I might possibly inherit some money from my mom when she dies after the government takes up to fifty five percent of her estate. So then what might possibly be left over when I die (that the government hadn’t figure out how to tax) will be taxed just because I failed to be.

I wasn’t born rich so, oh, crap I should be on welfare to break even.

Darnmit I’m tired,