Monday, January 26, 2009

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


I am angry. And am trying really hard not to be (that picture is helping!). I always fancied myself a strong communicator, but apparently I am not. And when I am misunderstood or ignored I get angry - no pissed. It seems easy, this communication thing. Case in point: I recently had the opportunity to spend time with a couple who has been married longer than me and my husband. There is no pretense about them. They say what they mean and the other believes it and moves on. No filter of: "what does that really mean?"
I grew up in a family that didn't really "say" a whole lot of anything but meant so many different things. I got that gene. Often I think I am being crystal clear and then I see this bewildered look on the other person's face. How to say what I mean? It probably starts with knowing what I mean.

I think mixed messages come from lack of clarity in our desire. At this one moment in time I am angry. I assumed that someone would do something because I assumed that I had made my wishes clear. Apparently I did not. And I am angry with that person. But why? Was I really cryptic? Or was that person just not listening? Did I not follow through? Or is this just an attempt to get me to do the work - I always take over botched jobs because I can do it better myself?

I don't know what I want most of the time. It often looks as though I do. I am very good at appearing in control and "with it." But I don't know how to be happy. I don't know how to stand up for myself and I don't know what it is I want. The Ba'hai faith encourages an independent investigation of truth. Do the work. Find out what you want and what you believe. I am in the midst of that investigation and attempting to get comfortable with imbalance and searching. My revelation today was that I often look decisive and on point because I can make quick decisions. But those decisions are often made quickly so I don't have to be in a place of uncertainty. A place of chaos. At least my choices are made....period. It is unpleasant to live like that. Not many people really like change or imbalance. And I realize that I avoid it at all costs. So now I am angry. Because I didn't communicate my needs because I didn't know what they were and I expected someone else to figure it out for me.

A friend suggested I breathe or rant through this anger. Whichever one worked for me. I have done both. That was my rant which allowed me to breathe.

We are blessed, may we recognize the blessing

in peace

photo: Virgipix

Monday, January 5, 2009

Reading the Fine Print

G-d is in the details. I believe this. The Devil can be there too, however. I was finally getting the packets ready for my recommenders for graduate school - you know those forms that you agree to waive the right to see but hope that most of the people will send you a copy anyway! And there in almost infinitesimal script are the words: "Academic writing sample blah blah blah 25 pages." WHAT! 25 frickin' pages?! I haven't written anything that long since the last grad school adventure and even then I think it was only 20 after you used acceptable margins. So I call the office of admissions (26 days until they are due) and I ask if I can send in parts of my thesis. No. It has to have been written in the last 5 years. That paper was written in 1999. So not only do I have to write those damnable essays I have to write a 25 page paper.

What is the lesson here? Pay attention. Especially to the fine print.

We are blessed, may we recognize the blessing

in peace

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Pink Cadillac

They say Eve tempted Adam with an apple
But man I ain't going for that
I know it was her pink Cadillac

I have been having dreams of adventures lately. Long highways. Wind blowing in my short hair. Or better yet, me in some fitted, polka-dot, flirty dress from the 50's. Hair neatly held under a silk scarf that crosses purposefully around my neck, with my Max Factor Red Velvet lipstick and Lana Turner sunglasses. Do you know about Nancy? Now that might sound like a non-sequitor but really it isn't. I have, for a while now, believed that I have been here before. My last incarnation was Nancy, a bored California housewife in the 40's and 50's who had a penchant for smoking and drinking bourbon and soda with an umbrella in it. Now before you send me off to the loony bin, let me explain.

We all, everyone of us, has some alter ego. Nancy revealed herself to me after my first child was born. I was having a hard time with motherhood. I expected a lot from myself. In a word: perfection. That was back when I thought perfection was attainable because I listened to other people tell me it was, even though they were FAR from achieving it themselves. I don't like deceptive people in helping roles. So I tell the truth about how difficult my journey has been and most importantly how it still can be. This truthsaying allows you to either commiserate or feel better about yourself! Now what does this have to do with Nancy? Well, Nancy showed up when I was thinking about being perfect and how far from the mark I had fallen. On the surface Nancy was perfect. Her home was immaculate, her children (one boy and one girl) well-behaved, her husband successful and handsome, her wardrobe spectacular! Nancy had no worries. But for some reason every night after her perfectly prepared dinner was cleaned up and her children were doing their homework and her husband had retired to the den, she got out the bourbon, a lovely high ball glass and the umbrellas and walked out to the patio, sat down by the pool and drank and drank and drank. And then she would wash and put away her glass. Smooth her hair mindlessly with her hand and walk to her bedroom where she would dress for sleep in some lovely negligee and go to bed.
On July 29, 1961 Nancy drowned in her perfect swimming pool. No one found her till morning when there was no breakfast.

The 50's are more than a metaphor for me. And so is Nancy. She is real. And that is a decade in my personal evolution. And like two sides of one coin, part is lovely and the other tragic. Nancy represents the tragic party but she also represents the lovely party. What is still a part of me, a part I have hidden for so long, is the fabulous, glamorous part. Driving down Ventura Highway in a convertible. A pink Cadillac, maybe. See, I want it all. I will embrace the darkness of life if I get to wear fabulously red matte lipstick and drive a Cadillac. I am realizing that life is too short if we are loving every day and too long if we are not. I want a short life. I want to jump out of planes, surf in Costa Rica, swim with manatees (seriously I love manatees!), scuba dive in Eilat, Israel, climb a mountain in India, chat with a sherpa, ride a (preferably my own!) Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic down Ventura Highway (now known as Ventura Freeway - doesn't have the same ring!). And every girl's gotta start somewhere, so it's with the Pink Cadillac - seen above (really that is a Pink Cadillac Eldorado Beach Cruiser). Even if it's only to town to Eden Gourmet. I promise to make it an adventure.

We are blessed, may we recognize the blessing

in peace

Thursday, January 1, 2009


I used to hate this word. Primarily because it forced me to go into places I wasn't ready to excavate. But that has changed. The other day a fellow facebooker wrote the following as their status:
is pondering what gives one group of people the power of life and death over another group of people?
I wrote something to the effect that sadly and simply they think they have it. To which alot of other people responded that it is not a simple thought. That it is a complex thing. I have a tendency to over-simplify, that is true. But I really wanted to work through this question in my head. I do, honestly think though that the first reason is simple: they believe they have it. I would change think to believe. The reasons why they hold this belief is where the complexity comes in. God, money, status, greed, faith. The list of whys is endless. But the foundation is a belief - in someting - that elevates them to G-d.
after sparking interesting debate, the original poster responded this way:
Wow! Seems like I opened a Pandora's box. I post was referring to the problem in the middle east. I don't know all the specifics and don;t have the answers but when I read and hear about bombings, killings and people being denied a home land I can't help but wonder why. Not just the middle east but historically we can look at Apartheid SA, Bosnia, Sudan and the list goes on. Why are human beings so cruel and what gives us the right to be? We are God's creation but I don;t know if we are his intention sometimes.

I can almost understand how these moments in our collective and brutal human history get started. What is so incomprehensible to me is how they continue even when reason and love step in. People get entrenched in their beliefs. This is how it has always been. If we let go of the old and painful what will we replace it with? If we change....
Obviously the issues of the Middle East, the Sudan, Bosnia, Darfur are so much deeper than I could ever address here, and it bares stating that all it takes is for us to change our minds. To try the unknown. And maybe let go of a belief that does not serve us anymore. No one has the right to take another's life. We as "rational" beings justify "when" it is acceptable to do so. As soon as that rule is on the books it is open season. Because we humans can rationally justify anything. We devalued life a long time ago and coming back from that may be almost impossible. We do need to cultivate a culture of life. A respect for the living (and no I don't want to get into a pro and anti-choice debate here, but that is definitely part of it).

Honestly, I don't understand it either. Especially since part of my family presently lives in areas of violence - the Middle East, poverty, illness, hopelessness - I want an answer to this question too. And I guess, like everything else I will have to change myself and hold life and people in a place of value. And hope that, for now, it is enough.

We are blessed, may we recognize the blessing

in peace

photo: velvetart

My Obligatory New Year's Post

And here it is.....
Most of these posts are things that have been on my mind and I need a way to get them out and have them make some kind of sense. In a houseful of three brilliant, but still immature children, it is difficult to have these conversations with them. My husband would disagree. But I notice that children internalize our anger, frustration and yes, sadly, depression. So, in an effort to delay therapy, I have decided to write it here.
My thoughts lately have turned to being blessed. Remember a few years ago when it was in vogue to sign your emails with: Peace and blessings? I did it, most of the people I know did at one time or another. Then Namaste was de rigueur in email sign offs, whether or not you practiced yoga. About two years ago I decided to think about how I wanted to say good-bye in my emails. I know how notoriously convoluted email speak can be. And how often you are trying to say one thing but it comes out as something completely different leaving the reader offended or even sad. So, I decided that I wanted to leave my emails with a note to say: "hey, written communication is limited, so please forgive anything I might have said that might have offended you." But more than covering my own ass, I wanted to let people know that truly deeply inside I was writing from a place of love - otherwise I would definitely let them know that I wasn't. So, "in peace" was born. This is how I sign my emails and most of these blog posts. And it will probably stay that way, if for no other reason than to cover my ass. But another thought has been rattling around my brain lately. The thought about being blessed.

In the last year, I have had a lot of time to reflect on being blessed. I have suffered (and I choose my word carefully here) various forms of depression and illness throughout my short life. First by being anti-pharmaceutical, then by thinking that it was my lot in life to suffer (that was the playwright phase) then by over-embracing "better living through chemistry," then a near-fatal tango with cancer and finally through loss of hope. I suffered. Sometimes willingly and other times not so willingly. And during that entire time I kept going. I stayed alive. Granted the quality of said life might have been questionable, but I was here. That was my blessing. I lived through it and was given the opportunity to reflect. We are blessed everyday. Sometimes in the smallest of ways.

I wanted to remind myself of that, with everything I did, said or wrote. And that made me think of how I would change my good-byes in my emails and blog posts. With a simple reminder to allow Grace to show up for you. She's there, loving you and holding you up. However you define Her. Let Her do Her job.
Welcome to 2009!

My new good-bye:
We are blessed, may we recognize the blessing.

in peace