Saturday, April 28, 2007

Rediscovering Africa.......

All day long I fretted. I knew I needed to start writing again. I knew I had to finish my book..6 pages to go. The community project I worked on for the last 3 months took away my concentration and my time. I was scared I couldn't go back ....that I had lost my passion.

And then I found him. A simple picture among my pictures of the sub sahel. I cropped him out of a much bigger photo. I stared at him in beautiful and powerful he was. I cropped other faces...pulled them out of backgrounds....stared at them...felt them....until I couldn't wait to write.

I tossed away the outline I made earlier in the day. The pictures that spoke to me where the pictures I would use to tell the story about this part of Africa. That's how I wrote this book....I found what stirred my passion and my curiosity and I cropped it out of the much bigger story of my travels....keeping my fingers crossed....that what excited me might excite children or their parents or their teachers.

Now it's late.....and I have to work tomorrow morning....but I'm happy. I rediscovered where I was.....I'm in the same state of trying to find the most important part of the story instead of the just merely the story.

I'm going to finish the book...just look at him.....I could you betray such beauty and not?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

This is My Life?

My black hole community project is over. I finished on Sunday evening. For a couple of months, I've had two things pasted to my computer terminal...the quote "Embrace the Suck" and the number of days till I get "my life back."

On Monday morning, I got my life back and it ain't pretty.

First of all, I feel terrible. I can't sleep and wake up before dawn....I was looking forward to collapsing in bed and sleeping for at least 14 hours. That's not happening.

Next, I'm having strange food cravings. I didn't eat much over the weekend--- I was too nervous. Monday morning I faced a horrible calling for potatoe chips, sweet pickle slices, red meat and chocolate.

I ate potatoe chips and pickles for breakfast and was severely bloated and irritable by noon. Think puffer fish.

But the chips and pickles didn't stop the strange mid- afternoon, I stopped en route to an errand at McDonalds. I don't like McDonalds and I think their meat is suspicious.....but the red meat craving simply guided my car to the golden arches.

I sat there eating a burger in the almost empty restuarant and felt like a preacher in a porn shop....sinfully chomping down on the slick and forbidden.

I had plans to answer emails on Monday night, plans to make plans for the rest of my life....instead I remembered where the hidden chocolate was stashed....stared at my laptop.....deleted some emails ......and got some stern graphic paper out to make a to-do list..... but I discovered.....I was clueless as to what to write down...and my life would have to wait till Tuesday.

On Tuesday....I woke up tired....I did not crave pickles and chips......however.... my red meat craving was still roaring. My son brought home a hunk of prime rib Monday night. I think I eat prime rib once every other year.... usually at a wedding or some formal type reception....I sat down and had it for breakfast......with ketchup......for hours afterwards I walked around holding my belly and groaning.....I felt like a very large cow was sleeping in my stomach.

Surely on Tuesday evening....I would start reorganizing my life.

Instead I found an interesting garbage bag on the floor by my desk. It was full of papers....obviously the men folks didn't take the recylcing out....I picked up the bag and noticed there were envelopes, magazines....paper flyers. I poked at the contents.....OH HO>>>> now I realized why I hadn't been worried or bothered by bills....the men folks had tossed all official and unofficial correspondence for the last couple of weeks in the brown paper garbage bag. I could almost hear my credit score drop as I painfully looked at bills which I knew should have been paid weeks ago. So I devoted my evening to making sure the electricity and gas wouldn't be turned off.

Surely today...Wednesday......I would get my life back in order.

I woke up at dawn, I layed in bed....and wondered where my clock was.
I read a few emails and answered them.....
I forgot to shower.....I watered a plant....
I wrote down some names in my address book....
I watched Judge Judy....always surprised how many smart women get hooked up with really really stupid men.
I sat on the porch and watched the rain....
I studied the tornado warning map on TV....and realized after ten years living in this state I didn't know most of the county names.
I made a mental note to thank my mom for an Easter card....but I forgot to call her.
I remembered I was going to Slovenia....but remembering I said yes.... is the only trip preparation I've done.
I read more emails...many asked me what I thought about my community project and what was my "perspective" on things. The word "perspective" made me nervous because as of 5PM this evening ...I had none.
I read the definition of "sexualization" as recently defined by the American Psychologist Association....sexualization: a person's value coming only from her sexual appeal or behavior to the exclusion of other personal characteristics. I found it fascinating and wrote it down on a piece of paper.
I listened to 4 cell phone messages from people I worked with on my community project. I saved them for 14 days ....and hoped I could deal with them by then.
I fed my writing fish twice who lives next to my computer because he had a hungry look in his eye and I'm not sure when I fed him last.
My cat howled at me several times because she is highly offended I was not home Friday and Saturday.
My hub reminded me when he got home from work... that the "damn cat" came into the bedroom each night I was gone at 5AM to let him know I was not there....secretly I think that's funny but I made a mental note to myself to drug the cat should I ever try to run away from home.
It's now almost 10PM.
There are piles of clothes in my bedroom, there's smelly laundry from the men folks piled in piles in the laundry room that suspiciously look like the piles I saw there weeks ago.
Another thunderstorm has come and gone.
My fresh blank graphic papers is waiting for me to record my new objectives and goals.
I have four pair of shoes in the computer room waiting to go somewhere.
My cell phone rings and it's my youngest son.....who stopped at the grocery store. "Do you need anything?"
Yes....I tell him.....double strength chocolate ice cream, fudge, maraschino cherries and a can of whip cream. I hear him gasp when I say, "can of whip cream. " He knows this is a serious situation.
When youngest son arrives home, I go downstairs and start cutting up the banana...half for me ...half for our lizard.

The men folks are staring at me...the polite type of stare you give to crazy folks.

I scoop ice cream, glop fudge on, toss bananas, squirt cream and add a cherry.

As I walk away....I hear my husband tells the boys.....

"Don't worry it always takes her a few days to come back."

I'm staring at the bowl of gooey ice cream on my desk here.

I'm hoping my life comes back to me real soon....because chocolate and beef can create dangerously smelly farts....and this is a really small computer room.

Friday, April 20, 2007

One of My Favorite Pics

My big community project will have me away till Monday till then...I leave one of my favorite favorite's amazing...look at the poor frog's expression....kind of a comic what the hell I have had days like this.

Till Monday................

Monday, April 16, 2007

I saw this quote the other day....and just laughed....feels like my philosophy of life....
"Do everything. One thing may turn out right."
... H.Bogart
Of course.....Not everything turns out right.....some things are just wrong.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I Think I'm in an Alfred Hitchcock Trailer.......

As you know, (of if you don't ....just scroll down) a snake was IN my mailbox followed by a penis which appeared ON my mailbox.

So what's next? I'm sitting in my daughter's vacated bedroom relaxing in her reading chair with my little cat by my side. Suddenly the cat stares up at the ceiling. I stare up at the ceiling and see nothing but hear...munch munch munch.

AHHHHH! I pound the wall...... hoping I can scare whatever it is out of my attic. My cat meows at the ceiling. There's a moment of silence....then munch munch munch.

Okay...what could be more irritating than sitting in your reading chair and hearing your house being EATEN by a rodent.?? I jumped up ready to investigate ...but my men folks could not be motivated to come with me......and I didn't want to go meet the muncher alone...I had Hitchcock-type visions of opening the attic door and having something jump on my head and start munching on my neck. So I moved to another part of the house to read and avoid the sound.

Today, after numerous meetings for the community project, I come home and decided to just take some deep breaths in the reading chair before beginning some laser focused work. I closed my eyes......took a deep breath......MUNCH MUNCH MUNCH.....

AHHHHH! This time I'm mad (and full of a venti double shot mocha cappuccino)....I grab a broom....I'm ready to fight.

I open my attic door and find a beloved Easter basket that belonged to my daughter shredded.

I climb the creepy little staircase up to the outer most part of the attic....the part that has only white fluffy insulation in giant heaps all over. But I can't see a thing....and the floor boards don't go back far enough for me to actually examine the spot above my daughter's bedroom. I'm really pissed now. Not only is this not going to be easy....but I'll probably have to call an exterminator....can we all say Cah Ching$$$!

I'm just about to leave the attic when I spy one of my storage boxes against the wall. The cover has been tossed to the side. I step closer.......AHHHH!.....the @#@$!@ rodents have eaten MY TAXES! They've shredded part of my tax records!!! There are at least 50 boxes in the mementos, holiday decorations, stuff.....and the rodents have picked my tax less at tax time!!!!......

This is one week when my project is over.....I'm going to find the meanest looking exterminators in the south.....people who have never ever entertained a kind thought towards a rodent....and we're going to catch us some varmints.....and it ain't gonna be pretty.

Proof for the tax man in case I get audited.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Yearly Lamb Cake Fiasco.....

This is the 2007 Easter lamb cake. It's not a pretty sight ...and I can't recall ever labeling any of our cakes as....pretty. Which is why every year....the entire family begs my husband to make the lamb cake...and why every year he swears he won't make one....since it will be subject to ridicule.

The lamb cake tradition started after college. I was living in Seattle....a hip...gray city populated by Californians and Swedes. Although I was happy to be finally living on my own...I missed the food and the elaborate traditions of my Chicago Eastern European background at holiday time.

This was especially true at Easter my old neighborhood...this was a 5 day celebration...Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter, and Dyngus Day.

Easter Sunday was a wonderful day....we finally turned away from long sad religious ceremonies and started the day with a mass full of beautiful music. The altar of the church was surrounded by hundreds of white lilies. I always wore a pretty flouncy dress with slippery new shoes and the Easter bunny always left his basket on my bed while I was at church.

We had a huge family brunch of traditional food after mass --kielbasa, eggs, bread, hot cross buns, ham, sauerkraut.....and a store bought lamb cake. My grandmother also served Maneschewitz wine. I don't know why kosher wine was part of our Easter breakfast but I remember being served a thimble full of the sweet dark wine each year.

In Seattle...I could round up eggs and ham...even some hot cross buns.....but a lamb cake? No one heard of anything so odd on the west coast. One day in a mall, I walked into a kitchen store and saw a two piece cast iron mold of a lamb. I yelped with glee.....finally I could have a lamb cake on Easter!

Trouble is....I don't bake....and was clueless about using a baking mold. But my boyfriend, (who became future hub), came from a line of clever German cooks and offered to make the cake....and that's how the tradition started.

I don't remember what happened the first year he baked the cake....but I can tell you ...everything that could possibly go wrong with a lamb cake has happened since then.

One ear fell off, another year a nose rolled away, some years the cake didn't fit together, there were years when mysterious gouges, gaps and uneven bodies emerged from the mold along with unsightly bulges...the most common malady is a broken neck. Our lamb cakes often lose their heads during the frosting process.

This year the head fell off...again... ....causing a blunt nose injury and requiring a kabob stick through the neck to keep the head attached. Hub also decided to try making a lemon pound cake from the lamb a rather unique jaundiced undercoating.

It was not a pretty sight.....and in a few minutes I'll email my daughter (who's at college) some pictures and tell her the state of the lamb cake....

"Look hon, look how bad the cake turned out this year."

And I know she'll look at the pictures and laugh....because an ugly lamb cake...makes everyone happy.


Friday, April 06, 2007

This is NOT a Pretty-Picture Posting in a Blog

Don't get any funny ideas.....I've not gone girly or soft or fru fru just that there are three things going on in my life now.

1) working on the black-hole community project which is sucking up all my time and mental energy (hey will someone turn on a's dark in here)

2 ) wistfully gazing out the window at my kinky azaleas...

I have a couple of bi-colored plants ....the same plant throws out dark pink and light pink flowers .....( I am so tempted to say....I know a few people like that...but that would probably be tacky...right?)
3) shedding my skin.....not literally but career goals calling, new writing projects knocking...a call to bravery....
so now you see why I posted a pretty picture....I had no holes and mental gymnastics are not exactly Kodak moments.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

It's Spring in the South...But We're Paying for It....

Hey there's nothing like a southern thunderstorm to announce the arrival of spring. And last night we had a good one.....even our deaf dog was hiding and our other dog looked like he just swallowed EX-LAX.
At one point the whole house pinged from hail that bounced off and lawn furniture. I love these storms....even though they scare me. I sat outside under our covered deck and felt what a southern sky can do. The lightening was so intense....the sky turned blue then
Since I was a little kid....I always thought if you faced a storm outside you would be safe....sort of like David meeting Goliath.....till this day....I'm outside checking the sky when the tornado sirens blow....or I sit on the porch facing down the thunder. It feels better than being all confined and huddled around your emergency radio.

Science Project Hail

This is my front doormat. It looks like someone carefully placed Hail of various sizes for display.

Ooooh I like this one......lightening causing weirdness in my camera lens.


Monday, April 02, 2007

Bobbit-ing the Mailbox....

What can I say? There's only one way to get an offending/surprising appendage off your mailbox....I showed hub the picture and he looked very nervous.....hmmmm wonder why?