To say that today and the following days/weeks will be momentous is an under statement. They will be stressful, for some victorious, for others disappointing and even devastating. I went to bed last night feeling very different than I did four years ago. In 2016 I was excited, last night I was solemn and uncertain. This morning I slept in, had breakfast, and went back to sleep again — which was how I reacted to the first three months of sheltering in during the pandemic. Around 1:30 pm I finally pulled myself out of bed, armed with a plan for today that I had prepared last night. EXTREME SELF CARE is what I am focused on for today and the next several days. I plan to be gentle with myself, my husband, and everyone I come into any kind of contact with. If I come across anyone or anything volatile, I will avoid them — that’s the plan anyway. I have small projects to work on to help me stay focused and productive, but not overwhelmed. Tomorrow I am having my nails done and on Thursday a much needed haircut. Comfort food for meals if I feel like it, high quality CBD oil to keep me balanced, top shelf alcohol if the election results are not what I hoped and worked for. …
Book Review: The Book of Night Women by Marlon James
What an incredible journey! I began reading this book in a similar fashion I enter the ocean, beginning with dipping my toe in the water to gauge the temperature. I slowly but surely enter the water with both feet, steadying myself, and begin to wade out as my body adjusts to the power of the waves. When I am confident I can handle the current, I dive in head first and begin swimming out as far as my energy will take me.
As with the ocean, I took my time, reading the first few chapters carefully, unsure of how powerful a story this would be. I waded slowly through most of the first half of the book, reading only a few chapters each day, even skipping a day or two. Midway through I was ready for the deep dive and read with a vengeance. Like the ocean, this story is powerful; it will take your breath away, and your soul if you aren’t careful. And much like the gentle lapping of the waves, James’ words lull you into a false sense of knowing what comes next, until the horror hits you from behind and swallows you into its powerfully brutal tale of life in 18th century Jamaica. As you drown in the violence, confusion, and sorrow of the circumstances of enslaved people, a breath of fresh air saves you — in the form of women who posses a knowledge and power not of this world. …
Book Review: NAAMAH by Sarah Blake
This was not the story I was expecting! Take a little Old Testament mythology, add in the Divine Feminine, some good old Mother Earth paganism, a few scenes of lesbian erotica and then read it after washing down a couple of peyote buttons with a bottle of red wine. Yep, that is what my experience reading this story felt like. The character of Naamah is someone I aspire to be before I leave this life — unpretentious, completely honest with herself, and as authentic of a person I have ever come across — in person or in literature. Sarah Blake has done a masterful job of sharing her image of the mother of humanity (post flood), as well as defining the kind of partner/husband she pictured Noah as being. In fact, I loved these two characters so much I almost wish I believed the ancient fable. Life on the ark is described from Naamah’s perspective as the ultimate caregiver to both her family and the animals, and it is quite a refreshing outlook. The reader is also treated to the magical adventures of Naamah when she is OFF of the ark as well. If I say anymore it would include spoilers, so I will conclude with a strong recommendation to read this book if you are hungry for a mystical fantastic story.This was not the story I was expecting! Take a little Old Testament mythology, add in the Divine Feminine, some good old Mother Earth paganism, a few scenes of lesbian erotica and then read it after washing down a couple of peyote buttons with a bottle of red wine. Yep, that is what my experience reading this story felt like. The character of Naamah is someone I aspire to be before I leave this life — unpretentious, completely honest with herself, and as authentic of a person I have ever come across — in person or in literature. Sarah Blake has done a masterful job of sharing her image of the mother of humanity (post flood), as well as defining the kind of partner/husband she pictured Noah as being. In fact, I loved these two characters so much I almost wish I believed the ancient fable. Life on the ark is described from Naamah’s perspective as the ultimate caregiver to both her family and the animals, and it is quite a refreshing outlook. The reader is also treated to the magical adventures of Naamah when she is OFF of the ark as well. …
The Joys of Grandparenting
One of the greatest joys of my life is spending time with my three youngest grandchildren. The boys are ages ten and seven, the only granddaughter is eight.
Living in Los Angeles affords my husband and I a variety of activities to enjoy with these rambunctious yet well-mannered and inquisitive little ones. Besides the occasional treat to a local theme park, our time together outside of the house is spent camping, bowling, going to movies, participating in cultural festivals, and visits to the beach and mountains. Watching the children play in the ocean waves of the Pacific and build in the sand on the beach allows me to relax and enjoy them at the same time; eventually I join in with the fort building and wave chasing. On camping trips, I cherish the times spent roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over a campfire and making up stories and skits around that same campfire; the more ridiculous the performances, the better. …
As the eldest of four siblings and seven grandchildren, it was and is expected that I model responsibility, for myself as well as others. My behavior, my performance at school, my personal choices, my ability to keep secrets. I should clarify that I only grew up with one sibling, meeting my youngest two siblings many years later, but my younger cousins grew up in the same small community as my sister and I and we were, for the most part, raised together collectively by our parents and grandparents.
The responsibility I felt regarding my behavior and performance at school: My role as the responsible good girl was expected, and, I admit, not too difficult a role for a pleaser, but I am also strong willed and a bit of a rebel, so it has been tricky. I felt responsibility to myself to be my authentic self, and at the same time to be the role model my family expected. I was the child that was the most obedient at home and school unless I felt an injustice was being done, then my responsibility for the greater good overrode what my family and community expected of me. I felt responsible to defend the classmates who were bullied, but I also felt responsibility to lead a peaceful protest for the shootings at Kent State, so in sixth grade I wore a black arm band to school and initiated a walk out of the cafeteria during lunch time. Praised for defending bullies, threatened with suspension for the walk out. …
As we get older, the dynamics of our friendships can change, some of them drastically. I have been thinking about and processing this for the past few years, and as time progresses, the changes become even more apparent.
One friend of mine described relationships as particles in space, orbiting around us in rings. We determine how close or far away these relationships are to us emotionally. Someone may have existed in our most inner ring for years, but now may be farther out in our ‘relationship universe’ due to not maintaining the close level of the relationship, or out of necessity for one’s emotional and mental well-being. Some relationships have even been flung out to the farthest ring in our personal universe and the individual isn’t even aware they have been placed there. As I processed the relationships in my life, I found this explanation to be helpful, bringing some people closer and moving some people as far out as possible. …
Imagine taking a handful of seemingly ordinary people living seemingly ordinary lives. Not perfectly charmed lives, but not desperate barely-surviving lives either. Now throw in what should be a typical trip to London for two teen girls, the kind of girls who are responsible, and, for the most part make good decisions, until they don’t. Add a good woman who genuinely cares about others but decides not to act on a hunch because her morals are offended. Mix all of this up and you will be rewarded with a compelling story of what could have/should have/would have happened but didn’t. And just when you think you have figured out what really happened to whom, the story flips, and then flips again, and then yet again! …
While the U.S. average for sunny days is an impressive 205, I and my fellow Angelenos enjoy a whopping 284. During the month of May, Los Angeles shines bright an average of 11 days, with an additional 12 days of partly sunny skies. The remaining 8 days of May are like today, overcast and gray. This is the third straight day of “May Gray” in Los Angeles. I’m not complaining, I actually enjoy a short reprieve from the sunshine and blue skies. I agree that variety is the spice of life.
Like my local weather, the news has been gray too. Yet another school shooting where a student gave up his life to protect his fellow classmates. The Alabama State Senate almost succeeded in criminalizing abortion with penalties as extreme as life in prison or even execution; the final vote has been moved to next week. The President of the United States is invoking a claim of executive privilege, in an attempt to withhold from Congress the unredacted report of special counsel Robert Mueller and its underlying evidence. And then there is the continued spread of the once eliminated disease, measles. ALL of the above could have been prevented. I won’t go into details here on the HOW or even the WHY, let’s save those debates for another day. I will ask you, gentle reader and faithful follower of this blog, to give some thought to the above issues, and decide for yourself what action you might want to take in dissolving the gray and making room for the bright light of safe schools, reproductive choice, justice, and common sense health practices. …
“I look old,” said the woman, as she glanced in the mirror, trying to cover the wrinkles with make-up.
“You’re not old, Mama,” said the younger woman, “those lines represent all the times you have laughed and smiled.”
“I feel old,” said the woman, as she struggled to lift herself out of the chair.
“You’re not old, Grandma,” said the child, “you’re just tired after playing tag with me today — and you won!”
“I sound old,” said the woman, as her voice shook when she spoke.
“You’re not old, GG,” said the young teenager, “none of my friends’ great-grandparents know the lyrics to all the latest songs like you do!”
“I AM old!” exclaimed the woman, as she gazed at the candles blazing atop the cake in front of her.
“Yes! You are 100 years old! Happy Birthday to you…” sang four generations of the woman’s family.
My farm is now dust
So travel I must
Everything went bust
My new life as a hobo
Riding the rails
Walking dirt trails
Washing up in pails
My new life as a hobo
Working for dinner
I’m getting thinner
Not much of a winner
My new life as a hobo
An Okie by birth
I still have self-worth
Sleeping on the bare earth
My new life as a hobo