Saturday, September 29, 2012

30 Days of Photographs III

I'm not one for jumping on the bandwagon the first time it circles the block.  I'm also not one for disciplining myself to do something for 30 days in a row.  So it's taken me until the third round of Michael and Ziva's "30 Days of Photographs" to consent to even TRY to participate.  I'll be lucky if I complete the requirements for Day 1, let alone all 30 days.  But, in a moment of weakness, I said I'd play along.

Michael & Ziva say I have to take the pictures all by myself.
Rats... I was hoping to make the kidlets do all the work.

Here's my assignment for the first 30 days of October... post one photograph a day that you've taken since September 1 (and no cheating by pulling pictures off the internetz) related to each of the following themes:

1. Shiny
2. Fast
3. Above my head
4. Sour
5. Lotion
6. Vibration
7. Craftsman
8. Hair
9. Rules
10. Stalker
11. Heavy
12. Five
13. Calm
14. Secret
15. My favorite food
16. Bullshit
17. Coins
18. Qwerty
19. Steel
20. Nails
21. Broken
22. Neutral
23. Underwater
24. M & M's
25. Video
26. Heart
27. Kafkaesque
28. Autumn
29. The city
30. Blackout

Yeah, I'm thinking what you're thinking... good luck with that!  Qwerty?  Kafkaesque?  Seriously?

Damn you, Michael & Ziva!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Day the Music Died: A Magpie Tale

Venus and The Sailor, 1925, by Salvador Dali
She couldn't remember the day the music died for her.

In her youth, she'd dance for hours, singing along with the songs of her generation.  Her movements were fluid, vigorous and soulful.  There were no standard "dance moves" attached to this life force... just the motion.  It was wild and impulsive.

Then a kind of discipline crept into her world.  Just a hint here and there at first. 

Small bits of routine began to expand into a daily grind.  A paycheck to be generated.  Housework to attend to.  A husband who somehow guided her thoughts away from the music.  

Before she knew what happened, she stopped hearing the music.  Her body forgot how to move.  Injuries took away her muscle memory.  A heaviness invaded her soul.

Then there was silence.  The deep, pervasive silence that signals a kind of death.  The silence that winter brings.  

Yet she wasn't ready to give up.  She did what she had to do.  She gave up the job, the housework, the husband.  

Now she awaits a new spring.  And still hopes for one last dance.

* * * * * * * * *

Tess over at Willow Manor has been providing inspiration for bloggers with her photo prompts on a site called Magpie Tales.  Be sure to check out the other fabulous writers participating in Magpie Tales this week.  You'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Meanwhile, back at the ranch... (reprised)

I read a post this week from that wonderful humorist, Pearl, in which she recounts a story of trying to rescue a turtle with her son.  If you don't know Pearl, run, don't walk to read her work.  She's amazing!  Her story brought to mind one I wrote during the earlier days of this blog, so I thought I'd update it a bit and repost.  Hope you enjoy!

* * * * * * * * *

My doctor won't give me drugs unless I see my therapist regularly, so every once in awhile I go and we shoot the shit and laugh about my weird life and she tells me what's new with her and then I go away and fill my prescription.  It's a win-win situation for both of us.  Anyway, my therapist started telling me about taking her granddaughter berry picking and it reminded me of the first time I took Little Vlad berry picking.

When Vladimir was little, he wasn't a big fan of animals. He was always somewhat nervous around animals, especially large ones, because they are so unpredictable.* Trips to the zoo were highlighted by Vlad avoiding most of the caged animals and staring at the fish in the aquariums. Fish are generally pretty innocuous because they don't charge at you or anything, like man eating tigers or rhinoceroses do. And you can forget about pony rides... that just wasn't happening. (In fact, Vlad was so disenchanted with animals that he took a stuffed Thomas the Tank Engine to bed every night instead of the typical teddy bear.)

But getting back to the berry picking...

We had gone strawberry picking with some of our best friends when Vlad was three. It was a beautiful day and we were having great fun watching Vlad and his little friend Maggie eating berries as they moved along the path. They just looked so gosh darned cute with strawberry juice dripping down their chins!

We finally got several baskets filled and took them up to the farm wagon to pay for our bountiful harvest. Sitting on the wagon was a cardboard berry basket with a tiny bird inside. Apparently the owners of the field had found the bird abandoned under one of the strawberry plants. And believe it or not, Little Vladimir was fascinated by the wee bird. He just kept staring at it. I was amazed and very heartened by his interest in a real live animal... finally! Could my child actually be forming a relationship with a living creature? I was even more excited when he said....

"I want to take that bird home!"

Oh, be still my heart! My child likes an animal! I was ready to go buy a bird cage and start making up names for the little critter. The lady told us the story of how she found the baby bird and how they were hoping they could feed him and nurse him back to health until he could make it on his own. Vlad didn't make eye contact with the nice farmer lady as she spoke, but continued to just stand there and just stare at the bird. He even asked if he could climb up on the wagon to get a better look at it.

It was so sweet I almost cried. Then, as his eyes remained glued to the bird, he said...

"I want to take that bird home and eat it for dinner!"

Where did I go wrong?

And just in case you were wondering.... We did not have fowl for dinner that night.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

*Vlad was 9 before we got our first pet... Hickory the Wonder Dog. Vlad had finally begun to show an interest in animals and I figured a dog was a better bet than the slug he brought home and begged me to keep.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Am I Better Off Today?

This past week, I've been hearing the Republican Party ask me, "Are you better off today than you were four years ago when Obama was elected?"

My reply, "Absolutely not!"

In the past four years:

I've learned what it's like to be unemployed, underemployed, live paycheck to paycheck, and use up all my "safety net" savings because of breaking my leg and being out of work for five months.  For the first time in my life, I wake up with anxiety attacks because I'm not sure I'll be able to pay my bills.

I've witnessed my child graduate summa cum laude from college and not be able to find a job that pays a living wage.  

I've witnessed my unemployed, uninsured brother rack up over half a million dollars in medical expenses that he'll never be able to pay.  The diagnosis:  sepsis from rotting teeth.  Not something you'd expect in a developed country like the United States in this day and age.   After 30 days in intensive care on two ventilators, the underlying cause of his illness was not addressed, so the whole sequence can be triggered again any time.  When he developed a blood clot in his lung after they sent him home, his caseworker told him his only recourse was to call 911... it was the only way he could receive treatment.

Something is wrong here.  

But do I think it's a failure of the Obama administration?  Hell no!  I admire what Obama has been trying to accomplish over the past four years:

Universal health care, education, women's issues, economic recovery... Obama's headed in a direction that I want to go.  Obama took what was an untenable situation and has chipped away at it.  Slowly, but surely, he is getting things back on track after a disastrous eight Bush years which set the stage for where we are now.  Has his track record always always perfect?  No, but his ideas are a lot closer to getting us to where we need to be than anything the Republicans are offering.  

Romney's constituency is the upper 1%.  Obama's constituency is the other 99%, which includes me.  

The choice for me is simple.  I still have to believe in hope.

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