Tuesday, June 28, 2011

June doings

It's not for lack of subjects or opinions that I haven't posted since early this month. I have plenty to say, as those who know me well will attest, and sometimes I'm sure they wish I'd shut up.

I participated in a mystery dinner theater mid month to benefit our county's branding project -- a fund raiser for a professional marketing and branding guru to create campaigns that highlight our county's biggest assets -- among them are wine and olives.

It was an experience. I've done this before, about five years ago, and it's fairly corny -- lots of scantily clad women (excluding me, I might add), chase scenes, cat fights, raunchy humor, and a thin plot. The crowd loved it. It was a sellout both nights. And it involved a fair bit of rehearsal that last week, and a lot of willingness to adapt and change. It wasn't a particularly artistic experience and I sure didn't 'stretch' my acting -- I mean, I can play overbearing and bitchy blindfolded with both hands tied behind my back -- but the cast members are wonderful and I loved nurturing those relationships. That was the payoff for me.

On top of that  I'd waited until the 11th hour to finish the 45-hour required real estate coursework to renew my license for another four years, not that I really plan on using it. But it took a lot of work to get it and you never know... so I was studying and taking online tests during the early part of the month as well. It's done. I could indeed sell real estate again in California, under a licensed broker. 

And then there was a memorial service for a woman we met only a few times but are good friends with her partner and wanted to support him. It was an amazing service and I only hope that when my time comes that people are as loving and generous with their tributes as we heard at this service.

One thing in particular made me wish I'd known her better. Her spiritual path was very important to her and she'd studied in India, worked with practitioners from various spiritual paths, and her service was held in a Christian church designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. She was completely comfortable incorporating ALL of these practices into her own spiritual belief system and embraced all of them -- I love that, and found that to be eye-opening, especially since there were so many others there who seemed to feel the same way. The service was a mashup of  Eastern chants, Christian ritual, music from all of them, and poetry. Many were dancing at the end as a trio sang "The Great Storm"; my leaky face dripped tears because it was so perfect, such a joyous acknowledgement of who this woman was, of who we all can be.

There is no doubt that her children and our friend will miss her terribly, and there were moments of grief that just tore at your heart, but it was a great sending-off and ended with a reception and chocolate cake -- her wishes, since she was known for her desserts and homemade bread. She was only 65 and died of cancer -- a fairly prolonged death, hard on her and those who loved her.

Then this last Saturday, we recorded Tony's first radio theater script for New Radio Theater. His is an adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, and a number of wonderful north state actors came together to interpret it. We were cast as the great cobra Nag and his wife Nagaina, and had a great time hissing evilly. This is Tony's first script and he was just delighted that it was accepted and recorded for play later in July. I'll put the date and time as soon as I know for sure. It was quite a red-letter day for him, and I was very proud of him and the end result. He's now at work on an original script.

And earlier in the month we had a lovely picnic with our now three-year-old grandson, his brothers and sister, and our daughter V in a park area near their home. Gabe took to the plasmacar that we gave him without any instruction and rode it all over the adjacent parking lot, as did the other kids and even his momma! It was a fun afternoon, a little piece of normalcy and celebration within a lot of busy-ness and turmoil. 

That's the 'doing' stuff for this month. There has been more 'being' stuff going on too, some of which I'm still pondering and trying to figure out. Not all of it has been especially fun -- including the ongoing state of the economy and turmoil over the budget, and with that, Medicare and Social Security, topics which at our age loom quite large in our priorities. Change is afoot for our children again, and we have become pretty good at holding our opinions and tongues close, although it is an uneasy compromise at times.

And the month which began in rain and cool weather also draws to a close with more rain and cool temperatures today (although we'll be up to 100 this weekend again) -- unusual weather for these parts, welcome though it was. Friday will bring a new month with new beginnings and who knows what endings we may find.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Rewriting history?

It will come as no surprise to anyone who's read much on this site that I am not a Tea Party fan, other than the kind where ladies in big hats, gloves, pearls, flowery dresses, and sipping Earl Grey with a slice of lemon are in evidence.

It is also no surprise that I am a bonafide liberal. There. I said it. The *L* word (not to be confused with the Showtime series, thankyou).

I am, however, a child of the '50s and '60s, and I grew up reciting Longfellow's poem "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere," and to this day I still remember April 18 as the day he warned Sam Adams and John Hancock that the British were coming.

But Sarah Palin apparently didn't read that poem, or perhaps she is revising history as she spoke recently (and a little too happily, perhaps) about Revere shooting and ringing bells as he warned the BRITISH that the Americans were going to fight. Uh huh. 

Oh, I'm but one little blogger who has a complaint with her version of the story. Google Sarah and Paul Revere and you'll turn up many more, or check out You Tube for her version.

She claims she got it right.

Please, America. Please don't let her or others rewrite history any more than they have already through textbook standards  in Texas. Such tampering is truly frightening.


Friday, June 03, 2011


Everything we do (or don't do) in life has a consequence.

If you choose to smoke cigarettes, for instance, you increase drastically your chances of getting cancer, emphysema, asthma, or some other smoking-related disease, likely shortening your life. You also expose your children to second-hand smoke, increasing their chances of illness. (And your clothes and your house smell. No matter how careful you are, they stink.)

If you choose to make fats and sugars and white flour the majority of your dietary intake, you likewise dramatically increase your chances of obesity and all its related health issues, which then may limit your activities, your self-esteem, your income, and likely will shorten your life.

And if you stop unhealthy behaviors, you also may extend and improve your life and increase your pleasure and happiness. Even when damage has been done, making choices that improve your life can make it better.

If you lie about what you do or who you're with or what you've achieved or where you've been, those lies will eventually surface and almost inevitably will cause trouble with your job, your loved ones, your health, and have ripple effects that can disrupt your living situation, your income, and even your freedom. Certainly they can have devastating effects on your mental wellbeing.

A choice made years ago can determine who and where you find yourself today. Sometimes the consequences take time to become evident, too -- even years.

Every action, every decision (or failure to decide), every choice has a re-action, a consequence. But when do we realize this? How old do you have to be before it sinks in?

It took me years to recognize that, really. Yeah, I knew early on that if I lied to my mother I was going to receive a much harsher punishment than I'd otherwise have gotten (she was that kind of mother. So was I.)  I knew that if I didn't study my stupid algebra that I was not likely to pass a test -- although I also learned that in subjects I liked and which came easily to me, I sometimes could slack off and still receive a decent grade, and good grades got you more privileges and more interesting classes.

But I didn't think so much about the consequences of what I said or something I did until I was a lot older. And in the last few decades, choices and their consequences have been almost automatic considerations as I've gone about daily life.

Doesn't mean I don't make some choices that could hurt me down the road -- like having that scoop of ice cream after a healthy salad lunch. Like not getting on the treadmill every day. I try to make up for those lapses -- actually, those choices -- in other ways, however. Whether that will be good enough remains to be seen. Like I said, some of the consequences take years...and are cumulative...

Making choices about how we behave with our friends and family requires more deliberate thought, however, and I think we become more careful about our actions as we age.

Most of the time nowadays, I actually put the brain in gear before the mouth opens. I know I choose my battles far more selectively, and I try to weigh my words and their potential effect. I try to listen more than I talk. And I try to be kind, no matter what I say (although the girl in the Red Bluff Metro PCS office today probably wouldn't agree as I explained emphatically that what they did was a 'bait and switch' tactic and that I was not going to pay for the plan they'd automatically 'bumped' R's new account up to. It took 15 minutes and a great deal of talk and frustration to get the monthly bill to the point where I'd pay for it. But I digress...)

I've become far more protective of myself and my honey, and our wellbeing. Realizing that I can't 'fix' others' lives and actually living mine accordingly was a big breakthrough for me. That's resulted in establishing some boundaries that have definitely had consequences for me as well as for the other people involved -- there are some things that I'd thought would be part of my life that will likely never be, for instance, and some of those relationships are not what I'd hoped they might be. I'm slowly making my peace with that.

Probably the most searched terms within this blog have to do with getting out of life what you put into it, and reaping what you sow. I suppose this entry follows those themes once more. Every decision, every action has a consequence eventually. And a measure of maturity is, I suppose, the ability to project that choice into what consequences might follow it.

May your choices be well-reasoned and made with your highest self in mind.