February 28, 2009

slumdog millionaire

if ever you want to feel better about your situation or know what true poverty is....go see Slumdog Millionaire. THEN, if you think your situation is bad - you might have room to whine. Otherwise....we should be so very thankful that we live where we live and we have the opportunities that we have.

it is a powerful story that will make you cry and will wake you up.

s-a-t-u-r-d-a-y (channeling the BCR)

Funny but a weekend can make everything seem better...even when everyday is like a weekend for me lately. And...I'm still loving the light in my cozy little studio/den.

I had blackberries for breakfast this morning....but not before I took 57 pictures of them. These are the "best of". At least it's not nine pictures of the same exact berry. And I layered and stuff. (Plus I helped clean house this morning - I totally rock.) Now...look at the pretty pictures. I gotta go shower. Then it's a girls night out.


morning berries and lemons


February 27, 2009

So..after plowing through two different drafts of blogs I might be ready to actually write coherent feelings. Suffice to say, I've been dealing with a lot of anger this week. Anger directed towards myself and to different thoughts, people and well, just lots of crap. What I've realized typing through it is that most of it is well beyond my control.

What I need to dwell upon, is the things that I can control. I'm advanced and self actualized enough to cognitively know this. The problem is my cognitive self does great samurai battles with my inner child who sits in the corner and rails, "whyyyy yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?????" Some days the mature wins and some days the immature one wins. This week, the brat fought dirty and as a result, I was overflowing with a seething mass of red, bubbling carbuncles of pissyness.

But, half the battle is knowing the enemy...and as usual my biggest enemy is always myself. I believe Jung said most of the cast of characters in your dreams are you in varying roles. So, my anger is most likely the aspects of self I see in other situations and people. So, I'm working on that.

I will not allow past situations or disappointments to hold me back. I will continue to move forward the best possible way that I can. I will allow people to help me instead of pushing them away. I will not be afraid to start because I'm afraid of failing. Believe me - I know most of the last few sentences is the result of me trying to convince myself - not you. But, I like to talk to you guys like you're sitting beside me.

Currently, I'm drinking some decaf and having a piece of homemade shortbread...but if you came and sat beside me, I might would open some of that liquor I've been saving up. You can have your choice of whiskey, vodka or rum. I don't have many mixers but I'm sure if we do a couple of shots, we would not care any more. You would laugh at the number of times I say one of the two following phrases - "It's all good" or "there ya go." You could tell me your sad stories and then we would solve all the problems. Then we would just get silly and would raid my stash of twizzlers. Or Little Debbies - you know, the swiss rolls? Little pieces of chocolate heaven.

Thanks guys for being there and listening. Jammies are now definitely in order.

February 26, 2009

teeny tiny

I still haven't found my photography groove yet in Montgomery as I'm spoiled by knowing the "take pictures here" spots in Birmingham such as the Botanical Gardens, Zoo, etc.

I'm getting settled into the new digs - even the cat has found his niche downstairs and comandeered a mattress and box springs in his royal suite. Though he still bitches at me twice daily, we've worked out an agreement. The dogs are still trying to decide if they will obey me or not. *sigh*

Today was laundry day - I was previously spoiled by getting it all done in a hour at the local place but having washer and dryers now, I found myself mostly napping and looking for photo ops. The yard was a wonderland of teeny tiny while I was waiting (though the wind was going insane).



they went thatta way

there is this comedian that talked about how he decided to give up pot because he wanted to find out if he was funny without it. And he sat there "waiting for the funny to come"....and waited. I feel that way about my writing lately - I've been waiting for the meaningful to come (besides my daily doings - because, well that has got to be boring as freaking hell - it is for me lately. hahaha) I think I'm holding myself back from participating in something - waiting for the other shoe to drop or something. I have a feeling this is something I will be examining for relevance this weekend. And what I can do to change that.

you know you can't make a living as a photographer when...

Annie can't pay her bills.

Times are tough.

February 25, 2009

This one is for Jenny

In leaving Birmingham, I had to leave behind some new friends (thank god for facebook and blogspot), including Jenny, who I met in photography classes at Samford. Her daughter is one of the most precious subjects ever viewed at Samford and if you get to know Jenny, you will see that family is definitely as important to her as it is to me.

Anyway, Birmingham is so big and so diverse, we found that I knew of places that maybe she had not heard of...so she asked me to write about my favorite places in Birmingham.

1. Courtney's on 6th Avenue South. Home of the best homecooking you have ever put into your mouth and the best cornbread muffins. Go on Thursday - it's chicken and dumpling day.
2. Pastry Arts Bakery in Homewood. Home of Baby Bites. Two bite size cakes of sheer heaven - my personal favorite, the caramel.
3. Continental Bakery in English Village and Chez Lulu just next door. The breads are to die for as are the crossiants. Both will make you think you are in France. I could sit there for hours. Or, take a crossiant to the Botanical Gardens to nibble while you sit in the rose garden.
4. O'Carrs Deli - if you go to O'Carrs you must have chicken salad. It is not like any other chicken salad you have ever had. And of course, their warm cheesecake filled with gooey chocolate. Damn, I just gained four pounds.
5. Starbucks at Five Points. I don't care for the coffee that much - but the cast of characters that come and go in that place are wonderful. Try to get there on the mornings when the mandolin and accordian players are there. That is a concert worth sitting for while you sip your coffee.
6. The thai place on 7th Avenue South - I can't remember the name, but the chefs are obviously from Surin West but the food is cheaper here. It's down the block from The Burley Earl, where Anthony's used to be. (Now that should tell you how "birmingham" I am when I can give directions by what used to be located there)
7. Andy's Curb Market in Hoover. In the summer there are no better veggies than the one located at Andy's. Better prices than at Pepper Place Market.
8. Pepper Place Market - that being said about Andy's, Pepper Place is the best for finding all sorts of things besides veggies. The goat cheese guy is wonderful and the cake lady has wonderful rum cakes.

I heart faces - photography contest

I don't enter photography contests often, well besides the random group contests on flickr. But this time, I think I have a fun shot for the contest. It's my GA and her sad little face trying to work her aunt.


Who can resist? Right? *smile* I bet you all have some you would like to enter too. Follow the clicky button at the top.

February 24, 2009


Today I went to the park where I played as a child. When I was young there were monkeys and deer in the park as well as a playground and a planetarium. As I drove down the street, the corner where I lived was covered with a commercial building. The street where the candy store was located was completely razed and filled with empty lots. All the old sidewalk and houses where I played were gone. The park looks underfed - no monkeys, no deer, few flowers - but the planetarium is still there. So are the old trees that had to be there when I I played under their shade.

It was a solemn sight. School buses were lined up on the lot, waiting for children to pour out of the school two blocks away. Random patches of daffodils and yellow flowering bushes provided splashes of color. I wish the park could be returned to its fun glory. The planetarium was closed so I couldn't peek in.



After the park, I ran errands - when I got home, the entire house was clean!! Oh the sweet joy of a wonderful room mate. Makes me wonder why I resisted and wanted my own space for so long. I stopped and got lemons and blackberries. I didn't realize until I was home that yellow was the theme for today. But....today I'm loving yellow and sunshine.

meyers lemons and bird

meyers with dish

this just in

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My throat and head hurt - apparently natural gas heat and I do not agree. Now I must make coffee. And muffins I think. I think this kind of feeling definitely calls for muffins.

February 22, 2009

the right light

there is light in my new den - the beautiful indirect light that photographers crave. it is without set up or any special wrangling - it just is. as I've unpacked this week, my desktop has been littered with the bits and pieces of things I've collected. Bottles, little pottery dishes, books, tea cups, the myriad of baubles that have caught my eye. all of them look lovely in the light and my camera is happy to capture them. in this light all I have to worry about is the composition, none of the other whirls and twirls need adjustment.

and yes, the similie stands before me...or is that allegory? that in the right light we all shine? I won't beat that any harder than that. wouldn't it be wonderful if we all got the right light all of the time?

and I will try not to batter you with twenty images of the same thing - even though I took at least thirty of the bottles yesterday as I loved the way they sparkled in the light. there will be more days with different things in that light. I'll try not to use it all up so greedily.


bottles in the morning light

February 21, 2009


Where does life go when we use it up so quickly. I swear I was younger just yesterday but today I'm years older. Scattered and discarded carelessly, never missing it all as I worry it away. Rubbing the hours like beads on a rosary - all polished to a smooth sheen. And then I tell myself not to worry. That all will work out as well as it possibly can.

What was that minute ten minutes ago? The one where I sat in my chair thinking nothing thoughts about nothing and no one. The one where my brain drifted on an endless gray cloud of doubt. Wanton, decadent, wasted and lost minute. I would cherish having you back if I could. Would that I could like Croce wished, bottle you up and keep you. But it never works out that way.

Did I enjoy you? Did I drink you up? That is what I would do with all my minutes - like the songs tell us we should do. Live in this moment - this now - this forever gone and never to come back. Unbottled and raw.

And, all my minutes are not wasted. I know this for true and for sure. There have been too many happy minutes for me not to understand the waste of uncherished minutes. Happy minutes, contented minutes, lovely strings of beads strung together into happier hours.


February 19, 2009

hello from montgomery

The wind blew crisp and chilly gusts over the inbetwix landscape, neither winter nor spring. If we can have an Indian Summer, can there be an Artic Spring? Still robins hopped eternally hopeful that worms will peek above the sodden cold ground to provide an afternoon snack. I'm reminded what a small town it is when young yell from pick-up trucks though their final message was snatched and tumbled with the wind. All I really heard was "........CAMERA.......lady." I will take the position it was something nice.

After driving slowly and finding a hidden garden never seen before, I drove further afield to Pike Road, made famous by Tim Burton in "Big Fish." Old abandoned stores cluster in spots in juxtaposition with large homes and sturdy horses. It makes me wonder what the area looked like even 60 years ago. Vines overtake and reclaim - evidence of a life gone by. I imagine writing southern gothic novels set in the flattened meadows and decayed buildings. Soon, this too will be overtaken with so called progress as the city sprawls madly and drunkenly south and east.







In other news, I found the cat's last hiding place and now he sits at the top of the stairs meowing at me while the dogs turn their heads listening to the strange noise. My brother's allergies are kicking up as he nicely deals with the fact even the basement may not be far enough away for a cat. But, I'm happy that I can pet and hold my boy for brief periods of time as I sit on the steps with him, adjusting to the new surroundings. There are times I still want to sit in the corner too.

February 18, 2009

day one - I am challenged

two of my new roommates

Meet two of my room mates, Moses and Lizzie. My brother, Pete, is definitely the alpha dog in the house. What he says goes and the pups, well they jump to. Sunday when I arrived from Birmingham, cat in hand - Pete was out. So Tony stayed in his kennel away from the pups. Over the course of the afternoon - Moses would challenge me. He would get up from his bed, and bark at me in this questioning tone. Almost as if "who are you and what have you done bringing a cat here?" I would follow the proper commands to get them to settle down but Mr. Moses - he was having NONE of that. He would pout and sit with his back to me. Then he would pick up the bed and sling it to the side to prove that he did NOT have to get in bed. Finally, I put my foot down and he begrudgingly settled down.

Every day since Sunday Moses has dueled me for position of second in command. So far the score is 3-0. But...I have an idea he is plotting new revenge to make me look bad - when I turned my back today, he commandered the recliner. I need to keep my eye on that bad boy.

Lizzie...she's just planning to be the BFF of whoever wins.

sign of the four

no...not the Sherlock Holmes story - - the tag. My friend, Elizabeth, at Mind Whisperings tagged for me for the fourth shot game that has been floating around. These are the rules:

1. Go to the 4th folder where you keep your pictures on your computer.
2. Post the 4th picture in the folder.
3. Explain the photo.
4. Tag 4 fellow bloggers to join in the fun!

I'm always glad to share shots like the one below as anyone who knows me, knows how crazy I am about my family. This shot was taken in 2006 during GA's first trip to the beach. It's titled "I Need a Drink" and I think it speaks well to a typical day on the Alabama Gulf Coast. She's definitely been raised as a waterbaby and loves the beach. However...it wasn't always this way, like her aunt - she hates the sand clinging to her.

so....I don't know who to tag - how about anyone that hasn't been tagged with this one and feels like playing along?

In other news - I actually saw my cat this morning as I found one of his hiding places. He immediately left and scooted to a new place. Rat basta.......aw well, anyway.

February 17, 2009

tweety can rest easy now

The past four to five days are jumbled up among the boxes, my jeep and my old apartment. Scattered along Interstate 65 are bits and pieces of my life and I'm gathering them up much like wool snagged on brambles in the wilderness. I'm not sure yet if I can put all of my feelings into a post. There is happy, sad and other emotions that run the gamut of at least a to m (or so).

There is much evidence my cat is alive as he is eating the food I leave for him. The little uhhhh....minx. Moving him was an interesting mix of trauma, terror and a bit of blood. Putting him in the kennel is always a bit of Sylvester clinging to the ceiling with four legs to each compass direction. Then name calling is done on both sides (I speak fluent cat-ese). By the time he figured I was serious, he grew silent and rubbed my fingers through the wires of his kennel with his muzzle. My heart broke. When I released him, he crept through the basement on the tips of his toes. Yesterday I saw a glipse of him but since then - nothing. At all. I know he is eating because the food disappears. My heart is still broken that I've traumatized my 16 year old baby like this.

My sister channeled my mom on Saturday and helped out a lot with placement of things and getting to the nitty gritty of it all. My brother is a dollface and got me back on line in a hurry.

There are a few things left to be done - mostly the clean up and final paperwork. Then the Birmingham chapter will be closed - it will be a fun place to visit. Already I'm missing the gardens and the cherry blossoms that will bloom soon. I have to go by there when I go clean this week (or weekend).

Today I got to spend the day with my youngest niece...I won't bore you with the details of this precious baby, but - she is good for my heart. As is all the other things I find in Montgomery. The bad thing is that I haven't been able to take photos since last week as the camera is still packed. I have to get it out tomorrow. I'm feeling lost without it.

February 16, 2009

moved in

I'm getting settled in the spot - comfy and cozy are just around the corner I know. The cat is freaked to the nth degree and is very unhappy with me currently. He didn't come out for his evening nosh.

There are a few odds and ends left to do, but as many of you pointed out - the day came and went, regardless if I was ready or not.

I survived. *smile*

More stories from the warfront later.

February 12, 2009

one would think

that someone who knew they were moving for two months would be better prepared.

that one would be wrong.

dinner at eight for eight

So, Annabelle tagged me to have an imaginary dinner for eight - who would I invite (alive or dead) and why. As a young reader my mother always tried to get me to read a book she loved as a child, "Van Loon's Lives". I never really read the book as the binding was breaking and crumbling, but I did love to touch the vivid illustrations in it. Even now, it sits before me and I think of my mother holding this book. The book is a series of stories in which Van Loon invites historical characters for dinner.

But...that sounds so stuffy - all the history and everyone just sitting and discussing what happened then, the effects it had now and so on. I mean - I would be tempted to invite people from history that always intrigued me - - Buddha, Mary Magdelene, Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, Emily Dickenson, Henry David Thoreau, Mozart. But...*yawn* all but Mozart might would bring the party down, no?

A dinner party is that ever so delicate balance of the right people, the right setting, and the right food. I mean you can have fantastic food but if the right people aren't there - it's a failure. But, I guess you could have awful food with the right people and you make a go of it. So...wow. This is hard.

And no, I won't whimp out and say - I would love to be surrounded by friends and family. Why waste this space time ripple opportunity, right? And I can't do the third genie wish and wish for more parties either.

1. Katherine Hepburn - she was a dame and I bet a hoot when she was in her heyday. No nonsense but funny too. I imagine she would keep this next guy in line.
2. Henry VIII - I have been totally intrigued with this guy since I first read anything about him. The man that would change a country for the love of a woman. Or the love of his...well, his amorous parts. And if I could specify an age, it would be as he first met Anne Boylen, while he appeared to still have some idealism.
3. Da Vinci - I wanna know, was he really as smart and time forward as he is depicted and if so, how did he think of all of it? I think Dan Brown is full of bunk about him. Let's set the record straight, hmmm?
4. Bono - He's probably full of himself and all that, but I think he's a guy that walks the talk. I also love the fact he's been with his wife forever so he must believe in love. Plus, I always wanted to meet him. Hey, it's my party!
5. Mary Magdalene - a woman lost to the mysteries of time. Was she a story? Was she real? What was her read of the times. She, Martha and Mary were key figures in the life of Jesus. What happened in those years between his death and the stories handed down to us.
6. Ralph Waldo Emerson (or Henry David Thoreau) - I'm having problems with this space. I love their philosophies so much I waiver back and forth. Wait - Thoreau...definitely Thoreau. But then I think he would be appalled at a lavish dinner with his love of simplicity. See why I suck at planning parties? But I would love to tell him what impact Walden had on me.
7. Amelia Earheart - Ok, I admit it. I want to know the truth of what happened that last flight. Plus, she was an adventurer. That is way cool. She was the first female hero that I had. I clearly remember reading her biography in grade school.
8. My Mom - yes, sappy I know. But not just because I want to see her (and daddy too) again but because of the book. She would be so very thrilled to experience her own Van Loon dinner party and would bubble over with her charm. She would be the glue to bind the party together.

Of course I would fret and worry about what to serve for dinner - would it need to be kosher for Mary or who has food allergies. And, what is impressive to some of the world's greatest people. Would Henry know how to use the utensils or would he wave a turkey leg around? These are the things you have to think about. And wine? Dessert? I mean, I can't serve these people my shrimp and grits and hope for the best right?

And then think of all the people that would be insulted because they were not invited. The pressure. Can I have a cocktail party instead?

February 11, 2009

It's alright and it's ok

The storm clouds built this morning and cast a gray pall over the cityscape that matched my mood. Building and darkening, threatening with gusts of wind blowing through the neighborhood, gathering bits of trash with it. Great, more leaks in the ceiling and black mold that I suspect is wearing a bit on my asthma. So, getting out got in the jeep to run errands. Picking up prints, picking up bits and pieces from my old office, banking, mail, you know the drill of things that keep you busy.

As I watched clothes dry, the storm blew through finally in spitting, hissing cat fights of rain and sunshine battling between each other for territorial space. Sunshine won and with it, the puddles revealed to me the japanese magnolia blooms and the buds of the bradford pear. I'll be damned if Phil wasn't wrong...or least he seems wrong this year.

On a different note, how did I not have Marvin Gaye's "Got to Give it up" on my iPod until today? I am seriously slacking. and....here are a couple from my archives that I posted today since I can't allow myself the time to go shooting.



February 10, 2009

my grandmother always threatened to make me a foam rubber butt

The church clock chimes the noon hour and I am thinking of the things that I will miss living downtown. The sounds of traffic, fire sirens, train whistles and the clock chiming. The sounds of the children playing on the playground at the elementary school a block behind my apartment. Kickball sounds exactly as it did years ago. The dirt path, the low thud as your foot kicks the red ball, and the bounces as the fielders scrabble to get it. And the laughter mixed with the shouts of "you're out." I'll miss the local stores and the little pockets of cities that the sprawl have overtaken and melded into this mess of a city. The arguments over sewer debt and dirty air I will not miss.

I will miss smiling at the Vulcan's butt, the expression of "going over the mountain", warm bread from Continential, and the artistic community around the university. The mix of people from all walks of life - where the poor walk with the affluent and both love the neighborhood just as much. The city has made a love song in my veins and though I babble about traffic, dirt and poverty - I love the fact that I came here on my own.

Birmingham was a place I landed after a crumbled marriage and a decision to be serious about finishing my degree. I helped open a consulting office with my mentor and loved the success we found. Birmingham is where I realized my love of health care. It's where I grew into the adult I finally became and where I found the ability to be on my own. It's the place where I also rediscovered a passion that was never nurtured before. I will miss this place.

But, I know that all of that is within me still. That when I leave this city - it will not leave me. Friends tease me that I'm not moving to Siberia and I could quit acting like Camille on her deathbed. *cough cough* It's only 90 miles...but I don't know what those 90 miles meant to me.

All of the things I've learned, all that I am, all that will be - never let me forget this place. Never let me forget that I stepped off the cliff and though I didn't always soar, I still flew. That going home is not a failure but just a change in location. That home may be a cliff instead of a landing and I still have wings.


February 9, 2009

two lips

I dated and was briefly engaged to this guy my office called Mr. Tulips. It got to be a laugh around the office how often I received tulips and how many containers ended up on my desk. It seems David knew I loved tulips so he thought his buying choice was locked solid for a while. After we broke up...I couldn't stand tulips for a while as they became a symbol of his lack of originality. I decided peonies would henceforth be "my flower". They are girly, lacey and a bit more difficult to get. They were not predictible like tulips or roses.

Then, I fell back in love with tulips. I love the delicate veins of color in the petals and the colors - both light and bright. I do think you can get tulips in almost any color. Like daisies, they're happy. And you have to think of the romance of them...two lips.

And despite my foreclaimed dislike of Valentine's Day...I am a romantic at heart. I love the sudden bursts of unpredictibility that love can bring - the knowing looks, the covert handholding, the silliness that the rush of new love can bring as well as the warmth and merlot toned depths of mature, long lasting love.

Okay, obviously I've overdosed on too much chocolate today. Since I'm packing, I haven't been able to get out and venture on a photowalk. So, I'm still taking pictures of my tulips...sorry folks. There will be something besides boring shots of pretty flowers soon. Right now I'm dealing with a failing fridge, figuring out how to pare down my things, and what to leave out until the last minute. It's enough to make my head spin.

Keep on keeping on all - I know all the news tells is lately is it's bad out there...try to hang on. Hopefully better times will be here soon.

kitchen window

love your neighbors

A blog/flickr artist is having a fundraiser on her blog for the Australian brushfire victims. Read about it here.

I needed a reminder about loving neighbors today as I've been having difficulty loving mine. The right side of my dark blue jeep is nicked with myriad dings of rude people who don't know how to open a car door and my bumper still has the marks of a hit and run parker. One neighbor serenades me daily as he sits on his stoop and smokes cigarettes. The hoopties drive up and down the streen with bass that vibrates my nerves to each and every last nerve ending. When I drive past the lot for sale behind me - I see the garbage piled on by the owner who is too lazy to have it cleaned or mowed. *deep breath*

There are days its very difficult to love neighbors - and I imagine its probably difficult at times for them to love me. The mean woman that scowls at loud music.

February 8, 2009

clearly I have an addiction (girls only)

I cleaned out the armoire and found the following:

1 Dooney & Burke bucket bag (after this one I swore off any initial covered bag)
1 Coach mini-hobo, red leather
1 Fossil red velvet handbag
2 Sak mini purses - black
1 Kate Spade Pink Floral handbag
1 No name bag, barely large enough for a lipstick and cell
1 black fou-fou evening bag that I adore but have never used
1 Dillard's line off white leather drawstring bag
1 Brahmin's Doctor's bag - caramel color
1 Brahmin's wallet
1 Ann Taylor wallet
1 Lucky Jeans black leather

So sad....so very sad. But I think my niece might be very happy when I unpack. I now I see she comes by her purse addiction very naturally.

And don't get me started on the shoes.

Pink torture

I get downright giddy with little signs of spring but not as much with the always there allergies that come with it. Of course my entirely stuffed head could also be the product of sleeping with a box fan and the windows open too, just sayin.

The weather is calling for some serious playing but there are so many odds and ends to be done before the movers get here Saturday morning. I'm sure the guys will have big incentive to get things done in a hurry as it's Valentine's Day. I'm not the one for a big mushy VD - I've always felt it was a holiday to make everyone in love feel guilty because they haven't gotten the "right" present and to make anyone not in a relationship feel inadequate. Damn Hallmark.

The only time I really loved the day was when i was a kid and the week before we got to take those white paper sacks (do they make them anymore?) and decorate them with paper doilies and construction paper hearts. Mom would buy the cards which, back then, had to be punched out and then you went through the careful process of who gets what card. We always had the rule (thank goodness) that everyone got cards. But...who wanted to send the yucky boy the "be mine". I still love those old retro cards. If you were lucky, you got the kind that a lollipop was attached. Moms would bring in homebaked cupcakes (not the grocerystore kind) and there was always red punch. The local dairy called their version "Jungle Juice" which different than the orangeade. Yum - I still love that stuff.

I've been guilty of breaking up with someone right before VD because I didn't like him and I didn't want silly presents from him. Tell a girl you want a dozen kids with her and that shakes her up - especially when she's only 16! He turned out to be a stalker. His best move? He had a long stem red rose and a "poem" delivered to me while was I sitting on the front porch with my sweetheart. Oh the drama. Now I just laugh. You know those guys right...the ones that think "poetry" is song lyrics? That only counts for Bob Dylan.

But...all this is really doing is keeping me from packing some more boxes. In the meantime, I've been torturing the tulips I bought to cheer me up.

afternoon light





February 7, 2009

skipping off to play

today I have the gift of a girls day out and I will celebrate the gorgeous day that is shining outside. I see the Bradford Pear making buds and the robins are peeking around. I know it's February....but, today feels like spring.


Today we did things that are only in Birmingham and not Montgomery. Four women who thoroughly enjoy each other's company - laid back and amiable. Shopping in Homewood at our favorite stores, getting to see the look on Nita's face the first time she bit into a baby bite caramel cake (baby bites are these heaven on earth teeny tiny cakes in flavors that your grandmother made - real homemade caramel, red velvet, strawberry)...lunch at PF Changs, more shopping. Oh, a pound of chicken salad that I've never tasted anything else like - from O'Carr's.

Oh yes...it was a good day. And it's 61 outside and I have my windows open. I will sleep the sleep of the happy and content.

February 6, 2009

50 million flowers

tulip love

So...yesterday was tough - probably the toughest in a while. But, as is it is - I put on my big girl panties and I will deal with it. That's a favorite saying in my family - we were taught that life, well, it's life - you either deal with it kick it's ass or it defeats you and kicks your ass. There is not much of that in between stuff. So after an evening of feeling sorry for myself, I'm getting back on track.

I've always a big music fan - going through times of my life marked by bits and pieces of music. I can remember vividly the first piece of vinyl purchased for me (and only me) was from my aunt when I quit biting my fingernails in the first great. To this day, when I hear "I told the Witchdoctor" I look at my thumbnails and smile. My sister got me this wonderful contraption for Christmas that lets my iPod be my alarm clock and I can listen to my choice of music when I wake up in the morning instead of asinine local DJs or the mind melting buzzer. It also has this wonderful sleep feature, much like a television so I can fall asleep to my "mellow" playlist. Oh technology.

There may be many of you that don't remember vinyl, but I do. My happy task every Saturday (after my chores - yes, we called them chores even though I didn't live on a farm) was to walk to Bellas Hess and graze through the 45's to find my purchase of the week. It cost 99 cents. I would pour over Tiger Beat magazine and have big daydreams of the teen flavor of the week sweeping me up into a kiss. I never really went more than a kiss. I didn't know much at 12 (as it should be).

I would come home and stack my vinyl - with the assistance of those yellow thingies placed carefully in the center - and plug in my gigantic headphones, open my carefully hoarded cinnamon candies and listen for hours. The same songs over and over. If I was lucky, a friend came over and we would perfect dance routines to our favorite song. We would pull out my mom's old albums and laugh at Elvis, Dion and her teen idols.

Occasionally, my mom would poke her head in and ask me not to sing out loud - hey, I never claimed I had a singing voice. Much like my youngest nephew begs me not to sing in the car when we drive. And....I think of those times as I hear his sweet voice singing. Time washes on and on and on. Children become us and eventually, I guess we become the children again. And we plant seeds of the future grown from the heirloom seeds of the past. And we make them strong and resilient. We give them love and allow them to be silly.

And I will deal with setbacks and triumphs, hopefully with a bit of grace mixed in with my cursing fate and railing (just a bit). And anger will abate and hope will come back (after I railed at her a bit last night too). And as someone important recently said, today is the day we dust ourselves off (again) and get to the business of rebuilding. And though I may have setbacks...I will keep on. And I will play the iPod and dance silly dances as I go.

February 5, 2009

when life gives you lemons...

buy flowers, cut the lemons up and squeeze them liberally to mix with vodka.


February 4, 2009

tightrope walkers

tightrope walkers

I woke up with an outrageous headache this morning - mostly my own fault after consuming bacon before bedtime combined with a distinct lack of water yesterday. Much like drinking, I guess I had a bacon hangover.

My joints creak more frequently and I've found I would rather enjoy a few drinks with good friends than any loud night club. I've developed a taste for singers that have populated the "folk" catalog on iTunes. The hands, definitely showing signs of wear and tear. My hair shows more gray at the temples than I'm comfortable with and roots are visible before the recommended six weeks is up.

Now I understand the things my mom and dad told me and think they're right. I'm officially teetering on the edge of middle age and the dreams of youth. There is a tightrope we walk when we don't want admit the body doesn't want to live up with the demands of our dreams. I always think of myself as 31 one - old enough to know better but young enough for ... adventure. Not that I can't be adventurous in my 40s, 50s or beyond. But with a sense of wisdom beaten into me the hard way over the decades. (until the mirror tells me differently - I'm considering breaking that damn thing)

I clearly remember hating to do my homework and the many schemes I would plot and plan to avoid doing it until the last possible minute. Now I see my ten-year-old nephew doing the same thing and think, "if he just put that much energy into getting it over with, it would be done." I suffer the pains of my fourteen-year-old nephew shyness and not thinking he's as handsome as he should be. I want to help him build that confidence that is so attractive. All the lessons we all learn the hardest way possible.

I can't solve the problems of their world and can only take solstice in the fact that one day in the distant future...they will think, "Aunt Lanie was right." We who love are there with the bandaids and the lollipops. Trying to wait at the sidelines until the moment is right - acting all casual so the kids can learn. But, it's so damn hard sometimes.

In the meantime...my oldish bones will have ice cream.

February 3, 2009

Interviews, Winners and Dreams

My friend, Chris - go read her interview....like now. Please?

I had very weird dreams last night. Partly because I drink coffee after 6:00 p.m. and I'm now old enought that it bothers me. As a result I didn't fall asleep until almost 2:00 a.m. and I had very weird dreams that involved cancer, a purple-shoe eating monster and other random tidbits. Now Jung will say that we're all the characters in our dreams...but, also Freud will say sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Those wiseacres always had an outlet in case they were wrong. I know the reason for the cancer part. It runs rampant in my family (grandfather, dad, mom) so it is a fear of mine - especially these days when I don't have paid healthcare (for the first time since I was 18). The good news - the new legislation proposed COBRA coverage at 35% for laid off workers. Oh yes, back on track now (see what caffeine is doing to my brain?)

My dreams are rarely remembered - except for very random and weird ones. So, the shoe eating monster. Maybe it was looking at all of Chris' shoes before bed and wishing that I could have some new cute flats. So, every guy just left this blog. Should I mention monster again?

We are not going to mention that it's February or mushy stuff or that artificial day around mid-month. I'm going to be moving that weekend, so I'm sure it will be the last thing on my mind anyway. (But my favorite song "Hallelujah" is playing in the background right now) It's tax season and I'm going to do my taxes instead. And ... I'm thinking of something different for dinner. Should I try making Pad Thai today?

And the winners are....{cheesy drumroll}

Pool of candidates (commenters in order)... excuse the handwriting, all I could find was a sharpie

The oh so sciency-method used (shaken, not stirred)

Winners!! (choose your prizes...)

Julie at Tangobaby, Lisa at Foxxx, and Lyn at dlyn.
Let me know what you choose and I will work on getting it out to you.

February 2, 2009

from tibet to alabama...those monks have nuthin' on me

looking up

I was somewhat intrigued at the grocery standing in the checkout line and scanning the magazines as I waited. There is always the one cheapo Woman's World there that promises diets, perfect skin, romantic relationships...and joy. Well...I got sucked in - what the hay, it's less than two bucks.

Though this thing is Woman's Day lite, I can really say I enjoyed the article on "Tibetan Joy Secrets - Less Stress, More Happiness". Sure, I scoffed when I first read through the no brainer approach..but being the bored, unemployed person I am recently...I decided to test these tidbits of wisdom. Turns out...they sort of worked.

1. Being mindful - I think that's one of the central tenants of Buddhism. But, I spent the day really trying to notice positive things around me. The food, the weather - really pay attention. What it did for me? It made me not as self absorbed.
2. Remembering We're All the Same - This one didn't make me so joyful so kind of a fail actually. I know we all want to end poverty, suffering and have world peace but the truth of it is, not many people do anything about it. Including me. I have been too wrapped up in my own problems. So..something I need to work with there.
3. Laughing out loud - I felt really silly on this one but since it's just me and my cat....I tried it. The article recommended just forcing yourself to laugh as your body doesn't know the difference between you laughing at a joke and forcing it. It pushes out endorphins regardless...and who does want a nice little kick of happy juice, right? And...in the forced laughing I got tickled at myself and soon, it was real laughter. Definitely a keeper there.
4. Sitting straight up - According to the article, sitting straight allows the spinal cord to send signals to the brain without interruption. This one was sort of woo-woo science to me. And, I love to slump...so, this one hasn't worked for me - YET.
5. Gazing at one object - Meditation. Does gazing lovingly at a new pair of shoes count. This unemployment thing really sucks with the not being able to buy new clothes, shoes or bags...or even camera equipment. But, I am trying to slow my mind by gazing at seashells. Not working so far - I am allowing my mind to wander too much.
6. Listening to bells - More of that woo-woo thing that I haven't bought into...but I know when I used to be able to afford massages, they would have those tinkling bells. They're very pretty and peaceful. Maybe I need to find some bells.
7. Humming - The article cites how monks chant to relax and focus. This sounded silly to me..but I hummed. I hummed the theme to Raiders of the Lost Ark (yeah, yeah - but it was the best in the series) and surprisingly - I did feel better. It gave me a sense of accomplishment and being content that I was getting things done. So...score.

The thing is, I believe we do choose our happiness and our serenity. None of the things in the article were a revelation to me. Deep down, I knew all of these things and let myself get caught up in the poor me self involvement. Humming, skipping, blowing bubbles, flipping pancakes, wearing a silly piece of clothing (like my pink chuck high tops), talking to my cat, all of these bits and pieces of whimsy...they make me happy for the bit. And as I collect the bits, they string together into more bits and more frequent bits. And then I really can laugh out loud at my silly cat as he drifts off so deep that the only thing keeping him on the arm of the chair is his butt and claws on his back legs. That makes me laugh.


February 1, 2009

in a word

[emerging, emerged]
1. to come into view out of something
2. to come out of a particular state of mind or way of existence
3. to come to the end of a particular event or situation
4. to become apparent, esp. as the result of a discussion or investigation
5. to come into existence over a long period of time

I feel as if I've floated on a sea of uncertainity and despair over the twelve tiny months of 2008. The Winter of 2008 was spent mourning my mother and the despair that loosing my anchor that has always moored me. I fought back long and hard from that despair and came through able to laugh again in the Summer. The Summer was good and filled with the halcyon days of glad relief that I could feel again...that is until the dark clouds of ecnomic downturn loomed large on my horizon.

Finally, the unthinkable happened and I found myself again without an anchor. Too often how I define myself was related to accomplishments and job. So now I've searched to define "Charlane" again without the labels of daughter and worker at {mid-size corporate banking firm that failed}.

Though cognitively I know my feet will land in the right spot...they always have. And I know moving more is not a step backward, but a step to the ones I love. And I know I will find a way to support myself. And...well, there are a lot of things I know.....still, the child within me stomps its foot and says, "but WHEN?"

This is the month I move. This is the time of my choosing. This is my emergence back into my own life. Under my own definitions. Under the steam of some assistance from the ones I love.