Friday, January 28, 2005

Cabinet National Library

The boyfriend and I are enamored lately of all things associated with the Land of Enchantment (New Mexico, for the uninitiated). If you haven't already seen it, please go to Andrea's site and check out her husband Matt's art installation where he built the Cabinet National Library (1/26 post) in the New Mexico desert. LOVE. IT.

"We interrupt your regular programming to bring you this special message..."

Let me explain my absence from this site for the last week. Sometime last Friday morning, our phone line went dead. We know it was working early that morning, because I remember the boyfriend phoning me and asking, “Have you left yet?” I laughed and said, “Evidently not, because you called me on the land line.” (We both have cells.) But by the time he arrived home from work at noon, the line was dead. When he let me know, I immediately called the phone company and put in a service order. The technician told me the earliest they’d be out to fix it would be the 1st. I thought: yeah, yeah, you guys always say that, but then usually show up in the first 24 hours. But this time I guess they really meant it.

I called the phone company’s business office first thing Monday morning to make sure there was nothing amiss in our payment records. It hadn’t occurred to me until last Friday night to think that that might be a possibility. The last time this happened, they’d mistakenly disconnected us for non-payment. (I purposely pay the bill well before the due date at a bank to avoid those kinds of mistakes.)

We have a rather uncomfortable history with this phone company. They took six months (let me repeat: SIX MONTHS) to install our phone in the first place. I’d call them periodically and ask why it was taking so long, and they’d explain to me once again that there were only so many connections (or something) in our neighborhood--that basically we’d have to wait for someone to move before we’d get a phone. I couldn’t help but wonder what the hell kind of ‘tin can and string’ place I’d found myself.

Finally one day a phone company guy arrived to install our phone at our previous residence…one week before we moved. As soon as we moved, I called in a move order. (And we were, of course, charged a move fee, even though we’d only had the phone a week after waiting SIX MONTHS.) A week went by at our new place (where we still live) and still no service. Maybe I should have thought something was up before a week had transpired, but, hey, after waiting six weeks? Pssh, a week was nothing. But after a week I called to check on the status of the move order and was told there was no record of it. So I went to the phone company and sat with a representative and placed another one.

When we first got our phone in our current place, the line used to be really static-y. It grew worse and worse, so we finally called for service. It turned out that one of the connections in the house was really funky and needed to be replaced. Then there was the time that some nimrod doing construction in the neighborhood severed a line and knocked out our service. And then of course the “We disconnected you because you didn’t pay your bill” (even though we did) episode. So I don’t have a lot of faith in this phone company. Let’s just say I don’t think they’re aptly named: Innovative.

And since we have dial-up internet service at home, we’ve been WITHOUT THE INTERNET FOR A WHOLE WEEK! The agony! The panic! Until I reminded myself that until two years ago, we didn’t even own a frigging computer. Hmm. How the hell did I used to entertain myself? Oh yeah…reading…walking on the beach…watching movies…listening to music…doing other stuff on the computer (which lately for us has meant fiddling around with the boyfriend’s new architectural software)…browsing in the bookstore…writing ‘real’ letters (the kind you put a stamp on)…

Truthfully, I think we’ve both welcomed this break from the internet. We spend a lot of time online…because there’s not a helluva lot to do here. I get a social connection fix; boyfriend can tap into all kinds of music and golf stuff that’s out there. I’ve only stopped in at cybercafes twice in the last week to do a quick check of email. The first time, boyfriend was breathing down my neck because he was anxious to make his tee time. And the second time, at the cool cybercafe downtown on my lunch break, the connections were so godawful slow that it was almost too aggravating. But today I’m going to walk with our laptop. (It’s a West Indian custom to say “walk with” rather than that you’re going to take, bring or carry something with you.) Our office uses the same ISP we do at home, but the set-up is out of the dark ages. The computers aren’t networked (in any way), so for any of us to access the internet, we have to first pick up line 4 on the phone and make sure no one else is connected, and then connect. And since my employer uses his laptop only for email and internet surfing (and he spends a lot of time surfing), it’s hard for me to get internet access for work use, let alone to check my personal email. And I like to keep it that way, because he uses my PC regularly (he’s on it every morning when I arrive and kicks me off routinely to check the office email which he insists be stored on my hard drive instead of his, even though 99.9% of the mail is for him.) Remember, I’m incognito here. No one in the entire territory knows that I blog, so I never blog or read anyone else’s blogs from my computer at work. But my employer flies out today; he and his wife are heading overseas and will be gone for almost four weeks. So I’m going to walk with the laptop and plug in when I get to the office. Then I can see what all of you have been up to for the last week. I’ve missed you guys…

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Quote of the Day

I took a random peek at Shakti Gawain’s “Creative Visualization” this morning and saw this:

We need to realize that after our basic needs are met, the experience of abundance has more to do with expressing our creative gifts in satisfying ways, and learning to give and receive in a balanced way, than it does with extravagant consumerism.

Friday, January 21, 2005


Each morning as I snake down the steep hill that takes me into town, I (like a gazillion others) stop where the "paper lady" stands by the side of the road to buy a (local) newspaper. She causes horrible traffic backup, but she's not alone. We have paper ladies standing by the road on all of the major arteries taken into town on weekday mornings. You can find a newspaper in stores, but there are no kiosks or newstands. There are no sidewalk machines where you can plop in your 75 cents, lift/open the lid and grab a paper. And of course there's no home delivery. (Put the "paper ladies" out of business? And let traffic flow freely during the morning commute? Yeah, like that's gonna happen.)

So I stop each morning when I reach the paper lady and buy a paper...but it's not for me. It's for my employer, because he refuses to buy one for himself. He reads the paper each morning--and practically runs over a paper lady on his way to the office--but will absolutely not stoop to stopping and putting his hand out the window. For 15 years, an attorney in the office bought his newspaper each morning. When she moved to the States over a year ago, I assumed that duty. The only reason I assumed it is because it's a way to read the newspaper without buying it. I glance through it when I reach the office, and then give it to him.

There's not a lot that's very interesting in our local paper, so I usually zip through it rather quickly. I almost never read my horoscope. But for some reason, yesterday I did. And it said, "The next 14 years of your life will be very eventful. In many ways, the last 15 years have been in preparation for what's to come."

I can scoff at newspaper horoscopes as well as the next person--as if that's going to apply to all of the gazillion people in the world who are Capricorns. But then I did the math and thought back to where I was, and where my life was, 15 years ago. And damn if it didn't feel true.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Through the Looking Glass

Once I was strolling along Union Street in San Francisco and saw what looked like a hip little boutique below street level. It was a store I’d never been into, so I thought I’d check it out. I walked down a few steps to the door, which was to my left, perpendicular to the street. I entered, went down a few more steps…and then found myself in the path of a woman. You know that awkward thing that happens sometimes where you mean to go around someone, but you both try to veer in the same direction? So you’re sort of doing this awkward ‘dance’ until one of you realizes you’ll have to zag instead of zig? It was like that. I said, “Excuse me” or “Sorry” every time we found ourselves face to face. But she looked really familiar and I had that odd, “Do I know her from somewhere?” feeling. We bumped into each other several times…until I realized I was ‘dancing’ with my image in a wall-sized mirror. (And, yes, I laughed about it for days afterward. Lord only knows what the sales clerks must have thought to see this woman moving back and forth in front of a mirrored wall, talking to herself.)

I thought about that moment last night after a phone conversation with an old friend who was commenting how he hates looking in the mirror these days. (He’s turning 50, too.) I understand the feeling. I’ve been avoiding mirrors like the plague for the last few years. I’ve never been a vain or primping sort of gal. But in years past I’d check out my reflection and think, “Mmm, okay, I guess.“ But in the last few years the stresses of my life (and yes, even life in ‘paradise’ can have its stresses) have played out on my face. And it was uncomfortable for me to witness and a shock to my system--because the image staring back at me didn’t match what I thought I looked like…or had looked like. But just lately, I’ve begun noticing that self-reflection is getting just a tiny bit less traumatic. And I realized the other day (and I’m sure this is why after years of terrible insomnia I’m finally sleeping soundly…and a lot, for me) that as situations in my life have changed-- and as I’ve let go of long-held resentments as a result of those changes--my face has begun looking more relaxed. It’s hard to look bright and chipper when one has spent years lying awake half the night seething. And those years were like that moment in that Union Street boutique: I was looking, but not seeing me. Because on a deeper level, it wasn’t just the discomfort I felt when I saw how circumstances had aged me, it was that I didn’t recognize the person I’d become--someone who would allow others to mistreat her and stay stuck in such a situation. And I let location influence my power of choice. I fell into the ‘This is a small place and there’s not much here’ trap that can easily suck you in if you feel deprived of mainland stimulation.

I’m a bit of an anomaly. I look to others on the outside like I’m a ‘straight’ sort of person. I look ‘normal.’ I know this, because people have often told me that some of my life experiences seem unexpected for someone like me. But I don’t conform easily, and I never have. Yet I have at times in my life appeared, at least superficially, as if I'm adapting. I don’t like to play by the rules, but I will sometimes force myself to become chameleon-like in an effort to seem like I’m fitting into a situation. (Notice that I said “seem” to fit in.) I look on the outside like I’m willingly going along with the program, yet inside I’m kicking and screaming the entire time. It’s not a pleasant way to live.

I said in an entry I posted around the New Year that I’m going to stop ‘trying’ to do what I want to do and stop ‘trying’ to find the money to have what I want. That’s scarcity thinking, and it goes hand in hand with forcibly adaptive behavior. I’m going to coin a new phrase here: Forcibly Adaptive Behavior. FAB. I’m going to let go of FAB…and just be fabulous.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


This happens every morning. I'm late. But only in others' eyes. I'm right on time for me. Because I'm operating from my timetable, which has nothing to do with some workplace. I glance at the clock in the corner of my screen and see that I should already have showered and dressed. And then I think, "But I haven't even started. My morning's just begun..." So I count the days. Only 27 more days of doing this. This particular this. And the day after that 27th day, a friend will arrive--a friend who will also have said "So long!" to her this on the previous day. And we'll spend a week reveling in our 'freedom' and lounging at the beach and swimming in the bay and talking and laughing...and toasting each other that for all our days, we'll never again have to do that.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Six (or fewers) Degrees of Separation

Check out "The Blogroll Small World Experiment" at Mulubinba Moments - where you choose a random blog and then see if you can link back to yourself in six or fewer clicks. As suggested, I went to* and chose a random recently-updated blog. But to make it a little harder, I chose a French site, C'est Moi Qui L'ai Fait. She has Chocolate and Zucchini on her blogroll...who has NYC a Paris...he links to La Coquette...she has This Fish on her blogroll...who links to Secret Agent Josephine...who links to me! It works! Give it a shot. See for yourself!

(*I'd post the link here, but it sometimes comes up "Directory access denied"...just keep trying. Or choose a random blog any-old-where.)

* * * * * OR * * * * *

One of Mulubinba's readers has come up with the idea of determining one's "Mulubinba Number" - where you choose a site from Mulubinba's blogroll and continue linking until you link back to yourself to determine your Mulubinba Number. I chose Hoarded Ordinaries...she links to Animated Stardust...who links to me. So I guess my Mulubinba Number is 3! And isn't it fun just to say "Mulubinba Number"? :)

Saturday, January 15, 2005

This one's for KDunk...

Did you sign up to be in KDunk's postcard club? No?! Then you missed out big-time! She sent out over 40 postcards to her readers around the world with original art on each one. This is mine. Isn't she cute? And she was having an awfully good time at the beach today...

When you get to KDunk's site, scroll down to her January 7th post to see more postcards.

Thanks, KDunk! Posted by Hello


I typically don't do memes, but I liked this one for some reason. Saw it at Kat's Paws and liked her variation on it. Rather than the first line of the first post of each month, she took the LAST line of the LAST post of the month. So, herewith, my parting shots for each month of 2004:

January: Why, oh why, must we choose?

February: I love my man.

March: And that in the face of such natural beauty all that other crap was really petty and meaningless.

April: I see enough of that at the beach.

May: My mother also informs me that said niece has already decided she's going to live with us.

June: Then read the link that discusses the rise of the Protestant work ethic.

July: Not that I'm not seeking a "sure course," but fiction provides me with such a powerful portal to my dreams and imagination that I hope it will always hold sway over me in that way.

August: We may be old....but we're not that old!

September: It's called wanting to have a life.

October: After all, the show must go on.

November: So, what have you got your nose buried in these days?

December: Here's a list of organizations providing aid.

Hmm...I guess that about sums it up...

Can't go home again...

Surfing my hometown newspaper this morning, I wasn't really shocked to read this story--about how real estate prices have skyrocketed in my home county. I'd heard as much from my Dad and also from my cousin, who works for a title insurance company. But the part that had my jaw dropping was reading that there were recently NINE homes listed in the $500,000 to $1 million range. I can't even imagine where those homes might be...but I'm sure as hell gonna find out!

It's so sad to see my little hometown going through this, because it's gotten to the point where locals will no longer be able to afford to buy in their own town. But that's the reality. Want oceanfront property in California? Then you have to head all the way north to the northwest corner of the state. Looking at these prices, I realize that the dream the boyfriend and I have had for years of someday having a little cabin in Gasquet (my favorite place in the whole world) is probably not a realistic one. Oh well, there's always camping! And our favorite campground's there anyway. (I'm a wussy camper...this one has flush toilets and hot showers.) :)

Friday, January 14, 2005

low blood sugar

Me, to the Secretary after everyone else had left the office, “Jeez, it’s been almost an hour. I think I’ll call and see if our food’s on the way.”

(dialing number of delivery place from memory)

A West Indian girl answers the phone and says something distorted and unintelligible. Lots of background noise.

Me: “Hi, this is Marilyn at (extremely boring workplace). I was calling to check on our order.”

Girl: “Um…(sounding baffled)…what did you order?”

Me, huffily, “A chef’s salad and a veggie burger pita pocket. I ordered it from you an hour ago.”

Girl, against lots of background noise and sounding increasingly confused, “I didn’t take your order. Can you tell me again what it was?"

Me, thinking, “What’s WRONG with her? What does she mean ‘I didn’t take your order’? We order from them ALL THE TIME! Where’s the owner when I need her?!"

Me, saying in a very pissed off voice, “A chef’s salad and a veggie burger pita!” (Dammit!)

Girl, turning to coworkers and asking in a loud voice, “Did anyone take an order for (extremely boring office) for a chef’s salad and veggie burger?”

(Lots of muffled voices.)


New voice on phone, “Hi, may I help you?”

Me, recognizing the voice of the owner of the OTHER lunch place…the one we DIDN’T order from, “I’m sorry, I have the wrong number.”


Remind me never to show my face at the other place again.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Mehlman for a Day

So I’m sitting on the john, flipping through Entertainment Weekly. (What? Like you don’t read in the bathroom.) I could say it was the current issue, but it was just the most recent issue we received, since they sometimes show up in our mailbox six or seven weeks after the publication date.

I see this article by Peter Mehlman (former Seinfeld producer and writer) called, “Notes from the Sitcom’s Deathbed.” It’s about his compulsion to be such an observer in his own life that he sees possible sitcom ideas everywhere he looks. (One of my favorites? “77 Gaza Strip”) I'm highly amused by this. Check it out here for yourself. It gets me thinking. I’m always whining how bored I am here--maybe I could entertain myself by adopting Mehlman’s pastime.

So I head off to the beach for a walk after work. By the time I’ve strolled to the western (typically deserted) end of the beach, I’ve got my first idea. It’s “The Terminal meets Cast Away." About a foreigner who becomes stuck while on vacation, but instead of being stuck at the airport, he has to spend his time stuck on a beach on a tropical island. (No, I don’t know why. Details, schmetails. Leave me alone, I was just getting warmed up.) Title: Sand Trap.

(I wasn't clever enough to come up with an idea related to the enormous “FUK BUSH” that someone had carved in the sand.)

Or maybe a show about a wedding coordinator on a gorgeous tropical island--a destination where people from all over the world travel to get married because it’s easy to do there. Crazy antics ensue as she must try to deal with a myriad of nationalities and personalities--and uptight brides of all stripes. Title: Mixed Knots. (And, yes, I walked by a wedding happening on the beach, as I often do there.)

Or, how about an older Chinese couple who sell their restaurant, buy a sailboat, pack up their woks and set sail for the tropics? Hijinks (as opposed to crazy antics) ensue as they stop off at various islands. The whole ‘fish out of water’ angle. Title: A-Soy! (And you’ve probably figured out that dinner was going to be a trip to the food court Chinese buffet.)

Or how about this: a very sophisticated middle-aged woman has a high-powered career as a concierge at an extremely exclusive hotel. It caters to upper-crust types, high rollers, celebrities and muckety-mucks from all over the world. There’s just one problem--she has bladder control issues. Wackiness ensues as she strives to keep her cool behind the concierge desk and not have an accident. Title: Incontinental. (No, it’s not autobiographical, but it did occur to me as I ran for the bathroom at the end of my walk having consumed vast quantities of water all afternoon.)

Alright, who wants to play with me? Let’s be Mehlman for a day. Whaddya say? Take a look around your daily life and see how many sitcoms are just waiting to be made. Report back here and let's compare notes. If nothing else, we'll entertain ourselves.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


Thank you for all of your kind and sweet comments and emails and e-cards and phone calls to wish me a "Happy Birthday." The blogosphere helped to make this big birthday an especially sweet one. I had a lovely day, despite torrential rain which nixed the beach plans. The boyfriend showered me with cards and gifts and lots of affection (and just the right amount of adoration). :) He gave me SEVEN birthday cards, which he handed to me in the order he wanted me to open them. Six of them were funny/silly; the last was sweet and romantic. I think my favorite was the first card he gave me. It said, "'re having another birthday! How old are you now? 30? 40? 50? 60? O.K. You don't have to tell me..." (open card) "Just bang your cane on your rocker when we get close!" And he wrote, "No cane banging here! YOU ROCK! And I don't mean in a chair!"

There was a time in my life when I did rock. Lately, not so much. But that's one of my goals this year--to get back to that rockin' gal I used to be.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again: You all definitely rock! Thanks for hangin' out with me.


Meet Pam at Nerd's Eye View. Get ready for great writing and a big dose of envy. (She has a fabulous life.) I met Pam through 43 Things. If you haven't been there yet, check it out. It's a fun place to post your dreams. (And she's a Capricorn, too. Her birthday was January 4. Go say "Hi.")

Sunday, January 09, 2005

On Turning 50 - The Philosophy of C.

My mother spent a couple of weeks over the holidays with my brother, sister-in-law and their three kids. On New Year’s Eve, she asked my 7-year-old niece, C., “What’s your biggest heart’s desire for this next year?” And my guru, otherwise known as my niece, responded, “To be a good girl. Or else an angel.”

I’ve been “a good girl” for 50 years. I hold a Ph.D. in People Pleasing. Need someone who’ll morph into whatever you need her to be at the moment--to help YOU succeed? Then I’m your gal. But I’m hanging up my shingle, starting today. Like C., I’d like to be “a good girl” this year, but from now on, I’m going to be good to myself first. That’s where the “angel” part comes in. Because I’m still going to be an angel in other people’s lives. But instead of loaning you my wings, I’m going to show you how to grow your own. (And by “you,” I hope you realize I’m not speaking literally. My blogsisters who visit here have been the most special angels in my life this year!)

Some who know me might argue that I already lead a pretty selfish life. After all, I haven’t passed all of the ‘normal’ mileposts one usually tags on her way to 50. I didn’t graduate from college (I’m a smarty-pants who hated school)…didn’t get married (I’ve been with my mate for 10 years but still feel my inner rebel kick in when I think about getting that piece of government paper)…didn’t have babies (I didn’t meet the right guy until I was 40 and decided I didn’t want to spend my perimenopausal years changing diapers, but I adore kids and I’m very good with them)…didn’t buy a house (the thought of a 30-year mortgage sounds like a prison sentence to me, but we did just buy some land)…moved dozens of times (for a few years, I traveled with all of my stuff in the trunk of my Monte Carlo)…and held so many “permanent” (ha!) and temporary jobs that I couldn’t possibly list them all (so no retirement plan). I’ve lived an untraditional, but often fun and interesting, life and lived it on my own terms. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. That’s all on the outside.

But on the inside, I’m a good girl. I like to help people. And I don’t do it with some ulterior motive. If I see something that I think would interest or delight or assist someone, then I pass it on or willingly provide it. Few things in life make me happier than helping someone pursue her dream(s). But there’s a flaw in that scenario. I often do it to the detriment of my own--not because the other party asks me to, but because I always end up feeling like their dreams matter more. They don’t, I just haven’t valued my dreams enough.

And it’s not that I don’t have dreams--I have loads of them. You don’t lead the kind of life I’ve led if you’re not a big dreamer at heart. But I’ve let their stock price drop way too low. So today, I’m starting over. New stock, new price. You think Google had a hot-shit IPO? You just wait.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

huge sucker

People, right now there is the BIGGEST cockroach(?)...beetle(?) I've ever seen in my life clinging halfway up one of our screen doors that lead to the balcony. The balcony lights are off (and the golf course is pitch dark beyond that) so I really only caught the outline of it reflected behind the Xmas tree lights when I first spotted it. (Shut up, we always leave the tree up through my birthday.) I"m not kidding--this thing has to be 4 inches long.

Shit! Now it's gone. That means I DON'T KNOW WHERE IT IS!!! I'm sure he must have fallen because he couldn't possibly have held his own weight that long. (Dear god, please let it be that he FELL...and didn't FLY.) The landlord provides exterminator service every month, which is great. So it's not unusual to stumble sleepy-eyed out of bed as I make my way to the coffee pot and find a big ol' cockroach that's snuck in under the screen door now lying legs-up-in-the-air dead on the floor. But I've NEVER seen one anything close to this size. (I just stuffed a wad of about 4 paper towels into the 1/2" gap at the bottom of the rubber stripping on the screen door.)

F**********CK!!! He FLIES!!!! He just flew back onto the screen. HE FLIIIIIIIIIIES!!!

Would it be tacky to call the boyfriend at his gig to beg him to come home?! It's only a wedding at the Ritz-Carlton. I'm sure the bride and groom wouldn't mind.


When the boyfriend walked in after his gig, I sleepily asked if he'd noticed that huge THING on the balcony. He hadn't, but said he has seen one in the past, but not for awhile. He chuckled and said, "They are a little intimidating." Intimidating? Yeah, I'd say so.

Thursday, January 06, 2005


Jo cracks me up. Her eulogy for her favorite boots has made me wistful for all of the great pairs of boots I've owned over the years.

There were the white go-go boots that zipped up the back in 1965. I thought they were the BOMB. Until I wore them to the beach (shut up, it's cold where I'm from) to hang out with my pal Tracy, whose brother Clay was two years older than me and awfully cute to a 10-year-old. We were climbing on rocks and, of course, trying to shove each other into the water. He managed to push me in...the boots got wet...the zippers was never the same.

There were the seriously slutty black leather knee-high boots with stiletto heels. Those babies were BAD. My boyfriend at the time picked them up in N.Y. for me. Of course, once I started dating THIS boyfriend he forbid me to wear them.

I had a pair of red and black suede, Beatles-style ankle boots in the 80's. I'm just grateful they couldn't talk...

My mother bought me a pair of chocolate brown, plastic(?...some weird material unknown to nature) knee-high boots when I was 15. I wore them to death with a peasant print dress that had a dark brown cinched waist and puffy sleeves. Wanna see J.V. cheerleaders in street clothes? Check the 1971 yearbook and look for that outfit.

There were the fake leather black ankle boots that laced up the back above the stiletto heel. I think I may have paid all of $15 for them. Amortized over the length of their shelf life, I figure I paid about a penny a wearing.

In Portland, right before we moved here, I had a pair of dark brown and black suede ankle boots. They looked awfully tasty with my dark brown and black suede jodphurs. (Like I'd know a horse if it bit me...)

Aaaah, my mid-calf, flat heel, black leather die-hards. I wore and wore and WORE those suckers. I can't even remember how many times I had them re-soled and re-heeled. They were SO comfortable. Portland uniform: turtleneck, 501's, those boots, long black coat. Done.

I've got a pair of yee-haw! real-live red cowboy boots (with white inserts) boxed up in my Dad's attic right now. Bought 'em at the boot store in downtown Petaluma. $125 'em for $25.

But the boots that belong in the Marilyn Hall of Fame are my first pair of red cowboy boots. They weren't even real cowboy boots. They were Capezio and I bought them in a shoe store in Noe Valley in San Francisco. Those boots did some LIVIN'!! (And, oddly, they invariably drew compliments.) I finally let them go when I left Portland. They were like a car that had over 200,000 miles on it. But, man, I almost wish they could have talked. San Francisco uniform: long shirt, 501's, red cowboy boots, long black duster. (St. Thomas uniform: t-shirt, 501's, flip-flops...picking up a pattern here?...)

If you're wondering about the title of this post, it refers to one of numbers I had planned for my musical. I've never mentioned the musical I was going to write about 15 years ago? It was called "Elvis Schmelvis." About a nice Jewish boy who really just wants to be the next Elvis. I had the lyrics to the "Elvis Schmelvis" song. A good drummer friend (this was when I lived in San Francisco before I knew my REAL drummer man) said he'd write the music for it--he was thinking sort of countrified version of Hava Nagila. But we never got around to it.

Boots - R.I.P.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005


I was reading Keri Smith's Wish Jar Journal this morning and she had posted a link to the 52 Projects site--a site I'd visited some time ago, but had forgotten about. That got me thinking about Keri's book, Living Out Loud, which has been gathering dust on the shelf, since I hadn't cracked it open in quite some time.

I opened it at random and came to the page that talks about "permission cards." She even provides you with the little cards to tear out and place in a jar. The idea is to say "I now give myself permission to _________" and pull a card.

Permission is a funny thing, isn't it? We're all grownups--we shouldn't have to ask anyone's permission for anything, for the most part (as long as we're conducting our lives in a way that's respectful of others' feelings.) I think for most of us, we tend to freely give permission to others if they ask something of us...but often deny it when we ask something of ourselves. So today I'm going to think about all the things I deny myself because I haven't given myself permission to do them. Maybe you'd like to think about that, too.

And if you don't have a copy of Keri's book, pick one up. It's adorable.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Shakti Quote of the Day

On Christmas Eve, we hit the bookstore and treated ourselves to a stack of books. One of my purchases was Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain. It's a book I first owned when it was originally published in the late 70's. I haven't read it in many years, although I've given away many copies over the years. I opened it at random this morning and saw the following quote. Thought I'd share it since at the beginning of any year, we often tend to look at where we are in our lives--whether or not we call the result of that examination "resolutions." (She's a big believer in affirmations.)

If you have a lot of heavy emotions riding on whether you attain your goal (that is, if you will be very upset if you don't get what you want), you will tend to work against yourself. In your fear of not getting what you want, you may actually be energizing the idea of not getting it as much or more as you are energizing the goal itself.

If you do find yourself very emotionally attached to a goal, it may be most effective and appropriate to work first on your feelings about the matter. You may have to take a good look at what you fear about not achieving the goal, and do affirmations to help you feel more confident and secure, or to help you face your fears....

Of course it's perfectly okay to creatively visualize something to which you have a lot of emotional attachment--and it will sometimes work quite well. But if it doesn't, realize that you may be attempting to visualize something out of fear of what may happen if you don't get it. In this case, it's important to relax and accept your feelings, accept the idea that you may not immediately realize your goal, look more deeply into your fears, and understand that resolving the conflict is probably an important area of growth for you and a wonderful opportunity to get to know yourself on a deeper level.

T Minus 5 Days...

Fuck it. There's not a goddamn thing I can do about it, so I might as well embrace the shit out of it. (Told you I swear like a longshoreman.) On Sunday, I'll be 50. A HALF CENTURY OLD! How could this BE?! I swear I still feel about 24 inside.

Yesterday it occurred to me that if I stop trying to hide it, maybe it won't feel so horrific. Because, if you think about it, I'm already 50. We don't say a baby is a year old until she's already been on the planet for a year. So actually, I'm wrapping up my 50th year. Looked at that way, it wasn't so bad.

I guess I can comfort myself with the knowledge that no matter how old I get, the boyfriend will always be 8 years younger. So I must be doing something right. (Just call me Junior Sarandon.) Shit. I just realized I'm going to have to change that tagline over on the sidebar. I wonder how many new readers will bother to scope out the site if the first thing they see is "old broad living with her long-time boyfriend..." :)

Monday, January 03, 2005

43 Things

Before Christmas, I spotted this post on Caterina's site. I thought, hmm, that 43 Things thing sounds pretty cool. So I went to a link in her post and sent an email asking to be a Beta tester. I did get my email invite, but by the time I saw it (since I'm not always very good about checking my Gmail account on a timely basis), the site had launched. (It just launched last Thursday.) I finally spent some time at the 43 Things site today...and it's fun! If you like Flickr, you'll like 43 Things. It's a similar sort of social software.

The idea is to list 43 things you want to do--goals, dreams, fantasies, items on your "before I die" list. You can simply list the goal, or add an entry (a la a blog post). And like Flickr, you can add tags. Find others who have similar goals. If you've accomplished the goal (and it's fun to list a few you have), then you can indicate "I've done this!" and rate it. Was it worth doing, or not? Once you mark the goal as an accomplished one, it moves from your 43 Things list to your "I've done this" list. You can edit and delete your goals at any time. You can post a photo to go with your user ID or list your blog, if you like.

If you'd like to try it out, here's the home page. Have fun!

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Life 102

Hopefully at this age I’ve already passed Life 101. Let’s hope, anyway. Now that I’ve laid out some things that I want to focus on this year, I thought it was time to look back. Some of these things I finally *got* in 2004; some I was reminded of (for the zillionth time).

That as much as it pisses me off, humiliation is often a precursor for a blissful moment of humility.

That nothing is more important to me than my family (my mate coming first).

That in a work setting, it really is a lot more efficient, emotionally, to do the most dreaded task first.

That it’s okay to let go of friendships, without feeling like it represents failure of some sort. People change. And drift apart. And sometimes there are reasons…and sometimes there doesn’t even have to be. And surprisingly, sometimes letting go is a lot easier than one dreads it might be.

That I can roll with the punches. When it looked as if H. might suddenly be living with us and attending school here this year, I never blinked--I simply switched gears and went into overdrive to try to make it happen. I’m much more adaptable than I give myself credit for most of the time.

That sometimes when you’ve just about given up hope that what you most want will ever come to pass, the universe (or God or fate or whatever it is at work out there) comes through…and it’s SO worth the wait.

That I swear like a longshoreman…and probably always fucking will.

That I still look better than most 49-year-old women in a bikini, despite my non-exercised flesh.

That I really hate looking in mirrors to see how different I look than I did even 10 years ago.

That it’s hard as hell to let go of some resentments, but I’m getting better at it.

That I’m not nearly as uptight as I used to be. Living in the tropics has given me a sense of ease that I’m sure I didn’t have before. (Don't underestimate the power of weather on mood.)

That I’ve reached an age where it really, really, REALLY matters to me how I spend my time.

That ethics in the workplace are more important to me than I thought they were.

That I’m blown away by how much I love my man and by how that love has grown and deepened over the years. I spent the first 40 years of my life equating “commitment’ with the sound of a cell door slamming. Now I can’t imagine ever leaving his side.

That even though I don’t understand the dynamic and why it seems to work this way, most of my ‘real’ friends this past year have been women I’ve met through blogging.

That, as William Hurt said in the “The Big Chill,” I’m still “not into this completion thing.”

That I crave land more than water. I miss getting in the car and just…going.

That ellipses are my favorite form of…punctuation.

That walking on the beach works my heart muscle…and I don’t just mean aerobically.

That I miss being funny. I miss having any sort of life so I can relate madcap adventures to my pals. The shit that happens here isn’t funny, just annoying.

That I’ve learned to think about moments of miscommunication with my mate, and go back and talk about why it might have occurred in the first place…instead of playing the blame game.

That I miss dancing.

That I really hate dressing up. (Can someone find me job where I can wear 501’s and flip-flops every day?)

That I have almost no vanity for a woman my age.

That my boyfriend is unbelievably gracious. I could learn a few things from him in that regard.

That I wasn’t taught to be compassionate when I was young. I’m still learning, but I’m getting better.

That I’m not so sure I’d like it if the boyfriend went back to touring. And I think he’d miss being away from home just as much as I’d miss him. (We’ve only been apart 7 nights in the last 4-½ years.)

That we eat way too much ice cream.

That I’m still shocked when sometimes I stretch and suddenly realize that it’s been days since I moved in any but a frenzied, busy-ness sort of way.

That I really don’t care about watching sports on TV anymore.

That simple things can really make my day (a good cup of coffee in the morning, a good lunch, a walk, a good book read in bed…)

That I wouldn’t trade any of my past experiences for anyone else’s, because they all formed this motley version of me.

That words like “future” and “plans” and “goals” don’t scare me nearly as much as they used to.

That my 7-year-old niece tickles me no end. And I’m constantly blown away by what a great rapport we have since most of our relationship has occurred over the phone.

That I’m ready to settle down…on the inside.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

The Huddle

My brother recently took his family plus our mother plus a gaggle of friends to the San Francisco 49ers game. My mother said, “You know your brother--he loves being the Donald Trump of (his town).” That comment cracked us up, since it’s such an apt description of him. And I say that with utter love and affection and devotion. I love the guy.

My mother said that at one point during the game, my 7-year-old niece, C., had the binoculars. It was between plays and the teams were huddled up. My brother asked her (as she peered through the binoculars) what was going on down on the field. C. scoped out the huddle and answered, “I think they’re makin’ a plan.” And that’s exactly what I plan to do--make a plan…and stick with it. Here a few things in that plan:

To consolidate my blogs - Very few of you visit the other site anyway (sorry, Lynn!) so instead of giving up writing about my interior life, just expect an occasional post here about whatever’s swirling around in my head. (I’m not going to delete the Cari-bein’ site, I’ve just removed it from my Blogger profile. But I don‘t plan to post there, at least for awhile.) I’ve let the other site languish for over a month, and it occurred to me that it wasn’t for lack of interest in posting there--it’s that my life has become more integrated over the last year. I’d like to post all my thoughts in one place.

To finally embrace the notion that commitment does not always mean the loss of freedom - And to prove that point, the boyfriend and I are in the process of purchasing 5 acres in Southern Colorado. More on that later…

To spend more time being aware of my breath and less time aware of the knots in my shoulders - I‘m assuming that doing the first will ameliorate the second.

To reverse my financial strategy - Instead of trying to find money to pay for things I want, I plan to pursue the things I want and trust the money will show up. (So far, so good.)

To use my looming landmark birthday as a free pass to be the gal I always meant to be - I’m pretty selfish already in how I spend my time, but I may become even more so. Let me clarify. If you were a fly on the wall, you'd think I have a pretty self-indulgent life. It's just the two of us here, so we don't have to cater much to anyone's interests and needs on a daily basis other than our own. And even though we spend a lot of time together, we give each other space to do our own thing. That's on the surface. But deeper, when it comes to dreams and aspirations and goals and wants, I'm often very selfless. I almost always put others' needs ahead of my own. I plan to change that this year. I plan to start doing some things that I want to do--that will benefit me first.

To write something every single day - Even if it’s a 10-minute timed writing (for those of you, like me, who go way back with the Writing Down the Bones thing). And if I don’t, I fully expect BluePoppy to kick my ass.

To eat more healthily - I don’t consume a lot of junk food, but I don’t eat nearly enough fresh produce. As a life-long West Coaster before moving here, I got spoiled by having world-class produce available year-round. Freshness isn’t that easy to find here sometimes, but I vow to look harder for it.

To continue nurturing and valuing the friendships I’ve made through this site - You all ROCK! You’re one of the big reasons 2004 was such a good year for me in so many ways, in spite of some emotional ups and downs. If there’s anything you ever want or need from me, just ask. ‘Cause gals? I got your back.