Sunbeams on Snow

My own personal soapbox... make of it what you will. As far as the title... a memorable moment in life was when I lived overseas, and announced that I wanted to have it snowing outside and still be sunny. My friends said I was crazy. But you know what? The next day: sunbeams on snow. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Damn that Cathy...

Tagged by Cathy

Four jobs that I have had:
Promotions Assistant for an Oldies Radio Station (not for the faint of heart)
Waitress on the Graveyard Shift in a Big City (not for anyone who can't stand drunks)
Nanny to a four year old and a six year old child genius
Pre-kindergarten Assistant

Four movies that I can watch over and over again:
The Princess Bride
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Gone With the Wind

Four places I have lived:
Baton Rouge, LA
New Orleans, LA
Houston, TX
Naurod, Germany

Four TV shows I love to watch:
Gilmore GirlsThe Bachelor (it's like watching a train wreck, I tell you - you can't look away!)
Commander in Chief (yes, it conflicts with House. Thank god for programmable recording devices!)

Four websites I read daily (or I at least check on daily):

Loose Ends
Interrupting Cow
Kiki's Blog
Arch Words

Four places I have been on vacation:
Barcelona, Spain
The Grand Canyon
Paris, France
Florence, Italy

Four favorite foods:
Crawfish etoufee
crostini di polenta con pure di funghi porcini e tartufo
biscotti (any and every kind)
homemade beef stew

Four places I’d rather be:
Back in bed, asleep
Tuscany (in Italy)
the French Riviera

Four people to tag:
and I can't think of anyone else who hasn't already been tagged. Sad, huh?

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Peripheral Vision

There was a time when I would have told you I am more spiritual than religious. This is still, and probably will always be, true. I am not an enormous fan of organized religion - but I am a believer in the presence of God. However, there are times when I lose touch with my own faith, getting caught up in the day to day duties of life. But last night, I happened to walk outside and glance up at the night sky, and it startled me out of my apathy.

All too often, I find myself looking downwards, lost in my own thoughts and reflections. And last night, in the moment I looked up and my vision cleared, I remembered what I'd been missing.

The air was clear, with a breathtaking array of stars scattered across the dark canvas of night. Whether it was the result of my glasses prescription being two years old, or a trick of the light, they seemed to twinkle, sparkle, and shine. If I focused on one particular star, I would see the barest hint of another near by. But as soon as I tried to find it, it was gone. And yet, I knew that if I didn't try so hard, I'd find it again, on the edge of my vision.

That's as apt a description of my faith as anything else. I KNOW that God is there, but the more I seek to find him/her, the more difficult it becomes. But if I focus on what I DO know, on the things I am sure of, trusting in the presence of God - well, I am never disappointed.

Faith is believing, even (and especially) in the absence of proof. But seeking (in this context) is to search for reassurance of our faith - endeavoring to discover God's presence in our world. And much like the explorers of the past - for today, at least, the stars are my compass, helping me to find my bearings.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

A moment for poetry....

"Do Not Go Gently Into That Good Night" by Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas, gifted poet, had a way of turning a phrase that makes me catch my breath every time. If you haven't read his work before, but enjoy this brief glimpse, check out more of his mastery of the English language here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A book meme thingy

1. How many books I own: Best guess would be 2500-3000. That may seem like a slight exaggeration, but I have four floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in this room alone that are not only filled to the maximum capacity intended by the shelf manufacturer, but then there are at least six shelves with double rows of books. Then there are the boxes upon boxes upon boxes of books that are awaiting the purchase of additional shelves. Plus the three super sized bookcases filled with children's books that are currently on loan at my mum's library. Then there are the files of magazines... but that's a whole different meme I guess.

2.) The last book I bought: Cool to be Kind, by Val Litwin, Brad Stokes, Erik Hanson, and Chris Bratseth. These guys fascinate me... if you haven't heard of them and their "Kindness Tour", check them out at the Extreme Kindness website.

3.) The last book I read: A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon.

4.) Five books that mean a lot to me:
1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
2. The Earth Speaks by Steve Van Matre
3. Little Women by Lousia May Alcott
4. A Vision of Light by Judith Merkle Riley
5. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

5.) Five people I’ve tagged: (Assuming they haven’t been tagged already.)

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Banned Books meme

(I saw this meme at Postcards from the Mothership, and had to join in. Below is a list of the 100 most banned and challenged books from 1990 through 2000. The bold titles are the ones I've read.)

The idea of banning books horrifies me. Many of the books on this list have made an impact on my life, or helped me through difficult times and milestones. Granted, there are books on this list that I have read, and IMO, they just plain suck. I wouldn't recommend those particular titles to anyone. But others... well, how can you NOT want your child to read and understand "To Kill A Mockingbird" or "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings"? The idea is beyond my understanding.

Looking at this list and the number of them that I have read, I have gained a new appreciation for the education I received. Many of these were books that I was encouraged to read within the classroom - to move beyond the "comfort zone" of my reading selections and push the boundaries of my understanding and awareness of the world around me.

I had intended to begin a weekly feature this evening, of a new book recommendation every week. But what better way to begin a weekly celebration of reading than to encourage you to pick a book from this list that you haven't read, and try it? Why not... who knows what you'll discover. :)

1. Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
2. Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
4. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
7. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
8. Forever by Judy Blume
9. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
10. Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
11. Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
12. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
14. The Giver by Lois Lowry
15. It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
16. Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
17. A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
18. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
19. Sex by Madonna
20. Earth’s Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
21. The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
22. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
23. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
24. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
25. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
26. The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
27. The Witches by Roald Dahl
28. The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
29. Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
30. The Goats by Brock Cole
31. Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
32. Blubber by Judy Blume
33. Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
34. Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
35. We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
36. Final Exit by Derek Humphry
37. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
38. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
39. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
40. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
41. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
42. Beloved by Toni Morrison
43. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
44. The Pigman by Paul Zindel
45. Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
46. Deenie by Judy Blume
47. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
48. Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
49. The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
50. Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
51. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
52. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
53. Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
54. Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
55. Cujo by Stephen King
56. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
57. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
58. Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
59. Ordinary People by Judith Guest
60. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
61. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
62. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
63. Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
64. Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
65. Fade by Robert Cormier
66. Guess What? by Mem Fox
67. The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
68. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
69. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
70. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
71. Native Son by Richard Wright
72. Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies by Nancy Friday
73. Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
74. Jack by A.M. Homes
75. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
76. Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
77. Carrie by Stephen King
78. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
79. On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
80. Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
81. Family Secrets by Norma Klein
82. Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
83. The Dead Zone by Stephen King
84. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
85. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
86. Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
87. Private Parts by Howard Stern
88. Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford
89. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
90. Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
91. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
92. Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
93. Sex Education by Jenny Davis
94. The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
95. Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
96. How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
97. View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
98. The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
99. The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
100. Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

Saturday, October 01, 2005

To read, or not to read?

If you're reading my blog, you've more than likely seen the site Post Secret at least once. If not, I'll explain it briefly. The idea is that you create a postcard with a secret on it, and mail it in. The Post Secrets are then displayed online in a variety of places.

I admit that I've read them more than once. Sometimes they're fascinating, sometimes they're hilarious - but more often than not, they're scary and frightening and utterly depressing. And that leads me to my current mental predicament.

When I read Post Secrets, I like to think that I am doing the posters a favor. For those who did something "wrong", it is a way for them to forgive themselves, I think. By broadcasting it to the world, maybe the person that they wronged will read it and know that they are sorry. There have been one or two posts that applied to me (as in, the person who was wronged). Sometimes I think that maybe they are intended for me to read them, and it helps alleviate my anger towards past situations.

And yet, so very very many of them are horrid terrible things. Things witnessed, things done, things thought. They aren't simple and they aren't pretty and they aren't easily "solved". And whenever I read them, I begin to lose faith in the world and in humanity.

You see, when it comes down to it, I believe in good. I believe that good and light will triumph over evil and darkness. I believe that hope should reign supreme, even in the most difficult of times. I believe in love and faith and courage. I believe in forgiveness and gratitude. I believe that good things come to all of us, but we have to have our eyes open and our hands unclenched in order to see them and grasp them long enough to appreciate them.

Post Secrets, while intriguing, often calls to light situations that go against everything I believe in. And that is painful for me to deal with.

So maybe, instead of a Post Secrets idea where people tend to write in about negative and hurtful secrets, there needs to be a sight dedicated to the positive, the joyous, the uplifting. I have no idea what it should/would/could be called, but maybe it will be done, or is already being done and I just haven't been introduced to it. In the meantime, pay it forward... the good stuff, that is. :)

Monday, September 26, 2005

Closet Tag!

I am sad to say, I am the latest victim in this bizarre online game of "Closet Tag". The "perp" in this case, is Mel ,and she is now warned that I intend to throw old incontinent rodents at her if this post doesn't end up at least mildly amusing. I'd never in a million years post about my closet otherwise, but I don't want to be a spoilsport, so here goes...

Three Random Facts About My Closet:
1) There are two entire shelves devoted to gift wrapping supplies/materials/crap. Bows and paper and whozamawhuzzit's that you're supposed to attach to gifts to make them look pretty. They are all remnants of my Martha Stewart phase of life, which I hit at approximately 18 years of age. Pathetic, I know.
2) In addition to shelves for shoes and gift wrapping junk and guns and whatnot, there is also a bookshelf inside my closet. With books on it. I'm not sure WHY it's there, other than I ran out of wallspace in the rest of the house, or when I intend to sit in my closet and read a book. Maybe I'll start putting myself in "Mommy Time Out"s in the closet, just so I can read.
3) My husband has as many pairs of shoes as I do - and he's anal retentive about them being lined up in order. Punk.

Three Items I've Never Worn But Still Haven't Tossed:
1) An ugly-@ss nursing shirt. I keep it because no matter how bad I look, I can always look at it and think, "Well, at least I'm not wearing THAT." and feel better about myself.
2) A ridiculously tight black dress that I bought when I was 19, and never had the guts to wear. I just like to look at it and remember a time when I COULD have worn it if I wanted to.
3) Leopard-print bellbottom spandex pants. I will NEVER EVER wear them, but they were a joke purchase on a trip back to New Orleans with a good friend. And I was the lucky one - she ended up with weird metallic mesh pants that look like they could transmit radio signals to outer space. :oP

Three Items I'll Never Get Rid Of, No Matter How Ugly They Get:
1) The "United States Navy Rescue Swimmer" sweatshirt that supposedly belongs to my husband.
2) My neon orange bellbottoms. They glow in the dark. Should the power ever go out at night, I'll just wrap them around my head in lieu of a headlamp. :oD
3) The green and white bellbottom jumpsuit I inherited from my mom - it was what she was wearing when she and my dad got engaged.

Three Items People Wouldn't Expect To Find In My Closet:
1) The Constitution of the United States. It's on the bookshelf, which is something people probably wouldn't to expect either. Haha.
2) A hoopskirt and other related items.
3) Ice skates. I love to ice skate, even if the closest rink is 20 miles away from me.

Three items that made me go, "Oh Lord, what was I thinking?":
1) The aforementioned neon orange bellbottoms.
2) A red and white checkered dress that looks like Marsha Brady being attacked by a picnic table. I haven't worn it since I was 14 and could get away with stupid outfits like that.
3) Anything with the word "corset" in the description.

Three things that I have a surprising number of:
1) Coats. For a girl who lives in a town with approximately 12 cold days a year, I have a ridiculously large collection of coats. At least 20.
2) Hats. I never wear them, but I like to know that I could if I wanted to.
3) Formal gowns. There was a time when I wanted to be a designer - so I made/designed a different gown for every formal event in high school/college. I don't have the courage to count them all, since I might feel obligated to give some of them away.

Three dominant colors in my wardrobe:
1) Red
2) Black
3) Brown

Three items that never fail to put me in a good mood whenever I wear them:
1) Great fitting jeans
2) My red dress from Express.
3) My character shoes. They look like normal heels, but they're comfortable enough to dance in, jump in, be a moron in, or just act like a normal human being. :) I wore them in my wedding, since I refused to wear uncomfortable shoes.

Three people I will tag:
I can't tag anyone at this moment. Everyone I know has already been tagged. Apparently, I was the last person picked for the team, and there ain't no one left to pick. (sob, sob). Oh well.