Saturday, April 25, 2009

Irony Is The Spice Of Life

I wrote this post weeks ago and I forgot to post it. The old gray mare she ain't what she used to be. So, here it is a day later and a dollar short.

In my last post, I told you I was challenging myself to take a risk every day. I planned doing a watercolor of the saguaro + the ocotillo growing in my backyard for Risk No. 2. It came out well enough that I decided to use if for my weekly Cactus Monday post on my other blog, for Risk No. 3.

Please don't think the reason for this post is to collect accolades for myself.

David McMahon of authorblog nominated it for Post of The Day, defying my expectations.

What a hoot!

I explained in my last post that the ocotillo + saguaro reminded me of my sister. My sisters and I were traumatized as children by all of our numerous relatives who insisted on kissing us on the lips and hugging us incessantly the entire time we were growing up. To this day, the two of us feel uncomfortable with hugging and kissing, even each other.

The Cacti-pus painting is a metaphor for our fear of hugging.
And then that led me to attempt to write a Shakespearean sonnet

The purpose for my posting about this is so that you can see how my taking a risk led to an unexpected, yet welcome surprise, which otherwise might not have been realized.

I'm posting a smaller image here so that you don't have to go to the post to see it (click to embiggen).

Cacti-Pus Monday
"Ocotillo Ursula"

I'll leave you with a quote for slow-blog-day Sunday:

"I dip my pen in the blackest ink, because I'm not afraid of falling into my inkpot."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Now, back to writing the meme on things that make me happy.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


"I'm inspired...and I'm a bean counter."

Shadow is a gifted poet who had an inspiring post on her "1 door away from heaven" blog yesterday. Click here to read her poem, "Time."
The second stanza challenged me to not be afraid to take a risk every day. What a scary thought... But it was an "Aha!" moment for me. I decided to go for it and keep a journal about it. Now, down to the business of deciding the first risk I'm willing to take.

Another gifted poet is Fireblossom, of the Word Garden blog. I apprehensively decided to take the risk of sending her an email describing my thoughts about a Shakespearean sonnet. I took a deep breath before I hit "send" because I was afraid she would think I'm a quacker. She wrote back saying it was one of her favorites and shared her thoughts. Well, roll me in chocolate and call me sweetie! You mean there are peeps out there, with whom I can share my feelings about poetry, who won't think I am a pickled beet? What an amazing concept. I wrote Fireblossom back and asked her if she would like to do the same for an allegorical poem, and she said "Yes." There is no way I would have taken risk No. 1, if it had not been for Shadow's inspirational prompt in her poem.

It seems that taking one risk, can lead to another. I excitedly thought about what Risk No. 2 could be. I have been thinking that I would like to try watercolor painting. Why not? I have zillions of photos I've taken this spring - one in particular comes to mind. It is a saguaro and an ocotillo growing side-by-side. When I look at it, I think they look like sisters. The problem is an unsightly background. My idea is to create a watercolor based on the photo, minus all of the unwanted noise. Although I risk failing miserably, I'm going to give it a spirited go.

Meanwhile, Sunny, my middle son, found a camcorder on his college campus that he wanted to keep badly. That's right on par with finding a money clip with cash in it, in my mind's eye. Sunny turned it into the campus police. The cop said, "Nobody would turn this in. This owner is going to think it's gone forever." Sunny's girlfriend, Sarah, said she would have done the same thing. Sunny's friend, Willy, said he would have done the same thing for a different reason. Willy said that every time he used it, he would have felt guilty. Later, Willy teased Sunny and said he should have sold it on E-Bay. Sunny told me he was setting a moral trend for his life - riding the high horse.

Now that's inspiring.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Language of Silence

While celling honey,
He dreams of Polynesia:
A new beginning.

As a kid I wanted to be a hair stylist, flight attendant, or nurse. Reality set in because I was allergic to chemical dyes, afraid of heights, and fainted at the sight of blood. You think I'm making this up? By the fourth grade I decided I would be an artist because I won first place in a contest at the Cranbrook Institute of Arts in Michigan. I had created a 4' X 3' mosaic of life beneath the sea. It was awesome. When I was in high school I worked as a darkroom assistant for a newspaper photographer. It was a riot. I loved every minute of it. Somewhere along the line I got sidetracked. I had taken one typing class in high school and somehow I parlayed it into a 25-year career.

Then I found out quite by accident, that I'm really good at analyzing and tearing things apart, probably from years of proofreading and editing. So I stumbled into the auditing field. No one grows up saying, "Mommy, I want to be an auditor someday." It is a field only the very anal and obsessive compulsive stumble into. I've heard this from all of the other auditors I know. I enjoy some things about my second career, like you see fast results, you don't have to supervise anyone else, and you work independently. Recently I had a choice between the unemployment line and a job as the tax man. I took the latter as the lesser of the two evils. Maybe I didn't think things through?

I start my new job in one week and I am already plotting my escape. Telling people they owe the government thousands of dollars doesn't sound like a good time to me. That's why I've decided to go back to school for an MBA. It'll take two years and keep me very busy - but I am hoping it will be worth it. One of my passions is teaching, and with an MBA maybe I can teach at a community college or a business school. I'm looking at two years of hard labor on the rock but I can do it. I have to keep on blogging too because of the encouragement I give and receive. I need it.

I posted once about trying to connect with my inner silence. I think I'm starting to do that but it's happening in a very unique way. I find myself finding my silence in nature. The haiku I wrote for this post is what I imagined the bee might be thinking if he found himself in a similar position as me. What would he think? What would he do? I watched Mr. Bee climb out of the center part of the rose onto the outside petal. His wings were flapping so fast I could barely see them. I found my silence in nature that day and was able to come to resolution for my situation. What is your language of silence?

By the way, do we like the normal size letters as in this post, or do we prefer the larger print?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Rosie the Riviter goes to Washington

Our spiritual sister, Rosie the Riveter, was the perfect iconic symbol our nation needed as it headed into World War II. No one is sure whether there was a real Rosie or not. The Rosie of the Department of Defense poster represented a female aircraft worker during the war who riveted thousands of rivets on Avenger bombers.

Prior to Pearl Harbor there were few women working outside the home. An estimated 18 million women worked in defense industries and support services by 1945, working as ship builders, machinists, welders, painters, riviters, pipefitters, police officers and nurses.

During the same time, 1.2 million blacks from the South migrated north and west for industrial defense jobs.

It was a time of incredible social change, survival and victory in spite of what the nation endured. The groundwork was laid then, when the war ended, for the civil rights and the women's rights movements, which slowly advanced across the nation in years to come.

Richmond is host of the Rosie the Riveter Memorial located at the Marina Bay harbor. There is a plaque at the memorial which reads:

"You must tell your children, putting all modesty aside, that without us, without women, there would have been no spring in 1945."

Enter Michelle Obama.

Now "Miche" Obama is being touted as the new iconic woman the nation needs to rein in a new world order. Women are being asked to show pride for a woman who reportedly is changing what it means to be a First lady (planting a vegetable garden and buying gifts for prime minister's children from the White House gift shop). Apparently she is the epitome of what a female should be: smart, svelt with toned biceps, and a superhero incognito. Women are being rallied, by the likes of Oprah, to show our support for her powerful message of equality. We should be celebrating our collective achievement of equality rather than being rallied to make it our most urgent cause. Equality is relevant; however, there are more urgent issues. Bangladesh is sinking, children are dying of Aids all over the globe, we are fighting two wars, our economy is in the toilet, the poles are melting, drug czars are taking over our U.S Mexico border, we have an energy crisis, and Russia and China are talking about creating a new currency.

Does anyone else see irony in this scenerio?

One final thought: Was it not equality that got her hubby elected to the White House?

What in the world does this have to do with dream weaving a life I can be proud of? The answer is that I must keep my head on straight and prioritize appropriately if I'm going to live a life of substance. I know first-hand that in 1975 I could not be seen at a night club with a black man, whether or not our relationship was platonic or romantic, but would be asked to leave. The law prevents this discrimination today. We have evolved with the exception of some radical extremists and, in my world, that is worth celebrating.