Wednesday, November 28, 2012

To Time Travel…or Not To Time Travel (THAT is the question…)

            Everyone wants to find a device that can send him or her back to the past or into the future. Everyone wants to go back in time and either fix something, relive something, or take a whole different approach altogether; or jet into some future period of time to see if everything they DIDN’T fix, relive or re-approach works out ok.
            It’s natural for humans to want to control time. We seek to control our space, why not the passage of time? Yet what few people contemplate when they fantasize about time travel are those pesky paradoxes and ethical questions, such as: if you went back and fixed the past, might you somehow be breaking the future? Or how about this one: If you make a tiny change to your own past, how are you affecting the pasts, presents and even futures of everyone you came in contact with, because, let’s face it, we are all tied into the same fabric of existence. We are all links in the chain of cause and effect. So change your cause, and you may be changing the causes, and thus, the effects, of so many other lives.
            What gives you the right?
            Imagine a whole new branch of law...time travel law. A whole new field of ethical studies...time travel ethics. People suing others in court for changing their present, altering their future, all without their consent. It could happen, should we somehow master the technological and scientific aspects of time travel, and find a way to breach the limitations of light speed and bypass the existing laws of physics that keep us grounded in the present. At least as of now.
            Time travel is within our grasp, albeit theoretically at this point. But with the exponential increase of knowledge and progress, it’s only a matter of, pun intended, time before we figure out how to get from here to there...or maybe from now to then. Experiments with particle physics at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, outside of Geneva, Switzerland, may lead to proof of particles that can outpace light speed, or proof of wormholes that can act as shortcuts through space/time and get us from Point A to Point B, even if Point B is in the past, or the future. Meanwhile, the world of quantum physics is constantly pushing the outside of the envelope of our understanding of the bizarre nature of the most fundamental energy and form, and how perhaps at this level, we have already achieved time travel, albeit minutely.
            Regardless of when we finally master moving through time physically, we still have to face the fact of those paradoxes that ask if we can, indeed, go back in time, kill our Grandfather, and still exist to write about it in the present. Or whether we can alter the future without it also “reaching back” in time to alter the present, and the past... Hell, it’s almost like pulling on tiny threads in a patchwork quilt, and wondering if the whole damn thing will unravel, despite your best intentions to only get rid of that pesky thread.
            The ethical question of whether or not any of us, individually or collectively, has the right to alter and mess with the chronological order of things, will no doubt be debated even once we have achieved physical escape velocity, whether by Tardis or by tube, via black hole or wormhole or rip in the fabric of space/time...Who will decide what can be changed in terms of history, and what is not to be messed with? Who will determine the extent of our alterations and warn those who may be affected by our desires to fix what we alone deem broken, or what we alone regret?
            It just doesn’t cross too many minds, this question of “do we or don’t we,” probably because we all know we will, if we can. That’s the human spirit, for good or for bad. If we have the opportunity, even knowing the risks, we’ll go for it.
            Perhaps the most successful Fortune 500 companies of the future will be led by lawyers devoted to time travel cases. Imagine the Law Office of Delorean and Tardis.
            It could happen.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Boxes, Bars and Chains

“Boxes, Bars & Chains”

            Life lessons often have a way of sneaking up on you. When you least expect it, you experience one of those flashes of insight, one of those big, bold, life-altering “ah-ha’s” that you absolutely HATE to see coming, DESPISE when you’re in the midst of it, but are oh, so GRATEFUL for when you’ve learned from it and seen the light. I recently had one of those “ah-ha’s.”  I learned that it isn’t very comfortable in the comfort zone; that I don’t feel very safe having a safety net; that nobody can 

guarantee a guarantee and that a sure thing is never really for sure.  I also learned that I actually prefer 

life this way!
            I found myself over the last few months doing something people in recovery programs refer to as “isolating.”  Others refer to it as “cocooning.”  Basically, it’s holing up in your nice, comfortable little world and rarely venturing out into the sun. I didn’t really do it on purpose, but I did find that when you work at home, as I have been for the past ten years, it’s very easy to get used to being alone.  I soon found that I wanted nothing more than to just be left alone, to stay inside, at home, where it was safe and nothing out of the ordinary was asked of me.
At first, this way of life felt very safe and cozy. Rarely did I feel the need to take a risk or step outside of my comfortable little bubble. I could wake up each morning pretty certain I would be able to face the day with the least amount of energy or concern. But after a few weeks of this, I started to notice a growing sense of low-grade anxiety bubbling up inside, and before I knew it, I was spending most evenings in a complete state of utter agitation, wondering why my life wasn’t progressing and why nothing was happening.
            I was stagnating; trapped in the cage I had set up for myself. What had first seemed such a safe and comforting way to live was making me sick, and crazy and highly irritable. I realized that there really is no comfort in the comfort zone.  What happens when we cocoon and not allow ourselves to break free from our self-imposed boxes, bars and chains and spread our glorious wings is this: little things start to look big and intimidating; trivial events take on gigantic and stressful proportions. New ideas seem too frightening to even consider. Even having lunch with a friend becomes something to stress out about.
            We start to lose faith in our abilities and talents. We stop saying “ I can” and start thinking “I can’t.” We don’t try anything new, we don’t dare. We avoid new people and experiences at all costs. Basically, we start believing our own bad press.
            Yet we don’t really feel good, or happy, and we sure don’t feel productive. Half of us wants to continue to stay inside and play it safe. The other half wants to get out there and take a leap off a cliff and dive into life head on. It feels like there’s a Civil War going on inside our bodies; or like two teams of picnickers are playing tug-of-war with our innards.
            As Anthony Robbins, the great motivational speaker, always says, we finally get to the point where the pain of what we are doing is greater than the pleasure.  That’s when we need to do the following three things to help us break out of our boxes, bars and chains.
1)    Become aware of each moment. Living in the present gets us off autopilot and back into the driver’s seat of our own lives. We spend way too much time regretting the past and dreading the future. No wonder life intimidates us into hibernation.

2)    Take a small risk every day. Do this to rebuild confidence. It can be something as small as inviting a friend out to a new restaurant, driving a different route to work, or saying hello to a total stranger. Just do something, every day.

3)    Be authentic. Be yourself. We sometimes cocoon ourselves out of fear that others will see us and not like whom we are, so we hide our glory, our beauty. We are all unique and we deprive others of our specialness by hiding our light under a bushel. Remember the butterfly and the snowflake; no two are exactly alike. Take back your power!

            The next time you feel like you’re cocooning, isolating and backing away from your own life, try these three things. Get quiet, right where you are, and become aware of the moment. Think up a small and fun risk you can take every day to prove to yourself that you really are capable. Be who you are, not who anyone else wants you to be. And then vow to live from that Truth.  Try them for a week and see if you don’t feel your inner confidence and energy growing stronger and stronger. The more you do it, the easier it becomes to step out into even bigger challenges and greater accomplishments.
Before you know it, you are once again an active force in your world, out there doing the things that bring you joy, success and a feeling of fulfillment. More important, you’ve learned to expand your comfort zone to anywhere you are. That’s the ultimate freedom, and the great lesson, that comes when you learn to break through those self-made boxes, bars and chains and feel comfortable in the skin you’re in.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Evil Doll Phobia!!!

Who knows better how to torture you than your sister?  She knows what you like, what you dislike, what you fear most.  As a small child, I had an overactive imagination and a curious fascination for all things frightful, like monster movies, scary stories and “The Twilight Zone.”  But the one thing I feared most was my older sister Angella’s prized possession, her beautiful “Simone” doll.  I was sure Simone was pure evil, with her long silvery hair and perfect features, and that cold, hard stare that followed me around the bedroom my sister and I shared. And Gella, as we called her, loved to take advantage of my doll phobia at any chance she got. Whenever I would annoy my older sister, or get in her way, or behave like little sisters often do, Gella would simply smile a knowing smile and remind me that Simone was watching me, so I’d better behave!
            Evil Simone reminded me of that doll in that “Twilight Zone” episode, the one named “Talking Tina” that was determined to kill Telly Savalas. And no matter how hard Telly tried, he couldn’t get rid of that doll. He even tried to burn it, crush it, chop it up, but the doll lived on, and in the end, it was Telly who suffered the consequences. So whenever Gella really wanted to put me in my place, she would sneer and repeat the line from that Twilight Zone episode, “My name is Talking Tina, and I’m going to kill you!”  This so terrified me that I often resorted to turning Simone’s head around to face the wall so the doll couldn’t watch me as I slept at night! 
Gella loved to watch me squirm in fear as she recounted all the ways Simone would punish me if I didn’t submit to my older sister’s wishes and whims.  Often, I would be so terrified, I would secretly lock Simone in the clothes closet. The next morning, Gella would chide me about how angry Simone was for being locked up all night, and how the doll planned to get revenge.  I would be so afraid of Simone’s wrath, I would get down on my knees and beg the doll for forgiveness and lavish it with praise. All the while, Gella smiled in the background, knowing she had me, her goofy little sister, under her thumb. She loved to make me scared, it gave her a feeling of such power!
But the great day of equalization came when my sister and I both received a special gift from our grandparents: two paintings of scruffy children with big, round eyes… the kind that followed you everywhere and seemed to plead for attention. Both of us girls hated those awful, intrusive pictures, which our mom had promptly hung on our bedroom wall. Now, Gella also knew what it felt like to live in fear of ever-watchful eyes, and together, we plotted to destroy the paintings, turning them towards the wall and locking them in the closet when we thought our mom wouldn’t notice. 
Eventually, we both outgrew our silly little girl fears, although the last time we saw those paintings in the attic of our grandparents’ home (somehow the paintings had made their way back to their original owners!), neither one of us could hide our displeasure. To this day, I am still fascinated with all things scary, even if they do give me nightmares.  But there is one thing I refuse to have in my home. Dolls. Thank God my only child turned out to be a boy!
And as for my older sister, Gella, she still loves to remind me that Simone is still out there somewhere waiting, watching, plotting my demise, and that I’d better behave… or else! 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Where Death and Life Meet

            Amidst the constant noisy hub of activity that is Burbank, California, also known as the Media Capital of the World, is a place of pure peace. A place where one can go to reflect and meditate and feel the joy of being alive. It’s not a church, or a quiet corner café, or even a Zen center or metaphysical bookstore.  It’s a cemetery. A vast, landscaped memorial park nestled in the rolling Hollywood Hills.
            I first discovered Forest Lawn Memorial Park as most people do, as a tourist anxious to see the burial spots of the rich and famous. My husband at the time and I lived close by and could even see the beautiful park-like grounds from our upper-story apartment window, but we were reluctant to go there at first. After all, how many people spend their free time at a graveyard! And yet, when we did first venture to visit, we were surprised to see hundreds of others just like us, cameras in tow, wearing their morbid curiosity on their shirt sleeves as they walked the peaceful lanes and strolled over the grassy hills dotted with the heavy gray stones of the known and the unknown, looking for names of stars and celebrities.
            More than just a high-priced burial place for the financially well-off, there are many touristy things to see at a place like Forest Lawn, such as old restored churches, Southwestern museum exhibits and plenty of gorgeous statues and historical monuments. But the real attraction is the graves – each marker telling a brief but loving story of a life lived out. Once you get the celebrity grave hunting out of your system, you settle into a slow pace of perusing the less flashy markers, and you begin to notice something. That even the smallest lived life, even the most obscure existence, even the least celebrated amongst us, touches the lives of others like a silken web that connects us all.
As anyone who has ever visited Forest Lawn, or any beautiful cemetery grounds, will tell you, something strange begins to happen once you’ve been there a while. Something transforming and wondrous. Something that changes your whole perspective on death – and life. For as you walk the Courts of Remembrance, as you stroll along Morning Glory Lane, bending over to read the inscriptions of love, hope, dreams and memories, you begin to feel an incredible sense of peace. Suddenly, the vast landscape of death and mourning becomes quite different in the quiet stillness of your own contemplation. Slow and sweet, like a soft rain the realization comes. That there is no death here, only bones and ash and the remains of a physical body that started from and returned to rich, dark earth. That life is in the spirit, the love, and the memories. That although all these people had died, their lives and legacies live on in the hearts and minds of those who come to visit. Family, friends, loved ones.  Even strangers like me who just wanted to see Liberace’s lavish crypt or the place where Bette Davis lay forever a silent star, and yet found myself more changed, more transformed by those names that few would recognize.
This awareness, this “opened up” feeling of connectedness, is what makes places like Forest Lawn so special. I imagine any beautifully landscaped cemetery, surrounded by nature, would produce just such a rapturous experience. For when we are made to look, really look, at our fears and anxieties about death and what lies beyond, we sometimes find a most surprising thing. That there are no endings, only new beginnings on an infinite journey. These are the lessons that can only be learned in the quiet stillness of a sacred place. These are the lessons that can only be absorbed when surrounded by tranquility, immersed in inner peace.
            I visited Forest Lawn many times after that, often alone, and I had several experiences one could describe as “ecstatic” as I walked the lanes that circled the hills and sat in meditation before a beautiful statue of Christ in the Courts of Remembrance. And each time my spirit soared, even amidst all the reminders of death, at the certainty I felt that life is eternal. That the spirit cannot die. That love lives on.
These people, not one of whom I ever knew personally, were all a part of me. Some invisible strand connected us, some intangible, but altogether real common thread that wove us together like a massive and beautiful quilt, throbbing with love and fear and change and joy and pain and everything it means to be alive.  I felt sure of that, and I feel sure of that today, as I sit in my new home in the natural and inspiring beauty of northern San Diego county, far from the rolling hills of Forest Lawn Memorial Park and the people whose names I read in silence and sent a silent prayer to. Far from the warm breeze as it whispers through the grave markers and mausoleums. Far from the flashy crypts of celebrated stars, and the simple head stones of stars equally bright, equally loved, just not as well known. So far, and yet somehow still so connected…
              …like a silken web.

“I shall endeavor to build Forest Lawn as different, as unlike other cemeteries as sunshine is unlike darkness, as eternal life is unlike death.”  Dr. Hubert Eaton, Founder


Saturday, August 11, 2012

You Can Go Home Again…Sort Of

                My house is gone. Not by fire, flood, or act of God. The house I grew up in as a child, where I lived and laughed and learned, the house where magic danced down every hall and angels breathed through every window... is gone. In its place, a bigger, roomier, more modern version - a two-story lumbering giant that all the neighbors say just doesn’t fit in. With the help of Google Street View, I can see that new house, and it just feels wrong, it feels off. That was where MY house once stood. That was MY yard...
                  Did the new owners realize that in the process of tearing down the house of my childhood, they were also tearing down my heart? Their only thought was to provide more room for their own growing family, and they had every right to do so, you see, for I have not lived in that house for over 30 years. Not by choice, but by necessity was I forced to leave that place in the summer of 1974. My father, a geophysicist, had been offered a lucrative job on the West Coast. My mother, whose own family had vacated the right coast for the left years before, seconded the upheaval, and Mayflower loaded what was left of my growing years into a truck and we hauled the tow west.
                  I fought the move tooth and nail, not wanting to leave those years full of luscious summers, thunderstorms and fireflies, flashlight tag and sledding down the neighbor’s hilly backyard, fireworks and carnivals and 7:00pm siren commemorative of a more dangerous time.   Men walked on the moon, women marched in the streets, Woodstock rocked only a few miles to the North, and the Beatles played on Ed Sullivan -all in that house.
                   Tromping through the woods behind that house I tracked animal markings, and, with my Field Guide to Birds in one hand and a pair of cheap binoculars in the other, I identified thrushes and larks and robins and wrens. The results of these and many other scientific explorations led me to such rich rewards: feathers and shells of every size and shape, a jarful of fossils I dug up, with the help of the neighborhood kids, found beneath our swingset after my scientist father casually remarked “We were all underwater once.”
                  When I wasn’t outside in nature, I was inside reading and writing and learning, devouring books on every subject as I sat on my bed near the window, listening to crickets hum in the woods. I became a spy in that house, sneaking from room to room with my binoculars, peeking out windows at unsuspecting neighbors. I saw the lady next door in her bra, the man up the street in his bloomers, and the fat lady across the way fall off her kitchen table while unceremoniously swatting at a fly with a broom handle.
 My favorite target was the older boy next door, who would foolishly study at his desk by his window, which just happened to overlook my own. I fancied myself so slick, a femme Bond, if you will, and if any of the neighbors ever caught on, they never showed. Besides, I was just a kid, and kids do all kinds of crazy, wonderful things. It’s only when they grow up they stop having so much fun.
                  I heard my first rock and roll in that house, read my first Nancy Drew novel, and watched as my body changed from thin and boyish to just a bit more round. My mother enchanted us with fanciful stories in that house, told as we all sat upon the “magic carpet” by the kitchen doorway. My father traveled the world on research trips, returning each time with tales of intrigue and wonderful coins from the Four Corners that I kept safe in a ceramic crocodile bank.
                  I made friends, real and imaginary, in that house. The imaginary ones included an alligator in a top hat named Peenafurt Franklin, and a cadre of triangle shaped “heater men” that chased me when the furnace kicked in. I dreamed of being an astronaut, jockey, lady cop, president, super spy, scientist, Olympic runner and Broadway actress in that house. All the time I was writing, and it was in that house my big dream took hold. I became a writer.
             Since I moved away, back in 1974, coming first to L.A., then San Diego, I’ve been back to that old neighborhood a few times, always feeling that resurgence of awe and magic. Even without the huge maple in the front yard, even without the hedgerow and the bushes and flower garden, even without all the outer trappings I had known and loved, it was still the same house and just seeing it gave me chills of sweet joy.
                  But when my mom called to tell me the terrible news awhile back, that an old neighbor had called her earlier and filled her in on the deconstruction of my house and the rising of a new one in its place, it was as though I had just been told a family member had died. It was gone. Really gone. Not just changed, not just different.
                  My last trip back I had gotten strep throat and couldn’t even hold my head up long enough to see my house as we took our ride down memory lane. I had vowed to go back again soon, maybe even get up the courage to ask the new owners if I could peek inside for “one last look.” But that trip never happened. I got caught up, in work, life, paying the bills.
Perhaps it wasn’t just that house I was missing, but the dreams and hopes and possibilities left behind. I guess when we loaded up that Mayflower truck, we forgot to pack one thing - my childhood spirit, so bold and free and unafraid to live.
                  And now it’s too late. Too late to ever go back and knock on that door and walk through those rooms again. Rooms where I felt so warm, so alive, so at home. Rooms where I came to know who I was.
                  I cried when my mom told me. For three straight hours. Then I did the only thing I know how to do when faced with life - I wrote. And in my grief and mourning, for far more than just a lost house, serendipity whispered. They say you can’t go home again, but I beg to differ.  You never really leave. It’s always there, that voice, deep inside, calling you to come back home, however quiet and stifled it might be from years of running to safety and away from the risk of our dreams.
                  The land can cast a spell... houses do that, too. It may be too late for me to ever walk those hallowed halls, but it’s not too late to fulfill the dreams I came to believe were my own, in that house. Because in my grieving of childhood’s end, I realized this. That the magical house of my youth isn’t really gone at all...
                 It lies within.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Blue Car…or How I Learned the Fine Art of Sibling Loyalty


            There is nothing so strong as the loyalty between sisters. Sometimes, that loyalty goes above and beyond the call of duty. Case in point; when I was about six years old, my older sister Angella, who was about eight at the time, insisted that she woke up one night and saw a blue car sitting in the middle of the bedroom we shared in our quaint suburban New York home.
             Gella, as I called her, was so adamant about this mysterious blue car that she actually got me to believe that I saw it to, and for the next few weeks, whenever my mom or dad would mention the blue car incident, I would be right there beside my sister insisting that there had indeed been a blue car in our room.
            Now, mind you, I had never seen a blue car in our room on that particular night, or any other night. Yet as the months went on, I began to find myself questioning whether or not I had seen anything. My sister really, REALLY believed that a blue car had driven into our room (despite the fact it was a rather small room), parked itself at the foot of her bed and that it was driven by a man with a head shaped like one of those Fisher Price Little People toys.
            Had I really NOT seen this car? I began to wonder, thinking that I MIGHT have seen this car, and that little round-headed driver.  As more and more time passed, I became more and more convinced that I had seen the car, and even started corroborating some of the details of the incident, which mysteriously seemed to grow even more bizarre each time it was recounted.  Like my sudden insistence that it was a two-door convertible.
            So much did I want my sister to love me and approve of me and my undying loyalty that I eventually did a total reversal, going from being so certain she had been dreaming about the car, to a state of absolute KNOWING that yes, there had been a blue car in our room. Darn it, if my sister said she saw a car, then there was a car in our bedroom and no one could make me believe otherwise.
            Eventually, we moved from that house to Southern California, a bigger house with extra bedrooms. I no longer shared a room with my sister, in fact, our lives began to grow more and more apart as she discovered her own friends and interests and I did the same with my own age group. Whether she ever saw anything mysterious in her bedroom again remained her secret.
            Still, no amount of time and distance changed her mind about that blue car. To this day, over thirty-five years later, my sister still insists she saw that car in our room, and no amount of realism, logic or analysis can deter her. I usually still go along with her, which drives my parents crazy, although the passage of time has once again made me reconsider whether I ever really did observe that car, or just wanted so badly to be a part of whatever it was my beloved older sister was experiencing.
            And yet, I still can’t be sure. After all, when I was about eight years old myself, I could have sworn I woke up one night to see a black locomotive train coming down the hallway right towards me. I was sleeping in my sister’s bed at the time, since I had been having nightmares, which made it even all the more bizarre. Perhaps her bed was a vortex into the unknown, or held some kind of supernatural power that enabled anyone sleeping in it to hallucinate different types of moving vehicles. The mystery deepened, and still has never been solved to any sense of closure, and since my old New York house has been completely torn down and remodeled, and my sister’s old bed long since turned to dumpyard compost, I suppose there is no going back to find out.
            Angella insists she never saw the locomotive, even though she was in the same bed that night, right beside me. So much for sibling loyalty.

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Action expresses priorities!

“Action expresses priorities.”

I saw that posted on Facebook today and thought, wow, how true. At least it is for me, and I imagine for everyone else, too. What we SAY we want to do, achieve, aspire towards, become is all rather meaningless if we are NOT taking action and actually DOING it. And if we are NOT doing it, it is not a priority. It is as simple as that. Brutal honesty – talk is cheap. Lip service gets you nowhere. All talk, no action means all you will ever achieve is blowing hot air out of your ass. Maybe it’s time to get honest about what you REALLY want and what you are willing to DO to get it.

What is top priority in your life? Well, take a look at how you actually spend your time. If you spend more time goofing around than working on your dream, goofing around is a higher priority. If posting on Facebook is more important than writing your novel, then posting on Facebook is more of a priority than writing that novel you’ve dreamed of writing for years, and told all your friends you were going to start...someday. If staying home alone is more important than going out with friends, then having friends is not a priority.

Once we stop and really pay attention to what we are actually doing and not what we are telling everyone we are doing or going to do, we come face to face with our actual priorities and desires...and our fears of why we are NOT taking action...and it can be shocking. Being lazy, eating too much, exercising too little, avoiding people, procrastinating...all of these are actions that we may be engaging in more than what we say we really want for our bodies, minds, careers, personal lives, love lives. It comes down to having the balls to just admit that the things we SAY we want are really not the priorities. And maybe even admit that we are avoiding the real priorities of our hearts because we are afraid.

So then we can face our fears and shortcomings and really ask ourselves if this is how we want our lives to look. All talk, no action and a lot of unhappiness, regrets and feelings of unfulfillment? Or actions that match the words we put forth about our goals and dreams and desires and a sense of purpose and achievement and fulfillment...even success? But first we have to stop saying one thing and doing something completely different. It’s called integrity. Get some.

Action expresses priorities. Not words. Not verbal promises or commitments. Not wishes and hopes. ACTION. It’s so easy to tell ourselves or someone else that we will do this or that.

It’s another thing entirely to get off our asses and do it.

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Viral Diabetes

Man, what is it with Yahoo and Facebook and all these places where you see a continuous supply of cute kitty and puppy viral videos and pictures and for God’s sakes, do I really need to see another damn video of a cat that plays the piano? Yahoo tells me it’s a “Must See” and it’s “blowing up on the web.” It’s a dumb cat with its paws up on a piano. BFD! Show me a video of a cat doing taxes for less than the lady who does mine charges me and I’ll make that thing viral. Playing a piano? My kid did that when he was a baby, although on the YouTube I posted I edited out my hands holding up his arms to the keyboard. I’m not stupid!

Kitties and puppies are so cute, just like babies. Well, not all babies. Trust me, there are some butt-ugly babies, I don’t care how politically incorrect it is to admit that. But little creatures grow up to be big creatures who puke up fur balls, hurl themselves at your bedroom door at 5am wanting to be fed, march all over your good quilt and destroy your gorgeous maroon sectional. Like babies, they aren’t so cute and cuddly once they grow up. They cost a lot to feed, too.

I do enjoy looking now and then at a cute little kitty or a puppy in a teacup, but if I see too many of these images in one day, I feel like I am going into a diabetic coma from all the sweetness. I mean, really, there is a limit to cuteness. After about the tenth image, I want to take the little itty-bitty cuddly kitty and toss it to a coyote. Here’s a treat!  Coyotes need to eat, too. But see? Because they aren’t so cute and cuddly you don’t see a ton of viral videos of them playing piano, do you?

I do hope most of you realize, the cat is NOT really playing piano. And if by chance it is, it’s a fluke, a trick of nature, and not a mutant anomaly of a feline Elton John.

I wonder who at Yahoo chooses which videos are going to “blow up on the web” because I never see any of them until Yahoo tells me they are blowing up on the web. It’s a trick, I just know it. And even after Yahoo tells me they are blowing up on the web, I don’t watch anyway. I am sick of cute little animals doing cute little things. Today it was a talented horse that loved to paint. Oh brother...

The whole viral video thing is kind of creepy and cult like if you think about it. People go nuts watching these things, and the videos get millions of hits, and it makes you wonder why there are so many damn people with so much damn free time on their hands.

I have to go. My cat is throwing herself at the office door, wanting to be fed. What a total bitch. She was so cute as a kitten too...Where’s my video camera?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

What Is Love?

What is love? (Baby, don’t hurt me, baby don’t hurt more...) I swear I can’t resist that. But anyway, so on Facebook there are hundreds of posts and quotes and pictures about love being all there is and love conquers all and all is love, yadda yadda and I’m thinking, yeah right.

Come on, even Mother Theresa probably had her moments when she wanted to bitch slap the world.  It cannot be all about love.  I mean, if love was all there was or is or whatever, we’d all be walking around blissed out like our brains were floating and we’d accomplish nothing of value. Relationships would be pointless because if you loved everyone, there would be no room for growth and challenge and expansion and lessons learned.

I do NOT love Marmite. I am sorry if you think I am evil and awful to live with hatred in my heart for something, but that stuff is disgusting. If you are British, sorry to offend you, but that crap tastes like ass, and not a clean one.

I love my family and my kid and my friends, but not all the time. Sometimes I want to kill them, but I have not as of yet found a loophole to the justifiable homicide laws that I might be able to slip through. People are not just about love, they are about hate and ignorance and stupidity and all that other dark shadowy crap that makes the potential for love possible in the first place.

OK, so some new age guru will say “oh but it’s all love,” and I say back “you are an idiot, it’s not all love, it’s the fullest expression of humanity, which is MORE THAN JUST LOVE.” Jeesh, why do we sell ourselves so short?

There are so many kinds of love, and some last and others don’t, and sometimes love changes and grows or ends and sputters and sometimes it even causes people to hurt each other. So love isn’t “all good” by any means. It’s a part of being human...a BIG part, but not the only part.

If I want to hate someone, let me. I’ll either learn to love them eventually or at the very least come to a place of indifference. Don’t make me feel guilty and bad because I don’t love the whole entire damn world all the time. I don’t love spiders EVER. I don’t care what you say. I don’t love bees. I don’t love people who take my mail.

Love is one of many powerful emotions we feel and what bonds us to others. But it really isn’t the only thing there is, and to make people feel inadequate or guilty because they aren’t “all love, all the time” really isn’t very loving, is it?

Own up, people. We love, we hate, we are at times utterly indifferent and don’t give a shit.  Love may be what we aspire to, but it ain’t all there is to us well-rounded people. Let it all hang out!!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Child Rearing

I think they call it child rearing because raising a child really is a pain in the ass, or rear, sometimes. Not sometimes, OFTEN.

I am a single mom and I gotta tell you, it is incredibly rewarding to help shape and mold another human being, but it is also exhausting and challenging and if you mess the kid up you can’t blame anyone else, like politicians do. You do the best you can with what you know and hope it all comes out in the wash, along with the skidmarks on the kid’s underwear.

My son is 11 going on 50, so most arguments or debates, he wins hands down. If he doesn’t become a lawyer, I will be shocked. I want him to be a computer geek because then he can get rich and buy me a mansion and take care of me. I keep telling him to go get a job, because he is rather brilliant, but he throws those damn child labor laws into my face.

I am lucky that my family is all near-by. They all love my son and vice versa, although some of them refuse to return my calls and texts when I ask them to babysit. What’s up with that? My mom lives around the corner and is really a big part of my son’s life. She spoils him rotten, then tells me not to spoil him rotten. I guess she doesn’t want me stealing her job!

My kid has a chronic illness and a minor disability so we spend a lot of time with him being sick, or at therapy or doctors, but he is a great kid, with a ton of friends, all of whom know a little too much about sex for my liking, as I discovered recently while listening to their conversations over SKYPE.

They all play Minecraft and Halo and Xbox live and it’s hilarious to hear them all talking at once when they are SKYPING. My kid has his own servers, and is such a total brilliant geek with this stuff, I try to stay out of it. But when I hear “penis” and “pedo” and “boobs” I pay attention a little. It’s pretty innocent stuff, but I am at that point where I think the birds and the bees may be hovering outside the window, demanding explanation.


I will be writing about my kiddo a lot. He is a huge part of my life. I just hope he doesn’t read these and then tell me how embarrassed he is that I write about him and that I owe him some expensive video games to make up for it.

He will do that. And he will win.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Inner Athlete

I love the summer Olympics. I like to watch all the track and running, and dream of the day when I will run a marathon and live to tell about it. I’ve been wanting to train and run a full marathon for a couple of years now, and have managed to walk a few half marathons and a ton of 5ks, but my real dream is that 26.2 miles of sheer physical abuse, that elusive goal that seems so far off, and at my age, getting further and further away from the finish line by the minute.

I have never been athletic. As a kid I was always reading and writing and exploring outside. The only exercise I got was occasional hikes up Bear Mountain or running around outside in the big yard at my grandparents in Connecticut or walking to the candy store at the end of our humungously long street with my friends.  OK, so I wasn’t a couch potato, that came later when I became a full time employed person sitting at a desk, and then a full time writer sitting at a desk.

I don’t sit on the couch much. It is usually covered in cat hair and I am too lazy to clean it every day. Mostly an office chair. But I still plan to train and do that marathon. I went for a short walk the other day with my kid, and we were walking down a dirt path through the leaves and I felt oh so athletic out there hiking down that grade, well, really it was just a small hill leading to the street, but I could feel and hear the leaves crunching under my sneakers, until I realized it was my knees.

They still kinda hurt.

I think some of us are born athletic, and others are born cerebral and imaginative and destined to spend far more time sitting and creating than out hiking, skydiving, surfing, running or kickboxing. I am the latter, most definitely. If I had to choose between sitting and exercising, for heaven’s sakes, what the hell do you think I’d choose?

I do like weight lifting and enjoyed going to my gym for awhile, and I love walking for miles and even attempting to run part of them. I will do that marathon. I will. I really want to know before I drop dead what this body is capable of, other than digesting food and fetching the mail.

But for now, I’ll just sit and think and write about it, and wait for the Olympics. I have a TV in my office. I can watch from my chair.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Addictions - Chips Are Crack

We all have our addictions. I have some. I am addicted to Lay’s Classic Potato Chips. Just the plain ones, not the ones with flavoring or ruffles. I know ruffles have ridges but I don’t give a shit. I like my chips plain.

So to me, Lays Classic Potato Chips are like a drug. Like maybe crack or heroin, except without the positive weight loss benefit. I cannot eat just one, so don’t even think about handing me a bag unless you plan to get it back empty. I think it’s hormonal. The fat and salt combination makes me feel good.

I used to be addicted to Facebook, but I’m getting better now. I would post at least ten times a day (I think I’m down to five or six now, most days, unless I am extremely bored and there is no food around) and because I am a writer, I had the greatest excuse. I told myself I was “promoting my name” and getting myself publicity by posting so much. But really I was just slacking off. I almost typed jacking off, haha, good thing I caught that.

Now sometimes I go on Facebook and I think “what a bunch of tools and morons, all talking about their pedicures or what they ate or where they work out...” and all the political drama and relationship status changes. TMI people!!! And before you know it, my disgust has dissipated and I am posting offensive pictures or stuff that comes off the top of my head with little time to censor. It’s addicting, posting every thought that comes into your mind, and thinking that other people really care what kind of lunch meat you put on your sandwich. I mean, why wouldn’t they care? I’m a famous writer after all, with a big Facebook following, to which I promote daily.

Sometimes ten times a day!

I do have an addictive personality, though. I mean, I had a container full of almonds, the raw and healthy kind so I could have a healthy snack. I for some reason decided to pour in a bag of M&Ms sitting on the counter, and soon I found myself having a handful of almonds and M&Ms every hour. Then I figured, what the hell, and I just started picking out the M&Ms. I mean, come on, who am I kidding. Chocolate is addictive.

Now there are about ten almonds left. I’ll eat them eventually, when I find something addicting to mix them with.

I am addicted to pens. I love pens. I collect them. Well, I steal them. From banks, stores, auto mechanic shops. You know, sometimes they just give them away free with their logos on them, but other times they don't make that really clear, if the pens are free or just laying on the counter unattended, so I assume the former. I cannot own enough pens. I keep them even when they run out of ink. They are good for opening boxes when I am too lazy to get up and get the screwdriver.

I used to be hooked on all those games like Snood and Bejeweled, but for some reason I have not gotten hooked on any Facebook games. I do not farm on Farmville or play anything at all. I think it’s because there is no opportunity for me to promote myself by playing games, and we all know that promoting my work is my sole purpose for being on Facebook in the first place.