Monday, July 31, 2006

Power Source and Cingular Saga Looking Better

Finally got the power source replaced in my computer today. This was the first part of the big computer upgrade, and it seems to be running smoothly and all systems are go. The problem seemed to be the power source for the fan that cools the actual power box itself snaked it's way all the way down to the motherboard and then back again to run the fan. That is some serious design error if you ask me, as of course it would burn out the fan in time. The new power source runs the fan from the power on cord so I shouldn't be having this problem again. Now on to the new video card and extra hard drive we'll be installing later in the week. Thanks Genie for proving to me we could actually do this ourselves :) By the time I leave here I bet I'll be building computers on my own practically. (This is where everyone that knows me can insert a hearty laugh at my expense. Not in my dreams, thank you, and I know it already.)
The good news is that I finally got a Samsung phone from the Cingular Wireless Warehouse that I will actually keep this time. It does seem to be a cheaper material and I still think the design is chunky, but it is the upgraded version of the phone I actually had to begin with. It is upgraded to access and send computer Im's easier. Which I will avoid like the plague because of the expense of Global Positioning time. (LOL) It's always something with me, I am sooooo not a techno geek. I'm still not happy I have to pay a huge deductible for it, but some battles in life aren't worth the effort. I guess $50.00 is were I draw the line, maybe if it were $50.01 I'd be in there slugging.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Artist Alter of Intention : (11) Chalk it up to Experience

Some lessons in life are really hard. A few years ago I was
devastated by a very hard life experience. Soon after I went on vacation to the beach, hoping to find some peace and healing around it, and while climbing my way back up from my sadness I found this silly set of chalk sticks. Funny how humor can actually break the spell of a focus on what is lost and can point you in another direction entirely. I took finding these as sign from the Universe to "get over and on with it." Of course this set found it's way to my alter, where it serves as a daily reminder to remember the bad in life is just as valuable as the good. To try and take it all with humor and not be so attached to my own agenda or projected outcome.

Artist Alter of Intention : (10) Tiny Gold Porcelain Vessel

This tiny gold vessel/vase was in a set of dollhouse china dinnerware I had as a child. It stands about 1/2" tall. I've lost most of the pieces that came with this set over the years, but this one stood the test of time and movement. This precious little vase represents the feminine principal on my alter, woman as vessel. I also see it as the repository of the dreams of a child.

Artist Alter of Intention : (9) Hindu Prayer Scroll Charm

I found this little Hindu Prayer Scroll last December. Like most Hindu silk prayer scrolls, the first image is of Vishnu, and although I have not opened and unraveled it I assume it shows the Hindu Gods and Goddesses in order like they usually do.
The Hindu God Vishnu is the preserver and protector of creation. Vishnu is the embodiment of mercy and goodness, the self-existent, all pervading power that preserves the Universe and maintains the cosmic order. Being a guy and in the direct line of Buddha he always goes first on the prayer scroll. My favorite Hindu Goddess (on second thought I have several) is Kali the Destroyer, generally because she is very powerfully depicted as a great female warrior, the goddess of destruction and creation. She never comes first on the scroll, but she's in there and that's enough for me. This hangs on my alter to honor the Hindu gods and goddesses, and remind me that faith has many faces and all are valid.

After 40 it's Upgrade, Upgrade, Upgrade

Spent a good amount of time today researching and discussing options to replace the poor sick power supply in my computer, and backing up my pitiful hard drive with more juice. So I am committed to dealing with it this week, and may be offline for a few days while we do major surgery on my machine when the parts arrive. I will definitely post a heads up when that happens.

I was thinking the other day, I actually remember a life before computers. I think my generation will definitely be the last that can. From my extraordinarily expensive ($5000.00) first laptop, where I had no idea how to do anything but point and click to now when I am actually learning more about HTML code writing it's been a pretty bumpy ride. Again, I did avoid it, mainly because in some ways I do not trust technology. It is the fault of the V.C.R. I am afraid. I could never program one to save my life then, and I am no better now. Some things never change.

Today I sent out links to my new blog to some dear friends, as I had actually written enough I thought my blog could be interesting to others. Not like a real letter or anything, but better than nothing. Several responded and that was fun. I forgot to mention ya'll can respond to any post at the bottom by clicking the "comments" section, and the best part is you don't have to log on or be a member to do so. I do enjoy doing this, because it is like little daily postcards that can be picked up and read any time. So welcome to everybody. I'll keep writing if you keep reading :)

Artist Alter of Intention : (8) German Sterling Silver Chime Ball

When I was working in Alaska as a gift buyer, I found these chime balls a a wholesale show and purchased them. I am sure you have seen smaller versions as it was the rage to wear them as necklaces a few years back, but those pale in comparison to this one. I do have a smaller charm like version I wear on a necklace, but this one is about 2 1/2" in diameter and was made as a meditation tool. As you roll it in your hand it "chink, chink, chings" a little tune from an internal mechanism that is activated by movement. Because this one is so large, it actually makes a deeper richer sound. The sound is just delightful, at least to me. Similar to running water almost. Placed on my alter it represents music and all the pleasant sounds of life. Chink, chink, ching :)

Artist Alter of Intention : (7) Crystal's Special Rock

In my alter building activities over the years, I have been surprised that children actually "get" the concept easier than adults do. At least that is my experience. My niece Crystal looked around for a very long time before she actually found the perfect rock for me to include, and was very proud of finding it. She always checks my alter to see if it is still there. To me this rock represents her excitement about being a part of my alter. It also represents nature, the physical earth, as well as the timeless cycle of death and rebirth. Of which Crystal, of course, is a shining example.

Artist Alter of Intention : (6) Chinese Antique Silver Necklace

My sister Patty and I for several years bought and sold jewelry estates on eBay. I didn't know how much I actually had picked up in life about costume jewelry until we started doing this, and we found lots of truly amazing pieces.
This antique Chinese silver necklace is one of our discoveries. We actually bought it for resell, but I fell in deep like (I don't think you should consider calling it "love" for an object) and one of the few pieces out of the thousands we bought I kept for myself. It is a very old silver stamping, three dimensional, and heavy silver content as it tarnishes easily. It does seem to be very old, but oriental jewelry isn't my specialty so I couldn't date it. Since I am a big girl, big jewelry "works" on me, and I wear this sometimes. I actually hang it on my alter because the image is a traveler, and to me it represents the path taken in life. And just like this necklace, my path has been unusual.

Artist Alter of Intention : (5) Linda's Buddha Box

My friend Linda sent me this little Buddha in a box for Christmas three years ago. It comes with a little booklet, a buddha and stand, and incense with burner. The little box it was packaged in set up as a mini alter, and I like it because it is just the right size to fit on my traveling alter. I have traditionally included items from all significant religions on my alter, as I find all true faith has many expressions but one global goal in instilling a sense of gratitude for life and belief in a supreme being. All religions mix pretty well on my alter, no "holy wars" here.

A Snickerdoodle Kind of Day

I made cookies today. I actually repeated my recipe of Snickerdoodle cookies from two weeks ago, because I find if I repeat a recipe several times I commit it to memory. I came into cooking later in life, as I avoided it like the plague (as well as learning to type) when I was younger to intentionally "avoid being anyone's secretary or housewife >>snap<<." Oh what foolishness we believe when we are young. This is hard to explain to anyone under 21 so I won't even bother. You'll figure it out soon enough. Now I find myself cooking and typing (poorly) all the time. Still no one's secretary or housewife, but these are life skills that do come in handy. I can check the oil in my car now too. I must be a terrible disappointment to my 20 year old self.

Started documenting my art intention alter contents here, and that required taking individual photographs of everything and clearing my alter. A great opportunity to dust it and focus my intention. The funny thing was, when Genie visited me earlier she saw right away that it was dismantled and freaked. I didn't even think she would notice and was surprised. I guess she felt an "alter-less" Laura was abnormal in some way. Even though it hangs there every day I barely notice it most times and figure most people don't. Just goes to show, my strange habit of alter building can grow on you and even seem normal after a while. Even in a small town in Texas.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Artist Alter of Intention : (4) Millennium Champagne Bubbles

This cleverly shaped champagne bottle is actually a bubble wand and bubble soap. Usually found at weddings and such, I bought a case of these in December 1999 and sent one to every person I personally knew and loved around the world. The instructional tag I attached said "Please tuck this in your pocket, and wherever you are at midnight on 2000 know I am thinking of you and join me in blowing bubbles to celebrate." Now, I didn't know someone in every time zone around the planet, but there were bubbles blown in London, New York, Chicago, Seattle, Las Vegas, all over Texas, Illinois, Arizona, Indonesia, Japan and too many small cities all over the United States to name.
I figured out there were bubbles blown every hour on New Years Eve from 5 pm to about 4 am the next morning from these little champagne bottles. This one remains on my alter to remind me of all the friends I love and how lucky I am to have them everywhere as we all go about our lives on the planet. Separated by distance, but together in our hearts.

Artist Alter of Intention : (3) Frigidaire Pin

For my birthday this year, I found myself in New Orleans. My friend had Wade had moved there only two weeks before Ms. Katrina also thought it might be a great place to hang. Wade lived four blocks from a levee break, and was not allowed back in the city until the week of my birthday. Of course I went to help with my van, because I believed no one I loved should face that alone.
What we found was utter devastation when I try to describe it to people I
fall woefully short of words. We had a very limited time to salvage anything we could, so armed with plastic gloves, face masks, big rubber boots, and all the plastic trash bags and dry boxes we could find we set to packing up what could be cleaned and kept of his previous life. This picture is of his bedroom as we found it. As you can imagine, not much was salvageable.

Everything was covered in a slushy, messy goo from weeks of
being underwater, and every surface covered in an even worst smelling mold. Luckily, because Wade lived on a second floor we were able to salvage some things. In our hurry to search and pack everything a water soaked box broke, scattering all kinds of small toys and pins across the squishy carpet. In the middle of the mess I found this frigidaire pin in good shape even though it was covered in slime. I asked Wade if I could keep it as a souvenir, and when I arrived home I cleaned it and placed it on my alter.
This is on my alter to remind me that no matter how bad any situation in life gets, there is always something to salvage from it if you are still alive. Thanks for my best birthday ever Wade. Even if we didn't have air conditioning we had Frigidaire :)

Artist Alter of Intention : (2) Glass Marble and Ornament

In my next life I hope I return to be a glass lampworker. I have had a love affair with glass blowing and all manner of glass art for a long time, and I've collected many wonderful pieces. None are so valuable to me, however, than this little misshapen marble. When I was in Seattle I took lampworking classes at Pratt Institute, and this was my very first attempt at making a marble. Now, it is seriously harder than it looks, making molten glass behave. It takes a lot of practice to master the skills needed, I even had to have special pink tinted glasses to protect my eyes from the torch tip and certain intense light blindness. I actually made several marbles that worked better than this, but this was the first one. It's place on my alter is to remind me that even with as much as I know about my craft and art, that in certain ways I will always be a beginner.

This multicolored glass lampworked ornament I purchased at World Market about two years ago for $4.99. Probably blown by a thirteen year old boy in China who didn't have the opportunity and expensive equipment I had during my lessons. No artist in America would master this as well as he did and sell it for so little, but that doesn't make the skill any less valuable. It is placed on my alter to remind me what is possible with determination and practice, and as proof positive there will always be someone farther along than I am. I find it is what you do with what you know that really counts in life, how you make it your own statement. So this is what my little marble looks up to and hopes to be when it grows up.

Artist Alter of Intention : (1) Jim's Fulgerite

In Illinois I was fortunate last year to meet a gentleman retired from the military, an artist named Jim. When I visited his house, he took me into the basement of his home, and I was absolutely shocked at what I found there. He has a room full of what I would easily classify as a "Curiosity Cabinet" collection. These were very common among the nobility in Europe in the 1800's, and I'd never seen a collection in private hands of such magnitude. His travels all over the world with the military had allowed him to see and experience things none of us could ever imagine. Books, gemstones, trinkets, toys from all over the world were included, but the thing that thrilled me the most was something I had never seen before. In his mineral collection he had several hollow tube looking things, and when I wondered what they were he told me the story of fulgerites. The three in his collection he'd actually picked from the sands of the Sahara desert himself over several years. I love learning about new things, and I am always so happy when I learn about something totally new. Being of advanced age it is easy to be jaded, but Jim could tell I was thrilled by this new information. I scribbled the mineral name down on my checkbook register so I could study them at home later. So when I left Illinois to begin the leg of my journey taking me to Texas, my friend Jim gave me this piece of furgerite, and it has found an honored place on my alter.
When lightning strikes Fulgerites are created from the silica sand. It melts and fuses forming these tube-like miracles of "frozen" lightning. It takes a bolt of lightning, billions of joules of energy, 10,000-30,000 degrees Fahrenheit of heat, a few milliseconds and the melting point of silica (sand) to create one of these treasures. Their interior is naturally formed glass, and they often are hollow and translucent. They are very rare, but can be found anywhere there is sand after a lightening storm.

This is on my alter to remind me that sometimes people strike the sands of your life and leave behind something rare and precious, and it happens generally when you least expect it. The best of my friends are like this to me, and I hope sometimes I am to them too. Thanks Jim :)

Friday, July 28, 2006

Artist Alter of Intention : Enedina

The other day my friend Genie, who always stops by my personal wall alter to look when she visits, asked me to tell her what all the things that find a home on it actually represented. As I was giving her a quick tour, I thought about how many times I've done this for others. Many artists build these, and generally I started as a teenager constructing altars and continued it until today. Most folks see them in artist's spaces and don't get the opportunity to ask what things mean when they visit. So I thought it would be interesting each day to tell the story of one item on my alter. I have always been heavily into symbolism, and everything there does indeed have a story connected; a reason it found it's way there. I've never thought to document my process and thinking around doing this, and I think this may be the time and place.
I have always had a personal alter in every place I've ever lived, this one is a painted alter dedicated to Frida Kahlo by my friend Enedina Vasquez. It is perfect for small spaces and I consider it my traveling alter, as I have a five foot tall one as well. This one stands about 18 inches high, made of scrap pine packing crates by Enedina's husband Aurturo and painted by Enedina. It is covered in photographs of Frida Kahlo, and the front piece bears a quote from her diary " I have achieved a lot. I will be able to walk. I will be able to paint. I love Deigo more than I love myself" F.K. I added more jewels, because at the time I obtained it I was designing jewelry. Enedina and I met because we both were very influenced by Frida Kahlo at a time most people didn't know who she was, and were delighted to actually meet after seeing each other's work for years.
Frida will always be a guardian angel to me in some ways. When, after years of waiting, the movie came out I viewed it from the unique perspective of seeing and remembering situations and people in my own life on the screen as well. So it is fitting that she is always with me to inspire my works by being the backbone of my personal alter. Artists speak to each other past time and space in my mind, and Frida is one that speaks to me.

Catching Up

I've spent the last few days working diligently to clear my desk of odds and ends projects. Not that clearing it off is really possible, it is just nicer to be able to see the actual surface of the desk. I also spent a lot of time finishing the nuts and bolts of my blog format, uploading links and filling out forms about books, music, and movies. As I was doing this I realized I had pretty eclectic taste in all forms of media. If you haven't guessed by now I am an artist and very visually oriented. I do read a lot, but generally the only books I am moved to buy and own are art books. My mother used to tell a story about me as a baby, climbing into any available lap and begging to look at the "picture book" which in my case was a huge coffee table book about great European art masterpieces. The acorn doesn't always fall too far from the lap so to speak. I also craved and begged for lemons.... But that is another story entirely. Be warned before you attempt a sip of my iced tea today.
This frenzy of activity is probably because it has been cooler, getting into only the mid 90's during the day. Everyday the weather report says rain, but I think they do that here in Texas to inspire hope. I can actually count the times it has rained in my ten months here. On one hand.
No cell phone update. I did call and found my new one was shipped today. That crack became a hole about two days ago, and the headset is now all wobbly. I guess I'd best finish this entry before it becomes a long drawn out sad list.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

BLOG HTML Tag CRAZY up in the house...

I will walk away from editing my blog template now...I will step away from the keyboard...I will stop looking for cool stuff and get back to the business of actually writing on my blog.

:::::crossing my fingers behind my back::::::

Is there a 12 Step program for this?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Isn't she CUTE ?

Today I uploaded my new 3-D Avatar, Mini-Lava. She's kinda like me, although the folks at didn't provide a larger body model to really look like me. I guess this is what I would look like if I lost some weight and became an animated character. Tim Burton take notice!

The last month as I have worked on my blog I've had a lot of fun, but best of all I actually learned some things. I've learned a little about HTML coding (I have avoided it like a plague for years, leaving it to the professionals). I've uploaded pictures and links. I've played some with type styles. I've been reading other people's blogs, and it has lead me to thinking about other blogging ideas. Everyday I think about how to play even more. I love stuff that inspires creativity like this.

So I think I may be a "Blogger" now. Guilty. (LOL)

Monday, July 24, 2006

My Cingular Saga Continues

On of these things is not like the other...

One of these things does not belong...

But nobody at the Cingular Wireless warehouse could figure this congratulations if you did.

Oh goody. My new replacement phone arrived today. The cheapest plastic Motorola phone you can possibly buy. You can get it on Ebay for a dollar, I looked it up. Can't even take text messages, which I do get frequently. So of course I spent time getting a return authorization from Cingular today. You would have thought I'd asked them to send a check for a million dollars instead of a phone closer in type to my old one. I'm starting to think that crack isn't THAT bad. So the story of corporate greed continues as I get another phone by Thursday. I can hardly wait.

To LOGO or not to LOGO, that is the question

Now I have been an activist all my life, sometimes more active than other times, and when LOGO channel was added to all the cable networks nationwide last year during Pride week I was thrilled. I was in Illinois then, and all I could think of was all the young women and men out there that would have the benefit of seeing they were not alone in the world. Imagine seeing Gay and Lesbian programming 24 hours a day, with gay/lesbian commercials, news stories, and movies when you were young, coming out, and feeling pressure to conform. I even started leaving my TV on the LOGO channel when I wasn't watching anything, just to confirm to the folks that monitor household viewing behavior that there was indeed at least one viewer in Illinois.
So then I moved to Texas. Called the local cable company, and was very clear I wanted to order the cable option that would insure I got the LOGO channel. No problem. Got cable installed, NO LOGO channel. Oh, there was a big black screen where it was supposed to be, but no programming. So I went on a campaign to get LOGO. I called the cable company once a week for four months, every time being told I should have LOGO, they just couldn't understand why I wasn't getting it. Then I upped the ante to one call every day for 30 days, and insisted and was credited for not having it. Still no LOGO. I finally went directly to my local cable outlet to complain in person. I was standing there discussing it with a technician (Obviously family by the way, I could tell by the ride of her toolbelt) when a sweet young motherly type standing in line with me asks "What is the LOGO channel?" I, of course, being me, smiled sweetly and replied "Why, it's the Lesbian and Gay Programming Channel" just like I was discussing a pot roast with another shopper at Safeway.

She actually stepped away from me like my hair had caught on fire. It was truly breathtaking :)

Anyway, I did end up getting the LOGO channel, and so did everyone in my viewing market. I received a bill insert on the company letterhead, explaining the problem was that LOGO was so "new" this area of Texas was not equipped to handle it's individual "key code" in cable boxes, and that the problem had been corrected in the entire area. So I am happy now that it is at least available.
And by the way, if you own a business, and apply for the free COSTCO spousal membership card for your girlfriend, you have me to thank for getting it :) But that is another story for another day...

Kicking down big walls one brick at a time. In heels.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

A Sparkling Jewel of a Miracle

Miracles do happen. I believe they happen everyday if you are really looking. Sometimes they might not come in the package you'd expect, or look the way you thought they might. But they are out there all around. Some small, some so big they take your breath away.
I experienced a miracle this weekend. In the larger view of life perhaps not that big or earth shattering, but a miracle just the same to me.
Thank you.

Another bowl of Chili?

Everyone has their cooking specialties in life. Generally lovingly taught when at their mother's knee or something. Mine is Chili. No beans, just chili. I've been making said chili for years and years, it is a PAIN to make (almost as bad as hand rolling enchiladas for forty)but I do it for special occasions. And doing it for so long that friends that know me well generally request it. (It is my tradition to always make it the day of presidential elections, to celebrate or console, i.e. "Damn, stuck with Bush four more years...But at least we have chili.") Anyway...

I had a girlfriend (Yes, it is possible to have an actual girlfriend) that loved my chili. After eating it the very first time, she actually proposed to me. This girlfriend became crazed over this chili, wanting it all the time. I found I was making it two or three times a month. Now sometimes, unfortunately, in life there comes a time in a relationship you have to weigh the pros and cons. Is this person really worth the energy expended on their behalf? (And do not, for one minute, tell me we have not all experienced this in some form or fashion.) I thought of the endless hours of chili making, and she was definitely riding the edge of that balance. So upon finding no frozen brick of chili in the freezer one day, she smiled sweetly and asked "Honeykins, when are you making more chili?"

Hmmmmm...DANGER, DANGER....we have now finally slipped off that edge into the abyss, Will Robinson.

I smiled as sweetly as I could manage back and replied (This is a quote)"Honey, that just isn't possible, I've run out of chili meat." She pressed, she whined, and she moaned for days about it, even publicly at a friend's house several days later. This was indeed the last straw. I turned on my heel, mustered up my best drag queen stance and said (another quote) "I'm so sorry honey, that chili meat is a special ingrediant. I've always used exgirlfriends, and I've run completely out. Unless you'd like to volunteer?" Ah-hem. The room grew quiet, and the legend was born.

Soooo...To make this long tragic story short...several years after this incident, that girlfriend (now a bonafide ex-girlfriend) called me one day as exgirlfriends do. After catching up and making a few amends, she ended the conversation with "Thank you, Laura Belle, for not using me as chili meat."

This is my story and I'm sticking to it. I'm not really a psychopath, unless you count playing one on T.V. Any questions? >>>peering over glasses<<<

The Hair Monster

That's what my roommate calls me. It takes 72 minutes to actually wash, condition, and rinse my hair (I've timed it), as it is over 28" long now. It actually grows about an inch a month. For years and years I had much shorter hair, and every day now in the Texas heat I think of cutting it. It is my "passive-aggressive" hair statement, and I probably deserve to be miserable with it. Bad Hair growing Karma catching up with me.
Until I was about 12, I had very thick blond hair, and it turned brown almost overnight. It was wavy and I remember ironing it straighter in my pre-teens, then braiding it in High School. I didn't actually cut it short until I was in college. About three years ago I decided to try and grow it long, and not for the nicest of reasons. As I was growing up I had three sisters, all with beautiful long, straight, white blond hair. Mine was brown and wavy, and too thick for the 70's. I hated my hair for years, but a very smart hairdresser told me some day I would love it. I remember laughing out loud for a full five minutes when he said it.
Flash forward to the future. My beautiful blond sisters all have thinning, wispy hair, and spend hours with blow dryers and hair spray puffing it up to actually look like hair. And here I am at 49 with long thick hair. Gobs and gobs of it. I probably loose more brushing it than they have on their heads. I'm generally not very vain. But I do realize I've grown this hair for the teenager that felt not so beautiful in comparison to her sisters. Just because I could. Sometimes the things you dislike the most about yourself come to be what you cherish later. The lesson my hair taught me.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Venting Corporate America

This is my cell phone in the closed position.

This is my cell phone in the open position.

This is the crack in the casing of my cell phone at the hinge, from doing it's job of opening and closing.

Those of you that know me personally know how I resisted this little piece of modern technology. I finally buckled under just last year, tired of waiting for the Social Security implant version I just knew must be coming. I've had my cell phone ten months, and it was every headache I knew it would be and more. So imagine my shock when I realized yesterday, after treating this happy little camper like a precious jewel for months, that the casing at the hinge had a huge crack in it. Not from being run over by a car, not from being dropped on cement from a third story window, but from actually being used. Doing it's intended job. Opening and closing.

Now, I like talking on the phone just as much as any other gal, but I refuse to believe this problem has anything to do with my use of the phone. Looks like a manufacturer's defect to me. Good thing I'm under warranty. A quick phone call to Cingular One debased me of this notion rather quickly. The warranty does not cover the actual phone per se, but only defects on a list provided from Samsung. Hinge crack is not on the list. Hmmm..OK, luckily I am insured at a price of $4.90 a month for problems of this nature. I then call the insurance carrier, and once again I am slapped with the hand of cold, cruel reality. SURE, they can replace my phone housing. Of course there is a $50.00 deductible, the rest paid for by my insurance.

So let me get this straight, I am paying a $50.00 insurance deductible (billed) to replace my phone casing that has an obvious manufacturer's defect. A phone that is still covered under warranty, but not for this defect since the manufacturer doesn't recognize this as a problem.

Cool. I just love being financial fodder under the wheels of the big American Business Machine.


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Welcome to the United States Postal Service

A big errand day for me. The biggest being the post office. Being an old Ebayer I pride myself on packaging my Ebay parcels professionally, and making my time at the Postal counter move as smoothly and quickly as humanly possible for those behind me in line. Today, though, I got "the" clerk. Every post office has one. The "new" clerk that looks at the process of postal automation like it is some sort of mysterious puzzle they doesn't have all the pieces for. Now, I know from reading the papers over the last decade this is a stressful job that causes some postal workers to wave guns around screeching. But nobody seems to have sent the "new" clerk the hurry up memo, and here she generally moves very, very slowly. The line was long when I arrived, and this is a small town so I knew that the "new" clerk was one of two on duty. I got her by luck of the draw.

She immediately saw me as I walked up to the counter, and started to cop a 'tude. I guess it is because my postal work does seem to be complicated and scary (Bwaahaahaa) to her, but I am always prepared with everything marked and ready. All forms filled out, I even use nine digit zip codes whenever possible. On today's agenda, first came the ritual of cashing the existing money orders. Usually I just use them to pay my shipping at the end, but this clerk always recoils in horror when she sees them and requires I cash them up front because she doesn't know how to apply them to my ticket at the end. OK, never let it be said I won't compromise. But today was a special day for us both, as she took my endorsed checks and placed them into the open cash drawer, closing it after. Only upon shutting the drawer did she then realize she had forgotten to run them through the computer for number verification. Oops.

What happened next was tragic and comical all at the same time. Very Fellini-esque, and if I wrote it in a script and delivered it to a Hollywood producer I doubt seriously they would pick up my option. The entire system shut down. Yes folks, if you ever want to bring a United States Post Office to it's knees, just force the clerk to forget to authorize a lowly money order. And not just my clerk's system, the other clerk's computer module went as well. For thirty five long, tick, tick, tick minutes not one piece of mail could be processed at the counter. I stood there trying not to notice the lynch mob forming behind me. I felt the heat of a gathering storm of irked humanity. The line had been exceedingly long before, but after this mishap it became even longer. And do I have to mention how hot it is in Texas at 2:15 pm in the afternoon in a jam packed post office? Tick, Tick, Tick.

After what seemed to be the longest thirty five minutes of my life, and after watching six postal employees try at least 38 ways to "fix" the problem the postal computer was finally tricked into opening the drawer and rebooting the system. I luckily escaped with my life and the ability to tell the tale tonight. But then there is always tomorrow's shipments. :::::shiver::::: UPS maybe?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Some Days it's worth getting UP in the Morning...

Yes it definitely is. Went to an afternoon showing of "The Devil Wears Prada" to have a great laugh considering my somber mood as of late, and when I got home these tiny beauties were waiting for me. Meant to comfort me considering my lost Mother's birthday and to remind me life continually moves forward. I would add to that especially with help from a friend. I arranged them myself in my favorite Italian vase, the one that always sits next to my bed. I do so love to smell roses when I am waking up in the morning, and here is a picture of their new home there. Thank you RCM for your thoughtfulness, as always.

My Favorite Summertime FROG Story

HEY...Aunt Laura...

...LOOK at my...


FROG !!!!

Have you ever seen anything cuter in your life?

And I don't mean the frog. :)

This is Crystal. One of the great loves of my life. Now someday she will be reading this, and will probably blush at her shaggy summertime hair and being publicly displayed on her Aunt's BLOG. But Crystal baby, I am here to tell you that when you get older, and someone doesn't love this group of pictures like I do, or doesn't adore the way you can wiggle your nostrils, walk on by. Because these are some of the best parts of you and should always be loved and nurtured. Just a suggestion from the past for your future honey.

XOXOX The "Crazy" Aunt

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Things that TICKLE me...Hee!

See this pretty pathetic picture of two little desk clocks. Just your average desk clocks, right? Little lucite encased LED clocks that show time date, temp and alarm. But trust me when I tell you these mild mannered clocks are not your typical "soccer mom" kinda clocks. Oh, no. Just last night I found out their dirty little secret. At dusk, when the room grows dark, and the conditions are just right, these seemingly normal looking lucite LED desk clocks do THIS...

...They become the veritable "drag queen disco ball" of desk clocks. The LED faces glow, but not just in one color, but 10 different colors ( red, magenta, orange, yellow, lime green, kelly green, lavender, purple, blue, dark blue) cycling through the rainbow every 30 seconds. Wow!

As you can clearly see, I am somewhat easily amused.

And she's not the only one :)

Happy Birthday Genie

I'll try really hard just for today not to drive you crazy once. Really (LOL)You are a damn fine friend: loyal, trustworthy, smart and absolutely the best of friends to have at one's back. Who could ever ask for more than that in life? Blood sisters to the end my friend. :)

Happy Birthday Risley
As I've said a couple of times, and I am sure I will say a few more, sure does feel "right" knowing you are out there in the world. To reverse my personal quote here, I truly do feel in some ways I know you, even if I've not met you yet. (LOL) And to quote my friend AMG, who says it best, "Love ya like a Monkey" :)
So birthdays, as they should, continue to be for the living. I hope both of you have the best of birthdays today, and know without a shadow of a doubt I am grateful you are both in my life.
Party on, dudettes!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Birthday Girl

Tomorrow is my mother's birthday. The first since she passed last August, and I doubt another July 18th will ever go by now that I forget it. This picture was taken of her at her college graduation, when she was 17 years old.
My mother was a real character, funny, intelligent, and severely wounded by her life. They certainly don't come much smarter than my mother, as she spent most of her life as a clinical microbiologist. In many situations she was the "go to" gal for clinical research, and for many years worked in cancer research at Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. Later in her career she worked closely with the CDC in Atlanta during Aids research outreach. Most gay folks heard the story about the "gay cancer" just about the time my mom actually expressed her concern to me privately about the sketchy findings that were starting to flow through the medical community. She was that kind of mom.

All this generally didn't leave much time for baking cookies, and in some ways she lived a strange double life. Ever the iconoclast, she raised six children by herself. She did the best she could in this regard, but never really "fit" the P.T.A. Mom profile most of her children would have chosen if allowed to pick. I say most, as I always thought it was really cool to have a mom that could describe working on a frozen body for samples as being "just like defrosting a turkey" over the Thanksgiving dinner table.
The wounding of my mother started early and gradually. Finishing college so young, she was accepted into medical school immediately. My grandfather told me once the only thing he really regretted in life was denying her this. But there were younger brothers to educate, and they were prized as more important. She knew the plate glass ceiling women faced in the 50's intimately. She was deeply wounded by her parents inability to acknowledge and foster her amazing gifts because she was female. My mother became, in her later years, almost reclusive, having a difficult time relating to other people and demanding her children be constant company. This is perhaps the reason I have so much compassion for intelligence that has difficulty relating in life to this day.

So tomorrow is her birthday, and today I am thinking about my mother. How the best and brightest things people love about me are on direct loan from her, and how even though I miss her I still feel her near to me. When I find something funny and new in life I always think about what her reaction would be. I talk to her out loud sometimes, generally to thank, bitch, or apologize to her. But one thing gives me great comfort. My mother the scientist has reached the other side, and I know she studied it with great interest throughout the process and would dearly love to share her findings. Working away in the great laboratory in the sky. (LOL) Love you Mom.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Not your DADDY' s WAR

World War Three
Or in the vernacular of our times WWx3. The last few days, with the middle east in turmoil, it is hard not to see this little seed growing rapidly into a cause for concern. Paranoia generally isn't one of my vices, but I have always maintained the next world war would surely be economic in nature, and with the advent of the stock market wavering and gas prices once again climbing even higher I am wondering. Wondering just how this economy, weakened by mismanagement, will continue to prop up "The American Dream" of excess. Wondering where the troops will come from if we get closer and closer to involvement in war on multiple fronts. Wondering what the name of the Israeli soldier that was kidnapped to start this whole mess is, and will it impart the chill "Archduke Ferdinand" evokes and still does in the future. Wonder when so-called "average" citizens of this country will wake up and see the long road ahead paved with their own spiritual bankruptcy and neglect.

And today wondering if it may be time to pray for peace and prepare for war.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Fair Warning

Those of you that know me personally know I have been on a sabbatical of sorts. Amping down my considerable effort to basically isolate myself and work at healing issues that were thrust upon me by my upbringing. As well as dividing the wheat from the chaff in the place I found myself six years ago. I could liken it here to Buddha's 100 years sitting under the tree to think. Luckily because, unlike Buddha, I doubt very seriously that I will make it to my 100th birthday, I find six years has been enough. I am about as "healed"as it is possible to get in isolation, and now I am taking steps to move forward to meet the rest of my destiny. What has not healed is unlikely to at this point, so now I have chosen to continue forward and not expect perfection of myself. To my critics I say, DEAL.
What does this destiny look like? I have no idea really, but I do know I have been sent clusters of signs for a while, and I am busy now heading their direction. I have that old familiar "tip of my tongue" feeling about how this will look, and how it will delvelop and involve me over the next year. I do know nothing I have ever done in life came to me while I was waiting patiently for it. It only came with movement. Sometimes movement takes it's own momentum and whisks you on a different road than you ever expected to be on. You were so right John, when you said life is what happens when you were busy making other plans.
So when you all see me next, you will probably see the old Laura. But scratch a little deeper and you will find another person inside, a stronger one, more focused than ever before. Because this time I know myself better, understand more of what I actually need in my life, and refuse to live in fear if I can recognize and walk through it first. Get ready, get set...go. (LOL) My friends you have been warned.

Have I done this before?

102 Degrees today. Yes folks, that is one hundred two degrees and no /100 cents for you accountants out there. I grew up here in Texas, but scraped my pennies up for a bus ticket out of Dodge right after college. Anywhere but here I thought, and yet here I am again. Life is definitely a big wheel, just like that tarot card image "Wheel of Fortune." Sometimes you are on the upside, and sometimes the down. Texas in the blazing heat is definitely the down for me. But I am here to tell you life indeed runs in a circle and I'm living proof. No matter where I have been in my life, and where I will go, some time again I will find myself in Texas. Let's hope next time it isn't in the middle of summer.
And then there is the thought that lessons provided in life and not learned just keep repeating themselves until you run out of time. I've lived this too. Some lessons I learned pretty quickly, and some still bedevil me. I've found myself thinking a lot about this the last day or so, of the things I actually know from experience and those lessons that still repeat themselves. Like a Twilight Zone episode, same lesson different faces. Today I am grateful for the insights I have had in my life, the hard won self awareness, the lessons I have managed to learn. I do have a way to go but instead of perfection at this point of my life I seek balance. Instead of attached to an outcome I look for the happy accident. Instead of rigid thinking I celebrate changing my mind. Who knows where I will be and what I will be doing next year. Let's again hope if it is in Texas I will have a good air conditioner.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Why I like People...Volume One

Distant Friend: its hard to live in the now when your eyes see the future
Distant Friend: and try to project that on eyes that only see the past
Lavanonda: That's why us geeks gotta stick together (LOL)
Distant Friend: but what you give is the 'feel' of the future
Lavanonda: I am just a small voice
Lavanonda: You are actually the future...
Distant Friend: I'm serious when I tell you that your 'voice' is in the texture of the coming age
Lavanonda: ...and you'll take over for me someday
Distant Friend: make it palateable for those who will witness it
Distant Friend: naw..I'll just provide the background beat
Lavanonda: K (LOL)
Distant Friend: same old rhythems of times gone by
Lavanonda: That has always been the dichotomy of my life my friend
Lavanonda: Revolutionary with a Prada Handbag
Distant Friend: rofl rofl...s.o.s. same ole'...
Distant Friend: fry your eggs lady, you're not done yet by a long shot
Lavanonda: Have a beautiful day in the neighborhood >>wink<<

In the Glow of the Muse...

Last night was a magical night. The days in Texas so hot, and me the delicate flower I am. Avoiding the sun during the day seems almost a full time job, but last night I watched and waited patiently for the sun to go down. As the twilight descended (my absolute favorite time of the day) I stepped outside in anticipation. And there she was, winking at me as she always does as she tracks across the sky. The full moon. Smaller than she is in the Fall season I crave, but the same moon that has been silent witness of my life at every stage. From the child who would sneak out her bedroom window and dance naked around the mulberry bush in the front yard thinking the fairies would come, to the odd teenager that walked along the beach at twilight hoping to see her shine over the water. From the young woman in Alaska that risked severe frostbite to view her glide over the mountains, to the woman who drove all night inspired by her glow reflected off a dashboard. The moon remembers the woman that leaned over her apartment balcony tracking her ascent over the Space Needle, and the woman who sat next to a Midwest pond and spoke directly to her asking for her help in forgiving. Last night the Moon found me as she always does. An older, wiser version, at another crossroad in her life. Still believing the fairies will come, even if she has clothes on. Grateful that no matter how things change in life that the Moon stays a never wavering constant. A silent witness sent to comfort the absurd, the insane joy, the blood line of every life.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Another day, another EBAY ad

Today's accomplishment is slated to be building Ebay ads. I am, like thousands of Ebay sellers nationwide, jonesing for the fix. My friend Wade dropped off a lot of discontinued showroom samples for me to sell, as he knows I actually like doing Ebay. I became a member very early in it's inception, and watched it grow from a pretty friendly happy little place into a MEGA mart full of just about everything. I am fond of saying if you can't find it on Ebay you probably don't need it that bad.

The coolest thing about Ebay is the link to all things you forgot on the trail of growing up. Fuzzy Wuzzy soap that grew "hair" when it dried and had a toy deep inside to encourage you to wash your hands. "RAT FINK" and all gumball machine toys, especially the rings. My personal favorite Wacky Packs (The Original ones) that were stickers packed with stale pink plastic gum. Depicting well known products and advertising slogans of the day with a sarcastic twist. Is it any wonder I grew into adulthood developing humorous twists on "standard" products myself? Some people can thank a favorite art teacher, some can acknowledge a great painting or sculpture as the seed of their inspiration. I am, alas, but an ode to the humble Wacky Pack.

LOOKEE What I got!

Being a novice "blogger" of course I am now interested in all things "blog." Been looking around at other people's blogs, and I've seen all manner of fun stuff to spiff up the neighborhood. Thinking about inserting photographs and the like. So into my life came my friend Risley, who took my baby blogger cyber hand tonight and actually gave me a new hit counter. (See it down there counting you?) Now, it may not look like much, but I am as happy with this development as some people would be winning the lottery. Actually, maybe not, but pretty close. I mean, with the lottery you have all the media glare and people coming out of the woodwork to ask you for money, and still no hit counter. So a hit counter on a blog is definitely better. All the people, but none of the responsibility of writing checks.
Thanks Monkey.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


...We have clean clothes. Repeat...we have clean clothes.

I think I can, I Think I can, I THINK I can

OK, OK, OK. I am armed with the best liquid detergent technology known to modern man, check. I have really smelly dryer sheets, check. Positive change flow, check. Heaping laundry bags loaded into my van, check. Intent to engage the Laundromat locked and ready, check. Now a little positive affirmation. OHM...OHM..."Clean clothing is good."

Guess I now have nothing better to do than the laundry.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

STILL Avoiding the Laundry

I am probably one of the silliest carrots in the poly bag, and I know it. Speaking from the trenches of long training for work in advertising agencies, I am here to tell you there are the "suits" and the "creative" teams in every agency. I am, as you can probably tell, a "creative." Yes, feels good to admit it. Been in way too many conference sessions filled with day old pizza boxes, long dead coke cans, and various paper airplane designs to ever be able to deny it. Even in dealing with the most serious of products/subjects, the "creatives" of the agency drug it in late in the morning after being up all night "thinking" while the "suits" winced. Hey, you think a slogan like "Where's the beef?" wrote itself? OK. Maybe a bad example. The "suits" generally tolerated the "creatives," but they did realize in doing so that an environment of tolerance of the "creatives" playful qualities brought amazing creative insights right along with the pie in the face. The line was drawn around hitting the client with that pie however. Even as much as someone needed to sometimes.
I've been thinking about how "creative silliness" appears to others, how I personally define "Childish" Vs "Child like." That led to thoughts on behavior in general, then relationship issues with said behavior. That is the way my thinking works. It is not a straight line but an overlapping continuum of thoughts/ideas. And the way it works for me, soon this thought will probably lead to remembering I haven't done the laundry yet.

Lions and Tigers and Laundry, Oh MY

Wow, laundry. Have I mentioned how much I dislike doing it? In my current living situation I am required to bundle it all up and drag it to a Laundromat once a week. This works in theory, but the actuality is really every two weeks or so. Ok, maybe even three.
The Laundromat is a strange place full of loud whizzing machines. You actually have to feed these machines money, pour soap down their throats, and wait for them to spit out a big pile of soggy clothes. If you're lucky they may be cleaner at the end, but they most certainly will be wetter. Then off to a big even louder drying machine. Take my advice here and always check this machine before inserting wet clothes for somebody else's crayons, lipstick, or magic marker remnants. And emptying the lint filter is usually a good idea too. Cuts down on those pesky "dryer machine" fires.
Days like today, I seriously contemplate stuffing these piles of laundry in big Hefty trash bags and taking them to the curb. Starting all over with new clothes instead of dragging all these to the Laundromat. But then I rethink, and realize "clothing optional" might not work for my neighbors. Then I start to think about moving. This is how the vicious laundry cycle continues.

"Childish" is in the Eye of Beholder

All my life I've generally spoken to the child inside people. Professionally it has always been a gift to me, generally expressed in humor. That is not to say I do the "baby talk" thing, or even that I am all that "mothering." It is more like recognizing the adult person as the sum of all their parts, including the stages where they may have been wounded as a child. I can definitely see the difference between "childish" and "child like" behavior and generally speak and respond to the "child like." Because that is the core of the person, the part that feels wonder no matter at what age when viewing fireworks. The part that gets excited about what's under the Christmas tree. The part that is most alive, able to trust and love fully when engaged.
Everybody is wounded in some way. And some folks express it in harmful (either to themselves or others) or inappropriate ways. I think this is where addictions come in more often that not, including the regression to an infantile stage as a life coping mechanism. We all know this pathology can express itself in sex as well. Those are behaviors best left to the professionals (LOL). "Babytalk" or pet names between people don't always qualify as regression in my mind, it can be the way two people playfully acknowledge and choose to engage the child in each other. Not the only way certainly, but no less valid. I think in this case it really depends on what side you are on...engaged in the "babytalk" or witnessing it. But scratch the hardest heart out there, and you may find the part that wants to "play." And really, sometimes, this is a good thing.

One of my favorite Quotes

"Again and again, some people wake up.
They have no ground in a crowd and they move to broader, deeper laws.
They carry strange customs with them and demand room for bold and audacious action.
The future speaks through them. They change the world."
-Rainer Maria Rilke
There I was in the middle of a small town library, looking at books to check out, when I read this quote. I immediately sat down and scribbled this on my checkbook register, where all types of important notes find their way. Including financial balance information if I ever remember to update it.
I have been very interested in quotes my whole life. When I read one that moves me to think I generally file it in my journal that day. I have an idea about illustrating inspirational quotes in some way that has not completely jelled in my head yet. Ideas are like that for me, slowly simmering on a back burner until done. Until recently I thought everyone was like this. I now find I am slower than most. So I guess that makes me the "crock pot" of ideas and projects. Not a stir fry in a hot flash, just a slow even simmer.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Exploring the Deceptive Depth of this Puddle

This idea came up in a conversation with a friend ( you know who you are :)) and has played on my mind for days. The thought that every single human being is a puddle that never shows it's true depth unless explored. I journal and write a lot, and through exploration of this same friend's blog I decided I would explore this avenue myself. Writing seems to help crystallize my thoughts/opinions/ and ideas, and make them real and alive to me. It anchors core beliefs, and I find the process is very healing as well. So I will treat this journal as a place for snippets of writing I do publicly, and things I would say to the world if it was listening. Just another puddle in cyberspace, hopefully worth splashing in.