Thursday, August 31, 2006

(15) October 5,1970 "Smileys" R Us

1970: First Class Stamp $0.06 cents
Here comes"The Partridge Family"
Music included : "We've Only Just Begun"-Carpenters,
"ABC"-Jackson Five, "Bridge over Troubled Waters"-Simon and Garfunkel
"The Point" by Harry Nilssen was an Animated TV Special
Jim Hendrix dies of an overdose in London
Students gunned down at Kent State
Erich Segal publishes "Love Story"
At fourteen I was in serious love with Simon and Garfunkel. I played their album "Bookends" so many times I finally had to buy another since it became so scratched. I was devastated when they broke up right before "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" was released. In music the lyric is as important as the melody to me, the more poetic the better. I sang a lot around this time in school choirs and church. I have a natural ear for harmony, and my family was very surprised I didn't go on to become a musician.
This was also the year I became obsessed with everything "Smiley" face. This didn't last long, I collected 70 or so pieces when I quit after a year. "Smiley" Mugs, cookie jar, all manner and sizes of lapel pins and jeans patches. :::Poof::: not interested after that. That is the problem with being ahead of the curve, when it is embraced by the general public I drop it in a hurry. Too bad I didn't keep the stuff, it would have been an Ebay goldmine.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

(14) October 5, 1969 Day-Glow a Go-Go

1969: First Class Stamp $0.06 cents
"One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind"
"Kenner Easy Bake Oven" cooked treats with a light bulb
Monty Python's Flying Circus airs its first episode on the BBC
Andy Warhol and Gerard Malanga co-found the magazine, Interview
Maya Angelou publishes- "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings"
The Jackson Five release their debut album
Children's Television Workshop introduces Sesame Street.
This was the year I got my very own room. This is a rite of passage to any pre-teen, but especially one with five little brothers and sisters. The best part of it was I could decorate it in any way I wanted, and my choice was "purple hippie chick." Purple shag rug, various shades of purple velvet throw pillows, blacklight bulbs and day glow posters. I actually made my own posters, using the overhead projector in the art room at school during lunch period, and I became a budding entrepreneur when other kids at school found out I could do this. I painted day-glo portraits of all kinds of celebrities and teen idols, and traded them for cash as well as swag. I eventually saved up enough to buy a big blow up chair and beaded doorway for my room, and it was some kinda pad when finished. I have to admit the apple certainly doesn't fall far from the tree when you consider my current couch is crushed purple velvet with throw cushions that reverse from purple velvet to leopard skin. (LOL) It all started here folks.

I've been there!

create your own personalized map of the USA

"Borrowed" this cool map tool from a friend's blog. (thanks!) This is a map of all the states I've lived in or visited in my life. I was surprised to find I have a few left, mostly in the deep south. Guess I'd best get to trip planning. :)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

(13) October 5, 1968 My Private Revolution

1968: First Class Stamp $0.06 cents
"Buffy and Mrs.Beasley Dolls" and Kenner's Spirograph
were the "hot" toys
"HAIR, the Musical" debuts on Broadway
Valerie Solanas shoots Andy Warhol as he enters his studio
The year of many movies: 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Graduate,
Oliver!, The Producers, Barbarella, Funny Girl
"Laugh In" debuts on NBC in color
Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. Assassinated
I was twelve years old in 1968, and I remember the pop culture shift that year in this country well. I was in Galveston with my Aunt Boojy when Robert Kennedy was shot, and the upset adults around me, for the most part liberal Democrats, began to fear openly that if derisive conditions persisted in the population there would be a bloody revolution in the streets of this country. Thing was, there was a huge shift in perception that year, the actual revolution expressed itself best in pop culture. In my view all the greatest strides of revolution that this generation made were cultural for the next several years. I generally tell most people this is the year I knew I was a lesbian, but it was only because I finally had a word for what I was. I read the book "Well of Loneliness" that summer (snuck out of a library and hidden from adult supervision), and even though I could not really relate to the masculine "Stephen" character, I knew my attraction to women like her meant I was one too. So this was the first year in my life I became less focused on the narrow view of a child and began to look outward at society and politics. When my own revolutionary spirit began.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Checking in

I recently heard from a good friend who is reading my blog faithfully that my childhood sounds idyllic, and I needed to write and say it certainly wasn't. It would never be my purpose to gloss over the difficulties of my life. Those of you that know me intimately know how difficult my life really was in childhood, and how hard I am still trying to unravel the harder issues I acquired very early. My purpose writing here is to remind myself and celebrate the defining moments that shaped what I have become, what brought me to this milestone in life. This project has forced me to face not only the good but the bad as well, and as I unearth each year I find I am more interested in reclaiming what was bright and beautiful in my life. This is my choice as a "send off" to my next decade. This is not an effort to hide, it is an effort to reclaim.
When thinking about 1966 a story came to mind that I want to share, as it illustrates the thinking and perceptions of childhood well. Several years ago, in conversation with my mother, I asked her about her suicide attempt in 1966 when I was ten years old. She was shocked to her bones and became angry that I knew, demanding to know who had told me of this. The reality was no one had told me. I had stored all the bits and pieces of information and perception I didn't understand as a child until I was an adult, where the pieces fit together to make a clear picture. A therapist told me once that you are only as sick as your secrets, and there were many to unravel from my childhood. So this is a cautionary tale to all you parents with children. They know your secrets and what you are trying to hide, they are little bundles of perception. All they need is words to express what they are feeling or seeing which they will acquire in time. I try to hide nothing from children, as dishonesty sets them up not to trust their own perceptions of reality later. A terrible handicap in life.
I am on day 11 of being a non-smoker. It gets easier and easier every day for me, and I am grateful for my friends Lisa and Genie for being an informal "support" group. We've been telling each other "we can do this" for several days, and I think it is time to change and say "we are doing this" now. :) Good work ladies!

(12) October 5, 1967 The Year I was a "Jock"

1967: First Class Stamp $0.05 cents
"RAT FINK" invades Gumball Machines everywhere
Elvis and Priscilla get married in Las Vegas
"Magical Mystery Tour" and "Sgt. Pepper' Lonely Hearts Club Band" from the Beatles
Jim Morrison and the Doors appear on Ed Sullivan and "go higher"
WACKY PACKS introduced (Yipppeeee!)
US Astronauts Grissom, White, and Chaffee die in a fire on the Apollo
"The Summer of LOVE"
I have never been all that interested in sports. I was the brainy always "writing , reading, or drawing" kid that gets picked dead last in group sports. But the summer I was eleven my best friend was Sue Ellen, who lived in the house behind me. She was a serious tomboy a year older than I who was the only girl in a house full of boys, and she rocked my world. We would have been very unlikely friends, but that was the summer we found we had a common interest in drawing. She liked to draw drag racers and "Rat Finks" on her book covers, and I showed her how to improve them with shading and perspective. In return, she was bound and determined to teach me how to play volleyball and "ring net" (a similar game with no ball but a hard rubber ring tossed over a net.) All summer long we played and played this, and even though I was never as good as she was I did improve. And when I returned to school in the Fall all of the sudden I was a volleyball star! The one and only time in my life I excelled in any form of athletics. And I guess we all know where my admiration for tomboys led. :)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

(11) October 5, 1966 Boots a "Go-Go"

1966: First Class Stamp $0.05 cents
GI Joe "Space Capsule" and Twister introduced
Truman Capote's Black and White Ball - dubbed The Party of the
Century - is held in New York City.
Jacqueline Susann has her first novel, "Valley of the Dolls" published
Sniper Charles Whitman kills 13 at the University of Texas
"Star Trek" and "Dark Shadows" debut

For my tenth birthday I got a package from far away England, the epicenter of cool. My great Aunt Booji was there, studying with a famous portrait painter, and she'd heard from a little birdie I would die for real "Go-Go" boots. And there they were, little white leather ones with slim heels the came to just above my ankles. I am sure they were available in America somewhere, but these came from England and it made them that much more special. I loved those boots, and when I wore my wrap dresses, chain link shoulder purse and bangle bracelets you'd have thought had arrived straight from Carnaby Street after having lunch with "Twiggy." I finally wore them out after several years, but will always remember their little pointy toes and the "click-click" of their heels fondly.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

(10) October 5, 1965 Queen of the Weenie Mobile

1965: First Class Stamp $0.05 cents
Mattel introduces "Creeple People Maker" and "Little Kiddles"
"The Girl From Ipanema," Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto (Still a great song!)
"Green Acres" is the place to be
Danger, Danger Will Robinson...It's "Lost in Space"
And just like everybody else "I Dream of Genie"
This was the year of the Oscar Meyer Weenie Mobile. At least it was for me, since it sat parked in front of my grandparents home for almost two weeks while my grandfather installed a new sound system for the multimedia production inside. The original weenie mobile was more of an interactive children's ride instead of the corporate RV it is today. It was small and dark when entered like a space capsule, seating about six children in front of a small movie screen. Considering this was a corporate icon the advertising part of the film was minimal (that would never happen now), just an animated commercial for, what else, hot dogs. But the actual film was about the magical world of space travel. I was a very popular girl during this time, as rumor of said weenie mobile spread through my neighborhood friends like wildfire and they all wanted to visit it. I must have seen the film inside at least 10 times with friends during that two weeks.
Funny thing is, all through my life I have seen different types of weenie mobiles in different places and times, in wildly different settings (including broken down on the side of a freeway in Seattle...Judy will vouch for me) but they all pale in comparison to the vintage weenie mobile with the movie inside.

Friday, August 25, 2006

I can never get enough of these Internet Tests...

Your Life Path Number is 9

Your purpose in life is to make the world better

You are very socially conscious and a total idealist.

You think there are many things wrong with the world, and you want to fix them.

You have a big idea of how to world could be, and you'll sacrifice almost anything to work towards this dream.

In love, you can easily see the beauty in someone else. And you never cling too tightly.

You are capable of great love, but it's hard for you to focus your love on one person or relationship.

You are often disappointed by the realities of life - it's hard for you to accept the shortcomings of the world.

(9) October 5, 1964 Mr. Peppermint is cooler than the Beatles

1964: First Class Stamp $0.05 cents
Good Friday Earthquake in Alaska
"A Moveable Feast" by Ernest Hemingway released after his death
The Beatles arrive in the United States (yea, yea, yea)
"Bewitched" and "The Addams Family" Debut
"The Unsinkable Molly Brown" released in theaters
Ah, the Beatles. This was the year they invaded America, on lunchboxes, pins, and all over the radio. I was a little young at seven to really be swept up in the "crazed fandom" but I remember watching them on television and promising my stepfather's scandalized southern Baptist mother I would never listen to evil "rock and roll." A promise I broke pretty quickly, as this was the year of my first record player. My first real record was "The Sound of Music", which I listened to so many times I break out in hives today just thinking about it.
This was also the year that Jerry Haynes aka "Mr.Peppermint," a Dallas children's show legend, attended my birthday party in full on Mr. Peppermint drag. He also brought along a box with his finger puppet "Mr. Wiggly Worm" in it. Now, Mr. Wiggly Worm got tiny little letters and presents sent in from children all over Dallas for his worm hole house, and the interaction with him at my birthday party set me off in my obsession with tiny little toys acquired through gumball machines. I have seen Mr. Haynes acting in many venues later in life, but every time I see him in anything I can't get past thinking of him as "Mr. Peppermint. " Talk about typecasting, but I am sure there are worse fates. Here he is with Mr. Wiggly Worm's tiny mailbox.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

For the "Only In TEXAS" File

When the dust gets thick on the back window of his Mini Cooper, artist Scott Wade uses it as a canvas to create temporary works of art. Among his creations was a copy of C.M. Coolidge's 'A Friend in Need,' better known as dogs playing poker.

Wade used his finger and other implements to etch this homage to Vincent Van Gogh's 'Starry Night' and Leonardo da Vinci's 'Mona Lisa.'
Wade lives off the unpaved Roadrunner Road north of San Marcos, which dusts the back windows of his car and gives him the canvases to create his own works of art. A portrait of Kinky Friedman on the back of the Mazda driven by Wade's wife, Robin Wood, was featured on the gubernatorial candidate's Web site.
Who needs a frost-covered window when you've got road dust to create a Christmas scene? Besides his fingers, Wade uses traditional art tools, such as paintbrushes, and unconventional ones, like a chewed Popsicle stick, to make his drawings. Wade takes pride in his creations, but he knows that with one good shower, his work is gone

Just goes to show you what lengths some Texas men will go to keep from actually washing their car.

Thanks Gerard for sending this...too funny! :)

(8) October 5, 1963 Through the eyes of a child...

1963: First Class Stamp $0.05 cents
Sylvia Plath publishes "The Bell Jar"
Patsy Cline dies in plane crash
"Cleopatra" in theaters starring Liz and Richard
John F. Kennedy assassinated in Dallas, Texas
This is my first grade picture, taken in October of 1963. John F. Kennedy was assassinated in the next month in Dallas, and I was a resident of Dallas at the time. My mother worked in Parkland Hospital where the president was taken, and my grandfather was the director of sound editing at WFAA News, so I had a very unique perspective on the events of that day.
I remember I was in school, and our teacher was called to the hall, and it was obvious she had been crying when she returned. All the adults seemed upset, but nobody really told the children my age what was happening. My first real clue something terrible had happened was when I was picked up from school early by my Aunt Alys. I was taken to my grandparent's home where all the grandchildren were taken that day, and it was clear something really bad had happened when we arrived. The adults all gathered around the television and seemed distracted and upset. When I questioned why I was there, and why my mother hadn't picked me up I was told she was at work and it would be a while until she got home. Finally my Uncle Jack gathered all the children up and told us the president had been shot and he was dead.
Later, after dinner, when my cousin Jackie and I were in the backyard swinging, I remember telling him that we could never tell anyone we were from Dallas ever again. I was so instinctively ashamed this had happened in our city.
My mother didn't return until very late that night, as Parkland Hospital had "locked down" upon the President's arrival: No one in or out for hours. My grandfather was at the television station for 49 hours straight. We all watched black and white TV as my mother's attorney Sarah T. Hughes swore Lyndon Johnson into office as president of the United States. And I was watching television a few days later in the den of my grandparent's home when Lee Harvey Oswald was being transferred and was shot on "live feed." It was a terrible week for everyone, engraved in my psyche for years.
An interesting follow up to these memories is that when I went to see Oliver Stone's movie "JFK" as a grown adult I shocked myself by openly and intensely weeping during the scenes of the assassination. I realize now I cried because I didn't then, trying to be so grown up. I finally was able to release the sadness of that terrified six year old girl. During 9-11 one of my first thoughts was of the children who witnessed it (even by television) and became traumatized and my heart went out to them because of my own experience.

100th Blog Post

Yipppeeeeee !

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

And yet another Art Quiz

Who Should Paint You: Andy Warhol

You've got an interested edge that would be reflected in any portrait
You don't need any fancy paint techniques to stand out from the crowd!

(7) October 5, 1962 "POP" goes the Sinclair Dinosaur

1962: First Class Stamp $0.04 cents
Marilyn Monroe dies in her home.
The term "personal computer" first appeared in the media.
Here come "The Jetson's"
John Glenn orbits the earth.
I spent the summer when I was five years old in Galveston, Texas with my Great Aunt "Boojy" for the first time. ( So named because some child could not pronounce the name "Ruth" and it stuck) She was a retired painter that lived in Galveston, and I learned to love art through her. I also learned to swim like a fish. My uncle Bill lived and worked in Houston as a petroleum engineer, and he would drive over for visits on the weekends, always bearing gifts. My favorite was an inflatable plastic Sinclair Gasoline Dinosaur Promo, that when blown up seemed as big as I was. Sinclair was the perfect beach toy and I spent many sun soaked days riding him in the ocean. On one of Uncle Bill's weekend visits, Sinclair popped. I cried like I had lost my only true and best friend. Trying to patch him, consoling me at his demise...nothing worked. So my uncle drove around to every Sinclair gasoline station within a 50 mile radius to find and replace my dinosaur in the dead of night. I found this photo on eBay to show what my dead Sinclair looked like. Thanks Uncle Bill for this sweet memory. I loved you even when you became a Republican later in life. :)

I am still a non-smoker today. :)

My cigarette fog is finally lifting, and I can actually think and write some today. I had to cancel my trip to Houston this weekend because of illness, and I was a little disappointed in that. My body is detoxing with a vengeance. But I am very happy I've reached day 6 without smoking and it is getting a little easier. I have a lot of things to deal with that have piled up and I'll spend the weekend dealing with some pressing issues. And continuing my creative projects and blogging of course.
This morning I could smell my toast cooking. This may not seem very impressive to anyone with a functional nose, but it was a real shock to me. Even with the low amount of cigarettes I did smoke I obviously deadened my sense of smell somewhat, and this morning it seemed to come back in a whoosh. So I am feeling the urge to clean everything I come in contact with now to rid any smell of smoke. I love smells, and now that it's coming back I want to remember what things smell like without the smoke fog.
Genie is doing very well too, and is going away this next week to work for "smoking" (but sympathetic to her quitting) family. I am going to surprise her with some homemade Snickerdoodle cookies before she leaves, and tell her to eat one everytime she gets a craving at their house. Neither of us has had the munchies associated with quitting, but both find cinnamon helps in some way cut the craving. I just think if she has cinnamon cookies to look forward to when she feels crazed she will be able to know someone is supporting her to quit. I am crossing my fingers for her, as this is a difficult thing to do.
Thanks to everybody that has been supporting me in this. I never want to go through this again, so I promise I am well on my way to being a non-smoker.

Mom,It only costs 50 cents !!!

This is an example of how "small town" my residence in Texas is. I see this little kid amusement ride truck everytime I stop in the local grocery store, a tradition of days long past. I am sure I was not the only child parked at an outdoor amusement ride when their mother went grocery shopping, and these would never show up at Super Walmart now. Too much of a loss leader when you want the kids screaming and begging for products inside the store. Thought I would stash these photos on my blog to remember grocery store rides as I am sure someday these will no longer exist. (BTW...When taking these pictures this morning I actually rode this modern version. It kinda freaked out the store personnel, but what the HELL...I'd have gotten that 50 cents outta somebody and ridden it as a kid! I am happy to report it bumped and grinded and made a little "varrroom" sound. Not as satisfying as Disneyland but well worth 50 cents.)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

(6) October 5, 1961 Barbie Shoes

1961: First Class Stamp $0.04 cents
"West Side Story" Film debut
Lonely no more: Barbie gets a date: KEN
"Fritos Brand" Corn Chips are introduced..And soon came Frito Pie
Judy Garland performs her "comeback" concert at Carnegie Hall
This is a picture of my grandparents and all their grandchildren in 1961. I am the blond sitting next to my grandmother in the attractive 1960's shirtwaist dress. Notice how daintily I have crossed my feet, I had early training in being a lady. I was my grandmother's favorite, and she told me so all the time, even though she practiced equality with her entire brood (that numbered 21 eventually). I think this was because I was always around her in my early childhood, and I had an artistic temperament that appealed to her French sensibility.
It was about age four I started drawing, and I drew a lot. I became obsessed with drawing Barbie shoes of all things, and I would draw pages and pages of little high heeled shoes. I practiced and practiced, and to this day I can draw a classic Barbie pump in under a minute flat. Just like riding a bicycle without training wheels, it never leaves once it is mastered.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Yet another Internet Test..

You Are 100% Psychic

You are so very psychic.
But you already predicted that, didn't you?
You have "the gift" - and you use it daily to connect with others.
You're very tapped into the world around you...

Quitting smoking is going well, but I am somewhat sleepy and lethargic. So pardon my internet tests (even though I do find them entertaining personally) I will be back to writing again as soon as the fog has lifted. :)

(5) October 5, 1960 Magical Thinking

1960: First Class Stamp $0.04 cents
"To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee is published
Beatles make their debut in Hamburg, Germany
John F. Kennedy elected 35th President
Everybody was "Twisting" to Chubby Checker
When I was almost four years old I adored my mother's younger brother Bill. He was funny and great with kids, and I would follow him around like a puppy. Like every child, I resisted bed at night, so he devised the perfect way to coax me there. He convinced me that when I blew on the lights in the house at night they would magically turn off so everyone could sleep. I was the only one with this special gift, so I took this responsibility very seriously. I remember walking from lamp to lamp with him, carefully blowing on each lightbulb as it went out. It was a few years later that I realized I didn't really have this magical power, that he actually jerked the lamp cords out of the socket at the exact moment I blew on the bulbs. I was actually more disappointed realizing this than finding out Santa Claus didn't exist. But I do remember a time when I had a magical and mysterious special power, and cherish the memory of it. My favorite example of the magical thinking of a child.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

(4) October 5, 1959 In Search of the "Outie"

1959: One Gallon of Gasoline $0.25
The Guggenheim Museum Opens in NYC
Barbie is Born!
Alaska admitted into statehood
"Jiffy Pop" introduced
I was about three when I became obsessed with belly buttons. I understand all children do this, and it is a natural stage of development. I was a little extreme in my quest. My mother was single and dating at the time, and I felt a true measure of the men in her life was seeing their belly buttons. I would crawl up on the lap of perfect strangers and demand to see a belly button, and start working to remove any clothing that got in the way before they could even answer. My mother told many stories of how perfectly unflappable men fell into my trap, and more often then not they could not refuse me. I am happy to report I have outgrown this...but not by much. Belly buttons beware!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

My Mood Today

You Are Best Described By...

From the Lake, No. 1
by Georgia O'Keeffe

(3) October 5, 1958 Fear? What's that?

1957: First Class Postage $0.04
Rice-O-Roni Introduced
Saint Clare of Assissi declared Patron Saint of Television
"The Jolly Green Giant" first appears in advertising
Hula Hoops Hit Store Shelves
My grandfather, as some of you know, was the director of sound engineering at WFAA television station in Dallas for many years. He loved to take me to the office to show me off to his buddies there, and once when I was about 22 months old he took me in and sat me on the floor of the news studio while he fitzed with some microphone problem. He lost track of me, and finally realized I was gone about ten minutes after he sat me down. They searched the newsroom high and low looking for me, panic stricken that I had crawled through the electrical wiring and had gotten hurt. In actuality, I had followed someone through the side stage door and was on the side roof, climbing up the WFAA transmitter tower. I had seen my grandfather do this many times, and thought it looked pretty cool to me. My grandmother said he was never so close to a major coronary as he was when he saw me dangling near the middle of the tower, about 12 feet up.
Of course I was just fine until I looked down, then I got scared and hung on like a monkey. I'll never forget how calm and strong he was that day, coaxing me down to a place he could reach me. He must have been terrified but he never let me know it. He was so relieved when he reached me finally that I got off with a very stern warning and no spanking. But I never did that again, and marvel at my fearlessness to this day.

Get thee behind me SATAN....

Here I am again...quitting smoking. I've hated smoking for a while...absolutely hated the feeling of being addicted to them. In the beginning when I smoked Dunhill menthols they were sexy and the smoke curled so beautifully in the sunshine streaming through the studio window in Commerce, Texas. I even had rhinestone studded cigarette holders that punctuated a conversation nicely. I can attest to how sexy it always is in the beginning. But when it gets past the novelty, and becomes a driving force, it is awful. I have quit several times in my life, but the siren cigarette always calls back in times of deep stress. My mother's death last year started me down that road again, and on the anniversary of her death I decided to once again walk away from the fervid embrace of this addictive monster. My compassion as always for everyone who finds some measure of comfort in addiction and is struggling to stop it as well.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Dosha Personality Test

Your Dosha is Pitta

You have a quick mind, a gift for persuasion, and a sharp sense of humor.
You have both the drive and people skills to be a very successful leader.
Argumentative and a bit stubborn, you have been known to be a little too set in your ways.
But while you may be biased toward your own point of view, you are always honest, fair, and ethical.

With friends: You are outgoing and open to anyone who might want to talk to you

In love: You are picky but passionate

To achieve more balance: Be less judgmental of those around you, and take cool walks in the moonlight.

(2) October 5,1957 Walking with Snerdly

1957: Gallon of Gasoline $0.24 cents
Tang Breakfast Drink Introduced
Ann Bannon first publishes "Odd Girl Out"
Soviet Union launches first "Sputnik"
Pink Flamingos Hit Store Shelves
So in 1957 I actually learned to walk. I learned at 13 months, because I had a little help. My grandfather had this large dog named "Snerdly." As I remember he was a short haired yellow dog, and some sort of Lab mix. Of course Snerdly looked as big as a horse to me. I learned that if I grabbed his tail and he would drag my baby walker slowly across the room, and I figured out if I stood on my feet we'd go faster. And then we'd even go faster still if I walked along. So poor Snerdly drug me around like that for weeks, until I started to walk on my own. It is a wonder he didn't bite me, or even snarl. It must have been an embarrassing HELL in front of his doggy friends.
Picture his indignity: poor distinguished older dog grasped firmly by the tail followed everywhere he went by a blond baby in a frilly dress and tiny white shoes. If that wasn't bad enough, I am sure the little bells tied in my shoelaces that announced to the world we were coming gave him no peace.
Snerdly, I am sure you made doggy heaven honey. Or maybe even doggy saint for this. You deserved it.

It's been a year...

Today last year I lost my mother, and these flowers are in memory of her. I had a pretty hard day around this anniversary, seems I am handling it today less well than I did when it was in the middle of it. Maybe it is more real to me in some way now, or I have more time to think, who can say. So I placed these flowers right under my alter, and they are very fragrant and do make me feel better.
I have lost many people in my life, and generally feel at peace with these loses since I do believe that the void is a pleasant one, and may in some cases lead to reincarnation. But losing my only parent feels very different. I was surprised by my grief surfacing this week. I wouldn't even know how to describe it to anyone who hasn't lost a parent yet, but it is indeed a different kind of longing. Closer to the bone, in a place no words come from. So I am thinking of my mother tonight, and hoping she is truly at peace. And yes...we will get to the bluebonnets this year...I promise. Even if I have to buy grow lights and grow them myself.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

(1) October 5,1956 Baltimore Maryland

1956: First Class Stamp $0.03 cents
Minimum Wage $1.00
Elvis Presley introduces "Heartbreak Hotel"
Board Game "YAHTZEE" introduced

Yes,I truly was born in Baltimore Maryland. It was a terrible accident, as my born and bred Texas mother was there teaching Microbiology at John Hopkin's. Nothing is quite as embarrassing as being raised in an old Santa Anna land grant Texas family and having to admit this out loud. Now I have been to Baltimore, seen where I lived the first month of my life, and eaten heavenly soft shelled crabs there. Baltimore really seems like a lovely city. It is just the principle...a true Texan should be born somewhere within the confines of the state. I guess I have "overcompensated" for this unfortunate turn of events all my life.

Luckily, my mother had the decency to drag me back in November 1956 to Texas, where there was a welcome home party and I was formally named by my great grandfather "Laura Belle." (Supposedly in Spanish this means "beautiful flower.") It is family legend that we arrived in Love Field (a local airport in Dallas) in the middle of a gathering storm that brought tornados within hours of my arrival, and while he was alive my grandfather never let me forget it. When happy I was his "bouncy little twister", when angry I became his "tornado hellion." I believe in signs in life, and being likened to weather conditions has stuck on me since birth. No wonder I am sometimes considered a force of nature.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Dragging through Computer HELL

Wow, am I tired of dealing with my computer problems. Today my keyboard and mouse bit the dust. Oh, they are fine, but Windows XP isn't recognizing them anymore and so I can't even get loaded up. Yes, I know, all you geekoids out there, that all these niggly little problems I've dealt with over the last two months point to one big motherboard. Ugh... On my roadtrip this weekend I took some amazing road shots, all uploaded and now not accessable, which really irks me to no end. Luckily I have access to a computer to update my blog and answer emails for a little while each day until the problem is resolved. But little else, and this really points up the fact that computers are indeed taking over human life. I actually cried over the frustration of this tonight, and that feels incredibly silly.
Now that the alter posts are finished, I thought about what next to write about, and decided that since I am turning 50 years old on October 5th I would write a story from every year of my life every day for the 50 days leading up to my birthday. Checked the calendar, and that would actually start on Thursday of this week. I think I can remember one story for each year, ones I was told for the first few then remembered from then on. We shall see what interesting things develop. So I am off to throw myself across my bed and maybe have another good cry. I don't know what for, but I am sure to think of something (LOL)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Blogger Baby Milestone

WOW, just woke up today, after finishing the last alter item post, and realized I'd been blogging for an entire month on Sunday August 6th. Eighty one posts in 35 days. Who knew I'd have so much to write about :)

** FINIS **

And so here is my little traveling alter by
Enedina, cleaned and ready to be restocked for another year. It should be interesting to find what new things come this year to find a home here.
To everyone who has been reading this I hope this inspires you to think of what is important in your own lives, and take a minute or two to focus your own intentions. And to all my friends know I do indeed love you all, and thank you for what you have given me and taught me in this life.

Artist Alter of Intention : (34) Antique Silver Dollars

Purchased in a box of old coins, I found these two old silver dollars when I lived in Alaska. The whole box cost me $5.00 at the time, and I have since found they are actually worth a whole lot more money. They have been on my alter for years to represent "positive cash flow" and call forth abundance (Very important concept for an artist in this age), but little did I know until recently they actually were positive cash flow in themselves. Just a reminder to me to keep my eyes open and find the jewels in places I least expect in life.

Artist Alter of Intention : (33) Tibetan Mala Prayer Beads

Another gift from Judy's travels (there seem to quite a few of those) this strand of Tibetan prayer beads have been on my alter since Seattle. Mala bead strands are used to count mantras or prayer repetitions. Traditionally, they consist of 108 beads. The large bead (usually with a red tassel) is called the "guru bead" and symbolizes the teacher. This strand is made of traditional bone beads, finished off with a guru bead end made of Kadamwood. Another way one spiritual belief is similar to another, as I see this as similar in intent to a rosary.

A "Stranger than Fiction" Reality Moment

It started about mid July. My roommate Genie was well aware of it, since I had discussed it with her at length, and over the few weeks or so it seemed to be building. I would call it "baseless dread" for lack of better terminology. The last two weeks it seemed especially bad, and I was doing my best to write myself through it in my personal journal. The last time I felt it this strongly was in August of 2001, four weeks before 9-11, and I did tell Genie it felt just like that. Just a "hinkie" feeling that something terrible was coming, feeling agitated and powerless to stop it. Then yesterday evening, after actually forcing myself to go to the movie "World Trade Center" it seemed to break a little, and I had the best sleep last night I have had in weeks.
Imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning to the news from Great Britain. A massive terrorist plot using air travel as weapons foiled overnight. Genie greeted me this morning with the news, and told me she is convinced these feelings I was having obviously were premonition of some sort. All I know is this morning I feel relieved, like a great weight has been lifted.
Now, tie this in with something that has been in my life so long I hardly even think about it anymore. Airplane Crash dreams. It is a well documented fact (Judy, Roger.. I know you remember I do this) that when I dream of an airplane crash, a major one does within days of the dream. For years we marveled at this as a funny coincidence, but now, taking everything into consideration, maybe it is more than that. Am I somehow hooked into the general consciousness around air flight danger and being given premonitions around it? Just to write this sounds vaguely paranoid and "get out the aluminum beanie" kinda strange, but I am left this morning to wonder about this. Maybe there are people that are like "canaries in a cage" who sense these things coming. All I know is this morning I am grateful and relieved on some primal level. And left with more questions then answers. Just a typical day in the life of Laura Belle.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

World Trade Center: The Movie

So after writing on my blog this morning I decided the best thing for my funk was to face my fear head on. After discussing my experience and committing my demons to blog space, I found going to the movie "World Trade Center" was the thing to do. Not avoid reality, but take an active roll in it.
The movie was not as horrible emotionally as I thought it would be, it was actually interesting and uplifting in it's own way. I guess it was because it dealt with two survivors and their stories. I found I was much less traumatized by this movie than I was with the opening of Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11." I will always remember that opening, black movie screen with only the noises of 9-11 to suggest the day. So very powerful, much so I thought than actual footage that we had all seen a million times. I could hear people "sniffing" around me today, but generally at the footage that depicted the men thinking and talking about their families while trapped. It is classic Oliver Stone, so there is some pretty graphic violence. But heck, it is 9-11 depicted after all, can't get much more violent than the real thing.

Would I recommend this movie? I don't know. I can't imagine it would have as much impact as a rental, but I would suggest paying matinee price for it.

Hmmm....Wonder who sent this ???

This cartoon about "blogs/frogs" arrived in my mailbox today. With very suspicious altered handwriting and no return address. Obviously sent anonymously as a witty commentary on my new blog. Good thing the United Postal Service stamps letters from their place of origin. This suspicious letter was stamped "Houston, Texas." Hmmm...that narrows it down quite a bit. When the fingerprint analysis is complete I will reveal who was behind this. Just you know I am on your tracks mister! :)

Demons BE GONE

I've been in a funk for a couple of days, and it all started with several conversations with friends about the future of this country earlier in the week. Then the mix gets murkier, as I am thinking a lot about my Mother's death, as next week it will be a year since her passing. Then add to the stew the debut of the movie "World Trade Center." Not one person I know is interested in seeing it, and I wobble between wanting to see it and avoiding it because I have very vivid memories of 9-11 without prompting (Doesn't anyone with a pulse who was alive and breathing then?) that probably don't need to resurface during viewing. In my mind, all of this angst is borrowing trouble, as my grandmother would call it, and today it is my goal to lighten up a bit. So I made the decision to write and try to exorcise a demon or two here.
My memory of the day of 9-11-2001 started in bed. I was living in San Antonio, Texas. I remember hearing the phone ring, and ignoring it, snuggling back down to sleep. Anyone that knows me even in the slightest knows I am not conscious until 9 am, and would never call me, so I ignored that ring. Then another ring, I remember being irked at this point as I struggled to continue to snooze. The third ring woke me up immediately, as I knew it had to be something serious for someone to be so insistent. I answered and it was my friend Roger, calling from New York City.
"Laura, I am OK" he said, "But the phone lines may go down here. I can't get through to my Mom, would you call and make sure she knows I am OK?"
I struggled to follow his rapid fire statement, and sleepily said "Of course you are OK. Why all the drama?"
"You don't know?" was his answer, "You may not want to turn on your television set." He then he went on to fill me in quickly on what was happening in the city.
I am a pretty sharp knife, I generally "get" what I am told rapidly, but I struggled with the reality of what he was saying for a full two or three minutes. I don't ever recall being as confused by information in my life, like my brain could not conceive or comprehend the situation. Like I was still dreaming. If it had been someone else, I would have immediately thought it was a joke, but Roger has been my friend far too long for me not to know his voice when he is completely serious.
And so began the worst day of our collective lives.

Every minute for weeks came one horrible image and realization after another. Worrying about friends I knew in New York. Waiting with the rest of America for survivors, remembering when Genie carefully explained to me through her "ant/ bowling ball analogy" why there wouldn't be any. The silence of the skies, the strange "otherworldly feeling" normal daily activities took on. And most of all the fear that settled over everyone like a thick blanket of ash from the burning rubble.

Life does indeed go on. After weeks of thinking I would never laugh again, I did. But the fear planted like a seed in everyone took root, and our future as a country turned on this dime. Compassion and love for humanity drowned by this fear has led us to today. "An eye for an eye" leaves everyone blind, and that is where we find ourselves as a country now. But I do have hope and faith in people. That this too shall pass and this country will turn back on those that have manipulated this fear for their own gain and demand accountability for their actions. Find them to be the true traitors to this country they are, instead of the grinning good ole boys they play on television. And it is my hope that I see it in my lifetime.

And yet another Internet Test :

You Are a Dreaming Soul

Your vivid emotions and imagination takes you away from this world
You have great dreams and ambitions that could be the envy of all...
But for you, following through with your dreams is a bit difficult without inspiration.

You are charming, endearing, and people tend to love you.
Forgiving and tolerant, you see the world through rose colored glasses.
Underneath it all, you have a ton of passion that you hide from others.
Always hopeful, you tend to expect positive outcomes in your life.

Souls you are most compatible with: Newborn Soul, Prophet Soul, and Traveler Soul

Artist Alter of Intention : (32) Buddha Porcelain Sculpture

I found this little porcelain Buddha at a garage sale in San Antonio, Texas. There he sat on a table of old figurines, between a porcelain clown music box and a frilly French doll. He looked so forlorn and sad there, in that jumble of miscellaneous nic-naks. I do have some respect for representations of faith, and I knew at once I would rescue him from his fate as a chotski. I would find a place on my alter where he could find a home again. And he seems happy enough here. Until I am gone and he is once again jumbled in a box with other nic-naks at my own final garage sale. At the very least he won't suffer the indignity of clown figurines and dolls with mine, as I have few of those.

Artist Alter of Intention : (31) Manaia Bone Tiki Carving

Another talisman from Judy's travels. This little Maori bone carving is called a Manaia Tiki. Now generally Polynesian tiki are male fertility symbols, but in New Zealand you also find female tiki. Mine is about four inches long, and it's original job as a talisman to protect from birth defects and enhance fertility is somewhat lost on me as a lesbian. So I have always included this tiki on my alter to represent fertile creativity. So far, so good. :)

Another Quote: Neruda

"I don't love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:I love you as one loves certain dark things,secretly, between the shadow and the soul."
-Pablo Neruda

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Artist Alter of Intention : (30) 2005 Birthday Ribbon

I have developed a strange habit over the years, and I am not sure why or exactly when it started. Seemed to arrive somewhere in my 40s put I can't be sure. Every year I tie a ribbon from a birthday gift on my alter, and there it stays until my next birthday, where I replace it with another ribbon. This year's birthday ribbon was sparkling lavender tulle one that arrived with roses for my birthday from Rachael. Thinking on why I do this, it may be a marker of age of some sort, or the passing of time. In any case it is always a sweet reminder of my birthday. :)

Artist Alter of Intention : (29) Gold Buddha Shrine Charm Necklace

I liked this tiny little glassed in gold Buddha charm the first time I saw it jumbled in a huge lot of old jewelry. Very delicate, I was wearing it when Mom died to give me the quiet strength to deal with my family members in compassion. Since then I haven't worn it, and it remains on my alter in some ways to remind me of the experience of Mom's death, and the peaceful state of release and peace.

Seeing through future eyes tonight...

Today was a hard, strange day. It is almost impossible to view the conditions changing around us in the world and not give into fear some days. When every blip in oil production brings spiraling increase, when the Middle East looks to be in such turmoil and on the edge of war. When the President of the United States looks to be positioning this country to be under marshal law at some future date, and respect for our government at an all time low around the world. I sometimes think this must have been how the regular people of the Soviet Union felt before the fall of their top heavy out-of-control government. No voice, no hope of changing the rules that governed their lives. I have always tried to act locally and think globally in my political activism and life, but the forward view has shifted to such an extent that even I, the eternal optimist, can only see the dark clouds gathering. And what terrifies me the most, absolutely, is the knowledge that the young that traditionally follow in protest and social revolution are numbed to the extent they don't think there is even the possibility of any change from this course. Tonight, as I sit here writing this, I can only write what I my heart is saying to me. Just a small prayer that keeps repeating like a mantra. God help us.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Artist Alter of Intention : (28) Kuan Yin

This little statue of Kwan Yin has been with me for a long time, on many alters. She is worshipped by Asian Buddhists, usually depicted as female. Known as a Goddess of Mercy and Compassion, the name Kuan Yin is short for Kuan-shih Yin which means "Observing the Sounds of the World." She, of course, is one of many representations of feminine divinity on my alter, but she is also a reminder to me to step outside my limited view and see other views with compassion as well. That truth is sometimes mutable, no one view owns it in entirety.

Artist Alter of Intention : (27) Antique St. Therese of Lisieux Icon

Known as the "Little Flower", I found this antique icon of Saint Therese many years ago. She is framed in a beautiful old marbleized plastic frame with bubble front. In some ways she does represent perfect faith to me with her message of simplicity and unfaltering love. She is represented on my alter since she is the patron saint of those who suffer, especially those with AIDS. I have lost many people I have loved to this disease and remember them all with this icon. But most especially Marty and Howard, who make such impacts on my own life still and who I miss everyday. Never to be forgotten.

"For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy."

- Saint Therese of Lisieux

Sunday, August 06, 2006

What I am Reading: "Self Made Man" by Norah Vincent

Nearly finished with the book "Self Made Man" by Norah Vincent. It's been a riveting account of the author's adventures in cross dressing as a man, and "passing" in traditionally male environments. I must admit I had some preconceived notions of what she would encounter and I was very surprised by the reality in some cases. Her perceptiveness and ability to communicate her experiences have definitely led me to the conclusion it is just tough to be a human being in this world period, as the gender roles in society are so defined and stifling to both sexes to some degree.
She did find as a "man" she was taken more seriously in work situations, no surprise there. But what was really interesting to me was her take on "dating" as a man and men's views on sex in general. If you ever were curious in just what a seedy strip club is like to experience as a man, this is definitely the account to read. And when she describes meeting and dating women it is almost a shameful take on how women preconceive "manhood" and project their own issues on men almost immediately in a dating situation. A very interesting view of women's behavior from the perspective of the "other." I would recommend it.

Artist Alter of Intention : (26) Maori Pounamu Green Stone Necklace

Another gift from Judy's travels. This is a Maori Pounamu Green Stone pendant, carved from the native jade stones found only in New Zealand. Very rare, and dark dense green, usually these stones are carved in the shape of spirals (Koru) to keep the spirit of the wearer firmly attached. I understand inclusions /coloration like this one exhibits are very rare. Must be working, since my spirit is still hanging on pretty tight. :)

Artist Alter of Intention : (25) Tiny Oriental Fans

I've always appreciated the allure of oriental hand fans, from a very young age collected and decorated with them. I have even depicted them in paintings, and generally they represent me in the composition. I especially like antique or old ones, and during my stay in Illinois my nieces noticed all the old ones I kept from auctions and decorated with. The small round silk fan they found for me on a trip to Disneyland, and they returned home so excited they actually found someone to write my name on it in Chinese as well. Just the perfect size for my alter, this fan actually represents the three of them to me.
The other tiny oriental folding fan was one I found in a box of old memorabilia during my auction years, and it was so tiny and perfect I kept it for my alter as well. Generally it just reminds me of my younger self, fascinated with oriental fans, thinking they were mysterious and beautiful.

Another day, another Internet TEST

You scored as The Femme Fatale.
You're carefree, but can be dark and adventurous...
and slightly fatale to the heart.

The Student Dyke


The Femme Fatale


The Sprightly Elfin Femme


The Quasi-Gothic Femme


The Pretty-Boi Dyke


The Surprise! Dyke


The Bohemian Dyke


The Hipster Dyke


The Granola Dyke


The Vaginal-Reference-Making Dyke


The Little-Boy Dyke


The Stud


The Magic Earring Ken Dyke


What Type of Lesbian Are You?

I took this test on a dare from a friend, and I do find it rather amusing. I would never consider myself a "Femme Fatale", but this limited test did. Story of my life almost, The High Priestess and the Femme Fatale. No middle ground I guess. Maybe that would be a good thing, because I suspect the middle ground would make me Betty Crocker.

Artist Alter of Intention : (24) Jackie's Indonesian Contraband

Oh Jackie! I will never forget this little Buddha icon, or how you smuggled it out of Indonesia on your first trip there for my alter. Even today I think I should do the right thing and wrap it up to send it back to the government there anonymously. (LOL) It has been with me all these years and remains on my alter to remind me of bold action and the love of my friend and fellow food whore. :)

Artist Alter of Intention : (23) Vintage Jewish Mezuzah Keychain

As stated before, all religions find a place on my alter. Traditionally you will find mezuzahs on the doorposts of traditional Jewish homes. It is a constant reminder of God's presence and God's mitzvot, and brings great blessings and protection to those that display them. Beautifully rendered, this is a very old one I found on a keychain, and it has a tiny scroll inside. I studied Jewish cerermonial art for several years, and I have always appreciated the tradition of craftmanship in these religious pieces. This is another reminder to me that all faith, when practiced from it's true spiritual core with an eye to the reality of modern life, is valid. I know this is an odd way of thinking. My experience in life, as a daughter of a woman that did not believe in anything she could not understand past her own perception and reason, lead me to study faith extensively to find my own answers. The more I studied, the more core similarities I found in most major religious disciplines. It is the true measure of tolerance I think; respect for all true spiritual belief.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Artist Alter of Intention : (22) DD's Peacock Feathers

I have traditionally loved peacock feathers. At one time in my youth, I thought they represented opulence and were truly one of the best marvels of nature. For years I had vases of them as decor. This year my friend D. D. started a new business, and one of the symbols she chose to represent it was peacock feathers, and these are from her. I placed these on my alter hoping to send good luck her way with her new life and business. I often do this when sending goodwill to any of my friends that might need a little "umph" from the Universe. Don't know if it always works, but my good intention is there. So when ya'll ask me to or I say I will, yes, I really do it. :)

Artist Alter of Intention : (21) Valentine Hearts

Hearts generally represent love on alters, and these two are no
exception. Two hearts given to me on two different Valentine's days by two people I know love me. The larger red carved Jasper stone heart given by my friend Wade when I was having a very difficult year on that year's Valentine's Day, it came when least expected and most needed.
The small cast Thomas Mann metal heart came to me this year from Rachael, who gave me a pair of earrings I will always wear and cherish, with this heart included because that were a Valentine's gift.
To me these hearts represent the love I have had in great abundance in my life. A reminder to be honored and grateful for for every bit I have, and continue to, experience.

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Final Send Off

Here it lies. In the box provided for it's return to it's maker...
or at least to the Cingular Insurance Warehouse.
Alas, poor cell phone, you served me as well as you could. You were my first cell phone, that will always make you special in my heart. I will never forget learning to program you with my favorite telephone numbers and that time you were with me to call Triple AAA to get my keys that were locked in my car (ok, you did this twice in the last year). Many, many days you have burned up the wireless connection to NYC and anywhere there was a friendly receiver to welcome you. Your legacy will continue and, I assure you, always be remembered every time I pay my bill.
Farewell Friend. >>sniff<<