Friday, November 20, 2009
The love affair began with "Toy Story." From the first moment I saw Woody strutting across the screen my heart was lost. At the time, there was nothing like it. The richness of the animation was a feast for the eyes. The music was captivating, the storyline sweet, sad and pleasantly entertaining. One after another hit the screens--A Bug's Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, WALL-E and, now, Up.
I have seen them all. I own them all. I can't say I bought them for my grandchild, because I owned almost all of them before Gabriel was born. I bought them for me. Jerry is not as big a fan of Pixar animation as I am. I am a major geek about the Pixar movies. I have seen them more than once and I'm not embarrassed to admit it.
When I have chores to do, I pop in Toy Story 2 or Monsters, Inc. I can listen to the soundtrack as I clean and it's great. The animation is so pleasing to the eyes. The colors are soothing, the realism is amazing and I just really enjoy the movies.
If you haven't seen any of these movies, SHAME ON YOU. Even if you don't have kids, these movies are worth watching and owning.
Hey, I'm a Pixar geek and proud of it.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
It seems as I get older I have new things appear that I never had before. And I don't mean gray hair. lol I suddenly realize I really don't like heights. They weren't my favorite growing up, but I never let it stop me from doing things. I got into a small plane with my aunt as a pilot. Trust me, if that's not stupid faith, I don't know what is. (You had to have known my aunt).
I easily climbed walls, roofs, trees and such. But as the years went by I became more afraid. For work, I went up in a hot air balloon, 1,500 feet in the air. There was nothing between me and the ground but a small piece of plywood. No parachute, no safety belt--nothing. I still managed to function, albeit a bit slower.
Three years ago, when we visited the Grand Canyon, it took all my will power to walk to the path to the viewing area. Jerry and the boys were fine. They laughed, pointed and enjoyed themselves. Me? I found I couldn't catch my breath. I became dizzy. I was experiencing a panic attack. The vastness of the Grand Canyon blew me away. Have you seen it in person? It's flipping huge. There is so much.... space, it's completely overwhelming.
And last year when I climbed onto our roof to help put on the Christmas lights I felt the icy cold breathe of fear. My knees shook and I leaned over to clip the lights in under the shingles. I felt if I leaned just one more inch over to adjust the lights I was going to fall on my head. I'm going. I'm a goner.
I hurried up and as I slid over to the ladder to get down I realized I couldn't do it. I couldn't step onto the ladder. My legs felt like Jell-O. I was shaking so hard. I sat there on the roof and realized I was going to be there all night. I told Jerry I couldn't do it. "Come on down," he urged. "You can do it."
"No. I can't." I wanted him to go inside and open up the guest bedroom's window so I could crawl into it into the house. But Jerry chided me to climb down the ladder. As he held it, I finally climbed down.
I'm not going up there this year if I can help it. I don't want Jerry going up there either. If I do go up, I'm coming down via the bedroom window. No more downward ladder exits for me.
Just the thought of going up there gives me gray hairs.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
It's fitting that I should pull out one of my favorite books as Thanksgiving is approaching. "A Thousand Years Over A Hot Stove," by Laura Schenone is great for someone who loves women's history and the history of cooking. It gives a different insight into the past than the normal dusty tomes.
Most of our history has been given to us from a male viewpoint. I don't mean to knock it, but that's only one viewpoint. The highlights have usually centered on men.
Well, guess what? Women have a colorful and interesting history, too. The writer pulls much of what she writes about from oral history of women. That's where people actually sat down and talked to the older women from all cultural levels of life and asked them first hand what it was like growing up. I love reading those accounts.
What I like about this book is that she shares historical recipes that I haven't seen anywhere else. I have learned how to cook locusts. That's right. Locusts.
Remove legs, wings, and head of insect. Brown the rest in the ashes and eat. It tastes like peanuts. Used to be eaten in the old days, but now mostly by children. Used as medicine to cure stomach ache and prevent measles, smallpox or other contagious diseases. --Flora L. Bailey "Navaho Foods and Cooking Methods," 1940
I know, I'm a slight freak. I can't help it. I love history.
I bought this book for my Women's History class at college. But it actually combines my two loves--history and cooking. I relate to the writer's comments in the intro of the book.
"Though the majority of American women may no longer slaughter pigs, preserve peaches, or make their own tortillas, the effort of cooking continues to be largely women's work, a major force in the rhythm of our lives, keeping us alive, and bringing us together around the table with those we like, those we love, and those we need. Perhaps this is why cooking still matters to women."
I have pulled the book out of my bookcase and I'm going to re-read it this week. If there is ever a time to remember cooking and women's history this is it. My husband made a comment to me recently that since the kids are elsewhere and we are alone, that I didn't need to stress out making a Thanksgiving meal. He didn't get it. I make our Thanksgiving meal because it shows how much I love them. I might look stressed out, but it's a good stress. It's my way of artistically showing them how much I love them. I care deeply about my cooking. It might not be perfect, but it's from the heart.
If you get the chance to read this book, I highly recommend it.
Friday, November 13, 2009
I can't help myself; I bust out laughing when people in San Antonio complain about the fog. Fog? San Antonio. Please. You want to complain about fog, try driving through Tule fog. Now, that's some serious fog. I once drove into Bakersfield from Arvin where the fog was so thick that I couldn't see the past the front hood of the car. I had to drive with the window rolled down and sticking my head out every so often to try to find the white line in the road. I drove what was normally a 30 minute drive that took me almost an hour and a half. I had to drive so slow to be safe. I couldn't follow the tail lights of the car in front of me, because they could be driving off the road themselves.
People in San Antonio get so nervous in their "fog." Geez. Their fog is pretty, somewhat thin and you can easily see down the road at least four car lengths. That's a clear day in Central California. lol
But, in Bakersfield I had to laugh when it snowed six inches that one year. Residents there freaked out. They had no clue how to drive in snow. I mean come on, this is not that much snow.
When I was a kid, I had to walk to school in snow that reached my knees. Just like those stories you hear about. lol Only they were true. I used to walk in the wheel tracks of cars that drove on the road just so I didn't have to keep sinking in the snow. Once I started to drive, then I learned of a new terror. Reno can get some amazing snow storms. I can still remember driving to University of Nevada, Reno with snow like this:
Man, scraping snow/ice off your windshield was a biotch. And what's worse than driving in thick snow was hitting black ice. With black ice, it's not like you can see it to avoid it like a snow drift. With black ice, especially at night, you hit it and before you know it you are doing wheelies in the middle of a busy road. Ughhh
I guess I'm a seasoned driver. I've driven in the worst of the worst. Snow storms, Tule fog and rain that flooded the road as I drove over it.
San Antonio fog is bad. Yeah, right. rofl
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
When I was a freshman in high school I decided that when I graduated I would join the Army. My oldest brother, Tommy, was in the 101st Airborne Division in the Army and I was and am very proud of him. I was devastated to learn that because I was hearing impaired I would not be able to join.
It didn't matter that I was completely healthy, physically fit, intelligent and eager to join. I wasn't good enough. As a woman, I knew I wouldn't be allowed to be on the front line. I could deal with that--but as a hearing disabled person I apparently didn't have anything valuable enough for the military.
It sucked big time. I was so disappointed. I still feel I would have thrived in a military atmosphere. I could have been an asset in whatever position they put me in. I didn't care where I worked, I just wanted to help.
Military pride runs deep in my family. Practically every generation of my family has been in the military all the way back to the American Revolutionary War.
Samuel King was my 6th great grandfather. He was born in Clogher, Northern Ireland in 1746. He emigrated from Northern Ireland at age 23 in 1769. Samuel King enlisted December 9, 1776, as a Private in Co. K, 11th Virginia Regiment of the Continental Army commanded by Col. Daniel Morgan. He was captured at Germantown and listed as a prisoner on a muster roll call October 14, 1777. He apparently escaped and appeared on the Philadelphia Co., Pennsylvania muster roll on February 17, 1778, in Camp Valley Forge under General George Washington.
His patriotic blood runs in my veins. I hold my hand over my heart when I sing the national anthem. I know I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for my brave ancestors fighting for our freedoms.
I honor and respect every soldier who has been in any segment of the armed forces. My oldest son is in the Air Force. My father and brother were in the Army. My grandfather was in the coast guard. My relatives were in the Civil War (on both sides). My ancestors have fought in every single war back to the beginnings of our country. Heck, they probably fought in more wars prior to that time in England, Scotland and Ireland where my ancestors are from. I just haven't found documentation of that yet.
I only wish I had the chance to add to that honor. Oh well.
This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave. -Elmer Davis
Saturday, November 7, 2009
I am the first one to admit I can be a crybaby. I get emotional over tv shows, movies, heck even commercials. Right now, I am watching the tv show, "The Locator," and I'm teary eyed. I normally don't cry in my every day life. There's just something about sad tv shows, movies and the such that get to me. This episode shows a young woman wanting to find her father whom she hasn't seen since she was 12. This young woman has terminal cancer. My gosh, she's young, and she has four kids. Luckily, her father is found and they are reunited. I'm bawling like a baby.
I keep telling myself that crying at times like this is good for me. It's healthy to cry. It's not something to be ashamed of--no matter how much my boys and husband tease me about it. It relieves stress, releases toxins from the body and calms your soul.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it. lol
That's also why I am so careful about what movies I watch. I am quite empathetic with the characters. I feel way too much. Yes, I know it's a movie, but I get into them. Especially if it's a good movie. I will stick to watching comedies. Those I can handle. I love to laugh and that also feels good.
I can watch sporting events and get emotional. Especially with the Olympics. Who didn't get teary eyed when the 1980s USA hockey team won? Huh? I dare you to deny it.
Go ahead, call me a crybaby. I can take it.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Lately, I've really gotten into meditation. I have an IPOD that I listen to every night as I go to sleep. I pop my ear plugs in and within minutes I'm out cold. It used to be that it would easily take 20 to 30 minutes for my brain to stop thinking and finally relax enough for me to fall asleep. Between an overactive brain and Jerry's snoring, I'm lucky if I got five hours of sleep a night. And, boy I dreamed so much I'd wake up more tired than when I went to bed.
I discovered Kelly Howell on ITunes. She offers up a unique style of meditation music. It utilizes subliminal brain waves. And it works. Her voice is soothing and is actually pleasant to listen to--and I'm quite picky. The first recording I listened to was entitled, "Deep Sleep," and it put me into a delicious deep sleep. I hadn't slept that well...since ever. I downloaded a couple more of her albums on my IPOD. The latest is "Healing Meditation."
I'm enjoying listening to it. It's relaxing and takes the stress right out of me. I'm not sitting in a lotus position meditating. I'm laying on my back in bed, lights off and just taking deep breaths as I listen to first a little bit of talking, then just music. But it's not merely music. It's about 30 minutes long and it's new age, but not new age. Ugh, you need to listen to it yourself to understand.
It works. I'm calmer, I sleep better and I'm more cheerful. I can't quite imagine myself sitting in a lotus position, but kicked back on the bed, I can handle.
Best thing is I don't want to rip off anyone's head at work. That's a nice change of pace. lol
Now, take a deep breath and relax.
Richard Davidson, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin says, "Modern neuroscience is showing that our minds are as plastic as our bodies. Meditation can help you train your mind in the same way exercise can train your body." Therefore, each and every minute you meditate you're enhancing the biochemistry of your brain, building muscles that increase your mental, emotional and spiritual potential.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
I was in junior high when I wrote my first play. I'm not sure why my writing career started with a play instead of a short story, but a play it was. I know I was heavily influenced when I read Erich von Däniken's "Chariot of the Gods?" My play was about alien astronauts who land on earth and what they find when they get here. Not only did I write the play, but I directed it as it was performed in front of my classmates. It wasn't performed on stage, but in front of the classroom. We made props and everything. So began my writing career. lol
I've always been a behind-the-scenes kind of person. I've never sought out the limelight. That's why I like writing. I can create my own worlds, my own characters and live vicariously through them. I'm shy. I always have been. I can socialize with the best of them, but with my hearing disability it's always made me uncomfortable to be in front of a group of people. The more people there are, the harder it is to hear properly--hearing aids or not.
But with writing, I can always be in control. I can "hear" everything that's going on and I won't make a fool of myself. Normal hearing people have no clue how awkward it is to not understand what's going on around you. I can't count the many times I've misunderstood conversations and embarrassed myself. I swear I'm going to get a bumper sticker for my Jeep, "I'm not stupid, I just can't hear you right."
Writing allows me the chance to say what I want, how I want and I like that a lot. It's good therapy for me to work through frustrations with writing. I had one short I did where I worked through some aggressions I had--I call it my "Jean-Claude Van Damme" moment. It felt good to kick someone's butt even if I don't do it in real life.
There have been times when I have felt like an alien on this planet. Not fitting in the hearing world and not fitting in the deaf world. I've always been on the outside looking in.
I've been working on a book for the longest time. My protagonist is a hard-of-hearing lady who deals with a mystery. What are the odds? lol They say to write what you know. Well, I know what's it's like to face hearing challenges. So that's what I'm writing. One day, I might actually finish it. I work on it, and then set it aside. I tinker with it and push it away.
It's a challenge. But I think I will stick with it. Unless an ancient alien arrives in my backyard and entices me to visit his planet. Then all bets are off.