Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Let's Hear It For The Boy

Wahoo's latest.  I love it.  He's a genius, and he's mine.

I totally get to brag here 'cause it's my blog.  :)

Monday, November 29, 2010

And yet it all seems limitless...

It was unseasonably warm on this day four years ago.  The sky was blue, the sun was bright and we went without jackets.  It was a day that inspired.  It was the kind of day that made all things seem possible.  It started out just another day. 

My 16 year old nephew Tyler left school that day with his best friend and cousin Scott.  My 17 year old niece Sadie, who completed their unholy trinity, had found her own way home.  They were big high schoolers with mundane teenage worries.  They had hopes and dreams.  They saw their future as a blank slate just waiting to be journeyed and adventured.

Ty was driving Scotty home.  They were listening to their favorite band The Kottonmouth Kings when Tyler lost control of the car.  The car flipped several times not only throwing Scotty from the vehicle, but also landing on him.   Scotty was killed instantly. Tyler escaped with minor physical injuries, but part of him died that day, too.

The next morning Ty's mangled car and Scott's tarp covered body made the front page of our regional newspaper.  The public jury was out, and Ty was found guilty.

The official investigation concluded that it was an accident.  There had been another car involved that contributed to the accident, but there wasn't sufficient evidence to press charges.  Ty has yet to forgive himself. 

Tyler and Sadie lost more that day than most folks lose in a lifetime.  Their previous life coarse shifted, suddenly, forcing them to grow up, while stunting them at the same time.  I wish I could carry some of that burden for them, but then that is my burden to bare.

Scott was a bright, beautiful child.  He was full of life and a constant source of mischief.  He had a smile that would melt any heart and absolve him of most crimes.  He lived the life he was given.   

I know that Scott is in a beautiful place.  I know he's happy.  I know he has nothing by love in his heart for those he left behind. 

For me this day is about affirming life.  Our time is finite, and it is what we make of it.  I want to dedicate today to living life to your fullest, loving hard, taking risks and regretting very little.

"Because we don't know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well.  And yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really.  How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it?  Perhaps four, or fives times more?  Perhaps not even that.  How many more times will you watch the full moon rise?  Perhaps twenty.  And yet it all seems limitless..."

~Paul Bowles' Sheltering Sky

Friday, November 26, 2010

Cat Says....

I've got news to share.  I've started a new blog.  Not a new blog to replace this blog, but a new blog in addition to this blog.  Long story short I found Tumblr, and it's really cool.  I was playing around one day, and the new blog was born.

The newest edition to my little publishing family is Cat Says....  It's a much more public blog than It's a Meow World.  It's a Meow World is a private place where I feel safe to share my innermost feelings.  This is a place for me unburden myself of the baggage I've carried for way too long.  This is my Betty place, and so it shall stay my Betty place.

Cat Says... is a public forum for my soapbox ramblings, hence the name Cat Says.  I've also linked the new blog to both my Twitter and Facebook accounts.  It's kind of exciting.

Below is a link.  Take her out for a spin, and let me know what ya think.

Cat Says...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Some Fights Are Worth Fightin'

It's been a while since I've posted 'round here. I can tell by the cobwebs and super sized dust bunnies lurking in all the nook and crannies.  Apparently, I'm as good at keeping a blog as I am at keeping a house.

There are several reasons I haven't been around.  One is exhaustion.  Lord, I'm tired.  October was a rough month.  I desperately needed the-vacation-I'm-not-getting back in August.  I'm surrounded by projects, and rejoice when I'm able to muster up something that resembles creativity.

Those projects are another reason I haven't been around.  The usually commitments have me tied up, but I've added new commitments and projects.  Since September I've planned a harvest-like festival for a small village, turned my house into a haunted house for 250 kids, coordinated 4 weeks of holiday festivities in aforementioned small village, volunteer 5+ hours a week with an anti-fracking group and am launching a writing campaign to Oprah.  I'd kill for a dull moment.  Seriously, what's a girl gotta do?

When I do find a moment to write it's usually mopey.  I've been dealing with heavy emotional stuff and hate sounding like Ms. Debbie Downer all the time.  The other side of that is that I feel utterly invisible, and I'm creating this self fulfilling prophecy.  I've been lurking around the blog, not contributing to my own blog and have been virtually invisible.

The anti-fracking* movement is a project that has reinvigorated me.  I'm organizing, collaborating and working with some really great, smart and creative people.  I'm finding others who are doers.  I'm meeting folks from other states effected by fracking like West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Texas, Colorado and Arkansas.  It's waking my inner warrior because this is a fight worth fightin'.

Just like I'm worth fighting for.  This year has worn me down, and I've I lost some of my fight.  I'm taking January off to rest up and get back into fighting shape. :)

I'm also finding my voice again.  I'm feeling more like my genuine self, and not the projection my family likes to saddle me with.

The anti-fracking group I've been working with, Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, had a fundraiser on Nov. 13th.  Wahoo contributed two pieces of artwork to the cause.  He also wrote a song and created a video to help us promote our cause.  Unfortunately, the two photos I was going to donate didn't print up well.

One of the great things about living here are the celebrity neighbors.  Mark Ruffalo lives down the road a piece and has become a local hero.  He is one of the faces of our cause going on Rachel Maddow, touring around speaking with various groups, hosting debates and forums at colleges, giving keynote addresses at rallys.  He and his wife hosted the fundraiser for Catskill Citizens.  He's a remarkable man, and an incredibly nice and genuine human being.

One of Wahoo's pieces was of Mark and titled "Hero".  It's a fantastic piece and I'm proud to say it's hanging in Mark's house.  Mark's son was the very excited and proud winner. :)

(Click on photos to make them larger.)

"Hero" by Brock Lady (aka Wahoo)

Here is Mark posing with his portrait.  He loved it. :)  His son loved it more! :)

Here's Wahoo posing with Mark and "Hero".  Wahoo wasn't happy with the photo, but I think it's cute.  They were having fun. :)

Wahoo's second piece titled "The End".  This was a great piece he had done a few years ago.  It hung in my house, and I was quite fond of it.  When this event came up we just knew it was time to part ways.  Wahoo  added the wording on the bottom to fit the cause.  I was quite proud of both his pieces. :)

This was going to be one of my pieces.  I had titled it "Leased?"  The gas companies are getting farmers to sign over their farmland.  They're offering them lies and dreams of enough money to retire wealthy.  It's sad really.

This second piece I've titled "Drill, Baby, Drill".  If you've ever seen what one of their wells look like you'd understand how much they'll mar our landscape. 

Finally, Wahoo's song and video.  It's witty, fun and on point.  If you like and feel like passing it on I'd be eternally grateful.  As of right now we're a little over 1,400 views.  We're really trying to make this go viral.  We need the national attention!!

You can Facebook or tweet it from it's original Youtube page.  Double clicking on the video should bring you right to the youtube page. :)

*Fracking is short for hydraulic fracturing.  It's a drilling process for natural gas.  It's dirty.  It poisons the air, the land and the water.  There is a brilliant documentary out there called "GasLand" by a brilliant fellow named Josh Fox.  He lives a few minutes from me over in Pennsylvania.  If the oil and gas companies are our Goliath then he's our David. :)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Rhythm Method

To Wahoo With Love.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Photo Friday - Silly Rabbit

Sometimes a photo just speaks for itself. :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Keep Breathing

Music has always been an important component in my life, especially when the road has been rocky.  There are songs that speak to my internal battles, and help me carry on. 

Ingrid Michaelson is an incredible singer/songwriter.  I've been listening to her a lot lately.  Life's been rough, and the waters are getting choppier.  This song in particular has me captivated, and has become somewhat of a mantra.  "All I can do is keep breathing..." 

So that is my plan, for now.  Keep breathing.  I refuse to allow the chaos to steal my breath from me.  I've fought long and hard to conquer the asthma that robbed me of so much.  "All that i know is that i'm still breathing..."

That's the plan...

"The storm is coming but i don't mind.
People are dying, i close my blinds.

All that i know is i'm breathing now.

I want to change the world...instead i sleep.
I want to believe in more than you and me.

But all that i know is i'm breathing.
All i can do is keep breathing.
All we can do is keep breathing now.

All that i know is i'm breathing.
All i can do is keep breathing.
All we can do is keep breathing now.

All we can do is keep breathing
All we can do is keep breathing
All we can do is keep breathing
All we can do is keep breathing.
All we can do is keep breathing now."

Friday, September 24, 2010

Photo Friday - Roundabout

This is a personal favorite of mine.  I snapped this about 5 years ago at my local County Fair with an dinosaur of a digital camera.  It's been entered in a local photography competition where it took 1st place in it's category.  My first photography competition.  Yay. :)

I love going to the Fair.  I love walking around taking in the sights, sounds and smells of it all. The Fair is a must for me, especially after taking up photography as a serious hobby.  There are two County Fairs that I frequent each year, and I go a few times per Fair.  One of these days I'd love to go on a County Fair tour.  Won't Wahoo just love that?! 

When it comes to the Fair I have a tradition that I must keep to, though.  I must start at the back of the Fair where the animals are housed.  I must look at, coo over, pet and love on as many animals as possible.  I try to get photos, too.

I love watching the games and rides, but am not big on participating.  The Carousel is just about my speed.  I love the artistry of each horse, including their names.  Carousels are one of my favorite subjects at the Fair to photograph.  There is just something so Old World and Magical about a Carousel.

I may do photos on more than just Fridays.  I have so many just hanging out in a file, locked away in digital storage.  Just seems a shame.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Photo Friday - Sanctity

One beautiful summer day I came upon this doe, who had found a peaceful spot in the shade of an apple tree.  I stopped my truck, and she allowed me to take a few photos.  I consider this moment, and the photo, a treasured gift.

I have a lot of photos of deer.  Not only are they incredibly beautiful and graceful creatures, but they are wonderful subjects for their emotive skills.  The majestic calm of this doe is just radiant.   Some folks might say it's just a picture of a deer.  To me, it's so much more.

I usually use this photo as my avatar.  I consider it a visual representation of the peace within that I'm constantly striving to achieve.  Some days I get there.  Some days I don't.  Either way this photo is a great reminder, as well as a goal.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Photo Friday - Oh, Baby!

I was hoping to start Photo Fridays here in the World of Meow, but I was busy taking photos of my newest great-niece.  So this weeks Photo Friday is gonna be a little late, but the subject was worth the wait.

Tiny Toes


Finding her thumb.

Our first chat.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Blown Bulb


Just frickin' oy.

I'm exhausted.  I'm beyond exhausted.  I'm drained.  Life has been kickin' me squarely in the buttocks, and what Life has left over others have taken.  If I had more juice I'd be overwhelmed, but I can't even get it up enough for that.  

There just always seems to be someone who wants a piece of me.  I've stepped up to the plate more than my fair share of times.  Expectations, questions, favors... UGH.

I've blown a bulb.  Somewhere in me there is a bulb out.  The light has dimmed.  If my Give-a-Damn wasn't on the fritz I'd be right on it, but...  Well, I'm sure you know how it goes.

Wahoo is going away for about a week.  I think that time of empty space and quiet will help me refocus my energies.

What do you guys do when you're running on empty?  What recharges your battery?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fun Places to Virtually Hang Out

Here are some of my favorite sites.  When I'm not hanging around Lucy March's blog, Argh Ink or over at Popcorn Dialogues, I can be found at one of the following sites...

I love reading about adventurous women!  That's what hooked me over at Lucy March's blog.  Yes, Alpha Betty I am talking about you.  Of course I had no idea I would be meeting so many other incredible and adventurous women by continuing to go there. ;)  Betties rock!

Here are some other chicks that rock:

The Daily Coyote is a blog I found after reading the beautifully written book by the same title.  Shreve Stockton is an interesting woman who has chosen to live in the wilds of Wyoming.  She was given an orphaned coyote pup to raise, and she begins photographing him as he grows. 

Honey Rock Dawn is another blog by  Shreve.  This blog is about her life on the farm and her farmily.  It's chock full of stories and pictures of her cows, goose, horses and other critters she comes across.  Shreve is an interesting woman, and a total Betty. ;)

Vespa Vagabond is another Shreve Stockton blog.  This one details her journey from San Francisco to New York on her Vespa. That's an adventurous spirit!  This one has great pics, too.

One Girl Trucking this is a great site about a girl and her truck.  I found this through Shreve's blog.  Some of the photos are just breath taking.  Confession:  when I was a teenage I wanted to become a truck driver.  Reading this blog gives me a vicarious thrill.  I still want to get my CDL, and maybe one day hit the road. ;)

Fun for entertaining, event planning or just drooling.

Cupcakes Take the Cake is one of my all time favorite blogs.  Julie mentioned it the other day when we were taking cupcakes and duck butts.  Over the years I've spent so much time here.   They have all things cupcake - photos, videos, t-shirts, storage containers and even a link to a cozy mystery series set in a cupcake bakery.

Bakerella is a fun site about baking and baking stuff.  Before you all get the wrong idea - I don't really bake.  I just love looking at the decorations, cake stands and other stuff.  It's fun. :)

Hostess with the Mostess is a fun blog about entertaining.  Fun stuff and pretty pictures.

Just for fun.

Disapproving Rabbits is a hysterical blog that has new pictures daily.  The rabbits are adorable and the captions hysterical.  I love this site.  I don't know how I found it, but I love it!  Makes me wanna get a bunny.

Stumble Upon - You will lose days here.  It's so very cool.  I've found some of the most interesting pages.  The Overdrive Interactive Social Media Map was a fun find, it's a great reference page to navigate the world of online social networking.  I love finding great photos on Stumble Upon.  I've found  grafetti art, moms in the wild and misbehaving princesses.  You just never know what you'll stumble upon next.

Monday, August 16, 2010

35 Year Old Orphaned by Divorce Crazy

There are some horrors from childhood you survive with the belief that when it's over, it's over.  You know you'll never have to relive it.  Horrible things like puberty or the 7th grade come to mind.  For me, one of those horrors was my parents divorce.  My parents were terrible together.  Just awful.  They split in 1991, I was 16. 

Like their marriage, my parents divorce was loud, ugly, immature and embarrassing.   Their hatred of each other was all consuming.  My brother, sister and I had to be the grown ups, but that wasn't new.  My father worked in NYC during the week and was only home on weekends.  My mother suffered from severe bouts of depression.  There were days she didn't leave her bedroom.  We learned to care for ourselves.  My little sister would drag a chair over to the stove and cook and we each learned how to do laundry.  By the time I was 13 I had perfected my mother's signature. 

When they finally split for good, we were relieved.  There were plenty of dress rehearsals, but this was it.  It was finally over.  We would have peace, or so we thought.  We didn't know they'd fight for 7 years.  We didn't know the easiest thing about their divorce would be the custody arrangement.  The custody arrangement that we arranged. 

I was 16 or 17 when they asked me to chose.  Who did I want to live with?  At 16 or 17 I wasn't leaving my school or my friends.  I'd known most my classmates since kindergarten.  School was salvation.  School provided me with things I didn't get at home - leadership, guidance, stability.  I was a different girl in school, one who was confident, happy and tough.  I was good at keeping secrets.  To this day most of my high school friends don't know the half of it.

I chose the house. My younger brother and sister followed my lead.  They each could have chosen differently, but we knew the score.  We had to think about our well being.  Staying together and in school was probably what saved us. 

If my parents were terrible married, then they were a nightmare during the divorce.  They fought over everything.  They fought like animals about a damn rototiller.  About 6 months after they split our house burned down.  They fought over who would get to fix it!  The insurance money sat in escrow over a year.  Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if the children had not taken custody off the table. 

They fought like this for almost 7 years.  They went through multiple lawyers.  It was beyond ridiculous.  Then one day their lawyers called.  During one of the many court dates the judge snapped.  He signed off on my parents divorce and told their lawyers that if he ever saw my parents in his courtroom again they'd be jailed for contempt.  My parents were officially divorced and barred from court.

That was 13 years ago.

In March, my father was diagnosed with cancer.  He told us in April.  Though his prognosis is hopeful, he'll still need surgery so we've been tying up lose ends.  My parents never took care of some of their divorce agreements.  The house is still in both their names.  My mother is still on my father's annuity.  So the children once again must come to the rescue. 

During this process we made a mind bending discovery.  Our parents may not be legally divorced. 

Talk about a serious WTF moment.

Those of you who are divorced or have legal experience may have recognized the problem already.  A divorce is a dissolution of a partnership.  Both parties agree to the terms of the dissolution.  Both parties sign the agreement.  The agreement is processed and filed with the County Clerk's office. 

Even though there is a Judgment of Divorce filed for my parent, I confirmed that with the County Clerk's office myself, they might not be divorced because I'm not sure if either one signed the damn papers.  The Judge may have just pushed their paperwork through, and the Judgment was filed without either nitwit signing the papers.

The County Clerk's office couldn't tell me anything other than there was a Judgment on file .  When I explained my circumstances she asked me to hold for one minute to review their paperwork.  She came back ten minutes later, confirmed their Judgment and advised me to have an attorney review their file when one of them receives it.  That doesn't sound good. At. All.

I've come to the decision to just quit.  I'm done.  I'm declaring myself an orphan, and will be placing myself up for adoption.  My sister said I'm beyond the adoptable age, but I disagree.  I think I'm at the perfect age.  All I require is my picture on the wall and for you to brag to your friends about me.  If you require grandchildren I will simply fake it.  A few pictures from some magazines and we're good.  Maybe I'll borrow a friend's kids for the day.  I don't know.  We'll make it work.

Seriously, I'm tired of raising my parents.  I'm 35.  I'm over it.  I quit.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Cherish the 13th

Wahoo has many talents.  He went to school for Radio/Television Production, with the hopes of moving on to study Film.  The romance with radio, tv and film ended, but his love of creating video projects stuck. 

He's a big fan of horror movies and Weird Al.  So here I present to you....Cherish the 13th. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Betties, we ride!

What exactly does a Magnificent Vajazzled Valkyrie tool around on between Cans of Ghandi? 

For your consideration.

 '07 Honda Valkyrie Rune

Something hot and powerful beneath me....

Title caught you, didn't it?  I'll admit to needing something hot and powerful beneath me, but it's not what you think, ya perv.  Don't get me wrong, I like riding a Big O tidal wave as much as the next girl, but I'm talking about cars.  This chick really digs cars.  Fast cars.  Muscle cars.  Classic cars.  I've got butterflies fluttering away in my middle right now just thinking about the rumble of a powerful car beneath me.  Oh yeah, I'm a total slut for a hot car.

Actually it started with cars, but has since grown to include trucks, SUVs and motorcycles.  I love the artistry involved in auto mechanics, but I especially love a vehicle that performs.  Some are built for strength, some for speed and some just for the sexy of it all.

There's nothing like driving a beautiful powerful car as it responds to your every demand.  The delicious anticipation as you let the clutch out and know that it wants it as bad as you do.  It's a harmonious dance of woman and machine.  Each stroke of the shift stick the excitement builds, tensions increase, waiting and wanting that heavenly release.  All five senses heightened and engaged.

Oh God, the sweet beautiful synergy of it all.

The new retro muscle cars have me lusting my little heart out.  I adore the current trend in automotive engineering that has them paying homage to the first generations.  These new muscle cars are as hot as their ancestors but with a very now edge.

Now, some porn that makes me pop a girl boner...

'69 Boss Mustang
'71 Mach 1 Mustang
'07 Shelby Mustang

'08 Mustang Bullitt

'67 Camaro SS

'68 Camaro

'10 Camaro
Sexy in Silver

'70 Challenger

Then and Now

'10 Challenger Convertible

'70 Barracuda

Barracuda Concept Car

Barracuda Concept Car

Monday, July 19, 2010

Zoolander by Wahoo

One of Mr. Wahoo's video/art projects.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Couch Trip

Is there anything better than the imagination of a 4 year old?  My sweet little niece has one of the greatest imaginations I've ever seen.  She's constantly coming up with new games for us to play.

The other day we were playing spaceship.  She had built the spaceship out of a throw blanket and some pillows from the couch.  Then she became the pilot, and I, her passenger.  We went to the moon where we found a lovely little baby penguin.  Then we traveled on, cruising around the galaxy finding fun and adventure.  One planet, whose name sounded awfully close to "Jewel", was for swimming - it even had a water slide.

Then she became the flight attendant, and I began asking her questions.  Her answers usually came quickly, rarely did she stop to mull things over. 

Auntie:  What should we do in case of an emergency?

Sweet Little Niece:  Get out of your seats and panic.

God, I love that kid!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Volunteered By Proxy

I volunteer a good chunk of my time on various community projects, and Chalk Walk is a community event that I plan each year.  I'm afraid that poor Mr. Wahoo is volunteered by proxy.  I'm always "asking" him to pitch in to round out whatever event I've got going on.  When Chalk Walk comes around I shamelessly take advantage of his artistic endeavors for my own charitable gains.

Last year, Chalk Walk was the kick off celebration for our county's bicentennial and the 40th Anniversary of the original Woodstock concert in Bethel, NY.  The participating artists were asked to create something that celebrated either or both of these events. Mr. Wahoo chose to do a portrait of Jimi Hendrix, a personal idol of his.

He started this portrait the night before, working for about an hour by lantern light. Since this was his first time attempting a chalk rendering, he was a tad nervous and spent a lot of time on mental preparations.  He was really concerned with not being able to execute his vision.

I have a very hard time finding artists for this event because they're afraid of the medium.  It doesn't matter how hard I stress the fun factor, they just don't seem interested.  I give my man lots of kudos for volunteering his time and talent, working so hard to create something interesting for the public and for taking on an unusual medium out of his comfort levels and artistic experience.  

That's 6'9" of coiled Wahoo.  He was a hurtin' mess the next day!

The day of the event he spent about 5 hours working while the occasional passerby would make inquiries about his subject.  He was asked if he was drawing Michael Jackson, John Coltrane or Miles Davis. We even had one ask if it was Dr. King. The oddball guesses were not deterred by the J-I-M-I spelled out down the right side.

At a certain point he hated it.  That's when I knew it, and he, was finished.

I had Mr. Wahoo pose with his chalk masterpiece to give an idea of scale. I believe Jimi was 6'x4' when all was said and done.

Finished product. 

Biggest lessons learned about sidewalk chalk art was to bring paint brushes to help smooth out and blend the chalk. Mr. Wahoo didn't have finger prints for about a week afterward. Another good tip is to bring something to kneel or sit on.  That sidewalk is hard, but whatta trooper!

 Oh Edward, how you glitter in the sunlight.
This year's Chalk Walk didn't have a theme.  We just let people do what it was they wanted to do while stressing "family friendly event".  Mr. Wahoo chose to draw Edward of the Twilight movies.  The newest movie was being released the following week, and he figured this would be a no brainer and a biggie with the kids.

Keeping with the myth created by Stephenie Meyer he even made Edward sparkle in the sunlight.  The effect was absolutely incredible. 

What do you think?  Who do you think this is?

Drawing a popular actor and character didn't deter the oddball guessing.  This year we heard a lot of James Dean and Marlon Brando remarks.  Even the local paper printed that his portrait did resemble a young Marlon Brando.  They also attributed my quotes to the local librarian and credited her for organizing the event.  Seriously. Some days you win, some days you lose. Some days you fantasize about blowing it all up, burning it down and roasting marshmallows in the aftermath.  Some days...

My neighbor's 75 year old aunt was the hero of the day by remarking "I know who that is, that's obviously Robert Pattinson."  I turned to Mr. Wahoo and said "See it's not you, it's them.  It's usually them.  Why do we even listen to them?"

Thanks, Aunt Judy! 

My Wahoo with his chalk portrait of a glittery teen idol. 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Time to Learn

A few weeks back I organized a Chalk Walk event for a local town. The event is real simple and can be a lot of fun. You get some professional artists, amateur artists, people who just fiddle with drawings and children together to create a canvas of creativity that runs up one side of the street and down the other. This town happens to be quite small so the event takes up it's entire Main Street.

While walking the chalk gallery and taking promotional photos I found this incredible exhibit that stopped me in my tracks. Children have such a profound way about them. I wish we could pass a law that said all the suits in Washington (this goes for State gov't too) had to spend some time on a playground with a bunch of kids each week. They would have to ask the children questions about world problems, but frame them in a non-threatening manner. These politicians should then have to consider the advice given while formulating a coarse of action. It's their world we're screwing up so maybe they should have a say now, not later when it's our mess they'll be mopping up.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Say Anything - A Tribute

I love movies. All kinds of movies. I love the experience of going to a movie theater and taking in a good story. I love getting comfy on the couch with Mr. Wahoo and our latest Netflix arrival. One of my favorite ways to watch a movie is on regular old TV. There is nothing better than a lazy Sunday afternoon watching Pretty Woman on TNT for the 247th time while sorting your sock drawer.

Say Anything
is one of those favorites I've viewed many, many times. I think it's a great combination of Cameron Crowe and John Cusack. I'll watch anything with John Cusack, and Mr. Wahoo knows that if I find myself single John Cusack is my next boyfriend.  Since John Cusack is also a Cubs fan Mr. Wahoo respects my choice.

Look at what I found! Ah, the joys of the internet. How did I grow up in a world without it?! I look back at the dark days of my childhood and shudder. We didn't have TV for a few years, never mind the sweet joys of the world wide web.

Yeah, sure there's danger lurking right around every virtual corner, but look! A felt finger puppet of Lloyd Dobler professing his devotion by holding a boom box above his head while playing Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes".

A little morsel of movie trivia - while filming this scene John Cusack was actually playing Fishbone not the iconic Peter Gabriel song "In Your Eyes". Gotta love that imdb!

This fine felt creation is being offered for sale here on Etsy by Abby Christine. She's got some great felt finger puppets from Bob Ross to Johnny Cash flipping the bird. God, I love Etsy!

Mr. Wahoo found this video on the web and knew instantly I'd love it. How could anyone resist a puppet tribute to Lloyd Dobler? I especially love the New Yorkers as they just keep walking.

Finally, a video of Sara Bareilles covering Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes". I collect good covers of great songs and great covers of good songs. This is one of several versions of "In Your Eyes" that I have in my collection. Enjoy.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cow Baby Polka Dotted Hillside

Took this picture about a month ago. The spring calves are really nestled into the hillside resting and catching some rays. Made me kinda jealous.

Did you know... Cow mommas take turns babysitting the herd's babies. One momma cow will stay with the babies while the other mommas graze. This gives each momma time for some nutrition and self care.

Cows are amongst the gentlest of breathing creatures;
none show more passionate tenderness to their young
when deprived of them; and, in short, I am not ashamed
to profess a deep love for these quiet creatures.
Thomas de Quincey

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What's wrong with me?

What's wrong with me? Oh, that question. It plagued me as a child. Learning was so much harder for me. I worked so hard to do my best, usually with only lackluster results. Compounding my insecurity was a brilliant brother a mere 13 months behind me. Where I failed or struggled he succeeded and excelled. I became resigned to the idea that I wasn't as smart as others, but especially my brother.

Elementary school was the worst. As a small child you just want to do well, to please everyone. I wanted to make my mother smile at me the way she did at my brother. I wanted to be proud when I showed my grandparents my report card. I wanted to be like the kids in the "high" group (our classrooms were broken into three groups: high, middle and low), confident and relaxed. I wanted. Oh God, did I want.

They knew there was something wrong with me, too. I was taken from class for remedial phonics sessions with a special teacher. I was placed in special education classes a few times, too. That was the lowest educational point for me as a child. I felt like I was walking around with a scarlet "S" blazing on my chest. Most of what they did was make me feel worse about myself.

Each year I was determined to do better. Get smarter. However, by the end of the school year I was tired and felt defeated. Each June I had less hope for the next September. As the years went by and puberty hit my attitude was awful. I lost the willingness to try.

This pervasive attitude effected every aspect of my scholastic career. Why try to only fail? OK, not fail all the time, but in my eyes a C or D was worse than an F if I was shooting for an A. If I could get a C or a D by working my ass off then an easy F sounded good to me. I was told that I was lazy. Most teachers lowered their expectations for me. I gave in to it.

It wasn't all bad. Each subject had different results. There were teachers that worked with me, encouraging and pushing me to make the effort. I had my moments of victory, but they came hard won. I had to dig deep and put in a tremendous effort. It never came easy, and it taught me how to work hard. I learned I was made of stronger stuff, if not smarter.

A few months ago I was watching William Shatner interview Henry Winkler. Winkler was discussing what life was like for him as a person with dyslexia. Suddenly I was crying, he was talking about me.

He wasn't diagnosed until he was about 30 years old. I was approaching my 35th birthday and finally had a possible answer. There was a little ray of hope. After all these years I may have found what was wrong with me.

I hit the internet immediately. Certain symptoms are very familiar: poor spelling, not knowing my right from my left, having to read a passage over and over again to get the information, poor short term memory recall, difficulty learning how to tie my shoes, reading out loud in class was always a cause for panic and grammar is something I've struggled with my whole life.

Am I dyslexic? I don't know. Dyslexia is a complex condition that isn't quickly, easily or cheaply diagnosed. The testing can cost thousands. My plan is to be tested some day. The sooner the better, but life doesn't work that way.

Dyslexia is a genetic condition. I know my father has always struggled, and two of my three sisters, too. I recognized symptoms in one of my older nieces, and now a younger niece is showing some symptoms, too.

When I told my younger sister and Mr. Wahoo they both had the same reaction: impossible. Honestly, this hurt. Through this discovery I had found a road to recovery. This knowledge had soothed the shame I have carried with me my whole life. My response to them was it may sound improbable, but it certainly wasn't impossible.

Mr. Wahoo thought I couldn't be dyslexic because I was a voracious reader, I was articulate, I was smart. Of course my inside voice argued that last point. Every accomplishment I've ever had still carries with it the "fluke factor". I'm always waiting for someone to call me out as a fake or a fraud, to see past the confident projection to the insecure 3rd grade who does know the answer. When I started crying he understood I was serious.

A few weeks later we had unearthed an old high school yearbook of mine. I pointed to some of the inscriptions..."I hope you make it to 10th grade next year"...."You hope to be a big sophomore next year...hope you make it"...."See ya next year when we're in 10th grade, even though half the class thinks you'll be in 9th grade again. Have faith, Cat. You'll make it."

That was the first time he saw evidence of of my painful school days. I felt in that moment that it wasn't just in my head, that it was real.

Even writing this has been hard. I cried through most of the beginning. Just remembering those moments was gut wrenching, and part of it broke my heart all over again.

I'm also afraid of the reactions. That someone is going to think it's all in my head or that I'm looking for a label for my short comings. I'm not. I'm just looking for an answer.

In the end all I can hope is that it was worth it.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Inspired reflections...

As an avid reader (Hi, my name is Cat and I'm a bookaholic.) I love when an author mentions songs or lyrics in their story, it adds another dimension to the story, characters and my reading experience. Music can illicit an immediate emotional response, it adds drama.

I absolutely adore when an author creates a play-list, it's like Nirvana. I've been known to put a book down to hit the computer for a quick music download (thank you, God, for iTunes). Listening to a song can bring me right back to the book, the emotional content of the story and my emotional experience of that story. It also helps me find new music, and I always love that!

Lyrics from Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill" were quoted in an urban fantasy series I've been reading. It's the story of two souls who keep coming back to each other for over 1500 years. Can anyone say issues? Even though they have this incredible love their trust and communication issues have put them in this holding pattern.

One major problem is the heroine's reluctance or inability to lean on the hero. This causes many problems, and leads him to quote the song:

And if I only could
I'd make a deal with God
And I'd get him to swap our places

It's like a prayer he's released to the Universe in a sad, resigned, and desperate way. He's a prime example of masculinity not being about macho. It can be the knowledge of self and the security that comes with that knowledge. Thus becoming a quiet, steady guiding force.

I got to thinking about these themes thanks to other Betty blogs. There has been many a conversation over at Lucy March's blog about learning how to trust and lean.

Alastair over at Paper Bullets of the Brain has an ongoing discussion on masculinity, chivalry, and the male identity in our modern world. All good, interesting stuff.

The song itself is great. I love when a writer talks about their inspirations. I hold such wonder and awe for the creative process. Loved reading Kate Bush talking about her inspiration for creating this song:

"I was trying to say that, really, a man and a woman, can't understand each other because we are a man and a woman. And if we could actually swap each other's roles, if we could actually be in each other's place for a while, I think we'd both be very surprised! [Laughs] And I think it would lead to a greater understanding. And really the only way I could think it could be done was either... you know, I thought a deal with the devil, you know. And I thought, 'well, no, why not a deal with God!' You know, because in a way it's so much more powerful the whole idea of asking God to make a deal with you."

Her lyrics are wonderful:

You don't want to hurt me,
But see how deep the bullet lies.
Unaware that I'm tearing you asunder.
There is thunder in our hearts, baby.
So much hate for the ones we love?
Tell me, we both matter, don't we?

Now enjoy the original song and video:

A cover of "Running Up That Hill" by Within Temptation from 2003:

Another cover by Placebo from 2007: