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: