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. :)