Friday, August 24, 2012


Entering a drawing for a very cool necklace.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Nov. 21 - The Business of Being Born is a passion project that has been fulfilling on many levels. Are you pursuing a passion project?

This is where NaBloPoMo stopped me.  I just couldn't answer this one.  I didn't copy all of the prompt, which continued with the credit line.  These were just beginning to bug me; I don't care about DWTS (took me awhile to figure out that was "Dancing With The Stars") or any of the other shmoes writing the prompts while plugging their projects.

So, I'm a week and a half behind, but I have a Kindle, had a birthday, need to clean my house, need to call the colonoscopy doctor for an appointment.  No passion projects in there, I'm afraid.

I do have an old saddle I'm going to try to repair for Partners; I'm rather passionate about tack.  Does that count?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Nov. 18 - What has been the happiest moment of your life thus far?

Oh, I'm hating these prompts.  They drag me WAY back.  They remind me that Acquiring Things is Very Important to Me.  The day I got Rebel.  The day Kris called to say her dad had scored Neil Diamond tickets.  The day after Alex was born, when I realized I was not sinking into post-partum depression, as I had with Laura, and in fact was bonding normally with my child.

This is not Nov. 18, as I left the title stewing for a few days.  I was distracted on the 18th, as Amazon delivered my Kindle Touch birthday present, and I was playing.  That was a happy moment, too :-)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Nov. 17 - Make a list of everyone you've ever had a crush on in your life, then choose one from the list and describe him or her in great detail.

Everyone?  Let's see.  Travel back in time with me...

My big brother, Steve; any horse ever; Mr. Ayers, my fifth grade teacher; Ray Boettcher, kind of...  These were all pre-adolescence.  Around 6th grade, I got the idea that boys and girls were supposed to have something to do with each other -- the dances made that clear, even if no one wanted to dance.  I think 6th grade was when everyone was in love with David Cassidy.  Barf.  I went for more mature actors, like Chad Everett.  Big crush there, and he instilled my preference for blue-eyed brunets.

My first Big Crush, though, came in junior high.  David Wheaton.  Brown eyed brunet, long hair, wore a fringed leather jacket, played guitar.  We were in English classes together, Mrs. Frazini's creative writing, drama club, which I joined because of him.  His dad was somehow envolved in what we called "ecology," which would now be "environmentalism."  My mom didn't like that.

David liked Kim Bender.  I hated Kim Bender ("benderbutt").  She was really very nice, even to me.  I tried to show David I loved him by standing on the notebook he'd left outside the classroom door.  Kris told me to get off it.  I don't think he saw.  I'd sing "I Don't Know How to Love Him," loudly, along with the JCSuperstar record.  

David and Chad Everett's character on "Medical Center," Dr. Joe Gannon, were the inspiration for "David Gannon," main male character in the fantasy role-playing game that occupied Kris and me for years.  It started with plastic horses, and involved bringing the whole herd to each other's houses.   That was no small undertaking, as I had about 24, and she had over 30.  We would arrange the horses in "stalls" all around the room; Laura now has the canopy bed that was mine back then, and there are still remnants of scotch tape on the metal frame, where names of horses labelled those stalls.  We eventually outgrew the horses, but not the game.

(I'm defining a crush as infatuation with a real person, not a celebrity; I was seriously in love with Neil Diamond for awhile, but he never knew.  He fed the David Gannon fantasy game, as did most everything we came into contact with -- movies, TV shows, books, music, sports.  I also don't think of a crush as the same as being in love, or in like with someone you're dating; a crush has to not know you exist.)

The only post- high school crush I can think of was on the pastor of my church's huge college group.  It seemed every girl had a crush on him.  He was cute, and in charge, and aloof to any advances.  Catnip.  I got serious about relationships around then, as I was a good Bible student and had learned it is "better to marry than to burn."  I burned a LOT, and didn't want to burn in hell.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Nov. 16 - What is the moment that you leave childhood and enter adulthood?

I swear, I'm beginning to understand why my blogging friends eschew the NaBloPoMo prompts: the grammar alone may do me in.  "At what moment does one leave childhood, and enter adulthood?"  Does that work better?

Is it when one corrects strangers' grammar?  In that case, I've been an adult since I was five.

My first response to the question, however it is worded, is: "If it ever happens, I'll let you know."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Nov. 15 - Describe a favorite place. Focus on how that place affects your sense of taste, touch, sight, sound, or smell.

The first place that sprang to mind is from the past, the cabin my parents owned in Twenty-Nine Palms.  It smelled dusty, of course, as it hadn't been opened in years when we first went to see it.  Dusty felt pennants hung from the rafters.  It had no paneling, so dust clung to the walls.  It was that desert dust -- dry dirt, not dust from skin and mites.  It took a few weekends to make it livable.

At first, it was cleaning up; pulling all those pennants, finding little treasures like the china frog with a violin that I still have, the covered-wagon nightlight in the garage, and the Indian basket, fading on my kitchen wall.  Vacuuming.  Learning to use an outhouse without breathing.  Lots of smell memories with this place.  Smell of desert flowers in spring, fresh windy smells.  Cooking smells -- Dennison's chili, heated in the electric skillet, mom lifting the lid just a bit to stir so the sand wouldn't blow in, table made of the paneling across saw horses.  Gallo red wine, a big bottle with a screw top, consumed by my parents and their friends, who got funnier and funnier as the evening wore on (being a kid, maybe 14 or 15, I was the designated listener).  Not so funny, or good-smelling, when my dad heaved it back up during the night.  At least we had a bathroom by then.  It was good aversive therapy for me, though; I sure didn't want to drink for a few years!  Wood fire.

How it looked...  Inside, small, cozy.  In need of expansion, which became my parents' project and hobby. It had a big picture window, looking south.  Beautiful view, as we were the last house on the road before the wash.  We looked across open desert to the mountains.  If you looked closely, or with binoculars, you could see cars traveling along the highway near the foothills.  You could tell when the horses were looking at them, too.  Look east, you could see town.  North, the Marine base.  West, sunset over some other hills.  Kris and I rode up one of them, in deep sand, past sidewinder tracks.  Reb and Amigo were good trail horses.  Plants that flowered briefly and left behind a cage of stems; easter lilies that wept; a desiccated cowboy boot; cactus wrens and roadrunners and the tortoise that chased me as I fed it lettuce.

Sounds -- never any rattlesnakes.  Horses whinnying for dinner.  Coyotes, and a bobcat growl once, as we rode past a den.  Wind.  70 mph sandstorm one weekend that nearly had my dad airborne as he carried the faux-wood paneling from the roof of the station wagon into the cabin.  The sound of sand pelting the windows.  And the coolest of all -- the metal clothesline poles whose holes for the lines whistled musically in the wind.  KDHI Radio, where the listenin's fun!  They played old country music, and read the local news.  Crime reports, like laundry missing from clotheslines.  (Not singing clotheslines like ours, I'm sure.)

Tastes -- there's that chili, of course.  Coca-cola, in bottles, ice cold after a long ride.

Touch.  That's harder.  Ribbed orange bedspreads my mom put on the three twin beds that lined the walls.  I still have one I use at the beach.  The rose-colored couch that was kind of scratchy.   Soft, fat miniature Schnauzer.  The cold, hard concrete floor, covered in cheap sheet vinyl.  Fast, not-too-warm showers, once the bathroom was built and the cesspool put in.  Dad bragging about how fast he could shower, and my retort, "Yes, but you're still dirty."  Mom's laughter.  He was a good sport.

It was the only place I ever imagined living, once I was out of college.  I thought about living alone, with two horses and four dogs (big ones), doing my art and working for someone in 2-9, maybe a printer.   I got married instead.  Mark and I went out a few times, even taking our bible study group for a weekend once.  Then mom and dad sold the place.  My favorite place.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Have you faced fears and overcome them?

I became an extremely shy tween after a few years of elementary school; I was outgoing, sort of, in what were mostly inappropriate ways, up through fourth grade.  By fifth, the system and the bullies had done their work.  I have only two memories of fifth grade: the fact that our elementary school had to share a campus with the junior high, and my class was there, while my best only friend's was at the elementary school; and that my teacher, Mr. Ayers, quit smoking that year, but saved all the money he would have spent on cigarettes and took his wife to Vegas.  Being on the junior high campus meant recess alone, on the junior high athletic field (no playground).  When I could get away with it, I spent recess waiting at the classroom door.  We got to go back to the elementary school campus for lunch, the highlight of every day, as I'd get a few precious minutes with Kris.

I learned to be invisible that year; I'm pretty sure I was clinically depressed, possibly for the first, but certainly not the last, time.  Sixth grade was marginally better, as all the sixth grade classes were on the junior high campus, so Kris and I had recess together again.  My usual bully-boys were both in my class, so I had to endure them at school, as well as on the bus, at the bus stop, and around my neighborhood; one lived on the street below, and one above.  I don't remember being bullied by girls; they mostly ignored me.

Junior high was better in some ways; at least I had elective classes with Kris, such as Mrs. Frazini's creative writing.  The students were easier to escape, but the classes weren't.  Math became algebra, and I was doomed.  I nearly failed junior high.

In the meantime, getting to the Faced Fears topic...

My parents' beloved Religious Science minister, Dr. Reina Lady Smith, passed on to her next plane of existence, and they went looking for a new church.  They decided on a Unity church, which had similar, though not identical, beliefs, and most importantly, a very active youth group, the Y.O.U., or Youth of Unity.  They attended for a few weeks, encouraging me to go, too, but I dragged my feet.  Meeting new people was hell on me; meeting new *kids* was impossible.  The kids I already knew were mostly scary and awful.  My mom continued to pester.  I finally gave in, agreeing to go to church.

When we got there, the kids were hanging out in the church kitchen; I could see them through the serving window.  Mom offered to introduce me.  I declined, and, to her great surprise, said I'd be fine alone, and walked away from her.  I purposefully strode into the kitchen, walked up to a very cute older boy, and said, "My name is Nancy.  Would you like to have a new member?"

I shocked myself a little.  My mom was dumbfounded.  The guy said, "Sure!" and introduced me around.

How had I done it?  I realized, in that moment standing next to my mom, that these were strangers.  They didn't know me from Eve.  I could, in that instant, shed my skin.  I could step out from the puny, stupid, worthless shell of Nancy and be anyone I chose with these people.  They didn't know.  They would only know the person I chose to be with them.

I overcame my fear of - what, people? strangers? other kids? of being me? - by pretending to be someone else.  Fake it til you make it.  In a lot of ways, it was wonderful.  I could be Not In School there.  My history of classroom humiliations, test failures, lonesome bus rides, boredom and bafflement did not follow me here.  They Didn't Know.

I had a ready-made social network that expanded way beyond our one church; Unity is national, and YOU groups likewise.  We had weekend rallies every other month, where we'd travel to another church; have lessons and a dance (a rally wasn't successful if you didn't hook up ;-), spend the night at someone's house.  We had a national conference once a year, which gave me my first plane trip, to St. Louis, Missouri, in the middle of the summer.  I'd never experienced humidity before.

The rallies in particular had one effect I would not identify until many years later:  I'd learned to "get high" on religion.  The group consciousness, the social contact, the feeling of acceptance and genuine love combined to make one heady brew.  The one thing that always kind of bothered me was, as much as I tried, I didn't seem to "believe" as much or as well as the others.  I prayed and meditated along with whoever was leading, but I couldn't manage to do the same on my own.  Nonetheless, I told my mom I wanted to be a Unity minister.  I'm pretty sure she knew that was unlikely, happy though the idea might have made her; I was completely tongue-tied if asked to speak in a group.

I'd reached a point where, whenever anyone asked what I wanted to do with my life, I'd say something different, often what I thought they wanted to hear.  I was also looking for direction from their responses, as I had no idea at all who I was or What I Wanted to Be when I grew up.  (That's not entirely true.  I had one dream, which my mom shot down with an "oh no you're NOT!" - to be a jockey.  There were no women jockeys as yet, but it was Too Dangerous.  I also wanted to be a vet, but school shot that one down - "You'd better improve in math!")  To the YOU youth pastor:  I think I'll end up a scrub nurse.  (I watched MASH.)  His response?  Oh, you should be a doctor instead!  To the high school vice principal, who was meeting with students to counsel them on their futures:  I'm going to be a lawyer.  (My St. Brother was in law school.)  His response?  Wow.  Okay.  (Awestruck Respect.)  To my high school English teacher, whose papers I helped grade:  I think I'd like to be a proofreader.  Her response?  No, you should be a writer!  (The only one of those jobs I've ever done: proofreader.  I have had a couple of articles published, too.)

But I digress.  I guess I faced that fear and overcame it, plus I learned I could be someone else, depending on the group.  I had not known how easy it was, how good I already was, at camouflage.  I'd been blending into the background for years; now, I was learning how to adapt while still functioning, not merely trying to hide.  I carried that skill with me, to college and Sigma Kappa and to other church groups, and later to work and homeschool groups and even online.  It's kind of exhausting.