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.

Nov. 11 - It's 11-11-11: make three wishes.

Can I wish for more wishes?  That used to seem so clever.

Ever see the play, "The Monkey's Paw"?  My junior high drama club staged it; I was an usher, as I never ever got involved in the actual plays.  I joined because I had a crush on David Wheaton, and he was in it.  Plus, my favorite teacher, Mrs. Frazinni, was the advisor.  "The Monkey's Paw" pretty much squelches any interest one might ever have for making wishes.  They can backfire.

I should have wished for more time, or less procrastination....

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nov. 10 - What is your secret (or not so secret) passion?

Do I have a secret passion?  I'm not sure I understand the question.  My Not Secret Passion is horses; has been since I was 3 years old.  Passion, obsession, fascination, longing, unremitting desire for as long as I can remember.  Passion comes from the Latin, pati, to suffer.  I get that.

Do I have a secret passion?  Is there something else in my life I feel as strongly as my passion for horses?  I love dogs, too, but my soul is horse-shaped.  I'm fascinated by tack, passionate that it be cared for properly and that it fit properly.  No secret there.

Do I have a secret passion?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Nov. 9 - When was the first time that you realized that your home was not like other people's homes?

When I first typed the prompt heading, I took out the extraneous thats.  The sentence doesn't need either of them.  I'm taking writing direction from a worse writer than me.

A funny question, that.  (joke)

I suppose I realized my home was different every time I entered someone else's home.  Different yard, door, mat, smell, sounds.  I regularly visited the Thompson's house, who watched Kim and me after school when Mom went to work - homey, a bit more chaotic than mine as there were more kids and Dachsunds.  I learned that I did not play Barbies correctly.  I'm sure they were trying to help.

Other neighbors' homes - one had a piano in the girls' room, which I wanted to bang; another had a pool, where we got to swim on special occasions.  I had to wear a Mae West, as I didn't really swim.  That was the Vork's house, I think.  The dad hung himself there.  Charlanne, the daughter, died of anorexia a few years later.  Her mom worked at the yogurt place near my college.  I remember the house kitty-corner from ours, where I stepped on a bee in bare feet (my only bee sting), and the girl I played with, who drowned on a camping trip, and her dad, who drowned trying to save her.  I remember (before that) seeing her fall out of a moving car, and us trying to teach her little brother to skip, as she was sure he had to know that before he could go to kindergarten.  I don't remember her name.

My home seems really great by comparison, though it had its faults.  Smells of cigarets and liquor.  Perfume, hair spray, Toni permanents, ironed clothes.  I was insulated from most of the drama, mainly by my age.  These were all houses in Whittier, of course.  Other friends' homes in Orange were similar in size and shape and grandness; different in smell and feel.  Mom farmed me out as a babysitter, thinking it would be good for me, but I really hated going into other peoples' houses by then.  I was scared; I didn't like kids; my only motive was money.  A good enough reason, but I was still kind of freaked out, being alone and in charge in a stranger's house.  I didn't mind sitting the Lauro boys, but they were right across the street, so I wasn't far from my own home.

This was a much darker trip than I thought it would be.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Nov. 8 - Has anything traumatic ever happened to you? Describe the scenes surrounding a particular event.

No, my life has been fifty-three years of uninterrupted bliss.

The problem with this question is:  What would normal people consider traumatic?  A car accident; being the victim of a violent crime; witnessing a murder?  No, no, and no.  How would one know an event was traumatic?  Is there a physical symptom of emotional trauma?  Is it that feeling of your heart stopping, your breath catching in your throat, the rush of adrenaline prompting Fight or Flight?  Yeah, I've had that.  The dictionary on my computer is specific - "traumatic" relates to the psychological, not the physical (i.e., trauma).  Is it significant that I had to look it up?

I could describe my current state of being in response to this prompt.  Traumatic - emotionally disturbing or distressing.  It's not exactly disturbing or distressing, though; in a way, it's comforting and enlightening.  I'm not prepared to discuss it with anyone yet, though I've got some books in mind for my first Kindle purchases.

About 10 years ago, I started on the road to recovery from co-dependency/ACA, with the help of a therapist and some 12-step meetings.  The process of peeling away the denial that protected me was excruciating: I described it as akin to the debridement burn victims must endure to heal.  That was traumatic.  My identity stripped away, and I was left with the sure knowledge that I had no idea who I was; a co-dependent has no sense of self.  I've drifted along in a semi-healed state for ten years now.  My ACA meeting disbanded, and I've not found another.  I've looked on the internet, but chicken out before attending.  Groups are SO HARD for me; human relationships too daunting.

Which brings me to today.  I'm exploring the very distinct possibility that I have Asperger Syndrome.  I'm fairly certain my 24 y.o. daughter has it as well.  It would explain a lot.  More on the topic in the future.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Nov. 7 - Making family time is important to me. How do you balance your children, relationship, and work life?

Eww - a Chick Topic!   I have no job to balance, except for Partners, my volunteer gig, and my daughter, Laura, goes along most of the time.  My main job otherwise is Homemaker, so I have plenty of time to "balance" all the other stuff.  Time for laundry, cleaning, shopping, cooking.  Just Like Mom.   

I do feel out of balance at times, but it's my own equilibrium in question.  Since my last horse, Malcolm, died in December '10, I have to rely on Partners' horses for my Riding Fix, and there have been weeks at a time where that has gone unsatisfied.  This is bad.  I need my canters.  You can see from my picture that I'm happy, relaxed, in sync cantering Vinny.  Family doesn't do that for me.  A canter is a cure for every ill.  It's occasionally a substitute for sex.  God I need a canter. 

I wonder if I'm safe telling my Absurd blog the truth, or will it leak out?  No one is reading it as yet, but that might change.  Hello?  If you're reading, post a comment.  

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Nov. 5 - Free Day

I get the weekend off from NaBloPoMo prompts, so I spent Saturday watching The Breeder's Cup races followed by Cup of China figure skating.  Partway through that, I couldn't take sitting anymore, so I played ball with Panda and then took her for a 2.39 mile walk.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Nov. 4 - When you are writing, do you prefer to use a pen or a computer?

Those are the only options?  Okay, I'll bite.  Computer.  My carpal tunnel syndrome isn't happy either way, but at least with a computer, I can upsize the font so I can read the damn thing.  My handwriting is limited to grocery lists, though I know I could do those on the computer, too.  I don't even sign my name very often anymore, since I started using a debit card instead of checks.

This is not to say I haven't tried.  A few years ago, I read "The Artist's Way," and did a few notebooks-full of "morning pages."  It was quite helpful and cathartic at the time.  I did a lot of purging.  They definitely have to be hand-written, as you are not supposed to edit (as I'm doing now).  I've kept them hidden away, every once in awhile thinking I should burn them.  You're not supposed to keep them, I don't think, and they only serve to remind me of very painful times.

The drama, though;  ah, the drama.  Has a way of making you feel alive and important.   There's that advantage of writing on a computer, particularly if, like me, the bulk of your writing has been in emails and/or yahoogroup posts -- the stuff is still there, and searchable.  One reason I picked now to start a blog is I peeked into some very old posts about homeschooling, and wondered who the hell that was writing.  She was so articulate and self-assured!  Oh, it was me?  What the fuck?

I'll answer that eloquent question in another post.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Nov. 3 - Can you listen to music and write? What song did you hear today?

I can listen to instrumental music and write, but I might find myself transcribing the words, rather than writing my own stuff.  Songs with lyrics are for the car, and for housework, and for my occasional workouts on the mini-tramp.  (That is not a slutty dwarf, bouncy bouncy.)  I tend to sing along.

I was trying to find a better song than "Luka" for the Name Game today, but I'm so bad at remembering lyrics!  I have listened to "Woody's Roundup" from Toy Story 2, and a bit of a Mary Chapin Carpenter album, but decided just to post "My name is Luka, I live on the second floor" instead.  Sad song about child abuse, woo hoo!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Nov. 2 - If you knew that whatever you ate next would be your last meal, what would you want it to be?

Oh, not fair.  It's about a quarter to twelve, and I'm thinking about lunch -- leftover greek chicken from last night -- and about grocery shopping this afternoon.  My whole diet is undergoing renovation, as I've been aroused from the denial surrounding my health; more on that later.

If I knew my next meal would be my last, I would want a rare-ish, thick steak, grilled/smoked by my dad in the ceramic barbecue we had years ago, baked potato and salad, cheesecake for dessert -- no, I take back the cheesecake.  Homemade peach ice cream, even if I had to turn the crank.  Maybe some of his smoked salmon for an appetizer, too.  My best food memories are from long ago.  I could get a decent approximation at a really good steak house, I guess.

Nov. 1 - What is my favourite part about writing?

Note the u in favourite - it was in the prompt from   It was not my idea.  Note too that I'm starting late, as always.

My fave part about writing?  Writing keeps me grounded.  As in, sitting down, not doing housework or thinking about What's For Dinner.  Literally, grounded.

I used to write stories, but stopped in fourth grade.   One of my stories was chosen for a school contest, but Miss Lucas criticized my lame ending -- the boy woke up, it was all a dream.  I don't remember writing fiction after that; my imaginative narration remained safely locked in my head.  I concentrated on School Writing, instead, and became fairly good at it.

Much of my writing in the past several years has been in email/yahoo group form, and before that, on AOL's homeschool boards.  From there, I wrote a few articles published in homeschooling magazines and one religious magazine.  All of those articles and emails and board posts were written by someone I no longer recognize -- ironically, I used my old AOL screen name, Felicitas, as my i.d. here,  because I still want to be known to old friends from those days; they may be the only people who ever read this blog.  (I hope I don't attract the "Other Felicitas" followers, as I seem to do anytime I log onto AIM -- she's a German dominatrix.)

Better Late Than Never?

I've resisted the urge to blog for many years.  Deb and Sandra and the Lyrics Game broke my resistance.   Blog Bandwagon, here I am.  The blog title comes from a Random Blog Title Generator, though I did have to choose it from about 25 options.  I love playing with words, and what could be more absurd than me writing a blog?