Saturday, July 5, 2008

Chocolate Cake - Crowded House

I can't get this song out of my head. Maybe it's all this thinking I'm doing about American excess and, I regret to say, chocolate cake.

This is very self-indulgent, I know. ;-)

Another Patriot Speaks From The Heart

The Cunning Runt over at Little Bang Theory published what in my view is a truly patriotic post about Independence Day. It is written with passion and heart is one of the reasons I admire this lovely man so much.

Happy Birthday, My Country

Oh, and while you're at it, check out CR's breathtaking nature photos. The man has many talents.
Supergirls One and Two, July 4th, 2008

I'm trying out the new digi-cam that The Supergirls gave to me for my birthday yesterday. My birthday was actually on July 1 but we celebrated it on the 4th with W.P., his daughter L.P. and fiance', Alice, W.P.'s mother and A.P., his sister.

The photo above was taken last night at a spur-of-moment fireworks trek to southern Vermont. It's much chillier up north a ways and The Supergirls huddled under their blanket for warmth, as the sky lit up with fireworks. One of shells that was sent up exploded into a red heart momentarily. Sweet.

The best birthday gift the P family gave to me was their acceptance and congratulatory spirit toward Supergirl One's engagement to her Beloved. If there' s such a thing as a blessing, they have given it to me by the acceptance and decency I've been met with when I became a part of this family.

Which reminds me. I keep forgetting to tell you that W.P. and I are now officially engaged as well. Ring and everything. ;-) Please join me in raising a glass to my second time around.

No date. No hurry. :-)

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Friday Evening Nudes

Paul Gaugin
Study of a Nude
Suzanne Sewing

Joan Miro'
Nude With Mirror

Bouguereau Apres-le-bain-
Charles Edward Boutibonne

No news; just nudes.

Great Post Alert!

My friend and esteemed blogger Dianne over at Forks Off The Moment has a wonderful post up that is a must-read for Independence Day.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Peace Tree

Andy Warhol. Just pagan sphinx-y randomness.

If you care to, you can read my little earthquake of a post over at the Peace Tree:

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Bad Art Or Not?

Celebrity Art: Daniel Edwards

For the feature Bad Art or Not, I try to choose artists whose work is recognized as having merit but that is not everyone's cup of tea. To some, the art I'll showcase in this feature may be downright awful. I want to know what you truly think, just upon glancing at the images. Try to avoid following any links before you register an opinion. I'll share my impressions and opinions with you in comments. Don't hesitate to say the first thing that comes to your mind. One word responses are welcome.

Have fun

Daniel Edwards
Monument to Pro-Life: The Birth of Sean Preston" (Brittany Spears)

Paris Hilton Sculpture by Daniel Edwards Read the full story here

How Do I Get The Red Out?

At the bird feeder outside my desk window, where I am currently typing on my laptop, a pesky red squirrel keeps coming over to eat the birdseed.

Early this spring there was only a mother red squirrel, with very pink nipples coming to the feeder. Now her offspring have taken over the front feeder and raise hell with the gray squirrels frequently, on a daily basis. And with each other as well! Sibling rivalry on a daily basis is something I thought I was long done with when my girls grew out of it.

More recently there has been only one red squirrel coming to the feeder. I wonder if it succeeded in gaining control of its territory to the exclusion of its sibling.

These cute but very aggressive squirrels scare my birds away and fight off the more gentle gray squirrels by getting in their face and engaging in an aggressive chatter that is the equivalent of fingernails on a chalkboard to me. In essence, they're driving me bonkers! I have taken to keeping a pot lid and large spoon on my desk to give them a good clang. (W.P. thinks this is hilarious). To which their response is to hop away, only to come back seconds later. Little shits.

Now I'm usually very accepting of critters in the natural world and were it not for their obnoxious, nasty chatter, I would probably think they were cute. The red squirrels are ruining my little blogging oasis. They're eating all my birdseed and my beloved finches have not been to the feeder for days - because of Them. Come to think of it, the cardinals have been avoiding my desk window feeder as well, preferring the feeder across the road where we enjoy our river view and away from Them.

Is there any humane way to rid my life of these pests? I want my cardinals, finches, chickadees and tufted titmice back. I want the offensive squirrel chatter to stop. I want my oasis purified of these little rodents.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Birthday Mix

1) Buckets of Rain - Bob Dylan
Blood on the Tracks, 1975

2) Refuse of the Roads - Joni Mitchell
Hejira, 1976

3) Back to Harlan - Kate & Anna McGarrigle
Matapedia, 1996

The first two tracks are a sampling of the music I discovered in my mid-teens.

The last track I discovered when Emmylou Harris did a cover of it on her CD Wrecking Ball (1995). The song was composed and recorder by the McGarrigles on Matapedia (1996)

It appears that I bought a lot of music in the '90s. Supergirl Two, who likes a lot of the same music as I, was just commenting on these 90's songs we used to listen to during dinner or just hanging around playing.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Andar com Fe (To Walk With Faith) - Gilberto Gil

Brazil Classics

A David Byrne Compilation

Happy Birthday, George (and me)

George Sand
July 1, 1804-1876

I share a birthday today with George Sand:
Make of her what you will. ;-)

Amantine-Aurore-Lucile Dupin, better known as George Sand, is as infamous for her cigar-in-hand cross-dressing as she is famous for her eighty novels, twenty plays, and numerous political more here.

The artist vocation is to send light into the human heart. George Sand

I tried to edit the piece of the post that contains the jukebox, but blogger won't let me add anything for some reason.

Although it loses a lot of its poetic integrity, here is the translated lyric for Andar Com Fe (To Walk With Faith) from the original Portuguese.

To walk with faith
Faith doesn't usually fail
Faith is a woman
Faith is in the coral snake,
In a peace of bread
Faith is in the tide, in the dagger's blade,
In light, in darkness
Faith is in the morning
Faith is in nighfall
Faith is in the summer heat
Faith is alive with health
Faith is also about to die
Sadly, in solitude
Right or even wrong,
Faith goes where I go,
On foot or by plane.
For those who don't have faith
Faith usually follows
Through yes and through no.

Thank you, Ed, for taking an interest in the meaning of the song. Peace.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

What's Goin' On

Broken Heart

This is a difficult post to write. It's complicated family stuff; the sort of thing I tend to avoid writing about because of its emotional difficulty. What I have to do in order to get it out is tell the story the best I can.

As some of you know, my 21 year-old daughter, Supergirl One is gay. She's madly in love with a young woman she is in college with and they've been planning to get married. Like a lot of young couples, regardless of sexual orientation, planning this very thing around these ages is not atypical. Since SG1's Beloved is a California resident, they hope to be married next summer, before graduate school, assuming that the decision there is not reversed in November due to the ballot initiative. Though we live in Massachusetts, marriage legality here depends upon establishing residency. There is no such requirement in California.

The difficult part is the family reactions or potential reactions, as everyone in the family does not yet know. My mother, 78, does not know and is likely to take the news hard. SG1 feels that she can't keep her plans secret from people and makes very compelling arguments for it. I support her, of course, but I also fear for her, as she is a sensitive soul when it comes to her heart; and this is all about her heart. I once heard someone say that when your children leave you, it's like watching your heart go out into the world. While I've always celebrated my children's independence, in SG1's case I find myself a total wreck over this.

Yesterday, Saturday, SG1 and I drove to my brother's home in Eastern Massachusetts for a family gathering. The players in this gathering are my brother and his wife, in their 50's, their grown daughter, their grown son and his wife and their two babies, my maternal uncle and his daughter, my brother's in-laws and of course, SG1 and I - the sort of black sheep in the sense of how starkly unmainstream we are in our thinking, compared to the rest of the bunch. Don't get me wrong, everyone was having a fine time, the babies are adorable and the center of attention, the food is good and many of these folks are highly intelligent conversationalists.

At one point after dinner, there were two tables of relatives chatting it up in different rooms. At the kitchen table, I ended up sitting with my sister-in-law, my adult niece, my nephew's wife and SG1. I don't know how the conversation fell on SG1 but it came out that she was in a serious relationship and engaged. Everyone was very understanding but the concern about telling my mother seemed paramount on everyone's minds, including mine. Add to the sidebar that I believe (I'm working on this) that my daughter is too young to get married, regardless of who it is she is marrying.

So, everyone around our table begins to ask SG1 questions in an attempt to explore various options that she might take in regard to breaking the news to my mother; of which one option is to not tell her at all. SG1 was clearly in the hot seat. I was overwhelmed. The others were concerned. I failed to do what SG1 was relying on me most for: a united front. Firstly, I could barely get a word in. Secondly, when I did open my mouth, I just blurted out that she and her Beloved are perhaps too young to be contemplating marriage so soon. Although SG1 knows this opinion already, she also knows that I will support her no matter what. I failed, however, to have an opportunity to say this. By the time SG1 had finished attempting to address the various options her relatives were proposing for how to (or not) tell her grandmother, she had had it and requested privately that we go home. I was more than glad to oblige and we left.

On the drive all hell broke loose. SG1 was hurt and despondent over the whole thing and terribly angry and disappointed in me for not having taken her side more. As I said, I too was overwhelmed throughout this family discussion and it would have been well with me if we had not touched on it at all. I could not get in a word without rudely interrupting and becoming defensive on my daughter's behalf. My brother and his family and I are not terribly close, and it's a chore for me to even get enthused about a visit, though I do end up usually having a good time when I do, regardless. In this discussion, I felt perhaps just as awkward as SG1, though not nearly as hurt, since I think for some reason I went into brain freeze mode and simply couldn't think straight. If I were to pick up this conversation again with my sister-in-law only, for example, I can just hear her saying, with good intentions, "I feel for you, Gina." I would hate, hate, hate to have to hear that! I'm not a stranger to being in a difficult spot with my daughter but her being in love and truly happy is not a difficult spot for anyone but them.

Backing up a bit to the drive home with SG1, she cried bitterly and expressed her utter and complete hurt that I didn't defend her. I could barely drive. I desperately tried to explain my position, including that I had only one opportunity to speak and how sorry I was that what came out was indeed not supportive. I had waited for a chance to finally say my piece but I never had that chance, I explained, before SG1 declared that she wanted to leave. The whole thing, I explained, felt like a bad dream. It was painful and SG1 looked small and frail and vulnerable and if I could have run out of the room with her, I would have. But I couldn't. We managed to hold our heads high enough, I guess, as we left. And in the car we both fell apart.

We did work it through but I wonder at what cost to my daughter and perhaps, I fear, to our relationship. I failed her. I let her down. I betrayed her. And all, perhaps, because of my own misgivings and my cowardice at not wanting to alienate my very small, extended family, with whom I am not even close with precisely because I can't be myself with them. I froze and was unable to step up to the plate.

I haven't questioned seriously who I am and what I stand for in the face of what my family thinks, in a long time. I thought I had long ago accepted the fact that my family and I are different from my brother and his. That although I love my family, even my aunts and uncles and my cousins; that their value systems and lifestyles are not what I have chosen for myself. And then something like this happens and I am asking myself, like a child: why do I have to be different? Why is it me who has to have the child with the unpopular, misunderstood and even despised situation? Why can't things ever be in neat little rows for me like they are for my brother? Why is my emotional life so damned fucking hard all the time? Why can't anyone just be happy that we are good people and appreciate us as such? Why do I have to care what they think? And how is it that their version of reality has to be one that everyone gets in line for? Fuck. Why can't my daughter's engagement be celebrated? No one even said congratulations to her at that fucking table!

It's no wonder that I have difficulty writing and discussing truly difficult personal matters. It's easier to let the confusion swirl around in my head: thoughts, snippets of conversation, "tapes" that have played in the back of my head for years: negative, painful, self-doubting but not properly articulated.

And yet I have to publish this. I need your feedback, your opinions, your advise, even. And though painful, I think I'm clearer now, having sorted through what happened. I still feel lousy but at least now I have a bit more understanding of how I came to take so many steps back when I thought I was moving forward.

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