Air Waves

I turn on my hometown radio station almost every morning.  I feel comforted hearing the DJ’s voice – a guy who’s been on that station since I was a teenager and the only way to hear the latest songs back then, besides going to see bands, or buying random CD’s to try out, was to listen to the radio.

The station had been family owned since its inception, but was sold, or became managed, by one of the larger market outfits a decade ago, when they tried to make the format more hip by adding a morning talk component with one of the DJs who’s still there, and a guy who did a regular sports spot and was a substitute DJ.  The new format was a clumsy intrusion, and didn’t change their listener numbers.  The format changed back over to the main DJ within a year, I think.  I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did.

I’m glad the station is still there.  I don’t have cable, or get any stations on my television, so I turn to the radio and internet for my news.

This morning I turned on the radio and was transported back to the days of getting my son ready for school, the days before I woke in terrible pain every day, the days that I still wouldn’t trade for today unless I could be a different person.  Nostalgia colors the past in pastels so often.  But my life was harsh in other ways.  I was severely depressed, single parenting, in poverty, and don’t know how I got through, but I’m grateful because now is better, even if still somewhat desolate.  Back then I was assured that life would get better, I just didn’t know it would take ten years…

Radio is quaint now with our smart phones, tablets, and other electronic devices streaming music and video, our mp3 players shutting us out from collective experience.  I don’t have a smart phone and I don’t think I want one.  I think there are going to be a lot of neck problems in a few years, and I know firsthand how youth’s disregard exacts payment later.  I asked my doctor what causes our bodies to break down over such a short lifespan and her answer was: “Walking upright”.

The DJ is bidding his listening audience a good day as his shift ends and signals the shrinking time I have left to get out the door myself.  I realize that tuning into this station most mornings isn’t an unconscious habit, but part of my ancestral drive for continuity – for being part of a collective, even if the mode seems trivial.  It’s this DJ, this radio station, that has barely changed from my youth throughout my adult years.  I moved from Maine to California, and finally ended up back where I started, and that station remained mostly as is while much around me has changed, indeed, while I’ve changed too.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Ode To A Fruit So Pale

Fruit of yellow

Tastes so mellow

It’s very ap-pealing to me.

So fun to spell, and it goes quite well in pudding,

bread,

or cream pie.

Try one sliced – it’s oh so nice

topping cereal, or ice-

cream splits (and it’s great on a Sundae too!)

Try one and see –

I think you’ll agree –

bananas are a fruit for you!

bananas
bananas (Photo credit: Fernando Stankuns)

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

What A Day, December 21, 2012

I picked my son up from Boston yesterday for our family Christmas gathering this weekend, and experienced torrential rain and blustering wind most of the way down.  Being December 21st, with all the hype of impending apocalypse, it was somewhat unnerving to drive through the deluge, but if the end were near, what better way to spend it than trying to get to my child?

When I visited my father in Florida many years ago, there were several days of intense downpours that I was caught in while driving, once so heavy that I had to pull over and wait for the storm to pass.  Yesterday reminded me of driving in Florida except I only considered pulling over once, and then the rain let up enough that I didn’t have to.  I’m sure people thought I was crazy as I passed them, but I could see well enough, and never got near hydroplaning speeds.  I did hit a patch of water on an overpass that made me veer to the left, but I was lucky to not be with other traffic then.

Just as I hit the four lane section of Route 2 outside of Boston, the wind died down, the rain subsided, the sun shone through patches of separating cloud cover, and I saw a northerly rainbow.  Coming into Boston proper, the sun was out in earnest, with only cumulus clouds floating in scattered clumps, as though the fearsome tempest had never occurred.

After getting my son, who was in a happier mood than when I last saw him, I had him drive back.  There was heavy traffic leaving the city, and Route 2 was bumper to bumper cars until we passed Concord.  As we headed into Western MA, the cloud cover grew steadily, and the rain picked up once more.  We didn’t experience any more downpours, but the steady rain and moisture kicked up from car tires, combined with the growing dark, made for a dismal drive home.  We rewarded ourselves with dinner out once we got back to town, and my son was vivacious and chatty the whole time, creating a stellar end to my day.

I realized that my son’s moodiness during the Thanksgiving break had far more to do with the slump he was in than not wanting my company.  It’s important for me to remember that I’m his safety in the sense that he’s completely himself when he’s around me, so if he’s non-communicative, it’s about him, not me.  My job is to love and accept him, regardless of anything else, which I’ve always done – even if I grumble about his attitude at times.  I have more information than I had before, and now I’ll have better suggestions next time I hear or see his discontent.

For now, I’m grateful he’s with me over the holiday, and I’m glad we’re all still here – even though there wasn’t any apocalyptic danger associated with yesterday’s date.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Holiday Events

The town next to me has a theater built in the late 1870s.  It has seen several revivals of sorts throughout the years, its most infamous use being when the Renaissance Community – the commune/cult I grew up in – owned it.  I spent many days and nights in that theater as a teenager, so it has a difficult history for me, but that history has become less overwhelming since 2000 when I auditioned for my first play at what is now the Shea Theater.  Its renovation removed the gaudiness that Michael Rapunzel (née, Metalica) imposed on the once beautiful theater, but the balcony was removed, leaving only a light and sound booth for shows, and tiered rows of seats down to the ground floor of the theater.

The other night, several community groups helped present a large screen showing of: It’s A Wonderful Life, for free, but people were encouraged to bring canned goods or monetary donations for our regional food bank and local food pantries.

I wasn’t going to go, but I wasn’t born when that movie was first shown in theaters, so I thought it would be fun to see on a big screen, even though I suspected I’d be in a largely empty theater.  Boy was I wrong!  The theater was packed and there were many families in attendance.  It was a festive experience to see the film with all those people, some seeing it for the first time, and probably plenty for the last as well.  I mean that last part to convey that it’s an outdated movie whose quaint filming and content don’t satisfy a movie going public in the way it might have when it was first released.

After the show, the crowd was told that the pub across the street was serving ‘flaming rum punch’, a drink that Clarence, the angel (second class), tries to order at Martini’s in the alternate world he’s escorting George Bailey through.  I decided to go over, and again, thought I’d be among very few, but the pub was crowded, with more filing in after me, and many there had just come from seeing the film.  It was a very jovial crowd, and it felt somewhat surreal, like we were all characters from the story somehow. I half expected a saxophone rendition of Auld Lang Syne to play over the pub’s stereo.

The rum punch was just spiced cider with rum, but it was warm and soothing on a cold, dreary night.  The people sitting next to me at the bar started chatting with me, and I asked them if they had ever seen the movie before, and they hadn’t.  They said they liked it, and thought it was a great idea to offer, and hoped there would be more community events like that.  A young woman related that she had always wanted to see the film, but her mother hated it, saying it was too depressing, and turned it off any time it was on television, so the woman just assumed she’d hate it too.  She was pleasantly surprised to find that it was more uplifting than depressing, even if set during the Great Depression and World War II.

It was a lovely oasis in a difficult time, not only for recent tragedies, but for this dark time of year that starts my yearly descent.  I hope this will be the year I fall no further.

Enjoy each other, tell those who matter that you love them, tell strangers you’re glad to meet them, be helpful, and kind, and you may receive no heavenly reward, but you will uplift humanity, and I think we can all use more gladness, even if momentary.   Peace.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Powerless

Will gun control help?  The argument goes that law-abiding citizens don’t commit crimes, criminals do, or the mentally ill do.  A twenty year-old who shot and killed twenty-seven people, twenty of whom were grammar students is also dead, so there’s no further discovery into his motives, his thoughts, his state of mind.  It should be obvious, I know: he was mentally disturbed.  He lacked empathy, he wasn’t rational – because who could shoot and kill anyone without being insane if you’re not on a battlefield or otherwise defending yourself?

But, what happened to him?  What did he live with that made him deliberately kill children?

There are many who disagree with me, but I think we need more restrictive gun laws including the types of guns citizens have access to, the types of ammunition, and yearly mental-health check-ups of registered gun owners.  That won’t stop the criminals, but it might limit some of the guns, or some types of ammunition.  I think citizens need the 2nd Amendment because a well-regulated militia is necessary for the people to defend themselves against enemies foreign and domestic, and we’re at a point in our history where we already live in a de facto police state as we’ve seen the police grow more militarized, and we’ve seen how police in America uphold corporate and government interests above the citizenry’s interest.

I’m brokenhearted for the families who lost a child, or children, today, and in my powerlessness, all I can ask is ‘why’, and ‘what can we do to lessen the chances of repetition’?

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Battling Ben Stein

While Ben Stein might be an intelligent and well-known man, his thoughts are no more valid than other thinking beings’ ideas.  There is commentary circulating in letter form attributed to Mr. Stein, although it’s been modified several times, and contains a few central ideas he actually said – which of course are now taken out of context and promoted all over Facebook, and through email, as some sort of manifesto from Mr. Stein, and championed by all who agree with him.

I’m posting my thoughts first, which are followed by his commentary:

My rebuttal:

Oh, Ben, and all the others who tagged their ignorance onto his original thoughts.  First, equating Dr. Spock’s offering an alternative to violent discipline to why his son killed himself is a truly vile, libelous, statement, and your ‘letter’ can be disregarded solely on that basis.  Our children have no conscience because we don’t spank them anymore?  I was hit as a child – there was no Dr. Spock philosophy in my household – and I have plenty desire to do violence, especially to those who spout such stupidity.

Ben states: “I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.”

Well, that’s a sentiment I can agree with, but here’s the thing Mr. Stein:  People who don’t believe in God, in whatever form you’d express that God, are the ones who have been seriously ‘pushed around’.  People have been force-fed Christianity for thousands of years in a ‘believe or die’ hate-fest.  I honestly don’t care whatever you believe until those beliefs come to bear on non-believers, and how they can live.  You’re sick of people being chided for trying to make others live by a set of commands that don’t pertain to them?  You want a theocracy, and that’s the mandate of religious people, but a theocracy would fundamentally, and I believe, detrimentally, change our Democratic Republic.  We’d be like Saudi Arabia, and all other countries who rule from the pulpit.  And those people are deeply corrupt, Mr. Stein, et al, because they are flawed human beings ruling over others with impunity.  Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

You don’t agree, and that’s fine, but when no one is offering an alternative to your opinion, it appears that most people agree with you, or are so cowed by your statements that they won’t give answer to them.  I’m simply trying to disavow you of that notion.

I don’t think we should ‘worship celebrities’, and who is not allowing you to worship God?!  You have any number of places and times to worship.  You can put down a prayer rug and pray on the sidewalk.  And there will be horrible people trying to stop you, but it won’t be atheists, or agnostics, it will be fundamentalist, hate-filled, people who try to prevent you.  It will be other religious fanatics trying to squash your ability to worship, and not non-believers!  Non-believers only care when you’re trying to ‘shove’ your religion and beliefs ‘down our throat’!  You can, in fact, pray in school – it’s just not a thing like having to recite the Pledge of Allegiance en masse.

Isn’t it nice to be wished a Happy Chanukah if you’re a practicing Jew, even if you’re glad to be wished Merry Christmas?  Just because someone is trying to be inclusive by saying ‘happy holidays’ should not make them a threat to your beliefs and celebrations.  I was a Christian for much of my life, and I’m fine with being wished a ‘Merry Christmas’ too, even though my beliefs no longer include the erroneous Christmas story.  I even wish others a ‘Merry Christmas’ on December 25th because it’s a cultural norm, and a way to honor those who celebrate that day as their decided upon ‘birth of a Savior’.

I like Menorahs, and the tale of Chanukah, and I like the story of Jesus, and the crèche/manger scene.  I like the lights, and decorating trees, and singing Christmas songs, because they’re pretty, regardless of my belief or non-belief.  Those traditions lift my spirits in a dark time of the year.

And then there’s the paragraph about Billy Graham’s daughter who said she thinks God has backed away from us because we asked Him too.  You can believe her, and live superstitiously all you want, but like having a black cat cross your path, and then tragedy happening, doesn’t make the cat responsible for your misfortune.  Hurricane Katrina wasn’t caused by God, and when you suggest that, you’re suggesting that we all be superstitious rather than rational, and that is a far deeper tragedy than not believing in God.

Another error Mr. Stein (or whoever altered his original thoughts) attempts is this:

In light of recent events… terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbour as yourself. And we said OK.

You are connecting heinous acts with the removal of state sanctioned prayer in school.  You can pray in school, you can bring your Bible to school; you cannot proselytize in school, however.  The Bible may say ‘thou shalt not kill’, and the other nine commandments, but you are assuming that humanity would have killed each other off were it not for those words sent down from a mountain top.  But, if you continue to read the Bible, people never stopped doing exactly what was ‘forbidden’ them.  Ever.  We kill, we fornicate, we lust, we have avarice, and pride.  It didn’t work.  The words fell on mostly deaf ears – and those were believers!  Those were people who heard Moses recite the tablet, who later read that book, who still promote the ideas of that book while molesting the children in their congregations.

It is unfettered greed that has led to the condition we find ourselves in.  We’ve never lost biblical and other religious works’ guidance, and still commit horrific crimes even when reading those words and trying to practice those precepts.  You’d claim that we are savages without religious guidance, but there are many examples of Peoples in the world who never heard of your god, or any god, who lived peacefully, who settled their differences, who made sure that their communities had enough.  It is disingenuous to claim that less religion is the reason for world turmoil.

No, Mr. Stein, I’m not laughing, but it is laughable that you continue to inject logical fallacies as fact.  You say: “Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.”

What newspapers contain are usually knowable facts, Mr. Stein, et al.  God is not a knowable fact.  God is a presumption, and those who believe in God have to go on faith that what is said is true.  I like what’s knowable, and do have belief in unknowable/unverifiable things, but that is my personal prerogative, and I don’t try to make anyone else live by, or subscribe to, my quite possibly fantasy world.  Belief in ‘the Lord’ is a personal decision.  I don’t spread that around the internet or email because that’s proselytizing, and I prefer attraction to promotion.  For the record, I don’t like lewd, crude, vulgar, and obscene jokes or pictures, and my friends know that about me, and respectfully don’t send those kinds of things to me, and if I see it on Facebook, or elsewhere, I hide the page, or otherwise disengage from that kind of ‘humor’, and I’m still grateful that prayer is not mandated in school.  You are free to move to a repressive theocratic nation, Mr. Stein, et al.

I believe there is nobility in spiritual books.  My views diverge from those who follow such works literally.  My impetus is toward bringing more light into this world, not less, and perhaps that stems from my religious upbringing, but I think it’s mostly a result from being harmed throughout my childhood, and young adulthood.  I don’t want others to suffer like I did, so I treat others kindly, but I refuse to be ill-used anymore, or remain silent in the face of ignorance.

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejewelled trees, Christmas trees. I don’t feel threatened. I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are, Christmas trees.

It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, “Merry Christmas” to me. I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a crib, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren’t allowed to worship God? I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it’s not funny, it’s intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her: “How could God let something like this happen?” (regarding Hurricane Katrina). Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said: “I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?”

In light of recent events… terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbour as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock’s son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he’s talking about. And we said okay.

Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with ‘WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.’

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit.

If not, then just discard it…. no one will know you did. But if you discard this thought process, don’t sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

My Grandfather’s Birthday

Today my maternal Grandfather would have been 129.  He died in the Spring of his 102nd year.  My mother’s side of the family enjoys longevity, my father’s side, not so much.  My mother’s line comes from hearty French-Canadian farming family stock, and my father’s came from Scots-Irish and English fighting family lineage.  My father’s side carried the banner of anger and scrappiness, while my mother’s touted ‘get along and go along’.   My father’s ancestors were outwardly ill-fitted to society, while my mother’s forebears had more decorum, but certainly had their fair share of dirty laundry, so to speak.

I loved my maternal Grandfather, but never really knew or cared for my father’s father.  I remember him being a somewhat grumpy old man with a mean little Chihuahua named, Tippy, who would growl at you if it wasn’t trying to hump you.  That dog summed up my father’s side of the family to me.  My uncle, Chuck, was a burly man, like my father, whom I barely recall, but I do remember his wife, my Aunt Shirley, who was so kind, and pretty, having what my mother called ‘spanking blue eyes’.  She also had long fingernails and would chase my brothers with her hands curled, claw-like, toward them.  She was the only good thing about my Dad’s family, as far as I was concerned.  I don’t remember my Dad’s mother at all.  I think we visited with them twice, that I can remember, because they lived in another state, several hours away.

My mother’s family lived mostly nearby, which is probably why I have such a drive to stay near my siblings and mother as well.  I often think about my mother’s family in terms of how we all ‘turned out’.  My mother was the last of eleven children, all born in the depression era, five boys and six girls.  My mother was the surprise baby, born after my Grandmother thought she was fertile anymore.  My mother was born into a hard-working family, my grandfather and several of his sons worked on the railroad, while several others made military careers.  The women in the family mostly ran their families, and a few held outside jobs, or pursued passions other than domestic concerns, but they all fared well, mostly.

My mother is the only child whose marriage ended in divorce, the only child who married an unpredictable, angry man, and the only child, that we know of, whose first child was the outcome of a rape, that she was nearly disowned for keeping after being sent to a home for unwed mothers with the express purpose of giving up her child upon birth.  My mother stayed with one of her older sisters for a while, and her parents finally relented and let her go home with my eldest brother.  She flailed for some time, but found work, and an apartment, and shortly after met my father.  He was in the navy, handsome, and fresh out of a hellacious home life, and a disastrous first marriage.

I saw Back To The Future, when it first came out, and I remember thinking that my life would have been so much better if my mother had made a better choice to begin with.  Of course, were that the case, I likely wouldn’t have been born, so it was a moot point, but I would gladly not have been born to have spared my mother from my father.

My grandfather was kind to me, and used to call me ‘tiger eyes’.  He would also buy me Lucky Charms cereal, a treat my mother would never have approved of, but he also used to give me Jordan Almonds, which I hated, and still do.  I enjoyed visits from my Grandpa Brousseau, and vaguely remember my Grandma Brousseau, who died when I was just three.  It’s odd that I still feel connected to her even though I never really knew her.  I suppose it’s a testament to how much my grandfather meant to me that my grandmother means just as much.  My grandfather was kind to me, but he was also strict.  One of the first things he’d demand upon seeing us was to show him our fingernails.  It was important to him that we keep our hands and fingernails clean.  I guess that was his determination of good breeding.  Thankfully, we usually had enough warning of his visits to clean our fingernails before he arrived.

I remember visiting my grandfather in the last few years of his life, and he said how tired he was.  He could barely hear anymore, and was fairly blind, losing his two favorite pastimes: listening to baseball games on the radio, and reading the newspaper.  He said he didn’t know why he kept waking up every day, and that was one of the saddest things to hear.

It’s hard to see someone you remember as robust seeming so frail and lackluster.  During my last visit, when I was in my twenties, he asked me to come sit next to him on his bed, and then he asked me to comb his hair.  I wish I had the understanding that I do now.  I was so embarrassed because it seemed like such a silly request to me then.  I’d give anything to go back with the understanding I have now and comb his hair – and he still had a fair amount of hair even at a hundred.  I recognize his request as a way to connect with me, but I was too self-conscious then.  It wasn’t like when I was eight and would have combed his hair gleefully.  I can’t get that time back, and all I hope is that my grandfather’s spirit knows that I understand now, and that I’m sorry I was so awkward then that he took the comb out of my hand and said ‘never mind’.

Happy Birthday, Grandpa.  I love you, wherever you are.

Here’s a video link to a short video shot by one of my cousins when my Grandpa Brousseau was 101: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bV-gmdb-w3A

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

It Snowed

Two days ago I awoke to find it was snowing!  There was about an inch of snow on the ground, and it continued snowing throughout the morning, although not much more accumulated.  I hadn’t been feeling very festive, but the snow helped re-create that sense of fun as I remembered past snow-ventures with my son.  Sledding, skiing, making snowmen, and forts; having snowball fights, and coming in later to make big mugs of hot chocolate while our outer wear (and usually socks as well) got strewn over all the radiators throughout the house to dry.  I have fond memories of steam radiators for precisely that reason.  The hissing release valves signaled warmth to me, regardless of their design intention.

I miss having my son with me.  This year is harder than last, probably because my son told me he’s only going to stay for our extended family gathering a couple of days before Christmas, and then he’s heading back to his apartment.  Christmas is pretty much just another day because I’m not a follower of anything except the days growing longer again, but having a child to celebrate the spirit of generosity and cheer to lighten the dark days was always welcome.  I liked having a Christmas tree, but can’t afford one this year, which is just as well because it’s only me now.  I’ll decorate the room with my silver and gold garlands and maybe make a wreath for the door.

I still enjoy Christmas music, it really does help to ‘make the season bright’.  I like eggnog and sugar cookies, and especially appreciate the few hours spent with my family exchanging gifts and sharing a meal.  I’m thankful for these traditions that connects my family, and joins us to the larger world in those celebrations as well.  Although I always say ‘Merry Christmas’ on December 25th, I prefer Happy Holidays because I include all those who celebrate their various traditions this time of year, and recognize that even ‘Christmas’ was co-opted from the Earth-centered celebrations of old in an effort to extinguish those earlier ‘pagan’ beliefs.  Thank Goddess it didn’t work!

Happy All-The-Days WordPress friends! Cheers! 🙂

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Not Quite The Full Moon

moon2

While it wasn’t exactly a full moon, it was amazing to look at tonight.  I came home from a friend’s birthday party and happened to look up as I got out of my car, and was mesmerized by the night sky.  The fast-moving clouds added a sense of urgency, and the bright orb was by turns shadowed and fully revealed.  The light was almost too bright as I laid back on my porch steps, and I could have stayed there until I fell asleep, but the night’s chill shook me into moving to my warmer apartment.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Geometry

I saw this out my window when I was thinking about a photograph for the Geometry Photo Challenge and I like the interplay of light and shadow creating this geometric pattern.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Streetcar Dreams

I brought a new character into the play, in my dream, last night – a child.  In the beginning of the dream, the child wasn’t known to me, but later she was a girl I have worked with on a couple of other shows.  She threw up in the rehearsal space/apartment the cast was staying at, and she threw up on the stage.  No one was cleaning it up, and I couldn’t find anything to mop it up myself.  I was so anxious about not stepping in it, and of getting it cleaned up before we would be performing that evening.

An old boyfriend of mine was outside in a parking lot, perhaps of the theater we were bringing the show to.  He was taller and broader than I remembered him, and was aged several years, as he would be, and I thought, ‘oh, maybe we’ll get back together!’, but when I said hello to him, and asked about his life, he looked somewhat disdainfully at me and told me he’s married, and works for himself.

Houses represent the self, so perhaps this show is helping my ‘inner child’ purge the emotional vestiges from my young life, or perhaps the opposite is true and I need to purge Blanche’s character out of me.  No matter what the similarities are, we are not the same.  I have options, and I am availing myself of those options.

This has been a lonely experience, but also a gratifying one in learning the lines, and being present to the other actors as best I can, bringing an excellent production to the community.  We have two more shows before the run is through, and I am looking forward to re-organizing my life once the play closes.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

First Show Weekend Done

The intensity of playing Blanche DuBois is slowly receding, but we have a pick-up rehearsal on Thursday, and then the last shows over next weekend.  I’ve been sad that we’ve had a sparse audience, but happy that we’ve got a great show – well worth the $12 dollar ticket price.

It’s been an interesting journey, and I have much more confidence that I can tackle most anything now.  I understand Blanche the way I was always going to understand her, but more deeply now.  She has much more depth, and even strength, than I’ve heard most people attribute to her, but Blanche is doomed, no matter what.

My dreams keep writing Blanche’s character differently.  She has more to say, and isn’t alright with her fate as written.  That’s good news, isn’t it?  My psyche isn’t willing to resign her to what’s been told.  In my mind, she heals in the institution.  Her psychotic break isn’t permanent.  The beauty of that ending is that I know it happens.  People go through horrific things and continue on, relatively intact.

I gave my best performances, and will continue to.  I have enjoyed evolving through each night.  I find a different nuance to Blanche’s character, or a better way to interact with the other characters.  Theater is beautiful because unlike life, you get to do the same thing over and over, and maybe not create different results, but bring something more to each performance.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign

I took the boys I occasionally watch to see dinosaur tracks a few months ago.  I told them there were no dinosaurs there, and no bones, but we could see where some of them had walked through mud and it had hardened into the rock.

The boys were disappointed anyway because I think they still expected something spectacular.  While we were there, a plane flew over, and I thought about what a strange juxtaposition that was with the dinosaur tracks.  The two together are very foreign.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Halloween Is Here Again, DPChallenge, I Wish I Were

I wish I were a child again – experiencing the night as I did all those years ago, the anticipation and fun.

I wish I were a young mother again – getting my son ready for Halloween night, and how much fun it was to roam the neighborhood with other moms and their children, witnessing the excitement, and helping create the sense of magic about to happen.

Spooky Halloween everyone! I hope you enjoy the day, and especially the night! Have fun and be safe. Cheers!

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Abstractly Distracted

On Hallowe’en, when I was around five or six (maybe even the same year I split my head open), my older siblings were allowed to leave on their own to go trick-or-treating, but I had to stay home until I finished my supper, and wait for my mom to get my little brother in his costume.

I remember thinking how completely unfair it was that I had to wait for my baby brother, and be treated ‘like a baby’, when my next oldest sister was only two years older than me, and she got to go out with my other sister and brothers.  After enough complaints, my mother warned me that she could leave me home while she brought my brother around if I kept harassing her.  I don’t think I uttered a word after that until we finally went out into the chilly night.

We had split-pea soup…

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Scarecrow’s Night

The pumpkin was now a Jack-O’Lantern lighting up the night, a visage peering from the porch to give the kids a fright.  A scarecrow without a head sat listlessly nearby, he had no eyes to see with, so couldn’t even cry.

Little Gretel Gardner saw what needed to be done; she bravely picked the Jack-O’Lantern up, though it made her want to run.  She set it down upon the neck of the body filled with leaves, and then stood back, no longer afraid, and feeling very pleased.

She thought she saw the scarecrow wink, and release a happy sigh, but knew, of course, it couldn’t be, it was just the breeze passing by.

Gretel went upon her way – she didn’t see the scarecrow turn – and didn’t hear him say, “I wish she wouldn’t go, for now I want to play!”  The scarecrow did his best to rise upon his shaky legs, but found he wobbled much too much, so stayed upon his ledge.

Oh, but the sights he saw that night!  A skeleton, a witch, a vampire, and a ghost – there was even an angel walking with a heavenly host.  Each came by and admired him, and he felt flushed with pride, but a terrible monster frightened him – even worse than the monster’s bride.

The night grew late, the pageant thinned, and the Jack-O’Lantern’s candle began to dim. The scarecrow knew that his time would soon come to a close, and he sighed again, as a tear dripped into his nose.  It was a sad little sigh, a lonely sigh, but just before the end of his light, he saw one last wondrous sight.

Little Gretel Gardner had slipped out from her bed, with a thought to bring the scarecrow a pillow for his head.  She felt sad to see how dim his glow, and said how she would miss him so – then kissed his cheek and hugged him tight, and told him how glad he had made her, this very scary night.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Losing My Place In Line Got Me Closer To The President

I spent a sleepless night Friday because I drove to New Hampshire at 3 a.m. so I could get in line to be among the first getting into the rally for President Obama and the James Taylor concert.  I had no idea how many people would show up, but it was free, and I love James Taylor’s music, and respect our President.  I don’t entirely agree with our President, but as far as policies go, he’s on the right side of history.  The republican agenda against women – and against anyone but the monied elite, quite frankly – is just too repugnant to sit this one out.

It was a bit chilly, but the people who were directly in line behind me hailed from my area, which felt serendipitous.  We banded together and did our best to get up as close as we could near the VIP paddock, but there were still so many people in front of us that seeing the President would be difficult.

Sadly, I had drunk a large coffee earlier, and as the people continued to press in, I couldn’t wait any longer to use the bathroom, and figured I’d never get back to where I was because the porta-potties were far away from where I was standing.  I gave the people I had met my email address and asked them to send a picture of the President, if they were able to get a good one.

After using the bathroom, I tried to get as close as I could to the area I had been before, and started walking toward an open area.  A volunteer standing there asked for my pass, and I told her I had been standing over there and had gone to use the bathroom and was just trying to get back, and I guess I was the straw and she was the camel, and she blew up at me a bit, and said ‘Oh, just go!’.  So I did.  I didn’t realize until then that it would lead me right into the VIP area, and I was a hundred yards closer to the President’s stage than I would have been if I hadn’t had to use the bathroom.

I was still about six rows back from the fenced area in front of the podium stage, and I so would have liked to hug the President, or shake his hand, or get a fist bump even, but I didn’t want to try to push through to the front, and felt grateful to be as close as I was!

After the rally was over, I saw the people I had stood in line with in the same area I was in, and asked them how they got there.  Someone had opened up the gating and several of the people standing there got in the VIP area before security realized the breach and closed the gate off again.  My acquaintances had gotten to shake the President’s hand, even though they didn’t get as close to the President’s stage as I did.  Maybe I’ll get to meet the President at some point in the next four years during his second term. 🙂

I was so tired driving home, but so grateful for the experience.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Silhouette

I took this photograph in October of 2011:

I like the way the cloud above the roof resembles a whale, which was quite àpropos because the image looks out over the sea.  Twilight is my favorite time of day, and tree silhouettes are among my favorite things, although a silhouetted ocean view wins out over trees for me.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Wild Wind

The wind has been stirred up all day.  Tonight’s temperature is milder than this morning’s was, even though the wind never let up today.  Today started with yesterday in its mood although not composition.  It was a summer-like day yesterday, temperatures in the mid-seventies, barely any wind, and mild until after I got home around 11pm.

I had a late rehearsal for A Streetcar Named Desire, last night, and wasn’t feeling well when I got home, but attributed that to the local Pumpkin Festival’s Thai food vendor’s fare I had earlier in the evening.  I woke up this morning still feeling badly, so I laid low except to retrieve some items from my car, which is when I noticed how cold it had become overnight, with the wind punctuating that discovery.  I felt better as the day wore on, and studied some of my lines, and eventually got myself together to make band practice in the later afternoon.

The ride to my band mate’s house involved several enchanting moments of swirling autumn leaf showers, and a visual feast of bright and muted colors as I passed russet colored oak leaved trees, red, orange and yellow-leaved maples, yellow-leaved birches, brilliantly red-leaved sumacs, and other dazzling autumn colors in the many shrubs and vines I passed on my way.

It was fully dark outside by the time practice was over, but the wind had persisted and rushed around me as I made my way to my car.  The quarter moon hung low and deeply yellow-orange in the starlit sky, and I wouldn’t have been surprised to have entered another dimension.  (It would have been horrifying if I’d entered another dimension, just not surprising.)

I lingered at every stop sign on the way home tonight to hear the wind while I watched the moon.  I was reminded of several nights when my son was three or four and we lived in South Portland, Maine, and I would sit in my wicker rocking chair gazing up at the moon, while listening to the night wind.  I think those moments reside more potently in my memory because of how difficult my every day life was back then.

Tonight, however, was a night of power.  This month represents possibility to me, even though its natural significance relates diminished, rather than increased, potential.  Nothing new can start without shedding the old, and if the ancient religions had any validity, this time of year heralds the meeting of the seen and unseen worlds more strongly than at any other time of the year.

At the very least, I felt somewhat transported by the whispering winds’ incantations as I sat entranced in the glow of a bright and low quarter moon.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Autumn Again

Montague, MA

Shuffling through the fallen leaves, the smell of wood smoke hangs on the frigid air as we sniff to catch the scent more completely.  The laughter of my friends makes the chill more bearable as we view the bright stars dotting the canvas of an unclouded night sky, on a perfect autumn evening, so many years ago.

It’s easy to forget that not everything was wonderful or simple when seen through the deceptive mist of time.  But here, now, while I miss my group of friends from back then, I look out my window and see the outline of my scarecrow and the two fat pumpkins I’ll soon carve.  Apples and cinnamon scent the apartment, and somehow make the night feel less lonely, in spite of being alone.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Big

Two friends and I went to the White Mountains two summers ago.  We found this big uprooted tree.  Not only does the tree represent ‘big’, but the life cycle is big too, as the root system is now supporting other life – and on it goes!

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Happy

Finding this balloon made me happy.  I found it on the ground near the back door of my apartment the morning after my birthday last month.  There was tape on the back of the balloon, so it had probably been stuck to my back door, but there was no accompanying note, or card, nor was the balloon signed.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

October – Surprise!

I was just getting used to it being September.  This happens every year.  I’m not a good planner.  After the holidays – which I consider Halloween to be the start of – I always intend to get a jump on the new year, and plan out the holiday season.  I think I’ll plan a Halloween party, or try to get a group together to go somewhere interesting, like Salem, MA, for the day.  And then, I think I’ll be better prepared for Thanksgiving, and have a new dish to bring, and invariably I spend the day before running around to just get a pie or two made, never mind experimenting with a new recipe for the holiday.  Then our family Christmas gathering will be upon us, and then Christmas Day with my son.  I wonder what that will be like this year because he doesn’t live at home anymore?  Maybe he’ll gift me with his presence this holiday!  Hope springs eternal – and speaking of spring – I didn’t even do my fall cleaning, never mind what spring expects!  Oh, but, summer, I can hardly wait for that!  I want to have some lake-side parties, and a couple of beach days, and before I know it, autumn will be here again.  Darn, I had wanted to have a scarecrow making day with a group of friends.  Oh well, maybe next year.  Wait!  It’s only October 2nd!  I have plenty of time…

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

September 26th, 2012

Happy Birthday to my beautiful son.  He is the best thing I have ever done, although I take no credit for his amazing capacities and talents.  He is his own person; I just ate well while he was growing inside me, and then made sure I fed him good food, gave him as many opportunities as I could afford, or could imagine, and taught him to appreciate reading, which he now loves.  His cognitive intelligence exceeded mine when he was about twelve, but my emotional intelligence stills beats his – hah!

He is bound to fare better in his life than I did in mine, and that is the best a parent can ask for.  I love you, my dear boy/man.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.