Monday, October 30, 2006

Beware....They Eat Their Own!

Happy Halloween...

Photo Compliments of Shari...ILY

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Excuse Me, ....Bless You!

There once was a little girl, who was just over two
when she learned to say 'your welcome' and 'thank you'

But really these manners were just too much
when people started sneezing, farting & such...

Kids have the purest minds & can see, hear, sense things at face value. They call things as the see them. They are little sponges...taking everything in. They hear everything, see everything, feel everything all around them & they perceive them in a way, unlike all other classes of people...drawing conclusions as logic alone would dictate.

So when you wear wet sneakers into the grocery store & your waiting to check-out, slowly shuffling your way (squeek, squeek) as the line moves forward, and the toddler in line behind you says "God Bless You!," you know it can only mean one thing. She heard something. It's only logical. She thinks you sneezed.

Or when your at the local hamburger joint & you've got your burger & fries & you go to the condiment booth to pump out some ketchup (plumphth) & the toddler in line, turns around and yells "Bless You!," with a cheshire grin on her face, it can only mean one thing. She heard something. A sneeze. Or at least something that she perceives as a sneeze...

... just out the other end. (excuse me)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

What's In A Name ... Space, Mace & Grace

Growing up as one who hated the TV, I often found myself entertaining myself in a variety of ways...furthermore, even as a kid, I have always had a miserable time falling asleep. I'm not one who 'goes' to sleep. I have to 'fall' asleep. I have to be doing something until I just go. It doesn't matter how tired I may be, as soon as I lay down...BOING! I'm suddenly second or third winded. So, in bed, I will read, draw, write...often with one foot sticking out from under the covers shaking left to right with a vigor that threatens to make the ceiling come down. I've done that since I was a kid, too. When I have read all there is to read in the house & my mind needs to go blank, I'll try to find sleep by making lists. This list-making thing is also a carry-over from my childhood. Oh, the things we do for sleep. (sing-song in my head, like the old 70's song...the thing we do for love)

So...What's In A Name?
These are the letters in my name...
That's a lot of letters, but each can be used only as many times as it appears above for each word...and this is the list I came up with last night, as I was fading to the paralysis called sleep.
shrimp, primp & limp
apple pies & pralines
manners & banners
places, laces & races
bark, spark, larks, parks
pranks, banks, slank & sank
clasp, hasp & rasp
implies, pries, lies
scallion & onions
rallies & relies
meager & eager
shape & mishapen
hell, shell, repels
slap, happen
maples, oaks, pines & elms
shopper, hopper & chopper
scream, cream & redeem
shrank, crank, plank & prank

linger, singer& ringer
ginger, singe & hinge

cleanse, lense & sense
sleek, meek & shriek
slim, limbs, & grim
prone, cone, bone & lone
skin, prim, sin & brim
reign, lane, mane & gain
millions, billions & gabillions
glimpse, limps, chimps & hemp
shock, locks & rocks
lapse, chasm, brash & crash
slipper, shipper, dipper
pains, gains, slain & plain
space, mace & grace
sigh, high & nigh
palace & malice
spring sprang, ring, rang, sing, sang...
hills, pills, chills...
sleep, peace, again, amen... blink.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Please click HERE for a glimpse of some of the beautiful left-overs we still have lingering around, waiting...from the 9th ward, post-Katrina.
Please see if there is anything you can do, too.

Although Smokie, pictured left, did not come from the 9th Ward, he arrived into our home in similar condition ...swollen red, puss-filled skin, hair falling out, listless, sick & totally withdrawn.. Now Smokie is filled with excitement, energy & of course, unconditional love. Most of the animals you see on the link above have already been healed & nurtured & now they are just waiting...

Yes, this is the same dog! Back in '05 when we acquired him, he often laid on his back & smiled. He seemed releived to be indoors, away from the heat, the gnats, flies & misquitos. Now he loves to go outside & when you rub his back, his chest, neck or belly he gets t
hat same impish grin. It's amazing how many people will say 'I'd take him,' (as if I am offering any of my dogs up), when no-one wanted him when he was down & out, sick & dying. Look inside folks. It's there & always has been. Hope, Faith, Love, Perseverance.

Okay, Here's third pic of Smokie with his eyes open & a bit more fur still left (he had to lose it all before he got better) But his eyes are open so that you can see his eyes. :) They are the same & show that he is, in fact, the same dog. A little bit of love & attention go a long way :)

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Before I enter my home & before I go to bed. When I first wake up and when I leave my house. When I was in college & lived in an apartment. At the High Museum, Field museum & at the beach. At national parks & national monuments. At the doctors office & the hospital. In cemetaries & at the church. On houses and sheds. Inside & out. Old & new. In the yard & in the den. Metal and stone. Concrete &wood. For form & for function. Leading up & leading down. Leading in & leading out.
In my life, in my head, in my world and probably yours too. Steps. Countless steps.

In the wee hours of the night, when all else are seemingly asleep, I'll silently slip outside. I sit on my front steps. In the spring I hear a beautiful middle of the night songbird...maybe a nightengale. In the summer, I can hear the owl from one of the oak trees overhead & i can sneak a peek at a neighborhood kid sneaking out. Almost always, I can hear the bats in the old oak trees & a train off in the near distance. I watch the cats slink up to steal a sip of water from my pond, totally unaware of my presence. Ocassionally, I may see a shooting star... which always makes me feel a little blessed to have even caught a glimpse of it.
Outside in the wee hours of the night, I sit on the front steps & contemplate life...big things & little things... time...people...places...sounds... smells...silence & how loud it can be. Feeling antsy, I scoot down one more step. I hear another human being from the distance & I scoot back up. In the dark of the night & early morning, just sitting on the steps... taking it all in.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Like a Moth Drawn Into the Fire...

The first time I ever went camping over-night, outside of someone's front yard, was in second grade.
I went with a friend & her family to Camp Wilderness...which was vastly different those 30+ years ago. I remember just staring at the fire all night long. I didn't have visions of Mickey Mouse & Goofy in my head.
I saw visions of Indians leaping in tribal dance with the flames. I saw crocodiles & alligators in the burning wood. I heard the hiss of snakes & felt the heat of the
sun under moonlight.

By the time I was 13, I would tell my parents that I was spending the night with Karen, Susan, Tracy or someone else.
Then I would pile into the old conversion van or the 66 Thunderbird with the guys & take off to Blackwater Creek for the night.
We were young & having fun. We would canoe, swim, play chase, even skinny-dip & mud-wrestle, wearing ourselves out until there was nothing left to do, but stare at the fire.
I would see cast
les in the burning wood, damsels with long hair dancing in the flames & the fire's hum, as if singing the song that the damsels danced to.

The fires...they still suck me in.

The woods, the trees, the dirt...Mother Nature ... keep me grounded & the lack of a fawcett, a toilet and a power outlet clears my mind.

The sound of popping wood, the glare of blue & red, yellow & orange & purple & green swirling in the dark, the crumbling of ashes & collapsing of logs, the signature of smoke... fills it again.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Timmy B & Me, Lakeside & In Love Under the Banana Trees

Timmy B.
Can't recall his last name.
His sister was a couple years older, my brother's age. They were in school.
Her name was Shelly.
She & my brother would play guard ... sometimes.
But most of the time , we didn't need them.
Timmy B was my first love, my first kiss, my first soul mate, if you will.
He lived two doors down & we were seperated only by one house, roses bushes & orange trees.
Together we would play in the mud, swim in the lake, climb trees & chase rainbows.
We thought we could outrun the rain. We thought we could befriend a leprechaun when we found that pot of gold. We beleived in lifelong loves.
We lived in Eden & we never bit that apple.
We would kiss.
We would kiss on his slat-bottom swing & under the dock. We would kiss while tucked away in the azalea bushes & under the canape of leaves laid out by the banana trees.
We would secretly lay naked together on the downward slope of the lake & he would have his left arm cradled around my head, his hand on my elbow. I would be rubbing my big toes together & asking him about marriage & God & such, savoring the feel of the Sun against my skin.
We blew the neighborhood kids away. They'd heard rumours.
My brother & his sister seemed to thrive on our love. It gave them comradery.
They beleived in us, too & they would encourage to tuck our way into those azalea bushes. They would say 'It's OK, we'll guard for will know.'
Sometimes we would...just to entertain them...and maybe, ourselves.
Timmy B, my first love, my first kiss, my first soul-mate, if you will, was there for me & with me for so many things...
My first big wheel, riding a bike the first time, the first trip to school, the first dealings with death, my first experinece of getting puked on, my first mud-fight, first tug-o-war and so much more, remembered & forgotten about.
Timmy B & me
We were meant to be...for at least 3 years or so. Before public education & half way through second grade... until his parents took him away.
Oregon? Washington? I don't recall.
I'll never remember his full name or at this point, even his face, but I'll always remember.
Timmy B & me...
And our little Garden of Eden under the Banana Tree Leaves

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Candy Bars, Now&Laters, Jolly Ranchers & Cinnamon Toothpicks

Candy Bars, Now&Laters, Jolly Ranchers & Cinnamon Toothpicks

I have a clear jar in my kitchen. It's tiny. It has about a 12 drops of cinnamon oil and at least 25 toothpicks in it. The whole house smells like cinnamon.

Back in the 70's, I would mass produce these bad-boys. I'd take them to school & sell them for a dime. I'd take my dimes to the 7-11 around the corner & I'd buy candy... real candy....Now & Laters, Sweet Tarts, Heath Bars, Snickers, Butterfingers, Jolly Ranchers.

I have, somewhere in the bowels of this old house, a toothpick that has been soaking since 1979. Until now, that was the last time I made cinnamon toothpicks. If I found it today, I don't think I would take 1000 dimes for it.

You see, my partner has never had a cinnamon toothpick, has never heard of one & can't imagine how hot they can be. The jar in my's for him. Well, for him & anyone else whom I discover has never had one....which seems to be anyone younger than me.

Having heard my story of peddling toothpicks in the 70's for dimes to cash in for candy, he took a special trip to the corner store. Yep, he got Hershey bars, Heath bars, Now&Laters & Jolly Ranchers....

But what the hell has happened in the last 25 years? I know gas prices have gone up, but a gallon is still a gallon. Besides we're talking chocolate here! And candy!

My Hersheys used to have the dual know, the brown logo sleeve, with the foil covered inside. No it's a vacuum packed plastic wrap & I think down in size by about 30%. No more folding the paper up & saving the other half for later.

Heath bars used to be just that...bars...two of them! Now it is A Heath bar. Overall it's probably down OVER 30% & is the most disappointing just because they are , oh, so good. Plus they used to come cradled in a cardboard sheath. They are fragile little things. Now just more vacuum-packed plastic packaging.

Now & Laters used to come double-wrapped in wax paper & they were big. You had to leave them in the car window to get them soft enough to chew unless you wanted to suck on them for 1/2 an hour first. Now they readily smack between the teeth.

Sweet Tarts were huge... almost too big, as a kid. Jolly Ranchers came in a big tongue-lickin' slab... not like the little die thay are today!

Toothpicks...they are still the same size. You can still buy a box of 1000 for less than a dollar. Cinnamon Oil is about 5 bucks a bottle, going up in price by about 2 dollars over the last 25 years.

My point? None really ... just rambling.
I guess if anyone has a candy bar they'd like to send me, I'll be more than glad to send them back some cinnamon toothpicks ;)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Orbs & Other Heavenly Bodies ...Happy Hauntings!

I was working on a crossword puzzle last night & needed a three letter word for 'Heavenly Body.'
The word was ORB.
I got the word then ran to my 1970 Random House Dictionary of the English Language. Sure enough...

orb-n. 1. any of the heavenly bodies, such as the moon or a star.
2. a sphere or globe

Now a couple of months ago, I caught a glimpse of some TV show about ghost-hunters & they were using special cameras to photgraph a house propounded to be 'haunted.' They photographed the house & came up with a handful of photographs that contained what they called an 'ORB' or two.

They pointed out how the 'orbs' were not perfectly round, how they were of various colors & found only in certain areas. They beleived these 'orbs' to be ghosts, spirits, hauntings.

Now, let us jump back to nearly a year ago. Halloween night, 2005. Here, in my neighborhood... an old mill village, with houses...such as mine, dating back to 1903. Houses that now accomodate one family used to accomodate 4 families. Houses with fireplaces in each room. Houses that have, over the years, been updated to include bathrooms and electricity. My house has a clawfoot tub where the backporch used to be, did not have kitchen appliances until 7 years ago when I bought them, had electrical added in the late 1960's and seems to constantly be throwing marbles out at me.

Anyway....Halloween night last year, as always, is a big hoo-ha. We usually average between 150 and 300 trick or treaters. We spend 50-75 dollars on candy & we always run out before the parade of children call it a night. We go all out. My neighbor walks on drywall stilts and wears all-black, painting his face like the Crow & carries a 5' tall sickle. My husband is the ghost, suspended from the old oak tree in a body harness...which descends upon the walking masses. My neighbors wife, with her Janis Joplin hair, wears all white & under her black light looks umm... eerie, as she hands out candy. I install theatrical fangs & usually go white while wearing all black. We have a pile of leaves that the older kids nestle into, to rise up out of as the children run away with their candies. We have fog machines & tombstones, rats that run with glowing eyes, bats that fly with squeeling noises, gates that squeek open & warn passer-bys. The list goes on & is ever-growing.

Last year, we had a new neighbor who was blown away by our theatrics & she hung out until the end. She went on to say that she wondered if her house wasn't haunted.
We laughed & asked why? She said her cabinet doors opened on their own. OK, well it's like these houses are as old as the hills, weren't originally built to accomodate cabinets and are forever we all have that happen. Get tighter interior latches. She has mysterious puddles of water that appear in the middle of the floor in rooms with no water. Hmmm....get a dog or a cat, then you can blame it on them. She hears strange sounds in the house & it has cold pockets. With 10' ceilings, there are going to be cold pockets, old houses make strange sounds.
Finally, she said, 'Well I guess maybe my house isn't haunted, this kind of stuff happens to all of you?' There was huddle of about 5 home-owners and we all cracked up laughing. I said 'The whole neighborhood is rich with spirits.' One neighbor said, 'No, all the houses are haunted.' Another 'We all have that ... and some.'

Now, I don't know if our houses are really haunted, per se, but it was the only thing that made sense at the moment, talking with this woman about her house. Before she left, she told us our yard looked great & that we should take a picture. Duh! Year after year we busy ourselves so much, that we invariably always forget to take pictures. So I ran inside & grabbed my camera. I asked a neighbor to snap a photo & this is what I got.

So, if 'orbs' are heavenly bodies...I guess we are surrounded.
(oh, having just uploaded photos 7x to actually get them here, they just doesn't do justice...the 'orbs' are in every color, layered one upon another...shades of blue, pink, purple, red, green, white & none are perfectly round) Top photo is original & unedited. Bottom photo has been lightened & if you want to right click & open in Paint, I have added comments explaining various things such as the flood lights and lanterns....or you can just click to enlarge. Either way, Happy Hauntings to you!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Looking Up From My Wishing Well What Do I See?

Looking Up From My Wishing Well, What Do I See?
But gathered souls with a hope and a dream!
Today I Cried.
Not one of the typical hormonal female 'did you see that commercial' cries or one of those middle-class American 'damn it...won't these bill collectors give me a break' cries. Not one of those 'I don't know what's the matter but I am sick of myself' cries or even one of those 'I'm so shocked, stunned, surprised and filled with fear' cries.
Not a cry of pain, or regret, remorse or anguish...
more like a cry of realization.
You see, my brothers are my brothers just as my sisters are my sisters and we share the same parents. Likewise, my cousins are my cousins and I am Aunt Paige to my nieces & nephews. We are family.
We share things... memories, holidays, rituals, pains, growths, rites of passage and the list goes on.
We are family & we know no boundaries.

But, we don't all share gene pools and we don't share blood types & biologically inherited characteristics. We have long legs, short legs, knobby knees, bubble-butts & no butts. We have blonde hair and black hair. We have hairy legs, hairy backs, bald heads. We have blue eyes, brown eyes, hazel eyes, chinese eyes & blind eyes. We have ADHD, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Cancer, Downs' Syndrome, Alzheimers and again, the list goes on.
We are family.

I'm pretty open minded & not afraid to profess my thoughts, ideas, dreams & notions.
I'm pretty good at telling my family & friends that I love them.
But there's a world full of someone special's out there that need to know they are loved and appreciated, not forgotten and in a special kind of way... a significant part of our family.
More significant than hair color, eye color & inherited diseases, characteristics & traits. This part of the family, although unseen and un-met by us, gives us unconditional & unselfish love, blind faith, hope, determination, strength & all of those things that make a family, a family.

They are not just 'biological mothers' or 'birth mothers.' They are life-givers, life-savers, life-makers and they are the most unselfish people I know.
Young or old, ill-prepared, busted flat broke, addiction stricken, a victim of time, circumstance, rape, mental or physical coercion and/or life in general, I want you to know that it's OK.

No, it's better than OK. It's wonderful.
Without you & your most unselfish choice & decision, I would not have my family.
I wouldn't have the core values, the trust, the faith & the unconditional love that allows me accept that times aren't always easy, life isn't always pretty, choices don't always get dictated by what's best for me.
I may never see you, never touch you in the physical sense, never know you, even conversationally.

I realize that.
We realize that.
Today, I realized that love grows, even in ways so many people never know.

Thank you.
Don't beat yourself up. Don't punish yourself.
Know that your love grows.

Dedicated to everything pink, the butterflies that flutter through our lives touching us with their mystical beauty & places unseen, the reefs upon which the water swirl, giving life undiscovered & of course, all the women who have ever made the hardest decision in their lives... Thank You.

I-Spy a yellow Butterfly ...

Orhan...this one's for you. Living a world apart & hearing that you had never seen a yellow butterfly, I thought I would take advantage of the multitude that were in my yard today. You should at least get to see a yellow butterfly once in your life!
These fluttering little beasts are also known as grassland butterflies. Butterflies, in general, average between 12-20 mph, can not fly usually when it is cooler than the mid-eighties (which is why we never see them in the snow) there are over 700 species of them in North America alone, they taste with their feet loving both nectar & salt, and their various colors are caused by the bending of light & not pigmentation.
In our world, they represent everything that is seemingly small & insignificant, but really truly large, moving, pure & beautiful... from fleeting thoughts to passer-bys, what-ifs, what was & what will be, people, words, ideas ... kind of like the sun, so far away... it seems small on the sky-line, but in reality it is huge & significant...our life-force & it kisses us with its warmth.
Butterfly Blessings.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Original Barefoot Sandal

Long before 'foot thongs' were anything other than flips-flops, there were the original barefoot sandals.
Each pair was unique, distinct & usually made with resources within arms reach... braided monkey grass or woven grapevines, yarn & ribbons, shoelaces, twine, leather ...

Threads of this, that or the other would be wrapped around the toes, crossed over the arch & again on the sole, wrapped around the ankle & eventually tied into security.

Things could be tied into them... beads, shells, charms, flowers, leaves
Wearing them, you walk where your imagination allows...
when I was 4 & 5, it was often into the world of Cowboys & Indians or Tarzan & Jane. By 8 or 9 we stepped into the world of Greek Gods & Goddesses, Princess Warriors & Woodland Fairies.
And it only grew from there.
Barefoot Sandals...not to be confused with the 'foot thong.'
Love, Love Me Do.
~Love Grows
Barefoot Sandal pictured has a small conch shell on the arch & is made with a peice of leather string. These were my wedding need to dye,no need for stockings, no high heels. They store easily & can be worn just about anywhere.