I am very excited because Monday at 7pm I start the first of Zumba dance classes. This is not to be confused with the samba lessons I'm going to take beginning in January, after the instructor finishes her certification program.
Here's Zumba class:
Man, I love that one woman's pink outfit. I need to find myself one like that.
The two ladies in the front are advanced instructors. And they are absolutely outstanding. Me? I'm going to fit right in with the ladies in the back, the ones wearing the gray shirts.
Today is my day off from the book store where I work. I often cram these days with various doings and today is no exception. After I have my bowl of cereal and wash the dishes, I'm going to go to the gym and put some extra time and energy in there. When I get home, I'll take a shower and probably vacuum the house. Then I have lunch plans with a friend. I need to run to the store after that to pick up some little necessities. Then I'm going to have some REAL fun; I am going to the ASOT Store.
ASOT stands for 'As Seen On Tv.' This is a relatively new store at our local mall, that carries only those things one can ordinarily only purchase though television ads. I know they carry what is called 'the Bumpit.' The bumpit volumizes the back of the hair so it looks something like this:
I am not going to buy one of these. It's supposed to give women the 60's look, a look of which I am not overly in love with. And anyway, I just usually back brush my hair to get just enough of a similar look:
I'm hoping, however, that the ASOT store carries a couple things I've seen advertised on tv that I would kind of like to try. One is this little thingy that, to me, looks like those disposable panty liners that we women like to use. But these have a totally different use. You rub them on your legs and they are supposed to leave your legs silky and smooth, a very very pretty look and feel. I really want some of those. I don't know why, exactly. But it sounds like a good thing.
Also I would like to see if they carry that cream that is given to movie stars in the little gift bag they receive when attending the academy awards. This cream works like a face lift. I like that idea, so I'll give it a try.
I wonder if they will carry 'snuggies.' These are blankets with sleeves. What a great idea! I might also find the one-of-a-kind swivel sweeper or the food containers that are guaranteed to keep food fresh..and edible..for up to 50 days. (That's almost two months! Who would even dare to try that food!)
This is kind of exciting. I'll see if I can take some photos while I'm there.
Can you remember back to before there were computers? What did we do with all that spare time we now take up sitting on a chair in front of a dumb little screen, typing away s if it were important, as if it really mattered?
Sometimes I think computers have wrought some bad things in this world. In fact, I know they have. Maybe we would all be better off if we took a hammer and smashed these boxes. Or just simply had our internet provider come shut it down. I've wondered if this is the route I should take. Would I read more? Would I cook better dinners? Would I spend more time at the gym or talking with my family? I don't know. I don't remember.
It would be kind of neat to find out tho. maybe the thing to do would to shut it off for a couple years, then come back and say, 'Surprise! It's me! I'm still alive. Are you?"
I don't know if I would be strong enmough to just simply and quietly fade away into the nether world. Or if I'm destined to sit here day after day, typing cute little messages to people who probably do not care one whit. Would anyone even notice? Sad to say, but possibly not. Frightening thought, isn't it?
Hi. It's me, Beej. I just wanted to tell you how much I love you and how much your music means to me and how bad I feel that the government won't let you smoke pot freely and how they caused you trouble for not paying taxes.
You do so much for this country just by your Farm Aid concerts alone! I have thought of a solution to your problems;
I think all the farmers who benefit from your Farm Aid concert should dedicate a half acre of their farmland to growing a crop of pot for you. That way, no matter where you go, east, west, north or south, there would be a healthy pile of pot awaiting you. And since it's all in the farmers possession, you would not need to worry about being arrested! i do not think even you, Mr. Nelson, can smoke an entire half acre of pot in every stop you make. Therefore, any surplus of crop could be sold and the money used to pay your back taxes. and if there's still some left over, well, they could sell it to buy corn or cotton seed to replenish their main crops!
We all know how much you love your weed. I mean, how many people are so dedicated to anything in life that they would run into a burning house just to grab a guitar case full of whatever they are trying to save? I know many a man who would just stand by and watch his wife burn up in a house fire, rather than risk his own life trying to get her out. That kind of devotion deserves to be rewarded! Our youth needs a fine example such as this.
I certainly hope, Mr. Nelson, someone of influence reads this letter and follows my advice. I will cc a copy to some influential people I know, in hopes of speeding up the process.
I am very sorry your ex wife stabbed you with that fork. It was very rude of her not to wait until you were done eating.
It's me, Beej. I have been your patient now for almost five years. You have treated my entire family for all this time and we have developed a certain affection for you. It has always been a pleasure to see you, whether it has been in your office or at the hospital during one of my son's not-too-rare misadventures where he has ended up either sick or hurt, or even at the little book store where I work. As I was telling my friends at my blog just today, you have a very wonderful bed side manner.
However, today during my appointment with you, you hurt my feelings! You know I work out lot and have spent many years taking very good care of myself. I am fit, I am healthy and I may be aging as you said, but I am still in the prime of my life! and if you read my chart this morning, I weigh seven lbs. LESS than I did last time I saw you!
So, why did you insult me, Dr. Paulk? why did I leave your presence feeling, well, aging, and out of shape and not living up to what you expected pf me? Why? I didn't deserve this, Dr. Paulk!
THEN! After you finished with me, you sent me to see Nurse Bruno who made me feel like I have huge ugly popping veins and then, when I accidentally poke my wrist with his needle, he says Ouch! Like I hurt him or something! I am not happy, Dr. Paulk.
After my ordeal, arm heavy with an extraordinarily large cotton ball taped to my inner elbow, screaming to all who see it (who could miss it!?) that I have a large protruding vein, I have to write a check to you for $169.75!
Dr. Paulk, in spite of this, I will stay with you. I realise this visit was an exception to the rule and you deserve another chance. But please, do not hurt my feelings again. I can't handle it from you, of all people.
Today, at 7:30 am, I was at the doctor's office. Nothing is wrong. It was one of those annoying, time consuming but necessary yearly wellness physicals. I was there for two hours.
The worst part of this entire thing was the wait. I am not ill. But most of the folks in that waiting room were. And what seemed to me to be the sickest of them all came and plunked herself in the chair next to me. She was a young woman, maybe in her early twenties, sort of dirty looking and fairly unkempt. And she hacked. She coughed, she wheezed, she gagged, she sounded like a chain saw. She groaned and sighed and sniffled and wiped her nose on her sleeve. And I thought to myself, there should be a law against these people sitting in a doctor's public waiting room! But she was called in to see the doctor and then I felt better, though I did think of asking the receptionist for a can of lysol.
And then it was my turn to be seen.
Dr. Paulk has been our family doctor for years. He's thorough and strict and his bedside manner is awesome. You come away feeling like you've had a visit with a friend. Well, usually. Today I left without feeling that way.
He checked me out from head to toe. He always does. This is what he found:
On and on and on. Dr. Paulk knows me..and my body..inside and out. He knows I work. He know I work out. And this is what he told me..
"How often to you go to the gym now?"
I tell him I try to go at least three days a week.
"I want you to start going every day and if that's not feasible, at least four days a week. I want you to stay on the treadmill for at least 30 minutes daily."
Now, I'm wondering, why is he saying this to me? So I ask him and he answers, "Because as we age we need to stay as active as we can. And the thinner the better."
Now I feel insulted. But I don't tell him that. Now I just want to go home and lick my wounds. But does he send me home? Nope. He sends me to the lab for blood work. (nothing wrong, just routine blood work.) So. I go sit in the lab chair and and this big guy with a brushcut comes and wraps a little rubber hose just above my elbow.
"Wow!' he says. "You have great veins! That vein there is just sticking right out for me." I turn to look at what must be an extraordinary protruding vein and as I do so, I inadvertently lift my arm and poke myself with the needle he is holding.
"Ouch!" he says.
Why's he yelling ouch? I'm the one who got poked!
Soon he has his blood from my incredible vein and he has taped a large wad of cotton into the crook of my elbow. And then he leads me to a little window where some elderly lady awaits my money.
And I'm thinking, I felt wonderful before I cam here. And now I feel horrible. Plus I might come down with a hacking, coughing, sniffling horrible cold from that infectious person in the waiting room. And then I had to pay for this.
My conclusion is that going to the doctor can make you ill.
Well, my day got off to a bad start (see my post entry below) and a little worse when I discovered someone had broken my cordless house phone but then it got better, as usually happens. My best friend Cynthia phoned and wanted to get together. Any time I get together with this special lady, I'm happy.
Cynthia is a high school English teacher who is also a doctoral candidate. I am so very proud of her BUT!!! I've become a little jealous of the time she needs to dedicate to this Phd endeavor thingy. She doesn't have a lot of time left over for 'ME-AND-CYNTHIA' doings, and I do not like it one bit. I have taken to calling her dissertation "that stupid paper" but I say it with a smile and Cynthia laughs and thinks I'm just being funny. I'm not. I'm serious. I just don't let her know that.
Anyway, today Cynthia and I met at Barnes & Nobles, ran into a couple friends and had good conversation with good people. Then she and I rode down to just this side of the Florida line to feed a cat whose owner is on vacation. Cynthia had a total melt down because she couldn't find the place and she felt she was losing her mind. I finally convinced her that we didn't go far enough south and soon we did find it and fed the little kitty, which is actually a feral cat her friend had begun to feed.
On the way back, Cynthia had another melt down because she was afraid the cat would end up starving and dying over the winter. It took the entire trip home to convince her it doesn't get that cold in southern Alabama, even in winter months, and the cat will be just fine.
By the time we got back to our home town, I talked her into going clothes shopping with me. (I found some really nice fitting jeans!!) And then we went to Best Buy so I could purchase a new phone and she bought a couple CDs. So all in all, it ended up being a good afternoon.
Now you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to cook dinner. And then I'm washing dishes again. I may cordon off the kitchen afterward.
Last night, before I went to bed, I did my usual check around the house to make sure everything was nice and neat and in pristine order. But this morning, after I awoke and headed downstairs for coffee, I was horrified by what I saw. It was a sight that made me shake with anger.
There are no young children in this house. In fact, when I came upon this scene, there was not a soul here. Just me. And the dog and cat and two big lizards. And none of those can reach the sink.
This was left for ME to clean up. My first inclination was to leave it. I immediately decided to let them sit there until whoever did it could take it upon themselves to rectify it. I didn't care if it took until the cows come home. I was not going to clean this mess! But, now, after periodic peeking in on it for the last few hours, I cannot bear it any longer.
Sooo, despite my better judgement, I am headed off to the kitchen to clean it up. And then I am going to spend the afternoon with my best friend Cynthia, so I won't be around to succomb to the temptation to strangle the other people who live in my home.
It's only 5:40 Saturday morning. I've been awake for an hour now, already had a cup of coffee. I awoke thinking about a book I've just finished called 'The Glass Castle' by Jeannette Walls.
The book, a memoir, tells about the author's deeply dysfunctional family and I cannot stop thinking about it. It has left me in a bit of a mental and emotional quandary because, tho as dysfunctional as a family can get, these people also lived a life of vibrancy and love. They put meaning into the word, 'colorful.'
I looked up the phrase 'dysfunctional family.' I found this:
"Some of the characteristics of dysfunctional family systems are as follows:
Blaming; failure to take responsibility for personal actions and feelings; and invalidation of other family members' feelings. Boundaries between family members that are either too loose or too rigid. For example, the parent may depend excessively on the child for emotional support (loose boundaries) or prevent the child from developing autonomy by making all the decisions for the child (rigid boundaries). Boundaries between the family as a whole and the outside world may also be too loose or too rigid. A tendency for family members to enact set roles--caregiver, hero, scapegoat, saint, bad girl or boy, little prince or princess--that serve to restrict feelings, experience, and self-expression. A tendency to have an "identified patient"--one family member who is recognized as mentally unhealthy, who may or may not be in treatment, but whose symptoms are a sign of the inner family conflict. Often the identified patient's problems function to disguise the larger family issues. For example, a child may be regarded as a bully and a troublemaker in school and labeled a "problem child," when he may in fact be expressing conflicts and problems, such as abuse from home, by acting out and being "bad." Family therapists, like other therapists, take many different treatment approaches--psychodynamic, behavioral, cognitive, or a combination of these therapies. They may talk to members individually, together, and in subgroups. They may ask family members to reenact situations, or to do "homework" by modifying elements of their behavior and responses. As with individual therapy, one of the goals of family counseling is to reframe problems so that family members can see specific events and behaviors more clearly in a broader systems perspective. "
Gale Encyclopedia of Childhood & Adolescence. Gale Research, 1998.
If you haven't read this book but plan on doing so, you might want to hold off reading this because there are some spoilers contained within.
This family is beyond poor. They often go days without eating, they cannot afford to wash their clothes regularly. For one, running water is not something they always have in their home. On top of that, they only own a few items of clothing. The mother is a manic depressive, the father is a severe alcoholic, and they are both drifters and dreamers. There are hints of sexual abuse perpetrated by extended family members and basically down played by the parents. The children are dragged from state to state, almost always in the middle of the night in order to escape from bill collectors and landlords.
Now here's the part I cannot really get to jive in my brain; despite all of this, is this really a dysfunctional family? t/hey don't really fit into any of the definitions I posted above. In fact, the parents were loving and supportive toward each other and their four children. They didn't try to squelch each others' dreams. For the most part, they adopted a live and let live attitude toward one another. And, rather than fostering any kind of leaning toward a cycle of dysfunction, they all were firm believers that anything was possible, that dreams were not meant to be just dreams but fully expected to become realities.
And so we have these four kids, who have lived their childhood in ways we would all deem as dysfunctional, who all became successful and thriving members of society.
So, were they dysfunctional? To me, the very word implies an inability to function. Yet these people functioned beyond merely well.
Perhaps, despite what would rightfully be labelled as abuse and neglect, negative childhood experiences are not as damaging as one would believe they are. Perhaps a deep and supportive love can override the effects of abuse and neglect. I'm beginning to wonder if we put too much stock on dysfunction and too little stock on love. And I am not trying to brush off abuse. I'm just saying that maybe our focus should change, just a little bit.
I'm sitting here finishing my cereal, reading through various blogs and watching Headline News on CNN, when Robin Meade begins to talk about Viagra soup. Yup, my ears perked right up, too, no pun intended. Honest. ANYWAY, apparently there is a Chinese restaurant in NYC that serves Viagra Soup. Can you imagine, ladies? Imagine being on a dinner date and your partner orders this. I guess that's more than a subtle hint as to what his after dinner plans are! OK now here's the rub, no pun intended. There is not one single drop of Viagra in this soup. It's mostly seafood and tequila. Now, what if I, as a female, want a seafood and tequila soup? I can promise you, there is no way I would order this. They need to offer a female version of this. I don't know what they would call it tho. Maybe Mid-Cycle Soup? You probably know by now that my mind works a little off kilter from most folks. And as such, I'm thinking, what if your date doesn't want an entire bowl of soup? What if he only wants a cup of soup? I forgot to tell you, a bowl of this soup costs $32.00. So, let's say your date decides that's too much but he is willing to pay, say, $16.00 for a cup of Viagra Soup. The owner of the restaurant assures his patrons that this soup will carry a man through to the light of dawn. Well, I'm thinking, that's all very well and good, but if my man has, instead, a cup of this potion, will he peter out ..no pun intended...at midnight? Or, even worse, after a rowdy session of wonderful foreplay? What then????? Huh????
So, I've thought of a solution of sorts; if you have a date to go to NYC for Chinese food, ladies, bring an extra $16.00! It's that simple! And if your date orders a cup of Viagra Soup, slip a note to the waiter to up the order to a bowl.
I love wildlife. Years ago, my sister and her family did rescue work and often would house all sorts of wildlife babies whose moms had died in various ways. She once had a red fox in her basement. I remember a fawn trying to get into the kitchen. And more than once I had two pockets stuffed with litters of itty bitty skunks. (yes, they stink, even as babies.) They even had a toucan, but he died. they loved that bird and I should be ashamed for her to tell you that she took him to a taxidermist and to this day there sits a dead toucan on her end table.
We got this love for animals from our father. Mom could care less; as an Italian, wildlife meant only one thing to her; stew. My sister insists that she even saw mom make a stew one time from a woodchuck roadkill. I think she's making this up tho. You simply cannot trust anyone who has a dead toucan on her end table.
I am about as anthropomorphic as a person can be. No joke; I even give names to the squirrels in my yard. My favorite squirrel is a little guy I call 'Two-Nuts.' I don't call him this because of any physical attribute, but because he never, ever grabs just one pecan from my neighbor's tree like all the other squirrels. He always, always has two nuts, one hanging just outside of each jowl. I've tried to take a photo of Two-Nuts but he's just too quick on his feet.
My yard abuts woodland. This is a paradise for someone like me. I won't go so far as to say wildlife abounds, but there is enough of it to keep me entertained. You would not believe the fox that live in these woods. There are many of them. When we first moved into this house, I sat on the front porch just as night fell and a fox strolled in front of me. I thought, "Wow, that is the biggest cat I have ever seen!" I jumped off the porch and slowly walked toward him. "here kitty, kitty. Here kitty, kitty. " I softly called to him.
He started to take off but I stood my ground and whispered, "I'm not going to hurt you, kitty kitty." And as God is my witness, this is what he did; he turned around, came back and sat on his haunches about 20 feet in front of me! Then I noticed; he has a pointed snout. Cats do noy have pointed snouts. Sweet jumpin' jeezum, I had lured a fox to come to me! I slowly walked backwards to my porch and he sauntered away.
We also have litters of armadillos back there. The dog and I both get very excited when we hear them rooting for food under the brush. They are soooo cute when they're little. Only once have they ever made me nervous; Again, I was sitting on my porch when I noticed a litter of five armadillos under a nearby mock pear tree. I sat there, minding my own business, not bothering a soul, when these little guys, not more than six or eight inches long, suddenly came, en masse, to my porch, climbed up the short stairs and ran to my feet! Little is more startling than to have a wild pack of armadillos corner you! Trust me on this. I, the great animal lover, stood, back against the house, screaming like a banshee.
Here is a photo of my marvelous backyard wilderness. (and btw, those bushes lining the backyard are big azaleas and from about March to August, they bloom profusely and I have a little Eden back there:
When I was fifteen years old, I had a mad crush on a twenty year old young man who was a junior in college. I was only in tenth grade, but I completely believed I was a full adult, capable of making all my own choices in life. This was not a pleasant time in my dad's life. And that is an understatement. This young man, whose name was Ricky Martinez, was a summer coach at a nearby playground. He was of Spanish descent and I thought he was the most unique and brilliant individual I had ever met. Every day during the summer, I would walk over to this playground to be with Ricky. One day he told me he was coming over to my house on his day off and when the day came, I sat on the front porch, waiting. Eventually, he pulled up and got out of his car. I jumped up and walked toward him. But before I could even say hello, my father raced out of our front door, went right past me and up to Ricky.
"She is only fifteen years old!" he angrily said. "And if I were you, I would leave right now and never even think of coming back here."
"Yessir." was all he said before he turned and skedaddled out of my life.
You can just imagine the furor this caused in our house. It took me weeks to get over this. My dad could have cared less how much I wailed and carried on. He wanted this guy out of my life and out of my heart and he didn't care how much I hated him for it.
But this entry is not about Ricky Martinez. It is about a book. Ricky loved to read and so did I, so part of the draw to him was that he would introduce me to books that I had never heard of before. One of these books was called 'Soul on Ice" by Eldridge Cleaver. I had never heard of Eldridge Cleaver but Ricky considered this an important book that I needed to read. So, on a trip to the mall with my dad, we went to the bookstore and I picked it up. My dad walked over to the register where I stood, waiting to make this purchase.
"What are you buying?" he asked as he took the book from my hand. I watched my father's face turn absolutely purple. He tossed the book on the counter and sort of gave me a little push toward the door.
"You are not reading this book."
My father was not one to censor my reading, as a rule. As I mentioned in my online book club, the only other book he had ever forbidden me to read was 'Peyton Place.' But that was NOTHING compared to his complete disdain for 'Soul on Ice.' I cannot tell you how many times I tried to get my hands on this book but my father, in his determination that I not read it, squelched each and every attempt I made. And do you know what? My father made such an impression on me that, to this day, I have not read it. Not only that, but I get this slightly nauseated feeling whenever I happen upon it in a bookstore.
Fast forward to the present; I sat on the front porch this morning, and as I drank a cup of coffee, I thought of this book. And I thought to myself, why have I not read it yet? I decided I would purchase it today and see for myself why my dad hated it as much as he did. I don't really know what it's all about but I have an idea what it might be about. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that my dad's disdain for it would probably say more to me than Eldridge Cleaver ever could. And it became clear to me that I will never read it. Never. I think it might say too much to me about my father.
Somebody I love very much is moving far away. I have cried buckets over this. I can't help it.She is my friend and she has been a delight in my life. I'm not going to mention her name because she's a private person and I didn't ask her if I could do that. But I don't think that's important, anyway. She is from Germany, and has been here for less than five years, so she is an old hat at leaving folks.
She is a military wife. Her husband just earned his pilot's license at nearby Fort Rucker, and so, as we all knew would happen, he's been transferred out of state. I can barely handle my friend's leaving but what really hurts is that they are, of course, taking their 14 month old baby girl. This is just ripping me up. Yesterday, I gave her a little going away lunch party and said goodbye.
I was one of the first people to know my friend was pregnant. Nobody told me; I just knew. I looked at her one day and I said, "You are pregnant." I have always had a knack for doing this. I'm not exactly sure how I know. It might be an almost imperceptible turn of the ankle. or a very very slight change of coloring. Twice I've even predicted twins and been right on about it. My mother could do this too so I guess I inherited the ability.
Anyway, I love to play with my friend's baby. She isn't a huggy-kissy baby, She's more a rough and tumble kid. And I cannot tell you how much I love to get on the floor and chase her around. She has a deep deep laugh that just spews from her core when I do this. Shes a very neat kid.
When I said good bye to her yesterday, I wanted a baby hug. She doesn't like to hug anyone, outside of mommy and daddy. So she turned the other way when I reached for her. Oh, how heavy hearted I became So I told her, "But I bought you those big puzzles!"
This 14 month old baby tuned toward me, puckered up and leaned forward for a kiss. I'll never know if she did that because she understood about the puzzles and I had sent her on guilt trip, but I don't think so. I want to believe she did that because she loves me.
This is the class I usually take. It's called Body Pump. Some of y'all saw this video already when I posted it over at Constant Reader, but most of you have not. I'm telling you, after an hour of this, you KNOW you have worked out.
Body Pump is a world wide work out. Folks love it. I do too.
What really makes this very cool is that the music you hear in this video is the typical tempo for a Body Pump class, and more often than not, the trainer sings her instructions. It's just a very upbeat work out.
In my previous post, I said that my gym is offering several different types of dance lessons. One of those is reggae dance. I love reggae music but wasn't sure what exactly reggae dance was. Here's a fine, fine example.
Well. What else can I say. Well. Except to say I'll stick with the Samba.
I must have been dreaming of tattoos last night because I awoke with the regret that I never had one. Both of my children have tattoos. I'm really not thrilled about this. My daughter has her name tattooed on her wrist, which I wish she hadn't done. My son has several tattoos, most of which make me shudder. For instance, he had a tiny M placed behind each ear. These are the initials of one of his girlfriends. She broke up with him the day after he got these. I've told him to get an 'o' tattooed on the back of his neck. M...O...M stretched out is much better that M.......M. But he ignored me and had a card suit tattooed over the M's instead.
Anyway, I almost got a tattoo a while back. I wanted a tiny unicorn tattooed on the back of one of my shoulders, nothing awful like this:
but more on the line of this:
I even made an appointment to have this done, but my husband totally freaked out.
"You will not mar your body like that!" was his firm, unwavering response.
We had several extremely heated arguments over this, which finally culminated in the threat that if I went ahead and did this, I could find somewhere else to live. It got that bad. I doubt he would have acted on that threat, but regardless, I never got one even tho, as he stated, it's 'my body.'
This all went on years and years ago. And I still have no pretty unicorn sitting just below my shoulder. But I woke up this morning with the realization that
You know how you start to read one thing on here and then you see an interesting link and go there and before you know it, you are off on a wild tangent that has no bearing whatsoever on what you set out to read? I do that a lot. And it takes me to some really interesting places. For instance, just this morning I was reading through someones blog and saw a post by another person. I clicked on his photo and was immediately taken to another blog. And there, I read two interesting little things. First, I did not know Columbus died of VD. Who knew? Apparently he had a bit of time left over from all that discovery business. And they don't teach you about his demise in elementary school. I can understand that; how could they possibly put that in third grade textbooks?
Traveling to India around the southern tip of Africa was dangerous and difficult. An Italian sailor by the name of Christopher Columbus proposed finding a new route by sailing West. Columbus thought that if they sailed West, they would eventually circle the globe, and arrive in Eastern Asia.
For seven years, Christopher Columbus traveled around Europe looking for someone who would finance his journey. The monarchs of Europe made fun of him, saying that it was too risky, and dangerous to attempt such a voyage around the globe.
Finally, Columbus arrived in Spain. For many years, Spain had been caught up in civil war. As a result, they were behind much of Europe in their development. King Ferdinand, and Queen Isabella were anxious to prove that Spain could be as powerful and successful as their neighbor Portugal.
In August of 1492 they granted Christopher Columbus the supplies, men, and ships that he needed to carry out his expedition. Columbus was given three sailing ships. These ships were named the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.
Columbus’ men were terrified that they would be lost at sea, and that they would suffer starvation. As the days wore on, these men began to turn against him. Columbus was forced to agree to turn back, if they did not find land within three days.
On the night of the second day, just before he would have had to turn around, land was sighted. Columbus and his men discovered an island in the Caribbean, which they named Hispanolia. This Island is the location of the present day nations of Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.
Columbus did not realize that he had arrived in a new part of the world. He was convinced that he was in India. For this reason, he called the natives who lived on these islands the Indians.
Columbus returned to the Americas three more times. Each time believing that he was in India. During his life, he never realized what he had discovered.
Now where can they go from there? They can't very well add, " Columbus died of a sexually transmitted disease after a very brief encounter with a monkey."
No, that doesn't make the cut.
Next, this headline catches my eye:
Feces-covered nude intruder jumps into man's backyard pool, police say.
What the heck! So I read on and find out this guy was arrested (which is a very logical thing to have happen, in my opinion), for trying to wash ka-ka off his body in a stranger's pool.
This is curious enough but then I read comments left by readers and I come across this, posted by someone going by the nickname of 'Been There':
"Would be nice to hear the story leading up to this point. Only twice in my life have I been covered in feces and they are both very interesting stories." Been there 9:37 AM, 10/1/2009
Oh Wow! I wonder if Been There has a blog! I bet he has some real interesting posts!
And then it hits me; I am an odd person. I am not a typical lady 'wanderer-of-the-web.' My posts are not made up of the usual female drivel. I do not post about funny kittens or meatloaf recipes or family vacations. What have I written about in the past? I mean before this one about ka-ka and VD? Hair clumps from the drain, for example. Drying my butt under a hand blower in a public bathroom. Dreams about my bum cheeks hanging out of the bottom of a playboy bunny costume. Dried up snake skins.
oh well. Its my life and I suppose I can wander wherever i want. I guess I could be doing worse things..like explaining to a bunch of strangers on the web how i got covered in kaka and ended up being arrested for bathing in a stanger's pool.
I once read a news article about this person who ran an ad in a national paper. All it said was this:
"Hurry! Last chance to send in your $10! "
That was it. And you know what? That person received over $10,000 from strangers around the world who could not bear the thought of missing the deadline! More on this later. Just trust me that it will tie in, here.
I've been thinking about that this morning. To be honest, I hadn't thought of it for years but I saw this news story this morning on HLN. Apparently, some guy owns a piece of Elvis' hair from when it was buzzed for the army. He's going to auction it and hopes to get over $200,000, tho they predict he'll get something more on the line of $50,000. The story went on to tell of another guy who owns a piece of Michael Jackson's hair that had been burned off during that infamous Pepsi commercial fire. That guy is a little more inventive than the Elvis hair holder; he's having Michael's hair turned into diamonds (you can do that?? I had no idea!) so others can also own some of MJ's DNA.
Well, this sure did pique my interest because I have a lot of hair around here; cat hair, dog hair, my hair. I collect hair, I guess you could say, tho most of it is still in the drains. And I'm thinking, you know I could do this. I could sell my hair on E-bay! I don't even need to cut it. I'll just pull some out of the bath tub drain! If the guy who ran the ad I mentioned earlier can get $10,000 for NOTHING!, I surely could get, say, maybe $50 for SOMETHING! even if that 'something' might have a little soap scum on it.
So, I will let you know when I set up my E-bay account. I will post pictures here of my hair chunk that I will set on the auction block. Please, do not feel obligated to bid. No, no, I don't use my friends like that. But, if you are a stranger who just happened to wander in here through some obscure little webnet door, and you feel a need to own Beej's hair, well then, bids start at fifty cents.
So, I'm at the book store and I'm minding my own business (well, sorta. It's not easy to mind your own business when you have a big mouth) and this man comes up to me. I swear to God, he looks a lot like this:
Now, I have nothing against farmers. In fact, I love farmers. Without them, I would starve and die so they are truly my heroes. I owe them my life. As my friend Candy Minx can tell you, our entire civilization exists only because of the farmer. But this is what he looks like.
"Well hi! How you been?" He roars at me.
"Well hi to you!" I say. "I'm wonderful. How are you?"
He looks crest fallen.
"You don't remember me, do you?"
To be honest, he's right. I have absolutely no recollection of ever meeting him before.
"Of course I remember you. How could I forget you?" I lie.
He beams. His eyes open wide and I think to myself, he's going to cry. Oh goddamn, I am such a weirdo magnet.
"You do?? You really do? You have made my day, little lady!" He really says that. Little lady. I am little lady now.
"Well, I'm glad to know that sir." Actually, I am not glad. I'm a bit frightened, to be honest. But I stand there, grinning back at this soul and wishing he would go away.
"Say!" He says, "Maybe sometime you and me could go out and get some coffee or somethin'."
Yeah right, when your pigs fly.
I don't answer. He takes this as an affirmative and he walks out, grinning like the Cheshire cat.
Good grief. I need bolstering so I walk over to our bistro and get some coffee. One of our regular customers is sitting there and I see he has taken in this entire conversation. His name is Cecil and he reminds me for all the world of Mr. Wilson from the old Dennis the Menace show:
Now, before I go any further. let me add a modest little disclaimer sort of thing; if you are female and you work with the public, you are automatically prey. You are The Hunted, you are something of a goal to a certain type of over zealous middle aged man. It's just the way it is. It doesn't mean you are skanky or anything like that. It's just the way of the world.
So, anyway, Cecil is sitting there and he has this serious look on his face and he says, "Beej, I know why you always get stuff like this happening to you."
I wait for his insight.
"Why is that, Cecil?"
I take a sip of coffee as he explains.
"It's because most men want a virgin."
I choke on my coffee in an attempt to not spit it all over myself. Cecil sits there, straight faced and I can tell he is dead serious.
"Cecil, what are you talking about? You know I have two kids."
"Yes but you have that demeanor."
Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit!... i never thought anybody would ever call me the V word at this stage of the game!
No sooner does this come out of Cecil's face when a dapper, elderly black man comes up to me and wants to know if I can ring up his books. I walk over to a register, he writes a check and I ask for his identification. He hands me his license. I read his info. His name is Reader Threeleveller. As I said before, I have a big mouth. So I ask him, "Is that your real name?"
"Yes'm, it is now. I had it changed in 1978."
You would think after all these years of being ME, I would know when to let things drop. But nooo. I cannot do that. I don't know how.
"Well, I'm curious, Mr, um, Threeleveller, what does your name mean?"
He puffs his chest out and I just can tell I am about to get his account of a religious epiphany.
"In 1977, the Lord allowed me to leave my physical body and travel to level number three which is the gate to heaven..."
Not to be blasphemous or anything, but my immediate thought was "oh shit."
"...not many folks get this blessing so I knew Jesus was giving me the opportunity to witness His love firsthand.."
Just then the phone rings and I know Jesus is giving ME the opportunity to witness an exit. I smile apologetically at Mr Threeleveller and head to the phone.
"You work here every day? I'm going to come back and tell you the entire story. You'll find it fascinating." he says.
"No!" I quickly tell him. 'Actually I am almost never here!"
He nods his head and walks out the door. What is it about me?, I wonder. Why am I such a weirdo magnet?
Did you ever find yourself at life altering crossroads and you take your time and put in great thought as to which road you must travel and then suddenly, there appears a third road? And you find yourself in a quandary?
This has happened several times in my life. For instance, when I first became engaged to be married, I was almost simultaneously offered an opportunity to be lead teacher for a migrant camp Head Start in the Appalachians. it was a case of either/or and I was sincerely torn. I wanted that migrant camp so badly I ached, yet I wasn't ready to put aside my engagement. I put tremendous thought into this and with a heavy, heavy heart, I decided to stay put, stay with my Head Start position where I was, and get married.
Now I am a crossroad again. I won't go into detail about this except to say, another road has been offered to me. I have been offered a chance to live here for a while:
I do not know what to do, but boy, this looks good.
Well, just as I'm pissing and moaning that nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I think I'll go eat worms, here comes my son and he has a little gift for me. It's a beautiful crystal unicorn encased in a glass cube.
Unicorns bear a special place in my heart. When I was in the fourth grade, I read a little short story by James Thurber called 'Unicorn in the Garden.' I was still young enough where sometimes I couldn't differentiate between reality and fantasy, I mean, sure, I knew Road Runner couldn't speed full force into a brick wall, ram his head into his chest, have it pop back out and, then, take on down the road again. But, a unicorn in the garden? Well, it seemed a perfectly possible thing. Or at least I wanted to to be true, because if that could happen to big Mr. Thurber, it very well might happen to little Miss Beej.
I began right then and there to collect unicorns. Lots and lots of them. Unicorns made out of every medium possible. I read books on them, drew them, I even did unicorn needlecraft.
I loved the idea of the unicorn as a symbol of purity. And did you know, if a unicorn is being hunted he will run until he sees a virgin and then he will stop and rest his head in her lap?
And I bet you didn't know that the unicorn saved the doves by letting them ride on his horn while he swam next to the ark. Reportedly, the doves did not have the strength to fly all that way.
ANYWAY, I collected unicorn everything for years and years. Then somewhere in the mid to late 80's, unicorns became THE thing to collect. So I stopped. It made me sad that something I loved so dearly was quickly becoming common place. I packed up all but two or three of my unicorns and there they are today, in various boxes in our storage shed.
When my son gave me this little gift, he said, "Mom, didn't you used to collect unicorns?" I had to smile. And now, I think I'm going to pull out all of my unicorns and display them. But in front of them all will sit this very very special unicorn, given to me by a very very special young man.
In February of 2005, little Jessica Marie Lunsford was taken from her bed by a monster named John Couey. Her father, Mark Lunsford, a self proclaimed redneck, sat on local tv, his legs pitifully shaking in terror, told of a chatroom he was about to set up and said that he was looking for moderators. I lived in Florida at the time and emailed the contact address that ran across the bottom of the screen and by the end of the day, I was one of the four moderators for Jessie's chatroom.
I am not going to post the horrors of what occurred. I will not use her ordeal as a subject of this post. Nor will I post any photos of either Jessie or John Couey, the monster who caused so much pain for his own personal agenda. But I will say Couey was convicted and sentenced to death.
We moderators would take turns sitting up through the night, watching our computer screens, making sure no inappropriate comments were posted in the chatroom. Often, Mark lunsford, AKA JMLdad, would sit at his computer and message with us. Mark is a common man. I do not think he is very educated or well read. I'm not sure he has ever set a foot in a museum or seen a ballet or heard an opera. But I can tell you this; Mark is a man of profound dignity and grace. You would not know this by the way he looks, but he leaves an impression on everyone who has ever spent any time with him.
Here's an example of Mark's grace; Jessie's mom had little to do with her. From what I remember, she hadn't even seen her daughter for several years. At one point, visitors went into a tirade about how much they despised the mother. Mark, who I knew felt the same way, took all he could of this, came into the chat and firmly ordered everyone to stop. He said that if nothing else, she had given birth to his daughter and he would not sit quietly and watch her be torn apart. This impressed me tremendously and all the hoo-ha stopped.
Mark used to say, "let me have him alone for a half hour. Let me see him die." He wanted to witness Couey's death. But when Couey was sentenced to death, it seemed to be enough for Mark.
After Jessie's body was found, the chatroom was dismantled and I have never 'talked' with Mark again. He went on to go from victim to advocate, and worked hard to get Jessie's Law passed.
John Couey died this week of natural causes. My immediate concern was for Mark. I knew he wanted , at the least, to witness Couey's death. I was concerned that he would be overcome with having been cheated of this. But he wasn't. This is what he said:
This is a long video. It is worth watching in its entirety, however, the first minute of it says it all. This is the Mark Lunsford I had the honor of meeting; a man of quiet dignity.
I want you to tell me, if you would be so kind; does my previous post make much sense? Or is it merely a self serving piece of pithy?
I lost my mother when I was young but I remember well, her anguish over something or other that I did. I do not remember the exact circumstances, but I do remember her saying, "Savior of the world, save yourself!"
I remember my amazement that my own mother was commanding me to be selfish! And I was absolutely appalled. But now I know better what she meant; she meant you cannot save anyone or anything if you do not save yourself first.
My mother was one wise lady. I wish I had listened. Maybe it isn't too late.
'We all live in suspense from day to day, from hour to hour, in other words, we are the hero of our own story.' (Mary McCarthy; 1912-1989.)
This smacked me in the face, like nothing else I've read for a long long time. It was the last part that got me; 'We are the hero of our own story.' Wow. And the more I thought about it, the harder it hit. Hero. Our own story. Suspense.
See, this is the thing. I have spent the better part of my entire adult life making everyone else the hero of my story. I was brought up in the Catholic faith, and I took it very seriously; You live for others. In order to find yourself, you lose yourself.
Through most of my youth, I prayed, nightly, this little prayer.
Lord, help me live from day to day In such a self forgetful way that even when I kneel to pray My prayer shall be for others. Others, Lord yes, others. Let this my motto be Help me to live for others, Lord that I may live for thee.
That sounds all well and good on the surface (aww, how very sweet!), but shouldn't I have also been taught to pray for myself?
My original plan when I entered college was to be a social worker. And in some psychology class or another I learned about Maslow's hierarchy of needs:
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
1 Self Actualization Needs (full potential)
2 Esteem Needs (self respect, personal worth, autonomy)
3 Love and Belongingness Needs (love, friendship, comradeship)
This simply fascinated me. And I set off on a life long purpose of trying to achieve the highest level; that of self actualization.
Maslow defines self actualization as " an ongoing process involved in a cause outside their own skin." And as I later learned, it's nary impossible to fully achieve. In fact, I took a class on Maslow right before I moved from Virginia, where it was stated that only the saints fully achieve this status. Well, I'm a good person, but I ain't no saint. This should have set me back in my quest but all it did was make me more determined.
So, now that I am getting older, I look back on my life and am stunned to realize that my quest was self defeating. and I look around, somewhat shell shocked, to see that I have cemented myself into a role I do not like very much, that of The Constant Giver. But rarely am I replenished. And this is about to change.
I am going to put myself back into the starring role of hero of my own story. I shall pray/give/care/love/respect others as fully as I can, but I am going to include myelf in the list. From this point forward, I will be the hero of my own story.
Legend a man of great strength and courage, favored by the gods and in part descended from them, often regarded as a half-god and worshiped after his death any person, esp. a man, admired for courage, nobility, or exploits, esp. in war any person, esp. a man, admired for qualities or achievements and regarded as an ideal or model the central figure in any important event or period, honored for outstanding qualities.