The Land of Oz

There's no place like it.

Run... do not walk... to go see AUSTRALIA!

Love? LORD ABOVE!! Now You're Tryin' To Trick Me In Love!

SEGUE ALERT (already?)

David, your wish is my command. (Although I have no idea how someone could say that I don't post enough hot women on here!)

Now... on to my real message, prompted at the request of The Exceptional One who has been drawing participants for a theme-based trilogy at her place.

It’s unfortunate that we don’t have several English words to describe the different types of love as the Greeks do. And even then, it’s hard to really put your finger on exactly what THOSE words mean. Since I don’t speak Greek, I am hardly an expert. But here’s my too brief summary:

1. Storge ~ It means “affection” in modern Greek. This is natural affection, such as that experienced by parents for their children.
2. Agape ~ This is the modern day Greek word for love in the sense of general affection felt for those you especially esteem. It’s a big love. The kind that gives that warm, surrounding feeling of comfort.
3. Philia ~ This is clean, friendly love. The type of love that loyalty springs from. It promotes equality and unity.
4. Eros ~ Passionate love. This is the love of most especial appreciation. The love of beautiful things. The things that make us stir inside. For most of us, this is our favorite. Only because it can be so strong at times. But so can the others. And not one of these types of love is more valuable than the others.

This thing ~ LOVE ~ is really all that matters. It’s really what we are all spinning our wheels looking for. Even though it’s actually all around us. (Man! I love that movie!)

And if love were something to find then there are a number of us who certainly should have found it! The fact that the seekers have not found is not for lack of trying.

But I’m afraid I must call this sort of seeking to be living chiefly from the ego.

Clarissa Pinkola-Estes says:
"Three things distinguish living from the soul versus living from the ego only. They are: the ability to sense and learn new ways, the tenacity to ride a rough road and the patience to learn deep love over time." ~ Women Who Run with the Wolves

Learning deep love. Whatever does that mean? Well, anything with the word “deep” in it, is nothing to take lightly. Or shallowly. :)

But even on the shallow level, I think we could safely say that love is something to learn.

Clarissa speaks in her book about the traps we find ourselves stumbling into. Some of these traps were haplessly laid by our own selves. We can spend years caught in them. And even when we get out of them, we are so comfortable with their snares, we stumble into them yet again and again. We look for them! We want them!

But there comes a time when you must draw into yourself. Recover your soul. Remember yourself. Own your own heart. And even there, you can find the comfortable trap. The temptation to stay there becomes strong. But that is where we stop feeding the soul, and start feeding the ego. The light must be sent out again in order for it to remain a living thing.

If only love were a static and tangible thing. I could find it, wrap it up, put a bow on it and set it on the shelf. When I find myself needing it, I could go to the shelf and take hold of it. Turn it around in my hands. Trace it with my fingers. And when I think I’ve had enough, I could put it back where it would wait for me to come another day.

This is what I think we often do with one another. We want love to live inside of the box of another human. And then we want that human to sit right where we left them. All pretty with a bow on them.

But love is not like this. It won’t live in a box. It requires nurturing attention. And just when we think we know the kind of attention it needs, it changes!

Love is a task of patience. The patience to learn deep love over time. And where does patience come from? The ability to sense and learn new ways and the tenacity to ride a rough road.

I hate it when she’s right.

See the posts on Skeleton Woman and Skeleton Woman Defined
for more of my feeble attempts at relating Clarissa’s genius of a mind.

And this ~ from Bernie (song available on my playlist at the sidebar):

Baby you're missing something in the air
I got a name but it don't matter
What's going on, it's cold in here
You have a life but it's torn and tattered
Maybe you're losing pieces of your heart
You have a world but it stopped turning
You lose the day and gain the dark
Love was a fire but it stopped burning
Spare your heart, save your soul
Don't drag your love across the coals
Find your feet and your fortune can be told
Release, relax, let go
And hey now let's recover your soul
Lazy old sunset sinking like a tear
Alone at night in a losing battle
That perfect world is never clear
You have to fight for the things that matter

A Wretch Like Me

I spent a number of years studying men. So I could understand them. Or rather, understand one. I also spent those years studying women. You know… so I could understand them. Or rather, understand me! (I'm not kidding.)

You know what I figured out? Men and women alike… we’re just people struggling to understand our place in the world. We’re rather egocentric, at heart. We say we want someone to share our lives with, but what we really want is someone to fill up those empty places we feel inside. I once heard a very astute counselor say that most often when a woman and a man say those vows about how they intend to be the thing that is the thing and blah blah blah (okay, he wasn’t so cynical, but still…) what they really mean is that they will let that other person make up for what is lacking in their lives. So it’s like a tick on a dog. But what you wind up with is two ticks………………………………………………………………… and no dog.

I hear men say, “Well, women must understand that men are THIS way or THAT way.” And I hear women say, “Oh, but women are THIS way or THAT way!” Really? So there is no level of intelligence in the human creature? No measure of overcoming our natures? And have you ever seen a laddie or a lassie... go THIS way or THAT? ;)

Fuckin’ hell. If that’s the way it is, then I’m outta here.

Man says he can’t help himself from being a fucker. (In the literal sense.) Woman says she can’t help herself from being a bitch. (Also in the literal sense.)

Of course you can help yourself! Stop that shit!

Anyway… whatever.

On the lightest of notes, let’s leave all of that bullshit (er… horseshit…) behind and look at something that matters.

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

Went to Utah last week to visit my WHOLE family. Erin flew in, Brady drove in (bringing a friend and baby Lexi!) and so I got to see them all. Well, except for my youngest grandchild. There are hindrances there. But here is a picture of him a couple of weeks before when he was visiting me mum (his great-grandmum).

Had a great time, and here are some pictures!
This is BrynLeigh on the same swing at the same age as Lexi above.

Also, in our world, cats are part of family. So here is the newest addition, Thor (JP's baby). And the lovely silhouette is Fritz, Becky Jo's cat.

Beggars Would Ride

I’ve been pondering this subject for a couple of weeks. I get calls from friends who feel alone. Especially if they are divorced. Oh wait. I mean, especially if they are married. No wait… I mean, especially if they are single.

FUCK! I guess I get calls from people who feel alone ~ especially if they are humans!

We all want someone to be there when we need… well… someone. We want that special someone. The one who we know cares about us more than anyone else in the world does. In my experience, the people I have generally found this to be true about have been my family and friends. They know me. They love me. Just as I am. And when I struggle, they are ALWAYS there for me.

Well except when they are not.

I come from a strong family background, with a strong belief that you just take care of family. That’s the rule. I also have a handful of very good friends. The type who believe you just take care of friends. That’s the rule.

So I always know that’s there. And there is certainly much to be said for that kind of security.

But what about intimacy? That great horse of an entirely different color. We are born with a place inside of us that yearns for that special one who will make everything matter more, will make every fire burn brighter, and will make every jagged pill easier to swallow.

Sometimes, as David at Dadshouse
mentioned this week, we just want a hug. We get busy. Time and responsibilities tie us down. We’re strong and independent individuals who just do the next thing without blinking. And from time to time, we want to collapse under the weight of it. We want someone there to catch us, or hold us, or just tell us they’ll take the mental reins for five minutes while we snuggle up to their warmth.

But strangely it seems, at those times, no one is there. Why is that? Where does everyone go? Family, friends, fuck buddies ~ all hidden from view. You could have two people in your support group, or two hundred. But those moments just happen when not one of them is available.

It’s a fact of life. We’re in this alone. Regardless of our situation. Yes, it happens less often if we have maintained a strong support group. David makes a comment that single parents have drawn the short straw in this sense. As married people, they lost contact with the huggers they knew as single people, and don’t have the free time to recreate a new store of huggers for those days. I’m going to call horseshit on this one. First off, single parents have the same 24 hours a day that everyone else in the world has. So you can develop friendships, but you have to make a concerted effort to do that. Relationships take work. And if you’ve done the work, then you have them. Secondly, as I said, regardless of how many of these relationships you have, people don’t just hang around in the woodwork waiting to hand out appreciative, heartfelt hugs.

So some of us are hardworking single parents who just want a minute to be weak. Some of us are stay-at-home moms who just want a break from the hectic life where everyone wants something from us so we can get something back. Some of us are single with no imminent partner on the horizon and we want some hope that someday that partner will show up. Some of us are in relationships, but apart from our loved one for one reason or another. We can’t go get an intimate hug from someone else, so we just have to make it through the yearning.

In the end, we find ourselves pleasantly surprised when a stranger tells us we look fantastic. When a cashier lingers long in handing us our change. When a little child gives us the simple gift of whatever precious thing is in their hand at the moment. Or when one of our grown children calls to say something unexpected and very timely like, “Mom, I just called to say that you are the most amazing person I know!”

We muddle through those alone times. They happen to everyone. And they make us strong. We wish there were another way to become strong. But if wishes were horses…

Am I My Brother's Keeper?

It’s hard to address a subject like this one. Worldwide, there are people who have coupled with someone they are displeased with for one reason or another. Yes, we adore one another during the whirlwind romance. We rip each others clothes off whilst in the throes of passion. And then domestic life settles in. We eat more than we should. Laze around on weekends more than we should. We drink too much, eat too much rich (and yummy) food. But when you choose a partner, you choose them for who they are and who they aren’t. The scary thing is that you probably have only a tiny inkling of who they are. It's a foundational lesson to grasp that when you are in a relationship, this does not give you the right to decide how the other person should be. If you have chosen someone who doesn’t suit you, that is your own damn fault. So my first advice would be to take great care in making a lifelong commitment with someone!

But apart from this, I think we need to seriously consider what we see as “acceptable” and “desirable” in a person. We happen to live in a society that worships physical beauty and doesn’t value the real and true things about a person. We compare our mates to others. We compare ourselves to others! In fact, I think this is the real root of the problem. A person who is constantly critical of their mate is likely overly critical of themselves. And they are fucking pissed off that their mate is comfortable with their flaws! "How dare they! I walk in misery, constantly striving for unattainable perfection, and they just lie there sleeping well through the night? Why aren’t they up, trying to improve themselves?" It’s a sick world, I tell you.

The fact is that if you have a healthy love for self, you are on the right track. First, you must be a good mate in order to find a good mate. Then, you must be reasonable about the person you choose to spend time with. And why you choose them. If you like spending time with one another, sharing mutual respect and consideration, that’s the large part of it. Of course, there needs to be attraction... chemistry. But chemistry is unreliable. It can’t be depended on to last through the years because it involves too many variables. And things change. We change. We all do. This is not a bad thing. I once heard that a woman marries a man expecting him to change and a man marries a woman expecting her not to. And they are both doomed to disappointment. So, let's just try not being a dumbass about it. Mind your own body. It's the only one that belongs to you.

And So It Goes...

Yes, it was Becky Jo's birthday this last weekend. She turned twenty. You may recall Becky Jo from a few posts ago in a Christmas video. She's such a sweetie pie. Here is a picture of her doing her part in carrying the weight of the world.Becky has always been a pleasure to know. She's just one of those people who brightens up a room and leaves it a little darker when she exits. She and my son, Brady, have always been close friends. Here is a picture of them together from a few years ago. They've both gotten older, but I think the difference in height is still the same. Hee hee.

Which leads me to the introduction of BRADY'S OWN BLOG! Yes, my friends... my son has entered the blogosphere and I would like to invite each and every one of you to visit his new space. Give a little hello and visit often. I think you'll be glad you did!

Nice Guys Finish Last?

Recently, one of my baby mamas broke my youngest son's heart. She told him she was no longer in love with him. This has been no fun. At any rate, they have split now, but he still spends daily time with his most precious darling baby girl, Alexa Jade.

Brady has been posting at his myspace blog and I asked for permission to post some of his quotes here.

He has this to say about this hard time:

Thank Heaven for Little Girls

... you gotta try and stay positive because life will go on remember? Fortunately, I have my daughter around to help me. She doesn't really know it but I talk to her for hours while she sleeps. It's kinda my therapy. But there's also when she's awake, we hang out and play and that's where the real magic happens. She reminds me of all the good things in this world, the reasons to be thankful you're alive and breathing, to be thankful for hugs and kisses and laughter. So it's getting better with time.

But this one especially touched me:

Nice Guys Finish Last

It always seems like no matter how kind you can be in life, people still screw you over without even thinking about it. But you know what, when I'm dead and gone I want people to remember who I was as a person. How giving I was, how thoughtful I was, how much I cared, how forgiving I was and overall I want people to think of me as an amazing person. Now I'm not saying that everyone will think that because I'm not the best person out there, but I am the best I can be. So people who are ass holes in this world might seem to get ahead in life. They get the girl, the job, the car. But to me all that means nothin. What really matters is the impact you have on people's lives. So my saying is "nice guys finish last...but they have the greatest endings." Personally, I would rather have that being said about me than the so called "achievements" I had in life by walking all over people. Life's not about how far you get but the impact you leave on the people you were around throughout your life.

All The Pretty Kitties

This is Amy.

She is my little "Juno" friend from the earlier post about teen pregnancy. She sent me an email and I asked if she minded if I shared it with y'all. She said she would be honored. Amy is now 22 years old. Her daughter, Abby (pictured here) is six.


My Mamma Kitty. I just read your blog Where Have All The Young Girls Gone. I think it's really cool that you mention me in it.

It was all you that helped me make my decision. I never felt pressured or judged by you. You gave me all options and supported me with whatever I decided. (like any mother should). I remember the day you came to my rescue like it was yesterday. My mother and Suzanne kidnapped me taking me to Park City to talk me out of getting an abortion. I felt horrible having to tell my mother that I was pregnant. You, with no questions asked drove up to Park City and took me out to dinner. Told me your story of getting pregnant young and how you felt and your fears. It is the greatest feeling in the world when you (a parent) opened up to your child and tell all because you have been there too. You made me feel so much better, so calm. I knew then what I wanted to do. That night you gave me a necklace, of a gold heart. It was your heart, it symbolized how much you loved me and how you would always be there for me. I wore it for years and still have it. Everytime I see it, I think of that night and how much you saved me.

I loved the movie Juno but for at least a week I was a little off. It was all too real for me and when I saw it, I had Abby with me so that made it even more off-putting. It was weird looking at Juno being 16 and pregnant and saying to myself look how young she looks. And then saying to myself oh my gosh, I looked that young. Watching Juno go get the abortion and backing out. Telling her parents.... Then the process of adopting the child out. In the end when everything starts going wrong and she breaks down and cries. I could feel that same ache in my heart it was so strong. Your heart hurts so bad and you feel it breaking and tearing apart. From that moment on you would never be the same.

I love you Mamma Kitty thank you for being such a gift in my life.

Love Amy

Where Have All The Young Girls Gone?

When I was twenty, I became pregnant. Impregnated. With child. This also happened when I was eighteen. I had decided that time to have an abortion, but miscarried before I had to consider it seriously. This time, there was nothing to consider. I was going to have a baby. I thought no further than that. There was no fear. No anxiety or trepidation of any kind. I was at complete peace.

It was simply not bad news to me. I have no idea why. I barely even liked children. In fact, when I walked by children playing, I would shudder. I’m not kidding. I hated babysitting children when I was younger. I had no desire to have a family. No desire to even have a husband. I didn’t really have any plans, but my desire for my life was basically to have a job, a car, an apartment, and lots of freedom!

So why wasn’t this bad news? Again, no fucking idea.

The ONLY bad part was that I would have to tell my parents. My parents would DIE. I was sure of it. They didn’t have any specific plans for me, but as parents, they certainly knew that having a child would set a tone for my future that would probably make for a great hindrance.

From the moment that child was born, my life was changed. That instant. That terrible and hard delivery brought forth a child that created a force in me that has not stopped stirring since.

The delivery was so exhausting, and I had been so ill with toxemia, that the nurses couldn’t even hand him to me. They had to set him on a stand next to me. I feebly reached out my hand to hold his and the energy of that touch was the greatest thing I had ever felt. I was nearly twenty-one. And that will be twenty-seven years ago this July 10.

He is my first born son. And he is amazing. He changed my life. And I have never once… not for one moment… thought of him as a hindrance to anything. Quite the opposite, in fact.

I have a close friend whose daughter became pregnant at sixteen. She was struggling with whether or not to get an abortion. She asked me what I would do if I were her. I said, “You know what I did when I was you!” But I went on to tell her plainly that there is nothing in the world as wonderful as rocking your baby. Nothing as amazing as watching her become a young lady and get ready for her first prom. And nothing as horrifying as finding out she was killed in a car accident that night. I told her there was no one who could tell her what to do, because these were things she herself was going to have to choose, and she herself would have to live through. That whatever she decided to do, I would support her in her decision. She spent a good month talking with friends and relatives about her options. She chose adoption.

The movie JUNO brought all of this back to mind. Very emotional for me to watch. The thing that happened to my little friend was almost identical to what happened with Juno. The people backed out, six weeks before the baby was due. She was devastated. She would not even attempt to try to find another family she felt she could trust to deserve her precious gift. So she decided to keep the little one. And precious she is. Adored by so many.

When my youngest son, at eighteen, told me his girlfriend was pregnant, how could I respond with anything but supportiveness? That baby has changed his life.

All of these children changed lives. And will continue to do so.

Does this mean I encourage teenage pregnancy? That I think the pact that the girls in the news made to have babies en masse is a good idea? Of course not. In fact, if you sat down and talked with me, you would soon discover that I do not encourage pregnancy for anyone at all! I still am not of a mind that everyone should have babies. That every woman should think of herself as incomplete until she’s a mother. That every man should think himself incomplete until he has a family. What wretchedness that sort of thinking brings. I’ve watched people fall to pieces in agony, just hoping for offspring. Children do not complete us. They are the manifestation of creative energy. They are the continuance of life. The outpouring of spirit.

And they are themselves. Not an extension of us.

When Is The Last Time You Felt Like This?

My niece, Becky Jo, has the sweetest boyfriend in the world. For Christmas, he gave her an ipod, with this home-made video loaded onto it. Along with a note that said, "press play."

Honest to God... as it was passed around for all to see, every woman in the family was brought to tears.

And here is another of their shorts that I watch whenever I am down and really need to laugh. That girl has the most contagious laughter! She'll soon be twenty. And I can't believe that I get to be her auntie!

Auntie's Brag Book

Graci is my niece.

Her mommy is my baby sister.

I adore them both.

Graci is the sweetest and most darling girl. She’s got a feisty temper, but when she cries it will melt your heart. She is always someone I can count on coming by to see me when I fly home for a visit. She is often there waiting at my parents house. No matter how late my flight comes in.

Once, when I answered the door, she was just crying her little heart out. She grabbed me and hugged me so tight, her body shaking from the weeping. She was dating a guy who, at one point, said he wanted to date other people. Which is fine. I mean they are young. (Graci is 22.) But the dumbshit doesn’t really know what that means. She had asked him if he wanted to hang out and do something that night and he said he had a date! A date! I just don’t get it. When you are dating other people, you don’t TELL them you can’t see them because you have a date with someone else! I know you guys are cute, but no one is THAT cute! It’s important to be sensitive. I don’t mean you have to lie. You can just say you have plans. You are busy. Whatever. But… I have a date???!!

So I took her shopping. Yeah, that’s what aunties do when their nieces are sad. Well this auntie takes you to the sex shop to buy something sexy. We picked out a few things and she went to try them on. At one point, I brought her out to the sales clerk and I said, “Look at this! Can you believe that the guy she’s dating said he can’t see her tonight because he has a date with someone else!” He said, “Who the hell does he have a date with… a supermodel?” I bought her the outfit. And I got her some really great high-heeled fuck-me shoes to go with it! I put one condition on the outfit. HE was never allowed to see it. She could show it off to any man in the world, except that one.Anyway, that was just one story of Graci. She went to culinary school in San Francisco. This was so hard on her, as she’d never been far from home. We are a very close family. My granddaughter (the first one to be born among us sisters) was born, Graci wasn’t there. This was very hard on her. When she came to visit on Thanksgiving, BrynLeigh was two months old. I will never forget the sight of Graci when she first saw that baby. She walked into the room, saw Bryn in her little seat and Graci just started to cry. Every emotion that she’d had while away from family was brought to the surface at the sight of that little face. Absolutely precious.

At any rate, Graci doesn’t just cry all the time. She’s vivacious and fun. She enters the room like a whirlwind. She’s impossible to ignore. And she has the greatest taste in clothes. Always unique and personalized... and she wears fun stuff like this:

Graci is now a very hard working, early rising girl who makes pastries at a bakery. I love going in to see her and she always gives me very special attention and something yummy to eat. She’s my little darling and I adore her!

I’ve always referred to Graci and my daughter as “the twins.” They are so much alike. It is their fault that I love Spongebob Squarepants. People had told me to watch the show and I tried. I just didn’t think it was funny. But one day, Erin and Graci started acting out scenarios between Spongebob and Patrick. Oh. My. God. I could have died laughing! And now when I watch the show, I think I actually think it’s THEM acting the parts! (But I don’t like Sandy… the Squirrel on the show. She bugs me. Wonder who could play her part and make me like it.) Erin and Graci are so much fun just to watch interact. I used to joke that we need to create a sitcom called “The Erin and Graci Show.” (This was several years ago, when Graci was a brunette. But when they laugh, you gotta laugh with them!)

So… this summer, Graci may be moving to Los Angeles to live with Erin. This would be so good for her. She does not belong in the middle (or the top, as we call it) of Utah. Not at all. She’s a California girl. That’s all there is to it. As homesick as she was, she had loved living in San Francisco and I know she’d love L.A. Plus, she and Erin would have so much fun! The twins, back together again! So if you see these girls in your wanderings, you’d just better get outta the way! Cause they haul ass to have fun! They love life and they are living every minute of it! Or, if you can keep up, you can join the parade! (That's Graci in the middle, and on the right is Becky Jo. The Becksta! She's another of my nieces, and just as worthy of adoration. I will write about her next time! The fella on the left is George, Becky's soulmate.)

You May Be Right ~ I May Be Crazy

You know what I love about my kids? Not one of them is insecure about who they are. None of them goes about seeking approval. There really is nothing more that I could want for my children. They have hard knocks, of course. And it kills me. You always wish you could protect your loved ones from having to go through any amount of pain. Which is an odd mechanism we have, because we all know that it’s during the painful times that we really grow. Still… no fun.

Weird though. We want to deprive our children of the very thing that will develop a strong character. Fortunately, for them, we cannot actually accomplish this. If we could, we would wind up doing the opposite; creating a very unstable and insecure person who has no purpose. No purpose at all. I can’t imagine a more horrible type of imprisonment than that.

All of this self-confidence sounds very well and good, right? Well oddly enough, and as attractive as it is, I’ve found that others sort of bristle at this trait. They get pissed off because you are not miserable like they are. When someone tries to get you to do something “their” way and you refuse, people cry out, “Good for you!” But when THEY are the ones trying to get “their” way, it’s a whole different cry they make! They say, “Oh… so you think you are perfect? You think that just because I tell you that the way you are is not okay that you don’t have to listen?” To this I say, “Why the fuck would you want to tell me that I’m not okay the way I am???” And then they say, “Well no one is perfect.” So, let me get this straight. No one is perfect. And you think that because I say I don’t have to become the way you think I should be that I’m saying I’m perfect? And you also think that it’s your job to help me accomplish this perfection?

Seriously. Someone explain to me why this is made out to be a rational way of thinking.

Here’s what I say:

Society does very much try to impress its wily ways on us, so those of us who are parents try desperately to teach our children to have a strong enough character not to succumb to those ways. Those of us who are people just living in a society, try to spend our time strengthening our own characters so that those around us are not what we choose to let define us.

And who is society? Well we all like to think that society is “those evil forces around us.” When, in fact, society is us. I think it would be nice if we could stop behaving like the evil forces and make the positive difference.

Lexi in Converse Chucks!

This kind of cute is enough to kill a grandma who longs to squeeeeeeeze her!