Monday, January 31, 2011

31-365 Blue skies!

In spite of the title, this isn't a post about the weather even though it has been lovely lately.

Yesterday, I had a completely new experience, something I have never done in my 44 years on this planet -- I went up in a tiny little airplane!

And all I can say is Wheeeeeeeee!!!!!! It was fantastic! This little beauty is called a Taylorcraft. It seats two -- and only two -- people. Once inside, here's the controls. That's all you get folks! And apparently, it's all you need.
We took off into a beautiful clear day. (See those horizontal lines in the shot below? That has something to do with the propeller. I have no idea how it happened, just that it wasn't there when I took the photo.) We flew above the Florida farmland and it was just .... wow.

I took this shot looking out the window and you can see our shadow on the ground. What an awesome day!

I just love doing new things. Just LOVE it!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

30-365 Lovely day

The weather has returned to GLORIOUS! Thank goodness. So yesterday morning I hopped on my bike and took an hour-long ride on our local trail. I must say, the folks that put this thing together did an awesome job. This is one of several stations along the trail.

They also have a bike rental there as well as a little snack and bike store, nice restrooms, water fountains, playground, etc., etc. And I have to say, when the weather is like this -- bright, sunny, and 70s -- anyone who doesn't go outside and enjoy it is beyond redemption.

Speaking of beyond redemption, last evening we decided to go out for dinner and the went to our local wine bar for desert. As always, we ran into some folks we know. They are okay to hang with at the local pub but I've decided that they really aren't "my kind of people."

"Snob," you say.

"Yep." I reply.

"There is one trait that the men in this group share and it drives me fucking nuts -- they're nay-sayers. It doesn't matter what you subject your discussing, they are always quick to point out what they think is wrong with whatever you're talking about.

Drives. Me. Nuts.

I'm an enthusiastic and curious gal. Vince is a live and let live kind of guy. If someone says to me "Hey, we're going to France this year!" My response is "Cool! Where?" Their response is "Why would anyone go there?" If someone says to me "I'm getting my private pilot's license" I say "Wow. Where do you plan to go?" They say "Little planes are dangerous and inexperienced pilots get themselves killed." They both ride Harley's and sneer at our Yamaha that we are perfectly happy with.

If there is anything in this world that turns me off it's constant negativity. And I hate it the same way a person who grew up in a household of drunks hates booze. If you don't turn into a drunk yourself, you learn to recognize the destructive effect it had on your life and every life it touched. It's the same with angry, snarky, mean-spirited, sad-sack, cynical, never-seen-a-glass-half-full, poo-poo'ers. They're like drunks who insist they don't have a problem.

Speaking of exciting things though, Vince and I have a very cool day planned. I'll have a few pictures up tomorrow I'm sure. Wheeee!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

29-365 We'd love to but....

... really, we're just swamped.

At least that's what I should've said when our friend's invited us to drop by last night for an impromptu get together. They were having another couple over (that we also know and enjoy chatting with) BUT they also all have kids. Little kids. Please note the drum set in the left corner. Next to the piano. With two chairs. And there's a kid missing. Bless his heart, I think even HE couldn't take this much crazy.
I'm just not a kid person. And I have never, not once have I ever, spent time with a child and thought "Gosh, I want one."

And these girls are girly-girls. The rave of course is all things Disney. They're totally into the princesses (and modeled several full princess outfits for us) but you can't beat Queen Minnie from the House of Mouse.
And the thing is, I know all the paraphernalia the kids clamor for -- all the hats, and dresses, and shoes, and toys, and stuffed animals, and dolls, and and and -- is all cheap-ass crap produced in China by other people's children. And it bothers me.

But hey, she's cute isn't she? And she loves you. It says so. Right there.

Friday, January 28, 2011

27-365 Date night (and 28-365)


Getting caught up on the days means going back to Wednesday. Our heroine Ivey had just completed a major phase of a big project while dealing with all sorts of life and death crises and new family issue snaggle. So after returning a few emails, she took the rest of the day off.

First, a manicure and pedicure. It's like mini-vacation.
Next, a movie! It's becoming rare that a movie comes out that we really want to see but we'd been looking forward to "The King's Speech" ever since we saw Colin Firth interviewed on The Daily Show. The movie is outstanding and that Colin is all sorts of awesomeness. Great performances from the entire cast.
Finally, drinks and appetizers! It's not our normal hang out and as we walked in the door, a musician friend of Vince's was playing sax. Well, he wasn't playing BECAUSE we walked in the door; he just happened to have a gig there that night and we just happened to show up. But anyway.... a lovely time was had. Hand-holding (wth my yummy pink nails), eye-gazing, giggles... ya know.

28 - 365
I spent yesterday at my brother's house. Let's just say that what some families call a crisis, mine calls Thursday. I snapped a few photos but decided not to post them. Just makes me sad.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

26-365 Time to relax a bit

I sent out the bulk of phase one of my huge project yesterday. Finally! After all the interruptions and distractions and changes in direction and and and, I don't have that sword over my head this morning. Yippee!!

So I was able to relax a little last night. While cooking supper, I noticed this on the counter and for some reason it cracked me up. I decided it looked like a very surprised face peeking over the edge of a bowl.
Supper itself was a delish concoction of braised chicken thighs with a mushroom/lemon/wine sauce served over rice. Yum!
And my after supper treat was another round of nookie courtesy of my favorite fella. Here were are relaxing in the post-orgasm glow.
I'm going to tie up a few details this morning but then taking the rest of the day off. Planning to get my nails done and maybe Vince and I will catch a movie later this afternoon.
A MUCH needed break.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Just a thought on 25-365

It occurred to me this morning that I actually posted today's Proj365 yesterday (the cat and the kid along with the flowers) so I have nothing for today.


Three weeks into January and it's clear my little blog is taking on a different flavor in 2011 and I'm not sure how I feel about it. On the one hand, I've never wanted Ivey Lane to be a "journal." That's not the style of writing that I dig and more importantly I find it boring in other people's blogs. I want to read content that has depth of thought, addresses a bigger issue, delves into a deeper topic than "here's what I had for lunch today" or my all time most annoying long litany of "ain't my kid cute?"

Which brings me to the other hand; combining Proj365, as best I can, with the way I like to write may be interesting, or at least to me. And since I really and truly write this blog for me, I think I'm going to try to stay with it and see where it goes. There could be a number of benefits. First, I'll write less each day but hopefully say more in total. The images make the blog itself more interesting. And I think I will become both a better photographer and better writer in the long run.

I'm sure there will be plenty of sexy stuff (Vince dubbed me the "nookie monster" this morning. hehe) as well as the usual life observations. I hope it continues to keep your interest. Let's see how it goes!

Monday, January 24, 2011

24/25-365 C'est la vie

I don't know what it says when you receive phone calls and texts from folks that essentially say "When I kick off, I want you to plan the memorial!" but it appears Kate's final send off was a hit. The right amount of pathos and humor, irreverence and humility. Our girl was a force of nature and we sent her out with a bang and a hell of a soiree! (She was originally from New Orleans, if that tells you anything about the evening.)

We had the "service", appropriately enough, at a theatre. Afterwords, about 60 or so folks came to my house for the "wrap" party. For those of you not familiar with theatre etiquette, at the end of the run of any show or filming, there is a wrap party for when you "wrap up the show/filming." It's a tradition. The MC of our event closed with these words "You get to be the star of one major show -- your own life. Thank you Kate. It was a hell of a run." And with that the audience rose to their feet and gave our Kate the standing ovation her live deserved.

Oh, that we can all call that our end.

But at the house we had food....
... and beverages (the booze was in a another corner),
And LOTS of great conversation!
And then the phone rang. It was my mother.
When my mother calls at 10 pm on a Sunday night the news isn't good and last night was no exception. No details, but as it turned out I had to sneak out the back door of my own party (leaving a couple of dear friends to help Vince clean up) and go to my brother's house for a family emergency.
The two sleeping angels in this pic aren't. Angels that is. The cat, who looks oh-so-sweet here, is actually the most obnoxious, demanding, and downright mean pussy I've ever encountered. The cherubic sleeping boy -- Dennis the Menace. But their lives both just got indescribably harder, in one fucking evening.

So I leave you all with a shot of Kate's flowers that I actually took this evening when I got home. Pink Tiger-Lilies. I thought they suited Kate.

Star in your own show, people. Life is always, ALWAYS fragile.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

23-365 Comfort food --- Okra

Today's the day for Kate's memorial so I've been hustling about getting ready for the "show" and yesterday I completed a major portion of my work project that's been eating my lunch. So last night was a night in for me 'n Vince. I have to say, I haven't felt this caught up and relaxed in weeks. We tossed steaks on the grill, sweet potatos in the oven, and one of my all time favorite comfort foods -- okra.

Now some folks have issues with okra, mostly when it's not cooked correctly (I've heard some people boil it. Shudder!) Ya got a fry it folks; you can batter it or just slice it up and toss it in a skillet with bacon grease but it MUST be fried. The way I was brought up was a bit of a hybrid.

So for y'alls cultural edification, here is one -- there are others -- authentic way to "fix" okra.

Start with fresh okra. If it has a few spots, that isn't a problem it and is more likely on organically grown produce anyway. Wash it.
Cut it up. Do NOT rinse it. It's supposed to be slimy on the inside and if you cook it right, the sliminess goes away. If you boil it, you get what you deserve.
You add two, and only two, ingredients -- salt and cornmeal. Sprinkle generously with both. By the way, southern food is generally salty. Had to do with eating meat preserved with salt, generally scraped from "the bottom of the barrel." That's where the phrase comes from. You're welcome.Fry it in a cast iron skillet. This recipe isn't a battered deep-fry but instead a pan fry. If you want to be authentic you'd use Crisco or the like but my only nod to general health is I now use Olive Oil. My granny would probably shake her head in dismay and worry that I'm not feedin' Vince right.

Make sure the skillet is hot before you add the okra.
Cook it over medium high heat, stirring regularly until the okra is bright green, the cornmeal is crispy, and some of the pieces are starting to look burnt. It isn't burnt, it's caramelized; that and the cornmeal are how you get rid of the slimy quality.

Da-umn that's good eatin'!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

22-365 Incognito?

Another night on the town with friends! Though this time, it was a crazy kinda mix with some very old, but also kinda new, friends.

High school meets Facebook.

Through the magic that is FB, I've discovered some pretty cool people who all came out of the same backwards, redneck, jerk-water but oh so authentic locale of my youth. Not sure exactly how it happened (we decided it had something to do with leaving town though there was an exception to that in the group too) but we all kind of discovered that the world is larger, better, and vastly more interesting than our upbringing would have allowed us to believe.

It's a convoluted story, but it turned out about 10 of us all get to the same town where Vince had a gig and decided to meet for dinner then go to the club where he was playing for drinks and dancing. But since we had dinner at a local restaurant, and I was in club wear (to play groupie!) we needed to tone it down a bit. One of my high school buds had a trench coat.
Obviously, I didn't take the above photo though we did use my phone. So in keeping with the Proj365 spirit, here's a shot of the sleeve I did take.
But the title of the post is "Incognito" and it has absolutely NOTHING to do with wearing a trench coat to cover up some sexier-than-normally-seen-in-a-steakhouse clothing. Two of the people in the group were the folks I mentioned that had dinner with us when Hubman was visiting. So they are swinger-types who definitely know a little more about our, ahem, extra curricular interests and, shall we say, share them. One guy in the group is someone I flirt with outrageously on FB (not to the extent I do with some of you hehe) but he's a vanilla friend with something a little more fun and spicy in the mix. The others I don't know well enough to judge but it's a pretty safe bet that while they may think that I'm a little "forward", if they knew the extent it would be shocking to say the least! Add to this the fact that Vince was working so the other folks in the band are actually co-workers.
So we were out on the town, half in and half out of the closet, keeping it fun and keeping it on the down low all at the same time. Traveling incognito, so to speak. And it takes more than a trench coat to keep it out of sight.

Friday, January 21, 2011

21-365 Casual friends

Sunday is Kate's memorial. Actually, it's more like a celebration. She was originally from New Orleans and we're doing our darned-est to make sure the event doesn't turn into a morose pity-party. My role in the affair is pretty much turned into "producer" which is great, 'cause that's pretty much an easy-peasy thing for yours truly. Of course, production meetings are a little different when I'm running the show! But there is so much wonderfulness involved in this endeavor. The group gathered last night included a radical red-headed lesbian, a Jewish political type (who recently lost her gig 'cause her guy got voted out), a gay white casting director, a black straight actor who looks my age but is actually about 25 years older, black straight actress and web designer, then musician Vince and writer Ivey. I've known some of these folks for 18 years, others for just a few. But damn it feels good to be around them. Easy. Relaxed. Casual.

And now, back to the factory!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

HNT -- A nice ass (and 20-365 Phase II begins)

Happy HNT one and all! I thought I'd show you all one of my favorite assets today. I am a girl blessed with plenty o' round, curvy tush. Can you believe there was a time when it bothered me?
(In the interest of full disclosure, this photo is about a year or so old. With the crazy schedule of late I've been doing well to take and post and Proj365. I'm actually about 20 lbs lighter now than I was in this picture. Vince says I have to stop losing weight if I start losing this ass.)

And we continue with Proj365 and the floor. This is the first coat of finishing phase. One down, two more to go!
Have a great day folks and don't forget to swing by Osbasso's and check out the rest of the Half-Nekkid-ness!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

19-365 At least it's not chicken

So in addition to returning to the weights and measures, I also got my rear end back on the bike yesterday. Yes, it's been a bit cold (Shush, Hubs!) but I've also been a bit slack there too and letting my "busy-ness" get in the way of exercising. So I'm getting up an hour earlier so that I can enjoy my ride without feeling like I'm losing too much productive time.

We have several stopping points depending on how much time and I have this is at the "short ride" (30 minute) mark. As I was resting on my bike, I took a photo looking down...

... and another one looking up.

And now it's back to the coal mine! Tap, tap, tapping away....

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

18-365 In the interest of good taste....

.... today's Proj365 photo is NOT being shown.

Okay, here's the deal. I don't mention it much, but I'm working on losing a few pounds. Yesterday I weighed in and was up a pound. I'm not "plateau-ing", I'm slacking. While I've been keeping track of what I've been eating, I haven't been weighing and measuring.

So I took a photo of 3 oz. of chicken on my food scale. I've got it in my Proj365 folder. It's there. But....

1 -- 3 oz. of chicken flesh on a scale doesn't look very appetizing.
2 -- it could be triggering to some vegetarians.
3 -- it wasn't a great picture.
4 -- it made me hungry to edit it.

So I'm not posting it. If you're a fellow Proj365'er, and you just feel like you HAVE to see it or you won't be complete as a person or an artist or a blogger, then let me know and I'll email it to you.

Otherwise, you can thank me in the comments for sparing you all this one.

Monday, January 17, 2011

17-365 Wrapping up a nice weekend

So while Vince presses on with the floor refinishing project I've been holed up in my office working on a big project with a looming deadline. And lemme tell ya, I've been stuck. I HATE that. Without going in to too much boring detail, I've had writer's block. But on Saturday Vincent said the magic words that got me unstuck and now I'm a flurry of creativity again. Whew!!

Still, a girl needs to get out of the house/office so when some friends texted with an offer to join them at House of Blues for a concert we took 'em up on it. Thing is, we didn't quite get the planning right so while they enjoyed the sold out show, we indulged in a little Louisiana-style cookin'. After the concert, we met for drinks and that explains how we ended up with about 5 - 6 hours sleep last night.

For those who don't know,the Cirque du Soliel venue is right across the pathway from House of Blues. I just thought this was a cool image of their sun logo.

And last but not least, here's a photo of the raw, sanded heart pine floor. For those that don't know, heart pine is old growth pine. It's very dense, very hard, and has a very tight grain. These floors were installed in the '40s and they have plenty of character! (aka flaws, damage, etc.) But dang, they're going to be pretty. I hope the tenants will appreciate them. PS -- I didn't actually take this photo. Vince did.
For the rest of the week I'll probably be pretty quiet except for the photos. It's buckle-down time around here!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

16-365 Summing up a Saturday

Since Friday was all about drag queens and drinks with friends, Saturday is about house projects and an evening in. We have have an apartment over our garage. For the last eight years we've used it for our offices (even living in it for over a year as we renovated our house) and before that, we rented it out. With the continuing efficiency of the Internet we no longer need that much space for work and have decided to rent it again.

However, it has the coolest damn hardwood floors you've ever seen. They're heart pine, which was actually the cheap wood back in the day when the place was built but now would run you around $10/board foot. (Yes, I am a remodeling and home improvement geek.) But since the place is empty I can't resist refinishing the floors even though it's "only for a rental."

Here's the first pass with the floor sander right. I'll post more when it's finally done with a good top coating.
And since Vince did most of the sanding he decided to kick back and watch the Steelers' game (being the Pittsburgh boy he is) last night while I cooked supper. He is soooooo ruined! Here he is posting the final score on FB after the Ravens pretty much gave away the game in the second half.
Vince is continuing with the floor today while I get a little work done. This evening, we're off to a concert with some friends as a surprise for the wife's birthday. Not a bad weekend at all!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

15-365 A night out

Last night Vince and I went out to see a cabaret show starring a friend of ours. This lovely lady is actually a lovely guy and at 6'7", a VERY tall glass of fabulous-ness! The show was fun and the fact is this performer is actually a classically trained opera singer, so as opposed to most drag queens who simply lip-sync, he can actually belt out the lyrics and hit all the notes.
After the show, a group of us went to a trendy little bar in a hip little neighborhood. Totally vanilla but I just want you people to know these aren't my legs. Or my arm. Or my hands and in fact I think the hands belong to two different people. Just because the gathering doesn't include swingers, doesn't mean it doesn't get a bit sexy!

And now it's a day for working. We're refinishing the floors in our garage apartment this weekend. Not a hawt as last night but who knows? We may get inspired this evening!

Friday, January 14, 2011

14-365 Weights (and a lotta work!)

A quick pic from my gym. I work out three times a week at a place a few blocks from my house. It's a small fitness center owned and operated by the sweetest personal trainer ever. Since I started working out there a few years ago she got divorced and now is the sole support for herself and her two teenage children. The other day, I saw on FB that she was selling her wedding ring set to help make ends meet. I work hard but I don't kid myself. Compared to most every single person on the planet, I've got it pretty easy.
Speaking of work though, Vince and my work schedule just got a whole lot busier and in a great way. We're currently working on a very large and cool project (I should actually be working on that at this moment but thought I'd just take a second to post) and knew we had three more lined up. We just found out we have two more as well. In our business, this will fill our calendar until at least the fall. Yes!! Gotta support our lifestyle. LOL

Alright, enough. Back to work!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

13-365 Lines and curves (oh, and it's kinda cold)

Time: Right before bed. Place: the den. What: One of Vince's guitars. Why: 'Cause I needed a pic.
And yeah, I hate to whine, especially when so many of you are dealing with REAL cold, but here's the problem -- we don't have any insulation and in our house and when it drops below freezing a heat pump won't do diddly. Our 1927 house is made of terracotta block, covered with stucco on the outside and plaster on the inside. A heat pump works by essentially removing heat from the outside air and "pumping" back into the house. If there isn't a lot of heat outside, then it doesn't work so well. In addition, the walls act more like an ice box that stores cold. Add to this the fact that my feet and hands get cold (as in don't feel human or alive) and if it gets real cold so do Vincent's.

Now all that are just a facts of life. But today, after an interminable 6 days of Aunt Flo, yours truly was in true NEEEEEED of a good rogering and after lunch seemed as good as a time as any. But have you ever tried to have sex without touching your partner with your hands or feet? Hmmm?! And in my case also trying to not let me knees, butt cheeks, or nose from touching ANYTHING on Vince as well so as not to shock the guy into a heart attack? Not to mention the ohsoattractive socks as well as insisting that no matter what position I was in, I needed to be covered by the blankets? Hmmm?!! Well have you?!

Let's just say that the mission was accomplished. Two very determined people overcame layers of obstacles to make sure that Ivey stayed mentally and physically on track. Thank goodness for perseverance! And a gas fireplace. And Vince's ability to withstand preternatural icecubes on his package for the sake of satisfaction.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

12-365 Sleepy puppy

As a "showbiz" gal, it's no surprise that my friend Kate's memorial service is becoming and "event" or that I'm the producer. It's going to be quite a humdinger. Anyway, we got together last night for what was essentially a pre-production meeting at the same place where we met last time.

Recognize this little girl? Yep, this is Cassie and after all the excitement of having people over, playing with toys, wrestling with her other puppy-playmates, and fighting over the chew toy she finally just needed a soft spot to land and chose my lap. What a sweet baby.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

11-365 Afterthought

Why do I have the feeling that you guys are going to get reeeaaaal acquainted with the stuff I have laying around my house or hanging from my walls? Last night, once again, I realized as I was getting ready for bed that I hadn't taken a photo so I snapped this pic. Grrrr.

As with all things, there's a story here too. This is a Venetian Carnival Mask from Venice Italy. It's a heavy sucker. I got in in 1987 during a trip to Europe and though I wasn't in Venice during Carnival, it was an incredible experience. I still remember sitting in the Piazza San Marco, sipping coffee, watching the people and the ever present birds.

I was 20 years old and traveling with my parents. In Switzerland we met a woman, early 30s, who was traveling by herself. Apparently her husband didn't like to leave home and she loved to go places so she traveled all over the world, all by herself. Her name was Holly. In that same city we met an older couple who also loved to travel but his health was failing and they were concerned the only had a few trips left. We all ended up going out for dinner in Lucerne and all going our separate directions the next day.

Sitting in the piazza, I looked up and there she was, pulling her suitcase across the massive open space. I thought she was pretty much the coolest woman on the planet. She was staying at a place close to our hotel so I walked over with her to check in and afterwords. (Now I know you're all hoping that this turns into "my first time with a girl" or a "and she was soooo hawt" type story but nah, it wasn't like that. Just meeting people.) I was supposed to go back and meet my folks at our hotel for dinner and she came with me. When we walked in, Mama and Daddy were sitting with the older couple we'd met. The couple had walked by the hotel cafe they were sitting at looking for a place to stay. Mama and Daddy brought them back to our hotel and they were able to get a room. We spent several days enjoying the city and this little group of people we just happened to find.

Holly was with me when I bought this mask.

I don't have a ton of "things", but the things I do have all pretty much have meaning and memory associated with them.

Monday, January 10, 2011

10-365 A fine day!

Vince and I pretty much checked out yesterday -- no phone calls, no interwebs, no Facebook, no TV, nada. We had lunch with some friends and dinner with family but other than that we were our own little island. Thank goodness. Quite frankly, I really didn't want to deal with too much more of the general horror and sadness of the world. I'd had enough and needed a break.

Fortunately, an unexpected opportunity for Vince presented itself a few days ago and our lunch date had something to do with it. No details, but here are some picture hints. You may figure it out.

Pretty cool, huh?

Speaking of the general sadness of the world, there's plenty to go around but some of it you can do something about. Veronica of Another Suburban Mom fame posted an article that is worth reading and doing something about. It concerns the appalling backlog of rape kits that haven't been processed throughout the nation. It's an outrage. Of course, it's also complicated. Check it out.
I need to give some attention to
a series of posts by Sadie on empathy and being a "highly sensitive person." In a nutshell, a researcher somewhere has come up with a theory that about 15 - 20% of the population as HSPs, who not only keen observers of social interactions or of people's inner feelings, but who actually sense, or feel them. I'm pretty freakin' sensitive in both good and bad ways. I think it's one of the things that made me a pretty darn good performer in the past and a very good writer/producer now. It also makes it very easy for me to share in someone's joy and experience extreme highs just by being around a positive person or beautiful situation or experiencing art or listening to music and on and on.
But it also makes it difficult sometimes to shut out the bad. Negative waves just kill me. Some days I hate FB because of all the stupid and mean things people say. I feel each and everyone of them. I can't watch television shows that deal with inappropriate social interactions as their base (e.g. The Office, Curb Your Enthusiasm). I can't watch shows that show animal abuse, even if they have the disclaimer that "no animals were harmed" blah, blah, blah. I NEVER watch Animal Planet. I'm extremely sensitive to sounds (too loud, too grating, too repetitive, etc), and music (moving or irritating). Vince and I once walked into a spice shop and I almost passed out I was so overwhelmed.
I tell you all this because I think this is what happens when I go "quiet" on the blogs or FB or quit watching the news or reading magazines or anything else I withdraw from. I've reached maximum density. I can't take any more of whatever it is.
I'm not a big fan of labels, but I do think it's useful to see that something is common enough that it can be identified, named, and categorized. And some of the "me too!" comments and observations seem to be a bit pretentious and presumptuous (including this one) but if it's accurate and not just another made-up bullshit trait/syndrome used to sell books and increase speaking fees then I need to give it closer look. I don't want to be less sensitive, but I would like to be able to be less susceptible to feeling pain and suffering that isn't mine to bear.
Yesterday was a fine day, mostly because it was filled with good friends and enjoyable pursuits. A terrific day if there ever was one!
PS -- I have now tried four times to fix the formatting issue (paragraph returns disappear) that occurs EVERY FUCKING TIME I try to publish this post. I'm done. Maybe it will work this time. If not, oh well. Fuckin' blogger.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

9-365 Piglet or Turtle?

For those of you who've never heard of it, the Moffitt Cancer Center is one of the premier cancer treatment facilities in the US. That's where I spent my time yesterday. It was Saturday so for some inexplicable reason most of the visitor locations were shut down -- the coffee shop, the cafeteria was just serving a few items, the fountain in the "Hope Garden" was shut down. I know everyone has to tighten their belts but seriously? The fountain in the Hope Garden?

Rock close-up: This is one of the rocks that encircles the fountain. It's set in this kind of mini-Stonehenge, tiny amphitheater formation. I swear at one point all I could think of was "This is Spinal Tap" and I just started giggling. Fortunately, I was alone at the time. The Shut Down Fountain: Maybe the fountain looks different when the water is turned on, but as I sat there looking at it, all I could see was a piglet drinking from a pool. Then the piglet started looking like a turtle. And they weren't giving me the drugs, folks. On a different subject, sorta, I really would like all of this death and dying business to knock it off because it is fucking with my brain and patience. The other day, after reading one stupid FB status update too many, I posted that sometime reading FB posts gave me the overwhelming urge to stab myself in the eye. Someone commented that my status then needed an explanation and I just don't have the heart or the energy. In a nutshell, in light of current events, including the shooting yesterday in Arizona, I'd just like people to stop being selfish, ignorant, stupid assholes. And if they can't manage that, then the least they can do is shut up and quit throwing their ignorance and nastiness on the rest of us.

It was a long day yesterday. But today we begin anew!! Vince and I have a great day planned and I'm sure I'll have a photo or two to share. On another note (and if you've read this far you deserve a little treat!) Vince and I are getting back into the Lifestyle game. We have several couples now that we're trying to set dates with, some more promising than others but are looking forward to the adventures with a new relaxed and open spirit. I wonder how it's going to turn out?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

8-365 Store up treasure

Another late night, before bed photo snap. I have to admit, I'm a fan of jewelry. First, Vince is GREAT at picking out stuff I like and sometimes it just shows up. Better than flowers folks! Second, we quickly learned that the amount of traveling we do, it just isn't practical to buy big mementos. But it's a snap to bring back a memorable pair of earrings or necklace.
But the photo also brings other thoughts to mind. I've mentioned it before in the blog but I'm pretty much an atheistic agnostic, but I was raised a devout Southern Baptist; moreover, most of the men in my family are some form of Baptist preacher. I can generally quote scripture with the best of them.

But I'm not one to toss out the good with the bad and there are times when scripture comes to mind, like this one:
Matthew 16:19-20 -- Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy and thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

This particular passage is often used to encourage the faithful to expect their rewards in the next life. It's used a lot when people are disappointed that good deeds don't seem to be rewarded or when they are observing/complaining that they don't have material wealth. There are other applications but most go something along those lines.
Personally, I've come to think of this very good piece of advice to mean that we should put our energy into non-temporal things that don't fade or wear out, and that can't be taken from you like love, generosity, etc. I luvs me some cool jewelry, but if that and pretty much any thing else I have were to disappear tomorrow I wouldn't be heartbroken. My treasure is my relationship with Vince and my friends and yes, even my wack-a-do family. I'm going to keep that in mind as I drive my brother to the cancer treatment center to see his friend. I don't believe there's some "reward" waiting in some far-off wonderland called heaven for doing this or anything else that may be considered "good." The treasure is simply in the doing.

Friday, January 7, 2011

7-365 Kettle (and another sad, sad day)

I snapped this little pic late last night because I didn't have a photo ready. First of all, it ain't for tea. I hate hot tea (unless, for some strange reason, it's Jasmine Tea at a Thai Restaurant) and never drink the stuff unless I'm sick and then it involves lemon, honey, and a shot of Jack Daniels. But, one of Vince's Christmas presents was a French Press Coffee Maker, so the kettle is now a nice little fixture on the stove.
But the reason I didn't get a better picture, and that this one is an afterthought, is because I got more seriously bad news yesterday. Without divulging too much about various complex relationships, my brother's close friend, a woman he's loved since high school, lost, then rediscovered a couple of years ago, underwent brain surgery to remove a massive tumor (size of a tennis ball) that was discovered right before the new year. She survived the surgery, but they confirmed that the tumor is a stage 4 gioblastoma, the most lethal kind. If she responds well to radiation and chemo, she can hope to survive 18 months, maybe two years. Without treatment, the prognosis is 12 weeks.

She had just gotten engaged the evening before they discovered the tumor. Her fiance of 24 hours took her to the doctor due to severe headaches she'd been experiencing. She's had a very challenging life, the kind they make movies about on the Lifetime cable channel. She's been a single mother to her 16-year-old daughter. She has no insurance. And with all of that, she is a beautiful, positive, charming, happy, endearing, warm, loving, giving human being.

My brother is fragile.

Tomorrow I'm going with him to the hospital where she's currently being treated (about a 3 hour drive from his house) so he can see her.

To add to the sadness, I have another friend from my youth whose husband of 16 years was diagnosed with the same thing 6 months ago. She's in another state, so I don't see her, but he is following this same path. He has lasted through 6 months of treatment, but it is very unlikely he will make it another six. He too has teen-age children.

I know the picture of the kettle isn't exactly gripping, but I hope you enjoy it. I did enjoy taking the picture. And I swear, once again, that I plan to fully enjoy my life as long as I have it.