15 October 2009

I'm moving my blog so you don't have to marry Google.

Go to http://whizbangwoman.wordpress.com/

It is much easier for you to read and comment.  All it requires is your name and email address, only if you want to comment. 

Hopefully this will make it easier for everyone.

If you have already tried to follow or followed me here, please follow me over there.  I don't think it imported my followers.  Glad I've only been working with this one for a few weeks!

Have a great day!!

14 October 2009

Be a good Samaritan if you're around anyone whose heart stops beating.

CNN's Sanjay Gupta is researching and doing a program on "cheating death".  I read this striking account of a woman who survived after her heart had stopped for 10 minutes.  Her husband, who is a first responder, immediately started chest compressions.  Studies are indicating that, because there is already oxygen in the blood, chest compressions only are more likely to preserve life.  Taking the time to do mouth to mouth isn't as necessary as was once thought, and it apparently takes away from the rapid chest compressions that help the heart start beating again.

This resonates with me because the woman in the article as well as Denise, my husband's first wife, was 33 when her heart stopped and she passed on.  She just collapsed while they were watching television.  We've never talked about what he did while he was waiting for the rescue squad to arrive.  I know they told him to make sure the lights were on and the front door opened.  I'm not sure exactly when her heart started back up.  I just know Tim had flashbacks about that evening, and he waited for 2 hours in the emergency room with no news.  Her heart started, but the neurological damage was done, and she had lost brain function. 

The article said 2% of people whose heart stops beating outside of a medical setting survive.  In this case the woman showed neurological damage, and they cooled her body and were somehow able to reverse or heal the neurological damage.  She did say in the article that the trauma was driving her family apart, that she and her husband were dealing with it differently.  I would love to know if she remembered anything that happened while she was unconscious.  The husband probably has PTSD, even though she survived.  It's a huge trauma.  And/or perhaps she had some brain damage that affects her cognitive function or even her personality, so she is different.  I wonder if she had a near-death experience.

Anyhow, hate to talk about something so sad, but the article said very few people start CPR on someone who collapses in public.  I think this is probably because they are afraid of doing something wrong.  However, it said that if rapid compressions (100/minute) were started within 60 seconds of the heart stopping, the survival rate would increase considerably.  100 beats/minute, and don't stop until medical personnel arrive.

Not very creative, but it resonated, so I wrote.  Ta Ta!

12 October 2009

Inspiring myself, hopefully.....

By listing some inspiring, moving, resonating quotes.
  • I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
    Maya Angelou
  • By the time a man is 35 he knows that the images of the right man, the tough man, the true man which he received in high school do not work in life.
    Robert Bly
  • All this worldly wisdom was once the unamiable heresy of some wise man.  -- Henry David Thoreau

Well, here's a bunch by Mark Twain, my hero.  He was a man before his time.  In fact, the Thoreau quote above would apply to Mark Twain, I believe.  Here we go!

  • Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.
  • Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.
  • Any emotion, if it is sincere, is involuntary.
  • Be careless in your dress if you will, but keep a tidy soul.
  • But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?
  • Civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities.
  • Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.

  • Don't let schooling interfere with your education.
  • One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives.
  • Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.
  • Patriot: the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.
  • Substitute "damn" every time you're inclined to write "very"; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.
Okay, well, there are a few Twain quotes.  I started this entry this morning, and just completed it with the Twain quotes.  I had a much more 'alive' day than I was feeling this morning and I'm thankful for it!!

10 October 2009

Dominick Dunne, or, "My Cultural Education via Vanity Fair Magazine."

Wow, I looked through all my tags and I can't believe I haven't talked about Dominick Dunne.  There has been a lot said about him.  I guess he first came into my consciousness when he first started writing, because he started that part of his career fairly late in life.  I knew nothing at the time of his previous television & film career.  I read The Two Mrs. Grenvilles, a juicy novel based on a real Society murder.  Unfortunately this novel was made into a TV movie, which is all that needs to be said about that! 

I probably had been reading articles by Dunne in Vanity Fair Magazine before then.  I started reading Vanity Fair in about 1982 or 1983.  I loved the photographic portraiture best.  I fell in love with the great photographer, Annie Liebowitz.  The three of them-- Dunn, Leibowitz and Vanity Fair were always my pop culture triumverate.  For years I kept all my copies of the magazine, because the cover always featured a sensational portrait by a great photographer.  Vanity Fair also introduced me to the incredible photography of Bruce Weber, the late Herb Ritts, and others.

Dunne had started writing about crime after the murder of his daughter, Dominique, by her ex-boyfriend, in 1982.  John Sweeney, the murderer, was a chef at Ma Maison.  It was the classic domestic violence nightmare.  Overly attentive, loving boyfriend quickly becomes controlling, jealous boyfriend (or husband-they are always trying to hurry things up-the wedding, the pregnancy, etc.).  When she tried to break it off with him he became violent, and shortly thereafter was able to murder her.  Sadly for her family, he only served about 2 1/2 years for the crime.  I could go on and on about domestic violence.  I have some experience counselling survivors at our local shelter and on the phone hotline, and have become fairly well educated on the subject.  That's for another time.

Anyhow, the editor of Vanity Fair at the time, I think it was Tina Brown, who is British & started out at "The Tatler", a British magazine/tabloid, was excellent.  She encouraged Dunne to keep a diary about the trial, which became either an article or a series of articles, and the Vanity Fair/Dominick Dunne marriage was born.  Whenever I got my Vanity Fair, the first thing I would do is look up whatever Dominick Dunne had written and read it.  I really believe this cemented my interest in the true crime genre for good, and I didn't have to be ashamed of it anymore because it was in Vanity Fair!  Actually, I would peruse the photos, see who photographed the lead article, view them,  then read the Dunne article.  Dunne covered the Menendez & OJ murder trials extensively, eventually writing a book about the OJ trial.  One of the enduring images of the OJ trial is certainly Dominick Dunne's shocked face, mouth hanging open when the verdict was read. 

He also covered the William Kennedy Smith rape trial, and wrote a novel based on the true story of a horrid crime in Greenwich, CT in 1978 or 1979.  A young girl had been murdered violently and the crime was never solved.  This murdered girl's name was Martha Moxley, and Dunne would be instrumental in the prosecution and conviction of her neighbor, Michael Skakel, 25-30 years later.  This is also the case Mark Furhman wrote about in Murder in Greenwich.   This sparked a public feud between Dunne and Robert Kennedy, Jr., because Skakel is Ethel Kennedy's nephew. 

I followed Dunne through the years in Vanity Fair, read books he wrote, and watched him on the Court TV show Power, Privilege and Justice.   A month or so ago, I was perusing documentaries (my favorite film genre) on Netflix and found a documentary about Dominick Dunne called, Dominick Dunne, After the Party.   I was shocked I hadn't heard about it!  It was excellent, and provides a consecutive, thorough account if the events of his life.  I learned a lot about his life before he became a writer.  He died this summer.  His death was overshadowed by the death of Senator Ted Kennedy, who died about the same time, which I thought would have made Dunne crazy because he did love his own celebrity.

Dominick, Annie and Vanity Fair gave this college dropout quite an education, and always prompted me to learn more about whatever subject broached.

09 October 2009

Some new music and some old music

I've just gotten started talking about Belhaven, but taking a break.  I hope it wasn't boring.  Tell me if it was, really. 

On NPR today I heard an interview with Rosanne Cash about her new album The List.  Let me just say, Johnny Cash is sacred to me.  The man moves me.  Of course I've always known of him from his early years.  In about 1997  I got this album called Unchained.  It was one of the ones produced by Rick Rubin.  I have no idea what goes into producing a record, but everything I've known to be produced by him is excellent.  It's one of those records on which every song rocks.  He actually actually covered a Sound Garden song called Rusty Cage.   He also wrote (his second, I believe) autobiography around that time, which I read.  I was in love.  The man is just heart stirring.  His songs...ethereal to me.

Anyhow, this interview with Rosanne Cash was the bomb.  She was so eloquent; just her speaking was art.  It sounded like poetry.  The List was inspired by a list of songs her Dad wrote down for her when she was about 18.  She described being into The Beatles, Buffalo Springfield, etc., and he was shocked she had never heard the song by Don Gibson called Sea of Heartbreak, and some others.  Well, I hadn't either when I was 18, but it's one of my favorites now.  Anyhow, he wrote down a list of about 100 songs that she needed to know.  This album includes songs from the list he wrote for her so many years ago.  And, she sings Sea of Heartbreak on the album with Bruce Springsteen.  She also gets a little help from some pretty solid folks like Rufus Wainwright, Elvis Costello and others. 

My favorite (at least one of my favorites-how can I choose?) song by Johnny Cash was actually written by Kris Kristofferson.  It's called Sunday Morning Coming Down.  It's pretty melancholy, but it has always spoken to me.  He recorded that a long time ago.  "Well I woke up Sunday morning with no way to hold my head that didn't hurt.  And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad, so I had one more for dessert...."  It talks about the things that, as a Southerner, you would have done as a kid on Sundays-sing in church, eat fried chicken for Sunday lunch, etc. 

Okay, there's a little girl named Elsie who wants one last walk, and I need to get myself to bed.  Here's a picture of Elsie, by the way.  She's my baby.

08 October 2009

A few thoughts ...

Well, I finished reading Prince of Tides.  I think I may have read it before, many years ago.  The ending was really familiar.  Maybe I'm just remembering the film.  The writing is incredible.  It is so moving and I want to quote some of the prose.  It's sweet, and his love of the south is familiar.  It reminded me a lot of the time I spent in Belhaven, NC, as a child.  My friends Theresa and Stephanie both visited there with me at one time or another while I was growing up.  Early in life, I think we visited on most of the holidays.  It is the town where my parents grew up.  I didn't know my Mama's father, but I knew my Dad's father, Harold Thorne White, Sr.  He was quite a character, I've been told.  He was a people person, I know that.  I wish I'd known him better because I've been told he never forgot a face or a name, and he could remember people's birthdays and anniversaries well.  I'm like that, too.  He passed when I was 6, so I have very few memories of him.  Like several of his brothers and sisters, he was a pretty bad alcoholic for a large part of his life, but he became sober for good just a few years before he died.  He went to a place called The Shepherd Home for Men, I believe.

Both of my grandmothers I knew well.  Granny White was Thelma Plum Howerin White.  Memom was Edna Earl(e) Spencer Allen Fussell Gregory.  This was my Mom's mother.  These 2 ladies were very different from each other.  I spent a lot of time with both of them when I was a girl.  Until I was 9 years old we lived in Newport News, VA, in Hampton Roads.  There the James River is 4 miles wide.  Here in Richmond its width can be measured in yards.  Oddly, most of my memories as a child are of times when I was in Belhaven.  I have very few memories of where I spent most of my time, Newport News.

Belhaven is in Beaufort County, NC, and the county seat is Washington, NC.  Beaufort, NC, is not in Beaufort County.  The town of Beaufort is further south.  It is pronounced Bofert.  Belhaven "beautiful harbor" or a metaphor for me -- 'safe place' is a peninsula with Pantego Creek on one side, and the Pungo River, off the Pamlico Sound. The area is known as the 'inner banks' of North Carolina.  When I was a girl there were 3 crab houses (places where the meat would be picked from the shells and claws of crabs, by hand.)  It also had drinking water that had a lot of sulphur and didn't taste or smell very good to me.  So, the town had a pungent smell.  I remember looking for pearls in oysters as my Dad shucked them, and eating them raw just to be tough.  My favorite food then was fried shrimp.  Now it is crab meat, served just about any way.  I'm pretty picky, though, about where it comes from.  I read recently something like 60% of fish sold comes from 'farms' now.  Just like commercial agriculture, commerical farming of seafood produces a lot of pollution, and can be unsafe because it can be contaminated with so many of the animals eating, excreting in one little space.  Plus both practices pollute the oceans.

Back to Belhaven--the mosquitoes were terrible.  During the summer the "mosquito truck" would spray pesticide and leave a fantastic fog in the street through which we would joyfully run!  I remember storms that smelled so good, and jumping in puddles as the storm died down with its last big drops.  I have a blessed memory of lying in bed at Memom's being able to smell flowers and hear birds singing.  I love hearing birds sing in the morning. 

Memom and Granny both had hydrangeas in their yards, which I loved.  They also had pecan trees.  I rarely entered Granny's backyard.  For some reason I was a little afraid of it.  However, I loved her front yard.  She lived on Main Street and had a big front porch with a swing and I loved sitting on it and watching people walk or ride by.  It was also the perfect perch for the annual 4th of July parade, where this town of about 2000 swelled to about 15,000 for the day.  It was one wild day.  The parade got over about noon, but the parade of partiers lasted all day into the night and that was fun to watch, too.  There was a street party at night but I was always too young to go to that.  My Aunt Nellie lived on the water, a block behind Granny, and we always watched the fireworks from her pier.

My favorite place in the world to be was Granny's front porch.  It still is.  We always felt so safe with Granny.  She exuded granny-ness.  She always smelled good and wore tasteful mauve lipstick.  I don't think I ever saw her sweat.  She was gentle and genteel.  She made this delicious cake with yellow batter and thick fudge frosting, and she took a fork or something to make the thick fudge frosting go into the cake.  It was divine.  She made the best sweet tea, too.  Strong and sweet.

Well, I'll go ahead and post this.  I hope it isn't boring.  Just wanted to get some of my memories of Belhaven on paper, so to speak.

05 October 2009

Talk 20 at 1708 Gallery

I'm going to this on Wednesday.  Doesn't it look like fun?

C3 the Creative Change Center and 1708 Gallery present the first of a series of gatherings that will bring together some of our favorite creative people and projects.

For our first Talk 20 on October 7th, you will hear from seven creative leaders. Each of them will show and discuss 20 slides, 20 seconds each slide, and then take your questions.

Thea Duskin, co-director of Ghostprint Gallery, multimedia and tattoo artist, ghostprintgallery.com

Shaun Irving, ultra-large format photographer, cameratruck.net

E.B. Kellinger, visual artist and creator of the Reveal/Conceal Project, ebkellinger.com

Matthew Lively, visual and multimedia artist, mattlively.com

Michael Pellis, of Baskervill, innovative and sustainable architecture and design

Angeline Robertson and Charley Foley, of the print and interactive media firm Scout Design, stateofscout.com

Noah Scalin, of Another Limited Rebellion Design and the now-famous Skull-A-Day blog and Skulls book, ALRDesign.com

Finger food, cash bar.


"Philanthropy is the gateway to power."  That's what Bert Cooper says.  There is a sociological context to Mad Men which is interesting.  I'll certainly be writing about something other than this show after I'm done with season 2!  I'm on disc 2, the 3rd show now.  It isn't exactly uplifting, or even that thought provoking.  I love Ken Cosgrove's character.  He's beguiling, and I love the way he is so unaware of how powerfully creative he is.

I'm soooo excited about my writing class.  I'm already doing some of these things, but to have guided, all in one place.  Expanding...

I'm plowing through Prince of Tides (the novel).  It's leading up to the Big Trauma, which will be sad.  The book is far superior to the film.  I can't believe the film won awards.  As I told my friend, Donna, one of the most unappealing things about the film was the absolute dearth of chemistry between Nick Nolte & Barbara Streisand.  Just thinking of it makes me squirm. 

Okay, getting back to this last episode so I can return it tomorrow.  Really trying to get through it quickly.

I'm taking a writing class & I'm very excited!!!!

It's at a local place called the Visual Arts Center of Richmond.  It used to be called the Hand Workshop.  I took a pottery class there about 20 years ago and loved it.  By the way, they present a top-notch craft show each year in November.  These are talented artisans.  The show never disappoints.

Anyhow here is the class I'm taking.  It is so appropriate for me right now.

The Creative Spark

All Levels
Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes about el duende–“the goblin wind” within us which can breathe our creative spark into creative fire. The ember may be a poem, a story, a confession, a play. It may not even know what it is, or wants to be–but it’s there. So we’ll experiment. The goal of this creative writing class is to fan your ideas and inspirations into flame. We’ll use timed writing, dream journals, guided imagery, Active Imagination, and anything else we can think of to get in touch with the stories you want or need to tell–and those needing or wanting you to tell them. Come with an open mind. Be honest and brave. You will come away from this class not only a better writer, but also a clearer thinker.
Douglas Jones
8 Tuesdays

I think I am going to enjoy this a lot!!

04 October 2009

A picture I took a few years ago

Was perusing blogs, and came across this gorgeous photo of the Washington Monument over on Dave's blog.  I love his photos and tales of his travels.  Thankful I discovered him.

Here is a photo I took on Barrett's field trip a few years ago.   I took it at Arlington Cemetery.

Oh, I'll include a couple.  It was such a beautiful day.

You can see Washington Monument in the distance.  I love the way the branch at the top right corner of the photo looks like a little sculpture.

The redhead is mine.

poem? I'm new at it, so don't know if I'm allow to call it poetry! Hee Hee!

Heaviness is back.
My heart weighs so much.
How could it on a beautiful morning?
There's a hardness there, too.
It is icy blue.
I want it to be a soft, comfortable green.

I found this interesting.. Farrah's brainy side.

A recent email exchange with the late Farrah Fawcett reveals the unlikely friendship between the Charlie's Angels star and the novelist Ayn Rand, who helped the actress understand her place in culture-and longed to cast her in a TV version of Atlas Shrugged.  Here's a link to this interesting article.  http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-06-25/farrahs-brainy-side/

I do believe her true acting chops showed in her stellar performances in The Burning Bed and The Apostle (a great film if you haven't seen it, with Robert Duvall).

03 October 2009

Starting Disc 2, Season 2, Mad Men, art

Even though the characters are shallow, the writing & cinematography are average, the styles are so damn lovely.  The beginning always has that catchy,  Hitchcockian bit, too, which fools you into thinking you are going to watch something with depth.  It's actually quite a soap opera.

Did anyone see Revolutionary Road with Kate Winslett & Leo Di Caprio?  I loved that.  I saw it before I saw Mad Men, and I think I was expecting more depth from the characters because of characters in Revolutionary Road.  I didn't realize it was based on a book until I read it somewhere today or yesterday.  Now I want to read the book.

I think one of the most interesting characters on Mad Men is Bertram Cooper, the older partner.  He doesn't get nearly enough air time.  He's the one who made me think of Ayn Rand, because he is an obvious devotee.  He recommends Atlas Shrugged to some of his employees.  Albeit, advised Don Draper to buy a copy, but gave that snake Peter Campbell a copy.  I wonder if anyone noticed that.  He had this great remark in one of the the 1st season episodes to Don Draper about passion or art or creativity, then this smart ending about how all they really want is to benefit themselves.  Ergo, devotee of Ayn Rand.  He keeps his office in this very Zen-like manner, and has interesting personal habits.  I wonder if the Mad Men creators/writers use this Ayn Rand connection and Frank O'Hara's Meditations in an Emergency to make the show seem smart, since, in my opinion the writing isn't particularly smart.  And, once again, the lack of character development.  I'm still going to watch it to see what happens, since it's really kind of like a soap opera or 'story' as my Mama used to say.

I did want to give a shout-out to Ms. Randi Davis, who, until tonight, I didn't know had a website.  She is quite a renaissance woman.  She was a chemical engineer, and now has a career as an artist.  She was always an artist, but later in life made it her career.  I had the pleasure of meeting this lively woman last weekend.  She is one of the people who inspired me to start this blog.  http://www.randijanedavis.com/ .  Her artwork is soft, kind of ethereal at times, and appears to evolve constantly, from what I have seen, which isn't enough.  Oh, to have a brilliant, scientific mind and an artistic mind.

I wonder who in history might also have had a mind with this wonderful combination of science and art.  I would argue that science is an art.  I don't know why I think that.  It just comes to mind when I think of people like Einstein, Galilleo, Margaret Mead & Freud.  And whiz-bang woman Randi Davis!

02 October 2009

Skara Brae

One day I would love to see Skara Brae in Northern Scotland. There are these incredible stone structures built underground by very skilled, intelligent stone age folks. I've only seen pictures, but the dwellings have a place for a fire, benches, things one would see in a simple home, all made of stone. They are beautiful in their precision. It's by the sea. Think what beautiful man made stone structures could be in the sea now. Would they be intact? I'll see if I can find a photo and post.

It was discovered about 1850, under grass & soil.  What makes it so unique is how well preserved the site was.  Here are some pics:  (note Neolithic, c. 3100-2500 BC)  The 1st is a map of how it would have looked during this period.  The 2nd is how is looks today. (just a part of it)

More about dreams

So the above site has common dream themes & what they mean.  Which have you had?  Here is the list:  (If you click on the theme, it links to the explanation on the site.)

Naked Dreams
Chase Dreams
Teeth Dreams
Flying Dreams
Falling Dreams
Test Dreams

I've had versions of all of these.  My favorite dream is when I am floating above everyone.  Sometimes it's like I'm attached to a balloon or some other quite device that propels me to the air.  These have a sense of possible danger, but are exciting.  My favorite is when I'm holding onto a pillow like I would a float in the water and just drifting 1-2 feet off the ground, floating around, looking around.  Ohhhhh, how I love dreaming that and wish I could do it in real life.  Feels so free.  Ha, just read the description & no wonder it feels so good.

All of the other categories are usually anxious dreams.  I also have a dream a lot where my vision is impaired.  Haven't had the teeth dream in about 5 years-I used to dream a lot that my mouth was filled with metal shards and if I moved it, I would be cut.

I like the site, I'm going to explore some more.  Will let you know what I find.

I've had 2 or 3 metaphyscial dreams which I felt were messages of reassurance from God, I've had a few dreams which felt like they were from a past life.  I dreamed of Tim and the boys at least once before I ever heard of them.  I dreamed of Tim twice before I met him, although I knew who he was.  I felt like it was a message that I needed to be a friend to him.

Interestingly, once when I was talking in my sleep, which I do a lot according to Tim, he heard me speak an entire sentence in another language, German he thinks.  And I don't know German, although I've had some interesting experiences with things German.

  • Once at a dinner party, I totally connected with a woman from Germany who spoke very little English and I spoke no German.  We 'talked' for hours.  I can't explain it.
  • Once I stopped spontaneously at an estate sale and the former owner was German.  He had books in German and several concise diaries written in German, which I was compelled to purchase for a small price.  I've never had them translated. (yet!)
  • Althought I've never been to Germany or been taught the language, sometimes I understand it some in the written and/or spoken word.
  • Oddest, of course, speaking a sentence of German in my sleep.
There are a few more but I can't think of them right now.

Ta Ta--on to the dream site!

01 October 2009

I came down from my creative high....

Bob Dylan has been on my mind this week.  Well, his music has.  I love his music.  I saw him in concert once and it wasn't the best, I like his albums better.  Lots of time how much I enjoy a show depends on my seat.  I don't remember where I even saw Dylan.  I keep thinking of little snippets... "a hard rain's gonna fall."  That's kind of been my week because Tim got laid off this week and I was in shock for a couple of days.  I fell asleep watching a documentary called Knee Deep about a young man who shot his mother because she was going to sell the family farm.  I don't know how it ended up and I didn't care.  I'm pretty numb & paralyzed when I don't want the full scoop.

One writer I really love is John Irving.  My favorite novel is A Prayer for Owen Meany, with Cider House Rules a close 2nd.  I think I've read all of his novels.  Cider House Rules is one of the best film adaptations of a novel I've seen.

I finished the 1st cd of Mad Men, 2nd season tonight.  It's interesting, because there was a fellow on NPR today talking about how irritating the show is.  It is irritating in that everyone is so shallow.  But the characters are just so damn good looking, and the clothes and the decor are so stylish.  I heard the treatment of the Kennedy assassination was very unrealistic, but I haven't gotten to that yet.  It was good for the numb mind, though.

I feel a lot better, have gotten to a much more positive place about Tim losing his job.  I know another opportunity awaits.  If we can, we'll have to get out of our contract for the townhouse, and, frankly, I want to.  I don't want that hanging over us.  So, our realtor is calling the builder tomorrow and hopefully we won't get slammed too badly.  I haven't been able to read, I've been quite distracted.  However, I do believe in the power of positive thinking, and I'm working my way there.  I don't mind not getting the townhouse.  I like where we are living now.  This is the only country in the world that puts such emphasis on home ownership, and we've owned 4 homes between us.  The thought of not being tied to a mortgage is kind of freeing right now.  And, I refuse to be embarrassed.  It is what it is:  life!  I feel much gratitude for my life.  I wouldn't want any other!  And my creativity will return.  It's here, just stifled some right now.

Heavy heart,
Busy mind,
Moments of relief and joy
I am.


Leslie, I'm sure you don't mind, I decided to start a new thread with your dream.  I thought this was quite funny.  Stephanie & I have a great friend, Theresa, and once she dreamed she had a litter of kittens!  Your dream reminded me of this.  I am going to google dream of woman delivering animal or something and see what comes up.  It has to mean something!  I believe if a dream remains extremely vivid, it definitely has significance.

Also, you are just full of sass & verve.  I love it!  You are another powerful, creative, entrepreneur, please include a link to your business next time.  It inspires me to see women following their dreams (tangible ones!) by having their own businesses.

Julie, I've thought of a different dream I once had which is quite silly and not at all worthy of analysis but still wanted to share ... I can't 'explain' it, but do recall it as vividly as the night I had it over 15 years ago while very pregnant. Like real life, I was nearing the end of my pregnancy but not 100% sure whether I would be delivering a boy or girl but nevertheless sooooo eager to know! Insurance wouldn't cover another sonogram so I had to go with an early report that it was most likely going to be a girl. In the dream I was home in Radford visiting my parents and while in church began to feel serious labor pains ... during "halftime" (goofy dream addition ... what church service has a halftime?!!), I decided it would be best to leave (in reality, I never did like the sermon part anyway hahaha) so off to the hospital we went. While riding in the backseat, I discovered that, like a kangaroo, I actually had a pouch and could actually "peek" inside and know for sure which sex I'd be delivering! Always the adventurous one, I decided to be naughty and sneak a peek. As I opened the pouch and peered in, to my astonishment I saw the cutest but most surprising little thing ... a puppy! As my husband eagerly waited for me to report our child's sex, all I could say is .... "We're going to have ... a beagle!"

- Leslie

added by Julie--since you mentioned beagles, must show you my precious Ryder, dachshund/beagle mix, 1993-2007.  I'm going to insert his pic, hopefully will be where it is supposed to be, Ha Ha!  Here's my boy.

30 September 2009

I'm reading several books....

Beside my bed are: The Prince of Tides, Pat Conroy
The Dark Side of Camelot, Seymour Hirsch (sp?)
I'm looking for The Family, by Jeff Sharlet.  I brought it with me when I traveled this weekend and I haven't unpacked yet.
Black Reconstruction, W.E.B. Dubois

I have read about 1/2 of the 1st 2, 1/4 of the 3rd, and only a chapter or 2 of the last.

I want to read one book that I can't put down.  Tides is dragging ever so slightly.  I get it, Tom Wingo, your Dad was a failure at everything except shrimping.  So was my Great Uncle Calvin.  Now, on with it!  Of course I did a little research & found out about the Big Trauma, which I'd forgotten from the film years ago.  I've only read one other Conroy book, The Water is Wide.  I think it was his first.  Excellent, autobiographical book about teaching on one of the SC sea islands. 

Someone who has a house on Fripp Island told me he is a curmudgeon.  Someone else who spent time with William Styron told me he was also a curmudgeon.  Their writing reminds me of each other's.  We lost Styron, when, last year?  I loved Sophie's Choice, read that years ago.  A few years ago I read Lie Down in Darkness.  I liked that.  Geez, just checked-Styron died almost 3 years ago. 

I've done a lot of genealogy research, and most of my family is from a remote area of NC on the inner banks of the barrier islands.  Styron also had ancestors from this county, Hyde County.  He wrote an interesting piece about his grandmother's experience as a child of a planter, then having her home burned during the Civil War and having to move to a town in Beaufort County.  It's on Hyde's County's genealogy website.  You can find it here.  It is quite eloquent. 

I've always felt a connection to him because of shared heritage, being born in Newport News where Styron grew up, his father & my father worked at the Newport News shipyard, his grandmama lived in Little Washington, NC, which was the closest large town to my parents' hometown.  Oh, and depression.  I tried to read Darkness, Visible, about his experience with depression, but didn't get far.  Mine has been different, although there's always a connection between people with depression. 

You can frequently tell if a writer struggles with depression by their work.  Styron, Conroy, definitely.  I love a good melancholy read myself!  I love to read books about crimes.  I like the ones that are written well, and have a solid basis on the time and place and cultural context.  Two good ones that come to mind are Lorenzo Carcaterra (Sleepers, and another one I read, forgot the name), and James Ellroy, best known for the novel LA Confidential, but I love a book he wrote about his own mother's murder called My Dark Places.  Mikhail Gilmore is or was, not sure, the brother of Gary Gilmore, who Mailer wrote about in The Executioner's Song (which I read about 1100 of the about 1200 pages of TWICE?!).  I think Gary Gilmore was the 1st person executed by after the death penalty was re-instated in-1974?  Anyhow, Mikhail Gilmore wrote a fascinating memoir about growing up in that toxic family.  It was called  Shot in the Heart.

Until next time...  Stay awake!

29 September 2009

Grey Gardens

Whenever a film is made about true events or people, I check to see if there is a documentary, and there was for this film.  It was made by none other than the great Maysles brothers, Albert & David.  Just finished watching this and it was interesting.  Unfortunately I was distracted by something with my family today and I couldn't enjoy it as I might have.  I'm trying to digest something huge, which I found out about at 5:36pm.  I'm trying to get to a positive place with it.  

Regarding Grey Gardens, I'm sure the recent film starring Jessica Lange & Drew Barrymore was much more stylish, but this documentary was very authentic.  I was also distracted by researching these women on the internet, while watching the documentary..  I should probably watch it again, but I doubt I will.  I pretty much have the scoop now!  I recommend watching it.  It is an interesting study in, extreme eccentricity, at least.



Morning is peace, tranquility, joy.

Morning is an assault to the senses,

Harsh, tentative

I lay with my alarm clock to my chest, snoozing, worrying, wanting.

28 September 2009

I've been thinking about....

One thought I was having about my prolific blogging today is from Bob Dylan,

"I've got a head full of ideas, that are driving'me insane!"

One of my favorite people to quote is Mark Twain.  I love the man.  He was so before his time and when I hear things he said it's like a breath of fresh air.  I don't like lies and secrets.  I can't say I've never lied or told or broken a secret, but I try to advise people not to tell me secrets because I can't keep them!  I love Twain's quote:

"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything."  I think I like that because I'm forgetful at times.  Also, it just feels practical and resonates inside.

Regarding Ayn Rand, I read 2 of her books many, many years ago when I was a teenager.  I read them for pleasure because they were lying around the house.  We the Living was the first novel of hers that I read.  It also happens to be the first novel she wrote.  After that, I read The Fountainhead .  I loved this novel.  Howard Roark's devotion to the purity of his art endeared me to him so.  What I didn't know for years was that this book spawned a school of thought or philosophy call Objectivism .  I confused Objectivism with Existentialism, neither of which I understood well.  I just felt all of the architecture created by Howard should never be changed because it was his art.  I guess I was thinking like an artist, although I've never thought of myself as an artist.

Later I found out about Ayn Rand's popularity and following.  Now that I do understand Objectivism, I find it very interesting that former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan was a devotee of Rand's and actually lived with her and her followers as a young man.  I never read the behemoth Atlas Shrugged, probably because it looked like work, and by that time I knew she was a proponent of this philosophy I didn't understand at the time.  I may tackle it one day.  It may be pertinent to our times.

I just thought about Elizabeth Kubler Ross.  Perhaps more later, or maybe someone reading this has some thoughts!!  I do know when she was trying to help children with Aids in the western part of Virginia in the 80's   she was threatened, her home and many of her papers burned (through arson, I believe), and there was a lot of opposition to it.  I found that sad.  But there is so much more to this fascinating woman.  Anyone out there want to to talk about her, or any other artist, book, art work, architecture, etc.?  Please feel free to comment. I want to know what you are thinking about this stuff, and certainly learn more about all of these subjects.

A feeling of being without fear

What are dreams to you?  They can be an idea or wish of something we want to accomplish.  Or, they can be those interesting activities that go on in our minds when we are sleeping.  I'm going to speak a bit about them.

A little while ago one came to mind I want to share.  I don't want to make a long story, but I was brought up Baptist, I am still a moderate Baptist, but I'm beginning to wonder about organized religion.  It seems there is always so much conflict, and one wants to be right and make the others wrong, etc.  However, I think if a church is where I can be the most connected, I'm there!  Hasn't been the case for me recently, but that may be changing.  Anyhow, I fear death.  I joke that I'm still not sure if I'm going to hell or not when the truth is I don't even believe in a hell that doesn't exist on this plane.

So, I thought I feared hell more than death, but a dream I had within the last few years showed me otherwise.  First, I've had a recurring dream about plain crashes throughout my life.  It started with a knowledge of a crash at the airport, each dream brought me closer to the airport over the years until I saw the plane crash.  Then I didn't have the dream again.  I did have another dream where I was in a plane that crashed and I knew I was going to die.  I felt fear, then an incredible peace and feeling of safety.  I welcomed death.  Then I woke up.

I believe we are sometimes blessed with reassurances from Spirit in our dreams.  I could go on about other dreams I've had in which I felt this.  They are somehow different.  This one didn't feel like one of those.  I did remember the feeling of being without fear vividly, however, and it was like a precious gift.  I had no idea how much fear I have in my life, which I, of course, have tried to become more conscious of.

Let me know if you have any dreams to share, or want to 'talk' about.  I love dreams.  I write them down a lot and sometimes I can't read what I wrote!  They are usually a little unpleasant, but that one offered me a glimpse of what it would feel like to not have fear.

Oh, by the way, I always take a tranquilizer before I fly.  I've been doing this about 5 years, and Jeezum Crowe, it's so nice not to be staring at the flight attendant the whole time, to make sure he or she doesn't look panicked!  And being able to breathe during takeoff and while landing.  I like breathing consistently.

Whiz Bang Woman

I just had lunch with a new friend and we talked about--writing, expressing yourself, creativity, art, psychology, family life, career, college,   I also spent the weekend with one of my best friends who is an artist.  We immersed ourselves in art the entire weekend--an art talk by 3 artists at a co-op gallery, a private show, a public show at Galleria d'Arte in Ridgefield, Ct, and a party of a friend and art mentor of hers who had actually won an Emmy for writing on his PBS show.  And he's a painter!  Figure that!

Here are Kudos and plugs for these 3 whiz bang women.  Each of these women is an entrepreneur, and a creative, positive, powerful force.  Click on their names to go to their websites.

Donna HighfillStephanie Joyce, and Dara Polenghi-Quinn

I bought a piece of art at Dara's show and it was an emotional, powerful experience.  Until last year, I had collected pre-Civil War era American furniture, so I never met any of the artists.  When I bought my first fine arts piece last year in Denmark I was so moved by the piece and by the artist.  The same happened Saturday when I bought a silver piece of jewelry from an artist who was actually showing paintings at the show.  I connected with him quite viscerally.

I am awed by the power and spiritual connection in art, literature, creativity, and emotion.

Please share with me and other readers any experiences or thoughts that come to mind.  I'd love to hear about it!