Friday, January 30, 2009

Childhood Trauma (Part Two)

(I was a very active child and have numerous scars on my shins and knees. I cannot remember how most of them got there but two do stand out in my memory.)
- From Part One

The second scar is on my right shin and happened the summer I turned thirteen. I was running around barefoot, as usual, and decided it would be a good idea to try and walk across the top of a section of guardrail that was being used as a backstop at the small corner gas station down the block from our apartment. At one point my foot slipped and I fell straight down, scrapping my shin on the back side of the railing and gouging a chunk of skin off my leg. This also created an indentation in my leg that I can still feel when I rub my hand across my shin.

On my right hand are four small scars; three crescent shaped scars on the back of the hand and one thin broken line on the side of the hand. I got these when I was sixteen- one of the emotionally worst years in my life. Looking back now I see that the reason for this was a combination of teenage hormones and emotional stress. One day I reached the point where the pain I was feeling was too much for me and I decided the only way to stop it was to kill myself. This thought terrified me so instead I balled my hand up into a fist and put it through my bedroom window. The sound of the glass exploding and crashing to the floor is still with me today. I realize now that I was very lucky to have walked away from that incident with only minor cuts.

I also have a chicken pox scar on my right cheek, this I got when I was eight years old, and a very faint line scar on the inside of my left cheek. It is so faint I sometimes think that it is no longer there and that I'm just remembering it being there at one time. That scar was caused by my falling and striking the corner of my mouth on the seat of my grandmother's rocking chair. I was three or maybe four years old at the time. The impact of my face against the unforgiving wood caused the softer tissue inside my mouth to tear. My memory of this incident is fragmented; I can remember the pain of the accident, laying on the doctor's leather examination table, screaming as he stitched up my wound, and sitting at my grandmother's kitchen table afterwards trying to eat a bowl of ice cream with a spoon that seemed as big as a ladle. My mother later told me that my grandmother did not think I needed to see a doctor. The doctor told my mother that if I did not have the cut sewn up the healing wound would pull the side of my mouth tight and cause my face to be disfigured.

As I study these scars I think of them as ghosts of trauma past. They are reminders of wounds and pain I once endured. These scars do not hurt me in any way, they are just physical proof that something I once thought was unbearable has healed.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Rod Blagojevich Show

Is over. Blagojevich, governor of the state of Illinois and under Federal investigation for trying to sell President Obama's old Senate seat, was thrown out of office by the Illinois State Senate today. The outcome was a forgone conclusion- the Feds have him on tape. Now, maybe, we won't have to look at his face anymore. Keith Olbermann ran highlights of the last few days of Bloagojevich's "I Am Not A Crook" Tour on his program Countdown last night:

What a sleazebag.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Jackson Pollock

Abstract painting is abstract. It confronts you. There was a reviewer a while back who wrote that my pictures didn't have any beginning or any end. He didn't mean it as a compliment, but it was."

The method of painting is the natural growth out of a need. I want to express my feelings rather than illustrate them.

-Jackson Pollock (January 28, 1912 – August 11, 1956)

Number 18, 1950

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Childhood Trauma (Part One)

I was sick (again) over the weekend and I think it is because my immune system has been weakened by an infection I had in my upper gum. It was right above my front teeth and that area has been a problem for me for as long as I can remember. My dentist said it is most likely caused by the accident I had when I was seven years old and slipped while trying to climb out of a window in my parent's car. I managed to step on the door handle instead of the armrest and banged my mouth and front teeth on the window opening. I go and see a Endodontist next month.

Anyway, that got me thinking about other reminders of childhood accidents and illness on my body. Starting from the feet up-

I have an one inch long/ half inch wide scar on the right side of my right heel. This I got at four years old. A neighborhood boy was giving kids rides around the block on his new bike and when it was my turn I managed to get the back of my foot caught in the spokes of the rear wheel. Doing so caused me to fall off the bike and loose my shoe and sock. It happened so fast and hurt so badly I did not cry out and remember sitting in the street watching him ride away.

I was a very active child and have numerous scars on my shins and knees. I cannot remember how most of them got there but two do stand out in my memory. The first is one is on my left kneecap. It happened when I was ten years old. I was walking home from school when some boys started chasing me. I still don't know why. One yelled, "There she is, get her!," and started running toward me. His friends followed. The next thing I knew I was running as fast as I could. Right when they were close enough to grab me I stepped into to a pot hole and fell down. I knew I had scrapped my knee but when I looked at it I was surprised to see something white right before the bleeding started.

When I got home my mother asked me what had happened and I told her some boys I did not know had chased me and pushed me down. We then went to the hospital and the doctor cleaned out my wound, put a gauze pad over it, and wrapped my knee in tape. All this happened on a Friday and by Monday I had forgotten what I had told my mother.

At school on Tuesday I was sent to the Principal's office. When I got there the Principal walked me to another classroom and pointed to one boy and ask me if that was the boy who pushed me. It was one of the boys who had chased me but I knew no one had really pushed me and I hesitated. The Principal asked me again if this was the boy who pushed me. He hadn't pushed me but he was the boy who had yelled and started the whole thing. We looked at each other and I could see he was scared. That made me angry. How dare he be scared after what he did to me. If he hadn't chased me I would not have fallen down and hurt myself. I nodded my head yes.

Out in the hallway the Principal patted me on the back and said I had done the right thing. She said the boy had done this before and was a bully. This did not make me feel any better about what had just happened. I had lied and then done nothing to correct it. Just like him I was a coward and a bully.

Part Two

Monday, January 26, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Today's high is forecast to be 12 degrees Fahrenheit/-11 degrees Celsius with a windchill equivalent to -11 degrees Fahrenheit/-24 degrees Celsius. We are also expecting snow.

Maestro, music please...

Get a playlist!

Note: Riders Of The Storm by The Doors is listed under the wrong title. Since it was put into the music site by someone else I have no way of correcting it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

One More For The Road

I was sadden to read that jazz saxophonist David (Fathead) Newman died last Tuesday at age seventy-five. You may not recognize his name but if you are a Ray Charles fan you've heard him playing his sax on such Ray Charles recordings as Night Time Is (The Right Time), I've Got A Woman, Lonely Avenue, and What'd I Say:

Although I've always enjoyed David Newman's solos on the Ray Charles recordings, I fell in love with his sound when I first heard his version of One For My Baby (And One More For The Road), with its melancholy, easy going style. Give a listen and see if you don't feel the same way:

David (Fathead) Newman

LA TIMES obituary here.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Obama Era- Day 3


1. Hillary Clinton in as Secretary of State.

2. Caroline Kennedy out of the running for Hillary Clinton's senate seat.

3. New ethic rules for members of his administration, pay freezes for 100 White House employees, a limitation on what information can be withheld from the public under the phrase executive privilege.

4. Obama orders detention camp at Guantanomo Bay shut down and bans the use of torture when interrogating suspects.

5. Obama meets with security team to discuss ending war in Iraq.

6. Any regulator changes made by Bush's administration put on hold for further review.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

It's A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

I've been AWOL all day due to the weather. It reached 70 degrees Fahrenheit/21.1 degrees Celsius this afternoon so I spent most of the day outdoors playing with the dogs, riding my bike, walking, and washing the car. Of course living in the Plains, and knowing how the weather can be out here, resulted in this conversation between my neighbor and myself:

Me (smiling): It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

Her (smiling back): I know! Can you believe it? It makes me wonder when the blizzard is going to hit.

Me (laughing): I was thinking the same thing.

I checked the weather report a few minutes ago and see that a snow storm is expected on Friday with Saturday's temperature high forecast to be 26 degrees Fahrenheit/-3.3 degrees Celsius.

Am I surprised?


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Power Of Our Democracy

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: - 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'
-Martin Luther King Jr

Image via Undertow

Inauguration Day!

And I am going to enjoy every minute of it:

9:00 AM VIPs begin arriving
9:45 AM Platform seating begins
11:03 AM Former Presidents announced and seated
11:12 AM Biden family announced and seated
11:14 AM Obama family announced and seated
11:16 AM Mrs. Bush and Mrs. Cheney announced and seated
11:18 AM Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden announced and seated
11:20 AM President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney announced and seated
11:22 AM Vice President-elect Joe Biden announced and seated
11:25 AM President-elect Barack Obama is announced and seated
11:30 AM Senator Feinstein delivers opening remarks
11:34 AM Senator Feinstein introduces Pastor Rick Warren
11:35 AM Invocation by Pastor Rick Warren
11:37 AM Senator Feinstein introduces Aretha Franklin
11:38 AM Aretha Franklin – ―My Country Tis of Thee
11:42 AM Senator Feinstein introduces Senator Bennett
11:44 AM Senator Bennett introduces Associate Justice Stevens
11:46 AM Vice Presidential Oath administered by Associate Justice Stevens
11:47 AM Senator Feinstein introduces performers
11:48 AM Yo-Yo Ma, Anthony McGill, Gabriela Montero, Itzhak Perlman – ―Air and Simple Gifts‖ composed by John Williams
11:53 AM Senator Feinstein introduces Chief Justice Roberts
11:54 AM Chief Justice and President-elect Barack Obama move to podium
11:56 AM The Presidential oath is administered.
11:57 AM Herald Trumpets perform 4 ―Ruffles and Flourishes and the U.S. Marine Corp Band plays ―Hail to the Chief.‖ Twenty one gun salute.
11:58 AM Senator Feinstein introduces the President
12:01 PM Inaugural address
12:21 PM Senator Feinstein introduces poet Elizabeth Alexander
12:27 PM Benediction given by Reverend Joseph Lowery
12:31 PM Presidential party departs from platform
12:32 PM Departure ceremony
12:36 PM President and Mrs. Bush depart from the East plaza in helicopter
12:52 PM President’s Room signing ceremony
1:05 PM Statuary Hall luncheon
2:32 PM Review of the troops
2:36 PM President and Mrs. Obama, and Vice President and Dr. Biden leaves with parade
(All times Eastern Time Zone)

Everything you wanted to know about today's events and more can be found here.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe,
We shall overcome someday
-We Shall Overcome written by Charles Tindley.

I Have A Dream Speech

A video of the complete speech can be found here.

The election of Barack Obama shows how far we have come as a country since Dr. King's speech but the message left on YouTube by the poster of the longer video makes it clear we still have far to go:

Comments disabled since many of them were hateful and racist.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Star Power?

We lost two wonderful actors this week, Ricardo Montalban and Patrick McGoohan. My first conscious exposure to Mr. Montalban was as the supernatural Mr. Roarke in Fantasy Island and in the commercials that he did for Chrysler/Plymouth. Although I liked the man I thought of him as another Latin lover type in the Fernando Lamas mold.

Last year I discovered his films from the 1950's on TCM and found them to be a delightful surprise. I'm not talking about the musicals he did but the dramatic ones like Border Incident, Mystery Street, Right Cross, and A Life In The Balance. Great stuff from a dignified, charming, charismatic, talented man.

Ricardo Montalban on the cover of Life magazine (1948)

I first saw Patrick McGoohan on Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color playing either Dr. Syn in The Scarecrow Or Rommey March or the father in The Three Lives Of Thomasina and, frankly, found him to be scary with those staring eyes that never seemed to blink and that wooden face and stiff body. Then came Secret Agent Man and The Prisoner (one of my mother's favorite TV programs). I wasn't a fan of either program since I still found the man to be somewhat creepy.

Last December I watched him in All Night Long (1962), a modern version of Othello, play drummer Johnnie Cousin (Iago). The things I found creepy about him worked in this film. He was playing a devious, desperate man juggling too many balls at once, while knowing that, in all probability, they were going to come crashing down around him. What a revelation.

Patrick McGoohan as Johnnie Cousin in, All Night Long (1962)

Now, both men are dead and I mourn their loss. Just when I was learning to appreciate their work, they are gone. I thank God for the permanence of film.

Ricardo Montalban's obituary from the New York Times.

Patrick McGoohan's obituary from the Guardian.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Night Has A Thousand Eyes

and thousand eyes can't help but see
-Bobby Vee

Health Update: Still sick but I had to work yesterday since the regular librarian had to go to a meeting out of town and, since it was a Monday, the library was very busy. I got through the day by coughing, sneezing, guzzling water, and eating mentholated throat lozenges like peanuts. I pretty much collapsed after I got home. The only good thing about yesterday was that I took an antihistamine before I went to bed. I usually don't take antihistamines when I am sick since they make me very groggy but all I wanted was some uninterrupted sleep. As not to disturb my husband I had been sleeping on the futon in the spare room in the basement but last night I wanted to snuggle down into my own bed.

The first night I slept downstairs I got cold in the middle of the night and pulled out my niece's old pink sleeping bag which is covered with green frogs and laid it across the bed. Getting up had awaken me enough to not be able to fall back to sleep so I read for awhile. When I finally felt sleepy again I put my book down and turned off the light. As I rolled back over I glanced down and saw 150 pairs of eyes staring up at me from the sleeping bag. I had forgotten that the eyes of the frogs had been made with Glow In The Dark material. It startled me at first, then made me smile and feel as if I wasn't alone. Instead of sleeping under a heavenly blanket of glowing stars, that night, I slept under a real blanket of 300 glowing froggy eyes.

(Note: The Bobby Vee link goes to a Scopitone video he did sometime in the early 1960's. As with most Scopitone videos there are lots of scantily clad young women dancing energetically and/or doing other strange things with their body parts. What I found interesting about this video is how much Bobby Vee reminds me of my ex-brother-in-law. He is also a singer and is in an a capella group known as The New Wizard Oil Combination. It is not that my ex-BIL looks that much like Booby Vee but they both make the same kind of facial movements when they sing.)

Friday, January 09, 2009

Checking Out Early This Week

It has been a long week. We mammals (my husband, our dogs, and me) have had a rough week. Kate, I told you about on Tuesday. Duke made a emergency trip to the Vet on Tuesday night. Around 10:00 PM he seemed to have great pain in his belly area and, since we were worried about a twisted intestine, got to take a ride. The Vet found no sign of twisting and said that maybe Duke had gas or was getting a cold. The next morning I found his frozen barely digested dinner lying in the yard. Whatever was wrong it took away his appetite for a day and put him in bed for the same amount of time. This was also the week that my husband caught the cold virus that has been making the rounds and, this morning, I woke up with the beginning symptoms of the virus myself. Not a good week healthwise for any of us.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Santa Says So Long For Now

The Christmas season ended on the sixth so yesterday I took down the tree, packed up the ornaments, and replaced the Christmas wreath on the front door with a winter one. The last thing I did was slip this Santa back into his box and put him away for another year. Christmas is now officially over.

Note: I was going to post this last night but Blogger was having major "issues" with photo uploading. It seems to be working fine today.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Wild Wild West

(Photos by David Proeber, The (Bloomington) Pantagraph.

The Denver Post caption under the top photo: Suspected robber Robert Sylvester, 57, of Bloomington, ILL, brandishes a gun as he jumps from his vehicle in the middle of an interstate highway during a police chase Monday. Witnesses said he leaped over the concrete barrier and shots were fired. Sylvester died hours later at a hospital in Normal, ILL. Police said Sylvester was suspected of robberies at four banks including one just before the chase.

Well, we have been told we are heading for a 1930's style Depression so why shouldn't we start seeing 1930's style bank robberies and police shoot outs? I am being facetious here but I will admit that I find these photos both compelling and fascinating.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

A Woman's Work Is Never Done

Sorry I wasn't here yesterday. I had such a busy day did I did not have time to write. Instead I did laundry, made a pot of beef chili and a skillet of cornbread, did some house cleaning, watched them cut down the dead 30 foot tall tree in my next door neighbor's yard- the one we worried about every time there was a big wind storm, wrapped a birthday present that I ordered December 17th and which finally showed up yesterday, mailed said present, and syringed 10 cc's of doggie Gatorade down Kate's gullet every two hours.

That last task was the most frustrating. Kate can be the most stubborn dog in the world when it comes to making her do something she doesn't want to do. Since you cannot squirt 10 cc's of fluid into a dog mouth without most of it dripping out you have to inject less-about 2.5 cc's worth. Sounds easy, right? Squirt 2.5 cc's of liquid, wait for dog to swallow, squirt 2.5 cc's more after each swallow and be done in less than a minute. Wrong.

With Kate I had to hold her mouth shut after each squirt and then wait until she swallowed. Only she would not swallow. What I thought was going to be a simple job turned into a Canine Standoff. There I was, holding her her mouth shut, waiting for her to swallow the stuff. There she was, waiting for me to let go so she could spit it out. I won every time but it took about 3 minutes between squirts. That meant every two hours I spent 12 minutes waiting for her to swallow her Gatorade. What I found interesting about the whole thing was Kate's attitude. She would stubbornly refuse to swallow each time but after we were done, I was her best friend again.

People should try to be like that, you know? We would all be happier.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Doctor Doctor, Mr. M.D.

"When I say run, RUN!"
-Doctor Who

I am sorry it has taken me this long to become a member of the Doctor Who fan club. I must also admit I did come in through the back door by first getting hooked on Torchwood but that doesn't really matter since I have now seen the light. I remember watching an episode Doctor Who back when PBS was airing it and thinking that the show was very cheesy and a bit tacky. How could I not seen just how wonderful it is until now? Mea culpa.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year

Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me.