Journal Archives- 2006

 

Saturday, 12/30/06

 

I resolve…

 

I once heard a pastor talking about how “it’s not about turning over a new leaf or trying to do better by next Thursday…”. Of course, he was talking about “living the Christ centered life”, not making New Year’s resolutions. I see a lot of similarities though.

 

Many of the people I talk to over the course of time shun making resolutions, since “I’m just gonna break them next week anyway.” U2 even went so far as to say, “Nothing changes, on New Year’s day!” When we take that sort of mindset, we’re predisposed to fail, as far as I’m concerned.

 

How many times have we (yea, you too) said, “I’ll start my diet on Monday, today I can eat as much as I want”? Come on, a show of hands, no trying to hide in the back, I see you!

 

My take on the whole thing is that by marking a point in time as a new beginning, we allow ourselves to set the past aside and have a new chance. That’s what I’m doing this year, allowing my past shortcomings and failures to be the past, never to hinder my tomorrows again. I think it’s a good and healthy way to do business, in a life sized sort of way!

 

And so I am making a list, checking it twice, and resolving that in the coming year I will do a number of things differently.

 

First, I make a resolution to you, dear reader(s) (I hope there’s more than one!) As we were going over the site and revamping it last week, I noticed that in the last three years I spent an inordinate amount of time bitching that it didn’t feel like Christmas. I resolve not to bore you with that next year, but to create something much more uplifting and inspirational. Deal?

 

Ok, moving on… My 2007 resolutions:

I will get off my duff and find an agent. If I must, I will send out three query letters every month until we have representation!

 

Having an agent, I will get the book published!

 

I will be timely in posting new things.

 

In that vein, I will organize my time so I’m not always saying I’m running late!

 

I will get to the gym at least three times a week, five is better, but at least three.

 

I will discover new things; find different ways to have fun. You know, break out of the routine, etc…

 

I will dust the house weekly, not weakly whine that it needs dusting.

 

For that matter, I will whine less, and wine more, though not to excess.

 

If I miss one point, (like only getting to the gym once), it’s not the end; I can continue to keep my resolution. I don’t have to throw up my hands and say “I might as well give up on that one!”

 

I think that’s it for now. I’ll update you on how it’s going…

 

Happy New Year! All the best to each of you, even the ones hiding in the back!

 

Linda

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Friday, 12/22/06

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like…season?

 

For about two weeks I’ve been trying to work up to writing my Christmas journal, but, for some reason, I just haven’t been able to bring it out. I’ve focused, contemplated, thought at length, but in all honesty, I haven’t been able to feel “Chritmasy”.

 

Now, before you point fingers and call me a Bah-humbug, it’s not anything like that! I really wanted to feel it. Honestly, I did. Ok, I haven’t put on tons of Christmas music, attempting to jumpstart the whole “spirit”. Sure, I’ve caught myself singing a few favorites over the past month or two, but they haven’t kicked it in like in years past.

 

And then, of course, there are the “Rockin’ Christmas” songs that usually just make me feel like the spirit’s been sucked out anyway. It seems that every Rock singer has had to write a weak attempt at “It’s Christmas time, and I’m -----“ (insert blue, merry, happy, horny, etc… as needed)

 

Finally, it hit me a few days ago. It doesn’t feel like Christmas, because everyone is afraid to say Christmas!

 

Many of you know that Neil is Jewish. Well, he related a story to me, both ironic and sad. He was in his office when a former co-worker came by. She began to tell him “Merry Chri…”, then paused and stammered uncomfortably. After a difficult moment she said, “I was going to say Merry Christmas, but you’re…” “Jewish?” he offered. “Yeah, I didn’t want to offend you!” He smiled and said, “I never get offended by someone wishing me to be merriness!”

 

I know I wouldn’t be upset if someone wished me a Happy Channukkah (yeah, you can spell it that way, I checked). For that matter, many people have, and I was quite pleased to accept the well wishes! Does one really have to take offence if a greeting of merriment, happiness, good health, blessing, etc…falls outside their personal belief system? And why are we so “politically correct” that joy is an insult? Seriously people, what the hell is wrong with us anyway?

 

It’s no longer Christmas, it’s “The Holidays”, or worse yet, “The Season”. Come on! What season? Winter? Tax season? What holiday? Kwanzaa? (Ok, Kwanzaa does offend me, but that’s because it’s a racist event invented by a radical college professor and is exclusionary to all who don’t fall within the narrow range of its scope.)

 

But seriously, when Groundhog Day swings around do we great each other with “Happy Holiday!”? Would anyone offer Season’s Greetings on June 21st? Or, for that matter, would lynch mobs gather if a school hung a banner in recognition of Boxing Day? (It’s celebrated in Canada and the UK). Really, if millions of people across the US can throw Cinco De Mayo parties without shame, why can’t we acknowledge that some people also celebrate events that don’t matter to our personal, tiny little world?

 

I can’t seem to feel the “spirit of the season” because it’s been sucked out of our souls and replaced with a placebo of no effect. Harried people scurry to malls to buy bigger and better widgets for people with no joy and no love. It’s not the commercialization, it’s the impersonalization!

 

It truly breaks my heart, and I don’t know what to do about it. Come Monday morning, like so many years, I’ll gather with the people I love most in the world and watch youthful exuberance dance on the faces of my God-sons. We’ll listen to carols and sip spiced cider, but short of a “seasonal” miracle, I doubt I’ll feel it the way I should. Dare I ask you, dear reader, to pray for me?

 

Please do. I’ll pray for you too, and wish you the merriest of Merry Christmas’ and the Happiest of Channukkahs! And the thing is… I really mean it! (wink)

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Friday, 12/1/06

 

There is a difference, you know…

 

I was going to rant on this topic a couple weeks ago, but there were things more prevalent to talk about, so I set it aside, figuring it would die as it deserved to…

 

Well, as I have often commented, it seems the less news worthy an incident is, the longer it stays in the news! In a town where the fact that it’s raining leads the 11:00 news, I suppose I should expect such things, but it still get my dander up.

 

Two weeks ago, America was stunned and saddened by an event that rocked us to our core. Comedian Michael Richards lost his temper on stage, cursed people out and uttered racial insults. This story led every news broadcast and Internet headline for days, and even now still warrants time nearly every night.

 

Ok, I personally think that Richards is a very funny guy who’s had the good luck to be featured prominently on an inordinately successful sitcom for the best part of a dozen years. Prior to that he became known as a regular player on the short-lived LA answer to Saturday Night Live, Fridays. (Who could ever forget, “Live, from the LA Basin, it’s FRIDAYS!”?)

 

I’ve always loved hair-brained comics who entertain us by taking us past that edge of sanity we all try not to exceed in or own lives. It’s fun, though, to watch others do that stocking footed slide past reality across the hardwood floor of our mundane existence. And that’s exactly what Michael Richards did for us all these years.

 

But more than that, people love to watch icons placed upon pedestals, and then pushed off; left to crash to the ground in pieces. So, as he stood on stage that night, the real guy behind our beloved Cosmo Kramer showed his “dark side”. America sat, mouth agape, and reveled in the fall.

 

A side bar: I despise racially based hatred and mistreatment of any and all people toward others. I do not use nor do I condone the use of racial epithets, not even from members of that group. I do not, however, shrink from saying what was said. I can’t count the times I’ve been called a Prairie Nigger, and though the words are not acceptable communication from my own mouth, I won’t say “PN” either when repeating another’s ill thought words.

Neither do I go around calling people African-American, Euro-American, Hispanic-American, Canadian-American, etc… I am an Indian, Lakota specifically, and I don’t call myself a Native-American if I can avoid it.

 

So, to continue, a man who makes his living saying funny things and acting oddly was up on stage saying funny things and acting oddly. In the audience two black men were talking loud and disrupting the show. This sort of thing happens from time to time, and it’s not about the race or origin of either the crowd or the performer. It’s about bad manners.

 

Unfortunately, the man who we pay to say funny things and act oddly found he couldn’t quite deal with the rudeness, so he began yelling at the men. This rarely works, by the way. Certainly when Barbara Streisand told a heckler to “Shut the fuck up!” it caused a stir, but she was mocking the President, and the heckler didn’t like it, so it’s ok for her to cuss him.

 

But in the Richards incident, saying essentially the same thing caused more reaction from the crowd. Being that he’s not exactly a stable mind to begin with (Do you think all those schticks he did were written down? He created much of it on the fly because his brain works that way!), Richards began yelling and insulting the men. And, as is not uncommon for a child to do, he couldn’t see it was way past time to shut up himself.

 

Michael Richards uttered some of the most profane and abusive statements I have ever heard. He made reference to black people hanging from trees, being bought and sold, etc… It was beyond any excuse or reason. But more disturbing than anything is that all of these ideas, words, pictures, were inside of Michael Richards all this time, just waiting to come out!

 

The Bible says quite well, “From the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” In other words, the things that come out of your mouth are first inside of you. Were they not already there, they couldn’t find voice and escape.

 

Much parallel, too, has been made to the drunken rantings of Mel Gibson not so long ago.  Gibson has actually come out and made a statement about understanding Richards remorse, to little surprise. I was deeply offended by Gibson’s acting out, but I see a vast difference in the two incidences.

 

Mel Gibson, an alcoholic, under the influence of an intoxicant, in his car, on the side of a road, uttered mindless words with no expectation that they would be heard or repeated ever. They were repeated and he answered for his crimes (the drunk driving and such), and apologized for his drunken ranting.

 

Michael Richards, on the other hand, stood on a stage where people had paid money to come see him. He was under spotlights, holding a microphone into which he spoke, knowing that everyone there would hear every scathing word he uttered. When people shouted for him to stop, he went on, even more vile than before.

 

One man, his brain pickled and his ability to stop himself from saying things he would never otherwise have allowed to even rumble in his mind. Another man, stone cold sober, in public, amplified. But the true insult, in my estimation, occurred in the days following.

 

Richards sought his forgiveness, not from the general populous, or even the men he told he’d like to see hanging from trees. He went to the likes of Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton, the unspoken message; these men speak for and represent all of the black people in America. And worst yet, America seems to have accepted this as the case, for no one has condemned this action. Shouting Nigger from a stage was egregious, but asking Jessie Jackson’s forgiveness on behalf of all is unconscionable.

 

Mr. Richards needs to deal with his hatred and “intolerance”. He may likely need therapy and possibly even medication to deal with the root of his outburst and actions. Joining the Rainbow Push Coalition and writing a check won’t fix what’s wrong, and the insult is only intensified in attempting it.

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Thursday, 11/23/06

 

Where have the last two years gone…?

 

I was talking with a friend the other day and mentioned that I wanted to post an entry that day about a specific “news” item. I told her I wasn’t going to post it because it was only three days before Thanksgiving and I didn’t want to put them up back to back…

 

That was when I realized that this entry marks the second anniversary of my journal! It was Thanksgiving 2004 that I posted the first entry… and the rest is history, as they say.

 

So much has happened in the last two years, so many important things to talk about, so many friends to thank and stories to tell. Where do I begin?

 

You have all heard, or can read in the past posts, about my Thanksgiving tradition of going through Daddy’s old Wells, Fargo, and Co. safe and bringing out the hunting rifles that stir the memories that for me, are Thanksgiving. I won’t rehash the whole thing, but to mention I’ll be doing that again today, letting the ghosts dance around my study as the air is filled with the scent of Hoppe’s #9 and gun oil.

 

But this year I want to talk about a different topic. The ever increasing division of our society along lines drawn by social architects, talking heads, spin doctors and political pundants. People who seem to draw their power and pulpit by creating unrest and dissatisfaction.

 

Ok, I can hear you; “The girl has come unhinged! This is supposed to be a Thanksgiving piece and she’s gone all political!” Yeah, yeah, yeah, let me make my point and it’ll be much more clear.

 

For many years I’ve observed an increasing political correctness that has incrementally sucked the very life out of so many holidays. Christmas has become “the holiday season”, Easter is “spring break”, and don’t even think of celebrating Columbus Day unless you want to hear about the multitudinous evils of white Europeans.

 

Sure, I get that not everyone celebrates Christmas and Easter, or Chanukah and Passover, or Ramadan, etc… Since when does being “tolerant” mean we cannot tolerate anyone who actually does celebrate a specific holiday or event?

 

So, you can understand my consternation when people thoughtlessly ask me how I, a “Native American”, can celebrate Thanksgiving. “Aren’t you angry about what the Pilgrims did to your people?”

 

Well, yes, I am upset that the Lakota People lost their war to keep the lands they once occupied. But those weren’t The Pilgrims. Nor were the Peoples who interacted with that small group of immigrants Lakota. And, in fact, The Pilgrims weren’t the first or last Europeans to land and settle on the American continent.

 

When the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth in 1620, they found Indians who were friendly, and unfriendly, both. Some of them had had unpleasant dealings with other white settlers, while others had enjoyed good relations. The Plymouth colonists sought a peaceful coexistence (I’ve read their journals, and that’s just what they said). The Indians, in their own traditions, dealt with the newcomers in much the way they would have with any other Indian Nation. That is to say, they saw them as rivals from whom it was perfectly acceptable, even honorable, to take what they wanted.

 

Among my own People, the culture was a lot like that too. Originating in the Eastern Midwest, we spread out across the plains, west to the Rockies, seeking more fruitful hunting lands. In the process, we made war with and pushed out the Nations who were there before us; Pawnee, Shoshone, Crow. We saw good land and took it at the point of a spear, counting coup as we overpowered our enemies. It was completely honorable for the young men to prove their prowess by stealing horses from any enemy they could.

 

And the Lakota weren’t alone in this behavior either. Even the Navajo, one of the most peaceful and solitary Nations, have their history. The Zuni call them “Head Crushers” because of the very un-neighborly custom they once had of trying to run the Zuni off “Navajo land” by smashing them over the head with stone tipped clubs!

 

The fact that white Europeans defeated and subdued the various indigenous Peoples doesn’t cause me to recoil with anger. I accept that this is what happened and live my life. In doing that, I face the fact that there is much I have to be exceedingly thankful for. I live in a land where I can read, write, and speak out any philosophy or doctrine I want to. I can wear clothes that show a little skin if I want and drive cars. I can watch 600 channels of mindless drivel on TV and download porn off the internet.

 

And I am thankful, really. I’m thankful that despite all the nonsense, I’m free. I’m thankful for the family that raised and loved me and taught me right from wrong. I’m thankful for great friends who would lay down their lives for me, and I for them. For my Godsons and the opportunity to watch them grow up and flourish in a land such as this.

 

So, join with me please, today, and all days, in giving thanks for the gifts and liberties we enjoy. For today, set aside your agenda and pedestal, and rejoice in the freedom we have that means the guy on the other side of your political ideals is there; after all, they balance out your position! And please, regardless of your opinion on the war, give thanks to the men and women in uniform who have put themselves in harms way.

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Tuesday, 11/7/06

 

The polls indicate…

 

Well, it’s election day once again, and I have to tell you I’m even more disgusted with the whole shebang this time than I recall ever being.

 

On my 17th birthday I joined in a conversation with Daddy and Grandaddy; it was the first time I had been invited to “sit council” as Grandaddy used to call it. On this particular evening, Daddy was airing his grievances with the Carter administration. He said, “I tell you Dad, Carter is going to ruin the country!” Grandaddy laughed in his inimitable way and replied, “One man cannot ruin the country, that takes many men! That is why we have Congress!”

 

I’m not a big fan of the mess our electoral system has become. I think it was George Bernard Shaw who said, “Democracy is a system of government that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.” Never mind we live in a Republic, not a Democracy; the statement is true, and clearly, we deserve a pretty lousy government these days! Lets face it, I know about four people who actually know what the Electoral College is and why it exists!

 

I make no qualms about the fact I voted for President Bush both times. I still support the present administration, despite having a number of disagreements with policy and presentation. And it’s not just because I didn’t want the other guys to win.

 

What I can’t stand though, is the trend of governing by poll. Send someone out to gather numbers to determine what we do next. They say a camel is a horse designed by a committee, and our current state of affairs is policy making by pollsters and Sunday morning spin-doctors.

 

You may not realize it, but there was a substantial anti-war movement back in 1941. They said things like, “It’s not our fight” and “war is never the answer”. However, when it was time for us to fight, the country got behind the effort and everyone did their part.

 

There was a substantial public dissent back in 1775 as well. Even those who weren’t “Torries” (in favor of British rule and loyalty to the King) weren’t all in favor of going to war against the most powerful fighting force in the world.

 

My point here is that leaders must sometimes do what is right (stay with the point and don’t go off on a tangent), despite it being unpopular. Polls be damned, lead by conscience. If the people don’t like it, let them vote you out next term and take it like a man (or a woman if you happen to be one)!

 

Next point; Who the hell decided we need career politicians to keep us “on track”? If I read the history correctly, and I do, the intent was that elected leaders were the servants of the people, not the masters. They were expected to pay their own way, not grow rich off the taxes of the people! Now all a fellow need do is get into office once, then he draws a lifetime pension! Including raises! And who votes for the raises? None other than the same politicians who get the money! Pretty good gig, how’d you like to be able to vote yourself a raise every year? Where do I sign up?

 

And it’s not just the Federal Government either; local is just as bad, if not worse! About a decade ago, the former Governor of Colorado, Roy Roamer (sp) took a new job as the Superintendent of Los Angeles Unified School District. It was a large step UP in pay, $400,000; more than the president of the United States was making at the time!

 

Every year there is another bond issue placed on the local ballots to “fix our schools”, and every year they are passed without question. And every year, the state plunges deeper and deeper into debt, financing the bonds (They actually have to pay the money back with interest! Can you imagine?). And, of course, every year the money gets spent while the schools still aren’t fixed… But the bosses still get raises.

 

This time there are a few local “tax them into prosperity” propositions up for grabs. One seeks to “fix” our environmental problems by taxing oil companies. At first the ads said that the tax was because it was “unfair” that big oil paid so much tax in other states but not in California. It was about “getting back at them”. Well, the polls said that this tact wasn’t selling it with the voters, so they changed the strategy. Now, it was about saving the world, and the babies, by funding “alternative energy”. When that fell flat, they pulled out the stops and began airing commercials featuring former Vice President Al Gore!

 

With all the furor over his recent film about the environment, one might have thought that a notable authority like Albert Gore Jr. would have had voters running to the registrars office to see how they could vote early, just so they could support this life saving act of benevolence! But, as much as he’s reinvented and revamped his image, people weren’t moved by the VP’s call, and so they brought out the big guns! None other than William Jefferson Clinton himself! (Chicks dig him, don’t you know).

 

For the last month or two, we Californians have been treated to 30 and 60 second segments of the former President montaged with images of babies while he talks of Brazil’s conversion to methanol fuels and how our children with asthma suffer due to our “addiction to oil”.

 

At any rate, I see I’m ranting. Yes, I did vote this morning. I put on my rubber gloves, held my nose, and then I made my ink-mark next to the clearer and more precisely indicated candidate or proposition. I checked my ballot card to be sure it was clean and clear with no hanging chads (we’ve done away with the punch cards, BTW). I put it in the yellow slot where the new electronic ballot box made a humming noise that faith tells me wasn’t a shredder doing it’s thing. Tonight I’ll try to figure out what won and lost as the news readers and wonks pontificate over the ignorant surfs who rely on them to explain what happened and tell them what to think about it.

 

I think I’m getting a migraine.

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Thursday, 10/12/06

 

The battle goes on…

 

I’ve been rather remiss of late, posting and keeping you updated on the goings on in my little world. It hasn’t been for lack of topics; I’ve been to more concerts in the last three months than the two years prior. There is political intrigue enough for all to debate (but I admit I tend to let the empty suits on the Sunday morning shows tackle that foolishness). Yet for some reason I can’t quite put a finger on, I haven’t written.

 

All that aside now, there is a pressing topic I must address. It’s a sunny afternoon in Culver City and from my window I can feel a gentle breeze reminding me that summer is over and autumn (as much as we get in LA) is here. Back home I kept time through the summer in a simple way; School ended, it was hot, the Rally ended, and then it was time to go back to school and the leaves turned. Here I have no such markers, except the thermometer drops from the 80’s to the chilly low 70’s.

 

But the inescapable fact is, it’s October, and if you didn’t already know, Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In truth, this is a month I don’t look forward to, but loath for it’s marking of yet another year in which the cure hasn’t yet been found. I’m listening to Eva Cassidy on the computer, and the internet driven “liner notes” of my Real Player remind me that she too was taken by cancer, far too early.

 

We are informed that Farrah has cancer; she’s given an interview to People Magazine and is at last report undergoing intensive chemo and radiation. (My heart is with you sister).

 

Just last month I learned of (and passed info about) a rare type, Inflammatory Breast Cancer, which cannot be detected with either self exam or mammogram (see the IBC page to read the post and get more info). It’s so rare that when women do notice symptoms, the Doctors usually diagnose it as an insect bite, prescribe antibiotics, and send them home to become terminal.

 

We march, we run, we walk. We wear pink wrist bands and put magnetic pink ribbons on our cars. We give our money, and to a lesser extent, our time, to fight for a cure. We do all this, and yet 1 in 9 women will be diagnosed in their lifetime.

 

It’s not unusual for writers of TV drama to make one of the regular characters sick or even to deal with a life threatening ailment. They used such as a very well thought out and directed series closer for Samantha Jones on Sex and the City. She was made more human, softer, vulnerable, and at the same time, stronger. She beat cancer, kept her breasts, learned to love and accept love, and then the show ended.

 

Last season the writers of The L Word decided to stir the waters. They decided that Tennis Pro and all around cool chick, Dana Fairbanks, would also be diagnosed with breast cancer. However, instead of Samantha’s happy ending, they opted to give us a stark and shaking look at the reality of the disease. Dana not only lost her breast, faced the end of her career as an athlete, lost her hair… Dana also lost her battle.

 

As saddened as I was to watch the story wrap up, I’m also glad that the writers had the courage to allow this story to be unpleasant and therein, tell a truth we have to acknowledge. I know I sound a little defeatist right now, but that’s not my intent. Rather, I mean to stir the waters as well.

 

Yes, the battle rages on. As in any fight, there are casualties; both wounded and killed. But we fight on! We fight and keep on fighting because it’s what we must do! The war is far from over, but we have come so far! The cure is closer than it’s ever been. To borrow from Boggie, “We will find it, maybe not today or tomorrow, but someday, and then for the rest of our lives…”

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Monday, 9/25/06

 

A triple shot of that stuff…!

 

Ok, so the show was actually Friday the 22nd, but I had just posted something and wanted to let that one be for a few days. Also, I still want everyone to read and reread the posting of 9/1 about IBC, so after you read this post, please scan down a little further…

 

The show I refer to is George Thoroughgood and the Destroyers, who played the Greek Theater. I say it was a triple shot, but really it was a quadruple, as there were three opening acts. I regret to say I didn’t catch the name of the first, an interesting brass band with a very Dixieland flavor. They were already playing when we (the fearsome foursome) found our seats on the 13th row of the A section (VERY good seats). It was still light out and most people were still talking and milling about, so they played mainly as background noise (sorry guys…).

 

In my opinion, there was a big mistake on the program, as the next two acts were Buddy Guy and Dr. John, in that order… When I’m elected to run all things, this will be corrected, I assure you!

 

Buddy Guy and his band came out at about 7:30 and he instantly mesmerized the crowd with his gut wrenching, soulful voice and mind blowing guitar work. He segued seamlessly from squealing, overdriven licks to softly articulated notes that sang like angelic sounds from other worlds. To say that he’s a legend in the world of Blues is to minimalize the legacy of a man who’s not only learned from the greatest Bluesmen of the last century, but played with and even influenced many of them!

 

Buddy had the crowd in his control from the moment he stepped on stage, slinging his custom Fender Stratocaster. He talked to us like we were old friends there to celebrate the Blues with him once again, and in a very real way we were. And then, he walked down the stairs and into the crowd, still playing and singing. But he didn’t stop there. He kept going, through the Orchestra, the A, B and into the C levels! Hanging with people, offering the mike to a couple here and there, and then effortlessly finding his way back to the stage.

 

Buddy said several times how he wished he could just keep on playing all night, but he had to stick to a time limit. It was clear he would have if he’d been allowed to. Not bad for an “old man”! They say music keeps you young, and I am now a believer!

 

Next up was Dr. John. The New Orleans flavor and feeling was evident, even if the drummer hadn’t repeatedly told us they were from the Crescent City (Or was it the chocolate city as Mayor Nagen said?). They were good, with plenty of soul and finesse, and a great sense of humor (Dr. John got up from his piano and organ a few times to dance, while the drummer said “this is so un-necessary!”). However, after the experience of Buddy Guy and his band, I couldn’t help but feel I would have enjoyed the good Dr. much more in a club setting.

 

While I love Dr. John’s whisky vocals, I have to admit I couldn’t understand a word he said when he was speaking. I don’t know if it was just that he’s difficult to understand, or he was tanked to the eyeballs.

 

The main attraction, of course, was the man who helped bring Rockabilly Blues back to the mainstream. “Lonesome George”, known for his gratingly overdriven tone and gravely vocals, boasted on stickers and t-shirts that he and the Destroyers are “The worlds greatest bar band”, and it may very well be true.

 

If Chuck Berry or Buddy Holly had ever been given a hot-rodded  Marshal amplifier, the sound they might have created is probably pretty close to the patented George Thoroughgood sound. While he may tend to sound a lot like he’s playing the same songs with different words (as Chuck actually used to), the truth is that he is doing very different stuff much of the time.

 

I have always loved the raw, in your face, “fuck’em if they can’t take a joke” attitude of George’s music. What I hadn’t truly appreciated until that night was what a talented and skilled guitar player he is. He manhandles and abuses his signature Gibson ES semi-hollow bodies making them scream, cry, and beg for mercy. But even so, he finger-picks like a classical guitarist and works a brass slide like a 1930’s Delta Bluesman on Acid! Often, all at the same time!

 

The attitude was in full bloom this night, as George announced that he was going to do his very best to get arrested, “If anyone’s gonna go to jail for Rock and Roll, it might as well be me!” But it’s not all about drinking and running around; George’s little daughter (maybe 8 years old) did come out playing maracas for one song. (Cute, but slightly disturbing all at once).

 

Most of the obligatory favorites were played: Bad To The Bone; Move It On Over; One Bourbon, One Scotch, and One Beer. There was a lot of dancing and partying, of course. In all, a great show.

 

Now maybe I’m becoming a “concert snob” or being spoiled by having been witness to greatness, but I do have one complaint; though it isn’t about the music or the bands. So far, since June, I have been see Melissa Etheridge, Santana, Heart, and will be going to Tom Petty on Tuesday. More and more it seems that video is an inseparable part of the total experience, and it can significantly add to the show if done well. Santana’s video was an integral part of the presentation, supplied with prerecorded segments timed to the music. Melissa had no video in her show and was so incredibly great that it was never missed.

 

However, done poorly, video can wreck an otherwise very good show. The video portion of the show at the Greek was weak, nearly to the point of damage. There are two robotic cameras mounted at the edges of the stage, and they provide a view that looks like it’s coming from a robotic camera; stiff and lifeless. There is a third camera on a pod next to the soundboard, suffering from a bad case of operator inexperience.

 

The panning was jittery and jerky. The zoomed shots were usually way too tight (showing the face of the guitar player rather than including the guitar). Often the camera was on the front man while someone else was soloing, missing the point of interest altogether. There were two projectors serving the screens on either side of the stage, but the one on the left was never quite focused properly, and even lost image at one point in the show.

 

This was my first concert at The Greek since the video was added, so I don’t know if this is an unusual problem. Neil tells me that the video was the same when he saw John Fogarty there a couple weeks ago, so it sounds like an ongoing issue. Too bad, this is a fabulous venue with great sound and lighting. Hopefully they’ll fix it soon, as I really want to see more acts there.

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Thursday, 9/21/06

 

Things that move us…

 

I have held off on posting a new entry because the 9/1/06 piece on IBC was so important. After you read this, please read or reread it. Please.

 

I was thinking about posting about seeing Heart play at the LA County Fair on the 9th. Fantastic concert, great time with friends, but in the light of the previous post it wasn’t important enough.

 

But then, here I am tonight, crying like a baby over a TV show. It was the season premiere of ER, and to tell you the truth, after the cliff hanger finale season, I was pretty upset. I watched tonight, knowing it would be highly emotional, but even so I was surprised at how deeply it moved me.

 

When last the show aired, the ER had been shot up and at least four major characters were in extreme jeopardy. Of course it was heart wrenching, but for some reason I went to pieces when Jerry was on the OR table and they split his sternum to go in and repair his wounded heart. Then they montaged between Abby’s C section and Jerry’s surgery, and I realized that she was going to lose her uterus because she was hemorrhaging uncontrollably.

 

I suppose there are certain things that will always push me over that edge. Soldiers and Cops getting killed, kids in danger, rape, AIDS, and probably most of all, emergency hysterectomies. They rip at me, bringing tears and pain. Truth be told, I hope they always do too. I don’t ever want to “get used to it”. I want my heart to stay soft to things that should bring a tear and cause a pain, and I’m willing to cry like a baby too.

 

I see it this way; as long as it still hurts, I can still feel what’s real. It’s when we can’t hurt anymore that we lose the ability to feel our humanity, our vulnerability, our need for others. They say that people who deal with death and injury on a regular basis eventually deaden the feelings or go crazy. Maybe so, but I think it’s ok to feel it and not go over the edge.

 

I’ll take the chance, if it’s all the same to you.

 

(BTW, as mad as I was about the season closer, the opener was as well written and directed as any I’ve seen. Good job guys)

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Friday, 9/1/06

 

What we didn’t know is killing us…

 

For as long as I can recall I’ve heard that women should take the offensive against cancer. Perform monthly self exams, get your annual mammogram (they say after 40, I say 35), get your annual Pap smear. For years I’ve been an advocate, participating in various events to raise money and awareness, educating people to save their own lives. Education and early detection have been the mantra, and I chant it loud and often.

 

So, imagine my shock when I learned a few days ago that there is a form of breast cancer that is undetectable by either mammogram or self exam! It’s a rare form, so rare in fact that many women who see their doctors about the initial symptoms are told they have an insect bite and are sent away with some antibiotics. These women usually die, as by the time anyone figures out that there is something seriously wrong, they’re Stage Four. There is no Stage Five.

 

The medical name for the condition is Inflammatory Breast Cancer, IBC. Instead of the lumps or tumors associated with the more common forms of breast cancer, IBC shows up as layers of mutated tissue. It can be spotted on an MRI, but not on a conventional Mammogram.

 

The first symptoms of IBC are sudden increase in breast size, swelling, discomfort, and/or an inverted (sunken) nipple. As it progresses, bruising and discoloration may appear. But I’m not a doctor, this is just the information I have learned, it’s not everything, get educated and find out for yourself!

 

I don’t usually do this, but I’ve tried to include a link to a news feature on this disease. It’s a six minute segment that very well could save your life or that of someone you know. Since I can’t get it to link to the site, please, take the time to drop me an e’mail and I will send the clip to you. Pass it on to every woman you know, or anyone who knows a woman.

 

Also, on the links page of this site, there is a connection to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation (http://www.komen.org ). They have information there as well. I can’t stress it enough; IBC is killing people who could live long and healthy lives if only they knew in time. This is a battle we can win, but only if we arm ourselves with knowledge and FIGHT! Do it for someone you love, or someone who loves you…

 

Linda

 

>>>>>

Thursday, 8/24/06

 

Out there in space…

 

Well, I did it…On Friday morning I marched myself over to the mailbox, opened the chute, closed my eyes and deposited three envelopes. Now it’s a matter of faith, I suppose. Faith that the Letter Carrier picked them up and didn’t drop them. Faith that they were properly sorted and handled in the system rather than “accidentally” shredded. Faith that they will be delivered as addressed rather than languishing in “Newman’s apartment” (My apologies if you aren’t acquainted with the Seinfeld episode).

 

And, of course, the faith that the recipient of our laboriously and heart wrenchingly drafted query letters will read and appreciate them. That they will see not just the eloquent writing style, but the story underlying that needs to be told. For that matter, I need faith that they will hold the letter in their hands and feel the multitudes of people out there whose lives will be moved and helped by reading what we’ve written.

 

A bit melodramatic, sure, but I’m feeling a little over the top right now. It’s scary, putting your heart and soul on the line, and then waiting to hear if it will be accepted, rejected, or graciously ushered in with the sort of passion and emotion that wrought it to begin with. And so we wait.

 

But, the truth is, I have faith. Not the “Please god, give me what I need or I die!” sort, or even the “higher power” sort. The faith I have at this moment comes from a place much closer to home, and for the most part, more reliable (for me). It comes from Linda and Neil, and it’s the knowledge that what we have created is good. More than good, actually, and I don’t mind saying so! She’s a poor dog who cannot wag her own tail!

 

So the truth is I’ve been teetering on those two emotions: knowing we have something great to offer, and the fear of the unknown. And for the next two weeks or so, we’ll be in limbo; waiting and hoping and imagining what will be when it happens. We’ve already decided most of the actors we want to play us in the movie…

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Thursday, 8/17/06

 

A Nervous Query…

 

It’s been said that many times in life we don’t get because we don’t ask. I’ve even heard it put in “spiritual” terms this way:

 

A man died and went to heaven. He was being shown all around by God, being made to feel at home. They came to a large room, filled with gifts and presents that were unopened. The man asked God what the room was for; God said, “These are all the things I wanted to give you in your life, but you never asked for…”

 

Ok, I have a few issues with the story, but it makes my point well enough. “Ye receive not for ye ask not.” The book has been finished for quite some time now, and the only thing standing in the way of it’s publication is getting it in front of an interested publisher. To do that, we need an agent, and to get an agent, we have ask (so to speak).

 

In all honesty, this is a far scarier step (for me) then actually laying my life out there for all to see. Even reliving those darkest of moments pales by comparison to the trepidation I feel in taking this leap.

 

Call it fear of rejection, call it fear of exposure, call it realizing that this could be the threshold of a lot of very big changes to a relatively comfortable world. Whatever label you care to stick on it, I (we) have been shrinking back from it for some time.

 

So, gathering up some bravado, we picked up a copy of the 2006 Writer’s Market and two months ago, finally went through the agent listings to see if any caught our fancy. And then it sat, safely, on Neil’s coffee table until this week.

 

Bound and determined to finally do it, we selected the best three possibilities and wrote the “query letter”. Traditionally, this is a letter that presents the story and writer(s) to the prospective agent in the hopes that the agent will then want to represent them. Every agent has their own guidelines as to what they want to see; some just the letter, others sample chapters, etc… You’d think that for a couple of writers, this would be the easy part!

 

Well, after much sweat, worry, and hand wringing, I am pleased to say the letter is written and three copies, addressed to different agents, are ready to be mailed. They say it takes about three weeks to hear back, so maybe we’ll have some good news around September 9th or 10th.

 

Now, if I can just get the stamps on the letters and get them in the mailbox!

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Tuesday, 8/8/06

 

Santana by the Bay…

 

Ok, so this entry should have been posted July 28th, or even the 30th at the latest. I can make the excuse that I was busy or that I was mulling it over so as to more fully express the emotion, splendor and magnitude of the event. Yeah, right… Simple truth is, I let other things push it to the back burner, despite how much I wanted to share the experience with you.

 

So, after much dawdling and delay, here it is!

 

Once again, much credit and thanks to Rhonda, Neil’s lady, for finding and suggesting a long weekend trip to San Diego to see the one and only Carlos Santana in concert. The show was Thursday night, July 27th, so we all decided to make the 120 mile jaunt in the afternoon, get rooms, and drive home Friday. Excellent plan, as with traffic, we got to the hotel and checked in just in time to grab a taxi to the venue! If we’d tried to leave any later, well…

 

The concert was to be held in Escondido Park, which is right outside the Convention Center and walking distance from Qualcom Stadium [sidebar: Are any of you getting as tired as I am of these stadiums and venues becoming more and more corporate? The Universal Amphitheater is now the Gibson, Irvine Meadows is the Verizon Amphitheater, etc… What happened to names like Soldier’s Field, Lambo Field, Dodgers Stadium…? It’s getting so I have no idea where things are happening because who the hell knows where The Hyundai Pavilion is anyway? Wasn’t that The Blockbuster Pavilion a few years ago?]

 

Where was I? Oh yeah, Escondido Park… Knowing that navigation would be difficult and parking more so, we opted to take a taxi and be dropped off right in front of the entrance. The park is really just that, a beautiful public park sitting right on the bay! Viejo Concerts on the Bay books and presents concerts all summer long in the park by erecting a huge stage, filling the first 75 yards with folding chairs and then a large bleachers section behind that. There are even areas just outside the fence where the more frugal set up lawn chairs and listen, if not actually see, the show for free.

 

More inventive folks anchored boats in the water just off the park (about 100 of them), and watched and partied in the bay rather than just on it!

 

All in all, the open-air theater was comfortable, not over crowded, and well managed. That says a lot to me, having been to too many poorly managed shows where the evening was ruined by bad planning. Not here; we were fully able to enjoy all that was presented.

 

As the sun set behind the stage (yes, very coool indeed!), the opening act came out. Anthony Hamilton, backed by a good sized ensemble that he frequently referred to as “My Family”, brought on a very Motown inspired, Gospel flavored set. The riffs were smooth, the grooves deep, and the soulful singing directly from the heart. I suppose if you’re going to open for Santana, you gotta have both heart and soul!

 

Anthony played about 45 minutes, then it was time for the roadies to reset the stage. It was immense, spanning at least 150 feet, and supporting state of the art lighting. At the rear was a video screen that I am guessing measured 20x15 feet (4:3 ratio? What’s up with that? I thought everyone was going widescreen?) The sun was well down now, the skyline to our right the bay to our left and the stars above…

 

The music started up, that unique blend of Latin Blues/Rock and World Music. Each musician took his place, and then the biting sound of the master came through. That unmistakable tone of a handmade Paul Reed Smith custom guitar driving Mesa Boogie amps, powered by the inimitable Carlos Santana. Many aspire, some approach, but few match the sheer emotion that flows like incense from his touch. Tonight was not to disappoint as he was in his top form once again.

 

To say that there was a fullness of sonic virtuosity would be to insult by understatement. Keyboards, bass, two guitarists (I refrain from saying “Lead and Rhythm” those roles simply don’t fit!), and no less than three percussionists! The sound system seemed perfectly tweeked as the volume was full, without being painful, and the subtleties leapt out perfectly. With two clearly noted problems.

 

It is my opinion that when a sound engineer (or team of them) does their job perfectly, to 99% of the world they are invisible. The only time they get noticed is when something goes wrong… And that’s why I mention how perfect it was, outside the two times the entire sound system quit. The first was halfway through the second song; suddenly the only sound was that of the un-amplified percussion and the guitar amps without aid of the “house”. To the credit of the band’s professionalism, they didn’t miss a beat and simply played on, knowing that the engineers would fix it, and never mentioning it to the audience. It happened once more, about two thirds of the way through the evening, but was quickly fixed and the band played on.

 

The show was spectacular, with at least five camera positions (probably more) being seamlessly switched and presented on the big screen. The images were interspersed at times with faces of children and people and places far away; most notably Latin in appearance, with one notable face that I am certain was either Comanche or Apache. Rather than the sensory bombardment that some bring to their “video extravaganzas”, this was made a fluid part of the total presentation.

 

I can’t say enough about the sheer musicianship of Carlos and the band. Passion, heart, soul, tears, and a lot of sweat! (The lead singer’s shirt went from a pale blue-gray to a dark charcoal as the evening went on) There was a featured drum solo late in the set and we were treated to the entire scene in a side shot upon the video screen. At one point as the incomparable Dennis Chambers simultaneously beat out four distinct and separate rhythms Rhonda turned and asked, “How in the world can he do that!?” Neil answered what I was thinking, “Easy, he’s not human, he’s a machine!”

 

Beyond the virtuosity, Carlos Santana is also disarmingly humble. He is a philosopher, a seeker, and has no qualms sharing the spotlight. At one point he stepped up to the mike and proclaimed, “God made the world round so we can all take center stage!” and with that, brought Anthony Hamilton back out to sing one.

 

My one complaint of the evening was a political posturing. I have no issue with people using their bully pulpit to voice the convictions of their heart, morality, or core values. I respect people who are driven to greater things and to change their world for the better. However, I find it diminishing both to the message and the messenger when they have to tear down the “opposition” in order to make their point.

 

I was moved when Melissa Etheridge spoke of being called by Vice President Al Gore and asked to write a song for his movie. She clearly talked about important issues in her world, but never once insulted those who were of differing position. As greatly as I admire Carlos Santana, I did take umbrage when he stated, “We stand for love and unity, and everything that isn’t George Bush!” While many in the audience expressed agreement, I sensed not nearly as many as seemed discomforted with the statement. At any rate, it was a 5 second departure in what was otherwise an imminently wonderful night.

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Saturday, 7/22/06

 

Heart in a box…

 

They said “I love you”, spent the night in passionate and comfortable company, felt the touch of intimacy so much deeper than merely flesh. Saying that it was a great connection misses the point; it was more than even that. And in the morning, after she made her good-byes, he found a simple, brown, cardstock box, tied with a ribbon of straw. And inside, she had placed her heart, on a bed of pink confetti.

 

Poetic, don’t you think? Romantic, yes, beyond most modern abilities. Tokens of deep emotional significance, things we can see and feel and touch and hold.

 

Yes, many of us have given or received some gift that represented a romantic notion from someone we cared about a lot. Flowers, cards, chocolates. But, I have to say that more and more lately it seems that truly romantic gestures are taken as something less than genuine. Sweet words whispered in an ear, notes typed and sent, phone messages left as a reminder…

 

I was watching an episode of Sex and the City a few nights ago and the girls were dishing on Carrie’s new boyfriend, an old world Russian artist played by Mikhail Baryshnikov. It seems that he was being very romantic, showering her with gifts, taking her wonderful places, dancing with her in the park to the music of a string quartet… And some how, all of this registered with them as “ick”.

 

Sure, I know I grew up in a different world. I don’t live in Upper Manhattan, own 100 pair of Menolo Bhlanik shoes and know the circa date of each of my outfits. Even so, has romance become a bad thing? Are we as a culture so jaded that “whispering sweet nothings” is tantamount to just another line?

 

Well, maybe. Maybe people who are too busy looking for the bigger and better have heard so many pitches that nothing sounds sincere to them anymore. And these are the vary ones most in need of a romantic notion or a tender word. They need to allow someone to pay them a compliment, and just smile and say “thank you” rather than wonder what the ulterior motive might be.

 

They’re the very ones who need to receive a heart in a box.

Linda

>>>>> 

Friday, 6/30/06

 

Thus sayeth Melissa…

 

It’s nearly 1:00 am and I’m wired, tired, excited, and happy. The cause, well, it’s a woman. We’ve just come from seeing Melissa Etheridge at the Long Beach Terrace Theater and all I can say is WOW!

 

It wasn’t my idea, actually, but I’m happy beyond words that I went. Neil’s girlfriend, Rhonda, stumbled upon the show while looking at football tickets and made a call. Neil made another call, and the order went in… Unfortunately, as much as Audrey wanted to go, she simply couldn’t get the time off, so it was the four of us.

 

We arrived early and stopped at Island’s for dinner before the show. As we were leaving to get to the theater a few blocks away, I immediately noticed something unusual. At the exit of the restaurant a butch girl held the door for us while her partner waited. Not a big deal, I live in LA and I’m comfortable with the fact that gay couples are freer here to appear as couples.

 

As we walked down the street and crossed at the light I saw several more Lesbian couples, holding hands and looking just as happy as could be. Then it hit me… Sure, I knew there’d be a higher than average number of gay women there tonight, but I hadn’t really thought about what that might mean. Neil and Eddy suddenly felt very much in the minority!

 

The Terrace is a smaller venue, set up with good acoustics and comfortable seating, and the house was filled near capacity. I have to guess that at least 90% of the audience were women, and most of them were couples. As we entered the lobby it was as if we’d stepped onto the Isle of Lesbos, and I have to say, I felt very accepted and accepting in the room. There was a different feel than other concerts, even girl band concerts I’ve been to.

 

The stage was minimalist, a drum kit on a riser, two mike stands for the bassist and lead guitar, and lots of room for Melissa to walk around. The show started a little after eight, no warm up band, no jugglers, no comedians… The lights dimmed, the musicians walked on, and Melissa, complete with wireless mike and 12 string acoustic, marched out triumphantly!

 

As you most likely know, Ms. Etheridge has recently won her battle with breast cancer, and had canceled 11 tour dates when she was diagnosed. She did three months of chemo, rehabilitation, and has only just recently come back to the road. I’m very pleased to report that the woman who commanded the stage tonight was healthy, charged up, full of life, and ready to rock the world!

 

And rock is what she did. Her voice, still as raw, powerful and passionate as ever, rang through the hall as she pounded her Ovation 12 sting like a house afire! The band was at their top, particularly Philip (sorry, bro’ I missed your last name!) the lead guitarist who traded licks with the mistress and brought the crowd to its feet time and time again.

 

She spoke about a lot of things throughout the show, about love, life, trials, and philosophy. Her message, love requires give and take, it’s a two way street and you can’t just give all the time. She told us that we can do what we want to if we want to (leading into If I Only Wanted To), and that we can survive. It was so uplifting I found myself stifling an “Amen Sister!” several times, and I almost shouted “Preach it!” once! In all, it was positive and moving. And without a break she pumped it out for three hours!

 

What I mostly noticed was the difference in the energy that flowed through the room. I’ve talked in the past about the estrogen factor and how it’s so different than the male drive and energy. Tonight I felt it in a way even I’ve never felt before. The whole thing felt more like a thundering velvet hammer than the freight train you get at most good concerts. She rocked, and rocked hard, and the passion was no less intense than an exposed nerve, but it wasn’t like a baseball bat to the face. I can’t even seem to find the words for the feeling, but it was GOOD!

 

I’m pained that my words seem incapable of expressing what I saw and felt though. So, I’ll let the lady speak for herself:

 

I Run For Life

(Melissa Etheridge)

It's been years since they told her about it
The darkness her body possessed
And the scars are still there in the mirror
Everyday that she gets herself dressed
Though the pain is miles and miles behind her
And the fear is now a docile beast
If you ask her why she is still running
She'll tell you it makes her complete

[Chorus:]
I run for hope
I run to feel
I run for the truth
For all that is real
I run for your mother your sister your wife
I run for you and me my friend:| I run for life

It's a blur since they told me about it
How the darkness had taken its toll
And they cut into my skin and they cut into my body
But they will never get a piece of my soul
And now I'm still learning the lesson
To awake when I hear the call
And if you ask me why I am still running
I'll tell you I run for us all

[Chorus]x3

And someday if they tell you about it
If the darkness knocks on your door
Remember her remember me
We will be running as we have before
Running for answers
Running for more

 

Welcome back Melissa! We missed you, and we honor you! Thanks for an amazing experience.

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Sunday, 6/18/06

 

For the dads…

 

Father’s Day is always sort of a bittersweet time for me. Growing up it was special beyond words; a time to thank the two most influential men in my life for their love, dedication, and teaching. Daddy and Grandaddy left their stamp on my world and as much as I loved and appreciated them every day, there was that special Sunday once a year to set it all aside and say, “This is your day and I honor you.”

 

Since they’ve passed, I used to spend the day thinking about how much I missed them and how I wish I’d listened more, asked more, taken in all the wisdom they spoke, learned all they had to teach me… I know I didn’t, for all I did do. Of course, in life we hopefully do learn that regrets for the past are a waste of spirit, and keep us from appreciating the good things that we’ve had.

 

Then, the Godsons came along and the day took on a whole new importance! Life anew, a future yet unwritten, the chance to give to these little ones as I had received. Now, Eddy and I, instead of thinking about the loss or lack, focus on pouring out the love and support our boys need to become the young men that will shape their world.

 

I was speaking with Neil a few days ago and he was talking about that old Harry Chapin song, Cats In The Cradle. He mentioned that when he was growing up it spoke to him about a father who was not around for his son and he related to it. Then, in 1992 it was covered by the band, Ugly Kid Joe… Suddenly, it was no longer about his father but his kids.

 

I think we all do it, reach an epiphany in our lives wherein we see that our roles have changed from the receiver to the one who should be the giver. From child to adult, from student to teacher. The question is, how will we do in that new role? Will we repeat the mistakes of our mothers and fathers, or will we somehow transcend those faults and do it better? Will we be able to live up to the greatness, or will we be, as Dan Fogelberg called it, “A poor attempt to imitate the man…”?

 

The answer, unfortunately is only visible a long time after the work’s been set in a concrete foundation. We can only do the best we know how, ask for as much help as we can find, and trust that all the work we’ve (hopefully) done on our own lives will somehow filter through the other things and evolve to the need of the immediate day.

 

So, here’s hoping. And here’s to the dad’s who are trying… Yes, they do need and love you, despite your weaknesses and failings. Besides, you’re probably doing a lot better job than you realize.

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Saturday, 6/3/06

 

I will sail my vessel…

 

The moon is shining down, the breeze is cool and salty, and the deck is lightly pitching with the waves. I’m reclining on the foredeck (I’ve just learned that’s what the front flat part is called) of a large sailboat anchored somewhere north of Catalina Island. In all honesty, I have no earthly idea where we are because I have placed total trust in my beloved, Eddy, and his navigational skills.

 

The boat belongs to our best friends, Doug and Audrey, and despite having been a frequent guest and passenger for nearly 15 years, I’ve only just taken to actually learning to handle her (I’m also told a that the boat is a she). I’ve heard the terms; line, sheet, spinnaker, tiller, jib, etc…, but I have willingly remained a nautical nit-wit, content to sun on the deck, enjoy the ocean motion, and the salty spay of the waves. Ok, I did learn that if someone hollers, “Coming about!” I should duck under the arm thingy that the sail part is hooked to so I don’t get brained by it…

 

But, this time it’s important to me to learn. This time, I had to learn, actually… Because the regular crew and pilot stayed home this trip, and the boat is simply too big for Eddy to pilot without at least a little assistance. We set out (or is it “got under weigh”?) Thursday afternoon, just the two of us. It was our 15th wedding anniversary, and someone thought it might be fabulously romantic to sail up and down the coast, and he was so right!

 

We talked about it, and as is typical of my man, we decided on fairly short notice to make the trip. I’ve always been the plan ahead, work out the details well in advance, highly organized sort. Eddy, on the other hand, has been the “Hey! Let’s take a long weekend and drive up to Pismo!” sort. I’ve learned that it’s good to sometimes let go and be spontaneous, and he’s also learned to work with me and plan a little too.

 

The boat trip was different though, because it required me to step into an area I had sort of avoided for a long time. I do like to be in control of things, I like to drive, and for that matter, unless it’s a Harley, I prefer to drive a motorcycle than ride “bitch seat”. So, why wouldn’t I want to learn to pilot a sailboat? That’s easy; when you pilot a boat, you merely attempt to work with the sea and wind to get where you want to. You never actually have control; you are in reality, only making allowances to keep the forces of nature from pushing you wherever they please!

 

Even if you drop sail, you never stop moving, the sea takes you where it wishes, and you can do nothing but go along for the ride! Add power and you change it to pushing on a moving fluid surface that manhandles you while the wind teases at its own will! Call me a control freak if you wish, I’d rather remain oblivious to the struggle and pretend the guy at the wheel is really in charge.

 

Tonight though, I’ve spent three days hauling up the mainsails, running the jib out, handling the lines and sheets, and yes, ducking under the boom (aka the arm thingy) when we come about. I’ve even taken my turn at the helm to spell my man a few times! And you know what? It’s not so bad!

 

Of course, I’m going to weave this into an analogy for relationships, but you knew that! Eddy and I have been married 15 years now, and most of it’s been pretty incredible. There have been some bad times, some very bad, and a lot of just ordinary days. We each brought certain strengths, weaknesses, and needs to the partnership. Eddy uses his gifts, I use mine, and together we get things done and have a life together.

 

When he was single Eddy piloted his own life at his whim and will, worried about no one and nothing but when he had to be back at work. It was a small enough world that he needed no one else to handle it. Then we got married, and suddenly there was a much bigger vessel at hand. This one tended to drift in ways he couldn’t understand because he had never been pushed or pulled that way before. His “devil may care” navigation was being regimented and reorganized by a force he’d not learned how to navigate under.

 

And me, well, I wanted to take my tightly controlled life and have him jump on and ride with me, never considering that my small lake in the mountains way could never handle a craft on such a different sea! Our bullheadedness nearly put us on the rocks right from the start.

 

In the same way, my passivity at ocean sailing was fine as long as there was someone else taking care of everything for me. I reflect on growing up and as independent as I was, it was really Momma and Daddy doing the piloting. But married life is a much larger craft on a much more turbulent sea. It takes both partners to handle this vessel, even if one is the pilot and the other the crew. The pilot has his job, and the crew hers (hers/his, either role is acceptable), and neither is able to do it alone. We need each other and we have to trust the other to handle the task at hand while we handle ours. Whatever task it may be, they must be done.

 

So, my arms are tired, my back a little stiff, my face is tingly from sun and salt, and in short order I’ll be making love to my pilot under the moonlight. 15 years simply isn’t long enough to get all the fine points down, so I’ll keep on learning a little more each passing year. All I do know is I’m glad to be here with my man and I’m sorry I didn’t learn this part sooner. This has been the greatest anniversary so far, and I anticipate they’ll keep getting better!

 

Now, if I can only figure out how to transmit this back to the net…Fortunately my pilot is a gizmo head, so I’m sure he’ll help me!

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Tuesday, 5/23/06

 

Cracking the code…

 

A lot has been happening since my last installment, and I apologize for being so remiss in my reporting. Since last we met, I’ve run the Revlon 5k (21 minutes, not bad at all!), taken a drive up the coast, turned the big 45, and just been up to my eyeballs in the day to day.

 

Yes, the birthday was wonderful, and we decided to just go simple this year, no big trips or surprises. Eddy did get me season one of The L Word on DVD, which was as much for him as me, but still greatly appreciated (wink). So far 45 feels really good, and I’d never dream of going back.

 

Buuuut, what I really want to talk about is the buzz that seems to be all about over the release of the movie version of The DaVinci Code. I’ll begin by saying I’ve read the book, as well as the preceding Angels and Demons, and the follow up, Deception Point. Aside from a great writing ability, some insight into the secret societies, and a fantastic knowledge of the history of the arts and sciences, author Dan Brown clearly has a profound hatred of the Catholic Church. So what, it’s his life and if that’s what he wants to write about, more power to him.

 

While DaVinci is a sequel to Angels and Demons, it’s also a much better book, and the story less outlandish when put up to the light of reality. Deception Point is a total departure, being about government agencies in competition for funding and the espionage that subverts science for money. Frankly, Mr. Brown should stick with what he knows, history, art, secret societies, Catholic practices. He clearly knows nothing of espionage and though well written the book is so ridiculous as to be laughable.

 

Back to DaVinci. My friend Neil described The DaVinci Code book as what would happen if Indiana Jones and Fox Mulder had an adventure and Tom Clancy wrote it down. The plot is twisted, rife with suspense, intrigue, clues that aren’t clues and words that don’t mean what they say. Forget that the initial premise, that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and had a daughter, is historically unlikely. Never mind that if Jesus was just a man, not divine, his wife and daughter would also be nothing more than mere mortals, not the subject of worship to the point of murder and millennium of conspiracies. The book was good, because it was interesting and kept the reader wanting to see what would happen next.

 

Now, the movie. While well made and acted, I have to say it’s not the equal of the book. Not by a long shot. It took two and a half hours to tell the tale in the theater, and I shudder to think how long it would have taken if they hadn’t cut so much important detail out! Admittedly, it didn’t feel like 149 minutes, as it was a trip of many twists and turns.

 

I found the first 30 to 45 minutes to be a bit rushed, lacking the detail and depth that made the book so much fun to read. In fact, nearly all of the actual “clues” that were supposed to have been left by Leonardo DaVinci, Grand Master of the Priory of Scion, were skipped right over! The reason for the symbols and images, the hidden meaning that the artist supposedly put in his works, commissioned by the Catholic Church, but pointing to the Holy Grail (Mary).

 

Most of the historical lessons are presented a la CSI, with voice over narration as a “flashback” plays for our illustration. Sure, it’s more interesting than staring at a man talking for ten minutes, but it trivializes much of the meat that the book made so real. Also, there is precious little explanation of the diversionary evil, the monks and priests of Opus Dei. The naked albino flagellating himself with a scourge, moving the flesh rending salice from one thigh to the other, why he was willing to murder in God’s name at the orders of a man neither he nor his savior priest had ever met…All spoken to in the book, but glanced over in the movie.

 

In all, I think Tom Hanks did a good job bringing Robert Langdon, Professor of Religious Symbology to life. Jean Reno, as always, was more than convincing in his role as the French investigator torn between his devotion to his faith and his duty. The young woman (name escapes me) who played Sophie, well, she was ok I suppose.

 

The movie did have its moments, and the closing scene did have a good part of the impact it did in the book. The locations were breathtaking, even if far too quickly raced past. Would I recommend laying down $23 for tickets and another $20 on popcorn and a drink… Wait till it hits DVD and save the money.

 

And as for the protests and whining, I say only, get a life! If Jesus is God, do you really think he’s worried about this movie? If Mary is, do you think she wants her story told this way? And as far as the Catholic Church is concerned, maybe a little self examination wouldn’t be a bad thing. They can start by turning over the pedophiles they’ve been covering for… Really, a movie deifying Mary is the least of their troubles!

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Monday, 5/8/06

 

On your marks…

 

Anyone who’s read my pages for any length of time knows that I have a few pet causes for which I am immensely passionate. Primary among these is the annual Revlon Run/Walk for Women’s Cancers. For the last two years I’ve reported after the fact, this year, I think I’ll get out the old soap box early and drum up some support.

 

Next Saturday, May 13th is the 13th annual LA event, held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Participants will gather to either walk or run the 3.2 mile circuit to raise money for breast and ovarian cancer research. It’s as much a media event and a fundraiser; the goal being to get the word out about early detection, and to share the camaraderie of others who’ve fought the fight, are fighting, or have been touched by those who have.

 

It’s a time of celebration, standing shoulder to shoulder with survivors and families. It’s a memorial, paying tribute to those whose pain and fight are over. It’s hope, that one day no one will have to fear that lump… It’s a chance to say as a unified and powerful voice, “We’re not going to just roll over and take this!”

 

So, once again I’ll run the 5k, my best friend Audrey at my side. We do usually run, but have on occasion walked it. The runners take off first, of course, and then the walkers depart as one. I truly savored the experience of walking as I was surrounded by people carrying signs, and wearing placards: “I’m walking for Grandma.”, or “Survivor, 15 years”. It’s positively inspiring.

 

But this year I plan to run. I see it as a trial, a struggle, the chance to overcome once more and be triumphant, if only against the clock and my best time to date. I’ll push past pain and discomfort, if only mild, and press on toward the finish, knowing that there is one just a little further on. It’s a significant metaphor in my thinking.

 

And then Audrey and I will walk it off, have some water, and take a seat to watch as our men and boys make their own triumphant entry into the stadium. Audrey’s sons, my Godsons, make the walk every year as well as our husbands. When they emerge from the tunnel and onto the field, they’re greeted by the loving encouragement of the two women that love them most in the world.

 

I also want to raise my voice and encourage someone else… You, dear friend. I want to encourage you to get involved, make a call, write a check, raise your voice alongside ours, and if you’re anywhere near LA, come out and get in on this! Run, Walk, wave a banner, get the t-shirt.

 

And most of all, ladies, get your annual exams. Do your self exams regularly. Educate yourselves. It is your life that’s at stake. Follow the link http://www.revlonrunwalk.com/ for more info.

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Wednesday, 5/3/06

 

Time away…

 

I don’t do it often enough, but Eddy and I have just returned from a long weekend get away. Most of April, and even part of March were spent in the manner I have spent all my Marches and Aprils since I came to work for my company 16+ years ago; getting ready for the annual NAB show in Vegas.

 

Fortunately, my boss has allowed me for the last several years to remain at the office rather than endure the insanity and silliness that is a major trade show. Honestly, I have no stomach for it, and the carnival atmosphere and hype put me off badly. Even so, the planning, organizing, and packing for the event are monumental tasks on their own. By the time the truck leaves loaded with the newest and bestist gizmos and gadgets, I’m ready to crawl into a corner and stay there a while.

 

So, we planned something different, Eddy and I. We decided that the company, and civilization as we know it would not crumble if I took some time off! The show ended last Thursday, so no one would need me at the office the next day to handle order processing or damage control. The burley warehouse types could handle tearing down and loading up, and my assistance was totally unnecessary… And so, Friday morning we boarded a Canadair regional jet bound for Salt Lake City, Utah.

 

Ok, I know Salt Lake sounds like a strange destination, but I have my reasons. It’s been too many years since I have been skiing, and frankly, California slopes in April are dismal at best! Utah’s Snowbird was not only still open, but enjoying good snow and virtually no crowds!

 

The two hour flight from Burbank to Salt Lake was like a step into a time machine for me. My first airplane trip was out of Rapid City Regional Airport in South Dakota, and the terminals at both of these places were an awful lot like back home! Burbank is un-crowded, a single level, and the baggage claim is a conveyor that goes outside the building in a big oval, just like it used to be in Rapid. The terminal at Salt Lake is a simple shelter like structure, separate from the “real” terminal building…

 

We picked up our rental car, and it was refreshing to find that LA isn’t the only place where companies hire people who can’t speak English to staff the counters. We were assigned a Dodge Stratus (which they classify as a mid-size now?), and sent out to retrieve it from the lot. Call me silly, but as nice a car as this was, I did get tired of hitting my head on the doorframe every time I got out. Granted, I’m 5’10”, but Eddy’s nearly two inches shorter and he also hit his head a number of times and got a crick in his neck from driving while scrunching down. Cute car, zero headroom.

 

We opted to drive 40 minutes south, to the twin towns of Pro and Orem, wanting more of a small town feel. The accommodations at the Marriot we comfortable, and we made good use of the “strange hotel mattress” phenomena (you know me, it’s inevitable!)

 

Provo is so much like home it was nearly scary. Yes, it’s a lot more spread out and bigger, but it has such a down home feel that it’s uncanny. Add the snow capped hills as a back drop and it all comes together. We cruised around, found a cute little Polynesian restraint for lunch, shot some pool, and had a fine day of it.

 

Skiing in Utah is like no other place I’ve ever been. The mountains are taller, stepper, more spread out, and diverse. The landscape is amazingly beautiful, and the sun was warm in the clear sky. It was so warm, in fact that we opted to ski in T-shirts, I chose my Wranglers over ski pants and was never cold. It brought to mind the days when the really good skiers all wore jeans, before the high-tech fabrics and military look fashions. I felt like I was setting a trend, back to a simpler time.

 

There were other trend setters out too. I saw at least two men wearing Hawaiian print shorts. I draw the line at anything that exposes my legs to ice. I also saw another trend that I can get behind, so to speak; a woman wearing only a bikini and boots. She was not far from a tree filled with cast off bras… Who says Utah is a backwards ultra religious place?!

 

It was a dream, shooshing across virtually empty slopes, covered with better snow than mid-season local hills. The thrill and exhilaration of being in such a beautiful place, moving like the wind over the clean white surface was beyond mere words.

 

We topped the evening off at The Old Spaghetti Factory where we had a very tasty lasagna; not quite as good as that from Mario’s in Burbank, but still very good. Eddy picked the wine, and I’m a little embarrassed to admit I have no idea what it was, though it went perfectly. We skipped dessert.

 

Sunday was lazy and warm, and wonderful. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions. The flight home was a bit turbulent, but pleasant, and soon we were on the 405 South sitting in fog and traffic… Arguments for a longer vacation?

Of course, Monday was back to the office and the aftermath of the big show, but I know I was much better prepared to handle it for the time off. I suppose my tirades over Tom “super-mind” Cruise and the March of Illegals will have to wait till later.

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Thursday, 4/13/06

 

Where’s the “click”…?

 

I’ve heard often enough that talking about Eddy and my relationship has a few people incredulous. “You guys are too perfect, don’t you ever have problems?” Well, yes, we do. We’re two fiercely independent people and melding our individual spirits into “one flesh” has caused friction, heat, sparks, and other good/bad things… But I do get that I can tend to sound overly gushing about him and us too.

 

And, so, I am concentrating on observing the relationships of others. It’s been said that some learn by watching, some by reading, and some simply must touch the stove to see that it’s hot. I’m hoping to glean a few items from what I see that will help a few of us (me included) not to have to touch the stove, so to speak.

 

A close friend has recently re-entered the dating scene, and this has given me opportunity to examine, from a short distance, the phenomena known as “matching”. That is, you find someone you have a common interest with, go out and try to see if the match is really a match. The different websites call it different things, “soulmate”, “perfect one”, “match”, “other half”, etc…

 

First, is there any such thing as a “soulmate”? What the Jews call basher, the one perfect mate whom god has foreordained to each of us? Or, is there a small group of possible candidates with whom each of might find a soulmate if they look hard enough? Maybe, just maybe, there isn’t a single or even limited selection, but a soulmate can be found by two people coming together in true partnership and “becoming” soulmates.

 

I know that in my life I’ve met and married my “soulmate”, not once but twice. So, there has to be more than one out there since I found two. And I found each of them in different states, 1400 miles apart, so that seems to open the limited number argument to scrutiny. So then, maybe it is a matter of finding a compatible partner and then working on it. I know that Eddy and I have to work much harder at our “perfect” marriage than Richard and I ever did.

 

But what about the person is it that makes them “eligible” to become a soulmate? I mean, you’ve already been matched using 29 levels of compatibility and the personality profile (a $50 value!), shouldn’t every “match” be a nearly perfect soulmate candidate? What do you do when the two of you go out, have a nice evening, but there’s no click?

 

Again, I ask, is there a “click” that we should be looking for? The feeling, nudge, tingling of the spider senses, 10 foot neon sign… Something to tell you, “THIS IS THE ONE!” I really think there is a click when the chemistry is right. I know I’ve felt it when I met someone that was going to become a life-long friend (as opposed to an acquaintance). That subliminal understanding that this is more than just a person I like, this is a kindred, etc…

 

So, the evening is going well, the conversation is moving with only minimal nervous jitters, and at the end of the night you say to yourself, “Did anything happen? Do I want to see this person again? Would I have rather watched TV?” When that happens, do you let it drop or do you give it another shot, just incase you missed something? And then, how do you separate the click from mere physical interest? Do you date endlessly hoping that ho-hum will become “Hoooooo BABY!”

 

My vote is, go with your gut. If there’s no click, there’s a reason. When you’re with someone that is going to truly matter in your life, you feel it at a level beyond just a nice evening. If the click ain’t there, most likely it isn’t coming on the next bus either. So call it a pleasant meeting, let it be that, and move on. Who knows, your soulmate may be waiting to meet you while you’re out hoping one more date with the wrong person will do it! (Assuming that there is only one…)

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Sunday, 4/2/06

 

… But he’s perfect for her!

 

I know I said I’d post this last week… No excuses, just that gearing up to our big April event at work has taken a lot more of my time then I care to admit… I’m not, as I usually do, writing this from the comfort and warmth of my study in my Culver City home, surrounded by candles and mood lighting. Rather, I’m in my office near Glendale, California, taking a break to let my brain un-fry after a much too long week that’s not yet over. But enough of that.

 

Last time around I was dealing with the loss of a friend and the confusion over my responses to TV versus reality (and no, TV isn’t reality, no mater the programming hype!). Lisa, a real person I knew and respected had died, but I didn’t cry until Dana, a fictional character on TV also lost her fight with breast cancer.

 

I was dismayed, to say the least, that TV actors in role had a deeper impact than real people. But I also was able to step back a second and examine something. Now I ask you, loyal readers (and those of you who thought this was a porn site but stayed to see what it was); How many of you sit and yell at the TV, hoping your favorite character will do as you know they should instead of what it looks like they’re going to?

 

Oh come on! Get those hands up! I know a lot more of you than that perch on the edges of your couches shouting, “Don’t go in there! Wait till your friend catches up!”, “It’s a trap, don’t do it!” or (and this is mostly the girls, but I know you guys do it too) “How can she dump him?! He’s perfect for her!”

 

Ok, most of you know I’m a Sex and the City junkie, though I have to admit that I don’t think Carey is the end all/be all. Personally, I like a girl somewhere between Charlotte’s sweet and cute innocence and Samantha’s sultry independent spirit. I guess I’m saying that if Samantha and Charlotte ever had a daughter… (Hmmm… now there’s an interesting thought!)

 

Back to Carey… During season three she met and began dating, without a doubt, the most perfect guy she had in the whole series, Aden Shaw. Played by the hunky and thoughtful John Corbin, he was a furniture designer/builder (artistic and mechanical, both), honest and forthright, easy to look at, and by all appearances, a great kisser! So much so that Carey actually bought a chair he made (“I stripped this leather off an old railroad car seat. It’s over 100 years old!”) and tried to quit smoking. He had a loyal dog, a cabin in the woods of Upstate New York, and that boyish smile…

 

And yet, while he was refinishing her hardwood floors, Carey ended up having an affair with her ex, Mr. Big (hunky but terminally unavailable Chris Noth). Aden was, understandably, crushed. How else could a strong yet sensitive modern man be? He even thought about it for a day or so before he told her he couldn’t be with her; he wished she’d never told him about it.

 

I, as well as many of you, sighed in great sadness. Carey had thrown away the best thing that ever happened to her. And we all breathed deeply when they finally got back together. But then her neurotic ramblings kicked into high gear as she discovered an engagement ring in his jacket pocket; it was a pear shaped diamond, “how could he think I’d like that?” However, when he finally did propose, kneeling in the street, he offered her the perfect ring (thanks to Samantha) and she accepted.

 

So then, how could she, halfway through the season, break it off with him, leaving him wondering, “I can’t believe I’m here again!” How could such a cool and hip icon of modern confused femininity turn away the perfect guy, not once, but twice? How could New York’s single’s survival guru dis-engage from a guy that all the straight women in the city (and a few gay ones) would die for?

 

Ok, here’s the epiphany; Aden was the perfect guy, for me. He’s outdoorsy and rugged, but refined enough to put on a suit to go out, even if he’d rather stay in with a bucket of chicken. Carey ain’t me, and so that wonderful rusticness was totally lost on her. She’s a child of the city, as the song says, “concrete under your feet”. And, in final examination, Carey is far and away too self indulged to ever adapt for the likes of guy who’s ok living with “my squirrel”, a dog named Pete, and a rough wood cabin on a dirt lot among the trees.

 

Carey is Menolo’s, Jimmy Choo’s, Armani, Versace, Dolce and Gibana. And god love her for it! But she’s not a girl who can set her “look” aside and learn to appreciate subtle and earthy values. I talked about it in my book, she’s of the mind that food comes, not from the store wrapped in plastic, but that it comes from a fine restaurant with an exclusive reservation list where the most elegant and happening people are seen. She could never have hunted beside Grandaddy, bloodying her hands and seeing the cost of life. $485 for a gorgeous pair of silver strappy sandals takes no thought, although she does admit her shoe situation is “substance abuse”.

 

My point is; I thought Aden was the perfect guy because I wanted him to be! I loved the idea of him taking her back to the earth, yet keeping her style and flash. I couldn’t look at her and say, “You’re too shallow for such a great guy”, or “You and Big are a better match, neither of you can live off the concrete”.

 

And back here in the real world (not the TV real world, the actual real world), there are an awful lot of us trying to tell our girlfriends/buddies that he/she’s perfect for them, never realizing that what we really mean is; they’re perfect for us… We project our expectations and desire until we can’t see that what we need in a mate/friend isn’t what our friend needs. Carey (or whoever you’re shouting to) isn’t going to change into you, so she isn’t going to be a perfect match for the one you fantasize about.

 

And for that matter, let’s stop trying to make our partners into the perfect fantasy and accept who they are and what they need. After all, it’s not TV, and plot twists aren’t determined by the writing staff. Celebrate the things that drew you to them in the first place and never forget that you fell for them for a reason…

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Sunday, 3/19/06

 

What’s real, and why…?

 

Two things I need to talk about, though I’ll save one for next week. The first is why it’s been so hard for me to get thing out of my head and posted lately. The second is what I’m saying with the intro line.

 

Yesterday Eddy and I were lounging over breakfast, watching Sex and the City. I’m on season four (again), though it had been so long since I had a disk in the machine I had forgotten which episode I was on. It turned out to be the one where Carey is dealing with being engaged to Aden, but still wanting her “single life”.

 

We watched it, did the dishes, and I found myself itching to get some thoughts on paper (disk). I hadn’t had that itch in a while, so I noticed it… I mean I really noticed it! And then I had wonder, am I taking all my inspiration from TV, or am I in competition with Carey Bradshaw? For crying out loud, that last line sounded like Carey!

 

Clearly, I have a muse, and she’s a substance addicted (shoes), over sexed, slightly pampered and self indulgent fictional character! How will I ever be able to face myself in the mirror knowing I need her antics to move me to my own passions? I suppose I feel like Miranda when she was dating the guy who couldn’t have sex without porn playing in the room! (Damn! There I go again!)

 

To put the sharpest of points on it, I must confess something. A week ago I learned that Lisa, a friend I hadn’t seen in two or three years, had lost her fight with breast cancer. She was one of the finest, most refined and articulate ladies I have known in California, and I grieved for her when she’d had a radical mastectomy four or five years back. I watched how she carried herself with poise and dignity, bald as a cue ball, wearing a wide-brimmed sun hat and a smile that came from deep inside.

 

I was saddened when I heard the news, but not surprised, as the last I heard she’d been sick again. Saddened, but not moved to tears. The tears came last Sunday night when Dana also died of breast cancer after a mastectomy. Only Dana is a character on The L Word, played by Erin Douglas. She isn’t real, I’ve never met her, and she isn’t really dead.

 

But yet, there I was in my living room, Eddy’s arms around me, crying myself hoarse. I’m hoping that seeing it in front of me was really just bringing out the tears I wanted to shed for Lisa.

 

One last thing before I go, and you know it’s coming! Girls, GET YOUR MAMOGRAMS! Do your self exams, talk to your doctors, read the literature, and take this seriously! Sure, you’re young and may even still be immortal, but soon you’ll be a little older and life will be able to get you… It is your life, and it could be your death. I don’t want to have to cry over you during some TV show.

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Tuesday, 2/28/06

 

Of love, relationships and stuff…

 

Maybe I spend too much time trying to solve friend’s problems. Maybe my natural inclination is to try and make everything alright. Maybe I’m just a busybody sticking my nose in where it doesn’t belong… Naaaaaw!

 

I’ve been talking a lot with a dear friend lately and trying to help them find a solution to what may not even be a problem. Truth is, they don’t know for sure, and the tricks the mind plays are possibly much worse than the reality. But then again, the reality could be just what they suspect it might be…

 

What they have is a partner who has restored their faith in great sex. Let me restate that; actually, they have so far exceeded what had been the accepted reality that it borders on fantasy level great! Repeatedly, and on a regular basis.

 

I know you’re saying “That’s a problem I wish I had!” Yes, it’s a lot more than so many folks have; what many would give up body parts to get. But there’s more. My friend wants an actual relationship; shared weekends, sleepovers, going away together, hanging out at each other’s places… You know, all the stuff that goes with love and relationships. And herein lies the rub.

 

One partner is satisfied with mind blowing, intoxicating, fantasy level sex. The other partner wants all that and the stuff as well. The conundrum; is there a way to take what they have together and grow it into the love, relationships and stuff? Or does one have to settle for either great sex and no relationship or a relationship with mediocre sex? Should they turn away from a know great and incredibly rare thing in order to risk a shot at the whole banana, or shut up and enjoy the stuff without the love and relationship?

 

And here’s the hardest part, how do they broach the topic without hurting each other? My friend doesn’t want to hurt the partner, but how to ask for what they cannot give? And why can’t they give it anyway? Too many thoughts come to mind here, and speculation is too tricky. Is there someone else? Is there some terrible secret? Is it fear and denial or denial and fear?

 

I’ll keep you posted, if I don’t go nuts in the process…

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Monday, 2/20/06

 

Where have I been anyway…?

 

“Geez Red, you haven’t posted anything in a really long time! What’s up girl? You off on a vacation or something?” [brrreeeport] 

 

No, I haven’t been on vacation. Truth be told, I’ve just been home, plugging away, working and playing and living life. I haven’t been exceptionally busy, it’s just been the usual workload. There’s no lack of things in the media to comment on; Idiots rioting over cartoons, the Vice President’s hunting accident, racist Mayor’s making stupid comments that would have had anyone else tarred and feathered in the town square… Oh yeah, it’s all going on, but I just haven’t sat down and written anything…

 

Maybe you can chalk it up to being pretty content here at home. I have little to harp about on my own front, so I’ve not been motivated to get on my soapbox. Or possibly it’s apathy, having had so much to overload me for so long that I’ve lost taste for the routine things that I could talk about. Then again, maybe I’ve been starved for feedback and that’s why I’ve been unmotivated lately.

 

If I had to guess, I think the answer lies behind door #3. I know a lot of you guys can relate to this; you used to bring your lady flowers, write her notes, leave her messages, but then you realized that there was no response or she began to take it for granted, and you stopped. (Sorry ladies, this is more a guy thing. If it stops working, they stop doing it. And btw, if you do respond, he’ll start doing those nice things again!) Well, I’ve been posting here for more than a year now; adding features, changing formats, asking for input, and the truth is that I really wonder if anyone’s even listening.

 

Sure, there are a few close friends who tell me they saw something on the site or read something I wrote, and talk to me about it. But by far the majority of you never even let on you’ve been here! I know I’m just a small time blogger; I don’t attack major corporations or post political satire, but I would like to know that someone is out there either appreciating or even hating my efforts!

 

Maybe I’m whining over nothing. After all, I didn’t start this so people could pay attention to me. I started it so I could reach out to others. The problem is, I have no idea if anyone is listening, so I can’t tell if my work/play is having any effect at all! I want it to mean something, my tirades, quips and ponderings. Don’t we all want our thoughts to matter to someone? Isn’t that why we go online in the first place, to connect with something outside our front yard?

 

So, how about a little feed back? How about telling all your friends to tune in and check out the excerpts and journals? How about helping me do what I came here to do; help someone!

 

Or, maybe it’s just my moods…

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Sunday, 1/29/06

 

Why am I having trouble with this…?

 

Most of you know that I am a very unashamed bisexual. I don’t go flaunting it, I don’t have a rainbow flag flying from my rooftop, I don’t march in the Gay Pride parade, and I haven’t been with a woman since Eddy and I got serious (I’m attracted, but monogamous). Most of my co-workers have no idea I used to sleep with women, because it’s none of their business who I do or don’t, have or haven’t slept with. Nothing more or less than that, it’s just not something I wear on my sleeve. I make no qualms about letting people know if they ask, but my private life is just that, private.

 

[Side bar- Yes, I did write about much of my sexuality in my book, but that is a very different situation and for a very focused purpose.]

 

My close friends also know that I like to watch sexy women naked, making love, making love with other sexy women, and sometimes just walking down the street wearing clothes. In short, when it comes to women, I’m very visually stimulated.

 

I deeply enjoy movies and TV shows dealing with the emotional and romantic interactions of life. I have no problem if those interactions are straight or gay. I am addicted to Showtime’s “The L Word” and watch it religiously (not just for the naked women, mind you). So, why is it I found myself staring at what some might call a homophobic hypocrisy… in my mirror?

 

I don’t want to go see Brokeback Mountain. It’s not that I’m required to or anything like that, but if it’s such a great story; well written, acted, directed, photographed, why don’t I want to? I had to finally admit it; I don’t want to see two cowboys making love!

 

I thought long and hard about this. I have no interest in watching the series “Queer as Folk” either, even though I power watched seasons one and two of “The L Word”. For that matter, I’m, much more interested in Who Grace is dating than Jack or Will on “Will and Grace”.

 

And that took me back to something. Women have been kissing on TV for years and aside from some hooting from the boys, the reaction is fairly mild (excluding the Jerry Falwell crowd). But we don’t see men kissing on TV. They dedicated an episode of Will and Grace to that fact, demanding to know when two gay men would be shown kissing, and culminating in Will kissing Jack in front of Al Roaker on the Today show!

 

Why do we accept and even enjoy seeing women kiss, but not men? Am I a homophobe for feeling this way, or is it just biology at work?

 

One of the main differences between men and women is the way in which their brains process sexual stimulation. Men, for the most part, are visual, becoming aroused and “motivated” by the sight of a woman’s body. It’s primal, as the male is hardwired to seek out the best females to reproduce with in order to insure survival of the species.

 

Women on the other hand are, by and large, mentally stimulated. We require the idea of romance and mating ritual to work its way into our brains until we decide this is the right one. At least that’s how it’s supposed to work (subject for a future journal?).

 

And that’s why guys watch porn and girls read romance novels!

 

Except that some women, like me, are visual… At least in my case, visual when it comes to women. In all honesty, I don’t really get too excited about Playgirl and gay porn. Sure, I like the look of a studly guy being athletic and manly, but it moves me in a very different way than seeing an attractive women. Two women passionately kissing? That will get my fire burning. Two men in a feverish lip-lock… Sorry, it just doesn’t do it for me. Please don’t mistake it for intolerance or disdain; like the rest of what makes us gay, straight, or bi, it’s about attraction. And frankly, if you can figure that out, my hat is off to you.

 

I may see the movie, I hear it’s excellent. But I’m not rushing out to rent the past seasons of Queer as Folk. Sorry, just not my cup of tea; and I’m ok with that…

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Saturday, 1/28/06

 

Egads…!

 

OMAGAWD! Has it really been nearly three weeks since I posted anything? I feel like I just put this one up, and now it’s practically February! Last year went by awfully fast, and it looks like this year is going to slam me even quicker if I don’t get a handle on it soon!

 

Ok, I do have something I intend to post in the next couple of days. Sorry for those who’ve been so patiently waiting for something new and interesting. I tell you, it’s a good thing I don’t have an actual weekly column with editors and deadlines and all that! Whatever would I talk about? (Yeah, I know, I’d think of something…)

 

Promise, a thought provoking entry will be forethcoming.

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Sunday, 1/8/06

 

Surf together…

 

The letter usually goes something like this: “Red, I like to chat and flirt a little online, but it’s innocent and I never have actually met or slept with anyone besides my spouse. Do you consider it cheating? I would never do this in real life…”

 

My reply is almost always the same, “It depends; does your spouse know about it and would they be upset if they found out? Are you taking time, energy, focus away from your family with your online adventures? Are you spending offline time thinking about your online fantasy and wishing the fantasy could come true? Are you feeling guilty enough to write to me and ask my opinion hoping I’ll say it’s ok and make you feel better? If so, I’d say yes, you’re cheating.

 

I haven’t seen any statistics lately, but the fact is more and more people, men and women, are spending time that could be given to their partner, online. Where couple used to sit idly in front of the TV not talking, now they go off into other rooms and live fantasy lives or shop or what-have-you on the computer! And since the net is interactive, it makes it much more inviting and interesting than staring at a remake of a bad movie you didn’t really like the first time…

 

So, who am I to talk… Here it is Sunday night and I’m in my study fiddling around on the computer! Actually, Eddy and I have scheduled together time and alone time, just for this reason. Saturday morning is together time, we wake up, enjoy each other’s intimacy (that means make love if you missed it), and then do whatever the day has for us. Likewise we have intimate time set aside for Saturday night as well. On Sunday, we usually spend a little time with the Godsons if we can, and Sunday night we each get to have some alone time to talk to friends, work on stuff for ourselves, whatever.

 

The thing is, we have gone out of our way to make sure we don’t take time from each other and waste it. We focus our lives around our marriage and let the other things take lower priority. We still need to have those times, it’s healthy and it makes it that much more special when we are together. Even Dr. Laura dedicated a chapter in her book “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands” to “Guy’s Night Out”!

 

But, the core problem is couple who don’t communicate in the first place. I know that. She wants to watch Desperate Housewives and so he goes to the computer and plays “Annihilator Force” online with six guys he’s never met, because it makes him feel like someone is interacting with him. Or, he wants to “Explosion Guy IIIX” for the tenth time, so she logs onto a chat room and talks about how her deadbeat hubby never acts like the romantic guy he was in the beginning.

 

And maybe he looks at bimos.com for a while when he’s not gaming. Or maybe she talks with a nice guy who shows her some attention and speaks romantically…

 

I’ve talked a lot about how men will be more like the guy you married/fell in love with/started dating if their women show them the affection attention and appreciation they started out with. I’ve talked about how little things like not nagging and complaining can make him want to be there to hold you and cuddle with you like before. Well, I’m saying it again.

 

And in that direction, I’m sharing what Eddy and I did last night (no, not that part, but before that!) Many of you know I like to hang out on the Groups section at one of the Friend Finder network sites (AFF for short). I have a lot of friends there and we post threads that the others respond to and it’s a lot of fun. I usually go there to hang out after I finish working and before Eddy gets home. Last night we decided that it might be fun to surf together, so we both logged on and did the posting and replying!

 

It was a gas! I had so much fun talking with him and letting him ad his two cents worth! Ok, so it was a little harder to type while sitting on his lap, but that was fun too! We cruised some favorite sites, laughed and shared in new ways, and over all, had a great time!

 

My point is, whatever you are into, maybe, if you try, you can share it with them and take out one of the obstacles that you keep tripping over… Just maybe…

 

Linda

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