Journal Archives- 2004-2005

Sunday, 12/25/05

 

What matters…

 

Merry Christmas, and Happy Channukkah to all! The big day has arrived and is now winding down here in sunny California. Eddy and I have been enjoying the day with our best friends, Audrey and Doug, and savoring the joy as our Godsons reaped yet another year’s bountiful harvest!

 

I was raised in a tight family that shared plenty of time together. We did everything together and family celebrations were always special and happy for me. That made it all the more difficult when I lost my blood family and found myself nearly alone. I say nearly alone because the truth is I have always had friends who loved me, even when I didn’t necessarily see them…

 

But for Eddy and Doug who grew up in the foster care system and other institutions, being alone and without family was just part of the routine. If they happened to be in a home at Christmas or Channukkah, they got to participate as much as the family did, which varied greatly. Eddy did spend a couple of years with a Jewish family and learned a little about the Festival of Lights, the menorah, spinning the dradle, and other customs of Channukkah. Even so, there was always a feeling of not quite belonging.

 

Audrey’s father was often stationed out of country with the Air Force, or if he was stateside and the family was “together”, he was on alert much of the time. Her mother took the opportunity to be elsewhere if he was working, so Audrey learned early to fend for herself.

 

Like so much of my life, it was the meeting of the outcasts, oddballs, and “unwanteds” that resulted in bonding and extended family. First with Audrey, the friend who stood beside me when my world came apart. Then Eddy, the love who allowed me to be a part of his tightly ordered and protected world. Finally, as Audrey and Doug became a couple and rounded out the “circle” a new family was forged. Their boys came along and the family grew and the love flowed all the more.

 

So now, even when I have a struggle feeling the Christmas spirit, I have family to love and share with. Today served to remind me that some things matter, and some things don’t… Tomorrow I’m taking the day off from work and Eddy and I will be spending it with the boys! Audrey and Doug will be off celebrating their anniversary (13 lucky years!), and we’ll be taking over for a time. We’ll play and hang out, and most of all, we’ll be with our boys! It’s about family. It’s about what matters.

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Monday, 12/12/05

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… Finally!

 

I know, I’ve said it myself a time or two… Everything begins with your attitude! Well, it’s no secret that I have a hard time getting into the Christmas attitude when it’s sunny, clear, in the 70’s and we’re looking at an overnight low dipping into the 60’s! Snow happens in the mountains and passes, and at selected amusement parks scattered around the Southland, but I’m more likely to have to run my AC than my defroster while driving.

 

In short, how can it be Christmas when you can’t even tell if it’s really winter?

 

I have to confess that I have been steering clear of the stores and malls, just to avoid the mobs of assault shoppers and gift guerrillas. Nothing kills holiday feelings like people beating each other senseless over sale items!

 

Add to that a trip to the ER for a couple litters of IV fluids last week due to a “flu like virus” (Dr. speak for “we don’t have any idea what you have”), and my festive attitude was really taking a turn for the south…

 

Enter Santa’s helper and all around good guy, my very own Eddy. Some homemade chicken soup, a warm fire, a foot rub… By Saturday, he actually had me feeling human enough to throw some Christmas music on the CD, drag out the decorations, and make the living room into a place of holiday refuge and warmth! We set up the tree, strung some lights, set out some extra cinnamon scented candles… He even warmed up some spiced cider and viola!

 

Now, I’m still staying away from the malls, but I sure feel a lot more festive! Besides, now that I’m wrapping the Godson’s gifts, everything is falling into place and all is right with the world!

 

Merry Christmas, Happy Channukkah, and wishes for the most wonderful of New Years!

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Tuesday, 11/29/05

 

Dancing alone…

 

Ok, I’ll admit that my mood may have something to do with having spent the last hour watching episode 8 of The L Word, season one… (more on that later). It may also have something to do with a little white wine and the Lucinda Williams song they closed the show with… True confessions time: I just spent the last half hour dancing through my living room, all by myself, with no one watching.

 

The episode I saw was especially good, and dealt with a lot of deep emotions; coming out, being who you are, love for love’s sake and betrayal. They wound it down with Lucinda singing Those Three Days (Did you only need me for those three days? Did you only need me for those three days?) and the subtle perfection of the direction and music took me to a place so sensual and so emotionally soft that I couldn’t help myself. I submit the following poetic foray.

 

And so I danced.

 

I went to the CD rack, found Lucinda’s album, World Without Tears, and put it on the stereo. Her voice is like the finest aged whiskey, smooth and smoky but with bite and fire that you can’t feel till it’s too late to stop it from engulfing you. So I danced. The music is dark and open at the same time, evoking feelings from places in the heart normally hidden and protected. But she has a way of seducing the soul to let another in to that place, if only for a moment. I brilliant and jubilant moment that is so like losing control just long enough to be free of all the encumbrances of the world. And so I danced.

 

I love to dance, and I do it not often enough. Dancing is like making love with your clothes on, standing up, caught in the music. The music makes love to you, if you let it, if it’s able. Music, a lover that knows my soul and can bring me to my weakest and strongest simultaneously. It catapults me from the duties and responsibilities into the dreams and emotions. It ties me up and makes me feel the most raw and splendid emotions; brings smiles and tears at the same instant; heartbreak and redemption.

 

So I danced…(apologies to the faint of heart)

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Thursday, 11/24/05

 

The Season begins…

 

It doesn’t seem like Thanksgiving. At least, to me, it really doesn’t, not yet. Sure, the stores have had Christmas decorations up since before Halloween, but that hasn’t done it for me. My favorite radio station here in town has begun playing Christmas music 24/7 this week, but that doesn’t make it feel like late November to me either. Somehow, bad renditions of Rockin Around The Christmas Tree and plastic snowmen don’t say holiday spirit in my mind.

 

It’s 80 degrees in LA and I’ve been driving with the AC on all week. I suppose I should be used to it by now, but I’m not. Thanksgiving is supposed to be different, cold and crisp, bare trees… I think I’ll never let go of what this day used to bring in my life.

 

There are the customary wonderful smells coming from the kitchen, and that helps some. Eddy is doing the sides this year and Doug is spit roasting the turkey. We’ll be heading over early to Audrey, Doug and the boy’s house to have our annual feast before she has to head in for her shift in Hollywood division. Seeing them will make it more like that time of year, I know.

 

We’ll dine in family style, eat too much, I’ll polish off the last of the mashed potatoes. Then, when the boys are settling to get to bed, we’ll head home and I’ll do the one thing that will make it truly Thanksgiving for me. Once again, I’ll go into Daddy’s old Wells Fargo Express Co. safe, remove four rifles and clean them. Daddy’s, Grandaddy’s, Richard’s and mine. Our deer hunting rifles, long silent, except to speak to me of the traditions of my youth.

 

Before Daddy and Richard died, as long as I can remember, the Friday after Thanksgiving has meant our annual deer hunt. This was where Grandaddy taught me to admire, respect and value all that we had and all that life holds. He taught me the sanctity of life itself, and the cost of survival. He taught me that there is far more to living than not dieing or having creature comforts. The day would end with bone weary exhaustion from doing the hard work of stalking, dressing, and packing out the animal that’s life was taken to sustain others. It meant I would be bloodied, often cut, always tired, and as close to heaven and peace as I have ever known.

 

Tonight I’ll take down each of our guns and carefully inspect them for rust and wear, run an oiled patch or two down the bores to protect them, reassemble and function test them, and lock them safely away, never again to perform the costly and life-giving work they were made to do. Like an ancient marker stone that tells the story of struggles long set aside, they will serve now only to remind me of family and love and the life I have been given. Rather than sadness at what has passed, they remind me to look ahead to days yet to be and be thankful.

 

May God richly bless you all, and may we all be reminded of the gifts this life has given us, either by providence or the sweat of our labor. Thanks as always to the men and women who shed their blood to defend and protect us, on the streets and in the many far off lands where freedom is threatened. Now it’s staring to feel a little more like Thanksgiving…

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Monday, 11/14/05

 

No nits to pick…

 

It’s a languid, sunny Monday in LA, with a slight chill to the air. I’ve spent the weekend doing little but spending time with my hubby and relaxing around the house. I’ve been pondering what to write about, looking for cause to champion or an injustice to crusade over. You know what I decided? I decided it’s ok to just talk about a good weekend and leave the dragon slaying to another day…

 

A little over a week ago I had to cancel out of one of my weekly treats, spending an hour or so on the phone with a dear friend. I had to cancel because I had run myself so long and hard at work that I was literally falling asleep sitting up. Eddy was out of town, and as usual, I had allowed myself to over commit at the office and forgotten to recharge my batteries.

 

Would the office have collapsed if I had said no to a few extra hours? Not really. Would financial ruin have been visited upon the masses? I doubt it. Would society as we know it have ground to a halt as anarchy erupted in the San Fernando Valley? Unlikely… So, why didn’t I just say “I think I’ve given enough for one day, I need to go home now.”?

 

Well, like many, I lose sight of what’s important when presented with a series of tiny fires that “simply must be put out now”. I forget that those same problems and hurdles will be there in the morning if I have dinner at home or go see a friend. I get my ego tied up in the demands of a boss who will gladly manipulate any who will respond… In short, I like to feel needed, so I just can’t seem to say “Someone else can take that project, I’m already committed.” I want everyone to know I DID THIS TOO! (stands on desk and drums chest).

 

So, at the prompting of my beloved, we took the whole weekend to just indulge and kick back. I didn’t dust, he didn’t vacuum, no household projects were undertaken. He cooked and I did the dishes, but other than that, it was a no work weekend. And you know what? I feel good enough today to go out and slay a few of those darned dragons! I feel refreshed and loved and important to the people who actually matter! I don’t need to prove to my boss or my coworkers how indispensable I am, he knows it and that’s why he keeps paying me! He’ll have to be content with 115% of required that I already give!

 

This candle has a wick at only one end, and that’s that! Now, I think I’ll take a short nap before I tackle the next big project on my list…

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Friday, 10/28/05

 

A great day for Los Angeles…!

 

I’m the first to admit that I’m not much of a sports fan. Except for hockey, I really don’t care much about the games or the teams, or even the players. However, when your team wins the big game, you gotta shout and get on board!

 

So, let me shout a loud congratulations to Los Angeles for winning the World Series! For the first time since 1917, the Los Angels White Sox have swept the best of seven series to take the title of the world champions!

 

“Wait a minute Red, the Sox are from Chicago, Illinois…” you say to me. Yeah, sure, of course they are, so what? Ok, I suppose I should back up and clarify…

 

Last year, the Anaheim Angels, formerly known as the California Angels, changed their name to the Los Angels Angeles of Anaheim. Forget that they still play in Anaheim California, about 45 miles from Los Angeles. Never mind that they play in Orange County, not LA County. “It’s about marketing” we were told, “We can sell more merchandise, get better TV spots, attract larger crowds with the name Los Angeles attached to the franchise!” Sure, the city of Anaheim sued the franchise and the mayor had to boycott all the team’s games up to the playoffs, but it’s about the money, right?

 

Well, I was talking with a friend and I decided that it’s simply unfair for one team to get all the marketing advantage of being an LA team even though they’re not really an LA team. If the Angels of Anaheim can be an LA team for the financial goodies, why can’t all the other teams get that same marketing advantage? It’s only fair right?

 

And so, I am hereby launching the “Every team is an LA team” campaign! It’s easy, and with the help of you and everyone you know, we can right this injustice. Here’s how it works: from now on we refer to every team out there as the Los Angeles _________ of (where they’re from). For example, the Los Angeles White Sox of Chicago just trounced the Los Angeles Astros of Houston. While the LA Angeles of Anaheim were looking good for a while, they lost to the LA Yankees of New York and were out of the running. See how easy this is? And if everyone helps, we can make it right!

 

So, whatever your team calls itself now, it’s up to you to call them the LA Packers of Green Bay, the LA Eagles of Philadelphia, the LA Wild of Minnesota, the LA Redwings of Detroit, the LA Devils of New Jersey, the LA Coyotes of Phoenix, etc…I know it will take a little time to get used to, but we owe it to our teams to help them reap the marketing windfall due them but as yet denied!

 

I do realize that it will get a little weird in some things, like if the LA Rams of Saint Louis play the LA Raiders of Oakland. Then again, I have it on good authority that LA doesn’t want those teams calling themselves LA anyway.

 

I have to run now, LA is playing LA at home and LA is up by 2 in the second. I trust that LA is good enough to rally and pass up LA, but if they can’t get their defense together, LA has no chance of getting to the playoffs. Hey, I’m a diehard LA fan, so I’m behind my team till the end, win or lose! Go LA! Go LA! Go LA! Gotta love that home team crowd!

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Sunday, 10/23/05

 

I’m Linda and I’m not in crisis…

 

It’s been a little while since I posted, and I was thinking about why, and what to write about. Sometimes I like to rant about something that has my hackles up, other times there is some great issue that needs to be addressed. Occasionally, I just want to talk about what’s on my mind… It seems like recently I haven’t had anything burning a hole in my brain that needed to be said.

 

In passing the other day, I asked a friend if there were any crisis in the world, since I needed a topic. She looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language, “Of course, there’s lots of crisis out there!” I knew there were, and I know it now, but for some reason I felt oddly crisis free at the time I asked the question. My world was at peace, I wasn’t hungry, no one I knew had died or had pain… It was as if I were looking only at my little bubble and declaring, based on my perspective, the world was as it should be.

 

But the world isn’t as it should be; the country is at war, gas is $3.00 a gallon, there are diseases without cure, petty and major criminals at large, and there’s that thing in the Middle East too… But on my block it was nice that day. I couldn’t believe I had become so complacent and short sighted. Had I lost my mind or was it simply temporary insensitivity? Or, was I simply “accepting what I cannot change”?

 

In many of the support groups I have had contact with the concept of personal crisis is addressed each meeting. “Hi, I’m Linda and today I’m not in crisis.” Move on to the next gal, “Hi, I’m Jane and I am in crisis.” Then Jane goes on to tell us about the thing in her life that has her looking for answers today. “My drug addicted son and his 17  year old pregnant girlfriend got kicked out of their apartment and are now living in a Datsun parked up the block and I think they broke in and stole all my jewelry to sell for drug money…” Sad, but it’s still not my problem, my world is fine.

 

I know this is much more common than anyone cares to admit. As a mater of fact, I think this is a crisis! We, people, unless something directly effects us, really don’t care much… Ok, I know there are lot of us out there banging nails with Habitat for Humanity right beside President Carter, but over all, if it’s not our pet cause, it isn’t there. I’ve seen this in many places, though it’s much more the way of the big town rather than he small. Even so, it happens there too.

Or, is it that many of us have been so overwhelmed by all the crisis of the last few months that we have to step out of it and feel safe for a little while, just to keep from imploding? Hurricanes, floods, fires, and now the rains here in California are bringing the mudslides. I’ve got too much on my worry plate, so keep your bird-flu to yourself, thanks so much.

 

And then again, is it possible that my euphoric sense of peace and well being comes from without? Namely, the media without sweeps coming up and no reason to bombard us with all the things that will kill us in our own homes this week. Nuke the gay baby whales for Christ day has passed, and so has its parade of pity. Do we need to be drummed up to care about things?

 

Then, it just could be that we have gotten so used to all the noise and calamity, so it’s normal to us now. Maybe we’ve hit the saturation point and with fifteen different colored wrist bands, have lost the capacity to get excited about things. Although I did see Slurpee wrist bands for sale at the 7-11 right next to the LiveStrong and Breast Cancer Awareness wrist bands.

 

I’ve had my mammogram for the year, by the way. It’s Breast Cancer awareness month you know! Maybe we do need to be drummed up to act in our own best interests…

 

Linda

 

>>>>> 

Sunday, 10/9/05

 

How many women will it take…?

 

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, and it’s my signal to get out on my soap box (like I need an excuse?) and bang the drum a while.

 

I’m having a little trouble putting together something to talk about it though… I had written about a page, being very dramatic and persuasive, but I hated it so I scrapped the whole thing! Some days I don’t feel creative enough, and it frustrates me! Especially when it’s this important.

 

What am I trying to say, and why can’t I seem to get it out in an articulate manner? I think it’s just that breast cancer is a killer, maimer, and destroyer of lives and bodies. There’s no cure yet, but 87% of those who detect the disease early survive. If you had an 87% chance of hitting the lotto, you’d drop a dollar, don’t even bother saying you wouldn’t!

 

So, if the chances of “winning” are that good, why don’t more of us get our annual mammogram? Why aren’t 100% of women doing monthly breast self-exams? Why aren’t we educating ourselves so we can catch it early and kill the invader in our own bodies before it takes over?

 

I’m over 40 with a family history of cancer. I get a mammogram every year, and I perform my self-exams every month like clockwork. Do you? When’s the last time you did do a self-exam? Do you even know how?

 

Do I need to come over there and slap some sense into you, or are you going to save your own life girl? Sure, it’s scary to think about checking for the “big C”! It’s a hell of a lot more scary to sit in a doctor’s office and hear him say things like “Mastectomy”, “Severe tissue involvement”, or “inoperable”. Trust me on this one, as hard as it may be to face the possibility, it’s easier than dealing with the results of denial. It’s easier on you, and much easier on the people you love… For them, learn how to help yourself.

 

The Susan G. Koman Breast Cancer Foundation http://www.komen.org is a great resource, use it and live. Get a mammogram, do your self-exams, and stay healthy and alive for a very long time. Don’t make me come over there… unless it’s for a hug.

 

 

Linda

 

>>>>> 

Friday, 9/30/05

 

Getting out of town!

 

 

It’s been an incredibly long couple of weeks around here and I am finally done with one of the most time consuming and laborious projects I have ever been involved in. The work is done, the proposals approved, and the signatures are dried on the dotted line…

 

And I am getting OUTTA HERE!

 

Bet you thought I’d have something deep and profound to say? Well, to tell the truth my brain has been used entirely too much over the course, and it’s now on strike! I’ve been working my ass off, and that is one thing I never want to lose! So, I am grabbing my hubby, packing a few things, dropping the top on the Camero and pointing it North. Other than a stop for dinner at Jocko’s in Nipomo, I have no idea nor do I care where we go or what we do, as long as it’s not here!

 

How bout you? You been working your ass off? Well, somehow, some way, get your ass out of town before it’s gone altogether! You need some time and you better get it soon or I’m coming after you, got that? (wink)

 

Ok, friends and loves, take care and I’ll get you something from wherever we stop…

 

** Our love and prayers go out to the folks here in Cali that are fleeing their homes due to the fires. Take care and don’t do anything foolish…

 

Linda

 

>>>>> 

Thursday, 9/22/05

 

What’s love got to do with it…?

 

In the world in general out there, people are looking for something. Some are looking for love, some want companionship, some need contact, and the rest just want sex. Now, I would be very willing to wager that of those who just want sex, there is actually a large portion who really want love, companionship and contact, but either can’t admit it or simply don’t know it.

 

Before you ask, yes, I am going to base this thesis upon the experiences of a close friend or two who shall remain nameless. And no, I haven’t been sitting in the house watching Sex and the City and eating popcorn in two hour blocks! Seriously, I really do think about this stuff on my own!

 

There is a man, lets call him Mr. A, and he met a lady who we’ll refer to as Miss B. They hit it off quickly, finding they had a vast amount of common interest and experience, as well as feeling unusually comfortable with each other. They found that they enjoyed each other’s company, liked to do the same things, even loved much of the same music. To make it fairytale perfect, they even found that they were amazingly well suited as lovers, experiencing some of the most satisfying lovemaking that either could recall.

 

Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? So you ask me, “What’s the problem?” Well, really, there is no problem. In fact many people would be perfectly happy to have what A and B have (especially the sex). They have a relationship in which they communicate, share personal closeness, and fulfill the most important of human needs, they touch. In fact, they like each other an awful lot.

 

“Hey Red, you said like. Don’t you mean love?” you ask me. Actually, I meant like, although love isn’t out of the question. The fact is, A and B have been dating for only a short time and on top of that, neither one really is sure what they want in the long term yet. They have talked and agree that for now, and maybe for a long while, they want to share each other’s companionship and intimacy. It could possibly become love over time, but as of this date, it’s not.

 

“But don’t you have to have love to make sex all that it can be?” In truth, I think you do. I think that for sexuality to reach its absolute pinnacle, there has to be a deep caring and mutual respect for each other, and that usually is a part of love. But I also know that if two people are naturally caring and respectful in general, it’s possible for them to share that level of intimacy, even without being “in love”. But, it’s exceedingly rare.

 

But I have a question. If Mr. A and Miss B keep up the relationship, will it “have to” result in “falling in love”, or can it remain what it is? Can they go on enjoying, communicating, and making love, but never develop deeper feelings? Will one or the other begin to feel slighted when they develop feeling the other doesn’t have? In a nutshell, can this storybook good thing last?

 

I believe that there are two possible roads that Mr. A and Miss B will find themselves on. They’ll either fall madly in love and their relationship will grow as they care for it. Or, they will reach a point where, as great as it was, they need to call it quits and find “someone to love”. They may stay friends, or maybe not, but I have a small prediction; if this is the path they wind up on, they’ll have a hell of a time finding anyone to fill those fairytale shoes…

 

Linda

 

>>>>> 

Wednesday, 9/7/05

 

Everybody, somebody, anybody, nobody…

 

There’s an old saying about personal responsibility that goes something like this:

 

There were four people working at a job; their names were Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. One day there was task that Everybody was supposed to do. Everybody knew that Somebody was bound to do it, and truth be told, Anybody could have done it. Everybody was sure that Anybody or Somebody would do it, so Everybody didn’t do it. Instead, Nobody did it. Everybody knew that the responsibility was Somebody’s, and Anybody had the ability to get it done, but since Everybody left it to Anybody to do, in the end, Nobody did it.

 

Preparing for an emergency is a lot like this story. Everybody (that’s us) knows that natural disasters happen, and in some place are inevitable. Everybody should figure out their individual responsibility in that emergency and be ready when it happens. Except in our “pass the buck” world, it seems everybody is waiting on somebody to do it for them. Of course, anybody who is unable to fully do for themselves can be helped by everybody that can, unless everybody is sitting around waiting for somebody to do it for them. If that’s the case, nobody will be ready, and everybody else will be unprepared.

 

When I lived in South Dakota, we all kept survival kits in our vehicles well into April or May. It wasn’t because we were paranoid, panicky, or even doomsayers. It was because all it takes is one really good storm to leave you stranded in your car for days, and without blankets, water, and some other necessities, you could easily freeze to death!

 

I am deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life and property in Louisiana that we are seeing day in and day out on the news. I can’t begin to imagine the horror, pain, and loss that those people have and will suffer. But what sickens me to my soul is the finger pointing and blame gaming that the politicos have taken up to puff up their individual war chests and egos! Michael Moore says the National Guard is in Iraq, and so that’s the problem. The Democrats say that the president acted too slowly, and that’s the problem. Weak willed Republicans want to distance themselves from the media’s attack on the President, so they decry the “extreme” segments of the party. And then there is the guy who called the Rush Limbaugh show on Tuesday and claimed that the real reason is that Republicans want to kill all the blacks so they can get a bigger portion of the southern vote… I think I may just throw up!

 

The city of New Orleans lies at three feet BELOW sea level. They know this, and have for hundreds of years. That’s why they built the levees in the first place, to hold back the water. The gulf Coast is subject to heavy tropical storms and hurricanes, this has been going on since the last ice age. So, if everyone knew a storm was coming, why is it that nobody prepared? The Mayor and the Governor had emergency evacuation plans that included the use of school and city/municipal buses to remove even the poorest of the poor, but those buses are all under water now.

 

The President met with the Governor on the Sunday before Katrina hit, and he worked out a plan for the federal government to assist the city and state in doing the job that was their responsibility, but the Governor said it was too complicated and she wanted to think it over for 24 hours… Somebody could have done something, but nobody did.

 

The people in the flood area (everybody) could have begun moving to higher ground, but they just knew that somebody would fix it all and they wouldn’t need to do it. Anybody could have taken action, but nobody did.

 

Now everybody is mad, because they counted on somebody to save them. Anybody could have prepared, everybody needed to prepare, somebody should have prepared, but since nobody did, everybody’s dead or homelss.

 

Now, if everybody will stop blaming somebody and anybody who can will get to work, nobody will have time to whine about what nobody did.

 

From our house, our thoughts and prayers go out to the people whose lives have been uprooted and tossed aside in the wake of this disaster.

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Saturday, 8/27/05

 

Gone, but never to be forgotten…

 

The sun is sinking over the Pacific, there’s a golden cast spreading outside my windows, and a memory is pouring through my speakers. Today marks a sad reminder that a true artist and resilient spirit is gone from our midst. His sweet whiskey voice cries out over the smoking Texas Blues he’s wringing from his Fender Stratocaster. Tonight makes 15 years since Blues legend Stevie Ray Vaughn perished in a helicopter crash somewhere between Wisconsin and Chicago.

 

As I type, he’s singing still, a song called Tightrope, about his brave battle to escape the bondage of drug and alcohol addiction, walking a “tightrope” only to find he could live without them. Stevie Ray beat his addictions, found new life and hope in sobriety, and put his heart and soul into telling any who would listen that they could be survivors as well. As incredible a talent as he was, his star seemed to shine even brighter without the cloud of chemicals dimming it.

 

He grew up, surrounded by music, and early became enraptured in the magic of Jimmy Hendrix and his ground breaking look at the Blues. But rather than just copy, Stevie Ray took what he learned from Hendrix and the other great Bluesmen and made it his own. He took the Texas flavor, his smooth-graveled voice, and made the Blues speak anew to listeners, many who had never actually listened to the Blues except through the filter of Rock and Roll’s decent from it. In many ways, Stevie Ray made the Blues accessible to the rest of America, not just the usual suspects.

 

But he took something along for the ride, right beside us. His rise to stardom and fame took him from the world of the Southern Hard Drinker into the world of uncontrolled excess. As his star rose higher, so did his abuses, and they took their toll. It was years before he hit the point, but with failing health and increasing concern from all around him, something had to break through or he would surely have gone the way of Jimmy, Janis, Keith Moon, Bon Scott, Jim Morrison, and countless great souls lost before their time.

 

Recovery was difficult, to be sure. It always is. But with support from friends and family, Stevie and his crew would hold 12 step meetings backstage every night. Life on the road is hard enough, but they found a way to live out sobriety, even in that world.

 

His career was again on the rise, and his music infused with a new vigor and desire to share his good news with the world. Like an evangelist, he used the Blues to speak about sobriety, denial, recovery, and finding that the people who loved him were there the whole time. Songs like Crossfire, Wall of Denial, Tightrope, Life by the Drop and others made it all the more real, and he walked the walk while talking the talk.

 

He even went into the studio with his brother Jimmy and together they cut an album, Family Style. Life was looking good for Stevie Ray Vaughn.

 

Why the helicopter crashed we will never fully understand, or why life should play such a cruel trick as to snatch him from us. That fateful night he had played a show with his brother Jimmy, Eric Clapton, and others, and they all wound up the night together jamming to Sweet Home Chicago. It was like a tribute, unknowing and heartfelt, sending him off to eternity, as he never did reach Chicago that night.

 

But he did leave us something wonderful to remember him by. His music will live on, as will the message and meaning of this artist of sound and word. Ironically, the soft and haunting strains of Riviera Paradise have just begun to flow from my speakers. In concert, Stevie Ray would dedicate this very song to “those who still suffer”… And I so dedicate this… Stevie Ray, we’ll miss you, but you are still reaching us my brother.

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Friday, 8/19/05

 

Can we handle the truth…?

 

I heard something today that has my mind reeling. It seems there’s a tremendous controversy that’s arisen from a recent ad campaign. Ok, so we all know that advertisers thrive on controversy, doing whatever they can to incite our curiosity and generate stir over their products. If it’s not some brainless bimbo in a bathing suit eating a burger while washing a car, then it’s something worse (?).

 

So, what’s different about this new buzz? It seems that someone has tried something virtually unheard of in advertising, and they have the modeling agencies in an uproar. Dove has had the audacity to use real women of real size and build in their ad campaign…

 

Ok, now that you’ve done a double take and reread the paragraph, no, I didn’t mistype. All across America, there are billboards featuring several women, size 6 through 12, dressed in tasteful white bikinis, extolling the virtues of Dove products. Real live women, mothers, sisters, daughters, all beautiful and desirable, and not a “supermodel” in the bunch!

 

So, why in the world is a picture of a woman who looks like you, your sister, your girlfriend, your wife, creating a stir? Well, when was the last time someone tried to sell you something by telling the truth and saying “People just like you benefit from our product”? I can’t recall too many, and certainly none of them for beauty products!

 

A few weeks ago, I saw a commercial featuring Jessica Simpson talking about how her acne had to be digitally airbrushed out of her videos until she used the advertiser’s miracle agent. Even if I had an acne problem, I doubt I would buy a cure from a woman who admits that nothing about her image is real! Frankly, I don’t eat while washing my truck, and I certainly don’t do a stripper act while doing it either. Even if I thought the mindless twit in that commercial was “hot” (I don’t, I like girls with meat on their bones, and a brain!), this wouldn’t entice me to buy the burger.

 

“But men see it and buy” you tell me? Well, how many of you guys out there buy beauty products? Thought so. And the burger place, they’re the ones who tell us that men are too stupid to buy or cook food, so they’d starve if not for them! (Sorry, my Eddy is a GREAT cook, and I yield the kitchen to him as HIS!)

 

The average woman in America today is 5’4” and weighs 140 pounds. The average “supermodel” is 5’11” and weighs 117 pounds. (Just for reference, I’m 5’10” and 144, but I’ve had a hysterectomy, so I’m about 10 pounds lighter than I would be.) If I may quote Jena Jamison, when asked if “they’re real”, “Sure, it’s totally normal for a 110 pound woman to have DD breasts!” In an interview with one of the women from the ad, she said she was a size 6 (two sizes smaller than me), but had been turned down by model agencies because they don’t handle “plus size women”! Plus size? A size 6? Is this the Twilight Zone?

 

And here’s another shocking tidbit… Not one of these “plus sized” women is fat! They all look great! A friend has a saying for when he sees a woman that he’s attracted to but thinks is out of his league, “Seen better, dated worse”. It means that there is absolutely nothing wrong with her looks, even if she’s not what Madison Ave. tells us a woman should look like. She’s pretty, cute, sexy, beautiful… and given the opportunity, it’s the rare man that would turn her away! In all honesty, I’ve been to bed with women who weren’t as attractive as these ladies, and I’m not ashamed to admit it!

 

But, as always, the proof is in the bottom line. When the money gets spent, are women looking to imagine that they’ll magically transform into Heidi Klum if they use product X, or are they wanting to know they’ll look their best, just like those girls on the billboard? According to the numbers I’m seeing, Dove has had a double digit increase in sales since the real women hit the skyline…

 

My hat is off to Dove and any other manufacturer with the guts to take it to the streets and tell the truth! I’m a size 8 and I’m proud! We are real women and we have the curves God gave us! No plastic parts, no liposuction, no collagen lips, no painted on or surgically implanted “augmentation”, thank you very much!

 

Hey Madison Avenue, WE CAN HANDLE THE TRUTH! Can you?

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Sunday, 8/14/05

 

Arriving late to the party…

 

When I started dating again after the death of my first husband, I guess I considered myself fairly “experienced”. I’d been through a couple of relationships, a marriage, I was 27… After all, I was no teenager worried about “going all the way” or getting caught out after curfew. I was a grown woman with a career behind me, a college degree, hell, I’d even been shot!

 

Prior to getting married, for me, dating had always been a sort of casual and friendly. I went out with friends and when my first boyfriend and I were together, it was usually as part of that group. My first real “solo” date was with Richard, my first hubby.

 

That all changed though, after Richard. I did the bar scene and the pick-up thing, but it was a very negative experience. Then I settled down a bit, got into a relationship with my best girlfriend, and afterwards only dated as the occasion arose. It wasn’t a means to an end; it was just something to do. I already was in love with Audrey, so I wasn’t looking to partner up, so to speak. If a man happened to come along that swept me off my feet, great. If not, I’d survive.

 

Of course, Eddy came along, and did sweep me off my feet. We dated, going out to eat, dancing, shooting pool, all the usual dating stuff. But I never went looking for him; one day the universe, or God, or fate just smiled on us and there he was.

 

Through friends, I have become increasingly aware of a very different “dating scene” than the one I went through. It seems as more and more older (not old, but older) men and women are reentering the single life, there is a whole new world of “looking for Mr./Mrs. Right. The 40-something set has some very different concerns than the teens or even the 20-somethings.

 

When you’re 22, just out of college and fresh to the world of work-a-day, dating is a sort of “right now” event. “I want to have fun”, “I want to meet people”, “I want to get laid”… People are getting married a little later now (which is good in my book), so they don’t seem to start thinking in “rest of our lives” terms for a little while.

 

The older folks, you know like 27 or 30, are in their own place too. They’re getting their career on track, looking at the future a little, thinking about a house and kids. Everything is ahead of them; they feel like they’ve got some mileage on them, but the warranty is still in effect…

 

But when you’re 40-something, have a couple kids, some serious responsibilities, and you’re just out of a marriage… It all changes. You work a full schedule, have alternating weekends with the kids, social obligations, and suddenly you’re thinking about finding someone new.

 

Just as none of us would feel comfortable stepping back into high school after 20 years away, dating is like going back to the most awkward and uncomfortable time of our lives for most people. All the rules have changed, you don’t know the game, and you are way out of “playing” shape! What the hell are you supposed to do? There’s no playbook, no coach on the sidelines. Your friends mean well, but let’s face it, if they really knew what was up, would they be hanging out with you on Saturday night telling you what should work?

 

There are so many new things to think about as a 40-something dater. By this stage, you and your perspective partner probably have your own places, so how far will you travel to date someone you really like? What about kids? How many do they have, how many do you have, how many do you want? If they want more kids, do you? Will your teenage daughter suddenly find your beloved’s son to be the hottest thing around, and now you have them living in close quarters with raging hormones taking over?

 

And what is appropriate for two grown adults to do for fun anyway? You can’t set a bad example for the kids, or you’ll never hear the end of it! Do you really want to hear, “Mom, what are these condoms doing in your purse?” from your 16 year old?

 

What about dating decorum? When you go to dinner, is there a rule about who pays; is it the man as before, or is it Dutch treat since you’re both working adults?

 

And here’s a sticky one. You’re a 40 year old man with a 10 and 12 year old at home. You meet a nice woman and hit it off, but find out she’s 23. Do you say, “She’s a mature adult”, or realize it’s actually possible you could be her father? And how do you reconcile that, if you later go out with a lady in her mid forties, who is her mother? Is there too much of an age difference for a 42 year old to date a 52 year old, and if so, why not for a 32 year old?

 

Finally, just where are the 40-something set supposed to meet people? Come on, the bar and club scene is for kids! Work is out; you should never defecate in the kitchen! Singles events, the gym, the supermarket?

 

I know I’ve asked a lot of questions tonight, but offered few answers. Truth is, I just don’t know what to tell you! I’ve got friends looking though on-line sites with mixed results. That seems like a better idea to me than cruising singles bars, but nothing’s perfect.

 

I’m looking for input here, I suppose. If you have something to add or an idea on this topic, I want to hear it! Drop me a note and tell me your thoughts or experiences. Linda@lindadarkhorse.com

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Tuesday, 8/2/05

 

Leading with your heart…

 

I’ve been talking a lot with Neil the last couple of weeks on the topic of online dating. He’s a freewheeling single guy, so he’s been trying his hand at meeting Ms. Right this way. Add to that the fact that he’s way too shy to try and meet women in bars, at the supermarket, in the car wash, etc…In the process, a very good point came up that I want to look at.

 

Typically, men tend to use pick-up lines to break the ice or begin a conversation with a woman. This seems true, whether the intent is to find a soulmate, a girlfriend, a cool chick to hang with, or just to get laid. They come up with some phrase they can quickly put out there in order to get things started. Sometimes it works, some times it doesn’t, and some times the guy ends up wearing a drink…

 

Many guys also use the pick-up line approach to online dating. They pre-write a canned intro that they then cut and paste to every woman on the site, in hopes that one (or more) will respond positively. If the women I talk to are any indication, you have a greater chance of striking out with an online pick-up line than you do in person!

 

In my purely un-scientific, anecdotal, and highly subjective study, I have found that most women want to get an original, thoughtful, and personal e’mail from a man before they consider communicating with him. Men are about 20-30 times more likely to get a positive reply by using this method, I found. However, since the average guy will only get about 1 reply for every 50 e’mails he sends, the odds are still painfully low.

 

Add to the poor numbers the fact that it takes an emotional interest to write such a note, and we are beginning to see the problem… I’ll elaborate.

 

Neil shared with me a few of the notes he’s recently sent out to women he’s interested in meeting. Each was well written, spelled correctly, used proper grammar, and spoke of specific things he had found interesting in the woman’s profile. Each took about 15 to 30 minutes to write, and all were heartfelt. In short, there was a little piece of his heart in them, and he had to actually care what the lady was interested in and what she was looking for. In a word, they were emotional.

 

And, being that with each note, he sent off a little piece of his heart, it hurt like hell when none of the ladies replied. Not even to say “I hate you, please die”.

 

What’s more, this response, or rather, lack of response, seems to be universal. All of the men I’ve talked with about this agree, women simply do not respond (for the most part).

 

So, two things happen. Good hearted, sensitive men (You know, the kind all us gals say we want) become a little calloused, a little jaundiced, a little colder. They wonder if love is worth it, or if all women are heartless bitches. They give up and settle for less than their hearts content in the issues of love, passion, and happiness.

 

The second thing they do is find ways to break the ice without having to hand over their heart on a silver platter. And so is born the pick-up line. It’s quick, easy, painless (usually), and requires nearly zero emotional investment.

 

The moral of this story is not simple. I guess what I’m trying to say is, If you want to get a serious and heartfelt introduction, be ready to respond in kind. Keep playing cold fish and get ready for more, “Hey baby, what’s you un-zip code?”

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Monday, 7/25/05

 

When did it become ok…?

 

Hypothetical situation. A man (not to be confused with a gentleman) walks into a bar for the purpose of meeting a woman for an intimate liaison. He’s not there for romance or a relationship; he just wants to get laid. He steps inside, scopes out the room, sees a number of women he would consider desirable… What does he do next?

 

In our scenario, the man reaches into his pocket and pulls out a pad of preprinted notes and begins to wonder around the bar, handing one to each of the lovelies he has designs upon. He doesn’t speak, introduce himself, or even linger, but moves quickly on to the next girl. In his haste, he even gives the note to a few girls twice… Then he sits in the corner and waits…

 

Meanwhile, the ladies begin to read the notes. “Hi, I think you’re hot and that we have a lot in common. I’m in town for one night and I’m staying at the hotel, room 123. My cell # is 000-555-1212. Lets start as friends and see what happens from there!”

 

Ok, a show of hands. How many ladies would consider this flattering, attractive, interesting…? No hands? Well then, how many would consider it an insult, bordering on the extreme?

 

Gentlemen, how many of you think you could do this and not end up with a drink in your face… or worse?

 

So then, why do so many men who use internet personals to try and meet women, do exactly that? Think I’m kidding? I personally got FOUR last week; one of them including room number, the phone number of the hotel, and his out of town cell number! And what’s more, he actually got upset with me when I told him I was insulted by his presumptuous and impolite manner!

 

I have friends who use online services for dating or just to hang out with friends and acquaintances.  Of the women, not one hasn’t gotten dozens of such come-ons. And worst of all, gotten chewed out by these same jerks for refusing them!

 

I realize that the world has changed (not always for the better), and that meeting people online is a lot more realistic than trying to hook up in a bar, at work, or through friends. It’s simpler, you can do a little screening before the first date, and you can save a ton of money on drinks and cab fare! But who came up with the idea that talking online negated the need for common courtesy and common decency?

 

The French philosopher Voltaire wrote, “Common sense is not all that common…” more than 200 years ago. Has society matured so little in that time, or worse yet, regressed, to the point that common decency is out of style?

 

A friend pointed out that Mercury is in retrograde since July 23 and continuing until August 16. He claimed that many computer glitches and interpersonal clashes were a possible result of the cosmic confusion… I suppose if I were to map out the times, dates, and planetary relationships, maybe we would see a pattern that people turn thoughtless, rude, or just stupid at certain times of year.

 

More likely though, I’m betting that the problem is simpler. In a nutshell, there are too many thoughtless, rude, or just stupid people out there these days. I propose that we all take an extra minute in our personal interactions this next week, and really think about what we’re saying, and how. It has to work better than this, and it won’t take much more time to do…

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Saturday, 7/9/05

 

Why waste a beautiful day inside…

 

Why indeed? One of the things I really love about living in LA is the weather, and who wouldn’t? In the depths of winter you can drive a couple hours to the snow, ski all day, and then drive home to have dinner on the beach. In summer, it’s clear, warm, and no so hot that you have to learn first aid for sunstroke as basic survival.

 

Seriously though, as screwy as the weather could get back in Sturgis, it was nice to have autumn. It’s said that we have but two seasons in Western South Dakota, winter and the 4th of July! Still, I remember a couple of July 4th’s that required a good coat in order to watch the fireworks...

 

Last week’s festivities were observed in what has become our traditional way. For the past 13 years or so, Eddy and I have spent the fourth with out best friends, Audrey and Doug, on their sailboat. We have a little party in the afternoon, grill up some lunch, then head out of the breakwater to have a little fun on the water. Later, we drop anchor, watch the sunset on the water, dine on cold fried chicken, and then the entire coast comes alive with fireworks… Of course, the party now includes their two sons, 10 and 8, who are turning out to be first rate sailors in their on right.

 

But that was last week. It was a beautiful, Southern California day, one of the many we are blessed with out here. Today is also a beautiful, sunny, warm day…So, why haven’t I left the house all day? Because, as great as it is outside, there are some things more important, more pressing, and yes, even more beautiful than a perfect LA Saturday. Eddy and I have spent the entire day, just being with each other!

 

I see a lot of people in various forums asking about how to put the “spark” back into their marriage or relationship. They want a magic potion, a lucky talisman, some ancient words that can be spoken over the situation and poof it’s all better. The only thing I know for certain that really keeps the “spark” there is to never let the flames die down in the first place.

 

Grandaddy taught me many things about woodsmanship and living in the world, wilderness or metropolis. In the forest, you strike your camp, fix your fire pit, gather tinder, and then you never allow the fire to die. This means that every now and then, you have to do a little work; add some fuel, stir the coals, fan the flames… You may even have to wake in the night to give it some wood… (Ok, all you dirty minds stop with the double entendre!)

 

I know the parallels are pretty obvious, but let me run them down anyway. When you start a relationship, you set your camp, and the passion is the fire pit. It takes time to gather up the fuel and set the stones, etc…but once the ground work is done, you strike the old Zippo and get the kindling going.

 

Kindling catches fire quickly, almost instantly, that’s what it’s there for. But kindling also burns out quickly, and unless there’s a good supply of fuel for it to spread to, your flame soon flickers and you have only ashes. So, that kindling, as hot and fast as it is, is only a beginning. If you’ve done your work right, the serious wood is carefully stacked so that the air and kindling can heat it to burning and the fire begins to take a true life. It takes a little effort, a little planning, some work, but the result is that the fast burn of the kindling gives way to a much hotter, much more robust, way more full and sustaining fire.

 

As the fuel burns, it begins to be consumed. Literally, what you once had is gone! It’s been eaten by the life and fire that you wanted and needed. But the fire doesn’t have to burn out and be gone; in fact it’s better for its consumption! You add more fuel, stir the coals, shift it a little here and there until the new log catches and the flames are once again roaring.

 

Passion, if that’s all there is, burns fast and is soon gone, unless its burning is used to ignite the longer lasting and hotter burning core fuel, openness, honesty, respect, giving, communication. It’s relatively easy to find someone to have sex with (Ok, easier for women, but men can go buy it if they want. Not a suggestion, just an observation), but that burns fast and leaves little behind but dust and ash, and possibly an STD or two.

 

The fuel of the relationship has to be carefully gathered and stacked with intent, not just tossed on the ground. Without the effort to put it together, that campfire will never get started, and again, all you have is burned out kindling and no fire. As the day to day consumes the fuel, you gotta go get more and you gotta carefully add it, or it could snuff out the fire you already have going. That means you can’t be all work and no play, tossing each other a little “quality time, as the schedule allows”! Unless the original logs feed the flame to the new logs, your fire dies.

 

And those coals… Did you know that if you stack them in the bottom just so, and fan them a little, get them glowing red hot, well, they’ll heat up that new wood and get it all ready to catch fire! What’s more, you can cook on the coals! That’s the little things you each do everyday to let your partner know you’re still hot for them! A little note on the shaving mirror, a flower on the table for them when they come home, a voicemail that they can listen to while they work… They all add heat and make the logs burn more easily.

 

And, of course, sometimes it’s much more important to physically love them than to go out in the sunshine. Let the heat and fire and passion build into a roaring signal that keeps the wolves at bay. In the Bible book, The Song of Solomon, the writer speaks of the “Tiny foxes that spoil the vines”. The metaphor is that the cares of the world eat away at the roots of relationships and kill the growth. In my book, I don’t want any wolves or foxes sneaking in because the fire got too low! The best way I know is to keep the fire healthy and burning hot!

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Thursday, 6/30/05

 

Something a little different…

 

This page is generally my place to vocalize things on my mind, topics of importance, things that annoy me… Stuff like that. Today, however, I’m yielding the floor to another. It’s something I believe needs to be said, and there’s someone far more closely effected, and can so say it more intimately.

 

Neil, the floor is yours. Tell it like is Brother!

 

Linda

 

Why Tom Cruise can kiss my ass…

 

I’m sure that any of you who didn’t actually watch the Matt Lauder interview with self anointed authority on everything, Tom Cruise, have certainly been treated to the unending replays by everyone everywhere.

 

First and foremost, I count it as bordering on criminal stupidity that the media grants such prestige and awe to the mindless ramblings of celebrities. Lets face it, the vast majority of these people have only the talking points they got from whatever agenda group they’re supporting, rarely has any actual research been done. Add to that the simple fact that these are people NO ONE would listen to had they not pretended to be someone else in a movie or on TV. (I make exception for the few who actually “go there and do that”, most notably, Angelina Jolie who spends her own money to travel to the poorest of places to bring help.)

 

Ordinarily, I would sit back and say, “Who the hell cares what Tom says? Who is he anyway?” Let’s face it, Tommy never even finished high school, has no formal training in any practical field, acts like a complete buffoon to pump up his media presence, and otherwise, has NOTHING to offer society. Ordinarily, I would change the radio station rather than listen to yet another talk show go on and on about what Mr. Cruise had to say.

 

Ordinarily, except this time, Little Tommy Cruise is advocating himself as an authority in an area that could have cost my son his life! This actor is trying to influence public policy and thought in ways that will (not could, but will) result in the deaths of thousands if he is taken seriously!

 

My oldest son, Sean, was recently hospitalized for severe depression and threats of suicide. Psychiatrists examined him and determined that he was a threat to himself and had him placed on a 72 hour hold (It’s called a 5150, after the California Welfare and Institutions Code for it) in a locked ward. He later admitted that had he not been hospitalized, he would have killed himself that night. Since that time, he was hospitalized twice more, and is now in a residential treatment facility where he is making excellent progress…

 

Mr. Cruise suggests that what psychiatrists diagnose as depression should be treated with exercise and vitamins. Sean has been playing hockey since he was 6, starting out in roller, and graduating to ice about 5 years ago. Prior to his breakdown, he was on the ice, practicing or in games, five days a week. He’s 5’10”, 160 pounds in his clothes, and has a mere 8% bodyfat. But yet, he was severely depressed enough to have been cutting himself for years. He drank sports drinks for electrolytes and ate nutrition bars for energy, but still wanted to die. So, maybe, just maybe, the answer doesn’t lie in exercise and nutrition?

 

So, why would a perfectly reasonable high school dropout who makes his living pretending to be people he’s not, be so adamant that lawyers and psychiatrists are a cult and trying to control our lives? The answer is perfectly understandable, Tom Cruise is a devotee of Scientology, and the doctrine of the Church of Scientology insists that it’s true, and so it must be.

 

Based in Hollywood California, The Church of Scientology claims, first of all, not to be a religion. They do claim religious tax-exempt status and call themselves a Church, but what they “really” are is “a way of thinking and looking at reality”. The founder, L. Ron Hubbard, was clearly a visionary with deep insight. After all, he was a mediocre science-fiction author who took it upon himself to write the groundbreaking book “Dianetics- The Modern Science of Mental Health”! Who would know better than this man what is and isn’t reality?

 

On Sunset Boulevard, just a few miles west of their main Church building, there is a large storefront office which also belongs to the Church of Scientology. The office is adorned with a billboard decorating the street facing window; some 30 feet or so wide, the full color representation shows the face of a man, as if undergoing electroshock therapy. The proclamation written on it leaves no room for doubt, “PSYCHIATRY KILLS!” And we know it to be Gospel, because a long dead writer of bad science-fiction said so, and so it is so. I am reminded of a line from a much better writer, A. A. Milne, in his many tales of Winnie the Pooh. I think it was Rabbit who sang, “If it says so, than it is so, and if it is so, so it is!”

 

I’m not an actor. I’m not a doctor. I don’t pretend to be a doctor on TV. I am a father, and my son is alive today and has a chance at a life. He has that chance because people who are doctors are treating him with therapy, with medication, and with the care of his family.

 

Tom, as great a guy as you seem to think you are (personally, you’ve always struck me as a cocky little punk), you don’t know your ass from a hole in the ground, and I seriously doubt you could pour piss from a boot if the instructions were written on the heel. Keep your tiny little opinions and your science-fiction religion to yourself, and when it comes to the health and life of my son, shut the fuck up. If we’d followed your hair-brained ideas, Sean would be dead instead of looking forward to his 15th birthday.

 

Tom, you’re an idiot. Kiss my ass.

 

Neil Collins

[Opinions stated by Neil Collins are entirely his own, though I whole heartedly agree- Linda ]

>>>>> 

Sunday, 6/26/05

 

Clearer heads shall prevail…

 

I continue to wrestle with the issue of doing a minor rewrite of the book, to soften the over-the-top sexuality I put in the original offering. It’s looking a lot like that’s what we’ll do, and the point was driven home quite well this last couple of weeks.

 

Many of you may know that Neil, my dear friend and co-author has a 14 year old son who has been the subject of a great deal of concern on all our parts. He’s safe now, receiving the help he needs and learning to deal with his anger, hurt, and all those nasty little adolescent impulses. He’s taken up reading (finished Homer’s The Odyssey and the Iliad in short order), and has asked his father for a copy of the book to read… At this point, neither of us feels it would be appropriate for him, especially given his vulnerable state.

 

Neil is also worried about letting his own mother read it. Worried that even for a very well rounded Lesbian with a Doctorate in Psychoanalysis, it may be too much. And so you see my dilemma. Is too much of the truth as damaging as nothing at all, or possibly, more so? Is it possible that I was so forthright that I actually burned down the forest for the trees? Have I drown the baby for the sake of the bathwater? In a word, yes.

 

And so, as much as it pains me, we are doing the rewrite. Or, to be more honest, Neil will be. In plain terms, it is just not possible for me to do it, it’s simply too painful. Lucky for me, I have someone as thoughtful and as meticulous as myself that I trust him fully with my life, literally and figuratively. I anticipate it may take a couple of months, but in short order, I am certain that a satisfactory edit of the book will be ready for submission…

 

By the way, if anyone knows how best to get a copy of the manuscript to Oprah, well, I think that would make the rest much easier! (wink)

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Saturday, 6/18/05

 

Justice is blind… and apparently has a bad hangover

 

Well, it looks like OJ and Robert “Berretta” Blake have a new golfing buddy! Only in America can a poor black boy from Indiana grow up to be a rich white woman… and get off scott-free in the face of overwhelming evidence. Yes, I’m a little ticked; so much in fact that this is actually the second attempt at putting my thoughts on paper (magnetic disc?)!

 

Some of my closest friends know that I rarely do first, second, third drafts, etc… I write what I mean, I check for errors and goofs, I polish it up a little, and there it is. Well, this time I’m so upset that I’ve decided to scrap the first attempt and do it all over. That’s right; the first run was so full of anger and rage that I can’t possible post it!

 

I suppose I shouldn’t get so angry. I’ve been in and around law enforcement all my life. Daddy was a cop since before I was born, and he knew well the frustration of justice perverted, though nothing as bad as these had come across his desk (to my knowledge). Were he still alive, I’m sure we would discuss this over cigars in his study, the air rich with aromatic smoke. I can see him leaning back in his big leather chair and shaking his head, “Darlin’, I’m glad God doesn’t rely on the courts system. They’ll get what’s comin’ to them someday. I just hate watchin’ them thumb their noses at the law like that…” He might have said.

 

Grandaddy would have been much more philosophical, I’m sure, “The whole world knows what this man is, he may be outside, but really he is in prison. Just remember, he will spend all his days being Michael Jackson. I think that is punishment too!” Then he’d laugh deeply and puff on his cigar. I’ll never quite fathom the depths of his understanding, his ability to see inside of things like that. Or maybe I can, just by figuring out what he would have said about it…

 

But until I have the wisdom of the old wichasha waken, I’m still a citizen, a woman, and a retired cop who has some very strong opinions about this. Let’s face it; Michael Jackson walked on this because the jury hated the accuser’s mother more than they wanted to punish Jackson! In the words of a caller to the KZLA morning show, “She out wacko’d Jacko!” (One quick reminder; in criminal actions we use the terms guilty or not guilty. No court can find a defendant “innocent”, only that there is not sufficient proof of guilt, and therefore the defendant is “not guilty”.)

You see, the important thing about the Michael Jackson trial wasn’t the boys sleeping in his bed, the “Jesus Juice”, the staff who saw Jackson “inappropriately touching” the boys, or even the multi-millions dollar pay offs. We were all just missing the point; the boy’s mother was a cheat and not very nice, and allowed it to happen in hopes of a big payoff, so we can clearly see that what happened didn’t happened! Besides, she was rude to the jury, and that really shows what a bad lady she is!

 

Do any of you remember the trial for the murder of Polly Class? The little girl who was raped and murdered by a paroled sex offender up in Petaluma California? Sure, he was a multiple felon with a life long history of violence and criminality. Yes, he kidnapped raped and murdered an innocent little girl, but do you remember what really pissed people off about him? Late in the trial, he turned to the cameras and flipped us all off… He was unremorseful, rude, and disrespectful to the TV viewers, and THAT was the thing that really got to us! Fortunately he was the defendant in that case, and we made sure he went back to jail for his crimes (that is, for flipping us off). If he’d been a witness for the prosecution, the defendant would have been exonerated of all wrong doing.

 

So, too, the OJ trial. Ok, so OJ had a history of kicking the living crap out of his trophy wife. Yes, there was that taped phone call that never quite got hung up on where he was screaming at her and calling her a whore and worse. Sure, you can clearly hear him, during the “low speed chase” in the white Bronco, in the back ground saying he killed them. But even the fact that OJ’s blood was all over the murder scene, the most important fact surrounding this case was that one of the cops was an idiot. Mark Furman said nigger, and not just once or twice, he said it a lot, and then denied it. Detective Furman is a racist and an idiot; we can’t believe any of the evidence!

 

[Personal note: I am not condoning the use of words like nigger, or any other racial slur; God knows I’ve heard more than my share, on and off the Reservation. It’s a hateful, mean, ugly word that points to times when human beings were traded like livestock. I won’t pussyfoot around saying “N word” either, any more than I shy away from terms like redskin, Indian-giver, savages and horse thieves, or prairie-nigger.  There is no room for bigotry in law enforcement, and the very few racist cops still out there need to be reined in. And DNA is DNA, no mater who finds it.]

 

We move on. Robert Blake couldn’t have killed Bonny Lee; after all, he left his gun at the restaurant! Don’t be silly! How can you shoot your wife when you leave your gun in the restaurant? And all those guys he asked to kill her, well, they weren’t nice people and so you can’t really trust them to tell the truth about it can you? No, we all know that any sensible man looking to hire someone to kill his wife seeks out fine, upstanding citizens who’ve never done drugs or had run-ins with the law for the job! You can’t trust those druggies and ex-cons to do murder for hire, if he really wanted to have her rubbed out he’d go to his priest, doctor or lawyer! Clearly another frame up.

 

So, OJ is playing golf in Florida, Berretta is bouncing his baby daughter on his knee, and the Jackson family is shopping around the idea for a reality show based on them. And when the Jacksons are reality, I suppose I can see why the American judicial system is in the state it’s in… All I know is I worry all the more for my hubby and best girlfriend, as well as all our brother and sister cops out there, who put their lives on the line everyday. It makes the bullet I took seem all the more cruel, seeing what little justice there seems to be left.

 

Who was it that said, “It’s the worst system in the world, except for every other system in the world…”? I think I’d like to buy him a drink, maybe one with a cigarette butt in it?

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Sunday 6/11/05

 

PG or not PG…

 

I may be a little sun-drunk… We’ve been out all afternoon on Audrey and Doug’s boat sailing with the Godsons and best friends… I’m taking a break to let my head clear while Eddy and Doug get dinner ready.

 

First and foremost, I want to give a BIG thanks to Neil for getting done what I have been swearing I would do for months. The first excerpt from the book is on the site and ready to be read by the masses! (Or at least the 35 of you that stop by on a regular basis!) I just looked it up and he’s put it together in a very eye catching way, be sure to let us know what you think.

 

That said, there is something on my mind that I want to talk about. When I set out to write my story, the idea was not just to entertain, but to present my experiences in such a way as to offer encouragement and example to people who were in difficult places. I figured that aside from the regular target audience, I also wanted my book to be a resource to young people dealing with love, life, sex, sexual identity, pregnancy, self image, and all of that.

 

I wanted that 16 year old girl, wrestling with the decision about “going all the way” to see what I went through and have a better idea of just what the choice means. I wanted the 15 year old boy who can’t seem to get the feelings out of his head, he’s not into girls, to know that he’s not the first to be there. The one who’s suffered some terrible loss, wondering if she/he can go on, seeing that they can… And most of all, I wanted them to see the results of my choices, good and bad, and make better choices in their own life.

 

When I wrote it I held nothing back. I said the words, I told the tales, I gave the details… All of the details. Frankly, I don’t know how else to tell this story, so that’s how we did it. I have to tell you, I was more than a little nervous when I sent Neil the first draft detailing me losing my virginity. Yes, I talk about sexuality and sex in a fairly open forum, and in a very open way…but here I was describing my first time! How he touched me, what I did, how it felt…and I knew Neil would be reading it…

 

For the duration of this project I’ve been wrestling with this; how do I make it vivid and real, but keep it out of the “Adult” section? How do I keep it love and not pornography? And should I even go into that? But if not, how do you really describe the way you felt that first time his hands, lips, whatever, touched the places I was reluctant to touch myself? How do I express the euphoria and utter confusion that swam through me the first time a woman kissed me…? Could I do it, if I tried? Would the message suffer?

 

Well, I’m thinking about it again. Should young kids (14, 15, 16) be reading such detail? Am I doing what I accuse others of and overly sexualizing children, or am I equipping them to deal with the things they’ve been thrown into with no other reference to draw strength from. Should internet porn be the only sexual information these kids can get a hold of, or is a tale of healthy sexuality and the consequences of it more of a life preserver in a sea of misrepresented ideas?

 

I was lucky. Momma taught me about sex and my body. She told me that sexuality was natural, good, and to be enjoyed. She told me that there would be temptations and consequences for my decisions… Audrey had no such input and so she nearly drown in the sea of promiscuity and debauchery, guided by none but her own curiosity and the magazines in her father’s sock drawer. Kids today can download things that would have had her blushing (It can be done, but it’s not easy), but they have far less positive input. The question; is detail in proper context too much, or is it just what the doctor ordered?

 

To tell the truth, I don’t know. I’ll be thinking long and hard about that though… You too. And let me know what you come up with… Linda@lindadarkhorse.com

 

The boys are telling me dinner’s ready and the sun is just beginning to dip low over the Pacific. I’m gonna go watch it sizzle into the water as I enjoy a meal with the people closest to me in the world. See ya next time…

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Sunday 6/5/05

 

Marital bliss…

 

If anyone’s been keeping track, yes, last Wednesday was Eddy and my 14th anniversary. To say that I’m pleased with my man and our union would be like saying the Grand Canyon is nice to look at. Just doesn’t quite capture the full meaning, does it?

 

No, and neither does the typical Hallmark Greeting manage to hit the mark with us. I’ve known a few people whose lives together were so intermeshed that you couldn’t begin to imagine one without the other. Very few, and getting fewer all the time it seems. Momma and Daddy were like that, and I thank God I had the opportunity to see it first hand. When Momma died, Grandaddy said that it was as if a part of Daddy had been taken away, and in truth it had.

 

I don’t know if Eddy and I will be looked upon by others as one of those couples one day. I know we have it good, and we put the effort into being partners and soulmates (sorry to burst the bubble, but being that naturally perfect together takes a LOT of work), but we too have our bumps in the road. Granted, fewer these days than before, but still…

 

Eddy is stubborn, independent, self sufficient, and lived most of his life just doing what he decided without consulting anyone. I am also stubborn and independent, but came up in a home where communication was paramount. You might imagine we had a few territory wars in the early years, and frankly we still have tiny areas that are best left alone for the most part. I’m reminded of a scene in the movie Casablanca where a Nazi officer asks Rick if he could see the Germans invading New York. Without a pause Rick answers, “There are some parts of New York I’d advise you not to invade.” We all have our little “New York’s”.

 

What’s more, a long and healthy marriage isn’t about love. Well, love is important and a key cornerstone upon which you build, but in the words of Dr. Laura, “Love ain’t enough!” So, you do the “need to’s” more often than the “want to’s”, you take the other to consideration before you act, you deny yourself to lift up the other, and if your partner is doing the same, things work out, just like magic! (Yes, I’m being facetious about the magic part).

 

Eddy and I don’t argue much these days. Really, we each know what the other needs and wants, and most of the time we want to give it to them. Starting fights for the sake of “pissing on your turf” only serves to undermine the relationship, and your “turf” ends up smelling like you pissed on it! Funny how that works! It’s not “go along to get along” either, as that eventually leads to the “goer” feeling used and unappreciated, because they are.

 

You know, I don’t use the term “partner” just because it’s PC or trendy to. Long before gay couples were “life partners”, the people whose marriages worked were partners. Real partners, the kind that work together, work out the problems, work on the relationship, and in general, worked at being married! I guess I’m saying it takes work, but it’s worth it!

 

Eddy, happy 14th Baby. I love you more today than last year, and it just keeps getting better. You’re like a fine wine (and fine you are!), improving with the passing of time. Thanks for working with me, and sometimes in spite of me, to make this what it is…

 

Linda

 

>>>>> 

Sunday 5/29/05

 

The dating game…

 

Maybe the Merlot is hitting me harder than usual, or maybe I’ve been watching too much Sex in the City. I don’t know the reason, but I want to talk about the whole dating scene these days… (Ok, Linda, easy for you to talk, you’re MARRIED! What do you know about dating anyway?)

 

A dear friend of mine is currently reliving the terror and joy of the dating world. I’m getting to see it vicariously through people I know at work, and people write me from time to time as well. No, I’m not claiming expert status, just making a few observations. Take it for what it is, my opinion and thoughts. If it happens to strike a cord with you, great. If not, I’ll give you your money back…

 

Ok, I’m tipsy, Bryan Adams is playing on the stereo, the candles are burning, here we go.

 

I was reading an MSN page on relationships that delved into why older men date younger women. There were quotes from several guys about how they thought the 20-somethings were more likely to accept them as is rather than ask them to fit a preconceived ideal, or were less eager to get married, or had more “open minds”. I turned my bullshit detector on and the alarm was sounding before I hit the second paragraph.

 

After carefully filtering the raw “data” the conclusion was they found to be that young, gullible women who hadn’t learned enough to have a world view of their own are easier to sleep with and you didn’t have to worry they might expect you to marry  them! (Whew! Long sentence!) I felt like I needed a bath after reading this crap.

 

And what of the women? Why is it that men see us as either too self absorbed and playing games, or too gullible and naïve to respect? Everyone I talk to, men and women says they want to find a real partner, no games, no acting. Even so, we can’t seem to tear down out masquerade long enough to actually be who we are and find the person who wants to be with us! We pretend to be this or that, and then whine when we hook up with another putting on a front…

 

I do know a few people who put it all up front and are really themselves. They go out or go on-line, and they write nice notes introducing themselves, they are polite, conversational, interesting… and no one seems to respond.

 

Many of you know of Neil, my co-author and good friend. He decided to join eHarmony and “find his soul mate”. Why not? After all, even Dr. Laura endorses the site? It’s a pricy place, about two to three times as much as other personals sites, but they do have 29 levels of compatibility. With that kind of match making anyone should be able to find the right person, right?

 

Now here’s the part I don’t get. The women on eHarmony have to pay to be there, unlike the other sites where they can get listed for free and get hit on by hundreds of horny jerks for free. Their system matches a man to a woman and e’mails them both, but they let the man make the first contact. He sends a list of prewritten multiple choice questions, which she answers and sends her own list back. The next step is open ended questions, and then, open communication… Well, that’s what’s supposed to happen, but it doesn’t.

 

The man sends off his questions, and weeks later the women rarely, if ever, respond! Not a “no thank”, a “liked your questions but not interested”, not even a “drop dead jerk!” And they’re PAYING to be there! I don’t get it!

 

What is it about dating that’s so hard anyway? You talk to someone, you like the way the conversation goes or the look in their eye or their take on the geo-political transformation of Central-Banana-Stan. You agree that it might be fun to spend a little time together, so you ask or accept an invitation to dinner, drinks, bowling, whatever… You spend time together, discover common interests, experiences or dreams, and do it again… Who knows, maybe you even decide that you really want to make love to the person, or you don’t but still like them as company. What’s so damned hard about this whole thing anyway?

 

Ok, ok, ok… Yes, I am pissed off about something on Sex in the City… (shakes head in shame) Carrie lost Ayden because she couldn’t control her urges and slept with her unable-to-commit-but-got-married-right-after-they-broke-up-ex-boyfriend, Mr. Big (why the hell doesn’t he have a name anyway!?). I’ve watched the show and saw the series finale, so I know who she ends up with, but I LIKED AYDEN! Damnit, he’s the BEST guy she’s been with, and I really liked him! But she went and did the deed, and then couldn’t live with the guilt, so she told him. His words? “I wish you hadn’t told me. I don’t think I can stay, knowing .”

 

Appropriately the music playing now is Alanis Morissette. Angry relationship songs about hurt, loss and betrayal… “You, you, you ought to know!” I guess all I want to say is that this would be a hell of a lot easier if people would just be real and use a little common courtesy. Sun, do not rise, wind, do not blow… Easier said than done. I shouldn’t talk, I was sleeping with my best girlfriend when Eddy and I started dating after all. I never went up and said, “By the way, before you spring for dinner, you might want to know I’m a Lesbian…”, but then it wasn’t that sort of thing at first anyway. When it got clear that we were headed in that direction, I came clean. Besides, he had figured it out (Two women, one bed… He is a cop after all)

 

Ok, I think I’ll accept reality and just offer my help to my friends as needed. I can’t change it, so I gotta work with it, don’t I?

 

Linda

 

>>>>> 

Tuesday 5/17/05 (5/23)

 

Well, ok, so it’s a week late… sorry…

 

Last Monday was it, the big 44… I’ve come to the perspective that getting older isn’t a bad thing. I’ve even reached the point of not needing to have every second of my life planned out years in advance. That’s a good thing too, because it makes room for Eddy to plot surprise birthday trips, which is one of the romantic qualities I love so much about him.

 

Several years ago, shortly after we were married, he actually managed to bring off my one and only surprise party. It took some mild trickery and a few safety precautions, but by scheduling it a week early, he did surprise me. Of course, he was wise to disarm me before sending me into a room full of hidden people!

 

More often though, he’ll put together a long weekend getaway, telling me only what sort of things to pack. I would try to guess, work him for clues, and in general, try to figure it out. To his credit though, he has never cracked! I’ve gotten used to it now, mellowed with age and his kind, thoughtful treatment. And so, with my birthday coming, I simply made no weekend plans and waited for an idea of what to pack.

 

He said nothing all week, never let on, never broke “cover”. I figured he’d tell me Wednesday or Thursday, we’d leave Friday evening, go some place fun… Can you believe what that sweet romantic twerp did? He never told me at all. Instead, he woke me Friday morning with a mug of Earl Grey, informing me that breakfast would be ready in five minutes. (I don’t like trying to eat in bed).

 

I joined him in the kitchen, euphoric on the aroma of my favorites; bacon, eggs, and hash browns. Eddy really doesn’t like to make hash browns, preferring home fries with peppers and onions or something fancy, but for me he made them. Over breakfast he informed me that he had taken a comp day, had called my boss to inform him I would be unavailable till Tuesday, and my bag was already packed. Married almost 14 years and he can still surprise me! (I grabbed a few additional girl items not even Eddy would think of).

 

The logic was perfect. Rather than working a half day (or a full day but getting only half a days work done!), driving in the half dark, and arriving too late to relax, we made it a slow, scenic drive. We took my Camaro and set out with the top down. No time pressure, no deadlines, a beautiful spring day, me and my baby.

 

We drove north up the Pacific Coast Highway, and where I used to try and figure out the destination, this time I focused on the journey. We stopped in Malibu to browse some shops, and even bought the cutest sky blue tankini. The speedometer remained much closer to the posted speed limit than it ever had before.

 

Eddy had proposed to me on a cliff overlooking shore in Pismo Beach, so it’s a special place for us. I wasn’t shocked to find him exiting the 101 freeway at Pearl and turning into a cute hotel where the building looks like a bunch of Tyrolean cottages. The clerk recognized us and assured us they had given us the best ocean view room.

 

It was still early, so Eddy entertained my inexplicable fascination with strange hotel mattresses. I’ll spare the details (sorry!) and just say it was magnificent!

 

For that matter, the whole trip was magnificent! I really felt that it was time off, not overscheduled and rushed. We didn’t try to squeeze in so much “fun” that we didn’t have time to enjoy! We still hit our favorite places; Jacko’s, Cody’s, The Apple Farm. We wandered the rocks and walked the beach.

 

Eddy Surprised me yet again, this time with a new laptop. Wireless no less, so I can get used to writing out in that wide wonderful world after we retire.

 

I’m getting older, sure, but I’m getting better at living. Just in time too it seems!

 

Linda

 

>>>>> 

 

Monday 5/9/05

 

I walk because…

 

If you’ve known me for any length of time you are aware I am passionate about some things. Some are silly, some are important to few but myself, and some are the difference between living and dieing. Among my silly passions are a burrito from Tito’s Tacos in Culver City, watching Sex in the City on DVD, and tickling my Godsons. The personal ones involve spending time with my “extended” family, being that my blood family are passed on. When it comes to life and death, you’ll find the US Constitution, our fighting men and women, and the big two; AIDS and Ovarian Cancer.

 

It’s mother’s day today (or was by the time you read this), and I am reminded of the wonderful and special woman that Momma was. She was the sort that never slowed down for anything, and was always the perfect hostess to friends, neighbors, people in the community that needed a friend, whoever. If someone at Church was sick, she was at their home with a hot meal and a gentle touch.

 

She was only 51 when ovarian cancer took her from us far too early. Even at that, she was a fighter to the end. The doctors had given her three months if the cancer was left untreated, or six with aggressive chemo and radiation. They told her they recommended the treatment, and it would leave her weak, sick, and frail till she eventually succumbed to the disease. As was her style, she refused the treatment and lived nearly a year, with Daddy caring for her till the end. Alert, alive, though taxed and tired, she held to life and her family as long as she could and then closed her eyes and was in pain no longer…

 

But more than the loss of such a vital and good woman, the tragedy of losing Momma was that she need not have died. That same stubborn streak that made her so strong, kept her from seeing a doctor when she first felt something wasn’t right. The technology wasn’t as good in 1986 as it is today, not by a long shot, but even then they may have been able to save her if only the cancer had been detected early.

 

Ovarian cancer has few symptoms, so the best way to be prepared to fight it is with yearly screenings along with your annual physical. Of course, if you have pain or something “just ain’t right”, get it checked! Please, these things do not go away or get better, get yourself checked!

 

I say all that to explain why I walk. Or run. Saturday, May seventh marked the 12th annual Revlon Walk/Run for Women’s Cancers. The yearly 5k event is held to raise money for research and educate people about the risks of breast and ovarian cancer, and advancements in treatment. They say it over and over, early detection is the key, and research is the path to the cure.

 

Every year for the last 10 I have made a pest of myself all around my office. I send Eddy to work with a sign up sheet, Audrey hits up the officers she works with, and Doug “reminds” his accounting clients of the great tax deduction they can get. I write a check myself and it goes along with the others to fund the research. And then we drive to the LA Coliseum, park way too far away, and join the throng there to do their part.

 

In past years I’ve run the 5k (I can still do it in about 20minutes) with Audrey, then waited at the finish for Eddy, Doug, and the boys to walk it. We would sit in the stadium listening to the live music and watching the masses emerge from the tunnel and onto the field, and it occurred to me that there was so much more to this than just raising the money and making the finish line. And so, for the last three years we’ve walked along with the guys.

 

The view is different from the walking crowd. Instead of spandex running gear and high tech shoes, these are everyday folks dressed in everyday clothes, sharing the camaraderie. There are a few types of people here; survivors that have lived to see another day, family and friends of survivors, family and friends of those still fighting, and the ones remembering those who’s fight has come to it’s end.

 

They carry signs that proclaim the names of the people they walk for. Groups make up special t-shirts saying “Grandma we love you” or the name of their workplace and the coworker they are supporting. Ahead of me I see a 16x20 picture of lovely young woman in an Air Force uniform with a Bearded Dragon lizard on her shoulder; I’ve seen the sign before, I understand she’s gone now, though her family never forgets.

 

The crowd nears the first turn and there is huge, gothic Church on the corner and many of the walkers divert their paths to go inside and pray or light candles. People talk to each other and share stories of triumph and hope. They have a common bond, the disease that strikes at young and old without regard, and we are unified in our resolve to see it destroyed. The boy walking to my left must be 12 or 13; he has a placard pinned to his t-shirt that says, “I’m walking for Jenny”. Beside him is a young woman whose placard reads, “Survivor, 6 years”.

 

We turn again, slowly rounding the way towards USC’s fraternity row. I can see that some are tired, not used to walking for miles, but they walk on. Kids run back and forth, bored with the pace their parents trod, but there none-the-less. More signs, more pictures of the loved ones fighting or gone on, an elderly grandma with a placard, “I’m walking for my Daughter”. Cancer doesn’t ask your age, it doesn’t care.

 

Turning south there are news crews and radio stations with booths playing music and taping for later broadcast. People seem to pick up the pace a little as we are nearly there, nearly finished. We cut to the left and then the right, winding towards the rear entrance of the Coliseum. Another left and we’re descending into the tunnel. The crowd moves closer together, pressed by the confines of the walls as we pass through the building, ever towards the field, turning to follow the opening.

 

The light through the opening is brilliant and we emerge into the green of the football field. It’s nearly overwhelming, the light, the color, the music from the stage on the far side of the stadium. We file through the finish lines and volunteers hang a medal around each of our necks. Today’s journey is done, and we sit to rest and reflect as still more and more walkers continue to spill from the tunnel.

 

From the PA a speaker is reminding us that early detection is the key, and research will find a cure. I wish I could convince everyone of the truth of it. For now though I’ll put this year’s medal with the others and take the placard off my t-shirt. It says, “I’m walking in memory of Marilyn Dark Horse” And I’ll keep on walking until we don’t have to walk anymore.

 

Linda

 

>>>>> 

Saturday 5/7/05

 

You ever have one of those…?

 

For those of you expecting my report on the annual Revlon Run/Walk for Women’s Cancers, it’s coming in the next day or two. The following I should have posted days ago, but, well, I think you’ll understand…

 

It’s been an extremely difficult few weeks, and in all honesty, I don’t think I’ve ever had this much trouble focusing on tasks. No, it’s not age catching up with me (although the big 44 is just a week away), though in a way, the march of time from cradle to grave is the point. To be precise, life, death, and dieing.

 

In the last month there have been two highly publicized teen suicides in the LA area. Additionally, within my own close circle of friends we’ve been struggling to prevent yet another one after learning that the young man’s internet “girlfriend” took her own life. We’re talking here about kids, 12, 14, 17, seeing no solution for facing tomorrow other than being dead.

 

Smart kids, good kids, even some popular kids. Talented, athletic, or maybe not so, but each with their gifts and abilities. Despairing, disillusioned, feeling like they can’t stand living in their own skin.

 

On the other side, there are the people wanting only to live and experience what life has. To love, travel, watch a sunset, breathe. They know that no one is promised a tomorrow, but they're promised far fewer than most. An illness, a defect, compromised immunity, they're being short changed by a faceless phantom.

 

Funny, but if you turn on the news, it would seem the most earth shaking thing going on right now is that some inbred dimwit with a Charles Manson smile (seriously, look at her eyes…) ran off from her wedding. It’s pretty sick that if she had really been abducted and killed, she’d never get this much coverage.

 

Yeah, I’m rambling, I know it. I guess I’m tired of it. Just last week the local news ran a teaser during the 10:30 commercial break: “The rain we promised, it looks like it could move north. Also, two people found murdered in their home. These and other stories in the news at 11!” Is it just possible that the rain not falling is more important than two people murdered?

 

Screw it. I’m going to Tito’s for a burrito and then watching Sex in the City all night… I can’t focus right now.

 

Linda

 

>>>>> 

Sunday 4/17/05

 

Things I’d rather not say, but I must…

 

I’m glad to report that I am feeling much better, and the madness of work has finally settled to a dull roar. Any of you out there that have had to work a trade show rather than visit one can no doubt commiserate, but the worst of it is done (for me). My hat’s off to the sales people that now must spend the next four days on their feet trying to seem enthusiastic about their new do-dads!

 

I know that if most of you are like me (you are), we tend to put off things we really don’t want to do. In fact, I’ll bet that the large majority of you filed your taxes just last week…

 

Well, there’s a topic I’ve had on my mind for a long time now. And there are some inescapable conclusions that, as much as I hate, I have to make. But I’m getting ahead of myself again.

 

On the afternoon of March 21, something terrible happened, though I’ll bet you have to think long and hard to remember what. I’ll give you a hint; 10 people died. Need more? Ok, a 16 year old boy killed nine people and then himself… Starting to recall now? How about this; It was the worst school shooting since Columbine in Littleton Colorado in 1999. Of course we all remember Columbine, and the shadow of that atrocity still comes up in daily conversation in my part of town.

 

Any kid that dares to wear a long black coat to school is said to be “looking Columbine”. Loners are called “trench coat Mafioso” and looked upon with distrust and fear. Michael Moore won awards for his movie about his distain for the “gun culture”, named after the school where the killings took place. So then, why can’t you remember what happened less than a month ago?

 

Is anyone spinning the 6:00 news to look into the dark recesses of the youthful mind behind this most recent spree? Have you heard that the killer wore a black trench coat and hung out on neo-Nazi websites? Did you know he used the screen name NativeNazi to talk about his anger at the impurity his race was tolerating? Well, unless you live in the region where it all happened, chances are very slim that you even know where it happened.

 

When Harris and Klebold poured out their rein of terror in the quiet Colorado community it sent shockwaves through the country. How could two “normal” kids from good homes in a nice place have done this unspeakable thing? How could it happen there, in the upper-middle class mountain town? The religious right blamed Marilyn Manson. Michael Moore blamed K-Mart and guns. Charlton Heston blamed the decay of society and loose moral standards. Legislators from coast to coast cried out for solutions; ban guns, ammo, trench coats, etc…

 

Well, any of you who have read my writings for any length know I am the absolute last person to play the race card. I rarely, if ever, see the ills of society as a mater of skin color. But this time I have to say that there is a very real racial element here. And it strikes especially close to home. You see, the shooting took place on the Red Lake Indian Reservation in Minnesota. The shooter was an Ojibwe Indian, and of his nine victims only one, English teacher Neva Rodgers wasn’t also Ojibwe.

 

I didn’t see the pudgy face of Jeff Weise on the local NBC affiliate. Derrick Brun, the 28 year old security officer who laid down his life at the front door of the school, trying to reason with Weise, his bravery wasn’t touted by CBS. ABC didn’t speak of the love the community had for the first person murdered, Daryl Lussler, 30 year veteran of the Red Lake Police and the grandfather of the killer. The six others with French and Native sounding names were never mentioned.

 

Jeff Weise was a Goth, listened to “Death Metal” music, wore a black trench coat, and posted his anger and rage on Nazi websites. But no one, left or right, came to Red Lake to put their sound bites on the record. Congressman Collin Peterson (D-Minn) didn’t come running to the scene to voice his outrage and condolences, but he did cut short his trip in Europe, and said he might visit the Reservation soon. Neither Michael Moore nor Charlton Heston found it in their itinerary to swing by and console the grieving. No protest marches to K-Mart corporate headquarters are planned as of this writing. Jesse Jackson was otherwise preoccupied in Florida.

 

I say this as simply, and as directly as I can. No one but the surrounding communities care about what happened at Red Lake, because no one expects anything better of a bunch of Indians. Well-to-do white kids carry the expectation of the nation to not kill their schoolmates, teachers and family. They live in pretty houses on clean, well groomed streets and wear nice clothes with designer labels, so when they behave badly, it’s shocking! But an Indian, son of a criminal who killed himself during a standoff with police, living with his grandmother in a poor and rundown house on a Reservation, well, no one expects such a boy to amount to anything!

 

In Columbine, the police took over 45 minutes to enter the building. I can’t blame them, as I have been “there” and done “that”. I know they had tactical reasons to wait and assess the threat. Even so, while they assessed, people were dying. In Red Lake, Police arrived in under two minutes and the first officer on the scene exchanged gunfire with Weise almost immediately, striking the killer several times and sending on the retreat. 15 year old Jeff May had already attempted to tackle Weise as he paused to reload one of the stolen guns. Neva Rodgers gave her life because she stood in the face of certain death to protect her beloved students. Derrick Brun fell beside the useless metal detector at the school’s door, buying time for those inside to run for cover.

 

In Red Lake, everyone knows everyone. They’re community, and they were more concerned with saving their neighbors than the tactical assessment. Weise was wearing the body armor and armed with two hand guns and a shotgun he stole from the home of the grandfather he murdered, he could have done far worse than he did. However, like most cowards, he wasn’t nearly as tough once the bullets were coming the other way. Wounded and with the good guys fighting back, Weise ran away and killed himself.

 

“Ok Red, what’s your point?” I suppose I just have to be the voice crying in the wilderness. I don’t expect an entire society to overnight change the way it thinks, but it would be a step in the right direction if someone gave a damn. Yes, these were poor people in a poor community where unemployment and alcoholism is rampant and housing shabby. No, I don’t think that sending in the government or Michael Moore or the NRA is the solution. I think that if each of us would just remember what happened and the people that gave all to their community on March 21st, maybe, just maybe, America will care a little bit more. Maybe our souls would heal just a little as a people.

 

Thanks to LJ for sending the local newspapers for me to study. In LA I never would have seen that information.

 

Linda

 

>>>>> 

 

Monday 4/11/05

 

Where you been lately…?

 

I have to apologize to you all for being so lax in updating my journal of late. Sometimes it just seems like life’s urgencies take over and the things we have to do blot out the things we should do.

 

Truth is I’ve been so damned busy at work that I simply made myself sick! I came down with a bit of a head cold about two weeks ago, and tried to nurse it down as I usually do with vitamin C, Gatorade, and a little extra sleep. Well, Saturday night it slammed into me like a freight train, and knocked me for a loop. That’s right, at this moment I sound a lot more like Toby Keith than Stevie Nicks!

 

I have a lot to write about too, what with Robert Blake joining OJ in the Exonerated Wife Killers Club, the Orange county jury finally realizing that three teenagers who film themselves raping an unconscious girl really are guilty, and so much more!

 

I’ll be back soon, promise.

 

Linda

 

>>>> 

 

Tuesday 3/22/05

 

Life, love, and loss…

 

In conversation with a close friend we happened upon a delicate topic, the loss of a loved one. Obviously, an issue best tread lightly upon.

 

There are no guarantees in life, tomorrow is not promised to any one of us. I know that better than many, having died once myself, and having my first husband, Richard, bleed out in my arms. But then that was sudden, unexpected, and as cops, we understood the risks. While the devastating loss of a parent or child is painful, that’s not what I’m thinking about either. Rather, the loss of one we choose to love.

 

Many of you may know I lost two dear friends to AIDS. Michael I had known since my junior year of high school. He was brilliant, outspoken, and hung out with kids the jocks called “The Odd Squad”. I was something of a pariah; the daughter of a cop, a little socially awkward, a red headed Lakota. Even so, Michael invited me to be a part of that group and there I was welcomed. It wasn’t till three years later that I found out he was gay, but it wouldn’t have mattered even if I had known.

 

He made straight “A’s”, got a scholarship to Cal-Tech, flew back to be in my wedding, and later got a job at JPL. He met Dean in school out in California and introduced him to me at my wedding. Dean was instantly accepted into our little group as well. It was 1982, they were a monogamous couple, and only research doctors had ever heard of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

 

It wasn’t until after I had lost Richard and moved to LA that I learned that Michael was sick. Dean had succumbed to the disease in ’87, and Michael was already symptomatic, but they hadn’t told me because of all the crises I was dealing with myself. Now he was N stage, living in hospice care. Audrey (another Odd Squader) had been helping take care of him.

 

His wisdom and spirit helped snap me out of my own depression and self destruction. For the better part of the next year I came to see him several times a week. He was dieing, and nothing could change that. Yet, he had more life in him than most anyone outside those walls. We talked for hours, walked the garden, sat in the sun.

 

I read to him from Emerson, Whitman, the Scriptures. His body withered and became weaker, but his spirit never did. At his passing, the parents that could never accept his homosexuality mourned their son and their own shortsightedness.

 

The question though, is this. If I had known that spring day in high school when Michael sat down to eat lunch with me and my only friend, Stacie, how it would end, would I have stopped it there and then? If I could have looked ahead and seen Dean get sick, fade and die. Had I seen Michael grieve, knowing the same fate awaited him. Would I have still chosen to know him, love him, and watch him go?

 

In the two years from 1987 to 1989 I lost five of the most important people in my life; Momma, Dean, Richard, Daddy, and Michael. Michael taught me how to be alive in spite of it all. Seeing him go was so very painful, especially given all who went so closely.

 

Not for one second do I regret having loved him.

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Monday 3/7/05

 

Shall we retire…?

 

Some of you already know that Eddy and I have are seriously considering retiring in about a year when he reaches his 20 years with LAPD. Actually, I am retired already, though I took up a second career as a writer after being shot and medically retired at 25. The thing is, I work, and always have, because that’s the way I was raised. Because that’s what you’re supposed to do!

 

Well, I guess that’s part of the problem. Both of us are a little freaked out at the idea of not working!

 

This whole thing came up last year when I was talking with a friend who was retiring from the Air Force. He was going on and on about Scuba diving in Egypt (http://www.egyptiandiving.com/), visiting Vienna Austria, and all the other incredible places he’s been. I was saying how I would love to see those places (The inside of a surgical tent outside of Kuwait City excepted!), but could never take the time away from work.

 

“Red, you work too much!” he told me, “You need to take a vacation, see the world, do it before you’re too old!” I couldn’t argue. I did work too much, and still do (though I’m trying to cut back).

 

The question, though, was could I do it? In all honesty, it still scares the hell out of me! And for that matter, it scares Eddy too! That’s right, the idea of actually having no obligations, responsibilities, time clocks, etc… has two street wise undercover cops worried!

 

Could we take a step back from the daily grind and actually plan to do nothing but relax, travel, play with the Godsons? Is it possible that I could turn on my computer and not have a dozen e’mails from my boss, all sending me in contrary directions? Could I have no deadline to meet and get through the week? The truth is, I just don’t know…

 

I did spend about a year and a half not working when I moved to LA after the shooting. The first part of that was spent in a self-destructive tailspin, so I won’t gage anything by that. After that though, I did a lot of clubbing with Audrey and that was a good time. But she was working night shifts and I didn’t have anyone to be with while she was out saving LA from the encroaching criminal element.

 

Now, I have Eddy at my side, and we’ll be able to spend our time together, or with friends as they’re available. We can finally go all the places we’ve talked about going one day. We could drive cross country and explore America, even stopping at the Spam museum, if we want to. We could go back to Maui, this time not having to worry about when we have to be back. We could go to Fiji and see if it’s as much better than Hawaii as we’ve heard. Borrow Audrey and Doug’s sailboat and spend a month diving the coast from San Diego to the Gulf of Mexico. Israel, Rio, Brazil, Italy, Paris, Casablanca

 

Can anyone out there relate to my conundrum? Have any of you retired and wished you were still working? Or did you manage, somehow, to just get into the flow and actually enjoy your time? I know I’m making much a due about nothing, but if I don’t get my head around the plan, I know I’ll never get used to it. I’d love to hear from you guys and see what you think…

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Saturday 2/19/05

 

The sun, peaking through the rain

 

I love a rainy afternoon. Really, I do. There’s something about the damp and dreary weather that appeals to the romantic in me, and I long for the time to just lay around the house with my man, no errands to do, no place to go, no demands at all…

 

So, that’s exactly what I’m doing today. I’m lounging around, listening to some good music and enjoying having Eddy right here with me. He’s in the kitchen right now whipping up something incredible for breakfast, so I’m in my study, listening to Sheryl Crow, gazing out the window and thinking happy thoughts. And, I’m thinking how glad I am that someone convinced me that all work and no play was making Red a dull girl!

 

The thing is, there was a very long stretch of time where I tried to drown my loneliness, fear, etc… in work. I showed up before the place opened, and I stayed long after everyone had finished dinner with their families or whatever it was that people with lives were doing. And, my boss rewarded my dedication with even greater workloads, which I took on without a thought of protest. It was a self perpetuating vortex of life sucking energy that left me wondering if the sun still came up or set. I saw the light of day only when I stepped outside to have a cigarette. And then I quit those, so I never saw the sun!

 

I’ve heard it often said that no one ever lay on their death bed and said, “If only I could have spent more time at the office!” No, when people get to the end of their time here, they regret the people and relationships they missed out on, not the money they didn’t make or spend. The sad truth is, most of us work longer than we should, just to buy things we don’t need or things to “make our lives easier”, as if the time could be recouped by the robo-vac or whatever.

 

So, in a few minutes, I’ll be sitting with my Honey, devouring whatever delicious treat he’s cooked up for us. After that, we’ll snuggle on the couch for a while, talking and connecting, letting the week drain off into memory and watching the rain on the windows. Sure, we’ll do the weekend chores, the vacuuming and the laundry, but we’ll do it together, as a couple. Who knows, I may even shed the robe and vacuum while he folds the colors and watches…!

 

Tomorrow, rain or shine, we’re going to spend time with the Godsons and their parents. The boys get bigger every time we see them, and they’ll never be this age again!

 

Yeah, I know that a lot of folks have to put in the overtime to pay the rent, but is it possible that you could let go of a couple material things and lighten your load just a little? Aren’t the people in your shrinking life worth it? And if not, shouldn’t you get some people in your world that are worth more than a few extra bucks or a bigger TV?

 

Think about it. You know where to reach me if you have any thoughts on that. For now, it smells like breakfast is served and I have a life to get to!

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Sunday 2/13/05

 

Of faith and love…

 

I suppose you can blame the overwhelming power of the electronic media, but the fact is, something I saw on TV last week has been on my mind a lot since. (Oh no! Red’s got some bone to pick with Hollywood and we get to sit through the tirade!) Actually, it’s not a bone, or even a complaint. Actually, it’s about my personal faith and the problems I have with it. It’s about a strikingly well written episode and the way they hooked my world with it.

 

Those in my inner circle know I have only two shows I have to watch (now that Sex in the City is over), NYPD Blue and ER. (Neil turned me onto Blue a few years back and I now have a secret crush on Andy, so let’s keep that hushed up, ok?) Last Thursday’s episode of ER was, by far, the most personally touching I have ever seen. Keep in mind that I cried when Dr. Mark Green died. That I wept openly when Robert Romano’s arm was severed in a helicopter tail rotor, as well as when he was killed in fittingly karmic, though still tragic manner of having a crashed helicopter fall on him.

 

So, what was it about last Thursday that struck me so deeply? A bus load of handicapped children facing certain doom? I blind painter with limb cancer? A fire in a Lamaze seminar? None of the above. Nothing that gimmicky or contrived would get to my heart. Rather it was an aspect of the story line that wasn’t even mentioned in the trailers or commercials leading to the episode.

 

The ad’s simply talked of Dr. Kerry Weaver finally meeting the birth mother that gave her up for adoption. Ok, this is a hot button issue with me. Having made the wrong choice personally, as well as being married to the son of a teenaged prostitute, I’m very big on adoption and doing the right thing for the child, even if it’s inconvenient or hard. Eddy was taken from his drug addicted mother at about five and lived his life in the foster system. If she’d just given him to a loving and caring family in the beginning he would have been spared so much pain and suffering that even I can’t fully know about.

 

Back to the point though. In the show, Kerry had spent years trying to figure out who her mother was and why she had been given up. I suppose this is only natural, as most adopted kids wonder. I strongly feel that the answer to this is that the people that were there for you everyday, changing your diapers, kissing the boo-boo’s, and crying with you when your heart got broken, these are your parents. And the mother that gave you life knew she couldn’t give you that love and stability, so she gave you the best hope for a future she could. Still the question troubles many.

 

In this episode, Kerry’s birth mother comes to find her, after ignoring her letter four years prior. It’s difficult at first, but before too long both are talking and sharing, and things look quite good. When the mother announces that she has to get to Church to rehearse with the chorus that she has come to Chicago with, she invites Kerry. Kerry, knowing that she has responsibilities at the hospital, and personal issues with the Church, declines. Kerry’s gay, and though her mother has no way of knowing this, she’s terrified thinking her mother might reject her a second time.

 

Even so, Kerry does show up, and as she walks into the nearly empty sanctuary, she hears the beautiful strains of Just As I Am and a smile of recognition and comfort spread across her face. At the Church her mother asks her why she walks with a crutch, surprising her. “Don’t you know?” She asks, “It’s a genetic defect…” Her mother is horrified, “You mean I did this to you?” All this time she had thought her mother had given her up because of her imperfection, but she had never known.

 

Later, as they share stories over dinner we learn for the first time that Kerry’s adoptive parents were Mission Workers in Africa when she was a child. They look at pictures of her mother’s family, and then Kerry mentions she has a son and takes out her own pictures. Turning to a shot of her late partner, Sandy, their son and her, the mother responds with an understandable, “I see why you need a nanny, raising a child by yourself with a career and everything…”

 

When Kerry finally returns from the ladies room where she had cried and decided, she takes out the picture again and says, “This is my family. This is Sandy, she’s not my nanny, she was my partner, my wife, the mother of my son…She was a firefighter, and she was killed in an accident…”

 

Of course, her sincere and devout mother is astonished to learn her child is a Lesbian, and offers to pray, sending Kerry out the door in tears. Catching up, they talk more, and Kerry reminds her that she knows the scriptures her mother quotes only too well, having grown up in the Church. “You just have to have faith!” she’s told. She stops walking looks her mother in the eye, and says the very thing I have wrestled with since I found myself making love to a woman at 19. “I have faith, and my faith that tells me I’m a sinner because of who I love!”

 

I too was raised in the Church, and have studied, researched, and examined my faith from all angles. Not only do I believe, I can prove my faith true and accurate. I have no room for fools who call for “blind faith”, as the Bible clearly tells all to “Test the spirits”, Study to show yourself approved, a workman rightly dividing the truth”. Yet, I cannot deny that I’m bi-sexual, anymore than I can deny the veracity of the scriptures. If my faith is true, then homosexuality is sin, but the same God that said so also wired my sexuality in a permanent state of “on”. No, I don’t sleep around, but I do react physically when I see a beautiful women. At least Eddy is able to keep up with me, because I do not do well trying to do without!

 

Finally, Kerry and her mother do talk it out and at least part on friendly terms. Her mother offers, “Can you accept that I do love you?”, and Kerry tells her, “I don’t want to be loved but not accepted.”

 

I never came out to Momma, though I know she knew. She was a prophetess, and little I ever did went unknown by her. I did tell Daddy the day he died, but he already knew as well. For his devout and undying faith, he not only accepted, but forgave the lies and sneaking I had done. He forgave the baby I had conceived but not let be born, the people I had slept with, the drinking and all that I had allowed myself to become because of my undercover work. In short, he loved me for who I was and what I was, and carried no regrets of our relationship into death.

 

One last thing. I want to commend the folks at NBC for not trying to make an issue of this story line and this aspect of the episode. Not one single add spoke of Kerry’s sexuality or her mother’s faith. In a time when it’s so popular to put such things in our faces to pump up the rating, they had the grace and class to make it about mother and daughter, not about Christians and Lesbians. Thanks NBC, and thanks to the writers that likewise treated this whole story with the dignity and honor it deserved. Yes, it’s just a TV show, but it was a little piece of my life too, so it mattered to me.

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Sunday 1/30/05

 

Getting the spark back…

 

About a week ago, a friend in an online forum posed a question to the group that got me thinking. He’s a normal guy who loves his wife and wouldn’t think of ending their multi-year marriage… But the spark, romance and passion that they once had is now gone. After considering other options, he has decided to expend his energies back at home, reviving what was lost.

 

I commend this decision, and it has long been my advice to those seeking to go outside the home for whatever it is that they perceive as missing. Truth be told, it’s a lot harder to carry on a successful affair, or even an unsuccessful one, than it is to fix a marriage. That it to say, if it is, in fact, savable. I do realize that there are some relationships simply beyond salvage, and some “partners” simply can’t be bothered.

 

The question, though, was much harder. The essence of it was, “How do I get the passion and spark back?”

 

(deep and expressive exhale…) If I had a dime for every time I have either seen this question posed on a bulletin board or been asked it personally, well, I’d have an awful lot of dimes! It comes in a number of terms, but the idea is always there; When we got together there was fire, spark, passion, romance, and yes… SEX! It lasted a while, or maybe it evaporated as soon as they got back form the honeymoon, but somewhere, somehow, someway, it’s gone and they want to get it back.

 

For men, it’s generally about sex; frequency, duration, desired activities, etc… “She won’t make love anymore”, “She used to go down but then she stopped”, “She never makes the first move”, things like that. For the women, it usually has more to do with intimacy and feelings; “He used to talk to me, but now all he wants is sex”,  “He gets his and then goes to sleep”, “He never does the romantic things he used to”.

 

Well, the members of the group chipped in all their best advice and thoughts, and most tended to be very good, though they were pretty much what you would expect to hear. “Send her flowers and a love note for no reason”, “Tell her how special she is to you”, “Remind her that you love her and think of her all the time”. All great ideas, but in this case, all things he was already doing. He even went so far as to let us know that his beloved didn’t like to get flowers!

 

One fellow offered probably the best advice I had heard in this case. “Court her the way you did before she agreed to be your mate.” That made a lot of sense to me, as I know we all tend to do things to and for our partners while we are first dating that simply stop happening once we no longer have to win them over and have “captured” the prize. It’s only natural, you stop fighting once the objective has been reached, you stop putting on your best face once you know it’s “too late” and they can’t back out…And then both partners lose.

 

Eddy and I have been married a little over 13 years now. I have to admit, despite some obstacles and the normal adjustments, we’re still romancing each other like a couple of kids. Well, actually, a couple of kids who’ve had much more than the average amount of real world living. The truth is, he has never stopped courting me, and he has never forgotten the little things that remind me he loves me.

 

In the same vein, I still do all the little things I used to do back when we were dating too. It’s never occurred to me to not want to make love to my man, or to stop doing the things he likes so much. When I hear about women that used to, but now say they don’t like it, I hear Momma’s voice in my head. “If you use sex to trap a man, he’ll resent you for it and you’ll have to live with the consequences of your actions.” These women have basically lied to their men about their sexuality only so they could “get them”, and then stopped it because they never wanted to do it in the first place!

 

But then, I go back to the whole idea of “things just got familiar…”. I suppose it’s inevitable, to at least begin to see things as “normal” and “routine”. Sure, you see the guy/gal naked every night, they have belched, scratched, or even passed gas in front of you, and they leave the door open when they pee. You’ve put up with those little habits that used to be cute, but now are a little annoying…

 

But the question still is eating at me. What is it that Eddy and I do to keep things active and vibrant? What makes the difference? Why am I always eager to make love with my hubby when so many marriages have come to a regimented once a week and that’s just going through the motions? Honestly, I can’t put my finger on it! Is it the way Momma taught me early that sex between a husband and wife was a wonderful and sacred thing that was beautiful and to be treasured? Was it that I sought out and embraced my sexuality from the beginning? Or was it some special thing that we have always just done and never thought about?

 

I don’t have an answer tonight. The question is still itching at my brain, and I don’t know if I’ll ever get a clear picture of what it is. All I know is that if you aren’t embracing your personal sexuality, you probably aren’t embracing your partner either… And in the end, you both lose out…

 

I do want to hear from you on this. If you have a great relationship with plenty of passion and romance, tell me what you think makes the difference. If your sex life is lacking, but still coming up for air now and then, tell me about what you think you need to save it. If it’s dead or dieing, talk to me and lets see what we can do to get it at least on life support and headed for Intensive care! Linda@lindadarkhorse.com.

 

Linda

>>>>> 

 

Monday 1/10/05

 

A rainy night in LA

 

The lights are out, incense is burning, there are two red candles on my desk and Santana, Shaman is playing on the stereo. I’m on my second glass of a very nice White Zinfandel, and I’ve been watching Sex and the City on DVD for the last two hours…

 

Needles to say, I’m in a philosophically romantic mood. (Eddy’s in for all he can handle when he gets home from work in a couple of hours!)

 

So then, what’s on Red’s over-sexed brain on this rainy night in LA? The odd contrast of love and desire and people and expectations. Two friends, each desiring essentially the same things, to be loved and accepted by a woman they are crazy about. One finding breakthrough after years of quiet desperation, the other wishing he had only someone to talk to tonight.

 

I’m thinking about women that tell their girl friends that they just want a guy that will love them for who they are, listen to their feelings, try to understand them, and be there when they need a shoulder to cry on. I’m thinking about how those same girls see a really nice guy and treat him like their best gay friend, telling him all their love-life woes, but never even considering that he is exactly the guy they asked for. Instead, they’re chasing the bad boys and the “love-‘em-and-leave-‘em crowd.

 

Ok ladies, let’s admit it! We all have one guy friend like that, don’t we? He’s sweet, that’s exactly how we describe him. He’s thoughtful and polite and we know we can tell him anything, no mater how embarrassing or sexual or whatever, because he’s “safe”. He’s not on the prowl, he’d never take advantage of us, and we’d never fix him up with our girlfriends because he’s too nice. Hell, some of you are married to him!

 

(Linda, you’re rambling, get to the point…) I suppose I’m really just thinking about how lucky I am and how I wish certain friends were half as lucky sometimes. I don’t know if it’s God, or fate, or the universe smiling on me, but I have a man that is every bit my match and equal. We make love as much now as we did when we were first married, and it’s only gotten better for our love becoming deeper with the years.

 

When Eddy left undercover work in ’02 so we could be together (he had been away on assignments as long as several months), we sat down and actually planned out time to be together. Every couple needs to plan date nights and lovemaking nights/mornings when they can know that the time is reserved exclusively for their mate! We knew that we had to, so we did too.

 

Subsequently, Saturday morning and nights are reserved for our intimate time. If we’re out, we know that we will make love when we get home. If we are traveling, it’s still a given. And the same goes for the morning. Wherever we are, Saturday morning is reserved for that wonderful wake-up sex that is so special.

 

Likewise, we have reserved “me” time as well. Sunday nights we each get a couple of hours when we can come home, go into our individual places (my study, his workshop), and talk with friends, IM pen pals, whatever… and then it’s time to be together and finish off the night as a couple. That could be sex, or just cuddling on the couch with a glass of wine and a movie (or not).

 

Don’t misunderstand; this isn’t the only time we “get together”. Quite the opposite! Studies show that the average married couple in America has sex once a week. Couples that report they have a good and satisfying sex life average about two times a week. Eddy and I are above average, in many respects. I don’t tell you this to brag, but to illustrate something. Women, your men need your loving to feel like men! They need it, and so do you!

 

So, why do women refuse sex? Do we not feel wonderful feelings and have fantastic orgasms? Do we despise our men and want to make them feel small and insignificant? Are we so ashamed of our God-given sexuality that we shun the very instincts and drive that are hardwired into our femininity? Girls, honestly now, have you ever just said ok when you weren’t in the mood and NOT ended up really feeling pretty good after all?

 

No, I’m not talking about negligent, abusive, or careless lovers. I’m talking about that man you love and that loves you, the same one that would bring you flowers if he thought it would have any effect. The one that doesn’t care if you haven’t quite lost the baby fat or the years have made your breasts not quite so perky as they were on your first night together. You remember, don’t you? That same guy you couldn’t wait to see at the end of a long day because he could make you smile even if your boss didn’t appreciate anything you’d done all week. The man who’s kiss made you feel like nothing else in the whole damned world mattered as long as you were in his arms!

 

So, ladies, wanna see that man again? Wanna see the flowers and the love notes and all that silly crap that sort of slowed to a stop about the same time you stopped making the effort? Tonight, for no good reason, put on that slinky nightie you haven’t taken out in a while. Kiss him that special way and then do that thing he always wanted you to do, but you couldn’t be bothered. Then, in a couple nights, do it again, for no special reason. Later in the week, make the magic all over…It won’t be long, he’ll do all the things he used to, and more.

 

And what’s more, you’ll have fun and feel fantastic.

 

I have to go now. The incense is burned down, the wine is gone, and Eddy will be walking in the door any minute.

 

Let me know how it goes ladies… You have my address!

 

Linda

>>>>>> 

Monday 1/3/05

 

New Years Eve in Sin City

 

You know, I like my life planned out and orderly. In high school I had my career path plotted to the year from College to the police academy, to how long I’d be on patrol. When to have kids, promotions and assignments… the whole thing.

 

Well, life’s what happens while you’re making other plans! When I met and started dating Eddy, one of the things that I loved most was his ability to come up with some wild romantic idea on a moments notice and sweep me off into a passionate adventure! He’d call me at work or home and just tell me to pack a few things and then never let on where we were going.

 

In his inimitable fashion, Eddy told me all week that he had made plans for New Years, and I wasn’t to worry about it. Then, Thursday night he told me to pack an overnighter; party clothes, something casual, plenty of lingerie… And leave the guns home. (He’s LAPD, I’m a retired Narc, so we both carry) “And where are we going baby?” I asked. “If I told you, it wouldn’t be a surprise, now would it?”

 

About noon Friday we climbed in his old Nova and he pointed us south on the 405 freeway. Of course, he did have to let me in on some of it when he slipped off the freeway and into the departures level at LAX. We parked and walked into the Southwest Airlines terminal, so I figured it was going to be a Parrot Head party in Cabo, but he had me fooled still. He managed to keep it from me though until we had to get our gate and the sign clearly said Las Vegas. He got a squeeze and a kiss for his devious, romantic mind.

 

McCarran airport was as busy as I’ve ever seen it, and I usually go to “the town Elvis decorated” for conventions! There’s just something about the worlds biggest party in a town where almost everything’s legal that lends itself to rowdy behavior. We caught a shuttle and were swept away to our accommodations.

 

I had only been to The Venetian once before, and just in passing. I had attended a vender’s evening event during the NAB show in 2000, and they had held it in Madame Tussauds wax museum, at the Venetian. Well, if you’ve never had a proper introduction to this magnificent hotel, you need to book a long weekend there with your special someone!

 

The place looks like an 18th century Italian palace, all grandeur, gilded accents and sculpted ceilings. They even have the Venetian canals and gondoliers to take you on romantic trips through the whole experience! Of course it’s slightly less showy in the actual guest areas, but the casino and other public offerings were absolutely beautifully done.

 

As we planned to be up late, we checked in and went right to bed. And then later napped a while (Bad Linda, baaaad Linda!). We dressed in our party clothes and had dinner at Zerffirino, an incredibly appointed Italian restaurant. Judging by the crowd, Eddy must have booked the reservation well in advance, as I gather he had for the whole trip. The meal was fantastic, and we forwent dessert as we were just warming up.

 

We walked a bit, then headed for the cabstand and were whisked off to another hotel that I never did know the name of, and into their night club. The music was loud and the crowd animated as we danced the night away. As the magic moment arrived the room counted down and at the stroke of midnight Eddy kissed me in his special way that left me tingling all the way to my toes… I’m told there were fireworks displays out on the strip, but I was watching them in my own brain as the music picked up and we danced and celebrated till about 1 or 2.

 

Back at the room I don’t need to tell you what happened. Let’s suffice to say that the fireworks continued and Victoria’s Secret will be getting a thank you note from us both.

 

Saturday, New Years Day, we ordered room service for breakfast and didn’t leave the room till about mid afternoon. I do so love strange hotel beds… Dressed again we availed ourselves of the canal tour by gondola. It was a thrill, so romantic to course our way along, as if in another world. And, unlike The Pirates Of The Caribbean, They have no rules about couples making out on this ride! In fact, I think the PR staff encourages it!

 

We shopped, ate, took in the glitz and show of it all. Of course we gambled too! Hey, why go to Vegas if all you’re gonna do is shop and make love! I can do that at home (wink).

 

Eddy likes the cards, and I hung on his arm for good luck as he gave the house a proper spanking at the Blackjack table. Personally, it moves too fast for me to keep up with (I actually look at my cards and think about what to do, these guys just seem to know!), but Eddy’s natural talents for blending in seem to work in his card play as well! Before I could see what he had in his hand he was doubling down and hitting and all that Jazz. I’d like to say he won huge, but at least it was enough that they comp’ed us dinner at Delmonico’s. Maybe if we stayed longer we’d have gotten the room too?

 

My turn to play came at the slots and we spent nearly all he had won at the card tables. At least they give you your drinks free at the machines, so we got our money’s worth in Stoli and Cranberrys and Rum and Cokes! Finally though, Eddy talked me into “some real gambling”, and we headed off to see if there were any poker tables open.

 

Important note, if you want to play poker, make sure your opponents weren’t ever undercover cops. The thing about playing poker in a casino is that, unlike any other games, the money is NOT the houses. You play against the other people at the table, and they either win your money or you win theirs. That in mind we kept it friendly (it wasn’t high stakes anyway), and made sure the nice folks could afford to lose before we cashed in and went for our free dinner.

 

More dancing, more Blackjack (down a little this time), wondering hand in hand along the canals… Back to the room for that sweet lovin that keeps our lives filled with passion and desire! (They have some interesting things available on the Pay-per-view…)

 

Sunday We hit the buffet for breakfast and just acted like overstuffed tourists till it was time to head back to the room to pack up. If you ask them very nice (it could help to mention that you’re a cop), they might just let you check out very late! We got back to LAX after 10, and the madness was still going on. Apparently, it had been raining pretty good since we left…I so love rainy nights at home…

 

My friends and loves, I wish you all the most spectacular year as 2005 dawns and the future looms big on the horizon. There will be some big challenges for all of us, but I know that you all are capable of taking any situation and making it through! I’m looking forward and I hope you do too! Make it a good one, and have lots of love to share with everyone you touch! Be sure to drop me a line and tell me what you’ve got on your “to do” list! I love hearing about the goals that get met head on! Go get ‘em Tigers and Tigress’s!

 

Linda

>>>> 

Sunday 12/26/04

 

Head banging with Manson and Slunt at the Wiltern

 

Many of my closer friends know that my musical tastes can only be categorized as “eclectic”. Well, truth be told, much of the responsibility for those odd tastes lies with my best girlfriend and former lover, Audrey. We met in high school; she was an LA Punk Rocker with a black belt and a mouth like a trucker. She fell in love with me the night we met and was the first real live bisexual woman I ever encountered.

 

Well, today Audrey is a Patrol Sergeant with LAPD, the mother of Eddy and my Godsons, a wife, and still into the cutting edge of music. So, when she suggested that a bunch of us go see Marylyn Manson at the Wiltern Theater, I figured, “Why not?” The show was Sunday night, 12/19, and the buzzing in my head is only now fully gone.

 

Now, in all honesty, I’m NOT really into Manson much. Sure, he has some great music, and his lyrics can be pretty insightful, in a dramatically overstated way, but I’m a bit past the teen angst part of my life. None-the-less, I love serious, high energy music and I was certain that the creator of a album like “Antichrist Superstar” and the “Against All Gods” tour, would deliver. However, the real thrill for me was the opening act, Slunt… (more on that later)

 

My hubby Eddy, Audrey, her hubby Doug (an accountant, if you can believe it!), Neil (my writing partner), his 14 year old son Sean, Sean’s buddy Louis and I arrived at the LA icon on Wilshire and Western about an hour before the 8:00 show time. The line was already around the corner and half way up the side street, teeming with every degree of Goth-Rocker. There were the fans, the devotes, and the zealots who dressed to look like the master shockster.

 

There were teenaged boys and girls accompanied by what I came to refer to as the “MIB’s”, the “Moms In Black”. 40-something housewives that came along so the kids could see their idol while still being chaperoned, they seemed to all dress in black to blend in, but not like the fans did. There were a few older fans as well, dressed in leather and fishnets or some other mix of Goth and Metal.

 

Audrey wore a stunning black leather vest and miniskirt that Eddy and I had bought her at the Sturgis Rally, over garters, fishnets and stiletto pumps. Doug emulated his favorite Punk icon, Iggy Pop; tight black t-shirt and skin tight jeans with engineer boots and a studded belt. Neil did the black T, jeans and sneakers while Eddy added black jeans and boots for his look. I settled on a black biker tank-top, Audrey’s red leather skirt (not a mini), and Victorian lace-up boots. The kids were in Manson T’s and black pants… All very rock and roll, of course.

 

I was a little surprised that only one, elderly, evangelist was present to protest and shout “repent”. He sported a huge sign stating, “God doesn’t love you just as you are.” Neil, a former evangelist and Pastoral trainee, took the fellow to task, announcing that “I repented of my repentance!” He also sighted the scriptural error of the man’s sign, quoting, “In this God proved his love for us; that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us!” The man didn’t have an adequate response prepared for someone that actually knew the scriptures and the power thereof.

 

A thorough pat-down search was done of all attendees at the door (metal detectors are useless when the dress code is studded dog collars and boots with a dozen buckles!), and we were inside. The venue is a classic LA location with a decidedly Gothic décor. The cornucopia of styles worn by the masses fit perfectly, and I was struck by the irony of it all. To say that there was a bit of eye candy would be a gross understatement. However, some of the prettier people were actually boys, doing the whole “gender confusion” look. Legs and cleavage were the order of the day, of course.

 

Our seats were in the Loge, which in this case was the first balcony. The true beauty of the Wiltern is that there really isn’t a bad seat anywhere in the smaller venue. We were close enough to figure out what cords the guitarist was playing, if we were so inclined. At a little after 8:00, the lights dimmed and the opening act appeared. Even in the dark, I could see that at least two of the musicians coming on stage were decidedly female. I poked Audrey and announced, “Girl band!”

 

I have to explain that when I say “Girl Band”, I mean it in a very good way. I’m thinking of Heart, Litta Ford, and what Joan Jet should have been. I’m not thinking The GoGo’s, Bananarama or the Bangles (nothing wrong with those girls, but that’s Pop, not Rock). Slunt is a serious Rock outfit, worthy the title and ready to throw down with the “big boys” any day of the week. They also have what no all male Rock band can ever have… The “estrogen factor”! And yes, the girls DO make their sexuality a part of the image and the music!

 

Slunt is a four piece Hard Rock ensamble out of New York City. The name, which means just what you think it does (come on, use your imagination!), is very indicative of the attitude and make up of the band. Lead singer and rhythm guitarist Abby Gennet looks like Sheryl Crow, sounds like a pissed off Belinda Carlyle, and plays her Gibson SG like a house on fire. She and drummer Charles Ruggiero put the band together, drafting left handed lead guitarist Pat Harrington (not the actor), along with bassist Jenny Gunns.

 

Jenny, who doubles as the webmistress of the band’s site is tall, lean, dark haired and hotter than the thundering bass licks she was wringing out of her Fender J Bass. Audrey fell in love with her as soon as the first number was pounded out. Pat, looking much like the requisite goateed Metal hero drove a natural Mahogany Gibson SG through Marshall amps turned to the brain-damage setting. The fact that he was a lefty scored major points with both Audrey and me (Left on Sisters!)

 

The songs are solid rockers, proclaiming the raw, bar scene influenced, and yes, sexual world that these guys love. Titles like, “The Best Thing (You Ever Had)”, “Not About You”, “I Wanna Be Your Only One” and “Inside” tell much of the story. They also do an inspiring cover of Romeo Void’s “Never Say Never” (I might like you better if we slept together) that is, if anything, BETTER than the original!

 

Call it a commercial put on if you want, but the sex sure seems real to this bi-girl. Jenny thumping her bass from her knees, poised in front, face to Abby’s low slung ax. Later, as they open “The Best Thing”, Jenny reaches around to strum Abby’s guitar as Abby leans back with her pick hand raised and moans, “Oh Jenny, oh Jenny, OOOOH JENNY! Wrong G string!” Yes, it’s rehearsed, it’s in their video, and they do it in every show (I downloaded pictures of the act in at least six venues), but the idea either came from a marketer with too many porn videos, or the girls really know how to bring the testosterone up to match their estrogen! Hell, who knows, they might actually be bi and as hot as they made us feel! I get the impression that Abby is decidedly a Top to Jenny’s Bottom…

 

Neil, Audrey and I all logged onto their website afterwards to let the girls/guys know how much we loved the show. Audrey proclaimed her love for Jenny, offering to go on the road as her personal groupie. The site, http://www.slunt.net/, is well put together, loaded with pic’s, the video for The Best Thing, samples of some of the songs, and a merchandise shop. You can pick up the 5 song EP, T-shirts, Tanks, or a thong with the band’s logo for very reasonable prices. Yeah, I’m cheap! I admit it, but seriously, $25 for a concert shirt is ridiculous! Band T’s and tanks for $15 and $12 respectively sounds a lot better to me! The thong is $10, and the CD only $7. Even with shipping, not bad.

 

It took about 45 minutes to reset the stage, but Manson came out with a vengeance and gave the crowd an hour and a half of his signature style of overindulged, angry, outrageousness. I had donned wax earplugs by this time, but even so the music came through as strong and clear as the imagery.

 

When he broke into his cover of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus”, the set was decorated with stained class backdrops and candles. Neil sang along with increased vigor, finding vent for his personal demons. The crowd went wild when Manson kicked off his version of The Eurythmic’s “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”, and he carried it off with passion and fire. The reception was equally enthusiastic for his cover of Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love”.

 

Between walking on stilts, tossing open water bottles into the crowd, and stripping off various parts of his costume, Manson gave his loyal fans everything they were there to see. He closed the show with Antichrist Superstar, complete with a Hitler-esc elevated pulpit and pseudo-fascist banners.

 

Great show and we discovered a hot new band too!

 

 

After thought…

 

Sean and Louis met a couple of girls and got phone numbers and e’mails. Audrey fell in love. Eddy and Doug had a great time, and I danced my ass off. The only one that had a negative experience was Neil, but that wasn’t the show… It was a girl he met.

 

Melissa and her friend Shauna sat next to him before the show began, and prompted by the taunts of Louis, Neil and Melissa started talking (Neil is very shy in this area, and would never have struck it up on his own). It seemed like they were really hitting it off well, and she even asked him if he was single. I could see that he was very attracted to her (hey, she was a knock out, even if her boobs were plastic!), and dieing inside because he was too nervous to ask for her number.

 

During the music, she danced like a show girl, and it wasn’t long before I noticed that Neil was staring… as she repeatedly pulled one then the other breast out of her skimpy lace top! By midway through the show Melissa was routinely plopping both of her synthetically enhances tits out and leaving them there. Neil was entranced, but certain that he would blow it and never see her again.

 

When the show ended (the music, and the topless show), Melissa hugged him and thanked him for giving her a set of ear plugs. In an uncharacteristic rising of courage, He finally got enough nerve to ask her for her number. That’s when she told him she was married. I can’t recall ever seeing him so broken looking. He was crushed.

 

So, if anyone knows a 30-something, 5’5”, strawberry blond with a pierced navel and fake boobs in the Whittier area answering to the name Melissa, could you give her a message for me? Hey Melissa, you hurt my friend really bad, and you didn’t need to. He’d have liked you and been polite even if he knew you weren’t available, that’s just how he is. You didn’t need to lead him on and stick your tits in his face all night either, that was just mean. Melissa, is your husband proud of you? Does he know what you do when he’s not around? How you toy with nice guy’s hearts and then shut them down? Melissa, this from Linda Dark Horse; you’re a bitch and a cock tease… A woman your age should know better, grow up. You owe my friend an apology.

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Friday 12/24/04

 

Merry Christmas everyone! It’s been a busy week, and I haven’t had a chance to write a proper entry for today yet. Actually, I have something, but it isn’t appropriate for the Christmas Eve, so I’ll post it in a couple days.

 

Until then, have a fantastic day, even if you aren’t celebrating. Eddy and I will be spoiling the Godsons and helping Audrey and Doug do the whole Santa scene for them…

 

Love to all!

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Thursday 12/16/04

 

Tis the season…Somehow sitting in my Condo in sunny Culver City with the temperature in the low 70’s I am having just a little trouble remembering what season that might be!

 

I’ve been done with my shopping for a while… ok, is shopping ever actually done? Lets just say I finished getting things on the list and am likely to only buy a few more items before the 24th!

 

But still, I’m having a little trouble feeling “Christmasy”. Back home in Sturgis it’s in the 30’s and 40’s and I’m sure there’s snow on the ground. But I don’t think it’s the lack of snow or the sun and warm weather that’s got me a little Grinchy today…

 

I’m having friends over Saturday for a Christmas party and I sat down to load some Christmas CD’s on my hard drive so I could program a continuous “mood music” collection. Some various artists albums, mostly instrumental and little vocal. Of course some Manheim Steamroller… Christmas in the Aire.

 

It took only a few minutes to load the disks, thanks to my super duper speedy P4 and oodles of memory. But the thing is, as they load they also begin to play. So, I was “forced” to listen to the Christmas music. Not just let it play behind the conversation and merriment, but to actually listen to it… You know what I realized? This is the first time in over a month, since the beginning of the “season” that I have actually stopped my fussing and planning to just listen and enjoy the wondrous songs that are, to me, Christmas!

 

I’ve been, as most of us do, running here and there, working, planning, shopping (oh yeah!), and in general just so busy that I couldn’t even remember what it was about in the first place! They say that “A fellow that can keep his head when all about him are losing theirs shows character. However, when you’re up to your ass in alligators it’s hard to remember that the original mission was to drain the swamp!”

 

Well, friends and loves, if you’re swamped, it may be time to take a short break and regroup. Stop the running, for just an afternoon or even a couple of hours. Sit down and have a cup of spiced cider or some hot cocoa. Call an old friend you haven’t spoken to in a while, write a note to a loved one that might be cheered to hear a simple hello, listen to the music playing and see if you can remember the words...

 

This is the season of miracles, after all. Chanukah, the festival of lights (which is what Jesus celebrated at this time of year, by the way!), remembers the joy of rededicating the temple after its desecration. God made a tiny vial of consecrated oil, the only one left unmolested, burn for eight days. He gave the Israelites time to both feast and celebrate, as well as prepare additional oil to keep his lamp burning without end.

 

Christmas, of course, the time we remember an innocent child born to carry the weight of the world’s sin. God himself, vulnerable and dependant for a time.

 

The stores will be open tomorrow; today, sing a carol or two and remember.

 

Oh, holy night, the stars are brightly shinning, it is the night of our dear Savior’s birth. Long lay the world, in sin and error pinning, till he appeared and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices. For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn…

 

Enjoy your week, and Merry Christmas to all!

 

Linda

>>>>> 

Thursday 11/25/04 12:30 pm

 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I apologize that I have still not figured out how to use the blogger software for the site, so I am just posting this in simple text form. Maybe one of you hacker types can offer some advice; the site uses B2 or some such thing to make it work…

 

So, it’s Thanksgiving and I’m basking in the wonderful aroma of Eddy’s cooking! God, it almost feels like being back home with Momma fussing over the stove all morning so we could have our annual feast about midday. Eddy’s a fabulous cook, and I know Momma would be pleased with his culinary artistry. I’ll be fixing the mashed potatoes a little later on…

 

In the living room, the Lions/Colts game is on, so that seemed like a perfect time to sneak off to my study and review some more chapters, making the final preparations for the book to be shopped around to the publishers.

 

I have Gretchen Wilson on the stereo, the house smells like good times and good food, and the Southern California sun is shining bright and clear. In an hour or two we’ll be heading over to our best friend’s Audrey and Doug’s, and our God-kids, Michael and Richard (9 and 7 years old). There will be the usual feasting and laughter, enjoying the love and companionship of extended “family”.

 

Of course, this time of year also brings back bitter/sweet memories for me. I have already spent my obligatory hour and a half cleaning four deer rifles; mine, Richard’s, Daddy’s and Grandaddy’s. You see, up until about 20 years ago, the day after Thanksgiving was our traditional deer hunt.

 

Every year we would do our dinner early enough that we could get plenty of sleep and be in the Black Hills before dawn. Daddy and Grandaddy taught me to hunt there, and that’s where I took my first deer at 10 years old. When Richard (my first hubby) and I got serious, he was immediately welcomed into the tradition. That was before our undercover work took over our lives and family was pushed to the back burner.

 

So each year now, I go into the safes and do some upkeep and check for rust and dust. Richard and I have nearly identical beat up old Winchester Model 70’s, which was funny to us, since they were each gifts to us as kids, long before our paths ever crossed. They were both the same caliber as well, .270. Daddy’s is also a Model 70, but in .308, the winters of three decades showing well on the stock.

 

Grandaddy’s rifle was the veteran of the bunch though, an aged army surplus Springfield 1903 with a sporterized stock and Leupold 3x9 scope. The wood is striped with the blood of countless animals, all taken with the reverence and respect that only the old wichasha wakan (medicine man) could represent. He did his best to instill that respect into me, the one he named Wiyan wakan chikala- Little holy woman. And it was on such a hunt, in the snow and majesty of The Creator’s artistry that he tried to teach me to see what was truly before me, and not what I wanted or hoped for. It’s a lesson I finally learned much too late, but none-the-less, have come to understand.

 

So, today when I sit down with the ones I love most in this world, remembering the loved ones gone on to the next, it’s the love I will be most thankful for. When I think of those less fortunate, I’ll be thankful for those blessed folks at the LA Mission and others that give their time and money to welcome them in today. When I think of the foster homes and institutions that Eddy and Doug grew up in, I’ll be thankful of people like Dr. Laura and her foundation that gives them something to call their own, and the knowledge that someone does care for them.

 

And when I drive from my comfortable condo in quiet Culver City, to Audrey’s house by the park, free to do so in relative safety and without fear, I’ll think of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airman and Marines that are sleeping in tents, on ships, or in alert facilities tonight so we can. Your families have sacrificed that you can be there, and you all place your personal comfort and safety on the line for millions of people who’s faces you will never see and names you will never know. To all of you, you are my heroes and we all owe you a debt we can never repay.

 

A very blessed and happy Thanksgiving to all of you, and to all my friends and loves here at home.

 

Linda

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