Tuesday, October 28, 2008

winds of change

As I was walking across the very windy Mall today, watching the leaves scatter and finding it hard to stay upright, I suddenly knew. Change is coming to Washington, and it's not just the weather.
They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.
Andy Warhol (1928 - 1987), The Philosophy of Andy Warhol
The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it.
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121 AD - 180 AD), Meditations
Every generation needs a new revolution.— Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, October 25, 2008

what took you so long?

Huh, United States? Why did it take over 230 years to get our first black president? Or first truly viable female candidate? I know I'm jumping the gun, but hey, c'mon.

I grew up in suburban New Jersey with the understanding that I could do just about anything I set my mind to, if I tried. And virtually color-blind. It is a tribute to my parents that if they held any prejudices, they didn't transmit them to me. When I announced that I was going to grow up and marry Yankee Roy White, they applauded my choice of the best left fielder in baseball. We never even talked about his skin color. He was just my favorite Yankee.

I never considered myself a proto-feminist either. Let me explain. In first grade it was announced that the class would be putting on a play, "The Three Billy Goats Gruff," and that the boys would all be billy goats and the girls would all be flowers. No mention of the troll, hmmm. Anyway, the teacher, Mrs. Oswald, went around the room and asked each student what part they wanted to play. Each boy said "billy goat" and each girl said "flower." When she got to me I said that I wanted to be one of the billy goats, securing my first starring role as the Middle Billy Goat Gruff. I was more interested in getting a speaking part then just being a posy, or one of the bunch, so to speak, but it wasn't until years later that I wondered if Mrs. Oswald may have been a feminist, laying out a gender-oriented structure and seeing if anyone would challenge it.

So, just like I think that every kid, boy or girl, should get to be a billy goat (or a flower, for that matter), I also am actually a little pissed about all the talk about those "cracks in the glass ceiling." Hillary was a very good candidate. I didn't vote for her, because I thought Obama was a better one. My thoughts about her candidacy never centered on her being a female. Maybe being a Clinton...But I think it's pretty lame that it's taken a new century to shake up the old white WASP boys club. That ceiling never should have existed, much less needed to be cracked open. I'm half WASP myself, but with a hard-to-pronounce Italian last name. Hell, most of my family members can't even pronounce it correctly. But when will we ever see an Italian-American in the White House?

And all this crap about marriage. Enough. It is time to let people be who they are, legally and spiritually. It's a big world, people. There are so many religions, ways of thought, spirituality. Why do I feel that this country is only starting to catch up to what a little girl just took for granted, that she could marry anyone, and achieve anything she put her mind to, take the "boy's part," so many years ago?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

so tired, tired of waiting...

...tired of waiting for you.

Friday, October 17, 2008

in the spirit of fair play...

They can play nice (and even funny) too. Hmmm...

I guess it depends on your sense of humor to decide who you think really killed it...

senile delinquent

"I screwed up."

Just what you want to hear from a potential commander-in-chief.

What a brat.

"We don't have sufficient human intelligence."

He may be older, but his opponent is more of an elder statesman, more of a grown-up.

No more brats in the White House.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

has the U.S. grown out of its father fixation?

The election, wolf de-population, the economy's downward spiral and various and sundry topics are of course on a lot of people's minds these days. And if that awful Kenley will win Project Runway...

There has been quite a bit of mud-slinging and outright campaign lying going on. Unfortunately, this is to be expected as the campaign draws to a close and certain parties become more and more desperate. While we were shooting the breeze and enjoying the sunshine this weekend, one of my friends expressed a desire that all of this campaign BS should just stop. And wouldn't it be nice if some public figure that we all admire would speak out and request just that.

Can you hear the crickets chirping?

Who, exactly, is that person? To quote Dr. Seuss, "we puzzled and puzzed 'til our puzzzlers were sore" and we just couldn't come up with anyone. Is this a sad state of affairs that there is no U.S. politician, religious leader, philosophical personage (ha) or even celebrity that the majority of the population respects who could offer up a few words of wisdom? We opened it up to the globe, but didn't do much better. Walter Cronkite is over 90. The Dalai Lama and Billy Graham both have current health concerns. Who?

Are we that intellectually bankrupt, or is it that the elder statesman/stateswoman concept is just simply out of date?

Maybe Obama's lead in the polls is also a reflection of the need to have a contemporary in office, rather than someone who should be reviewing his retirement package. Something to ponder while I continue to rack my brain for a public figure I respect...

Thursday, October 09, 2008

some things that I am learning

Cheese is the devil. As a person of Italian descent, it is hard for me to say this, but it really is. I know part of this is that dairy is just harder to digest as one grows older, but if you are looking to lose weight, I guarantee that if you swear off cheese for a month you will see a remarkable difference. And life just runs smoothly...

Ditto with soda. There is no such thing as diet soda. It may not have sugar in it, but it will still make you fat. Don't believe the marketing hype. If you stop drinking any kind of soda, you will lose weight. I'm no soda-Nazi, but I do believe in moderation. A girl needs a Dr. Pepper from time to time, and that green tea ginger ale is pretty darn good. Just not on a regular basis.

You don't need to shampoo your hair every day, but you should condition it. This is a little trick that I have been doing for about a year. I "rinse" it with water in the shower and then condition it, but I am only really washing it once a week and it is less fly-away. Lather, rinse, repeat is yet another marketing ploy.

Sometimes you can save money, if you just ask. I called the cable company when my bill suddenly went up due to taxes or fees, and told them that I just didn't want to pay that much. After a little research into alternate "packages" they found me a better bundle and I am paying half as much. Not too bad.

These are just small steps, but it is heartening to think that I might actually learn a few things as I get older. Taking it easy, baby-steppin...

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I could have been president if it wasn't for you meddling kids!

"That one."


The focus group folks aren't your friends.

"Main Street" has heard of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

You are so out-of-touch.

Watching you careen around the stage...

Excellent Scooby Doo ending, Shaggy.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

life takes time

I am constantly trying to simplify my life. No, really. For someone who is constantly rushing (and constantly behind) it may appear on the surface, that I'm doing just the opposite.

I get up in the morning and go through my morning rituals: prepare breakfast, check the Weather Channel, wake up the kid, shower while she eats breakfast, brush teeth, get dressed, tell kid not to start playing before she gets dressed while I eat breakfast, get out the door, drive to her preschool, drop off, hugs, drive to parking garage, walk across Mall to work, hope boss doesn't notice I'm 10-15 minutes late (again), clean my work area, get to work, eat lunch, sometimes go to acupuncture, more work, pick up kid, drive home, get kid to take a bath while I prepare dinner and lunch/snack for next day, eat dinner, go on the computer, watch a little TV, relax/cuddle, read a book, get kid ready for bed, take a shower, do a journal entry, read a little, sleep, wake up next morning and do it all over again.

Is this the life I always dreamed of, or envisioned? Is it good or bad? Should I even be thinking of my life in such terms? Truth be told, amidst all those tasks, there are also some real opportunities for love, laughter and some deep thoughts, if I allow them to come. Work, although mostly a slog, can also sometimes allow for some creative thinking and doing. The kid and her friends frequently crack me up as I watch them interact. There are sometimes opportunities for outings with friends and family that can be added to the day's agenda. And don't ask me how it works, but acupuncture and weekly yoga sessions can really help me relax and feel like I'm doing something for myself.

Admittedly, I haven't found a slot yet for art-making (apart from what I do at work.) I need to get back to my own artwork. I think this blog may help me get back to that. I hope so. I guess I have been looking inward, rather than outward, but I'd like to change that, at least a little. For a brilliant perspective on this idea, check out this great post about David Foster Wallace.

As much as I grouse about what's going on in the world around me and the beyond-absurd turns and twists that politics has been taking, for the most part I feel quite positive. I think the world is actually going through a quite significant period. The real changes as a century turns always take a few years to hit, and I think they're hitting now, hard. It's time for a change, and I think we will get the one we really need. I have been changing myself and my life gradually, and I think it is all for the better. It isn't easy getting older, being a "grown-up," but it is worth it. There's a lot to enjoy about life. It just takes time sometimes to notice.

Friday, October 03, 2008

golden years

I've been thinking about why I blog lately. Mostly, because I want to share something that happens in the world and put my own spin on it. But maybe it's also a way to tell little stories from the past that might reflect on the present.

I upload current and not-so-current songs onto my iPhone and then shuffle through my taste in music, past and present, while I walk through town. A song can bring me right back to a particular time in my life, as music can do. Golden Years popped up in rotation the other day and zap - I was right back in high school gym class. For some reason the teachers decided we should be "dancing" instead of playing volleyball, so there we all were, learning a line-dance move to David Bowie.

That memory brought back another Bowie reference from my past, when I was an art student in NYC. I was heading to MoMA, hellbent on seeing Jasper John's Flag painting. MoMA was undergoing a renovation and all the "greatest hits" were in the basement. I was so focused on my mission, that I barely noticed the other folks who stepped on the elevator to view the collection.

As we headed down, I heard two girls giggling in the corner of the elevator. I finally turned to see what was their problem, and there, looking straight ahead was David Bowie, wearing a shiny gold jacket, his hair the exact matching color of his jacket. He glowed.

As the doors opened, he exited and everyone followed him out of the elevator and followed him from painting to painting, staring in excitement, awe, and embarrassment. Except me. I went in the other direction, trying to find Jasper Johns. After a few stops at some other favorites, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. I was staring at Broadway Boogie Woogie, and David Bowie, who was in an adjacent gallery, appeared to be staring at me.

No way.

I moved on to an Ellsworth Kelley. So did Bowie, to Broadway Boogie Woogie, casually glancing over. Hmmm. This happened at a few more paintings and then wait - finally - there was Jasper Johns!

I headed over to the Flag, happy to reach my elusive quarry. A few moments later, someone was standing very close, on my left side, practically leaning into me. I don't have to tell you who. I looked up at him in disbelief and he just smiled. I stood there for a while, trying to pay some attention to the Johns, but I seemed to have lost interest in the painting. I started to feel uncomfortable. His crowd of admirers had disappeared. The hunted was now the hunter. And I got to taste , for a moment, what it must be like to be hounded.

I pretty much had my fill of art at that point, and ducked out of the gallery. As I sat on the subway home, writing down the event in my notebook (like I'd ever forget it), I wondered why he had chosen me to follow, and why I hadn't been able to say anything to him. Mostly, I guess, because I didn't have much to say - "You're David Bowie?" Not too impressive.

When I got home I looked in the mirror and saw that there were three streaks of different colored oil paint in my hair - alizarin crimson, pthalo green and cerulean blue. A clue! I had been in such a rush to get to the museum directly from painting class, to go after my target, as it were, I had never noticed the paint in my hair.

A little paint, a little stalking, a fun little memory.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

elite? you betcha!

Elite is the new black.

I don't really buy the hogwash that America wants to sit down and have a beer with their president (or vice president.) I don't think you can pry most of America away from the TV or computer screen long enough for that. Why the media allows this myth to be perpetuated, I'm not sure. But as we have all been unpleasantly shaken awake from the bad dream of the last eight years to the hard reality of financial and political mismanagement, the media is finally being forced to report on substantive issues, and not whether it would be fun to hang out with W and Co. or their pale imitators.

What is amusing, to me, about the Republicans' attempt to make elite a bad word is that its most basic definition is the best. Don't they think they are the best choice? Or what about its alternate definition, power elite? I know they want the power. We can probably skip the fourth definition, as few folks still use typewriters these days (except maybe McCain)? Most importantly, perhaps, the word's origins come from the word elect.

So, next month, let's please elect an elite to the power elite.

I thank you.

Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
e·lite [i-leet, ey-leet] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
1.(often used with a plural verb) the choice or best of anything considered collectively, as of a group or class of persons.
2.(used with a plural verb) persons of the highest class: Only the elite were there.
3.a group of persons exercising the major share of authority or influence within a larger group: the power elite of a major political party.
4.a type, approximately 10-point in printing-type size, widely used in typewriters and having 12 characters to the inch. Compare pica1.
5.representing the most choice or select; best: an elite group of authors.
Also, é·lite.
[Origin: 1350–1400; ME elit a person elected to office <>e(s)lit ptp. of e(s)lire to choose; see elect]