Archive for June, 2010

Living in the Now, and Chick Movies (again)

Posted in Uncategorized on June 29, 2010 by Queenie

Well.  I saw a friend for lunch last week, and about the first thing she said to me – once we got settled in at our table and comfy – was:  Wow.  What a SAD blog.  This, of course, is one of my friends who actually reads my blogs.  I have to say, I didn’t much like the review.  Now I know it was all about true things, and not many of them, if any of them at all, had a whit to do about happy things.  I get hardly any replies from my faithful readers unless I happen to be making funny, or finding myself the subject of some strange, almost chick movie quality tale, of some slick slide off the main road of life.  It appears I’m not good for much more than comic relief.  So be it.  But I have to have access to a soap box every now and then, because sometimes I just get royally pissed off, and who else do I have to listen to me?  I don’t seem to get out much anymore.   Well, not exactly.  I mean I know I just rafted the Grand Canyon and spent some time hanging out in West Texas, (worked a bit, I must say – and we know I love my work).  But a lot of stuff’s been happening since I got home, and on the world view side of things, it just sucks.  Pardon my French.  Queenie gets carried away now and then.

So what is it I’m to write about when news seems so much of the dubious quality?  I hesitate to relate the latest news from the neighborhood, for a lot of it lately has the smell of bad reality television, and I don’t want certain parties coming after me.  I was assured today from the highest (or lowest) sources that it could happen.  Well, what has happened to the neighborhood, indeed?  I ascribe to the credo that our lives are what we make of them, and I wonder what some of these people are smoking.  Or maybe it’s that they’re not smoking.  I don’t know. I DO know that life is too short for mucking it up, (see previous downer entry), and we should all be doing our best to be doing our best, instead of the pale imitations of our possibilities that we keep putting out there for public consumption.  Not to mention what the private parties are witness to.  And so here I am again, back on the same soapbox, handing out those Shoulds like every one is standing in line to get one.  What I would like is for everyone to be standing in line to buy my books.  Wouldn’t that work out just nicely for everyone?  Manifesting….. Manifesting.

I have friends going through hard times right now.  I’m beginning to think all those snakes in the road, those Transition portents, weren’t just for me.  I am reminded, once again, that indeed “it isn’t all about me.” I forget that a lot.  But may I remind you, in the guise of Devil’s Advocate, and bringer of Truth, (or some version of it), that sometimes it just has to be.  All about me or all about you, in the names of Survival, Self-Worth, and a few other Necessaries thrown in.  Sometimes we just have to take care of ourselves, because sometimes it is just up – to – us.  Period.  Sometimes we have to take care of ourselves to be any good to anyone else, no matter how selfish that sounds.

One interesting offshoot of the “taking care of self” behavior is that: the better I feel about myself – the “happier” I am, or more content, whatever, (happy is a rather nebulous affair to me sometimes, like “drunk”), the more I feel a satisfaction with taking care, or better put, offering Service – being of service – to someone or something….and of course I mean that in a good way.  “Taking CARE of someone,” for all the wrong reasons, does a disservice to all parties involved.  Any of us who submit to being “taken care of” in a default mode of living are sullying the system.  Sort of like those who play the welfare system – giving it a bad name – and ruining the very avenue of help that the truly needy truly need.  Since when is it such a crime to “need,” and being Needy has turned into a negative, nasty, ratty old coat to have to wear.  And any of us who “need” to take care of someone to feel that we have worth, when we are indeed the needy ones – well, those with more credibility than I write books about such things, so I suppose I needn’t preach from the soapbox on that.  But I think you get my drift.

So I am selfishly engaged these days in taking care of me, thank you very much.  I am puttering around the house, pulling weeds, tending to my plants, swimming in the lake, and plowing into the photography in order to leave my fans gasping for breath at the next art show.  Well, I suppose being awestruck would suffice.  I’m becoming more serious with this art thing all the time, still, after all these years.  There are so many veins I haven’t even tapped yet, and all it takes, (all, mind you), is time and commitment.  Yeah, the other C word – the one that makes certain elements of the populace choke in response.  I so honor Commitment – it is a golden word for me, worthy of high honor.  And so I commit to myself, and the Queen Mum, for she deserves it, too, and we’ll see what I make of this next chapter.  And I commit to my art, and to Friendship, and always to Love.

I’m still watching Cast Away in bits and pieces since it’s been on an HBO run lately, and it always inspires me.  I fancy myself the red-headed artist in the pick-up truck at the end, (man, do I want an old truck), committed to herself, and her dog, I must imagine, (though he should be riding inside the cab rather than in the bed), having picked up her life and stayed true to her art, while the philandering husband’s name has been removed from the gate and her life.  And look what the tide has brought in for both her and our hero who survived against all odds – several hearts having been broken in the process.  I know, another chick movie moment, but I can’t help myself when it comes to chick movies.  There are, (or can be, if it’s not too sappy and disgusting), a lot of truths and good messages delivered within them.  Sometimes it’s just Hope.  And that whole movie is about Hope, and then a few other things……

Having no adventures scheduled for a goodly while, I must adventure within my yard and my imagination, and see what bubbles up.  I must continue the writing of Queenie Does the River, before the memories of the river ride slip away from me.  (I know you’re just dying to hear about the Groover.)  I continue on my quest to live in Joy and righteous Hope, (not the fantasy masquerading as hope), and see what the tide brings in next.  And I will continue to revisit the chick movies whenever they’re offered, mining them for pearls or a good laugh…..or a good cry, which sometimes happens, too.

It’s summer.  And I’m home.  And here I am.  And now what’s next?  Except NOW.

DEATH, and CHANGE (Warning: Soapbox Alert, rant included)

Posted in Uncategorized on June 15, 2010 by Queenie

It’s difficult to know sometimes, when writing in this venue, exactly what I’m to write about.  I don’t know who reads all this, (well, I know a few, but I don’t think I have any particularly widespread fame or following), and I don’t want to violate anyone’s privacy by the telling of anyone else’s tales.  But sometimes they really do relate to mine.

Like now.  A good friend’s significant other has died.  A few days ago.  Heart attack.  Literally, it seems he was here one minute and gone the next.  Maybe there’s comfort to be had in the lack of suffering, but I sure hope all the appropriate things that any one of us wants and needs to hear from our various beloveds got said.  Not many do-overs in these situations.

It’s been hard for me to think on it, because it’s very close to home, and I don’t want to intrude in the goings on, but I’ll be there when the call comes.  All the girlfriends from this bunch were scheduled to have a gathering last weekend, long overdue, but plans changed in a hurry.  Now most of us sit awaiting further phone calls and information before we go to be there, and do what we can.  So I’m puttering along with more time than I thought I had to be home, and pondering on how fast things can change.

For the most part, I think we fight Change.  Maybe it’s the fear of the unknown, the devil you don’t know, all that sort of thing.  Most of the time we have a choice about things, but today the only choice my friend has is how to respond to what’s happened.  There’s no change or choice in what has already happened, and it happened fast.  Bam.

It’s a different tune for some.  I have – had – another girlfriend, now referred to when I talk about her as My Dead Friend, in what sounds like a callous kind of way that only she would understand, and laugh at.  She was the angriest person I ever knew, (perhaps except TG who got better about such things, sort of, but never really fixed anything).  For her to have had that trait makes it all the more unusual for us to have been friends, for I don’t care to have anger around me, but I never had to be the brunt of it exactly.  We had nothing in common, really.  But the crazy thing that connected us was our particular brand of dark humor.  The worst things would happen, and we would find a way to laugh about it that no one else could comprehend.  I suppose it was something like gallows humor or the caustic laughter in operating rooms to offset the tension.  She was a drinker and me not so much, although no one who saw us party together way back when would take much stock in that statement.  I guess the difference was that I quit partying like that – wasn’t really my style – and then our lives separated a lot and we didn’t get to see each other nearly as much as we used to.  She got into some stuff that really surprised me, then moved on, and then settled into the rest of her life, which I’d never really know was a compromise or not.  She got married, and it was pretty tumultuous.  She never really seemed very happy, or if something in her marriage moved in such a way that she got happier, it would change and she’d  be back to where she was.  Very disheartening.  She never quit smoking, she drank way too much, and then she gained a bunch of weight.  In most ways she hardly resembled the person I used to run with, but I still loved her dearly, even if we didn’t talk so much anymore.

I was making better efforts to drop by and see her, stopping by after I’d do a bicycle ride at the Veloway or whenever I was near her place.  She didn’t seem to get out much anymore, except to see and babysit her grandkids I guess, and that was what she seemed to live for.  Next thing we knew she had sneezed and broken a rib – WTF – and I knew then, deep down, that she was already gone.  Her family waffled around with it for a while, thinking she was maybe just drinking too much – I don’t know, I don’t think I ever heard all of the story.  But when someone finally got with her at the doctor’s she was diagnosed with cancer in several places, plus the heart problems she’d already been nursing.  I’ll never believe that she did anything but commit a slow suicide, but that’s not something you can tell all of the family.  When the terminal diagnosis was finally delivered, I understand that her response was something like:  Could you have made a mistake?  Oops, too late, sorry.

Her kids had begged her to quit smoking when they were small.  She did, for a while, but it didn’t take.  The drinking never stopped.  And I don’t know when the weight started loading on.  I guess about the time she must’ve made her choice to be really unhappy, for that was the new her.  Big and, well, whatever else it was she had morphed into.  She was still in there, and we still laughed, at the blackest things, but I didn’t get to talk to her toward the end.  She isolated, and wouldn’t take my phone calls, and the word was that she wasn’t seeing anyone – except her husband and her mother and her kids, I guess.  Not me.  I’d call, but she’d never take the phone.  And that was that.

Next thing I knew I was out in New Mexico, coming back from an art show, when the call came from one of her daughters.  She was out of time, she wanted to see me, and come as soon as I could.  I was hundreds of miles away.  By the time I got home and over to the hospice, she was already unconscious, checked out, beyond the conversation I’d wanted to have with her for so long.  I had wanted to talk to her about the journey.  I wanted to deal with the reality of it, ask questions, but I suppose that was what I wanted, not her.  I was still angry with her.  I likely still am, though it’s relegated to old files now.  She was the first close friend I’d ever lost.

Her husband choked up at her memorial “party” when he related a story of how he had asked her once what she wanted to come back as, in another life.  Her comment:   She didn’t want to come back.  She hated her life.  And so it was.  She used to say that all the time – I hate my life.  And when she said things like:  I’m not going to be around very long – the Universe sure took her up on it.  Alrighty girlfriend, pack your bags.  And she was gone, in short time, really.  Younger than I am now.  Ha Ha.  Not so funny now.  And now, the daughters smoke, and drink – a lot.  Go figure.

And so Death and Change, irrevocably linked, however it presents itself to us.  And however we conspire to make it happen.  We, us, who drive our lives, and are in charge of Change, or at least how we deal with it.

Another girlfriend told me of her experience with Change.  In that it was sort of like this, for her, one time: Oh no, not that, no, ack, nuh uh, wait, stop, no, ag, no….. Uh….huh?….hmmmmm…. Oh! As in…. Wait – maybe this isn’t so bad after all.  In fact, maybe even relief.  Maybe eventually.  I’ve recently been telling folks that my feelings about the lack of TG, (no pun intended), in my life was sort of like dealing with a headache.  It feels so good when it stops.

All of this brings me, with no attempt at an obvious segue, to:  The Oil Spill.  Sorry.  I know we don’t want to think about it.  I know we can’t stand the sight of the muck drenched birds and animals, losing the battle.  And here’s some news – we’re not even seeing them, really.  Reports abound that there are “crews” that appear and then the carcasses disappear – no evidence, you see?  (Or rather, you DON’T see.)  And that photography of all this is being prohibited, in a new form of censorship, right here in your country, folks.

In a jaw dropping case of You Can’t Make This Stuff Up, we see and hear the politicians STILL come out and make a plea for the drilling to continue, because “jobs are at stake,” and we can’t stand for there to be more economic impact.  Really?  Seriously?  This is the price we pay for Demon Oil?  Evidently we do, and we don’t seem to care much.  As long as we aren’t inconvenienced too much.  And that mess – that’s down south somewhere – doesn’t affect me.  Not much it doesn’t.  Unless you’re dead already.

I side with Bill Maher on this one, who says, “Jobs?  F**k Jobs!”  Duh, let’s finally, and for all the right reasons, make NEW jobs.  Those GREEN ones that everyone keeps talking about, but doing nothing.  Well, not everyone.  I have friends making papercrete structures and miracles happen.

What has happened to this country?  Other than the fact that we’ve become a soft, spoiled, entitled and greedy bunch, who think we’ve a right to despoil the planet and leave it dead or dying to whoever comes after us – even our children and grandchildren.  I think we are beyond conscience anymore.

We are kept complacent and PREOCCUPIED either with somehow maintaining our existence, or if we’ve managed to maintain it at costs that we refuse to consider, we’re then too busy texting or keeping up with the Kardashians or whatever reality folly is passing for entertainment on the mesmerizing television screen.  There are “enemies” out there, and they walk among us – sort of.  I can’t say as I see them much in my neighborhood, but they’re out there, making the LAWS.  Or NOT.  Their tactic:  Keep ‘em busy squawking about this and that and whatever else, (politics is always good for distraction), while the real machine toils away underneath the diversion.  What really sobered me up on this was listening to my “theories” dolled out by one of the chief conspiracy theorists of the far “way out there” faction, a fellow who I had previously mocked and derided, now only to hear him agreeing with me!  (Or I him?  How could THAT be?)  I still think he does nothing but spew stuff, and not offer any solutions, but it was a scary moment.  He scares me all the time.  But not as much as what’s happening now scares me.

I fully believe that this mess in the Gulf of Mexico, right down the road from me, actually, will put the debacle of 9-11 to shame – in enough time.  I don’t mean to diminish the impact of what happened then, but this event is going to haunt us for lifetimes.  We are killing an entire ecosystem.  We watch the bubbling caldron on live feeds until it becomes meaningless to us.  We get used to it.  We get bored by it.  We get tired of hearing about it.  And meantime no one does crap about it.  We (they, BP, whoever is “in charge”) refuse, REFUSE!, the offers of help from other nations and sources, somebody that might actually know something and make a difference, and the main concern seems to be about the bottom line of profits and PR.

I’m getting to be an old broad.  Social Security, (if there’s such a thing left), is not so far away.  And way back when, they used to teach in the schools.  So I know that a long, long time ago, when my parents were younger, they saw this country CHANGE overnight when it was “right” to stop the madness in Europe and retaliate against the attack on Pearl Harbor.  (I know, there are conspiracy theories about that, too, and the profits that come from war, but I’ll attempt to let that alone for now.)  But this country was retooled, virtually overnight, and factories were restructured to produce what was needed to rise to the cause.  Of course, now we don’t have so many factories – they’ve all been sent overseas – so what do we retool?  I don’t know, but something’s got to give here.  Other nations are light years ahead of us when it comes to energy and transportation, while we pay, pay and PAY, in ways that we are just now able to SEE, really see, for sucking at the oil tit.  It is cruel, and it is evil.  And we, and yes I, still pull up conveniently to the pump, and nudge the switch on the AC when it gets too hot.

But I marched against nuclear and petrochemical power in the 80’s.  The eighties!  That was 30 years ago!  Do NOT tell me that in thirty years we could not have come up with something to utilize the power of the sun and the wind and geothermal energy in order to save and serve our precious planet, instead of exploiting it, and destroying it, which is just what we’re doing folks. Kiss the Gulf goodbye, and it’s spreading.  Don’t eat shrimp?  Well, not your problem then, or you can easily do without it, right.  Pelicans?  Nah, not in my backyard anyway.  And I can do without fish, too.  Well, you’d better start figuring out what else you can do without, like air and water maybe.  Or just continue to live your safe little life, insulated against what’s really happening in the world, on the planet, in order for you to sustain your little bubble.  What’s really happening:  Death, muck, disease, war.  I forget what happened to Hope.

But I do not forget what I said a long time ago in this blog, in that what I tell everyone else, I need to hear myself.  All this goes for me, too.  Big time.

Sorry for the rant.  Death lays Truth at our doorstep, to be picked up like the morning paper.  My friend lost her partner.  I lost a best friend.  And we are losing our planet.  It’s all interconnected, and we all are breathing the same air, and drinking the same water, unless the spill hasn’t quite made it to your neighborhood.  But maybe a neighbor’s son, or daughter, has died in the wars for oil.  Oh, and by the way, they “just” discovered valuable minerals in Afghanistan.  What a coincidence.

All I’m saying is Love Your LIfe.  Love your people.  Tell them, now.  It can all change in an instant.  (Or a slow, or maybe not so slow death.)  Ask my friend.  Ask the pelicans.  And if it’s possible that you can make a difference, (and it is), make it.  You have a voice.  Use it.  I’m wondering if having a vote really means a damned thing.

Stepping off the soapbox.  We’ll see what I can find to talk about next.

Home

Posted in Uncategorized on June 5, 2010 by Queenie

I am seriously into HOME these days.  Glad to be here.  Ready to be here.  I’ve so often thought that I was happiest to be on the road, but I am learning, with so much more time spent on the road lately, that home is starting to feel pretty good.  Whoda thought?

I’m working on the home place, too.  I’ve nowhere to be and no money to be directly made for many weeks now, (excepting time for music and girlfriends and water water water in my future, and what fun that).  It’s summer now, no doubt about it, and it’s when I come into my own.  I wouldn’t have ever thought that, either, always feeling that fall was my season.  But summer transforms me, and so it is timely, again, when Transformation is so heavy in the air.  It smells pretty sweet though, not dangerous, just strong and pungent, like desert sage can be sometimes.  I am totally at peace with being here and making it a better place till the next place comes along, and what else can you do, anyway, except fight it and find misery.  I’ve been fairly accomplished at sticking my toe in the misery pond, and you just get fungus.  I prefer the clear, sparkling waters, and I am beyond grateful that we have a lake this year.  The drought got us last year.  No water in the cove, and not so pleasant to get to if you walked all the way to Big Water to get wet.  It was a strange and jolting summer, and it propelled me into another life.  One that is even now reaching out to new places, yet I am loving what I have of the old.

I wouldn’t say I’m 100% healed.  It still gets me now and then, but in a different way.  Or maybe even the same way, only now I just feel it and reckon with it, (Truth helps), then let it go and move on to whatever it is I’m doing.  Sort of like a ghost passing, and what do you say to a ghost, anyway?  And so that’s it:  If I’m not exactly healed, I’m different, and moving.  The moving is important, and sometimes a little hard on an old girl.  I keep chasing those experiences, yessiree, but sometimes they linger longer than they are welcome, in several different forms of physical gotchas, but it’s all been a good ride.  I think if you just keep doing and going and trying and believing, and moving and growing, that you’ll manage to have yourself a life, and I must be hellbent on having one.  I’ve worn myself down here and there, and home is feeling just fine, thank you.

In but a few more weeks I’ll be heading out again to the mountains of New Mexico in the dead of summer.  Tough duty, I know, and of course it’s work.  My favorite art show to do, (although West Texas is getting and giving some mighty good juju lately), and I always look forward to going to New Mexico.  I used to live there, around kindergarden and first grade times, and I wonder how my life would’ve been different had we stayed.  I was smitten West as soon as I really found out about it, and there I was, living smack dab in the middle of it way back then.  I can remember the snow storms in Albuquerque, the sand storms that would sweep in and you could see them coming for miles….and then have a long little sand pyramid on the sills of the windows from where it had sifted through.  I can remember riding horses out in the foothills of the mountains, and one of the horses shied when a rattlesnake was seen.  Pretty exciting stuff for a kid.

But no, I ended up in Dallas, and didn’t see the West again until I was 17, and my granddaddy took me all over the place for almost six weeks.  Lucky girl, and still stuck on boys, but I loved to go out and hike every night after we’d stopped to camp.  I’d head out down the trails, or make my own, until I heard the truck horn and then knew it was time to head back for dinner.  What a gift.  Not much has changed, really.  I still head out to hike every chance I get, and find ways to get to the back of beyond.  I still look for and find the mystery in a spider’s web or a bird nest hidden in the Agaritas, or love to be standing outside when a cool front actually blows in – the very moment when it makes itself known.  If we think about it, life really is all about Change, and acceptance of that makes the journey all that more tolerable, even exciting if we join in.  Digging our heals in doesn’t always help so much, but I suppose it depends on the battle we’re considering fighting at the time.  Not so easy to pontificate on those broad subjects, for all of our stories are so very different.  Or are they?

Astounding to think how long ago all that was, and yet I’m still here, still working on creating the life that I’ve felt I’ve just been missing all these years.  I’ve been chasing ghosts or things that you just really can’t grab onto, and in some cases that’s probably turned out to be a good thing.  Some of the things I got my hands on turned out to be not so friendly and healthy sometimes, and then you learn to let go sooner.  If you don’t let go soon enough, or aren’t wise enough to let that one go on by in the first place, you end up with bite marks or maybe a rash.  I think I’ll just be sitting that part out and observing for a while, with plenty to do while I’m figuring out what’s next.  Or mostly just dealing with NOW.  I’ve got plenty of Now to wade though before I get to what’s next, and what’s next IS Now.

I’ve been looking at the place with new and old eyes.  Sometimes I think I see the ghost, but not really.  Gone is gone.  And I need to consider and care for the good things that are left. I spent some time hanging out and puttering in the South Acre last night, where sits the Fire Circle and the work we did to make it magical.  It’s another one of those big Cicada years.  They are big, raspy sounding insects that make the damnedest noise at night.  They’ve been going at lately, in the trees just outside.  LOUD!  About eight or nine years ago we had a year like this, where there were so many of them, hoards of them, that under the tin roof of the Loafing Shed you had to shout to be heard above the din.  Really – it was amazing.  And wonderful.

It’s happening again.  The Cicadas have come back to life, and so have I.  And so, too, is the place as I begin to give it love and attention.  I can no longer envision it as some fairy tale dream into which my Prince Charming will somehow appear, (or stay), and love it as much as I do, but I do it for my own whim and pleasure and fancy, and as I would have it.  And that ain’t bad – except for the inordinate amount of work it involves and I come up more than a bit short in the muscle power to pull it all off.  I put it out to the Universe to come to my assistance in a pleasant way, but in the meantime, I do what I can, and let my imagination lead the way.  My special places are coming alive with spirit animals, shaped and placed to allow their personalities come alive in the wood.  I’m getting the dust off everything, letting it breathe again.  Letting it live again.  Letting it become, as I am myself.

All this renewed life, in the midst of the horror that is happening but a few hundreds of miles from here.  I can’t not acknowledge it, for it is a huge thing, the impact of which I think we cannot imagine, or don’t want to.  We have once again slashed the wrists of Mother Earth, and she is bleeding out in such a way that she destroys her own self, at our hands.  I am powerless, we are all powerless, and my sadness, and yes anger, wonders where to go and what to do.  I wonder that I can do anything except make my own place the best that it can be, and keep it so for as long as I can.  My place and my spirit, for the planet seems to be dying a little, or a lot, every day now.

On the way back from the art show earlier this week, the snakes were again on the road, but this time, they were dead.  I didn’t know what to make of that, still don’t, except thinking that they transitioned themselves from one reality right to another, as we all will, sooner or later.  No guarantees, that’s for sure, except that it’s a trip we’ve already bought the ticket for.  It’s when the ticket collector shows up that we face the music, and go to where they tell us it’s REALLY home.  It’s the Big Question, isn’t it?  And far be it for me to attempt some pithy comment about it all in this venue.

Right now, I’m just home where home is.  Home to the continuum.  Home to hope.  Home to despair.  Home to rest and work and regroup, and rebuild.  Transition.  It’s happening.  I hope I have a little better luck, or time, than those last snakes.  I swear I’m just not ready yet.  I’m not done.  I know I’m not done.