Monday, February 28, 2005

sick folks

Everybody in my family is sick.


I know my limitations, just as I know the things I am good at.


I am good at encouraging fidgety children who have a test tomorrow,convincing friends to make a beer run,fixing dinners for 10 people with 5 dollars, singing old songs merrily & off-key, staying happy driving a car full of screaming kids, telling stories late at night, consoling girls who have lost a first love, raising flagging spirits of a group of Girl Scouts on mile 3 of a 5 mile hike


I am really bad at taking care of sick people.

My theory is…look at all the people who die. Most of them are lying down, right? So if you just keep moving, you are less likely to die!


You can imagine the enthusiasm with which my sniffly snotty family greeted this cheerful observation!

I don’t’ think I am very popular in my house right now!

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Joe Cain

Apparently I am still stuck in that quagmire of ennui that people in my region suffer from between Mardi Gras & beach time. I can’t seem to get parades out of my mind. Here is a little history of a unique celebration from our area.

First of all, I live in a strange small city. Most of the year you can get a visit to the barred hotel for even appearing to drink in public. To go alcohol is outlawed & only recently have wine & beer sales on Sunday been tolerated. It is illegal to sell sex toys & fireworks (I don’t’ know what those two may have in common). So, we degenerates really appreciate Mardi Gras in this town, unlike New Orleans folks who get to act the fool all the time!

This is an old city, still with a somewhat small town atmosphere, surrounded on all sides by water & beautiful woodlands, despite big business’ attempts to destroy them.

Any way, during a time shortly after The Late Unpleasantness when the city was occupied by Union troops, all gatherings in public were banned. A young man called Joseph Stillwell Cain took exception to the rule that Mardi Gras could not be held that year. He broke into a friends’ hardware store & “liberated” a cowbell & a rake, dressed up like a Native American, and proceeded to wend his somewhat unsteady way down the street calling upon his friends to come out & join him. Thus was Mardi Gras started again after the Civil War!

Up until the late 70s this gathering was held in a cemetery where most of the graves date from the 1700s & old Joe himself rests. It got a little too rowdy & the head honchos tried to ban the procession. The graveyard was locked & guarded by RIOT POLICE! (Protected from a bunch of gentle drunks which included mostly artists, actors, historians, authors, hippies, intellectuals,  you know, a scary crowd!

Now it is the largest celebration in our area, except for Mardi Gras Day. There is a much respected Society of Joe Cain’s widows, who dress all in black with their heads & faces covered with long black veils to hide their identity who wail & throw themselves on the grave. They are rivaled by The Mistresses, who wear the most appropriately sleazy red & are locked outside the cemetery gates to wail & protest their undying love for Dear Departed Joe. Then the Procession begins. (Never call it a parade)

It is all great fun, on the Sunday before Mardi Gras Day.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

feeling good!

I am blessed with a happy disposition. I grew up in a rather mercurial home,so I learned at an early age the value of having a positive outlook. I generally go through my days with happy thoughts in my head (and some would say not much else)

I simply can not fathom the young woman 's attitude that I spoke with the other day who said she had miagraines so severe she passed out due to the pressure our principal was putting on her. Granted ,the woman is a real stern task master who enjoys striking fear in the hearts of others,but I am too old to play that game. She puts her pants on one leg at a time just like I do. besides, any woman who brags that she missed her child's birthday to come to work is not someone who's respect I want to earn, nor am I likely to,since our values obviously differ! I am glad of the freedom this gives me. I do my job the best that I can ,but it is just that , a job,;not the be-all & end -all of my life.

 I just started working at this school at the beginning of this year & it has been a difficult adjustment period. In addition to changing schools, I went from teaching severe mentally handicapped children in a self-contained classroom to working with mild learning handicapped kids in a setting with 2 other teachers. I went from a small country school to a large inner-city one. I didnt' wnat to go, we had a drop in enrollment & I was the last hire so it was my turn to transfer. I had been there 10 years! no one leaves that school unless they go out in a I guess I'm fortunate!

The atmosphere in this new school is so tense, that when you say good morning to the children ,they visibly flinch! Well, I refuse to live that way! I recently walked up to a teacher who was putting up a bulletin board & held the paper for her.she looked at me in utter shock!

It has been a backward blessing to me. So often gifts are given to us wrapped in fear. once you open the package, you can see what you are meant to learn. I am slowly easing the pressure off my co-workers. Origionally they felt I was insane,but now they are actually starting to laugh a little. I dont care if they laugh with or at me,these people need a laugh!

So my lesson for this life is that any fool can be happy when everything goes right, to carry your contentment with you,ya, gotta be tough! Or else , completely nuts! Either way, life is too short to be unhappy for one minute of it! I may not be able to change my situation, but I can control my attitude! Every moment I breathe, I am trading a minute of my life for what I feel right now. I want it to be worth the deal!

I can feel spring coming, in the air and in my heart! I was walking on the high school track yesterday, waiting for my math-challenged daughter to get out of tutoring, when a surge of euphoria hit me & instead of grimly trudging along, I waved my arms & twirled!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, February 19, 2005


   Ten Things to Think About  if You Want to Change the World

"The genesis for change is awareness. We cannot change what we don't acknowledge.
Most of the time, we aren't aware of what's wrong or what's not working.
We don't see what could be.

By becoming more aware, we begin the process of change."

By Michael Angier

Mahatma Gandhi believed that we must be the change we want to see in the world. This was well demonstrated when he helped India gain its independence. Gandhi was a revolutionary man, but he accomplished India's emergence as a nation without starting a revolution. In fact, he advocated no violence. One of the most powerful countries in the world yielded to the commitment of one man and the dream of millions.

What change can we effect?
What's the difference we want to make in the world?

Gandhi said, "In a gentle way you can shake the world." Here are some things to think about how to do just that.
1. Know that all significant change throughout history has occurred not because of nations, armies, governments and certainly not committees. They happened as a result of the courage and commitment of individuals. People like Joan of Ark, Albert Einstein, Clara Barton, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison and Rosa Parks. They might not have done it alone, but they were, without question, the change makers. [Realize that Christ, Buddha, Mohammed, Gandhi, and the movements they inspired referenced the SAME source, the SAME God in the Spirit of the Law of LOVE. -CR.]
2. Believe that you have a unique purpose and potential in the world. It's not so much something to create as to be discovered. And it's up to you to discover it.
Believe that you can and will make a difference.
3. Recognize that everything you do, every step you take, every sentence you write, every word you speak --or DON'T speak-- counts. Nothing is trivial. The world may be big, but there are no small things. Everything matters.
4. To be the change you want to see in the world, you don't have to be loud. You don't have to be eloquent. You don't have to be elected. You don't even have to be particularly smart or well educated. You do, however, have to be committed.
5. Take personal responsibility. Never think that "it's not my job". It's a cop-out to say, "What can I do, I'm only one person." You don't need everyone's cooperation or anyone's permission to make changes. Remember this little gem, "If it's to be, it's up to me."  
6. Don't get caught up in the how of things. If you're clear on what you want to change and why you want to change it, the how will come. Many significant things have been left undone because someone let the problem solving interfere with the decision-making. 
7. Don't wait for things to be right in order to begin. Change is messy. Things will never be just right. Follow Teddy Roosevelt's timeless advice, "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." [Now is always the best time for the fearless faith that neutralizes faithless fear.  -CR]
8. The genesis for change is awareness. We cannot change what we don't acknowledge. Most of the time, we aren't aware of what's wrong or what's not working. We don't see what could be. By becoming more aware, we begin the process of change. 
9. Take to heartthese words from Albert Einstein--arguably one of the smartest change masters who ever lived: "All meaningful and lasting change starts first in your imagination and then works its way out. Imagination is more important than knowledge." 
10. In order for things to change, YOU have to change. We can't change others; we can only change ourselves. However, when WE change, it changes everything. And in doing so, we truly can be the change we want to see in the world.
Since this list was inspired by Gandhi's belief, it seems appropriate to end with another of his quotes:
"Consciously or unconsciously, every one of us does render some service or other. If we cultivate the habit of doing this service deliberately, our desire for service will steadily grow stronger and we will make not only our own happiness, but that of the world at large."
I am very content after a long walk in the woods with my child & my dog.
I can't think of anything interesting today, so I am reading my private journals back entries and found some things I'd like to share.

a thought that comforts me

thoughts that comfort me

When I walk to the edge of all the light I have,
And take that step into the darkness of the unknown,
I must believe that one of two things will happen,
There will be something solid to stand on,
Or I will learn how to fly...

i dont know where this came from ,but it makes me feel better when fear is the wrapping paper on the gifts life gives me

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Mardi Gras

Why Mardi Gras is better than other holidays.

On Thanksgiving you watch a parade and eat turkey.
At Mardi Gras you watch parades and eat Popeye's Fried Chicken.

On Halloween little kids dress up in costume and beg for treats.
At Mardi Gras everyone dresses up in costume and begs for treats.

On Easter you hunt for colored eggs.
At Mardi Gras you hunt for a restroom.

On Valentines you give the ladies candy and hope for a kiss.
Mardi Gras you give the ladies beads and hope for more.

On St. Patrick's Day you drink green beer.
hurricanesAt Mardi Gras you turn green from your first meal of the day, a Lucky Dog with everything on it at 7AM.

On the 4th of July we watch fireworks and drink beer.
Mardi Gras we watch fireworks and drink hurricanes.

FoolOn New Year's Day we party like there is no tomorrow and make resolutions.
Mardi Gras we party for days and days and ask for absolution.

On Labor Day you are reminded to be grateful for your job.
Mardi Gras the last thing you can remember is your job.kingcake

On your Birthday you eat cake and remember you are a year older :-(
Mardi Gras you eat King Cake and are reminded to make your reservations for next year!

On Christmas you wait for a big fat man to bring you presents.
Bourbon StreetAt
Mardi Gras you wait for the police on horseback to clear the streets at midnight on Fat Tuesday.

In New Orleans Fat Tuesday is an official holiday.
Everywhere else it is just another Tuesday.

Finally, all the other holidays last only one day. Carnival season starts January 6th and lasts until Ash Wednesday.

Is that cool or what!

Monday, February 14, 2005

Woo Hoo

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving
safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in
sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up,
totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

Saturday, February 12, 2005

mardi gras

for the life of me, I can't give a coherent account of mardi Gras, so I will tell you in a series of vignettes why I feel Mardi Gras is a time apart from the rest of life, that time spent at Mardi gras doesn't count in making you older...

teenagers that I have loved & taken to parades since they were babies (I call them my Mardi Gras orphans) lying all about my floor sleeping, unformed faces looking like the children they were up until oh so recently...

My oldest daughter, who hasn't been to a parade in 3 years , sitting on the barricade with the tens, covered in beads & screaming "I forgot how much fun this was!"

the Merry Widows...oh, dear, this will require some background...after the Late Unpleasantness (which is what we refer to the Civil War in these parts) our city was occupied by Union troops & public gathereings were forbidden. A young man by the name of Joseph Stillwell Cain had a bit of high spirits, broke into a friends hardware store, borrowed a rake & a cowbell & proceeded to parade down the street dressed as an indian, stating he was having a parade of his own! Several friends joined him & so was born the Joe Cain Procession, which today is as large as Mardi Gras Day! The celebration was originally held in an old cemetary, where people picniced on family plots & danced on old Joe's grave. It got too big for that,but the mysterious Merry widows, who are reputed to be ladies of high society, but no one knows because their identities are kept secret behind black veils, wail & moan & throw themselves upon the grave in hilarious silliness!

A little girl on Daddy's shoulders, screaming in joyful terror at the Dragon, a huge float that breathes fire, giving me memories of myself as a child.,upon shoulders that are no more...

Cas & Ian , my nephews by heart, not blood, ordering virgin Pina Coladas in a restaurant , having them delivered in a martini glass with a cherry & their embarrassment at having such an unmanly drink. Cas banged his down on the table & it broke in his hand!

My friends 5 year old's utter amazement at having a stranger hand her a giant stuffed animal

We stand at the same spot every year & it is perfectly acceptable to politely ask people to scoot over,

Things thrown from a float that land by your feet are yours & aren't picked up by others unless they are handed to you.

You hug strangers & wish them HappyMardi Gras!




Sunday, February 6, 2005

mardi gras

I dreamed of parades last night! I am having so much fun! How do people ever live through the winter without Mardi Gras?

I have spent the most part of all my waking hours standing on a street corner this week, laughing & seriously discussing the merits of plastic trinkets flung from floats. I see dear friends that I only see this time of year. Every night, we hug as though we are on a life raft caught in the drift of the crowd.

My house is full of the people I love best. As I type this, they are all sprawled about on floors & couches (New) like there has been some sort of terrible massacre!

time to get a shower, try to find some clean clothes in the wreckage & head downtown to do it again!

Saturday, February 5, 2005

doing pretty well, considering

The Seven Dwarfs of Menopause:

Itchy, Bitchy, Sweaty, Sleepy, Bloated, Forgetful and Psycho

and still more on my couch

which at long last brings me to my point (I really do have one) we bought new furniture! brand new! With no history or animals! And on the way to our house, a car hit a light pole & it fell on the delivery truck! What kind of omen is that?

the couch saga continues

I was real proud of my next couch. It was purchased with the money I made from my first teaching job. I was hired to teach “out of field”, meaning I was certified to teach mentally retarded children & I taught Emotionally Disturbed children instead. I worked for 6 months for substitute pay, which meant I had to work two other part-time jobs to be able to keep that one. When I became certified to teach the kids I had been actually teaching (are you following me here?) I got all that money in one lump sum. It presented a philosophical challenge to me…hmmm….a really good party and a trip out west or furniture & a washing machine? Feeling oh so mature, I bought the couch & washing machine. At the ripe old age I am now, I think I’d take the trip & the party!


When we got all the goody out of that couch, my neighbor got new furniture & gave us the old one. She didn’t tell me it came with a dog! When we moved the couch into our house, her grouchy 5oo year old animate mop of a canine came with it. He growled at us every time we sat on it.


There were several other couches, like the ancient 2 ton hide-a-bed with the rod down the middle of the bed which was great for discouraging visitors that had the guts to try to stay overnight.

Friday, February 4, 2005

the saga of Marti's furniture

I just got a new couch ,which was long overdue.

This got me thinking about furniture we have had in the past.

our first couch was a beautiful ancient monument, which sometime in the sixties when everyone lost their minds, my mother had recovered in brilliant orange naugahyde. It was durable, spills wiped right off, but if you got too relaxed, you slid right off the end. when we got a new one, we put that monster out by the road for goodwill. It took 5 people to move it & when we got home , there was a sign on it that said "can not use"

Hang on, it gets more interestin, chapter 2 of the furniture saga will be posted shortly. try to hold up under the suspense.

Real world break!


Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Neighborhood watch

well,it's a dognose day here in La (wet and cold) & I'm sitting here with the first cup of coffee,hoping I have time to write before everyone wakes up & the panic of morning begins.

I have a story I can't wait to tell.

We had these nighbors when we lived out in the country by the bay. They are great people, our dear & well-loved friends. We'll call them Jack & Audrey for the purpose of this tale.Jack is a gentlemanly guy, about 60. He never says a bad word about anyone, never tells an off-color joke. He has an inordinante fondness for liquid refreshment and smokes to the point that it will make you cough when you stand on the porch The dear man is very careless about his health habits,to say the least, so when I went out to get the paper bfore dawn one morning and saw him lying in the front yard,I was terrified! Like the good Girl scout I am, I threw down my paper & ran to give CPR. When I turnned him over to listen for a pulse,he suddenly sat up, gave me a horrified look,pushed me aside & ran into the house.

I said to myself,"well, I guess he recovered'

A few minutes later,I got a phone call from Audrey ,who was laughing hysterically,"What did you do to my husband?,she managed to gasp." He says he was lying in the yard ,minding his own business, when you tried to perform an immoral act upon him!"

Yep,those drunk men just move me to uncontrollable passion every time!

Tuesday, February 1, 2005

weekend assignment

Weekend Assignment #45: It's karaoke time. Pick a song to sing and explain why you chose it. Note that not everyone sings the song you expect them to sing: I remember being at a karaoke bar one time and watching a six-foot bald guy with a gravelly voice and a tattoo on his neck sing Olivia Newton John's "Have You Never Been Mellow?" And it was brilliant. So by all means, reach for the stars here. This isn't American Idol.

Extra Credit: Recall the worst karaoke performance you ever heard (or, if you're brave, ever performed). You can change the names to protect the guilty if you like.


I am really proud to write that never in my life have I ever been drunk einough to sing karoke!


I have , however, assaulted the eardrums of others on various front porches late at night. The song is generally a horribel screeching off-key rendition of "me and Bobby McGee.Oh, my friends, it ain't pretty, but it has ,on occasion, gotten rid of people at parties who were really too wimpy to hang with us! If you can't handle a little untalented but sincere warbling,you just need to go home!