The baton twirler vs. the bookworm

Just a picture of contradictions I am:
Leo/Aquarius, the batontwirler/the bookworm, happy/sad, smart/haven't got a clue, middle-aged/young at heart, funny/serious, attractive/haggard, creative/dilatante, compliant/searching, uplifting/dark, spirited/heavy-hearted, go-getter/slacker, vivacious/down in the mouth, life of the party/doubting thomas, energetic/lazy...

I guess I could go on and on. I have a memory of thinking about this at a rehearsal for a play I was in when I was 15 (and a baton twirler). Am I outgoing or shy? Do we all have these dualities? Are there any 100% cheerleaders or 100% librarians? I doubt it, I think in the librarian lies the cheerleader looking for an opportunity to break out and in the cheerleader - a part looking for a corner to go hide. Maybe we just spend out lives trying to reconcile all these characters.

Drafts vs. Posts

Seems like i am in a draft phase. Just thinkin of em, jottin em down, titles,ideas. Some of them even writing enough for a post (but the editor won't let me just post). This also could just be my form of ADD bloggin. Ya know, jump from draft to draft; not posting, make believe posting. Non-commital, that's me. Now let's see if i have the nerve to hit post or just draft again. I guess you will be able to tell by the unedited look of things... 10, 9, 8, 7 can do it...6,5,4, just hit it dammit 3,2,1 post.


I received this in an email and thought it deserved posting. Better than anything I could think of. Also tonite i happened upon a website post that is also a last unfortunately as it piqued my interest. I must've happened upon it before cause I think it must be where I found the quote about the writers darkside that I wrote about in my July 15th Not Good News post.

Subject: Ben Stein's Last Column... Worth the Read !!!!!
For many years Ben Stein has written a biweekly column called "Monday Night At Morton's." (Morton's is a famous chain of Steakhouses known to be frequented by movie stars and famous people from around the globe.) Now, Ben is terminating the column to move on to other things in his life. Reading his final column is worth a few minutes of your time.Ben Stein's Last Column...
How Can Someone Who Lives in Insane Luxury Be a Star in Today's World?As I begin to write this, I "slug" it, as we writers say, which means I put a heading on top of the document to identify it. This heading is "eonlineFINAL," and it gives me a shiver to write it. I have been doing this column for so long that I cannot even recall when I started. I loved writing this column so much for so long I came to believe it would never end.It worked well for a long time, but gradually, my changing as a person and the world's change have overtaken it. On a small scale, Morton's, while better than ever, no longer attracts as many stars as it used to. It still brings in the rich people in droves and definitely some stars. I saw Samuel L. Jackson there a few days ago, and we had a nice visit, and right before that, I saw and had a splendid talk with Warren Beatty in an elevator, in which we agreed that Splendor in the Grass was a super movie. But Morton's is not the star galaxy it once was, though it probably will be again.Beyond that, a bigger change has happened. I no longer think Hollywood stars are terribly important. They are uniformly pleasant, friendly people, and they treat me better than I deserve to be treated. But a man or woman who makes a huge wage for memorizing lines and reciting them in front of a camera is no longer my idea of a shining star we should all look up to.How can a man or woman who makes an eight-figure wage and lives in insane luxury really be a star in today's world, if by a "star" we mean someone bright and powerful and attractive as a role model? Real stars are not riding around in the backs of limousines or in Porsches or getting trained in yoga or Pilates and eating only raw fruit while they have Vietnamese girls do their nails.They can be interesting, nice people, but they are not heroes to me any longer. A real star is the soldier of the 4th Infantry Division who poked his head into a hole on a farm near Tikrit, Iraq. He cou! ld have been met by a bomb or a hail of AK-47 bullets. Instead, he faced an abject Saddam Hussein and the gratitude of all of the decent people of the world.A real star is the U.S. soldier who was sent to disarm a bomb next to a road north of Baghdad. He approached it, and the bomb went off and killed him.A real star, the kind who haunts my memory night and day, is the U.S. soldier in Baghdad who saw a little girl playing with a piece of unexploded ordnance on a street near where he was guarding a station. He pushed her aside and threw himself on it just as it exploded. He left a family desolate in California and a little girl alive in Baghdad.The stars who deserve media attention are not the ones who have lavish weddings on TV but the ones who patrol the streets of Mosul even after two of their buddies were murdered and their bodies battered and stripped for the sin of trying to protect Iraqis from terrorists.We put couples with incomes of $100 million a year on the covers of our magazines. The noncoms and officers who barely scrape by on military pay but stand on guard in Afghanistan and Iraq and on ships and in submarines and near the Arctic Circle are anonymous as they live and die.I am no longer comfortable being a part of the system that has such poor values, and I do not want to perpetuate those values by pretending that who is eating at Morton's is a big subject.There are plenty of other stars in the American firmament...the policemen and women who go off on patrol in South Central and have no idea if they will return alive; the orderlies and paramedics who bring in people who have been in terrible accidents and prepare them for surgery; the teachers and nurses who throw their whole spirits into caring for autistic children; the kind men and women who work in hospices and in cancer wards.Think of each and every fireman who was running up the stairs at the World Trade Center as the towers began to collapse. Now you have my idea of a real hero.I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters. This is my highest and best use as a human. I can put it another way. Years ago, I realized I could never be as great an actor as Olivier or as good a comic as Steve Martin...or Martin Mull or Fred Willard--or as good an economist as Samuelson or Friedman or as good a writer as Fitzgerald. Or even remotely close to any of them.But I could be a devoted father to my son, husband to my wife and, above all, a good son to the parents who had done so much for me. This came to be my main task in life. I did it moderately well with my son, pretty well with my wife and well indeed with my parents (with my sister's help). I cared for and paid attention to them in their declining years. I stayed with my father as he got sick, went into extremis and then into a coma and then entered immortality with my sister and me reading him the Psalms.This was the only point at which my life touched the lives of the soldiers in Iraq or the firefighters in New York. I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters and that it is my duty, in return for the lavish life God has devolved upon me, to help others He has placed in my path. This is my highest and best use as a human.Faith is not believing that God can. It is knowing that God will.
By Ben Stein

Fair weather friends

They look hot. Jackson looks like a frog and Dakota looks like a dishrag. After yesterdays terrible post I thought I would show my very much alive and wonderful pets. And also my wonderful boy enjoying the waves at the beach yesterday. Also check it out 2 posts in one day!


It is always amazing to me at the end of the day, how little I have gotten done. How a whole day has passed and hardly nothing has transpired. There is the laundry, there is the dust, the floors unwashed. But on a positive note, not that anybody noticed, so i have to mention it.... drumroll please... I have posted for 7 days straight! This is a minor miracle, I don't know if i have every done anything 7 days in a row; other than water my plants and feed my kid. Haven't practiced piano 7 days in a row since I was a kid. Certainly haven't ever exercised 7 days in a row. So having broke my record my D&G(doom and gloom) prediction is that you will probably see less of me now. Who you are I don't know, since I think Patti is the only one who reads this drivel. There is also the fact that the computer is in a hot room- fan only. So I am retiring to my cool bedroom til this heatwave passes and maybe catch up on some of that reading.


Been reading all the posts about the weather. Yes I thought today was the hottest of the year. Luke & I and Jackson(our dog) went to the beach and I actually got in the water almost all the way ( the water is frigid here in Mass.). We only had time for a quick swim because Jackson had his annual Vet appt. It turned out to be a rather traumatic and shocking one.
We were a few minutes late and upon arriving someone else was being brought in to the exam room. I sat down to wait patiently. The older woman working at the desk received a phone call and after was noticeably upset, teary. Since I was directly across from her I asked, are you ok? She proceeded to tell me that the phone call was from a woman saying she thought her dog was dead, that she had accidently left him in the car. She was bringing him there. The woman behind the desk said she know the dog, they were clients there.I asked if we should reschedule and they said no. My dog decided he had to go out, so I took him outside to the area they have out back so he could "go". Just as I was heading back in, this woman pulled in, jumped out of a rather large vehicle, dressed in just a bathing suit and ran screaming into the office. The vet assistant came out as well as the Vet and they proceeded to pull the very dead and stiff dog out of the back seat. Luckily Luke( who wanted to wait in the car - windows open) was absorbed in his Sports Illustrated and didn't see this (I made a quick call for my husband to pick Luke up cause I din't know how long things would take now and I didn't want him seeing or hearing this.) So I went back in past the hysterical woman screaming "I killed my dog". I stopped for a second but didn't say anything to comfort her, all I could think about was the dog. They brought me and my dog right into the exam room(where we all ruminated on the horrible event while he examined my dog). I asked if she was gonna be alright and they said someone was coming. Evidently she had left him in the car around 12 cause someone was coming over?? it was now 4!!! she had just realized.. where is the dog. But why the hell she left him in there even if for a minute I don't know. Rushing, forgetful, too much on her mind? The Vet said the dog had been dead for awhile, probably only lasted 20 min. in this heat! When we finished and went back out to the waiting area she was gone. They said she had left herself and drove home- in her state! All I could think was I hope she doesn't hurt anyone else.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

This Sundays' book find was The Joke by Milan Kundera and also While I was Gone which looks familiar by Sue Miller(of course I read the Good Mother by her). I just scanned the 1st page and now remember starting it last summer but not finishing it because it was a library book. Well now I can(someday).
Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being is one of my favorite books. I should read it again; it's been so long since I've read it. I've never heard of The Joke but have added it to the pile. My collection is getting quite large ( especially the ones I don't own or find but that are on The List). Now if I could only find time to read them.

War of the Worlds

Wow, double wow. Went to see it with Luke Sat nite - my date. (his 2nd time -was better the 1st he said;well of course/he knew what was comin). Preety good flick, really good special effects, tho the monsters reminded me of some things I've seen before either in Alien or Star wars or somewhere. (And yes I was holding Luke's arm through some parts).The young girl was Very good, better thanTom Cruise actually ( if he could only keep his mouth shut offscreen.) I don't know if there was ever a movie I haven't liked him in. From his very 1st underwear clad white sock slide to Raymond. But he always seems so glib to me not smooth, refined, gentlemanly like theCary Grants of yesteryear that's for sure. Well fun is over back to the war of the toilet bowls and sanding woodwork.

The bones

From writing down the bones by Natalie Goldberg ( that touches on yesterdays topic) - One of the main aims in writing practice is to learn to trust your own mind. One poem or story( or post) doesn't matter one way or the other. It's the process of writing and life that matters. Too many writers have written great books and gone insane or alcoholic or killed themselves. This process teaches about sanity. We are trying to become sane along with our poems and stories.

I also like what she says here: Discipline has always been a cruel word. I always think of it as beating my lazy part into submission and that never works. The dictator and the resister continue to fight. If those characters in you want to fight, let them fight. Meanwhile the sane part of you should quietly get up, go over to your notebook and begin to write from a deeper , more peaceful place. Unfortunately those two fighters often come with you ; so you might have to give them 5 or 10 minutes of voice ; let them carry on in writing, it is amazing that when you give those voices writing space their complaining quickly gets boring and you get sick of them. She tells of a friend who was beginning her first novel and would sit at the typewriter for the first ten minutes and just write about what a terrible writer she was, what a jerk she was to even attempt a novel. Then she tore up the sheet and began the next chapter of her novel.
There is a Zen saying, "talk when you talk, walk when you walk, die when you die."- Write when you write. Stop battling yourself with guilt, accusations and strong arm threats.

She then gives 6 practical suggestions on how to get yourself going which you will have to buy the book to read as I am getting tired of typing. ( I wonder if it is still in print-Shambala 1986). She ends the chapter by saying: Just don't get caught in the endless cycle of guilt, avoidance, and pressure. When it is your time to write, write.

Not good news

I don't know where I found this but I had it saved in drafts ( I had mixed feelings about posting it cause it is so negative.)
A VOCATION OF UNHAPPINESS [Courtesy Georges Simenon (1903-1985)]"Writing is considered a profession, and I don't think it is a profession. I think that everyone who does not need to be a writer, who thinks he can do something else, ought to do something else. Writing is not a profession but a vocation of unhappiness. I don't think an artist can ever be happy." Wow, what do you thing about that!?! How bout voting: 1) Disagree 2) Don't know if i agree or disagree.- agree/disagree somewhat. 3)Agree. I think he could used some prozac. My vote is # 2 of course. I do like the picture of the snow in my backyard, tho I didn't like it when I took it.

R. Laban

Indecision incarnate

Hallelujah, hallelujah. I've finally made up my mind! well about the paint color for the new sun/family room. And amazingly enof yellow ( straw) has prevailed. Of course the cool suede color(that was already purchased) will now have to be used in the living room. I hope I like it in there. Now I am trying to decide on which post to post. I have 12 saved drafts - some of them just titles or ideas. I guess Rudy (college friend) knew what he was talking about when he dubbed me Indecision incarnate.


On sabbatical here. Finding it hard to put one foot or word in front of the other.

Dog days of summer

R Laban

Not necessarily the news

This Sundays book find at the dump was a poetry book - 100 selected poems ee cummings. I've skimmed up to #46( and only really liked 1) and realized that I am not really a fan of his. Boy he used alot of parenthesis(I know I should talk). There is a nice poetry post today over at The Marvelous Garden . While you are there check out waitress poems in the links.
I was chagrined to find a copy of Dogs of Babel, which I had just paid 5 bucks for. I shoulda waited for it to turn up at the dump, brought by the good book fairy. Well I must resume the search for the perfect color for the new sunroom; looks like I'm turning away from yellow and going for the safe haven tans, this one that i'm considering is called organic rub. I could use one of those.

Mellow Yellow

I've been living inside one of those Benjamin Moore fan decks for the past week . I think I have looked at every shade of yellow known to man. Yellow is not one of my favorite colors but I thought that's what color I should do in the new sun/family room. I am really more a grey, taupe, tan girl finding them soothing; tho recently I have branched and done some green/blues. I had almost settled on Straw yellow when this woman in the paint store decided to help me and invited me to her house to look at some dark tone shades that she used in her house. We talked colors as she gave me a quick tour of her house, had a few laughs with her teenage kids. Funny but in the few minutes I was with her she felt like someone I could be friends with. I left and went off to buy cat food and mull over the virtues of yellow versus browntones. Now I don't even remember her name; I hope I can remember where she lives so I can drop her a thank you note maybe with a picture of the color I decide on, if I ever do. Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers.


Saddened and horrified by today's terrorist attacks in London. World's gone mad. Star Wars and War of the Worlds don't seem like that far of a stretch in this day and age. Can only hope that the forces of good shall prevail.

Meme, Meme, Meme

What goes around comes around. So has passed this meme to me:

Question number 1: What are three of the stupidest things you've done in your life?
Only 3? Well #1 and 2 are definitely not the stupidest but I can write about them here.

1. One summer when I was maybe 6 or 7 and my brother was a teenager I spit out a cherry pit at his friend, thinking it was funny. They were going out on the boardwalk and it made a dark red stain on his friend's white shirt and my brother was livid at me.

2. When I was fifteen my boyfriend Steve broke up with me at the cabana club where we both worked as counselors. I remember throwing his ring at him and walking over and jumping into the deep end of the pool. Not thinking that maybe this wasn't the best idea cause now I had to swim to the other end and get out dripping wet. Always the drama queen. Dummy.... I should've thrown the ring in the pool, told him to go get it and sauntered off, head held high. This was over 30 yrs. ago so now I'm wondering if I did throw it in the pool.

3. Stopped playing the piano in high school and dropping out of college and never making up my mind what to do and going for it. ( I guess that's more than 3).

Question number 2: At the current moment, who has the most influence on your life?
My Son. I'm his chauffeaur, maid, cook, etc.; but he's worth it.

Question number 3: If you were given a time machine that functioned, and you were allowed to only pick up to five people to dine with, who would you pick?

1. Anais Nin
2. Henry Miller
3. Princess Diana
4. President Kennedy
5. John Lennon

Question number 4: If you had three wishes that were not supernatural, what would they be?

1. To see my son grow up and love what he does and have children.
2. To have a job/career that I love; ie: be an artist (writer, musician or photographer).
3. To be happy.

Question number 5: Someone is visiting your hometown/place where you live at the moment. Name two things you regret your city not having, and two things people should avoid.

A Coffee house and Thai restaurant
Making children's sports too competitive at such young ages. Only thinking of themselves.

Question number 6: Name one event that has changed your life.

The birth of my son.

Question number 7: Is not a question. It's a command. Tag five other people.

My Leo nature does not respond well to commands so I am tagging anyone who wishes to respond. Go for it!

A boy & his dog

Happy Fourth!

photo by R. Laban

Positive signs

3 positive signs from today:
1) Bleary eyed before coffee, sitting at my computer ; I looked up and took down copy of Writing down the bones by Natalie Goldberg ( that I have had for a long time but haven't read.) I don't remember what prompted me to do that. I was going to look at the 1st chapter: Beginner's Mind, Pen and Paper when I flipped back a couple of pages to the Introduction that I was going to skip and read this: This book is about writing. It is also about using writing as your practice, as a way to help you penetrate your life and become sane. I will take this as a sign to keep on blogging.
2) Saw one of those baby snapping turtles crossing the road/a lady had stopped her car and was helping it get across safely - her license plate: Love 101. My son was in the car with me; he was talking about the Live 8 concert and was telling me how Will Smith had snapped his fingers every 3 seconds and told the audience that every 3 seconds a child dies in Africa. Maybe the Hippie movement is not dead.
3) Found a really nice 2 book set of Year in Provence and Toujours Provence in book shack at the dump.I had just put Year in Provence on my list of books to read this morning after Jeanette recommended it in her book meme.
All in all it was a nice Sunday morning.

A.D.D. style of

Okay I'm not sure if I have this (ADD) but it seems according to everyone, that i might as everyone seems to have it now. If I don't than at the very least I have ADD style of housecleaning (and yardwork) and blogging possibly. Like today for instance, really just worked in the yard; this is my usual excuse for not doing the housework. The bathrooms are dirty but it's more important to pull weeds, or mulch. But then how come at the end of the day nothing looks like it was done?
I pour a cup of coffee and go online check email, make a few calls I need to make and head outdoors. I pull a few weeds, then go to find the wheelbarrel (where'd I leave it?) I spend more time looking for my garden tools than actually using them. As for the housework, I think I have that figured out too. I like sweeping it seems. The floors are swept everyday, sometimes a couple time a day (you saw the pics of the cute dog and cat), but rarely are they mopped. And dusting that is almost never done in my house. I think that I discovered that once it is visible it doesn't matter if it is a 1/4 inch or an inch thick, it's all the same. I know I just spoke of this on my last post but I actually just found this saved draft - see what I mean. Oh and last but not least I most definitely have the ADD thing going for paperwork - that is a complete and utter mess. And I have 3 desks, tho this is the only one that I actually sit at. Well this is all I can muster without a cup of coffee. Headin downstairs - at least I know why.


I am seriously thinking of giving up blogging - its seems to be my latest addiction. Better than chocolate and alcohol, but an addiction and time waster none the less; and g-d knows I don't need anymore of those. Also in the summer there is the added yardwork chore, which is a full-time job in itself. And my house is exceeding even my limits of dirtiness. I do have a theory tho that once the dust is thick enough to write your initials in (which it is at my house) it doesn't accumulate or matter anymore - who cares, obviouslyI don't. And then there is the fact that I am too darn lazy for any of it. Throw in a tad of ADD, depression and overwhelmedness ( is that a word- if it's not it should be) and it's amazing anything gets done around here. And did I forgot to mention that we are in yet another remodel phase here. Just had the old sunroom redone with new windows, doors, walls and insulation in the hopes that we can now use this much needed room yearround as a family room. So all the furniture from the sunroom is in the living room so we are all still living out of the 4th bedroom( smallest room in the house) the most popular room - TV, playstation and computer. So we have 4 people vying for the computer, oh yeah and don't forget Jackson our dog had to squeeze his big body in here too. Well i managed to post just because I'm avoiding all the other chores - so maybe I'm not ready to give it up yet. I had intended to put a Gone fishing post up for the summer and retreat back into my handwritten journal cause frankly I think I need to do that too - some things are just too personal to share on the worldwide web. When I walked up the steps to do (? what- I forgot now - middle age amnesia) I saw my 14 yrs old cat Dakota curled up on the bathroom floor and I thought -I wish I could just do that. Well guess I will go figure out what I came up here to do.
Be careful out there.