Monday, June 25, 2007

WHAT IS PEACE AND WHERE CAN I FIND IT? Or get me out of here quick!

"The traditional political definition of peace and the very word itself originated among the ancient Romans who defined peace, pax, as absentia belli, the absence of war...the absence of violence"

Okay, I won't kill the cats.

...Mahatma Gandhi's conception of peace was not as an end, but as a means: "There is no way to peace; peace is the way. "

Great! I am supposed to find my own calm and tranquility amongst the chaos of my office, surrounded by Yuppies, two disgusting cats and the endless negative energy of the media. Where's the peace? Where's my Zen?

After two cats (that were brought into my home without my consent) destroyed the last of 12 plants, knocking over a iron screen with six potted plants with delicate ceramic pots and breaking the vase my daughter gave me, my stress level has reached a peak. To those around me I have remained a pillar standing serene, with a smallish smile painted across my face trapping all the expletives trying to escape. Inside an explosion is about to be detonated.

"...More generally, peace can pertain to an individual relative to her or his environment, as peaceful can describe calm, serenity, and silence. This latter understanding of peace can also pertain to an individual's sense of himself or herself, as to be "at peace" with one's self would indicate the same serenity, calm, and equilibrium within oneself..."

Oh shut up! I have found the road to peace, it is in my car with my tent trailer bouncing behind me up the road to the mountains while counting to one million and five!

Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat.

If only they were fish! FLUSH!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Phantom Las Vegas One Year!

Okay, so yea I'm excited! Phantom is having their one-year anniversary celebration tonight for the cast and crew (and spouses!!) after the show. That means I must have a new outfit. Right?

These are usually great affairs, the opening night party was so, so cool. Andrew Lloyd Weber, oh excuse me, SIR Andrew Lloyd Weber and Hal Prince were there, plus many celebrities in attendance. This may not be as big as all that, but it will be great food, drinks, music and all in all pretty fancy smancy! So, new outfit!!

I probably should have been thinking about this way before tonight. But, gee with work, tennis, Father's Day, I sort of forgot about it until this morning when I was trying to figure out what to wear to work. Something about looking in the closet made me think "Oh, crap! What am I going to wear tonight?"

I made it to work by 8am so I could get off at 4pm and hit the mall. OOHH, I just remembered! My tennis team gave me a gift certificate for the mall. How cool is that? Okay, off at 4pm, 30 minutes to get to the mall, one hour to find the perfect ensemble, half hour to get home, hour to shower and get ready. Show starts at 7pm. Crap, that doesn't work. Hmmmmm. That means drive fast shop fast! Hmmmmm. If I skip lunch I could leave earlier.....NAW...couldn't ever skip lunch! Dang!

Shoes? I probably need new shoes too! And a bag! Why do girls love to dress up?


Saturday, June 16, 2007

This One's For My Dad

I know my Dad will probably never read this, but as it is almost Father's Day I have him on my mind. I know without a doubt I was given the best Dad in the universe. Never did a more unselfish man walk on this earth. My Dad turned 80 this year. Not a tremendous accomplishment in itself, many other men have turned 80 or more that is true. However, 10 years ago my Dad suffered a major heart attack. During surgery to put in a stent the Dr found that Dad had suffered a previous heart attack and because he didn't go to the hospital he had lost more that 40% of his heart. He also indicated he didn't think my Dad's condition was as bad as it was because Dad was conscious when the Dr. saw him in the Emergency room and after seeing the extent of the damage to his heart was surprised that he had been.

We all knew the reason that Dad didn't pass out was because he wouldn't ever want to do anything that would worry our Mom. A hero in her own right for winning a very tough battle with colon cancer.

My Dad quit school in the eighth grade, lied about his age so he could get a commercial drivers license and sent his money home to his family. Two years later he would be drafted into World War II because of that lie, as it appeared he was 18 but he was really only 16. When he went home and asked his dad to go with him to the draft board and explain that he really was only 16 his father wouldn't do it, telling him "That's what you get for lying." So he went to war.

He was on the front lines in Japan. He fought in muddy trenches. He saw friends blown apart. He caught malaria. He was just a boy. He doesn't talk about that experience much, but of the stories he will tell makes us realize that there were many horrors witnessed.

Dad was 23 when he married my Mom, just two days after she turned 16. This was 1950. They are still together. They are still in love. They still say "I love you" every night before turning off the lights and going to sleep.

I look at everything I have now, what I was able to provide my kids, all the luxuries. I think of my dad's family losing their farm in Oklahoma, driving west trying to reach other family in Oregon, but running out of money outside of Las Vegas in a small town called Searchlight. They found a cave to live in and his dad found work in a mine. In time they built a porch in front of the cave. His mom would sweep the dirt floors, it was their home for a long while. A cave.

My dad only has an eighth grade education. He impressed upon his four kids that education was so important. His older brothers all had college degrees. Dad was the baby and when the depression hit there wasn't the money to send him to school and so he quit to help support his family. He always felt like he was not as intelligent as his brothers or even us kids. He couldn't spell very well and was very self-conscious about that.

However, this same man built a brick house from the ground up. He did all the brick work. He put in all the plumbing. He did all the electrical work. He built the cabinets from scratch. He showed us how to ride a horse, how to feed it, take care of it, and all the responsibilities of having pets. We had horses, goats, rabbits, chickens, cats and dogs over the course of our childhood. He took care of all the maintenance on our cars from changing the oil to rebuilding the engines. He could figure out the angle of the trusses for a roof and the yardage needed in pouring concrete. He is smarter than anyone I know.

Dad's only concern has always been first for Mom and second for all of his kids. He always wanted us kids to have a new pair of shoes for school, because he remembered how embarassed he was going to school barefoot when his family couldn't afford them. He worked so we could live a better life, an easier life than he had. He went without many times so we didn't have to.

Dad took us camping and taught us how to fish and appreciate the great outdoors. He loves having his family around him. His greatest pride and joy is his kids and grandkids.

Dad is no longer the same strong hero that I have branded in my brain. The guy that could break a wild horse, build a house for his family, take virtually anything apart and put it back together again. His arms look weak and no longer show the strength of his many days of toil and hard labor. He is shorter by inches and walks slowly. His voice is soft and weak and sometimes I have to strain to hear him. But he always has a smile on his face, he still loves his kids and grandkid and great grandkids to be around him, and his still always says "I Love You", whenever we leave.

As with all of us, the days fly by, work and everything else seems to get in the way of taking the time out to stop by the house and see my parents. I know there aren't really too many days left to waste any chances to somehow pay back to this man all he has done in his life, for his family, for his friends.

I love you, Dad.

Always and Forever.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dancin' Bears! What ???

Any Grateful Dead fan, or even if you are not a fan but any aging hippie from the 60's and 70's (worth their salt or pot) would know that the Dancin' Bears are just for FUN! One of several symbols of the Dead---the rose, skelton, VW Bus, bumper stickers (Picture Whirled Peas!) are some other things associated with that group.

"The dancing bears symbolized the fun-loving aspect of the Grateful Dead and their fans. Over the years these bears have appeared on multi-colored bumper stickers, T-Shirts and posters.

The origin of the bear was taken from the Bob Thomas album art cover (Bear's Choice). The back cover of History of the Grateful Dead, vol 1 (recorded Feb 13 and 14, 1970) showed multi-colored marching bears. Bob's inspiration for the bear came from a 36 point lead slug of a generic bear that was a standardized figure from a printer's font box."

So there you have it! Straight from the Grateful Dead fan site!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Showing My Age--Bus Dead!

I thought I wanted some cool decals for my new sunflower yellow Xterra. I came across this cool online site:

Lot's of peace signs, dancin' bears and other Grateful Dead standards.

This one I thought was way cool, called "Mother's Embrace."

I'm wondering if there is anyone in the audience that can relate to "Deadheads" and "Dancin' Bears?" If there are, Peace Out!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Legend of Hippie Hollow

Okay, so my daughters have read my blog.

Daughter: "Mom, you didn't really go to a nude beach did you?"

Me: "Well, yes, I did."

Daughter: "Why would you want to go some place like that?"

Me: "Well, Hon, I wasn't really aware of what Hippie Hollow really was, nor did I know that there would be naked guys walking around with their weiner wangers hanging out." (Because if I did, I would have gone up there on the first day of my trip!)

Daughter: "You, didn't really see any nekked guys did you, Mom?"

Me: "Nay"

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Car is in the Driveway

Yes, the deed is done. I cleaned out good old OTRA One Kanobi and drove my last drive with him (her?) to the car dealer. My nice and shiny very mellow yellow Nissan was waiting for me. Just had to sign a few gazillion papers, give them a few pints of blood, sign over the title for my faithful friend, gave them the keys and that was it. I only had one moment when I got misty-eyed and thought I was going to start SOBBING! "Think good thoughts" I told myself, "think camping trips, road trips, Sunday drives with Garrison Keiller."

I drove away, and never looked back. I did hide a card in the van with a note to the new owners letting them know his name. I mean I wouldn't want the car to get all confused if someone was telling it to "Come on Nellie, get going." I also told them that it drives much better after being washed!

It's a little strange, I can't find the door handle, or the window buttons, the AC, but I think we got along just superbly for our first day together. And she looks so very cute in the driveway. It's for sure the brightest car on the street.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Farewell OTRA One Kanobi!

The car dilemma continues. My dear husband is now giving in and letting me get the SUV I prefer over the one he had researched and found to be acceptable by all Consumer Reports standards. Mine is recommended wth the only check mark being fuel economy. This is a BIG DEAL with my sweetie. I do understand that this means I will spend more money a year in gas. I should be feeling guilty, I do a little, but hey, okay, I'll skip lunch one day a week, won't that make up the difference?

I was getting really excited about the new car, as of tonight that would be a sunflower yellow Nissan Xterra, but then I started thinking about cleaning out the stuff from the Safari van. The van that had taken the kids and I safely to and from Oregon on many, many camping trips. It's taken me to many places to hike or to just sit and ponder my existence. A zillion trips to Tonopah the middle of nowhere Nevada to attend State PTA meetings. And up to Caliente, to cut Christmas trees and haul them back. It's been a faithful friend. And then there is all the sentimental attachment.

It's almost as if I could hear the kids laughter when I sit quietly in the van and close my eyes. They are all grown and on their own now, so the sound of that laughter is precious. Then all the stuff. I keep my fold up camp chairs in it just in case I ever have a flat, or come upon a situation that I just might need to sit down for a while. In the door slots are file folders containing maps, camping information for all the states I tend to visit on a regular alpha order of course. (Did I mention the folders are lavender?) Several umbrellas, first aid kits missing some items from those many, many camping trips. There is a piece of a arrowhead, and other small rocks/shells in the ashtray. And somewhere hidden in one of the compartments is a small old bottle my dad and I found during a weekend trip to Yerrington, NV. Lots of memories with that van.

I named the van OTRA-One-Kanobi. OTRA stands for On the Road Again and One-Kanobi is so the force would always be with me where ever I traveled. I know. That is the coolest name for a vehicle for all times! Melancholy is me. I feel like I am taking my faithful dog to the dog pound to be put asleep.

But, it is becoming the money pit. Sorry, old friend. We must part. I hope you find a nice family and aren't sold to the parts yard. But, if so, think of it as being an organ donor of types, living on in other vehicles! I will keep the memory of all our good trips in my heart and you keep the memory of the same in your........radiator? Carburater? Whatever!

Farewell Otra One Kanobi! May the FORCE be with you!

Hello, SunFlower!