Thursday, January 26, 2012

Photo A Day: January

I made a challenge for myself to take a photo a day with my phone.  It is a fun challenge, but one a day is a challenge.  It was a good thing to try something creative everyday, and see what feels right.  Some days/themes felt wrong, for instance: My Bag and Colour (it was Australian).

Here were the photos that I liked the best:  
         The themes, from the top left, clockwise:
Morning: My coffee pot and my kid's reflection
Something I Made: the girl and the hat
Reflection: Me driving (I took this waiting in the car, not driving)
My Sky: looking up through the Douglas Fir at my house

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Two Days of Hands

Somehow, my husband set his phone to play music as an alarm, last year.  The phone didn't hold much music, and the first song on the list was "With My Own Two Hands", by Ben Harper.

Every morning, a few minutes before seven: descending bass line....dun, dun, dun, dun, dun.....I can change the world, one, two, with my own two hands....

The first few days that this song pulled me out of my slumber, and got my feet to the floor, I was in a fog.  I'm usually in a fog until 10 am.  I wasn't processing the song, it was just noise.  Here is the song. You only have to listen to the first 5 bars or so, after that it is obscenely repetitive and inspirational.

Normally I can lie in bed for a slow start, but not to this song.  By the fifth measure, I was out of bed.  It was like a bit in my mouth, I had to get up.  I started to wonder why this song was making me  uncomfortable and exhausted.  (I started thinking about it after 10am.)

It is a tall order to wake up everyday being prompted to change the world with your hands.  You can't do it by lying in bed until 7 am, or, that is what it feels like if it's the first thing you hear every day for a month. 

I do want to change/influence the world for the better, every day.  Yet, I don't know how I did yesterday, and I'm unsure how I might do today.  Gandhi said that I should be the change I want to see in the world.  Jesus said, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  I'm vacillating between doing good, and just being.  Am I doing enough?  No.  Am I enough by design? Yes!

What I want is that just being me, is enough to make the world a better place.  I can't wake up to, "I Can Change The World" because no one can DO enough.  I don't want to try.  Waking up to this song just makes me feel like a failure. 

Little darlings, I decided that if I have to wake up to a song, I choose, "Here Comes the Sun".

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

This Is The Hand, Joe Dimaggio

When I was in college, I read many books for young adults.  One was Pink and Say.  It is about an unlikely friendship between and black boy and a white boy, during the Civil War.  The meaningful part, is that one boy has shaken hands with Abraham Lincoln.  When the two boys become friends, they shake hands, and one boy tells the other, that he has now shaken the hand, that shook the hand, of Abraham Lincoln.  

Now when I meet people who have good stories and have met influential or famous people, I think about our hands. My grandpa shook hands with Wyatt Earp.  I have sat on the lap shaken the hand of a man who shook the hand, of Wyatt Earp.  I once spent the day with the friends of Martin Luther King Jr.  I have shaken the hand, of a hand.....

This week I met a man who played baseball with Joe Dimaggio.  He is in the hospital, and in his late 90's.  Our conversation was difficult.  What is it like to look back on a life, full of adventure, tragedy and love?  How do you process nearly 100 years of birthdays, babies, Christmas, cars, coming and going?  What does it mean to live a life of hope?  Why is the end of the story so sad?  Why is the middle of the story so hard?  How could the colors of a life be so vibrant?

His tears were the answer: there is no answer.  His life has been rich with, well.... life!  One day at a time, he lived/lives.  That day, he remembered.  I got to be a witness to his story.   

Yet, his life is bigger than just one story.  Our stories connect, and there is no story without each other.  Knowing our time together was winding down, I put out my hand.  He looked at me through his tears, and grabbed my hand.  I told him that now, my hand has shaken the hand, that shook the hand, of Joe Dimaggio.  I took a piece of his story with me as I walked out of his room.  My  hand and his hand, his hands and Joe Dimaggio's, my heart and his heart.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

I'm On Fire

For my birthday in the summer I got an iPhone.  It goes against my pragmatism to get such a fancy (smart) phone, but I love it!  LOVE!  It has been 1/2 years since I got this new phone, but it is as if I just got it 5 minutes ago.  I have happily made an exception to my usual policy of practicality.

I have an application on the phone that is called Instagram.  It is a forum to share photos, much like Facebook, but just photos.  After you load a photo to Instagram, then you can put a filter on it or zoom in. It is pretty creative.  You can also look at photos that your 'friends' have taken.  I like it, because I really only like looking at people's photos on Facebook.

This month there has been a challenge to take a photo everyday on a theme.  The day I took this photo, the theme was 'close-up'.  This is my hair.  This is the fire that comes out of my head.  This is what I have to contend with, up-close.  

I used to be offended about the stereo-types and nick-names assigned to red heads.  Aren't stereo-types judgmental?  I don't want to be judged for something that I did not choose, or how I look.  

Finally after many years, I have relented. This brightly colored mop does tell you something about me.  I am fiery, I am temperamental, I'm hot-headed, I'm passionate.  My locks are curly and messy, and I'm in good literary company: Anne of Green Gables, Little Orphan Annie, Pippy Longstocking, Mary Jane.  I have little influence over the condition of my hair, much like my ego.  All I can do is take care of it/me, and accept it/me as I am, the package and the product.

My phone is helping me be happy being me, which is not you.  Just don't get me mad, because I can lose my temper quite easily.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mad Milk Disease

I know you are thinking that we already talked about cows this week, because of Cowboys & Aliens.  I like cows.  I'm surprised I have so much to say about them.  I'm a redhead, and we can get fired-up about needless things. So, here goes: 

Are we so far removed from our food that this seems logical?  The milk this ad council is trying to sell you does not need to be shaken because it is HOMOGENIZED!!  It has been processed, just like almond, soy, rice, and hemp.  After it is heated to kill any living organisms, then it is pressed through a sieve with tiny holes, so that every piece of milk is the same (homo) size, then they (the milk folks) add vitamin D.  

Adding Vitamin D is a throw-back to the industrial revolution (over 100 years ago). People started to get vitamin deficient because the sky was dark with coal smoke, so the milk manufacturers added 'D'. 

If you had a cow you, or a friend, milked 2x a day for a total of 8 gallons per day, then put that milk into the refrigerator, then you would have to shake it, if you wanted it to be all the same consistency.  It might make you as mad as this woman, and if it did, I know a great therapist.  Maybe milking a cow in the wee hours of the morning would be cathartic for you, if you have so much anger.

We should know where our food comes from, and how it is made.  I'm not a cow-milk person, unless it comes from a cow I know, and then I can't get enough.  I'm sure I was a mom's milk person, but I'd have to ask my mom.  

What I do know is where my food comes from, so I am not blindly persuaded by advertising.  This ad is banking on our ignorance, and is deceiving.  Rice milk is just as bad/good for you as milk is.  Milk is not sacred, unless you are an infant mammal.  Even then, species is important for survival.   

Anyway, drink what you want/can.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Review: Cowboys & Aliens

The tag-line on my blog is, "there's a good story in every day".  You would think that if you were a cowboy living in a town invaded by aliens over 100 years ago, you would find a good story.  I could find a good story there, an adventurous, compelling, good vs evil story.  This movie has the potential to tell a good story, but.......there are so many 'buts'.

There are so many things going on in this movie that you don't even care about one of the characters.  There are so many simultaneous story lines and themes, there is no theme.  The thin plot is a medium for CGI slimy aliens.  It was literally: action scene, action scene, talking, action scene, slimy alien, death scene, action scene (this was the outline for the writer(s), I'm sure).

Remember when you cared about Jason Borne?  The whole of all three movies was a long run-on action scene, but I cared.

I love a good cowboy movie, and love a good sci-fi, so I was disappointed that this movie was so silly.

If you want good cowboy and alien entertainment, watch Firefly.  It's a television show that only ran for one season, and was summed up with a great movie after it was canceled.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Better than Words

Over New Years, we took a long weekend and went to visit friends in Ohio.  It's not a tourist destination, but it was a vacation.  We took a break from emptying boxes at our new house, and sunny warm winter weather.  We traded it for limited obligations and warm and satisfied hearts.

These are folks who are teaching me to love, and be loved.  There are more, but my mind/heart is full of our time together today.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Review: Tree Of Life

Last week I watched "Tree of Life".  Here is what I think about it:

I think it is like cilantro: either you'll like it or you'll hate it.

Some reasons you may hate it are its raw topics: grief, parenting, death.  If you watch movies to escape and relax, then don't watch.

Another is "Tree of Life" parallels the story of a family with the story of the cosmos.  It visually interjects cosmic events (Big Bang and  extinction of the dinosaurs) and the story of a family and a boy losing his innocence.  If you need action, watching the Milky Way for several minutes might be difficult to endure.

I can say that I liked it because of my demographic (30 something, parent).

"Tree of Life" is artsy.  It is wonderful to look at, but hard to watch.  It exposes the edges of daily life that we try to rise above.  It is difficult to watch Brad Pitt be a 'bad dad', but I know that I am also making mistakes.  That is hard to watch, like looking in a mirror.  When I see bad parenting in movies, it is usually dramatic.  The parents are drug addicts, narcissistic movie stars, or aliens, not real people, like in this movie.

The one flaw I saw in the movie was more of a question.  Why was Sean Penn in this movie?  His part made no sense to me, not even in the end.  They could have saved 40 minutes of this long movie by taking that bit out.  I see what they were trying to do, but they failed.

I was moved by this movie: moved to look inside, up, and snuggle with my kids.  It is a story of redemption, just like my story, so in that way it was worth watching.